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WWF Vengeance PPV
December 10, 2001

by Scott Keith


- Live from San Diego, CA

- Your hosts are JR & Jerry Lawler.

- You know, it's pretty fitting that WCW's final gasp at a legacy, the big gold belt, would meet its demise on the 12th most important PPV of the year between four WWF guys.  Once David Arquette started it down that path of destruction, there was just no way to stop the end.

- Vince does a pointless 10-minute interview to start the show until Ric Flair comes out to shut him up and bring out the first match.

- Opening match:  Scotty 2 Hotty & Albert v. Test & Christian.  The heels here are like the evil Toronto version of the Benoit & Jericho team.  Big brawl to start, and Christian starts with Scotty and gets taken down.  Test comes in, drawing Albert in.  Albert slugs away and gets a splash for two.  Albert knocks Christian off the apron and Scotty comes in to pummel Test in the corner, but he gets clotheslined and pounded on.  The heels work him over for the requisite amount of time with nothing very interesting.  Scotty finally superkicks Test and makes the hot tag to Albert, who gets somewhat in the vicinity of funky and avalanches both heels.  The GIANT SWING OF DEATH gets two on Christian.  Test pulls him out and they brawl, leaving Scotty to try a bulldog, only to get DDT'd.  Christian tries his own Worm, but Albert breaks it up, and Test gives HIM the big boot for two.  Heel miscommunication leads to Test taking the W-O-R-M for real and bailing.  Christian comes in and walks into a Baldobomb for the pin at 6:19.  This was what it was.  *  With Scotty's injuries there's no real long-team future for the team, so I'm not sure why they're bothering.

- Intercontinental title:  Edge v. William Regal.  The ref makes a point of checking for the brass knuckles, with no luck.  Any time they re-establish effective Memphis heat-drawing techniques for heels, I'm down with dat, yo.  They fight over a lockup and Edge clotheslines him and gets a missile dropkick to send Regal scurrying.  Regal posts him and tosses him into the apron to take over.  Back in, he stiffs him with a forearm, but gets backdropped for two.  Regal clothesline gets two.  Knees and forearm put Edge down, but he comes back with a sunset flip.  Regal counters by kneeing him in the neck in a nasty move.  Edge cradle gets two.  Regal knees him down for two, and the double-knee and suplex get two.  Edge comes back with a neckbreaker and clothesline, into an Edge-O-Matic for two.  Northern lights suplex gets two.  Edge charges and hits elbow, but manages to alley-oop Regal out of the ring.  He charges off the apron, but runs into the stairs.  WATCH THE TEETH!  Regal finds some brass knuckles, carelessly taped to the ringpost by an errant ringcrew member, and puts them away to give to the referee at a more opportune moment, no doubt.  Back in, Tiger Driver gets two for Regal.  Edge comes back with an edgezuigiri and both are down.  Edge rolls him up for two.  Backslide gets two.  Regal pulls out another pair of Tiger Drivers, for two.  He then remembers to tell the referee about the brass knuckles he found, but before he can get his attention, Edge spears him out of nowhere for the pin at 9:07.  Nice to see Regal's sense of fair play was at least on full display.  Match was a weird clash of styles, but worked well enough.  **

- Meanwhile, Kurt Angle confronts Ric Flair, laying out all the things he's going to accomplish tonight.  Flair simply agrees with it all, annoying Angle even more.   Funny bit.

- Matt Hardy v. Jeff Hardy.  Lita is of course YOUR special referee.  They fight over a wristlock and Matt steps on him to play heel.  Jeff grabs an armbar, but Matt takes him down and slams him for two.  Matt lays in the chops, Jeff answers.  Matt hotshots him, clothesline gets two.  Sleeper is reversed by Jeff, but Matt suplexes out.  Yodelling legdrop misses and Jeff lariats him to come back.  Jeff's own version of the yodelling legdrop gets two.  Jeff goes up and gets hung in the Tree of Woe, but Lita pulls him out of it, drawing boos for her shitty reffing job.  As Gorilla would say, it's the ref's job to COUNT, not touch the wrestlers.  Matt rolls Jeff up for two.  Matt tosses him and tries a powerbomb off the apron, reversed to a sloppy rana by Jeff.  Back in, Jeff flips in and hurts his knee, and Matt goes after it, working on it with some pretty pedestrian stuff.  Jesus, this is a guy who lives in NORTH CAROLINA, probably grew up watching Flair matches every day of his life, and doesn't even know how to punish a knee in convincing fashion?  He doesn't even get to a figure-four before Jeff pushes him out of the ring.  Jeff tries a baseball slide, but his knee is too hurt.  Back in, he suddenly forgets the knee injury and mulekicks Matt, and they slug it out.  Jeff blocks a Twist of Fate attempt and goes low.  Backdrop suplex and he goes up, but gets crotched and slammed.  Matt sets up another Twist of Fate, but Jeff reverses, and Matt reverses again to a backslide for two.  A SLOW two at that.  Jeff sunset flips him, but Matt blocks with the ropes for two, again very slowly counted.  Lita may be the worst ref ever.  Jeff cradles for two.  Matt stomps him down, but Jeff goes up again, and again gets crotched.  Matt follows him up, but Jeff shoves him off and swantons him for the pin at 12:29.  Of note:  Matt had his foot on the ropes, and Lita not only ignored that, but Jeff also did by pulling it off.  So the guy basically got screwed over by his girlfriend AND brother, both of whom are supposed to be babyfaces.  The psychology in this match was just screwed up all over the place, from the bad reffing to the phantom knee injury to their seeming inability to build a basic singles match against each other.  Bret-Owen this was not.  *1/2

- Meanwhile, Trish snatches another kiss from Rock.  Rock declines to return the favor.

- WWF tag title match:  The Dudley Boyz v. Big Slow & Kane.  Kane & Slow are basically unnecessary dead weight on the roster at this point, being too big to use as midcard fodder and not over enough to get into the main event.  That's a bad spot to be in.  Kane boots D-Von and cleans house to start, and the faces pound Bubba.  Slow powerslam gets two.  Sideslam on D-Von gets two.  Slow uses the overwhelming power of his ass and whips Kane into both guys.  Kane tosses both Dudleyz and follows with a half-assed tope.  Slow spanks Stacy again.  It's a cute spot once in a while, but not every show.  Back in, Dudz catch Kane with a neckbreaker and Bubba clips him to set up the Whazzup.  Double-flapjack, but Kane no-sells and takes both out.  Hot (?) tag Slow, and he's the International House of Pancakes on Fire.  It's kinda bonzo, but never approaches gonzo.  They start blowing simple spots all over the place until an intentionally blown spot where Kane hits Slow by mistake with the flying clothesline.  Kane tosses Bubba, but stops to argue with his partner.  Slow boots Bubba, but then hits Kane by mistake (just in case we missed the point) and the Dudleyz hotshot him for the pin at 6:50.  Even JR kind of apologizes for the lack of quality here.  Awful past the first minute, with bizarre on-and-off selling and no continuity.  -*

- Hardcore title:  Rob Van Dam v. The Undertaker.  I don't see the point of making this a title match.  Rob starts quick with kicks, but gets booted for two.  Blind charge hits elbow, flying senton gets two.  Spinkick gets two.  UT crotches him and dumps him, and they brawl.  Taker hits the post, and Rob keeps fighting him off and sends him into the crowd.  Rob dives, but gets nailed.  They fight to the edge of the arena and do some standard brawling stuff.  Rob springboards him for two, but gets tossed into a piece of railing.  Over to the under-stage area, where Rob extinguishes him and kicks him in the face, drawing a weird selling moment from UT where he looks like Sandman.  Trashcan to the head, and Rob dives off the balcony for the hell of it with a bodypress that gets two.  This reminds of those matches they had on ECW on TNN all the time.  They head back up to the entrance area, where Rob knocks him down for two.  Taker stomps him and javelins him into the video wall, then tries the Last Ride onto the stage.  Rob grabs onto the staging for dear life to block, but gets slugged down.  Taker finds a chair, but Rob stomps him and gets Rolling Thunder for two.  Dropkick with the chair gets two.  Undertaker does another Sandman-esque sell, staggering into the screen, but he uses the chair on Rob a few times.  Rob tries a Van Daminator by the edge of the stage, but gets chokeslammed off there through some tables, giving Undertaker the Hardcore title at 11:05.  Fun match.  ***  Taker flashes yet another Crazy Old Man facial expression at the camera after the win.  Hey, selling is selling, sez I.

- Meanwhile, Jericho confronts Flair to let him know that he CAN win the big one.

- HHH video, done to "Beautiful Day".  You've gotta wonder if this is the WWF's idea of a way to satisfy the fans who bought the show thinking HHH was gonna show, what with all the advertising centered on him and all.

- Women's title:  Trish v. Jackie.  Why even bother with this?  Jackie rolls her up for two and gets a backdrop.  Trish kicks her down, way stiff, and Jackie seems pissed about it.  She stiffs Trish right back with a forearm.  Hard stomps and a slam, but Trish gets a clothesline for two.  Jackie legsweeps her in vicious fashion, but misses a charge and they severely fuck up a rolling reverse cradle spot.  There's the problem with the women's division right there  any time they try to make it "serious", someone goes and blows a simple spot like that on a PPV.  Jackie backdrops her and blocks the Trishdog.  They collide and Trish gets the pin with a backslide at 3:35.  Weird, horrible match that was made into even more of a parody of itself because Jackie got all indignant at Trish's stiff kick and tried to tighten up, which only served to emphasize what a bad match it was.  I mean, I know I shouldn't expect joshi out there or anything, but it IS the 21st century and it's just not believable for anyone to be getting near-falls off a bodyslam 2 minutes into a match or finishing with a backslide at 3 minutes.  The funniest thing is listening to Jackie or Tori or Ivory go out there on Tough Enough and talk about the hard work and sacrifice required to become a WWF superstar, only to see Trish v. Stacy in a Gravy Bowl match three days later on Smackdown.  Hell, why not call up Nidia right now?  At least she's trained properly.  DUD

- Meanwhile, Test accosts Trish in her dressing room in a segment that felt like it was attached with a rivet gun.  Trish alternates between cracking up and looking concerned.

- WWF title match:  Steve Austin v. Kurt Angle.  Feeling-out sequence to start, as the fans go "What".  Kurt gets in his face, annoying the fans.  Austin pounds away and stomps a mudhole, and Kurt bails.  Back in, Angle takes him down and Austin bails.  Back in, Austin flips him off and we start fresh.  Angle eats elbow and gets stomped and chopped, but he catches a foot and tries for the anklelock, narrowly missing it.  Austin goes to the arm, and then chokes Angle out.  They slug it out and Angle gets tossed, allowing Austin to work on his arm via the ringpost.  Angle meets the stairs for good measure.  Back in, Austin uses an armbar takedown for two.  More chops, but Angle rolls into an anklelock in a sweet spot.  Austin makes the ropes, dumps him, and they brawl.  Back in, but Angle trips him up and wraps his knee around the post, then proceeds to lift the ringpost figure-four from the Bret Hart playbook.  That's just sacreligious.  Another anklelock, and this one takes longer for Austin to escape from.  Angle suplexes him and slugs away.  Austin fights back, but gets german suplexed.  Two more get a two count.  Anglesault misses and Austin comes back with the Thesz Press and a spinebuster for two.  Angle gets reversed into five german suplexes, and that gets two for Austin.  Apparently WWF history now says that Angle invented that sequence.  Angle goes low, and the Angle Slam gets two.  Angle Stunner is reversed to the KICK WHAT? I SAID KICK WHAM STUNNER for the pin at 15:01 to retain.  Angle's glassy-eyed straight-back sell of the stunner is a thing of beauty.  Match was solid, but all punchy-kicky and stuff.  ***1/4

- World title match:  The Rock v. Chris Jericho.  Rock works the arm to start, but Jericho reverses to a headlock.  Rock slugs him down and clotheslines him, but Jericho spinkicks him and dropkicks him off the apron.  They brawl by the tables, and Rock meets stairs, and they head back in.  Jericho elbows him off the top for two.  Suplex gets one with the ARROGANT COVER~!  Choking and chops follow, but Rock gets the lariat for two.  Jericho suplexes him for two.  Clothesline gets two.  Rock comes back with a belly-to-belly and samoan drop for two.  Jericho sleeper turns into a chinlock to give Rock a chance to rally the fans.  Jericho elbows him, but misses the Lionsault and Rock fights back.  Jericho cuts it off with a bulldog and Lionsault for two.  Snap suplex and Jericho goes up, but gets crotched.  Rock can't suplex him, but when Jericho tries a flying bodypress, Rock rolls through for two.  Don't see that spot much anymore.  Jericho keeps on him, but charges and hits the post.  They brawl outside, where Jericho catapults him into the ringpost and preps the table.  Jericho Bottom is reversed to a DDT through the table.  Back in, Rock readies to finish, but Rock Bottom is blocked and reversed to the Breakdown.  Jericho is still wobbly from the DDT, though, and instead of covering he goes for a People's Elbow instead, which Rock catches and turns into a Scorpion King Deathlock, which Jericho in turn reverses into his own Sharpshooter.  New rule:  Only Canadians can do a Sharpshooter.  Nice psychology there, as Jericho adjusted to the last time he faced the Rock and devised the counter.  Rock teases the blackout finish, but that would make Jericho look too strong so he makes the ropes.  Walls of Jericho attempt is reversed to a small package, but again Jericho has apparently learned from the last time Rock beat him that way and it only gets two.  Rock Bottom, but he can't cover because he's too tired.  Vince runs in to argue and Rock nails him.  Spinebuster and Elbow, but Rock makes the fatal babyface mistake and goes after Vince again, walks into a low blow, and Jericho Bottom finishes at 19:05 to Jericho the World title.  Rock had no one to blame but himself there.  Match was quite awesome before the YAM (Yet another McMahon) finish.  ****1/2

- Steve Austin comes out right away for the next match, but Kurt Angle lays him out with a chairshot, and Rock lays out Jericho with Rock Bottom, so we're all even.

- Undisputed/Unified World title:  Steve Austin v. Chris Jericho.  Jericho rolls over for two, then stomps away.  Forearm, and he pounds away.  Corner clothesline, but Austin spears him and gives him some turnbuckle sandwich.  Stunner is blocked, so Austin tosses him and they brawl.  Austin dumps him on the railing and gives him the post ala Angle in the previous match.  He pulls up the mat, but Jericho preps the Spanish table and tries the Walls of Jericho there.  Austin powers out, though, and suplexes Jericho on the floor.  They head back in, where Austin charges and hits the post.  Jericho goes to the arm, but misses a dropkick and gets catapulted for two.  Jericho floats over out of the cover, into a Herb Kunze armbar, using the ropes for leverage.  Suplex and he goes up, but Austin nails him coming down.  Austin comes back, but Jericho rolls into the Walls, getting a good pop. Austin makes the ropes.  Ref is bumped, so Jericho goes low and stunners Austin.  Vince brings out Nick Patrick:  Evil Ref to count, but Ric Flair in turn pulls him out, and Vince in turn punks out Flair.  In the ring, Austin chases Vince and punks him out, then heads back in for a Thesz Press and the Walls of Austin.  Jericho is tapping, but Booker T runs in, nails Austin with the belt, and Jericho unifies the titles at 12:37.  ALL HAIL CANADA!  Too much tomfoolery, what with the ref bumping and the run-ins and the screwjobs and all.  ***

The Bottom Line:

I've been saying for weeks that Jericho going over here was the best thing for business, so hopefully they don't pull a Kane and hotshot it back onto Rock or Austin tonight on RAW.  On the bright side, they've finally managed to de-Lugerize Jericho and shake the choker image from him, and hopefully this will be enough of a foothold in the main event so he can hold back some people on his own now.

Did I type that last part or just think it?  Oh well.

The rest of the undercard was quite worthless and stale and in need of a booking enema, so I can't go anything over thumbs in the middle here, no matter how cool WWF Champion Chris Jericho may sound.


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