May 21, 2001


The Big Show . . . manages to put on a fairly watchable, and engaging, sub-five-minute Hardcore Title match.

Eddie Guerrero . . . looks like anything but someone about to take a long hiatus from the WWF due to substance issues.

Triple H . . . shows exactly how tough and dedicated he really is (as much as some people will hate to say it) by gutting things out after tearing his quad.


RHYNO © vs. THE BIG SHOW (WWF Hardcore Title)

What’s this? A Hardcore Title match with smart work? Despite its short length, this is watchable and engaging for the whole way through. At first it seems like Show is going to squash Rhyno using his size advantage, but Show takes a bump into the post and gives Rhyno the opening to work over the arm and shoulder, and as a result, the various props and weapons actually serve a purpose to the match beyond making loud noises to get a crowd reaction. It also helps that Ross and Heyman are great on commentary putting over how much damage Rhyno is doing to Show’s arm, and it puts a lot of doubt as to whether Show will be able to use his chokeslam finisher. Show winds up making his comeback by outsmarting Rhyno, such as getting a chair up to stop the Gore, and also quickly throwing a trash can back to Rhyno and kicking it in his face, before Rhyno can do something with it. Show answers the question about his arm by giving Rhyno the chokeslam on a garbage can and pinning him to win the title. It would have been nice to see Show sell the arm afterwards, or even be unable to do the move, and have to switch arms for it. Granted, Show does continue putting the shoulder injury over afterwards, so it’s not like he completely blows it off. It’s really too bad that this only got about five minutes, it’d be interesting to see what they can do with fifteen or so, based on the chemistry they seemed to have here.



I guess this is the storyline impetus for the whole ‘moppy’ angle with Saturn. It’s a pretty generic tag team brawl, with little in the way of any real story outside of the way Saturn’s head bounces from the two powerbombs at the finish. There are a couple of nice moments, like Saturn’s superkick to Bradshaw, while he has Malenko up for the fallaway slam that results in a decent near fall. And Saturn’s intensity when Dean tags him in is a nice counterpart to the onslaught that APA was dishing out when the match started. But the match as a whole is too short and too rushed to accomplish anything more.


MATT HARDY © vs. X-PAC (WWF European Title)

As far as structure goes, this isn’t all that different from the APA tag match. The actual match is more or less time filler for the angle to play out,  in this case it’s Eddie Guerrero making the save when X-Pac throws Lita. But the filler in this case in mostly watchable work from both guys, with X-Pac having Justin and Albert run some interference in order to keep ahead and try to take the title. There’s also a great near fall when X-Pac counters the Twist of Fate into a backslide with feet on the ropes, and another smart touch when Matt counters the X-Factor into a jackknife cradle. Jeff and Lita try to even the odds when Justin and Albert interfere, Lita takes the bump, and Eddie levels X-Pac, and that allows Matt to hit the Twist of Fate for the win. Again, this isn’t terribly long (which is fine with this being a TV match), but it’s plenty watchable and makes one wonder how the matches might have turned out had these teams had a proper feud with single, tag, and trio matches with ample time.



This is yet another case of the angle overshadowing the match. The match is inoffensive, but it doesn’t have anything as smart as the better moments of the Hardy/X-Pac match. The finish is somewhat clever with Molly trying to stop Crash from using the bell, but Bob snatches it away from her and nails Bubba with it for the pin.



For what seems like the dozenth time since I started writing about this show, this is a match that seems like  it could have been great if they just had more time to work. The brief heat segment on Jeff is perfectly fine, between Jeff’s selling and E&C being good enough jerks to keep things moving along. Eddie’s hot tag is OK but would have come off better if Jeff had been worked over longer. The only altogether odd moment is Edge’s spear to Eddie, since he hadn’t taken any real punishment, and the follow up to Edge’s finisher is their dual superplex, which is a familiar spot from them but wasn’t nearly as protected as either of their individual finishers. The idea is obviously to show, yet again, that Eddie does have Jeff’s back, since he shoved Jeff out of the way to take the spear. However, Eddie was the legal man, so it’s not like Edge hitting Jeff with the spear would have done anything to help them win. Luckily, the finish is so well done, that it’s easy to ignore the logic issues leading up to it. Lita trips up Edge and Eddie hits a sunset flip powerbomb on Christian for the win.  It’s a shame that Eddie’s personal issues were about to lead to his absence from WWF TV for nearly a year, he certainly looked in top form and it’d have been interesting to see where this storyline with him and the Hardys was headed.


KANE © vs. KURT ANGLE (WWF Intercontinental Title)

Aside from the novelty of Kurt’s arm work, this is pretty standard fare TV stuff. Kurt bumps and stooges early on before he takes over for a spell, and then Kane starts his comeback and Shane McMahon interferes to cost Kurt the match. It’s a good idea, in theory, for Kurt to focus on Kane’s bad arm, and it’s certainly a change of pace to see a juji-gatame and top wristlock in a WWF ring. But those aren’t the sort of things Kane is used to selling, and he doesn’t put them over especially well. He struggles and kicks his limbs the same way you’d expect him to do if Kurt had him in a chinlock or a sleeper. Hell, he makes his comeback by powering his way to his feet and forcing Kurt to break his armlock the exact way that Hogan or Sting would force a heel to break a sleeper. Shane’s assault on the floor is what allows Kane to hit the chokeslam to finish off Kurt, and there’s not even a hint of doubt as to whether or not Kane’s injured arm will hinder his ability to do it.



It’s too bad that this is most famous for HHH’s quad injury, because it really is a fun match. Like everything else on this show it’s a bit on the short side, which is what makes it more fun than good, but all four of them put in a hell of a performance. Benoit and Jericho carry themselves like they know that this could be their first and last shot at truly being main eventers. The only thing lacking is an outstanding wrestling performance from Austin and HHH, and that works in its own way. For everything that they lack in the wrestling department, they more than make up for with intensity and heat mongering. When they’re working their heat segment on Benoit, there isn’t very much wrestling at all put into it, it’s mostly just punching, kicking, stomping, and using the turnbuckle. But they’re intensity makes it perfectly believable that they’d be able to win the match with it.


Austin and HHH’s lack of wrestling is also the basis for the main story of the match, which is Benoit and Jericho exploiting that when they get a chance to. One the first big moments of the match comes when Austin and Benoit trade shots in the corner, it’s impressive enough that Benoit is able to stand there and trade shots with him, but then he outsmarts Austin and takes him down into the crossface, Jericho stops HHH from making the save, and it looks for all the world like Benoit might make the WWF Champion tap out. One of the few wrestling spots from the heels is HHH’s abdominal stretch, with Austin helping out. The crowd goes crazy every time Austin lends a hand, and as soon as Hebner catches them, Benoit easily escapes. HHH’s injury occurs when he breaks up a Walls of Jericho on Austin, which comes from Jericho countering the Thesz press into the hold. It also helps that HHH absolutely sells his ass off, it really shows how ridiculous the ten-count German suplex sequence was, when HHH took a single one when Benoit escaped his sleeper and sold it like death.


The match falls apart a bit after HHH’s injury, but it doesn’t completely tank. HHH manages to hobble himself into whatever position he needs to be in so that they can work a particular spot or sequence. One can only imagine the pain from having to take the Walls of Jericho on the announce table. There’s only one altogether odd moment of the match that’s caused from it, which is HHH crawling into the ring to accidentally hit Austin with the sledgehammer to set up the finish. He basically has to do it right in front of Hebner (who Jericho pulled to the floor to stop a pinfall on Benoit after Austin hit the stunner). I’d guess that the original plan was for him to walk around the ring and come in on the other side so that Hebner wouldn’t see him, but that obviously wasn’t going to happen. But even with that little miscue, the last three or four minutes of the match come off without a hitch, with all of them absolutely holding the crowd in the palms of their hands. It’s a very fun match, and a fitting way to end a very fun TV show. ***


Conclusion: This is obviously best known for the main event, both the title change and the injury to HHH, but this is pretty fun show from top to bottom.