WWE Fully Loaded
by Samoa Rowe
-Whoa, this WWF event is rated TV-MA! Granted, it’s been at least ten years since the last time I watched this show, I don’t remember it being that violent. It could be due to heavy Chris Benoit involvement.
-From Dallas, TX. Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross are on commentary.
Test, Albert, and Trish Stratus vs. Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, and Lita
Matt starts with Albert after a short clusterf*ck. Matt is unusually clumsy here, slipping on the turnbuckles and tumbling off the apron. Matt manages to catch Test with the flying leg drop. The Hardyz double team Test (and I start to wonder if Matt is drunk when he’s off again) and Jeff wipes Test out at ringside. Test catches Matt with a big boot and tags in Trish. Matt ducks a slap and Test gets knocked down, allowing a near pinfall on Trish. Lita tags (to a huge pop) but Trish escapes with a tag to Albert. The Hardyz save Lita from Albert with Poetry in Motion. The Hardy suplex Albert and then Trish assists in a triple suplex on Test and Trish. Albert recovers to press slam Jeff to ringside, and T&A cut the ring in half. Jeff takes quite a beating but manages to make the hot tag to Matt, who manages to hold it together with a burst of offense. Test pump handle slams Matt, but Jeff breaks the cover with a Swanton bomb. Matt DDT’s Albert while Lita hits Test with a tornado DDT. Lita wipes out Albert with a cross body on the floor and a hurricanrana on Test. Albert cheap shots Lita’s injured ribs, allowing a power bomb from Test. Trish demands a tag and makes a cover for 2. Running bulldog by Trish but Lita catches her on the top rope for a superplex. The Hardyz clear the ring of T&A so Lita can finish Trish with the Litasault at 13:10. Lita was the star of this match, it was hard not to root for her against the men. Well-booked opener here, **¾.
Winners: The Hardy Boyz and Lita
-T&A get their revenge, putting the Hardyz down with big boots. Trish whips Lita with a leather belt. I guess this feud continues.
-Edge tells Mick Foley that Christian has come down with food poisoning, so they can’t defend the titles. Foley isn’t buying any of this.
-Undertaker arrives at the arena via motorcycle. He sets his sights on Kurt Angle and rides after him through the backstage area and into a locker room. Angle looks scared out of his mind and bolts.
Tazz vs. Al Snow(with Head)
Snow is looking for revenge after being choked out recently and initiates a brawl. Snow dominates the first minutes, gaining a 2 count with a power slam. Tazz counters with an Alabama Slam out of the corner (bet Bob Holly was pissed) and briefly gains the upper hand. Snow lands a flying leg drop and a moonsault! Snow reaches for Head, but Tazz chop-blocks the back of the knee. Snow retaliates with head butts, but Tazz nails a suplex. Snow tries to block, but Tazz locks on the Tazzmission for the win at 5:20. Felt like a really good Sunday Night Heat match, **.
-Christian is making retching sounds in a bathroom stall, but Foley wants a doctor to check on him. The doctor apparently believes Christian’s story, so it looks like Edge and Christian might be off the hook.
-Triple H and Stephanie are lounging in their private room as more and more flowers are delivered. Hunter questions the flowers, but Steph thought they were from him. HHH is less than happy to find out they’re from Kurt Angle.
Saturn has a better air-raid theme song than Cesaro currently has in 2014. Chyna attacks Saturn in the aisle and goes after Terri, leaving Eddie and Perry to brawl back to the ring. The bell rings and Eddie completely dominates the early going (Chyna gets her shots in as well). Saturn sells and sells and sells but finally counters into a power bomb. Saturn struggles to stay in control as Eddie nails a tornado DDT. Saturn elevates Guerrero into the air for rough landings but Eddie counters the third attempt with a drop-kick. Another power bomb counter keeps Saturn in the match but he misses a moonsault. Brainbuster by Eddie, but no one’s home on the Frog Splash. Eddie rebounds with a drop-kick to the floor. Chyna attempts a sneak attack but gets driven through the table by Saturn. Terri returns and kicks Eddie in the crotch. Saturn knocks Eddie into the ring post and nails a flying elbow to the kidneys for the win at 8:09. The Radicalz excelled at making the most of their short match times, **½.
Eddie Guerrero © (with Chyna) vs. Perry Saturn (with Terri Runnels)
Winner and new European Champion: Perry Saturn
-Edge and Christian are stupid enough to celebrate their trickery in front of a camera man and Mick Foley catches them in the act. Christian immediately runs to the stall to pretend to puke, but Foley peeks over and sees him dropping chunks from a bucket into the toilet. Foley is pretty amused by all of this.
-Undertaker’s interview is cut short when he sees Kurt Angle messing with his bike on the monitor.
WWF Tag Team Championship:
E&C do their usual prematch mockery of the local sports teams, so the fans are properly happy to see the APA. Bradshaw cuts a fired up promo defending the honor of Texas. The APA jumps Edge and Christian on the floor, and Faarooq risks a DQ by using the ring steps. Christian gets caught in a second rope fall away slam by Bradshaw. Edge doesn’t fair any better, suffering a brutal Bradshaw power bomb, but Christian saves with a missile drop-kick. Bradshaw blocks a double superplex and hits Christian with a flying shoulder block. Hot tag to Faarooq and Bradshaw assists with a Clothesline from Hell. Faarooq power bombs the life out of Christian, but Edge blatantly interferes with a title belt to earn the DQ at 5:30! Good heat for this one, but too short and screwy to amount to much, *½.
Edge and Christian © vs. The APA (Faarooq and Bradshaw)
Winners via DQ: The APA
-Big Bossman is at WWF New York, hassling a patron for his ID.
-Triple H berates Stephanie for making him worry about Kurt Angle when he should be preparing for Chris Jericho. Steph tells Hunter to go confront Kurt if he’s so mad about it.
-Meanwhile, Undertaker is still chasing Kurt Angle, who sneaks up on him and smashes his knee with a wrench.
Intercontinental Championship (Cage match):
Venis immediately tries to escape, but Rikishi puts a stop to that and smashes him into the walls. Val gets knocked off the second rope and tries to crawl out, but Rikishi nails a back suplex. Rikishi decides to stroll out, allowing Val to chop-block the knee. Val counters the Stink Face with a low blow (can’t believe he’s the first one who thought of doing that) and takes control. Rikishi stops Val from escaping over the top, but he gets crotched on the ropes. Venis got busted open on the cage wall. Rikishi finds his second wind and nails the Banzai Drop for a near fall. Rikishi tries to leave, but Trish slams the door in his face. Money Shot by Val only gets 2! Lita runs in with a leather strap and goes nuts on Trish before chasing her out. Meanwhile, Rikishi knocks Val off the ropes to inadvertently wipe out the referee. Rikishi reaches the top of the cage and thinks long and hard about what to do next: he dives off the top for a flying splash! HOLY SH!T, THAT GAVE ME THE CHILLS! Rikishi is about to exit through the door when Tazz runs in and nails him with a camera. Val drags an arm over Rikishi to pin him at 14:05. Man, attach a proper finish to this, and you’d have a true classic, but as it stands it hits about ***½.
Val Venis © (with Trish Stratus) vs. Rikishi
Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: Val Venis
-Undertaker is limping around and erases a “__ days since accident” sign. This doesn’t bode well for Mr. Angle.
-Triple H catches a delivery man with more flowers for Stephanie and demands to know where the sender is. Triple H storms into a locker room and it turns out to be a trap set by Chris Jericho! It was Y2J sending the flowers, as Angle, just to mess with Triple H! I would welcome more of this type of clever storytelling in wrestling.
-Shane McMahon comes to the ring to talk. The crowd calls him a “pussy” but he’s here to prove he isn’t that vulgar term. Shane calls out The Rock for a match, and it would seem that Rock is happy to oblige. Shane flees the ring, so Rock echoes the crowd’s sentiment about Shane having cat-like qualities. Rock is expecting a Chris Benoit ambush and is willing to fight now. Benoit appears on the Titantron in Rock’s locker room, and he starts ripping up Rock’s clothes. Rock might be vain, but he has dignity, and he silently marches to the back.
Kurt Angle vs. The Undertaker
Undertaker rides in during Kurt’s entrance and knocks the wrench out of his hands. Taker controls the brawl through the crowd back to ringside. They it the ring and Taker continues dominating a hapless Angle. Less than a minute in, and it seems like Undertaker is already toying with Angle, pulling him up from a cover. Angle finds his opening with a blind wrench shot to the knee. Angle works over the knee, but a feisty Undertaker continues to get his shots in. Taker gets back to his feet and connects with a one-arm choke slam. The Last Ride finishes at 7:34. Amazingly selfish performance by the Dead Man here, as he made sure no one watching would confuse Angle for being anywhere near his level, *.
Winner: The Undertaker
-Meanwhile, The Rock surveys the damage in his locker room. We’re supposed to feel bad that Rock’s expensive, overpriced wardrobe was ruined. Are we supposed to view Rock as if he’s the Cat from Red Dwarf?
Last Man Standing:
J.R. says this is only the second Last Man Standing match in WWF history, which is crazy to think about since there’s been about a thousand since. Jericho is all business as he immediately tangles with HHH and hits the springboard drop-kick to ringside. Triple H gains the upper hand and targets Jericho’s bandaged ribs. HHH’s assault is relentless and he humiliates Jericho by having his wife slap him around. HHH suplexes Jericho in the aisle and orders the ref to count. Jericho throws some punches but gets stuck in an abdominal stretch. Jericho breaks out and nails a spin-heel kick, but Triple H counters the Lionsault. Triple H dominates, but can’t keep Jericho down with a DDT or sleeper. Jericho crotch-chops in defiance and eats a Pedigree, but manages to get back up! HHH resorts to using a chair, shoves the ref, and inadvertently allows Jericho a low blow! Jericho cracks the chair over HHH’s head, busting him wide open! Jericho finds his second wind and delivers a flurry of quick attacks, complete with a bulldog into the chair. HHH looks for the Pedigree on the ring steps but Jericho back drops him to the floor! They both grab monitors and simultaneously knock each other out! They both crawl to the ring where Jericho applies the Walls! Stephanie runs in for the save but gets put in the Walls herself! HHH saves his wife and grabs the trusty sledgehammer. Jericho ducks the hammer and catapults Triple H into the ring post. Jericho nails HHH with the hammer but Triple H counters with a back suplex through the announce table! HHH barely stands up at the 9 count before collapsing for the win right after the 10 count. HHH wins at 23:15! This was almost everything you could ask for from a grudge blow off match. I loved the story with Jericho overcoming hurt ribs and a ruthless HHH to almost pull off the upset. HHH’s hot streak continues with a ****½ performance.
Triple H (with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley) vs. Chris Jericho
Winner: Triple H
If The Rock gets disqualified, Chris Benoit immediately becomes champion. Benoit enters wearing one of Rock’s ripped up shirts, while Shane is mockingly wearing Rock merchandise. Shane’s distraction gives Benoit a cheap shot opening, but Rock quickly takes control. Rock catapults Benoit into Shane for an early near fall. Benoit avoids a Rock crossface and takes a breather. Benoit gets into the match, dismantling Rock with quick impact moves. Rock manages a back superplex, but Benoit rebounds with a blind belt shot! They trade attacks, but it’s Benoit who forces a Sharpshooter! Rock survives a whip to the floor and drives Benoit crotch-first into the ring post. Rock applies a Figure Four, but Benoit gets the ropes while Shane distracts. Shane sneaks attacks Rock on the floor, and a crowd brawl leads to a Benoit suplex over the barricade. Rock survives several attacks but manages to awkwardly drop Benoit onto the ropes in a power bomb attempt. Benoit comes back with the Swan Dive but is slow to cover. Spinebuster by Rock and the Peoples’ Elbow, but a Shane distraction prevents a 3 count. Benoit manages a superplex for another slow cover. Benoit gets a chair, distracting the referee for a chair shot by Shane to frame Rock! Benoit gets caught in the Crossface and taps out, but the official awards the match and title to Benoit via DQ at 19:40! Shane puts Rock down with another chair shot for good measure and celebrates with Benoit. Mick Foley comes out to save the day and restarts the match. A bloody Rock summons Benoit to “bring it” and I’ve got chills again. Benoit is flustered but still delivers rolling German suplexes. Benoit locks on the Crossface but Rock powers out and nails the Rock Bottom for the win at 25:10! This was a start-to-finish war. This featured one of the greatest baby face performances of Rock’s career, ****½.
The Rock © vs. Chris Benoit (with Shane McMahon)
Winner and still WWF Champion: The Rock
Final Thoughts: This was a July “B” pay-per-view that delivered back to back ****+ matches. Angle, Jericho, and Benoit mixing it up with Undertaker, Triple H, and Rock made for some fresh, exciting matches, and I would argue that Jericho and Benoit were elevated even in their losses. Angle got completely buried, but he would recover and end up in the Summerslam main event anyway. Big recommendation here, unless you’re avoiding Benoit.
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