Awaken from a deep sleep. You're all weak. You're living in
the agony of defeat. I am the master of your whole heap. I am the
pastor, flock you like sheep.
Hey, you know what?
If you would've told me on April 17, 2000 that it would be another year and eight months before Chris Jericho won the WWF Title, I would've said "Whoa! Are you from the future?" And I would've been pretty surprised too, because that sumbitch was on the verge of being a made man in July 2000, yet two months later he was in a program with X-Pac. I've been waiting for him to be a tippy top guy since, well, the day he showed up. So I am tickled. Absolutely tickled. The booking leading up to Vengeance wasn't making sense to me at all until Jericho did his third straight job on Smackdown before the PPV, the show on which you'd expect to see the faces get laid out. Then it hit me. I says to myself, "Ohhh. I see. They're teasing Rock/Austin as a foregone conclusion so that people will buy the show to see that, but Jericho is going over, and then his subsequent title defenses will do well because people will pay for a title change expecting Rock or Austin to beat him again. DUH!"
I felt pretty darn smart.
Hey, you know what else?
Whenever I envisioned the unification of the WWF and WCW World Titles, I kind of pictured Hulk Hogan beating Ric Flair at WrestleMania, or Bret Hart beating Sting at WrestleMania (Sharpshooter vs. Scorpion Death Lock, natch), or Stone Cold Steve Austin beating Bill Goldberg at WrestleMania. That last one became particularly appealing when the WWF bought WCW. But Goldberg didn't get signed, so I suppose I pictured the Rock beating Booker T. to unify the titles. When the interpromotional feud became McMahon vs. McMahon and Rock vs. Austin, it didn't seem too far out of the question to envision the WCW champion Rock beating WWF champion Austin at WrestleMania. Jericho's win? More than welcome -- don't get me wrong, I was rooting for him all the way -- but, okay, kind of underwhelming.
They did a great job of getting those two world titles over prior to the show, so great that the unification, theretofore an afterthought worthy of the December show thanks to the F.I.V.A. (Failed InVasion Angle), all of a sudden felt really important and Mania-worthy. The finish, a simple beltshot after 45 minutes of awesome false finishes, came off as flat. And the matches, which I expected to be three classics, were merely "very good." So while I'm elated with the winner, I thought the execution was a letdown.
A numbered list of results:
They started the show off with one of those Freddie Blassie films and it was awesome to end all awesome. FLAIR HOGAN SAVAGE* WARRIOR STING NASH BRET SHAWN (I've seen the games they played, and I've seen the games you play. But you know what? When it was all said and done, some way or another, they all kissed your ass.) Then Vince came out and said he would laugh last.
1. Scotty 2 Hotty and Albert beat Test and Christian when Albert pinned Christian with the Baldo Bomb. Last week I said this MIGHT be on the show and then it WAS. How do you like that apple? The wrong guy did the job in this match and by the wrong guy I mean not Scotty, Albert, or Test. Scotty and Albert are funny with the dancing~ and whatnot~, and Test is okay, but Christian, geez, Christian is so outstanding and here he is paired with the Shittier, Not Funny Version of Edge getting beat by Albert in the opening match.
2. Edge pinned William Regal with the spear. This was unique. The crowd didn't hate it, which is always a plus in a Regal match. I think they did the finish too soon after Regal brought out the ass knucks but it was good. Not as good as Edge/Test last month, but good.
3. Jeff Hardy pinned Matt Hardy with a swantawnbawm when Lita missed Matt's foot on the bottom rope. Remember last week how I was all excited about this match but past Hardy encounters had been letdowns? Well, I was all excited about this match but then it was a letdown. At first I was like "ooh, a story, they're telling a story, Matt is showing he's smart and Jeff is foolish" but some stories aren't very well written.
4. The Dudley Boyz beat Kane and the Big Show when Show was pinned after a stunshot hotgun on the exposed turnbuckle. This wa'n't a total disaster but it wa'n't good either. Show and Kane did dissension spots but it wasn't followed up on Raw and that's not a problem. I was thinking maybe the Dudleys could perhaps maybe turn face.
5. The Undertaker pinned Rob Van Dam after a chokeslam off the stage through two tables to win the Hardcore Title. Taker isn't getting booed because he kicks too much ass, but this was his best match in a long while.
They did a WWF Desire video for Triple H set to Beautiful Day by U2. The heart is a BROOM. Many a person was expecting him to come back on this show, but he wasn't ready, so I guess they did this to justify all the advertising built around him. It was well done and the part where you can see inside his knee (KNEE OF DOOM~!) is icky.
6. Steve Austin pinned Kurt Angle with the Stunner to retain the WWF Title. Real good but not on the level of their previous matches. I really wish they would've put one or both of the title matches at the beginning of the show and then built up to the unification match for the rest of the show, but maybe it's hard for Wrestlers to go all out, sit around for two hours, and then go all out again. I wouldn't know, I'm not a wrestler. But the way they ended up doing it made everything seem rushed.
T&A Revisited Night continued as Test was going to rape Trish but she told him not to so he didn't.
7. Chris Jericho pinned The Rock with the Rock Bottom to win the WCW Title. This was excellent but not on the level of the No Mercy classic. The nearfalls were to die for.
8. Chris Jericho pinned Steve Austin after Booker T. hit him with the WWF belt to unify the world titles. I guess you could consider the three title matches as part of one big match, but as three individual ones they didn't live up to my expectations. Vince brought out Jericho's LONGTIME NEMESIS Nick Patrick to screw Austin, but Flair put the kibosh on that. So in the tradition of Bischoff and Russo laying out Flair, Vince suckerpunched and posted him. The show closed with Vince laughing last. Finish was really phlat but JERICHO JERICHO IS THE CHAMPION COME ON BAAAAABY.
Raw on Monday experienced another post-PPV bump and did a 4.7, up from a 4.2 last week. Free-writing exercise: The show was not so great, mostly because the crowd was awful and gay and awfully gay. The matches weren't very good either. There never needs to be Rock in a handicap tagteam testicles (or lack thereof, TRISH) match against the Dudleys ever, ever again. Trish puts the hot in hot tag, ha ha. Actually, her houses of fire spots the last two weeks have been somewhere between awesome and awesome. Hardys' match was better than Sunday's. They should just go wild in there with jumping and hitting even if Matt wants to be all "I'm smart." What was weird was that the breakup took place in a backstage skit and not in the ring, where most relationships end. He should've dumped her in the ring right before the match. Rikishi is a good guy but Kurt Angle should wipe the mat with him. Lance Storm, yeah, that was brilliant. He got fired and he wants his job back but Flair won't hire him because he sucks but wait he'll give him one chance oh he lost. That is certainly a great way to build somebody up ... in WRONGSVILLE. Jericho is outstanding but I was expecting a bigger deal out of the title presentation, like the red carpetted-ring~.
Repeating what Jake said on this site, the WWF released a handful of Heartland Wrestling Associates last week. Elix Skipper, Jimmy Yang, Lash LeRoux, Kid Romeo, Allan (Kwee Wee) Funk, Reno, and Kevin Nash/Paul Wight lookalike Russ McCollough were cut, prompting a nation to say "What about Evan Karagious?" So the next day, they cut him.
Kurt Angle: "Essa Rios, you still work here? Congratulations on still
having a job."
(Essa Rios was also let go.) Although most of those ex-WCW cruiserweights were okay, I didn't think any of them were that great with the slight exceptions of Skipper and Romeo. None of them were as good as the not fired Jamie Knoble, Shannon Moore, Kaz Hayashi, and Jason Jett. Still, these guys basically have Buff Bagwell to thank for not having jobs, because if his match with Booker T. doesn't bomb then the WWF goes ahead with a WCW Raw and they get on TV.
Speaking of sick people and hospitals, former Stampede announcer Ed Whalen died of a heart attack at the senseless age of 74.
WHAT IF SHANE McMAHON HAD NEVER BEEN BORN?
This is my new weekly feature called What If Shane McMahon Had Never Been Born?, where we take a look at an alternate reality of wrestling and see history rewrite itself in a quantum leap of faith. The question we pose this week is:
WHAT IF ART BARR HAD NEVER DIED?
If Art Barr had never died, he would've gone to WCW, like Psicosis and La Parka and the rest of all the lucha guys they signed. He wouldn't have gotten pushed, like Psicosis and La Parka and the rest of all the lucha guys they signed, and then he would've been released, like Psicosis and La Parka and the rest of all the lucha guys they signed. He later would have died.
"On New Year's Eve, the World Wrestling Federation will be airing a special three-hour episode of RAW entitled "Best of the WWF 2001 - Viewers' Choice." The show will feature the top ten matches of the year as voted on by Federation fans." Hmm. There's an assload of great matches this year so I think this calls for an awesome COUNTDOWN~ of MATCHES~ starting next week~. Are you scared?