Monday, 17 November 2014

Stick or Twist: WWF Judgement Day 2000

Hello there.

So one of the few interests of mine I haven't brought up on this blog yet is... WRESTLING! Like most people I became obsessed with it in 1999/2000 when it was in it's biggest boom period. I still keep up with it and sporadically enjoy WWE, although nowadays I'm much more into New Japan Pro Wrestling because it's a much more consistent product and everyone beats the SHIT out of each other. I'm also enjoying TNA's second British Boot Camp at the minute - good lord there's so much talent on these shores.

Anyway, this is a tryout for an idea I considered for a podcast, but decided would be too time consuming and needed too many resources I don't have (some good recording equipment, at least one wing man), so I'm giving it a go as a column instead to see how it reads. (If podcasts are more your thing check out the lads at OSW Review, they're consistently hilarious).
I thought it would be a good idea to run through my old DVDs and re-evaluate whether they're worth keeping (stick) or dumping (twist). This is my first go - the earliest one I had in terms of chronology of the actual shows. Let me know what you think.

WWF Judgement Day 2000

May 31st 2000, Freedom Hall, Louisville, KY
Attendance: 16, 827

This is the Silver Vision "Tagged Classics" edition, which means it's a direct rip of their old VHS edition and thus there's ZERO censorship of the old WWF scratch logo or people saying "WWF". Happy days!

* The opening video package is themed around the 60 Minute Iron Man main event, and highlights everything that you do in an hour, including thinking of sex at least 21 times (awkwardly they then cut to footage of HHH and The Rock straight after this fact). We also get one of the all time classic Mr. McMahon quotes: "LIFE SUCKS... AND THEN YOU DIE!"

*After the opening pyro we cut backstage to the McMahon-Helmsley regime, and Vince bemoan's the absence of Pat Patterson: "How can we have an event without Patterson here?". HARDCORE CHAMPION Gerald Brisco then enters and takes everyone's coffee orders. X-Pac asks for some ice in his because he's a douche. Vince then runs down the matches involving the faction tonight.

*Suddenly we cut elsewhere to see the Headbangers beating up Brisco attempting to win his title! 24/7 baby! 

*We then see the special referee for the main event, Shawn Michaels, walking backstage in his ref shirt and boy shorts.

* Kurt Angle comes out to the arena, and says since he's been hanging with Edge & Christian he's got more attention from the ladies - rumour has it he's "all that"! A sign in the crowd reads "Deport Angle". He then fluffs some lines of a nursery rhyme about his three I's and introduces Edge & Christian (the WWF Tag Champs) to screams from girls in the audience.

*E&C come out with sacks, as Christian say how good it is to be in LEWIS-ville to massive heat. Then, "for the benefit of those with flash photography..." we get a five second pose of Kentucky's greatest cultural achievement: the Jug Band!

Match 1: Too Cool (Scotty 2 Hotty & Grandmaster Sexay) & Rikishi vs Kurt Angle, Edge & Christian

Talk on commentary quickly turns to Rikishi's arse, as King wonders what those false teeth from the jug band pose would look like in it.

The heels Pearl Harbour the faces only to get stacked in the corner and butt bombed, although Angle bails before he can suffer the final one. 2 Cool double team and Scotty moonwalks but Christian sneak attacks. Grandmaster throws himself across the top turnbuckle to save Scotty from a whip in the corner. Edge tries the same for Christian but just gets hung up on the top rope. His head then gets drop toe hold-ed into Christian's bollocks but the crowd are too busy chanting for Rikishi to notice. Randomly, Grandmaster's trousers fall down which causes corpsing from his teammates (send for the man!).

Christian's mocking of 2 Cool's dancing allows Rikishi to tag in. Angle tags in too and nearly gets squished with a standing Bonsai Drop counter to a sunset flip. King: "Just say no to crack!". Scotty tags in and tries The Worm, but Angle cuts him off. Classic heel blind tag by Edge. The heels isolate Scotty for barely ten seconds and already the crowd are desperate for him to get the tag, chanting ANGLE SUCKS. Scotty counters a powerbomb with an alley oop onto the top rope and gets the hot tag to Rikishi! He cleans house, squashes all three heels in the corner and gives Angle the Stinkface (for some reason called the Stinkyface here).

A Rikishi Driver attempt is countered into a double DDT but 'Kish no sells it, only to get speared by Edge. Edge mocks The Worm, but gets Wormed himself! Superkick by Grandmaster and a Worm for Angle too. Rikishi goes for the Rikishi Driver on Edge, but Christian whacks him with the ring bell. Edge covers but Grandmaster hits him with the hip hop drop! 1, 2, ...3! (Angle was blatantly meant to break that up but missed his cue.)

Winners: 2 Cool & Rikishi
Verdict: 6.5/10. Lots of fun, the crowd loved 2 Cool & 'Kish, although the screw up at the end made the finish feel a bit abrupt. You can tell it was a mistake by the looks on everyone's faces and the fact the replay only focuses on Angle getting the Stinkface.

*After the match 2 Cool & 'Kish do their winning routine and beg Rikishi to dance to a massive Rikishi chant from the crowd. FARTY PYRO!

*JR gets over HBK as the ref for the main event ("But whose side is he on!?"), and we cut backstage to Shawn being interviewed by Michael Cole. Cole says Shawn saw both Steph and The Rock on Heat, and Shawn says he's not been around in a while and is just saying hi and, while HHH is his boy, people should judge the job he's done after the match. Cole heard rumours online that Shawn will screw Rock, prompting Shawn to shit on the internet & end the interview.

*Earlier on Heat, Eddie Guerrero & Chyna arrived in a dated looking low rider. Eddie is awesome here: "You know you loooove the love machine baby!" Dean Malenko & Perry Saturn then turn up and are very wooden, laying claim to Eddie's European title. Chyna says she'll stay out of their business (while lifting her sunglasses and giving a massive wink).

Match 2: WWF European Championship Match - Eddie Guerrero (C) (w/ Chyna) vs Perry Saturn vs Dean Malenko (WWF Light Heavyweight Champion)

Another crowd sign: "Chyna, how about Redneck Heat!". Chyna has brought some loaded roses to the ring which JR puts over (despite them being the worse weapon in No Mercy). He then says Chyna was the wedge that broke the R4dicals up and points out Saturn is the only member who hasn't won a title yet. King: "I like Perry Saturn, it's like he's watching a tennis match without moving his head". Malenko is the only guy to come out to the R4dicals' group music which makes him look like a jobber.

Perry & Dean double team Eddie with Demolition's old finisher, but Perry turns on Dean quickly and hits a HUGE gorilla press on Eddie. Eddie counters a suplex with a double mule kick to the others' cajones (JR: "He got four in one there!") and quickens the pace, botching a rope walk Frankensteiner on Malenko but having better luck with a regular one on Saturn. It's obvious Eddie is the only one in the match with a marginal bit of (Latino) heat. Saturn & Malenko try to hit a Doomsday Device on Eddie, but Perry double crossed Dean again, using Eddie to crotch him on the top. Eventually Dean gets a super gutbuster on Eddie.

Saturn then steal's both men's finishers (he's twirled the analogue stick anti-clockwise then), so then Eddie gives him the brainbuster and Dean gives him the Rings of Saturn. Malenko then did a shitty Bossman cop-out Frog Splash on Eddie. A chain of suplexes (Saturn suplexes Eddie, who's suplexing Dean) prompts Chyna to deck Perry with the roses while the ref was distracted (King claims they're just stale!). Malenko blocks Chyna's attempt to hit him with the roses though, so she gets off the apron with Dean holding the roses and trips him up face first on them, allowing Eddie to roll him up with a beautiful Mahistral for the 3!

Winner: Eddie Guerrero (still champion)
Verdict: 6/10. A much sloppier match than you'd expect from these three, they might have got away with it if the crowd cared more than they did. Also JR mentioned Malenko had the chance to be a double champion - could there be a LESS prestigious pair of titles to have than the European and Ligh Heavyweight titles?)

*While celebrating, Eddie rips the roses apart to reveal a lead pipe. Who'd have guessed! Chyna plays dumb.

*We get a replay of how Brisco won the Hardcore title on Smackdown by pinning a sleeping Crash Holly. Cole & King whispered along to this for some reason. We then see Gerry in the men's lavs, scared by his own reflection. The idiot even calls it a sunofabitch and punches it.

*A video package for the Shane McMahon vs Big Show match shows a sick bump Shane took into the Titantron, along with his rubbish joint effort chokeslam ("The Simba Slam") he and his cronies put on Big Show.

Match 3: No Holds Barred & Falls Count Anywhere - Shane McMahon vs Big Show

JR think's it might be appropriate Shane's coming out to "No Chance In Hell". This is the first time Shane parodied his opponent's shirt, coming out in Big Show's shirt but with his own "Which way did he go?" catchphrase on the back. Show, in a pet peeve of mine, comes out in a shirt featuring his old haircut.

Shane tries a suicide dive to start but Show catches him & throws him to the ring steps. JR: "That's one of those XFL style catches", just in case you forgot what year this was. Show steps on Shane's hand on the steps, gets a pop for taking him into the crowd then presses him back in the ring. He literally starts kicking Shane's arse! After his always impressive superkick he calls for the chokeslam but Bossman comes out and attacks with the nightstick (no holds barred!). Show fights back with the safest Vader-style powerbomb you'll see. T&A (Test & Albert) then come out with chairs but Show punches them away. Trish is out now, and low blow's Show, but he no sells it and then throws Trish arse first over the top rope onto T&A (lucky buggers).

Shane's crawling away towards the tron, but Show gives chase. They repeat the tron bump from Raw. Show rips a girder off the set but Shane dropkicks him & T&A attack. Shane runs the girder into Shows head with a case for a 2 count. Show fights back, throwing T&A into the tron, which Shane tries to climb up (you'll have to wait another few months for that spot mate). Bull Buchanan's out now, attacking Show with the nightstick, which allows Shane to drop an amplifier on Big Show's leg (drawing fake sparks), and then break a "cinder block" (probably made of flour it broke so easily) over his head for the three count (falls count anywhere!). Show gets taken to an ambulance.

Winner: Shane McMahon
Verdict: 7/10. Typcial entertaining ADD Shane upset match, that was a good way to write off Big Show while he... worked on his cardio or something.

*Brisco asks to hang in the referee's locker room to relax, promptly falling asleep. The refs try to sneak on him, causing him to flip out and say he'll mention this to "Mr MACMAN".

*HHH is backstage with HBK, catching up, asking about his family & making fun of his shorts. Shawn says he loves his shorts.

*The video package for Benoit vs Jericho debates who has the better submission move. We also see Hardcore Holly injured Benoit's knee on Smackdown, while JR mentions Y2J's shoulder isn't 100% either.

Match 4: Submission Match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship - Chris Benoit (C) vs Chris Jericho

Benoit comes out in a knee brace due to Holly's attack, and looks ripped. Jericho meanwhile... state of your pony tale mate. JR puts over both men's similarities (Both Canadian, both trained by Harts etc.)

Chop war to start. Y2J tries a fujiwar armbar (why?) but Benoit hits him with a shoulder breaker (King: "I'm not gonna say what that looks like to me.") and hits the flying headbutt to the shoulder! Commentary FINALLY get over that any submission could win the match & it's not just the crossface versus the Walls of Jericho while Benoit applies a seated abdominal stretch. Jericho then hits his apron dropkick (as we cut to Val Venis, who's challenged the winner - state of your IC title division mate!) and gives Benoit a shinbreaker on the stairs. Like an idiot, Y2J goes for a cover after a double arm backbreaker. Another chop war. King: "Let's you & I try that JR." JR: "I'll pass."

Another idiotic move by Jericho, going for a shoulder barge in the corner only to eat the ring post. Benoit (barely) exposes the turnbuckle & sends Jericho into it. RESTHOLD. Chop war again, before Benoit hits a snap suplex & knees the wrong shoulder! Cross armbreaker by Benoit, forcing Jericho to the ropes (while Bob Holly looks on). Now Benoit's being an idiot, trying to knee Jericho in the corner, only for Jericho to move and flapjack him onto the knee (nice). A shit Dragon Screw attempt is countered to a mount and tiny BORING chants. Y2J manages to remove Benoit's brace & starts whipping him with it. LIONSAULT! Jericho follows up with a TARANTOOLA!!! (Walls of Jericho with Benoit wrapped in the ropes). Benoit fights out.

After ducking an enzughiri, Benoit starts reeling off German suplexes. The third gets countered into a Walls attempt by Jericho, but Benoit whacks him with the knee brace and gets the Crippler Crossface! Big Y2J chants as Benoit pulls him closer to the centre and modifies it into a choke. Y2J sturggle valiantly but passes out and Benoit wins. Benoit refuses to let go after the bell.

Winner: Chris Benoit (still champion)
Verdict: 8/10. Well that finish was awkward knowing what we do now about Benoit. It was irritating to see two supposedly smart, ring generals have their characters make some totally idiotic moves but apart from that this was solid work, and Jericho refusing to tap was a nice touch. We'd love it if there was an IC title match this good nowadays.

*Cole is backstage with Brisco, who bemoans how everyone wants his Hardcore title. Even his boys back home and his neighbours are trying to beat him and warns Cole off any funny ideas...

*handbags* "Oooooh!"

Behind them we see some vendor guys ask a ref to help them beat Brisco, who finally notices & beats them up.

*Rock is in the locker room berating Shawn to call the main event down the middle otherwise it'll be between the two of them "and it's sure as hell not gonna take sixty miuntes" (*handbags* Oooooh!"). Shawn just rolls his eyes.

Match 5: Tag Team Tables Match - The Dudley Boyz (D-Von & Bubba Ray) vs D-Generation X (Road Dogg & X-Pac w/ Tori)

First team to put both members of the other team through tables wins. We see a replay of Tori splashing Bubba through a table on Raw, with D-Von promising they'll testify at Judgement Day. Road Dogg does his typical face schtick before the match even though DX are the heels. This is the first time the Dudleys get pyro I think (and it's only a tiny flame). JR: "Who's gonna get wood tonight?"

For some reason they start this like a regular tag match (wtf?). D-Von controls Road Dogg with elbows, only for X-Pac to give him a roundhouse kick (and his stupid Bruce Lee posing). Dudleys regain control after a lovely second rope clothesline by Bubba and "WASSUP!"'s without the verbal bits (but only when Tori had the ref's attention - why? It's no DQ)  to both men, drawing BIG tables chants. DX try to leave, but the Dudleys stop them. Another interesting crowd sign: "Chyna is my Dad". Bubba tells Road Dogg "Eat this!"only to then hit the shittest punch ever. He gets in a trance looking at Tori & DX take advantage, double teaming D-Von. Bronco Buster to X-Pac heat.

They're STILL persevering with tag rules. Bubba gives the ref shit & DX sneak in a double team choke (why do they have to sneak?). RD with the front chancery to work the crowd. Tag to Bubba but the ref misses it (WHY does it matter?!). Doulbe clothesline by D-Von & Bubba finally gets the tag. It's a total anticlimax, getting no heat until he tells X-Pac to suck it! He cleans house with a sidewalk slam, Bubba Bomb and Samoan Drop (and he's not even Samoan!) before FINALLY  calling for tables! Road Dogg whips D-Von into the steps when he gets the tables though, and then gives him the Stretch Armstrong through the table! DX need to put Bubba throug a table to win.

X-Pac tries to bronco buster D-Von through a table in the corner(!) (WHY?! He's already gone through a table!) but Bubba stops him and counters a leapfrog into a powerbomb through the table! The Dudleys must put Road Dogg through a table to win.

RD & Bubba brawl The ref tries to stop them but we get the ECW spot where they both throw him through a table propped in the corner. Dogg now think's Bubba's on his side like an idiot & does the Dudley's sign but gets DDTed. This prompts feminist icon Gerald Brisco to come out. 3D through the table on Dogg but the ref's still down! Brisco pulls RD out of the ring. Tori comes in to buy time but Bubba grabs her. JR: "Tori's going to get some SERIOUS WOOD TONIGHT!" that even physically possible?

Brisco interrupts the attempted superbomb on Tori (Bubba only selling at the second time of asking), and X-Pac gets the SUPER X-Factor on Bubba through the table, just as Brisco gets the ref up, to win it for DX!!!

Winners: DX
Verdict: 5/10. God, I thought the IC title match had logic holes! This was really odd, I mean why keep up the pretence of a regular tag match? The crowd didn't even get into the hot tag. I just found it difficult to suspend my disbelief, this was a bigger mess than it should have been.

*After the match the Dudleys get their heat back by 3D-ing Brisco through a table (poor Gerry - what a night for him!)

* We get an ominous video with the creepy Shining girls, hyping The Undertaker's return. "Are you scared?" JR plays dumb.

*Video package for the main event, with HHH continually asking "Can you haaang, Rock?"  (*handbags* Oooooh!") Pinfalls, submissions, count outs and DQs will all count as falls. The man with the most falls after 60 minutes wins the title. It also alludes to HBK screwing The Rock the last time he reffed a Rock v HHH match on the first Smackdown. Oh also, Rock's cowhide vest is RIDICULOUS.

*We see they're using the arena's score board to keep track of time and falls. HBK comes out first, gyrating and shockingly still drawing screams from the girls. He also shakes Fink's hand. HHH is out next, and awesomely, a fan ruins his water shot by blocking the boom camera with his Rock sign! JR points out neither man has wrestled 60 minutes before and tries to get over calling it "the hour". 
In a very babyface move, HHH tells the rest of the regime to go to the back because he wants to show he can do it himself. JR point out Rock retains in a tie, while King says HHH has the most to prove since he made the challenge. Good stuff.
Finally Rock comes out to a MONSTER pop, culminating in his pose in the corner.

It's main event time!

Main Event: 60 Minute Iron Man Match for the World Wrestling Federation Championship - The Rock (C) vs Triple H, Special Guest Referee - Shawn Michaels

Big time Rocky chants as Rock paces the ring, which King tells him not to do as it takes up energy - nice. Naturally there's loads of stalling to start & the first 30 seconds are all trash talk & going nose to nose. Commentary compare the match to the Kentucky Derby - "Those thoroughbreds only have to go for two minutes". Yeah, IN YOUR FACE HORSES! Rock gets the first knockdown & pin attempt, then another & an inside cradle, so HHH takes a breather on the outside.

5 MINUTES in and it's still all headlocks. LEAPFROG by Rock, followed by a right hand, causing HHH to stall outside again, taking exception to the closed fist & jaw-jacking with the fans. HHH tries his own leapfrog & naturally fails, but gains the advantage with a clothesline & starts working over Rock's arm. Divorce court gets 2.

10 MINUTES in & HHH has a rest hold on Rock's arm. Rock pulls Hunter's hair in the corner but Shawn does nothing, as we get another XFL reference (*groans*). HHH kicks Rock's head when he lowered it too early, only to then nonchalantly walk into a ROCK BOTTOM for 3! ROCK 1-0 HHH

HHH rolls outside but Rock gives chase, leading to the obligatory Attitude era ramp way brawl. HHH accidentally knees the barricade & gets suplexed back into the ring for 2. Rocky starts working HHH's leg as King points out HHH needs two falls really as a draw is no good to him. Shinbreaker in the steps! Just like the IC title match (Dammit D'Lo!). Rock starts kicking Hunter's leg out from his leg and locks in the Figure Four (to surprisingly few "WOOOO"s). Hunter sells it like a face ("Oh shit!") and rolls Rock over the second time of asking. Rock gets the ropes and they head back outside as some girls in the audience randomly go mental for The Rock. HHH takes him into the crowd for a pop. Big schmoz before HHH backdrops Rock back to ringside.

20 MINUTES in, as HHH gets a suplex ("and a beauty!") back in the ring, followed by elbow drops (instead of his usual knee drop in some nice selling of the knee). Head of steam by Rock just gets him sent over the top rope. Hunter's knees get whipped into the steps, prompting a Jim Andrews shout-out from JR. Rock then drapes HHH's hamstring over the second rope and knees it. Nice spot! RESTHOLD, followed by another Figure Four attempt, which HHH counters into the Pedigree for 3! ROCK 1-1 HHH

We then get a choke spot before HHH whips Rock into an inside cradle which gets 3 to big heat! BOOO! ROCK 1-2 HHH

Commentary are selling Rock still being out of it from the Pedigree. He comes back with rights only to get low bridged to the outside. More AE ramp brawling, this time including whips into the staging and suplex/block/suplex spots.

30 MINUTES in and Rock counters a headlock into a back suplex on the outside. He whips Hunter into the apron & backdrops him straight after. In a nice touch, HBK defends his lack of counting to the announce team, and King points out a double count out would make no difference to the score anyway. Back inside both men sell fatigue before HHH hits the face breaker and a beautiful piledriver for 3! ROCK 1-3 HHH

JR says HHH should play defence now which impresses King. "You sure you haven't wrestled before JR?" JR: "...Just me and the English language a few times." They sell the clock as The Rock's enemy now. HHH stomps a shit mudhole before HBK pulls him off & Rock EXPLODES out of the corner with a clothesline. That lights a fire under him before he's cut off with a reverse elbow for 2. HHH goes up top like an idiot and gets Flair-pressed off by Rock. Both men are down. A slugfest ensues, then they have a chat in the corner. BEAUTIFUL Mahistral by Rock gets 2 in a hot near fall. High knee by HHH gets 2. Rock's got a small hardway above his right eye. Another chat is followed by a sleeper by HHH. He keeps putting his feet on the ropes, but Shawn catches it the second time. They squabble a bit before another sleeper is countered into a side belly-to-belly suplex by Rock, which gets 2, but only because Rock too nearly 20 seconds to cover through exhaustion. Another whip gets reversed into a botched float-over DDT by Rock for 3! ROCK 2-3 HHH

King pleads with Rock to cover again, but JR says his head must not be right from fatigue. Outside they go as HHH tries to whack Rock with a chair but Shawn stops him to a big pop. Rock fights back with a neckbreaker on the floor. Back in the ring HHH begs off in the corner, but he just so happens to be by the chair again and WHACKS Rock in the head for the DQ. ROCK 3-3 HHH

The tie is short lived though, as HHH cradles Rock with his feet on the ropes for 3. ROCK 3-4 HHH

Rock has bladed. Shawn checks on him. HHH looks knackered, but gets the sleeper again. Amazingly Rock gets his arm up before the third drop and fights out, only to wind back in the sleeper and pass out, scoring HHH another fall. ROCK 3-5 HHH

HHH won't relinquish the hold so Shawn pulls him off by the hair. HEBNER SHOVING MATCH SPOT! 12 MINUTES REMAINING! HHH finally pulls his elbow pads up & Rock fights back, whipping Hunter to the corner over the top, his feet hitting the camera man on the way out. During some replays HHH gets a DDT for 2.

10 MINUTES TO GO! HHH goes up top again (idiot) and gets crotched. SUPERPLEX CITY! JR: "It's nut cuttin' time at 8:45". Rock finally gets a cover but only gets 2. JR says that may have been his last chance, calling Hunter's lead "apparently insurmountable", thus telegraphing that it's not. Clothesline over the top and a catapult into the ring post by Rock, who tells the Spanish announce team to expect trouble. HHH regains the advantage & pulls apart the ENGLISH  announce table instead (the Spanish guys are right there...). JR: "The table has been set King!" HHH tries to ROCK BOTTOM Rock through the table, but Rock counters and PEDIGREES HHH on the table!!! The table doesn't break and Rock & Shawn chat. Shawn counts mighty quickly as HHH gets counted out.  ROCK 4-5 HHH

Hunter blades and "the damned McMahons are back!" ASSHOLE chants as Vince, Shane & Steph come back out. Shawn starts another count but HHH barely gets in at 9. 3 MINUTE WARNING!!!

Rock knocks Shane & Vince off the apron to a big pop. SPINE ON THE PINE!  THE MOST Ridiculous Move in Sports Entertainment Today... The People's Elbow! 1, 2, 3! ROCK 5-5 HHH

Shane pulls Shawn out, so Shawn batters him & Vince to a BIG pop. Road Dogg & X-Pac jump their cue and try attacking Rock before Shawn's down. He finally does get knocked down as HHH gets whipped into him on the apron. ROCK BOTTOM as the Shining girls vignette plays on the tron. Rock gets quadruples teamed, but "now BACK from the dead"... HOLY SHIT IT'S BIKER TAKER! HE'S COMING FOR MACMAN!!!

Undertake cleans house with 30 seconds left. Chokeslams to Shane & Pac! Rights to Dogg & Vince! A Steph slap gets no sold. HHH stops him chokeslamming her, but gets chokeslammed himself. Crucially, Shawn sees this, before the buzzer. Taker Tombstones HHH as the buzzer sounds. Big pops from the crowd as Taker's back & they think Rock's retained. EYE ROLL by Taker.

But wait... Shawn has DQed Rock for Taker's interference! ROCK 5-6 HHH TRIPLE H IS THE NEW CHAMPION!!!

Winner: Triple H (New World Wrestling Federation Champion, 4th reign)

*Taker stalks Shawn to the back as the regime pull HHH out of the ring. Commentary speculate (incorrectly) Taker's attack on HHH was after the buzzer.

Verdict: 9/10. Well sod that finish obviously, but you have to take your hat off to Rock and Trips for this one. Three years of working together all the way to the top of the card paid off categorically. Just a really well wrestled, mostly logical match with tonnes of drama and nice story: cocky challenger HHH gets caught out early only to regroup and give Rock a lead to chase. Having HHH take the lead with more elementary moves like a cradle and a piledriver was a great decision, as it made you CONVINCED when Rock hit stuff like the Mahistral and the belly-to-belly that he was getting the fall. These two had a lot of high points together, and for me this is right up there with their Backlash match as an example of them getting near as dammit everything right. Well recommended.

Final Thoughts: Overall this was a good show from a time when it was hard for the WWF to have a BAD show. Some questionable psychology in two of the midcard bouts aside, there was some good stuff with the opener, Eddie's charisma, the Shane O'Mac overbooking special and The Ballad of Gerry Brisco: Hardcore Champion & Feminist Icon. We also got some solid wrestling from the IC title match and the main event, the latter being one of the most overlooked matches in WWF history. So overall...

Final Verdict: STICK

"That's a keeper!