The SK Rant for Fully Loaded 2000
– Live from Dallas, Texas.
– Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler.
– As a note to begin, those of you who follow my Smackdown rants on Rantsylvania.com probably know by now that I’m not exactly 100% enthusiastic about the WWF’s handling of the promotion of the show, to the point where it feels like a JFK-ish conspiracy is forming against the “new bloodÃ¢â‚¬Â of the WWF. The logic doesn’t fit Ã¢â‚¬â€œ I mean, why would the WWF purposely make a WCW-level error in judgment and sink their own promotion? Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but the lack of foresight in booking and constant DQs and run-ins ruining the push for the new guys smells like a rat to me. But maybe I’m just a huge cynic, who knows?
– Opening match: T & A and Trish Stratus v. The Hardy Boyz & Lita. Brawl to start, as Matt and Albert go first. Albert quickly blocks a Twist of Fate and kicks him down for two. Matt badly messes up the ropewalking Mexican armdrag and ends up on the floor. Test comes in, but a superplex is blocked and Jeff comes in for some double-teams. He walks into a side-slam. Test slides out and Jeff follows with a pescado. Back in, Matt walks into a big boot. Trish tags in, but slaps Test by mistake and Matt rolls her up for two. Matt tags in Lita and the place ERUPTS. Okay, the WWF may have something here, and doesn’t Paul Heyman feel stupid for not realizing what he had? Hardyz double-team Albert, then do a 3-on-2 suplex on Test & Trish! Awesome spot. T & A cheapshots Jeff, putting him into the Ricky Morton role. He gets a sunset flip on Test for two, but gets chokeslammed. And we lose the feed. Back on we come as Jeff makes the hot tag, and Matt then misses a tornado DDT. Jeff recovers the situation by hitting a swanton bomb on Test for two. Twist of Fate takes out Albert, and Lita hits a tornado DDT of her own on Test, nearly breaking his neck. Cool! She then adds a tope on Albert! Rana off the top onto Test gets two, but a cheapshot from Albert allows Test to powerbomb her, and Trish covers for two. Trish bulldogs her for two, taking a lot of time to set up the move. Trish goes upstairs and gets crotched, and Lita superplexes her for two. Pier-six leaves Lita alone with Trish, and the Litasault finishes at 13:05. Shockingly amazing opener. ***1/2
– Poochietaker arrives and finds Angle. Hilarity ensues.
– Tazz v. Al Snow. Snow seems upset. Slugfest and Snow gets a legsweep. They brawl outside and back in, where Snow ducks a suplex and superkicks Tazz. Spinebuster variation gets two. Al tries a pump splash and gets dumped on his head as a result. Snow comes back with a top rope legdrop, and a moonsault gets two. Haven’t seen him bust that one out in a bit. The crowd loses interest as Snow finds Head. Tazz clips him from behind, but Snow comes back again with a kick series. Tough bugger tonight. One kick too many results, however, and Tazz hooks his leg and hits a capture suplex, then sets up for the Tazzmission. Snow counters with a judo throw, but he can’t block a second one and taps out at 5:21. Solid match, but not a real impressive return for Tazz. **
– Meanwhile, Christian is busy puking in the back, likely having watched that Undertaker-Bossman match from Smackdown
– Meanwhile (part two), someone sends Stephanie flowers. Hunter seems perturbed, because it’s not him. Note to HHH: To improve marital relations, next time say “Why yes, it WAS me Ã¢â‚¬Â Gotta admire his honesty, at least.
– European title match: Eddy Guerrero v. Perry Saturn. Chyna goes after Terri and we have a brawl. Into the ring, Eddy stomps a mudhole in Saturn and hits the slingshot senton. Dropkick puts Saturn on the floor, and Chyna escorts him back in. Top rope rana gets two. Saturn looks lost. Eddy tosses him and Chyna delivers more punishment. Eddy follows them out, hitting a tope on Saturn. Back in, another flying rana gets two. Saturn comes back with a powerbomb. Eddy comes out of the corner with a tornado DDT for two. Saturn drops Eddy on his face, twice. Saturn’s moving REALLY slowly tonight. Eddy gets another rana, and a rollup for two out of a suplex attempt. Saturn gets powerbombs him again, but a moonsault misses. Eddy brainbuster sets up a senton bomb, which misses as always. Saturn Ã‚Â¾ nelsons him for two. Powerslam thingie (that looked awkward, too) sets up a top rope move, but Eddy knocks him to the floor. Chyna goes after him again, but Saturn puts her through a table! Good, about time someone gave her a taste of her own medicine. Terri sneaks back out, hits a lowblow on Eddy, and Saturn finishes with the flying elbow at 8:12 to win the European championship. Match was kind of a trainwreck, but worked most of the time. **
– Meanwhile (part three), Mick Foley discovers that Christian was just faking his vomiting, meaning he probably didn’t watch Smackdown after all. No weaseling out of the tag title match tonight.
– Meanwhile (part four), Kurt Angle plays with Undertaker’s bike. To quote Hank Hill, “There’s something wrong with that boyÃ¢â‚¬Â.
– WWF tag title match: Edge & Christian v. The Acolytes. The champs go to JFK for cheap heat. As a Canadian, it doesn’t particularly bother me, but I feel they should have shot their wad and done the Benefit of Those With Flash Photography Pose by having Christian stand on the top rope with an imaginary rifle while Edge posed in the back of a Cadillac, but I guess SOME people might find that offensive. Maybe if Kurt Angle played Abraham Zapruder for comic relief? Bradshaw actually shocks us by cutting a coherant and pretty cool promo in response, playing up that latent Texas v. Canada hostility from, uh the Texo-Canadian War of 1874? I dunno, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume there’s SOME reason for Texans to hate Canadians. The APA beat on Edge for the first little while, as the crowd sits on their hands. Note to Delphi doubters: I think that proves my point. Bradshaw gets caught in the wrong corner and plays redneck-in-peril. He hits a shoulderblock off the top, and hot tags Faarooq. Spinebuster on Christian gets two. Edge & Bradshaw brawl and Faarooq hits the Dominator on Christian. Edge decks Faarooq with the bell (making sure to tell the ref he’s doing so, just in case ) to draw the DQ at 5:33. Well, that was a waste. Ã‚Â½*
– Meanwhile (part five), HHH goes after Angle.
– Meanwhile (part six), Angle in turn mugs Undertaker with his toy wrench.
– Intercontinental title cage match: Val Venis v. Rikishi. Rikishi tosses Val around and they fight on the top rope. We so some standard escape tease stuff. Rikishi hits the cage a couple of times as we call for the bladejob, but none comes. C’mon, Rikishi, you’re SAMOAN. It’s your DUTY to bleed like a pig. Val lariats Rikishi for two. Yeah, it’s one of those dumb “escape or pinÃ¢â‚¬Â variations on the cage match. Nice ropewalk elbow gets two for Val. Val tries to climb out, but gets caught. Val blades. He slugs away but gets sent to the cage and Rikishi follows with CHEEKS OF FIRE and the Buttdrop of Doom, for two. Rikishi goes for the door but Trish slams it in his face. Val hits the Money Shot for two. Lita runs out and rips off Trish’s top, then whips her with a belt in retaliation for the beatdown in the first match. Val & Rikishi fight on the top rope, and Val bumps the ref on the way down. Arrgh! Rikishi goes to the top to climb out and walks along the edge, then HITS A SUPERFLY SPLASH! HOLY MOTHER OF GOD! Scrape Val off the mat, he’s DEAD. Tazz then comes out with a camera, rams it into Rikishi’s head, and Val drags himself on top for the pin to retain at 14:11. All the run-ins didn’t help a blah match, but WHAT a finish. *** I still don’t think Val is IC champ material again yet, but they seem to be determined to get him over again.
– Meanwhile (part whatever), HHH traces the source of the flowers to Chris Jericho’s dressing room. Y2J lays him out.
– Shane-O-Mac is out and dressed to fight, and he calls out the Rock. It turns out to be a Clever Diversion, however, as Chris Benoit reveals himself on the screen and tears up Rock’s wardrobe. Oh, that means WAR.
– Kurt Angle v. Undertaker. Brawl outside to start. Into the ring, Nash er Undertaker drops an elbow, but picks him up at two. Suplex gets two, but again he picks him up. Whew, good thing, because I don’t think Angle could survive that devastating vertical suplex. Angle tries a sleeper, which goes nowhere. Emerald City Slam gets two for Diesel III, and Angle gets tossed to the floor. He finds his cartoonishly huge wrench and clips the American Fatass with it. Back in, Angle works the knee as the Great and Powerful Oz gets to show off his range of selling by laying on the mat and going “ouchÃ¢â‚¬Â occasionally. Wow, way to put over the new talent, Mark. Poochietaker comes back and they slug it out, won by Taker. What a shock. Chokeslam and the Poochiebomb finish at 7:36. Retire now, you crippled, has been, slow-moving, fried-food eating, motorcyle-riding, no-selling, tobacco-chewing, no-money-drawing, talentless piece of selfish SHIT. Kurt Angle is the future, you are NOTHING. Deal with it. And take Kane with you when you go. I’m sure the idiot rubes will cry and Ask the Rick where you went again for six months the next time you leave, but I’ll be happy to see you gone for good, where you can’t drag down any more PPVs. Ã‚Â½*
– Last Man Standing: HHH v. Chris Jericho. Jericho pounds away to start, and HHH bails. Jericho follows with a springboard dropkick and we brawl. Back in, HHH USES THE KNEE, and puts Jericho on the floor. Hotshot on the barricade furthers the damage. Into the ring, HHH works the ribs, and chokes him down with Jericho’s own bandages. Onto the floor, HHH suplexes him on the concrete. Jericho is up at 5. Into the ring, HHH goes to the abdominal stretch, a move which makes sense within the context of the match. Jericho hiptosses out and comes back. Lionsault hits the knees, and HHH DDTs Y2J for a 7-count. HHH tries the sleeper, hooking a body-scissors, at which point the dorky UFC-supporting contingent smugly points out that such a move would be counter-productive due to the placement of the legs. You see what I have to put up with? It gets a 9-count. HHH slugs him down, Jericho keeps asking for more. HHH adds a Pedigree and relaxes on the top rope. Jericho gets up at 9. HHH grabs a chair and BRINGS THE PAIN. He gets stopped from Pedigreeing Jericho on the chair by a low blow, and Jericho DESTROYS him with a chairshot, triggering a MANLY, primo bladejob that immediately pours all over the ring and hits 0.65 Muta with no effort at all. Have I mentioned HHH is God? Jericho fires back with a flying forearm and a missile dropkick. Bulldog to the chair, HHH is up at 4. HHH goes over the top, but whips Jericho into the stairs. He tries a Pedigree on the stairs but Jericho reverses. They each ram a monitor into each others’ heads, and both are up at 9. Back in, Jericho gets the Liontamer, and for a moment we think they might do the Austin-Bret ending. No such luck, as Stephanie breaks it up and takes one herself. HHH knocks Jericho to the floor and finds the sledgehammer. He misses and Jericho slingshots him into the post, then nails him in the gut with the hammer. He tries a moonsault off the railing, but HHH blocks, suplexes him through the table, and BARELY beats the count at 9.99999 to win the match at 23:13. That was quite the little emotional roller coaster, and a Match of the Year Candidate to boot. ****3/4 Can Rock-Benoit top that?
– WWF title match: The Rock v. Chris Benoit. As is the norm tonight, brawl to start. Rock chases Shane, then stops to slingshot Benoit into him, which gets two. Rock goes for a crossfce, and Benoit bails. Back in, Benoit hits a gutbuster and gets a running knee for two. Benoit goes to the apron but gets superplexed. Benoit blasts Rock with the belt for two. Rock powerslam gets two, but Benoit hits a backdrop suplex and a Sharpshooter. Rock escapes, but Benoit dumps him to the floor. They fight outside and Benoit gets posted. Back in, Rock pulls out a dragon-screw legwhip and figure-four (!). Benoit makes the ropes. Rock hits the floor, where Shane smokes him. Benoit & Rock hit the crowd, and Benoit suplexes Rock back in. Into the ring, Rock gets a DDT for two. Benoit lariat gets two. Benoit backbreaker gets two. Standing neckbreaker gets two. Slugfest, and Rock powerbombs Benoit backwards onto the top rope, which was either an ugly mess-up by Rock or an awesome sell-job by Benoit. Pick Ã¢â‚¬Ëœem. Benoit gets a running elbow for two. Diving headbutt cues the double-KO. Rock rolls over for two. Slugfest, and Rock hits the spinebuster and People’s Elbow but Shane is distracting the ref. Rock only gets two as a result. Benoit comes back with a superplex for two. Benoit stomps Rock into the corner. Rock blasts out with a lariat, Benoit responds in kind. WICKED! Benoit grabs a chair, and Rock takes it, but Shane finds another one, blasts the ref with it, and leaves the smoking gun (chair?) in Rock’s hands. Rock slaps his crossface onto Benoit as the ref revives, and DQs the Rock and BENOIT WINS THE TITLE! WHOO-HOO! But wait, there’s more as Benoit celebrates, that bastard Foley comes out and orders the match to continue. DAMMIT! Benoit hits the triple suplex for two. Crossface, and Rock makes the ropes. Again, and Rock makes them again, but slower. Rock Bottom finishes quickly after, at 22:08. I hope Benoit beats the holy hell out of Mick Foley tomorrow night, because it would not only advance his badass persona and elevate him, but I’d feel much better. The match rocked my world, but the ending was a little too Dusty Rhodes for my liking. Still, another MOTYC, minus Ã‚Â¼* for disrespecting Canada’s finest with a three-minute teased title reign. ****1/2
The Bottom Line: Three matches, three wins for the Old Blood. Jericho and Benoit’s losses didn’t bother me because the matches were ab-fab, and the booking was set up in a way to elevate them in the process and give the matches an “anyone could have wonÃ¢â‚¬Â feel. Undertaker’s match was an inexusable squash, however, and if they’re serious about elevating Angle something’s gonna have to be done.
Shoddy undercard aside, the last hour makes this show an easy thumbs up, but the long-term booking is looking more and more WCW by the day. The scariest part? What if Vince Russo was RIGHT about the WWF?
Let’s not even go there, kids.