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A Summerslam match a day

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Air raid is the man with the answers. I'm sorry I didn't recognise Mr Perfect's voice! And go on then, what's the difference between a powerbomb and a Vader Bomb?


Sj: with a card like 2002's to choose from, a Benoit match is quite far down the pecking order, even if I did really like it at the time!

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I have returned… hopefully having lived down the disappointment of not knowing the right names for Vader's moves...


Summerslam 1997 then. For the third and final time, a Davey Boy Smith match will be watched, as I'm going for British Bulldog vs. Ken Shamrock.



The match:


I started the Network playback a little bit earlier than I maybe should have, because I've just caught the tail-end of a segment where Sable and Sunny are operating padlocks for a casket which has a million dollars in it, and someone's got to pick a number on a massive Advent calendar shaped like the WWF logo and if they get the right number, they win the money. What the hell was that all about?


Right, here we go, Bulldog vs. Shamrock. The backstory as I understand it. Davey and Ken were having an arm-wrestling contest which ended with Bulldog head butting Shamrock, smacking him with a chair half a dozen times (including two unprotected head shots) and then pouring dog food on him while Jerry Lawler cackles. Matilda would not have approved. But she probably would have eaten the food. Then again, she would have deplored the waste. Davey's definitely heel here.


He's still got his old music, though, and he's European Champion. Close-up of a tin of dog food. Back in Manchester, the now-retired Matilda's getting peckish. Oh, apparently if Bulldog loses he has to eat it. We're certainly getting closer to the Attitude Era.


Davey's got smashing Union flag pants, armbands with tassels, and boots with the same. Ken comes down to the ring in red, looking like something out of a comic book he's so muscled, and gets straight to work smacking Davey about, hitting a belly to belly and then taking Bulldog down into a leg submission.


Things I'd have liked to have seen from Ken Shamrock, number 1: Him vs. Kurt Angle any time between Angle starting to use the Anklelock and him leaving WWE.


JR just mentioned the solar plexus. Didn't take him long. Commentary is him, Vince and Lawler.


Davey fights back with a clothesline after Shamrock's hit one of his own, and the Bulldog's now in control, showing off his strength with a lovely stalling suplex. He's got Ken in a hold now, and this has been a great match so far.


On commentary, they're alternately plugging One Night Only and the dog food.


Shamrock goes for a sunset flip, and eventually gets it along with a two count. Bulldog gets up very quickly - because he's a veteran, points out JR - clotheslines Shamrock down and gets back to the hold.


Things I'd have liked to have seen from Ken Shamrock, number 2: Late 90s Shamrock, transported to the modern era WWE. I reckon he'd have fit in nicely.


The pace has slowed down considerably as Bulldog chucks Shamrock into the ring post, and he bounces off the steps to the outside. Into the steps he goes for a late 1990s staple. Ken fights back with a brutal sounding chop, but is cut off by a low blow in blatant view of the referee. Perhaps they reinstated the 'if it's outside the ring you don't get disqualified' rule.


Shamrock's bleeding form the mouth as Davey goes back to the hold again. The mouth-blood isn't a great visual, it just looks like he's had one of those M&S microwaved jam sponges a bit too quickly.


And there's the dog food, smushed into Shamrock's face, AND HE GOES MENTAL. He's smacking Bulldog all over the place. The bell's ringing, and it sounds different here, did they change bells for a period in 1997? Who would know about that?


Referee's shoved down, and Shamrock gets Bulldog in a chokehold, locks it in, drops down, and he is NOT letting go. The bell is ringing constantly. This looks legit. "He's lost his composure", says JR. You're not wrong, Bulldog's fucking gone blue. I'm glad Matilda wasn't around to witness this. Several hundred referees and several agents can't get him to let go, and Mike Chioda's solution is to get the guy to ring the bell again. Not gonna help, Mike.


He eventually lets go, and Davey looks half-dead. Shamrock is surrounded… BELLY TO BELLY FOR PAT PATTERSON! ONE FOR BRISCO! ONE FOR THE REFEREE! ONE FOR ANOTHER! The crowd is going CRAZY for Ken!


"GET OUTTA MY WAY!" he yells as the crowd chants 'Shamrock! Shamrock!'


Things I'd have liked to have seen from Ken Shamrock, number 3: A title run. I could have bought into that.



My thoughts:


I liked that, and I'm quite alright with the DQ ending because the post-match was extremely compelling. The match itself was good, and Shamrock came out of it looking like a monster. The dog food angle I could have done without, but hey ho, it was Attitude, or near enough as makes little difference, you have to expect that sort of thing a lot of the time. Was there a rematch?

Edited by HarmonicGenerator

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I promised a double tonight, so here it is, from Summerslam 1998… D'Lo Brown vs. Val Venis.



The match:


This looks like it's going to be for the European Title. I don't think Bulldog vs. Shamrock was, but … hang on. HANG ON. HANG ON HANG ON HANG ON. The Attitude Era 'WWF' opener! I REMEMBER THIS! Fuck 'Then, Now, Forever', I'm on a nostalgia trip right now.


Sorry, yes, European Title. It's nice to see the European Title two Summerslams in a row.


As the opening fireworks kick off, this really feels vastly different from any Summerslam I've watched for this project so far. Most definitely we're in Attitude Land now. JR and Lawler at ringside. Val Venis' music hits, and I know a lot of Attitude stuff was guff, but just from these opening few minutes, I can totally understand people's nostalgia overriding common sense and demanding this sort of atmosphere coming back. Everything feels like a big deal.


Val whips off his towel and says hello to the ladies of New York City. We're in MSG, I think. "I came, I saw, and I came again". Remember that thing I said about a lot of things being guff? That's one. Dear me.


D'Lo's here! We're not looking at the real deal yet :( I ought to kick their sorry ass out on the street. However, he has the walk, and the chest protector, and he's the Champ, so he's from Finland tonight.


If it wasn't bad enough that they didn't have this as his music yet...



… I can't believe nobody had the forethought to use this:



I'd have cheered. Anyway, JR points out that D'Lo is 27 to Val's 26, or possibly the other way round, and that's a nice touch. Certainly it emphasises they're part of a new wave of young Superstars. I like that. Bring back mentioning wrestlers' ages!


They lock up, and D'Lo gets a cheap shot in and runs away. They're making a big deal of the chest protector on commentary. The set for this is the MSG doorway, with red lighting behind iron-looking gates, with the scratch WWF logo on them. It looks good.


D'Lo runs into Val in the turnbuckle and splashes him with the chest protector, which is virtually the only thing they've talked about on commentary, actually, as Venis mounts a comeback with a Russian leg sweep, a drop toe hold, and Brown bails out of the ring. Val does a little dance to celebrate.


Was Val's little dance inspired by Rick Rude's? Compare and contrast.





Sorry, there's a match going on. Some lovely, lovely wrestling going on here, lots of running the ropes, ducking, blocking, and so on. D'Lo did the 'point my finger at my head to show my brain' thing, and Val gets the advantage with a spinebuster.


Edge! Edge is in the audience, looking brooding!


In the ring, meanwhile, Val hits a splash, but does so on the chest protector, which didn't do him any favours, and Brown whips him into the turnbuckle with enough force to knock him down. Just as D'Lo starts to take control, Val hits a suplex, but he can't get control either because he just got clotheslined, body slammed, and hit with the signature D'Lo Brown leg drop. Now, as he hits a leg lariat, Brown's in control properly.


From the second rope, D'Lo dives off with a forearm and gets a near fall. 


Confirmed: Val is 27, D'Lo 26. Just so you know.


Cloverleaf! D'Lo has Val Venis in a Texas Cloverleaf! He lets it go, and goes back up to the second rope for a senton, but takes forever so he misses. Now Val can fight back, and he's doing the run-with-opponent-to-the-ropes-then-knee-them thing! I REMEMBER THAT!


Back body drop and now Venis is going to the top rope… he dives off… into a Sky High! Top rope Sky High! That's a massive move for the opening match! Val kicks out… just. JR points out this is Venis' first-ever chance to win a title.


The crowd have been getting progressively louder throughout the match, and are at their loudest so far, willing Val to kick out of a D'Lo DDT. D'Lo's up on the second rope again - he hasn't gone to the top one yet - and Val catches him into a powerslam for another 2 count. Double arm suplex, and a body slam, and Val up to the top, I sense the knees are going up for this, Val does a little dance, dives off, and yep, knees went up, and Val's down again.


"D'Lo! D'Lo!" chants start up, taking me back to MEW at Eldon Leisure, October 2005, where he blew the roof off the place for his match with Sheamus. But wait! There's "D'Lo sucks!" chants too. 




He hits a running power bomb, goes to the top this time, doesn't connect, Val's making another comeback, and he's taken the chest protector off! Powerslam, and Val has put on the chest protector himself! Jimmy Korderas tries to stop him, tugs on his foot, and accidentally crotches him! DISQUALIFY THAT REFEREE! Loud booing.


Val retaliates by shoving Korderas down, entirely reasonably if you ask me. And he calls for the bell! It's another DQ finish! More booing. D'Lo beats a sharp retreat, and Val slams Korderas ("that's gonna cost him big money", says JR) before hitting him with the Money Shot and dancing atop him to his sleazy, sleazy music.


My thoughts:


Good match, pity about the DQ finish, I assume the storyline went somewhere after that? I can't remember. Now I think of it, there were three or four storylines tied into this. D'Lo's chest injury/protector thingy, Val and the referee, the DQ win, and Edge in the crowd watching but not doing anything or being mentioned again. Anyway, as a match, this is one of those that would easily have fit in in 2015. Emphasis was very much on the in-ring action throughout, but with lots more besides.


If you want a blast of Attitude Era nostalgia, this would be an excellent choice.

Edited by HarmonicGenerator

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I'm so glad you went with the D-lo and Venis match.


I remember being in the queue to get into Jumping Jacks in Coventry after International Showdown with D-lo. (He had trainers on so didn't get in)


I told him of my appreciation of that match.


Fun Fact - At the time it was D-lo Brown's favourite match!

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Really? That's interesting. Though I admit, I'm more intrigued about what he did after they wouldn't let him in for wearing trainers. What happened next?






Tonight I'm gonna party like it's Summerslam '99, with a main event featuring three of the year's biggest stars in a Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship: Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Triple H vs. Mankind.



The match:


It looks like there's about six minutes of pre-match stuff before this one kicks off properly. It's going to get convoluted, isn't it?


- Stone Cold was attacked with a cinder block.

- So Shawn Michaels makes a triple threat for the number 1 contendership with HHH, Undertaker and … Chyna.

- Triple H says she's just a woman, Chyna scoffs.

- Undertaker shoves Chyna in the face, but she and Triple H get the advantage.

- She decks her friend/partner/boyfriend/boss/client/whatever he is to her at this point and hits him in the bollocks.

- Austin comes back with a chair and hits HHH with it.

- Austin then puts Chyna on top of Triple H, and Shawn, who's also the guest referee apparently, counts 3. Also that match was Falls Count Anywhere.

- Chyna's now number 1 contender.


Keeping up?


- Triple H tells Chyna he made her ass, which is just an unusual image, and calls her an ungrateful bitch.

- He smacks her about in a match.

- But she fights back, this match is also for the number 1 contendership.

- Mankind shows up and hits HHH with the ring steps while Earl Hebner's trying to have a quick grope of Chyna on the other side of the ring.

- Chyna gets the win, and is now the number 1 contender again.

- But Mankind wants to be number 1 contender.

- So Chyna clobbers him in the nuts.

- Shawn makes a number 1 contender match between them, which seems to have taken place immediately. 

- Mankind sounds like he says he's going to break her ovaries. I may have misheard that, but this is the Attitude Era so quite frankly, I'm surprised he didn't just say 'ass' four or five times in a row.

- Anyway, in the match, Chyna is dominating.

- But HHH turns up and loads of referees hold him back.

- Mankind uses the distraction to win with the Mandible Claw.

- Mankind is now number 1 contender!

- Triple H runs down to the ring and beats him up.

- Triple H and Chyna look like they're friends again.


We're at about the halfway point here.


- So now Shane McMahon has turned up and makes a match. Mankind vs. HHH for the UNDISPUTED number 1 contendership!

- Shane will be the referee.

- So will Shawn Michaels.

- But it looks like there's no DQ or count out in the match anyway, so neither of them are going to need to do much.

- Because it's No Holds Barred, Chyna interferes, on what appears to be HHH's behalf, despite the fact she's had that number 1 contendership taken off her three times now.

- Austin, meanwhile, doesn't care who wins.

- Mankind and Triple H get into a complicated pinning predicament when one connects with the Claw and the other hits a back suplex.

- Shane and Shawn both count 3, but Shawn raises Mankind's hand and Shane raises Triple H's.

- This means we have two undisputed number 1 contenders.

- Stone Cold is on commentary wondering who won the damn match. Chyna's also there.

- Linda McMahon appears via pretape, and makes the decision, because Vince is contractually not allowed to be backstage for some reason, that there'll be a 'triple threat compromise'. Without Chyna. Harsh.


Got that? Fucking hell.


Right! To the match! Jesse 'the Body' Ventura comes out to be the special referee for this one - I guess there was no time left to explain why that's happening in the pre-match. He gets a good reaction anyway. He's a governor at this point, right? He gets on the mic and says he doesn't care about the controversy, he's proud to be a wrestler and happy to be there.


We see Mankind backstage, which I guess means he's about to get jumped. Oh, no, perhaps not, he's made it out to the arena! Good for him. Oh, I used to be such a huge Mick Foley fan. I was just thinking today about whether I should give 'Have A Nice Day' a re-read, but got worried I wouldn't like it anymore. I'm sure I would, though. Loved that book.


There's weird build-up music between each entrance.


Triple H is backstage, along with Chyna, who seems considerably less pissed off about having her three number 1 contenderships taken off her than I thought she'd be. Triple H is wearing a sleeveless chain mail vest. Is he allowed to wear that in the match, like D'Lo's chest protector? Because mail would give him a massive advantage. It's his time! Had he won a WWE Title by this point? I can't recall him having had a title reign before this.


Jesse shakes his finger at Chyna. He's watching her. "Don't you give me no trouble!" he tells her. 


Austin's music hits, and the noise from the crowd is incredible. He is so fucking popular. You just don't hear reactions like that anymore. He barely gets in the ring, and doesn't even get to take his vest off, before he and HHH start going toe to toe, but Mankind pulls Triple H out of the ring, so Austin has the chance to get himself ready.


It would appear that once again, there's no DQ or count out here. I guess they didn't even need to announce that, it's more or less expected in main events at this time. Austin and Mankind take turns taking shots at Triple H, then Mick gives Austin a hug, so of course he punches him, and goes for a Stunner, but it's countered. Mankind goes flying over the ropes - Foley always did a good over-the-top bump. He then gets chucked into the steps and we get the traditional Austin Aisleway Brawl.


Very little of that pre-match convolution's going to matter, is it?


Chyna does some stealth ninja stalking while Jesse's back is turned, sort of like in The Last Of Us when you're trying to get past those stupid clicker things without making any noise. Jesse has words with her, so Triple H smacks Austin in the knee with a chair. Jesse's not stupid though and asks if he hit Austin with the chair. Then he asks the audience, but Mankind interrupts which is a silly thing to have done, because if Triple H had got disqualified, they could have made it one-on-one with him against Austin.


Anyway, it's Foley vs. HHH now, and it's about to turn into a decent exchange but Chyna interferes and goes for Mick's Foleys again. Jesse sends her out of the ring, but is following her all the way up the ramp, which is shoddy refereeing if you ask me. Austin and HHH resume the Austin Aisleyway Brawl, which takes them all the way up to what I assume is the Lion's Den hanging out near the entranceway. Back in the ring, Triple H goes for Stone Cold's knee. Sensible. Foley then has a go, and he and Triple H then have a go together.


JR and Lawler are good on commentary here. Their double-act fits this era so well.


Mankind hits a leg drop as Triple H does the first bit of a figure four, but then they start fighting each other again, and Mankind goes to dive off the apron with a somersault, but Triple H moves out of the way and Mankind does an unnecessary and horribly painful-looking flip bump onto the floor. Ouch.


Austin's back up now, and it's time for the traditional Austin Brawling In The Crowd segment of the match. Foley's already up, however, and he joins in, only to get a Back Body Drop onto the concrete. Triple H, not to be outdone, does a flip bump over the barrier, which somehow doesn't seem as bad, because knowing what we know now about the state of Mick's body, knowing each of these bumps (which, to be honest, don't get half the reaction that Austin just throwing punches around gets) have played a part in that… well, it does inform how I react to his matches these days.


They're all up and back in the ring again. I like that Mankind keeps his tie on to wrestle. Who's the last person to have wrestled in a tie? Did/does Corporate Kane?


Stunner! Stunner to Mankind! But Triple H breaks it up with a chairshot to the back.


"WHAT'S THIS BULLSHIT?!" bellows Jesse Ventura, to which Triple H responds by cracking Mankind with an unprotected headshot. Oh Mick.


Ventura refuses to count the pinfall. Triple H is not a happy Helmsley. He's going to smash Jesse, but Jesse doesn't care. In comes Shane McMahon to argue on behalf of Triple H, but Jesse won't budge and Austin Stuns McMahon. Jesse then throws him out of the ring and yells "that's for your old man, you little bastard!" Good on Shane for being able to walk after his Street Fight earlier in the night, mind.


Everyone's down and out in the ring by this time, but Mankind gets up and signals for Mr Socko. Austin gets it first, and Triple H gets a Mandible Claw as well, but breaks out of it and goes for the Pedigree, which Austin then cuts off with a clothesline. They're all down again.


What was the point of all that Chyna stuff then?


Stunner! Stunner to Triple H! But Mankind breaks it up with a forearm to the back.


Pedigree! Pedigree to Austin! But Mankind breaks it up with a fist to the head.




The crowd look mostly happy but also a bit shocked. I don't think they saw that coming. It's the Smoking Skull belt he's just won, and he and Ventura head out to the safety of the entranceway before wandering backstage for an interview, or so JR promises.


Meanwhile, in the ring, Triple H smacks Austin in the knee with the chair. Chyna's back in and stopping the referees from getting in. I count twelve chair shots before Austin's able to roll out of the ring. Sgt Slaughter just got punched for trying to get into the ring, which is fair enough because Austin's outside the ring now, Slaughter you idiot.


It doesn't look like we're getting that Mankind interview, because the show just ended. Oh.


My thoughts:


Standard Attitude Era main event. While it's never going to go down as a classic, or even all that memorable, it was watchable, entertaining, and you never quite knew what was going to happen next, not least because the way the match itself came to be was not a little over-complicated! 

Edited by HarmonicGenerator

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Boy, they really made a dog's dinner out of the build for this show. Even the execution of the match felt like booking on the fly. I just remember as a fan being mortified when the main event was teased as Austin Vs. Chyna for a week.

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I'm guessing Austin's reluctance at the time to lose the title directly to Hunter (who he felt was beneath him) had a lot to do with it. To be fair, the convoluted way in which Austin loses the title to everyone's favourite sexpest just so he can lose it to Hunter the next night, justified an equally "going round the houses" build.


And yeah, the live crowd were shocked. So was I. I was convinced the whole point of the match was to get the strap onto Trips, so seeing Mankind, who had been looking like a wreck in the preceding weeks, actually win the belt, I didn't understand. Well, for a day.

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It's another double tonight. I've been really looking forward to reaching this point in the project, because I have really fond memories of Summerslams 2000-2003. For a long time, Summerslam was my favourite show of the year, and a lot of that is down to these four shows. It's been extremely difficult to pick just one match from each, because there are so many I'd be more than happy to watch again. They could all be taken as perfect examples of the time I was most into wrestling. If I had time, I'd watch the whole show for each of them, but I don't, so one match it is. I'll try and explain why each of these shows means something to me as I go.



First of all, Summerslam 2000. In a way, this was my 'first' WWE PPV. I mean, I'd watched WWE before, during the first boom period, and then on and off through the '90s, but I didn't really get properly back into it until the first SmackDown! game came out for PS1. I had the demo, where you could play as Stone Cold, The Rock, Triple H or … someone else, I think Undertaker, but could have been Mankind, Kane or X-Pac. The first hook was in. I knew who these people were but I'd never watched in that much depth or detail. But I loved the demo, and bought the game. The video opening to the game (before 'Press Start') was an utter eye-opener. This WWE looked amazing. The game, of course, properly introduced me to all the names of the time, but after watching that video again and again… no more was I occasionally flipping onto the Sunday morning Sky One shows. It was Saturday mornings and SmackDown for me.



The opening video is from 0:36 on that video. Give it a watch. How could I resist that? How could anyone see that and not think 'fucking hell, that looks amazing, I've got to start watching WWF'? I'd sometimes put the game on just so I could watch that. I bloody love that video.


So I got to watching, and I very, very quickly got completely hooked. It was just after Fully Loaded 2000 by this point, so Summerslam was the first PPV I'd really watched the full build-up for. The love triangle leading to the Triple Threat main event, the announcement of TLC, the rise of Right To Censor, Lawler and Tazz getting into it, E&C's five second poses, Commissioner Foley, Eddie Guerrero and his mamacita (who they had in big-time Playboy promotion mode, I recall skits of Eddie at the Playboy Mansion trying to convince them not to publish), Big Show being chokeslammed through the SmackDown stage by Kane (I think I'm remembering that correctly, and knowing now that that was them writing him off until Royal Rumble 2001 so he could lose some weight, I'd be interested to watch it again)… it was definitely a good time to be a fan!


I managed to persuade the family to get Sky Sports on our OnDigital so I could record Summerslam. Not the 1am one because I couldn't figure out how to get our VCR to do that properly, but the lunchtime repeat the following Monday. But tragedy was to strike!


In my naiveté, I didn't realise you had to faff about making the recording Long Play so it'd record a three hour extravaganza. So my recording cut out somewhere around Shane McMahon vs. Steve Blackman. I got Too Cool and RTC, I got JR smashing a bowl of sweets over Tazz's head, the intergender tag match with Val Venis and Trish against Eddie and Chyna, and I'm fairly sure I got X-Pac vs. Road Dogg as well. But Shane's ridiculous stunt off the TitanTron that I still don't believe they actually did, the TLC match, the main event, Terri vs. The Kat? Nope. I was sad.


Over the intervening years, I've seen the main event, I've seen TLC, I've seen Shane and Blackman, seen Jericho and Benoit's 2-out-of-3 Falls match. I admit I've not bothered hunting out Terri and Kat. But there's one match from this show I've still never actually seen, and that's the one I'm going to watch now.


The Undertaker vs. Kane.


There are other reasons, of course. I haven't watched any Bikertaker in ages and ages and quite fancy doing so. I liked Kane at this point. I can't remember who wins. So yeah, Taker and Kane it is.



The match:


I should also mention, the other reason I love the early 2000s Summerslams is the logo. I love that 'S' thing they did. They hadn't settled on the green and blue in 2000 (it's yellow and blue) but the shape and style's still there. At least, on the poster, in the arena it's got the green and blue. Anyway, It's great:




So much better than that horrible star thing they've got now.


I should also also mention, because this show's got Benoit on it, you can't just skip to the match you want, so I'm catching snippets of the show up to the point I want to start watching. It really is making me want to just watch the entire show. I remember all these characters, gimmicks, matches, music and feuds so vividly. The audience is loud and active and great, the commentary of JR and King's at its peak… 2000 really was a brilliant time to be watching, even after Stone Cold came back and took over everything by Stunning everyone all over the place. It may be nostalgia but I LOVE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS SHOW.


It's really, really, really tempting to just watch the whole thing, but I haven't got time right now. It's going on the rewatch list, though. Absolutely. I LOVE IT.


Right, found it. Jerry Lawler calls the show "the greatest night I've ever been involved in" and I can totally relate to that feeling.


The buildup video! Here's hoping it's less complex than last year's match:


 - Benoit has Taker in the Crossface.

 - Kane comes down to help his brother out.

 - But he turns on him! Chokeslam!


Summerslam project Chokeslam count: 1


 - He gets him again, and Chokeslams him THROUGH the ring!


Summerslam project Chokeslam count: 2


 - "Why, Kane, WHY?!" yells JR.

 - "I AM A MONSTER" replies Kane through his mask.

 - Undertaker comes down to confront him on SmackDown, with that awesome long leather coat he wore as the biker sometimes.

 - Kane attacks him again and makes him bleed with a chairshot.


Here we go! The lights go out and Undertaker comes in on his bike! They've overdubbed Kid Rock with the Big Evil music from 2002/2003 but it's still just tremendous. I've gone on at length about how awe-inspiring I find the Deadman entrance, but I love the American Bad Ass entrance almost as much. Undertaker is my favourite, then, now, forever.


And here comes 'the big red demon, the big red machine, the demon seed, the big red monster, the man of a thousand nicknames', Kane. He doesn't even get to light up the turnbuckles because we're straight into the Traditional Aisleway brawl! 


The ring apron is a striking shade of yellow. It stands out, that's for sure.


Kane's got his low-cut red-flames-and-see-through-bits outfit from the early 2000s. He must have only just started wearing it because he wasn't in the pre-match video. Taker tries to take off his mask but Kane takes control and beats Taker down, and goes to grab a chair, but Taker fights back from his knees and takes the chair for himself. Chairshot to the back.


I can't remember whether there's DQs here, probably not, but JR's pointed out that Jack Down is 'the reluctant official' here.


Taker's ripping Kane's mask off! He did it! We nearly saw Kane's face! It's hard to imagine how big that would have been at the time.


Kane smacks Taker onto the steps a few times, but knocks himself out running them into the ring post. His mask is now a Bane/Abyss lower-face style thing, and it actually looks pretty cool, I wonder why they never ran with that look for a bit.


FUCK! Taker just THREW the steps right into Kane's face. The replay shows he got a hand up but still, bloody hell. JR thinks he's bleeding. Wouldn't be surprised. This must be the first time Kane was seen bleeding?


Back in the ring. In desperation, Kane hits Taker with a low blow. Yep, Kane's bleeding, but because it's red it actually just looks like he's got the full mask on again.


Kane hits several right hands but can't keep Taker down. Kane's body language is screaming out anger that reminds me very much of this:



"You made me bleed my own blood!"


Taker's back in control again, and goes for the mask a second time. Right hands for Kane this time, and now Kane won't go down. 


Goozle! Nah, Taker kicks Kane in the crotch to stop him. THE MASK IS OFF! IT'S OFF! Kane's hair's covering his face BUT IT'S OFF! Kane's walking away! 


JR says the match never officially started, but Taker's music is playing, and he's holding the mask aloft like a prize. And we cut backstage to Kurt Angle back when he looked like a human.


My thoughts:


Actually a bit disappointed we didn't get a full match there. What we got was very enjoyable, an intense, powerful brawl that could have easily gone either way. I'd have preferred the match to have happened, and Taker to have gone for the mask afterwards, but oh well. On a show like this one, it's still quite hard to fault it, and at least I've finally seen it. But I have to ask the inevitable question… What happened next? I can't remember anything really coming of it. Both guys were in the Fatal Four Way with Rock and Benoit at Unforgiven, I think, and then Kane moved on to his feud with Jericho, but I don't remember much more unfolding between the brothers on SmackDown, so did it all just conclude on Raw?

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Onwards to Summerslam 2001, and the Invasion in full swing.


Full disclaimer: I quite enjoyed the Invasion. I'd heard of but never seen ECW, and WCW I'd also heard of but my viewing experience was limited to the occasional year-2000 flick over to Channel 5 when I was at my friend Richard's on a Friday night. So I was very much all about the WWF, and approaching the Invasion from that perspective, knowing nothing of any backstage dealings or anything that was going on behind the scenes, it was a fun couple of months. Loads of new characters, twists and turns and defections most weeks, loads of titles to fight for… yeah, I found it fun!


So with that in mind, there were a wealth of matches I liked the sound of for this Summerslam. Edge and Lance Storm had a good opener for the IC title. RVD and Jeff Hardy had a match which I very, very nearly picked. How over was RVD with WWE fans in 2001, though? Huge star! Maybe X-Pac and Tajiri in their 'even at the time, this is a bit weird' nothing-to-do-with-the-Invasion match. I don't know why that match happened, they were both on the WWF side. X-Pac in 2001 was a bit weird on the whole, really. Good match though, if I recall. I'd even Taker and Kane vs. DDP and Kanyon in the cage again, because I love the Brothers of Destruction and didn't much care about the other two because WCW meant nothing to me.


But I'm going for Chris Jericho vs. Rhyno. My reasons:


- I liked Rhyno. Still do. GORE GORE GORE.

- We'll also presumably get Paul Heyman on commentary for this, so if he does a GORE GORE GORE, we'll get Heyman shouting GORE GORE GORE, which I like.

- I liked Chris Jericho at the time, and remember enjoying his put-downs of Stephanie and her new boobs. I expect if I heard them now I'd just find them horribly misogynistic, but I found them funny at the time.

- I can remember the buildup for this match quite clearly, most specifically the brilliant moment where Rhyno GORE GORE GORED Jericho THROUGH THE SMACKDOWN SET. That was fantastic.




Looking forward to this!



The match:


But first, I have to watch the opening video for the show. You know the one.


Let the bodies hit the floor





Let the bodies hit the floor







Let the bodies hit the floor









Let the bodies hit the









God that's a brilliant video. I LOVE THIS SHOW. Brilliant brilliant brilliant. Can't wait, and once again, I really really really want to watch this whole show again!


I can skip to specific matches on this one, too, because Benoit was out with his neck injury.


Pre-match video time!


(I wonder what a comparison of how many mid card matches get pre-match videos in 2015 compared to 2000 and 2001 would look like? I suppose 'A beat B in a match, B beat A in another match, then they each won two more times against each other, now they'll settle things in yet another match' wouldn't make for a very exciting hype package though)


- Jericho calls Stephanie all manner of horrible things.

- So she sends the Dudleys and Rhyno after him.






- Rhyno wants to finish Jericho off at Summerslam. Rhyno looks really young but otherwise he really hasn't changed much.

- Stephanie makes the match. Her boobs are massive.

- Stephanie will be at ringside with Rhyno.

- Jericho calls Stephanie more horrible things.


Rhyno comes down to the ring, with Stephanie (looking bloody gorgeous) beside him. Absolutely bloody gorgeous. Jericho doesn't know what he's on about. Heyman talks up Rhyno's accomplishments and the countdown starts for the 'definitely the best version of his entrance video' blue matrix grid into big walking silhouette thing for Chris Jericho!


Big Y2J chants as the match starts. Heyman suggests Rhyno is an animal Jericho can't tame, because he's never beaten him. JR mentions Sky Sports 1, so I'll mention I was able to figure out Long Play by this point - I still recorded the replay because I still didn't know how to set it for 1am, but I got the whole thing this year.


Jericho takes control in the early going, with some chops (woos from the audience, even pre-Flair as co-owner) and a top rope forearm. He goes for the Walls of Jericho but Rhyno reaches the ropes, only to be thrown over the top to the floor and hit with the Jericho springboard dropkick. Jericho is heading up for a dive and Stephanie (somewhat reluctantly) grabs his foot. He kicks her away (somewhat lightly) and dives off the top only to be hit with something resembling a GORE GORE GORE!


Half a Gore, according to JR. They're both down.


You know what? I prefer Heyman and JR to Lawler and JR on commentary. I thought they worked really well together. Probably one of my favourite announce teams, actually.


Rhyno got up first, and is now firmly in control in the ring. Stephanie gets a slap in too. Rhyno then locks in a body scissors, which JR mentions isn't seen often, but makes sense for someone like Rhyno to use because of his body shape. Good call.


Jericho fights back for a bit, but Rhyno counters with an AIRPLANE SPIN! into a TKO (if that's what Rhyno's thing he does with the opponent on his shoulders is called) for a two count. Shoulder submission now, followed by a resthold, but Jericho gets back to his feet (or a 'vertical base', which is such an odd term when you think about it), gets a rollup but then gets suplexed by Rhyno.


Rhyno goes up to the top! He goes for a flying headbutt and Jericho moves, they hit a double clothesline and are both down again. Rhyno ended up out of action for a year with a neck injury soon after this, didn't he? I wonder how high up the card he would have got if he hadn't had the injury.


Jericho's making another comeback, and this one's working, using his speed and chops, and a moonsault press that very very nearly went badly wrong (did he slip on the ropes?), but they recover from that and Jericho hits a missile dropkick, but Tim White's distracted by Stephanie. Not to sound like a certain Ghostbuster on here but I don't blame him.


Jericho solves the problem by snogging Stephanie which I'm pretty sure is sexual assault, lands on his feet from a Lionsault attempt, hits it on the second try and gets a near fall for a big crowd pop. Steph's gagging on the outside.


"WHAM!" shouts Heyman onomatopoeically as Rhyno hits a spinebuster. He then nicks the Walls of Jericho and locks it in on Y2J! Jericho finds the ropes and takes Rhyno down with an enziguiri but Rhyno gets back up and sets up for a GORE GORE GORE...


… He misses it! Jericho rolls him over and locks in the Walls! Knee into the back, that's done it, Rhyno taps out! Great match!


Stephanie's devastated.


"Hell hath no fury like a billion dollar princess. I assure you," asserts Heyman. JR gets a replay of the kiss, and Heyman says "Why are we showing this?! Jericho forcing himself on the princess… I'm ashamed to have ever met Chris Jericho". They show the end of the match again, and we see both guys pretty exhausted as we cut to a William Regal/Rock backstage segment.


Of the seven people mentioned in the above paragraph, two are part-timers, two are in NXT, two are speaking figures on TV, and one's probably not coming back any time soon. Hmm.




Okay, now I've watched that, it's gone back to the arena and Rob Van Dam just came out for the Ladder Match with Jeff Hardy who is fucking OVER. How huge could Jeff had been if he'd been able to stick with it with WWE… fuck it, I won't review it but I'm going to have to watch this match too.


My thoughts:


That was really good! I guess I must have liked it at the time for me to have chosen to rewatch it over something like RVD/Hardy (which is great, by the way, I'd half-forgotten how good their matches in 2001 were, this has got some tremendous moments in it) but it was even better than I was expecting. I'd go so far as to call it an underrated mid-card gem.


Summerslam is definitely my favourite PPV.

Edited by HarmonicGenerator

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With regards to what happened next with the Door Staff refusing entry to D-lo........



















He said ok and fucked off for a curry with Steve Lynskey.


Was quite surreal.

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Same here. I'd also happily rank Summerslam 2002 among my favourite PPVs ever, which is nice, because it's up next!


I know I'll have an especially hard job resisting watching the whole thing for this one, because every single match appeals. You kick off with Angle vs. Mysterio, Eddie vs. Edge and Jericho vs. Flair, you've got Benoit vs. RVD and HHH vs. HBK (which, to be fair, I've already reviewed)… when the least star-studded match on your card has The Undertaker or the Goldust/Booker T team in it, you're onto a proper winner of a show. I'm completely spoiled for choice here. But I have decided, and I'll be watching the main event, The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar.


This is partly because I haven't watched any of Brock's first run since he came back, and I'm interested to see just how much he's changed, and also in anticipation for this year's event.


But it's mostly because I remember actively disliking this match at the time.


That's not to say it's a bad match, or anything. It's Brock and Rock, so I can't see that being the case - even at the time I'll have known that. The reasons I didn't like it were as follows:


- Brock won. Five months or so after debuting (and not just debuting from another company where he'd been a top star, flat out debuting as a rookie), he was the Undisputed Champion, and I just didn't think he'd earned it. My brain at the time told me you were supposed to work your way up the ranks for a couple of years, or get super-seriously over with the crowd, to the point where you'd be accepted as Champion. Or already be a megastar like every other Undisputed Champion except Jericho. Even Angle took a year to get the belt, and he was a gold medallist who'd already won most of the other titles. Brock, however, came in, powerbombed and F5'ed a load of people, won King of the Ring by beating RVD, smashed up Hogan, and now he was Champion? He hadn't even been IC champion! Nah, I didn't like that. Too much too soon.


I should point out that this is just how I felt at the time. Doesn't necessarily mean I feel that way now. In retrospect, Brock had been made to look utterly dominant and putting the title on a monstrous new sensation was a good idea. But at the time, with the roster they had… yeah, it just wasn't for me.


- The crowd turned on The Rock and that was just not on. This was because he 'sold out' and went to Hollywood, if I remember correctly, and I remember thinking they were all fucking mutants for doing that then, because that was The Fucking Rock they're booing, and I still think so now, more so because we're in the era where more often than not the face gets booed and the heel gets cheered and it's annoying. On the plus side, the reaction Rock got here did mean he came back in 2003 as Hollywood Rock which was one of the most enjoyable few months of his whole career, but even so, fuck this crowd for doing that.


So that's what I remember of this thirteen years on (THIRTEEN YEARS, bloody hell). The match itself's a bit of a blur. I'm interested to see how I see it this time round.



The match:


We've got Michael Cole and Tazz on commentary. Oh joy.


There's that music. Brock looked a beast even back then, but without the tattoos, it's a different kind of beast. It's pure muscle on that guy. And Paul Heyman's there. One of the best manager/client combos ever?


Here's The Rock! Out to a decidedly mixed reaction. He lays the belt by the entrance way and sprints down to the ring, straight into repeated punches, but Brock takes him to the first outpost of what would become Suplex City with a belly to belly, and after a quick pin, into the multiple rib breakers. No feeling out process here.


'Rocky' chants with the odd 'Rocky sucks' mixed in. Idiots, i tell you, idiots, as Brock chucks Rock out of the ring and Heyman gets a kick in for good measure. Rock's then clotheslined out into the crowd and he's like the Lesnar of 2014 here.


This is non-stop action, I haven't even had to listen to Cole and Tazz so far. Another foundation stone is laid for Suplex City with a second belly to belly. Rock fights back - boos, sigh - and Heyman trips him up - cheers, sigh sigh sigh. While Mike Chioda talks to Lesnar, Heyman gets a chance to choke Rock, and I don't remember him having been this involved in Brock's matches before.


BIG slam onto the blood-stained canvas (remnants of HHH-HBK, for certain) for a 2. 'Rocky sucks' chants. NO HE DOESN'T.


Lesnar targets the ribs with shoulders to The Rock, but misses, and Rock's able to hit a back suplex. More 'Rocky sucks' chants. They're bloody lucky he still comes back on occasion, he doesn't need WWE in the slightest, even then he didn't. The genesis of Dem Wans?


Rock's now fighting back and hits a DDT for a 2, he goes for the Sharpshooter but has to smack Heyman off the apron before locking it in. I've just noticed the camera's on the other side of the ring to where it normally is. Why was that?


Heyman's up again, and he's brought a chair, Rock has been thoroughly distracted by him so job done there, Paul. Lesnar picks up the chair - not that he needs it, mind - and goes for the ribs again. Bearhug!


'Rocky' chants without the 'sucks' now, that's more like it. Suplex City's population rises slightly with a back suplex straight back into the hold, but on the ground this time. The arm goes down once… twice… not three times! He's coming back! And they're booing again. SIGH. 'I'm wishing these people would pick a side', says Tazz. Watching in hindsight, Lesnar's presented in a kind of odd way. He's ostensibly very heelish - destroying Hogan in the buildup, having Heyman - but the idea of 'young challenger gets a massive opportunity to be Champion against a big star' can be construed as a babyface angle. It's kind of Roman Reigns' position at Mania this year, in a way. So you can kind of understand a little bit why some of the crowd might cheer Lesnar. But Rock is the babyface here. Or should be. I wonder whether the stupid split-crowds thing would have become quite so prevalent if they'd ignored it completely in its very initial stages instead of acknowledging and trying to justfiy it. Or would that have made it worse?


There's a 'Bring back the Piper' sign in the crowd. :( .


On the outside, Rock's torn the top off the announce table, he slingshots Lesnar into the ring post and Rock's now going to…. yes, Rock Bottom to PAUL HEYMAN through the announce table! That'll sort him for the duration.


'Lesnar sucks' chants. Well, that is how I felt at the time. Watching now, however, he is really very good.


Rock Bottom to Lesnar! Brock kicks out! Lesnar hits a Rock Bottom! Rock kicks out! Cole called it a Brock Bottom. Sounds a bit rude, doesn't it.


They both stagger to their feet… that's a good visual. There's an Irish Whip, Rock hits a spinebuster, starts going for the People's Elbow, but Lesnar gets up and KILLS Rock with a clothesline. He goes for the F5, Rock counters, Brock counters that and hits the F5, and he gets the 3 count! LESNAR IS CHAMPION! The youngest in history. That was a cracking closing sequence. The crowd look a bit unconvinced by the result, though.


'Who in the hell will be able to stop the Next Big Thing?' asks Tazz. Well, Big Show three months later as it turned out, but at the time, it was a good question.


My thoughts:


As outlined at the start of this post, I was deliberately watching that match with how I felt at the time as my focus, to see if my opinion had changed. And lo and behold, it has. A bit.


Brock looked good here. Really good. He looked and wrestled like a champion, if I'm honest. If I was watching that out of context, I would absolutely have bought into him as such. So in a sense, I was wrong there at the time. I can't deny I felt they rushed him to the top, but watching back, it's not like they mishandled him or Lashleyed him or anything. It was a straight up rise to the top, and it worked. And yet, I can't entirely shake off how I felt back in '02. There were a great many people on that roster I'd have preferred as champion. But he did have 'it', just like he does now.


And on the Rock front, the booing/mixed reaction wasn't as bad as I remember it - at all - but then again, compared to the last ten years of Cena's matches, the crowd behaviour towards Rock was mild in comparison. It still annoyed me when it happened, but it happened less than I remembered.


Good match from both guys. This was the third year in a row that Rock had been on the Summerslam poster, and thinking of that 'Wrestlers who 'made' others' thread that's going on at the moment, he did a lot towards 'making' Lesnar as a main eventer here. Brock played his part well too. I wonder how the Lesnar of today would handle that match? There's seeds of him in the Next Big Thing - Suplex City: Origins, if you like. I fear for Undertaker...

Edited by HarmonicGenerator

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I'm so glad you went with the D-lo and Venis match.


I remember being in the queue to get into Jumping Jacks in Coventry after International Showdown with D-lo. (He had trainers on so didn't get in)


I told him of my appreciation of that match.


Fun Fact - At the time it was D-lo Brown's favourite match!

I can back that up. I practically had the same conversation with him at the same show. Great gent. Edited by andrew "the ref" coyne

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Summerslam 2003 is another one of those that I have strong, and fond, memories of. Unmasked Kane! Goldberg's best WWE moment! Angle vs. Lesnar! The most surprising heel turn in history (WHY COACH WHY?!) And the match I've chosen to rewatch, which was my favourite from the show at the time too, Eddie Guerrero vs. Rhyno vs. Tajiri vs. Chris Benoit for the newly-reintroduced-at-the-time US Title.



(I should point out that I'm aware of my hypocrisy in saying at the start of this thread that I didn't fancy watching a Hogan match, and yet I'm willingly choosing to watch a Benoit match.)



The match:


Just before the match (which is unselectable on the show menu because Benoit) there's a Flair-Orton-Triple H backstage segment. Flair looks young, Orton looks prepubescent, Triple H's hair is rubbish.


Tony Chimel is in the ring explaining the rules of the Fatal Four Way. He called them wrestlers!


Benoit is out first. He's got either a giant head or tiny arms. Tajiri is out second, as Cole (who's on commentary with Tazz again) mentions that this is about the US Title, but there are personal rivalries between the four of them too. Rhyno is out third, yay Rhyno! And finally, Eddie Guerrero, who comes in driving a hideous green lowrider. He's the current US Champion, and people are loving him. The other three are waiting for Eddie in the ring, and as the crowd chant 'Eddie', he gets in the ring only to immediately flee.


Rhyno and Benoit kick things off and smacks Benoit down with a clothesline, but Benoit locks in the Crossface pretty sharpish, Eddie breaks it up and flees again. Tajiri now takes control over Benoit, goes for a pin and Eddie breaks it up, then hightails it again. STRATEGY!


Rhyno now going after Tajiri, goes for a pin, Eddie breaks it up, tries to run away, but the other three all take turns beating on him! Strategy FAILED.


Were Cole and Tazz instructed to just keep talking at all costs and never shut up for a second? Because they have, and they haven't.


The pace has slowed now, and Eddie's the only man standing. The crowd chant for him and he suplexes Benoit over the top rope, and it's just him and Tajiri in the ring. Cole reminds us that Eddie threw Tajiri through a windscreen a little while ago, to which Tazz replies "yeah, that sucks when that happens". Thanks for that insight, there, Tazz.


They're all getting involved with each other now. Tajiri kicks Benoit in one corner, and Rhyno superplexes Guerrero in another - Tajiri breaks up the pin and now it's him and Rhyno. Rhyno gets kicked, and Benoit goes for Tajiri, but he hits the Handspring Elbow! Lovely! Eddie breaks that up, and Rhyno's back in it now, but Eddie hits a head scissors, so it's him and Benoit. Eddie pays tribute to Essa Rios by doing one of those bouncy bouncy springboard arm drag things, but now it's Benoit and Rhyno, and I like how we just keep getting different combinations of these four, but rarely more than two at a time, keeps things ticking along nicely, and while I typed this sentence, we're back to Eddie and Tajiri!


The Lasso from El Paso's locked in, but Benoit gets Rhyno in the Crossface! Whoever gets the tap out first wins! Eddie's facial expressions as he realises this are brilliant, and he cinches it in more. Tajiri reaches the ropes, so Eddie rushes to Benoit and breaks up his submission, and gets a big cheer… which only lasts a little while because he gets the Crossface himself! 


Tajiri and Rhyno now, Rhyno hits a nice spinebuster for 2 then gets cracked in the face by a Benoit dropkick. Tajiri goes for another handspring, he doesn't hit the elbow this time but gets Rhyno in the face with his feet while Rhyno's on the apron. Benoit's up again and hits three German Suplexes on Tajiri, the third looking quite nasty. Benoit whipped into the corner TARANTULA! THE TARANTULA! The audience love it, but Eddie's sneaking in with the title belt and GORE! GORE! GORE! But Guerrero used the belt as a shield and Rhyno GORED GORED GORED his shoulder straight into it! Clever Eddie!


Tajiri's now caught in the Tree of Woe, Benoit climbs onto him and hits his headbutt, but Tajiri just unfurls himself in time to break up the 3 count. Benoit tries to powerbomb Tajiri over the top rope but takes himself over as well, Eddie turns up again to Frog Splash Rhyno who's face down, turns him over, gets a 3 count, and retains the title!


My thoughts:


That was over quicker than I thought - my memory had that match going longer than it did. It was also less action-packed than I remember. What I did like, though, was the way it was structured, the way the energy and pace kept flowing through constant switching of pairings between the four wrestlers, so you got bits of half a dozen different matches, and that worked well. That way, they didn't need to resort to convoluted multi-man spots to get big reactions, but then I suppose being four guys with a combination of recognisable moves that always get pops between them (Crossface, Tarantula, Gore, Frog Splash, etc) helps negate that need too. Eddie was the man of the match here - most of the highlights came from him, from the constant break-it-up-then-run in the early going, to his desperate attempt to get Tajiri to tap to him before Rhyno tapped to Benoit, to his sneaky use of the US Title to protect against the Gore. 


I can't say it was quite as classic as I remembered, but it's a great example of SmackDown at that time.

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