Editor’s Note: This column was originally written this past Saturday, August 24th, before the Summerslam PPV. Unfortunately, it has been posted today, August 26th, the day after Summerslam. Full apology to Eddie T. for the posting delay and the readers of this site.
Hello everyone. With SummerSlam to be held on PPV on Sunday, I think it’s only natural that today’s Prime Cut focuses on the PPV. Instead of doing your regular previews and predictions, I took it upon myself to once again do something different — compare SummerSlam 2002 with the previous two editions of the PPV in the past two years. I’ve still added some predictions, just in case you are interested. With that said, you are reading another edition of The Prime Cut over at TBL, for which I thank you! Here we go…
If we are going to talk about SummerSlam 2000 and SummerSlam 2001, we have to start with one name — Kurt Angle. The man that had the opportunity to main event this PPV for two years straight definitely has some solid history with this event. In 2000, Kurt Angle battled Triple H and The Rock for the WWF (back then; I’ll refer to it that way for 2000 and 2001) Heavyweight Championship. This was all happening in the midst of probably the best and most thoughtful storyline the WWF had in 2000 — the love triangle between Kurt Angle, Stephanie McMahon, and Triple H. Not only did they spend a lot of time on that story, but the buildup towards it, with Kurt Angle being Stephanie’s “friend” for a long time before the event was definitely a good one. Kurt was just beginning to peak in the federation and after becoming the King of the Ring his relationship with one Stephanie McMahon “blossomed” and became stronger. Come SummerSlam, Kurt Angle and Triple H were already going at it with each other, and though their main goal was to become the WWF Champion, they were concentrated on the “drama” with Stephanie McMahon. With the addition of The Rock to the main event, the WWF secured a very good Triple Threat Match for the heavyweight title.
Kurt Angle’s debut as main-eventing SummerSlam, however, was a painful one. The match was going great until the point where Triple H went for his famous Pedigree on Kurt Angle on top of the announcers table. You probably remember the conclusion of that — the table broke and Angle suffered a concussion which would put him out. After taken backstage and reexamined, Kurt still had the guts and courage to return to the ring and finish the match. I personally think that this was the event that made Kurt Angle, as it showed his true colors and it proved that he does love this business and is ready to sacrifice for fame, glory, desire, passion, and most of all, the fans. Definitely a turning point in Kurt’s career. Triple H and The Rock, two guys that have worked some of the greatest matches in the company helped a lot, and SummerSlam 2000’s main event was definitely a good one! We’ll talk more about Kurt Angle later when we get to SummerSlam 2001. For now, we’ll stick with the year 2000.
SummerSlam 2000 became known as “The Crazy Night” to many wrestling fans. The WWF has been trying to freshen up their tag teams division and was bringing in more and more of the high-flying, the risk, and the overall entertainment value that makes fans chant “Holly Sh*t!” Well, if you are looking for crazy, look no further than SummerSlam 2000, where The Dudley Boyz, The Hardy Boyz, and Edge and Christian went through hell and back in what became the legend known as Tables, Ladders, and Chairs, or simply — TLC. The first “official” TLC match took place at that PPV, and shook a lot of people up. We have seen Tables, Ladders, Chairs and Canes matches in ECW, but not everyone was familiar with those, and definitely no one knew what the WWF will do once they take this approach. Not only did these 6 guys prove that they are extreme, risk-taking, and crazy, but they really brought it to the dance. Ever since WrestleMania 2000, these 3 teams have been going at it. They feuded each other for a whole year and a half but in my opinion this was definitely one of the coolest years for tag team competition in the WWF. SummerSlam 2000 would mark the beginning of the TLC legend, and one of the main “bones” of the Edge & Christian era in tag team competition. And speaking of that match, isn’t it priceless seeing Mick Foley say “Tables, and Ladders, and Chairs … oh my… Tables, and Ladders, and Chairs… oh my!” ?
The craziness of SummerSlam 2000 didn’t stop there. Shane McMahon took it upon himself to make the night even more memorable with what many call the biggest bump ever taken in the WWF. Being the newly crowned WWF Hardcore Champion, Shane McMahon was stuck defending his Hardcore Championship against The Lethal Weapon Steve Blackman. All thanks to Mick Foley. While the match was definitely hardcore and Shane did a good job acting out how scared he is from Steve Blackman, he wasn’t scared to take a bump from about 50 feet above the ground! Shane McMahon climbed the set the WWF had for the event as Blackman was chasing after him. Once he got to the top, he got “shoved” down by Blackman, and the rest was history. After flying for a period of 2 seconds, Shane hit the stage, or whatever the WWF had to soften up the fall. This was one of the highlights of the night, and it didn’t end there either. Blackman decided to add to the excitement and jumped from the same height to deliver a flying elbow right to Shane McMahon. In my opinion, this bump should live on in the history of SummerSlam for a long time.
WWF SummerSlam 2000 was a great PPV that lived up to the expectations of being the biggest event of the summer. Other matches on the card such as Undertaker vs. Kane and Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho also helped. Here’s a quick recap of the show:
* The Rock defeats Kurt Angle and Triple H in a Triple Threat Match and holds on to his WWF Championship.
* Edge and Christian come out victorious from a crazy TLC Match.
* Steve Blackman defeated Shane McMahon for the Hardcore Championship in a match that ends with a 50-ft bump by Shane, followed by a flying elbow from Blackman.
* The Undertaker and Kane battled to a no contest.
* Chris Benoit defeated Chris Jericho in a 2 out of 3 falls match.
* Chyna and Eddie Guerrero defeated Val Venis and Trish in a Mixed-Tag for the IC Championship. Chyna became the Intercontinental Champion after pinning Trish.
* X-Pac defeated Road Dogg.
* The Right to Censor defeated Rikishi and Too Cool.
* Jerry “The King” Lawler defeated Tazz.
* The Kat w/ Al Snow defeated Terri w/ Perry Saturn in a Stink Face Match.
It was the year 2001 and the InVasion storyline was all over WWF TV. The WCW/ECW Alliance was feuding with the WWF, when the one and only Rock returned to rejoin the WWF. SummerSlam 2001 was marked as “Rock’s big return” to PPV as the last time we’ve seen Rock was at WrestleMania X-7 and then on the RAW after. The People’s Champion returned to feud with Booker T and a match between the two for the WCW Championship was set for SummerSlam. The Rock and Book put up a great match and the WWF finally sent the fans home happy, as the ending of the PPV was with the win of a face wrestler. Even though the WCW Championship match was the last on the card, the main event for the show was between Kurt Angle and Stone Cold Steve Austin for the WWF Championship.
Before The Rock returned, Kurt Angle has turned into somewhat of the leader of the WWF as he was in the midst of a feud with Steve Austin that lasted for quite some time and saw 3 or 4 huge bouts between the two. At SummerSlam, Steve Austin rammed Kurt Angle’s head into the ring post several times as he cut him open. Angle lost a lot of blood which helped make the match more brutal in the real meaning of the word. On the other hand, Austin managed to use some of his old technical moves and style of wrestling. A style he hasn’t used since his neck injury as he’s moved on to a brawl type of wrestling in his matches. This match was no doubt one of the best matches of 2001 as announced by the WWF. Even though it didn’t make it in the Viewer’s Top 10, it was a very special, and just like the WWF is saying now, it was a classic match. It had all the elements — a very good built-up, the drama with all the referees, and the surprise sad ending with Angle getting Disqualified. The fact remains that SummerSlam 2001 saw two great main events for the two biggest championships the industry has seen — the WWF Heavyweight Championship and the WCW Heavyweight Championship. The Rock made history and celebrated his triumphant return, whereas Kurt Angle and Steve Austin gave it all they got in a great match!
Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy put up a great encounter at InVasion with their hardcore match. RVD was a very popular member of the Alliance, and their top (and probably only w/ the exception of Billy Kidman) face. These two went at it again for the Hardcore Championship at SummerSlam. This time it was in Jeff Hardy’s specialty — Ladder Match. The encounter between the two high-flyers was great and it was a nice addition to the card. It proved that both RVD and Jeff are truly hardcore.
Also on the show, The Undertaker and Kane unified the WWF and WCW Tag Teams Championship by defeating DDP and Kanyon in a Cage Match. X-Pac unified the WCW Cruiserweight and the WWF Lightheavyweight Titles, and of course Chris Jericho defeated Rhyno.
SummerSlam 2001 recap:
* Kurt Angle defeated Steve Austin via DQ but Austin remained the WWF Champion
* The Rock defeated Booker T for the WCW Championship
* Edge defeated Lance Storm to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship
* Undertaker and Kane defeated DDP and Kanyon in a Cage Match to unify the WWF Tag Team Championships and the WCW Tag Team Championships
* RVD defeated Jeff Hardy for the Hardcore Championship in a Ladder Match
* X-Pac defeated Tajiri to unify the WWF Lightheavyweight and the WCW Cruiserweight Championships
* Chris Jericho defeated Rhyno via submission
* The Dudley Boyz and Test defeated the APA and Spike
Fast Forward to the year 2002 and SummerSlam to be held on Sunday. Things are changed completely. There is no more Alliance and there is no more unifications to be worried about.
I would expect SummerSlam 2002 to differ from SummerSlam 2000 and SummerSlam 2001 with mainly one thing — Hopefully, Sunday’s PPV will be the beginning of that new era of “ruthless aggression” Vince McMahon was talking about. After all, the WWE needed a change, and it got one! They needed new stars and they are pushing these new stars. They are given a chance at SummerSlam to live up to the hype, and live up to the expectations. I guess what I am trying to say here is that what the WWE needed to do… It did! It’s not the wrestlers’ turn to pay back the company and do their best. SummerSlam is a big PPV and you gotta believe that Vince McMahon will be watching very closely on that monitor backstage. Now is the time to shine! Let’s quickly go through the card with a sentence or two for each match, as well as some comparison for the wrestlers, as to where they were in 2000 and in 2001.
The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar
I expect this to be a great match. This can pretty much end up being the match of the year to be quite honest. Many sites have been talking about Brock Lesnar and how he’s getting a push he doesn’t deserve. I’ll be honest. Brock is green to the business but just in the past months, and especially in the past several weeks, he has progressed big time and frankly I am very happy with his accomplishments. The Rock returns to SummerSlam for yet another huge match. This time Rock is playing the leader role, and I would expect him to be the one to step down in Brock’s way. For all the smarks out there who think of The Rock as a movie star with a huge ego, I think it’s time for you to wake up and come out of the dark. The Rock played a vital part of SummerSlam 2000 and SummerSlam 2001, and is playing a huge role in SummerSlam 2002. He’s been successful in the past two years, and he will be again this year. I believe that in this business getting the pin is not the only thing that makes you successful.
My Prediction: Brock Lesnar
Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels
Did you even think this match will ever happen? Wow! Triple H skipped SummerSlam 2001 due to a quad injury that kept him out for 9 months. Shawn Michaels returns to SummerSlam after a very long absence. HBK was the man who battled Razor Ramon in a ladder match at SummerSlam ’95 and took wrestling to whole new “heights”… literally. Do not be disappointed, but this one is not going to be a match, it’s going to be a “fight” and I hope Hunter manages to carry Shawn through the match.
My Prediction: Shawn Michaels
Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Benoit
Rob Van Dam’s SummerSlam debut against Jeff Hardy in 2001 was impressive, as I talked about it above. Chris Benoit skipped SummerSlam 2001 due to the neck injury he suffered at King of the Ring. However, Benoit was in the house for SummerSlam 2000 and put up an incredible match with Chris Jericho. These two Canadians have had one of the coolest confrontations to follow, if you ask me. SmackDown! needs the IC belt.
My Prediction: Chris Benoit
Booker T and Goldust vs. Lance Storm and Christian
Goldust returns to SummerSlam after a long absence as well, and I have to say that the bizarre one has changed a lot. He’s now a very cool face, playing along Booker T on RAW. Booker T’s SummerSlam debut was last year’s main event as I stated above. As far as Storm and Christian go, Christian has proved that tag team competition at SummerSlam is his thing, and Storm is hoping to this time get a win in his second SummerSlam match, after losing the first one to non-other than Christian’s “brother”, Edge.
My Prediction: Lance Storm and Christian
The Undertaker vs. Test
If you want to talk about SummerSlam history, you want to talk about The Undertaker. Even though The Dead Man has been working with Kane for the past two years at SummerSlam — 2000 against him, 2001 with him — he’s a veteran that knows all about big matches and PPVs. Test got the best out of him two weeks in a row on RAW, so it’s his time to lay down.
My Prediction: The Undertaker
Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio
The man that did it all in 2000 and 2001 at SummerSlam is not even in the top 3 matches this year. I think that’s the perfect example of how changed things are. Kurt Angle proved on SmackDown! that he can do just fine even in a match with a cruiserweight.
My Prediction: Kurt Angle
Chris Jericho vs. Ric Flair
Chris Jericho lost to Chris Benoit in 2000 but defeated Rhyno via submission in 2001. Ric Flair seems to be headed for a retirement, as I believe that this was his huge announcement. This is the toughest match to call on the card. Flair has been jobbing to a lot of people, whereas Jericho hasn’t won a PPV match since February, 2002.
My Prediction: Chris Jericho
Edge vs. Eddie Guerrero
This will be a great bout with two of SmackDown!’s top superstars. Edge has been victorious at SummerSlam 2000 and SummerSlam 2001, and I think the streak will continue. Eddie Guerrero is one of the best performers the company has today in my opinion, but a lot won’t hurt him so much. Eddie didn’t participate at SummerSlam 2001 but was in the midst of a great storyline with Chyna in 2000 when he fought in a tag match with the 9th Wonder of the World against Val Venis and Trish Stratus.
My Prediction: Edge
I believe that SummerSlam will live up to the expectations this year, just like it has in the past two years. The main events at SummerSlam 2000 and SummerSlam 2001 were great, but the one at SummerSlam 2002 should be even better. Rock and Brock are two incredible athletes with a very good physique. I will not at all be surprised if the match turns out to be one of the best this year! Having in mind it’s most likely Rock’s last PPV match for the year, I am pretty sure he would go all out on Sunday. Then again, he always does and that’s why he’s the man. SummerSlam 2000 was “The Crazy Night” and SummerSlam 2001 was a memorable one, or “The Night of Return.” (Rock returns and so does WWF in the battle with the Alliance). SummerSlam 2002 should be “The Night of a New Beginning” for many people! I hope it turns out to be a great PPV and just like the WWE says, “The Moments Are Waiting!”
Thank you very much for stopping by and reading the second edition of the Prime Cut here at TBL! Make sure to send me some feedback with all kinds of comments and thoughts you have, good or bad. I guarantee that I’ll write you back. Have a good weekend!
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