A2Z Analysiz: WWF Vengeance 2001 (Stone Cold, Chris Jericho)

Sports Arena – San Diego, California – December 9, 2001

The opening video package starring Classy Freddie Blassie is awesome, as it runs through the history of past World Champions, and how there has never truly been one undisputed World Champion … until tonight! It’s in black and white with some creepy music and strange footage in between the wrestling clips, and it’s one of my favorite video packages ever.

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler welcome us to the show, and before we can get to the first match, Mr. McMahon comes out to the ring. McMahon recently was the victim of a Stinkface and he is not happy about it. After a few minutes of angry rambling, McMahon’s 50/50 business partner Ric Flair makes his way out. Flair says the people came to see wrestling, not McMahon. That leads to the first match.

MATCH #1: Albert & Scotty 2 Hotty vs. Test & Christian

JR describes this as a Bonus Match. Christian is the current European Champion. Hotty and Albert attack their opponents in the aisle and the match starts off hot with Hotty and Christian in the ring. Christian quickly tags out to Test so Hotty responds in kind and the former T&A go at it. When Hotty tags back in, the former Alliance members and future Un-Americans members use some heel chicanery to take control. Of course Hotty makes the comeback and the hot tag, and Albert is a Hip-Hop Hippo afire. He even uses the Giant Swing! Take that Antonio Cesaro! The match breaks down and all four men are battling in and out of the ring. Hotty is able to connect with the Worm on Test, and then Albert hits Christian with the Baldo Bomb to get the win at 6:19. That’s a fun opener.
Rating: **¼

Backstage, Jonathan Coachman gets a word with William Regal, who is fired up about challenging Edge for the Intercontinental Championship tonight.

MATCH #2: Intercontinental Championship Match – Edge vs. William Regal

Edge has been the champion since 11.18.01, when he unified the title with the United States Championship by defeating Test at Survivor Series. The pace is surprisingly quick for a Regal match in the early going, as they battle both in and out of the ring. Edge focuses on more high-flying moves (which is strange to see once you’re used to the most recent Edge), while Regal uses more strikes and ground-based offense. The champ busts out the Edge-O-Matic and a top-rope rana for a couple of near-falls. He also uses a Northern Lights Suplex. Man this is crazy stuff. Edge kicks Regal to the floor and goes for a Spear off the apron but Regal moves and Edge crashes into the steps. While the referee checks on the champ, Regal finds his hidden brass knuckles in the ring post! Back in the ring Regal hits a Tiger Bomb for two. Edge fights back a bit but Regal responds with more Tiger Bombs but Edge won’t stay down. Regal pulls out the knuckles, but before he can use them Edge hits a quick Spear and that’s enough to get the pin at 9:08! That was a lot of fun in a short amount of time. I love watching early Edge matches. I don’t think he’s appreciated enough.
Rating: **¾

MATCH #3: Jeff Hardy vs. Matt Hardy (special referee Lita)

The feud leading up to this match was based in really solid logic – Matt was upset that Jeff’s unnecessary risk-taking was costing them matches, including a tag team title shot back at Survivor Series. The crowd is kind of unsure how to react in the early goings because Matt is more the heel than Jeff, but he also has a good point. They have a basic back and forth for the first few minutes, and the crowd boos when Lita unties Jeff from the Tree of Woe, so some of them are on Matt’s side. She’s calling it right down the middle. Jeff injures his leg on a slingshot maneuver, and Matt wisely goes right after it. When Matt cheats Lita calls him on it, much to his chagrin. I love how the crowd then sides with him. Wrestling fans are funny sometimes. Matt goes for a super Twist of Fate but Jeff pushes him off and hits the Swanton Bomb. When Matt puts his foot on the bottom rope Jeff pulls it right back and Lita never saw it so she counts the pin and Jeff wins at 12:31! The story of the feud helped make the slow-paced action seem more interesting than it probably was. I like the finish too.
Rating: **½

MATCH #4: World Tag Team Championship Match – The Dudley Boyz vs. Big Show & Kane

I can’t remember why Kane and Big Show were teaming at this point, it’s happened so many times over the years. Kane is still masked. The challengers dominate both champions in the early going, throwing them around the ring. In fact, when Bubba gains a slight advantage and wants to tag, D-Von is a little hesitant. Of course Stacy gets involved and Show pulls her pants down and spanks her. Ah, the days when a woman’s ass was something you could regularly see on WWE TV. That allows the champions to briefly take control of Kane, but then the hot tag is made and Show is a house afire. Kane accidentally clotheslines Show from the top rope and tries to apologize but Show isn’t in the mood to hear it. The brawl continues and Show accidentally knocks Kane off the apron. Show gets distracted by Stacy, allowing Bubba to take one of the turnbuckle pads off, and the champs drop Show face-first onto the exposed steel and get the pin at 6:50. That was a perfectly adequate TV match.
Rating: **

MATCH #5: Hardcore Championship Match – Rob Van Dam vs. Undertaker

It’s amazing to think of a time in WWE when all they had for Undertaker was fighting over the Hardcore Title. RVD attacks right away, showing no intimidating of the biker Undertaker. The battle quickly spills to the floor and all the way into the crowd. Undertaker tries to use a chair but RVD cuts him off with a fire extinguisher. They continue fighting around the arena and up to the ramp, with RVD getting in a big chunk of the offense as they fight over to the entrance area. RVD hits the Rolling Thunder and the Van Daminator, but misses a second one. Undertaker cracks the chair on across RVD’s back twice. RVD almost makes a comeback but Undertaker grabs him and Chokeslams him off the entrance ramp and through a table on the floor. That’s enough to get the pin and win the title at 11:05. I actually kind of miss the hardcore title, and this was one of the better straight up matches in the belt’s history.
Rating: ***

MATCH #6: Women’s Championship Match – Trish Stratus vs. Jacqueline

Jacqueline is a former two-time Women’s Champion, while Stratus is in the midst of her first reign. The enlightened crowd chants “We Want Puppies” as these two women try to have a competitive match. Jacqueline controls the bulk of the action, since Stratus was still getting her feet wet as an in-ring performer at this point. Stratus gets a backslide from out of nowhere to get the win at 3:36. Oy, that was just not very good.
Rating: ½*

MATCH #7: WWF Championship Match – Stone Cold vs. Kurt Angle

Both men are a little cautious to start, due to the high stakes of the contest as well as the fact that they know each other very well. Austin starts building some momentum early so Angle takes a powder and comes back in the ring on top, so Austin takes a powder. Angle takes control of the match and is mostly able to thwart Austin’s offense. He locks on the Ankle Lock about seven minutes in, but Austin makes the ropes. Angle continues the assault on the legs, using the ring-post figure-four leglock. Back in the ring Angle hits a belly-to-belly suplex. Angle follows up with three rolling German Suplexes, but then misses a moonsault. Austin fires up and hits a Thesz Press and a spinebuster for two. Now Austin uses the rolling German Suplexes but I always hated when he did that because he didn’t really maintain the grip and it never looked as good as Angle’s or Benoit’s. Even so, he hits five of them and gets a two-count. Angle fights back with a low blow and hits the Angle Slam for two. He goes for a Stunner but Austin pushes him off and hits one of his own to get the pin at 15:01. That was good but the finish seemed very abrupt and it just never kicked into a higher gear like their other matches from this year.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #8: World Heavyweight Championship Match – The Rock vs. Chris Jericho

These two have been feuding for months and it’s gotten pretty heated. The battle quickly spills to the floor and they take turns ramming each other’s heads into things like the announce table and the steel steps. Back in the ring Jericho hits a flying back elbow off the top rope for two. Jericho controls the action for several minutes while the crowd tries to energize Rock back into it. He hits the bulldog and the Lionsault but again only gets two. Jericho goes up top but Rock knocks him down and goes for a superplex, only to get knocked back. That gives Jericho the chance for a high cross body block off the top, but Rock rolls through for a two-count. Jericho charges into the corner but Rock sidesteps him and throws him into the ring post and he crashes to the floor. Rock joins him on the floor but gets catapulted into the ring post. Jericho then preps the announce table for destruction. He goes for a Rock Bottom but Rock counters with a DDT! Back in the ring Rock goes for a Rock Bottom but Jericho reverses to the Flashback. Jericho tries the People’s Elbow but Rock thwarts it and tries a Sharpshooter and Jericho reverses that to one of his own! Rock reaches the ropes and then grabs a quick inside cradle for two. He hits the Rock Bottom but by the time he covers, Mr. McMahon is distracting the referee. Rock knocks McMahon off the apron and hits Jericho with a spinebuster. McMahon interferes again and gets thrown into the ring, and when the referee is distracted Jericho hits a low blow and then the Rock Bottom to get the surprising pin at 19:06! These two always had great matches together.
Rating: ****

MATCH #9: WWF Undisputed Championship Match – Stone Cold vs. Chris Jerichoa

The referee won’t ring the bell for some reason, and it’s because he’s waiting for Kurt Angle to come down and hit Austin with a chair so that he doesn’t have to call for a DQ. Way to miss your cue, Angle. Rock then hits Jericho with a Rock Bottom and chases Angle away, so now the match can begin proper. Jericho recovers first and goes to work on the WWE Champion. Austin recovers and goes for a quick Stunner but Jericho avoids it, only to get knocked to the floor. They battle around ringside, which is where Austin shines. Up on the announce table Jericho is able to avoid a Stunner and tries the Walls of Jericho but he gets kicked to the floor. Back in the ring Jericho avoids a charge in the corner and goes to work on Austin’s shoulder. Austin comes back with a catapult, but Jericho is quickly right back on the arm. Jericho goes up top but can’t connect. He instead locks on the Walls of Jericho and Austin reaches the ropes. The referee gets bumped; cue the shenanigans. Jericho hits a low blow and the Stone Cold Stunner and Mr. McMahon makes his way back out with evil referee Nick Patrick. Ric Flair won’t stand for it though, and he knocks Patrick out. McMahon then knocks Flair out and throws him into the ring post. Austin hits Jericho with a low blow and then attacks McMahon on the floor. Back in the ring Austin unloads on Jericho and locks him in the Walls of Jericho. Then from out of the crowd comes Booker T and he nails Austin with the belt! That’s enough for Jericho to get the pin and become the first-ever Undisputed World Champion at 12:36. For whatever reason, Jericho and Austin never had great chemistry as opponents and everything after the ref bump took the match down some notches.
Rating: **½

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