A very different blog in the series here, given what was going on in the world and particularly the United States of America around this time. So you’ll forgive me if it’s not as booking-heavy as normal. The September 11th terror attacks took place just 12 days prior to this PPV taking place, and as such the main event of the show could not have been a more appropriate feel-good moment to cheer the fans up watching on. I’ll quickly run you through the card I would create for the PPV in my world and how I would get us there:
- Hollywood Hulk Hogan (C) vs Kurt Angle for the WWF Championship
With Hogan taking up the spot that Steve Austin took on the show in real life, the evil WCW-backed champion would defend against the American Olympic Gold medalist hero Kurt Angle. Just a classic evil asshole vs fighting babyface story here, Hogan repeatedly laughing off Angle’s chances, and Kurt saying how he could wrestle rings around Hogan and how he would fight for all of America.
- Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Sting
Although Sting is technically the heel here, I’d just have this story be two guys talking up and fighting on behalf of there brand, and I think the promos and intensity between these two would be fire.
- The Rock (C) vs Booker T & Shane McMahon in a 2on1 Handicap Match for the WCW Championship
A mirror of the match they did on this show in the real world, keeps Booker in the title scene with a fun added twist of having Shane in there, which could be real fun and leads to some memorable segments and promos from The Rock in the build up too (YouTube them when you can).
- Chris Jericho vs Triple H (with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley) with Special Guest Referee: Vince McMahon
A rare WWF vs WWF match in this time. This is as much sewing the seeds for the feud these two had in 2002, as it is teasing that one of these two may hop over to WCW. Just two guys who just don’t get on at all, and Vince decides they’ll settle it here. These two had amazing chemistry and always put on good matches.
- Kane & The Undertaker (C) vs Scott Hall & Kevin Nash in a Hardcore tag team Match for the WWF Tag Team Championship
The rematch from SummerSlam and just another chance for these four guys to go at it and beat the crap out of eachother.
- Edge (C) vs Scott Steiner (C) for both the WWF Intercontinental and WWF European Championships
So this is where I retire the European title by unifying it with the Intercontinental title, ahead of streamlining the championships in the company down the line…
- Chyna (C) vs Lita for the WWF Women’s Championship
So this may look like a rush job, but I’ll explain why when I do the results of the show…
- Christian & Test (C) vs Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo vs The Dudley Boys (D-Von & Bubba Ray) vs The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy) for the WCW Tag Team Championship
A bug multi-team match here to open the show in hot fashion. After the nWo help Test and Christian win the WCW tag titles from Kane and The Undertaker after SummerSlam, Test & Christian soon find themselves with an abundance of potential challengers.
The post 9/11 SmackDown (September 13th 2001 – Houston, Texas)
This show happened just TWO DAYS after the attacks. And with the United States still in a feeling of fear and shock, the WWF took the brave step to issue a rallying call of sorts to the country and the world. Say what you want about Vince McMahon and the company, but this show was truly special. Emotions were obviously high, and a lot of shows and events were cancelled around this time. But the WWF decided to carry on, and try and give America something to take their minds off things. It was a show that had minimal references to active storylines during the show, it was more just to entertain rather than anything too serious. Vince McMahon received assurances from local governors that his programming would truly help, and the show began with the boss himself leading the charge. You want to talk about raw emotion… this is just that…
“The spirit of America lives here in Houston, Texas… Our nation’s leaders have encouraged us to return to living our lives the way we normally do… the American way… Make no mistake about the message this public assembly is sending to terrorism tonight. That message is simply we will not live our lives in fear… America’s heart has been wounded but her spirit shines as a beacon of freedom,” he said, “that will never be extinguished”.
– Vince McMahon (SmackDown 13/9/2001)
Given we are just 12 days out from the darkest day in the country’s history, I think it would be wise (as the WWF did in real life) to use this PPV as a night of feel good moments where possible. So it’s going to be a great night for the babyfaces, with the cherry on top at the end…
Christian & Test (C) defeats Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo & The Dudley Boys (D-Von & Bubba Ray) & The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy) in a 4-corners Tag Team Match to retain the WCW Tag Team Championship
A hot opener that’s all action, with the cowardly heels escaping with the titles still theirs with a sneak win.
Lita defeats Chyna (C) to win the WWF Women’s Championship
So with Chyna leaving the WWF in November time of 2001, it’s at this point I would bring her TV time to an end. This feels like as good a time as ever to have the heel, WCW champion do the job on her way out, and put over Lita who it felt at that time was the most popular babyface female in the company.
Edge (C) defeats Scott Steiner (C) to unify the WWF Intercontinental and WWF European Championships
Another babyface win here. Just seems very obvious to me who the better option is here. The US title would be on Test at this time and would be the other mid-card belt, so the European title had to go. I think Steiner being the bid bad guy to the babyface Edge could be a fun dynamic, and the pop for Edge overcoming him would be pretty big.
Kane & The Undertaker (C) defeats Scott Hall & Kevin Nash in a Hardcore tag team Match to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship
This would essentially be more of an extended brawl than a wrestling match. And again the babyfaces go over. Of course the ‘American Badass’ would have to get the win here for his team.
Chris Jericho defeats Triple H (with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley) with Special Guest Referee: Vince McMahon
This would be somewhat of a surprise, and I think Jericho (who would be the more heelish of the two in this match and leading up to it) could benefit from the win more.
The Rock (C) defeats Booker T & Shane McMahon in a 2on1 Handicap Match to retain the WCW Championship
Keep this exactly as it was.
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Sting ends in a no contest
This would be a bit of a sprint. Yeah sure people maybe disappointed but I wouldn’t have it go too long, and I’d have it be really physical and end in a double DQ or something like that. Really physical stuff and maybe have a load of officials and other wrestlers come out to separate the two. Eventually maybe build to a rematch inside a cage or something down the line.
Kurt Angle defeats Hollywood Hulk Hogan (C) to win the WWF Championship
I’d have this follow a very similar pattern to the match between Angle and Austin on the real Unforgiven show. No interference or any BS, just a straight heel champion vs ultra hero babyface in Kurt Angle. Honestly this really was one of the all time great babyface moments. Watch the clip below… and I’d have it go exactly like that only with Hogan of course instead of Stone Cold. Oh… and this show was in Angle’s hometown too…