Oooh, more late pay-per-view reviews from me! Oooh!
Oooh! Okay, here's a thought. Wrestling is as "mainstream" as "The Dukes of Hazzard". Here comes my reasoning.
In Chicago, the Carquest World of Wheels expo (or something like that) is coming. Two of the advertisted celebrities in appearance? WWF Superstar Mick Foley and Dukes of Hazzard screen siren Catherine Bach. I hear they're going to compare the size of their guts. Oh, my! I've crossed the line now, have I not?
Trade of rights as we start. Jericho is having arm problems, remember. Chops in the corner from Jericho, and Benoit tries to hook the crossface. No go. Walls of Jericho blocked. Flying forearm from Jericho, but Benoit ducks a springboard whatever, sending Jericho crashing to the floor. JR mentions the last PPV IC title ladder match, the SummerSlam '98 Rock-HHH match. Benoit retrieves the ladder, and Jericho tries to dropkick it into him. Benoit makes him miss, though, and sends him into the steps. Benoit begins his climb, but Jericho catches him on the shoulders and drops him down. Chop from Jericho, and a ram into the corner. Jericho grabs the ladder, and rams it into Benoit's gut, then sets it up on the top rope in the corner. Jericho is sent hard into the ladder, and tumbles to the floor. Benoit goes for a suicide dive, but GODDAMN he catches a chair in the face. Holy SHIT. More stiff brawling on the floor, with Jericho taking the ladder to the head. We see another replay of the chair spot. Golly. Inside again, and Jericho is sent back into the ladder. Jericho is picked up for another shot, but he slips down and shoves Benoit into the ladder. Benoit climbs, but Jericho goes after him and tips it with Jericho's leg in the ladder, a spot Benoit did at Starrcade '99 against Jeff Jarrett. Benoit dropkicks the ladder into Jericho. High angle back suplex by Benoit. Benoit sent into the ladder again, and both men are pretty scrambled now. Jericho pulls a Tommy Dreamer and sends the tilting ladder up into Benoit's chin. Goddamn, that was ugly. Jericho gets a missile dropkick, and sets the ladder up. He goes to climb, but Benoit pulls him down and dumps him backwards to the floor. Nasty bump. Benoit climbs, and Jericho stops him. Benoit kicks him away, and turns. Jericho goes back up and hooks an absolutely amazing Walls of Jericho on the ladder. I mean, wow. If that had tipped the ladder, they both would've been seriously hurt. Benoit falls, and Jericho reaches, only to have Benoit get a last-ditch effort to push the ladder over with his feet. Jericho jumps from the ladder, and Benoit catches him in the crossface. Jericho taps out, but that doesn't matter. Jericho gets out, and they brawl some more. Jericho calls him a sonuvabitch and asks for him to get up. Ladder standing in the corner, and both climb up. Jericho goes for a superplex, but Benoit knocks him off, hits the top, and goes for the swandive, which misses. Jericho traps Benoit under the ladder, and tries to climb, but Benoit becomes a superhero and presses his way out, sending Jericho hotshotting into the top rope and tumbling to the floor. Benoit climbs, and Jericho comes in with a chair and sends it crashing over, and Benoit goes to the floor again. Jericho climbs as Ross finally fucks up their names. Jericho climbs up and gets the belt at 18'48" to win the Intercontinental title for a whatevereth time. Great fucking match. ****3/4 I still don't think I'll ever see a ladder match that truly captivates me like the original Shawn Michaels-Razor Ramon one, though.
Clothesline to start, and a hair biel. Never get enough of those hair biels. Back-and-forth whips to the corners. Ivory put up top, and Chyna "snapmares" her over. Ivory up top, and she's punched off to the floor. Oh boy, I can't get enough of this. This is just fantastic. Into the crowd we go, and Chyna slowly beats her up, then military presses her, walks slowly, and dumps her to the ringside floor again. Chyna smiles. I kick my TV. And here's The Spot and it's over as Ivory retains at 03'29". The King and Billy Gunn and referees gather around so they can all tell each other to go get some paramedics "or something". Ross sells it like a champion. A champion of shit, anyway. I probably wouldn't care so much if they didn't use this kind of angle on Chyna, who I truly hate. They take too long with it, too.
Feeling-out process to start. Angle with a clothesline, and it sends Triple H to the floor. Angle dominates the opening minutes, and goes to an armbar. HHH with a kneelift, and a back suplex attempt. Angle flips out, and gets a vertical suplex. A second one to follow, and yet a third gets two. Angle sent to the floor, and Triple H follows him out. Ram into the steps, and back in we go. Angle gets put down and has his knee ripped at two times. Enziguri by Angle as Lawler talks about his experience with Andy Kaufman, moments after saying no one cares about Buddy Rogers. I don't really care about Andy Kaufman or Buddy Rogers. Or Jerry Lawler, for that matter. But that's ME ME ME. Helmsley to the floor, and he tries to crotch Angle on the post, but Kurt kicks him away. Steph with her, "COME ON HUNNNNTERRRRR!" Shut up. More brawling around on the floor, and Angle rolls HHH back in. HHH gets Angle down and wraps his knee around the post. STEEL chair slammed into the vulnerable knee. Another shot to the knee on the outside, and back in now. Chop block by Triple H. Another one. HHH props the leg on the bottom rope, and drives an elbow down into the knee. Modified Indian deathlock applied now, as JR wonders if it should be called a Native American deathlock. Good joke. A botched facebuster gets two. Another two count. More good kneework by HHH. The figure-four leglock finally gets some minimal heat. Not a lot, though. Angle's shoulders down, one, two, no. HHH grabs the ropes for leverage, and Trish tries to break the hold, but Stephanie pulls her out. They have a massive catfight until Vince comes down and seperates the two of them. Briefly. They fight some more. Lawler: "I feel like I'm in a trailer park." That was one of the best jokes ever on a wrestling broadcast. Vince carries Trish until Stephanie pushes both of them over. She chokes Trish as we pay no attention to the match, which JR says has stopped happening so that the broads can slap each other. We go back to the ring as they exit to see Angle down and Triple H not paying attention. Inside cradle by Angle, two count. Elbows to the knee from Triple H now. Angle finally gets some offense as he hits a DDT for two. Belly-to-back with a bridge by Angle for two. Sloppy Russian legsweep, and Angle limps up to the second rope. Triple H catches him with a low blow, and then hit's the Razor's Edge off the second rope for two. I missed that move. Three two counts come out of it, actually. Kick to the gut, and a Pedigree attempt, but Angle counters, and falls down into Triple H's nuts with a headbutt. Angle up top again, and he hits the moonsault! HHH dumps Angle out to the floor, and jumps from the apron, which causes Earl Hebner to get sent into the security wall. Back in, Triple H goes up top, and Angle runs and springs up, taking Triple H off with an armdrag. Cover, but there's no referee.
Angle heads to the floor to check on Earl Hebner. HHH comes out, and sends Angle to the steps, which causes Hebner's head to get crushed into them. HHH fetches the title belt, but Angle gets an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Angle tries to use the belt, but there's the Pedigree! One, two, three, four, twenty-seven, no ref. Triple H goes to Hebner, and here's Ol' Cold Stone to kick the shit out of Hunter. They go into the ring, and Austin nails Triple H with the belt. HHH has been busted open, and Austin throws Hebner in, but he's still out of it. HHH stirs, and Austin goes back and hits the stunner before leaving. Angle comes to, crawls over, and drapes an arm on Triple H. Hebner finally gets back into things, and counts the extremely slow three count to allow Kurt Angle to retain once again at 24'12". It wasn't very exciting, but it sure was good. ***1/2
Entrant #1 is Jeff Hardy, who some say is a young Shawn Michaels. And JR manages to mention that in 1995, Shawn drew #1 and won the damn thing. Then he says many people think of Jeff as a young HBK. Jesus Christ, I didn't even know he was going to say that. #2 is Bull Buchanan. Spinning headscissors from Jeff, and a lariat from Bull. Bull tries to push him out, but that's a no go. And here's #3 - Matt Hardy. Poetry in Motion for Bull, and the Hardyz team up to clothesline Bull right out of there. They tap fists and go at it. Matt gets Jeff up for elimination, but Jeff fights out. Back suplex by Matt. Good Lord, these two look extremely uncomfortable in there with each other. No heat right now, either. #4 is Faarooq. Double clothesline for the Hardyz, as it's really striking me as hilarious right now hearing Jim and Jerry say the word "Faarooq". I don't know why. Jeff accidentally nails Matt, but it's okay. Twist of Fate and the swanton bomb for Faarooq. And there goes Faarooq. Boy, what a pussy Faarooq is. Matt tries to dump Jeff, who takes off his shirt to many squeals and shrieks. Matt follows suit. Right hands back-and-forth. Twisting leg lariat from the top by Jeff, and here's #5 - Drew Carey! They even give him entrance music. The Hardyz fight each other at ringside while Drew hangs out around the ringside area. "Drew" chant goes up. Gotta love that. Matt skins the cat as Jeff tries to dump him. Both Hardy Boyz fight on the apron, and Drew Carey has come into the ring. He still has his glasses on. The Hardyz eliminate each other and Drew Carey does some light calisthetics. He flexes for a few seconds...and #6 is Kane. Tremendous bit, as corny and cliched as it is. Kane walks around the ring one full time. And then Kane comes in and does his pyro bit. Drew Carey just stands there and waves and extends a hand. No handshake from Kane, though. He offers money, but Kane knocks it from his hand. The countdown is done, and here's Raven at #7 to save Drew Carey from a chokeslam. Drew takes off over the top rope to eliminate himself, leaving Kane and Raven. Raven goes for a bulldog, I think, but gets caught in a really sloppy sideslam. Raven slides out and gets a fire extinguisher, spraying Kane. Here's Al Snow. He's beating up Raven on the floor, but his entrance time hasn't come yet. Al Snow is #8, getting in as time expires. Now there's a bunch of shit in the ring. Snow hits Kane in the balls with a bowling ball, and then rolls it into Raven's crotch. Snow and Raven team up to take Kane on, hitting a double-team drop toe-hold onto a trash can. #9 is Perry Saturn. What the hell is with Saturn's beard? I hadn't seen that yet. Saturn gets a leg grapevine on Kane, who just kicks him away. Big slam on Saturn, and a throw on Snow. Raven gets a sleeper, and Snow and Saturn chop away at the knees. #10 is Steve Blackman. Blackman has his niftysticks and is just going to the proverbial town with them. Weapon shots galore here.
#11 is Grandmaster Sexay. Kane knocks him out pretty quickly after a garbage can shot sends him tumbling to the floor. Blackman tries to skin the cat as Kane dumps him, but he's then eliminated when Kane nails him in mid-skin. Snow gone, goodbye Raven, see ya later Saturn. #12 is THE HONKY TONK MAN! Whooo! I GOT MAH LONG SIDEBURNS AND MAH HAIR SLICKED BACK I'M COMIN TO YOUR TOWN IN MY PINK CADILLAC! Awesome. Honky takes the mic, and tells Kane to give him a second. I'm actually getting a tremendous kick out of Honky singing his song and Kane standing there looking oddly at him. Kane doesn't like the song, apparently, so he takes his guitar and lays him out. Honky's gone. Absolutely wonderful. That was fucking great. #13 is The Rock! Here we go THE BY GOD ROCK AND BY GOD KANE! Rock with a clothesline, and he goes to toss Kane, but Kane stops and nails him with a hard lariat. Kane dominates Rock now. #14 is The Goodfather. Rock quickly sends his sorry ass packing, but turns around to get leveled by Kane. Tilt-a-whirl slam by Kane. #15 is Tazz, who's pretty excited. Tazz runs right into Kane, though, and he's gone immediately. FUCK YOU WWF JUST FUCK YOU! At least JR puts him over for it. "Tazz's got a lotta guts! He came to fight, but tonight wasn't his night!" My God, Tazz IS Rudy. Rock gets a Samoan drop on Kane, both men down. #16 is Bradshaw. I like Bradshaw. He's just mean in the ring. GOOD FUCKING GOD clothesline from hell on The Rock. Anyone who doesn't "buy" that move is pretty retarded, I think. Spinebuster by Rock, but Kane clotheslines him down. #17 is Albert. He's a "big, young stud" says JR. He's "boring" says Scott. Albert goes after Kane, then the Rock, but Kane pulls Albert from the Rock. Got that? Bradshaw and Kane nail Albert, and Kane nails Bradshaw. Got that? Bradshaw is nearly eliminated by Kane, but not quite. Short-arm lariat for Albert. #18 is Hardcore Holly. Albertbomb for Bradshaw, and Albert goes after Kane next. #19 is K Kwik. Poor guy. He tries really, really hard, but no one likes him. Kwik takes a hellacious power bomb from Bradshaw. #20 is Val Venis. Holly works on Rock, Bradshaw pairs off with Kwik, and Kane takes on Venis. Albert just stands around and grunts. Spear by Bradshaw on Kwik. Venis goes after Rock.
#21 is William Regal. He waves during his trot to the ring, then goes right after K Kwik. Venis tries to eliminate The Rock, but Bradshaw kicks him in the gut. #22 is Test, who likes neither Albert nor William Regal. And there goes Regal via Test. Test pounds away on Kane, and K Kwik is still in there, shockingly. Oh my God, K Kwik is taking it to The Rock. That's an alternate universe thing there. #23 is...WELL IT'S THE BIG SHOW! Boy, I still don't get how anyone thought he'd lost weight. Test is gone. K Kwik is gone. Albert gets chokeslammed, Bradshaw gets chokeslammed. Venis gets chokeslammed. The crowd isn't especially into this, but it's pretty cool, I guess. Hardcore Holly is chokeslammed. Show goes right after Kane now, CHOKESLAM! NOW they care! And it's Rock's turn, but not today, Jose. Kick to the nuts, and a clothesline sends The Big Show right out of there. Everyone's down except The Rock, though, so as short as it was, I'd call it effective. Big Show dismantles the announce table. #24 is Crash Holly. Big Show pulls Rock out, and chokeslams him through the announce table. My God, he's been broken in half! BROKEN! BY GOD IN HALF! Bradshaw, Venis, the Holly cousins and Albert team up on Kane. #25 is The Undertaker dot com. Undertaker stops the group from kicking Kane's ass. Bradshaw gone via Undertaker. Crash gone by Kane, Hardcore by UT, Albert gone by Kane, Venis via Taker. Undertaker and Kane in the ring, Rock's still knocked out on the floor. Kane and UT stare each other dow. #26 is Scotty 2 Hotty. Boy, he doesn't like his chances, apparently. Smart fellow. Big boot from UT, and a slam by Kane. High Times! They did the High Times! The crowd is completely not reacting to this at all. Hey, Dwayne, you can stop selling the goddamn chokeslam now. Oh, hey, now he's stirring. Scotty gets dumped out. #27 is...BY GOD IT'S STONE COLD! STONE COLD! STONE COLD! Austin's great at his character, because he just swaggered toward the ring with UT and Kane in there. Rock gets in as Triple H runs from behind and beats the shit out of Austin. #28 is Billy Gunn. What a dipshit. I actually got a good laugh there with Billy's really horrible music playing during all this carnage of Triple H beating and bloodying Austin and Kane and Undertaker dissecting the Rock. Jumping DDT by UT on Rock. JR has "never seen a DDT ever like that in (his) life". #29 is Haku. He gets the least reaction of the surprise entrants. He comes in as a damn house o' fire, though, going right after Kane and Undertaker. Austin's still a bloody mess laying dead in the aisle. Rock regroups in the corner, Haku fights Undertaker, and Kane fights Gunn. Rock up, and he goes after Gunn. Good choice. Of course, #30 is Rikishi.
So, here's who can win: Rikishi, Haku, Undertaker, Austin, Rock and Kane. A messily bloody Austin takes it to Rikishi in the aisle, and he's finally in. Austin beats the shit out of Billy Gunn, and nails Undertaker, who "sells" it. I guess. Austin goes after Haku. Well, after all these years, the dream of seeing Austin v. Meng on a WWF-WCW joint PPV effort has come true! Haku's gone via Austin, and Rikishi gets chokeslammed by Undertaker. UT nearly dumps the Rock, but he holds on. UT headbutts Rikishi, but has forgotten that Rikishi is Samoan, it seems. Undertaker is GONE at the feet of Rikishi! Rock goes after Rikishi now, and gets an assvalanche in the corner. I always like the guys at the end that don't fit in. See: Haku and Gunn, Billy. Rikishi hikes his thong up and goes for a banzai drop, but Rock low blows him and dumps him out. Final Four: Austin, Gunn, Rock and Kane. Rock gets stomped on, and Gunn stays away from a stunner. Fameasser on Austin now, but he's pulled up and Billy gets tossed out. Oh, he's LIVID. DDT by Rock on Kane. Austin and Rock are down in the corners, and have caught each other's attention. My Lord, this is electric. Trade of right hands, which Austin wins. Rock fights back. The crowd is pretty evenly split. Austin does a somersault bump for a Rock punch. Austin gets up, and escapes a Rock Bottom. STUNNER STUNNER STUNNER! That's the least pop for a stunner in years. Thesz press and right hands for Kane, then a kick to the midsection. Rock back up, and he's after Stone Cold. ROCK BOTTOM ROCK BOTTOM ROCK BOTTOM! Kane gets sent OUT, but not OVER. The crowd pops until they realize they're dumb. Austin and Rock brawl in the ring, and Austin nearly dumps Rock out. Rock returns the favor, but Kane comes from behind and flips them out, eliminating the Rock! Down to Austin v. Kane. Austin has Kane reeling on the ropes, and Austin charges. CHOKESLAM! Kane gets him up, and Austin kicks him square in the balls. Kane goes out and grabs a chair, but it doesn't get used. Austin off the ropes, but he slips down, STUNNER! Austin waxes Kane with the chair once, twice, thrice, and a clothesline ends it at 64'14"! STONE COLD STONE COLD IS GOING TO WRESTLEMANIA!!! ***** Fuck it, that was far and away the second best Rumble of all-time. It was only SLIGHTLY less exciting than the 1992 affair.
Kudos to Al Snow, The Rock, Hardcore Holly and The Big Show for making Rumble Rate's Top 10 two year's in a row. Also, a big howdy to Val Venis, who just missed doing the same thing. The only one fault I find with this year's Rumble (and I'm not kidding when I say this) is the exclusion of Big Boss Man, who is historically really, really good in Rumble matches for whatever reason.
What an awesome show. Outside of the women's title "match" and all the backstage skits and whatnots, there wasn't one match I had at less than ***. This show was memorable, exciting, hot, action by God packed.
To sum it up, this instantly became one of my favorite pay-per-view's of all-time.
Thumbs WAY up.