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WWF SummerSlam 2001
by Scrooge McSuck
- We're only a month removed from "Invasion", the highest drawing non-PPV in WWE History, and what a difference four weeks makes. The hottest angle with unlimited potential was quickly turning into a farce, and the truly sad part of the whole thing was that the corpse was beaten over and over with poor booking choices for another three months before the whole concept of an Invasion was finally taken out back like Old Yeller and had a bullet put in it's head. Hey, WWE poorly summed up the story of Old Yeller hyping Michaels vs. Flair, so screw you, I'm doing it too.
- SummerSlam's official theme song was Drowning Pool's "Bodies." A song later used by the Alliance faction, and recycled years later as the official theme song of ECW on Sci-Fi. No, the song wasn't that good in 2001, but it was catchy the first few times you heard it. Doesn't explain digging it out of the mothballs in 2006, long after Drowning Pool were relevant.
- Originally presented via Pay-Per-View on August 19th, 2001, from the Compaq Center in San Jose, CA and officially sponsored by Chef Boyardee. Jim Ross and Paul Heyman are at ringside to call the action, unless otherwise noted.
WWF Intercontinental Championship Match:
Lance Storm © vs. Edge:
For those unsure of the situation, Storm won the IC Title from Albert a few weeks earlier. Yes, ALBERT got the IC Title after reigns from Triple H and Kane. Edge's entrance interrupts Storm "being serious." Christian is sitting backstage with the WWF Job Squad, firmly holding onto Edge's King of the Ring Trophy. They fight over a waistlock and headlock. Edge with a flapjack, dropkick, and clothesline, sending Storm to the floor. Edge with a cross body from the top rope for two. Storm counters a suplex, dropping Edge along the top rope, then knocks him into the security wall. Storm with trash-talking and a bitch slap. Knee to the midsection gets two. Storm with a front suplex for another two count. He goes for a single-leg crab, but Edge cradles him for two. Storm blocks a crucifix and takes Edge over with a rolling senton for a near fall. Edge fights out of a chinlock, only to take a crescent kick to the abdomen. Storm springs off the top, only to be caught in a Powerslam. Edge with clotheslines and a spinning heel kick for two. Storm with a jawbuster. They go through a series of counters until Edge takes him down with a reverse DDT for two. Head scissors is countered by Edge with a sit-out Powerbomb for two. Storm rolls Edge over into the single-leg Crab, but Edge pulls himself to the corner and counters with his own. Christian runs out, "accidentally" spears Edge, and gets knocked silly with a Super Kick from Storm. Storm covers Edge, but it only gets two. Another sequence of counters ends with the Edge-e-cution, and we have a NEW Intercontinental Champion at 11:18. Christian "celebrates" with Edge, but we all know what's coming in the coming weeks. ***1/2 Good match to open the show, with a solid display of wrestling ability from both men, and everything looked crisp and energetic. One of the few times Storm was allowed to have a significant singles match on a WWF PPV before being packaged almost permanently as a Tag Team wrestler, and later on, a Jobber.
The APA & Spike Dudley (w/ Molly Holly) vs. The Dudley Boyz & Test:
I mentioned this in my SummerSlam '99 recap, but I loved they kept continuity with Shane and Test over mutual respect. Test turned heel to join Shane's Alliance two weeks ago, costing the APA the Tag Titles to the team of DDP and Kanyon. See... Test joining "ECW" in 2006 makes sense, since he's an alumni of the WCW/ECW Alliance. The Dudleys quickly take Faarooq down with a double-team neck breaker. D'Von runs into a Spinebuster, then tags out to Test. He gets worked on by the APA for a few moments. Bradshaw takes a whooping in the corner, but doesn't bother selling and takes D'Von down with a DDT for two. Spike with an inside cradle for two. School boy gets two. Buh-Buh sneaks in to hang Spike up across the top rope. Spike plays face-in-peril as the crowd chants "We Want Tables." D'Von and Buh-Buh pull one out to face reactions, despite being the heels of the match. Spike rakes the eyes of Test to prevent a press slam launch over the top rope. Bradshaw gets the hot tag and works over anything walking. APA with a double spinebuster on Buh-Buh Ray. Bradshaw ducks a boot from Test and plants him with a Powerbomb. Spike comes in, but the Dudley Dog is countered, and he gets put through the table. Shane runs in with a chair shot to Bradshaw (behind the back of referee Evil Nick Patrick), and Test covers for three at 7:21. Eh. * Not really a fan of anyone in the match, and the fact is was just Spike getting his butt whooped before the cheap finish really makes it unremarkable. Really, you couldn't get Bradshaw to lay down clean in the least important match of the night?
WWF Light-Heavyweight & WCW Cruiserweight Title Match:
Tajiri (L-HW Champion) vs. X-Pac (CW Champion):
I'm watching the DVD from the Anthology set, so THANK THE FRIGGIN' LORD, X-Pac's crappy Uncle Kracker theme music is dubbed over with a generic beat and canned heat straight out of a 1990 Superstars TV taping. Yes, it's WWF vs. WWF, even though there's a WCW Title involved and NOBODY LIKES X-PAC. They go through a series of counters until Tajiri takes X-Pac down and hits a standing moonsault. They trade paint-brush jobs until X-Pac hides in the ropes. Tajiri sends him to the floor with a head scissors, and follows with a baseball slide. Tajiri with an Asai Moonsault, but a clothesline misses and X-Pac rams him junk first into the ring post. X-Pac with a spinning heel kick and a surfboard. X-Pac counters a hurricanrana with a Powerbomb for a two count. Tajiri avoids the Bronco Buster and baseball slides into X-Pac's face. Tajiri with the springboard elbow for two. TARANTULA~! X-Pac rolls through a cross body press for a near fall. X-Pac gets crotched along the turnbuckle, and a weird sequence ends with Tajiri taking him over with a German Suplex for a two count. X-Pac sends Tajiri to the floor, and it's his turn to go high risk, coming over the top with a somersault plancha. Albert shows up and gets a face full of mist. X-Pac with an X-Factor, and it gets three at 7:32. *1/2 There was a few decent spots, but they clearly had little chemistry together, and X-Pac looked rather lethargic. To no ones surprise, X-Pac would disappear, and the WWF Light-Heavyweight Title practically abandoned for the Cruiserweight Title.
- Perry Saturn is at WWF New York, looking for his beloved Moppy.
Chris Jericho vs. Rhyno (w/ Stephanie McMahon):
I loved how a part of the build up to their match included destroying the original Smackdown set. Jericho put the bad-mouth on Stephanie McMahon (including making fun of her implants), so without Triple H, Stephanie recruited Rhyno from "ECW" to defend her honor and put an end to Jericho's career. To my surprise, they start with a solid wrestling sequence. I would've expected more brawling with Rhyno involved. Jericho with a spinning heel kick for two. Rhyno takes a bump to the floor, and Jericho springs off the ropes with a dropkick. Jericho fights off interference from Stephanie, only to jump into a GORE~! from Rhyno! Rhyno pounds away and locks on a body scissors. Rhyno with an airplane spin into a TKO for two! He continues to keep Jericho grounded with a chinlock. Jericho surprises with a roll up, but Rhyno quickly regains control following a snap suplex. Rhyno misses something from the top rope, and both men are down following a clothesline. Both men to their feet, and Jericho gets a back slide for two. Jericho damn near blows a spot, but somehow saves it with a springboard moonsault for a near fall. Jericho with a missile dropkick, but Stephanie gets involved again. Jericho plants one on her, takes Rhyno down with a bulldog, and hits the Lionsault for two. Rhyno with a spinebuster, then turns Jericho over with his own version of the Walls of Jericho! Jericho makes it to the ropes for the break and connects with an enziguri. Rhyno with a belly-to-belly suplex, but the GORE hits the turnbuckle. Jericho sweeps the legs, turns Rhyno over with the Walls of Jericho, and Rhyno taps out at 11:46! ***1/4 Better than I remember it being, and I'm surprised that Rhyno was told to go out there and work a style other than hardcore clubberin'. He worked a smart match and almost beat Jericho at his own game. Post Recap Follow Up: The WWE DVD appears to have clipped out 40-seconds or so of the match, possibly due to some horrible botched spots from Jericho. Damn, I should've watched the WWE Network version!
WWF Hardcore Championship; Ladder Match:
Jeff Hardy © vs. Rob Van Dam:
These two rocked the house at Invasion, but I can't for the life of me recall how Hardy ended up with the Hardcore Title again. They trade chain-wrestling to start things off. Hardy ducks a spinning heel kick and drops a pair of legs across the chest. Hardy sends him to the floor with a hip toss, and springs off the ropes with a somersault senton! Jeff goes high risk again, but it's crash and burn this time. RVD sets him across the security wall and drops a leg across the back of the head. RVD goes for the Ladder, but Jeff attacks from behind. They take turns knocking the Ladder into each other's face. Jeff with a springboard moonsault across the Ladder. RVD traps Hardy in the tree of woe and pounds away on the midsection. Loud "RVD" chant, possibly the loudest crowd response of the night, thus far. He sets Jeff across the Ladder and does a SUPER SIZED Rolling Thunder from one turnbuckle to the other! RVD with more kicks and another leg drop with Jeff laying across everyone's favorite prop. Jeff knocks RVD silly, but his first climb attempt is interrupted with a missile dropkick. RVD with a handspring moonsault with the Ladder laid across Jeff's body. RVD climbs, and Jeff dropkicks the Ladder out, with RVD landing on top of him! Jeff with a DDT, with signature bump from RVD. He heads to the top, missing the Swanton Bomb. RVD goes up, and the 5-Star Frog Splash misses, as well. Both men climb, and RVD takes him down with a Super-Plex! They make a go at it again, with Hardy taking RVD off with a sunset Powerbomb! Jeff climbs, RVD pulls the Ladder away, and WHIFFS on a spinning heel kick from the top rope. Jeff climbs again, and botches being crotched on the top rope. RVD climbs, and he regains the Title at 16:32, as Jeff climbs up to try and interrupt. ***1/2 Not as good as their brawl from Invasion, but still a solid effort from both men with some great spots. Ladder matches are always hard to really explain, it's usually a you like it or you don't argument, and I liked this one, minus the blown spots at the end.
WWF and WCW Tag Team Championship; Steel Cage Match:
The Undertaker & Kane (w/ Sara) vs. Diamond Dallas Page & Kanyon:
We recap the nonsense of this storyline, including DDP building a shrine to her in the locker room and Kane "holding back" and letting Undertaker take care of it himself. What a nice brother. The WWF guys are the WCW Title holders, and vice versa. I don't know where Palumbo and O'Haire went, but they don't get a meaningful appearance again during the Invasion. Kanyon is the reigning US Champion, probably given to him by Booker T in a nonsensical booking choice. DDP gets almost zero reaction. Is BikerTaker so void of an interesting angle that his corpse of a wife (as in a corpse could act better than her at living) is thrown out there at random for an angle, giving her significant TV time despite showing zero ability at anything required of a television performer? Sara earns her check for the night by carrying the padlock used to keep the door shut. Kane and Undertaker dominate, only giving the occasional offense that's easily no-sold. 'Taker is polite enough to throw DDP into the cage, despite DDP bracing himself to be rammed. Either poor communication or 'Taker being a dick. After more beatings, 'Taker talks Kane into letting Kanyon leave, meaning it's DDP vs. The Brothers of Destruction. It doesn't end well for him. After even more punishment, 'Taker lies about letting DDP escape (and threatens MURDER), but changes his mind and casually puts him away with the Last Ride at 10:17. DUD You want a physical definition of what burying talent and a one-sided squash was? This match. If the burial on PPV wasn't enough, the next night on Raw, the Undertaker did a major league beatdown on DDP at ringside, setting up a pinfall loss to Sara. Yes, DDP LAID DOWN FOR SARA. Who did DDP piss off for this kind of treatment? DDP would be buried for the rest of the Invasion, coming back as a goofy, smiling guru like Tony Robbins, before fading away in 2002 after a brief program with Christian over the European Title.
WWF Championship Match:
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin © vs. Kurt Angle:
Austin turned on the WWF at Invasion over a lack of self-confidence, and Angle's assumed the role of the face of the company, and voila: you have an easy feud to build around. Slugfest in the aisle before the bell officially starts the match. Into the ring, Angle sweeps the legs and they continue to brawl. Whip to the ropes and Angle with a cross body for an early two count. Austin takes control putting a beating on the left knee. Angle counters a spinning toe hold with the Ankle Lock, but Austin quickly grabs the ropes. Angle follows him to the floor and gets wiped out with a clothesline. Austin with a trio of suplexes for a two count. Angle lands on his feet to counter a fourth and takes Austin down with a trio of German Suplexes, ripping off Chris Benoit's moveset while he's on the Injured List. Austin whiffs on a clothesline and Angle takes him down with four more! Angle Slam is blocked and Austin sends Angle face-first into the turnbuckle with a running high knee. Angle tries fighting out of a Super-Plex attempt, but Austin doesn't relent and manages to connect. Austin from out of nowhere with the Stunner, but Angle gets the shoulder up at two! Austin hits a second, but Angle's momentum carries him out of the ring.
Austin rams Angle into the post not once, not twice, but thrice, busting him open in the process. Hebner prevents Austin from using te belt, so Austin throws him into the post a fourth and fifth time. Austin unleashes a flurry of rights before throwing Angle back in the ring for a near fall. He tosses Angle back to the floor and into the post, again. Angle slips out of Austin's grip and sends him over the security wall, but Austin remains in control and takes him over with a suplex onto the concrete. Somewhere in the transition back to the ring, Angle surprises Austin by slapping the Ankle Lock on. He drags Austin back into the ring and reapplies the hold, but Austin makes it to the ropes to force a break. Now it's Angle's turn to take it to the floor, taking Austin over with a release belly-to-belly suplex! Angle ducks under a roundhouse right and connects with a back suplex. Back inside, Angle climbs the ropes and connects with the moonsault! It only gets two. Whip is reversed, as is a series of slams until Austin locks in the Million Dollar Dream! Jim Ross even makes a "Ringmaster" reference. Angle tries to pull a Bret Hart, but Austin manages to roll his shoulder off the canvas at two while keeping the hold applied. Angle uses his momentum to throw Austin out of the ring to break the hold. Austin sets up and hits a THIRD Stunner, and that still only gets a two count!
Angle pulls himself to his feet, blocks the boot, and takes Austin down with the Angle Slam! Slow crawl into a cover for a two count. Angle goes for the ankle, but Austin is in the ropes. Austin gets up and lays out Hebner for the hell of it. Angle with a DDT, and a second referee (Mike Chioda) runs in to make the two count! Austin goes low in clear view of the referee and hits Chioda with the Stunner. Austin brings his belt into the ring, and here comes Tim White to get KO'ed with it for our THIRD referee bump. Angle from behind with the Angle Slam! Referee #4, Nick Patrick, makes his way into the ring... and calls for the Disqualification at 22:34, awarding the match, but not the Title, to Kurt Angle. BULLCRAP! Post-match, Angle takes his frustration out of Nick Patrick, who's apparently made a living off being a crooked referee. **** Fantastic effort with some great brawling and a great story making Angle look like the next coming of Superman surviving everything Austin could throw at him. Terrible finish, obviously, to set up rematches down the road, but how do you follow up this effort in the coming months? Spoiler: It doesn't compare. This was easily the best match the two had in their series.
WCW World Championship Match:
Booker T © (w/ Shane McMahon) vs. The Rock:
Rock finally returned after a 4-month hiatus (filming the Mummy or some other two-star movie) and instantly gets thrust into a program with the WCW Championship on the line. Did anyone give Booker a snowballs chance in hell of leaving SummerSlam the WCW Champion? Back and forth early on. They trade blows in the corner until Rock lays him out with a clothesline. Rock with a Oklahoma Roll for a near fall. Booker comes back with a Jumping Heel Kick for two. Another slugfest won by the Rock, and Book gets tossed to the floor. Booker winds up in control, taking it into the crowd. Charles Robinson lets them work outside the ring for a solid few minutes without so much as a threat to count. Rock gets sent into the post while Shane tries to remove a turnbuckle pad. Back inside, a spinning forearm from Booker gets two, then it's chinlock time. Rock comes back and locks on the Sharpshooter, but Shane gets involved. The referee gets distracted, allowing Shane to bop Rock with the belt. The APA run out, giving chase to Shane, and he ends up eating a clothesline from hell from Bradshaw for the biggest pop of the match. Booker T with the Book End, but it only gets two. Rock makes the comeback, getting a near fall from an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Spinebuster connects, and the People's Elbow follows, but Shane interrupts the referee's count. He eats a Rock Bottom on the floor for the second biggest pop of the match. Booker with his own spinebuster and the Scissors Kick. SPIN-A-ROONI! Rock nips up, and the Rock Bottom finishes at 15:18. **1/2 Standard back-and-forth action. Nothing really spectacular, but I wouldn't say they weren't trying hard. The lack of chemistry was obvious at times, and after what Angle and Austin offered, were in an unenviable spot to have to follow them. Had this followed a sub-standard or average match, it would probably come across better.
- Just for shits and giggles concerning the Invasion angle, let us look at our Championship Tally: WWF Champion: "WCW" Member Steve Austin. WCW Champion: The Rock. IC Champion: Edge. WCW and WWF Tag Team Champions: Undertaker and Kane. Cruiserweight and Light-Heavyweight Champion: X-Pac. Rob Van Dam is the only outside talent currently booked like a worthy champion and someone fans should give a shit about. Kanyon is the US Champion, having been awarded the belt without a match, and isn't even worthy of the conversation under the circumstances of where the belt's importance was.
Final Thoughts: The WWF Championship Match is a (for me) forgotten gem, but with a terrible finish. that alone would almost make any show Thumbs Up. The undercard has a pretty good opener, and two solid midcard matches between Jericho/Rhyno and RVD/Jeff Hardy. While the overall quality of wrestling is up, I have to say that this show was the turning point of the Invasion angle. Only familiar WWF names were getting sustainable pushes, as evident by the list of Champions, and stuff like the Undertaker squashing talent or Push #40 for Test just makes you question the decision making process. I'm going to give this a very Mild Recommendation, as long as you can block out how poorly the Invasion was handled from this point going forward.
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