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Monday, July 4, 2016

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EOTR Retro Reviews: WWF Judgment Day 2001

By @TrueGodImmortal

I was having a conversation with someone about the WWF in 2001 and how it was my favorite year overall besides 2002, and I was asked to name the memorable PPVs of the year. After rattling off Royal Rumble, No Way Out, Wrestlemania, Invasion, Summerslam, No Mercy, and Survivor Series as the biggest of the year, I noticed there's a huge span of shows that I neglected to show love to. I remember having Judgment Day 2001 on DVD, and I remember it being a show I frequently watched, so I wanted to revisit it on the network and see how it holds up today.

*William Regal vs Rikishi
-This was a rather uneventful match, clocking in about 4 minutes total, and Rikishi seemed so far away from the man who had "Did It For The Rock" that it was no shock Regal got the easy victory here to kick off the show. Nothing truly noteworthy to talk about in this one, just a good victory from Regal who kicked things off with a standard heel promo.

*Chris Benoit vs Kurt Angle
Three Stages of Hell Match 
-Benoit had stolen the Gold Medals that Angle had won in the Olympics and sat them near his genitals. The storyline was true trolling fashion, and could only be settled in the most interesting form of match: 3 stages of hell. Three separate matches, three separate falls, with a ladder match as the final contest to settle the score. What would be up for grabs in the final ladder match? Yes, you guessed it, the gold medals. Both men would pull out all the stops having the match of the night, as Benoit came this close to a huge victory, before Angle would win and recapture the gold medals he was always so proud of. Benoit and Angle had great chemistry and this might be one of their most underrated matches for sure.

*Rhyno vs Test vs Big Show
Hardcore Championship Match
-This match was definitely not a bad one, but just insignificant on the card and a bit bland. Hardcore matches were always cool to watch, and Rhyno was definitely doing his thing here, but it just didn't hit the mark overall. Solid win for Rhyno, but this is insignificant when you look at the whole card. A bunch of backstage action was funny with Big Show falling over a few times, but other than that, this is your standard Hardcore match right after the heyday of the Attitude Era.

*Chyna vs Lita
Women's Championship Match

-This was a dream match of sorts. Lita at the time was one of the most popular people in the company, and Chyna was easily the no. 1 dominant woman in the brand. Lita presented a decent challenge in popularity and in ring ability for Chyna, but this match disappointed me on the rewatch. It was a bit short, Lita got some decent offense in, but it wasn't enough, as Chyna walks away with the victory and once again asserted her dominance over the division. Chyna controlled most of this match, which is no shock, but Lita got some action in during the middle of the match.

*Kane vs Triple H
Chain Match for the Intercontinental Title

-This whole Brothers of Destruction vs Two Man Power Trip feud was weird. No one wanted to really boo Triple H or Austin at this time, and while Taker and Kane were popular as always, the crowd would tend to be split as times in certain areas. So in this match, the crowd was a bit split, with Kane getting more cheers and it seemed like Triple H might have had this won, but a jumbled finish caused Kane to walk away with the Intercontinental Title, and Triple H to take a big loss in this one. The match was interesting to say the least. Kane and Triple H don't have the best chemistry in ring, but this was a decent contest with some nonsense near the end as expected, as Austin costs HHH the match with a horrible finish and mistake.

*Tag Team Turmoil

-This match would determine who would be the no. 1 contenders to the tag titles. Starting off with Malenko and Saturn vs APA, with the APA moving on, then with the Dudleys coming out next, and getting defeated by the APA. It looked as if the APA had this one in the bag, but X-Factor ended up eliminating them before running into the Hardy Boys who were so close to winning against them, but interference caused them to stay afloat and win. This is where the match shifts, as Jericho comes out and the world wants to know who is partner is. He reveals his partner to be Benoit (showing you how thin the roster was in a way), and they would make quick work of X-Factor before running into the great team of Edge and Christian in the final match of the turmoil. This is where things got amazing, as both teams put on an absolute clinic before Jericho and Benoit walk away with the victory and the no. 1 contenders spot for the tag titles. The wrestling in this final stretch of the match was hands down one of the more superb things on the entire card. Now onto the main event.

*Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Undertaker
WWF Title Match 

-These two were far too familiar with each other. We saw them on multiple PPVs before main eventing and this was yet another one on the list. I liked the match, as I think Austin and Taker can work well together, but I feel as if Austin was carrying this match. Taker had seemed slow during his American Badass persona, and this match is a shining example of that. Austin would get the crowd on his side easily halfway through as the fans started chanting at middle levels "Austin, Austin" right when he was preparing for a stunner. In the end, after all the interference and drama, Austin retains his title and walks away with the victory. Was this the best Austin Vs Taker match? No, but it was the first between there with Austin as a heel in the dynamic. A solid end to a decent PPV and a good main event regardless.

So, how does WWF Judgment Day 2001 hold up? Outside of a few mishaps, this was a decent event that I don't think I'd watch too many times but it had its moments that are truly special. Kudos to WWF Judgment Day 2001.


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