wrestling / Video Reviews

The SmarK Retro Repost – King Of The Ring 2001

June 21, 2002 | Posted by Scott Keith

The SmarK Rant for King of the Ring 2001

– Live from New Jersey, home of the Stanley Cup losers.

– Your hosts are JR & Paul Heyman.

– DDP, who has apparently managed to bribe the sound and production people in order to produce new music and TitanTron videos for him, make his appearance right off the bat to taunt Undertaker, or as DDP calls him, “Take”. Ah, lame shortened nicknames, all we need now is “Scumtaker” and it’ll be like watching Thunder all over again. He claims to have better footage of Sara, ald then threatens to put a centerfold of her on the TitanTron because she was his before she was Undertaker’s! Oh, no, wait, sorry, that was Ric Flair stalking Elizabeth in 1992, got confused there. At any rate, DDP will be in the front row (how did he buy a ticket to a “sold out” show?) with a “Make Me Famous” sign. Is that a shoot?

– King of the Ring Semifinal: Kurt Angle v. Christian. Angle uses a huge takedown and stomps the proverbial mudhole, but gets neckbreakered for two. Belly to belly is blocked, but a second one hits. They brawl outside, but Christian gets knocked off the top and splats onto the railing. Back in, gut wrench gets two for Angle. Kneelift gets two. Christian cradles him for two, but Angle suplexes him again and gets two. Christian fights back with a leg lariat, but Shane-O-Mac interjects himself one match in, resulting in Angle missing the moonsault (I know, I’m shocked too) and Christian gets two. Backbreaker gets two. Unprettier is reversed to the Anglelock, but Christian fights free. Angle slam is reversed to the Unprettier, but Shane saves? Angle slam finishes at 8:17. Okayish match with lots of lull, and I could have done without a screwjob in the first match. The unspoken angle was pretty clear, though: Shane is trying to wear Angle out before the street fight. *1/2

– UT-DDP video package, which leads to Paul interviewing DDP at ringside. But wait! We get a mysterious video of DDP eating lunch at a diner! Now someone is stalking HIM! Oh, the irony is just right out of Hitchcock’s finest works here.

– King of the Ring Semifinal: Edge v. Rhyno. Slugfest to start and Edge gets a leg lariat. They brawl around the apron and Rhyno gets dropkicked to the floor. Rhyno wins the brawl, but gets crotched. Edge stomps him, but gets tossed into the railing. Back in, Rhyno shoulderblocks him in the corner as Edge sells the ribs. Rhyno works a bodyscissors (!) as the match grinds to a screeching halt. Powerslam and Rhyno goes up with a flying splash for two. Edge hotshots him in an ugly manner and comes back with a clothesline and they head upstairs. Edge manages to sunset flip him off there for two. Rhyno spinebusters him and sets up (as the crowd pops), but GOAR GOAR GOAR meets SPEAR SPEAR SPEAR and neither the immovable object nor the unstoppable force goes anywhere. Double-KO leads to Edge rolling him up for two, and the Impaler finishes clean at 8:53. Not much heat or flow to the match, which I’d chalk up to Rhyno being forced into wrestling instead of brawling. *

– WWF tag title match: The Dudley Boyz v. Spike Dudley & Kane. I was thinking Big Show for the WWF’s favorite type of wacky team: David & Goliath, last seen when Kane & X-Pac teamed up. I know this’ll probably get my smart mark membership revoked, but I think if they knew Kane v. Albert was gonna be as decent a match as it was, they should have saved it for the PPV. Kane cleans house to start, but Spike gets tossed between Kane & Buh Buh like a volleyball. Kane comes in and destroys D-Von for two. D-Von fakes a knee injury and takes over on Spike as a result. He takes the usual shitkicking, and Buh Buh hits the chinlock. Hot tag Kane, sideslammery abounds. Kane cleans house and tosses Spike onto the Dudz, and back in for a flying lariat on Buh Buh that gets two. Acid Drop gets two on Buh Buh, who completely screws up the spot by waiting for D-Von to make the save instead of kicking out. Of course, D-Von was late on the save, so everyone ends up looking stupid. Dudleyz do a weird heelish version of the Wazzup Drop on Kane, as they’ve dropped the namesake portion of the move, and 3D finishes Spike at 8:32. This was a pretty standard Smackdown match, but everyone works well enough together to make it work. **1/4 I think the heel turn is really gonna hurt the Dudleyz if they can’t compensate for the loss of the signature spots. Kane puts them through a table to satisfy the crowd, at any rate.

– Meanwhile, Edge & Christian make all nice-nice.

– King of the Ring: Kurt Angle v. Edge. Angle asks Edge to lay down and allow him to stay fresh for Shane. “I think I know you.”, he adds, prompting Edge to attack him. Edge flapjacks him, but gets suplexed to the floor. Angle beats on him out there and back in for a backdrop suplex, and we hit the chinlock. Edge rollup gets two, Angle suplex gets two. Back to the chinlock. Angle goes up and gets crotched, but we go back to the chinlock. I can understand why they’d give Angle boring matches to save him for later, but they shouldn’t have have booked him in three matches in the first place. Edge comes back, but gets anklelocked, and recovers to roll Angle up for two. Edge-O-Matic, but Christian runs in and distracts the ref in the process. Ref is bumped and Anglelock follows, but Shane runs in and spears Angle, and the Impaler finishes at 10:21 to give you King Edge. No coronation, he just leaves. The placement of the match really kills the importance of the tournament, but again I can see why they did it, because otherwise Angle has to come off the Shane match. Still, they shouldn’t have booked themselves into that corner in the first place. That’s really becoming a problem – the bookers come up with some stupid half-assed idea for a match and then are forced to work backwards and justify it. *1/4

– Meanwhile, Christian sucks up to King Edge. I still don’t see why they HAVE to break up in order to push Edge. Of course, if they wanted to get all inside-reffy, they could have Christian start getting paranoid of meeting Edge in front of barber shops.

– Meanwhile, Kurt bitches to some security guys.

– Lightheavyweight title match: Jeff Hardy v. X-Pac. X-Pac works him on the mat, but gets armdragged and bails. Jeff hits the railrunner and nearly steps on some poor kid in the process, but back in X-Pac gets an abdominal stretch and grabs the ropes for leverage. We hit the chinlock. Leg lariat gets two for X-Pac, Broncobuster misses. Jeff comes back with a clothesline and legdrop, and then they BADLY blow a spot in the corner, as it looked like Jeff was going for a bodypress and X-Pac was going for a leapfrog and they collided and crashed to the mat, with both guys looking shaken up. You’d think with all the audibly called spots on the night, they’d be able to hear them themselves. Jeff goes up and hits a bodypress for real, but X-Pac rolls through for two. X-Factor gets the pin, but Jeff is in the ropes, match continues. Jawbreaker and swanton bomb finish at 7:11. Fairly solid match aside from the blown sequence, and I wouldn’t be shocked if Sean did the job in exchange for getting the belt tomorrow night. **

– Meanwhile, Steve calls Vince at home to check on things, and let him know that if one of the challengers wins the title, they’ll be defecting to WCW on RAW. Hey, I thought this was King of the Ring, not Survivor Series…

– Hey, it’s another DDP stalking video, as DDP gets pissed off and hits the ring. It turns out, in a SHOCKING SWERVE, that it was Sara doing the videotaping. Wow, I’m so stoked to see this match now.

– Unsanctioned Confrontation: Undertaker v. DDP. Undertaker makes sure to take time to strap on his gloves, showing us how pissed off he is. Yes, he’s SO MAD that he makes sure to put those gloves on GOOD AND TIGHT. They slug it out like a couple of 40 year old greasy bikers in a barfight after one too many. You’d think if Undertaker was so upset, he’d actually make contact with his punches. DDP goes low as Sara comes out with her video camera. Man, is the WWF production team THAT thin right now? They do some more “brawling” outside as the crowd totally loses interest, and Undertaker of course sells it like he was being beat up by a toddler. Into the ring, Taker keeps pounding on him until finally DDP just walks off into the audience and escapes. Oh yeah, that’ll get WCW over as a threat bigtime. I didn’t think the WWF could actually kill an incoming upper card guy’s heat before he even had his first match, but they MAY have succeeded here by sticking him in against Undertaker, who seemingly won’t sell for anyone in the promotion who he’s not fake-related to. On the upside, I’m pretty sure this is rock bottom for the feud and it can’t really get any worse, but lord knows I’ve been proven wrong on that line of thinking with Undertaker many times before. Now might be a good time to kill this angle and go in a different direction with DDP, who can still benefit the main event tremendously if used correctly.

– Street Fight: Shane-O-Mac v. Kurt Angle. Angle takes him down and suplexes him, but Shane works the mat. Angle tosses him, and reveals that Shane has apparently potatoed him and busted him open. Cool. Kurt gets pissed and offers Shane the down position, and Shane stupidly tries to wrestle him again. Kurt immediately reverses and pounds the hell out of him, then gutwrenches and belly to bellies hm. Oklahoma roll and Angle rides him on the mat for humiliation purposes, then offers the down position again. This time, Shane uses his head and simply punts him in the ribs, then comes off the ropes with an elbow. Angle takes him again in vicious fashion, but Shane dumps him. They do a footrace and collide, then Shane comes off the apron, over the table, and nails Angle. He finds the kendo stick and adds some shots, then armdrags Kurt into the railing a couple of times. Back in, Angle bridges out of a pinning attempt, which is just an awesome spot that you don’t see enough of because the guys don’t have the kind of proper training to do it. Shane loads up the plunder and unleashes the ROADSIGN OF DOOM for two. Shane pulls out a bad-looking anklelock and tornado DDT, into a butt-ugly Sharpshooter. Man, that sequence was horrible. Angle makes the ropes and grabs the kendo stick to break. Shane slugs away for two. Double KO, and Shane uses the garbage can and goes up. The SHOOTING SHANE PRESS (!!!) misses. Man, this guy is gonna die one of those days. Angle dumps him and they brawl on the floor, as Shane suplexes him in the aisle. They head over to the entranceway, and Angle suplexes Shane into one of the plexiglass “KOR” signs, and it doesn’t break. Shane lands SQUARE on his head and we’re all sure he’s done for. I mean, he landed on his goddamn HEAD on the CONCRETE. So Kurt picks him and DOES IT AGAIN, and this time the sign breaks, resulting in both guys becoming absolutely covered in their own blood from the pieces of glass. So Angle then picks him up and suplexes him into ANOTHER sign, which again doesn’t break. Oh my god Shane is dead dead dead. Again, and this time Kurt is smart enough to prep for the lack of breakage by catching him on the way down. Finally, he gets fed up and tosses poor Shane through the sign, shattering it and adding more blood. That was one of the sickest and more brutal sequences I’ve ever seen in a wrestling match, including Foley’s fall. The difference here being that it was in the context of the match and had some actual buildup, instead of being a stuntman bump that was added to compensate for injuries. Shane is quite possibly legally deceased and pushing up the daisies, as Angle loads him on an equipment cart and wheels Shane into the ring, where he gets two. Realistically, that probably should have been the finish. Shane goes low and uses the can lid to come back, hitting an Angle Slam for two. Angle, however, catapults him into the ringpost, beats him with a piece of plywood, and then sets it on the top rope for an Angle Slam off it that finishes at 26:00. Again, the final sequence was kinda overkill, but the wrestling stuff to start was really neat and the brawling stuff outside is probably un-toppable without serious injury, and the end result is an awesome match. ****1/4 Addendum: Kurt Angle really was hurt in this match and was taken to the hospital. Just what they need, more injuries.

– WWF title match: Steve Austin v. Chris Benoit v. Chris Jericho. The Chrisses attack a distracted Austin (who’s waiting for Vince’s arrival) and beat on him in the crowd. Benoit & Austin head into the ring and Jericho joins them for some DOUBLE CANADIAN VIOLENCE! Jericho gets the forearm on Austin for two, but Benoit saves. Austin nails Jericho from behind, but the Chrisses pinball him…and Jericho nails Benoit by mistake. Jericho gets the Walls on Austin, but Benoit saves and suplexes Jericho out. Crossface on Austin, but ropes are made. Benoit gets an elbow for two. Austin tosses Benoit, and back in for some nasty chops from Austin. Austin & Benoit trade pinfalls, but Austin goes for the Stunner and Benoit reverses to hit his own! It gets two. Ref is bumped as Austin covers Benoit, but Jericho saves and posts Benoit. Austin & Jericho trade the Walls of Jericho, and Austin gets a spinebuster for two. Russian legsweep gets two. Austin goes to the sleeper, but Jericho suplexes out. Slugfest, and Jericho gets the forearm. Benoit crawls to the apron and Jericho dropkicks him off and hits the bulldog on Austin, but the Lionsault misses. BY GAWD THESZ PRESS, but Benoit grabs a chair…and nails Jericho. KICK WHAM STUNNER on Benoit, Austin covers Jericho for two. Superplex gets two. Another one gets two. Benoit sneaks in and hits 5 german suplexes on Austin, but Austin goes low. Triple KO. The Chrisses do the Crossface/Walls combo, and Austin taps, but the match has to continue because only one man can win. See, now logic would dictate that Austin is out of the match and Benoit & Jericho fight for the title, I’d say. Crossface on Jericho, reversed to the Walls. Benoit gets a snap suplex for two. Austin grabs a chair but gets is kicked back in his face and Jericho tosses Benoit. Suddenly, Booker T comes out of the crowd, kicks Austin’s ass, and puts him through the Spanish table. Benoit gets a pair of german suplexes on Jericho, reversed to the Walls. They’ve done that spot a few times already and it’s killing both moves in the process. Benoit makes the ropes and posts Jericho, but gets slammed off the top. Bulldog and a horribly blown Lionsault gets two. Both guys tumble out, then Jericho, like an idiot, goes after Austin and tosses him back in. Now what’s the point of doing that? Moonsault gets two, Benoit saves. Headbutt gets two, Jericho saves. To the top, Benoit superplexes Jericho…and Austin covers Benoit for the pin to retain at 27:53. What the BLOODY HELL was that finish?!? Even the crowd seems shocked that it came out of nowhere like that. The match was excellent, although thinking about it I’d have to lower the rating from my initial thoughts due to Jericho’s sloppiness and the bad finish. **** Kiss the Canadian push goodbye, although with all the injured main eventers I guess it comes down the WWF willfully hurting the push of guys who can actually still work because they don’t fit Vince’s image of a “WWF Superstar”, and I think that’s a shame.

The Bottom Line: Another good show that overcame a bad lineup on paper through the last couple of matches, but that undercard was a mess and it’s gonna start biting them in the ass one of these days. They’ve REALLY gotta tone down this garbagy stuff, though, because both Angle and Austin suffered serious injuries as a result of those sick spots (Austin hurt his hand going through the table) and the fans need to be re-educated to wrestling before it’s too late. Hard work from all involved tonight, but I’m starting to get real worried about the long-term picture, due to all the injuries and drugs. I don’t wanna sound too down about this show, because it was a definite thumbs up with the last two matches, but when guys are getting busted for drugs as much as they have been recently, and main eventers are getting injured on a regular basis, AND ratings are showing a downward trend…that’s a really bad sign. I really hope Vince takes care of the drugs and tones down the violence a bit, because he can’t afford to lose anyone else at this point.

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Scott Keith

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