Quick recap- The Radicals made their debut last week, Triple H and Cactus are on a collsion course for No Way Out, as are The Rock and Big Show.
The New Age Outlaws retained the tag titles against Edge & Christian thanks to the Dudleyz interfering.
Kurt Angle and Mark Henry’s match ended in chaos when Kurt gave Mae Young an Olympic Slam!
The Holly Cousins beat The APA in a hardcore rules match, Viscera interfering on their behalf.
Viscera then took on Chris Jericho, but Y2J retained his Intercontinental title. The Holly Cousins tried to return Vis’ favour from earlier, but the APA had other ideas.
Jacqueline retained her Women’s title against Luna. Gangrel then grabbed Jackie and hit the Impaler on her afterwards.
Things got ugly between Godfather & D’Lo and the Dudleyz, as Bubba and D’von tried to grab Barbara Bush afterwards to put her through a table. The Hardyz and Edge and Christian made the save!
Triple H, X-Pac, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn and Chris Benoit fought Cactus Jack, The Rock, Scotty Too Hotty, Grandmaster Sexay and Rikishi. HHH’s team won, but Kane returned after the match and cleared the ring of the heels afterwards.
Kurt Angle defeated Val Venis to win the European title.
Perry Saturn made Grandmaster Sexay tap to the Rings of Saturn, but the referee didn’t see Grandmaster’s foot on the ropes.
Edge & Christian’s match with the Dudleyz ended after Bubba was “Injured.” But it was all a ruse, as the Dudleyz then put Barbara Bush through a table!
Dean Malenko made Scotty 2 Hotty tap to the Texas Cloverleaf after a terrific match. Eddie Geurrero had pushed Scotty off the top turnbuckle to help his stable-mate get ahead.
The Rock and Sock Connection, albeit with Cactus Jack instead of Mankind, defeated the New Age Outlaws.
Luna and Gangrel bested Jacqueline and Prince Albert.
Chris Benoit was disqualified against Rikishi after interference by the Radicalz.
Head Cheese beat The Hardyz thanks to the Dudleyz interference.
Chris Jericho defeated Crash Holly, despite his hand being tied behind his back! He can thank the APA for some assistance.
Triple H and X-Pac were DQ’ed against Kane in a handicap bout. Kane took them out afterwards and Tombstoned Tori for good measure!
Fighting fire with fire- Kane gets revenge!
It would be fair to say that Kane’s main event status throughout his storied career has been a bit stop start. No sooner does he earn a push and a title match or two, then he seems to be out of the title picture altogether. Rinse and repeat this process over the course of 15 years or so, and you’d have summed up his WWF tenure in a nutshell.
On a crazy edition of Raw, Kane would return to our screens after a week or two off, having recovered from DX’s assault on him and Tori betraying him for the clutches of X-Pac. After an epic ten man tag bout (more on this soon), all hell broke loose, literally you might say, when Paul Bearer appeared at the top of the entrance stage. Then, enter Kane, complete with new attire, to cause even more chaos than what we were already witnessing.
One of my fondest memories of him is from his walk down to the ring. He just walks right right on down and climbs up to the apron. Across from him is all of DX and even all four of the Radicalz. It’s a brilliant visual, akin to an iconic photo of Argentinian footballer Diego Maradona heading straight for a group of Belgian players despite having no support around him. You can guess what happened next after that Maradona photo was taken, and the ensuing chokeslam-a-thon from Kane is just as great. On that night he looked like the most unstoppable, dominant bastard walking the face of the earth, let alone the WWF.
On Smackdown, they pushed the envelope with him further. After putting in a strong showing against X-Pac and Triple H in a handicap match, in which they tried getting disqualified, Kane took both of them out and then got his hands on Tori.
The ensuing Tombstone, while a sweet bit of revenge for him, probably should’ve been drawn out over a few more weeks. As a result of him already gaining revenge, it’s like he’d already finished his quest and had become part of the furniture again, if that makes sense. Still, for the short-term, it totally revitalised him.
Rarely would Kane get to reach such heights again. It’s almost a pity that HHH vs Cactus was already set for No Way Out later in the month, because Kane was on a different stratosphere from that night and would’ve been the perfect challenger for the title.
HHH and co vs the world- DX and the Radicals tear it up with their foes and put WCW to shame.
Kane wasn’t the only enemy that DX had made recently. With The Rock and Cactus Jack already on their backs, HHH decided to enlist the help of the Radicals. The epic ten men tag bout at the end of Raw is a match talked about quite often when looking back at the show’s history. It’s mainly remembered for Kane’s post-match destruction, but the match itself is actually a darned fine tag match with everyone getting to show off their skills.
Smackdown, as per usual, continues this trend. Chris Benoit fought Rikishi, Dean Malenko had an excellent contest with Scotty 2 Hotty, Perry Saturn tore it up with Grandmaster Sexay and The Rock and Cactus Jack had one heck of a brawl with the New Age Outlaws.
It was further proof that WWF had the best talent roster going, far surpassing that of what WCW had become. Here were several young, hungry wrestlers and performers who were on the crest of a wave, full of confidence in their abilities and with hot, expectant crowds cheering them on. In Atlanta, their ageing stars and lack of ideas for younger wrestlers would ultimately get the better of them, and when you compare the rosters and the storylines between the two companies at the time, it really isn’t hard to see why.
Another Angle- Kurt climbs up a rung.
If you’ve been keeping track with the earlier shows from this year, you’ll have noticed one Kurt Angle steadily becoming more and more of an on-screen presence. Already technically gifted with an incredibly impressive amateur career, Kurt was adapting to the professional ranks with ease. His microphone work improved every week and his snobbish American character was really getting on the nerves of the audiences. This was surely being noticed in the office too, what with Kurt getting booked against the likes of Kane and The Rock.
This week saw Kurt engage in two memorable moments. On Raw, he did battle with fellow former Olympian Mark Henry and in the aftermath of their match, he shocked the audience by taking out Mae Young with the Angle Slam. The Henry/Mae stuff was pretty ridiculous, but Kurt’s actions just further added to his obnoxious and callous characteristics.
On Smackdown, he’d achieve what he’d probably consider to be one of the proudest moments of his career by wining his first championship since making the transition to the pro game. He engaged a technically proficient, if a little short contest over the European title. Val hadn’t really been doing anything with the title so making the switch here to keep Kurt’s momentum going was an inspired choice.
A fitting reward for Kurt who was widely considered to be one of the finest rookies the company had ever acquired.
Deadly Dudleyz- Bubba and D’Von claim another victim.
A few shows ago, Bubba and D’Von had outraged the WWF by powerbombing poor Terri Runnels through a table. On Raw, they tried to do the same thing to Barbara Bush after their tag match with Godfather and D’Lo, until The Hardyz, Edge and Christian put a stop to it.
This led to a 2 on 2 bout between The Dudlez and Edge & Christian on the following Smackdown. With Bubba faking injury to lead to the ruse, Barbara wound up as the latest name on the hitlist that the former ECW stars had created. D’von proved his own toughness thereafter by taking out the Canadian’s with a steel chair for good measure!
It’ll be frowned upon by some, and rightly so, but the Dudleyz lust for man-on-women violence made them a must-see WWF act at the time. They’d maintained their nasty streak that had made them so popular in their ECW days and had taken their personas to the next level. The Hardyz and Edge & Christian were already getting incredibly popular themselves, but Bubba and D’Von could consider themselves firmly in the driving seat of the tag division after this crazy week.
Other midcard observations- Women’s Division, Head Cheese and Big Vis.
Jacqueline, the newly crowned Women’s champion, seemed to be engaged in a war with Luna and Gangrel. Sadly, the crowd just didn’t really care! In fairness, the WWF’s Divas division was undergoing something of a rebuild at this point and it wouldn’t be long until we had a fresh influx of gorgeous, yet talented young women to give the women’s title some much needed mouth to mouth, if you will.
Head Cheese are still on a roll, after they defeated the Hardyz on Smackdown, albeit with a Dudley assist. I guess it keeps the Hardyz/Dudleyz tensions going and it keeps Head Cheese’s momentum going so fair play.
Chris Jericho had a tough week, but it ended with him and the Acolytes pummelling the annoying Holly Cousins. I say annoying, but I only mean in terms of their character traits, because they entertain me to no end. Good fun and interaction with these guys throughout the week. Also, Viscera probably contested one of his best matches with Jericho on Raw for the Intercontinental belt.
Speaking of Viscera, have a scout around YouTube for a match between the Holly’s and the APA from Raw. Take a look at what happens at the end of it, and wish big Vis a nice trip.
The week belongs to Kane. His return on Raw was excellent television, and while his revenge on Tori was ultimately given to him a little too soon, it still had the crowd in raptures. Otherwise there’s plenty of good matches to be seen here, mainly from the Smackdown broadcast. We’ve also witnessed Kurt Angle’s first ever championship win. As good as he was and as much as people knew he had potential at the time, I don’t think anyone expected him to go quite so far in his career.
Worth a watch for-
All of the reasons above!
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