- Originally broadcasted live, on Pay-Per-View, on February 25th, 2001, from Las Vegas, NV. What a coincidence, the XFL had just started up, and there was a team based in Las Vegas. That's all I got. Jim Ross and Jerry "the King" Lawler, the latter being advertised for a match later in the show, are calling the action unless otherwise noted. Rikishi and Matt Hardy worked the pre-PPV Sunday Night Heat match, but nobody cares. What's with leaving the Hardys off a PPV? I guess there's enough room for X-Pac and Steven Richards, but not them.
Eddie to the top, but Benoit slugs away and takes him down with a Super-Plex. X-Pac and Jericho make simultaneous covers, but both get two counts. Jericho with the double-underhook back breaker on Benoit for two. They mark another spot on the Bingo Card, trading chops in the corner. Jericho with a roll up from out of nowhere for two, and Benoit quickly lays him out with a stiff clothesline. Jericho elbows out of a suplex attempt, but Benoit comes through with it anyway for a two count. Jericho counters another and turns it into the Walls of Jericho. Guerrero comes in, and the same for him, and you know X-Pac will complete the trilogy. Suddenly Justin Credible shows up on behalf of X-Pac, and Benoit takes Jericho over with a Full-Nelson suplex for two. Credible and X-Pac take Benoit out with double crescent kicks. Jericho with a bulldog on Eddie, and the Lionsault gets two. X-Factor connects on Jericho, but Benoit breaks the cover. Benoit knocks Credible off the apron and slaps the Crossface on X-Pac. Eddie breaks that with a snapmare neck breaker on Benoit. Benoit with a snap back suplex on Eddie, and the Swan Dive Headbutt connects. X-Pac quickly puts Benoit down with a heel kick, and suddenly Jericho rolls X-Pac up for the three count at 12:23 to retain the title. That was probably one of the better 4-Way matches I can recall watching, although my attempts at PBP were half-hearted, as it's really difficult to get across how good a match like this is by doing detailed recapping. Everything was firing off without fail or those awkward moments that typically plague multi-participant matches like this.
Stephanie with a tackle and some crappy punches. Trish tries to run, but Stephanie pulls her back in and connects with a short-clothesline. To the corner, and Trish gets thrown around by the hair. Stephanie pulls some more hair out and dumps Trish to the floor. Stephanie tries to follow, but Trish greets her with a kick and tosses her over the security wall. Stephanie counters with a hard right and comes off the rail with a sledge to the top of the head. Stephanie tries to suplex Trish onto the floor, but Trish blocks and counters by hanging her up across the top rope. Trish takes Steph to the corner and stomps her out like a lit cigarette. Trish with a running bulldog, but it only gets two. Trish with a DDT for another two count. Trish with choking in the corner, lifting Stephanie off the ground in the process. She goes to the well too many times, though, and Stephanie snapmares her off. Trish takes an obviously coming bump to the floor and gets slammed onto the announcers table. Steph grabs J.R.'s pitcher of water and dumps it on her. Trish blocks being bashed with the glass and returns the favor, bashing Stephanie face-first on the table. Back inside, Trish goes for a hurricanrana, but Steph counters with a Powerbomb for two. For no reason other than earn a TV-14 rating, Steph yanks down Trish's tights and starts spanking her, then starts choking her with her own top. The raging women collide at the center of the ring, pulling each other down by the hair. William Regal shows up, trips the referee, and puts Trish on top of Stephanie. Then he changes his mind by putting Stephanie's foot on the rope. Trish complains, slaps Regal, and takes a Neckbreaker for her troubles, and Stephanie gets the three count at 8:28. I can say this without any reasonable doubt: This was about 500 times better than any sensible person would ever have expect it to be. I can't think of anything more to say to get that point across.
Fall #1 (Straight Rules): Straight rules is your typical match. You can win by all four possible outcomes, pinfall, submission, count-out or disqualification. Austin bum-rushes the ring and it's a slugfest. Whip and Austin with an elbow. Mudhole stomping in the corner followed by a hard clothesline. Austin with mounted punches until Hunter goes for an atomic drop, but Austin blocks and drops him with another clothesline. Hunter avoids a Stunner and continues to take punishment. Austin goes for the Thesz Press, but Hunter (kind of) drops him across the top rope. Hunter goes for a Pedigree, but Austin counters with a single-arm DDT. They take it to the floor, where Austin continues to punish the arm, wrapping it around the post repeatedly. Back inside with more arm work. Whip is reversed and this time the Thesz Press connects. F-U elbow drop gets two. Whip, and Austin with a Spinebuster. He heads to the second turnbuckle, only to come down and kiss the bottom of Triple H's boot. Hunter off the ropes with a swinging neck breaker. He connects with another neck breaker and starts driving a knee into the back of Austin's neck. Hunter with his own form of mudhole stomping. Austin doesn't take kindly to it, firing back, until Hunter clips the knee with a shoulder tackle. He pulls Austin to the corner and wraps the leg around the post. He over-does the spot though, and Austin pulls Hunter face-first into the post.
Back in the ring, Hunter clips the knee again and comes down across the knee with an elbow drop. Hunter cuts off a comeback with a kick to the knee, and slams the knee down to the canvas. He slaps on a Figure-Four, straight out of the Ric Flair playbook. Yes, he does use the ropes for extra-leverage. Austin fights his way to pull Hunter away from the ropes, then manages to turn it over to reverse the pressure. Hunter continues to target the left knee, dropping a series of elbows. Austin rolls back on Triple H and slams the back of his right leg across the face over and over. Austin with rights, then introduces Hunter to the turnbuckle not 10, but 11 times. Austin with another Thesz Press and elbow drop, but it only gets two. Whip, Hunter blocks a kick, but takes a clothesline instead. Austin sets up for the Stunner, but Hunter shoves him to the corner and takes him down with another neck breaker. Stunner attempt #2 is blocked and Hunter rolls him up for two. Austin counters that with his own roll up for a two count. Hunter goes questionably low to slow Austin down, only to jump into a kick-wham-Stunner and Austin wins the first fall at 12:23.
Fall #2 (Street Fight): I have a feeling Triple H is going to win this fall. Austin tosses him to the floor, drives a series of knees to the midsection, and takes him over with a suplex onto the ramp. Austin with another suplex on the ramp, then gives Hunter a taste of the ring steps. We take a walk around the ring, and it's time to undress the Spanish Announcers Table. He wipes Triple H out with one of their monitors and starts throwing chairs into the ring. Hunter tries taking a walk through the crowd, but Austin catches up to him and lays in with rights. Back in the ring, and Austin slams a chair across the back. He adds another shot, then bashes the shit out of his knees with it. Austin with a chair across the chest, but somehow that only gets two. They take it to the floor again, with Austin still in control. Austin pulls out a barbwire 2x4, but Triple H goes low on him to avoid the blow. Hunter with the 2x4 now, and he knocks Austin across the face with it. Austin conveniently gets laid out in the crowd of commentators, which means BLADE JOB! Triple H with a roundhouse right, knocking Austin clear across the table, as if he were shot by a cannon.
Hunter undresses another table and pounds away at the cut. He signals for a Pedigree, but Austin blocks and counters, back dropping him onto the Spanish Table. Replay shows Hunter almost missed wide right on that landing. Austin grabs a beer and slams it across Hunter's face. He rolls him over and pounds away with rights. Back in the ring, Hunter KO's Austin with the ring bell. Where did that come from!? He makes the slow crawl cover, but only gets two. Swinging neck breaker onto a steel chair gets two. Hunter with another neck breaker on the chair, and again it only gets two. Another cover, another two count. Whip to the ropes, and Austin slaps on a sleeper. Hunter quickly counters with a back suplex onto the chair, but that only gets two. They set up near the ropes for a Pedigree, but Austin counters by back dropping Hunter to the floor. Austin with a chair shot, and it's Triple H's turn to blade. Austin with the ring steps, and they are added to the list of ringside equipment introduced to Triple H's face. Hunter goes looking for a weapon, and pulls a Sledgehammer out from under the English announcers table. He winds up, but Austin nails him in the midsection to force him to drop it. Austin throws the Sledgehammer in the ring, for no reason other than set up the finish. He stomps Hunter down in the corner. Stunner is blocked, and Triple H connects with a sledgehammer shot. Hunter with the Pedigree, and we're tied at fall one apiece at 28:11.
Fall #3 (Steel Cage Match): Good thing we don't need 15-minute intermissions to construct the cage walls anymore. Slugfest from Austin, until Hunter slams him face-first into the cage wall. Hunter with mounted punches and another trip to the cage. Hunter has the 2x4 again and claws away at Austin's face with it, dragging him around the ring. Austin finally escapes, slamming a chair across the head of the Game. Austin tosses Hunter into the cage, and now it's his turn to make shredded cheese out of someone's forehead. Austin with the F-U elbow drop, using the 2x4, for a two count. They struggle to their feet, and Hunter quickly takes Austin back down with a DDT onto a chair for two. Austin with a flurry of rights in the corner for a two count. Hunter tries climbing out (is that a way to win?), but Austin pulls him back down. They trade being rammed into the cage, until Austin gets straddled across the top rope. Hunter must've fallen asleep, as Austin pops up and slams him off the top rope for a two count. Austin with a slower flurry of rights. Stunner is blocked, and Hunter connects with a Pedigree, but it only gets a two count! Hunter with a chair shot. He pulls Austin up and sets up for another Pedigree, but Austin sweeps the legs and slingshots him into the cage. Austin with a Stunner, and THAT only gets two. Austin has the 2x4, Hunter has the Sledgehammer, and we get a double KO spot, with Triple H landing on top, and getting the deciding three count at 39:28. Holy fucking shit, that was one of the best matches that no one ever talks about. This was definitely a 5-star classic, which unfortunately was over-shadowed by years end (hell, by next month) with the TLC Match at WrestleMania X-Seven. Three hard hitting falls, each escalating in brutality, until the final fall is decided by a fluke double knockout. If there was one way to end a match without making someone look bad and not doing a stupid cop-out finish, it would be that kind of finish. I'd hate to be the poor suckers who have to follow this classic...
Back in the ring, Rock surprises Angle with a boot to the chest, followed by a DDT. Suddenly the Big Show's music plays... why? I don't seem to recall what this is about. Show comes in and chokeslams the referee, then he chokeslams Angle, and surprise, surprise, chokeslams the Rock. I guess he lost a #1 contender's match to the Rock that would've given him this match, but who cares. Talk about a big lipped Alligator moment for a title match. It doesn't even lead to the finish, and has nothing to do with the final fall, either. Rock sneaks in a belt shot behind the (new) referee's back, but a cover only gets two. That seemed out of character for the babyface, but whatever. Angle sweeps the leg on the Rock and quickly slaps the Ankle Lock on, again, but the Rock ain't gonna tap. Angle continues to punish the ankle and slugs Rock down. Angle with a knee to the midsection, but a charge is countered with a spinebuster. Rock sets up for the People's Elbow, but thankfully it only gets a two count. Every time that move won a match, I died a little inside. Angle goes low behind the referee's back and undoes one of the turnbuckle pads. Angle fights out of the Rock Bottom, rams Rock to the steel buckle, and connects with the Angle Slam for two. Rock mounts his comeback and sends Angle to the exposed buckle. Rock Bottom connects, but only gets two! Rock Bottom #2, and THAT finally gives Rock his sixth WWF Championship reign at 16:53. A few spots here and there came across as pretty lame (Big Show?!), and Rock's Sharpshooter is always pathetic, but they were in high gear for the most part, with a molten crowd (much like the rest of the match), and it would've been a satisfying enough match to close a normal show, let alone one of this quality.
Final Thoughts: I don't know how I've over-looked this PPV for so long. This would've easily been the best PPV of 2001 if not for WrestleMania X-Seven blowing everyone away as the best PPV of all-time. Seriously, you have a great WWF Title Match, a classic two out of three falls match in the middle of the card, one of the best Fatal 4-Ways in WWE History, a surprisingly outstanding match between Stephanie McMahon and Trish Stratus, and when you look at what isn't mentioned, the tables match was an entertaining brawl, Lawler and Richards, while on the low-end of the rating scale, was a decent little match, and the opening Hardcore Match was a nice way to open the show by instantly getting the crowd hyped up with weapon shots and pointless run ins. When the worst match on the show is the 5-minute piss break match, that means track down a copy of this show if you've never seen it before.