The SmarK Retro Rant for WWF Summerslam 2001
– So this is a “tandem rant” with fellow IP writer Michael Fitzgerald, and we’re gonna alternate matches and exchange comments after each one. Normally I don’t do that kind of thing, but I’ve got books to promote so I’ll happily whore myself out in the name of getting you to buy them! And speaking of which, you can still buy my last book, Wrestling’s Made Men, on Amazon, to prep you for the new one in November of 2008. It’s not only a month-by-month history and analysis of the WWE from 2002-2005, but contains hidden gems like DVD reviews of The Scorpion King and The Rundown, as well as never-before-seen bonus rants for No Way Out 2004 and Vengeance 2005! Rants you can’t just read online like common, non-paying readers! Michael?
– I would just like to thank Scott for whoring himself out to give me the rub here and I promise to be nothing but a considerate and loving sugar daddy. I would also be remiss not to plug my band which you can find at www.myspace.com/theviaductband
Oh and buy Scott’s book and such, if you don’t Scott will beat me
– Live from San Jose, CA
– Your hosts are Jim Ross & Paul Heyman
Intercontinental title: Lance Storm v. Edge
Scott: God, I’d totally forgotten about Storm’s IC title reign. It’s also kind of funny thinking of the days when Edge was a smiling babyface. Storm complains about offbeat shenangians in his pre-match promo, but sadly gets cut off by Edge. I wanted to hear his reasoning! I should note that Edge looks WAY more cut up back then than he does now. Not that I’m accusing him of anything. They fight over a lockup and Storm grabs a headlock, but Edge faceplants him and dropkicks him to the floor. They brawl on the floor and Edge heads up with a high cross when they get back in, and that gets two. Storm comes back and suplexes Edge onto the top rope and sends him back to the floor again. Back in, Storm stomps him down, but Edge comes back with a rollup for two. Lance takes him down with a gourdbuster for two and drops some knees on the midsection to work on that, which gets two. Not sure where he’s going with this yet. Edge fights back, but whiffs on a dropkick, then recovers with a small package for two. Storm takes him down for two, but Edge fights back again. Storm blocks a crucifix attempt with a Regal Roll, and that gets two. We hit the chinlock as I guess Storm is working on the general area of the back, and a senton splash gets two. He goes to the abdominal stretch, so I guess it’s just general torso psychology tonight. Storm tries to go up and gets powerslammed as a result, and we do the double knockout before Edge makes his comeback. Backdrop and leg lariat gets two. They reverse into the Edge-O-Matic, which gets two. Storm tries a rana, but Edge counters with a powerbomb for two. Storm manages to roll into the Canadian Maple Leaf (half crab), but Edge powers himself into the ropes and then reverses to his own. The ref gets bumped and Christian runs in, but hits his own brother and Storm gets two. Storm tries to finish with the superkick, but Edge catches it and finishes with the Impaler DDT at 11:18. Not a bad opener, but certainly not as good as I originally rated it. The psychology was all over the place but it had a good pace and some nice reversals. ***
Michael: Can’t say I have much to disagree with here with Scott. Everything in this match is solid but there’s nothing that really carries it in 4* territory. I’ll go with Scott here and say *** because it did a good job of firing up the crowd but didn’t do anything ground breaking.
Just for the sake of it I’ll be doing the backstage stuff here because some of it is quite humorous.
Dudleyz and Test are backstage. Test gives an interview about how he’s angry about the WWF and calls Michael Cole a bitch which amuses me greatly.
Meanwhile, Chris Jericho cuts a promo and says mean things about Stephanie McMahon, suggesting such things like her sleeping with everyone in her high school!
The Dudley Boyz and Test Vs APA and Spike w/ Molly Holly
Michael: When Spike debuted in the WWF and was allied with the Dudleyz it was a big shock for me because I’d been fed on a steady diet of them hating each other in ECW for 4 years previous. Of course they turned on him eventually but Spike ended up being an excellent little conniving heel so maybe they missed the boat during this period? Dudleyz get a quick double team move on Faarooq to start and work him over. Test comes in and slugs away with his usual but Faarooq fights back and tags in future world champion Bradshaw, which would have caused me to call you a filthy liar if you’d said it at the time, and he does some slugging. Get used to reading “slug” and “slugging” because I think I may be saying it a lot in this here wrasslin contest. Spike eventually comes in and you all can guess where that leads in advance. Spike gets beaten on in the ring by Test while the Dudleyz set a table up on the outside but Spike is able to avoid being tableised. Spike gets nearly 3 seconds on air time on a double flapjack but dodges a D-von splash and tags in Bradshaw who does some slugging like a good hoss should do. This was before JR had invented the term “Smash Mouth” I believe. Bradshaw flattens Test with a Slug Fest of a Powerbomb but Bubba makes the save at two. Spike gets sent through the table by Test and in the ensuing chaos Shane McMahon runs in and nails Bradshaw with a chair allowing for Test to make the pin.
WINNERS – DUDLEY BOYZ AND TEST
Time – 7:19
*1/2 – Just your regular 6 man match with an incredibly screwy ending. You’d think a better way to get Test over would be for him to just pin Bradshaw clean in dominating fashion rather than needing Shane’s help but I guess that’s why the WWE never return my calls. At least all 6 guys are better than Mark Henry.
Scott: I don’t even remember this match, but I called it “pretty decent” in the original rant.
Backstage Edge is celebrating and with Matt Hardy and Lita, isn’t foreshadowing a kicker? Anyway Edge’s granny calls and she’s congratulates him but doesn’t want to talk to Christian. Ouch
Meanwhile Shawn Stasiak tells Debra that his tights are a bad luck charm because they have mecca on the back “I don’t even know what Mecca means!” Debra tells him to beat someone up so Shawn diligently toddles off to do that.
Cruiserweight v. Light Heavyweight title: X-Pac v. Tajiri
So Tajiri had the WWF belt and X-Pac had the WCW belt, despite them representing the opposite brands at this point. X-Pac was busy dragging both Justin Credible and Albert down with him via his “X Factor” stable. X-Pac takes Tajiri down with an armdrag while Jim Ross reminds people to call and harass DirectTV about not carrying WWF PPVs any longer. Boy, that was a one-sided fight, as it turned out. They trade takedowns and smack each other around, then X-Pac flips out of a hiptoss attempt before Tajiri dumps him and follows with a baseball slide. A nice plancha follows and they brawl on the floor, but Tajiri meets the post nut-first. Even his puffy pants couldn’t save him there. Back in, Tajiri tries flipping in, but X-Pac hits him with a spinkick to set up a bow-and-arrow. That results in X-Pac’s shoulders being down, so it gets two for Tajiri. Tajiri tries a rana, which is countered to a powerbomb for two. X-Pac misses the Bronco Buster and gets hung in the Tree of Woe, and Tajiri dropkicks him and makes the comeback. Handspring elbow gets two. Tarantula and he goes up with a high cross, but X-Pac rolls through for two. They fight in the corner and Tajiri gets a weird pinning combo for two, then catapults him in to the corner and into a german suplex for two. Tajiri goes to the apron and gets kicked to the floor as a result, and X-Pac follows with a somersault tope, actually showing some motivation tonight. Must have had the good shit delivered to him. Back in, the X-Factor gets two. Albert wanders out for moral support as Tajiri escapes a powerbomb, but Tajiri stops to spray the deadly RED MIST OF DEATH at Albert, allowing X-Pac to finish with another X-Factor at 7:23. Short but full of cool highspots and an energetic Sean Waltman. *** X-Pac had both belts as a result, although the WWF one, in a move very unlike the organization, would be jettisoned in favour of the WCW Cruiserweight title instead.
Michael: This was a fine slice of Cruiserweight action with oodles of cool spots and moves. It was much better than I ever remembered it being and if it wasn’t for the crappy ending I’d have happily given it ***1/2. as a result I’m going to deduct the other Ã‚Â½* as give the same rating as Scott.
Perry Saturn is at WWF New York and he’s looking for Moppy. Let’s just move on and try to forget this ever happened
Stephanie, wearing a ludicrously tight black outfit, tries to hype Rhyno up.
Rhyno w/ Stephanie McMahon Vs Chris Jericho
Michael: Heyman gets a great line saying he hates Jericho because he’s loud mouth and obnoxious. Maybe he’s one of them self hating Jews? Let’s get him Mordecai! Ah when in doubt give a Family Guy quote. Jericho and Rhyno trade right hands to start and that leads to some leap frogging. Jericho unleashes some chops and follows with a spinning wheel kick for two. Jericho goes for The Walls early but Rhyno makes the ropes. Jericho sends Rhyno outside but Stephanie provides a distraction allowing Rhyno to recover on the outside. Jericho kicks Stephanie away and tries a cross body off the top to Rhyno on the outside but Rhyno catches him with a GORE in a neat little spot. Rhyno gets two back inside and then drops Jericho ribs first on the top rope. Stephanie gets the mother of all slaps on Jericho and Rhyno then locks him in a body scissors. Rhyno then gets an airplane spin making it two 1970’s finishers that Jericho has survived, he’s not a human gosh darn it!
Rhyno keeps bringing the rest holds as all Man Beasts know how to apply a chin lock. Jericho fights back and gets a desperation roll up for two. Rhyno nails a vertical suplex and heads up top for a splash but Jericho moves and there’s no water in the pool. Double clothesline sends both men down for the 10 count but they get up at 9. Backslide gets two for Jericho. More chops for Rhyno but Jericho semi screws up a Lion Sault but they recover nicely enough. Missile Dropkick but Stephanie is distracting the ref so Jericho plants the lip lock of intense ferocity to stop that. Jericho gets two from a Lion Sault as Stephanie dry heaves. Rhyno gets a Spine Buster and applies The Walls of Rhyno but Jericho makes the ropes. GORE, GORE, GORE misses and Jericho is able to slap on The Walls of Jericho and Rhyno uncles to Stephanie’s dismay.
WINNER – CHRIS JERICHO
Time – 12:34
*** – Match was very good in places but Rhyno slowed it down a lot with rest holds. Rhyno has great intensity and great execution with moves but when it comes to a general flow of a match he can be quite dull. Still, both men worked hard and I enjoyed it.
Scott: I also enjoyed the effort and this holds up well, in the days before Rhyno stopped giving a crap.
Now humour abounds as The Rock and William Regal have a talk backstage during which Shawn Stasiak runs in to attack but they both calmly side step him sending him face first into the wall. They then resume their conversation like nothing happened, hilarious!
WWF Hardcore title, ladder match: Jeff Hardy v. Rob Van Dam
Scott: This is a rematch from Invasion 2001, which basically unleashed RVD on the world. They do some mat-wrestling to start, but who are we kidding here? They slug it out and Rob blocks a rollup, but stops to pose and gets hiptossed to the floor. Jeff follows with a corkscrew quebrada and they brawl on the floor. Rob hits the post, but Jeff tries to follow with a dive and hits the railing instead. So I’d call it even. Rob guillotines him on the railing, but Jeff comes back and runs the railing to keep Rob from fetching the ladder. Jeff tries to bring the ladder into the ring, but Rob catapults it into his face, and then Jeff returns the favour. Both spots were pretty contrived.
Jeff springboards back in with a moonsault and follows with his double legdrop thing, but runs into an elbow in the corner. RVD hangs him in the Tree of Woe and backflips into a shoulderblock. See, now there the flip makes sense, because it builds momentum for the strike by allowing him to spring off his legs. He puts Jeff on the ladder and hits him with Rolling Thunder onto it, back when that was a new move for WWF audiences. Jeff fights up, but Rob spinkicks him and then puts him on the ladder again with a superkick and springs over the top with a legdrop. He takes a breather on the floor, but Jeff dropkicks the ladder into his face and tries to climb for the first time. Rob dropkicks him off the ladder to break it up.
He puts the ladder onto Hardy and moonsaults it, which is one of those spots where it can’t do enough damage to the other guy to justify the damage to yourself, but that’s wrestling for ya. Rob climbs and Jeff gives him a receipt on the dropkick, so now they’re even again. Jeff DDTs RVD and heads up, with nary a ladder in sight, but he misses the swanton and Rob then pops up and misses the frog splash. Talk about your 50/50 booking. Jeff is the least injured so he climbs, and Rob follows him up and brings him down with a suplex. So now Rob climbs and it’s Jeff’s turn to bring him down, in this case with a powerbomb. And people watch them taking flat back bumps like that and wonder why wrestlers get addicted to painkillers? Jeff climbs and grabs the belt, but Rob removes the ladder, leaving Hardy swinging in the proverbial wind. Rob tries a spectacular spot where he spinkicks him off the belt, but misses and it just looks silly. Jeff falls down anyway, so mission accomplished, if indirectly. Jeff climbs again, but Rob is on it and pushes the ladder over, and this time Jeff can’t stop him from reaching the title at 16:33. The finish was less than inspiring, but the bumps were sick and it turned RVD into a star, so good on them. ***1/2
Michael: One very obvious thing about this ladder match was that it wasn’t as spectacular as other ladder matches with big falls off ladders replaced with moves whereby the ladder is a weapon as opposed to something to jump off. And I appreciated the change in tempo from other ladder matches and considering the fact that the WWF had about a million ladder matches in 2001 it was a refreshing change to the formula. As a result, I’m going to go higher than Scott and give this one **** because there were some pretty intricate spots using the ladder as weapon and it still retained some of the big spots we’re accustomed to in ladder matches.
Booker T and Shane McMahon have a mutual love session.
Kane and Undertaker are walking backstage with a moose, whoops sorry that’s Undertaker’s wife! I kid, I kid, I work, I work
Tag Team Title Unification Cage Match
(WWF Champs) Kanyon and DDP Vs (WCW Champs) Undertaker and Kane w/ Sara
Michael: This was during the whole wretched storyline where DDP was stalking Undertakers wife. It worked originally as DDP was doing it just to get notoriety but then they started making out that DDP was romantically interested in Sara even though he was married to Kimberly. Kanyon was also US Champion here. Sara does the old Marie trick from Everybody Loves Raymond and stuffs the keys to the cage down her bra. In fact Sara sort of reminds me of Marie Barone with her leather like 60 year old skin, anyhoo there’s a match going on here, it’s not a competitive one but it’s a match none the less. Undertaker and Kane absolutely destroy Kanyon and DDP here with minimal difficulty. It’s sort of like when you fight someone on Very Easy on No Mercy. I suppose this would be okay as a blow off if every other match in the feud involving these guys hadn’t been the same one sided beating. Kanyon and DDP get some desperation moves in retaliation and try to escape but the Brothers sit up in stereo. Undertaker tells Kane to let Kanyon go so DDP is all alone and Kanyon smartly gets out of dodge. Undertaker finds a chain from somewhere, as you do and DDP gets summarily destroyed and pinned giving Taker and Kane the belts.
WINNERS – UNDERTAKER AND PLOPPY
Time – 10:13
Ã‚Â½* – Not my favourite match ever. Things would get even worse for DDP as he would eventually be pinned by Sara soon after this. So yes THIS wasn’t even the blow off in this feud as Undertaker just HAD to beat DDP up some more just to make sure he killed his character. This match wasn’t even good as in a “watch the heels gets killed” sort of way it was just boring and the continuation of a terrible, terrible storyline that I’d prefer to forget.
Scott: What he said. Total disaster of epic proportions, as Undertaker nearly single-handedly killed their biggest angle ever. Had DDP been allowed to look strong, they’d still be making millions off the WCW name.
More Stasiak hilarity as he again fails to attack The Rock
WWF World title: Steve Austin v. Kurt Angle
Scott: Ah, for the days when Angle wasn’t a bloated freak. Austin had of course just betrayed the WWF and joined the Alliance, in vain hopes of salvaging his horrible heel turn. Really, casting Austin as the Bad Guy and Angle as the All-American Boy was the wrong thing for both guys, when each worked better on the other side of the fence. Luckily for the booking team, September 11 came along and gave them a need for an American hero. It was of course unlucky for everyone else in the world, but the point still stands. Big brawl to start and Angle takes him down in the ring and pounds away in the corner, but Austin fires back with chops. Angle gets a clothesline out of the corner and follows with a bodypress for two, but puts his head down and gets clobbered. Austin stomps him down, but Angle quickly grabs the anklelock, forcing Austin to make the ropes. They head out and Austin wins a quick brawl, but Angle is game for a slugfest in the ring. Austin dumps him to end that.
Back in, Austin gets a pair of suplexes, and a third one gets two. Angle fires back with the rolling germans, and he manages seven of them, but Austin goes to the eyes to block the Angle Slam. Austin puts Angle on top, but his superplex attempt is blocked, and he has to fight his way back up and get it on the second attempt. I love it when guys have to fight for a move like that, because it adds a touch of realism to a move that’s so fundamentally ridiculous if you stop and think about the cooperation needed to pull it off. KICK WHAM STUNNER gets two, and then a second one actually sends Angle flying out of the ring. Austin sends him SQUARE into the post, and if that isn’t a cue for blood I don’t know what is. And then again for good measure, because Austin is a bastard. And a third one, just so Angle knows who’s boss. Angle’s cartoonish, flat back sell of each one is awesome stuff. Austin gives him two more, although the sixth one is more of a blow to the shoulder, and sure enough Angle is bleeding.
Austin, his facial expressions showing why he was the best wrestler in the world for so long, slugs on the cut with glee, and gets two back in the ring. Back to the floor and Angle gets a seventh trip to the post. You know, I don’t recall anyone else doing that kind of spot, where you punish a guy with multiple postings like that. Someone should steal it, because I totally forgot about it until watching it again now. Austin continues the beating, suplexing him into the crowd, but Angle snaps and anklelocks him on the floor. That’s just silly, but Angle is a smart guy and he drags Austin back in and does it again, forcing Austin to make the ropes. Austin bails, so now Angle goes on the offensive and hits him with a belly to belly suplex on the floor and then follows with a backdrop suplex. Back in, the Anglesault gets two. Austin tries a tilt-a-whirl and Angle escapes, so Austin changes gears and hooks the Million Dollar Dream, which JR makes sure to call the cobra clutch instead because Ted Dibiase was persona non grata with WWE at that point. Angle does the Bret Hart reversal for two, but it’s 5 years later and Austin knows better, and he hangs on. I don’t know if that was intentional, but that’s how I interpreted it. And it’s my review, so nyah.
Angle dumps him to escape, but Austin (still selling the ankle) sneaks back in with malice and it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER for two. Austin’s evil expressions just make the match. Angle is a fabulous worker and talker, but Austin is on another planet when it comes to the little touches. Angle pulls himself up and Austin gives him the disdainful glare, which Angle uses as a chance for the Angle Slam. That gets two. Another anklelock try, but Austin was already in the ropes and he escapes. Ref is bumped and Angle DDTs Austin, which brings out another ref for the count. That gets two. Austin goes low on Angle and the new ref gets in his face, and you can guess what happens to him. A third ref comes in to prevent Austin from using the belt, but Steve beats on him like he was his wife or something. Angle Slam, but Evil Ref Nick Patrick runs in to finish off the three-ring circus of refs and disqualifies Steve Austin at 22:37. Angle’s great, but this was the Steve Austin Show, as he carried everything on two legs to match of the year candidates in 2001, including HHH, the Rock and then of course Angle. ****1/2 If this was a one-off thing then the DQ would piss me off more than it did, but Angle went over clean at Unforgiven so no biggie. My friend Ed Koskey later complained to me that Austin changed the booking around, altering the original plans of Angle beating on him so badly that he needed to get himself disqualified, but I think this way made for a better match anyway so I can understand both sides of the argument.
Michael: This is still a tremendous match with an absolutely awful finish but it effectively built to Angle’s eventual victory and title win so I can life with it. The action was much more intense than the usual main events during this time period thanks in a large part to Angle’s awesome selling and Austin’s fantastic heel act. It was turning into a Japan match at the end though with Angle kicking out of all the Stunners. I think ****1/2 is the perfect rating for this match. With a decent finish it could have been more. I enjoyed Scott’s original analogy where he compared the match to a delicious bowl of chilli with a used needle at the bottom. I would go for the much more crude analogy of having sex with a gorgeous woman only to find out that she’s really a post op transsexual. You still have a good time but are left with an empty feeling inside.
Scott: And with that, I take my leave for this show and put you in the capable hands of Michael to finish things off with the main event!
(C) Booker T w/ Shane McMahon Vs The Rock
Michael: This was Rock’s grand Pay Per View return after making a movie, oh sorry I mean after his “indefinite suspension”, silly me. Rock unloads with the right hands to start and chases Shane around the ring right into a Booker sneak attack. Rock fights back but takes a knee to the crap factory and Booker unloads some chops in the corner but they’re pretty weak ones, like lightly rubbing someone with a feather duster, but a High Kick floors Rock for two. Rock keeps bringing the right hands and sends Booker to the outside. Booker eats some table on the floor and takes a right hand to knackers but rallies back and sends Rock face first into the ring steps. Rock gets crotched on the ringside barricade, returning the favour, and the fight spills into the crowd where Booker takes over. Back at ringside Booker preps the announce table but Rock fights back so Booker sends him face first into the post with mustard, gusto and broccoli, and anything else you can think of, to stop that.
Back inside, Booker gets a spin kick for two which makes him blow a fizzle for shizzle (could I be more white?). booker drops a knee and it’s chin lock time. I swear that working as a heel killed Booker’s in ring career. He’s one of those guys that works great in skits and angles as a heel but when you actually put him in a ring it’s so against the way he works that it kills him dead. He works fine as a baby face though and his character is just as entertaining. Anyway, Rock is somehow able to fight out of Booker’s unstoppable chin lock and puts him in a Sharp Shooter but Shane causes a distraction and Rock, like a total maroon, takes the bait and Booker gets a cheap shot to take over. Rock sends Booker into the corner while Shane stockpiles weapons, obviously having some nefarious scheme in order. That nefarious scheme ends up being hitting Rock with the belt, 0 points for subtly but 10 for effectiveness. This causes Bradshaw to come out and flatten Shane with a Lariat taking him out of the proceedings. Meanwhile, in the Gulf of Mexico, Booker nails Rock with a Book End for two. Rock makes the comeback with a jumping clothesline and overhead throw for two. Rock counters the Scissors Kick with a Pinebuster and nails the People’s Elbow but Shane recovers just in time to distract the ref and stop the count. Rock comes out and Rock Bottom’s him on the floor to finally take him out of the match. Booker gets the 110th Street Slam and gets the Scissors Kick but Spainaroonies like an idiot and Rock pops up with a Rock Bottom for the win.
WINNER – THE ROCK
Time – 15:19
**3/4 – I never really liked this match. It was okay but Booker T is just a horrid heel when he’s wrestling and the match lacked any sort of drama or intensity. It was just a match with some interference. I can see why it was on last though, WWE usually sends the fans home happy if they can and the crowd was certainly into The Rock but didn’t really care about Booker.
Scott: I like the Rock (duh), but Booker only ever works up to the effort level of his opponent, and sometimes that’s not pretty.
Michael: Overall thoughts on the show
With so many matches in the *** range and a couple higher this is an all round awesome show. There’s only one match that really drags it down and on match quality alone it’s one of the best Summer Slams. However, it really lacks the punch that other Summer Slams like 91, 98 and 2002 have. The show is still awesome and I would recommend it.
Scott, your thoughts?
Scott: Well, I was lucky enough to just get assigned GOOD matches, so this held up as a pretty fantastic show from my end. I don’t remember hardly any of it, so I wouldn’t call it the best one ever or anything, but it’s well worth popping the DVD in if you haven’t watched it for a few years, like me.
This rant is part of Scott Keith’s extensive archive of reviews and rants! Check out Scott’s Rant Archive deal to buy all rants in one handy package!