30 Day Wrestling Challenge: Day Six = How I Became A Fan

Before I start today, I would feel wrong if I didn’t talk about yesterday. 

Yesterday was a horrible day for everyone in Professional Wrestling, be it as performers, backstage personnel or fans and media, nobody won yesterday. It really made me question a lot of things, but I guess none of us know the full details behind what happened, and maybe we never will, but the one thing I am is a fan. So I’ll continue to follow what I Love, and I’ll do my best to support those in WWE now, and those who were let go or placed on Furlough yesterday. But I must say it really was heartwarming to see some of the tributes paid online to some of the unfortunate ones yesterday and people reminding us all of some of their previous best work, and a preview of what may be to come. But hopefully after all this is over, everyone affected yesterday will be able to find their place once again; maybe back in WWE, maybe in other promotions, or maybe in something new altogether. But it isn’t the fault of those still employed that people were let go, so I think we should continue to support those hard working men and women still with the company, as well as those who are no longer employed there. Big or small I know for a fact that in some way; Curt Hawkins, Drake Maverick, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, EC3, Lio Rush, Eric Young, Heath Slater, Aiden English, Kurt Angle, Sarah Logan, Referee Mike Chioda, Erick Rowan, Primo & Epico Colon, Mike & Maria Kanellis, Zack Ryder, No Way Jose, Deonna Purrazzo, MJ Jenkins, Dan Matha, and of course Rusev (as well as all the backstage producers, agents, writers and others) have all brought me some form of entertainment or memories as a fan of WWE.

For that I say Thank You, Good Luck, and see you soon. 


So it’s one of the big questions you are asked as a fan of Pro Wrestling, How did you become a fan? Well my story really began through the influences of others, being born in 1995 my formative years coincided with some golden ones of WWF, which all reached a peak in the year 2000. The year 2000 as I’ve said in previous blogs was probably the most successful in company history, and they did it without their top star going in. Stone Cold Steve Austin is without question for me the biggest star in the history of the business. He was the top guy at the highest peak the business has ever seen, that’s my simple logic for that. But towards the end of 1999 it became clear, he was hurt. He would be written out of storylines in November 1999 to go away for surgery. At a time when The Undertaker was also out of commission how would the WWF go on without its top star? Well, they went on alright, centring their prized Championship and the chase for it around two guys you may have heard of, and this is where the personal tale ties in…

My Uncle Scott (a regular reader of my blogs), his favourite then was Triple H (the bad guy), My Mum Teresa, My Auntie Vic, even My Grandma Brenda and Me… our favourite was The Rock (the good guy). And throughout the majority of the year 2000 it was those two guys at the centre of the ongoing chase for the WWF Championship. And in a nutshell that’s were my fandom first began. I can recall many an occasion of us all being gathered around the TV to see Channel 4 (yes kids, WWF was once on Channel 4) to see who would come out with the WWF Championship this time. So I could stop the blog now really as I’ve answered the question… But where’s the fun in that? So I hope you’ll indulge me a little as I look back across the year 2000 and the story of the WWF Championship, Triple H and of course The Rock and how they all moulded together to change the life of one 4/5 year old lad forever.

So right at the beginning of the year, on the January 3rd 2000 Raw, Triple H would win the WWF Championship from then champion Big Show.

From there Triple H entered a feud with Mick Foley (Cactus Jack) for the WWF Championship. At the 2000 Royal Rumble (which I reviewed for a blog this past January) HHH retained the WWF title in an all time classic Street Fight, meanwhile the Royal Rumble match was…

So… Rock vs Triple H at WrestleMania right? That makes all the sense right? Well, yes it does absolutely… but it didn’t quite pan out like that… From there we went to No Way Out where, after controversy of the finish of the match, The Rock would have to put his Royal Rumble win on the line against Big Show. And, it what will become somewhat of a theme in this blog, a McMahon (this time Shane) fucked him over and Show won… that coupled with Triple H “retiring” Cactus Jack inside Hell in a Cell to retain the WWF Championship meant coming out of that show, the WrestleMania 2000 main event match AT THAT TIME… Was Triple H vs Big Show… Something had to change… and it did don’t worry… but for the one billionth time WWF booked themselves into a mess trying to over-complicate stuff… It was all a bit of a mess but the main event of WrestleMania 2000 ended up being Triple H as champion (with his wife Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley in his corner) vs The Rock (with Vince McMahon, who returned and helped Rock get his title shot back, in his corner) … vs Big Show (with Shane McMahon in his corner)… vs… MICK FOLEY (with… LINDA McMahon in his corner…) in an elimination match… Wait, didn’t Mick Foley just retire you ask? Yes, yes he did… then Linda McMahon came out and brought him back even though he lost, just so he could main event a WrestleMania… Yeah the famous ‘A McMahon in Every corner’ match didn’t exactly have people salivating…

So what happened at WrestleMania? A happy ending right, it is WrestleMania after all…???… well… no… so… The Rock eliminated Big Show after a Rock Bottom (cool), then Triple H eliminated Mick Foley after a Pedigree onto a steel chair (meh…), and then… Vince McMahon turned on The Rock and hit him with steel chair shots and Triple H pinned The Rock. Vince turned on Rock, Rock got screwed again, Vince joined up with Triple H and Stephanie. And Triple H became the first ever heel to win the main event of WrestleMania and walk out as WWF Champion… urgh…

So… now what? Well, and credit to them, but they made it right… Backlash 2000. With Shane McMahon as guest referee it would be Triple H defending the WWF Championship with Stephanie and Vince alongside him against The Rock one last time, it really was do or die for The Rock. But, he was given a joker card… Linda McMahon said that she thought The Rock was outnumbered, and that he should have someone in his corner… STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN!!! In the weeks leading up to the show Vince would taunt his mortal enemy saying he didn’t have the grapefruits to show up at Backlash, alternatively The Rock made the promise or all promises that he would walk out of Backlash as WWF Champion, and one week he also guaranDAMNteed that Austin was at that same SmackDown (the final before Backlash 2000) where he cut that promo. This sent Vince wild, and after a wild goose chase went unanswered, Vince questioned Austin’s guts..this led to… well see for yourself…

And then… 3 days later at Backlash… this happened…

From there we went on to Judgement Day. With The Rock as champion now, Triple H wanted revenge. A 60 Minute Iron Man match was assigned… with Shawn Michaels as guest referee… but he made it clear that he would call this one down the middle… and the match itself was an absolute war, one for the ages for sure, and once again in 2000 we had a quite incredible ending to a WWF Championship match… (you’ll note It’s a lot of videos this blog, that’s because my words can’t do justice just how great these moments where…)…

A historical moment if ever there was one, THE AMERICAN BADASS had arrived!!!

So what next in the crazy world of WWF in the year 2000? King of the Ring was the next PPV, where Kurt Angle would win the KOTR crowd (remember that one)… but the main event was a 6 man tag team match; The Rock & The Undertaker & Kane vs Triple H & Vince & Shane… FOR THE WWF CHAMPIONSHIP! So the rules were that if Rock/Taker/Kane got the win then they would be the champion, and the Triple H team were to keep the title in their hands, so not only did you have the story of Triple H trying to keep his title, but also of Kane, Taker and Rock trying to stop eachother from winning it whilst trying to win it for themselves. It sounded like it could be a disaster right? Well, they got it right in the end once again…

So after becoming the King of the Ring a new challenger had asserted himself in the WWF title picture; Kurt Angle. After a triple threat match at SummerSlam 2000 in which The Rock retained his title, we would go on to Unforgiven where Triple H would defeat Kurt Angle (who at this stage had began somewhat of an infatuation with Stephanie) and The Rock would again retain the WWF Championship in the main event. And the next month at long last Kurt Angle (with his ‘friend’ Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley in his corner) would get his big shot one on one with The Rock, for the WWF Championship, at No Mercy. And with the match being No DQ… after intereference from Stephanie, Triple H, Rikishi even… KURT ANGLE BEAT THE ROCK TO WIN THE WWF TITLE! After Rock and Triple H spent the whole of the year 2000 battling over it, suddenly Kurt Angle was the man in possession of the WWF Championship.

The next PPV was Survivor Series, where Angle would retain the WWF title against The Undertaker, The Rock defeated Rikishi (who had framed Rock for putting him up to running over Stone Cold in… THAT storyline…), and also Stone Cold Steve Austin made his in-ring return after almost a year against Triple H… in a match that had an… interesting finish…

Chaos was the order of the day in WWF as 2000 came to a close, in particular the WWF title chase. So much talent, and they all wanted to be the man… it had become carnage, and commissioner Mick Foley had seen enough…

(JUST AN FYI; THAT THIS VIDEO ISN’T A WWE OFFICIAL ONE, BUT IT WAS WAY TOO GOOD FOR ME TO LEAVE OUT…PLS DONT HATE ME WWE THANKS X)

Kurt Angle (C) vs The Rock vs Rikishi vs The Undertaker vs Triple H vs Stone Cold Steve Austin in a Hell in a Cell match for the WWF Championship 

As you can imagine a 6 man cell match was kind of hard to keep up with everything that was happening, so if I’ve missed bits I apologise in advance… Before the match Jim Ross on commentary says (as the cell is being lowered) “Ladies and Gentlemen I have had the privilege of sitting here for 20 years, I don’t have a good feeling about this… is this what’s sports entertainment has come to?” … Sometimes it’s the little things that make the difference… Jim Ross is just the best isn’t he? … With Taker, Rikishi, Rock, Triple H in the ring Austin came out and immediately went after Angle who was yet to enter the cell. But then Triple H went at it with Austin, Taker with Angle and Rikishi with The Rock. Immediately it was carnage! Crowd seemed behind Rock most of all… although went mad when Austin and Triple H moved their brawl into the ring, Austin got the better of it with a couple of nearfalls as then Angle beat on The Rock and Triple H hit Austin with a high knee. Rock got a nearfall after some strikes and a Samoan Drop, Taker gauged at Rikishi’s face on the outside, then moved onto Angle as Triple H and Austin brawled. 4 men brawled in one corner of the cell as Austin rubbed Triple H’s face across the cell on the other, (Triple H was busted open now), Austin then did it again, Rikishi was choking Undertaker with his foot and Angle and Rock were together, Rikishi then hit a big leg drop on Austin’s neck in the ring, and looked to help Triple H until HHH hit a Pedigree that was only stopped when Rock broke up the pinfall attempt that came after. Rock nearfall on Triple H after a ddt that Angle broke, Angle nearfall on Rock after a slam that Austin broke, Austin stunner on Angle that Taker broke, Taker Chokeslam on Austin and HHH broke the pin (get all that?). Taker launched Triple H (bleeding so much from his head now) into the cell walls, Austin went at Rikishi and then Taker in the ring before Rikishi hit a hard right hand to Austin, only to be brought down by a Thezs press after… Then we saw Vince and his stooges come into the arena on the back of some kind of pick up truck… he had workers with him and they tied chains to the cell, Vince instructed them to take down the cell, and they pulled the cell door off, Vince wanted the cell gone! So now as there was no door on the cell… As the workers tied more chains to the cell Mick Foley came out to a huge pop and beat up the stooges and ordered Vince to be taken out! The match carried on as Triple H crawled out the door looking for safety, only for Austin to run after him. Austin and Triple H brawled to some model cars at the top of the entrance way as Austin kept slamming his head into the cars and also used a roaming camera on HHH. Rock, Angle and Rikishi and Taker also brawled near the entrance way. HHH smashed Austin’s head through one of the truck’s windows, Austin now bleeding too. Rock beat up Triple H, Rock looked for the rock bottom but Triple H hit a low blow on top of one of the cars, Angle was bleeding now as well, HHH hit a Pedigree to Rock on top of one of the cars. Rock was bleeding now too. Taker slammed Angle on one of the cars, HHH launched angle then taker into a car, Austin catapulted HHH onto one of the cars, Austin used a barrel to beat on HHH, Taker had dragged Angle near to the commentary tables and was using the ringbell and then some cables to choke him, Rikishi threw Rock into the cell wall, Angle smashed a chair right into Taker’s head, Austin and HHH brawled on the back of the truck, as Angle punched away at Taker who was now too bleeding, HHH tried to get away from Austin and both men climbed the cell wall, HHH climbed away from Austin, Taker threw Angle over the barricade, Austin climbed the cell, both HHH and Austin were on top the cell, but as Austin had ran round on gone up the other side, HHH was looking down below the other side and so Austin was in fact behind him! HHH turned around and Austin beat on him with right hands, they teased HHH falling off the cell, but he fought back, JIM ROSS WAS LOSING HIS MIND ON COMMENTARY, Angle climbed the cell to escape taker as Taker climbed up too, they reminded us of what Taker does on top of the cell and asked who he was going to make famous tonight? Austin striked at Angle and Taker at HHH, Austin and Taker took turns to punch and beat on Kurt, HHH climbed down from the cell roof for safety, Austin tried to go after him Taker still had Kurt on top the cell, Rikishi climbed up the cell to escape The Rock, on the other side you could see Taker instruct one of the ring crew to threw him up a chair, the poor ring crew guy tried about 3/4 times but couldn’t throw the chair high enough, Rikishi was on top of the cell, finally the guy got the chair up to Taker, Taker absolutely smashed Angle in the head with it, as Rikishi went behind Undertaker and picked up the chair and hit Taker with it, Rock and Tripel H were below now by the way fighting with Austin too, Rikishi tired to choke Taker with the chair. Kurt Angle ran away from Rikishi and the chair as he climbed down the cell to safety, but this gave time for Undertaker to get up and attack Rikishi… he punched Rikishi over and over as he got closer to the edge… eventually Undertaker chokeslammed Rikishi off the cell. He landed in some form of wood chippings that were in the back of the truck that Vince came out with earlier. Crowd and commentary went wild for this. Even those in the ring looked on in shock. After this back in the ring the other four went at it, Rock and Austin went face to face and brawled as the crowd ate it up, Rock hit the spinebuster to Austin and went for the People’s Elbow but Triple H took him out, Rock hit Triple H multiple times, sending him outside the ring, Rock then hit the Rock bottom to Angle but austin broke the pin… Austin then hit the Stunner on The Rock… and he crawled over to cover Rock but HHH dragged Austin off and both men were laid out after a neckbreaker spot. After this a bloodied Kurt Angle took advantage and covered The Rock for the win. SOMEHOW Angle retains! Not long after though Austin came back in and stunned Angle… In the 80s Hogan had to pose. In the mid 00s/early 10s Cena must pose. In the attitude Era it was all about Austin and his stunners. Austin MUST stun. The show closed as Austin’s music played and the four men in the ring, plus Taker on top the cell and Rikishi still laid out were all battered and bloody. Angle had won the match, but none of them were winners after this.

This was absolutely carnage as you can imagine. It was everything it should have been. For entertainment value it was first class. Interesting winner but in hindsight knowing were they were going it made sense… and of course this match is memorable for one of the most iconic moments of all time with Rikishi coming off the cell. A phenomenal match to cap off one of the best years in WWF history.

****3/4 


Sorry to end on a bum note, but I’ve just this second hear the sad news that WWE Hall of Famer, and for many THE WWF/E Ring Announcer, Howard Finkel has sadly passed away. To think I’ve just this minute heard him announce Angle the winner of this match. A very sad day. RIP. 

Josh. 

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