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WWF Most Memorable Matches of 2000
Posted by Peter Kostka on Feb 7, 2003, 22:02
(Note: Also check out WWF Most Memorable Matches of 1999 at Smark Talk and take a peek at these great TSM articles by the rest of the staff, great writers all.
Welcome back. No, this isn’t the No Mercy 2001 review I promised last week, real life interjected and caused me to change my plans (well, that, and I bought Sim City 3000 (PC crack, CRACK I tell you!)). Instead, this week I’m looking at a shorter tape, but one that is a favorite of mine because of the awesomeness it contains. Of course, 2000 was an awesome year in general wrestling-wise in the WWF with the addition of Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero, HHH actually being mobile with two healthy legs and the ability to put on great brawls with good wrestlers, and the Rock fully committed to wrestling instead of splitting time with Hollywood. This tape contains 5 of the best PPV matches of the year. So, let’s get to it.
WWF Most Memorable Matches of 2000
- Jonathan Coachman is your host from some sort of production room.
First, from the Royal Rumble:
- HHH (C) (w/ Stephanie McMahon Helmsley) vs. Cactus Jack (Street Fight for the WWF title)
Background: Near the end of 1999, HHH married a drugged Stephanie McMahon at a drive thru chapel in Las Vegas. She then turned on her father at Armageddon, transforming from “Sweet and Demure” Stephanie to “Evil Bitch” Stephanie. Meanwhile, DX reformed under the guidance of HHH (again) and he beat the Big Show in December to win the WWF title, kicking off the McMahon-Helmsley Era. Mankind was not a fan of either of them and said the Era “kinda sucks”. HHH and Steph make his life a living hell, booking him in a “Pink Slip on a Pole” match against Rock in which the loser is fired. Mick loses, but Rock stages a protest that threatens a walkout if Mick isn’t reinstated. HHH concedes and Mick challenges him for the WWF title at the Rumble. In a tag match on RAW, HHH bloodies Mankind and Pedigrees him through the announce table. On Smackdown, Mick retires Mankind, saying “he’s not ready for HHH” and instead, brings in a “suitable replacement”: Cactus Jack.
Slugfest to start. Cactus pounds away in the corner and HHH bails. Cactus hits a neckbreaker on the floor and drops a leg on his throat. Cactus drives his head into the steps and timekeeper’s table but HHH comes back with the ring bell. HHH gets a chair and heads back in and dares Cactus to follow. He does and Hunter blasts him with it. Jack recovers, legdrops the chair onto Hunter’s face, and covers for 2. Cactus takes control and HHH bails again, taking control on the outside until he is BAAAAACK body dropped into the crowd. They fight through the crowd back to the entranceway. Jack suplexes him onto some pallets and hits him with a trash can. Jack whips him into the door and slams his head against it a few times. He tries to take HHH back to the ring but Hunter suplexes him onto the can. Jack recovers again and tosses him back into the ring. He looks under it and retrieves a 2x4 wrapped in barb wire. HHH low blows him and hits him in the stomach and back with it. Cactus drives it between Hunter’s legs and Hebner gets rid of it, hiding it with the Spanish announcers.
Cactus hits a single arm DDT for 2 and he looks for the 2x4. He threatens Hebner and he spills the beans. The Spanish guys give him the 2x4, but the wire is now rewrapped and rubberized. The ref is bumped and Cactus hits HHH in the face with it, and HHH blades. He drops it again on him and covers for 2. Cactus scrapes the wire on his head, opening the cut more as HHH screams in pain. Hunter is doing his usual awesome, Flairesque bleeding. Cactus pounds on the cut some more and sets him up for a piledriver on the American announce table. HHH backdrops Cactus and the table barely breaks. HHH has a big gash in his calf now. Pedigree attempt, but Cactus counters and drives his face into the wire again. Cover for 2. Cactus Clothesline puts them both on the floor again and HHH hiptosses Cactus’ knee onto the steps. Hunter works the knee, clipping him and hitting it with the 2x4. Hunter gets some handcuffs from the Fink and cuffs Cactus. HHH slugs away and gets the ring steps, which Cactus counters by tripping him. He elbows Hunter’s groin and bites his forehead. HHH clotheslines him and gets a chair a la RR ’99. He lays in some HARD shots, breaking a piece of the chair off. Cactus flops out and they head down the aisle, where the Rock makes his entrance and hits Hunter with a chair of his own. A cop unlocks Cactus and he slugs away on Hunter.
Jack piledrives Hunter on the Spanish announce table and it doesn’t even budge (ow). Jack tosses him in and gets his favorite toy, a bag of thumbtacks. Steph runs down, pleading Jack to stop. Jack spreads the tacks on the mat and tries to clothesline Hunter, but he backdropps Jack onto the tacks. HHH hits the Pedigree, but it only gets two, to the shock of Hunter. Another Pedigree, ON THE DAMN TACKS, gets the pin. HHH tries to flee with the medics, but Jack brings him back and lays in one last shot with the wire.
Awesome, awesome brawl. Mick bumped like a madman and HHH tried to keep up. 10/10
Next, from Wrestlemania 2000:
Kurt Angle (C) (C) vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho (Two fall triple threat match)
Background: Who cares? It’s the Canadian Gods vs. the American God!! Angle holds both the European and Intercontinental titles, so he’ll have to defend them both in this match. The first fall is for the IC title and the second is for the European title.
Benoit jumps Angle on the outside before he could take off his belts and tosses him in the ring. Jericho knocks them both down and clotheslines Angle. Benoit chops Jericho for a bit, but Jericho flips out of a suplex and dropkicks both Benoit and Angle down. Jericho tries a springboard, but Benoit knocks him down. Benoit works over Angle on the apron and Jericho springboard dropkicks them both to the floor. Benoit gets sent into the steps via Angle who, back in the ring, belly-to-bellies Jericho for 2. Benoit clotheslines Angle down, but Jericho breaks the pin. Benoit and Jericho share in some choppy goodness and Jericho hits a double underhook backbreaker on Angle and goes upstairs, but Benoit shoves him off onto the Spanish table. Benoit suplexes Angle for a pair of 2 counts. Jericho comes back in with a dropkick and boots down Angle. He hits a missile dropkick, but Benoit breaks the pin and backbreakers Jericho, but Angle breaks up that pin. Angle and Jericho mix it up, and Jericho bulldogs him down for 2. Angle takes down Benoit and Jericho locks in a camel clutch, but breaks it to knock down Angle. He hits a suplex, and Benoit tries to steal the pin but Jericho breaks. Angle whips Jericho into Benoit and Jericho tries a roll-up, but Benoit blocks it and Angle dropkicks him in the face. Angle locks in a crossface chicken wing (he was being “coached” by Bob Backlund at the time, but he turned on him on Heat), but Benoit breaks, dumps Angle, and tosses him into the crowd to make sure he stays out. Benoit hits the Swandive on Jericho for 3 and the IC title.
Benoit immediately tries to pin Jericho again, but Angle is back in and breaks it. Angle suplexes Benoit for 2 and goes up for an Anglesault, and Jericho crotches him, but Benoit crotches Jericho. Benoit goes up and back suplexes Jericho off and Angle tries to take advantage by Anglesaulting Benoit, but he moves. Angle and Jericho get two counts on Benoit. Jericho gets the Walls on Angle, but Benoit breaks it and knees Jericho in the gut. Angle and Benoit slug it out and Angle slams Benoit and then whips Jericho into the corner. Jericho avoids a Benoit charge, knocks Angle down and spinkicks Benoit out. Jericho gets the double powerbomb on Angle, but Benoit breaks the count and delivers the ROLLING GERMANS~! but Angle clips him to break the count. Benoit hits a dragon suplex on Angle, but mess up the pin since Angle slipped from his grasp. Jericho breaks but bumps the ref and Benoit locks in the Crossface. He releases to yell at the ref and Jericho locks in the Walls, but Angle hits him with the European title. Angle and Benoit pound away again and Benoit hits another German and goes up for the Swandive which misses and Jericho Lionsaults Benoit for the pin. Angle is understandably miffed at losing both titles without being pinned.
Pretty sweet little match there. Benoit and Jericho would have a lot of “pretty good” matches in 2000. 8.5/10
Next, from Fully Loaded:
HHH (w/Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley) vs. Chris Jericho (Last Man Standing)
Background: Fully Loaded 2000 was kind of the testing ground for the WWF’s 3 “upcoming stars” (Angle, Benoit and Jericho). They each faced main eventers in a “Triple Main Event”: Angle faced Undertaker (and was squashed), this match, and Benoit faced Rock for the WWF title (which is the next match on this tape). The whole angle for this match was Jericho constantly insulting Stephanie, so her man got involved. HHH attacked Jericho with his sledgehammer a few weeks previous, so Jericho has those mysterious “internal injuries” and has his ribs taped.
Jericho pounds on HHH like a madman to start and dropkicks him out. As HHH tries to get back in, Jericho hits the springboard dropkick to knock him back to the floor. Jericho continues the beating back in the ring and HHH finally takes control with a knee to the face and a clothesline to the outside. HHH hotshots Jericho onto the barrier and drops his ribs on the steps. Back in, HHH rips some of the tape off and works over the ribs, then taking more off and choking Jericho with it. He drops a knee into the back and tosses Jericho out. Stephanie slaps him and HHH suplexes him on the floor. Jericho gets up at 5. Back in, HHH locks in an abdominal stretch, holding the ropes for leverage like a good heel should. For some reason, the ref kicks his arm off (apparently someone forgot to tell him there’s no DQ) and Jericho hiptosses to escape. HHH jaws with the ref and shoves him, but he don’t take no guff, so he reciprocates and HHH turns around into a spinning heel kick by Jericho. The Lionsault hits knees and HHH DDTs him down. The ref counts and Jericho is up at 7. HHH gets a sleeper and bodyscissors, working the ribs some more. He releases and gets a kiss from Stephanie while the ref counts. Jericho gets up at 9 and motions for HHH to give him everything he’s got. HHH obliges by slugging him down a few times, but Jericho gets up each time, giving HHH a crotch chop. A pissed HHH Pedigrees him, but Jericho is up at 9 again. HHH, now REALLY frustrated, grabs a chair and drives it into Jericho’s gut and back. HHH goes for a Pedigree on the chair, but the ref won’t allow it so HHH shoves him away, which gives Jericho time to recover and hit a low blow then BLAST him with the chair. HHH blades and bleeds like a pig right away (one thing you can say about HHH in 2000, he sure bled a lot). Ref counts them both down and they get up at 7. Slugfest and Jericho forearms HHH down. HHH reverses a whip, but eats a boot and a missile dropkick. Jericho bulldogs him onto the chair and the ref starts to count, but Jericho wants more and whips HHH out of the ring. Jericho goes into the steps and HHH tries a Pedigree on them, but Jericho backdrops him to the floor. They fight near the announce table and hit each other with monitors. The ref counts and it looks like we’ll get the ending to the first Last Man Standing match, but they get up at 9.999. Back in, Jericho locks in the Walls, but Stephanie comes in and pulls him off. Jericho puts HER in the Walls instead (Sidenote: They edited the camera angle here because I distinctly recall seeing this live and the camera angle then showed Steph’s boobs flop out of her shirt. Just something I noticed.) Anyway, HHH knocks Jericho out of the ring and grabs his trusty sledgehammer. He swings and misses, hitting the post and Jericho slingshots him into it. Jericho hits HHH in the gut with it and he flops onto the announce table. Jericho climbs onto the timekeeper’s table, looking for a moonsault, but HHH catches him and back suplexes Jericho through the announce table. The ref counts them both out and HHH gets up at 9.999999999999 for the win.
Yes Virginia, HHH actually made Jericho look credible at one point. Sure, Jericho jobbed, but the match was great. 9/10
From that same PPV: (Actually, Fully Loaded was a pretty underrated PPV in general)
- The Rock (C) vs. Chris Benoit (w/Shane McMahon) (WWF title match)
Background: Shane and Rock had an issue throughout 2000. First, Shane tried sending the Big Show after him, but, big surprise, Show failed. Then Shane recruited Chris Benoit to take the Rock’s title away from him. Commissioner Mick Foley (for reasons I don’t remember) added a special stipulation to the match: if the Rock was DQed, he would lose the title.
Shane distracts Rock and Benoit jumps him to start, but Rock sends him out and chases Shane. Shane dives into the ring where Benoit waits, but Rock just decks him and keeps after Shane. Back in again and Rock hits an inverted atomic drop on Benoit and slingshots him into Shane. Rock tries to lock in a Crossface, but Benoit slinks out of the ring. Rock pounds on him on the outside but Benoit gets a knee to the gut back in. He hits a gutwrench gutbuster for 2 and lays in the boots. The crowd chants “Shane’s a pussy!” as Benoit chops Rock and rams his head into the steps. Back in, another knee to the gut gets 2 and Rock suplexes Benoit onto the ropes, and then punts him in the kisser. Benoit gets crotched on top and Rock hits a back superplex for a double KO. Shane leaves the title belt on the apron and distracts the ref, allowing Benoit to smack Rock with it for 2. Benoit snap suplexes for another 2 and elbows a charging Rock, but gets powerslammed for 2. Benoit recovers with a backdrop suplex and locks in a Sharpshooter. Rock makes the ropes and Benoit drives his knee into the mat and tries again, but Rock blocks it. Benoit reverses a whip and Shane pulls the rope down, sending Rock to the outside. Benoit follows and slugs away, but gets thrown into the steps and crotched on the post (oof, so much for Nancy’s desire to have kids.) Back in, Rock hits a dragon screw and puts on a figure-four. Benoit makes the ropes and low blows Rock, clotheslining him to the outside where Shane pounces on him with a clothesline of his own. Benoit lays the boots on the outside and distracts the ref, allowing Shane to clothesline Rock into the crowd. Benoit follows, but gets a Coors to the eyes and is tossed back to ringside, but Benoit catches Rock and suplexes him over the barrier. Back in, Benoit hits a neckbreaker for 2 and a slugfest erupts. Rock ducks a clothesline and picks Benoit up for a powerbomb, but hotshots him onto the ropes instead. Rock covers, but Benoit’s foot is on the rope. Benoit knocks him down for 2 and decides to end it there with a Swandive, but Rock kicks out at 2. Rock hits a spinebuster and the People’s Elbow, but Shane distracts the ref long enough that Rock only gets 2. Benoit unleashes the chops and hits a superplex for 2. Benoit boots in the corner and Rock explodes out with a clothesline but Benoit retaliates with a clothesline of his own. Benoit jumps out and grabs a chair, but Hebner grabs it and Shane bumps the ref with another chair. Rock slugs away on Benoit and decides to chase Shane out with the chair, and locks in a Crossface on Benoit, but Hebner saw Rock with the chair and thought HE hit him, so Earl calls for the bell and DQ’s Rock, giving the title to Benoit. He celebrates with it as Shane gives Rock a parting shot with a chair. Shane and Chris celebrate down the aisle but the Commish’s music kicks in and Foley makes his way to ringside. He says that there was no disqualification and tells Hebner to restart the match. Rock (now bleeding) stares down Benoit and tells him to Just Bring It. Benoit dives back in and Rock slugs away, but Benoit hits the ROLLING GERMANS~! for a 2 count. Benoit tries a Crossface, but Rock makes the ropes. He tries to lock it in again, but Rock pulls him into a Rock Bottom to get the pin.
Yes folks that was what we call a “Dusty Finish”. That and the fact that the ending came out of nowhere knocks this match down a peg. 8/10
Finally, from Summerslam:
- TLC I: Edge and Christian (C) vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. The Hardy Boyz (Tag team title match)
Background: These three teams fought for the tag titles throughout 2000, most notably, in a triple threat ladder match at Wrestlemania. Commissioner Mick Foley decided to raise the stakes, making a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (oh my) match for Summerslam.
Three way slugfest to start and the Hardyz fight off the other two teams with chairs. Matt tosses a chair into Buh Buh’s face but he throws it into Jeff’s face on a Poetry in Motion attempt. E&C work over D-Von in the corner, splashing him and dropping his face onto a chair. Edge gets a ladder, but Buh Buh shoves it back in his face and DDTs Christian. He climbs, but the Hardyz shove him off. Jeff and D-Von climb ladders but Edge follows them up and leg sweeps them both to the mat. Christian climbs, but Buh Buh follows him up and Bubba Bombs him down. Ladders are set up in a seesaw fashion and Jeff climbs, but Edge pushes him off onto one side of the ladder, snapping the other end into Matt’s face (a play on the 1999 No Mercy ladder match). E&C try a Conchairto on Matt, but he ducks and Buh Buh clotheslines them down with a ladder, then slams Edge. D-Von climbs a ladder in the corner and delivers a Whassup Drop onto Edge. Buh Buh asks D-Von to get the tables while he beats people up. D-Von sets a table up as Buh Buh drops a ladder onto Jeff and the Dudleyz hit 3D on Christian through the table. Buh Buh wants more carnage and tells D-Von: “Let’s kill them.” The Dudleyz stack four tables in the aisle and Buh Buh goes to powerbomb Jeff through them, but Edge takes the Dudleyz out with a chair. Matt hits a Twist of Fate on Christian and the Yodeling Legdrop off the ladder and Jeff follows with a leapfrog legdrop over the ladder onto Edge. Matt sandwiches Edge in a ladder and catches Christian on the top rope, tossing him onto Edge. Meanwhile, Jeff has gotten the super-duper ladder and puts Buh Buh on two tables, hoping to repeat what he did at WM 2000, but Buh Buh moves at the last second and Jeff Swantons himself through two tables. Matt brings the super-duper ladder into the ring and climbs, with D-Von climbing the other side. E&C follow them up and Christian reverse DDTs Matt off and Edge and D-Von fall throat first into the ropes. Buh Buh, the only one still standing, climbs, but E&C push the ladder over, sending him into the stack of tables in the aisle! All right, these guys are fucking insane, we get it. E&C set the ladder back up and climb, but Lita runs in and shoves it over, crotching them both on the top rope (why does Edge’s groin take so much punishment in these matches?). Lita screeches at Matt to get his ass up there. Matt climbs, but D-Von pushes the ladder over, sending Matt through two tables on the outside. As Lita checks on him, Edge spears her, almost hitting her head on a ladder. Jeff and D-Von climb and reach the belts, but the ladder falls away, leaving them hanging by the ring the belts hang from. Insert American Gladiators theme here. D-Von falls off and E&C toss a ladder at Jeff to get him down. They scramble up the ladder to grab the belts and win.
This was incredible to watch live at the time, and still is pretty cool after 50 viewings. Now that’s the mark of a good match. 9/10
The Verdict: Remember what I said about 2000 being awesome? This tape proves it, and it barely scratches the surface of the greatness that was 2000. Benoit and Jericho had great matches, Rock and HHH had a surprisingly awesome Iron Man match at Judgment Day, and the list goes on. The best part of this tape? It was only $9.99 retail, so you should be able to find it really cheap now.
Final Score: 9.5/10 (Not an average)
Next week: No Mercy 2001, I promise.
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