- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- The Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray Dudley & D-Von Dudley) eliminated Kai En Tai (Funaki & Taka Michinoku) (0:30)
- D-Lo Brown & Perry Saturn eliminated The Dudley Boyz (Buh Buh Ray Dudley & D-Von Dudley) (0:51)
- The Hardy Boyz (Jeff Hardy & Matt Hardy) eliminated Too Cool (Grandmaster Sexay & Scotty 2 Hotty) (1:46)
- T&A (Albert & Test) eliminated The Hardy Boyz (Jeff Hardy & Matt Hardy) (1:50)
- The APA (Bradshaw & Faarooq) eliminated T&A (Albert & Test) (3:39)
- The APA (Bradshaw & Faarooq) eliminated D-Lo Brown & Perry Saturn (3:54)
As was the fashion at the time, these are not long matches, but I am not necessarily against that. Take Benoit vs Rikishi for example: Two great wrestlers are given three minutes to showcase some moves and tell a story. It’s fast, it’s energetic, they squeeze a lot in, both wrestlers get showcased and the characters and rivalries are furthered. In my humble opinion it’s great stuff. I’ll grant you it is not classic, but it makes for good television. Long matches every week are overkill, I want television to build to a proper match on PPV, this does that.
The same could be said for X-Pac vs Jericho. I have to say though, the famous Jericho Stephanie promos do not sit well with me as a modern viewer. I can’t remember whether I was uncomfortable with it at the time, probably not, but now… Well it’s not very forward thinking let’s say.
The thing that strikes me most about the tag team match is just how many teams there are. This truly is a golden age for tag team wrestling and while, yes, the ones who get all the plaudits are The Hardyz, Dudleys and Edge & Christian, there is real depth in that division, some great teams who really connect with the crowd.
Now if we want to talk about things that make me uncomfortable, the Strip Tease match is just horrendous. Blatant sexual exploitation, no one cares about the match, they just want to see naked women. However, we do get the debut of “Steven” Richards and while I absolutely hated the Right To Censor at the time, I am excited to see them now, I think I will really enjoy the storylines.
The Undertaker & Kane squash was hilarious. Edge and Christian were my favourites back in the day and I can’t imagine that being changed on re-viewing. They are just so funny. The way they walk nervously to the ring is gold, refusing to do a five second pose, it’s all ace. However, the funniest moment comes un-intentionally pre-match as Taker and Kane are shown walking backstage. Taker takes out a pouch of baccy and gets a big old chew for himself. He then offers the pouch to Kane and does a little ‘suit yourself’ shrug when Kane declines. As a side not, Undertaker looks very silly. Did this ever look cool? I can’t remember what I thought of him at the time. At the very best we can safely say this look has not aged well!
The main event was pretty simple, but it does a great job of opening the door for a new number one contender to freshen the main event scene and also set up the big feud for the Summer. I think in this day and age we may be moaning that Rock didn’t look like a strong champion coming out of this match, what with HHH undoubtedly having the match won if it wasn’t for Jericho, but something about how The Rock carries himself, and the way he is put over, means you are never in any doubt that he is the man. There really hasn’t been anyone like him since (including himself when he has returned on occasion).
Now for why I’m watching! Foley started out by interrupting HHH and laid down the law that now he is in charge “There-a will-a be-a no more-a boring-a twenty-a minute-a Triple H-a promos”. What a great start! I can’t believe HHH was ok with it, but I can only assume that all was fine as I know all of the Foley stuff was scripted. Would HHH allow such blatant criticism these days? It really does feel like a mission statement though. The writers and bookers have decided – this is going to be different. You don’t get that feeling very often, that a product acknowledges it needs to change. We got the feeling with “The Pipebomb” but it never actually happened. Straight off the bat here we get acknowledgement of previous weaknesses and a main event which allows for someone new to get involved. Foley is great in this character, but the writers really need a lot of credit as well.
I had no recollection that the Edge and Christian stuff started straight away. It’s so good. The way Foley goes along with all their demands, making it look like he will be a doormat of a Commissioner, only to pull the rug from under them and punish them basically for disrespecting him is a great way to solidify what this character is about. He sings silly songs, he makes references to the Wizard of Oz, but when he meets with resistance (“Mick, we’ve been thinking, we’re not going to fight Kane and The Undertaker”) he lays down the law and comes across as strong as any authority figure in wrestling history. The balance between comedy, silliness and serious story-telling is so finely tread and tuned (which I suppose should come as no surprise considering Foley’s previous promos, writing and spoken word work).
So, my first foray back into the land of Commissioner Foley is a real hit. The wrestling quality is high (I know these aren’t 2 out of 3 fall NWA classics, but I enjoy them for what they are) there are stories up and down the card (although I have a strong suspicion that the Tazz interference thing isn’t going very far!!) and it is all held together by an authority figure who can entertain and lay down the law.
I think this is going to be fun!