WWF King Of The Ring 2001
To start the show, DDP's music hits, and he comes to the ring out of the crowd. So...he has music and a Titan Tron video, and he's given a mic. No security or anything. Paul points out that he's a WCW contracted employee, but he has his a custom music video and new music. Shane's doing? DDP insinuates that he has xxx rated footage of Sara that he jerks off to. DDP is so corny. Maybe if he was trying to be serious instead of being cheesy as fuck like it is 1991 again, this angle could have gone somewhere. He'll be in the front row with a MAKE ME FAMOUS sign. JR explains that Taker made sure Vince allowed DDP "full access". Do you think Taker created that song? Or do you think he commissioned Jim Johnston to put out one of his least inspired production tracks in years?
Kurt Angle vs Christian King Of The Ring Semi-Finals
Christian attacks before his music even stops. Good plan. Kurt didn't like it and does a crazy double leg throw. That shit was dope. Kurt potentially has 3 matches tonight, one of which is a non-tournament street fight with noted daredevil Shane McMahon. There are chants for Angle in this. Kurt looks like he breaks his nose on the ring steps. I bet that fucking hurt. Kurt was just such a physical specimen in 2001. And he is maybe the best dude ever at being able to switch from goofy comedy dork to vicious killer in the ring. Shane comes out in an attempt to distract Kurt. Kurt gets Christian in the ankle lock...Christian makes it to the ropes, so Kurt pulls him up into the Angle slam, which is countered into the Unprettier, but Shane pulls Christian out before the 3 count. Kurt then does the Angle Slam from the apron to the ring to get the win and advance to the finals. He'll now have an extra match tonight, making him more worn out for the match with Shane. What a son of a bitch! Very fun opening match that has implications on the rest of the show, plus made Christian look great and every bit capable of beating former WWF champs on his own.
TO THE COACH. Coach tries to get some words with Stone Cold. Steve just wants to know where Vince is. There are rumors that Jericho or Benoit are planning to take the WWF Championship to WCW should they win it tonight.
TO THE DANGER ZONE. Paul Heyman leaves the announce table to to get words with DDP. While DDP is talking, a video of him eating and reading the paper is shown on the screen. DDP doesn't find it amusing. IRONY.
Edge vs Rhyno King Of The Ring Semi-Finals
Rhyno gets a much bigger reaction than Edge. SPEAR VS GORE. Christian is so clearly better than Edge at everything. It's still shocking to me that Edge ended up as the 11 time champ and main event star for years. There is literally nothing Edge does better than Christian, and he's a weird looking dude to on top of that. He's slightly taller, but looks like a fucking caveman. His in ring work is far behind Christian's, and Christian was so much funnier/goofier/cooler than Edge. That continues all the way up to the Edge and Christian Show That Totally Reeks Of Awesomeness, where Edge is PAINFULLY uncool and unfunny. Fuck Edge. Rhyno focuses on the mid section for most of the match, presumably to make the GORE GORE GORE more impactful. He actually hits the Superfly Splash, which I think is the only time I've seen him connect with it. Rhyno has been positioned VERY well, considering he didn't even debut until March. In those 3 months, he's scored multiple wins over guys like Jericho, Kane, the Hardy Boys, Test, Tazz, E&C, and is now at a point where he's more over than the clearly face turning Edge at KOTR. All in 3 months. And he's about to have an even crazier few months. There was a pretty neat spot of both guys trying their version of the spear at the same time, but this is definitive not nearly as good as Angle/Christian. I'm going to blame it on Edge, even though I know Rhyno isn't as good as Angle. Fuck off, and fuck Edge. The turnbuckle pad that Rhyno exposed comes back to haunt him, and then he's hit with an Impaler that makes Paul scream "JESUS". It was okay, I guess.
EARLIER TONIGHT. On Heat, Spike was asked about the Dudleys becoming the new tag champions. Spike challenged them to a title match tonight, and went to find a partner.
TO THE BACK. JR asks Spike if he's found a partner. Spike has, but it is a big surprise. The Dudleys show up and call Spike a disappointment.
TO THE TAZZ. Tazz went from trying to get into the KOTR to being an interviewer at the event itself. He asks Jericho about the WCW rumors. Jericho says YES...that he was aware of the rumors. NO...he was not aware that Tazz knew of the rumors. He gave no answer, but did say that WCW didn't seem so bad with an actual owner like Shane.
Dudley Boyz vs Spike Dudley/Kane WWF Tag Team Championships
What I'd like to know is why Kane wasn't defending his IC title at the show to begin with. This match can get fucked. ALL Dudley bros can get fucked. GET FUCKED. Kane...well, I am tired of Kane, but in 2001, he was probably at his biggest and best. Still, I don't want to see him mixing it up with anyone having the surname of "Dudley". Dudleys win clean with the 3D on Spike. Titles retained. Post match sees them try to put Spike through a table, only for Bubba to get chokeslammed through it.
TO THE BACK. Christian offers Edge good luck, even though Edge was being a dick.
Another stalker video of DDP is shown.
TO WWF NEW YORK. Billy Gunn is at WWF New York, and he's not pleased that he went from being the KOTR in 1999 to not only not being in the tournament this year, but being at the fucking restaurant being asked about the KOTR.
Kurt Angle vs Edge King Of The Ring Finals
Before the match starts, Kurt apologizes for getting mad at Edge last week and doesn't want anything to get in the way of their friendship. Kurt then asks Edge to lie down for him, since he's going to win anyway, so Kurt can be fresh for his match with Shane. "Come on, I think I know you." LOL. Kurt was really just amazing around this time. It's hard to find a guy as funny as him in general, even among comedy characters, but it is impossible to find a guy as funny as him who was as good in the ring as him. Edge didn't take kindly to the proposition. The crowd is kind of dead for this, mostly because Edge is actually the least over guy of the four competing tonight. The first big salvo of the match is Kurt hitting a crazy belly to belly over the ropes to the floor that even Kidman would have complained about. This works double since Edge's ribs were worked over in the match with Rhyno. I'm just not buying Edge here. I'm not sure the live crowd is either. They seem more on Kurt's side than Edge. Edge could have had the match won, had Christian not jumped up on the apron and distracted the ref. There is a ref bump, and Edge clearly taps to the ankle lock. Shane comes out of the crowd to hit the spear on Kurt. Edge then hits the Impaler to become KOTR, but as soon as the 3 count hits, cameras cut to Shane celebrating. In fact, Edge winning was really an afterthought. The whole thing seemed just like more build to Shane/Kurt.
TO THE TAZZ. Benoit also refuses to answer the WCW question.
DDP is still waiting for Taker to come out.
TO THE COACH. Christian congratulates Edge. "So begins this Era of Awesomeness." This was IT for Edge the rest of the night. No coronation ceremony, no mention of him the rest of the night really. Lol. This KOTR feels like so much less of a big deal than the previous ones.
TO THE BACK. Kurt is rampaging around the back, saying if any WCW wrestler shows up during his match with Shane, he'll make sure they're fired from the Federation and are out of work...Lol. Kurt Angle just killed the angle that the WCW guys don't work for Vince.
Jeff Hardy vs X-Pac WWF Light Heavyweight Championship
This isn't doing shit for me. I mean, I like X-Pac more than most, but Jeff Hardy was pretty not good at all. Jeff wins with the swanton. Title retained.
TO THE OFFICE. Austin is desperately trying to get a hold of Vince on his cell phone and the office phone. He tells Vince about the Benoit/Jericho defecting to WCW rumor. Steve needs Vince.
Another video of DDP plays, so he jumps into the ring and calls Taker out directly. It turns out that Sara was filming DDP. SWERVE! Taker slowly walks to the ring while DDP does yoga poses. Lol. Taker obliterates DDP (with Sara recording it) until DDP literally gets booted out of the ring and runs away. Weeks of DDP building up this fight, calling Taker out...then immediately gets his ass handed to him and runs away. That'd be not great, but kind of okay enough if DDP wasn't arguably the biggest star in the new WCW. All this tells me is that WCW mid carders can do sneak attacks, and the main event talent stand no chance against WWF main eventers in a fair fight. It could have just been a pull apart brawl, and they would have come off as equals. Instead, DDP (and by extension, WCW) immediately look inferior. Not great if you're trying to build up WCW as a capable brand again.
TO THE BACK. Austin is asking crew if Vince has arrived yet.
Kurt Angle vs Shane McMahon Street Fight
Okay, so Shane interrupted Kurt reenacting his medal awards ceremony for no reason. He talked up WCW, and Kurt laid him out. That's what started this? Lol. Weird. That's the flimsiest shit. Kurt starts the match with a SHOOT double leg take down/spear and then just rides Shane around the ring. He's not in a pleasant mood tonight. Shane clearly pops Kurt right in the fucking eye with one of his shitty flurries. It busted Kurt open. I swear Shane has no idea how to throw a worked punch. Either he completely whiffs, or actually hits someone. Shane takes the bait of Angle being in referee's position. What a fucking dumb dumb. Kurt is just man handling Shane. Knocking the piss out of him, throwing him all around, just killing him on the mat. Kurt gets in position again, and this time Shane punts him in the ribs. Shane is in control once the plundah comes out, until he tries a SSP on a trash can and misses. Things head out to the entrance stage. Kurt takes a suplex and I swear you can HEAR his tail bone crack upon impact. A fucking gross sound. Kurt is clearly in severe pain and has trouble standing up straight after this. A few minutes later, Kurt tries to belly to belly Shane through the glass panes of the set, only for Shane to bounce off and land right on his fucking head on the floor, with another disgusting sound. Shane goes through it the second time. CZFNW. JEEEEEEEZUS. Kurt tries to throw Shane OUT of the set, and Shane again bounced off of it. And one more time. Kurt gives up with the suplex and just throws him through it head first. So violent. It's a street fight, not falls count anywhere, so Kurt has to put Shane on a stage crate to push him back to the ring, both all sliced up from the glass, which was REAL GLASS for some fucking reason. You couldn't gimmick that shit? Perhaps if you had, Shane wouldn't have had 3 concussions from bouncing off of it and landing on his head. When they get back to the ring, Shane kicks out. Kurt wins with an AVALANCHE Angle Slam, because there is no kill like overkill. If you're going to do CZW shit with glass and blood and huge bumps, you might as well do it where you're actually getting paid real money for it. I can't say this is a good match. It's definitely a Shane spotfest, but it is pretty crazy. The glass stuff is some of the nastiest shit I've ever seen in WWE.
TO THE BACK. Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho warm up. Elsewhere, Austin is still hoping Vince has arrived. Vince has not.
Steve Austin vs Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit WWF Championship
Finally, after Benoit and Jericho having about 6 matches against Austin in singles or tags in the past month, the title match happens and hopefully ends the angle. Austin tries to stall for time, hoping Vince will show up, but the Canadians Chris ambush him and beat him around the arena. It takes about 10 minutes before Jericho and Benoit go at it. It's the standard triple threat of one guy stays down for 5 minutes, then comes back, then another guy goes down for a few minutes. It's basically a handicap match for 10 minutes, then Austin alternating singles matches between Jericho and Benoit for the rest of the match. And of course, there is a ref bump. Benoit attempted to hit the stunner. It was closer to the Ace Crusher, though. Benoit absolutely brains Jericho with a chair. Austin taps while in the Crippler Walls of Jericho, but Earl says the match must continue since there can only be one champion. As Austin is on the floor THE WCW CHAMPION BOOKER T jumps out of the crowd and lays Austin out with an ax kick, then throws him through the announce table. THE WCW CHAMPION HAS JUST ATTACKED THE WWF CHAMPION! MY GOD! Back in the ring, Jericho damn near Hayabusa's himself trying a Lionsault 3/4ths of the way across the ring for some reason. Shortly after, Benoit literally breaks his neck doing a back superplex (although it's kind of been broken for like a month now, this just finished the job). And then Austin pins him and wins. Lol. Title retained.
Overall, it is a pretty good, but not great show. Edge winning the KOTR was overshadowed completely by the Shane/Angle feud and him being the guy the fans cared about the least of the 4 combatants. Christian/Kurt blew both Edge/Rhyno and Edge/Kurt out of the water. DDP looked like an absolute putz, which reflects on WCW as a whole. Kurt/Shane was a still crazy spotfest that is probably one of the most violent matches in WWE history. This is a match where you can hear Kurt's eye being busted open, his tailbone cracking, and Shane's head rattling off the ground. Then both guys getting sliced up from actual glass. You might as well have just ended the hardcore division on the spot, because those matches never come close to what Shane/Kurt did.
The main event was fine. I'm sick of the feud, so I'm sure that is painting my opinion of it. Benoit would be out for a year after this. But the big news is Booker T, reigning WCW Champion, attacked Steve Austin, reigning WWF Champion. The spark of the Invasion that has been left to Shane for weeks finally has a new flame. That's hype as fuck.