Royal Rumble (2001) – Review

WWE Royal Rumble 2001 (2001) - Posters — The Movie Database (TMDb)

With the 20th anniversary approaching, and with the 2021 edition of this iconic Pay Per View around the corner, it feels appropriate for me to take a look back at one of the last major shows of the famed ‘Attitude Era’ of the then WWF. I would say that 2000 was probably the peak in terms of quality of product that WWF had back then, and now going into 2001 (off the back of the iconic 6 man Hell In A Cell at the December 2000 PPV Armageddon) we were well on our way to THE WrestleMania in Houston’s Astrodome just a few months later. With a vast array of talent on the undercard, Kurt Angle and Triple H in their excellent love triangle feud (that was cut WAY too short, apparently down to HHH’s disbelief in the creative that ‘Kurt Angle’ could possible entice ‘Triple H’s’ girl) with Stephanie and the WWF Championship all involved… and of course… HE was back. Having returned from career-threatening surgery (after almost a full year on the shelf) just a few months prior, Stone Cold Steve Austin was on his road to getting BACK to the top, but in his absence the “1b” to Austin’s 1a had more that staked his claim to be THE guy. The 2001 Royal Rumble was a PPV that would prove to be a pivotal night in the career of Austin, The Rock, WWF Champion Kurt Angle, top contender Triple H (champion for most of the year 2000) and also a night when one of the supporting cast of the time would make Royal Rumble match history. If this show is as good to watch back as it looks on paper I for one am very excited. So join me now as I review the 2001 Royal Rumble PPV.


(In between the first and third matches on this show was a Ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship. For obvious reasons given one of the participants I can’t bring myself to write in detail about it. I will admit though that the match was very good (I’d go for ****3/4, an absolutely superb match), and if you choose or can yourself be OK with watching the match then I’d highly recommend doing so. But I hope you understand why that I will not be talking about it in my review of this show.

There was your usually great opening video, this one focusing on the rumble match specifically featuring all the participants.

This is the attitude era so we had JR and The King on commentary and Finkel doing the ring announcing. They were all their typical best particularly Jim Ross towards the end of the rumble match itself. The show was at the New Orleans Arena in Louisiana.

The Dudley Boys (D-Von and Bubba Ray) defeated Edge & Christian (C) to win the WWF Tag Team Championship

So… as part of the storyline going into this we were shown clips from the previous Raw and SmackDown shows where the heels gave the dudleys storyline concussions… yes 20 years ago it was apparently acceptable that a concussion angle was OK to do… urgh… This was a really fun and very solid opener between two of the most acclaimed and solid tag teams of this and any era. The Dudleys sold for most of the early part and it was almost like everyone was just waiting for the big babyface comeback… so as the match went on we got to Edge talking a lot of trash, he and Christian did frequent tags before D-Von showed some life. There was a small spot where after D-Von got a nearfall he took down Edge but he went down as well… so he went for the hot tag to Bubba, only for the ref to be looking at Christian so he didn’t see the tag. Christian then got some chairs, but as D-Von ducked Christian hit Edge instead with a chair. Then we finally got the big hot tag to Bubba and everyone went wild for it, he came in and cleared house of both heels, he hit the Bubba Bomb on Christian, they did the ‘WASSUP’ spot with D-Von coming off the top, then they had the famous ‘GET THE TABLES’ call, the crowd were going wild for this, Edge went for a shot with the belt but missed, Bubba got a nearfall after a roll up, Christian missed an Unprettier, Edge speared Bubba to stop a 3D, Edge hit the Educution DDT but Bubba kicked out of the pin, Edge and Christian then tried the WASSUP spot but D-Von pushed Edge down to break up the pin. And then finally the Dudleys hit the 3D on Edge and they got the win and won the titles. The crowd and commentary went crazy for the win. This was a great opener and to have the babyfaces win the titles started the show off hot and the crowd were happy. Good stuff all round.

***1/2

We were shown Comedian Drew Carey entering the arena… oh boy…

JR introduced some footage from Heat… It was Vince McMahon talking about a previous Triple H – Steve Austin confrontation in an interview with Michael Cole. ‘In the interest of fairness’ Stone Cold is in the royal rumble still says Vince, but also Triple H won’t be penalized either as although HHH physically provoked Austin on SmackDown, Vince claimed that only happened after Angle shoved him into Austin. So Triple H’s WWF title shot is still on.

Triple H and Stephanie were backstage. HHH sought reassurances from Stephanie that (even with Trish at ringside) that she wouldn’t interfere in the match (against Angle)… Stephanie said she would be out there to make sure Trish isn’t a factor. Drew Carey then came in, he said he had spoken to KAMALA (OF ALL PEOPLE) but he wanted to find Vince McMahon for pointers on his own PPV (It appeared Carey had a show to promote around this time as they mentioned it SO MANY FUCKING TIMES)… And then somehow we got onto Stephanie asking Carey if he liked ladies, and she said she’d take him to Trish Stratus’ dressing room…

The APA were backstage playing cards and drinking (they did this a lot backstage around this time). They made innuendos about ‘I’ll show you mine if you show me yours’ but of course they were talking about rumble numbers rather than cards. Bradshaw suggested Faarooq should have a drink upon seeing what number he had. Crash Holly (OK then…) then came in and said he would have to eliminate them if they got in his way in the match. This was hilarious to be fair and was sort of R-Truth-like comedy we’d see in modern day so I loved it.

(THIS WAS WHEN WE GOT THE IC TITLE LADDER MATCH I MENTIONED AT THE START. IF YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE DOING SO I’D HIGHLY RECOMMEND WATCHING IT AS IT WAS SPECTACULAR).

Trish and Drew Carey were backstage. Trish said she was ‘involved’ with someone just as Vince McMahon walks in. They AGAIN promoted Carey’s show, with Vince somehow then convincing Drew it would be a good idea for him to enter the Royal Rumble match!!! Vince mentioned how he in fact has won a royal rumble (my god) and how if Carey wanted to impress WWF fans and Trish he should do it. Vince reassured Carey he wouldn’t get hurt. So… yeah this is happening…

We had Chyna backstage with Billie Gunn. Gunn was trying to tell Chyna to take the doctors advice and not have her match tonight but Chyna wasn’t having it……

So… we had a Michael Cole interview with Chris Jericho after the IC title ladder match earlier… and then… urgh… we had a period of the show I FUCKING HATED!!!

So the story they were telling around this time all revolved around Chyna, both on and off screen. She was posing for Playboy around this time, she had… well she looked very different to how Chyna looked when she debuted in the WWF put it that way (much more feminine now for sure)… and then, I don’t know if it was to justify the move or they just didn’t think it was a good look… but Chyna (former IC Champion and royal rumble match entrant) was now exclusively part of the women’s division. And this coincided with them doing a storyline with Chyna having a very serious and career threatening neck injury (really not cool to make a story out of an injury many of your talents have and would have in the future for real)… The pre match video played up this story and how the RTC group and Women’s Champion Ivory had further injured and made fun of Chyna. 2000-2001 was of course the final time Chyna would have in WWF, we still had the great stuff with Eddie Guerrero and her to come but Chyna was gone from the company by November of 2001. And then of course a certain IRL Affair along with her demand for a contract that would’ve put her in a similar basic pay bracket as Stone Cold meant this was very much the beginning of the end for Chyna in WWF… sad times… so this wont take me long so lets get it out the way…

Ivory (C) (with Stevie Richards) defeated Chyna to retain the WWF Women’s Championship

Chyna rag dolled Ivory, Stevie Richards of the RTC got some of Chyna’s attack too, and then Chyna was suddenly on the floor holding her head after she came from doing a somersault into a back elbow into Ivory in the corner… and it appeared the bump was serious and an absolutely battered Ivory kind of just fell and put her arm over Chyna to get the win. They REALLY went to town trying to play up the seriousness of Chyna’s injury, even having Jerry Lawler leave the announce desk to check on her, before she was stretchered out. Billie Gunn and a tonne of officials came out as she was carried away and JR and King were solemn in their tone on commentary. The match went less than 3 and a half minutes.

When you know at WrestleMania X7 that Chyna beats Ivory for the title in minutes… yeah I thought this whole thing was TRASH.

1/2* (0.5)

Stephanie and Trish has a verbal duel in the hair and make-up area backstage. Stephanie warned Trish not to get involved in the WWF title match. Trish came back with ‘Why would I get involved in your affairs, I have my own affairs to worry about…’…. I’m not even going to bother as I’m sure when I get round to reviewing Mania X7 I’ll tear that storyline to shreds…

Someone backstage gave Drew Carey some wrestling gear. He then came face to face with KANE in the locker room (remember that later). There was then a weird bit with Vince and Tiger Ali Singh and his goons where basically Vince said that Singh was no longer in the rumble match, and in his place was Drew Carey.

NOW THEN… I promise you everything from here til the end of the show is CLASS. Beginning with a mega world title match…

They showed footage of fans at WWF New York giving their thoughts on who would win in the WWF title match.

Triple H was shown backstage looking into a mirror and snarling and looking angry. Kurt Angle was also shown walking backstage.

They played another brilliant video package, this looking at the Angle – Triple H feud.

Kurt Angle (C) (with Trish Stratus) defeated Triple H (with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley) to retain the WWF Championship

Off the back of Angle’s incredible run in the year 2000 where he had reigns as WWF, Intercontinental and European Champion at different times, he had another heel challenging him here, so it was an interesting match from that point of view. It was a bit scrappy and pretty even in most of the early going, at one stage Angle whipped Triple H into the corner and he went over the turnbuckle to the outside with a Ric Flair-style bump, and Stephanie looked on very concerned. Triple H not long after tried to pull Angle around the post but Kurt kicked him away, then he threw HHH into the steps, and back in the ring Angle missed the clothesline in the corner and then HHH did the spot he tried earlier by smashing Angle’s leg around the ring post, and as Stephanie distracted the ref HHH took the chance to smash Angle’s knee with a chair! HHH then dropped Angle knee first onto the steps, and HHH went after Angle’s knee again with a couple of chop blocks. He really went in on Angle’s knee before then locking in the figure four leg lock. With the hold locked on Triple H then grabs the ropes for added leverage, Trish Stratus tried to break that up and this led to a big scrap with her and Stephanie, which naturally the crowd ate up. Vince McMahon came out to try and calm things between the two women, and he eventually physically carried Trish away with Stephanie still trying to get into a fight. With Triple H distracted as the two women and Vince left the arena via the stage, Kurt Angle almost rolled him up with an inside cradle but HHH kicked out at 2. Angle then took over a little and eventually got in some strikes and a big DDT for a 2 count nearfall. The ending part of the match was great and all-action, so try and bare with me explaining: Angle hit some strikes, then an inverted atomic drop followed by a belly to back suplex with a bridge for a 2 count, Angle got more offence in but then HHH hit a sort of modified Razor’s edge but Kurt kicked out of 3 pin attempts after to leave Triple H in shock, HHH tried a pedigree but Angle countered, soon after he went up high and hit a beautiful moonsault to a downed HHH but hurt his knee on the way, and HHH kicked out of the pin after, Angle and HHH fought on the outside and the ref Earl Hebner got caught in the crossfire and took several bumps, they found themselves back in the ring and HHH was on the top rope (rare for him that’s for sure), only for Angle to jump up to him and hit an amazing arm drag off the ropes, he got more than a 3 count but with the ref down nothing happened, Angle tried to revive the ref but again Earl got hurt when HHH caused Angle to send Hebner into the steps, HHH got the WWF title belt but Angle hit an overhead Belly to Belly, Angle then went for a belt shot but Triple H hit a Pedigree… but no ref so no pin… and then… the crowd exploded as STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN ran out to attack Triple H, hit him with the WWF title (busting Triple H open), threw the ref in, hit a stunner, and Austin then left as Angle crawled over for the cover. So Kurt Angle retains, and Austin costs Triple H the title just as Triple H did to Stone Cold some weeks prior. HHH was fuming after as he staggered to the back after.

This was every big match in the attitude era; ref bumps, outside interference, blood, a hot crowd, big moves and a huge reaction. I loved it. GREAT stuff.

****1/4

We were shown shots of Rikishi (who is going to be the number 30 entrant), The Undertaker and finally The Rock. The Rock then had an interview with Kevin Kelly which was tremendous.

The Video package they played hyping the rumble match was excellent.

Stone Cold Steve Austin Won the 2001 Royal Rumble match

Jeff Hardy was number 1. Bull Buchanan of the RTC was number 2. They had a fine exchange and both tried eliminating each other, 3 was Matt Hardy and they double teamed to eliminate Buchanan and then went at one another. Faarooq was number 4 and he attacked both Hardys, but a Twist of Fate and a Swanton Bomb meant he was easy pickings to be eliminated after and so Matt and Jeff fought each other again. Number 5… urgh… was DREW CAREY! He got a pretty big pop, but he really soaked it all in and took his time getting to the ring, meanwhile Matt and Jeff were brawling on the top rope, but they somehow tried a spot that caused them both to fall off and to the floor (it wasn’t a botch it was clearly planned, but they did a great job of making it look like a mistake)… so DREW CAREY was the only man in the match. Jerry Lawler hilariously exclaimed to JR on commentary “do you realize if the royal rumble ended now DREW CAREY would be going to WrestleMania?!?!” … and then of course (remember what happened earlier in the show) Number 6 was KANE! The Big Red Machine more than took his time as he slowly made his way to ringside, and naturally Carey looked on terrified. Eventually when Kane did step into the ring there was an absolutely hilarious spot where Carey offered Kane some form of note money. Carey was spared from what looked to be a certain beating, as Kane finally grabbed Drew number 7, Raven, came in and attacked Kane with a kendo stick. Finally Carey saw sense and decided it would be best if he eliminated himself, so he did just that by making his way over the ring ropes. Kane and Raven continued to fight, Raven making his way to the outside and brining a load of weapons into play, beginning with using a Fire extinguisher and spraying it into Kane’s face. Shortly after Al Snow came running out to attack his hardcore rival, this is where it got a tad confusing for a second as an official came out to lead Snow away. But then apparently he was the next man out at Number 8 anyway… so he just got in the ring after… From here Snow hit trash can shots to Kane and Raven, Snow then went outside and brought more weapons into the ring. He also brought into the ring with him a bowling ball in a bag… and conveniently Raven was laid out in the corner of the ring so Al Snow could roll the ball into Raven’s… yeah… Kane then hits strikes to both only for Snow and Raven to combine and hit bin shots to Kane (who didn’t go down) and then Al Snow and Raven teamed up and hit a double drop toe hold to send Kane into the chair. Number 9 was Perry Saturn (and Terri who walked him to the ring). Saturn targeted Kane’s legs to try and take him down, as Kane became the focus of the other 3’s attack, Kane did get a gorilla press slam to Saturn, but then the 3 others combined and hit all sorts of moves and weapons to try and take out Kane. Number 10 was Steve Blackman. Blackman, using his martial arts sticks, attacked Saturn, Snow and Raven. At this point it was just a glorified multi-man hardcore match, there was all sorts of weapons and shite in the ring. 11 was Grand Master Sexay. He soon hit Al Snow with a trash can lid and tried for an elimination… and this was when Kane started to run wild… he picked up a trash can lid and smashed everyone with it, even eliminating Grand Master by hitting him so hard he flew over the ropes and out. Kane then threw out Blackman, got out Al Snow, Raven and then Perry Saturn to stand tall and rack up some more eliminations… and then if Drew Carey wasn’t enough, at Number 12 we had the HONKY TONK MAN! He got his full entrance as well as Lawler on commentary seemed like he was having the time of his life. He cut a decent promo to Kane telling “big fella” to ‘stand out the way’ and eventually he says he’ll do a song… so as he started to sing his theme song Kane absolutely SMASHED him over the head with his guitar and it completely shattered. Kane then easily eliminated him and that was that. A great and classic rumble spot. Shit REALLY got real after that… as at Number 13 was THE ROCK! He obviously got a HUGE pop, and immediately went at Kane with a series of strikes, and the crowd noise only just grew as Kane and Rock went at it… 14 was The GOODfather of the Right To Censor (URGH…) and thankfully he was set upon by The Rock and then eliminated all in 13 seconds! Number 15 Tazz went a similar way… he ran in, got attacked by Kane and then immediately eliminated in 15 seconds. Number 16 was the APA’s Bradshaw and he attacked Kane with some huge strikes, and after Rock hit Kane too he got caught with a massive Clothesline by Bradshaw. After everyone went at one another Albert was number 17, and he came in hot. Still no eliminations for a little while. 18 was Hardcore Holly, and not long after Albert hit a great Albert bomb to Bradshaw, and Rock nearly eliminated Kane. 19 was K-Kwik (yes that’s R-Truth) whom JR called a ‘young rookie’ which shocked me out fully. Number 20 was the RTC’s Val Venus whom Kane hit with a spinebuster not long after he came in. 21 was the European Champion William Regal. 22 was Test and he immediately eliminated Regal. 23 was the return of the Big Show (he had been taken off TV and sent back to developmental to LOSE WEIGHT and get fitter). He quickly eliminated Test and then K-Kwik, hit chokeslams to Albert, then Val Venus, then Hardcore Holly and then to KANE! He then went to Chokeslam The Rock, but got hit with a low blow and then Big Show was ELIMINATED by The Rock (in a repeat of the ending of the previous year’s rumble match). The crowd was going wild for all this, but then Big Show pulled Rock under the ropes to the outside, so he wasn’t eliminated, but eventually as the action went on after Big Show chokeslammed The Rock through an announce table. As this was happening Number 24 was Crash Holly. Everyone in the ring tried to attack Kane as Rock was laid out, and Big Show walked to the back. The crowd fell proper flat as their hero was laying out in a heap. And then… naturally as everyone was piling on Kane number 25 just had to be… The Undertaker!!! So after Taker rode down to the ring on his motorbike the two brothers of destruction completely cleared house…: Taker eliminated Bradshaw, Kane eliminated Crash and then Albert, and Taker eliminated Hardcore Holly and Val Venus. Jim Ross exclaimed on commentary how Kane had now been in the rumble for 40 minutes, and The Undertaker… about ‘120 seconds’… So as two of the most dominant superstars in WWF history stood side by side in the ring… number 26… to take on these two monsters… was Scotty 2 Hotty… oh boy… and to his credit the look on his face sold how absolutely terrified he was (and commentary did a great job too). He eventually ate a HUGE double chokeslam and they got rid of him (The Rock was stirring but still down by the way). Number 27… at the total opposite end of the scale to poor Scotty… was STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN!!! A Monster pop as he walked down the aisle… but he was quickly jumped by Triple H, and eventually before he was lead away Austin was busted open BAD! Whilst this was going on was when a similarly in bad shape The Rock came back into the ring. Billy Gunn was number 28 as the refs finally pulled Triple H away from Austin. 29 was HAKU (Christ where do I even begin with this badass MOFO, widely known as one of the legit toughest guys in wrestling). All 5 remaining guys were now in the ring and they all exchanged their finishers. Before finally number 30 Rikishi made his way to the ring. But as Rikishi was coming down was when Austin got involved in the match by jumping him, he then got in the ring and eliminated Haku. The Rock (36 minutes) and Kane (50 minutes) had been in the longest now, Taker chokeslammed Rikishi but failed to eliminate The Rock, but then with a huge superkick Rikishi got revenge for the famous chokeslam off the Hell In A Cell the previous month by eliminating him. Rock and Rikishi then brawled, with Rock hitting a low blow and then eliminating Rikishi. Stone Cold soon eliminated Gunn, and then not long after that we got an amazing staredown between Austin and Rock. The moment the two locked eyes on one another was iconic, and the crowd lapped it up. Commentary did their role in playing it up too, it was clear that these two were the biggest stars in the game at that time. They got into it with Rock taking Austin down, Rock failed to hit a Rock Bottom but instead got hit with a Stunner by Austin. Austin took out Kane, but then Rock hit a Rock Bottom to Steve Austin. Kane was sent THROUGH the ropes by Rock (so wasn’t eliminated), Austin tried to eliminate Rock but got raked in the eyes for it, and then as Rock tried to eliminate Austin Kane came back in the ring and threw out The Rock! It was at this point Kane made history with the most eliminations in a single Rumble with 11 (a record that stood for 13 years afterwards). So with Kane as the iron man monster and Austin as the hero as the final 2 they went at it. Kane hit a big chokeslam and did the throat slit after to signal the end was near, but Stone Cold hit a low blow. Kane then went to the outside and got a steel chair, but he missed the chair shot to Austin and soon got hit with a huge Stunner! Austin then grabbed the chair and hit a series of chair shots hard to Kane’s head, but only staggered the monster… and then Austin put everything he had into a big clothesline to send Kane over the ropes and to the floor. STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN WINS THE ROYAL RUMBLE MATCH for a record 3rd time! Crowd went wild, JR on commentary was great in playing up the magnitude of Austin’s win, ‘a year ago he had spinal surgery’ Ross excitedly exclaimed. It was a huge win, and really came off as a big a moment. This was a GREAT Rumble match, nowadays it’s difficult for me to judge rumbles given that the last one we saw (the 2020 men’s) was in my opinion the best one there’s ever been. But nonetheless the 2001 edition was brilliant, start to finish it had everything a great rumble match should have. And of course it set up one half of the main event of one of the most historic and renowned WrestleMania’s of all time…

****1/2

Josh.

BLOG 200 – MY TOP 10 FAVOURITE SPORTING MOMENTS

200 blogs. Blimey.

So given it’s a pretty big milestone I thought I should do a pretty big subject. Not something normal, so not wrestling, and this is what I’ve come up with. Of course this list will come with a couple of asterisks, as do almost every list of this type, and the main one that I’m sure those who know me well will get is that I won’t be including any moments on this list from that sport that sees 22 men chase a ball of air around for 90 minutes. The second one is more of a general point, in that this list may not always be one moments and will include some performances, full matches, or achievements, but nonetheless they’re all sporting occasions that I watched and enjoyed. Sport has this amazing way of making people feel the most heightened variants of the different emotions; sadness, joy, anger, dismay, excitement and awe. Given the sports fan I am there’s been many moments that I’ve watched and just gone… wow… and here for you all to reminisce and enjoy again is my top 10 list. Enjoy. And to everyone who has taken the time to read any of my previous 199 blog posts I must say a big thank you. I don’t make any money, in fact I lose the £50 a year fee I have to pay to keep my blog going, but I started it as a hobby in February 2018 and in the time since, it’s really been a thing I’ve gone to when I’m feeling low as a way to distract myself, something that has come in handy on more than a few occasions in that time. It’s been a pleasure to review and write about the good, bad and the very very ugly of wrestling, and long may it continue!!! Here’s to 2021 and another 200 blogs about random wrestling shiz.


Honourable Mention: Tyson Fury stops Deontay Wilder

There’s one simple reason I can’t include this in my top 10… I didn’t watch it live. I watched the fight in full the next morning, very very hungover, and already knowing Fury had won. What I didn’t know was just how he had claimed the W. Quite possibly the single best sporting performance I have ever seen. Not only did he win when many doubted him, not only did he dominate and completely out-box the ‘heaviest puncher’ in boxing, but it was a lesson. He taught everyone who has ever watched boxing just how it could be done. It was quite incredible, and obviously people will have their varying views on Tyson Fury the man. But what you can’t doubt is his boxing IQ, and right here was his finest hour to doubt performance wise. This was an absolutely sporting masterclass.

10. Tiger Woods wins his first major for 11 years

‘The Return to glory’. And it was just that. After an incredibly eventful decade plus gap since his last major triumph, Golf’s biggest name returned to his old ways at long last. Regardless of what he has done away form a golf course and in his private life, you can’t say he isn’t one of the iconic sportsman of all time. It was such an amazing moment to see him do it again after so long. The classic red shirt, black trousers combo that had become synonymous with a final major day finally had the moments it used to have. An old jacket has never been so appreciated I’m sure. When he was at his peak Tiger would hug his father after his triumphs, now with his father having passed Tiger shared an embrace with his own son. And if that isn’t sport at its finest I don’t know what is.

9. England win the Cricket World Cup in the most dramatic fashion

Some day of sports this. We had just switched over from another brilliant Wimbledon Final win from Novac Djokovic, to see if we could see our boys become Cricket world champions. And they pulled it off in the most amazing way. With the score tied between England and New Zealand at 241 runs each, the game went to a super over. After England got to 15 runs for 0 wickets, New Zealand would be on 14-0 with one ball to go. 2 runs would win it for New Zealand, they got half way there before Jofra Archer, Jason Roy and Joss Buttler combined to get the run out and to give England their greatest triumph on the international cricket stage.

8. Carl Froch KNOCKS OUT George Groves

I could talk about it being a grudge match after the controversial first fight. I could talk about it being at Wembley (as Froch likes to remind us all), I could even talk about being in a pub backed full of people watching it and me being one of a handful that wanted Froch to win. But just the way that, in the biggest all-British fight for well over a decade, the first to go into the national stadium since the 90s, with the final Punch of his career Carl Froch hit the punch of his life (the best Punch I’ve ever seen as a fan that’s for sure) to end his career in the absolute perfect way was just such a fairytale. I don’t know why but I don’t feel like British boxing remembers Carl Froch for just how good he was.

7. Barney hits PERFECTION to win one of the best legs of Darts I’ve ever seen

If I could attend one sport live, in terms of spectator enjoyment, I’d go for Darts. Some may laugh at it but at it’s peak it can be so exciting. I used to watch it quite a lot on Sky, waiting to see who could achieve the things I’d see many men at the pub not even come close to doing. At this point I had only heard of the illusive 9 dart finish, it was like this mystical feat to me. And I remember it clear as day this time… I had always liked Raymond van Barneveld. When he came over to the PDC I was so excited, FINALLY we’d see him against Taylor. And I could’ve easily put his world final triumph against The Power on this list instead, but as a single darts moment this stands out above all else for me. I was in awe of these two guys watching this, just listen to the crowd. Enjoy one of the best games of darts you’ll ever see. And one of the biggest fan favourites in the history of the game achieve the sport’s holy grail.

6. The Jester from Leicester becomes WORLD CHAMPION

This one is very much a personal one. Simply put Leicester’s own Mark Selby completed a comeback win for the ages (he was 10-5 down at one stage) against arguably Snooker’s greatest ever player to win the World Championship for the very first time. One thing you have to say about snooker is that it takes indescribable levels of skill, focus and attention to detail to master it, and Selby put on a clinic here to silence The Rocket.

5. Lewis Hamilton wins his first World Championship, on the last lap, of the last race!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHSeGou-pCI (COPY AND PASTE THIS LINK)

You want to talk about dramatic late drama? How does winning the world title on the final lap of the last race sound? Up against title rival Felipe Massa going in to Massa’s home race in Brazil in 2008 it was the Ferrari driver who looked all set to take a maiden world crown, only for the young Hamilton (who needed a finish of 5th or better) to take it from him at the very last moment. Just watch the amazing scenes of how both sides thought their man had done it, as we saw Felipe Massa be in a spot to become the world champion… for 39 seconds.

4. Usain Bolt wins the 2012 Olympics 100 metres Final

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2O7K-8G2nwU (COPY AND PASTE THIS LINK)

As I said in detail in my blog on Bolt a few months back, going in to London it was his fellow-Jamaican Yohann Blake who was the name on everyone’s lips. I remember seemingly everyone who had an opinion saying it was Blake’s to lose. How dare you I thought. HOW DARE YOU doubt the greatness of Usain Bolt! In my mind it was never in doubt Bolt would triumph. And I can’t say how sweet it felt for him to prove me right once again. In the best Olympics of my life time this was a moment I will never ever forget.

3. England win the 2003 Rugby World Cup Final

One of my earliest sports memories. So… imagine David Beckham doing his legendary free kick against Greece… but doing it in the World Cup Final. Now imagine he did it against Germany, in Germany to win it for England. That was the rugby equivalent of what Johnny Wilkinson and the all star England 2003 team accomplished. One of the truly greatest English sports wins.

2. Andy Murray FINALLY does it

Me, my Grandma Brenda and every other British tennis fan waited… AND WAITED AND WAITED, year after year, from Tim to now Andy. But at long last, a year after he came so heartbreakingly close to immortality, Andy Murray finally won Wimbledon in 2013, with an amazing performance against the then World number 1 Novac Djokovic. Andy won in straight sets 6-4, 7-5, 6-4 but really he could’ve been playing against anyone that day, destiny was finally on his side. Just LISTEN to that noise when that ball from Novac hits the net. Incredible. “Any point will do” the great Boris Becker said on commentary, and then…

  1. “LIFT OFF, FOR AJ!!!” – Anthony Joshua stops Wladimir Klitschko in an all-time classic fight

Never have I been louder, more animated, more emotionally invested in any sporting event that wasn’t football than this fight. My favourite fighter Anthony Joshua going up against one of the all time greats. It was a classic younger Lion against the older Lion in a battle to prove who the man really was. And my oh my this was something else. We all know of the tales of Rocky Balboa, but this was a Rocky fight in real life. All the drama you could ask for, both men taking heavy knockdowns, the brute eastern European up against the champion from our shores, could AJ live up to the hype and go to heights he’d never reached and some doubted he could. Amazing to think before this fight that people doubted AJ’s durability against the veteran, they said AJ needs to get in and out asap and the longer it goes the more it favours Klitschko. Well, as I said about Usain Bolt there is a certain amount of pride you feel as a fan when people doubt your guy, but you don’t, and then they triumph. AJ proved all the doubters wrong, showed all the heart and passion that Rocky himself would be proud of. Without doubt the best Boxing match I’ve ever seen. But for me it was more than boxing, this fight was everything sports is supposed to be. Pure theatre and drama at the elite level. Without a doubt my favourite sporting moment was when the referee waved his arms and Anthony Joshua had lift off. Incredible scenes followed and for me, this fight showed exactly what sport is all about.

Josh.

WWE In 2020 – A Year In Review

Before I begin the review of WWE in 2020, I must begin with this:

Rest In Power

Jon Huber (Luke Harper/Brodie Lee)

1979-2020

Jon Huber, pro wrestler known as Brodie Lee and Luke Harper, dies at 41

I have thought of many ways to honour the late Jon Huber. I thought about a specific blog of his best bits, and maybe I will do that one day, but for now I will write some words here. To say it came out of the blue and hit me like a tonne of bricks when I woke up a few mornings ago to around 20-30 notifications informing me that AEW’s Brodie Lee had tragically passed away as a result of a lung issue, that would be an understatement. He was 41. Just no age at all. In a year that has mostly sucked pro wrestling has made me smile more than most things, but this one hurt. You only need to see the incredible amount of tributes paid to him on social media from just about everyone who ever met him to see just how great a guy he was, and how much of a positive impact he had on the business and the locker rooms he was a part of. I of course never had the pleasure to meet him, so I can only comment on what he meant to me as an in-ring performer. As Luke Harper in WWE he was the mostly-silent yet deadly monster. I LOVED me some Luke Harper, he was one of those guys I always wished WWE would do something with. His taste of the WWE title scene around WrestleMania 33 time had me so excited, as did his all-too short run with Erik Rowan as the Bludgeon Brothers. When he made his way to AEW earlier this year as The Exalted One I was so happy. In his time with All Elite Wresting he finally had the chance to show everyone just how great he was. His sketches with the rest of The Dark Order on YouTube series Being The Elite had me crying with laughter. I have so many memories of ways and times that Jon Huber in his various characters entertained me. Off the top of my head may I recommend all the matches (particularly the Elimination Chamber PPV match) between The Shield and The Wyatt Family, the 2017 PPV match between Luke Harper and Randy Orton, and the match from the Worlds Collide event between Dominik Dijakovic and Luke Harper. And then just about everything he did as Brodie Lee in AEW was brilliant. His match with Jon Moxley, and his Dog Collar Match with Cody were both awesome. The Cody TNT title rematch would end up being his last ever match. If nothing else this amazing pro-wrestler went out with an epic performance. Thank You for ALL the memories, and keep kicking ass in that pro-wrestling ring in the sky.


2020 will go down in history for every single person on this planet as one of the most bizarre, and possibly not the fondest, year of any of our lives. Absolutely everything has been affected in one way or another, but some things have at least stayed around in some capacity. And WWE has been no different; from full stadiums and arenas at the start of the year, to an empty Performance Centre, to screens of fans at home in the THUNDERDOME!!! So now I will take you through the year of 2020 in the world of WWE, one that has been very much different to what we would’ve thought the 12 months look like on January 1st. A year where: the WWE Champion entered the Royal Rumble Match, a Hall of Famer returned from a career ending injury, WrestleMania was over two nights, a host of big names left the company for pastures new, the company’s golden boy finally turned heel and the most beloved and respected WWE performer of all time finally called it a day. It’s been weird, wacky, heartbreaking, exciting and unbelievable… so 2020 hasn’t really been too different to any other year in WWE has it really?…


January

Edge Makes Surprise Return at the WWE 'Royal Rumble' Event

Whilst NXT saw a great UK TakeOver show in Blackpool, before we had a fun Worlds Collide event where the best of NXT UK and those from the US went at it, as always January was all about the build to the Royal Rumble. Over on Raw Paul Heyman was still in charge of the creative, whilst on TV he was advocate to then WWE Champion Brock Lesnar. The Beast shocked the world when it was revealed he would aim to make history by entering the Royal Rumble match as the WWE Champion, and at number 1… it promised to be a memorable match… we had no idea just how memorable it would end up being… The PPV itself was great; on the SmackDown side The Fiend and Daniel Bryan put on a great strap match for the Universal Championship, and Charlotte Flair won the Women’s Rumble last eliminating pre-match favourite Shayna Baszler who came up from NXT. The 2020 Men’s Royal Rumble Match though really was one for the ages… The first part was all about Lesnar and the many mini-stories he had, eliminating a record number of competitors before Drew McIntyre Claymored him out of the match… and later at number 21 EDGE returned from a supposed career-ending injury in an all-time moment. Eventually it proved to be McIntyre’s night as he last eliminated another pre-match favorite (so both the favorites to win the rumbles went out last which was interesting) in Roman Reigns to win it. Not only did Drew eliminate the WWE Champion, but he won the match as well. The Rocket had been well and truly strapped to the giant man from Glasgow.

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February

Goldberg becomes Universal Champion, John Cena Returns & WWE SuperShowDown  2020 Madness!!! WWE Review by The Irrelevant Wrestling Opinions Podcast • A  podcast on Anchor

With us building up to what we thought was going to be a HUGE WrestleMania weekend in Tampa, the cards were beginning to take shape… NXT TakeOver: Portland ended up being one of the outstanding WWE shows of the year with an amazing card that concluded with a shocking betrayal that looked to set up the final Gargano vs Ciampa, and also included Women’s Royal Rumble winner Charlotte Flair finally confirming her choice to face the NXT Women’s Champion at WrestleMania. The latest WWE Saudi show saw the set up begin for Undertaker vs AJ Styles, and also saw Goldberg win the Universal Championship from The Fiend ahead of another rumored Mania dream match against Roman Reigns. That next SmackDown saw Bray Wyatt’s darker alter-ego make the challenge to John Cena for the show of shows, and it wasn’t long before Reigns vs Goldberg was made official… or was it…

WWE SmackDown Results: Danger lurking behind John Cena - other sports -  Hindustan Times

March & the beginning of the ‘Pandemic Era’

WWE confirm Rob Gronkowski signing with landmark WrestleMania 36 plans -  Daily Star

Before the world caved in on itself we had somewhat of an underwhelming PPV as the Elimination Chamber came off as a B-show with not long to go until WrestleMania. As The Undertaker made a surprise cameo to help Aleister Black fend off the rest of The OC to help him beat AJ Styles, and in the main event Shayna Baszler absolutely obliterated the competition to win an Elimination Chamber match with a clean sweep of eliminations, and earn a long awaited match at WrestleMania with Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s Championship. And then not long after that show… the news of the pandemic spread to a point where it was taking over the world. Absolutely everything would be affected by it, and as such on March 12th WWE announced that all of their shows going forward would take place with no crowd at their own Performance Center in Orlando. Doubts and rumours regarding WrestleMania weekend went on and on as the news and knowledge of the pandemic increased. Finally on March 16th it was announced that WrestleMania 36 (that was scheduled for April 5th at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay) would now also be taking place at the WWE Performance Center, again with no crowd. NXT TakeOver ending up happening across two editions of NXT TV, and WrestleMania also took place across two nights on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th April. Or at least those were the nights it was to be broadcast, as it would actually be all pre-recorded across the 25th/26th March. And to their credit they did a tremendous job of keeping spoilers out of public knowledge. I for one didn’t know any of the results going into watching the shows across both nights. I wrote a blog on the morning of the first part, about how with everything that was going on how much it meant to me that WWE were still putting a WrestleMania show on for us all. It ended up being a show none of us would indeed ever forget… for so many reasons…

WrestleMania 36

The Undertaker and AJ Styles: MemeTemplatesOfficial

I can honestly say that I really enjoyed both nights. I enjoyed it being across two nights, and I absolutely LOVED two 3 hour shows rather than one 6-7 hour show. It was very different of course, and unlike any WrestleMania in history, but they did a brilliant job in the most unique and difficult of circumstances to give us their biggest show of the year. WWE has been FAR from perfect during this whole thing, but the fact they were even able to pull a WrestleMania off should be credited. I’ll save a full review in case I want to do a post in the future, but in short… Night 1 was headlined by Undertaker and AJ Styles in a quite brilliant BONEYARD match, Braun Strowman (who replaced the absent Roman Reigns) won the Universal title from Goldberg, and Becky Lynch retained the Raw Women’s title against Shayna Baszler. Night 2 concluded the weekend with Drew McIntyre winning the WWE Championship from Brock Lesnar in less than 5 minutes, ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt and John Cena were a part of a unique and pretty spectacular Firefly Fun House match, Edge beat Randy Orton in his long awaited comeback match (with their last man standing match feeling like it went on for as long as Edge was retired for) and Charlotte Flair followed up her Royal Rumble Match win by taking the NXT Championship from Rhea Ripley. Even under the most unique set of circumstances, people still got THEIR WrestleMania moments.

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As at times bizarre and weird as WWE has been in 2020 it has still been full of memorable moments, matches and performances. A lot of people have really stood up and shone without fans there to cheer or boo them, we’ve seen people who have been under the surfaces for a long time really break out and become top top stars. So here now is my rundown of the top moments, matches and superstars in WWE in this VERY different year of 2020.


5 Moments To Remember

(For the record I’ve excluded the men’s Rumble match from this; as if you go back and read my blog on the PPV I gave the match ***** and called it a masterpiece. And I may well do a specific blog on that match alone in the future. Naturally Edge returning, Drew eliminating Lesnar and also then winning the thing would likely be top 3 of any list of WWE moments in 2020).

The Man is having a Baby – Raw (May 11th)

The night after the Money In The Bank we saw Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch come out for what we thought would be a straightforward promo. She hadn’t been active at all since her Mania win against Shayna Baszler, but many put that to her simply needing a break and there not being any obvious contenders. But following the event Asuka emerged with the briefcase that left her in a prime spot to once again challenge Lynch for the title, but it didn’t quite turn out like that… As an emotional Lynch was cutting her promo and explaining how she would have to ‘go away for a while’ Asuka came out… Lynch said how glad she was this was happening to Asuka… she then opens the MITB case to reveal the Raw Women’s Championship which she then gave to Asuka. She would go on to say that Asuka needed to be a warrior, because she was going to be a mother. A genuinely heartwarming moment in a business that you don’t get all that many of those. It marked the end of one of the ALL TIME greatest and certainly most groundbreaking and influential runs of anyone in professional wrestling history. We already cannot wait for Mum Lynch to come back around…

TICK TOCK! Karrion Kross and Scarlett arrive in NXT – NXT (May 6th)

I was excited to see these two finally arrive in WWE, so was everyone really. But they nailed this one. The entrance of Karrion Kross and his dark angel Scarlett ahead of Kross’ debut match was just spectacular. As we’ve seen since they have done absolutely everything they could to make these two as big as possible, and the entrance and production of it made them come across as massive stars. It was an occasion I felt actually came across better in the smaller venue without fans there to make noise during it. WWE are able to do spectacular things when they really want to, and this was no different. And now they have recently returned, now former NXT Champion Kross has recovered from injury, I expect their push to the MOON to just go on and on and on.

Let Him In… to the THUNDERDOME! – SmackDown (August 21st)

Just LOOK at that visual… Vince McMahon face to face with The Fiend… With WWE’s move to take up a residence at the Amway Center, which they would rechristen as the WWE Thunderdome, the very first show their would be the Friday Night SmackDown on Fox on August 21st, 2 days before SummerSlam. And as has become custom it was the chairman who opened the show on such a big occasion… although it wasn’t long before he was joined in the ring by his latest creation of a monster. With the new production elements and possibilities of the new venue fully utilized we got to witness a spectacular Fiend entrance, followed by a quite unique and somewhat surreal face off.

Roman Reigns returns – SummerSlam (August 23rd)

WWE SummerSlam 2020 Results: Roman Reigns And The Winners, Losers Of  ThunderDome PPV

‘You’ll Never See It Coming’ was the tagline used to promote this event… and we really didn’t see THIS coming! After The Fiend had regained the Universal Championship from Braun Strowman, he was soon taken right back down by a man absent from WWE tv since prior to WrestleMania. Reigns choosing to take time away from WWE during the pandemic to protect his family and himself. And we never got Reigns’ challenge for the Universal Championship that was scheduled… but here Reigns established himself right back in the title scene by taking down both Wyatt and Strowman. As his T-shirt suggested he arrived at SummerSlam and wrecked absolutely everyone and everything in sight. And he hasn’t looked back since.

Farewell to a legend, from the beyond – Survivor Series (November 22nd)

WWE: Undertaker's late manager Paul Bearer returns as hologram | Metro News

I’ll talk more about him later in the blog, but this moment and this visual really speaks for itself.


10 Pandemic Era Memorable Matches

Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles for the Intercontinental Championship (SmackDown – June 12th)

Legitimately this might be the best main roster WWE TV match in recent memory. They went THIRTY EIGHT minutes and it was very much a classic. Hardly a shock from two of the very best wrestlers of this generation, but more a shock they got the time and chance to do it on a WWE main roster weekly tv show. The IC title has been often undervalued but these two made it seem just as important as a world title.

Edge vs Randy Orton (Backlash – June 14th)

THE GREATEST WRESTLING MATCH EVER… Well… that’s what they called it… Look it wasn’t obviously, but it certainly was given the big production, and was definitely unique. Unlike any other match I’ve seen. It was a shame that Edge got hurt during the taping, but this was well worth a watch. With them both tied at 1-1 now in 2020 after this, will we get a rubber match in 2021???

Keith Lee (C) vs Adam Cole (C) for the NXT Championship AND the NXT North American Championship (NXT: The Great American Bash – July 8th)

This was certainly a BIG moment. Keith Lee since his breakout performance at Survivor Series the year prior had been on an amazing run, with a series of great matches with Dominik Dijakovic, winning the North American title and also an impressive showing against both Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman in the Royal Rumble match. But this was his crowning moment, capped off with a great match against the longest reigning NXT Champion of all time. But even as good a wrestler and as good a run as Adam Cole was on, this was the time to Bask in the Glory of Keith Lee.

Adam Cole vs Pat McAfee (NXT TakeOver: 30 – August 22nd)

People had many doubts that the former NFL punter turned personality and occasional NXT pre-show panelist would get on as a proper wrestler. They put him on a big stage for his first match, against one of the best there is right now. And… he did GREAT. And the match was brilliant. Aside from maybe Ronda Rousey I can’t think of a non-wrestler performing better in their first match.

Seth Rollins vs Dominik Mysterio in a Street Fight (SummerSlam – August 23rd)

Speaking of great debut matches… Rey Myserio (or… Eddie Guerrero’s) son also had a match that weekend against one of the best around. And again it was a good match. Super fun, Seth made him look great and the story they told was really good. I think given he more than held his own in a 25 minute street fight on a big Pay Per View against a talent of the level of Seth Rollins, I think the future can only be bright for the WWE career of Dominik Mysterio.

Roman Reigns (C) with Paul Heyman vs Jey Uso for the Universal Championship (Clash Of Champions – September 27th)

One of the more captivating storylines of the year has been the ongoing family issues involving Roman Reigns and his cousin Jey Uso. Since his seemingly sudden rise from tag team star to singles main event competitor, Jey Uso has gone from Jimmy’s brother to a STAR, and it’s all down to his and Roman Reigns’ incredible performances. This match was supposed to be the culmination of the feud, but it was so good and the story they told in and leading up to it was so great, that they sent The Fiend to Raw and completely binned a planned feud for the title with The Tribal Chief. Please go out of your way to watch this match, they told such a great, REAL story, it was unlike any WWE main event I’ve seen. But from a storytelling point of view it was a masterclass from both men (and more on BOTH men in my next part of the review of the year).

Kyle O’Reilly vs Finn Balor (C) for the NXT Championship (NXT TakeOver: 31 – October 4th)

You want to talk about a FIGHT… this was brutal! So much so that the NXT Champion broke his jaw, and even O’Reilly suffered more minor injuries. It was a breakout chance for another tag team specialist to shine on a big stage as a singles competitor, and he did just that. This match did not disappoint during nearly 30 minutes of fantastic pure wrestling.

Drew McIntyre vs Randy Orton (C) for the WWE Championship (Raw – November 16th)

This was some match! A feud that some felt went too long, and why on earth Orton held the title for a few weeks we can only speculate… but on it’s own aside from the odd booking of the WWE title, this was a GREAT match. Not often a tv match gets that long, but when two top talents get the chance they can really go to town. Orton and Drew pulled out all the stops here, setting Drew up for a dream match against Roman Reigns the next Sunday at Survivor Series.

Io Shirai (C) vs Rhea Ripley for the NXT Women’s Championship (NXT – November 18th)

Well OBVIOUSLY this was great… It’s Io Shirai vs Rhea Ripley for god sake! The two women who, bar a brief experiment with Charlotte Flair, kept the NXT Women’s title between them all year put on a classic on NXT TV. Some thought this would be Ripley’s swansong in the black and gold brand, but not just yet it seems. Shirai may well be the best in-ring women’s wrestler in the world, and her and Rhea (who still I think could be THE star of WWE’s women’s division in very near future) showed the world exactly what they can do here.

Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) (Survivor Series – November 22nd)

Say what you want about the Raw vs SmackDown shite, but it does give us some great match-ups every now and then, and this was no different. The future against the present of the tag team division, you can see a lot of similarities between these two teams, but when it came down to it the match itself was really good stuff. They both turned it up a notch intensity wise, and they meshed so well. We got the right result too, which is very important stuff. Expect these two tag teams to be at the top of the division for many many years to come.


Top 20 Superstars Of The Year

20. The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods)

WWE Universe Reacts to the Shocking Separation of The New Day -  EssentiallySports

A year that will be remembered more so for the unthinkable happening, rather than the positives, but the final year of the 3 man New Day did have its plus points. Despite Woods’ injury we still got Kofi and Big E taking on Lesnar in the rumble, and the one plus of the split seems to be it will give the long overdue shine to Big E once again as a singles star. Lets see where the former Mr Langston ranks on this list in 12 months time…

19. Braun Strowman

Braun Strowman Debuts New Look on SmackDown as He Confronts Bray Wyatt -  EssentiallySports

Another odd year for Braun in terms of very up and down booking and placing on the card. But 2020 was FINALLY the year they put the strap on Strowman. He was world champion during a most unique time in the business and whilst not a memorable run, or maybe a good run he did at least have his time at long last. He held the thought and credit to him for that. But he’s had a taste of being the top guy, can he get back there again in 2021?

18. Seth Rollins

The Reimagining of Seth Rollins - Full Press Coverage

Again it what feels like a theme so far, I feel like this gimmick with Seth as The Messiah could’ve been so much more. And it may still be when he comes back from becoming a dad, but even with that Seth Rollins displayed some great character traits in 2020. His promos have been good, and although involved in more angles and matches were he had to dislodge AN EYEBALL than the plethora of great matches he had in 2019, he’s been his usual self in-ring when he’s had the chance.

17. Kevin Owens

REPORT: WWE introduced fines after concerns raised by Kevin Owens

There was a period of time towards the end of 2019 where I felt KO should’ve been given the ball… the same ball that was given to Drew McIntyre, and look where he is now… still Owens has demonstrated everything we all know he has in abundance. Everything he does is good – great; promos and in-ring he’s a master. Sadly another one who isn’t given the spotlight as often as he should be.

16. Shotzi Blackheart

NXT's Shotzi BlackHeart Robbed, Alundra Blayze Calls Out WWE

In a year of opportunity, Shotzi Blackheart has been the breakout star of NXT in 2020. Her unique character has certainly got her over with the NXT universe, and she can go in the ring as well. If she continues on her current path I’d expect her to get a big NXT Women’s title moment some time in 2021…

15. Sami Zayn

Sami Zayn reacts after becoming the undisputed Intercontinental Champion at  WWE Clash Of Champions 2020

This was the year Sami Zayn got to be… Sami Zayn. And he was excellent. Yes he had a few months absence but he came back and was just the same as he was before he left. Just a character you love to hate, an excellent heel that’s incredible at getting heat. I don’t think there’s a spot you could put Sami in that he wouldn’t excel at.

14. Hurt Business (MVP & Bobby Lashley & Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander)

EXCLUSIVE: Cedric Alexander talks the 'tremendous amount' MVP has done for  him and inside him joining The Hurt Business

MVP went from retired to leader of one of the best factions in the company in no time at all… he alone could well be on this list. But with his partnership of Bobby Lashley that saw him also take on Shelton Benjamin and then Cedric Alexander we have seen the Hurt Business collective turn into one of the more formidable teams in the company. I think this faction could do really great things, and long may they continue to do so into 2021.

13. AJ Styles

AJ Styles reveals why Vince McMahon has pushed him in WWE | The SportsRush

He deserves credit for his feud with The Undertaker alone, but AJ Styles has just been AJ Styles in 2020. Sure the abrupt end of The OC, and him flip-flopping between Raw and SmackDown all year hasn’t helped him storyline wise, but when he’s been on tv and in that ring he’s been just as good as he always is. His match with Daniel Bryan on SmackDown was one of the better matches of the year, and now with his larger than life friend by his side he looks set to stay in the main event scene on Raw for the time being.

12. Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)

Possible Plans for The Street Profits Revealed

Angelo Dawkins and the amazing Montez Ford have been tag team champions across Raw and then SmackDown (albeit in utterly ludicrous circumstances) for most of 2020, and they’ve deserved every bit of it. They have continued to excel in their roles as characters and been consistent in matches in terms of in-ring ability, they are truly one of the top teams in the company. And 2020 has only added to the brigade of fans that tip Montez Ford to be a future main event singles star. You can definitely put my own name on that list.

11. Johnny Gargano (& Candice LeRae)

Another premium year for Mr and Mrs Wrestling. And this was the year where arguably the two most popular babyfaces in NXT went over to the darkside. And no shock that they have absolutely shined playing the cocky, sometimes delusional couple. Now they have Austin Theory and Indi Hartwell alongside them, I can see both Gargano and LeRae having another stellar year in 2021 as top stars in NXT.

10. Finn Balor

WWE news: Finn Balor is the new NXT champion by defeating Adam Cole

In a year where the Prince really arrived in WWE, Finn Balor followed up on his late 2019 return to NXT by being the sort of character we all wanted him to be all along. The more aggressive but confident tweener role has suited him down to the ground, and he looks so at home now in the realm of NXT. I used to dread Finn Balor on Raw or SmackDown and seeing how they could ruin a guy who I, if I had the booking sheet to run WWE, would have as THE guy… but now as NXT Champion he’s excelling once again. And to be honest I wouldn’t be at all upset if he carries on in NXT for a long long time.

9. Sasha Banks

Sasha Banks says she's 'better than Roman Reigns' and the true face of WWE

Was 2020 the year we FINALLY got to see The BOSS from NXT get her shot on main roster TV? I think so. She was exceptional playing second fiddle to long term SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley as the two really lead WWE TV through the prime months of the Pandemic. And now we have Sasha FINALLY as a proper champion I’m excited to see how she does as the top woman now. It’s been long overdue for her to be the number one, now lets hope she pulls it off, she certainly has the talent to do so.

8. Asuka

WWE's Current Plans for Asuka & RAW Women's Championship at SummerSlam –  TPWW

Maybe the most consistent performer in the company. Whatever spot she’s given she’s great, and even with Kairi Sane leaving the active roster Asuka continued to be a top singles star. Without question in the absence of Becky Lynch and Charlotte she’s been the top woman on Raw, and it’s nothing less than she deserves. Great character, great wrestler. Great all-round.

7. Io Shirai

Io Shirai retiene el Campeonato de Mujeres de NXT en Halloween Havoc |  Solowrestling

For me the biggest rival to the claim Asuka may have as the best female wrestler in the world is her fellow Japanese native Io Shirai. 2020 was the year Triple H finally gave her the NXT ball to carry, and boy did she run and run with it. A whole host of great matches and moments, a truly outstanding year. But with plenty of top contenders now going into 2021 it’ll be very interesting indeed to see how her and the NXT Women’s Championship are booked going forward.

6. Keith Lee

WWE Teases Future Plans For NXT Champion Keith Lee - EssentiallySports

Just look at that picture. Isn’t it beautiful? Sure it didn’t last for long, but it was the sort of moment Keith Lee deserved. And whilst his main roster run hasn’t been anything to write home about so far, he has all the talent he could possibly have to give him the best chance of success.

5. ‘The Fiend’ Bray Wyatt (& Alexa Bliss)

Report: "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt & Alexa Bliss Considered Babyfaces On WWE  Raw | Cultaholic

Not sure I myself could come up with an act that appeals to me more than The Fiend and Alexa Bliss. It’s been weird and wacky but what do you expect from a character like this one? If nothing else 2020 will be remembered as the year Bray Wyatt had possibly his finest moment with the FireFly Funhouse match against John Cena at WrestleMania.

4. Bayley

Bayley Reacts to Breaking Smackdown Women's Title Record: 'Happy New  Year's, You Idiots' | 411MANIA

She was the ultimate babyface. Then she turned heel. And in 2020 Bayley got the top spot in the SmackDown women’s division, alongside and then against Sasha Banks she really performed consistently at such a high level all year long. Great promos, good matches and some of the finest character work we’ve seen from any woman in WWE for a long time. She’s got a character now I feel wherever she is on the card she will shine.

3. Roman Reigns (& Jey Uso)

Reason why Roman Reigns won't squash Jey Uso at Clash of Champions revealed

Remember when they tried to make us cheer Roman Reigns for years and we told them to go fuck themselves? Well… to the shock of absolutely nobody, once they finally turned him heel… HE WAS FUCKING FANTASTIC AT IT!!! This whole run of The Tribal Chief since he came back at SummerSlam has just been amazing. Roman always had this in him, he just never got the chance to show it. And with Heyman by his side, combined with being the focal point of maybe the best storyline in wrestling in 2020 with cousin Jey Uso, the Universal Champion really could be the head of the table for a long long time. I think his 2021 wont be as much dictated by him (I think Roman in this character will be outstanding still regardless), I think it’ll be more about who they book to step up to him. There’s been many rumoured… some exciting and some… Old(Berg)… :/ … so lets see…

2. Randy Orton

WWE Superstars Unhappy with Randy Orton Winning the Championship at Hell in  a Cell - EssentiallySports

He began the year at the top level, and ended the year at the top too. And along the way, my oh my… he was just fantastic. I feel like Randy Orton is a divisive guy among wrestling fans, some feel he is one of the very best, some feel he is boring and dramatically overrated. In 2020 I don’t think you can argue he’s been outstanding. The Edge stuff was unbelievable… I mean, that Beth Phoenix promo segment (feels like a lifetime ago now) was one of the best I’ve ever seen, and then he moved on to Drew McIntyre and the WWE Championship. He’d of likely been number one on this list had he not lost the title back to Drew again not long after winning it, as it was long rumored he’d be rematching Edge at WrestleMania next year for the title… but even with losing the top belt right back to Drew it’s still been a possible career-top year for Randy Orton. And that coming some 18 years after his debut is quiet something.

1- Drew McIntyre

5 Best Feuds for Drew McIntyre Leading Up to WWE SummerSlam 2020 | Bleacher  Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

Before you even talk about his ability in the ring, his excellent promo skills, his tremendous grasp of character or just his superstar look, lets look at some facts and accomplishments from Drew McIntyre in 2020:

He won the Royal Rumble. Along the way eliminating then WWE Champion Brock Lesnar as well as current Universal Champion Roman Reigns lastly.

He beat Brock to win the WWE title in the main event of night 2 of WrestleMania. He did so in 4 minutes and 35 seconds. (for the record he then won a dark match after the show that was shown on the next night’s Raw, where he successfully defended his newly won title against Big Show in 6 minutes 55 seconds).

On PPV he (along with winning the rumble) beat: Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton, Randy Orton AGAIN and AJ Styles.

He had two reigns as WWE Champion. The first lasting 202 days officially and the second (which took him only 22 days after losing the title to win it back by the way) still going* having begun on November 16th.

And I could go on. But it was without question the year of Drew McIntyre. And I for one, as a man who watched Drew wrestle in a Nottingham Sports Hall in 2017, could not be happier and prouder that one of our own is THE MAN right now in WWE.

My WWE superstar of the year for 2020 is, without doubt, Drew McIntyre.


The Undertaker

I could finish my review of the most bizarre year any of us have seen (in the world as a whole and in WWE) by talking about it being the year of Drew McIntyre, the return of Edge, Bray Wyatt finally getting HIS WrestleMania moment in the FireFly Funhouse with John Cena, a possible Career-best year from Randy Orton, the year they FINALLY pulled the trigger on bad-ass heel Roman Reigns… but the end of my review has to go to the GOAT. In my opinion the most PHENOMenal WWE superstar there has ever been. Nobody deserves the moniker of LEGEND more so than this guy. And this is something I honestly didn’t think I’d ever be writing for real. But somehow I have to try and do justice and write about the end of the in-ring career of The Undertaker.

He’s my hero. He’s my all-time favourite WWE superstar. And he’s probably the most beloved superstar in the history of the company. There’s nothing I can say about The Undertaker that hasn’t already been talked about and debated. I haven’t done a blog on him specifically since he really did retire for real at Survivor Series because I just didn’t know how to do him justice. I strongly advise you go out of your way to see how they bid him farewell. Sure the bit where they got all his pals out to the ring and then they promptly disappeared before he came out was odd. But everything they did from his entrance onwards was amazing, and my oh my in one of the most emotional moments of the year, they got a hologram of Paul Bearer to appear alongside Taker as he did his iconic pose. An image I know I’ll never forget, and certainly brought a lump to my throat.

As I finish this blog (post 199 from me, with a 200th around the corner) I am still undecided as to what I’ll write about going forward in 2021. There’s so many wrestling topics and shows I wish to write about it’s just deciding which one. Among the many options are The Undertaker. There’s so many sub-topics I could go down and write about, such was the incredible nature of his 30 year career in WWE.

For those of you who saw his ‘The Last Ride’ WWE documentary series, you will have seen Mark Callaway’s ongoing mental battle head to head with his diminishing physical abilities. He had such a desire to be able to call time on his wrestling career by going out on a high. He wanted to finish with a great match. But the Lesnar streak-ending match he had a concussion, the Reigns Mania main event sucked, the DX tag match in Saudi SUCKED, and the Goldberg match was an abomination. Would he be able to get his last hurrah before father time caught up with him? Well… fate and opportunity were on his side…

Mark Callaway was the guest on Stone Cold Steve Austin’s WWE Network show ‘Broken Skull Sessions’. And as the two engaged in quite the engrossing chat, Austin asked Taker about who he’d like to go up against, and who he wished he had faced in his prime. Undertaker had one name in mind, and I’m not sure he could’ve said a more talented name… AJ Styles, who just so happened to be watching and listening to this ‘dream match’ fantasy scenario. One thing led to another, rumours were about, and suddenly it was ON… AJ Styles vs The Undertaker for WrestleMania. Now, of course the world caved in on itself, and we didn’t get a 15 minute ‘rasslin match in front of tens of thousands in Tampa, but the story these two told, and how personal Styles got in his promos, was something we had never seen people go THERE with The Undertaker before for a long time, possibly ever. It was a heck of a build… to the first ever BONEYARD match… it ended up being the main event of Night 1 of the show of shows… and it was… A MASTERPIECE. A fitting end to THE legendary career of WWE’s biggest Icon..

And then… at Survivor Series 2020, 30 years TO THE DAY he debuted in WWE, it was time for the moment we all knew was coming one day, but we weren’t ever wanting to happen deep down…

No wrestler or any ‘celebrity’ will ever mean more to me than this man. For all the memories and moments, as a child and as an adult. Nobody in my eyes in WWE has or ever will come close to his level of legendary status.

Farewell Taker. And Thank You.

Josh.

Fantasy Booking: THE INVASION (WWF VS WCW) – Part 11 (THE END IS HERE: who wins THE INVASION?)

OK… So 11 weeks in and I’ve come to my end of covering and re-booking The Invasion storyline. It’s been fun but I’m ready to write about other things now, and so I’m going to quickly run through the No Mercy PPV and what I’d do, and then we will get into Survivor Series and how I’d have the storyline wrap up, and what I’d do after Survivor Series…

So of course we had the big, emotional celebration of the American hero Kurt Angle winning the WWF title at Unforgiven… but as in real life I’m gonna have to have Kurt drop it back to the heel champion not long after… so Hogan is once again the WWF Champion going into our next PPV event No Mercy. But I’m going to try and think long term, and to kill a few birds with one stone to round of No Mercy… I’m gonna (just like the year prior at Armageddon) do a 6 man Hell in a Cell! Lets go through that No Mercy card as I’d do it…

No Mercy – St. Louis, Missouri (21/10/2001)

  • Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire (C) defeats The Dudley Boys to retain the WCW Tag Team Championship
  • Rob Van Dam (C) defeats Test to win the WCW United States Championship
  • Kane & The Undertaker defeats ‘Kronik’ with Stevie Richards to retain the WWF Tag Team Championship
  • Triple H with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley defeats Kevin Nash
  • Chris Jericho defeats The Rock (C) to win the WCW Championship
  • Hollywood Hulk Hogan (C) defeats Kurt Angle & Goldberg & Sting & Scott Hall & Stone Cold Steve Austin in a 6 man Hell In A Cell match to retain the WWF Championship

So following No Mercy we have Vince McMahon on Raw cut the promo similar to how he did to build to Survivor Series 2001 in real life, where he proposes the match to end it all and decide which company stays in existence. Eric Bischoff and Shane McMahon of WCW accept, and on that first Raw the night and on that week’s SmackDown where everywhere truly picks their side, and it’s made very clear that after Survivor Series The Invasion will be over one way or the other, and either the WWF or WCW will DIE!

Coming into the October 29th 2001 Raw… the teams and rosters for each company/brand going into Survivor Series and the build to that show would look like this:

Team WWF

Owner: Vince McMahon

CEO: Linda McMahon

Commissioner: Mick Foley

Stone Cold Steve Austin (with Debra)

The Rock

Triple H (with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley)

WWF Tag Team Champions: The Undertaker & Kane

WCW Champion: Chris Jericho

Kurt Angle

Big Show

WWF Intercontinental Champion: Edge

‘Team Xtreme’ (The Hardy Boyz, Matt & Jeff, and WWF Women’s Champion: Lita)

WCW United States Champion: RVD

The Dudley Boys (Bubba Ray and D-Von)

‘APA’ (Bradshaw & Faarooq)

Eddie Guerrero

Tazz

Trish Stratus

Tajiri

Spike Dudley

Hardcore Holly & Crash Holly

Scotty 2 Hotty

Billy Gunn

K Kwik

Jacqueline

Team WCW

Co-Owner, CEO & General Manager: Eric Bischoff

Co-Owner: Shane McMahon

Commissioner: William Regal

WWF Champion: Hollywood Hulk Hogan

Goldberg

Sting

Booker T

Kevin Nash (with X-Pac)

DDP

Scott Steiner

WCW Tag Team Champions: Christian & Test

Dustin Rhodes

Rhyno

Mike Awesome

Lance Storm

Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo

WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Hurricane Helms (with Mighty Molly)

Hardcore Champion: Raven

Albert

Chavo Guerrero

Billy Kidman

‘Kronik’ (Bryan Clark & Brian Adams) (with Stevie Richards)

Chris Kanyon

Torrie Wilson

Ivory

Stacy Keibler

OK… so a few notes here and a few names not included or moved about above, compared to the last roster update… The main headline is no Scott Hall. Timelines don’t quite overlap but he did have a number of demons he was fighting around this time, so whilst I would keep Hall under contract I would take him off TV from this point for the time being. Hopefully (health and sobriety permitting) he’d back back in the new year. Both Ric Flair and Rey Mysterio would both be locked into WWE deals by this point, but I’d hold fire for now on both being on TV. At the top of WCW the power has somewhat shifted from Shane McMahon to Eric Bischoff, whom has negotiated and persuaded Shane to sell him half of WCW to ensure Eric can (in Eric’s words) “better expand and grow the WCW brand” (basically Eric wants more power and to hammer the WWF to death, and Shane at this stage is more reluctant t destroy his family’s company and is beginning to realize if the WWF dies in this war it will largely be his fault. I think this could make for some great segments and emotional storytelling I don’t want this primarily to be about just the McMahons but this aspect of the story I feel would be a great addition to the WWF/Vince-WCW/Bischoff fight.). X-Pac has joined WCW to second his Kliq buddy Kevin Nash, and this plays off the Triple H-Nash match at No Mercy and I think you could have some great shoot/work promos and have them speak about Scott Hall and Shawn Michaels as well as Nash jumping ship in the 90s, the curtain call etc… So we have Austin, Rock, Triple h, Taker, Angle etc. all on Team WWF… yet none of them are world champion… enter WCW Champion Chris Jericho who absolutely laps this fact up, proper boastful heel stuff about how he’s better than all the Team WWF, and he really flirts with WCW about switching sides leading to many a verbal and physical beating from the top WWF guys, whilst Jericho does get serious when it comes to keeping his WCW title.


The road to Survivor Series – THE END IS NEAR

Before we get into the card for the show itself, let me just point out a couple of other bits that I’d have go on… Vince and Linda are going to appear very much united now. Although Vince is much more forward in wanting to end WCW, whereas Linda (still thinking of their son) wants WCW to work as a part of the WWF. But given Bischoff’s power now in WCW she admits their is no other way than to try and beat WCW the old fashioned way… in the ring! .

Shane, as I’ve mentioned, is a little conflicted during the final days of the Invasion. He is separately spoken to by Vince, Linda, Stephanie, Triple H and Bischoff. All of them pushing their own agendas, but all of them different. Shane is unsure of what to do with regards to the Invasion and the possibility of the WWF being put out of business… the company of his family…

We also have a street fight on the go home Raw show between Vince and Bischoff. This is all the interference and “gaga” you could imagine, but the key thing is Shane having a moment of conflict, where he has a steel chair in his hands and both Bischoff and Vince coming to, and he actually looks like he’s going to hit Bischoff, but before he has the chance Bill Goldberg flies in and spears Vince, allowing Bischoff to get the win. Bischoff celebrates with Shane and the other WCW guys like he’s just won the mania main event. With Shane still a little conflicted…

And so on top of that this is the build to the matches for n the show itself:

RVD wins the US Title from Test. And is quickly persuaded by Rhyno to join WCW, but RVD then turns back babyface on his former ECW colleague to a huge crowd pop.

Lance storm tries to tell Edge he is throwing his career away by pinning his colours to the WWF mast. He says there’s a reason his brother Christian and former friend Test have jumped, and that he will lose everything unless he joins the winning side. After he seemingly considers it, Edge firmly sticks to WWF and starts a big brawl with Storm. Setting up an IC title match.

The Hardcore title (now held by WCW’s Raven) becomes dual-branded and not either the WCW or WWF Hardcore title in name. It switches all the time leading up to survivor series. Bischoff even has a run, Big Show winning it off him with a big chokeslam through the announce table. Raven wins it from Show with the help of Hogan and Nash and Shane. This leads to a 4 way match at the PPV with one representative being allowed in the match from both WWF and WCW alongside Show and Raven. This ends up being Mike Awesome for WCW and Tazz for WWF. A late ‘creative change’ sees Awesome and Tazz have to fight for the other spot in the match, with Awesome winning after help from Raven. The idea being the two WCW guys will team up to keep the Hardcore title from the WWF’s Big Show.

The Hardys accuse Test and Christian of turning their back on where they came from. The heels say they’ll beat respect into them. This is the basis for a WCW tag title match.

Hurricane gets into it with Tajiri again and also Spike Dudley over the WCW cruiserweight title, just giving them a lot of tv time where we can with some fun segments backstage and fast TV matches.

WCW Champion Chris Jericho gets into a mini feud with Kurt Angle. Only their title match is interrupted by both Kevin Nash and his ally X-Pac, and also Scott Steiner. Both of them say as former WCW Champions they are embarrassed by where the once great title is today, and have agreed to do all they can to bring it back home. So we have some fun singles matches and tag matches leading up to a 4 way at the PPV.

WWF Women’s Champion Lita speaks passionately about what the WWF means to her. With many such as Stacy Keibler and Torrie Wilson. But with both of them having lost to Lita they say they’ve used their contacts to bring in a woman to join the cause of the WCW women to bring the women’s championship over to them. And at Survivor Series this “mystery woman” will reveal herself at the show itself.

And finally the big winner takes all 5v5 main event. So we get a big build up to a big one on one promo showdown between Vince and Eric Bischoff. The promo segment people have waited for forever. This comes the week before their street fight, and they bring up absolutely everything they could and it’s an all time classic promo segment (meanwhile we have Shane about to watch on a monitor. Bischoff has just left him to go and confront Vince. He is then met by WWF Commissioner Mick Foley, who tries to gently reason with Shane not to go down this path, he says if Eric goes out there and this thing is made official, Shane will regret it forever… During the promo they reveal their teams for survivor series. Team WWF is: Austin, Rock, HHH, Kane and Undertaker. Team WCW is Hogan, Goldberg, Sting, Booker T and DDP. We get all the combinations of matches between these two teams leading up, but the main singles matches are left for… later… we begin to sew the seeds here for future WrestleMania matches… but the build up to the PPV does what they tried to do in real life, and that was convince us that there was a VERY real chance WWF really would be over after Survivor Series…


The Sunday Night Heat match before the PPV begins will see another 5v5 but only one fall this time; Team WWF here is The APA, The Dudley Boys and Eddie Guerrero vs a WCW team of WCW Commissioner William Regal, Dustin Rhodes, Sean O’Haire and Chuck Palumbo and finally Chavo Guerrero. The finish here sees the WWF team win after Chavo gets cocky and Eddie takes him out, before The Dudleys get the win with a 3D

Survivor Series – Greensboro, North Carolina (18/11/2001)

Thoughts on these editing skills?…. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

anyway…

The video opening package for this PPV was one of the best they ever did. So it would be rude not to…

Our opener would see two former ECW stars fighting on behalf of WWF and WCW… for a WCW belt… on a WWF ppv… because… wrestling…

Rhyno (WCW) defeats RVD (WWF) (C) to win the WCW United States championship

So my idea here is to have RVD come in first, big-time babyface at the time that the crowd adore… and then Rhyno comes in and Gores him in half and beats him immediately. You may think this is trash booking, but I find PPVs like this sometimes are quite formulaic in that you know one side will win, then the next and then they’ll just exchange wins until the final match… so I wanted to do something that would shock right away, and put a rocket on Rhyno whilst getting heat for squashing RVD. You could use this long-term too to tell a redemption story for Van Dam… But in seconds your winner and NEW WCW United States Champion…

Backstage we cut to Lance Storm, who is to be interviewed by former WCW personnel ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund. As someone who is linked in the history of both companies it only seems appropriate to have him on this show. Storm gets serious (as he always did) and cuts a big heel promo slamming the WWF, whilst saying he will help lead the new WCW as its Intercontinental Champion. He is soon interrupted by Edge, who is far more aggressive than usual and talks passionately about how much WWF means to him, and the history and prestige of the IC title (he namedrops Steamboat, Bret, HBK among a plethora of great former Intercontinental champions). A fired up Edge then marches to the ring…

Edge (WWF) (C) defeats Lance Storm (WCW) to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship

40 Best WWE Intercontinental Champions Of All Time – Page 20

This would hopefully get the crowd back into a good mood. A solid, 7-8 minute match with Storm as asshole heel, and Edge as underdog babyface. Let Edge get all his stuff in and then eventually pin Storm clean for the win.

Big Show (WWF) defeats Raven (WCW) (C) & Mike Awesome (WCW) in a Triple Threat Hardcore Match to win the Hardcore Championship

Whilst it will still be the actual WWF belt the Hardcore Championship will now be defended across both WWF and WCW hence the non-branded name. I’d have this just be a weapons-filled all out brawl, with all sorts of crazy weapon spots. The finish would come after Mike Awesome is taken out by Big Show chokeslamming him from a ladder set outside the ring through an announce table, whilst in the ring Big Show ducks a kendo stick shot, snaps it in half, and then hits a huge Chokeslam on Raven through a table for the win.

The chaotic chronicles of the Hardcore Championship: photos | WWE

After this I’d have Bischoff backstage leading a teamtalk to Team WCW. Shane is also there, but he’s somewhat in the background and looks less than happy to say the least… Bischoff tries to convince his team that they were the underdogs to the “evil” WWF, but now they were ready to crush the competition, just like they did for 83 weeks in a row. There’s lots of shouting and hollering and they seem a very much united team, even Goldberg and Sting (with some mediating by Bischoff) agree to call a truce with their long-term rival Hollywood Hogan, for the good of WCW.

Christian & Test (WCW) (C) defeats The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff) (WWF) to retain the WCW Tag Team Championship

Just a solid tag team match here with popular babyfaces against asshole heels. Give it ten minutes or so, and just have a solid wrestling match. The WCW team would kind of have to win their own tag titles which I’d think most would expect.

Our next match is a late change. After The Hurricane attacks and takes out both his challengers with a chair, the ring announcer then reveals that he will STILL have to defend his championship…

Match of the Day: Rey Mysterio Vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. (2002) — Lucha Central

REY MYSTERIO defeats The Hurricane (With Mighty Molly) (WCW) (C) to win the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

So… this wasn’t my original plan (naturally) but I looked at this and thought it a great time and chance to introduce Rey Mysterio to the WWF with a bang. This would really be a showcase for the master of the 619. Maybe 5/6 minutes bell to bell, with Mysterio winning the Cruiserweight title with the 619 and then the West Coast Pop to Hurricane to win the title and delight the crowd.

I’d try and make one of the classic epic-style video packages from this era to build towards our next match…

Kevin Nash (with X-Pac) defeats Chris Jericho (C) & Kurt Angle & Scott Steiner in a Fatal 4 Way Match to win the WCW Championship

This would be a big moves only match. Ideally I’d have it go long, but with such a big time main event match to come this is in a tough spot. Maybe go 12 minutes and have all sorts going on, eventually X-Pac helps Nash get the W and brings the WCW title back to WCW. Long term it just makes more sense for me to have Nash be WCW Champion going forward…

Big Sexy - Kevin Nash

Lita would come out next. A huge ovation for one of the biggest fan favorites in terms of women in the WWF of all-time. She knows she’s defending her title tonight, she just doesn’t know who against…

Jazz defeats Lita (C) (WWF) to win the WWF Women’s Championship

Gallery - Online World of Wrestling

Jazz also debuted at the real Survivor Series in 2001. And I’d have her do so here, but this would be a fairly quick win for her. Right away she makes a huge impact, dominating a valiant Lita, and sending a huge message to the other women with a huge victory here. Your new Women’s Champion here is JAZZ!

This is where I’d have Vince McMahon give his speech to team WWF. The one he did in the real show was pretty epic, so I’d have him repeat pretty much that, just of course saying it to a different set of 5 WWF superstars.

(COPY AND PASTE THE FOLLOWING LINK FOR THE ORIGINAL SPEECH)

https://www.wwe.com/videos/mr-mcmahon-gives-a-pep-talk-to-team-wwe-survivor-series-2001

and after another epic video package (see the original below) it is time for the biggest match in the history of WWF and WCW. This time with REAL consequences, and with the sort of names and star power the match really should of had.

TEAM WWF (Stone Cold Steve Austin & The Rock & Triple H & The Undertaker & Kane with Vince McMahon & Mick Foley) vs TEAM WCW (Hollywood Hulk Hogan & Goldberg & Sting & Booker T & Diamond Dallas Page with Eric Bischoff & Shane McMahon) in a traditional Survivor Series Elimination match – WINNER TAKE ALL!!!

I’d have Foley and then Vince enter, and take their place at ringside, before Shane McMahon and finally Eric Bischoff follow. And then in order, out come Booker T, DDP, Sting, Hogan and finally Goldberg. They are followed by Kane, Undertaker, Triple H, The Rock and finally Stone Cold. After team talks of such Bischoff and Shane nominate Goldberg to start for WCW. And after seeing Goldberg step forward Steve Austin comes charging rom the WWF huddle to jump at him, and the match is underway with Austin and Goldberg!

The match that really happened in this spot went just under 45 minutes, so I’ll just run you through how I’d book each elimination. Given the talent and star power involved I have no doubt they could put on a pretty fun encounter even in such a long bout. The eliminations would go as follows…:

KANE ELIMINATES DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE (5-4 WWF) – DDP tries a Diamond Cutter but Kane pushes him away and then grabs him by the throat, big Chokeslam, 1-2-3.

GOLDBERG ELIMINATES KANE (4-4) – Goldberg runs into the ring immediately after he gets up from pinning DDP, he hits a huge Spear and gets the pin.

GOLDBERG ELIMINATES THE UNDERTAKER (4-3 WCW) – With everyone else brawling on the outside, Shane McMahon tries to low blow Taker but gets caught out. Hogan (with the ref down) takes out Taker with a steel chair, leading Austin to go after Hogan. Meanwhile Goldberg takes advantage of a downed Undertaker to hit the Jackhammer and the pin after.

STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN ELIMINATES BOOKER T (3-3) – Surprisingly Booker gets the better of the exchange and hits the Book-End for a nearfall. He then does the Spinarooni and comes off the ropes looking for the Scissor Kick, but walks right into a Stunner.

STING ELIMINATES TRIPLE H (3-2 WCW) – One I’ve no doubt the fans would love. Naturally you’d probably have to do lots of shenanigans to do a Triple H job in this era… maybe even have Vince accidently hit HHH with a chair aiming for Hogan? This then allows Sting to lock in the Scorpion Deathlock, and Triple H passes out and the ref calls the elimination. Advantage WCW.

GOLDBERG AND THE ROCK ARE BOTH ELIMINATED VIA DOUBLE COUNTOUT (2-1 WCW) – So here is how I’d get Goldberg out without pinning him. Bischoff is seen whispering in Goldberg’s ear with Hogan egging him on, and with Rock in the ring ready to face off with Hogan, he tags out to Goldberg. Goldberg immediately takes Rock down and the two brawl to the outside. Goldberg brawls with Rock on the outside and then Spears him through the crowd barricade. The ref calls the 10 count and both are counted out. Goldberg roars after as Bischoff and Hogan laugh, Vince looks devastated with worry. The crowd go wild behind Austin after as he comes back like a house on fire as the last man for his team…

STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN ELIMINATES STING (1-1) – Again the ref takes a bump when Hogan pulls him out as he was about to call the pin on Sting. Foley then goes after Hogan, and Shane goes at him and they both brawl to the backstage area, leaving just Bischoff and Vince at ringside. Eventually Sting, after punching out Vince gets back into the ring, and Austin hits a Stunner to get the pin. We know have Hogan and Austin only left in the match.

HOLLYWOOD HULK HOGAN ELIMINATES STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN – Eric and Vince brawl all around the ringside area as Hogan and Austin go at it in the ring, and we get to a situation where Hogan and Austin are both counted out. Everyone is confused… with Vince and Bischoff both arguing that their man has won… Linda McMahon eventually comes out to try and mediate things, and it is agreed that the match will be restarted with Austin and Hogan, but with No countouts and No Disqualifications, AND Bischoff and Vince are banned from ringside. With Earl Hebner now out of action given the bumps he has taken a new referee comes out… WCWs Nick Patrick… as the match is going along we see Patrick go to the front row of the crowd to talk to someone with a Sting mask on. He is seen talking to the ref and also hands Hogan a brass knuckles. Austin takes down Hogan with a Stunner after ducking the brass knuckles, but the masked man at ringside shouts for the ref not to make the count… Austin is furious and punches out the ref, then goes to confront the masked man… who is revealed as former WCW owner TED TURNER! Austin grabs Turner by the neck and tries to get at him… until RIC FLAIR runs in and hits Austin across the back with a chair. He places Austin back in the ring and Hogan crawls over for the cover, a new ref comes out… 1 … 2 … AUSTIN KICKS OUT! The crowd then goes absolutely wild as a man runs through the crowd, he gets in the ring and hits Hogan with a Superkick… IT’S SHAWN MICHAELS! HBK sees Flair and chases him to the back. Austin looks back at Hogan, then goes to ringside and grabs the WWF Championship belt, he goes back into the ring to hit Hogan with it… and then… the lights go out… there’s some commotion in the ring and then the lights come back on… and Austin is down and busted open… and now Hogan has the WWF Championship belt in his hand… he smashes Austin over the head with it, throws the belt away… and then goes down for the pin… 1… 2…… 3!!!! HOGAN PINS AUSTIN!

We go off the air with Bischoff running back out and he and Hogan celebrating, and Vince McMahon on his knees in tears. Commentary put over the shock value… and the final shot of the show is Hogan and Bischoff getting a black spray paint can and spraying on the WWF Championship belt “W C W”…

WCW Monday Night Nitro Review! - Page 14

WCW WINS!

WCW WIN THE INVASION!

THE WWF DIES!

And THAT… Is the invasion over. WCW have won. I may pick it up and explain what I’d do next, from this point until WrestleMania 18, at some stage in 2021… but for now WCW have won, and the WWF is DEAD.

10 Reasons Why WWE May Not Make It to RAW 2000 | Bleacher Report | Latest  News, Videos and Highlights

Josh.

Fantasy Booking: THE INVASION (WWF VS WCW) – Part 10 (Unforgiven)

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…

Powerful moments from the first SmackDown after 9/11 | WWE

“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)


Unforgiven 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

Page 5 - 5 WWE matches that were affected by real-life events

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…

Josh.

The Release of Zelina Vega & WWE’s Dark Side

So last night, just as I was preparing to go to bed in fact, the news emerged that Zelina Vega (a manager and also more recently a singles wrestler) had been released suddenly by WWE. Or at least on the basis of it it appeared to be out of the blue… A tweet from Vega herself in which she said “I support Unionisation” that appeared TEN MINUTES before the announcement of her release soon led itself to unravel a series of really sad truths that many of us were aware of, but with the release of Vega it appears more apparent than ever. I personally believe that the release of a very talented performer has been done to make an example of her… in this blog I’ll explain why… In short this is a really sad and quite frankly DISGRACEFUL state of affairs and I for one am disgusted by it.

Zelina Vega Issues Statement After WWE Release

The fka Thea Trinidad finally made her mark in WWE over in NXT, when she turned up as a business associate of the then floundering partyboy character Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas. Her ruthless and aggressive style of management quickly rubbed off on her client, who in successive TakeOvers Andrade had singles wins over Johnny Gargano, Drew McIntyre and Gargano again in one of the best matches of the year in becoming NXT Champion, and a great one at that. This MONEY act soon made their way up to SmackDown and then Raw, where although the run never hit the heights many of us had hoped for it was clear to see that in Vega WWE had a STAR.

In more recent times in particular being as fans are unable to attend shows, the more personal interactions we’ve been able to have with WWE’s stars has been online, via platforms such as Cameo and Twitch. As well as the fan interaction it is also a great source of income for superstars whom, although on guaranteed deals they will almost certainly be earning less now WWE is no longer touring. However in classic WWE-Vince McMahon style, they like to own EVERYTHING. They like everything to be their idea, they don’t like anything that isn’t originally theirs, and certainly they don’t like “their” superstars dong anything without their permission or without them. So WWE made it clear, and sent out a clear period of notice to all their WWE superstars to end all outside partnerships that they didn’t have via WWE, and to end all personal incomes that they use their WWE names for… so no more Twitch and no more cameo… So why is this so bad? Well.. I’ll explain…

This would be fair… if WWE superstars had all the things they should have as contracted performers. Wrestlers in WWE are technically independent contractors, so although signed to exclusive deals to only appear for that one wrestling organisation, nothing should stop them seeking other forms of income. As contracted performers they should have healthcare, insurance and have their work travel and hotels paid for right? If you go on a business trip the employer picks up the bill right? Usually yes, not for WWE… SO… WWE performers can’t gain other forms of income outside of WWE, but they have to pay for their own travel and expenses to work FOR YOU… yeah… doesn’t quite add up does it???

Now, unless you’ve been living on a deserted island recently, you will have heard (despite what a certain WWE alumni claims) that Joe Biden is to be the next President of the United States. Now what that means, among MANY things is that a man called Andrew Yang will now hold a very high position. And Andrew Yang has recently commented on twitter about some of the practices and the ways in which WWE treat their performers, or more the lack of support they give them. Andrew Yang has said he WILL chase up the WWE and hold them accountable. let’s hope so.

Why Zelina then? Well I personally think she’s being made an example of. Not only does she use both OnlyFans and Twitch, despite WWE’s clear objections. Well as I’ve said she’s also stated her support for a union among wrestlers, something which has LONG been rumoured and tried for. But naturally something WWE have always shown a strong dislike for. Tied to contracts where they can’t do anything else, and also have to fund everything themselves in order to go to work. Oh and should also mention they are the only wrestling company to make HUGE numbers of cuts during the pandemic, including to their roster of superstars. Despite posting record profits… disgraceful.

Zelina Vega isn’t the only talented performer WWE have fired during the pandemic, and I’ve no doubt she will find employment in wrestling again, she’s too good not to… maybe in AEW or Impact or Ring Of Honor where they actively promote and encourage their performers to seek outside opportunities to promote themselves, and to use sites such as Twitch. Oh, and they haven’t reported mass outbreaks of Covid cases either or any of those companies, unlike in WWE…

As a fan I’m really quite disgusted at how WWE hold their talent hostage to their contracts. They want to have their cake and eat it. They want to have them as employees but not give them any of the benefits they should. But when the ‘independent contractors’ try and get other work, WWE fume at it. They can’t get money they need to pay for stuff you guys wont… how’s that remotely fair? Something has to change about how WWE treats their wrestlers. Lets hope Andrew Yang is able to lead a charge against this now. And we hear less cases like Zelina Vega. And WWE don’t lose anymore talented performers like her, like Rusev, like Zack Ryder even… the list goes on and on…

WWE is an EVIL place to work. Just ask anyone who used to work for them.

Josh.

Fantasy Booking: THE INVASION (WWF VS WCW) – Part 9 (SummerSlam)

SummerSlam2001poster.jpg

One of the biggest shows in the wrestling calendar is often a pivotal point in the WWE world. But in My Invasion re-booking it is looking like a particularly important night for the WWF. After a disastrous night at the Invasion PPV they really need to bounce back, with the majority of titles in possession of WCW… for now… so here is my take on how I would’ve booked SummerSlam 2001.


(On Sunday Night Heat, before the ppv itself got underway, I’d have WWF’s Lita, Jacqueline and Trish get a win against a WCW team of the Women’s Champion Chyna, Stacy Keibler and Torrie Wilson. They had a 6 womans tag in this spot in reality, and I see no harm in doing something here. Ideally I’d have Trish get the pin here over either Torrie or Stacy).

So in combining a couple of things that happened in real life, I’d kick off the show with an absolute barnbarner

Edge (C) defeats Christian in a Ladder Match to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship

Edge opened SummerSlam ’01 winning the IC title from Lance Storm. And on the No Mercy PPV he won the title again from Christian in a Ladder Match. So I’d pretty much mirror that No Mercy match. Two great talents and I think in a Ladder match they’d do great stuff.

So… next I’d have Kurt Angle cut a backstage interview ahead of his match against Sting. But mid-way through I’d have the nWo come in and absolutely batter him. Commentary really doubt how Angle will be ahead of his match later…

The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff) and Big Show defeats Scott Steiner & Test & DDP

Doesn’t need to be too much here. Just a solid 6 man that goes under 10 minutes, have everyone get their stuff in and end it with Big Show pinning DDP for another win for the WWF.

Hurricane Helms (C) defeats Tajiri to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship

I’d have this be an absolute sprint. I think go 8 minutes and just let these two go at it. I think it’d be great work. A great spotlight too for a couple of guys who may not get it otherwise, Hurricane retains by cheating but have the match be good.

Sting would come to the ring next. He’d cut a brief promo on Kurt Angle putting him down, and saying he still feels like kicking some WWF ass (essentially laying out an open challenge)… that is answered by Chris Jericho, whom is looking to redeem himself after a run of bad luck recently.

Sting defeats Chris Jericho

A Conversation With Vampiro | Michael Cavacini

I think this would just be unbelievable. Give them 15 minutes or more and just let them go wrestle. Sting would play slightly more heelish than he usually would, and be much more the aggressor. But Jericho would be a great fighting0babyface and the crowd really behind him, but he’d just come up short to the Scorpion Deathlock, despite being in the hold for a long long time. A brave effort by Jericho but Sting gets the win.

Kane and The Undertaker defeats Scott Hall and Kevin Nash (C) (C) in a Steel Cage Match to win the WWF & WCW Tag Team Championships

So as I’ve said in previous blogs, at SummerSlam 2001 Kane and Taker were in a double-tag title cage match, and they won. I’d really want this to be epic, but with two huge triple threat main events to come I don’t want it going too long, so maybe 10 minutes or just under. But big moves only here. I think the crowd would really be behind the brothers of destruction, and I’d build to Kane doing the big babyface comeback spots. I feel like Taker would ore often than not get the pin so I’d like to give this one to Kane… have Taker get smashed up against the cage by Hall and Nash launching him into it, and to mock their opponents Hall & Nash hit a double chokeslam to Taker. And then Kane (down from an earlier attack) does the big sit up spot and the crowd pops. Kane then just runs wild and hits a chokeslam to Nash and then the Tombstone Piledriver to Hall for the win. Kane and Taker double champions.

WWE Bragging Rights Odds: Kane-Undertaker, The History Of Their Rivalry |  Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

Hollywood Hulk Hogan (C) with Eric Bischoff defeats Stone Cold Steve Austin with Debra and Vince McMahon & Triple H with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley in a Triple Threat Match to retain the WWF Championship

Now I did think about putting this match on last, and given the star power involved it probably deserves to be the main event , but well… I’ll get onto that… this will be shenanigans all over the shop. I imagine the crowd would be going crazy as even though most big matches had loads of interference in this eta, crowds just ate it all up so I guess they would here with who’s involved. So many mini-stories I’d have play into this; HHH and Austin teaming up against the WCW guy, but then both wanting to win the title for themselves, Vince trying to help Austin win, but then Stephanie stopping him because she’s trying to help Triple H win, and also the tease of HHH joining up with Hogan and WCW, which I’d tease strongly via commentary… and it looks like it’s going to happen… until HHH (having put Austin down with a spinebuster, and letting Hogan set up for the leg drop) then runs into Hogan with the big knee and then the Pedigree. Crowd goes wild for the double cross and HHH gets a really close nearfall. Of course the beef between Austin and Eric Bischoff comes into play here too… with Vince being taken out and Stephanie seeing to a wounded Triple H (who Hogan hit with a pipe), Bischoff pulls the ref out the ring when Austin hits Hogan with a Stunner and gets a nearfall. And then FINALLY Austin gets to whip Eric Bischoff’s ASS… BUT… it leads him laying for Hogan to sneak behind and get the cheap roll-up win with his feet on the ropes for extra leverage. Hollywood Hogan retains his WWF title… or more he escapes with it…

The Rock defeats Booker T (C) with Shane McMahon and Goldberg in a Triple Threat Match to win the WCW Championship

Lets send the crowd home happy and have this go on last, as did the WCW title win for The Rock in the actual event. This will, as I’ve previously said, play a lot off the actual Booker vs Rock title match from this show, but with Goldberg added in. Goldberg’s involvement will be mostly his big moves and him looking strong, a lot of the match will be Rock fighting off the two WCW guys, and Shane getting in whenever Rock gets the upper hand. But of course, in pursuit of the WCW Championship the tensions between Booker and Goldberg come to fruition as they eventually implode, to the point when Booker and Shane turn on Goldberg and attack him with a steel chair, before putting him through the announce table. The last few minutes of the match are all a match between just Booker T and The Rock. Eventually Booker gains control and does his signature Spinarooni… but turns round right into a giant Spear from Goldberg. Shane comes in, he gets a Spear (crowd going crazy for Goldberg here with the chants). Goldberg then turns his attentions to The Rock but Rock moves and Goldberg goes crashing into the ring post instead… then The Rock turns to the defending champion who is just coming to, hits the Rock Bottom and gets the win. Huge crowd pop, big babyface moment for The Rock, and a big moment of redemption to crown off a MUCH better night for the WWF.

Daily Pro Wrestling History (11/05): The Rock wins WCW World title

Josh.

Fantasy Booking: THE INVASION (WWF VS WCW) – Part 8 (The return of THE ROCK, and the road to SummerSlam)

After my previous blog in this series (where I’m RE-booking the WCW-WWF Invasion angle) we are now dealing with the fallout of the Invasion PPV. There it was safe to say that WCW won the night; they now have both the WCW and WWF titles, both tag titles, and to add to their roster they now have WCW legend Sting (who showed up to attack Steve Austin and help Hollywood Hogan win the WWF Championship), but also Eric Bischoff has now aligned himself with Shane McMahon in leading the WCW charge. So what now for Vince McMahon and the WWF? How does the chairman rebuild his crumbling empire, and with SummerSlam just a few weeks away does he have an ace in his pack? Now more than ever the WWF need something… electrifying…

So before we get into what would happen after Invasion and how both WCW and WWF would respond, as well as looking ahead and building towards the next PPV SummerSlam, lets just take a look at the rosters, or the ‘team sheets’ perhaps, of both WCW and WWF as things stand:

WCW

10 Wrestling Illuminati Conspiracy Theories – Page 4

Owner: Shane McMahon

General Manager: Eric Bischoff

Commissioner: William Regal

‘nWo’ – WWF Champion: Hollywood Hulk Hogan and WWF & WCW Tag Team Champions: Scott Hall & Kevin Nash

WCW Champion: Booker T

Goldberg

Sting

WWF European Champion: Scott Steiner (with Stacy Keibler)

Diamond Dallas Page

WWF Women’s Champion: Chyna

Christian & Test

Dustin Rhodes

Rhyno

Mike Awesome

Lance Storm

Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo

WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Hurricane Helms (with Mighty Molly)

Raven

Albert

Chavo Guerrero

Chris Kanyon

Shawn Stasiak

Billy Kidman

Hugh Morris

‘Kronik’ (Bryan Clark & Brian Adams) (with Stevie Richards)

Torrie Wilson

Ivory

Referees: Nick Patrick & Billy Silverman & Brian Hebner & Charles Robinson


I’ve decided not to pick up Bam Bam Bigelow after all. I just don’t see where he fits in.

I’m also (as they did in real life) sending the following to the developmental parts of the WWF: Mark Jindrak, Lash Leroux, Jamie Knoble, Evan Koragus, Kaz Hayashi, Yang.

A few other names that I’ll be picking up but NOT including as part of the Invasion storyline: Ric Flair, David Flair and Arn Anderson will all be introduced later, in a similar way to how they were to the WWF in actuality… and Finally Rey Mysterio is something similar, as I don’t want him to get ‘lost in the shuffle’ during The invasion.

WWF

WWF 1998-2001 Logo Vector (.AI) Free Download

Owner: Vince McMahon

CEO: Linda McMahon

Commissioner: Mick Foley

Stone Cold Steve Austin (with Debra)

The Undertaker & Kane

The Rock

Triple H (with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley)

Kurt Angle

Big Show (with Trish Stratus)

WCW United States Champion: Edge

WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho

‘Team Xtreme’ (The Hardy Boyz, Matt & Jeff, and Lita)

Eddie Guerrero

WWF Hardcore Champion: Tazz

RVD

Tajiri

The Dudley Boys (Bubba Ray and D-Von)

X-Pac

Spike Dudley

Hardcore Holly

Crash Holly

Scott 2 Hotty

Billy Gunn

K Kwik

‘APA’ (Bradshaw & Faarooq)

Perri Saturn with Terri & Dean Malenko

Steve Blackman

Jacqueline

Referees: Earl Hebner, Mike Chioda, Jimmy Korderas, Tim White, Jack Doan, Teddy Long, Chad Patton


For the record as well, on the Raw side the commentators are Jim Ross and Paul Heyman with Lillian Garcia ring announcer. Michael Cole and Coach doing backstage interviews.

For SmackDown the commentators are Michael Cole and Tazz or Jim Ross, with Tony Chimel ring announcer and Lillian Garcia and Kevin Kelly doing the backstage interviews.

Howard Finkel will ring announce at the PPVs.


THE ROAD TO SUMMERSLAM

king of the ring 2001 | Tumblr

So the 23rd July Raw is the night after Invasion… and as you can imagine I’m gonna have it ALL be about a triumphant WCW. I’d have Shane McMahon come out to open the show, looking as happy as he could be. To a chorus of boos and in typical OTT McMahon fashion, I’d have him declare how glorious a day this is for our great sport, before eventually introducing ‘the man of the hour’, the WCW General Manager Eric Bischoff . Bischoff with a huge grin embraces Shane, before stating how much he fought for WCW with every he had, and all he would ever hear about is the WWF and Vince McMahon and Steve Austin… ‘well… SCREW Vince McMahon, SCREW Steve Austin and SCREW the WWF!’… Bischoff then goes to leave but stops… then saying ‘I almost forgot… I forgot to publicly congratulate the man who was solely responsible for taking the WWF’s most prized asset, the WWF title, away from them last night…’ (the whole crowd and loudly chants for Sting)… but then Eric welcomes out ‘his friend’ and new WWF Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan. Before Hogan goes to speak Austin comes out and a brawl begins. Eventually Hall and Nash come out, then Taker and Undertaker and finally Triple H. and this mass brawl sets up a big 8 man tag main event, the nWo and Shane McMahon vs HHH, Kane, Undertaker and Steve Austin.

We also have a tease begin of tension between Booker T and Goldberg over the WCW Championship… Shane is able to calm things between the two of them, although Bischoff and WCW Commissioner Regal ensure the two of them call a truce, but will engage in a ‘gentlemanly fight’ at SummerSlam for the WCW title.

Kurt Angle, ahead of a match against WCW’s DDP, cuts a passionate promo. He’s no longer the goofy Angle we saw in the build to Invasion. He’s angry and he’s pissed off. He cuts a really strong babyface promo… and he goes on to really batter DDP. After winning with the Angle Slam the lights go out, and he’s jumped by WCW’s Sting! Who then again makes his exit via a blackout.

Before the main event Stone Cold cuts a fiery promo. He also talks about Sting saying he will get his ass, before Angle comes in saying that he wants Sting to. He says he knows the two of them have had a mixed history, but one thing they can agree on is their passion for the WWF, and how they want to whoop some WCW ass. “So I’ll get Sting, you get Hogan, you bring back OUR WWF Championship back to us, and hey… maybe I’ll see you down the road” Angle says to Austin…

The big 8 man tag main event sees Austin pin Shane. And the WWF guys standing tall at the end…

With so many blockbuster names now in action in this Invasion angle, I still want to find time to give others matches and spotlights where I can. So I’d have mini feuds across the TV shows involving the mid-card WWF/WCW guys and the various tag teams. With all of them talking up their own company’s; the likes of WWF Hardcore champion Tazz (who will defend his title all over the place, with Dustin Rhodes and RVD and Lance Storm and then RVD again all having runs with the belt), and elsewhere have the APA and The Dudley Boys come up against Palumbo and O’Haire, Awesome and Storm, and also have Eddie Guerrero feud with Dustin Rhodes. Dustin saying that Eddie left because he couldn’t handle being in WCW… I just think those two could do some really great stuff together.

The night after winning it, I also want Edge to defend his WCW United States Championship against Test. And have Christian cost his former tag partner the match and the title. To return the favor on the next SmackDown episode I want Test to help Christian win the Intercontinental Championship from Chris Jericho. So by the time we get to the July 30th Raw at First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania WCW have possession of; The WWF, WCW, WWF Tag, WCW Tag, United States, Intercontinental, European, WCW Cruiserweight and also the Hardcore title which I’d have Tazz lose by then to Mike Awesome. Oh and of course Chyna too as WWF Women’s Champion. Yes indeed… WCW will at that stage hold EVERY SINGLE CHAMPIONSHIP BELT!!!

With the WWF in somewhat of a crisis following Invasion, WWF Commissioner Mick Foley is greeted by CEO Linda McMahon. She places Mick in acting charge for the week of the running of the WWF, whilst she will handle the business side. She says that Vince, despite her and his personal differences at this time, one thing they both agree on is they want what’s best for the WWF. And Vince is away on urgent business to try and secure a deal to help begin the fightback against WCW, but that he will be on Raw next week to discuss what he’s been thinking and the results of his negotiations.

Wrestling Do-Overs: The Invasion Angle, part 1 (Bischoff Buys WCW) |  Enuffa.com

The 30th July Raw will open with Eric Bischoff. He’ll do a copy of his famous promo from his time in WCW where he wore a crown and road a motorbike and stated ‘it’s great to be king’. He’ll really big himself and the WWF up, before WWF Owner Vince McMahon returns. He marches out to a huge pop, and says how he knows he should have been here last week, but this is something so big he and his wife Linda have put their current marital problems aside to handle it. He says he was away last week taking part in some big negotiations which he will reveal the results of later tonight… This isn’t quite the long. epic promo battle we waited for between the two, that will come later down the line, but essentially Vince tells Bischoff ‘I don’t know what you did in WCW, but this is the WWF. And here it’s put up or SHUT UP. So as the OWNER AND CHAIRMAN of the WWF, I’m gonna make some matches for our upcoming Pay Per View SummerSlam. Vince then announces the tag titles match, and also challenges Eric and Shane to tell Hogan and Booker to put their titles on the line against challengers from the WWF. Bischoff explains how Austin can have his rematch with Hogan no problem… but that the WCW title is OUR title and OUR title it will stay, Goldberg will challenge Booker T… and then… as Vince just looks at Bischoff he shakes his head… we then cut to the titantron where we see William Regal having been attacked in his office. Regal screams to Shane McMahon “IT’S HIM. HE’S HERE. YOU HAVE TO STOP HIM”… Shane McMahon then goes to the backstage area where he sees a load of WCW guys having been laid out… and Shane just looks shocked… and then we cut back to the arena where a confused Eric Bischoff looks on, and a smug Vince… and then…

IF YA SMELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

Ranking The Rock's top 10 most entertaining moments in WWE ever |  GiveMeSport

THE ROCK RETURNS! He runs out and BAM Rock Bottom to Shane, BAM Rock Bottom to Bischoff. And after a tense stare down, a handshake with former enemy Vince McMahon. And then he poses for the crowd. And you can only imagine how loud the crowd would be for this. THE GREAT ONE, THE PEOPLE’S CHAMPION is BACK!

So as you can see; I’ve gone really hard building with the A-list stars right after one PPV leading to the next. And so this is the card I’ll have for SummerSlam, as well as more details on how I’ll get their for each match…

The Sunday Night Heat match before the show will be a women’s tag between WWF’s Lita, Jacqueline and Trish against Women’s Champion Chyna, Stacy Keibler and Torrie Wilson of WCW

WWF Intercontinental Championship: Edge (C) vs Christian – Ladder Match

The IC title will go from Christian to Edge in a big singles match in the build to SummerSlam. This will enable Jericho to move on to a big singles match elsewhere on the card. These two did have a match during the actual Invasion, and the story of jealousy and betrayal they told I would tell here in the build to this one. And having it be a ladder match just makes it extras special. I think this would tear the house down.

The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff) and Big Show vs Scott Steiner & Test & DDP

We can combine and intertwine a few feuds here; Steiner defending his European title and Test with the US, but both WCW guys will go into SummerSlam with their titles. I’d have The Hardys at one point take on Hall and Nash but have Steiner cost them the match after he stood by and helped Keibler intimidate Lita. And this starts a Hardys-Steiner feud and from here Big Show backs them up, and DDP and Test come in to even the odds. Lots of good talents here and I feel they deserve a spotlight on a big PPV.

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Tajiri vs Hurricane Helms (C)

Again I think this would be a great spotlight on these two and on this title. Just have the story be Hurricane belittle Tajiri and Tajiri fire up and come across as a passionate babyface. Give them 10 minutes on PPV and I think these two would tear it up.

Chris Jericho vs Sting

OSW Review | WCW Ready to Rumble – OSW Review 32

OK… so the build for this one needs following so pay attention closely… so as I’ve mentioned above we have Kurt Angle begin a feud with Sting leading to a scheduled match at SummerSlam. Really have Kurt be a fiery babyface, book him really strong on the TV leading to SummerSlam, and then have Sting be a bit of an asshole on the few occasions he does talk. We see Sting be elusive and hanging up in the rafters as he did for a time in WCW. Really make Sting vs Angle seem like it’s a huge deal. As for where Jericho comes in… as I’ve said Jericho will lose the Intercontinental title not long after Invasion, and from here he’ll really suffer a crisis of confidence, and as he’s losing he keeps seeing The Rock come back and be adored, and be a megastar, and he hates it, he thinks that should be him, and he just can’t seem to get there. Losing week after week on TV, much to the fury of Vince McMahon. But Jericho remains optimistic, and as a babyface… for now… but this will end up as the match on the PPV… and I’ll explain how we get there in next week’s post when I book the show itself.

WWF & WCW Tag Team Championships: Kane and The Undertaker vs Scott Hall and Kevin Nash (C) (C) – Steel Cage Match

So on the actual SummerSlam The Brothers of Destruction were in a tag double-title cage match against Diamond Dallas Page and Chris Kanyon… so this is a take on that, but just slightly more star power… have this continue the feud between these two teams. And keep ramping up the WCW vs WWF battle. The idea of locking them in a cage means that we couldn’t have any outside interference, so I think this would be great.

WCW Championship: Booker T (C) with Shane McMahon vs Goldberg vs The Rock

So this is a take on the Booker T vs Rock match they actually had. From here as I’ve mentioned this combines the ongoing tension between Booker and Goldberg, but with Rock coming back he earns his way into this match. Rock wins matches to earn his spot in the title match, and in fact even Austin and The Rock and Triple H all agree to put aside their differences for the sake of the WWF. By doing a three way it means we can not only keep the anticipation going for a big Rock vs Goldberg singles match, but also means we can still give a big spot to Booker T. Rock says he’s not doing this for Vince McMahon, he’s not doing it for The Rock, he’s doing it for the WWF and for the people. Really, as they did a fine job of irl to be fair to them, make Rock as the biggest babyface possible leading to this. Have Booker be the chicken shit heel with Shane by his side (we’re gonna tell a mini-story leading to SummerSlam that Booker is Shane’s champion and Hogan is Bischoff’s guy), so we can have the great stuff Booker and Shane did with The Rock and the hilarious segments we got. As for Goldberg we keep him protected and special so we don’t see him much, he does a few interviews about what the WCW Championship means to him, and also on the go-home he finally hits a Spear to The Rock.

WWF Championship: Stone Cold Steve Austin with Debra and Vince McMahon vs Triple H with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley vs Hollywood Hulk Hogan (C) with Eric Bischoff

I get it’s a risk doing two big triple threats for world titles on the same show, so I want to do all I can to make the two different. I think The Rock and Booker could have a good match together, so I’d have them have most of that match and Goldberg do his big spots and look strong. With this one this is where we do all the gimmicks with so many people at ringside, and have it be more of a brawl than a proper match. For the build we have the uneasy-alliance between Triple H and Austin that is brokered by Vince and Stephanie. But also a mini story with Debra and Stephanie not getting on, and that only increasing tensions between Triple H and Stone Cold. In the end Vince decides he’s had enough and delivers a big talking down to both men, stating he doesn’t care if it’s Triple H or Stone Cold, he wants them BOTH to make sure that Hollywood Hulk Hogan does not walk out of SummerSlam with that WWF Championship. Hogan and Bischoff just lap all this up, and re-use a lot from their time running the nWo in WCW. It all seems leading to the show that Austin and Triple H wont be able to get on and that will allow Hollywood to sneak in and keep his title. But in the final shows before the PPV Austin and Triple H come up with a plan with Vince to have a match against one another, and with Triple H then pretends to join up with Hogan he quickly turns on him back, and Austin and Triple H and joined by Taker and Kane to beat up the whole nWo, and going in to SummerSlam HHH and Stone Cold seem to agree that they will take out Hogan and anyone form WCW and then when it’s just those two, then they will fight it out for the WWF Championship. It’s leading to this show too we will have the long-awaited big Hogan vs Vince promo battle. Here we can use a lot of the stuff they did in the eventual build to Hogan vs Vince at WrestleMania 19 in 2003. So lots going on in the build to this one, all of which I feel will make it really intriguing to see how it’s going to all play out.


And THAT… is going to be how my SummerSlam 2001 card lines up. In next week’s blog I’ll book the show itself, but I’d recommend watching the actual show itself, particularly the Rock vs Booker T match. Hopefully my show sounds as good as the real show was. Find out next week…

Josh.

Fantasy Booking: THE INVASION (WWF VS WCW) – Part 7 (INVASION Pay Per View FULL RESULTS)

With a buyrate of 770,000, the 2001 WWF Invasion PPV was the highest grossing non WrestleMania pay-per-view in company history. But the show itself, whilst it had its high points (Jeff Hardy vs RVD, and the opening show video among ones that come to mind right away) the PPV, much like the angle itself, was somewhat of a flop. With the headline being the main event RE-heel turn of Stone cold Steve Austin joining up with The Alliance it set the tone for the end of the angle, as it became just another storyline when it SHOULD have changed the face of the business forever. I intend on MY Invasion PPV being much different… and MUCH better… see what you think…

Nerd Watch Wednesday: Invasion 2001

(SUNDAY NIGHT HEAT: Hurricane Helms (WCW) (C) defeats X-Pac (WWF) to retain the WCW Cruiserweight Championship)

This was the GREAT opening video for the PPV. I’d keep this but changing things where needed (personnel used and of course removing the ECW stuff).

‘Team Xtreme’ (The Hardy Boyz, Matt and Jeff, & Lita) (WWF) defeats Christian, Test and WWF Women’s Champion Chyna

The Fishbulb Suplex — The Hardy Boys and Lita

We start the main show off with a fun 6 person tag. Have this all action, protect Chyna where you need to, but ultimately have the WWF get one on the board. In the real life show they counted the Sunday Night Heat match towards the overall ‘scores’ for the night, so we’d be at 1-1 at this stage. Either Matt or Jeff would get the pinfall here over Test or Christian it doesn’t really matter.

So the WWF’s Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho comes out. Ahead of his title open challenge to someone from WCW he cuts a babyface promo about his pride in representing the WWF and hammers WCW and how they treated him. He says he’s been waiting for a long time to get some payback on a company that wasted the talent of JERICHO…

Then the music of former WWF star Goldust plays… the titantron and music and everything… everyone is confused including Jericho. And JR and Paul Heyman on commentary (yes with no ECW in the invasion I’m keeping that team together as they’re among my favourite parings, and they had way too short a time together), they point out how Goldust was never in WCW… but then Jericho is jumped in the ring from behind by… DUSTIN RHODES (the version of him in the later months of WCW nitro’s existence)!

Chris Jericho (C) (WWF) defeats Dustin Rhodes (WCW) to retain the WWF Intercontinental Championship

wcw nitro | Explore Tumblr Posts and Blogs | Tumgir

This doesn’t need to be too long. The story here is Rhodes being very aggressive and Jericho the underdog-babyface. Sure Y2J can get some of his stuff in but Rhodes will take most of the match before Jericho gets a flash win via roll up. After I’d have a frustrated Rhodes cut a promo where he shits on Goldust and what the WWF did to him, and to his Father. He says he’s here to stand up for what’s right, and he’s going to do that as ME, DUSTIN RHODES.

Backstage in his office we see Vince McMahon absolutely raging at what Dustin Rhodes has just said. Commissioner Foley then enters and says Austin has arrived, but Vince is still raging… that’s when RVD walks in. And in his chilled attitude he tells Vince to relax and that he’s got it all covered, cause he’s about to win the Hardcore title AGAIN… then after RVD leaves the office, coming from just out of shot, Tazz walks past him stopping briefly to go nose to nose with him… and explain to him ‘the mood, is about, to change’!

Tazz (WWF) defeats William Regal (WCW), RVD (WWF) and Rhyno (WCW) (C) in a Hardcore Match to win the WWF Hardcore Championship

12 ECW Superstars Who Never Made It Big Anywhere Else - Goliath

So unsurprisingly this is just an all out brawl. Shit tonne of weapons, and all sorts going on, run ins form people not in the match too like Tajiri and a couple of the WCW lower end of their roster, but the one theme is the eventual winner Tazz. He not only comes out in his classic-ECW attire of the singlet with the black towel over his head, but this is TAZ! He’s just suplexing people all over, Taz-missions to everyone, he just smashes everything and everyone in sight. For the finish Regal tries to hit him with the brass knuckles but Tazz ducks out the way and locks in the Taz-mission for the win.

The Dudley Boys (Bubba Ray & D-Von) and The APA (Bradshaw & Faarooq) (WWF) defeats Mike Awesome & Lance Storm & Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo (WCW)

After the chaos of the match before this, this match doesn’t need to be too long at all. Have everyone get their stuff in, and the 3Ds to everyone and Bradshaw getting the W with the big Clothesline From Hell to give the WWF another win.

Edge (WWF) defeats Diamond Dallas Page (C) (WCW) to win the WCW United States Championship

I think these two if given the time would have a really good match in 2001, so I’m going to let them do just that. Give them the time that went to the RVD-Jeff match on the ppv, so 10-15 minutes, lots of nearfalls, and ultimately Edge gets the big babyface win.

Scott Steiner (with Stacey Keibler) (C) (WCW) defeats Big Show (with Trish Stratus) to retain the WWF European Championship

Scott Steiner rips Triple H, why he doesn't care about the WWE Hall Of Fame  | Wrestling News

Just a big man match here really. Have Trish and Keibler do some spots on the outside too, and the finish will be Big Show saving Trish from Steiner which ultimately costs him and allows Steiner to take him down with a steel chair shot to the back as the ref was seeing to Trish. And Big Poppa Pump retains.

Booker T (C) (WCW) defeats Kurt Angle (C) to retain the WCW Championship

Page 5 - Rebooking the WCW/ECW Invasion Storyline: Part 3

No need for loads of BS here, just have them have a really good match. Booker playing heel and Kurt going desperately close to winning, but in the end it’s Booker T who gets the win to retain. And another win for WCW.

After this we have Shane going wild in his own office, like a child almost he’s so excited. WCW Commissioner Regal is much more subtle in his celebrations, still suffering from the Hardcore match earlier. The nWo then walk in with big smiles on their faces, exclaiming how much they’re looking forward to what’s gonna end up being a great night. Shane then gets a phone call, and he quickly passes the phone to Hollywood Hogan saying ‘he wants to talk to you’… Hogan takes the phone and soon begins laughing and then ‘I’ll see you seen brother, yeah it’s been too long’…

nWo (Kevin Nash & Scott Hall) (WCW) defeats Kane & The Undertaker (WWF) (C) to win the WWF and WCW Tag Team Championships

WWE Mock Draft: Picking sides for the WWF vs. WCW 'Monday Night Wars' | FOX  Sports

So… I’m guessing this booking isn’t going to go down well… but needs must… have them have a solid tag match, lots of nearfalls, and soon enough Nash and Hall use BS to win. Have Nash pin Taker after Hall traps or lays out Kane at ringside whilst the ref is distracted. Maybe even do some BS with a WCW ref coming in to count the pin or ‘over-look’ nWo shenanigans? I want nWo hated not to be cool remember? But yes Hall and Nash walk out with all the gold.

Goldberg (WCW) defeats Triple H (WWF) with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley

Have this really be all about Goldberg. Give him a classic Goldberg entrance, have the match go fairly quick, and then Godlberg does all his signature stuff and gets the Spear and the Jackhammer and the 1,2,3. Make a real statement here, and after Stephanie just consoling a devastated Triple H who just looks lost. Goldberg by this stage has already gone to the back having arrived, done his job, and left.

For the main event this needs to be built like it’s the biggest match of all time. Have backstage shots of Hogan and Shane walking out, with the WCW roster cheering them to the ring in the backstage area, and the same for Vince with Austin. Have the WWF roster cheer Austin on. Have Austin cut a promo before he walks out very similar to the one he cut prior to the actual main event of the real life Invasion PPV main event… The dialogue of which (picture Austin sat with an angry expression on his face on a sofa, with Debra nearby, and the crowd cheering loudly when he comes on screen) went as follows:

Vince: Steve, Listen, this thing’s pretty much all evened up here, and you know I’m not exactly feeling the pressure because I’ve got all of the confidence in the world, but I’ve

*Austin interrupts*

Austin: You tryin to motivate me Vince? I don’t need nobody to to come here to give me no pep rally, I din’t come here to sing to nobody, I ain’t here to play guitar to nobody, I ain’t here to hug nobody, I’m here to go out there and whip somebody’s Ass! Do you know why? Because that’s the bottom line, cause Stone Cold said so!

So here is the pre match promo video they played to hype the Invasion main event. And again I’d have to be similar again, as this match is pretty much the main one of the invasion as a whole, so you can combine a video promoting Hogan vs Austin with one for the whole angle. Again changing aspects of personnel and removing ECW where needed. Here is that original video because it’s great to be fair.

And so finally… it is time… for the main event…

Steam Community :: :: nWo Hollywood Hogan

Hollywood makes his entrance first with his cornerman Shane McMahon beside him. Remember the agreement that no WCW or WWF roster member is legally allowed to interfere in this match or be at ringside, only Shane and Vince. But aside from that it is NO DQ so we will definitely get a clear winner.

Stone Cold Steve Austin's 6 WWE Title Reigns Ranked Worst To Best

Austin enters after with Vince to a HUGE pop. He looks focused and angry, and Hogan and Shane retreat to the outside of the ring. We get the ring introductions from Howard Finkel when both guys get back in the ring, just for that added bit of class and to give it that ‘big fight feel’.

Hollywood Hogan with Shane McMahon (WCW) defeats Stone Cold Steve Austin (C) with Vince McMahon (WWF) to win the WWF Championship

Yes… I know you’re angry, and you see that result and call bullshit… but let me explain… So the match can just be as big as it should be with Hogan and Austin getting their big moves in. Some weapons stuff as well with it being no DQ, and you’d have to have Shane and Vince get involved at some stage… but as for the finish… with the crowd at fever pitch desperate for Austin to win, and to stick it to Hogan who is just being a proper asshole all match… You have Vince smash Shane with a chair on the outside… Vince throw the chair to Austin who attacks Hogan with it… Austin hits the stunner to Hogan and the crowd go ape shit as Hogan bumps huge. 1,2… but then… THEN… the ref is pulled out the ring by a masked man dressed all in black… the man undoes his jacket to reveal an nWo shirt… and with Vince and Austin both looking on bemused the man takes off his mask…

Five Reasons Why Eric Bischoff Changed The Wrestling Industry

It’s the man who SHOULD have led the WCW invasion in real life… ERIC BISCHOFF!!! The crowd is stunned by this, as JR sells it on commentary like Satan himself has just showed up. Eric smashes Vince in the face with a steel chair, and then looks on at Austin and smiles. He starts laughing as Austin mouths away calling Eric very name under the sun… and as he goes towards the ropes to go after Eric… the lights go out… they come back on and in the ring…

Sting Reveals How He Wants Fans To Remember Him

IT’S STING!!! The crowd go fucking MENTAL for this moment. Heyman and JR again going crazy on commentary, with JR explaining how neither Bischoff nor Sting are listed WWF or WCW roster members so there’s nothing nobody can do about them coming out here. Bischoff on the outside looks stunned by this, and Sting and Austin stare down eachother before Sting turns around to see Hogan (his long term rival in WCW)… he looks at Hogan, then at Austin, that at his signature club he has in his hand, he lines up the club, facing Hogan, waiting for him to get up so he can hit him with it… and then BAM! He smashes Austin with the club!!! He then looks down at Austin and shakes his head, and then leaves and goes to the back, with Bischoff laughing at all this. Bischoff then lifts Hogan to help him get up, and Hogan bounces off the ropes and hits the big leg drop on Austin, and then Bischoff helps the ref come to… and he slowly but surely (much to the horror and shock from Heyman and JR on commentary, as well as the crowd)… he counts the pin!!!

Your winner… and NEW World Wrestling Federation Champion… HOLLYWOOD HULK HOGAN!!!

Austin is down selling the whole time as everyone looks on in shock. Vince is just coming to at ringside as Hogan, Shane McMahon and Bischoff are at the top or the ramp posing. And Vince looks like his world has just ended…

And that’s how we go off the air and close the PPV.


OK… so A LOT to unpack there!!! But the Invasion PPV is unquestionably in my booking a HUGE night for WCW. They now have the WWF, WCW, both tag titles, European and Cruiserweight titles… and as well as that Eric Bischoff and Sting have joined. Their roles and motivations will be explained in due course. My next PPV is SummerSlam which will be another big one. But we leave Invasion with WCW hugely on the up, and the WWF and Vince McMahon in pieces. They need a savior you’d think for sure… Wonder who that could be…

The Rock Eyebrow GIFs | Tenor

Josh.

Fantasy Booking: THE INVASION (WWF VS WCW) – Part 6 (‘The battle lines have been drawn’ aka The Road to INVASION)

Daily Pro Wrestling History (07/22): WWF vs. WCW Invasion

So given the magnitude of the Invasion PPV, or at least how big it will be in MY WCW invasion storyline, I have split the build up and the actual event into two blog posts. So whilst next week I will explain how I’d book the show itself, here now I’ll explain what I would have go down along the way of the the road to INVASION!

So I’ll explain my card for the PPV, along with how I’d get to each match, as well as any other business I’d have take place along the way. I’m sure you haven’t got time to read 4 weeks and 8 shows that I’ve rebooked so I’ll try and summarize best I can… (I also wont repeat myself so if the booking leading to a match has intertwined with another it’ll be listed elsewhere, so try and keep up ahahaha)…

WWF: ‘Team Xtreme’ (The Hardy Boyz, Matt and Jeff, & Lita) vs WCW: Christian, Test and WWF Women’s Champion Chyna

Jeff loses to X-Pac on the 25/6 Raw. Later that night we have Christian second Edge when they come out to confront the nWo, Hall and Nash then beat Edge and Christian when Christian bails on his tag partner mid match. Chyna beats Jacqueline and then after cuts a promo saying she has joined WCW. On SmackDown X-Factor beat Edge and Christian when Christian again bails mid match when the going gets tough, and Test costs Edge the match by attacking him. Team Xtreme are backstage talking when Chyna jumps Lita. On Raw Chyna faces Trish, and cuts a promo again praising WCW beforehand. Lita gets revenge by jumping Chyna when she’s backstage after the match. Christian and Edge talk and try and hash out what’s happened the last couple of weeks. WCW Champion Booker T talks to Test backstage and praises him, asking if he’d consider coming to WCW? Test says it depends on the money… On the 5/7 SmackDown The Hardys beat Saturn and Malenko in a tag match to open the show, and Team Xtreme bumps into Chyna after backstage, with both Test and Christian seen looking on from nearby. Jeff Hardy faces Test on the 9/7 Raw with Chyna and Lita both getting involved. The 12/7 SmackDown sees Lita and Trish beating Stacey Keibler and Chyna in a tag match with Lita pinning Keibler, and also Jeff Hardy beating Christian. On the final Raw Test (with Chyna) beats Matt Hardy (with Lita), and also in a tag match DDP and Christian beat Jeff Hardy and Edge in a tag match. On the final SmackDown Matt Hardy beats Test with everyone else in the PPV match at ringside.

WWF’s Chris Jericho defends the WWF Intercontinental Championship in an open challenge against someone from WCW

WCW Commissioner William Regal makes a match between Y2J and Tajiri on the 25/6 Raw, which Jericho wins prompting a furious Regal to state that WCW will get that Intercontinental title off of Chris Jericho. On the SmackDown after Regal still has green mist that was accidentally sprayed at him by Tajiri on Raw, but we get Regal and Tajiri beating Jericho and RVD. On the 2/7 Raw Shane McMahon has a backstage promo confrontation with Jericho, with DDP looking on. And on SmackDown after DDP beats Jericho after interference from Regal. Jericho retains the IC title on the 9/7 Raw against Regal in a street fight. On Raw the week after a backstage promo between Booker T and Shane McMahon sees Jericho interrupt, leading to a WCW title match that night, which Booker retains in after Shane gets involved to screw Jericho alongside a WCW ref, despite a WWF ref trying to do things right. On the final SmackDown Vince McMahon speaks to Jericho about the importance of the Intercontinental title to the WWF, and that with the open challenge he must be ready for anything and anyone WCW throw at him, so he makes a match between Jericho and Bog Show to prepare him. That match ends in a no contests when both DDP and Scott Steiner interfere and attack both.

Rhyno (WCW) defends the WWF Hardcore Championship against Tazz (WWF), William Regal (WCW) and RVD (WWF) in a Hardcore match

Rhyno successfully defends the Hardcore title against RVD on the 25/6 Raw after Test attacked RVD mid match, and we had another multi man brawl backstage around the title after. We also have Tazz cutting a promo from WWF New York on the 2/7 Raw, he is rather aggressive in his tone and much more like the ECW Taz… but he’s then jumped by Rhyno… meanwhile RVD beats Tajiri. Rhyno then defends the hardcore title on SmackDown winning against Raven, and then cuts a promo mocking Tazz, who then comes out to brawl with him. On the 16/7 Raw RVD is chatting with Big Show when they are attacked by Scott Steiner and Rhyno. So we have Rhyno as the crazy champion, Tazz as aggressive, somewhat re-born destroyer, RVD as the popular babyface, and Regal as the corporate asshole.

WWF: The Dudley Boys (Bubba Ray & D-Von) and The APA (Faarooq & Bradshaw) vs WCW: Mike Awesome & Lance Storm & Sean O’Haire & Chuck Palumbo

Faarooq issues the rallying call to the WWF locker room on the 28/6 SmackDown to be prepared to keep out WCW. Later a table match between The Dudleys and The APA is interrupted by Palumbo and O’Haire… the WWF locker room then comes out to beat them down. On the 2/7 Raw The Dudleys lose to Palumbo & O’Haire after Mike Awesome and Lance Storm interfere, The APA then make the save. Bradshaw leads another rallying cry to the WWF on SmackDown. The four teams have a big brawl on the 16/7 Raw. We have Bradshaw beat Storm on the 19/7 SmackDown, and The Dudleys and RVD beat Palumbo & O’Haire and Rhyno in a 6 man tag.

WCW’s Scott Steiner (with Stacey Keibler) defends the WWF European Championship against WWF’s Big Show (with Trish Stratus)

So on the 25/6 Raw Big Show tries to impress Trish, and later Show beats Matt Hardy with Steiner and Stacey seen watching on backstage. Big Show with Stratus by his side then squashes Perri Saturn on SmackDown and Steiner interrupts a match between Spike Dudley and Crash Holly. Show beats Billy Gunn on the 9/7 Raw.

WCW’S DDP defends the WCW United States Championship against WWF’s Edge

Diamond Dallas Page’s promo on the 2/7 Raw officially announces that Christian is a part of WCW now. We then have DDP vs Chris Jericho on the 5/7 SmackDown which both William Regal and Edge get involved in. On the 9/7 Raw Edge comes out before a Kane vs Lance Storm and Mike Awesome match to make it a tag, and after winning he cuts a promo on DDP and says he will win the US title at Invasion. Edge beats Storm on the 12/7 SmackDown. DDP & Christian beat Edge and Jeff Hardy on the 16/7 Raw.

WCW’s Booker T (C) vs WWF’s Kurt Angle for the WCW Championship

A lot of this feud ties into the story of Stone Cold Steve Austin and his road to Invasion, so I’ll mention more on this later… But on the 5/7 SmackDown Kurt Angle beats Booker T (non-title), and on the next Raw as Shane is trying to big up Booker, Kurt Angle comes in and challenges Shane to match later in the night, which Shane wins after nWo interference, much to the disappointment of Austin and Vince backstage after. The 12/7 SmackDown is main evented by Angle and Undertaker vs Shane McMahon and Scott Hall, which ends in a mass brawl between WWF and WCW stars. Angle states his claim to be the leader of the WWF in the absence of Stone Cold to Vince on the 16/7 Raw. Later that night Angle is speaking to the Brooklyn Brawler again stating his case, when Mike Awesome comes in. Angle beats Awesome and even bats off interference after from Chris Kanyon, Shawn Stasiak and Chavo Guerrero.

WWF’s Kane & The Undertaker defend the WWF and WCW Tag Team Championships vs WCW’s Scott Hall & Kevin Nash of the nWo

This feud gets underway after taker and Kane successfully defend their belts agains Palumbo and O’Hair on the 25/6 Raw. Hall & Nash then attack them sparking a mass WCW vs WWF brawl. On the SmackDown after Scott Hall jumps Kane after he’s beaten Albert, before escaping through the crowd. Taker cuts a passionate promo on his loyalty to the WWF on the 2/7 Raw before beating Test, and later that night an nWo video mocks him for it, saying he couldn’t of hacked it WCW against the nWo… BROTHER!!! On the next SmackDown we have another classic-style nWo video where the theme this time is mocking Kane and how he has been and will forever be in his brother’s shadow (we’re trying to make the nWo not cool, but hated). On the 9/7 Raw Undertaker is scheduled to be in a handicap match against Lance Storm and Mike Awesome, whom took exception to Taker’s promo upping the WWF. But Taker is attacked backstage by a number of WCW guys (and we see Kevin Nash in the background, and later we see him giving money to this who performed the attack). Kane later arrived at the building having heard about this and tells WWF Commissioner Mick Foley that HE wants the handicap match instead. Kane is joined but Edge and the two get the win with Kane being seriously aggressive in his offence. Later that same night Taker and Kane help even the odds when Hogan and Hall try and interfere in Kevin Nash’s match vs Stone Cold. On the 12/7 SmackDown Undertaker speaks with Vince and a main event is made with Taker and Angle vs Shane & Hall. On the same show we also have Kane fail to win the hardcore title from Rhyno after more WCW interference. The main event tag ends in a no contest after a mass wcw v wwf brawl. The final Raw sees Taker and Kane teaming up to take on Rhyno and Scott Steiner but this ends in a huge brawl… and a certain someone helping out… and the final SmackDown sees Hall and Nash take on Angle and Austin but we get another brawl with WCW standing tall at the end.

WWF’s Triple H (with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley) vs WCW’s Goldberg

The 25/6 Raw sees Stephanie go Into her fathers office (we at this stage don’t know where Triple H’s loyalties lay…). On SmackDown in a sit down interview with JR she explains how difficult the last few months have been for her husband and her family, but that Triple H will return to the WWF soon and that her brother will regret what he has done and that payback is a bitch. To end the 28/6 SmackDown from MSG after all the WWF mainstays are in the ring, Vince goes back up the ramp to confront Shane but is met by a Spear from Goldberg. Triple H returns to open the 2/7 Raw and he questions if he should maybe join WCW to turn his recent run of bad luck around? But then he fires back with a big babyface fire promo, before castrating Bill Goldberg for spearing Vince. Goldberg comes out and we have a huge pull apart brawl of the levels of Cena-Lesnar a few years back. In his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia Goldberg opens the 9/7 Raw. He talks about how much he loves WCW and how he’s happy he can finally show the WWF what they are all about. He hammers all the top WWF stars (Austin, Taker, Kane, Angle – all to set up future matches) but focuses on Triple H for being a kiss ass and to afraid to come over to the big leagues of WCW because he was afraid of him. He says WCW is invading the WWF and that “Triple H… YOU’RE NEXT!”. Vince McMahon then comes out and says he wanted to give Goldberg a proper welcome… so out come X-Factor (X-Pac, Albert and Justin Credible) but Goldberg smashes them easily.

WWF’s Stone Cold Steve Austin (with Vince McMahon) defends the WWF Championship against WCW’s Hollywood Hulk Hogan of the nWo (with Shane McMahon)

Ok so my thing here is to make this Invasion ppv the biggest it can possibly be. And for me this is the biggest match I can make at this time. This Invasion ppv needs to be where it all goes down and this match is just that, THE match imo. One thing that we make very clear from the start is that this will be one on one, Hogan vs Austin, no outside interference allowed. Later in the build that is subtlety altered when Shane makes it so no WCW or WWF ROSTER MEMBERS can interfere and only Vince (on behalf of Austin) and Shane (on behalf of Hogan) can be ringside.

So naturally a lot of this build will be focused on Austin. A lot of it based on his actual build to this PPV which contained some of the best stuff on WWF tv I’ve seen.

Raw 25/6: more Vince-Austin love in stuff… with Kurt “3rd wheeling” much to Austin’s annoyance. They both end up going to WWF world to try and find Booker T and Shane after being called out. But they’ve already gone back to the arena and this means Vince is left on his own to suffer an attack from Hogan. Hogan also earlier does a big promo parading his King of the ring trophy that he sprays nWo on.

SD 28/6: loads more Austin-Vince stuff, hugs and everything, with Austin only so upset at WCW after seeing what it’s doing to Vince. He even goes to the ring to call out WCW and the nWo, which leads to a big brawl involving a load of WCW and WWF guys.

We have a huge tag match on the 2/7 Raw. Instead of the awful booker t vs Buff Bagwell match they did in real life, we have Austin and Angle vs Hogan and Booker T. Hype this throughout the show as the HUGE deal it is, have backstage stuff between Austin and Angle where it’s goofy and funny but they really don’t get on. Angle tried but Stone Cold doesn’t want to know. But when it comes to the tag match it’s Booker and Hogan who don’t get on, and Angle ends up pinning Booker.

On the 5/7 SmackDown… we have this segment… keep this 100% as it was becuase it’s FUCKING GOLD

Also Austin helps Angle again beat Booker T in the main event.

The 9/7 Raw sees a fired up Austin call out the WCW and nWo for their disrespect shown to Mr McMahon… and later he beats Nash despite outside interference.

On the 12/7 SmackDown we get one of my ALL TIME favourite segments:

Later that night we have this…another all time classic segment:

So the 16/7 Raw was all about Austin. It was a classic attitude era show where one underlining story ran through the whole show and it was awesome. So I’ll keep it largely as it was… the show opens with Austin in a bar near the arena on his own drinking and looking all sad. Vince talks to Kurt Angle at the arena who tells him where Austin is, and Vince just wants to find Austin. When he gets to the bar he speaks to Debra, who tells Vince that she hasn’t seen Steve like this for a long time. Vince calmly speaks to Austin (who doesn’t say anything back to him), Vince explains how nobody has ever threatened the WWF like this WCW Invasion, that everything he has said about how Austin is the greatest champion we have ever had and that he NEEDS him to lead the WWF into Invasion, but he NEEDS the old Stone Cold, Austin just ignores him and a crestfallen Vince returns to the arena. We later get an nWo video again where they’re just ripping into Austin and laughing at his current state of mind. Later that night we see Vince on the phone deeply upset and he says to someone “Look I know you might be the last person he might listen to, but you know more than anyone just how much we NEED the Old Stone Cold back to stop WCW, I need you to try and talk some sense into him and remind him who he is”… later we cut back to the bar when Stephanie and Triple H walk in. Stephanie talks to Debra as Triple H walks over to Austin and says “Look, I know we haven’t always gotten along, heck we’ve beat the crap out of eachother. But dammit you’re Stone Cold Steve Austin. The WWF Champion. The Texas Rattlesnake. You don’t get the reputation you have by giving out hugs. You get it by kicking ass. And hey I know as well as anyone nobody stomps a mud hole, or whoops somebody’s ass like Stone Cold Steve Austin. So you need to ask yourself if you’re really the man you think you are. And you need to do, what’s right”… again Austin just ignores him.

Towards the end of that Raw we see Shane and Hogan leading the WCW locker room in a rally call backstage where they hype eachother up for Invasion. Vince then calls one for the WWF, and even brings out wheelchair bound legend Freddie Blassie to try and inspire the WWF locker room. Austin sees all this in the bar and during a game of pool with Debra, he throws the balls across the table and smashes the cue. He then walks off with Debra asking where he’s going?

So… the individuals involved in this will be different in my world of course, but basically all the WWF guys and all the WCW guys are out for a big brawl after the main event tag match to close the go home Raw… and the show ends with something very similar to the following. Now irl this was one of the loudest pops of ALL TIME… so sit back and enjoy…

So that’s the card for Invasion sorted. Now I’d have other stuff go on of course, but this PPV needs to be built up to like its as important as Wrestlemania so I need to keep the stories not relating to the show down to a minimum. There’s be segments along the way with Vince and Shane etc but they all relate to the Invasion as a whole. And also the ongoing story between Vince and Linda for the divorce she is seeking, with a big segment opening the 28/6 SmackDown between the two…The Invasion irl ended up being about the McMahons and I don’t want my invasion to go that way…

So yeah that’s pretty much everything in place. Next week I’ll do a blog post where I book the full Invasion 2001 PPV.

Josh.