November 4, 2009
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero
Fully Loaded 2000
July 23, 2000
Buy Rate: 1.04
Announcers: Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler
1) The Hardy Boys & Lita defeat T&A & Trish Stratus when Lita (Amy Dumas) pinned Trish (Patricia Stratigias) with a Moonsault at 13:10
Fun Fact: After weeks of abuse by Essa Rios, Lita finally had enough and the two split. During their final match together, Essa started berating her, but she would eventually be saved by the Hardy Boys and would stay on with them as a manager. The newly dubbed Team Extreme would remain together until 2003. In real life, the Hardys had trained Lita in North Carolina and Matt Hardy and Lita were dating, so it made sense to get them together. Of course that is no longer the case, but we digress.
Scott: Now, can we get a gem of a show after the disaster of King of the Ring? The opener is a swank 6-person tag match with 2 women who in 5 years would do a complete 180. In 2000, Lita was the experienced wrestler with the big moves and an over hottie. Trish Stratus was the Toronto fitness model with a thimble of ability. By the time both were retired at the end of 2006, Trish will be remembered as the greatest women’s champion since Moolah, and Lita will be….ok. Here, Lita actually carries Stratus to a good match. The two tag teams did their thing, which was actually pretty good. Test and Albert were a pretty good team for a time, but were never taken seriously. They do give a pretty good beatdown to the victors after the match, so T, A, and the T & A keep their heat. The crowd is scorching hot for this opener, and they don’t calm down all night. The Hardys are prepping for their big shot next month at Summerslam. They passed this test. Grade: 3.5
Justin: OK, after a one month aberration, we are back on track and continue to sail on into the summer of 2000. The Federation has a new look and feel to it, as Vince McMahon is off making babies and is out of the picture for a bit, Shawn Michaels is out as Commissioner and…Mick Foley is in, but more on that later. For now we have a hot opener featuring three very over faces and three solid heels. Trish was still shaky on the mike and in the ring, but she was trying to learn, and always tried her hardest, so you can’t fault her for that. T&A were starting to gel, and were becoming a nice little heel team on the rung under the big 3 teams. The Hardys were over as always, and now joining them was Lita, who somehow became one of the biggest stars in the WWF overnight. These six put on a great match here and set the tone for a good night of wrestling action. Grade: 3.5
** Edge finds Commissioner Mick Foley, who says Christian has food poisoning, and can’t wrestle tonight. Foley doesn’t buy it, but gets an EMT anyway. **
2) Tazz (Peter Senerca) defeats Al Snow (Al Sarven) with the Tazmission at 5:25
Fun Fact: On the 7/17 Raw, Tazz made his way to ring and talked about running roughshod on the WWF and that he would continue to interfere in other people’s matches to prove his point. Well, Commissioner Foley came down and told Tazz that at Fully Loaded, he would be wrestling, not interfering and that his opponent was not yet determined. That brought out Al Snow, who talked about being miserable for 6 months, because he had spent every moment with Steve Blackman, so, he wanted to take that misery out on Tazz. Foley was reluctant, since he claimed Snow “always choked” in big matches, and upon hearing the word “choke,” Tazz locked on the Tazmission, prompting Foley to officially make the match.
Scott: Tazz had come back after a long layoff due to a torn biceps muscle, and he was a face. Now, he returns the day after King of the Ring, and whacks IC champ Rikishi with a camera. He continues to run in at various times over the next few shows, and finally starts something up with Al Snow, who he tussled with a few times in ECW. The match is OK, and Tazz wins it with his finisher. This heel run is actually pretty smart, but unfortunately he has already been booked poorly, so even though he busted his ass, it really doesn’t go anywhere. That’s a shame. Grade: 2
Justin: A lot of people had high hopes for the Human Suplex Machine upon his big arrival in the WWF, but ever since February, which saw the arrival of the Radicalz, he got lost in the now growing mid-card shuffle. It almost seemed like a good thing when he went down with a biceps injury, as could come back repackaged and with a new attitude, as opposed to “scrappy short guy who never quits.” Right off the bat, he attacked Rikishi and seemed set to feud with for the Intercontinental title, which would have been a good move, but it never materialized. Instead, a last minute insta-feud was started with former ECW alumni Al Snow, and the quick blow-off was at this show. Unfortunately, these two couldn’t recapture that ECW magic, and put on a middling affair that didn’t do much for either man, but especially Tazz, who needed a big win to get back on track. After this show, Snow would continue to float aimlessly as usual and Tazz would enter one of the most bizarre feuds in WWF history. Grade: 2
** The EMT goes with Foley to the bathroom, and Christian is “puking” in the stall. Foley says he feels bad he didn’t believe them, and for now the Tag Title match is off. **
** Triple and Stephanie are hanging out in their room, and more flowers come for Stephanie. They’re all from Kurt Angle. Angle and Stephanie are “friends”, but the H isn’t pleased. **
3) Perry Saturn (Perry Satullo) defeats Eddie Guerrero to win WWF European Title with an elbow off the top rope at 8:09
Fun Fact: Terri Runnells had started to manage Perry Saturn in the weeks leading up to the PPV. They would remain together until the middle of 2001.
Scott: The Radical buddies are starting to branch out on their own, and this would be Perry Saturn’s biggest win in the WWF. I was a big Saturn fan with John Kronus as the Eliminators in ECW. They were the baddest tag team in Heyman’s kingdom, but Saturn, like everyone else in ECW over time, wanted greener pastures. So, he bolted for WCW. Unfortunately for Saturn, as was the case with most guys that moved from Philly down south, he was misused and buried in crap. Now, he beats his fellow radical for the European title. Guerrero has been solid week in and week out with his work, and his character. Chyna is a little more heel in this match than normal, and she gets hers courtesy of a Saturn powerbomb through a table. Top to bottom this match was choppy and all over the place, but it served its purpose. Grade: 2.5
Justin: A decent little title match, but one would have expected more out of these two, considering how close they were and that they worked together in WCW beforehand. One thing that was nice to see was Chyna getting put through a table and Terri costing Eddie the match with a low blow. Chyna has been the dominant female for a while, so it was refreshing to see her get beat around and beat at her own game by another woman. Perry would hold the belt for a little over a month, but it was a good show of faith that the creative team let him have a title run. Eddie on the other hand, now seemed like he was getting de-pushed by losing his belt to Saturn, but it was the exact opposite, as he had to drop the belt to be prepped for bigger and better things. Pretty soon Mamacita would bare all, Latino Heat’s eye would wander and it would spell doom for the happy couple. Grade: 2
** Mick Foley catches Edge & Christian packing and laughing, and now puts them back in their tag title match. **
** Undertaker is doing an interview with Michael Cole, and catches Kurt Angle on a monitor getting on his bike. **
4) The Acolytes defeat Edge & Christian by disqualification at 5:31; Edge & Christian retain WWF Tag Team Titles
Fun Fact: For weeks, the Acolytes had been in line for a tag title shot, but each time they got it, Edge or Christian would feign illness and get things changed to a singles match. On the 7/20 Smackdown, Edge & Christian spent the whole show trash talking the APA from J&B’s Pub. Well, once word finally got back to Bradshaw and Faarooq, they headed straight to the pub, but by the time the arrived E&C were long gone. Pissed that they were too late, the APA proceeded to start a huge bar fight and tear the place down anyway. It was official, however, that the tag title match would finally take place at Fully Loaded.
Scott: The champs continue their run through all the teams in the WWF with a short, non-descript match with the Steve Austin of tag teams. Faarooq and Bradshaw were the Undertaker’s minions for most of 1999. Now they’re the APA (Acolyte Protection Agency) and became beer-drinking, cigar-smoking, card-playing guns for hire. Their lifestyle struck a cord with the fans that missed Steve Austin’s hell-raising, and they now had something to occupy them. Unfortunately, just like their Royal Rumble title match, it was short, and unfulfilling, as Edge whacks Faarooq with the belt to draw the DQ. Their in-ring work is established and now little by little Edge and Christian are learning the best ways to be coward heel champions. This was nothing to write home about, just a prelude to their title match gem next month. Grade: 2
Justin: A quickie match here that is meant to establish Edge & Christian as chickenshit heels, as opposed to legit tough guys. After weeks of goading the APA and ducking title shots, they finally give them one, and then get intentionally DQ’d five and half minutes in. Bad ending, but effective heat generation, so all in all I think it was an OK move, as long as it didn’t happen on every show. The APA continues to be over with the crowds, but outside of some nasty Spinebusters, they have fallen out of the workrate-laden tag division top tier for now. E&C continue to roll on and establish themselves as the most dominant tag team since the heyday of the New Age Outlaws in 1998. Grade: 1.5
5) Val Venis (Sean Morley) defeats Rikishi (Solofa Fatu) in a Steel Cage match to retain WWF Intercontinental Title after Tazz hits Rikishi in the head with a camera at 14:07
Fun Fact: On the 7/6 Smackdown, Val challenged Rikishi for an Intercontinental Title shot, and thanks to help of Tazz, with a camera shot to the head, Val beat Rikishi for the gold. After a few more attacks on various shows, Val revealed his reasoning for attacking Rikishi (courtesy CRZ): Kevin Kelly stands with Stable Stratus and somehow turns Hotty's injury into "Why Rikishi?" "You know something; Rikishi represents everything I used to be! Doing everything in his power to please the fans - dancing at the drop of a hat just for the cheers of the fans! I used to gyrate just for the cheers of the fans! Giving competitors’ stinky faces just for the cheers of the fans! I used to come up with clever sexual innuendos just for the cheers of the fans! Yet I did nothing - NOTHING - for me - and that made me sick! Well buddy old pal heh heh, times have changed, and those days of uttering those words - 'Hello Ladies' - have gone by the wayside, and gold has come waist side, so chump, come this Sunday, Fully Loaded, I promise you this, I will not be a hard man to find, no, in fact I will be standing dead square in the middle of the ring surrounded by a steel cage, waiting for the cheers of those fans to turn to sorrow as I beat Rikishi within an inch of his damn life, and I promise you this: I will not be doing' it for the fans - I'll be doing' it for me."
Scott: With the big players that were feuding over this title in higher profile matches, some other players are dueling for the IC title. Venis hasn’t been involved with the title since early 1999, but now his hair is cut and he’s in plain dark tights. Trish Stratus is his manager, and does get involved, as she slams the cage door into Rikishi’s head when he’s trying to escape. I’m not sure what the general consensus is, but I think a cage match needs to be either pinning your opponent or escape, not both. It’s too confusing and tough to book. This is one of those matches. The action is pretty good, as Rikishi is really bringing it in the ring. For someone who hasn’t been in good shape for over 5 years, he has been consistently good night in and night out. Here he gives one of our holy shit moments of the year. He climbs to the top of the cage, does the sign of the cross, and does a Superfly drop off the top. Wow, Val needs to be picked up with a spackle knife. Unfortunately, Tazz returns and whacks Rikishi with a camera, and Val finds some strength to get the win. This was an entertaining match with a disappointing finish. Grade: 3
Justin: Man, is Rikishi on the tear of his life or what? Since he returned in late 1999, Rikishi has steadily risen to become one of the hottest acts on WWF TV. The major reason for his meteoric rise was his dance routine with Too Cool, but since getting over, he has really worked hard in the ring to make his matches just as good as his dance shtick. Here, he channels his Samoan heritage and does a sick Superfly leap off the cage onto poor Val Venis. The match itself may have been mediocre, but that moment is one that will be remembered for a long time. But, thanks to Tazz again, Rikishi comes out on the short end of the stick, and Val manages to escape with the gold. It was nice to see Venis getting a good push again, as he was lost in the shuffle for a lot of 2000. His new look, music and attitude were nice to see, and he puts on a fun little 7 week I-C title run during this time period. All in all this was a solid match with a fantastic closing sequence that helps to continue Rikishi’s hot streak. Grade: 3
** Shane McMahon comes out and challenges the Rock to an impromptu match. Rock comes out, but it gives Chris Benoit a chance to destroy everything in the Rock’s locker. **
6) Undertaker (Mark Callaway) defeats Kurt Angle with the Last Ride at 7:33
Fun Fact: This feud began on the 7/3 Raw, when Kurt Angle assisted his buddies Edge & Christian in a tag team match against Kane and Undertaker. Just as Taker was about to unleash a Chokeslam, Kurt ran out and pummeled Taker in the knee with his scepter, leading to a DQ. Taker was furious and Angle was running scared. On the 7/10 Raw, Angle confronted Undertaker during a promo and told him he had a surprise for the Deadman. Well, moments later, Kurt re-emerged from the back with a ridiculous helmet and pair of goggles on while riding on a little white motor scooter. He claimed he wanted to apologize to Taker by giving him this, so he can get rid of his enormous gas guzzling “hog.” Kurt took a nice lap around the ring, ensuring that we all saw “Undertaker” stenciled on the side. Finally, Taker had enough, chased Kurt off and tossed his scooter off the stage to the floor. Oh, and of course Angle jobbed to Kane on the 7/13 Smackdown, as it was clearly necessary to get Taker that last big rub before the PPV. Finally, on the 7/20 Smackdown, Kurt managed to dump some weird substance all over Taker’s bike and then when Taker arrived backstage to see it, Kurt jumped him from behind and took his knee apart with a wrench. He repeated that wrench attack earlier in the night here.
Scott: None of this really makes any sense. Angle has had a successful 2000 so far. He’s won multiple titles, and the King of the Ring. This is the last guy you want him facing. Taker, although he made a triumphant comeback at Judgment Day, is still not in ring shape. His gut is getting noticeable, his movement in the ring is still slower than shit, and he still sells nothing. Someone should tell him now he has the character change; the not selling moves gig is over. Why was one of the young up and coming heels have to job to this old fuck? The only thing Taker did an overabundance of while he was out was eat nachos. Many fans were more upset with the last two matches, but this one bugs me the most. Taker wins, and moves on to another insipid feud with Kane. His look and workrate would build back up over the next year and a half, but right now he’s a mess. Fortunately Angle shakes this off and gets into the big time next month. Grade: 2
Justin: What a load of clusterfuck horseshit this match was. OK, here we have Kurt Angle: a prodigy who picked up the business in mere months. He is great on the stick, puts on top notch matches left and right and is so over as a heel that he is on the verge of turning uber-heel Triple H face by proxy. The man has risen up the ranks quickly and for a good reason, as he certainly earned it. Now, plans were to elevate this man to World Title status very soon, so much so, that he was building a feud with Triple H since late-May, revolving around Stephanie. Now, common sense would dictate that he get a huge PPV win over an established star who doesn’t really need to ever win again, since he has won enough in his 9 year career, to help set him up for his big title run. Now, if that can’t happen, you figure, OK, maybe a DQ loss or some interference from Kane, you know, something to at least show he had a chance against the Main Eventers. But, alas, it wasn’t meant to be, as Undertaker seemingly proclaimed himself King of the Wrestling World and above the unwritten laws of the business and instead ensured that he be put over the up and comer clean in 8 minutes. For someone who had been such a loyal company man and who claimed to be the almighty “locker room leader,” was it necessary to squash one of the brightest stars on the roster? What did he gain from the win? Nothing: that is what he gained. I really hated Undertaker during this run, because he sucked in the ring, was badly out of shape, and because all of these young studs were flying by him, he had to resort to the politics game and make sure none of them got put over the almighty Deadman. Just crap. It is a testament to the skills amazing character that Kurt Angle had built up that he was able to survive being squashed on PPV like this. All the respect Taker built for himself during the down years of 1993-1997 is erased in one fell swoop between now and 2002. For someone who wants to be remembered as an icon and have a legacy as an all time great, he sure was acting like a bush league, independent federation jabroni at this point. Grade: 0 (Thanks to Taker’s nonsense)
7) Triple H (Paul Levesque) defeats Chris Jericho (Chris Irvine) in a Last Man Standing match when Triple H gets up at the 9-count at 23:14
Scott: The Game takes a detour from the World Title chase to take on his wife’s annoying nemesis. Jericho has been berating Stephanie in interviews, and then plants a couple of wet ones on her over the past month. He kisses her at KOTR, and again on an episode of RAW. So, instead of just wanting to pin him, Triple H wants to punish Y2J. So they have a PPV match. The premise of the match is the loser fails to answer a 10-count, similar to boxing. So rather than deal with pins, these two just beat the shit out of each other. Jericho will give you everything he has anyway, but Triple H continues to fortify his claim as wrestler of the year. They battle in and out of the ring, which includes a brutal Jericho chair shot that leads to one of many top-notch blade jobs Triple H will do during the decade. In the climax, Jericho tries a moonsault off the railing, but Trips blocks it and suplexes him through a table. Both men are down, but The Game gets up a super-ultra nanosecond before the 10 count, and wins the match. I wasn’t too upset about this one, because the feud wasn’t continuing, and Jericho is still over. They won’t meet again on PPV until Wrestlemania XVIII, but it wouldn’t match the action and brutality of this one. Grade: 4
Justin: Now, a lot of people may expect another bitch fest here, as Jericho comes up on the short end against Triple H, just like Taker and Angle, however, you have to look at things in the context of the time period. At this point in 2000, Triple H was still revered as a top notch worker and awesome heel. No one really wanted to him to job out and get busted down the card, so he and Jericho were almost seen on the same level, as far as crowd favorites. Sure, it would have been nice to see Jericho pick up a PPV win over the Game, but in this situation, it wasn’t necessary, as the main story was this: Triple H would go to many lengths to protect his wife, which was a point necessary to continue the Angle storyline. On the other hand, at that very point in time, people were jumping on the Kurt Angle bandwagon by the minute while Undertaker, who I’ll grant was still over, but that was more due to his history, was quite clearly a pathetic shell of his former self in the ring. Also, there is another glaring difference between this match and the previous one: Jericho looks like a star, despite losing, whereas Angle looked like a horse’s ass. It takes every last ounce of energy in Triple H’s body to beat the 10 count at the end of a grueling 25 minute bloodbath. It took Taker 8 minutes and a bead of sweat to put Angle down with his lazy Powerbomb. Tough to compare the two, really, wouldn’t you say? The match itself puts Triple H back on track as far as PPV matches go, as he delivers his 5th excellent match in 6 tries, and Jericho establishes himself as more than a comedy act, as he shows his more vicious side in this excellent match. Looking back, maybe Jericho should have gone over, but at that exact point, it really wasn’t a big deal. All in all, just an awesome, awesome bloody brawl that is a forgotten classic and must be seen. Grade: 4.5
8) The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) defeats Chris Benoit to retain WWF World Title with a Rock Bottom at 25:12
Fun Fact: During this time, Shane McMahon seemed to be creating a very interesting little stable, comprised of Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, Edge and Christian. It was quite the dream faction, but sadly it never really went anywhere, as Shane focused most of his energies managing Benoit and trying to get the belt of the Rock. It was interesting pairing, as the stigma of Benoit was that he had no verbal skills, so Shane would speak for him. After this show, however, Shane and the 4 studs would still assist each other here and there, but the stable was never officially formed.
Fun Fact II: The night after King of the Ring, former Commissioner Shawn Michaels made a very special appearance and let the world know that Linda McMahon had sent him here to introduce the world to the brand new WWF Commissioner: Mick Foley! That is right, Mrs. Foley’s baby boy returned after being off the screen since April. Mick would bring a nice shot of humor and levity to the WWF and would make his presence felt immediately (see below).
Scott: After battling Triple H since Wrestlemania, the Rock takes a detour of his own to face the Crippler. Benoit has firmly established himself as an absolute motherfucker. He already has battled Chris Jericho to some top PPV battles, now he takes on the champ in his first of many title shots over the next few years. Benoit has been nasty, mean, and calculating. This was a fantastic match with real stiff moves and counter-maneuvers. Since Rock has been a main eventer, he has faced a variety of brawlers. Mick Foley and Steve Austin have been his main opponents. However, in 2000 Rock has had to actually grapple move for move with Triple H and now Chris Benoit. Guess what, Rock can actually wrestle when he has to. Here, he brawls and wrestles the Wolverine move for move. However, many Benoit fans were cruelly teased to a “Dusty Finish”. The stipulation was if Rock was DQ’d, he’d lose the title. Well, Shane McMahon whacked the referee with a chair. When the referee comes to, Rock is holding the chair. So, naturally he DQ’d Rock, and Benoit is the new WWF Champion. All those who said Benoit was being held down since coming to the WWF are creaming their jeans. Oh no! Commissioner Mick Foley comes out to continue the match. “Mother Fucker” says the Benoit rubes. Well, the match continues to be awesome, and Rock finishes him off. I preface my comments by saying that I liked Chris Benoit at the time. He was an awesome wrestler, and at the time of this match is a great heel. However, since when was Chris Benoit owed anything? Just because he was fucked around with in WCW, the WWF is supposed to give him everything right now? He came here, won the Intercontinental title in his first Wrestlemania match, and has defeated Chris Jericho in consecutive PPVs. Just because he may be a better wrestler than Rock, doesn’t mean he’s entitled to anything. All that bullshit back then pissed me off. If Chris Benoit wanted the belt just handed to him, he would have stayed in WCW after Souled Out when he beat Sid. He’s in a new company, and is a little lower in the pecking order. He knew what was coming when he came to the WWF. So the rubes had a carrot dangled in front of them. They’re still pissed off over Bret in 1997. Get over it. In any event Rock wins, Benoit is still an awesome heel, and this caps off an awesome show. Grade: 4
Justin: I’m not going to get into everything all over again, but basically apply the words I said about Triple H and Jericho vs. Angle and Undertaker to this match as well. Rock and Benoit always worked masterfully together, and this match is no exception, as it is filled with a lot of drama and false finishes. Benoit had been elevated enough to where you could actually see him taking home the gold in the match. The Dusty Finish was a little hackneyed, and really, who wanted to see Benoit win his first World Title via a cheap DQ? Sure, no one thought it would end up taking another 3 and ½ years to get to the top of the mountain, but a cheap DQ title reign would have tarnished everything. Now, I wouldn’t have minded if he went over clean here, but there had already been so many title changes since January, that another one really wasn’t necessary. Rock had earned a lengthy title reign, and he was given it here, in the summer of 2000. These two work ultra stiff in there and Rock busts out some swank moves to keep up with the Rabid Wolverine. Benoit, like Jericho, helps establish himself as a true Main Event talent, despite losing, which was good to see. Just another great PPV Main Event in 2000, as expected. Grade: 4
Scott: Thank God that King of the Ring was just a bump in the road. This show goes right back to the formula of the previous 5 shows before June. Awesome, psychology-driven wrestling matches. Great characters and well told stories led to this: top to bottom another great show, with the proper guys going over. Only the Angle/Taker match made no sense, but that’s shaken off soon. Taker goes to another sloth feud with Kane, and Angle moves on to better things. We move on to the second biggest show of the year hotter than ever. What’s on TNT Monday nights? The US Open and the Westminster Dog Show might as well move there. What was on at that point wasn’t drawing flies. Final Grade: B+
Justin: Well, things are back on track and the WWF ship has cleared the rough waters of June. We have some fresh Main Eventers, a brand new and active Commissioner and a nice Vince-less program. Times were changing: Benoit was the new bad ass in town, Jericho was showing a mean streak, Rock was putting on classic wrestling matches, Triple H was actually showing signs of likeability, Edge & Christian were providing fond memories of tag team wrestling of years gone by and Undertaker had become the new Hulk Hogan. The build up of this PPV was interesting, because they were teasing and Old Guard vs. New Guard, conspiracy theory sort of feel to it. Of course, the New Guard lost all three matches, but only one was really made to look stupid. Soon, though, the WWF needed to break some of these guys through the glass ceiling for good, if they don’t want things to get stale. For now though, this was a great show with two awesome Main Event matches. Grade: B+ (could have been A-, but Undertaker ruined it).
MVP: Rock & Chris Benoit
Runner Up: Triple H & Chris Jericho
Non MVP: Undertaker
Runner Up: Acolytes