1. Raven v Big Show
- This was Raven’s 10th Hardcore title reign.
- This was then Raven’s 11th hardcore title reign… of 27
- Billy Gunn was in the final four at the rumble a month previously, an ic champ in December, and he’s entirely lost in the shuffle by February
- The masked lady was Tori, an angle which got entirely abandoned when WCW got bought out. Eventually it got revealed on a Sunday Night Heat 11th march and then you never saw Tori again, apart from a stint as trainer on the first tough enough. Entire molly and crash v raven and ninja feud dropped
- The kept going to do bigshow as unstoppable hardcore champ but got bored. Template set for takers better run later in the year.
- Blackman didn’t have long left as he started suffering post concussion syndrome, or what we now knowas PCS – at the time it was unstoppable migraines and a whole host of nasty stuff which basically forced him to retire. He struggled on till June, but lost to Perry Saturn in a King of the Ring qualifier and that was him gone from TV, just like that.
2. Eddie v Jericho v Benoit v X-pac
- Jericho injured xpac in October, Jericho and benoit is well documented, Jericho and eddie had been feuding and eddie/chyna cost Jericho in 2000, dissension between eddie and chris, the radicals and x-factor had had their moments, so everything was interlinked.
- Ecw died in January. Sadly. Justin credible showed up in February, the beginning of essentially all the main ecw guys crossing over to wwf, except new jack. And sandman/sabu at that time.
- X-factor was actually a really cool tag team they did nothing with. One of the many victims of the collapse of WCW – too many wrestlers not enough time, everyone got lost in the shuffle. See also most of the natural born thrillers, kanyon, jerry lynn, crash holly, etc.
- 3 former ic champs and x-pac. X-pac never won the belt.
- People thought they were getting eddie v benoit at mania, but angle needed an opponent and wanted benoit. Then regal got moved from his European title shot because his feud with Jericho caught fire.
3. Trish v Steph
- Trishs break out match
- She’d wrestled in a 6 man but lita quickly saw to her when it was them one on one. Ditto molly in a 6 man at survivor series. This was her first “I might be legit” match.
- Also very rare Stephanie working babyface.
- Next night, regal and steph turned on trish, and that led to the horrible barking angle.
4. 3 stages of hell
- This was to give hhh either a claim to number one contendership post mania, or an excuse to go into the mania main event. Neither happened, due to circumstances.
- Hhh admitted to being behind the Austin hit and run in November, which really helped the rikishi heel turn.
- Vince had a zero tolerance contract for this in January – if Austin attacked hhh after signing it, he was banned from Mania and his title shot. If hhh attacked Austin, suspended for 6 months and mania. Austin signed, hhh then took the contract, went to sign, and attacked Austin, laid him out. Vince yelled your suspended, and hhh showed he hadn’t signed the contract yet, then did with Austin laid out. Cool tv build.
- Austin claims this is one of his all time favourite matches
- Austin was the man of 2001 – spectacle matches with the rock, to workrate stuff with the angles and benoits, to more hardcore stuff with rvd, all styles and lots of great matches – like he knew he had limited time left and wanted to make the most of it.
5. Lawler v Stevie Richards
- This is a stupid storyline. Kat got fired the next night, lawler walked out on the company on the Tuesday. Then he got divorced and came back in November.
- One week later, paul heyman is at the desk on raw. Confirmation ecw is actually dead dead.
- Lawler says they’d had a meeting to discuss smackdown, then he went to the mall to get food, and the kat went to the gym with trish, and when h got back, vince had told JR to tell him his wife had been sacked, and that it was an “attitude problem”. So Lawler went to see Vince, and Vince said “I don’t know what attitude problem it was” then lawler quit without vince trying to stop him.
- Lawler thinks it was a set up to get him to leave without firing him.
- “Another WWE diva said it was her or me” – chyna is rumoured. Trish unlikely.
- Kat is now married to Kizarny.
- This is a stupid match but the crowd needed a breather after hhh v Austin, and it allowed them to go nuts for Angle and Rock later. Folk need to go to the loo.
6. Taker/kane v Dudleys v Edge and Christian
- Rikishi had lost a lot of steam from the heel turn, and got injured on smackdown two days later, meaning he missed Wrestlemania. That left taker without a mania opponent, so hhh got moved from the main event.
- Tazz on commentary went down so well, he got to take over on Smackdown.
- Dudleys beat edge and Christian at rumble, then lost them a week after this show to hardys. Seemed to hint to a hardys break up story, then they lost the belts a fortnight later to edge and Christian after rhyno showed up. Then on the same night, dudleys got a title shot (they were going to get a rematch but Edge and Christian sabotaged their ride to the arena to get the title match and belts, so when Dudleys show up with 20 mins of RAW left, they got a title shot too, and Spike Dudley showed up to help dudleys win their belts back. Then at Mania, edge and Christian won the belts, and held them for a fortnight, before well that’s spoilers but it involves another dozen title changes.
- Friend told me someone old returned at the rumble,I listed 50 people before I got to see it, and none were Haku. It’d be as random as Akeem showing up, and guess who showed up at WrestleMania? Of course, friend of this show OMG was on holiday and came back to see his favourite show up on Mania out of the blue after a decade!
7. Angle v rock
- Rock and angle had been wrestling each regularly for 6 months by this point, so they know each other like the leads on an broadway play.
- They’d also run a mini-storyline the entire Angle title run of him doing everything to avoid the Rock singles rematch. He cost him 2 number one contenders matches, and only faced him in the 6 man hell in a cell (and pinned rock via a stunner and distraction – other peoples work)
- The finish is a ref screw up. Funnily, the rock covering it with a 2nd rock bottom actually got Kurt more over with the casual fans because it looked to them like Angle had even kicked out of the final rock bottom.
- Next night, Angle attacked 2 cool and “injured” Scotty with the Ankle Lock. That week on a radio phone in, Angle actually got a death threat for injuring Scotty, and had to break kayfabe and explain that scotty had a legit ankle injury and needed surgery, so they’d used Angle to explain him being off tv for 3 months.
- Angle says he got a prep talk from Taker and Rock the day before the show, both essentially saying “you’re losing the belt, don’t lose your spot.”
- Crowd apparently thought angle had bought the ref and they were going to see rock screwed again, hence the booing.
- Apparently all during this match Vince was at the Gorilla Position backstage, getting more and more excited, till the ankle lock spot when he yelled out “Yes, Kurt Angle has arrived!!!!” Angle says Vince basically saw him as a permanent main eventer after this spot.
- I always forget big show came out here. It led to nothing.