|WWF Best of 2001 Viewer's Choice
|Guest columnist: The Cubs Fan
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Best of the WWF 2001: Viewer's Choice - roll that open. What, you thought I was going to write it out? Get used to nothing.
Your hosts are Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, and an empty arena. Lawler's bummed out - he's stuck spending New Year's Eve with Cole. Uh, so are we - unless we're watching this on tape about two weeks later. Lawler and Cole mutually agree to kiss each other, which is a positive for us all. Cole sends us to match #10 (and that's Chris Leary supplying the voiceovers.)
Match #10: Chris Benoit (c) vs Chris Jericho for the IC Title in a Ladder Match, Royal Rumble (1/21). Check out Scott Christ's recap, and pick it up at "Benoit sent into the ladder again, and both men are pretty scrambled now" to join us. I hadn't seen this match before and it's impressive - wish we could have seen the suicide tope into the chair from Benoit, but that'd be a painful remainder of why Benoit isn't in the ring right now. Of course, that's true for everyone on this show, they all pay great prices for these matches, you just don't realize it till the effects are so strongly shown. That Liontamer on the Ladder is such a visually impressive looking move, and you've got to give a lot credit to Benoit for making it look that way. There's the headbutt from the top of the ladder, that's cringe inducing enough. I wonder if he'll realize that dropping on his head and neck all the time isn't a great idea when he comes back. Benoit looks dumb being unable to get back in the ring as Jericho's doing the slow climb, but what can you do. One extended clip runs, with some post match belt stuff. (8:42)
Leary teases the next match - who will face the Undertaker's Decade of Destruction?
WWF Desire: Undertaker (2:00)
Cole talks about Undertaker's decade including good, bad and ugly. Lawler talks about him wanting respect, and Cole says the fans respect the next match.
Match #9: Undertaker vs Triple H in a no DQ match (?), Wrestlemania X7 (4/1). This time, it's Alex Carnevale and find "They fight to what I guess you would call the crow's nest of the WWF" to pick it up, in progress. Bounce! That drop wasn't nearly as much as I'd thought it was originally, but that's fine. They really should have taped down the covering so that padding wouldn't have showed at all. The Undertaker sure controls a lot of this match - Triple H just gets in things the right amount and at the right points to keep the drama going. And of course they're both superhuman - but perhaps that's just as it should be for Wrestlemania. I mean, if it is the biggest PPV of their lives, they should be more pumped and stronger than ever. This runs (9:54) with post match.
Coming up next, the Biggest Shocks of 2001.
WWF Co-Owner Ric Flair wishes us a happy new year, and sends us to our
top five shocking moments of 2001. They list no dates/shows for any of them, so
I had to figure that much on my own. That's harder than you'd think.
Nothing shocking ever happens on Smackdown.
Coming up next - Shane pulls out all the stops, but against who? (Backlash clips.)
This Stacker 2 commercial is better with no sound! Thanks.
Lugz Scaffold Falling Elbow Drop of Backlash (4/29). Yea, that did look cool live but still...I don't know. I'm less enthused but the money's gone, so who cares, right?
Match #8: Kurt Angle vs Shane McMahon in a Street Fight, King of The Ring (6/24). Your play by play is provided by Scott Williams here, start with "Angle sets it up again and Shane goes crashing through the KOTR glass the second time." Hey, they're superhuman but it's not Wrestlemania, what's with that? What them lay on the floor and discuss the pros and cons of trying again for the spot after it doesn't work the on the second panel for the first time. If you remember, at the time, most everyone was guessing this was a Street Fight to introduce the WCW players, but it didn't quite go that way. Thinking back at it now, no matter what you think of this match, it probably would have been much better to just do that, if they wanted to get the WCW players over. If. Are Street Fights falls count anywhere usually? We get our first clip inside of a clip right after the non-pin argument to Angle wheeling Shane back to the ring. I'm not a big fan of this match, nope, but then I differ about what credibility the McMahon's should have. Angle sure does most of the work here. Again, with post match, (6:49) was shown.
Triple H's career was turned up and down by one injury - see how it happened next.
How long till the Conspiracy Zone has a WWF guy on?
Let's go back to WWF Smackdown, 9/13, Lillian Garcia sings the National Anthem and the WWF decides to go on. Lawler and Cole talked about going on and entertaining the fans, just like this match did.
Match #7: Triple H/Stone Cold Steve Austin (c) vs Chris Jericho/Chris Benoit for the WWF Tag Team Titles, RAW (5/21). This is what CRZ is for - skip to "But Benoit is fading, and fading fast." Just between you and me, I don't think the WWF is entertaining people now quite like they were with this match, but that's not easy to do. Leary tells us to keep an eye out for the injury and how Triple H handles it. I think Triple H thought he just tweaked or something, with no idea how serious it was. He even put weight on it a couple times - maybe it occurred to him after that Walls of Jericho. Probably it occurred to him very painfully. I don't think Stephanie realizes that there's problems till Jericho breaks up the cover and she notices how he's doing. And Triple H was all about not taking another bump on that leg on the way out. We see (5:32), the last five of the match.
Cole and Lawler talk up Triple H's injury, and Triple H's impending return.
U2/Triple H. (2:56)
Rikishi (TV14DLV) wishes us a happy new year, and asks us to check out
the top five kisses of 2001.
Cole and Lawler can't stop laughing at the hilarity.
The WWF as a movie - a tribute to skits. While I know they did this just to highlight bits from the past year, selling the WWF as great because of the writing (and ignoring the wrestling) really bugs me. (4:27)
WWF Tough Enough: Nidia and Maven win. I think Taylor was sure she was going to win and Nidia was sure she was going to go hug Taylor for a job well done. The thing it takes you a couple months to realize is that if they picked Nidia for her look, Taylor was probably the last female chosen for the group and the one that'd only make it if everyone else dropped out or really sucked - Paulina's and Bobby Jo could have been picked over for the same reasons, and Victoria's stuntwomen background would have probably given her the edge (though that's much closer.) Maven won once Greg dropped out, you know. (1:12)
Cole and Lawler talk up Tough Enough 2. Then Lawler talks about stuffing the ballot box for the next one - over 11,000 votes were cast for it.
Match #6: Stacy Keibler vs Torrie Wilson, Lingerie Match, No Mercy (10/21). Recap of the action, such as it is, is courtesy of Brew Guy and you can just pick up pick up right with Torrie's entrance - guess this one is short enough that we can get the entrances. This is all very practiced but better than when the Nitro Girls did it. The roll up reversal spot was a nice wink bit. Nice that Stacy thought to go with her natural advantages. The thing about the lingerie is that really, it's about the same amount they normally wear. (4:00)
What match ripped the WWF apart? It's coming up next.
Let's go back to RAW, 9/30, as the Rock returns to the WWF.
Match #5: Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Shane McMahon, Booker T and Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Kane, Undertaker, Big Show, the Rock and Chris Jericho in the Winner Take All Match, Survivor Series (11/18). Leary says time constraints means we skip ahead till just four people left. We go to Dr. Tom's recap, and scroll too "Angle in, hot tag Rock!" I guess fact that the Angle actually accepts the tag from Austin (and doesn't just drop to the floor) is supposed to confirm that Angle was in this for Angle. That's one of the "WWF favors shocks over story" things. I wonder if Paul booked this finish - he quietly (for him) telegraphs Angle's reasoning. I think Jericho couldn't believe that they couldn't find a better way to have him get beat. Watch the WWF wait a beat to realize they're on TV before the react. We get another clip to "BLOCKED KICK TO SET UP STUNNER" and there is the Rock Stunner. If the Alliance won, would they have gotten the Undertaker's bike? I could see, say, Kanyon cruising around on that. It would have been cool. If I was Angle and I wanted to make sure the WWF won, I sure would have been done there when the Rock got a Stunner. Or the second time. Waiting for the ref is just dumber than Angle's supposed to be. If you go with the "Angle did what's best with Angle" story, then it makes a lot of sense to help Rock when you're pretty sure he's about to Rock Bottom him into oblivion anyway. This goes (7:47) with about a minute of post match. That time doesn't seem right at all - I must've missed a clip someplace in there.
Up next, Stone Cold has a question.
WWF Women's Champion Trish Stratus tries to add "Stratus" to
every word, and sends us to the five best slaps of the year.
Cole wants to talk about that slap and the McMahon family, but Lawler keeps saying WHAT
Burger King Paul Heyman Firing of Last Month
Lawler and Cole talk about how happy they were for Heyman to be dragging out like that and Lawler coming back.
Match #4: Rob Van Dam vs Jeff Hardy for the Hardcore Title, Invasion (7/22). Back to Scott Williams. Just like him, you can skip the early moments of the match and go to "Back to the ringside area where RVD lays Jeff across the barricade." You know, if they wanted two WWF announcers to put over WWF stuff, they still needed someone to do color. Two guys doing the same thing just makes it twice as annoying. Also, I'm a big fan of Michael Hayes - you may have noticed or not care. This is the match equivalent of the "shock over story" thing, right? This is the match they wanted Matt and Jeff to have, I guess. Funny how Jeff plays perfectly still for about thirty seconds till just before impact where he moves to take the impact. (7:38) shown, only a few seconds of it post match.
Match #3 is from WrestleMania - but which match? Find out after the break.
The Rock (TV14LDV) is busy talking on his cell. Oh, he forget he had
to do this now. And now he wants to yell at the boom mic guy for wearing a WCW
shirt - "the Rock was the one who put WCW to rest!" - and makes him
take off the shirt, then quickly changes his mind after getting a look
underneath. Anyway, he's here for the top 5 putdowns of the Year:
Cole and Lawler talk putdowns and bombs. Anyway, let's go back to Wrestlemania.
Match #3: the Rock vs Stone Cold for the WWF Championship, WrestleManiaX7 (4/1). To spread it around, this time, check out Ian Challis' recap of the match and flip over to "Austin kicks out and slaps on his own Sharpshooter!" The whole "Stone Cold is paranoid; thinks he needs help to win; gets it from Vince" would have been more effective if they followed it up between PPVs. Instead of weirdly teaming Rock and Debra, and all that stuff, maybe if they just had them facing in a tag match or two, where the Rock won both times and looked the better man? Maybe Triple H gets a rematch for the title shot and Austin wins, but only because Undertaker wanted to kill Triple H? That would have been a fine time for the "he's got the champion's number!" story that didn't quite work for Chris Benoit later, but worked alright for Kurt Angle. Not that I really liked this angle, but it really was fubared building to it. I don't think face/face matches are impossible to do well, it's just that the stories aren't easy to do and wrestling people don't seem good at stuff that isn't easy to do. We get a commercial break interruption 5:07 in, after the Rock has kicked out of a spinebuster, and pick up right where we left off. Heyman as Austin turns: "We are witnessing something that will be talked about years from now!" We'll all remember it again in a couple months, probably. Did they really need it to take so long to finish him off after the turn? (11:35, :40 after the match)
Debra (with Jeff Jarrett's old music) wishes us a safe new years, and
what would New Years Eve be without Debra's cookies? Let's look at the top five
food moments of the year.
Lawler and Cole discuss pastry. Then the next match.
Match #2: Edge & Christian vs the Dudley Boyz vs the Hardy Boyz in the TLC (II) match for the WWF Tag Team Titles, WrestleMania X7 (4/1). And to include every recap, we go to Scott Williams' recap and the "The Duds hit a wassup on Edge before bringing the first tables of the evening into the ring." though the clip actually starts a little earlier. I'm not sure if you haven't heart this a dozen times by now, but the Smackdown one was better. The worse part is always when they have to spend a minute to set up tables and ladders for their next spot - they should at least have some action going on elsewhere so you are drawn to all the staging. We take a break after all six men climb ladders but all get knocked down. Extremely fortunate that Edge was paying attention enough to wait for Jeff to get his legs free from the ladder that Bubba was pulling away from him. Cute how Heyman makes the TLC match all about Rhyno. (14:53, about :20 after the match)
What's #1? What's next?
U2/Triple H (:37)
WWF Desire: Steve Austin (2:50) That kinda telegraphs it, doesn't it?
Cole and Lawler talk about Austin's desire, his movements through the year, and his participation in the top (40,000 votes) match of the year...
Match #1: , No Way Out in a Two Out Of Three Falls match - Leary says it got 20% of the vote. Hey, why not end it with Tanvir Raquib's recap. Lots of clips ahead - the find/search words are in , starting with "KICK WHAM STUN-NO". We see the last :48 of the first fall, and about thirty seconds of replays and after. Clip ahead to the second fall ["Austin leaves the ring and bring in the bell"], as Austin gets the ring bell for use. We cut out again after Triple H's failed table Pedigree leads to him getting backdropped though the other table, until right before the sledgehammer shot to the head ["Austin bounces off the ropes, but HHH"] to secure the second fall (3:19 shown). From there, we watch the cage start to go down, take a break, see the table come down and people recover for a :32, then clip ahead one last time. ["with 2X4 to HHH's mug"] New Years hits right as Austin is knocking Triple H's head into the cage a third time. And my recording ends soon after, just as Austin is punching Triple H on the mat after a two count. I incorrectly guessed that they'd have no overrun, you se. You can read how this match is finished - I can tell you the last fall went at least (4:46) and the whole clip package no less then (10:54).
And after that, I'm sure Cole and Lawler wished us a happy new year. I'm going out on slight limb here, but I believe they let slip that the 11th match of the year was the main event of the 2/11 Heat, but I can't confirm it.
That's it. Finding all these links took FOREVER.
The Cubs Fan
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