November 3, 2001
The Invasion angle was already winding down, and it would be officially over after Survivor Series. But, the WWF and the Alliance take a trip across the pond to the UK for one last scrum before the end.
Scotty 2 Hotty . . . is welcomed to Dudleyville, where the fans don’t care about him at all, they just want to see the worm.
The Big Show . . . actually lets DDP look good instead of squashing him like a bug, and that’s not a bad thing!
Steve Austin . . . busts the myth of him being lazy and unmotivated in 2001 with a very fun main event with The Rock.
EDGE © vs. CHRISTIAN (WWF Intercontinental Title - Steel Cage Match)
Well this is certainly an odd choice for an opener. A cage match in a fairly high profile feud isn’t how you’d expect a PPV to start. But it’s just as well that it’s the opener, because this certainly doesn’t look like a high profile feud’s blowoff. There are some smart moments, but as a whole this is conspicuously lacking in the intensity department. As expected this is mostly a brawl, but they do manage to throw in some smart moments here and there. Edge surprising Christian with the spear is a good example of that, Christian had been charging at him in the corner and Edge saw the opening and took him down with the spear. There’s also a nice sequence of them reversing each other that ends with Edge getting the Edge-o-matic for a near fall. It was also nice to see them taking advantage of the match being in the WWF’s classic steel cage by doing a few things they couldn’t do in the mesh version. Christian was going for pins every time after throwing Edge into the cage (the classic version is much harder on the boys than the mesh is) as well as their finish with Edge hogtying Christian’s feet between the bars and climbing out. If they threw in some blood and ramped up the sheer hatred then this would have been a fine blowoff to their feud.
SCOTTY 2 HOTTY vs. THE HURRICANE
This was funny when Helms and Scotty were mocking each other and posing after simple moves. Once they started trying to work, the crowd quit caring. There were a few nice things to the match like Hurricane’s near fall from the rope-assisted cradle and it was cool to see him try the chokeslam against someone that he could actually give it to. They both got nice near falls from superkicks, although the crowd couldn’t have cared less about anything that happened until Hurricane tried to do the worm and then Scotty showed him how it was done. It was nice that the WWF gave them eight minutes, but this isn’t the right pairing to fill that time with actual work, tag up Tajiri and Scotty and add Storm or Kidman with Helms and then there might be some hope.
THE BIG SHOW vs. DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE
Whatever credibility DDP had left was vanquished when he jobbed to UT’s wife, so it’s no surprise that this is short. What is surprising is that Show lets DDP look good before he dispatches him. DDP smartly takes out the leg, leading to Heyman being a riot on commentary comparing the situation to when a horse breaks its leg “You take it outside of the barn and BANG! No more horse!” DDP working over the leg pays off when he does the Diamond Cutter, but he can’t cover fast enough. Show recovers and finishes off Page with the chokeslam.
BUBBA RAY DUDLEY/D-VON DUDLEY © vs. MATT HARDY/JEFF HARDY vs. FAROOQ/BRADSHAW (WCW Tag Team Titles)
With the sheer number of wrestlers on the roster in November 2001, there had to be a fresher match to put on for the WCW Tag Titles than this. You know it’s a bad sign when the fans are chanting for tables, when the Dudleys are supposed to be the heels and the chant is happening during a Bradshaw/Matt exchange. Nothing much happens until they start throwing out finishers, leaving nobody to save Farooq when Matt gives him the Twist of Fate. The Hardys/Dudley portion may as well be a Toryumon/Dragon Gate trios match, it’s the exact same match that everyone has seen a hundred times before. The only fresh addition is Bubba trying to heel it up by mocking the fans when they start doing tables chants again. There’s also a nice moment when D-Von goes for the table and Jeff kicks it in his face. The Hardys seem to have the titles won but Jeff misses the Swanton and Matt eats 3D and gets pinned. I’m not a big fan of 4-way matches, but this could have used an extra team to freshen things up a bit, Booker T/Test and UT/Kane were both right there, not to mention pairing up someone from the Alliance with RVD.
WILLIAM REGAL vs. TAJIRI
This is a bit like Tajiri’s match with Tazz from July, it mostly features Regal brutalizing Tajiri, but Tajiri makes the most out of the openings he gets to reel off some offense. What makes this better than the July match is Regal’s performance throughout, his reaction when Tajiri hits the first kick is priceless and instead of trying to brutalize Tajiri, Regal tries to get carny and stretch him out. Regal’s reaction to the first kick would have been the best moment of the match, if not for his facial when Tajiri gets him in the Tarantula. Regal also doesn’t have the cockiness of Tazz, meaning that he doesn’t outsmart himself the way Tazz did, he outsmarts Tajiri when he avoids the moonsault and makes him tap to the stretch. These five minute quickie matches aren’t supposed to be enjoyable, let alone better than the previous tag titles match, but that’s what happened.
CHRIS JERICHO © vs. KURT ANGLE (WCW World Heavyweight Title)
Now this was the hateful feeling that the cage match should have had, and this really wasn’t even much of a feud other than Angle hitting Jericho with a chair to join up with the Alliance. This winds up being good for the most part, although Angle drags this down at points with his usual nutty tendencies. Early on, Jericho throws Angle into the post twice, continues working the arm with a shoulder breaker, and then tries to tap out Angle with some kind of ugly armbar. Angle escapes the hold and forgets about Jericho working the arm, he plants him with an overhead suplex and then starts throwing punches like his arm is fine. A bit later on, Jericho gets the ankle lock and Kurt gets the ropes and then starts throwing German suplexes rather than selling the effects of the hold. Angle isn’t always frustrating though, there was a nice moment when he took Jericho down and instead of going right for his finisher, he put the boots to him a bit, which fit in nicely with the brawling that usually happened between spots.
What this is really lacking in is a real story to the match. The only storytelling element at work is Jericho’s ability to come up with reversals and counters that take Kurt by surprise, such as his takedown when Angle goes for the ankle lock that ends with Jericho giving Kurt the ankle lock. There’s also a nice German suplex counter from Jericho and his counter to Angle’s attempt at a Boston crab. The counters wind up paying off when Jericho slips out of the Angle Slam and cradles Angle for the win. Other than that the match is made up of some very welcome hateful brawling, and Jericho and Angle doing some of their usual stuff. Sometimes it turned out fine and other times it was just annoying. ***
LITA/TORRIE WILSON vs. MIGHTY MOLLY/STACY KEIBLER
Hey this actually isn’t total waste of time, although that’s mostly due to Molly. Stacy and Torrie are used to their full potential when they each do a cartwheel counter to the other. The rest of the match is the typical tag match formula on fast-forward. The only real highlight is Molly and Stacy stretching out Torrie with a Kaientai style Camel clutch/Boston crab combo. Torrie hot tags Lita and they go right to the finish, although first Molly cuts off Lita’s dive at her, but Lita quickly comes back and hits Molly with the Twist of Fate. With another four minutes for Molly to direct traffic while she and Stacy put Torrie through the ringer before Lita tags in, this could be quite fun.
STEVE AUSTIN © vs. THE ROCK (WWF World Heavyweight Title)
Although this wasn’t as played out as the Hardys/Dudleys series, there still isn’t much of a surprise here if one has seen the previous Austin/Rock main events. It’s a typical Austin-style WWF main event match that had been dominating the scene since 1998. Lots of brawling, choking, spots on the ramp, interference, and Austin winning with the Stunner (complete with Rock’s usual overdone bump). The one fresh aspect to this is Austin’s heel touches and the ways he riles up the crowd. At one point he charges at Rock in the ropes and Rock moves. The fans expect Austin to miss the spot and for Rock to take over, but Austin puts on the breaks and flips them the bird. He mocks the fans with his version of the People’s Elbow and lets Rock soak up the cheers a bit later when Rock does it back to him. Another fresh aspect is Austin giving Rock small openings by turning his attention to the ref and letting Rock recover, rather than the tired formula of Rock winning a punch exchange to go on offense.
The match slows down quite a bit when Austin is firmly in control and stops using his fists and feet and tries wearing down Rock with holds. Normally it’d be great to see Austin using wrestling, but his application is rather poor, especially the sharpshooter and Boston crab, and there’s no indication he’s using the holds to wear down Rock for the stunner, it looks like he’s just killing time with them. Of course, Rock isn’t a whole lot better, a lot of his offense in the middle of the match is doing the same spots things that Austin had been doing to him. His application of the spine buster and sharpshooter is even worse than Austin’s. The run-ins from Angle and Jericho are expected, but they have their purpose. After coming up short for the WCW Title, Angle needed to do something to show he was a worthy member of the Alliance and saving the WWF Title for the group is a step in the right direction. Jericho’s attempt to help only causes further dissension with Rock, which eventually boiled over entirely. Rock dispatches Jericho and there’s nobody to help Rock when Angle hits him with the belt and Austin hits the Stunner. They’ve done better, but this is still pretty good. ***1/4
Conclusion: There’s nothing bad on this show. The worse thing here was the tag titles match, and that was just dull because it’d all been seen before. There have been better WWF PPVs, but this isn’t a bad pickup on its own.