Written by: Adam King
Thursday, January 11th, 2001
Taped (1/9) from the Oakland Arena in Oakland, CA
List of WWF Champions at the time:
● WWF World Heavyweight Champion: Kurt Angle (10/22/2000)
● WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Benoit (12/10/2000)
● WWF World Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian (12/21/2000)
● WWF European Champion: William Regal (12/04/2000)
● WWF Hardcore Champion: Raven (12/25/2000)
● WWF Women’s Champion: Ivory (11/02/2000)
● WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Dean Malenko (4/27/2000)
~ Smackdown comes on the air with clips of Triple H cheating Steve Austin out of the title and the resulting brawl. Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler then welcome us to this special 90-minute edition of Smackdown because UPN is taking over the last half hour for a sneak preview of their new show Gary & Mike, which was about as successful as 92% of the shows UPN has ever churned out.
~ Things kick off with Vince McMahon making his way to the ring for his gabfest even though this is a 90-minute show. Vince gets on the mic and claims he had nothing to do with Steve Austin being screwed out of the title by Triple H, that he was just as shocked at Triple H’s interference as all of us and has verbally repremanded him this morning. Vince talks about the stuff Triple H and Austin has done to each other and asks when all this acrimony is going to end. Vince says it’s going to end tonight because he’s ordered a special 24-hour cooling-off period between the two of them. Vince mentions Austin’s obsession with becoming WWF Champion and is consdering putting him in the Royal Rumble. Vince says Kurt Angle must also defend the WWF Title at the Royal Rumble against the new #1 contender: Triple H! Vince says he’s resolved to be tough but fair and picked Triple H for the pay-per-view because he’s that darn good. Okay, so Triple H ruins another man’s title match and gets rewarded with a title shot for himself? Ahh, wrestling logic.
Anyway Vince says he’s arranged for Austin and Triple H to address the fans tonight through a special satellite hookup but only Triple H took up his offer. On that note the Helmsleys appear on the OvalTron from their home in Greenwich as Vince tells him he doesn’t condone his actions on Monday. Triple H mockingly says he did a very bad thing, that he ruined a great match and cost Steve Austin the very thing he holds dear but would do it again. Triple H says Austin though his problems had disappeared and that he was gone but he’s back and badder than ever. Triple H talks about all the hard work Austin put in for over a year, training and rehabbing just to get back to the top, and just when he though it was going to pay off on Monday with him finally becoming WWF Champion once again, (Triple H) made his grand return and took it all away from him. Triple H tells Vince his issue with Austin won’t be over until he says it’s over, and it’ll be finished when Austin’s finished, when Austin is laying in a bed unable to drink a beer because he’s wearing a neck halo. Of course Stephanie has to talk as well as she explains that Triple H was completely justified in his actions, whining that Austin pured beer over her and ripped off her shirt so she feels he got exactly what he deserved. Stephanie thanks Vince for giving Triple H the title shot he deserves and Vince responds by calling it an act of fairness. Triple H now addresses Kurt Angle, saying he’s been WWF Champion since October only because he had allowed it, that his attention had been diverted elsewhere but now Angle will have his full attention at the Royal Rumble. Triple H wraps up by calling Vince a genius fomr not having him and Austin at the building, otherwise he would have finished Austin off. Really, 13 minutes of talking? We have an abbreviated show yet the McMahons just have to do their long-winded promos.
~ The Rock is shown arriving at the building as Cole hypes the fatal-forway tonight for the #30 Rumble spot.
~ Back from break we find Edge & Christian griping that Kurt Angle has to defend his title against “Sir Nose-a-lot”. E&C decide to cheer Angle up but when they go into his lockerroom Angle is nowhere to be found. Huh.
- Billy Gunn & The Hardy Boyz (w/Lita) vs. Val Venis, Bull Buchanan & The Goodfather (w/Steven Richards & Ivory)
It’s bad enough this Billy Gunn/Val Venis feud won’t end but now they have to drag the Hardys into this? Once everyone is out Buchanan pounds away on Jeff to start us off and whips him but Jeff bails out to the floor. Buchanan chases after Jeff but Jeff climbs back in the ring and hits a dropkick through the ropes. Jeff then slings himself over the ropes and connects with a plancha on Buchanan. Jeff rolls him back in the ring then Matt tags in and helps Jeff whip Buchanan into an double elbow and follows up with their combo move for two. Matt goes for a whip but Buchanan counters with a clothesline. Goodfather tags in and they throw Matt down then hits an elbowdrop for a two count. Goodfather whips Matt into a conrer and charges but eats an elbow then Matt hops to the middle rope and connects with a flying clothesline that gets a two count. Jeff tags back in and helps Matt whip Goodfather into a corner then Matt drops to the mat while Jeff connects with Poetry in Motion. Matt clotheslines Goodfather down while Jeff climbs to the top rope when Billy suddenly decides to go after Val. The referee tries to get Billy back to the corner but that allows Buchanan to shove Jeff off the rope to the floor. Val tosses Jeff back in the ring and Goodfather covers him for a two count then tags Val in to take over on him. Val whips Jeff and connects with an elbow followed by an elbowdrop and a kneedrop that gets him a near fall. Buchanan tags in and plants Jeff with a running powerslam then goes for a running splash but Jeff avoids it and comes back with a jawbreaker. Jeff heads for the conrer as Buchanan tags in Val but Jeff tags in Billy. Billy pounds Val then whips him and hits the cobra clutch slam which Cole says is called “The One and Only”. Instead of covering Val, Billy tags Matt in and Matt climbs to the top rope and hits the guillotine legdrop. Matt goes for the Twist of Fate but Richards comes in and superkicks Matt while Ivory distracts the referee. Lita pulls Ivory off the apron but Val is still able to cover Matt and get the cheap pin once again. (3:38) The Hardys tried to make this watchable but they could only do so much. *½
~ Backstage Lillian Garcia interviews the Undertaker about his chances in the Rumble if he won the #30 spot tonight and Taker says it’ll increase his chances since he can see what everyone else is doing, and who’s weak and who’s strong. Taker calls the ring his yard and whether he’s first or 30th, he’ll be running that yard which makes him the safe bet.
~ Back from break we get an exterior shot of the arena and see some of the Oakland Raiders sitting in the crowd. We also get a shot of Kane pacing somewhere backstage anxiously awaiting his shot at the #30 spot.
- Test vs. K-Kwik
K-Kwik is rapping his way to the ring by himself from now on since his partner Road Dogg has long since been fired. Both men lockup to start and Test throws K-Kwik into a corner then pounds away on him and hits a clothesline. Test whips K-Kwik but K-Kwik comes back with a forearm then hops to the middle rope and hits a dropkick. Test powers out of the cover and K-Kwik goes for a Frankensteiner but Test counters it into a powerbomb. Test whips K-Kwik into a corner and eats an elbow but plants him with the Full Nelson slam for a near fall. Test goes for the pump-handle slam but K-Kwik slips out and shoves him away then hits a Memphis sidekick. Beoth men get to the their feet K-Kwik gets in hits shots then hits a headscissors that gets him a near fall. K-Kwik goes for a whip, Test reverses him into a corner when K-Kwik lifts himself over Test using the ropes and does his backflip but doesn’t land it properly. Test just comes out with a big boot and gets the pin just like that. (2:24) That was almost a squash there. After the bell K-Kwik gets to his feet and offers a hand of friendship but Test settles for a high-five instead. *
Test heads up the ramp and looks back when William Regal waffles Test from behind with his European belt. Just like that Test is feuding with Regal now and they’re fogetting about his issues with Albert.
~ We get a shot of The Rock pacing in the lockerroom waiting for the main event as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break we get news footage of a XFL blimp crashing into an Oakland restaurant last Tuesday. We then see the San Francisco Demons cheerleaders (who just happen to be backstage at a WWF taping) practicing a routine. The Kaientai guys appear talking (dubbed) about how women love Japanese men and the cheerleaders cuddle them.
~ Elsewhere Johnathan Coachman interviews Kurt Angle about facing Triple H, the same man who saved his title. Angle takes exception to everyone saying Steve Austin had him beat, feeling he could have kicked out of the Stunner. Angle says he was set to beat Austin and finally get the respect he deserves but Triple H ruined his greatest moment. Angle says Triple H doesn’t qualify for the Olympic games of life and scoffs that he “allowed” him to remain champion, mentioning how Triple H was in the Hell in a Cell at Armageddon that he himself won and therefore Triple H lost. Angle says he has no problem facing Triple H at the Rumble but doesn’t like his odds against the McMahon family. Angle says Vince is a fair man but he knows first hand that the McMahons always find a way to get what they want. Angle says he won’t have a McMahon in his corner but found the next best thing then brings out: Trish Stratus! Angle says Trish’s biggest goal is to manage a champion and feels he’ll be just fine at the Royal Rumble.
~ Chris Jericho and the Dudleys are all shown heading to the ring for the next match as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break Edge & Christian make their way to the ring for a six-man tag while wearing Raiders’ jerseys. Christian gets on the mic first and talks about it being playoff time and how the Raiders are the bad boys in the NFL. Edge then says the Raiders are hosting the Batimore Ravens this Sunday and are going to get totally curbstomped as he removes his jersey to reveal a Ravens shirt. E&C present their 5-second pose, “Any Given Sunday” as Christian plays a Raiders running back who gets blocked by a steadfast Ravens defender (Edge) and gets knocked out. (And the funny thing is the Raiders really did get crushed in that playoff game.) Benoit makes his way out next followed by Jericho who first gets on the mic and talks about how he grew up wanting to be Intercontinential Champion. Jericho says he’s been the IC Champ twice but seeing the belt around Benoit’s waist makes him want to go for three and since he pinned Benoit on Monday he demands a title shot against him at the Royal Rumble. Benoit responds by saying how he and Jericho wrestled all over the world and that he’s beaten him every single time. Benoit accepts the challenge and even lets Jericho choose the match, feeling he’ll never climb the ladder at his expense. Jericho tells Benoit he will climb to the top because their confrontation at the Royal Rumble will be a ladder match. Jericho then brings out the Dudleys and they rush the ring as we finally get to the match after five minutes of talking.
- Chris Jericho & The Dudley Boyz vs. Chris Benoit, Edge & Christian
All six men pair off with their pay-per-view opponents and the Dudleys eventually stomp E&C out to the floor then head out leaving the Chrises to go at it. Benoit works Jericho over with chops then whips him into a corner and goes for a back suplex but Jericho flips out of it and takes Benoit down. Jericho locks in the Walls of Jericho but E&C are in to make the save prompting the Dudleys to also come in and everyone is fighting again. The referee tries to restore order…when Steve Austin’s music starts playing? Huh? Austim comes out brandishing a chair and takes out everyone he sees and the match is suddenly over! (0:49) Yep, we waited through a five-minute talking segment to get to a potentially good match only for Austin to ruin it with a run-in after under a minute. Ugh! DUD
Anyway once Austin clears everyone out he gets on the mic and demands Vince McMahon come out and face him. Vince does make his way out but Austin warns him to stay on the stage or else he’ll split his skull wide open. Austin reminds Vince that nobody tells him what to do at any time, especially with his supposed cooling off period then demands that he tell him whether or not he’s in the Royal Rumble. Vince eventually tells Austin that he is in the Rumble and Austin says that all he needed to hear, promising to raise more havoc in the Rumble than anyone has ever seen. Austin then mentions what Triple H said earlier saying it’s easy to appear on TV and talk trash from 2,000 miles away. Austin wraps up by saying that he will settle the score with Triple H after he wins the Rumble and that’s the bottom line. That was still not worth ruining the six-man tag but hey, Austin just has to make sure he stays in the spotlight.
~ Back from break Cole and Lawler shill the new Tough Enough show coming this summer on MTV. Cole says all hopefuls out there can apply for the shot on wwf.com or mtv.com for a chance to win a WWF contract.
~ We then get a replay of Steve Austin ruining a perfectly good six-man tag just to find out he’s in the Rumble.
~ Backstage Vince heads into his office to find Trish Stratus on his couch and complains about the night he’s having. Vince gripes about Austin defying his order by showing up here and all but forcing him to put him in the Royal Rumble. Vince then asks Trish what she was thinking by volunteering her services to be in Kurt Angle’s corner for the title match. Trish tells Vince that she has been bad and deserves a spanking and Vince is happy to obliges as she closes the door. So they’ve even resorted to going back to the racy stuff.
~ Out in the arena Kane make his way to the ring signlaing that the big main event is next. Rikishi comes out second but Kane refuses to let him climb in the ring as we take one more commercial break.
- The Rock vs. Kane vs. Rikishi vs. The Undertaker – For the #30 spot in the Royal Rumble
Taker rides out on his bike when Rikishi finally gets in the ring and exchanges shots with Kane to start us off. Kane gets the advantage when Taker tries to fight both men while The Rock has yet to make his entrance. Taker whips Kane and hits a boot then pounds on Rikishi when Rock finally comes out to the join the match. Taker greets Rock with a series of right hands then grabs him by the throat but Kane breaks up the chokeslam and pops Taker through the ropes. Rikishi fights with Taker on the floor while Kane works Rock over but Rock starts fighting back. Rock comes off the ropes when Kane scoops him onto his shoulder but Rock slips out and drills Kane with a DDT that gets a two count. Kane whips Rock and connects with a big boot then uppercuts him over the ropes just as Rikishi rolls back in the ring and superkicks Kane. Kane rolls out to the floor while Taker is back in and goes for a whip, Rikishi reverses but eats a clothesline. Taker grabs Rikishi’s arm in a wringer then walks along the top rope and hits the clubbing shot to the back. Rock rams Kane into the steps while Taker whips Rikishi into a corner but Rikishi comes back with a right hand. Rikishi plants Taker with a belly-to-belly suplex and covers but Rock makes it back in to save it. Rock gets in his shots on Rikishi and goes for a whip but Rikishi reverses him into a clothesline from Kane.
Kane and Rikishi stare at each other then Kane stomps away on Taker while Rikishi hits Rock with the legdrop. Rikishi covers Rock but Kane pulls him off and wails away on him as we see Taker busted open around his eye. Taker tries to fight both buys then clotheslines Kane over the ropes but Kane pulls him out to the floor. Rock stomps Rikishi down in a corner and goes for a whip but Rikishi reverses it and connects with an elbow. Rikishi whips Rock into a corner and clotheslines him down then goes for a Stinkface but Rock hits a low blow. Rikishi charges at Rock but Rock catches him into a spienbuster then covers but Taker pulls Rock off Rikishi. Rock tries to bring Taker on the apron but Taker snaps Rock on the ropes while Rikishi rolls out to the floor. Kane and Rikishi duke it out while Taker whips Rock but Rock comes back with rights and the Smackdown. Rikishi suplexes Kane onto the ramp while Rock whips Taker but lowers the head and Taker hits a DDT. All four men are down all over the arena when Taker crawls over and drapes an arm over Rock but gets two. Taker lays the boots to Rock and chokes him while Rikishi grabs the ringbell and clocks Kane in the head. Rikishi heads in the ring and pounds on Taker then whips him into a corner and hits the running butt splash. Rikishi squashes Rock in the other corner with the butt splash but Kane brings in a chair and waffles Rikishi. Kane covers Rikishi but Taker pulls Kane off so Kane whips him but Taker comes back with a chokeslam. Taker covers Kane but Rock pulls him off then knocks him over the ropes and hits Kane with a Rock Bottom. Rock then covers Kane but Taker pulls him out of the ring and the two of them duke it out on the floor. However Rikishi is up and hits the sit-down splash on Kane and is able to get the three count for the win. (8:14) Okay stuff but pretty much your usual four-way match. **
Taker doesn’t give Rikishi a chance to celebrate as he wails on him in a corner and caps off with a clothesline. Rock comes in and gets in Taker’s face when Taker shoves him but Rock shoves back and they duke it out. Taker grabs Rock by the throat but Rock kicks him below the belt. Rock readies to deliver the Rock Bottom but doesn’t see Kane sit up and Kane chokeslams him then turns and chokeslams Taker as well. Kane chokeslams Rikishi for good measure and stands tall after showing that he’ll be a force in the Rumble. Kane heads out while the other three guys are left laying and that’s the show as we go to Gary & Mike.
Conclusion: Absolutely dreadful episode this time around. You’d think with losing a half hour the WWF would use the 90 minutes they had more efficiently. Instead we were treated to three sub-par matches and one that didn’t even get off the ground as well as a lot of talking just to throw the Royal Rumble card together. Of course The McMahons, Triple H and Austin took up much of the focus while the world champion made only one appearence on the show, in a backstage interview. There’s nothing to see here, folks, so just pass on this one.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.