It’s been a few weeks since my last retro PPV review because of the busy WrestleMania season. Now that things have slowed down a little and they are back to normal, I’ll get back to trying to do one retro PPV review per week with Wednesday as the posting date.
For this one, I’m using a request by John Harper, who is a British friend that keeps track of my stats that I put on every show review, my stars of the show, my star ratings and everything else. He requested a review of a pay-per-view event that only used this name once for obvious reasons: WWF Invasion 2001.
This event was one of the most successful shows in WWE history. It actually has the record for the biggest buyrate of any non-WrestleMania PPV event with a reported 775,000 buys. People were so interested to see what might happen as the WWE talent matched up against WCW and ECW guys.
It was a show that is historic for a lot of good reasons, but it could have been so much better. There were several big name WWE talents like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Goldberg, Scott Steiner, Sting, Eric Bischoff and others that were not a part of it because they were still getting paid by WCW after its death in March 2001. If WWE wanted to use those guys, they would have had to pay millions of dollars to get them out of those deals and that just didn’t make sense from WWE’s side. Over the next few years (in Sting’s case it was 13 years) all of those key WCW guys made their way to WWE. It’s just a shame that they weren’t there for this show because
The basic story going in was that Vince McMahon was leading WWE against his children Shane and Stephanie McMahon that were running WCW and ECW as this strong alliance. A key factor for WWE was Steve Austin, who had been a heel for about four months before, coming to the aid of WWE talent on the last Raw before Invasion. It looked like Austin was going to be a hero that defends WWE against the invaders.
An interesting note from this show is that there was only one title on the line even with 10 matches on the card. It was the Hardcore Title.
Two key guys were missing from this show: The Rock and Triple H. Rock was filming The Mummy Returns and Triple H tore his quadriceps muscle on Raw in May 2001.
I remember going into the show thinking they had to book the Alliance strong because they’re the heels and in order for this story to last a long time they needed to have a dominant win. Little did I know that WWE would rush this angle so fast that it would be over within four months. They left so much potential money on the table. Oh well. Let’s go back 15 years to review Invasion 2001.
July 22, 2001
There was a video package to set up the show.
The announce team for the show is Jim Ross and Michael Cole. Jerry Lawler was gone from WWE for most of 2001 because his ex-wife The Kat was fired, he was mad about it and didn’t come back until the end of the year when they had broken up.
For each match, I’ll specify which side is WWE and which side is Alliance in case you couldn’t figure it out.
Edge & Christian (WWE) vs. Lance Storm & Mike Awesome (Alliance)
Awesome started with Christian and then Edge went at it with Storm with Edge nailing a headscissors followed by a missile dropkick. Edge with a back body drop on Storm that sent him over the top to the floor. Christian jumped off Edge’s back over the top rope to take out both guys, but Christian didn’t clear the ropes completely. Oops. The crowd isn’t into the match that much right now probably because E&C were heels for over a year and the Alliance guys are heels too. Christian was on the top attacking Storm, but Awesome tripped him up. Storm sent Christian ribs first into the ring post. The Alliance guys worked over Christian for a few minutes. The crowd tried to get into a bit by clapping. Christian with a cross body block as Cole said he needed to tag in his “brother” Edge – yes this was when they were called brothers even though they are not. Awesome with a spinebuster in a pin for two as Edge broke it up. Awesome nailed a huge Frog Splash on Christian for two as Edge broke up that pinfall attempt as well. Christian gave Awesome a back body drop off the top to break free. Edge received the hot tag against Storm. Spinning heel kick for Awesome too. Back body drop on Storm, dropkick on Awesome, neckbreaker on Storm and a rollup gets two. Storm got an inside cradle. The ref was admonishing Awesome, so Christian turned it around in favor of Edge for a two count. Christian with a clothesline for both opponents. Edge with a Spear on Awesome gets two. Edge eats a superkick from Storm after Christian moved out of the way. Awesome covered for two. Awesome went for the Powerbomb, but Christian came in with a Spear on Awesome and Edge covered for the win. Wasn’t Storm the legal man? Oh well. It went 11 minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Edge & Christian
Analysis: **3/4 A solid opening match that could have used another five minutes to become really good. It felt a bit rushed, but that’s what happens when you want to fit ten matches on a three-hour show. The atmosphere for this match was weird because E&C spent over a year as huge heels that the crowd was told to hate, yet in this match they’re working as the faces. I liked the finishing sequence. Edge started his singles face push after this match while Christian was the heel that was jealous.
Vince McMahon was shown backstage watching the match and celebrating the E&C win. William Regal showed up to say that Steve Austin and Debra had arrived. Vince said he didn’t need to see Austin now. Vince gave him a pep talk about the Revolutionary War, which was a bad example. Regal just left.
A video package aired to set up Earl Hebner vs. Nick Patrick. Yeah that’s right, there’s a referee match on this show.
Mick Foley made his entrance first since he’s the referee for this match.
Earl Hebner (WWE) vs. Nick Patrick (Alliance) – Special Referee: Mick Foley
The refs are wearing their referee outfits. They both have other referees with them. Earl unloaded with some punches and kicks. The crowd was into it. Patrick dumped Hebner outside the ring. Hebner nailed ten punches on Patrick and then Patrick came back with a low blow that Foley didn’t see. Dropkick by Patrick sent Hebner to the floor. Refs on the outside started fighting. One of the WCW refs was Brian Hebner, who is Earl’s son. After Patrick argued with Foley, Hebner charged in with a running tackle (almost a spear) for the win after about three minutes. Good crowd reaction for the finish.
Winner by pinfall: Earl Hebner
Analysis: DUD Just a comedy match. They did a lot of basic stuff, but it worked. As I said, the crowd reaction was pretty strong for it. I’d consider it a success for that reason. At least it was short.
Post match, Patrick argued with Foley. Fans chanted for Foley. Foley punched Patrick and then yanked out Mr. Socko from his pants leading to the Mr. Socko Claw on Patrick.
Analysis: Easy way to end the segment on a happy note.
There was a commercial for Tough Enough. It was the first season. Some notable faces include Maven and Chris Nowinski.
The announcers hyped up the Inaugural Brawl 5 on 5 main event match with JR saying he liked WWE’s chances.
A clip aired from “Moments Ago” with Debra talking to Sara (Undertaker’s wife at the time) about how there will be nothing left of Diamond Dallas Page after Mark (Undertaker) gets through with him.
Analysis: The acting was pretty bad here. Debra was too over the top and Sara had very poor on screen presence.
A video package aired to set up The APA’s match against Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo. Both teams were champions at the time with APA holding WWE Tag Team Titles and Palumbo and O’Haire holding WCW Tag Team Titles. No titles on the line here.
The APA – Bradshaw & Faarooq (WWE) vs. Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo (Alliance)
I remember some of the matches from this show, but I don’t remember anything from this one. O’Haire and Palumbo were young guys on the rise. Double spinebuster by APA on Palumbo early on. Palumbo got in a cheap shot on Bradshaw when O’Haire distracted Bradshaw. O’Haire with a clothesline on Bradshaw. Back suplex by Bradshaw. O’Haire got in a knee lift against Faarooq, who was legal. Faarooq with a shoulderblock on Palumbo. When Palumbo tried a corner charge, Bradshaw caught him and hit a fallaway slam. O’Haire with a kick to the head followed by a fireman’s carry into a slam. Bradshaw with a DDT on Palumbo. Faarooq tagged in, Palumbo lured him in and O’Haire hit a clothesline. O’Haire sent Faarooq into the steps at ringside. The heels worked on Faarooq for about two minutes, but then he hit a huge Spinebuster on O’Haire. Bradshaw tagged in with a boot for Palumbo, who is now legal. Powerslam by Bradshaw gets two on Palumbo. O’Haire with a kick to the face. Palumbo with a dropkick to the back sent Bradshaw into the turnbuckle. Faarooq booted O’Haire out of the ring, Palumbo kicked Faarooq and then Bradshaw came back with the Clothesline from Hell on Palumbo for the pinfall win after eight minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The APA
Analysis: * It was a basic tag match that was very physical. Lots of punching and clotheslines from two power teams. There was a weird flow to it until they spent a couple of minutes working on Faarooq. The finish was a bit of a surprise because putting the young guys over would have made more sense. I think they were going for the “WWE has momentum” angle, which is why they had The APA win because that’s 3-0 for WWE after the first three matches.
Vince was backstage in his office talking to Chris Jericho. It led to Jericho insulting Paul Heyman by calling him a white Shrek. He pointed out that Team WWE was going to get even. Then Vince said that “Team WCW and ECW will never be the same…again.” Jericho joined in at the end for the catchphrase.
Analysis: That was fun.
Shane McMahon and Stephanie were in the locker room talking to Billy Kidman. Paul Heyman yelled about how they were losing and that Billy had to win this match. Kidman said he’ll show all of them why they say X-Pac sucks.
Next up is WWE Light Heavyweight Champion X-Pac vs. WCW Cruiserweight Champion Billy Kidman. Neither title is on the line.
X-Pac (WWE) vs. Billy Kidman (Alliance)
Lots of quick wrestling holds early on. JR noted X-Pac is normally booed, so he was a heel going into this, but they are trying to tell us all WWE guys are going to be cheered. Kidman countered an attack with head scissors takedown and then he slammed X-Pac face first into the mat outside the ring. Back in the ring, X-Pac tossed Kidman over the top to the floor. X-Pac with a springboard cross body block on Kidman outside the ring as a lot of fans booed him. More dominance from X-Pac as he applied a sleeper. Kidman countered into a sleeper of his own, but then X-Pac nailed a suplex to take him down. X-Pac missed a splash off the top rope. Kidman nailed a dropkick and then a sitout spinebuster for two. X-Pac with a pin attempt using the ropes gets two. Kidman countered a Powerbomb attempt into a facebuster. Kidman jumped off the top and X-Pac countered into the X-Factor for a two count. Kidman got his boot up to block the Bronco Buster. Kidman hit the Shooting Star Press for the win after about seven minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Billy Kidman
Analysis: ** It was a decent match although I expected something better. As I said earlier, it’s a weird dynamic because normally a guy like Kidman would be a face there, but the crowd wasn’t going to cheer for the Alliance guy. X-Pac is the heel normally and they wanted him to be a face, so it just felt awkward. It’s a match that should have been better considering the performers. I just don’t think they were given enough time.
Diamond Dallas Page was in the Alliance locker room talking to Shane, Stephanie and Paul. Shane told Page to get focused. Page said he is in the head of the WWE guys.
Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler were shown talking about their upcoming bra and panties tag match. There was a closeup of Torrie’s breasts as she talked about them because hey…why not? I’m not complaining. They teased taunting the Hardy Boyz after they win. At the end, Torrie slapped Stacy’s ass: “Stace, you do have a firm ass.” Stacy: “I know.”
Analysis: The dialogue wasn’t great, but who cares? Look at them. Gorgeous. That’s enough for me.
William Regal (WWE) vs. Raven (Alliance)
Here’s another match I’ve completely forgotten about. Regal’s the heel commissioner yet here he is on the face team against a guy that barely got a reaction at this point. Double underhook suplex by Regal early on. Regal with a slingshot sent Ravaen to the floor. Raven was able to send Regal out of the ring. Bad sliding dropkick by Raven and then a Russian legsweep into the barricade. Clothesline for Raven as the crowd is completely silent. Here’s a chinlock from Raven. He continued on offense for a couple of minutes. Regal came back with a punch to the gut and knee to the head. JR noting that Regal is not normally a fan favorite to try to explain the dead crowd. Raven hit a running bulldog for two. Regal got a suplex for two. Regal drove Raven into the turnbuckle. They did a collision spot. The ref checked on Raven outside the ring for some reason. Tazz ran down to the ring and hit an overhead suplex. Raven hit the Raven Effect DDT for the win after 7 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Raven
Analysis: * A poor match in front of the crowd that didn’t care. I like both guys, but this just didn’t work. There was barely a reaction to anything that they did, which is obviously a bad sign. This is the match on the show where I would have thought they could just scrap it and give more time to some of the other matches that needed it. That run-in with Tazz was so random especially since it wasn’t even set up well. Just a bizarre match and angle here.
The Undertaker, Kane and Taker’s wife Sara were backstage with Vince. Vince tried to motivate them by mentioning ECW beat down Kane. He told Undertaker that he knows what he has to do and he mentioned Diamond Dallas Page videotaping Sara, but Taker cut him off by grabbing his throat and said tonight you’ll see the best of The Undertaker.
Analysis: I like the skits with Vince trying to motivate his guys. Makes sense from a story perspective.
Big Show, “The One” Billy Gunn & Alberto (WWE) vs. Shawn Stasiak, Chris Kanyon & Hugh Morrus (Alliance)
On the WWE side, Show & Gunn are faces while Albert’s a heel that was the Intercontinental Champion. Three press slams at the same time by WWE’s three guys. Gunn did an Electric Chair Drop spot to Kanyon. Cheap shot by Stasiak led to Kanyon taking control with a legsweep. Stasiak was in there, but Gunn met him with a neckbreaker. The action broke down with all six guys going at it. Alberto nailed a pump kick on Stasiak in the ring. Albert hit the Baldo Bomb for a two count on Stasiak as Morrus and Kanyon made the save. Morrus with a DDT, then he tagged in and Albert nailed a powerslam. Hot tag for Gunn to no reaction as Gunn nailed a Fameasser – that got a good reaction. Kanyon distracted Albert. Stasiak snuck up behind Gunn and gave him a reverse DDT. Stasiak wanted to cover him. It was almost as if Gunn told him to get out because he’s not legal because Stasiak didn’t seem to know. Morrus covered with one arm for the win after five minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Shawn Stasiak, Chris Kanyon & Hugh Morrus
Analysis: 1/2* That was one of the most rushed six man tag matches you’re ever going to see. I feel bad for the wrestlers because they had to fit so much into the match with so little time. It also didn’t help that they had no storyline going into the match and the crowd was dead for much of it.
Post match, Big Show nailed a Chokeslam on Morrus, then a Chokeslam on Stasiak and an Alley Oop slam for Kanyon as well.
Analysis: It’s a way to get team WWE some heat back after the loss.
Booker T was backstage with Shane McMahon as Shane mentioned they are up 4-3 counting Chavo’s win over Scotty 2 Hotty on Heat. Booker had the World Title and US Title on his shoulders. He bragged about how he owns everybody. He called himself a superior athlete that is the greatest of all time.
Tajiri was in William Regal’s office. Regal told Tajiri to take on Tazz for Regal, McMahon and the entire WWF.
Tajiri (WWE) vs. Tazz (Alliance)
They were both ECW guys that went to WWE. Tajiri was aggressive early with some kicks, but then Tazz caught him and hit an Exploder Suplex. Tazz hit a clothesline followed by some forearm shots for the face. Tazz applied an armbar that Tajiri was able to get out of by getting to the ropes. Tazz hit a spinebuster for two. Tajiri hit his springboard elbow, but his momentum was slowed when Tazz sent him into the steps at ringside. Tajiri was able to apply the Tarantula and a dropkick gets two. Overhead suplex by Tazz. Tajiri spit the green mist on Tazz’s face and then hit a kick to the head for the win after six minutes. The crowd cheered.
Winner by pinfall: Tajiri
Analysis: *1/2 An action packed match that was pretty short. They told the story with Tazz dominating 90% of it, then Tajiri made the comeback and used the mist to get the victory. The announcers put it over as if it was an upset with Tajiri as the underdog, but it’s not like
Jeff Hardy was backstage with the Hardcore Title as brother Matt gave him a pep talk. As he was doing that, Rob Van Dam attacked Matt in the back with a chair shot.
Analysis: That was done because it’s Jeff vs. RVD later.
They showed a clip of WWF New York with Hardcore Holly signing autographs. A skinny guy was wearing a WCW shirt, so Holly ripped off the shirt and he left.
Analysis: Quality acting right there.
Rob Van Dam made his entrance and then Jeff Hardy came out last. This was one of the most anticipated matches of the show because of both guys earning a lot of respect as two of the best high flyers in the business at that time or any time really. I remember a lot of internet fans being excited about this one, including me.
Hardcore Title: Jeff Hardy (WWE) vs. Rob Van Dam (Alliance)
Fans were chanting for RVD even though he’s with the Alliance. Hardy was able to win the early battle of fast paced moves between them. Hardy got a nearfall on a pin using his legs for leverage. After Hardy missed a cross body block, RVD hit a moonsault. Nice suplex by RVD. RVD hit the Rolling Thunder that the announcers didn’t call by name yet. With RVD on the top rope, Hardy shoved him and RVD went into the barricade at ringside. A dropkick by Hardy kept RVD on the floor. Hardy knocked RVD off the barricade when Hardy tried to do a running attack. They brawled into the crowd. RVD nailed a moonsault onto standing Hardy on the floor, which got a two count. RVD set up Hardy across the barricade, then RVD jumped off the apron with a spinning legdrop for a two count on the floor. That move earned a huge ovation. Years later when he did that in every match it got less of a reaction. Hardy did a sunset flip over the ropes leading to a Powerbomb on the floor. That looked nasty. Great spot.
Hardy pulled out a huge ladder from under the ring. Hardy climbed it outside the ring. RVD shook the ladder from inside the ring with Hardy landing hard on the floor. JR uttered his famous line: “How do you learn to fall off a 20 foot ladder?” RVD grabbed a chair. Another famous JR line: “How’s he able to stand?” They’re famous because WWE used to play those soundbites on their TV shows for years. Jeff was able to hit him with the chair to stun him. Hardy had the chair in his hand and RVD countered with the Van Daminator spin kick into the chair that sent Hardy off the ramp into this pit area by the stage. RVD brought Hardy back into the ring with the chair. RVD hit a running dropkick into the chair in the corner onto the head of Hardy. Hardy made his comeback with a DDT for two. Hardy was bleeding from the forehead at this point. Hardy with a German Suplex for two. Jawbreaker by Hardy. Hardy went for a Swanton Bomb, but RVD moved out of the way. RVD put the Hardcore Title on Hardy’s chest. RVD went up top and hit the Five Star Frog Splash on Hardy as well as the title. RVD covered for the win after 13 minutes.
Winner and New WWE Hardcore Champion: Rob Van Dam
Analysis: ***3/4 It was an awesome match that lived up to the incredible hype they had going into it. There weren’t any chinlocks or spots where they rested. They had a very physical match with a lot of good nearfalls that were believable. As I mentioned in the writeup, a lot of the stuff that RVD was doing here was fresh and new to the WWE audience. Even though he was on the heel side, fans cheered him throughout this angle because RVD was more of a true babyface that was really cool. What’s more important than anything is the crowd was so into this match especially compared to everything else that took place earlier in the show. They loved this kind of match. It’s not like they used a lot of weapons because it was just a ladder and a chair, but they were able to make it work. This was such a good match that it led to them having a rematch one match later at SummerSlam with Ladder Match rules. That match was longer, but I liked this one better.
Vince McMahon was in the locker room again with Kurt Angle walking up to him. Vince told Kurt he has to be in the right frame of mind and told him to be a leader. Vince put over America. Kurt: “Enough with this Americana bullshit.” Angle said at the 1996 he kicked some serious ass and tonight he’s going to do it for his country, his company and for himself.
Analysis: This was the start of Angle becoming a face after he was a heel for his first two years in the company. The face turn was really accelerated later in the show.
A video package aired for the women’s tag team match that is a bra and panties match. Trish and Lita feuded before, so it was about Trish proving herself to Lita. I should add that this was also one of the most anticipated matches of this show because…well…look at them.
Bra And Panties Match: Trish Stratus & Lita (WWE) vs. Torrie Wilson & Stacy Keibler (Alliance) – Special Referee: Mick Foley
Foley looked happy to be the ref of this match. The rules are simple: You win the match if you strip your opponents down to their bra and panties. Torrie nailed a dropkick on Trish. Trish nailed a clothesline and then a suplex that didn’t look great. Stacy interfered, so Trish hit a double clothesline on them. Lita ripped off Stacy’s shirt leaving her in a bra. Torrie held Lita’s legs, so Stacy ripped off Lita’s shirt to leave her in a bra. Lita missed a cross body block and here comes Torrie against Trish. Clotheslines from Trish, but then Torrie took control by stepping on her hair. Torrie yanked off Trish’s shirt leaving Trish in a bra. Trish did a great reversal leading to her yanking off Torrie’s pants. Lita hit the Poetry in Motion tag move with Trish as they yanked off Torrie’s top. Lita hit a moonsault and then Lita/Trish took off Stacy’s pants. That means Trish and Lita win after about five minutes.
Winners: Trish Stratus & Lita
Analysis: * One star for the match. Five stars for the women. In terms of crowd reaction, the fans cared about this as much as anything on the show. As for the result, easy decision to put the babyface team over. Plus, Trish and Lita were much more accomplished in terms of their in-ring career even at this point.
Back to the locker room, Stephanie McMahon did a pep talk speech to Team Alliance (Booker T, Rhyno, DDP and The Dudley Boyz). Then Paul Heyman told them to show the difference between a failure and a God. Shane told them to go to this ring to get this done.
Steve Austin was with wife Debra in Vince’s office. Vince tried to give him a pep talk, but Austin cut him off. Austin said he’s not there to play the guitar – he’s there to whip some ass. Why? “Because that’s the bottom line because Stone Cold said so.”
Analysis: Quick promos to set us up for the main event.
There was an awesome video package showing the WCW attack against WWE and then the ECW guys being added to the mix after Heyman said that this invasion got taken to the extreme. Then there was the part of the story where Vince told Steve Austin – who had gone heel – that he needs the “old” Stone Cold back. Prior to this, Austin was doing silly things like hugging Vince and playing the guitar. That led to the last Raw prior to Invasion where Austin drew one of the loudest ovations as he saved Team WWE from an attack.
Analysis: That’s one of the best video packages ever. This was really a one match show for a lot of people and it was because of the anticipation of this match. This video really set things up well.
There are a lot of intros for this match. Shane McMahon was up first, then Stephanie McMahon with Paul Heyman because she was the “owner” of ECW in this angle. There’s Vince McMahon getting cheers from the crowd, which was pretty rare in these days.
They did the intros weird because they did Alliance, then WWE and so on. First it was the Dudley Boyz (Alliance), Undertaker & Kane (WWE), Rhyno (Alliance), Chris Jericho (WWE), Booker T (Alliance) with the WCW World & US Titles, Kurt Angle (WWE), Diamond Dallas Page (Alliance) and Steve Austin (WWE), who was the WWE Champion.
“Inaugural Brawl” Match: Team Alliance (Dudley Boyz, Rhyno, Diamond Dallas Page & Booker T) vs. Team WWE (The Undertaker, Kane, Chris Jericho, Kurt Angle & Steve Austin)
The action started when DDP was out there because Undertaker attacked him. Everybody was brawling outside the ring. That lasted for about a minute. Austin sent Rhyno into the ring to star the match. Austin even got in a low blow that the ref didn’t see. Austin nailed the Thesz Press leading to the punches. Austin hit a superplex on Rhyno for a two count as D-Von made the save. Jericho worked over Rhyno after a nice leaping forearm shot, but Rhyno came back with a clothesline. Booker missed an axe kick on Jericho and Jericho nailed his bulldog for two. Springboard dropkick by Jericho sent Rhyno out of the ring and then a missile dropkick on Booker. Angle was cheered a lot by the crowd, which again was new for him since he was a heel for his first two years. Booker was able to slow down Angle with a spin kick. D-Von was in there, but Angle nailed him with a clothesline. Kane’s turn as he worked over D-Von with a corner clothesline followed by a sidewalk slam for two. Bubba tagged in as the Dudleys hit a double team neckbreaker for two on Kane. Kane came back with a boot to the face of Bubba and then his signature top rope clothesline for two. Here comes The Undertaker for his first appearance. Bubba was able to get a nearfall after a clothesline. Leaping clothesline from Undertaker and then he punched DDP since he had issues with him. Old School punch off the ropes by Undertaker. Bubba hit a suplex and brought in Rhyno on Taker. DDP nailed a couple of clotheslines on Undertaker, then a back elbow and a DDT gets two. Undertaker was able to hit a DDT on Booker for two.
Austin was back in there for the WWE side against Booker. Austin went for a Stunner, Booker fought it off and Austin kneed him outside the ring. Austin suplexed Booker on the floor. Jericho was in there and he went for the Walls of Jericho on Booker, but DDP stopped that. Jericho missed a Lionsault, Booker held up Jericho and D-Von sent him neck first into the top rope. Jericho avoided a double team attack by the Dudleys with a spinning heel kick on Bubba. Angle was back in there for the WWE side as he connected with belly to belly suplexes on both guys. DDP provided a distraction, so Bubba nailed a Bubba Bomb on Angle. Rhyno got in there with a belly to belly on Angle, Austin made the save and gave the middle fingers to the ref, which drew a pop. Booker hit the axe kick for a two count followed by a Spinarooni. Undertaker broke it up with JR noting that Booker took too long to cover. Austin ran in there to hit a clothesline on Booker and then Austin punched DDP after DDP nailed a spinning Powerbomb. Austin was awesome here with a pissed off attitude. Double team Dudley headbutt to the balls by D-Von gets two as Jericho broke it up. DDP nailed a slam on Angle for two. Lots of nearfalls here! Angle did a back body drop on DDP leading to the tag, but the ref kept Austin out because the ref didn’t see it due to Bubba’s distraction. DDP nailed a Diamond Cutter on Angle, but then Undertaker went after DDP for fists.
All ten guys started brawling in the ring. The crowd went wild. Rhyno missed an attack as he hit a Gore on Booker T. Undertaker with a clothesline on DDP and a sidewalk slam. The others were mostly out of the ring as Undertaker hit a Chokeslam on DDP. The WCW ref Charles Robinson went into the ring as Undertaker didn’t want to hear anything from him, so he gave him a Last Ride Powerbomb with WWE referee Mike Chioda shoving him out of the ring. Austin was on the outside holding his knee. I remember thinking he may have been legit hurt because an EMT was looking at him. Nope. Kane was fighting with the Dudleys by the announce table. They kept showing Austin getting looked at by a doctor. Kane with a kick to Bubba and then Kane hit a Chokeslam on D-Von through the table. Bubba nailed Kane with a monitor. If you want updates on others, I think Undertaker left the ringside area brawling with DDP. Rhyno and Bubba gave Kane a suplex through the announce table. Jericho ran off the apron and drove Rhyno through a stacked table outside the ring. They replayed some of the big spots that eliminated some of the guys at ringside.
Back to the ring it was Angle and Booker in the ring as the legal men with Bubba helping Booker against Angle. There’s Angle with a German Suplex on Booker and an Angle Slam on Bubba. Angle applied the Ankle Lock on Booker, but Booker kicked him away leading to referee Chioda bumping to the floor. Booker hit a flapjack on Angle. Vince tossed the WWE Title in the ring, but Shane grabbed it and hit Vince with it. Angle sent Shane out of the ring and also sent Bubba out of the ring. Angle applied the Ankle Lock on Booker, who was tapping out. The ref didn’t see it. Austin rolled Chioda back in. Austin kicked Angle in the head to huge boos. Austin hit the Stunner on Angle. The crowd was shocked. He told the ref to count Booker’s cover on Angle, so he did and the ref counted to three as the match ended after 29:03 of action.
Winners by pinfall: Team Alliance
Analysis: ***1/2 A solid main event match. I enjoyed it. It’s a really fun match to watch with an excellent finish. They had to deliver an ending that would get people talking and they sure did with Stone Cold helping the Alliance win. There were several moments in the match where it could have ended, which is why the crowd was into it so much. Could they have had some better names in the match to make it seem more important? Yeah probably, but liked the lineups for both sides. It worked. That was a necessary finish because if the Alliance lost it would have killed them way too early. Of course they ended up killing them too early by having WWE beat them four months later in a ten-man elimination tag at Survivor Series 2001, but that’s a whole other story. While this match was very good, it wasn’t really close to being a match of the year contender because of the outstanding that took place in WWE that year. It’s still a historically important match for the Austin turn.
Post match, Austin’s music played as he celebrated what he did. JR was freaking out on commentary saying he can’t believe this. Austin held up the WWE Title with Shane, Stephanie and Paul in the ring celebrating with him. Austin stomped away on Angle, kicked him out of the ring and gave him the middle finger salute.
Analysis: It was key to have Austin screw Angle at the end because they ended up having an awesome WWE Title feud that led to two PPV matches and some matches on television as well.
Austin had a beer bath celebration with Shane, Stephanie and Paul as they poured beers on Vince. JR was yelling “WHY” repeatedly because he’s the best at freaking out. Austin did some middle finger salutes to end the show.
Analysis: I don’t remember if it was known at the time that Austin was going to help the Alliance, but they had to do something to give the Alliance the win. He has said that he wishes he didn’t turn heel at WM17 because of how much the crowd loved it, but they decided to keep it going here after a one week face turn.
It gets a 5 out of 10 for me. A very average show that was really built around the big main event and everything else just didn’t live up to the immense hype.
There were really only three matches on this show that I remembered before I re-watched it: The main event, RVD/Hardy and the women’s tag because they’re hot. Other than that, I didn’t really have any memory of anything else on the show. After re-watching it now I understand why because they were a bunch of short matches that were given less than ten minutes and they really didn’t advance angles very much either.
What was bizarre about the show is that they had these heel wrestlers fighting for WWE’s side and the crowd had no interest in cheering this guys. It was a bit of a mess.
They tried to push the score during the show at times by mentioning the records of the two sides, but it didn’t really matter.
I recommend watching Hardy/RVD because it’s fun and the main is good although a little long. Just fast forward to the last ten minutes when it gets really good.
Next up: WCW Starrcade 1997. One of their biggest shows ever.
Check out the other retro reviews I’ve done right here.
I’m open to ideas for future reviews too. Just remember, I’ve already reviewed every WrestleMania and many other shows over the last seven years, so pick something other than that. Use the comment section below or contact me using the contact info I’ve shared below. Thanks for reading!
John Canton –firstname.lastname@example.org