The SmarK Rant for WWF/WCW/ECW InVasion 2001
– Live from Cleveland, OH
– Your hosts are Good Ol’ JR & Stupid Ol’ MC.
– Opening match: Lance Storm & Mike Awesome v. Edge & Christian. No entrance for Team ECW. Awesome misses a charge and gets worked in the corner. Edge gets caught and double-teamed, but headscissors Storm and dumps him out, onto Awesome on the floor. Edge & Christian try a double-team plancha, but mess it up. Edge gets two on Storm back in the ring. Storm & Christian fight on the top, but Christian gets crotched and becomes YOUR face-in-peril. Awesome splash gets two. Storm gutbuster and kneelift gets two. Christian comes back with a crossbody, but Awesome nails him and whiplashes him for two. Backbreaker and Awesome goes up with a flying splash for two. To the top, but the powerbomb is reversed by Christian, hot tag Edge. He cleans house, Edge-O-Matic gets two on Storm. Storm cradles Edge, but Christian rolls them over for two. Christian hits the top rope clothesline on both, spear gets two for Edge. Storm superkicks Edge, and Awesome gets two. Awesomebomb is blocked by Christian with a sloppy spear, and Edge gets the pin at 10:11. So-so match elevated immensely by the Johnny Ace booking near the end. ***
– Nick Patrick v. Earl Hebner. Mick Foley is YOUR special referee. A gang of refs are stationed at ringside in a weird sight gag. Earl stomps a mudhole and gets two. Patrick dumps him and stomps away. Earl comes back with the punches in the corner, all of which look terrible and miss by six inches. He gets lowblowed, however. Ironically, the refs CAN see that one. Hebner hits the floor and the WCW refs attack him. Foley sends them back to the dressing room, and Hebner “spearsÃ¢â‚¬Â Patrick for the pin at 2:50. Why waste Foley on that? -*
– Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo v. The APA. No titles on the line. Big brawl to start, and the APA pound Palumbo. The name “Kevin NashÃ¢â‚¬Â is mentioned in relation to who the WCW tag titles were last held by. Man, have Sean & Chuck been the champs for THAT long already? Holy crap. Assuming you count it as one continuous reign, they’re actually the longest reigning champs in wrestling by a longshot. O’Haire clotheslines Bradshaw, but Faarooq hits him back in turn with one. He comes back with a kneelift, but Bradshaw gets the fallaway slam. The APA don’t seem to be grasping the whole tag team formula. Bradshaw gets a DDT, but Faarooq is double-teamed for two. This match is a pretty brutal style clash. O’Haire kneelift gets two, Faarooq makes the lukewarm tag to Bradshaw. He powerslams Chuck for two. O’Haire hotshots Bradshaw, but he gets the Clothesline from Heck on Palumbo for the pin at 7:17. I absolutely do not get that finish. Why not put the younger, hotter team over and make a new star instead of going with the old and tired WWF guys? *
– X-Pac v. Billy Kidman. X-Pac still gets booed, despite all the WWF guys being babyfaces. X-Pac rides him down, and Kidman responds in kind. Rana and enzuigiri put X-Pac on the floor, and back in it gets two. X-Pac comes back and nails Kidman off the top, and a spinkick gets two. X-Pac hits the chinlock. Yawn. Kidman reverses, but gets suplexed. X-Pac goes up and misses his usual somersault thing, and Kidman comes back. Rydien bomb gets two. X-Pac gets two with a Flair pin in the corner, and goes for a powerbomb, but YOU CAN’T POWERBOMB KIDMAN! Haven’t typed that in a while. Kidman goes up, but lands right into an X-Factor that gets two. Broncobuster is blocked with a shot to the nuts, and the Shooting Star Press finishes clean at 7:13 to a big pop. Match was slow and disappointing from what I heard they were doing at house shows. **1/4
– Raven v. William Regal. Regal hammers him in the corner and gets a clothesline. Double-arm suplex and they brawl out. Back in, he gets two. He dumps Raven and they brawl. Raven wins that exchange, and a clothesline gets two for him back in the ring. Match has zero heat due to the lack of backstory, and the fact that Raven is a babyface playing a heel while Regal is a heel playing a babyface. Regal suplex gets two. High knee, but Raven rolls him up for two. Bulldog gets two. A sunset flip is reversed by Regal for two. Rollup gets two. Suplex gets two. Really sloppy stuff here. DDT is blocked and Raven ends up outside, allowing Tazz the time to do a run-in and suplex Regal, and the Evenflow DDT finishes for Raven at 6:35. Total clash of styles. Ã‚Â½* Match was a total waste.
– Big Show, Billy Gunn & Albert v. Sean Stasiak, Kanyon & Hugh Morrus. Speaking of total wastes WWF guys all press-slam the WCW guys. Kanyon starts with Gunn, and they do a pinfall reversal sequence. Kanyon gets a Russian legsweep -> Stroke combo. Meat comes in and all the fans chant that. Hey, it’s Billy Gunn and Sean Stasiak in the same ring! I thought it might be like Timecop where they meet and destroy each other because of two of the same people occupying the same space, but nope, the universe survives. I’m having trouble telling the difference between them, though. Big brawl, and Albert gets Stasiak the big kick. Meshugganator gets two. WCW punk him out, but he tags Gunn in. Sloppy sequence sees Stasiak billygunn a DDT attempt, and Morrus pins Gunn at 4:23 to end the horror. Show chokeslams everyone just so we don’t think WCW is any good. Ã‚Â¼*
– Tazz v. Tajiri. Tajiri gets a heel kick and standing moonsault for two, but Tazz gets a suplex. Tajiri kicks him down, but walks into a lariat. Tazz hammers him down, and a takedown gets two. Whiplash gets two. Tajiri comes back with a handspring elbow. Tarantula and seated dropkick gets two. Green mist and big kick get the pin at 5:44. Too short to be of any worth. *1/2
– Hardcore title match: Jeff Hardy v. Rob Van Dam. Flippy floppy to start, and RVD stops to pose, allowing Jeff a shot from behind. Dropkick gets two. Weird rollup gets two. RVD gets a standing moonsault for two. Rolling senton splash gets two. Rob goes up and gets tossed to the railing by Jeff, however. Jeff baseball slides him, but Rob counters the railrunner and they crash into the crowd. Back to ringside, Rob uses the legdrop onto the railing, but Jeff powerbombs him off the apron. Jeff grabs his usual 70 foot ladder and heads up, but Rob pushes him up and splats him on the floor. They brawl up the ramp but Rob fires off a Van Daminator and sends Jeff flying. The twisting legdrop gets two. Back in, Rob dropkicks a chair in Jeff’s face, but the moonsault hits knee. Hardy DDTs him for two, and a nasty german suplex gets two. Jawbreaker and Jeff goes up, but the swanton misses and Rob makes a miraculous recovery to finish with the ***** Frog Splash and win the Hardcore title at 12:32. Good spotfest, but Rob seemed too concerned with getting the RVD character over and not enough with getting the angle over. ***1/4
– Torrie Wilson & Stacy Kiebler v. Lita & Trish. Mick gets to ref again. Lucky bastard. Catfight to start. Torrie smacks Trish around, but Trish suplexes her. Lita brings Stacy in and rips the shirt off, and Stacy runs away. They trip Lita up and pull the shirt off of her. Lita tosses Stacy around and tags abound. Torrie tries pulling Trish’s shirt off, but Trish counters by pulling her pants off. Bet you won’t see THAT kind of counter-wrestling in a Brisco-Funk match. The shirt follows, as does Stacy’s pants as the WWF chicks get the win at 5:03. Everyone’s a winner! DUD
– Rhyno, Booker T, DDP & The Dudley Boyz v. Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Undertaker, Kane & Chris Jericho. Angle’s face pop is truly something to behold. If nothing else, the whole angle has made a huge star out of Kurt. Big brawl cues Austin’s entrance. Austin starts with Rhyno and stomps the mudhole. Thesz Press, and they go up, which sees Austin superplex Rhyno, even with a broken back. Wow. Jericho comes in with some MIDCARD VIOLENCE, and the forearm. Booker gets chopped and armdragged a few times, and a missile dropkick gets two on him. Angle comes in and gets nailed by D-Von, but Kane cleans up and gets a sideslam for two. Backdrop suplex, but the Dudleyz get their double-team neckbreaker for two. Kane gets the flying lariat for two. Undertaker comes in gets clotheslined by Bubba, but comes back with the ROPEWALK OF DEATH. Bubba suplexes him back and Rhyno stomps him down. DDP gets a discus clothesline for two. DDT gets two. Booker T comes in and gets two. UT DDTs Booker for two. Austin comes in, but the Stunner is blocked. They head out and Austin suplexes Booker over the railing. Back in, Jericho goes for the Walls, but DDP breaks it up. Jericho gets punked out and he’s YOUR midcarder-in-peril for the moment. Angle comes in fairly soon, though, and suplexes the Dudleyz out of their khakis, but gets Bubbabombed. Rhyno pounds him down for two. Booker with the Axe Kick for two. DDP gets the rotation powerbomb for two. Wassup Drop gets two. DDP gets a facelock, leading to the false tag to Austin. Angle takes a Diamond Cutter in the fracas, and a pier-six erupts. Rhyno goars Booker T by mistake, UT chokeslams DDP and then powerbombs Charles Robinson. He brawls with DDP to the back, taking them out of the match. Dudleyz brawl with Kane near the announce position, and Kane chokeslams D-Von through the American table. Bubba & Rhyno suplex him through the Spanish table. Jericho puts Rhyno through a third table, leaving Bubba, Angle and Booker as the survivors in the ring. Angle gets the Angle Slam on Bubba, and the ref is bumped. Angle Slam and Anglelock on Booker, no ref. Hulk Austin breaks it up, Stunners Angle, and Booker gets the pin at 29:30. Brutally obvious finish, made all the worse by the WWF getting everyone’s hopes up for an Austin babyface run last week. Austin celebrates with his new pals, end of show. ***
The Bottom Line: Wow, more Austin v. Rock coming up. The InVasion kinda loses something when it’s a WWF guy v. another WWF guy, but I guess Vince is the billionaire wrestling genius.
The show itself was well below average up until the last couple of matches, and they pulled it up to Thumbs in the Middle territory. I have to wonder how many more times they can turn Austin and expect the fans to still care, however. My thoughts on that line of thinking are in last week’s RAW rant, and I’m sure I’ll have more to say after tonight’s show. I mean, we hardly even got a decent reason for him to turn heel in the first place, and now we have to get one for him to turn babyface, destroy all of WCW single-handedly, and then join them at the end. And didn’t this do so much for everyone else on those teams? What elevation.
For now, call InVasion a major disappointment and leave it at that.