Cactus Jack returned on Smackdown while tensions continued to mount between The Rock & Big Show ahead of the Royal Rumble.
WWF Raw Is War 17/1/00
Cactus Jack opens the show with a passionate promo, hyping up the title match with Triple H at the Royal Rumble. He challenged HHH to a brawl, which drew out the rest of DX. The Rock tried to make the save, but Big Show attacked him. Show then fought with DX himself, before the Acolytes joined in the fray.
Test defeats Big Bossman to win the Hardcore title. Albert took out Bossman and Test in turn accosted Albert for getting involved in his business. Test hit a top rope elbow drop (Nightstick in hand) on Bossman for the pin and the title. Bossman and Albert later brawled backstage, with Albert winding up in Tori’s lockeroom. You can guess where that leads.
Godfather and D’Lo Brown defeated Edge & Christian. Christian accidentally knocked over one of Godfather’s ho’s, so Edge went to check on her. This left Christian exposed to D’Lo’s Sky high for the win.
Kurt Angle pinned Steve Blackman after British Bulldog’s interference.
There’s a gathering of all the divas participating in the Diva swimsuit contest at the Royal Rumble. Mae Young tries to strip. Mark Henry makes the save!
The Acolytes beat Triple H & X-Pac by DQ after the New Age Outlaws interfered. A 4-on-2 beatdown left the Acolytes laying.
Jeff Hardy defeated Bubba Dudley with a Swanton for the pin. Post match the Dudleyz 3D’d both Hardyz, before Bubba powerbombed Matt onto Jeff through a table.
Rikishi beat Chris Jericho by DQ after the Holly Cousins and Chyna interfered. Too Cool made the save.
Kane obliterated Albert and finished with a Chokeslam for the win.
The New Age Outlaws beat The Rock & Big Show after Rock decked Show with a chair, the two failing to co-exist against DX.
Elementary Promo work- Foley, Hunter and Rock are a class apart.
Foley’s opening promo was truly a thing of beauty, a classic promo from one of the most creative and intuitive minds the industry has ever seen. He explained how he reverted back to the Cactus Jack persona after he just couldn’t take anymore of the constant torment of Triple H. He explained his career in a nutshell, talking about the sacrifices he’s made to get to this point, such as sleeping in $10 motels, sleeping in the back of a clapped out Ford and having his ear ripped off in Japan among other things, and described how the forthcoming clash at Madison Square Garden would be even more brutal than the last time they met in the same building in 1997.
It was as if Mick had described his whole career and recent state of mind in one epic promo. For those unfamiliar with the Cactus persona he’s now firmly established while long time Foley fans will be delighted at the return of such a twisted genius and his shying away from the more cuddly Mankind persona.
This was all about Cactus, but Triple H’s retort was full of piss and vinegar in itself, declaring that as sadistic as Cactus is, he’ll be that much more sadistic and evil in order to beat him. Soon we get a cracking mass-brawl involving the rest of DX, The Rock, Acolytes and the Big Show. This further showcases the big three rivalries going into the Rumble, with Rock/Big Show and the Acolytes/Outlaws also getting some coverage. This was tremendous all round.
Later, Rock cut his own promo regarding the Rumble and tonights main event. After wishing Steve Austin well from his neck surgery, Rock proceeded to verbally obliterate Big Show ahead of their tag team main event.
Rock, HHH and Foley really were at the peak of their promo powers and it was a joy to behold. All three of them could have the crowd in the palm of their hand throughout any broadcast. The top of the card from this generation is such a tough act for the modern equivalent to follow purely because it was such an exceptional band of brothers, if you will.
Finally for this section, special mention must go to the New Age Outlaws for their traditional pre-match introduction. It’s one of the most memorable pastimes of the attitude era and something that TNA’s Mr.Anderson no doubt took plenty of inspiration from, though he doesn’t get the crowd going nearly as well as these two. They were tag team champions for a good reason at this point, though it wouldn’t be long before they’d be surpassed. While we’re on the subject of the Outlaws though, they had great chemistry. Billy was the more athletic, but that D-O-Double G brought great entertainment and timing as well as the brawling prowess.
Momentum- Test, Rikishi, Kurt Angle and Kane keep strong.
Momentum is the name of the game here with several of the midcard/upper midcard acts getting good coverage and important wins this week:
Test’s momentum in the midcard continued after he took Big Bossman’s Hardcore title. In 2000 brawls through the backstage area were quite frequent and while many purists would look down on it, you can’t deny that they were tremendous fun. Bossman wasn’t doing anything with the title at this point so it made perfect sense for his rival Test to come in and take the gold here. Albert and Bossman’s latest scuffle also furthers that newly created rivalry. Test’s popularity grows on a show by show basis and putting the Hardcore title on him certainly wasn’t doing him any harm.
Godfather and D’lo continued to impress as a tandem with a win over Edge & Christian. This was mainly to play up to the fact that Edge is engaged, yet the ho’s are all over him after the match. They don’t really play up to the storyline much more than this. Still, good little match all the same. I like the D’Lo/Godfather pairing and I don’t think it was ever fully exploited in terms of involving the ho’s and rebuilding D’Lo as a pimp in training.
Kurt Angle and Steve Blackman ended their alliance after they were pitted together by HHH. Again, we had a fine match and Blackman got more of a chance here to showcase his unusual style. Angle, meanwhile, gained a new ally in the British Bulldog, who cost Blackman the match to help retain Angle’s undefeated streak. It just makes Angle all the more slimier, he’s obviously got no gratitude for all of Blackman’s recent help and instead he’s just found a replacement. He’s so deliciously dislikable.
Chris Jericho came up against the might of Rikishi, someone who’d been lighting up the television shows since the turn of the year. The diverse styles here made for a decent enough match, but we’ve seen better from both. The Holly Cousins continued to make their presence felt in the IC title picture and Too Cool get some plaudits for saving the day at the end. The Rikishi/Too Cool dance never gets old. JR does a good job of hyping up Rikishi’s chances in the Rumble match, which is welcome even though every man and his dog can see that Rock is winning it.
Kane vs Albert was mainly a vehicle for Kane to show off his talents ahead of his forthcoming turn in the Rumble match. Albert was merely fresh meat for the grinder here but he served his purpose well.
Table for two?- The Dudleyz send a message to the Hardyz
The Hardyz and the Dudleyz kicked off what would become an intense and memorable rivalry. After decking both Hardyz individually with a 3D, Bubba then powerbombed Matt through a table with Jeff Hardy laying on it. Ouch! This segment effectively lit the torch for the greatest period in the history of the WWF’s tag team wrestling, if you don’t mind me saying so. In the weeks to come Edge & Christian will also get involved in the skirmish.
I keep saying it, but it’s segments like this which are altering the course of the WWF’s tag team division before our very eyes: as good as the Outlaws were, you could already sense the tide turning with emerging teams like these taking over the mantle.
United we stand, divided we fall- DX abide, Rock & Big Show collide
Triple H & X-Pac had stiff and entertaining contest with the Acolytes. We already know about the qualities that X-Pac and the game possess, but this was all about showcasing the roughneck capabilities of Bradshaw & Faarooq, and they certainly accomplished this. They may have ended up falling victim to the numbers game once the Outlaws got involved, but it was still a fine showing from them. Kudos as usual to HHH for making his opposition look really strong via some expert bumping.
The main event turned into something of a handicap match between Rock and the Outlaws, but it was a vibrant main event all the same which kept up with the rivalries established earlier in the night. After the recent fraction within the group, DX were a much tighter unit and I think this was a good move heading into one of the biggest shows of the year. Rock standing tall at the end and staring down at the rest of DX was a good way of subtly giving fans a clue to how the rest of year would look at the top of the card.
The best show of the year so far. Obviously we’re only into the third week of January so that’s not the most bold of statements, but virtually everything on this show deserved a thumbs up this week except for that poor divas segment. DX and their various enemies coupled with Rock & Big Show’s new rivalry are making for great TV and Smackdown should further showcase this.
Worth a watch for…
Track down the opening promo if you can, and also Rock’s promo on Big Show. There wasn’t a standout match but all of them were solid TV bouts which accomplished everything storyline-wise that they’d set out to do.
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