August 14, 2010
Summerslam 2001, August 19, 2001, Compaq Center, San Jose, CA
Announcers: Jim Ross & Paul Heyman
During the summer of 2001, the Invasion was ongoing with the WWF fighting off the combined forces of WCW and ECW. Well, actually the were fighting off the WWF guys who defected to that side while the combined forces of WCW and ECW were treated like jokes, but that’s an issue for another day. On this day, we have Summerslam, headlined by Steve Austin and Booker T defending the WWF and WCW Titles respectively against Kurt Angle and The Rock. Besides that the battle for brand supremacy continues in nearly every other match, with a couple of double Title matches also featured.
Opening Match, Intercontinental Championship: Lance Storm vs. Edge
The Setup: Storm won the IC Title on behalf of The Alliance, so now Edge, who’s just starting to get his first big singles push, steps up to try and get it back.
The Action: Edge takes it to him early on, but then gets dumped onto the barrier for the heat. Storm works him over with the hot crowd really into the nearfalls and Edge’s brief comebacks. He then gets the big comeback with more hot nearfalls, but ends up caught in the half crab. He does make the ropes for the break, but now Christian runs in. Storm dodges a spear from him and he hits Edge instead, but Storm only gets 2 from it. Edge then gets the Edgecution DDT for the pin and the Title at 11:19. After the match, Christian hands Edge the belt and leaves him to celebrate.
The Verdict: Really good match to kick things off here, although the finish is kind of odd. Since the idea was to build to Christian turning on Edge, shouldn’t he “accidentally” cost Edge the match here? Instead there was no real tease of dissention and his run in ended up being a non factor in the finish anyways. But that aside, like I said, it was really good. ***1/2
Spike Dudley & The APA (w/Molly Holly) vs. The Dudley Boyz & Test
The Setup: The APA had beaten down Test after accusing him of being a mole for the Alliance, so due to the lack of trust, he turned on them and cost them the WWF Tag Team Titles, and joined the Alliance anyways.
The Action: They trade guys off for a bit to start and end up with the Alliance isolating Spike. A table gets get up on the floor and they tease dropping him through it, but he escapes and makes the hot tag to Bradshaw who kills everyone. This leads to a big brawl and Spike gets thrown through the table this time. Bradshaw hits the clothesline from Hell on Test, but Shane McMahon runs in and hits him with a chair which allows Test to get the pin at 7:19.
The Verdict: This was a fun little six man that was pretty much all action, and I liked it. **1/2
Title for Title Match: WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Tajiri vs. WCW Cruiserweight Champion X-Pac
The Setup: At Invasion they put the Champs against each other in a non-Title match, so here they do it again with both Titles on the line. It’s also our only match tonight that is not “interpromotional” as both guys are on the WWF side.
The Action: They go back and forth for most of the match, with neither guy controlling for any length of time, and take turns hitting flashy moves. It was going just fine, but then they decided they needed a run in for the third straight match as X-Pac’s ally Albert comes out. Tajiri mists him, but that gives X-Pac the chance to hit a low blow and the X-Factor for the 3 count at 7:34 to walk out as the dual champion.
The Verdict: It was good, but by now the run ins are starting to get irritating. **3/4
Rhyno (w/Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley) vs. Chris Jericho
The Setup: Jericho was feuding with Stephanie, so she sends Rhyno in to take care of him for her.
The Action: Mainly brawling, which is good for what they had setup. Steph gets involved early, grabbing Jericho’s ankle as he goes for a dive and he ends up getting Gored on the floor as a result. A beating ensues for Jericho until he comes back and seemingly has the pin with a 2nd rope dropkick, but Steph has distracted the ref. Jericho has had enough of her, so he kisses her, which she is disgusted by. He then hits the Lionsault, but it only gets 2. They trade more big moves until Rhyno misses a Gore and gets hooked in the Walls for the submission at 11:48.
The Verdict: The show rolls on nicely with another good match here, and a refreshing clean finish for a change. ***
Hardcore Championship Ladder Match: Jeff Hardy vs. Rob Van Dam
The Setup: Jeff stole the Title from RVD last week on Raw, so that apparently necessitates a ladder match to settle the score.
The Action: They started out with some actual wrestling before going for the ladder, and then came up with about a million different ways to have the ladder kicked in their faces while trying to get it in the ring. There was nothing too crazy or stupid early on, but then they got to the climbing spots and it kind of fell apart. There was one where Jeff climbed and grabbed the belt, but RVD took the ladder away and so he was hanging there. RVD was then supposed to hit a kick off the top rope to knock him down, but he missed by a mile, forcing Jeff to just drop down like an idiot. And then the finish ended up being anti-climactic as RVD simply tipped Jeff over off the ladder and then climbed up himself to grab the belt for the win at 16:33.
The Verdict: This was far from the best ladder match ever. One of the problems was that in 2001 they were doing so many ladder matches that it was nearly impossible to impress people with anything new. Also, they made a big deal about this being a “hardcore” ladder match, but really there was nothing you wouldn’t have seen in any other one. So overall, it was alright, but disappointing given expectations. ***
Title for Title Cage Match: WWF Tag Team Champions Diamond Dallas Page & Kanyon vs. WCW Tag Team Champions The Undertaker & Kane (w/Sara Undertaker)
The Setup: DDP had been stalking Undertaker’s wife Sara, so Taker was out for revenge. When DDP and Kanyon won their Titles from the APA, Commissioner Regal ordered them to defend them here tonight in the cage where they would have nowhere to run. Taker and Kane then won the WCW Titles from Chuck Palumbo and Sean O’Haire for the sake of making this a double Title match.
The Action: Here’s a match that would be required viewing in Backstage Political Science 101. You see, DDP came in with the attitude that since he had been a big star with WCW, he would naturally be treated as such when he got to the WWF. He was put in a high level issue with Undertaker, but as was apparent from this match, that was more for the purpose of putting him in his place than anything else. Taker and Kane proceed to just kill these men, beating them from pillar to post and back again, while having no interest in selling anything for them, and just making them look like they have no business even being in the ring with them. Kanyon needed less of an attitude adjustment, so he gets to escape, with it being made very clear that Taker and Kane are letting him go as opposed to him actually defeating them in any way. This leaves DDP one on two, and Taker actually says that if he agrees to never look at Sara again, he’ll let him leave too. Of course that was all a ruse and as DDP goes to climb, Taker chokeslams him back down. He then finishes him with the Last Ride 10:14.
The Verdict: A fine example of sabotaging your own product for the sake of teaching someone a lesson this was, but I guess that’s the wrestling business for ya. And this still wasn’t enough for DDP, as the next night on Raw he went on to lose to Sara as well. -** because not only was it completely unprofessional, but it also sucked.
WWF Championship Match: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle
The Setup: Austin turned his back on the WWF and joined The Alliance back at Invasion, causing Angle to be pinned in the main event, so now Angle is coming for revenge and to bring the Title back to the WWF.
The Action: They brawl right away with Austin gaining the advantage and going to work on the ankle that he had softened up on TV leading up to tonight. Angle then takes over, and watching this it’s no surprise that Austin was retired for good with neck problems a year and a half later as he takes seven straight German suplexes. I’m sure his pride probably made him think he had to keep up with what everyone else was doing, but in the end it couldn’t have been worth it. A Stunner out of nowhere only gets 2, and it’s odd to bust that out at the 7:00 mark. They then brawl outside where Angle gets sent to the post and busted open. After a bit in the crowd, they come back and Austin takes multiple suplexes on the floor. In the ring, Angle hits the moonsault for 2. They trade finishers, with each guy getting a 2 count off the Stunner and Angle Slam respectively. Finally Austin has had enough and decks the ref. Angle hits a DDT and another one runs in for a 2 count. Austin beats him up too, and a third one as well. Angle hits another Angle Slam, and a fourth ref runs in, but this time it’s a WCW ref and he calls for a DQ on Austin to save the Title at 22:32.
The Verdict: Leaving aside the fact that we know how Austin, and Angle for that matter, turned out from going this hard, this was an awesome match, marred only by the screwjob ending. For the sake of guys’ careers, it’s for the best that they don’t work like this anymore, but they did a great job doing it. ****1/2
Main Event, WCW Championship Match: Booker T (w/Shane McMahon) vs. The Rock
The Setup: Vince McMahon had suspended The Rock following Wrestlemania, but now with Austin leaving him and The Alliance running wild, Vince reinstated him which led to a challenge for a match from Booker T.
The Action: They have a hot start with Rock chasing Shane around, and then when he can’t catch him, he just runs Booker into him instead. They do the ringside brawl typical of main events of this era, including into the crowd. Booker takes control in the ring for awhile, but ends up caught in the Sharpshooter. Shane gets on the apron, so Rock stupidly lets go and goes for him instead. Shane then sets a chair in the ring, but it’s only a decoy as when the ref goes to get rid of it, Shane runs in and blasts Rock with the belt. This draws out the APA with Bradshaw killing Shane with the Clothesline from Hell on the floor to get revenge for earlier. Meanwhile, in the ring, Booker hits the Book End, but it only gets 2. Rock starts the comeback now, culminating with the People’s Elbow, but Shane recovers to drag the ref out at 2. Shane takes a Rock Bottom to finally put him down for good. Booker nails a spinebuster and scissors kick, but as he does the Spinarooni, Rock kips up and hits the Rock bottom for the 3 count and the Title at 15:20.
The Verdict: Even in losing, Booker was at least allowed to come across as a star, making him the only real WCW guy given that chance. They ended up having a really good match, although not quite as good as Austin/Angle, but given the respective finishes I can see why they chose to end the show with this match. ****
Overall Thoughts: Overall, the Invasion was botched pretty horribly, which I think most people would agree with. But ignoring the bigger picture, this was a great standalone show, and I didn’t really remember it being this great so that was a huge plus. Two main events both hitting the **** mark and then every other match, with the one notable exception of course, although that match is at least interesting for other reasons, falling no lower than **1/2 makes this a pretty easy show to love. Big Thumbs Up for Summerslam 2001, and a high recommendation to check this one out again.