WWF SummerSlam 2001 8/19/2001

August 19, 2001
Compaq Center
San Jose, California
Attendance: 15,293
Buy Rate: 1.05
Announcers: Jim Ross and Paul Heyman

Sunday Night Heat

Jacqueline, Molly Holly (Nora Greenwald), and Lita (Amy Dumas) defeat Stacey Kiebler, Torrie Wilson, and Ivory (Tina Moretti)

Pay Per View

1) Edge (Adam Copeland) defeats Lance Storm (Lance Evers) to win WWF Intercontinental Title with the Impaler at 11:16

Fun Fact: Lance Storm defeated Albert on the 7/23 Raw in Buffalo with some help from a Hugh Morrus belt shot to win the Intercontinental Title.

Fun Fact II:
Lance Storm cost Edge a Hardcore Title match with Rob Van Dam on the 8/9 Smackdown to push the feud into high gear.

Our opener is a solid affair that really gives Edge the biggest solo spotlight he’s had in two years. He received the gift IC Title in his home Toronto the night before Fully Loaded 1999 before handing it back to Jeff Jarrett. Now with the WWF behind the eight-ball in this feud they need to get off to a good start. Lance Storm was a very capable wrestler, and one you knew Vince would keep around when this storyline ended. Not only was it a solid match, but it also continued the slow burn of the Edge & Christian breakup when he “accidentally” spears his brother during the match, almost costing him the title. Alas, Edge rebounds and wins the IC Title back for the WWF. The WWF takes the early momentum with a solid opener. Grade: 3

Justin: Our opening bout had a quick pace to start and never really slowed down. The crowd was into Edge quite a bit here and he and Storm had some good chemistry in the ring. Storm once again used his crisp offense to keep things interesting in the middle of the match. The end saw some good near falls, including the Christian spear. Storm had a nice little title run since beating Albert, but Edge picks up the gold to get the WWF on the board and also kick off his first substantial singles title run. This was a good bout with a lot of action and featuring two young studs. Grade: 3

2) Test (Andrew Martin) & the Dudley Boyz defeat the Acolytes & Spike Dudley when Test pins Bradshaw (John Layfield) after a Shane McMahon chair shot at 7:19

Fun Fact: Test turned to the Alliance on the 8/9 Smackdown when he interfered in the Acolytes’ WWF Tag Title match, causing them to lose the titles to Kanyon & DDP. He was upset that many WWF wrestlers thought he was the rumored mole for the Alliance and that he was beaten down over it. It turned out he wasn’t a mole, but the lack of loyalty left a bad taste in his mouth and he decided to join up with long time friend Shane McMahon and the Alliance.

An average match that is carried by Spike’s body being thrown all over the place. This also began the annoying passing back and forth of guys from one side to the other. There was no need for Test to go over as he could have stayed with the WWF and turned heel when the storyline ended. The Dudleys had their paint-by-numbers match, and the Acolytes pretty much are the same as the Dudleys. Spike was growing a following for his underdog attitude and reckless spills, including one in this match through the table. Shane McMahon interferes and gets the Alliance their first win. Not much more here, just another match. Grade: 2

Justin: As Scott said, there really wasn’t much going on here. Spike bumps around like a madman and makes his brothers and Test look good. The crowd got behind him as the match wore on and he continued to take a tough beating. Test would eventually throw him through a table and then his running buddy Shane would help give the Alliance team the win. The random turns definitely were starting to become worrisome as they brought back bad memories of the hasty NWO turns of old, but I understand the Test one. They wanted to show that guys wanted to join the Alliance and when you factor in his friendship with Shane and the fact that he was beaten down by paranoid WWF wrestlers, it all made sense in the end. This was a fun little match here as the Alliance gets themselves on the board with a solid win. Grade: 2.5

*** Christian lets Edge know that he already signed Edge up for a title defense as he tells his brother that he will have to face Matt Hardy the next night on Raw. ***

3) WCW Cruiserweight Champion X-Pac (Sean Waltman) defeats Yoshihiro Tajiri to win WWF Light Heavyweight Title with the X-Factor at 7:33

Fun Fact: X-Pac defeated Billy Kidman on the 7/30 Raw from Philadelphia to win the Cruiserweight Title, after he had lost the Light Heavyweight Title to Tajiri one week earlier.

Fun Fact II: After winning the belt here, X-Pac will end up being the final Light Heavyweight champion in the WWF. He will eventually leave with an injury while still holding the belt and when he returned, the gold was left on the sidelines and officially retired. The belt dates back to early 80s but was mainly defended and recognized in Japan until the WWF brought it back and TAKA Michinoku won it in 1997.

X-Pac was completely useless to the fans, and he kept winning the matches he shouldn’t have, but I guess there was some stroke backstage to keep him employed. Tajiri was very entertaining in his skits with Regal and Austin, on top of the fact that he is really over with the crowd with his Tarantula maneuver and his mist, with the crowd wondering what color it would be. On this night it would be a red mist, and it would go straight into Albert, X-Pac’s muscle. However that would lead to a nut shot and an X-Factor for X-Pac to win back his Light-Heavyweight Title, and have both small guy titles. Why does he have any titles? His faction is defunct, the fans despise him, and Tajiri is screwed. Grade: 2

Justin: This was just a basic Light Heavyweight battle between two men that were very good at the style. It was stiff and fast paced and Tajiri used his arsenal of kicks to work X-Pac over throughout. Albert runs some interference, but with Justin Credible joining the Alliance, X-Factor was pretty much dead in the water. Due to some harsh reactions from the crowd, X-Pac may have been the only true heel on the WWF side, but it doesn’t stop him from winning a big match here to unify a pair of titles. Grade: 2.5

4) Chris Jericho (Chris Irvine) defeats Rhyno (Terry Gerin) with the Walls of Jericho at 12:34

Fun Fact: There wasn’t too much of a build here other than the fact that Jericho continued to have his weekly snipes with arch enemy Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. Rhyno would be hand picked by the “billion dollar princess” to gain revenge on Y2J and his comedic stylings. The two would battle week to week but the big blow came when Rhyno gored Chris Jericho through the Ovaltron on the 8/9 Smackdown. It would end up being the final appearance of the classic Smackdown set as the “fist” design would debut the next week.

A decent match that keeps Jericho’s heat and continues the momentum swing back to the WWF. Jericho was kind of floating in limbo during this storyline. He was a babyface as he tormented Stephanie McMahon and her newly enhanced pontoons. Rhyno was really having a good first year in the WWF as Hardcore Champion, but the Alliance storyline totally swallowed him up and he got kind of lost. Sure he was in the main event of Invasion, but otherwise his momentum from April through June has completely evaporated. The match isn’t bad, and the continued interaction of Jericho and Stephanie carries it. Grade: 2

Justin: Acting as Stephanie’s hired assassin, Rhyno took the beating early to Jericho and possibly the most impressive move of the match came when he gored Y2J on the floor as he came leaping outside. Steph would get involved throughout the match and there actually some sort of odd sexual tension between Rhyno and Steph in the weeks leading up to the show. It was nothing overt, but the way she would pump him up backstage and the way he would get all excited was just a bit weird. The match as a whole was a bit sluggish and these two did not seem to mesh well at all. It was during this time that Jericho was accused of wearing lifts by many observers. These pundits thought he was nervous about being lost in the shuffle and tried to enhance his size to help him stay afloat. These same observers also thought it affected his ring work as he started to become a bit sloppy in the ring, and that is evidenced here when he slips off the ropes when trying to springboard. He is able to rebound though and lay a kiss on Steph before polishing off Rhyno in a hot ending sequence. The final moments of the bout actually saved the grade of this one a little and got the crowd into it up to the finish. Grade: 2.5

5) Rob Van Dam (Rob Szatkowski) defeats Jeff Hardy in a ladder match to win WWF Hardcore Title when he grabs the belt at 16:33

Fun Fact: Jeff Hardy regained the Hardcore Title on the 8/13 Raw in Chicago when he pinned RVD while he was defending the Hardcore Title against Kurt Angle.

After watching the Invasion match and this match the first time, I thought clearly this was the better match between the two. Now after watching both of them again I feel Invasion is clearly the better match. Don’t get me wrong, this was a great match with a lot of nice spots; however this hardcore match was clearly stunted by the stipulation. Since it was a ladder match, the action didn’t spread out around the arena and bring that excitement that the Invasion match had. There were also a few spots that clearly didn’t execute properly. Jeff goes to the top of the ladder to grab the belt, and RVD kicks the ladder out from under him. So Jeff is hanging off the cable holding the belt, and RVD goes to the top rope and attempts a spin kick onto the hanging Hardy…and misses. Then, a few seconds later, Jeff just falls. Then a few seconds later, RVD just climbs the ladder and regains the title. Not a terrible match at all, but certainly not better than their match one month earlier in Cleveland. Jeff will head back to the tag ranks, while RVD just motors along, gaining more fans and getting under Steve Austin’s skin. Grade: 3

Justin: The RVD phenomenon continues to roll through the WWF as the crowd was clearly behind him in this one. I won’t say they were against Hardy, but the cheers were clearly louder for RVD. Both men hit some nice spots in this one, including a sweet springboard dive to the floor by Hardy early in. All the spots used were creative as well, but that also made them seem a bit contrived in some spots too. Hardy hits a nice stiff springboard moonsault on top of RVD who was on the ladder and RVD matched him with a nasty somersault senton onto the ladder as well. Towards the end, both men took some nasty falls from the ladder including the finish, which as Scott said was a bit sloppy. I think the Invasion match was better, but this one was fun in a train wreck sort of way as you just watched to see how many crazy bumps these two would do to top each other. RVD grabs the belt and win and his momentum and legend continue to grow with each show. Grade: 4

6) WCW Tag Team Champions Undertaker (Mark Callaway) & Kane (Glen Jacobs) defeat Diamond Dallas Page (Page Falkinburg) & Chris Kanyon (Chris Klucsarits) in a steel cage match to win WWF Tag Team Titles when Undertaker pins Page after the Last Ride at 10:13

Fun Fact:
DDP & Kanyon defeated the Acolytes on the 8/9 Smackdown from Los Angeles to win the WWF Tag Team Titles.

Fun Fact II:
Kane & Undertaker defeated Chuck Palumbo & Sean O’Haire on the 8/13 Raw in Chicago to win the WCW Tag Team Titles.

Fun Fact III:
One week leading up to the show, Undertaker come to the arena with Sara and Kane told him that DDP had a locker room blocked off as a shrine to Sara in a continuation of the storyline from June. When Taker got to the locker room he was ambushed by DDP and Kanyon. Around this time the angle got a little bit more bizarre as Page went from playing mind games and messing with Undertaker to Page being legitimately obsessed with Sara.

Fun Fact IV:
Kanyon became the US Champion when he was handed the belt by Booker T, who was both World and US Champion when WCW went under.

Fun Fact V:
The most humiliating part of this feud for Page came the night after this show on Raw when Sara pinned him in less than a minute after a Taker chokeslam on the floor. That was the final nail in the coffin of this terribly booked angle.

After a night of fairly good matches, we get to this. On top of the fact that the DDP/Taker feud was already finished, now we have a sloppy rematch in a steel cage, with Kane and Kanyon added to the mix. The tag team rules in a cage are stupid: the first team to have both men leave the cage wins. So that means if one guy leaves the cage, then his partner is left in the cage to get his ass handed to him by the other two guys. That logic is exactly what Taker thinks and executes. He lets Kanyon leave the cage, so that he and Kane can beat the hell out of DDP. Then, Taker pins him with the Last Ride, so the Brothers of Destruction have both pairs of tag titles. I’ll still say that all the momentum that Kane had at the beginning of 2001 was completely wiped away when he had to get stuck with his fat, out of shape brother and his insipid storylines. Next month is the peak of the sloth era for the Bad Ass as he brings his friends from the old WCW in and really stink the joint out. As much as the show had its average to good matches, this match was sloppy, uninteresting and politically driven. Grade: 1.5

Justin: This whole angle has turned into such a disaster so this match was kind of sad to watch. Page could have really came in and made an impact, but Taker used his pull to bury him left and right and make him look a like fool throughout the feud. Page & Kanyon immediately try and escape the cage right off the bat but Taker & Kane dragged them back in and we got a basic brawl for the most part. Kane hit a nasty powerbomb into the cage corner on Kanyon and he continued to look solid compared to his brother, who was getting sloppier and more politically motivated by the week at this point. I really think 2001 could have ruined Taker’s legacy if he didn’t have such a tremendous turnaround at the end of the year. Rumors and news came out weekly about how he was using his stroke to bury Page and the WCW guys and ensure that he was booked strongly week to week. That said, Taker was still insanely over with the crowd, but that was to be expected. As Scott mentioned, they let Kanyon escape and then proceed to beat Page to a pulp before putting him away. The finish would have made sense within the angle if Page had gotten the upper hand at some point, but in reality, the whole feud just totally buried a viable main event player in Page and Taker just dominated the whole feud from start to finish. The only time Page came out on top was when he was videotaping Sara or getting a cheap shot in on Sara or Taker, but he never physically dominated Taker at any point. Grade: 1

7) Kurt Angle defeats Steve Austin (Steve Williams) by disqualification at 22:30; Austin retains WWF World Title

Fun Fact: After Steve Austin turned his back on the WWF, Vince McMahon turned to Kurt Angle to take the World title back home. Austin had grown jealous of the attention Vince was showing Angle and he was beginning to feel ignored and disrespected and that was the crux of his defection to the Alliance. Austin even went so far as to say he knew Vince was grooming Angle to replace him. Heyman and the McMahon children were sure to shower praise and love upon Austin at all times. On the July 26 Smackdown, Kurt Angle defeated Booker T. to win the WCW Heavyweight championship in his home town despite interference from Austin. The next week on Raw, Booker got a rematch and this time Austin’s interference was enough to help him beat Angle and take his title back. That week on Smackdown, Angle challenged Austin to a WWF Championship match at Summerslam and Austin accepted. On the August 9 Smackdown, Austin was able to injure Angle when he Pillmanized his ankle with a chair. Angle was stretchered off and taunted by Austin. The two would get verbal and physical shots in on each other in the remaining week before the show and the tensions were high with a lot on the line as their match was under way here.

This match had so much tension that in my opinion the Invasion part of it was secondary to pure hatred and wanting of the gold. This was Angle’s biggest peak of popularity at this time, as his entrance created a huge pop of the San Jose fans. Austin was at his heelish best as well, with that sneer, the red-colored vest and that really terrible new entrance theme. The moment when the two men are staring at each other down the aisle at the beginning made the feeling palpable. The match itself is one of the year’s best, as the two men beat the hell out of each other in a very stiff and physical match. Austin throws the kitchen sink at the Olympic Hero, but can’t keep his shoulders down. You can tell Austin thought very highly of Angle, as he let Kurt kick out of an improbable three Stone Cold Stunners. He also went back to his 1996 Survivor Series match with Bret Hart and locked on the Million Dollar Dream. JR says something really strange, when he says “We haven’t seen this move, since a guy by the name of the Ringmaster was using it.” Ok, first off he wasn’t the Ringmaster by the time he faced Bret at Survivor Series, and second why is JR acting like they’re two different people. That was really strange. Finally, Austin gives up and takes out three referees. The fourth referee, Nick Patrick, is about to count Angle’s pin attempt, and calls for the bell. The bloody Angle snaps and beats Patrick down as Austin claws out of the ring with his title intact. The emotion for this match is off the charts as you can see Angle, with dried blood on his face, completely beside himself that he should be WWF Champ, and the Alliance screwed him. A much needed rematch is coming. This was an awesome job by both men who played their roles perfectly and put together the match of the night and the first real good match since Wrestlemania. Grade: 4

Justin: After months of tension and jealousy, Austin and Angle finally squared off for the World title and for brand pride. Angle dominates to start but Austin would battle back and wear Kurt out with various suplexes. Angle would also get his share of suplexes in as he punishes Austin with seven straight Germans. After a super stiff Austin superplex, Angle would even kick out of multiple stunners, which was impressive and pushed the crowd over the edge. Austin would get desperate and bloody Angle with a nasty beating on the floor as he just hammered him with fists and bashing his head into the ring post repeatedly. Austin would also kill him with a suplex on the floor, but Angle was booked like a warrior here and he would hit a nasty belly to belly on the floor as well. He then followed that up with a picture perfect moonsault in the ring. To quickly talk about Scott’s mention of the Million Dollar Dream sequence, Austin used that move during the time when he was the Ringmaster, so it made sense. He then brought it back for the Bret match. Also, I think JR was just being cute when he mentioned Ringmaster, not acting like they were two different guys. After each man kicked out of the other’s finisher one more time, Austin’s desperation was too much and he smacked the ref. That drew Nick Patrick out and he calls for the BS DQ on Austin to save his title. The flurry at the end was pretty good even though the finish was a bit weak. In retrospect, it works out fine as furthering Austin’s paranoid character and building to a rematch the next month. This was a great bloody war between two men in their prime busting their asses to put on a great match. The crowd was rocking the whole way through and Angle was made out to be a beast. Grade: 4.5

8) The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) defeats Booker T (Booker Huffman) to win WCW World Title with the Rock Bottom at 15:19

Fun Fact: Following Invasion, the Rock was reinstated by Vince McMahon, in reality he was done shooting “The Scorpion King”, and the big question was which side he would join. Would he join the Alliance to stick it to Vince after what happened at Wrestlemania, or would he join the WWF and the fans, in spite of Vince. The answer would come on the 7/30 Raw, when he made his first appearance since the 4/2 Raw when he was beaten down by Steve Austin and Triple H in a steel cage. Rock would deliver Rock Bottoms to both Vince and Shane and then say “Finally, the Rock has come back…to the WWF!” It really wasn’t a shock, because Rock and Austin on the same side would be illogical. The following Thursday on Smackdown Booker T. challenged the Rock on behalf of the Alliance to a match at Summerslam. The following Raw on 8/6 saw Rock face Shane in a Street fight which Rock won, but was later beat down by Shane and Booker T. Rock accepted Booker’s Summerslam challenge that following Thursday on Smackdown, provided the WCW Title was on the line. On the 8/13 Raw, Rock and Chris Jericho lost a tag match to Booker T and Rhyno. After the match, Booker T delivered a Rock Bottom of his own to the Great One, and renamed it “The Bookend”. That following Thursday on Smackdown, Shane said that Booker would indeed defend the WCW Title against the Rock at Summerslam. In the main event Rock and Booker fought in a “Lights Out” match, and Booker Bookended Rock on the announce table.

The main event is a fun match with two guys with surprisingly similar styles. I enjoyed Rock’s return as the short comedy skits during this show with Shawn Stasiak continually missing Rock on a pearl harbor job and crashing into various things. It was nice to see a fresh main eventer in Booker T ending the show with one of WWF’s landmarks. The match is pretty good, as the crowd is fairly hot and Booker T comes off as a real player, even if he does lose the match and the title. Watching the whole show again it did seem fairly predictable that Rock was going to win since the Austin/Angle match was not the last match and it ended in a schmozz. Rock was still extremely popular, but you can slowly see some backlash against him for doing movies, as there was one or two “Sellout” type signs around the Compaq Center. This feud isn’t over, as we have a creative rematch for next month, but the Great One salvages the night for the WWF, who won five of the seven matches on the card, yet couldn’t wrest the WWF Title from the Alliance camp. Grade: 2.5

Justin: The main event of the evening wa sort of a mini dream match for many at this time. During Booker’s final run in WCW, many thought he was channeling the Rock a bit as they had similar builds and looks and Booker even began using the same finisher. Plus they were both the main faces of their promotions for the year 2000, thus, a feud between the two stars seemed obvious once Booker inked with the WWF. The fans were clearly pumped for the Rock, who was wrestling on his first PPV since Wrestlemania. The match was a really good brawl and was basically an adaptaion of the Attitude style brawl as they fought around ringside and had some interference as well. Booker lloked good throughout and definitely came across as a major star that could hang with the Rock. APA comes out towards the end and get their revenge on Shane for costing them the tag belts. Shane had temporarily saved Booker but thanks to the APA taking him out, Rock was able to kill Shane with a nasty Rock Bottom on the floor. A few moments later he would polish of Booker for the win and his first WCW Championship. Grade: 3.5

Final Analysis:

Scott: A fun show that really focuses on the best of both the WWF and the Alliance sides of the Invasion war. Edge makes a splash winning his first singles title in over two years by defeating an exceptional wrestler in Lance Storm. The eventual split with Christian has a strong hint here, not only with the accidental spear, but with the fact that their grandmother would only talk to Edge after the match. The six-man tag wasn’t much, just a showcase for the new heel Test and the quick shunting down of the Acolytes. Once again X-Pac wins a match he has no business winning, as he beats the much more over Tajiri to claim two titles. Chris Jericho’s win was simply to keep his momentum going heading into the biggest storyline of his career to that point. After losing the Hardcore Title to Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam regains it in a solid, but not spectacular ladder match. He’s probably the most over Alliance member to this point, and will be rewarded in a couple of months. On the other side of RVD’s coin, we have the tired and out of shape Brothers of Destruction, as Undertaker and Kane own both pairs of tag titles and bury guys who could be useful down the line. If you think this match was bad, wait till next month. Then taking another 180 degree turn we have a great, intense, psychology-driven, physical encounter between Kurt Angle and Steve Austin. Their feud will continue with a big rematch next month. Finally our main event was fun, if predictable. The Alliance keep one major title, but lose another and the stalemate continues. A pretty good show as a complete package, even if most of the matches don’t blow anybody away. Final Grade: B-

Justin: I really enjoyed this show as a whole as every match was solid to great and there was only one real dog and that was more because of the politics and booking more than the action. The war between the two factions was raging hard at this point and the WWF gained some momentum by winning the majority of the matches on the night, including grabbing the WCW Championship. The last two matches were excellent and really capped off a red hot show. Vince had some good momentum heading into the fall for the first time in a while and it will be interesting to see if they can keep up the intrigue and action without falling into the usual doldrums of this part of the year. Kurt Angle came out looking like a stud and it was clear that his feud with Steve Austin was far from over. With Rock back in the fold, Vince had to feel good about his chances against the Alliance, but the angle would continue to take turn after swerve as the weeks go on. All in all, this is a really fun show with a hot crowd and it may be the peak of the Invasion angle as things begin to stagnate a bit shortly after. Final Grade: B+

MVP: Kurt Angle & Steve Austin
Runner Up: Edge
Non MVP: Undertaker & Kane
Runner Up: Tajiri

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