LIVE FROM CHICAGO
Commentators: Tazz & Michael Cole
Vinnie Mac opens this show also to give Kurt Angle the rub for tapping out Hollywood Hogan at King of the Ring. This leads to Angle issuing the infamous open challenge that sees a young JOHN CENA make his debut. Angle says "who the hell are you?" And asks him what makes him think he can challenge the best in the business and Cena says it - RUTHLESS AGGRESSION. The era is officially in swing with this statement combined with the epic McMahon promo from Raw a few days prior.
1) Kurt Angle vs. John Cena
Angle really gave Cena so much here. Making him look like a viable opponent despite losing. The struggle was definitely there and after the match, Cena tries to shake Kurt's hand and he walks off. Furthering the likeability of a then unknown Cena, even teasing going back to face him again as Cena ags him on.
Match rating - **3/4
Rikishi, Billy Kidman, and Ron Simmons are backstage after the commercial dapping up Cena on his debut. Cena says "I'm just tryna get my own man" I love that bastard. And then UNDERTAKER WALKS UP FUCK. Asks him his name, offers a handshake and says nice job. Man.. Cena's facial expressions here get you so invested. Even looking back at this 18 years later, I got emotional. Good shit.
2) Billy Gunn & Chuck Palumbo (w/ Rico) vs. Hardcore Holly & Val Venis
God damn Billy and Chuck out here. Val Venis is going under a different name at this point? I don't recall this but it's weird and idk how to spell it so we are going with what he's known as. Speaking of Val he looked really good here. Holly hit the Alabama slam on Rico but Billy got the famousser on Val in the meantime to get the win for B&C.
Match rating - *3/4
Torrie Wilson is backstage getting ready for her preview for the Divas Undressed special.
That's what we get when we come back from commercial as she struts around on the stage in lingerie.
Meanwhile "our cameras caught Nidia preparing with Jamie Noble" and this is something I wish I could forget lmao. Noble asks Tajiri if he wants a taste of Nidia.
Michael Cole is in a tight baby blue t-shirt talking about Triple H's elbow surgery. Jesus. There's also an epic John Laurinitus cameo in the replay of Taker's attack that injured H.
Hollywood Hogan arrives backstage.
Damn all those little segments were just oof.
Now, the Stacker 2 advert with Lance Storm shitting on America which leads to him heading to the ring while a pre-taped promo airs. He vows to beat an American tonight and it's fucking MARK HENRY.
2) Mark Henry vs. Lance Storm
Man, I love Mark Henry. And I honestly enjoy Storm but why the fuck he won here, I'll never know. Christian comes out to celebrate with Storm.
Undisputed Champion Undertaker is backstage on his motorcycle and is headed to the ring. He says The Rock returns July 11th and he will beat his ass. Kurt Angle comes out and wants a match next week if Taker makes it past Jeff Hardy on Raw. Taker offers the match now, Kurt says he just had a "tune up match" with Cena earlier and isn't ready, Taker clowns him but agrees to next week. Angle pops Taker in an ankle lock out of nowhere only to dip right out of the ring, just to show him he can hit it at anytime. I liked that.
3) Test vs. Rikishi
Test's theme music takes me back to childhood I swear. That dude was also so good while we are talking about him. They do some weird shit here and the ref disqualifies Test. Rikishi puts his ass in his face after the match. Christian comes in for the save and gets a superkick. Lance Storm is out also. Looks like we are getting a little angry Canadian stable.
4) Jamie Noble & Tajiri (w/ Nidia) vs. The Hurricane & Billy Kidman
Lots of fun here. All these guys are great and they didn't get much time but definitely made the most of it. Your basic cruiserweight showcase from this time period. Kidman with a beautiful shooting star press to get the win for his team.
Match rating - **1/2
Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler both come out to strut their stuff only to be interrupted by DAWN MARIE. Stacy & Torrie end up brawling. Divas Undressed this Saturday night. What a segment.
Chris Jericho backstage says he's gonna do to Hogan what he did to Edge a few weeks ago.
5) Rev Devon & Batista vs. Farooq & Randy Orton
This is an interesting match I never knew existed. This show is really the start of this new era and it's honestly crazy seeing Cena, Orton & Batista all come to be at this same time. Anyway, Orton and Batista both look great. Batista got the big rub and hot tag and destroyed Orton for the win. You could tell those two were gonna be stars from this match straight up. Especially Batista.
6) Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Chris Jericho
Best part of this is the DQ finish with Jericho cracking Hogan in the head with a chair. Crowd is hot for everything about this though and eat up all of Hogan's schtick no matter how sloppy the work is. Jericho sets up Hogan on the steps after the match when his own countdown click hits on the screen followed by his own theme music .. and it's EDGE!!! Now this is dope. Edge makes a b-line for Y2J and cleans house. Hogan feeds Jericho back to Edge every time he slides out of the ring. Hogan & Edge celebrate to end the show.
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