Written by: Adam King
Thursday, January 18th, 2001
Taped (1/16) from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL
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 in the air with highlights of the rising tentions between Steve Austin and Triple H on Raw. Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler then welcome us and remind us we’re just three days from the Royal Rumble. Tonight Austin, The Rock and The Undertaker will team up to face Kurt Angle, Kane and Rikishi in six-man action, but the special guest referee for that match will be Triple H. Could there be some physcial provication tonight?
~ Things kick off with Chris Jericho heading out to the ring with a ladder in hand (just like Chris Benoit on Raw) then sets it up and climbs to the top to do his selling for the pay-per-view. Jericho gets on the mic but says he’s not out to make a speech about Benoit, show funny pictures or call him names. Jericho says he used the ladder to beat Benoit up and will also use it to beat him the Intercontinential Title on Sunday but then decides he doesn’t want to wait until Sunday and challenges Benoit to face him in a ladder match tonight. However instead of Benoit it’s Perry Saturn who’s coming out to the stage with Terri to offer a rebuttal on the mic. Saturn says Benoit would love to beat Jericho up again but he’s under a doctor’s care and suffering headaches, dizziness and nausea as a result of Jericho’s “cowardly attack”. Saturn says Benoit will be ready to get the job done on Sunday but he’s more than ready to face Jericho right now. Jericho tells “Jupiter” his story is more crooked than his eyes but does accept the challenge as Saturn hits the ring.
- Chris Jericho vs. Perry Saturn
Both men go back and forth but no bell is sounded and there’s no referee so I guess this isn’t a real match. Jericho nails Saturn with a flying forearm then knocks him off the apron with the springboard dropkick. Suddenly Chris Benoit runs in but Jericho catches him coming in with clotheslines. Jericho kicks Benoit down in a corner but Saturn is back in and plants Jericho wtih a belly-to-belly suplex. Benoit rams the ladder into Jericho’s face then Saturn holds Jericho’s arm in-between the ladder halves and Benoit slams the ladder right on the shoulder. Benoit isn’t finished as he hits the shoulder with the ladder several more times then puts Jericho in the Crossface. Jericho is tapping out as the referees come in but Benoit keeps them at bay then puts the Crossface back on. Benoit finally lets go of the hold and grins at his pay-per-view opponent as Jericho is clutching his shoulder. NR
~ Backstage we find the Hemlselys walking with Triple H promising an unforgettable night, especially for Steve Austin. However they then notice a door with Trish Stratus’s name and a gold star on it and that gets Stephanie riled up about her again. Triple H calmy asks Stephanie to please concentrate their business at hand tonight and worry about Trish later.
~ Back from break we get a replay of Chris Benoit returning the favor for Jericho’s assault with the ladder on Raw. We then get a shot of The Rock arriving at the building because we have nothing better to watch or something.
- Edge (w/Christian) vs. Bubba Ray Dudley (w/D’Von Dudley)
Here’s the usual half of Sunday’s tag title match preview. However the Dudleys are still showing the effects of the chair attack from their opponents on Raw. Edge gets on the mic and says they’re not in the posing mood because of their big title defense on Sunday but gives the fans something to watch and shows clips of their sneak attack from Raw on the OvalTron. Christian takes the mic and promises a special pose after the Rumble and calls it “A Cold Day in Dudleyville”. Edge tries a sneak attack to start but Bubba catches him and gets in the first shots then caps off with a chop. Bubba goes for a whip but Edge nails an elbow to the back of the head and Bubba drops dowm immediately. Edge attacks Bubba’s head then goes for a whip but Bubba reverses and hits a sidewalk slam for a two count. Edge tosses Bubba through the ropes and Christian holds Bubba against the steps as Edge dropkicks the face. Edge continues wailing away at Bubba’s head then rolls him in the ring and hits another dropkick to the face. Edge hops to the middle rope and leaps off but Bubba cuts him down with a clothesline and both men are down. Both men are up as Bubba tries to rally when Edge flips out of a suplex but Bubba hot shots him on the ropes. Bubba hits a series of clotheslines and whips him into a backdrop then follows up with the Full Nelson bomb. Christian hops on the apron but misses a swing and Bubba pops him. D’Von grabs Christian’s legs from the floor when Bubba takes Edge down and catapults him into Christian then rolls him up and grabs the pin. (3:22) That actually was a decent match for what it was. And notice how the Dudleys didn’t just miraculously 100% recover from the devistating chair attack after just three days. That’s the real art of selling, kids, something that’s lost on today’s wrestlers. **
Anyway after the bell Edge gets back up and stomps Bubba then goes for a whip but Bubba tosses him over the ropes. Christian comes in but Bubba slams him then sets him up. D’Von struggles to climb to the top rope but instead of yelling “Wassup” Bubba yells at D’Von to do it and D’Von connects with the headbutt to the groin. However Edge slides back in and nails Bubba with a spear while Christian drills D’Von with the Tomikaze. E&C then pull a table from under the ring and set it up on the floor before powerbombing Bubba through it! Bubba is out in the table wreckage while E&C taunt him with the title belts as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break we get a replay of E&C further concussing the Dudleys before their confrontation on Sunday.
~ Backstage a limo pulls up and Trish Stratus climbs out wearing her new coat saying how she can get used to this. We then see Stephanie watching Trish on a monitor and reacting with disgust at everything she’s been given lately. Triple H tries to calm his wife down but Stephanie refuses to listen so he decides to leave her alone to cool off.
- The Hardy Boyz & Lita vs. The Acolytes & Jacqueline – Intergender Match
I honestly don’t know the story behind this match so I’m guessing it just got tossed out there. Jeff starts off against Faarooq and gets in the first shots then comes off the ropes but eats an elbow. Faarooq slams Jeff and comes off the ropes with a running headbutt. Faarooq whips Jeff but Jeff slides under him and nails him from behind then nits a dropkick. Matt tags in and helps Jeff whip Faarooq into a corner then drops to the mat as Jeff hits Poetry in Motion. Matt takes over but Faarooq comes back with a powerslam. Bradshaw tags in and whips Matt hitting a shoulderblock followed by a big boot. Bradshaw whips Matt again and Matt goes for a crossbody when Bradshaw catches him but before he can hit the fallaway slam Jeff climbs to the top rope and knocks him over with a dropkick. The Hardys hit a double suplex then Jeff gets in a shot on Faarooq but Faarooq pulls him down by the hair. Matt then sets Bradshaw up for the Twist of Fate but Bradshaw counters it with a short-arm clothesline. Faarooq tags in and helps Bradshaw whip Matt and they hit a double spinebuster before Jackie tags herself in. Matt tags Lita in response and Lita hits a series of clotheslines then whips Jackie and hits a flying clothesline. Lita gets a headlock and Jackie shoves her away but eats a shoulderblock. Lita connects with a dropkick and goes for a whip, Jackie reverses and Lita hits a headscissors. Jackie comes back with an elbow and follows up with an elbowdrop for a two count then whips Lita and hits a sidewalk slam for a near fall. Jackie scoops Lita up but Lita floats over into an Slop Drop then climbs to the top rope and hits a moonsault. Lita covers Jackie but Faarooq pulls her off prompting Matt to come in and those two start brawling. Jackie tags Bradshaw while Lita tags Jeff and Jeff nails Bradshaw with a dropkick before he can come in then slings himself over the ropes into a plancha on him. Faarooq sets Matt up for the Dominator but Jeff makes the save and Matt drops Faarooq with the Twist of Fate. Jeff climbs to the top rope and nails Faarooq with the Swanton Bomb but Bradshaw nails him with the Clothesline from Hades and since he’s the legal man he grabs the pin.(4:33) Solid tag action but I don’t get why the Hardys had to job. **
~ Backstage Stephanie aggresively eats from a vegetable platter when Trish barges in wanting a word with her. Stephanie yells at Trish for all the gifts she’s gotten while Trish mentions being embarassed in that spanking match. Stephanie then tells Trish that she has another gift for her before she dumps her cup of vegetable dip all over her. Trish shoves Stephanie down in response when Vince comes in and tries to keep both ladies from getting at each other. Vince turns to Stephanie and demands that she act her age before asking why they can’t be one big happy family. Vince then leads Trish out of the room to get cleaned up while Stephanie is left exasperated as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break we get footage of another limo pulling up during the break but no one climbs out of this one. We also get a replay of the Stephanie/Trish confrontation almost in is entirety since it involves Stephanie.
~ Out in the arena Cole and Lawler shill Chyna’s new book while hyping the big six-man main event to come. That’s followed by clips of the tag match on Raw where Kane turned on Rock and enabled Undertaker to pin him. We also get a shot of Kane and Taker sharing a look as the announcers wonder if the brothers have joined forces.
~ Backstage Lillian Garcia interviews Undertaker on whether he and Kane have reconcilled their differences again but Taker says if that was the case he wouldn’t be advertising it. Taker starts talking about compting in the Royal Rumble and says the 29 other men in the match are going to find out that if they try him, he will make them famous.
~ Elsewhere Trish is cleaning herself off when Vince comes in with a towel and even offers her his jacket while apologizing on Stephanie’s behalf. Trish tells Vince she doesn’t want to come between him and his family and goes on about how she loves this job and thanks Vince for everything he’s done and taught her as they embrace. Vince tells Trish about the bright future she has but as they get intimate Dave Hebner bursts in ruining the moment. Hebner tells Vince his guests have arrived but Vince is furious and heads out while yelling at Hebner for the interuption.
~ Again elsewhere Stephanie freaks out at the montior she just watched and throws a vegetable tray then storms out.
~ Back from break Vince meets the mystery limo we saw earlier while threating Dave Hebner if he interupts him again. Vince then opens the door and talks with someone in the limo about the Rumble, only we don’t see who it is. Could we be seeing some surprise entrants in the Rumble, perhaps?
~ In the arena Stephanie storms out to the ring to make sure we get our McMahon talking time. Stephanie gets on the mic and talks about a pile of garbage you can ignore until it grows and because a huge problem then decides to take the trash out so she calls Trish out to face her. Trish does make her way to the ring and gets on the mic telling Stephanie she has it all wrong, that she and Vince are friends and he’s more like a mentor. Trish tells Stephanie they’re a lot alike because she loves the business like her and would bend over backwards for it. Stephanie warns Trish that she is the dominant female in the WWF and Trish can learn it the easy way or the hard way and Trish doesn’t like being threatened. Stephanie gets in her face but Triple H heads out before anything happens then tries to calm Stephanie down by telling her that she’s above this and doesn’t need to deal with the likes of Trish. Triple H then turns toward Trish but Kurt Angle comes out and asks Triple H to have some respect for his new advisor. Angle mentions their match on Sunday then announces he’s been invited to the new President’s inaguration ceremony. Angle points out Triple H doesn’t have a gold medal, presidental invite and after Sunday he won’t have the WWF Title. Angle turns to tells Trish something but Triple H decks him while Stephanie takes down Trish and wails away on her. Angle and Triple H exchange blows when Triple H pops him through the ropes while Stephanie and Trish catfight. Angle then pulls Trish out to the floor to safety and the two sides have a staredown as we go to commercial. This actually took only 8 minutes and they really want us to think the Triple H/Angle match is actually about Triple H and Angle.
~ Back from break we get a replay of Triple H and his wife duking it out with Kurt Angle and his manager. We then find Angle and Trish ranting about the attack when Vince comes into the room and sends Angle on his way. Vince then offers Trish the night off and even decides to take the night off with her as they depart.
~ Out in the arena Cole starts hyping Drew Carey’s upcoming “Improv All-Stars” show which will be on pay-per-view. Cole mentions Drew contacted Vince about being at the Royal Rumble to learn how the WWF does PPV. Makes sense to me.
- Test vs. Val Venis
William Regal makes his way out to provide some guest commenatry and remind us who Test is feuding with. Both men file out but Test decks Regal at the table then rips up his clothes and stomps him down on the floor. Val nails Test to remind him who his opponent really is then throws him in the ring to start the match proper. Val kicks away at Test and works him over in a corner then whips him but Test comes back with a clothesline. Regal tries to recover on the floor as Test gets in his offense then whips him into a corner but eats an elbow. Test hits the Full nelson slam for a two then charges at Val but misses and runs his shoulder into the ringpost. Val hits a back suplex then stmps him…while the crowd is more interested in something happening off screen. Val whips Test and hits an elbow followed by an elbowdrop for a two count then slams him and hits a kneedrop. Val applies a chinlock and Test fights out of it when Val pulls him down by the hair but Test fights back again. Test whips Val and hits a backdrop and a clothesline then whips him and hits a tilt-o-whirl slam for a near fall. Test then whips Val but lowers the head and Val kicks the face but both men end up clotheslining each other. Both men are up as Val gets a waistlock, Test fights out of it and connects with a big boot for a near fall. Val pulls down the top rope and Test tumbles out to the floor where Regal goes and whacks him with the chair. Val rolls Test back in the ring then climbs to the top rope and connects with the Moneyshot for the pin. (4:42) Pretty blah match. Val heads out while Regal goes in and slaps Test’s face then has some words before waving at the crowd. *½
~ Backstage Kevin Kelly interviews Rikishi about being the odds-on favorite since he’s #30 in the Rumble. Rikishi says he shocked the world by running down Steve Austin so don’t be shocked when he wins the Rumble.
~ Back from break we get more hype for the Tough Enough competition. Applications at wwf.com or mtv.com.
~ Backstage Johnathan Coachman interviews Kane for his thoughts on the Rumble, calling it him vs. 29 other men, but Kane begs to differ and says it’s him versus the world and that’s all he has to say about it.
~ In the arena Lawler is in the ring announcing a surprise for the crowd. Lawler hypes the upcoming XFL debut then brings the XFL Chicago Enforcers cheerleaders out to the ring. Lawler then announces they’ll do their very first cheer but before the ladies can do their thing Steven Richards and Ivory head out and Lawler isn’t happy with the intrusion. Richards is on the mic chastising the fans for believing scantily-clad women gyrating like strippers is entertainment then demands that the cheerleaders leave the ring, threatening to show how deep their convictions truly lie. As the cheerleaders depart Ivory takes the mic and accuses the WWF of turning football into a violent, vulgar display and hiring women to dress and act like hookers in order to tempt everyone into immorality. Lawler tells the RTC’ers he figured they’d try to ruin his surprise so he prepared another surprise in the form of Chyna. Chyna makes her way to the ring as Ivory tries to hide behind Richards but Lawler suddenly tosses him over the ropes. Ivory finds herself alone with Chyna and tries to flee the ring but Chyna cuts her off and nails her with a powerbomb. Chyna then leaves having delivered her message for her pay-per-view opponent while Richards tries to revive her.
~ Backstage Kevin Kelly interviews Steve Austin about Triple H acting as the special referee for the main event and asks him if he’ll do something he’ll regret. Austin mentions he can’t attack Triple H unless provoked but there’s nothing stopping him from beating Kevin up and demands he say “yes, sir” if he understands.
- Steve Blackman vs. Hardcore Holly – Hardcore Match
Hardcore gets in the first shots and goes for a whip when Blackman reverses it and Hardcore kicks the face but Blackman comes back with a belly-to-belly suplex. Blackman goes out and starts throwing some weapons in the ring then wedges a trash can in a corner and goes for a whip but Hardcore sends him into the can. Hardcore wails on Blackman with a pair of trash lids but Blackman ducks a shot and crotches him on the rope. Blackman whips Hardcore and whacks his knee with a lid then waffles him in the head and gets a two count. Blackman grabs a road sign but Hardcore hits an Atomic Drop before he can use it then hits a clothesline. Hardcore whips Blackman and takes a swing at the knees with the sign like Blackman but Blackman leaps over it. However Blackman misses with a roundhouse kick and Hardcore cracks him in the head with the sign for a two. Hardcore grabs the trash can and swings it at Blackman but Blackman avoids it and rams Hardcore into the can. Blackman tosses the can to Hardcore who catches it (of course) then kicks it into his face (yep) for a two count. Blackman brings his fighting sticks in and works Hardcore over then hits the stick-assisted suplex but gets two. Blackman goes for a whip but Hardcore reverses him into a corner and dropkicks him then hits the Hollycaust. However Raven runs in brandishing a kendo stick and cracks Hardcore with it then does the same to Blackman, only Blackman falls on top of Hardcore with his arm draped on him and that scores the pin. (4:08) Yawn. Raven then quickly excuses himself from the ring before either man can regain his senses. DUD
~ Backstage Johnathan Coachman interviews Triple H on if he plans on provoking Steve Austin in the main event but Triple H asks why he would do that when he’s about to become WWF Champion for the fifth time on Sunday.
~ Back from break we get a replay of Raven getting involved in the Blackman/Hardcore match instead of vice versa. We then get footage of Raven slipping into his getaway car during the break as we again wonder who the driver could be.
~ Backstage Kevin Kelly tries to grab a quick interview with Rock but Rock just tells him to shut his mouth because there’s a time for questions, for answers and for whipping people and that’s all he says as he heads out. They sure are keeping the backstage intervierws short tonight. Too bad they didn’t do the same for the in-ring promos.
- Steve Austin, The Rock & The Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle, Kane & Rikishi
Triple H is your special referee wearing the usual sleeveless striped shirt. Once everyone is out Triple H decides to check Austin for foreign objects (and perhaps bait him into a fight). Eventually Angle gets impatient and charges at Austin but Austin sidesteps then works him over in the corner. Triple H orders Austin to back off but that allows Angle to nail Austin with a forearm and get in his offense. Angle goes for a whip, Austin reverses and hits a spinebuster then covers but Triple H makes a slow one count. Austin rams Angle into a turnbuckle repeatedly and clotheslines him then tags Taker in to take over on him. Taker grabs Angle’s arm walks along the top rope then hits the shot to the back. Taker pummels Angle in a corner then whips him and hits a clothesline followed by a powerslam. Taker covers but Rikishi pulls him off Angle so Taker decks Rikishi but Angle pounds away on him. Rikishi tags in and wails on Taker with right hands and Taker fights back when Rikishi hits a thurst shot. Rikishi whips Taker but Taker comes back with a flying clothesline. Rock asks Taker for a tag but Taker decides to tag Austin instead and Rock doesn’t seem real happy about it. Austin pounds away on Rikishi and goes for a whip, Rikishi reverses him into a corner and eats a clothesline but comes back with a headbutt. Angle tags in when Austin goes for a Stunner and Angle shoves him away but Austin whips Angle and hits the Thesz Press. Austin follows up with the flurry of right hands and the elbowdrop then hits a suplex. Austin hops to the middle rope and hits an elbowdrop before Rock finally gets to tag in. Rock wails away on Angle and and whips him into a clothesline but Angle rakes his face and starts to fight back. Angle goes for a whip, Rock reverses it and Angle kicks the face but runs into a powerslam that gets a two. Angle comes back with a belly-to-belly suplex then tags Kane in and Kane plants Rock with a sidewalk slam. Kane pounds Rock in a corner and Rock fights out when Kane whips him but Rock comes back with a forearm and drills him with a DDT for a two count.
Rock slaps Taker to tag him in and demands to see him battle Kane but Taker goes after Angle instead. Rikishi pops Taker in return then Kane shoves Taker in his corner and Angle chokes him. Kane tags Rikishi in and Rikishi demands to know why he didn’t attack Taker himself before going to work. Rikishi whips Taker into a corner and hits the running butt splash followed by a belly-to-belly suplex for a two. Rikishi hits Taker with the massive legdrop then tags Angle in and Angle gets in his shots. Taker fights back and goes for a whip, Angle reverses into a corner and eats a boot. Angle trips Taker with a drop toehold and elbowdrops the back then goes for a whip. Taker reverses but lowers the head and Angle kicks the face. Angle whips Taker but he lowers the head and Taker throws him down to the mat and makes the tag to Austin. Austin whips Angle and connects with an elbow then stomps him down in a corner. Triple H pulls Austin off and the two exchange words when Angle shoves Triple H right into Austin and they all go down in a pile. Triple H lays Angle out with a Pedigree but Austin decides he’s been provoked and wails away on Triple H. Rikishi is in and superkicks Austin but Taker decks Rikishi and they roll out to the floor to duke it out. Rock tags himself in and runs into Kane who scoops him up but Rock slips out of it and hits the Smackdown. Rock hits Kane with a spinebsuter then plants Angle with the Rock Bottom and Triple H counts the three. (10:10) Wow, the world champion got pinned twice this week; Austin pinned him on Raw and Rock beat him tonight. Match was good enough but how can we expect Angle to possibly survive against Triple H at the pay-per-view after he’s jobbed twice in one week? **½
Triple H stands over his fallen PPV opponent but Austin takes him out with the Stunner for good measure. Austin and Rock stand face to face as the announcers wonder if one of these two could maybe win the Rumble. However a pair of hands grab Austin and Rock by the throat as Taker and Kane respectively chokeslam them then share a look that all but confirms they’re back together which can’t be good news for the other guys in the Rumble on Sunday.
Conclusion: Okay episode for the Royal Rumble go-home show, certainly better than the previous shows. The matches were decent enough and most of the segments did their job in hyping the different matches on the supercard. But again some booking issues pop up especially with Kurt Angle who’s hardly looked like a real champion in the four months since he won the title. Not only does he job twice in the week before his title defense but he’s not even the main focus of said match. Still not a totally bad episode and it did add the final polish to the Rumble build, such as it was. I’ll go thumbs in the middle here.