May 24th, 2001 (taped 5/22/01)


X-Pac . . . shows exactly how good of a worker he still was at this point, even though it seemed like he’d long overstayed his welcome.

Ivory . . . manages to be the only standout in a far-too-rushed mixed trios match, by being the only person capable of actually getting some heat.

Chris Benoit . . . takes one of the roughest looking table bumps that you’ll ever see and puts it over in a completely appropriate manner (unlike almost everything else in that match).



Overall, this is a fun continuation of the match that Waltman had with Matt from the night before. It’s very short, even for a TV match, but they work in a goodish number of spots and exchanges in that time, and the work is as smooth as you’d expect from a couple of experienced good workers (as much as one might hate to admit that about X-Pac). The big spot of the match is X-Pac’s plancha, which seems to ring Eddie’s bell and causes him to be about a half a step behind things. They work a smart finish with Waltman missing the bronco buster and Eddie climbing up top, only to get caught with a kick, which allows Waltman to take him down into a modified setup for his X-Factor finisher and score a clean pinfall. Granted, nobody would accuse Albert or Justin of being super workers, but it still would have been interesting to see how this little trios feud would have progressed, especially if they had a match or two on PPV with ample time to develop.



This isn’t anything different from the matches Spike would have in ECW. Angle may not be a giant like Awesome, Bubba, or Bam Bam, but the match layout is the same. Spike tries to stick and move, to use his speed to his advantage, but once Angle catches him, Spike is finished. Angle shows something of a sadistic streak with what he makes Spike endure, especially the Angle slam from the ring steps to the floor, and Spike taps out the instant Kurt gets the ankle lock on.



And this is the first match of the night that feels like it’s completely skippable. It gets even less time than Eddie and X-Pac and is about as rushed as it gets. There’s a semblance of story with Dean working over Raven’s knee and Raven hobbling a bit, but still able to do his running lariat and the knee lift. But it doesn’t have any effect on the finish, with Dean needing the assist from Teri and Saturn to win. With how rushed it was, there’s no reason why Dean couldn’t have countered the DDT into the jackknife cradle and won on his own, by being a better wrestler, instead of needing Saturn to do his dirty work. But that’s probably more thought than actually went into the match.



Somehow Ivory was the best worker in this match, but that’s more of a case of nobody else having much to offer rather than anything else. Bull and Goodfather don’t have much more than roughneck brawling and a couple of power spots, and Blackman and Brian only really have a few crowd-pleasing spots, right down to the finish of the babyfaces cheating to get the win when Brian hits the legdrop while Bull is pinning Blackman. Meanwhile, Ivory manages to drum up some decent heat in her brief segment with Trish, and probably the best moment of the actual wrestling match was Trish being face-to-face with Bull and backing up and getting clobbered from behind by Ivory.


KANE © vs. RHYNO (WWF Intercontinental Title)

This is watchable, but, just like everything else on this show, it’s far too rushed to be anything more. There are a few nice touches from Rhyno, like the Gore in the corner aimed at Kane’s back, and the few times that he tries to take advantage of Kane’s injured arm. Kane isn’t bad, but there’s nothing from him that we haven’t seen before, right down to the sequence where he picks up Rhyno for a powerslam, and Rhyno slips out the back door and pushes him into the corner. And the finish where Rhyno seems to be on the verge of winning but runs himself into the chokeslam and gets pinned. Even the arm doesn’t seem to hamper Kane all that much, although it was nice to see him use the other arm to drop Rhyno with that big lariat.



Benoit and Jericho working twenty-minute title defenses against teams like E&C and the Hardys would seem like a good thing, but that’d be predicated on working traditional tag team matches, where they could use their experience to help the other teams (who were getting ready to branch out on their own) get better with things like timing, pacing, and storytelling. But dropping Jericho and Benoit into a match like this doesn’t do anything for any of them, other than most likely speeding up the process that led to Benoit needing neck surgery. There’s no sense of story (aside from Benoit’s ribs, and even that winds up being wholly underwhelming, all things considered), it’s just a giant car crash with everyone involved taking increasingly dangerous and totally unnecessary bumps until it’s time to wrap things up. The only thing that’s treated like any sort of big deal is Benoit’s table bump early on, which causes the rib injury. But, amongst other things, we see both Matt and Christian take a spill from a tipping ladder and falling to the floor, and yet it’s a 3D through a table (which he’d probably taken dozens upon dozens of times by this point) that winds up taking Christian out for good. And aside from things getting ramped up, which is pretty much the last thing any of these guys really needed, there’s nothing here that hasn’t been seen before. Hell, even Jericho doing the Walls on the top of the ladder (albeit in a different position than here) was done in his Royal Rumble 2001 Ladder Match with Benoit.


Benoit being the last man standing, after that table bump and E&C’s concerto to his ribs, ideally makes for a great finish to make him look strong. But it’s just Benoit rolling into the ring after everyone else had decimated everyone else. That’s great for Bobby Heenan winning a battle royal to draw the ire of the fans in Chicago. Not so much here. It’d have come off better had Benoit rolled into the ring and avoided Edge’s spear, or maybe sees him swinging a chair and avoids it this time, and planted Edge with a big German and throwing him to the floor before making the climb. The “underdog” champions retain, and Benoit’s resiliency is fully on display. Instead of just another remix of the same sort of match the other three teams had been having for over a year, they had a genuine chance to change things up somehow. They could have taken advantage of Benoit and Jericho’s talents and had something more wrestling based, but they didn’t. They could have used E&C going after Benoit’s ribs as a way to kick-start a full program between them over the tag titles, but they didn’t. They could have played off of Jericho’s experience, after Benoit got taken out from the table bump and had him fight extra hard, or even a little dirty, to show that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win, but they didn’t. Instead of doing anything to make the match more interesting, it’s just the wrestling equivalent of an action movie sequel. Everything that happened before, but even bigger!


Conclusion: Unless you’re a TLC completest or something, there’s really no need to hunt down this particular show. As nice as the Guerrero/Waltman match was, it’s not like there aren’t any number of better matches from both of them to be found.