How do you kill a good angle? The same way you kill a good match, with a lame run-in. Just ask the booking minds behind World Championship Wrestling’s red hot nWo angle. Following in their footsteps, the World Wrestling Federation has managed to do the same thing in a shorter period of time. Since a critically-acclaimed WrestleMania 17 show every WWF statistic from its weekly television ratings to its pay-per-view buyrates have sunk. Overwhelmingly, fans are voicing their opinion on the WWF’s feeble product by turning out completely. Besides a few bright spots, the undercard is mired in mediocrity and the Austin – Triple H – McMahon (ATM) alliance angle has been met with yawns. It is not that Austin or Triple H have begun slacking off. It’s not that their opponents – Kane and The Undertaker – haven’t been up to the task. It’s the scripting. Fans can only watch Austin – Triple H closing out a show by wailing on their enemies or interfering in each other’s matches so many darn times before they are lulled into a coma.
Dare I say it? World Wrestling Federation angles have become predictable and that’s why even the most diehard fans are finding better things to do with their time. For those fans, relief just might be right around the corner. At the Judgment Day pay-per-view another serious crack appeared in the ATM alliance. While Triple H lost the WWF Intercontinental Title to Kane because of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Austin held onto the WWF World Heavyweight Title because of Triple H. Of course this miscommunication sets-up an Austin-Triple H feud on the road to this year’s SummerSlam pay-per-view.
Austin’s gaffe that cost Triple H the gold was an imprecise chair shot. As far as Chain Matches go, the Triple H and Kane bout was okay but certainly nothing to write home about. Triple H jump-started things by attacking Kane with a chain just as the official was confiscating the one Kane brought with him to the ring. In a replay of any Raw or Smackdown! broadcast over the last month or so, Triple H worked on Kane’s “broken” arm. He smacked it against a post and with a steel chair. When it came time to attached the steel chain to both combatants, Triple H pulled a clever move by shackling it to Kane’s injured arm. This allowed The Game to inflict all sorts of damage on it. Once again, Triple H bled like a stuck pig as he went outside the ring to retrieve a steel chair. Kane yanked on the chain and the momentum sent Triple H crashing into the chair he himself was carrying.
At just under twelve minutes into the match, Steve Austin executed his run-in. He swung a steel chair, missed Kane and hit Triple H. Kane got the pinfall and the Intercontinental Title. Moments later, a dazed Triple H complained bitterly to Vince McMahon backstage about what had just gone down.
Where Austin has messed up, Triple H would come through for team ATM. Turning in a pretty good performance — as they should since this is about the millionth time a meeting between them has headlined a WWF pay-per-view — The Undertaker and Steve Austin really gave it all they got. It’s just too bad that their hard work was subverted by another run-in finish and you just knew it was bound to occur when Vince McMahon came out to join the announce team. Taker on the other hand made his way to the ring without his trademark motorcycle.
Taker paintbrushed Austin through the first part of the bout. Meeting him at the entrance way, Taker threw Stone Cold into some audio equipment, a steel fence and the ring stairs before taking off his bandanna and throwing it in Vince McMahon’s face. Taker then belted Austin with a fire extinguisher. Austin finally made a comeback concentrating his attention on Taker’s knee wrapping it around a post and bending it in all sorts of awkward positions. The Undertaker though didn’t sell the damage afterwards.
Outside action included Austin being chokeslammed through the announce table and The Dead Man taking a really frail monitor shot to the head by Austin. Taker came up bleeding. Back in the ring, Austin chair shot Taker to the head and taunted him to get up. Taker got to his knees and gave Austin the “one finger salute”. Austin Stone Cold Stunnered Taker but could only get a two count. Austin did his usual chair assault until Taker put a stop to it with a low blow. A Last Ride from The Undertaker put Austin down. Taker picked up the steel chair and payback began with Austin being beaten with the chair. From there, everything went South very quickly. Triple H and his sledgehammer roar into the ring only to be met with a chair shot by The Undertaker. McMahon dived in to halt The Undertaker’s pinfall so Taker punched his lights out in a corner. For the second time on the show, Austin screwed up a chair shot hitting McMahon instead of The Undertaker. Triple H connected with the sledgehammer though and as Kane ran to the ring. Austin got the pin but we didn’t see it until the producers replayed it moments later because the camera was focused on Kane and not what was going on in the ring.
As the show went off the air, the announcers made much of the fact that if it wasn’t for Triple H, Austin wouldn’t be champ.
The next WWF pay-per-view is King Of The Ring on June 24th.
WWF Judgment Day 2001 Results
William Regal versus Rikishi
- A total best-left-for-television match. Rikishi delivers the Stink Face and Regal sells it magnificently by rolling out of the ring and staggering around. Regal bled the hard way from the forehead after Rikishi threw him into the ring stairs. Rikishi collided with the ring post and Regal scored a neckbreaker for the victory.
- Winner: William Regal at 3 minutes and 56 seconds.
- Match Rating: 3 / 10.
- Edge and Christian yack backstage about who Jericho’s partner will be. Angle asks them for their advice about the ladder match. Edge tells Angle that “falling off a ladder sucks”. Vince questions Triple H about that goofy angle with the Undertaker’s wife. Triple H throws it back in Vince’s face saying he’s not husband of the year. Some bickering ensues.
Kurt Angle versus Chris Benoit (Two Out Of Three Falls Match)
- Angle’s medals on are the line. Not as good as their last few showpieces though still better than anything the WWF is putting on these days. Benoit scores a quick fall at 1:02 by using Angle’s own Olympic Slam against him. At 13:25, Angle evens things up with an Olympic Slam then an Ankle Lock. The ladder match portion is commendable. They knock each other off and throw each other into them. Benoit takes a snap suplex on the ladder. Benoit traps Angle underneath the ladder as he attempts to grab the medals hanging above the ring. Angle tips the ladder over so Benoit is guillotined on the ropes. Edge and Christian intervene distracting Benoit outside the ring so that Angle can take the medals and the win.
- Winner: Kurt Angle at 24 minutes and 2 seconds.
- Match Rating: 8 / 10.
- Regal is getting stitched up in his office. The Undertaker busts in and makes Regal change the main event to a No Holds Barred match. And the reason for announcing this on the pay-per-view and not before is…? A ticked off Jerry Lynn cuts a promo from the WWF New York Restaurant. He resents not being on the pay-per-view and remarks that he has worked his “whole life” to become the WWF Light Heavyweight Champion. How Lynn can say that with a straight face is anyone’s guess.
Test (challenger) versus Big Show (challenger) versus Rhyno (champion) (WWF Hardcore Title Match)
- More Test fodder for Mick Foley’s next bestseller. All three brawl to the back, however, it seems that the arena has failed to pay its electric bill because we can’t see a darn thing that’s going on. To end our misery, Rhyno throws Show a trash can in the ring. As Show catches it, Rhyno leaps onto the ringstairs and gores Big Show to retain the title.
- Winner: …and still WWF Hardcore Champion…Rhyno at 9 minutes and 12 seconds.
- Match Rating: 2 / 10.
- A WWF Divas ad runs. There is no mention of Chyna just Trish and Lita. William Regal is reluctant to break the news to Austin about the added stipulation to the main event. All Regal’s worrying seems for naught as Austin accepts the change with a smile. Eddie Guerrero tries to give Lita some advice for her match against Chyna. The best advice of course being that Lita should call in sick until she can work a match with someone who can actually wrestle. Lita declines Eddie’s help saying she wants to win the match on her own.
Chyna (champion) versus Lita (challenger) (WWF Women’s World Title Match)
- WOW is alive and well, folks. Missed spots galore due to Chyna not being able to sell or work with Lita’s aerobatics. Chyna completes her transformation into Cher by wearing peacock feathers to the ring. Funniest moment comes watching Chyna try to put one of her breasts back into her top as it falls out during the match. Eddie Guerrero takes in the action from the entrance way. Lita is put away by a powerbomb. Chyna and Lita hug after the match to show there are no hard feelings.
- Winner: …and still WWF Women’s World Champion…Chyna at 6 minutes and 29 seconds.
- Match Rating: 0 / 10.
- Angle says that there will be an Olympic awards ceremony for him on Raw. He thanks Edge and Christian for their assist. When he is gone, Edge and Christian say that Operation Never-Have-To-Hear-Kurt-Bitch-About-His-Medals-Again was a success. Austin, Triple H and Vince meet to set tonight’s agenda.
Kane (challenger) versus Triple H (WWF Intercontinental Title Chain Match)
- Winner: …and new WWF Intercontinental Champion…Kane at 12 minutes and 33 seconds.
- Match Rating: 7 / 10.
The APA versus Malenko-Saturn versus The Dudley Boys versus X-Factor versus The Hardy Boys versus Chris Jericho-Chris Benoit versus Edge, Christian (Tag Team Turmoil Tournament)
- The winners will be the Number One contenders to the tag team titles held by Austin and Triple H. Very well booked mini-tournament with non-stop action and no cop out finishes. Every match and team is given enough time to put in a quality match. Good stuff.
Match One: The APA versus Malenko-Saturn
- Winners: The APA with a Spinebuster on Saturn at 1 minute and 30 seconds..
Match Two: The APA versus The Dudley Boys
- Winners: The APA at 4 minutes and 54 seconds. The Hollys interfere as D’Von goes to get a table. Bradshaw’s Clothesline From Hell pins Buh Buh.
Match Three: The APA versus X-Factor
- Winners: X-Factor at 3 minutes and 43 seconds. Outside the ring, Albert trips up Faarooq as he presses X-Pac. X-Pac falls on top of Faarooq and Albert holds onto his leg so he can’t kick out.
Match Four: The X-Factor versus The Hardy Boys
- Winners: X-Factor at 3 minutes and 11 seconds. Albert pulls Matt Hardy outside the ring. Jeff lands a Swanton Bomb on him. X-Pac and Credible double thrust kick Matt as he steps back inside.
Match Five: The X-Factor versus Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho
- Winners: Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho at 5 minutes and 19 seconds. Benoit and Jericho knock Albert out of the ring and put on the Crippler Crossface and The Walls Of Jericho.
Match Six: Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho versus Edge, Christian
- Winners: Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho at 7 minutes and 11 seconds. Edge and Christian go outside to get steel chairs. Jericho and Benoit double drop kick the chairs into their faces. They foil another Con-Chairto inside the ring and Benoit gets the win with the Crippler Crossface. Word is that this might be a set-up for Benoit and Jericho to be elevated to main event status against Austin and Triple H.
- Overall Tournament Rating: 8 / 10.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin (champion) versus The Undertaker (challenger) (WWF World Heavyweight Title, No Holds Barred Match)
- Winner: …and still WWF World Heavyweight Champion….”Stone Cold” Steve Austin at 23 minutes and 8 seconds.
- Match Rating: 5 / 10.
- Total Event Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes.
- Overall Event Rating: 7 / 10.