I Hate To Say It...
...and when I started writing this column, I promised myself I wouldn't unless I was absolutely convinced of it...
...but my idea was better. The WWF blew it at Unforgiven. Kurt Angle winning was a bad move.
The Alliance's ace in the hole was that Steve Austin, Alliance "leader", was holding the WWF championship, and had held it since WrestleMania. It was supposed to be a big deal when he lost because it would bring the WWF title back to the WWF. So what happens when he loses? It's on a bad call by the referee, and Angle get a 15-day title reign ended (and made utterly irrelevant in the process) by a heel turn that makes about as much sense as the Dudleys' Chef Boyardee commercial.
It would have been easier to just not do the title switch in the first place. I was sure they were going to recycle the WrestleMania 13 finish, with Angle passing out in an Austin sharpshooter. Had that happened, we could still get to this point and have it work out better for everyone involved.
You wouldn't even have to change a lot of what happened - maybe keep Angle off TV the week after Unforgiven because he's "recovering" from the pain and stress. When he returned, have him play the same "You can't beat me, Austin" tune, adding that he never actually tapped out. Austin, Shane, and Regal try to out-maneuver each other until Angle earns a rematch - say he wins a handicap match to do it.
You can even keep all of the stuff with Regal the same - the ban of Alliance members from ringside, the pre-match run-ins with Debra - even his turn at the end of the match. But THIS time, you give the fans a reason for it: Regal clocked Angle to give him a reality check. He's not better than Austin. He can't beat Austin. Give it up. Regal gets canned, Mick Foley replaces him as WWF commissioner and makes the three-way match, Alliance hires Regal, have a nice day.
It's not that Kurt Angle was "hurt" or "de-pushed" by what happened. But the invasion angle suffered, and that's the problem I had with the way the match was handled.
FORGIVE US: Me: 4 for 7. TNM: 5 for 7.
PREDICTIONS FOR NO MERCY ON DIRECTV VIEWERS
We're not simming the chick match this time around.
WCW Tag Team Title Match: The Hardy Boyz (w/Lita) vs. The Poor Man's Kurt Angle & Hurricane Helms (w/Mighty Molly Madness & Ivory, Except Not)
This was announced during the second half of SmackDown! as if to say, "Oops, we forgot that these two teams have been feuding on and off for months ever since Hurricane beat Matt for the European title." Ah, the magic of the Heyman book.
TNM Says: Hardy Boys (2:55 Twist of Fate --> pin Hurricane) Hurricane & Lance Storm
What I'd Do: Why'd we split up the tag titles again? Hardyz retain.
What They'll Do: I still don't see them giving Helms two belts. Hardyz retain.
WWF Intercontinental Title Ladder Match: I Thought I Knew Him vs. The King of Awesomeness
Christian busted Edge's eye open with a chair to win the IC title at Unforgiven. Since then, he's called Edge an "accident" and joined the Alliance, a move I like because HELLO THERE'S AN INVASION GOING ON. Christian's also made a lot of noise about how he was always the one who grabbed the belts at the end of the tag team ladder matches.
TNM Says: Christian (7:59) Edge
What I'd Do: On one hand, Christian joined the Alliance for a reason, and that reason shouldn't be to lose the IC title six days later. I'd have Christian retain for now.
What They'll Do: On the other hand, there's a common theory which I don't usually put a lot of stock in - the "whoever gets beat down last shall prevail on PPV" theory, but I think this is a case where it comes into play. Edge wins.
Lingerie Match: Stacylegs Keibler vs. Torrie the Fembot
Stacy and Torrie were Alliance blondes in arms until Torrie took an interest in Tajiri. And I can't tell if Stacy's jealous because Torrie has somebody and she doesn't or what her deal is. It must be one of those things that men can never hope to understand.
Why a lingerie match? Because they gave us the bikini contest for free on SmackDown! two weeks ago. And if the person coming on board next week is who I THINK it is, he probably hasn't recovered from THAT yet.
What are the rules here? I mean, is it bra-and-panties match rules, or will they start out in lingerie? And does it matter, really?
What I'd Do: Ummm...
What They'll Do: Probably something short with Torrie coming out on top.
WWF Tag Team Title Match: The Dudley Boyeeez vs. The Big F'n Show & (yoshihiro) Tajiri
Stacy had the Dudleys put Torrie through a table, then they did the same to Spike for the 4,879,605th time in his career. With Spike on the shelf, Foley inserted Tajiri as his replacement, knowing he'd want payback for what the Duds did to his girl.
Any move done from Show's shoulders rules.
TNM Says: Dudley Boys (10:33 Buh Buh Cutter --> pin Tajiri) Big Show & Tajiri
What I'd Do: Again, we split the titles up because...? Dudleys retain.
What They'll Do: Dudleys. Maniacal killing machines. They should keep the titles.
Sucka T. vs. Hell on Wheels
Booker's still looking for respect. He and Test beat Undertaker and Kane to win the WCW Tag Team Titles after Unforgiven, but a UT run-in a few weeks later caused them to lose to the Hardy Boyz. Now Booker wants UT one-on-one to show people what he's all about.
TNM Says: Booker T. (8:35 Ax Kick --> pin) The Undertaker
What I'd Do: How about... hmmm... Booker T wins.
What They'll Do: Something tells me Booker's going over somewhat screwily.
Big Red vs. Somebody Give Me A Nickname For Test
TNM Says: Test (6:07 pumphandle slam --> pin) Kane
What I'd Do: Why not put Test over here?
What They'll Do: A Test win wouldn't surprise me, truthfully.
WCW Title Match: Our Champion vs. Choke Jericho
I kid Chris. But a smark-channeling remark by Shane about Jericho's inability to win the big matches led to Jericho challenging Shane to a tag match. Shane and Rob Van Dam won the match when a bloody Jericho accidentally pasted Rock with a chairshot.
They stayed cool on the surface for a little while, but after Jericho beat Van Dam (because of Austin) to earn a shot at the WCW Title, a bunch of little things and one big Rock Bottom on Monday have people asking just one question: Who's turning heel?
TNM Says: Chris Jericho (7:44 Walls of Jericho --> submission) The Rock
What I'd Do: If the latest news that they're not doing Rock/Austin at Survivor Series is true, then a Jericho win and heel turn is a hell of a way to keep Rock busy. But I'd have Jericho - wait for it - lose and snap.
What They'll Do: Hard to say here. I think Jericho's turning regardless, so I'll say it's because Rock beat him.
Triple Threat WWF Title Match: Hi, My Name Is vs. The Gold Standard vs. The Whole Show
Angle beat Austin at Unforgiven, but Austin was under the ropes. Wait, you read this already. Anyway, Angle's been breathing smoke and fire since the loss.
Van Dam's popularity with the fans and other Alliance members has become one more thing for the paranoid Austin to be worried about. Mick offered him a spot in the match after Austin cost him a shot at Rock, and he accepted. Now he's been seen talking to Vince McMahon.
Vince? That "something big" the Invasion needs might be on its way after all.
TNM Says: Rob Van Dam (17:46 Van Daminator --> pin Angle) Kurt Angle & Steve Austin
What I'd Do: Keep the title on Austin.
What They'll Do: Austin pins Angle after a Jericho punk-out.