Go here for everything that led up to this.
For this is where it all ends.
What if the InVasion hadn’t failed?
Our story continues at No Mercy, where the WWF and WCW find themselves at the barrel of a gun held by the Lunatic Fringe; for the WWF, dissension within the ranks threatens kill the WWF without Heyman lifting a finger. In WCW, the possibility of the corruption of Booker T and DDP threatens to derail the company’s progress in re-establishing themselves. All three groups head into No Mercy knowing that if they don’t score some victories, there may be no survival …
No Mercy: Oct. 21st, 2001
Announcements are made regarding the two matches that, due to recent events, are under a cloud of confusion; the WWF Tag Title match is turned into a three-way dance, with both The APA and The Dudleys (still in the match courtesy of Paul Heyman threatening an anti-trust lawsuit if the original match contract that included The Dudleys was altered in favor of removing them from the match). But the other match in question, the two-falls US/Intercontinental defense against Kane and Dean Malenko … Heyman’s statement of a “match-time decision” does nothing to clear up the issue.
No Mercy’s first match is the WCW Tag Title defense of The Impact Players against WCW’s muscle-for-hire team of Kronik. With singles’ victories in the books against their smaller foes, Kronik looks to have the upper hand in every way as the match begins. And, knowing the team’s tendency to rely on Lita for extra help, Kronik neutralize the Extreme Diva with Molly Holly at ringside. Even the extreme rules of the match work against the IP as Kronik return every weapon-aided attack back on their opponents, damaging them further. But the sheer power and dominance of Kronik loses out to the numbers game, as Steven Richards and Jerry Lynn help turn the tide to the Impact Players, and give the Fringe the victory in the evening’s first match. But the victory is a hollow one, as Chavo Guerrero and Billy Kidman help run off the Fringe contingent, and WCW stands tall in the ring.
The titanic no-disqualifications clash between the Big Show and Undertaker follows. With no DQ’s, it gives the titans a license to maim, but neither man makes a beeline for weapons and objects; for both men, the match is about making the other suffer. Both Show and Undertaker use their surroundings and the ring itself as their weapons, throwing and dropping and slamming the other against the barricade and the ringposts. But unlike before, ‘Taker doesn’t call on his brothers or his friends in the WWF to come to his aid. When Big Show kicks out of a choke-slam, ‘Taker tries not to show his worry, but gets greedy and attempts a Last Ride. Big Show’s bulk proves too much, and a choke-slam later, Big Show finally gets a pinfall over the American Badass.
Mike Awesome’s chance for revenge on the Fringe follows, as Heyman ushers Tazz out to the ring for their encounter. Heyman curses Awesome all the way to the ring, reminding Awesome how he lost to Tazz in under two minutes a year before, and how it took another guy to help him beat Tazz in 1999. Awesome ignores Heyman’s taunting and goes after Tazz with a fire and a tangible need to prove himself with a decisive victory. Initially, Tazz’s mat wrestling and arsenal of suplexes give him an early advantage, but Awesome’s power and deceptive speed prove a great advantage in establishing dominance over the Human Suplex Machine. Slowly but surely, Awesome’s offense gains momentum until he seems an unstoppable steamroller. Sensing the end, and a defeat, is near, Heyman creates a distraction while Tazz grabs a cinder block from under the ring and breaks it across Awesome’s head. Tazz slaps a Tazzmission on the unconscious Awesome; when Awesome shows no signs of coming to, the ref has no choice but to call the match for Tazz.
Edge & Christian enter the ring and give the crowd an extra five seconds on their normal five-second pose so they can savor the “magifiosity” (as Christian puts it) of their WWF Tag Titles. The crowd loves them, but their fellow WWF superstars Faarooq and Bradshaw do not, and deliver plenty of cold glares across the ring. The hostile glances are a precursor to the lack of teamwork in the WWF side of the match, a weakness the Dudleys exploit time and again with cheating and double-teaming that goes un-countered by the third team. But while the APA won’t lift a finger to save the reigning tag champions, they do stop the Dudleys from pinfall attempts on Edge & Christian, lest the belts fall into even worse hands then the pair of slackers they currently rest in. But between the lack of teamwork between the WWF teams, and the lack of rules for being a triple threat, the Dudleys are able to overcome the odds and score a Spike-and-Heyman-aided pinfall on Faarooq for the victory and the WWF Tag Titles. The Dudleys make tracks for safer ground, celebrating the regaining of the belts, leaving Edge & Christian and the APA to duke it out against each other until security pries them apart.
With ECW’s sudden streak driving morale back into the toilet, the arrival of RVD, on crutches and with Heyman in tow carrying RVD’s two belts, sinks it even further. Heyman grabs a microphone as RVD waves to “his fans”. “Ladies and gentlemen,” says Heyman in a mock mournful tone of voice, “it is my burden to inform you that Rob Van Dam, your United States and Intercontinental Champion, is unable to perform tonight due to the injuries he sustained on Smackdown. I hate to disappoint you, the paying public, of the privilege of seeing the most captivating athlete ever to grace a wrestling ring, but-” Explosions and a sea of red light cut off Heyman’s patronizing speech. Heyman cowers in fear of the Big Red Machine, who replies to Heyman’s excuses by attempting to chokeslam the rotund manager. RVD drops his crutches and charges Kane; the ref immediately signals the timekeeper, and the match begins (the first fall announced as the fall to determine the United States Champion) as Malenko races down to ringside to join the action. Immediately, RVD tries to fall back on the leg as a reason for mercy, but neither man will have any of it and spend the next several minutes punishing and pounding the living hell out of RVD. RVD has to scramble out of the ring to get even a moment of recuperation time, but Kane and Malenko close in around him and continue to deliver the pain. But when RVD is fully laid out and ready for the taking, Kane prevents Malenko from taking the pin. Malenko starts to go at it with Kane, using his speed and technical wizardry to fell the big man. Kane fights back with raw power, but with RVD coming to, both men stop the bickering and refocus on RVD. Once he is put down, Malenko goes back after Kane, dedicating his attack to Kane’s legs. With Kane on the mat and hurting, Malenko returns to RVD and manages to cinch in the Texas Cloverleaf. Heyman tries to reach in and pull RVD to the ropes, but Malenko drags RVD to the middle of the ring; before Heyman can make it in with much-needed assistance, RVD taps, giving Malenko the US Title. The second fall begins immediately, and Malenko tries slapping on the Texas Cloverleaf again. Kane manages to get to his feet and hobbles over to break up the submission move before RVD can tap out again. RVD rolls out of the ring and collapses on the mat while Kane, still favoring a leg, works over Malenko with hard blows and thunderous slams; but none of the abuse can keep Malenko’s shoulders on the mat for three. A chokeslam turns Malenko into a rag doll, but the impact sends his body flying out of the ring and crashing onto the arena floor. When Kane gives chase, RVD pushes Kane into the ring post and takes over the match. RVD dazzles Kane with a blur of kicks and high-speed, high-impact offense, keeping the big man off his feet and unable to get any kind of comeback put together. After several near-falls, RVD finally goes for the Five-Star Frog Splash to end things, only for Malenko to come back from the dead and shove RVD off the top rope. RVD still collides with Kane, although not exactly as planned, and Malenko follows him down with a precision elbow to the heart. Malenko throws an arm on RVD and, to the shock of the crowd, the ref gets to three, and Malenko wins the Intercontinental Title on top of the US Title.
Austin eschews the normal four-corner pose when he enters the ring for his match with Jericho, his eyes, normally fireballs of piss and vinegar, cold and lethal. It is the only thing he and Jericho have in common, as Jericho is all business as he approaches the ring, too. When the bell rings, the two iconic unofficial leaders of the WWF lock in a staredown. Austin is the first to budge after almost a minute of silent scorn traded in glances, going for a kick in the gut; Jericho catches the boot, sweeps out the other leg and goes for the Walls, but Austin twists out. A few more attempts at a quick finish end up in more stalemates, and the match quickly descends into a barroom brawl. Austin ends up getting the advantage, and presses it with stomps, kicks and a hailstorm of fists. But despite the hellacious mugging, Jericho rises to his feet with every blow, refusing to lay down for Austin. Austin drags Jericho outside, using the ring steps, posts, barricade and anything else he can find to aid in battering Jericho into unconsciousness without getting disqualified, but Jericho’s resilience and pride help him kick out, many times before two. Austin tries bickering with the ref, but it gets him no favors, and Austin returns his attention to Jericho with a stiff paintbrush. Jericho’s eyes go wide with surprise and rage, and suddenly, Jericho comes to life in a blur of punches. Austin retreats to a corner, but Jericho is on top of him, pounding wildly on Austin’s head and body; the ref tries to pry Jericho off of Austin, but Jericho will not be stopped. The ref starts a five-count, but gets as far as four before Jericho whips Austin into the other corner and follows with a clothesline. From there, Austin spends the rest of the match on defense or running for his life; any move he gets is a counter from which Jericho comes back almost instantaneously. Even a Stunner isn’t enough to stop Jericho, who kicks out and comes back just as strong and fiercely determined. Austin plays his one last card to save face, and throws Jericho into the ref, sandwiching Earl Hebner between Jericho and the turnbuckle. Austin leaves the ring and makes a beeline for the locker room, but stops halfway down the aisle when he doesn’t hear the bell or the ring announcer; Jericho is talking to the ref, convincing him not to go for the DQ and let the fight play out. Austin paralyzes with fright, a deer in the headlights of Jericho, coming down the aisle like a runaway freight train. Austin’s paralysis finally breaks, but not soon enough, and Jericho is drag Austin back into the ring. This time, when Jericho tries for the Walls, Austin cannot resist, and despite his best efforts, cannot withstand the pain and taps out. Jericho keeps the hold on just a little longer, long enough to hear Austin beg to be released; Jericho drops Austin’s legs and leaves the ring immediately, looking back only once at his handiwork without a trace of pride.
With Austin and his loyalists coming up empty-handed in their matches for the evening, the pressure on Angle is high as he steps out for his WWF Title confrontation with Rhyno. Without the benefit of aid from any Fringe members or Paul Heyman, the expectation that it is Angle’s time is not unfounded, and he approaches the ring with that confidence. Rhyno, too, approaches with determination and confidence, but paranoid glances give away his worry over the loss of his safety net. Nevertheless, Rhyno wrestles with the same ferocity he is known for, combating Angle’s technical prowess with raw power, but Angle’s experience in both the professional and amateur ranks gives Angle the edge. Angle’s only problem is keeping Rhyno off his vertical base long enough to work on the leg and ankle for his Ankle Lock, as Rhyno drags himself to his feet every time Angle unloads on him. But an Angle Slam attempt gives Rhyno the opportunity to take the offense, hammering Angle with his high-impact maneuvers. Slowly, a pattern emerges in Rhyno’s offense: moves targeting Angle’s previously broken neck. Angle does his best to get in some counter-offense, but more and more, the neck becomes weakened, and the simplest maneuvers become a chore. When Rhyno tries for a Gore, Angle dodges and creates his window of opportunity, and hits the Angle Slam …. but is too weakened to capitalize fast enough, and only gets two. Both men struggle to their feet and exchange punches, starting a back and forth series of moves and counters and near-falls for both men. A piledriver attempt by Rhyno is reversed by Angle into the Ankle Lock, but Rhyno reaches the ropes after a few agonizing moments of suffering. Rhyno gets on his feet again, and Angle tries to pull him off for another Ankle Lock, but Rhyno manages to puts the brakes on and connect with a devastating-looking piledriver. The crowd gasps when Angle gets a shoulder up at 2 and 7/8ths. A powerbomb high on the back gets another fraction from 3, so Rhyno drags Angle to his feet, throws him into the ropes and makes the charge for the Gore … only for Angle to use a drop toe hold out of nowhere, sit up and slap on the Ankle Lock yet again. It is a full two minutes before Rhyno breaks the hold by reaching the ropes. Angle tries to go for the ankle again, pushing Rhyno back into the corner. Rhyno batters Angle’s neck and back to stop his offensive onslaught, then delivers the coup de grace of the match; a sickening piledriver off the second turnbuckle that sends Angle into seizures. Rhyno stills Angle long enough to get an exhausted and hard-earned three-count to retain the WWF Title, another crushing defeat of the WWF’s ranking elite by the upstart champion, and another in a chain for the evening.
With the streak of success the Fringe is on, it only underscores the tension riding into the WCW World Title match. Heyman comes out by himself, but sits to one side of the ring, in between the designated corners for Booker T and DDP, who come to a very mixed reaction when they are introduced. Conversely, Ric Flair is given a hero’s welcome, and The Rock is shown a fair amount of respect, despite his employer. When the match begins, the foursome pair off into two groups, with Booker and The Rock squaring off and Flair taking on DDP. After a bit, Rock and Flair switch places, until Booker and DDP, frustrated with their lack of traction against their opponents, bail. Heyman is right there to counsel the two, who stand neither listen nor shove Heyman away, but stand still and collect their thoughts …. until Flair, living up to his “dirtiest player in the game” moniker by Pearl Harboring Rocky. Booker and DDP watch as Rock and Flair go at it; when Rock gets the upper hand and puts Flair on the mat, Booker and DDP swoop back in and attack both men, taking full control of the match. Heyman cheers on his potential new clients as they dominate Rock and Flair, connecting with punishing move after move … but the alliance disintegrates when DDP hits a Diamond Cutter on Flair and goes for the pin; Booker breaks up the count, and DDP and Booker get nose-to-nose. Rock rolls up the distracted Booker, but gets a two-count, and the fight is back on. Rock manages to make a comeback against Booker, and Flair reverses a second Diamond Cutter attempt to launch his comeback. The crowd eats up the stereo face comebacks, especially when Rock and Flair both go for leg submission moves (Flair a figure-four, and The Rock a Sharpshooter); when Rock and Flair notice their synchronicity, Rock nods, and both men give out a “Woo!”, then lock in their moves. Booker manages to escape by grabbing the ropes, but Rock doesn’t let up, hitting hard and fast, hitting punches and clotheslines and a belly-to-belly suplex. But a thumb to the eye stops Rock in his tracks, and Booker scores with a Book-End. Booker goes for the pin as Flair cranks back on the figure-four; the ref hesitates, waiting to see if Page will tap; Page tries to hold on, so the ref goes down for the count. When the ref’s hand hits for the third time, Page starts tapping. The ref signals for the bell; Booker is on his feet, hands in the air, while Flair releases the hold, one hand in the air in triumph. When the ring announcer proclaims Booker T the new champ, Flair’s eyes bug out, first in anger, then in horror. Flair gets up as Heyman crawls in the ring to celebrate the victory, stealing the belt from the timekeeper’s hands to present it to Booker himself. “On behalf of the Lunatic Fringe and myself,” proclaims Heyman, “allow me to be the first to congratulate you on your victory, and officially welcome you to-“
The words die in Heyman’s mouth as Booker’s hand wraps around Heyman’s throat. Booker tears the microphone out of Heyman’s hand. “I never said nothing bout joinin’ your group, Paul Heyman! Yo’ ass just got-“
DDP gets to his feet and lays a hand on Booker’s arm, shaking his head. “We may not like how Old Man Flair or The Crock got in on our business,” DDP says through deep breaths, “but the last thing we’d ever do is sell ourselves to a piece of scum like you!” Heyman stands slack-jawed, staring at Booker and DDP. When he tries to form a rebuttal, all he gets out are stammered consonants and vague vowel sounds. It is The Rock who clears the fog for Heyman; “If The Rock’s crystal clear on what he’s just heard, The Rock thinks they’re telling your fat, monkey ass to get the hell out of their ring!”
Heyman blinks a few times, still too surprised to form a word, until Flair takes the air from his lungs with a shot to the groin from behind. Booker and DDP grab Heyman on either side and deposit him on the arena floor with a rough toss through the ropes, much to the delight, and relief, of the fans. Rock and Flair offer handshakes to their opponents, but Booker and DDP, ever pragmatic and still bitter about the mere presence of their opponents, take their leave.
The ring announcer begins the announcement for the final “special main event” as the Hell On Earth cage descends and ring techs bring about wheelbarrows and boxes full of various objects and weaponry. In addition, Tommy Dreamer brings with him a shopping cart with even more implements, but even more horrific then what is supplied by the WWF: a metal rake, a ball peen hammer, spools of barbed wire, and an amorphous burlap sack that evokes memories of the Undertaker/Mankind Hell In A Cell or the Cactus Jack/Triple H Street Fight. But Dreamer has no confidence in the eyes, no steeled determination in the lines of his face; only the look of a man on his way to certain doom. Conversely, when Raven approaches the mammoth steel structure, he shows the same certainty of a sealed fate … but, for possibly the first time since a young Scott Levy descended into his inner darkness and emerged as the tormented Raven, an untouchable serenity surrounds him like an aura. When the ref signals for the bell, everyone holds their breath for all hell to break loose … but neither man make a move. Dreamer stands in his corner, knuckles white as he clinches the ropes, while Raven reclines in his corner, waiting like some patient Zen master. Finally, Dreamer steps into the abyss and makes the first attack, and the ballet of bloodshed gets underway. It is only minutes before weaponry is employed; first, a chair, which stops Dreamer’s onslaught for a few seconds. The Singapore cane, a snowshovel, a stop sign and a 2-by-4 all get brought into the mix, battering bodies, breaking bones and busting Raven and Dreamer wide open. Dreamer is the first one to taste the stinging pricks of the barbed wire cell, plunging chest-first onto the barbs when he leaps at Raven, who moves out of the way; Raven sinks the barbs in further with whacks to the back with a steel chair, drawing groans from the crowd. But the horror is only begun, as the two combatants proceed to drag everything within reach in their quest to destroy the other: tables, the barbed wire, the 2-by-4 lit on fire, and the hammer turn the match into a window upon Hell’s battlefield, the two combatants forever locked in a war that will only end with death. Dreamer draws a nine-count on Raven from a blow to the head with a steel chair wrapped in barbed wire, which puts the advantage firmly in Dreamer’s blood-soaked hands, but nothing he does will keep Raven on the mat. Dreamer goes so far as to use a cattle-prod (another of his hidden weapons brought to ringside in his cart) to try and electrocute Raven into unconsciousness, once while against the barbed wire of the cell wall. But Dreamer’s mistake comes when he tries to impale Raven with a rake; Raven dodges and hits Dreamer in the nuts, giving Raven the chance to come back. Raven brings the house on Dreamer, including a vicious Raven Effect on the barbed wire steel chair, but Dreamer answers the count. Finally, Raven opens the sack of thumbtacks, pouring them all over the barbed wire chair. Raven positions Dreamer on the turnbuckle, sitting down, then climbs up, puts him in a front headlock, and delivers a DDT from the turnbuckle onto the chair. Raven manages to get his feet at 8, but Dreamer is motionless in a rapidly growing pool of blood long past the match-winning 10-count. Paramedics carry both men out of the arena on stretchers to a rousing standing ovation to give the WWF a symbolic victory over one of the Fringe’s top men to close out the evening.
Nitro: Oct. 22nd
After a recap of Booker’s successful reclaiming of the WCW Title the night before, Nitro opens with a celebratory display of fireworks and the promise of a huge night for WCW, with Big Show facing off against Mike Awesome for the first crack at Booker T, Molly Holly versus Lita, and a WCW Tag Title defense by The Impact Players against surprise opponents.
But the music of The Rock cuts off the announcers, and the People’s Champ marches down to the ring. The crowd gives the former WCW Champion shows the same respect to The Rock as he had shown to WCW since winning the title with a standing ovation. Rock allows the crowd to get it out of their system, then speaks. “The Rock realizes this is Nitro, this is WCW, but The Rock just wants to make one thing perfectly clear before The Rock heads back to Smackdown this Thursday, and to do that, The Rock needs a few people to come to this ring. The Rock wants Booker T, The Rock wants Arn Anderson, woo!, Ric Flair, and The Rock especially wants Shane O’Mac himself in this very ring!”
Arn and Flair come out together and shake hands with Rock while they wait for the other two. Booker comes next, suspicious eyes regarding The Rock with a cautious loathing. Finally, after a few more seconds, Shane McMahon comes out to a standing ovation. Bashfully, Shane approaches the ring, shaking hands with his commissioner, his champion and his in-ring “general” before acknowledging The Rock. Rock and Shane eye each other for a few long, silent seconds before Rock speaks, firstly looking right at his rival, Booker T. “The Rock didn’t come out here to say how he deserves a shot at that belt, Booker. The Rock wants you to know that last night, you proved yourself the better man, and The Rock is letting that slide.” Rock looks at Arn and Flair. “The Rock doesn’t need to tell these people what kind of men Ric Flair and Arn Anderson are. The Rock just wants the two of you to know how honored The Rock felt to be in the ring with the Nature Boy, how honored The Rock was to represent WCW as its champion, even if some people didn’t want The Rock here.” Rock gets back to Shane. Rock removes his sunglasses. “You’ve done a good job, kid. Hell of a lot better then your daddy. The Rock … no, no no, I want to apologize for trespassing. You have my guarantee, you will never see The Rock in WCW again. And when The Rock gets back to Smackdown and the WWF, you have the word of The Rock that all those jabronis who wanna keep trying to lay the smack down on WCW, The Rock’s gonna lay the smack down on them like only The Rock can!” Shane nods, then a smile breaks out on his face; Shane extends a hand, and Rock accepts it. Rock again shakes hands with Flair and Arn, then extends a hand to Booker; Booker keeps one hand on the title slung over his shoulder, the other at his waist. Shane, Arn and Flair urge Booker to be the bigger man, but Booker regards them with the same contempt that he does Rock. Rock shrugs it off and gets in one last set of poses for the crowd before walking to the back for the final time at a WCW event.
Booker’s bad attitude gets him in more hot water with the administration when Arn approaches Booker about going to Smackdown as part of a summit between the WWF and WCW. Booker spits on the idea, and proceeds to launch into a tirade; “You forget bout the Bookerman and call in your buddy Ric when you need someone to beat Rocky,” he opines, “but you look my way when I beat The Rock? You must think I’m some kinda sucka!” Booker walks away after giving Arn the finger, leaving Arn’s plan in tatters.
Meanwhile, in the ring, Molly Holly steps into the ring with Lita, but quickly falls prey to Lita’s friends in The Impact Players, who feel no remorse about abusing Molly. The disgusting display of violence draws out Kronik, Sean O’Haire and Chuck Palumbo, who rescue Molly and drive off the Fringe contingent, but Molly takes away bruisesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Âboth physical and mentalÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Âfrom her encounter with the Extreme Diva.
Malenko defends his newly won United States Title against Billy Kidman in a blockbuster, high-flying encounter reminiscent of the Cruiserweight division. Malenko’s experience and technical skills prove too much for Kidman to get past, and Malenko ends up drawing the submission victory over Kidman with his Texas Cloverleaf. Afterwards, Kidman offers Malenko a handshake and a hug and introduces him to the crowd as the new, and rightful, WCW United States Champion. Malenko takes the microphone, choking up a bit over the “Dean-O” chants. When the crowd’s chanting subsides, Dean addresses the crowd. “I’ll never be able to tell you all how much that meant to me,” he says as he holds up the WWF Intercontinental Title, “just as I’ll never be able to express what it means to me to hold this title.” Malenko pauses, looking at the belt. “So many legends have worn this belt, and I am very proud to be among their company …” Malenko sighs. “But this is a WWF championship, and I am a WCW wrestler. It’s not right of me to claim a title from a company I no longer work for. That’s why I will be going to Smackdown alongside Arn Anderson to give the Intercontinental Title back to its proper owners.” Malenko’s selfless act is met with strong support from the crowd and WCW’s administration … but not so much with DDP, who tries to talk Malenko into keeping the belt to humiliate the WWF. When Malenko rebuffs DDP’s idea, DDP tries to intimidate the second-generation star. Malenko only has to direct his icy cold glare deep into DDP’s eyes to make his stance clear; DDP watches Malenko walk away, his lip snarled up, obviously seething.
Big Show and Awesome unload with the power moves in their battle to be the #1 contender, going at each other like two angry rams butting heads. The two mammoth athletes throw everything they have against one another, all the while Booker, Flair and Arn watching on monitors in the back. Awesome’s speed helps him take the advantage, and he presses it with high-impact aerial maneuvers and a hit-and-run mentality that leaves the bigger man dazed and confused. But the unexpected Diamond Cutter from DDP on Awesome alters the course of the match, and Show “earns” the title shot. Arn clinches his jaw and rubs his eyes in frustration, while Flair vents his by yelling and upending the monitor. Arn tries to calm Flair and remind him that, even if people dislike the leadership, they’re still playing for the WCW team, but Flair reminds Arn of how they came to get people like Molly, Big Show and Dean Malenko, and what a disgruntled employee can mean to a company … like Chris Jericho.
The Impact Players come out for their defense against a team of mystery opponents. Justin Credible gets on the mic and reminds everyone how they have beaten almost every combination of people in WCW, and that no one will unseat them as long they (or WCW) are around. But the music of Booker T and DDP kills the remaining words in Credible’s throat dead as can be. Booker and DDP overwhelm their stunned adversaries, dispatching of the loudmouth Credible in a few seconds, and drilling Lance Storm shortly thereafter … but neither man goes for the easy pinfall. Instead, Booker gets on the microphone as he keeps Credible from getting into the ring with kicks to the head, while DDP keeps up the pain on Storm. “Ya see, WCW is a well-oiled machine, and me, the Bookerman, the five-time, five-time, five-time, five-time, five-time WCW Champion, and Mr. Diamond Dallas Page, we the strongest pieces of the machine! WCW don’t need Ric Flair to win this war … WCW don’t need Dean Malenko or Mike Awesome to win this war … and WCW sure as hell don’t need no help from some sucka like The Rock! What WCW needs is a kick in the butt, and DDP and me are the guys to do it!”
Booker hands the microphone to DDP and goes to work on Storm. “Hey! Paul Heyman! How’s it feel to feel the bada-bing-bada-bang! We played you like a cheap fiddle, Paul Heyman. We used you, sucked you in and spit you out, and you fell for the whole thing! We’re the new face of WCW, Paulie; we ain’t like the scum in WWF … we take care of our business, and getting rid of you and the WWF is at the top of our to-do list!” DDP leans against the ropes and makes the come-here gesture with his finger to the camera. “C’mon, Paul. C’mon, WWF. If you want some, you don’t have to look very hard … I always deliver the most bang for your bu-“
DDP’s words cut off as a swarm of Fringe wrestlers break through the security detail around ringside and storm the ring, overtaking Booker and DDP like a tsunami. All the while, Heyman laughs maniacally at ringside as the entire Fringe dissect the WCW team and keep the rest of WCW at bay. “Ooh, big words, Page!” Heyman says in between cackles. “Big words, Booker! Did you think I was ignoring WCW? I’m sorry if I didn’t give you enough attention over the past few weeks. But I’m all ears now; what would you like to say?” Paul holds the microphone towards the ring mockingly. “You see, Booker, I don’t need the WCW Championship to run this two-bit dog-and-pony show into the goddamn ground! WCW lives only as long as I allow it to live … and since you just had to get my attention and royally piss me off last night … why, I think it’s time I snap my fingers and put this old horse out of its misery once and for all. I think it’s time I do what Vince McMahon couldn’t, and kill this piece of crap for good! Go ahead and have your precious little summit on Smackdown, Arn! I hope you’re picking out caskets, because I got news for you: come Survivor Series, there’s gonna be a funeral!“
Smackdown: Oct. 24th
The first Smackdown after No Mercy opens with Austin holding court with his allies and subordinates in their locker room. Tonight, Austin promises, the WWF will get rid of a weak link, and the loyalists will continue to root out the poison of Heyman and the WCW invaders on their way to restoring Vince McMahon’s One World vision. The plan for the evening includes a six-man tag with the APA and William Regal against the entire Dudley clan, Austin taking on Tazz and The Undertaker and Kane going after Rhyno and RVD. JR and Michael Cole update the fans on the condition of Raven and Tommy Dreamer, stating that they will both miss some time as they heal from their blood-soaked encounter, but, starting tonight, the WWF will regain the full-time presence of The Rock. Neither the announcers or Austin elaborate on the mysterious “summit” mentioned on Nitro, save to say it will occur; attendees and subject matter are shrouded in secrecy, even to the ranking WWF elite.
The teamwork of the Dudleys prove a better-then-expected match to the experience of The APA and Regal, casting a shadow of doubt on Austin’s vow to restore the WWF’s dignity. In the end, the match is thrown out when a chair shot from Spike on Bradshaw (which does no more damage then a rock would to an armored car) starts a chain reaction that draws out all six people into a crazy, audience-invading brawl. Authorities have to break apart the brawl and reestablish order. The unsatisfying no-contest helps neither side advance their campaign, but for the WWF, anything less then an advance is a loss.
Likewise, Austin’s match against Tazz ends up on providing more bitter fruit then sweet; Austin takes advantage of a biased WWF ref and the extreme rules atmosphere, but the Human Suplex Machine will not stay down for anything. Finally, Austin hits the Stunner, which sends Tazz out of the ring and onto the floor. Austin walks off, giving his double-fingered celebratory pose as he marches down the aisle, trash-talking with every step … until the referee declares Tazz the winner by forfeit. Austin storms back in the ring and argues with the ref, but the ref refuses to reverse the decision; Austin gives him a Stunner, hits another one on Tazz, and stomps off, still barking like a rabid dog, but no longer boasting like before.
Dean Malenko comes out, sans music or entrance video, dressed immaculately in a suit and tie, the Intercontinental belt carried proudly under his arm. When he gets to the ring, Regal almost sets a land-speed record in getting down the ramp and into the ring. Malenko offers a hand, but Regal sneers at it. “The faster I can rid this ring of your filth, you miserable little toerag, the better. Now hand over our property before I slap the white off your teeth!”
Malenko glares at Regal for a moment; for a half a heartbeat, Regal’s eyes burst open, wide as planets, his body tensing for the inevitable strike against him by the invader. Regal’s jaw drops when Malenko proffers the belt. Regal reaches for it timidly; when his fingertips touch the leather, he grasps it and reels it back in, as quick as a snake striking out of its hole. “Now then,” Regal says with a snarled lip, “remove yourself from my ring before I’m forced to throttle you back to that pathetic hog-sty you call a wrestling company.”
Malenko turns to walk, pauses, then turns back and gets right in Regal’s face; Regal’s eyes go wide again, his skin draining of color. “You haven’t seen the last of WCW tonight, William.” Malenko holds the moment for a bit longer, letting Regal sweat … then backs off and walks away, waving to the fans as he leaves.
The only bright spot for the loyalists comes in the form of ‘Taker & Kane’s match against Rhyno and RVD. Rhyno, still spent from the previous night’s epic encounter with Angle, is slower and shows the first real signs of vulnerability. But if there is a weak link to the Fringe team, it is RVD, who wrestles with a short temper and an obvious distraction: his humiliating double-loss the night before, which the crowd is all too eager to remind him with the rousing chant “You lost twice!” The distraction helps ‘Taker & Kane keep the Fringe team split, leading to a pinfall of RVD by ‘Taker. But Rhyno folds Kane in half with a ring-shaking Gore after the pin, and helps his partner out of the ring as Undertaker tends to his fallen brother.
The final segment of the evening begins with the announcer welcoming “WCW Commissioner Arn Anderson and associates” to the ring; “and associates” turn out to be Ric Flair, Dean Malenko, Big Show and Kronik. The loyal WWF crowd receives the WCW partisans with mixed emotion; on the one hand, the representatives have been the least vocal against the WWF. But they are still the enemy, and plenty of the crowd treats them as such. Nevertheless, Arn “and associates” show no disrespect when they get the microphone; “Shortly after No Mercy,” says Arn, “I was approached by representatives of the WWF who want to bring this conflict to a head. WCW has never been about attacking the WWF, or looking to kill the WWF; we believe there is enough room for healthy competition between two companies, as there was in the 90’s. So, with that in mind, we have come here to meet with these individuals, right here in front of the world, to settle the issue once and for all.” Arn lays the microphone on the table and awaits the arrival of his counterparts.
The WWF delegation arrives in groups: first, Edge & Christian, followed by The Hardys. Lastly, two men stride out onto stage together, a shocking sight all things considering: The Rock and Chris Jericho. The tension from their run-ins at and after SummerSlam is still evident, as they walk distantly and show little acknowledgement for one another. The crowd doesn’t care, though, and treats the returning Rock and the conquering rebel Jericho as royalty as they walk down the ramp. When they get to the ring, the players shake hands. Arn and Flair sit down on one side of the table, with Jericho and Rock on the other. “The WWF wants to end this useless, pathetic war,” says Jericho. “We have a common enemy in Paul Heyman, and we have a common purpose: putting on a great show for the fans. What-“
The sound of breaking glass interrupts the meeting, as Austin and his retinue rush the ring. Arn and Flair stand up, backing off as Austin, Regal, ‘Taker, Kane and the APA give them looks that, if they could kill, would put WCW in their graves 5 times over. But Austin passes right by WCW and gets in Jericho’s face. “Didn’t I whup your ass last night?” he barks. “Didn’t I shut your mouth good enough, or do you need a little more of ol’ Stone Cold?”
Jericho snickers, the first sign of emotion other then raw determination on his face in months. “Last I checked, Stevie-boy,” Jericho says, “the only one counting lights last night was the WWF’s big, bad hero Stone Cold.” The smile disappears from Jericho’s face as quick as it appeared, and the cold-blooded killing machine is back; the color in Austin’s face vanishes. “Now get your sorry, loser ass out of my ring before something bad happens. We’re busy keeping the WWF from being run into the ground by your stupid mistakes; we don’t need you compounding it.”
Austin eyeballs Jericho for a moment before looking at Rock. “And what the hell are you doin’ at this table, Rock? You belong over here with us. You’re a champion! You’re a leader!” Austin says the final sentence to Rock, but looks at Jericho. “You’re a real star!”
Malenko steps over to interject, but Flair holds him back. This gets Regal’s attention, who says with a devilish grin; “Does Dean need a keeper to handle his battles for him? Why don’t you run along home, like you did a couple years ago, and rid this industry of your existence?”
“Hey!” Flair yells. “Dean Malenko is a Horsemen! When you deal with one Horsemen, you deal with The Horsemen! You wanna try your crap with me, Lord Willie? Bring it on! Bring it on!”
Arn steps in the middle of them, trying to calm everyone down, but doesn’t see Regal rearing back for a sucker punch that connects with Arn’s jaw. Everyone in the ring freezes for a moment; Austin’s group braces for the inevitable brawl, Jericho’s bunch prepares to spring in as a mediator, and WCW gears up to launch the retaliatory strike. What no one expects is Kurt Angle to get in the middle of it all. “Hey, everybody, hold on a second! Wait a minute!” Angle takes a deep breath, his arms held up to keep everyone at bay. “It seems to me we all need to just back up and cool off before we go doing something stupid. I mean … c’mon … I’m wearing my Gold medals here, its not like I’m even ready to fight!” Almost everyone glares at Angle as if he were not a human but a six foot tall chicken. Angle shrugs, totally oblivious. “What? Listen, all I’m saying …” Angle turns to Flair and puts both hands out. “Mr. Flair … I think the WWF and WCW can come to terms-“
Austin grabs Angle by the shoulder and hauls him around. “Mister Flair? Ya see, this is the kind of crap that makes me sure I made the right decision. Ya walk to the ring with your silly sparklers and your stupid medals, and you dance around like a sissy boy, and you cry when you win … but last night, you lost. You couldn’t beat that punk Rhyno and get our belt back. And now you go and look at that old man and say ‘Mister’?” Angle tries to speak, but Austin gives Angle a small slap. Angle’s eyes go wide and, without thinking, he lunges, taking Austin to the mat. Immediately, Austin’s cohorts are on Angle, punching and kicking; WCW and Jericho’s group move into action, cutting through the Austin group to pry the two fighters apart. Before anyone can think twice, the brawl becomes a free-for-all, three groups all vying to drive the other out of the ring. Only the laughter of Heyman filling the arena stops them in their tracks. When he appears on the stage, he has a smile is a mile wide, and as phony as a 3 dollar bill. “Oh, po’ babies, why are you fighting?” he says mockingly. “Are we not getting a-wong? Did someone take your toys?” More mad laughter, thorugh which heyman tries to get off a few words. “The thing is … it’s just …” Heyman stops to let his laughing jag finish. “The thing is, it’s almost not even fun anymore to knock you guys around! You’re so pathetic, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel … with a cannon! So, seeing as how all of you seem intent on … how did you put it, Arn? … ‘bringing this to a head’ … why don’t we all get together and hash this out at Survivor Series, so we can get rid of the both of you in one night? That sound fair? The Fringe versus WCW versus WWF … that is, if the WWF can pick three people without tearing each other’s throats out!”
Nitro: Oct. 29th
In addition to the Booker/Big Show WCW Title match, and a grudge match between DDP and Flair, Mike Tenay and Scott Hudson announce two huge No Mercy rematches: Awesome versus Tazz (no disqualifications) and Malenko defending the US Title against RVD.
Arn walks to the ring, his head down, sporting a nice shiner from the cheap shot from Regal the previous week. The partisan crowd welcomes the returning leaders with open arms. “Sometimes, in life, a man has to walk a road he doesn’t wanna walk,” begins Arn. “And usually, that road leads to a place the man doesn’t wanna go. Last Thursday, I began that walk. I don’t know where this road will lead, because it’s a gamble.” Arn takes a deep breath and sighs; he looks into the crowd for reassurance, but nothing seems to lift the obvious weight off his shoulders. “This past weekend, negotiations for a final confrontation between WCW, the WWF and Paul Heyman’s group were finalized; Survivor Series will see the three companies battle it out inside the confines of the WarGames cage.” The crowd lights up at the mention of the beloved, classic WCW match; Arn, though, tries to shush the crowd. “Please, please, quiet down. The importance of victory in this is not for bragging rights, and this is the gamble I spoke of, because the winner …” Arn sighs again; when he speaks, he isn’t even able to look up at the crowd. “I have agreed to gamble the existence of WCW on the outcome of this match.” An audible gasp rips through the arena; the announcers can barely form complete words. “If WCW wins, our future will be assured, and WWF will abide to a peaceful co-existence truce. If we should fall, though, to either of our opponents, WCW will be abolished. After the three sides have had a week to decide on the three wrestlers they will choose to send into WarGames, we will sign the contract here, live on Nitro, next Monday. I am confident our boys will be able to bring home the victory, and keep this comp-“
Booker T’s music drowns out Arn’s emotional words. The champ, belt over his shoulder, walks to the ring with a look of disgust on his face. He skips posing for the crowd and gets right to business. “Peaceful co-existence? You mean you got the enemy in a corner, and you gonna let him walk? You Arn Anderson, a Four Horseman! When your enemy is down, you don’t let him get up and walk, you kick his butt!”
“We’re not looking to kill them off, Booker. We started WCW with the intention of peaceful competition, and we’re gonna keep it that way.”
“To hell with that! WWF is tryin’ to kill this company! Paul Heyman is trying to kill both us and WWF! And you wanna let WWF live? The hell is wrong with you?”
Arn steps toward Booker, getting right in his face. Arn taps the belt with a finger, then points at Booker; “Just cause you hold this doesn’t make you the boss, Booker. I speak for Shane McMahon on this. You only speak for yourself.”
Booker and Arn lock eyes for a few silent seconds, neither budging so much as an eyelash. Booker finally breaks the moment, nodding slightly. “Maybe you right. But we’ll see come next Monday, boss.” Booker leaves Arn before he can respond, the words hanging in the air like a threat.
As RVD makes his way to the ring, it is announced that he will also be on the Fringe team in WarGames. But Arn makes sure to spoil RVD’s good spirits by announcing that, since the US Title is no longer in possession of the Fringe, it will be defended under traditional WCW rules. The restraints on RVD’s extreme style visibly infuriate the already agitated “Mr. PPV”, and the emotions cause much distraction when he squares off against Malenko. RVD tries to channel his anger and embarrassment into retaking the US Title, but Malenko is able to take advantage of RVD’s short-sightedness and mistakes, and gets a pinfall victory over RVD. RVD flips out after the loss, attacking the referee and vowing to all listening that he will deliver the winning pinfall and prove himself as “Mr. PPV” at Survivor Series.
The Fringe manage to extract some revenge with a ambush of Kronik in the parking garage, led by the Impact Players, that cancels a scheduled #1 contender’s match between Kronik and the Natural Born Thrillers. With an empty slot in the schedule, Arn sticks the IP in the match, with a unique twist: the IP will represent Kronik and the #1 contendership stipulation will continue. The stipulation puts the IP in a strange position of not wanting to lose the match and look weak (and having to face the explosive NBT), but not wanting to win and earn a title shot for Kronik either. A few Fringe members act as bait for more of the NBT to come to O’Haire’s & Palumbo’s aid, and the resulting melee draws a no-contest.
WCW’s luck turns for the better with Awesome’s rematch against Tazz, as the former WWF Champ finds his black-sheep status wearing away with several of WCW’s wrestlers coming out to shield the ring from Fringe interference. Without the Fringe sticking their nose in the match, Awesome finds it easier to fight against Tazz’s arsenal of suplexes and submission maneuvers. Awesome polishes off Tazz with an Awesome Bomb for a clean pinfall. Afterwards, Awesome vows to do WCW proud at Survivor Series, whatever his role may be, and promises to get even with DDP.
Before his match with DDP, Flair grabs the microphone for a few excited words. “Last week, I was at Smackdown, and what happened? The Nature Boy got in a fight with the WWF Commissioner, William Regal!” The crowd boos at mere mention of the WWF’s crooked Commissioner. “Big Willie! Lord Regal! Woo! Walkin’ around in a cheap suit from K-Mart, wishing you could be half as cool as The Nature Boy! Woo! Buddy-boy, there’s a reason WCW dumped you; you don’t got what it takes to walk in the footsteps of the greats! You gotta suck up to others, and then …” Flair’s voice drops suddenly, getting cold and lethal. “And then, you gotta take a cheap shot at a retired man, my best friend, Arn Anderson. The WCW Commissioner, and a better man then you could ever dream of.” Just as quick, Flair’s blood starts to run again, his face turning red all over again. “You wanna fight, Slick Willie? You wanna beat up on an old man? Beat on me! Beat on me! Come try and do what everybody who’s anybody in this business has tried to do for the past twenty years, come try to stop The Nature Boy Ric Flair! Everybody who’s anybody has stepped through them ropes has faced me, and you know where they are? They ain’t here, and they ain’t Ric Flair, 16-times World’s Champion! To be the man, you gotta beat the man … nobody’s been able to beat me, yet, Slick Willie, and you ain’t gonna be the first! Woo!” Flair’s exuberance carries over into the match, giving DDP more to handle then he expects. DDP has to bail from the ring and slide back in to get Flair off his game plan and take the advantage in the match, but Flair makes DDP earn every inch of offense he gets in. When Flair is able to retake the advantage and gets the figure-four, DDP tries his best to fight it off, but Flair keeps the pressure on hard enough to prevent a counter or a legitimate escape. Three times, DDP falls back onto his shoulders and is almost counted down; finally, DDP sits up and blatantly strikes Flair in the crotch. The ref calls for a DQ as Flair loosens the hold, clutching at his aching groin. DDP stumbles away, too concerned with the pain wracking his body to bother caring about the announcer calling Flair the winner … or Mike Awesome coming up from behind and laying him out in the aisle. Awesome throws DDP around until Flair tells him to lay off; Awesome lets DDP drop to the ground and backs off, but not without a warning to catch up to DDP on another day.
Booker’s defense against Big Show finishes the evening, and proves to be as big a challenge as the man himself. Booker has to adjust his plan of attack to combat Big Show’s size and raw strength. Booker finds the challenge of Show more then he expects, and resorts to a low blow to fell his massive opponent for a three-count. The crowd, seeing Booker’s more blatant, whatever-it-takes methods coming out, give the announcement of his victory a rousing boo that startles the five-time WCW Champion. Booker gets on the microphone and excoriates the audience. The audience’s boos turn to cheers when Big Show stands up, surprises Booker and hits a ring-shaking choke-slam. The crowd goes nuts for Show driving Booker into the mat, so crazy they don’t initially hear Arn come out. “Excuse me, ladies and gentlemen.” The crowd gives Arn a courtesy applause, then quiets down for him; Show leans on the ropes that look up the aisle. “I thought now would be a good time to let everyone know who has selected to represent WCW in the WarGames match. Shane McMahon and I have discussed the issue in depth, listened to a number of wrestlers petition and offer their services, and have selected the people we feel would be best suited for this endeavor. Team WCW will consist of Diamond Dallas Page … Booker T … and the Big Show!” Big Show’s eyes narrow to slits; he turns and looks at Booker, stirring on the mat, unaware that his future entails partnering with a man he just robbed of rightful shot at the WCW Title. Show grins as Arn says; “Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you your winners of WarGames 2001, Team WCW!”
Smackdown: Nov. 1st
A taped announcement from the office of William Regal opens Smackdown. “Good evening, World Wrestling Federation fans. Tonight, the WWF will make two announcements: one concerning the Intercontinental Title, and one to introduce the three-man team that will represent WWF in the WarGames match at Survivor Series and destroy both the WCW and the ruffians in the Lunatic Fringe. The choices were given careful consideration, and it is the hope of everyone in the WWF that the announcement of our three choices will bring to an end the bickering and in-fighting that has come up due to the actions of a few bad apples.” Regal takes a deep breath, a malevolent sneer spreading across his lips. “And, on a personal note, to Mr. Flair, I notice that your company has chosen not to send you into WarGames. I find this most telling of your status in the company. With the destruction of WCW a mere two and a half weeks away, might I offer you a position in my administration? I’m always in need of a good gopher!”
Smackdown gets underway with a #1 contender’s match for the WWF Tag Titles, pitting the Hardys against the APA. All three Dudleys take up residence at the announcers’ table to watch as the Hardys, out-weighed and out-powered by a fair bit, use stick-and-move offense and seamless teamwork to blindside the APA. Straight power wrestling (and downright cheating) put the APA back on the offensive, but Faarooq’s arrogance that the outcome is assured leads to a Matt Hardy comeback. The Hardys dismantle the APA’s attack, isolating Bradshaw long enough for Jeff to get the pin with the Swanton Bomb. The Dudleys give their congratulations to the victors, as well as condolences to the losers, by ambushing them and putting Jeff and Bradshaw through tables.
Austin meets with Undertaker in the locker room to tell ‘Taker he has it on good authority that the WWF’s team will be himself, Undertaker and Kane. Undertaker, preparing for a match with Kurt Angle later on, likes what he hears … but Jericho, having overheard it in the doorway, comes in and begs to differ with the supposed team selection. Jericho points out the laundry list of failures from Austin, Undertaker and Kane in high-stakes matches over the past several months, and their leadership having helped spark the schism in the roster. Austin ignores it and dares Jericho to keep running his mouth when it’s two-on-one; Undertaker steps in and suggests turning the main event into a tag match so they can show Jericho who deserves to be in WarGames and who deserves to watch from home.
The schism rears its ugly head even more so when Edge inquires about the fate of the Intercontinental Title. Regal tells Edge he has plans already in place to fill the vacancy: an 8-man tournament, with X-Pac facing Hardcore Holly, Crash Holly facing Test, Raven facing himself, and Kane facing Albert. Edge reminds Regal of his status as the last IC Champion before RVD won the belt, and asks if he will get any consideration in this. Regal, doing a lousy job at expressing sorrow, tells Edge the tournament is already set to begin with two of the opening round matches tonight. Edge comes around the desk and shoves Regal into the wall, threatening to ruin every single match in the tournament unless he gets what is rightfully his … and, if that won’t do it, a trip to Linda McMahon’s office will follow. Regal acquiesces, putting Edge in Albert’s spot against Kane … and making it no disqualifications, and happening immediately.
Kane quickly adapts to the new rules, throwing Edge around like a dodge ball, and pounding on him with everything he can find that isn’t nailed down. But Edge refuses to stay down, and drops Kane with a blatant, but legal, low blow. Edge seizes the opening and takes Kane down with fast-paced offense and his knowledge of chairs. Regal watches from the stage in horror as an implant DDT on the chair puts Kane down and out for the three-count, putting Edge in the second round to take on Test, who downs Crash Holly in under two minutes.
The distrust between Angle and Jericho is almost palpable as they make their way to the ring for their match against Undertaker and Austin. For the first time since his metamorphosis, Jericho looks rattled and weak in the ring, his focus split between fighting Austin and Undertaker and waiting to see if the other shoe will drop with Angle. Angle exonerates himself tremendously, coming to Jericho’s aid when needed, and attacking his former comrades with the aggression of a pit bull. When Angle gets the tag, he cleans house with suplexes and surprisingly strong brawling skills, until Austin stops him with a thumb to the eyes. Regal comes down to the ring with the still-dazed-from-his-loss Kane to witness Angle being punished for his “transgressions”, but miraculously, Angle fights back and lays out Austin long enough to get the tag. Regal distracts the referee while Kane tries to interfere, but The Rock rushes down to ringside and throws Kane into the steel steps while Jericho overwhelms Undertaker with a strong second wind and a bottomless well of rage. Austin interrupts the pinfall attempt, which draws in Angle, who takes Austin to the outside, leaving Jericho alone with ‘Taker. A low blow leads to an attempt at the Last Ride, but Jericho punches out of the finisher, hits the Lionsault, and gets the three. Jericho grabs a microphone and, through gasps for air, stands over ‘Taker and says; “Now who deserves to be in the cage?”
Suddenly, Jericho collapses forward, a victim of a vicious assault from behind by Rhyno. Tazz and RVD use chairs to drop everyone, while Rhyno concentrates on punishing Jericho with a series of devastating piledrivers before finishing with a Gore that hits so hard, Jericho starts coughing up blood. Heyman strolls down the ramp, putting an arm around Regal’s shoulders and says with the biggest crocodile smile he can muster; “In case you couldn’t guess, that’s team … and, oh, look! They’re beating the living hell out of both of your teams!” Heyman straightens Regal’s tie, gives him a couple obnoxious but soft slaps to the cheek and says; “I guess, come Survivor Series, I’ll be the one getting a new gopher! See ya at Nitro, Willie!” Heyman laughs as he leads his team away from the ring, leaving six broken men strewn about the ringside area.