November 18, 2001
Greensboro, North Carolina
Buy Rate: 1.13
Announcers: Jim Ross and Paul Heyman
Sunday Night Heat
1) Lance Storm (Lance Evers), Justin Credible (Peter Polaco) & Raven (Scott Levy) defeat Albert (Matt Bloom), Scotty 2 Hotty (Scott Garland), & Spike Dudley (Matt Hyson) when Storm pins Dudley
Pay Per View
1) Christian (Jay Reso) defeats Al Snow (Sarven) to retain WWF European Title with the Unprettier at 6:30
Fun Fact: The European Title changed twice since our last show. Bradshaw won the title on the 10/22 Raw, defeating the Hurricane and Christian then won the title from Bradshaw on the 11/1 Smackdown in Cincinnati.
Scott: A pretty solid opener to this much anticipated show. Christian has really come into his own since breaking out a few months ago. It’s good to see Al Snow back on camera after being off camera for God knows how long. He’s always good for a solid match, and that’s exactly what he’s needed for here. Sure Christian can look good with the security blanket of his good friend Edge, but how will he look outside of his bubble. No problem in my opinion. Christian has gained a solid ring presence and continues to hone his workrate to a singles style. Nice match and Christian moves along. Grade: 2.5
Justin: Al Snow returns to PPV and him and, even more so, Head are still surprisingly over. Snow had been off working on the first season of Tough Enough but he pops back in to take on Christian for his newly won gold. The two wrestled a basic match and got the crowd going to start the night as they were backing Snow all the way. All throughout the night, JR and Heyman sniped back and forth with each other and made unemployment jokes. JR lands the first classic when he says that Paul “is going to join the LPGA”. Overall, the bout was well worked as two veterans went out and did their thing to get the crowd up and running. They worked in some good near falls before Christian picked up the win and rolls on as champ. Grade: 2
2) William Regal (Darren Matthews) defeats Yoshihiro Tajiri with a powerbomb at 2:59
Fun Fact: Tajiri defeated Billy Kidman on the October 22 Raw to win the WCW Cruiserweight title. Kidman had defeated X-Pac for the strap on October 9 for air on the October 11 Smackdown.
Scott: Why are two of the most mat-savvy guys on the roster getting three minutes? Sure the main event for this particular show takes up a big chunk of time, but maybe we ditch the battle royal for the next night on Raw and give this match at least five more minutes. Tajiri was what his nickname indicates, a Japanese Buzzsaw, in ECW. Regal can pretty much wrestle anybody at anytime. Instead we get a blowoff nothing match in between title bouts. Tajiri will get his moment soon, but right now he has to bite the bullet and take his lumps. Regal is a good heel, which is why he made the jump to the Alliance, but it just seemed so foolish to do it so late. Not a bad match, but it should have been longer. Grade: 2.5
Justin: Our next match is a blowoff from one of the longer running pairings of the Invasion. Tajiri’s first role in the WWF was as Commissioner Regal’s lackey and they quickly became close friends. That ended, however, when Regal jumped ship to the Alliance in September. Despite still being very over with the fans, Tajiri jobs quick and clean here as Regal gets the big win to pad the Alliance’s total. The match may have been short, but it was also very stiff and Regal’s nose is busted open early on. After a few minutes, Regal wins and the Alliance rolls on. Grade: 1.5
3) United States Champion Edge (Adam Copeland) defeats Test (Andrew Martin) to win WWF Intercontinental Title and consolidate the titles with a roll-up at 11:17
Fun Fact: This feud started on the 11/5 Raw, when Test upset Edge to win the Intercontinental Title.
Fun Fact II: The US Title had changed twice since No Mercy. Kurt Angle defeated Rhyno on the 10/22 Raw, and then Edge defeated Angle on the 11/12 Raw in Boston to win the title. Commissioner Mick Foley then announced that at this show Test would face Edge in a title unification match.
Scott: As the year winds down Edge has made the most of his opportunity as a solo competitor. At the beginning of the year he was part of 2000’s Tag Team of the Year with Christian. Eleven months later and he is one of the up and coming stars of the new decade. He wins King of the Ring, defends the WWF by beating Lance Storm at Summerslam for his second IC Title, and then survives the betrayal of his “brother” Christian. Now he consolidates the two secondary titles. As for Test, sure he’s not the prime flavor of the month, but he’s been a solid competitor and a pretty good smarmy heel at that. All of his backstage pieces involve him trying to butter up to various divas on the Alliance side, including Stacy Kiebler who he’d end up dating in real life for a while. The match itself was pretty good but the logic involving the titles made no sense. JR said during the match that the winning title would be the main title, not the winning side of the war. That meant that Edge winning would eliminate the Intercontinental Title and keep the US Title. That obviously wouldn’t happen, so it should have been the other way around which really confused everyone. I don’t think anyone would have thought of it had Ross not actually made the point to say it. Anyway Edge continues his tremendous first year as a solo competitor and Test loses, but his night is not over. Grade: 2.5
Justin: In our first title unification match of the night, Test takes control early by using his clear power advantage. The whole match was a good back and forth battle and the crowd was behind Edge the whole way. Edge had a cool mid match comeback that turned the match into a hard hitting slugfest. They worked in some nice near falls off an Edge-O-Matic and a spear and Pumphandle slam by Test. The closing moments were really good and they definitely bumped the grade up. The pop for Edge winning was quite good as he merges the two upper mid card belts and gets the WWF on the board with a major win. Test has had a pretty good year in the ring and he caps it with a really good match on one of the biggest shows of 2001. Grade: 3
4) WCW Tag Team Champions the Dudley Boys defeat the Hardy Boys in a cage match to win WWF Tag Team Titles and unify the belts when D-Von (Devon Hughes) pins Jeff Hardy after Hardy missed a Swanton Bomb off the top of the cage at 15:45
Fun Fact: Talk about hot potatoes, these two titles bounced around all over the place since No Mercy. The Dudleys defeated the Hardys on the 10/25 Smackdown in Omaha to win the WCW Tag Titles. The Dudleys had lost the WWF Titles to the Rock & Chris Jericho the night after No Mercy, then Booker T & Test won the titles from them on the 11/1 Smackdown, followed by the Hardys winning the titles from them on the 11/12 Raw from Boston. Got all that? On top of that confusion is that that both teams here come out with the wrong pairs of belts as the Dudleys are WCW champs but came out with the WWF belts, and the Hardys are WWF champs but came out with the WCW belts.
Scott: This match is the exact reason why the Invasion probably needed to end. The Tag titles were thrown around like old laundry during the time between No Mercy and here. The WCW belts changed hands only once, but we knew those were being liquidated anyway. As for the WWF belts, well they were nothing more than pawns in other feuds. Since we had two faces feuding, Rock and Jericho, over the WCW Title, why not have them win the tag belts and have that whole “Trying to get along but sort of can’t” storyline that lasted all of one week. Then they bounce the titles to an Alliance team, just so the Hardys can win them for this match without having a match of four babyfaces. Ugh, this is turning into such a mess with so many titles and so much confusion. How could the road agents allow these two teams to head into the ring with the wrong belts on? As for the match itself, its pretty good, better then the one at Summerslam that saw Kane & Undertaker squash Kanyon & DDP. The problem with tag team cage matches is that they all have different stipulations that could either enhance or hinder the match. At Summerslam, the winning team has to be the one that gets out of the cage first. That’s stupid because if one teammate leaves the cage, his partner could be slaughtered in a two-on-one massacre. So this match starts with that stipulation, then in mid-match they change it so now you can pin your opponent too. WTF? I credit the Dudleyz for being, next to Austin, the only wrestlers totally loyal to the Alliance cause, and they didn’t bounce back and forth. This also started the slow breakup of the Hardys, as Matt is visibly upset when Jeff decides to steal the show rather than win the match, but more on that in our next review. The Dudleys win the tag team battle, but the war is yet to be decided between the two groups. Grade: 3
Justin: Our second unification match features familiar foes as the Hardys and Dudleys throw down once again. This time around the Dudleys are a rock solid well oiled machine while the Hardys are starting to show cracks in the foundation. They still work well together when the bell rings but it seemed as if things could fall apart at any moment. The one advantage the Hardys seemed to have was the hometown advantage as they battled in their native North Carolina. It didn’t matter one the match started cranking because the Dudleys used their power offense to ground and control Matt for a bit. All four men worked hard to make the match special and Jeff especially bumped like a madman all over the ring. As Scott mentioned, Matt escapes the cage but that left Jeff alone to fend off both Dudley Boys. After a valiant effort, Jeff seemed to have the match won as he climbed to the top of the cage. However, the sight of a Dudley laid out on a table was too much to resist so Jeff took a risk and it backfired. Matt couldn’t get back in the ring in time and D-Von was able to roll over and pick up the win and both sets of belts. This poor decision by Jeff would be a major plot point to remember in the coming weeks as Matt was already teetering on the edge with his brother and this only serves to push him over. The crowd stayed hot for this one and all four men put on a fun brawl in the final tilt for the WCW tag titles as they are officially retired. Grade: 3.5
*** We get a special interview with Commissioner Mick Foley who was watching the show at WWF New York. He takes some cheap shots at Vince McMahon and was clearly angry about not being at the show but he vows to be on Raw the next night. ***
5) Test wins an Immunity Battle Royal when he eliminates Billy Gunn (Monte Sop) at 7:40
Participants: Albert, Bradshaw (John Layfield), Justin Credible, Tommy Dreamer (Tommy Laughlin), Spike Dudley (Matt Hyson), Faarooq (Ron Simmons), Sho Funaki (Shoichi Funaki), Chavo Guerrero Jr., Crash Holly (Mike Lockwood), Hurricane (Gregory Helms), Billy Kidman (Peter Gruner), Hugh Morrus (Bill DeMott), Diamond Dallas Page (Page Falkinburg), Chuck Palumbo, Raven, Stevie Richards (Mike Manna), Perry Saturn (Perry Satullo), Shawn Stasiak, Lance Storm, and Tazz (Peter Senerchia)
Fun Fact: Angry at losing the Intercontinental Title to Edge earlier in the night, Test beat up Scotty 2 Hotty backstage and took his slot in the battle royal.
Fun Fact II: There are a few free agents in this match. Hugh Morrus and Chavo Guerrero were both fired by the Alliance and are out for themselves as they crash the match. Also, Tazz had been booted from the Alliance when he finally tired of the brow beatings from Steve Austin and ended up choking out Paul Heyman.
Fun Fact III: This is Crash Holly’s final PPV appearance. He would stick around through July 2003 but never advanced up the card outside of a brief feud over the Cruiserweight title with Jamie Noble. His final role was when he would become a lackey to Matt Hardy on Smackdown. Shortly after his release, he would hook up with NWA-TNA and was a mainstay there until his untimely death later in the year. On November 6, he was found unconscious at the home of Stevie Richards. Holly had been staying with Richards and apparently overdosed as he was found half-clothed and in a pool of vomit. They eventually ruled the death a suicide when divorce papers were found next to alcohol and pill bottles near where he was found.
Scott: This match proves that Test was very highly thought of by management and had things planned for him in 2002. He beats down a guy you won’t notice was gone anyway, and wins a battle royal full of guys you probably don’t care about anyway. Storyline logic doesn’t really matter anyway as most of these guys were going to stick around. The hilarious moment is when Billy Gunn is about to give Test the Fameasser and the crowd goes nuts when he smacks his leg in preparation, then gets summarily dumped over the top and its over. However, other than that, there wasn’t much here. Grade: N/A
Justin: I thought this was a pretty neat concept but it really didn’t matter as everyone in there stuck around anyway. I guess it was meant to give assurance to the winner. Despite being teammates, many guys fought with members from their own promotion as everyone was clamoring for that immunity. After Tazz choked him out, Heyman spends the whole match yelling and taking shots at him. Tazz eventually turns to confront him and ends up getting dumped from behind. His job would be safe anyway as he had settled nicely into the role of Smackdown’s color guy. One of the highlights of the match was Bradshaw’s sick fallaway slam on Rhyno as he tossed him right out of the ring. After a hot start, thing slowed down for the final four combatants. It eventually boiled down to Test and Billy Gunn and the Fameasser pop is one of my favorite PPV moments of all time. Test picks up the win and his job is safe and he now looks to close a successful year on a high note. Grade: N/A
6) Trish Stratus (Patricia Stratigias) beat Lita (Amy Dumas), Jacqueline (Jacqueline Moore), Mighty Molly (Nora Greenwald), Jazz (Carlene Moore-Begnaud), and Ivory (Tina Ferrari) in a six-pack challenge match to win the vacant WWF Women’s Title when she pinned Ivory with a bulldog at 4:35
Fun Fact: The title had been quietly vacated when Chyna left the company back in May.
Fun Fact II: A little background on our newest women’s star. Jazz was trained at Rod Price’s academy in Louisiana, and immediately went to ECW. She was part of a very tight knit group with Jason and Justin Credible, and then feuded with Jason over her gender. She left ECW in early 2000 and floated around the Indies for a while until she came here in this match. Heyman puts her over big time as she makes her initial entrance.
Scott: In what begins one of the most storied careers in women’s wrestling history, Trish Stratus wins her first Women’s Title in a decent match against the other major players in the division. Trish has been in the background a bit since Wrestlemania, mostly to hone her skills as an in-ring performer. When we saw her wrestle matches in 2000 she was athletic but not skilled at all in any kind of wrestling style. After real seasoning, she comes out here a completely different wrestler. The other point to note is the debut of Jazz, a real fighter and one that will give a different look to the women’s division. As we finish 2001 the women’s division lost their flagship in Chyna but there’s a good cache of talent that can give credibility to the belt again. Grade: 2.5
Justin: As the show and the Invasion were winding down, we get one final debut in the form of Jazz. As mentioned above, Paul put her over big time during her entrance even though she got practically no reaction from the live crowd. Upon her entrance, she seemed like a lock to take the title and make an immediate splash. It was not to be on this night, as we end up getting an upset when Trish wins her first championship. The pace was actually pretty good here and the six ladies kept things moving nicely. Trish was actually pretty over here so she gets a nice pop when she wins. Despite not taking the title, Jazz is kept strong and looked impressive and you knew she was being lined up as a major player in the division. Grade: 2
*** Before the Main Event, Paul Heyman taunts Jim Ross about the impending doom of the WWF and is relentless in his arrogance. Meanwhile, backstage, Vince McMahon gives Team WWF a stirring motivational speech as the promotion he built into a juggernaut was on the line. ***
7) Team WWF defeats Team Alliance in a Winner Take All elimination match
Shane McMahon pins Big Show (Paul Wight) after a leap of faith and three other finishers at 12:42
Chris Jericho (Chris Irvine) pins Shane McMahon after a Lionsault and two other finishers 14:30
Rob Van Dam (Rob Szatkowski) pins Kane (Glen Jacobs) after a flying thrust kick at 18:21
Kurt Angle pins Undertaker (Mark Callaway) after a Steve Austin (Steve Williams) stunner at 20:03
The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) pins Booker T (Booker Huffman) with a roll-up at 22:33
Chris Jericho pins Rob Van Dam after a Breakdown at 24:52
The Rock makes Kurt Angle submit to the Sharpshooter at 31:52
Steve Austin pins Chris Jericho with a roll-up at 34:30
The Rock pins Steve Austin after a Kurt Angle belt shot at 44:56
Fun Fact I: Vince McMahon was initially scheduled to be part of Team WWF but leading up to the show he pulled out of the match and added the Big Show in to take his place.
Fun Fact II: On the 10/29 RAW, Shane McMahon warned his father that a member of the WWF would jump ship to the Alliance that night. Later that same night, Kurt Angle proved to be the defector when he came out and hit Jericho, the Rock, Undertaker, and Kane with steel chairs. On the 11/1 Smackdown, he explained that he represented what is great about America as he was a winner, and his defection came from his decision to fight along the winning side, which included Steve Austin, a man Angle claimed knew how to win.
Fun Fact III: Following Unforgiven, two of the WWF’s top guns began feuding and it began on the 10/8 Raw. Chris Jericho and the Rock teamed up against Shane McMahon and Rob Van Dam and during the match, Jericho mistakenly struck the Rock with a steel chair, costing them the match. The Rock confronted Jericho backstage after the match and a brawl broke out between the two. The two of them began a feud, although they often tagged together and at one point they won the WWF Tag Team Championship. There was an air of uncertainly surrounding them as the match began.
Fun Fact IV: On the 11/5 RAW, Vince McMahon announced that a member of Team Alliance would defect during the Winner Take All match the PPV. Stone Cold came out to confront Vince about it, and Vince flat out claimed that Stone Cold would be the one to defect. After the announcement, many Alliance members began to distrust Stone Cold to which Stone Cold denied the charges and called Vince a liar. Stone Cold went on to interrogate members of Team Alliance, questioning Booker T and Rob Van Dam while defending his own position.
Scott: Our main event is a long, story-telling match that had its high points and low points. The tension going into this match was pretty palpable, not really for who was going to win as that was a foregone conclusion. The suspense was over Vince’s allegations of a potential mole in the Alliance. Who was going to turn and cost the Alliance everything, every penny that Shane and Stephanie spent to put daddy out of business? The hints leading up to the show led to Austin, but that would have been too obvious and annoying since he turned on the WWF in July. The problem here was that the writers painted themselves into a corner logic-wise. Who is the mole? Rob Van Dam? His personality leads him to care less what side he’s on. Booker T? I don’t think Vince was ready to put him in that prime time role. It’s obviously not Shane, so who does that leave? Kurt Angle. Now this year has been one logic mess after another. Austin and Angle were both heels after Wrestlemania and then Angle leans face when the Invasion was in its infancy. Then he is pushed babyface when Austin turns on the WWF at Invasion, now Angle turns on the WWF to join the Alliance, then turns again. The only thing that makes it work is that deep down Angle’s character has always been about himself. So really in the end it was about what he got out of it and had nothing to do with which side won. The next night on Raw the logic really goes out the window, as it seems pretty much the Invasion seemed to never happen but more on that in our next review. This match is laid out like most matches that are forty-five minutes long: The first ten minutes are exciting, the middle thirty minutes are quite slow, and the last five minutes are off the charts. What cracks me up is again, the crowd goes crazy when Angle cracks Austin with the title, and the next night it completely flips over. As a match it’s pretty good, but logically its laughable. Grade: 2.5
Justin: After six months of battling, the Invasion all came down to one match filled with the top five guys from each side. Well, nine and Shane McMahon but Shane definitely busts his ass to fit in here. RVD gets the notable mega pop as usual and he had spent the last month subtly dueling over control of the Alliance. Heyman and JR were pretty good throughout the match as they continue to go at it. Heyman does get a good, and accurate, rant in on Vince about his predatory ways when he comes to other promotions. Rock and Austin started it off right out of the gate and the crowd was digging it. As the match began to wear on, Shane kept playing the role of spoiler as he would keep breaking up pin attempts by the WWF. Early in, all ten guys got a segment of the match to help keep the pace going and to showcase all the talent. Big Show puts in a nice outing and he looked strong even in elimination as it took a whole bunch of finishers to finally put him down for three. Team WWF then repays the favor by hitting a series of finishers on Shane to take him out of the match. The man behind the Alliance would now be forced to watch from the sidelines. The tide turned to the Alliance mid-match as RVD takes out Kane and Austin eliminates Undertaker after Taker dominated the Alliance for a few moments. With a 4-2 advantage, the Alliance turned up the heat but Rock hung on. One of the highlights of the match was Rock’s awesome selling of how desperate he was to hang in there and keep the WWF alive. RVD was booked strong throughout once again but Jericho eliminates him. That was a big pinfall for Jericho and a continuation of the huge push he was currently receiving. Once it got down to the final four, things started to slow up a bit. Kurt would end up tapping out to Rock’s Sharpshooter and you have to wonder if that was part of the ruse that we will get to in a minute. Austin was alone but he was able to take out Jericho and stand alone with the Rock to determine the fate of their companies. As the two men battled, the big shocker occurred when Jericho snapped and let a personal vendetta blind him as he slid in the ring and pasted Rock with a chair. The crowd went absolutely berserk but Rock was able to stay alive. Undertaker came out to set keep Jericho from getting further involved and keep things even in the ring. We then got another swerve when Kurt Angle returned, took out Austin and gave Rock and Team WWF the win. The Alliance would be no more and Vince came out to celebrate his win. Rock was now clearly positioned as the top gun in the company and he had a ready made feud with Jericho. Now, just a quick bit on the Kurt Angle deal and Scott’s comments above. The way I understood it was that Angle was sent undercover by Vince to help screw up the Alliance. So, with that said, I thought it was fairly logical and not just a series of haphazard turns. The whole thing becomes a bit clearer the next night when Angle is repositioned as Vince’s top guy for helping save the WWF. It would be a key part of Angle’s heel turn as well as the crowd still boos him and he takes umbrage since he was the self proclaimed savior of the WWF. With all that said, I really enjoyed the match as the stakes were high and everyone delivered. The crowd was rocking and all ten guys busted it to deliver a fun match. Grade: 4
Scott: The final chapter of the Invasion saga is pretty good, with some decent matches and solid action. The storyline logic is so ass-backwards it’s laughable. Sure Vince’s philosophy was to crush WCW, to destroy and embarrass the logo and the name. So the storylines hang around his best guy of the Attitude era being the face of the enemy and guys bouncing back and forth from one side to the other. It did lead to some great matches like Angle/Austin and RVD/Hardy, but for the most part the writing was on the wall that the WWF was going to win. Win it did at this show, and now we move on. This show was a good finish, because now it leads us to the next phase of storylines. What happens to Stephanie and Shane? What about Austin? Why did Jericho almost cost his team the match? Was Angle the mole for his company, or out for his own selfish gain? All this and more will be answered in our next review, when we wrap up 2001 with a historic show and a needed cleansing of the roster. To recap, this show is very entertaining, and worth a couple hours if you have time. Final Grade: B
Justin: Well, it has been an interesting ride over the last six months but the Invasion has finally come to an end with this show. Back in June, there were high expectations and a lot of anticipation for this big inter-promotional war that was about to breakout. Now, in November, while the matches were still good, the storyline itself was starting to feel played out and a bit disappointing as WCW was never really given a chance to get over and succeed. The ECW storyline was hotshotted out desperation when it could have been slow burnt to really help give the angle some legs. As I said, there was no lack of great matches and there was always excitement on the shows but it just felt like it missing a little something. Perhaps it was the fact that a lot of WCW’s major stars were MIA and the fact that the Alliance consisted of WCW’s mid carders and guys who jumped from the WWF. In a funny twist, many of the major stars that could have helped the Invasion greatly end up coming into the WWF in the coming weeks and months. This show as a whole was quite entertaining and had a good electricity to it but you just couldn’t help but feel they just missed the boat on the whole thing and that it could have been so much greater if only given a chance to instead of being buried from the start. The Invasion is now over and done and we get a Dallas-esque reset the next night on Raw as things are all mixed up and it almost feels like a whole new era kicks off at 9PM on Monday, November 18. Final Grade: B+
MVP: Main Event
Runner Up: Edge & Test
Non MVP: Alliance
Runner Up: Jeff Hardy