Written by: Adam King
Thursday, March 29th, 2001
Taped (3/27) from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, MI
List of WWF Champions at the time:
● WWF World Heavyweight Champion: The Rock (2/25/2001)
● WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho (1/21/2001)
● WWF World Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz (3/19/2001)
● WWF European Champion: Test (1/22/2001)
● WWF Hardcore Champion: Raven (3/19/2001)
● WWF Women’s Champion: Ivory (11/02/2000)
● WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Crash Holly (3/18/2001)
~ Smackdown comes on the air with a recap of the WWF/WCW simulcast and Shane McMahon’s shocking purchase. Yeah, let’s ignore the big main event on Sunday and put the McMahons in the spotlight. Michael Cole and Tazz then welcome us to the show and remind us we’re just mere hours away from Wrestlemania.
~ Things kick off with Triple H making his way to the ring with Stephanie and a gaggle of cops who surround the ring. Triple H gets on the mic and mentions he asked how he can be the absolute best and not be in Sunday’s title match when his question was answered by a man whose ego overrode his intelligence in thinking he was disrespected. Triple H adds this man is a phenom who made the biggest mistake of his career in saying (Triple H) couldn’t beat him. Tripel H also brings up how Undertaker referred to the ring as his yard and suggested Triple H may rule it someday. Triple H says Taker’s yard is in the middle of his world and Taker has only seen a portion of what he’s capable of. Triple H shows a clip of him choking Taker with a chair several weeks ago, saying he was just playing with him then. Triple H also shows him splittng Taker’s head open with a sledgehammer last week and costing him the match on Raw. Triple H says he didn’t try to beat Taker until recently and has been beating him day in and day out once he got started but their issue will end at Wrestlemania because Taker will get to play the Game and he will lose.
Naturally Undertaker makes his way out to the stage ready to offer a response on the mic (from more than 25 feet) and mentions how he went to school but always got sent home early during recess because he didn’t play games. Taker then talks about how you jump over a fence and find a big dog that doesn’t react until you move close enough. Taker adds that’s what the dog was waiting for then tells Triple H that he’s too scared to fight and too far away to run. Taker then starts down the ramp when Stephanie screeches at the cops to arrest him for violaitng the restraining order. Taker responds by saying that he anticipated the Hemlselys would have the cops waiting so he made a few phone calls. Taker says he called his lawyer and a bail bondsman to ensure that if he does go to jail, he’ll be back out in 12 hours. Taker says he also called 911 because Triple H will need medical attention then rushes the ring and pounces on him. Taker hammers away at Triple H when a trio of cops come in after him but Taker tosses Triple H right onto them. Taker continues working Triple H over and decks him over the ropes when the cops finally manage to pull him off. The cops then cuff Taker and hold him back while Triple H and Stephanie retreat up the ramp as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break we get a replay of the preceeding Triple H/Undertaker segment, including Stephanie’s screechy voice. We then get footage of the cops leading Taker out during the break when Taker asks if maybe they can stop for donuts.
~ We then find The Rock arriving when Commissioner William Regal walks up talking about what he did to Steve Austin and how Austin isn’t happy with him. Regal says Vince McMahon doesn’t want to risk his big main event getting spoiled so he asks Rock to please remain in his dressing room. Rock responds by reminding Regal of his tainted tea drink then calls him Vince’s messenger boy. Regal points out that he’s the WWF Commissioner when Rock cuts him off saying he’s WWF Champion and the one who Stunned Austin but he has no problem sitting in his dressing room.
- The Acolytes (w/Jacqueline) vs. X-Pac & Justin Credible (w/Albert)
Now surely this must be just a tune-up for the Acolytes since they have that big six-man tag at Wrestlemania while their opponents aren’t even on the card, right? And why isn’t this a six-man tag with Tazz involved to help sell the match on Sunday? Bradshaw starts with Credible and pounds him in a corner then whips him into the other corner but eats a boot. Credible then gets in his offense and goes for a whip but Bradshaw reverses it and nails him with a big boot. Bradshaw sets Credible up for a powerbomb but X-Pac breaks it up then tags in but runs into a shoulderblock. Faarooq tags in to take over and whips X-Pac but X-Pac ducks a clothesline and comes back with a spinkick. X-Pac goes for a whip but Faarooq whips him hard into a corner and hits a tilt-o-whirl backbreaker for a two. Bradshaw tags in and helps Faarooq whip X-Pac and hit a double shoulderblock then hits an elbowdrop. Bradshaw covers X-Pac but Credible saves it so Bradshaw knocks him over the ropes then goes out after him. Bradshaw throws Credible into the ringpost but Albert comes up from behind and nails him with a bicycle kick. Albert tosses Bradshaw back in the ring and X-Pac helps Credible hit a double suplex but only gets two count. Bradshaw fights back and whips X-Pac but X-Pac nails him with a spinning heelkick then climbs to the top rope. X-Pac goes for a crossbody but Bradshaw catches him then boots Credible before hitting the fallaway slam. Faarooq gets the tag and clotheslines both his opponents then whips X-Pac and plants him with a powerslam. Bradshaw comes in and all four men are going at it when we see The Right To Censor marching down the ramp. Bradshaw and Faarooq fight them off on the apron while Tazz leaves the announce table to join in on the brawl. Faarooq plants X-Pac with a speinbuster and covers but the referee is too occupied with the melee on the floor. Bull Buchanan comes in and nails Faarooq with an axe kick and X-Pac rolls on top and gets the cheap pin. (3:22)Bleah match, plus X-Pac gets to go over guys actually on Wrestlemania simply because he’s X-Pac. DUD
Bradshaw is down on the floor while the RTC’ers roll Tazz in the ring and Steven Richards hits the Stevenkick. Richards then holds Tazz down while Val Venis climbs to the top rope and connects with the Moneyshot on him. Val clotheslines Faarooq down and the RTC’ers get in some parting shots before departing the ring.
~ Backstage we find a black limo pulling into the building with a license plate that reads “Nitro: WCW1″. Hmmm. Sure enough Shane McMahon climbs out and walks somewhere but stops to greet Kurt Angle and Eddie Guerrero. Shane walks off and Eddie thinks it’s a trick camera while Angle tells him how he didn’t tap out on Monday.
~ The Wrestlemania Countdown shows we’re just 3 days away! That’s right folks, just 3 days away!
~ Back from break we find the Hardys conversing with Matt asking Jeff to watch his back during his match. Suddenly Shane McMahon walks in and greets the Hardys then asks how Lita is doing after Rhyno Gored her on Raw. Matt says Lita will be fine and that he’ll take care of Rhyno tonight while Jeff talks to Shane about what he did to Vince. Matt then asks Shane for any hot news and Shane promises to keep them posted as they express their interest.
~ Out in the arena Cole is by himself at the announce table as we get a replay of Tazz getting taken out earlier. Paul Heyman takes Tazz’s place as Cole mentions Shane’s arrival but Heyman tells him “ix-nay on the ane-Shay”, reminding him they’be been intrstucted not to talk about WCW on the air. Pretty familiar territory there.
- Chris Benoit & Test vs. Kurt Angle & Eddie Guerrero
Now what would a go-home show be without a few “combined pay-per-view feud” tag matches? Test starts off against Angle but keeps exchanging words with Eddie allwoing Angle to get in the first shots. Eddie tags in to take over and trash talks Test then goes for a whip but Test reverses and drops him to the mat. Test hits a powerbomb for a two then goes for a whip but Eddie reverses it and Angle nails him from behind. Eddie follows up with a clothesline then chokes Test before tagging Angle in and Angle continues the offense. Angle goes for a whip when Test counters and goes for the Full Nelson slam but Angle kicks him below the belt. Angle trips Test by the leg and slaps on the Anklelock but Test is able to reach the bottom rope for the break. Angle hits Test with a German suplex then holds on for a second German but Test fights out of a third German. Test whips Angle but lowers the head and Angle kicks the face then both men end up clotheslining each other. Both men crawl to the corners and Angle tags Eddie but Test tags in Benoit and Benoit knocks Eddie down. Benoit clotheslines Angle and chops Eddie then hits Angle with a German suplex but Eddie nails Benoit in return. Eddie then holds Benoit in a Full Nelson while Angle works him over but Angle doesn’t see Test behind him. Test goes for the big boot and misses Angle but Benoit slips out of the hold and Eddie ends up taking the boot. Angle tosses Test over the ropes but Benoit dumps Angle then slaps Eddie in the Crossface and Eddie taps. (2:57) Decent match, if not a little short. **
After the bell Benoit refuses to release the hold but Angle comes back in and puts Benoit in the Ankleock. Benoit starts screaming and slapping the mat and Angle departs, having gotten even for his tapout on Monday.
~ Backstage William Regal has summoned Debra to his office and asks why her husband still isn’t as the arena yet. Regal then tells Debra that Vince will hold her responsible if anything happens to jeopardize Sunday’s main event and that she has influence over both Austin (wife) and Rock (manager) so she had better start using it. Debra walks off crying how unfair this is while Regal just tells her good-bye as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break we find Shane talking with Billy Gunn about his talent and Billy congradulates him on his purchase. Stephanie then walks up and asks Shane what he’s doing here after he bought WCW from under their father’s nose. Shane tells Stephanie that he still owns a piece of the WWF as well as WCW so feels he he has every right to be here. Stephanie warns Shane that Vince will kill him at Wrestlemania but Shane says he has it covered and departs.
~ Out in the arena Cole and Heyman hype the Vince/Shane street fight that now has Mick Foley as special referee. We then get highlights of Foley getting that assignment thanks to some documents that he “signed back in December”.
~ Backstage we see Steve Austin has finally arrived as William Regal comes up and chastises him for being late. Regal tries to realy Vince’s waring about not ruining the Wrestlemania main event but Austin just blows him off.
~ Elsewhere we find Vince and Trish Stratus arriving with Vince yelling about someone’s limo parked in his space. Vince asks the driver who he’s working for and once the driver answers he isn’t happy to hear that his son in Detroit. Trish also points out the WCW license plate and Vince nearly explodes as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break we get an exterior shot of the building as well as boxer Thomas “Hitman” Hearns in the crowd.
~ Next we get a recap of Monday’s tag team main event which lead to Rock giving Austin the Stone Cold Stunner. Now why didn’t this package open tonight’s show? You know, to help promote Sunday’s main event and all that?
~ Steve Austin then makes his way out to the ring and looks like he’s going to give us a few words on the mic. Austin says he’s not out to flap his gums and demands Rock come out because he has something to tell him face to face. Instead of Rock, it’s Vince McMahon coming out to the ring and Austin tells him that he wanted Rock, not a j*****s. Vince gets on the mic saying he’s had a few bad days and that he doesn’t know what Austin has planned for Rock but he’s not letting him ruin Wrestlemania’s main event and is determined to keep it intact. Vince demands that Austin leave the ring immediately but Austin decks him with a right hand and stomps away at him. Austin kicks Vince under the ropes just as Rock makes his way in the ring and there’s our face-to-face confrontation. Austin reminds Rock how he gave him a Stunner and drank his beer on Monday, which has never been done before. Austin calls for some beer to be tossed his way and offers Rock a toast since he’s suddenly interested in drinking beer. Austin toasts Rock’s health, his happiness, and walking into Wrestlemania as WWF Champion for the very last time. Austin then makes a rather aggressive toast and starts chugging his beer while Rock doesn’t seem too thrilled with him. Rock then grabs the mic away from Austin and offers his own toast to Austin’s health and his @** getting beaten on Sunday then does his own aggressive toast. Austin responds with a right hand and both men are going at it when Ausitn takes Rock down and wails away on him. Vince frantically calls for some referees to break up the brawl but they can’t seem to pull either man off the other. Vince then brings out a few midcarders and out comes Billy Gunn, Test, Crash, Steve Blackman and the Acolytes. However they don’t have much effect on the brawl either as Austin and Rock spill out to the floor and into the crowd. Vince brings out a group of cops to restore order and the whole group finally manages to separate Austin and Rock. We then cut backstage as the referees, wrestlers and cops herd Austin and Rock into seperate dressing rooms. Looking back they probably should have done this segment near the end of the program instead of the middle.
~ Back from break we get a replay of Austin and Rock duking it out and the attempts to separate them. We then find Trish trying to comfort Vince in his dressing room as he cries to her about the week he’s been having, losing WCW to Shane on Monday, almost losing his Wrestlemania main event tonight, and his jaw even hurts. However Vince looks at a monitor and finds Shane talking to Chris Jericho then decides he need to address this issue.
- Matt Hardy (w/Jeff Hardy) vs. Rhyno (w/Edge & Christian)
Mat wants some quick revenge for Lita getting taken out on Monday before he heads to the TLC match on Sunday. Matt attacks Rhyno as he climbs in the ring and goes for a whip, Rhyno reverses but Matt kicks the face. Matt comes off the ropes but Rhyno clotheslines him down then hits a running boot to the face for a two count. Rhyno pummels away at Matt in a corner then whips him into the opposite corner and charges but eats a boot. Matt hops to the middle rope when Rhyno cuts him off then goes up for a superplex but Matt fights him off. Matt connects with a flying clothesline when Edge and Christian hop on the apron but Matt decks them both off. Rhyno goes for the Gore but Matt dogdes it and throws him into the buckle then nails him with the Twist of Fate. Edge comes in the ring when Jeff intercepts him and wails away on him but that ends up distracting the referee. Christian comes in and drills Matt with the Unprettier and Rhyno drapes an arm over him for the pin. (1:40) Looks like they’re phoning in the in-ring action on this episode as well. *
E&C then pull a ladder out from under the ring and slide it in bcause we have to sell Sunday’s TLC match. However Jeff brings in a chair and whacks both E&C with it then the Hardys clothesline Rhyno with the ladder and knock Edge through the ropes with it. Matt hits Rhyno with a Twist of Fate on a chair before Jeff climbs to the top rope and adds in a Swanton Bomb. The Hardys decide to bring a table in the ring but before they can set it up the Dudleys run in and pounce on them then clear them from the ring. The Dudleys then set the table up themselves and drive Rhyno through it with a 3D, getting revenge for Spike.
~ Backstage Vince McMahon catches up with Chris Jericho and confronts him about talking with the owner of WCW, reminding him he’s under contract to the WWF. Jericho says he was just shooting the breeze with Shane. Jericho tells Vince that everything’s fine while calling him “Junior” and Vince doesn’t appreciate that.
~ Back from break we get a replay of the Hardys, Dudleys and E&C giving us a taste of TLC II. Or so Cole says.
~ Backstage Vince is with Trish saying he’s feeling better now that Shane has left the building but still has anxiety. Vince then tells Trish he needs to unwind and would like her to compete against Ivory in a bra-and-panties match. Trish tells Vince she’s up to the taks and Vince wants to make sure she’s properly attired before leaving.
~ Out in the arena The Undertaker’s theme music fires up even though we saw Taker taken to jail earlier tonight. Ah, but it actually turns out to be Triple H bringing Taker’s motorcycle out to the stage as he mocks Taker’s entrance. Triple H then calls for Stephanie to bring his sledgehammer out to him and proceeds to bust up the motorcycle with it. Once he’s finished Triple H shoves the bike off the stage for good measure, having sent his message for Wrestlemania.
~ Backstage Debra is walking when William Regal walks up telling her that Vince wants to see her post haste. Regal then heads off somewhere and Debra just shakes her head as we go to commercial.
~ Back from break Vince is greeted by Debra wants to explain something that he hopes she doesn’t take personally. Vince says what he’s about to do isn’t because of Steve Austin or his actions, though he admits that he hates his guts. Vince mentions that he asked her to keep Rock in check which she failed to do so he has to take appropriate action and as a result he must relive Debra of her duties, meaing she’s no longer managing the WWF Champion. Debra cries that this isn’t fair but Vince tells her sometimes life isn’t fair and that’s he’ll see her atWrestlemania. And that;s how they got Debra out of the main event. And to think she didn’t need to be involved in the build in the first place.
- Trish Stratus vs. Ivory © – Non-Title Bra & Panties Match
Trish is out first ready to go but Ivory comes out and gets on the mic refusing to participate in this match because she’s not willing to compromise her moral standards. Ivory then asks Trish if she wasn’t humiliated enough when Trish pulls Ivory in the ring to start this thing. Ivory pulls Trish’s shirt off, then tries to cover her up with it but Trish shoves Iovry away and the two get to catfighting when Chyna makes her way out and pulls Ivory off her. Trish quickly slips out of the ring but Ivory isn’t lucky as Chyna cuts off her escape and tears off her clothing. Ivory runs off trying in vain to cover herself up while Chyna is standing tall in the ring. (1:04) No real match to speak of, just there to sell the Women’s title match. NR
~ Chris Jericho and Kane are both shown heading to the ring which means the big tag match is coming up next. In a funny moment Heyman asks how Jericho and Kane can co-exist tonight and even mentions the coffee incident. This one moment showed how Heyman was different from the other bookers at the time.
- Chris Jericho & Kane vs. William Regal & The Big Show
Yes, folks, this is indeed the main event for the Wrestlemania go-home show. Regal first gets on the mic and says that Jericho will be humiliated beyond belief at the biggest event of the year. Regal rants about Jericho besmirching him, soiling his tea and jumping him from behind like the coward he is. Regal promises to win the Intercontinential Title and make Jericho feel like he got hacked up by a hatchet, too. Once everyone is out Jericho looks to start against Regal but Show comes in and forearms Jericho from behind. Regal heads out leaving Show to pound on Jericho then Show whips him but Jericho dropkicks Show’s knee. Jericho gets in his offense and comes off the ropes but Show hits a big press slam then walks across his chest. Regal tags in and hits a European uppercut then wails away on him before whipping him but lowers the head. Jericho kicks the face and hits a flying foreaem then follows up with a bulldog and unloads on him with rights. Kane gets the tag and pummels Regal in a corner then whips him into another corner and hits a clothesline. Kane hits a suplex followed by an elbowdrop before tagging Jericho in and Jericho hammers Regal with chops. Jericho goes for a whip but Regal reverses and Jericho tumbles out to the floor after Show pulls down the rope. Show clubs Jericho in the back before rolling him back in the ring and Regal hits the double kneelift to the face. Regal hits a butterfly suplex for a two count then grinds his forearm into Jericho’s face for another two count. Regal hits a chop when Jericho whips him into a corner and Regal stops himself but Jericho hits an enzuigiri.
Jericho makes the tag to Kane and Kane hits several rights then whips Regal and connects with a big boot. Kane plants Regal with a powerslam then dares Show to come in and greets him with a flurry of right hands. Kane goes for a whip, Show reverses it but lowers the head and Kane kicks the face then hits an uppercut. Kane then grabs Show by the throat but Regal nails Kane from behind to break it up and eats a right hand. Show then grabs Kane by the throat but Jericho climbs to the top rope and nails Show with a missile dropkick. Kane clotheslines Show over the ropes then goes after him on the floor while Jericho and Regal also duke it out. Regal goes for a suplex when Jerihco flips out of it then takes him down and puts him in the Walls of Jericho. However Show comes back in and grabs Jericho by the throat to save Regal then nails him with the chokeslam. Kane climbs to the top rope and hits Show with the flying clothesline as Raven runs out with a fire extinguisher. Kane pops Raven off the apron then goes out while Regal grabs the extinguisher and clobbers Jericho with it. Regal finally slaps on the Regal Stretch and Jericho is forced to tap out to his Wrestlemania opponent. (4:29) Okay match but it was obvious they were saving it for Sunday. **
The referee tries to pull Regal off Jericho while we see Show hitting Kane with the Final Cut on the floor. Raven then tries to get some of Show but Show throws him into the steps beofre he and Regal leave the ring. Regal and Show got to better of their opponents tonight but will it be a different story at Wrestlemania?
~ Interstingly enough we still have some time left so Cole hopes to get a final word from Austin or Rock as we go to commercial. Like I said earlier they really should have done the Rock/Austin confrontation last.
~ Back from break we get one more music video look at the buildup to the Austin/Rock title match this Sunday. We then find Kevin Kelly interviewing Steve Austin who rants on this whole thing being one big setup against him with his wife being named The Rock’s manager and Rock giving him a Stunner and drinking his beer. Austin says the bottom line is he needs to be the WWF Champion again then storms off and that’s it for this week. Onward toWrestlemania!
Conclusion: And there’s the go home show to the “greatest Wrestlemania ever”. Pretty much your standard hype show with forgettable, slopped together tag matches and plenty of sports entertainment segments trying to squeeze out more buys despite the poor builds to most of the matches. Plus it seemed the flow as disjointed, especially since the Austin/Rock main event was only touched on in the middle of the show and the last few minutes when it should have been the closing segment. It’s a shame that the supercard everyone puts at the top of the best lists had such a disappointing buildup but that’s nostalga for you. Raw got a pass because of it’s historical importance, but this show can easily be skipped. Thumbs down.
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.