Dedicated to Gordon Solie
January 29, 1929 - July 27, 2000
You can get more of the latest news and rumors by listening to this week's Solie's Wrestling Radio report.
This past Sunday, I was looking at the taped broadcast of Smackdown where Booker T's challenge for the August 19th PPV SummerSlam was answered by The Rock and, as usual, the crowd hung on The Rock's every word and move. It got me to thinking back to the time when The Rock was NOT so popular.
He was born between 1972 and '73 to Rocky Johnson (a legend in his own right) and his wife Ata (who is the daughter of the late "High Chief" Peter Maivia). Growing up, he was always close to the wrestling business but his main love during his younger days was football. He went on to the University of Miami where he was a national champion with that school. He recently admitted in an issue of Ebony that he had to buckle down academically after being suspended with a 1.74 grade average! I can definitely sympathize with The Rock here as that happened to me during my college career! But, like The Rock, I buckled down and got my degree. In his case, The Rock has two college degrees, one of them is in Political Science while the other is in Criminal Justice.
When he first started wrestling, I should note that his career actually began in Memphis under the name Flex Kavana in early 1996. There, he won the USWA Tag Team Championship twice (I forgot who his partner was at that time). In November 1996, he made the move to the WWF and debut at The Survivor Series as Rocky Mavia at Madison Square Garden in an eight man tag match. While the crowd was certainly behind him during his debut (which he was actually the sole survivor), they soon grew bored with the new comer as most fans felt that the WWF was shoving this squeaky clean wrestler down their throats by not only hyping him so much but by letting him win the WWF Intercontinental Championship so soon after his debut. Ironically, the man he defeated for that belt on February 23, 1997 was Hunter Hearst Himself (the future "Game").
After losing the title to the late Owen Hart in April 1997, Mavia went down with a knee injury. When that happened, both The Rock and the WWF decided to repackage him. When he returned, he worked a program with The Nation Of Domination (comprised of Faarooq, D-Lo Brown, Kama "The Godfather" Mustafa and Mark Henry). Under that group, The Rock was despised and was getting real heat. I should note, however, that The Rock never really bought into their "black supremacy" rap at all. Eventually, he took over leadership of the group as well as added Owen Hart to the stable as well (ironic since the night after his death, some of the most heartfelt tributes were from the former Nation). From there, The Rock slowly built himself back into a mega face and has remained so more or less ever since (with the exception of a brief stint as a member of Vince McMahon's Corporation stable). His run has included two Intercontinental Championship reigns, three runs as WWF Tag Team Champion (two with Mick Foley and one with The Undertaker) and six reigns as WWF World Champion.
What I find most interesting about his feud with Booker T is that (intentionally or not) the WWF is almost making them parallel to another famous sports feud. Anyone remember "The Greatest" Mohammed Ali Vs. "Smokin'" Joe Fraizer in boxing? Mohammed made fun of Joe's lack of sophistication, ridiculed his speech and his style in the ring. Even called him an "Uncle Tom" on more than one occasion (which is the biggest insult you can call an African American next to the "N" word). Joe, who was a prideful man who just wanted to prove his worth in the ring, was caught by a majority that was taken in by Ali.
I see a similar angle going on here with The Rock and Booker T. The Rock is the WWF's Ali while Booker is serving as their "Fraizer". Over the weeks leading up to SummerSlam, The Rock (in character) has insulted Booker T several times in an almost "Alisque" fashion. Likewise, Booker T has let the rage build up to the point that he will do anything to silence his tormentor, much like Fraizer wanted to do to Ali. Personally, I like the way this feud is going and I hope that Booker T will become a big star because of it. I don't think The Rock will lose his spot because of it though. He's jobbed to several top stars and is still over. I look at this feud going well past SummerSlam and going until at least October. Regardless, The Rock will be in the thick of things for awhile to come in the WWF.
If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and formerly contributed to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis. Many of his previous articles are available in the
This past weekend on www.allprowrestling.com's message boards, APW President Roland Alexander answered some fans questions, and responded to one question by running down the King Of Indies lineup. Roland gave us his personal opinion on each wrestler involved, and here is what he had to say...
Christopher Daniels - Has already established himself in Japan with Michinoku Pro. He is probably the most popular indie wrestler today, and he jostled with Modest for #1 for the last 3 years. Let's face it, he is probably in the same category as Modest when it comes to WWF and WCW missing the boat. Last years winner, how could he not be in the tournament.
A. J. Styles - From what I briefly saw in WCW, he just might be the most complete wrestler in this tournament. He probably lacks the experience and psychology Daniels and Modest have but this guy can wrestle and he can fly. Might be the best flyer in the tournament.
Vinny Massaro - Okay, put physique aside for one moment. Is there anyone that can entertain the fans any better with his innovative moves? He has his better matches against smaller guys so look for him and LowKi to light up the Pacific Sports Center, and if Massaro moves on, let's hope he has a matchup with a small wrestler as he could be the sleeper of the tournament.
Doug Williams - Never seen him live but from all reports I have, he is the best wrestler in the U.K. This guy is another Steven Regal and trust me, Regal can wrestle. The jury is out, we'll have to see how far he goes in the tournament, but one thing for sure, I think he earns a spot as one of the Sweet 16.
Jardi Frantz - For those not fortunate enough to live in Northern California, you have not seen the new and improved Jardi Frantz. According to the fans, he has had match of the night on two of the last 3 APW shows with excellent matches with Massaro and Spanky. Jardi could very well be the second best flyer in the tournament and if so, look for him and A.J. Styles to light up the sky in their opening round match.
Donovan Morgan - Since Modest and Daniels moved on to bigger and better things with WCW and NOAH, Morgan and LowKi have probably gotten more publicity in the wrestling media than any indie wrestler out there. Morgan recently wrestled on the Pillman Memorial and had a knock-out match with Chad Collyer that received praise from the likes of Les Thatcher and Terry Taylor. He was named 2000 Cauliflower Alley Future Legend Award winner. Is he in good company??? I'd say so, as he was the second award winner. Last years award winner you ask??? Try Kurt Angle. I would say good company and with a strong semi-final with Daniels last year, I would look for him to make some noise in this years tournament too.
Spanky - His last minute acceptance into the tournament does not minimize how deserving he is of the spot. He was a former WWF developmental contracted wrestler who was recently released only because of the acquisitions of WCW and ECW by the WWF. Spanky was trained at the Shawn Michaels training school, and he had a strong showing in the opening round of the ECWA Super 8 this past year. Made his APW debut in September and what a strong one it was, as APW fans felt he and Jardi Frantz had the match of the night. Is he worthy of a spot??? You be the judge.
Bison Smith - I think the fact Misawa and NOAH are high on Bison Smith should be proof enough that he is worthy of a spot. If he is worthy of a spot on NOAH tours, it is safe to assume he is worthy of a spot in KING OF INDIES. Bison might be the best and most agile Super Heavyweight to enter pro-wrestling in quite a while. Look for his star to shine in this years KING OF INDIES and in the future in NOAH.
Low Ki - I have not seen a more intense pro-wrestler in quite a long time. He is impressive with the flying and in the martial art category. Has been the most talked about indie wrestlers on the internet over the last year. He had an impressive tournament in the Super 8, and I look for him to go far in KING OF INDIES...if he can get by Innovator Massaro.
Samoa Joe - Joe has been the UPW Heavyweight Champion since the beginning of this year. He has not only been touring with ZERO ONE, but having impressive tours. I have watched this wrestler develop over the last year. I wasn't too impressed with him and then someone reminded me that he was a rookie. Therefore, I gave him a break and continued to watch his star rise. He has improved his body and has improved his ring ability more so than anyone I can think of over the last year. Trust me, this wrestler is very worthy of a spot in KING OF INDIES 2001, and is worthy of his selection. I would have been really disappointed in myself had I left Samoa Joe off this tournament roster.
American Dragon - Dragon has quickly gained a reputation of belonging in Japan because of his wrestling abilities. He looked impressive in this years Super 8 tournament in ECWA, and was another trained at the Shawn Michaels training academy. We are fortunate that he is now on the west coast entertaining fans here and this guy should make it to Japan before long.
Super Dragon - Just because he was the last wrestler chosen does not mean he isn't worthy of a spot. Dragon has been impressing fans in Southern California for the last year. He lacks big match experience, but has had good matches against the likes of Jardi Frantz and LowKi as of late. He wrestles a lucha style and gives the tournament that flavor. Along with Styles and Frantz, he could very well be one of the top 3 high flyers in the country. We'll have to see how his fundamentals hold up against the experience of Daniels.
Adam Pearce - Pearce has been a big name indie wrestler for the last 3 years or so. He was always considered one of the big names until his recent move to the west coast. I can't see anything he has done to have fans turn on him in the last year. He can obviously wrestle old-school, and wrestling could dominate this tournament. We all love the high-flyers, but with the APW association with NOAH in the last 6 months, I tried to have a mixture in this tournament of flyers and wrestlers, and Adam Pearce can certainly wrestle.
Frankie Kazarian - Even though he has been spending more time in the ring teaming with Nova over the last year, don't for one moment think this guy can't wrestle. Frankie can wrestle, and for a pretty big guy, he'll pull out a high flying move from time to time. I feel he is very underrated as a wrestler, and he seems to be fundamentally sound and one of the top two wrestlers in UPW. Look for him and Samoa Joe to have one hell of an opening round match on the first night, with the winner probably going far in this tournament.
Scoot Andrews - Scoot has impressed in Super 8 tournaments and last years KING OF INDIES. He had one heck of a match with Donovan Morgan this past year and continues to be one of the top 5 talked about indie wrestlers in indie wrestling. I have studied indie wrestling quite a bit over the years, and without a shadow of a doubt, I can tell you that there are not many true old-school wrestlers that can wrestle a match. He is one of a small bunch that can, and I look forward to his participation in this years tournament.
Welcome to the Connection. I want to get on with the editorial and opinion part of the column, as there is much to write about this week, which I think was one of the better ones in the last couple months.
First, I want to give everyone a "SEE, I TOLD YOU SO!" about RVD. Solie's Radio (10-12) referenced both sides of the coin on RVD...basically, he has bad locker room karma, and is interested in RVD ONLY, and that the WWF bookers and suits want to continue his push. This still smells like a Heyman to me, and I feel rather supported by the Radio commentary (thanks, Boss). Also, to add to this point that I started to make last week, RVD managed to bust open Chris Jericho during Smackdown, over his eye (not the place where he bladed on Raw, but a brand new place, folks). The look of disgust on Jericho's face was clear and, quite frankly, deserved. Mr. Benaka, in the Readers Forum (you all ought to spend some time there...it will be well spent), made a loose comparison to Goldberg, who was another phenom who had a knack for injuring people, yet continued to get pushed. I couldn't agree more. By pushing a guy who does these things, you reinforce the behavior, or at least remove any fear or wariness of consequences (and that is a FACT....not an opinion). Also, like Perry Saturn, anyone who finally loses their temper and busts RVD one after he misses a spot will get thrashed by Vince, since RVD is the Poster Boy. (Editor's Note: Matt Benaka is one of Solie's resident historians and the originator of Solie's Title Histories.)
Oh well, time will tell.
Another thing that caught my eye was the return of Mick Foley to the WWF TV-scape. I guess Vince is bringing in the heavy artillery to shore up his battered ratings, and maybe make an advance against the return of Survivor and MNF. Mick was good, and he looked good (lost 20-30 lbs.?), and it smells like that whole Foley/Regal angle may be getting dusted off for a renewed push. I would say that is a good idea, as that was one of the better angles killed by the Invasion, and because the Invasion has run out of steam.
I have beaten to death the fact that the WCW needs to split....soon. We don't need to go over that.
However, the ratings still need to rise, or else there will be problems, and that is why the WWF let loose the news that they talked to Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner, and Scott Hall. These guys were WAY over in the WCW, as heels, faces, or whatever, and they would be in the WWF, if used in a proper manner. Also, if these three can maintain the locker-room atmosphere that is so important in the WWF.....unless you are RVD, that is.
I have no idea if this will bring back the nWo, and, frankly, I really don't care. I think that the Invasion angle is the ultimate "nWo" angle, and is a natural outgrowth of the combination of that program and the purchase of the WCW by Vincent K. McMahon. If the nWo returns, I think it will be a short-term item, meant to pique the interest of the stratified WCW fans and bring them back to the table. If they allow it to last too long, they will repeat a mistake that led to the collapse of the Turner WCW, and that is, "Don't let an angle die of old age."
Well, 52 weeks ago, Earl Oliver allowed me the singular honor of posting the first Crossface Connection on Solie's Vintage Wrestling. I have tried to make this column live up to the high and proper standards that Solie's has come to stand for, and I hope that you, the readers, feel as if it has. Without you, there would be no reason to write a column, and, without Earl Oliver, I would have not gotten the chance to tell you my tales. So, I want to thank you all for reading, I hope you continue to do so, and I hope you continue to frequent Solie's Vintage Wrestling, and bodyslam.cc, home of the Crossface Report.
I guess that I should give you all a review, so I will give you a brief "Greatest Hits":
"All that being said, the industry would suffer greatly because of such a purchase. All the WWF-philes who would argue with that fact (note, I said FACT, not opinion), don't look at the wrestling, look at the business aspect of such a move.
In any business, lack of strong competition lowers the need for top product quality. "-10-24-00
"Vince has proven that he will fight a battle just to win, and that his operating principle is, "Don't just beat your opponent...break them." Not satisfied with a relatively safe and mildly profitable regional wrestling concern, he expanded and overran the other regional federations in unprecedented fashion."-11-13-2001
"The WCW is Vince's trophy. It is the head on a pole that he will display as a sign of his conquest. Like I said, he thinks and feels that this is a war, and he is a conquering Caesar. As Benoit says, prove him wrong! Vince won, and it is really that simple, folks."-3-28-01
The WCW is dead. Long live the WCW."-3-28-01 --my favorite.
by Earl Oliver
SmackDown came to us on videotape from the MARK of the Quad Cities in Moline, Illinois and right off the bat we get Shane, Stephanie, Willy Regal and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the ring to gloat about what happened Monday night. In the middle of Austin's self congratulatory speech, Linda McMahon showed up and put the kibosh on their merriment. First, she fired Commissioner Regal! Then she announced that there would be a new Commissioner, but didn't say who it would be. Finally she referred to Austin's newly won World Title and told him it wasn't over, "When you live by the sword, you die by the sword - It's true, it's true!" With that Kurt Angle hit the ring and all hell broke loose.
Backstage, after the break, Shane and Stephanie tried to calm Willy Regal, who was in a snit about the humiliation of his firing on National TV.
Next up - back to the ring for a WWF Tag Team Title match - the Dudleys with Stacy Keibler vs. the Big and Little Shows. For a change, the big guy started the match, so the challengers dominated from the get go. I notice that Spike was wearing Dudley gear (camoflague pants) tonight. I wonder if that means anything. Once Spike tagged in, the match started going the other way. Toward the end of the match, Bubba caught the giant outside and slammed his face into the corner post then joined his brother in the ring to put the 3D on their other brother to retain their titles. After the match, the Big and Little Shows were punked. Spike was tossed over the top rope in a spectacular bump through a table out on the floor.
Diamond Dallas Bob Patterson made an appearance taunting Kurt Angle over his loss of the WWF Title.
The scene between Chris Jericho and the Rock on RAW was replayed on videotape - a brawl ensued this time as well. Switch to this week and we see Maivia and Jericho talking backstage - maybe they aren't on the outs? Meanwhile, the Austins were upset and venting among themselves - in came Shane and Stephanie suggesting that Rob Van Dam should have a WCW Title match against the Rock - to solidify the Alliances hold on the balance of power. But Steve was against it. He suggested that RVD get a tryout match - with the winner of that match getting the title shot. Shane then suggested the opponent be Chris Jericho. Stephanie was against that idea until Shane convinced her that RVD would humiliate Jericho in the process. Don't hold your breath Shane...
Chris Jericho discussed his upcoming matches with Edge then was confronted by Stephanie. As usual, he won that verbal match.
Billy Kidman got his chance to win back the WCW Cruiserweight Title (for the 5th time) and succeeded! Kidman was the crowd favorite from the get go - despite being a member of the Alliance. X-Pac put up a good fight and largely dominated the action, but Kidman is nothing if not resilient. A drop kick to his opponent as he flew through the air turned the tables. He followed up with an insiguri and almost took the pin. A sidewalk slam followed that and Kidman went to the top, but was caught there. Moments later he suffered the bronco buster, but Kidman came roaring back only to get caught in the X-Factor - but he had his foot on the ropes. X-Pac tried a backslide with his feet on the ropes but failed. Kidman came back with a face jam slam and took the pin, and the title.
Next up - Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam for a shot at the WCW Title at the next PPV. This one was a great match, one of the best on the show, but fairly short. Jericho's cut under the eye opened up early on so he was bleeding profusely early on. The referee was knocked out, but the match was progressing just fine, with Jericho pretty much dominant, when Steve Austin ran down to interfere. He "accidentally" hit RVD with a chair and gave Jericho the win. RVD had some choice words for Austin after the match, but Austin took a mic and summoned the Alliance roster to the ring area. He seems a bit disgruntled about RVD's assumption of the Alliance leadership role in his absence. In the middle of his rant we heard the sound of a car wreck, and the new WWF Commissioner made his first appearance...that's right...Mick Foley! He said that he would like a match to take place between Angle and Regal on Smackdown...but since he can't impose his will on an Alliance member, he leaves it up to Regal's British manhood to accept..to which he does. He also books an Angle/Austin rematch but throws in a twist. He told Rob Van Dam he could be in the main event as well in a Triple Threat match but it would have to be Rob's choice since of course Foley couldn't impose his will on an Alliance member. Rob said if it's cool with Steve, it's cool with him, so the match is set.
Backstage, Austin was ranting again about his run of luck lately. Shane tried to convince him that the Triple Threat match is an opportunity - if Steve wins, great. If RVD wins...well, of course Steve doesn't see it that way.
Hurricane and Mighty Molly came to the ring for a European Title match against...somebody. He threw out an open challenge. He got an acceptance...from Kane! Oops! Maybe he shouldn't have been so rash... He started out by addressing his opponent as "Citizen Kane!" He had to stop think about that for a moment. He offered Kane a spot in his "Super League" - but Kane declines and the match is on. Hurricane dons his cape and flies...right into Kanes arms. It didn't look good. Molly provided some distracting so that Hurricane could hit a drop kick...to the knee. Booker T and Test showed up to get the Champ disqualified, then they beat up on Kane until UT showed up to save his butt.
Maven got a rematch against Tazz with Al Snow on hand to provide commentary. Maven did well at the beginning until he went for, and missed, a moonsault. Tazz took over and it was all downhill for the rookie until he went for a Tazzmission of his own. But Tazz turned out of it and reversed the move and won. Maven then got up, with help, then turned suddenly and clotheslined Tazz, then kicked him out of the ring. Al Snow ran in to raise his hand as Tazz slunk away.
The Rock was interviewed after the break. He seemed to be looking forward to the match with Jericho. He said that he is cool with Jericho, but he intends to whip his butt at No Mercy. Jericho interrupted to say that he feels that the match will be huge. The Rock agreed and they shook hands, rather testily. Jericho bumped Maivia's shoulder as he walked away...hmmmmmm.
The main event for tonight was the Kurt Angle/Willy Regal match. I hope this "demotion" for Regal doesn't mean they are going to start writing him out of the shows. He has more than proved himself up to the task of contributing to the big time storylines. Besides that, he is one of the toughest and most accomplished wrestlers around. This guy deserves to keep a high profile going forward. It was pretty funny indeed to hear the self-proclaimed "suplex machine" (Tazz) trying to say that Angle's suplexes should be banned as Regal flew around the ring like a rag doll. Regal, however, was up to the challenge and dominated our Olympic hero through much of the match. As Angle made his comeback, Raven, Mike Awesome, Kanyon and Tommy Dreamer all invaded the ring. But Angle fought them all off, then grabbed the chair that Tommy brought and laid the whole bunch of them out.
This show was up a notch from the last few...
Raw was live from the Corel Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada and opened with a video replay of the ascension of Mick Foley as WWF Commissioner and his subsequent actions, much to the chagrin of Stone Cold Steve Austin. The music swells, the pyro flashes and we are ready to go with Jim Ross and Paul Heyman calling the action. Tonight's main event will feature a Tag Team match pitting Austin and a mystery partner against Kurt Angle...and a mystery partner. But first up, the new Commissioner came down to spout off about what he went through the last time he was Commissioner, and to say that the reason he returned was for the fans sake. As always, he played to the crowd shamelessly until Trish Stratus showed up for the first time in months on RAW and starts hitting on him! Trish was obviously angling for something, as she talked about how good she looks in lingerie, and then stripped off her outer clothing to reveal some frilly black attire. The Commissioner then promised more of the same and split.
APA escorted Jacqueline and Nidia (from Tough Enough) into the arena. In the backstage area they met up with Hurricane and Molly, who pulled apart the APA set with their Hurri-Cycle. In the locker room, Steve Austin proposed a vote to decide who would become his partner for the main event.
The Dudleys (w/Stacy K) took on the Big Show in a handicap match. Right after their first encounter the Dudleys turned and fled the ring, but the big guy caught them on the ramp and dragged them back for more. Back in the ring, they doubled up on their opponent and began to do a little better. Then they went for a double suplex only to have the move reversed on them. From there it looked bad for the Boyz, but somehow they managed to pull out a victory. Afterward, they tried to set TBS for some "wood", but Tajiri ran in and upset their plans. Bubba ended up being powerslammed through his own table by the big guy.
After the next break, Steve and Debra came down to the ring to announce the winner of the election for his team mate. Just before the break, we had seen him take one ballot out of the box and toss it away. Certainly, that was RVD's vote, but I don't quite see how that would prevent Van Dam being elected. But first Stephanie and Shane had to have their says. They had an announcement of their own to make - the hiring of Willy Regal to be the Alliance Commissioner. Gosh - did anyone see that coming..? (he asks, sarcastically) Regal made a speech of his own, saying that he joined the Alliance to be on the winning team and closer to Steve Austin. Steve then took the mic and proceeded to count the votes. After counting several votes for Booker T and only one for RVD - he stopped the balloting and declared Booker the winner. It was obvious that at least one other of the votes cast (Kidman's vote) was actually for RVD. RVD was a little put out, but Austin offered him a carrot - a title match against the Rock for later tonight. The implication underlying all this is that if Van Dam wins the WCW Title, that will knock him out of the Triple Threat match at No Mercy because he will have to defend his new title against Chris Jericho.
Next up - a 6 person intergender match - APA/Jacqueline vs. Hurricane/Lance Storm/Molly - in this one Molly is starting to show some of that "super hero" delusion of power as she attacks Faarroq from behind. His response was to grab her by the hair and then hold her while he tagged in Jacquie. Later, Hurricane suffered a similar fate and he "flew" right into the arms of Bradshaw, then had his clock cleaned. Nidia was there, but wasn't even introduced. Hmmmm...there seems to be a double standard here concerning Tough Enough Champions.
Kidman and Taz had some words backstage. I guess they have a match later... In another part of the building, the Coach asked Kurt Angle who his partner would be later tonight. The Undertaker interrupted to elect himself. In still another part of the building, Chris Jericho's declaration that he hopes to see the Rick win tonight so that they can lock up at No Mercy (he felt that he can win that match), is also interrupted...by the Rock, who tells him to stay out of the Rock's way (referring to himself in the third person, as usual...)
Jericho joined the broadcasters for the next match - the WCW World Title challenge. This was a great match - classic big brawler vs. smaller high flyer stuff. Van Dam's ever varied attack saw to it that he maintained the advantage through much of the match, but as always, the Rock was right in the fight from start to finish. The battle took place all over the the ring area both inside and out with RVD beating Maivia down repeatedly only to have the Champion fight his way back to parity with the challenger. After some heavy shots back and forth out near (and on) the announce table, RVD grabbed a chair and...Rhyno suddenly showed up and gored the Champ! RVD put down the chair and climbed the corner for a frog splash. But Jericho followed him and shoved him off the top - thus getting the Champ disqualified for outside interference (never mind what Rhyno did earlier...) After the match, Rhyno and RVD attacked the Rock brutally...while Jericho sat back down, stating that he was respecting the Rock's wishes by "...staying out of his way."
Next it was time for Tazz vs. Kidman - a fight that started as the latter entered the ring. Tazz went right to work on him with a series of suplexes. But the plucky Kidman came roaring back with a side-step as his opponent rushed him in the corner. Following a very strange looking face jam slam, Kidman took the surprise win.
Chris Jericho took on Rhyno in the next contest. This was a real knock-down drag out affair with plenty of hard shots. As Jericho settled into a Walls of Jericho at the end, Rave and Mike Awesome ran out and beat him down, with Stephanie directing traffic. The Rock finally ran in and saved his butt - but then he turned around and put the Rock Bottom on him! The crowd gave a mixed reaction to that...
Edge took on X-Pac in a non-title match. Yet another illustration of how unpopular X-Pac is, the crowd egged on Edge througout the contest to his inevitable victory. At the end of the match, JR approached Edge and told him something - causing Edge to run out of the arena. Out in the hall, he ran into Christian and told him that their mother had an accident! Christian started to protest, but Edge overrode him and said "...this isn't about you - come on, lets go." Christian fell in line. But then they met Hugh Morrus and Kanyon. A fight ensued, with Christian going against his brother...it was a set up...
Backstage, the Undertaker knocked on Kurt Angle's dressing room door. Kurt appeared, wearing a sweat rag on his head and shades. Ut was a little taken aback, but Kurt explained that he wanted to be a baddass too. UT said, "You are going to take that off, right?" as they walked away. Kurt said, "I wasn't going to, but I'm flexible..." Angle is such a great dork! Even as a face!! I will always think of him as wearing that ridiculous little cowboy hat a few months back...
The main event was worthy of the name tonight. The Undertaker and Kurt Angle vs. Booker T and Steve Austin. Angle started bleeding from under his eye almost immediately. Angle was isolated by the opposition early on and worked over pretty brutally. All the more to show his resilience, of course. At one point, Austin attempted to set up a Stunner. Angle's standard response to that gut kick is to grab Austin's foot and take him right into the ankle lock. In this case, Austin was close to the ropes and escaped. Moments later the referee was downed. Austin was knocked to the floor then the Undertaker had Booker set for a powerbomb...when Test ran in and chop blocked him. UT was taken to the floor and punked until Kane ran in and broke that up. Meanwhile, Angle was recovering in the ring as Austin snuck in with his title belt. Angle was clocked and now the referee returned for the count. But Angle kicked out, then hit the Angle slam. Both guys were out of it as RVD ran in and frog splashed Angle. Austin took the pin and the show was over.
At least that's the way I see it...
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