The SK Rant for WWF Unforgiven 2000
– Live from Philadelphia, PA
– Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler.
– Kudos to whoever got the www.rantsylvania.com sign on camera in the front row. At least there’s SOME intelligent fans in Philly.
– Opening match: The Dudley Boyz & The APA v. Right To Censor. Buh Buh starts with Goodfather and the match goes downhill from there. Typical Smackdown level stuff follows as D-Von plays brother-in-peril. I would be remiss in not mentioning the APA/Dudleyz skit on Heat featuring the guy from the Bud commercial. Now that’s some good use of a one-hit-wonder celebrity. Hot tag Buh Buh, and it’s breaking loose in Tulsa (as Tazz said on Heat). Dudleyz hit 2D on Val for two, but just like every other RTC match where they win, Steven hits a quick Stevenkick out of nowhere and Val gets the pin at 5:43. Whatever. Ã‚Â½* Big brawl follows, and Steven goes through a table.
– Meanwhile, HHH tries to talk Steph out of maintaining her friendship with Angle.
– Strap match: Jerry Lawler v. Tazz. Tazz hammers Lawler and hits a suplex to start. Choking follows. Back in, kicking and punching. Lawler comes back with three piledrivers, and the first two are no-sold. Tazz finally collapses on the third. Lawler touches 3 corners, but the ref is bumped and HEEEEEEEEEEEEERE’S Raven! Evenflow for Lawler, and Tazzmission finishes him at 5:03. Nothing match with an ending that popped the crowd HUGE. Ã‚Â½*
– Meanwhile, Austin arrives and punks out Kevin Kelly. Michael Cole then takes Lawler’s place on commentary.
– Hardcore Invitational: Steve Blackman v. Al Snow-prano v. Crash v. Test v. Saturn v. Funaki. Having finally seen the Sopranos now, I can safely say that “motherless f*ckÃ¢â‚¬Â is now my favorite all-purpose insult to use. This is the same as Wrestlemania Ã¢â‚¬â€œ whoever’s the champ after 10 minutes wins. Everyone goes after Blackman and uses a trashcan lid on him. Terri & Trish both get hit with Head, then Crash f*cks up a rana on Snow. Ugh. Everyone fights outside and Crash gets the first pin on Blackman to win his 12th title. Saturn blasts him with a trashcan lid and wins his third title. More walking around. Boring brawl segment sees Saturn return to the ring for a stick duel with Blackman, and Blackman pins him with 1:00 remaining to win the title back. Everyone ambushes him, but time runs out at 10:00. The WM2000 match at least had some fun chaos going for it Ã¢â‚¬â€œ this had nothing. *
– Meanwhile, Austin kicks Angle’s ass.
– X-Pac v. Chris Jericho. Big pop for the J-Man. Wrestling sequence to start and Jericho hits some Canadian Violence. X-Pac tries the broncobuster and Jericho comes back with a leg lariat. X-Pac blocks the springboard dropkick and launches Jericho into the railing, then follows with a tope. Brawl outside and back in, and a leg lariat gets two for X-Pac. Into the sleeper. Yay. Crowd is dead. Backdrop suplex gets two, and he hits the broncobuster. Jericho shakes it off and powerbombs him out of the corner, however, cueing the comeback. Flying forearm gets two. Jericho hits his own broncobuster, and X-Pac grabs the nunchuks. It misses, and Jericho rolls him up for two. X-Pac goes low and gets the X-Factor for two. Whew. Jericho powerbombs him and goes into the Liontamer, but X-Pac makes the ropes. Spinkick gets two. Jericho bulldog, but the Lionsault is blocked and X-Pac goes upstairs. Jericho catches him coming down, Liontamer, and X-Pac taps (!!!) at 9:03. About damn time he jobbed. **1/4
– Cage match, WWF tag titles: Edge & Christian v. The Hardy Boyz. Weird rules here, as you can win by pinfall, submission or escape Ã¢â‚¬â€œ but both guys have to leave the cage to win, and once you leave you can’t come back in. At least that’s what I pieced together during the match. Hardyz work Edge over and try to escape, and Jeff gets knocked out of the cage by Edge while standing on top. Matt hits a Twist of Fate on Christian for two as Jeff is standing around on the floor. Matt takes on both for a while and tries to escape, but gets superplexed back down. The champs continue working Matt over. Jeff keeps climbing back in and they champs keep knocking him back off. He finally tries the door and gets it slammed on his head. More beating on Matt follows. The champs try the Con-chair-to, but Matt ducks and takes both down. Christian climbs out and gets decked by a flying ladder on the way down, leaving Edge & Matt inside the cage. Michael Cole previously had made a stupid comment about how Christian wasn’t out of the match because he had gone through the door instead of over the top or something. Why do they pay this guy, again? Edge bulldogs Matt off the top. Jeff gets back to the top of the cage, finally, and hits a twisting senton off the top as both guys fail to catch him. Smooth, people. Lita arrives and ranas Christian off the ladder. In the ring, Edge nails Jeff with a chair and climbs the cage, but the Hardyz follow him up with some chairs, double-chair him back down, and climb out to win their second WWF tag titles at 13:40. Pretty okay match with some eye-popping spots, but it can’t touch the Summerslam one, and to even attempt to do so is madness. ***
– Intercontinental title match: Eddy Guerrero v. Rikishi. Zero pop for either guy. Huh. Slugfest goes nowhere. They brawl outside and back in for a missed buttdrop by Rikishi. Eddy bails, but Chyna tosses him back in so he can be a man. Eddy bails again to escape the Stinkface. Rikishi follows and Eddy hits a sweet bodypress off the top to the floor. Back in, the frog splash misses. Rikishi badly blows a Bubba Cutter and hits the Bonzai drop but Chyna stops the count. Uh, how does that work, exactly? If you say “pleaseÃ¢â‚¬Â then the referee stops counting? Rikishi superkicks her and gets DQ’d at 6:03. Huh? Rikishi then “turnsÃ¢â‚¬Â on her and gives her a bonzai drop. HUH? I don’t get this booking at all. Match was awful, too. DUD So who was supposed to come out of that with face heat?
– Kurt Angle v. HHH. Angle sings “Happy BirthdayÃ¢â‚¬Â to Stephanie. HHH’s ribs are heavily taped from the sledgehammer attack on Smackdown. Angle works them to start, but Hunter backdrops him out. Brawl on the floor, and HHH spears him as they head back in. Angle suplexes him on the ribs, and we go kicky-punchy for a bit. Angle gets a german suplex for two and shoves Foley, who shoves back. SMELL THE CONFLICT! Angle backdrop suplex gets two. More punching. HHH messes up a neckbreaker and they slug it out. Knee-Fu from HHH gets two. They do some weak brawling outside and HHH tries that Pedigree on the table again, but Angle reverses and suplexes him onto the Spanish table. Cool spot. Back in, Angle goes to the ribs and works them like a pro. Belly to belly superplex gets two. The lack of heat for this match is pretty astonishing, and yet at the same time not astonishing considering the pace of the match. Angle hooks the ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF DOOM. Well, might as well ring the bell right now. Moonsault misses, and HHH comes back. A sort-of Pedigree (his one arm is dead so it’s only a half-Pedigree) puts Angle down, and then HHH calls Stephanie in and tells her to choose. She reluctantly nutshots Angle, and HHH finishes him with the Pedigree at 17:24. Pretty disappointing. **3/4 HHH gives Steph a weird, bloody kiss after the win to rub it into Angle. So this basically resolved nothing after six months of buildup, and didn’t advance anything either. Great use of my $30, guys. And what was the point of Foley refereeing? What an oddly booked match.
– Shane McMahon is out to reveal the mystery driver: Steve Blackman, who ran down Ken Shamrock on RAW last year. Har har. Blackman comes out to argue, followed by Steve Austin. Huge pop for Austin, duh. He has a new version of his music, too, which is kinda cool. Stunner for Blackman, and Shane sucks up like a little weasel, drinking some cold ones with Stone Cold. Like we can’t all see what’s coming here. Kick, WHAM, Stunner for Shane, and in the greatest sell-job I’ve ever seen, Shane spits out the beer on the rebound from the Stunner. That’s some WICKED attention to detail there. Austin drinks some beer, Shane recovers, kick, wham, stunner again. Austin goes to leave, thinks better of it, wham, stunner #3. Total overkill. I love it. Funny segment, but it also didn’t tell us shit about who the mystery driver was.
– WWF World title match: The Rock v. Chris Benoit v. Undertaker v. Kane. Big brawl to start. Rock & Benoit head into the crowd. Kane hits a flying lariat on UT for two. UT hits a clothesline for two. Big boot gets two. Rock comes in, samoan drop on Kane gets two. Rock & Kane slug it out, then UT joins in and they double-team Kane. UT & Rock go, and Taker gets a side slam for two. Rock reverses the ropewalk and UNDERTAKER TAKES A BUMP! Whoa! Kane in, and the ref is bumped. At 7:00? Taker chairs Rock, and Benoit chairs Taker and gets the pin and the WWF title at 7:11! No, wait, Mick Foley comes out and takes the title away because Undertaker’s feet were on the ropes. I have never understood the logic behind booking matches where any manner of weapons were completely legal and pinfalls count anywhere in the state, but pinfalls are stopped for having a foot on the ropes. So it’s a Dusty Finish in the main event as the match continues. All three lay the beats on Benoit. UT elbowdrop gets two. Benoit lays in some Canadian Violence on Rock, and the rolling germans get two. Diving headbutt gets two, but Rock reverses to a crossface on him. Undertaker breaks it up. Kane chokeslams him for one. Rock catches Kane with the spinebuster coming off the ropes, and Benoit DESTROYS Rocky with a clothesline to break up the People’s Elbow. BENOIT IS YOUR SAVIOR! Undertaker wedgiebombs Rock for two, Kane saves. Taker and Kane fight outside, and Benoit blasts both with a chair and slaps the crossface on the Rock. We’re all cheering for a pass-out finish, but Undertaker breaks it up after about two minutes in the hold. Chokeslam to Benoit for two, and Kane & Taker fight again. Rock Bottom for Benoit finishes at 16:07 and Rock retains. I figured either Rock or Benoit would walk with the title, and we’ll probably see a rematch on the first TNN RAW. Hot ending, match was totally carried by his holiness, Mr. Benoit. ***
The Bottom Line:
Pretty flat show overall. I was hoping for matches like X-Pac-Jericho and the tag title to save it, but instead they ended up disappointing and the main event ended up being the best of the evening. The booking was pretty awful in places tonight, too, as everything ended up being “Oh, this isn’t over between them!Ã¢â‚¬Â and I’m like “Then why did I pay $30 to watch it?Ã¢â‚¬Â The worst offender was HHH-Angle, because there’s been Smackdowns with WAY more definitive finishes and storyline advancement to this feud. I don’t know what they were thinking there, except maybe rematch, but HHH already won pretty convincingly.
There was enough good wrestling to avoid a thumbs down, but not enough to warrant a thumbs up, so I’ll wuss out and go all Scaia with a Thumbs in the Middle this time around. Nothing special here.