THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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Part three of the series to commemorate the tenth anniversary of The Two Sheds Review sees us taking another look at the first wrestling pay-per-view I ever reviewed, going back to the World Wrestling Federation of August 2000, when the company was in the midst of the McMahon-Helmsley era, and Kurt Angle and Triple H challenged the Rock for the WWF title in the main event of Summerslam, with Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler handling commentary duties.
The show began with six man tag team action as Steven Richards, Bull Buchanan and the Goodfather, also known as the Right to Censor, took on the Too Cool team of Grandmaster Sexay, Scotty 2 Hotty and Rikishi. A couple of the Goodfather’s former ladies accompanied the good guys to the ring, with one of them none other than future WWE Women’s and TNA Knockouts Champion Victoria/Tara. I always thought that the R.T.C. could have been so much more had they been given the right push, instead of being a lower mid-card act. As for the match, it’s quite an enjoyable encounter, without the stink face from the big Samoan, and Richards getting the pin for his team when he took Scotty down with a super kick just when the worm was about to make it’s appearance. And speaking of Scotty, you can see where Jedward got their hairstyle inspiration from here.
Then it was on to singles action as former D-Generation X buddies X-Pac and the Road Dogg went at it. I’d forgotten just how entertaining these two were back then. Say what you want about Sean Waltman getting stale later on in his WWF career, but back then he was a hell of a wrestler, and while these two together were a good team they were even better opponents, putting on an exciting fast paced encounter, with X-Pac getting the win, taking the Dogg down with a low blow before finishing him off with the X factor. X-Pac then grabbed the microphone, trying to make out that all was now well between them. It wasn’t, as the Dogg took X-Pac out with the pump handle slam.
The first title match of the evening followed, a mixed tag match as Chyna and Eddie Guerrero took on Trish Stratus and Intercontinental Champion Val Venis, with the stipulation that if Chyna or Guerrero pinned Stratus or Venis then they’d win the title. This was long before Trish became one of the best female wrestlers in WWF/E history. This was more or less a handicap match as Venis carried the majority of the work for his team, and when Trish tagged in she was simply overpowered by Chyna, who press slammed the blonde beauty before getting the title winning pin. Another highly entertaining encounter here.
It was back to singles action as Tazz faced Jerry Lawler. This feud, a tribute to the late, great Gordon Solie, began when Tazz began harassing Jim Ross, with Lawler standing up for his broadcast partner. You know, I really liked Tazz, but I was really disappointed at his lack of in-ring WWF success. Tazz spent as much time bad mouthing Ross as he did taking it to Lawler in a match that was more than a brawl than anything else, without a suplex in sight. Then, when referee Teddy Long was taking an snooze and Tazz had applied the Tazmission, Ross left his position and smashed his sweet jar into Tazz’s skill, with Long waking up in time to see Lawler making the winning cover. Okay, this won’t go down as Tazz’s greatest ever match, but the execution of this whole angle was perfect.
The title action continued as Steve Blackman challenged Shane McMahon for the Hardcore title. I loved Blackman in the hardcore division, it was absolutely perfect for him. The Lethal Weapon obliterated McMahon, until Test and Albert came down to the ring to lend a hand, double teaming Blackman until McMahon recovered. Blackman eventually fought his way back, and followed McMahon up a scaffold, knocking him off with his kendo stick, and then sealing the deal with a “seventy-five foot” elbow drop, draping his arm of McMahon’s fallen form for the title winning pin. The best match of the show so far, and a great reminder of how good the hardcore division could be at times.
The battle of the Canadians was next as Chris Jericho faced Chris Benoit in a best of three falls match. Now unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years you’ll know all about Benoit’s controversial life. There’s no doubting that he was a tremendous wrestler, but you can’t help but think of his final hours whenever you see him in action. But putting all that aside, which is difficult to do, this is a very good match, contested at a frantic pace from the opening bell both men began brawling in and around the ring. They traded submissions for the first two falls, and after some great back and forth action and plenty of near falls Benoit got the winning pin after reversing Jericho’s inside cradle, getting his pin by holding the ropes.
Then it was on to the era of awesomeness as Edge and Christian defended their WWF Tag Team titles against the Hardy Boys and the Dudley Boys in the first ever tables ladders and chairs match. I’d forgotten just how great this match was/ You’ve got three teams in the prime of their careers putting their bodies on the line in their attempt to win the gold. It was tremendous to watch. No stand out performances here, because all six were as great as each other, with Bubba Ray giving us the biggest bump of the evening, pushed off the top of the big in ring ladder onto a stack of tables at ringside. In the end it was Edge and Christian who emerged victorious, knocking Jeff Hardy and Devon Dudley off the hooks as they fought over the belts, before grabbing the big ladder to claim the belts himself. You know, they say that the first time is the best, and that’s certainly the case with TLC.
The Divas were up next as the Kat faced Terri in a stink face match. This wasn’t exactly an enthralling feud, the main selling point being that the girls wore bikinis in what was essentially a cat fight. Technically it was pretty awful, with the Kat getting the win by using corner man Al Snow’s mannequin head to knock Terry out before dragging her to the corner to deliver the stink face. A perfect example of what the Divas were all about in the Attitude era.
One of the numerous battles between the Undertaker, in his American bad ass phase, and his brother Kane followed. This certainly wasn’t a technical classic, it was an all out brawl, with the Undertaking going all out in an attempt to rip Kane’s mask off. Eventually the Dead Man managed to get the deed done, and it’s interesting to note that you could clearly see Kane’s face at one point. From there Kane bolted, leaving his brother in the ring to celebrate. Well, it didn’t really count as a match, but it was entertaining enough.
The main event saw triple threat action as Kurt Angle and Triple H challenged the Rock for the WWF title. The main story surrounding this one was the love triangle involving Angle, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley, and angle which ultimately went nowhere, even though it had a tremendous amount of promise. The action started before the champion even entered the arena when Angle grabbed the microphone and refused to apologise for kissing Stephanie a few days before. Triple H then charged down to the ring, and the resulting brawl saw Triple H pedigree Angle through the Spanish announcer’s table, giving him a real concussion in the process.
It was then that the Rock entered the fray, and the match began in earnest, developing into the most dramatic match of the show, with plenty of twists and turns, and it was a timely reminder of the great chemistry the Rock and Triple H had. Angle, at Stephanie’s request, would eventually return to the match after being carried away on a stretcher, and despite his concussion he put on a performance as good as the others, adding even more drama to the equation, which ended with the Rock getting the pin after taking the Game out with the people’s elbow, This was by far the best match of the night.
In conclusion – this was a tremendous card, with only one match disappointing. From top to bottom it’s filled with great encounters, and it made me realise just how great the Attitude era was at times, an era when they constantly tried to outdo Billionaire Ted and his boys. It’s also a sad indictment on the WWE world of today, but perhaps that’s another story for another time.