Reviews

TJR Retro: WWE Armageddon 2000 Review (Six-Man Hell in a Cell Match)

The final pay-per-view of my favorite year in WWE history was called Armageddon. The main event was a historic match because it was the only six-man Hell in a Cell match in WWE history. Since WWE introduced the Elimination Chamber match with six participants in the match two years later, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever see a six-man Hell in a Cell match ever again. That makes this event very unique.

This was the last PPV in a year dominated by The Rock as the top babyface and Triple H as the top heel. The Rock headlined ten of the twelve PPVs in 2000 while Triple H was in the main event eight times. Add in the return of Steve Austin a few months earlier after missing one year with a neck injury. Kurt Angle was the WWE Champion that won the title two months earlier at the tail end of his “rookie” year. The Undertaker was very popular as a babyface. I wouldn’t say Rikishi was at the same level as the other five, but he was still a talented veteran performer that was good for a long time.

Armageddon 2000 did a strong number with 465,000 buys, which is the highest number of PPV buys for any December event in WWE history. December is a slow month for WWE traditionally, so to say it’s the best December show ever is pretty impressive. There were bigger numbers that year because 2000 did so well, but when you compare it to other December shows, that’s pretty big to do nearly 500,000 buys in what is traditionally a slow month for PPV buys because people are spending money on Christmas gifts rather than wrestling shows.

This show followed Survivor Series 2000 and was followed by Royal Rumble 2001, which was an outstanding show.

Here is the synopsis on WWE Network:

“Kurt Angle defends the WWE Championship against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Triple H, The Undertaker, Rikishi, and The Rock in a Hell in a Cell Match. Edge & Christian, The Dudley Boyz, and more compete in a Fatal 4-Way Elimination Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship. Chris Jericho battles Kane in a Last Man Standing Match and more.” 14+ (D,L,V)

The DVD looks like this:

Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Let’s get to the show.

WWE Armageddon
From Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center in Birmingham, Alabama
December 10, 2000

The opening video package focused on the six-man Hell in a Cell match featuring “The End is Near” song that was fitting for a match like that.

The pyro went off in the building, there were signs all over the building and the Alabama crowd was very loud as well. There was no ramp on the way to the ring and the reason for that would be evident during the main event. They showed fans watching at WWF New York as well. The announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler pushed the Hell in a Cell match being a dangerous match where somebody’s career may end during this show.

There was a promo shown from Commissioner Mick Foley saying if somebody gets seriously injured then he will resign as Commissioner.

A limo was shown arriving with Vince McMahon exiting the limo while the duo known as “The Stooges” aka Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco were there to greet their boss. Vince was using a cane on his left leg to sell an injury. Vince made threats about how the Hell in a Cell match wasn’t going to happen.

The Hardy Boyz entered with Lita for an intergender elimination tag team match. Dean Malenko beat Lita on Raw, so then Lita had to go on a date with Malenko. That date on Smackdown led to Matt and Jeff Hardy beating up Malenko in the hotel room. The Radicalz group of Perry Saturn, Eddie Guerrero and Light Heavyweight Champion Dean Malenko were next. Terri was with them because she was Saturn’s manager.

Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy & Lita vs. Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero & Perry Saturn (w/Terri)

Pre-match notes: The Hardys and Lita were the faces while Malenko, Guerrero and Saturn were heels.

The heels tried to attack early, but the faces managed to clear the ring. The Hardys hit a double-team slam on Eddie, who was wrestling in a singlet. That’s not usual for him. Lita was about to do a move, but Malenko was pulled out of the ring. Jeff hit a dive over the top onto Eddie/Malenko on the floor. Saturn worked over Matt with a headbutt followed by a suplex. Eddie with a running back elbow on Matt. Guerrero was sent into the turnbuckle by Matt, who also hit a belly-to-back suplex. Jeff tagged in with punches for all three opponents and a back body drop on Eddie. The fans chanted for Lita as Eddie set up Jeff on the top rope and Jeff blocked a hurricanrana attempt. Lita went into the ring with a Twist of Fate on Eddie while the referee was looking elsewhere. Jeff hit a Swanton Bomb on Eddie to pin him.

Eddie Guerrero was eliminated

Jeff hit a twisting attack off the ropes onto Saturn. Jeff hit a jumping attack on Malenko and he tried on Saturn, but Saturn caught Jeff with a Death Valley Driver.

Jeff Hardy was eliminated

Matt with a sunset flip on Saturn for two followed by Matt hitting a clothesline. Terri grabbed Matt’s foot and then Saturn hit a superkick. Saturn hit a bridging German Suplex on Matt for two. Matt countered a headscissors into a slam and Matt hit a leg drop off the middle ropes. Matt dumped Malenko out of the ring. Matt hit Twist of Fate on Saturn for three.

Perry Saturn was eliminated

Terri crawled into the ring in a really short skirt (that popped the crowd since her underwear was showing) and slapped Matt in the face. That led to Lita taking out Terri with a Spear. Malenko pushed Matt from behind and knocked Lita out of the ring as well. Malenko did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Matt to eliminate him.

Matt Hardy was eliminated

Lita was left alone with Malenko with the fans cheering for Lita. There was a headscissors takedown by Lita, who followed with a victory roll for two. Malenko charged into a boot by Lita and then Lita hit a moonsault press onto a standing Malenko for two. Lita hit a DDT. Lita went up top, Malenko stopped her up there and Malenko gave Lita a superplex for two because Malenko pulled her up. The fans booed. Malenko with two clotheslines and a back elbow. Malenko with a backbreaker and then he picked up Lita again. Malenko applied the Texas Cloverleaf submission, Lita tapped out and Malenko got the win at 8:06.

Lita was eliminated

Winner by submission: Dean Malenko

Analysis: **1/4 It was a unique match since it was intergender as well as an elimination match. The fans popped big for everything the Hardys and Lita did since they were a popular act, but this was all about putting over Malenko after he was humiliated on Smackdown. Malenko sold great for Lita. I wouldn’t call it a great storyline or anything like that although I think you could say it was memorable at least.

After the match, Malenko tossed Lita out of the ring, so the Hardys ran out there to save Lita as Malenko left.

Lita was interviewed by Michael Cole. Lita said that she knows she can beat Malenko. The Hardys took Lita to the back.

Kurt Angle was interviewed in the locker room by Lilian Garcia. Angle had the WWE Title around his waist. Angle said he beat every nationality you could think of to win his Olympic gold medal, so he’s not worried about the guys inside of Hell in a Cell. Angle said he knows that he should not have to be put into such a barbaric match in front of a “bunch of inbred hicks.” The fans booed that. Angle said he’s not worried about being made famous because he’s already famous as the Olympic Gold Medalist and the WWE Champion. Angle said that Foley is a cold-hearted sadist. Angle said his career won’t come to an end. Angle said after he wins he’ll take a shower, drink 99% fat-free milk and hop on a plane out of here. Angle went back to his training.

Analysis: Angle promos were always good. I enjoyed them a lot during this era.

A replay was shown from No Way Out 2000 when Triple H gave Mick Foley a back body drop off the top of Hell in a Cell and Foley as Cactus Jack went crashing through the ring. Triple H won shortly after that.

William Regal made his entrance as the European Champion. Regal said he knows you will cheer Hardcore Holly since he’s from Alabama. Regal suggested that people in Alabama use a handkerchief. Regal said it’s fine to wear overalls, but wash them at least once a week. Regal made jokes about farm animals as well so fans chanted “Asshole” at him and Hardcore Holly made his entrance.

European Championship: William Regal vs. Hardcore Holly

Pre-match notes: Regal was the heel European Champion. Holly was the babyface challenger from Mobile, Alabama so he got a nice pop.

Holly with an elbow smash leading to Regal bailing to the floor. Regal pulled Holly out of the ring, they exchanged punches and Regal tossed Holly shoulder first into the ring post. Back in the ring, Holly hit a belly-to-back suplex for two. Holly jumped off the top rope with nothing as Regal got his boot up to block. Regal with forearms, he set up Holly on the top rope and Regal delivered a superplex. It’s the second straight match with a superplex for a two count. Regal with a submission where he had his knees against the back of Holly. Regal tried a double underhook suplex, but Holly powered out of it and turned it into a back body drop for a two count. Holly hit a dropkick that looked great since Holly was one of the best at delivering the dropkick. Holly with a suplex into a slam. Holly went up top, he jumped off and hit the Alabama Jam leg drop for a two count. Holly jumped up for a move, but then Regal countered into a Powerbomb. Regal with the STF submission with Holly getting his left hand on the ropes. Holly hit Regal with the left forearm to the head since Holly had a steel plate in the forearm. The referee checked on Regal, Raven showed up in the ring and hit a DDT on Holly. Regal covered Holly for the pinfall win at 5:02.

Winner by pinfall: William Regal

Analysis: **1/4 This was a pretty good effort by both guys. More time would have been nice because the crowd was getting into it, but it ended abruptly after Raven’s interference. Regal was an entertaining midcard act that the fans hated, so he made for a solid European Champion during this period.

A clip was shown from Smackdown three days earlier when Kurt Angle attacked Rikishi with the WWE Title to show that they weren’t allies.

Rikishi was interviewed by Kevin Kelly, who asked if Triple H would turn on Rikishi. That led to Rikishi saying that he has sacrificed his body, mind and soul for a chance at the WWE Title. Rikishi said that any man that tries to stop him from becoming WWE Champion will find out what he’s willing to sacrifice. Rikishi said he’ll sacrifice each and every one of them.

Analysis: Rikishi’s heel run didn’t go that well when you look at the entirety of it, but I think that promo was fine.

Chyna made her entrance. They showed a replay from Raw when Val Venis hit Chyna with a clothesline over the announce table on Raw and then Ivory attacked Chyna with punches. Val Venis and Ivory from the Right to Censor group were up next.

Val Venis (w/Ivory) vs. Chyna

Pre-match notes: Venis was the heel and Chyna was the face. Right to Censor didn’t like Chyna posing in Playboy, so that’s where the issue was.

Chyna attacked Venis in the aisle before the match. Ivory tried to attack, so Chyna threw her into the ring apron. Chyna threw Venis into the steel steps and into the ring to start the match. Chyna was aggressive with punches, then she hit some kicks against the turnbuckle. Chyna hit a DDT for two. Venis came back with a side Russian legsweep for two. Venis tossed Chyna out of the ring, so Ivory stomped on Chyna a bit. Venis hit a double underhook suplex for two. Venis with a body slam, but then Chyna moved to avoid an elbow drop. Chyna with a back body drop and a neckbreaker for two. Chyna hit a clothesline for a two count followed by Chyna kicking Venis in the ribs. Chyna bounced off the ropes with Venis hitting a powerslam. Ivory told Chyna to “see the light.” Venis went up top, he jumped off with the Money Shot splash and Chyna moved, so Val hit the mat leading to Chyna getting a two count. Chyna ran the ropes, Ivory tripped up Chyna, so Ivory chased Chyna around the ring. When Ivory got into the ring, Venis kicked Chyna and hit a Fisherman’s Suplex (Perfectplex) for the pinfall win at 5:03.

Winner by pinfall: Val Venis

Analysis: *1/2 A decent match with Chyna getting plenty of offense to show she was able to compete with Venis, but then Venis got the cheap win after Ivory’s involvement. The feud would move over to Chyna and Ivory. By this point, I was really losing interest in Chyna as a wrestler. It just wasn’t that interesting anymore.

Post match, Chyna got a hold of Ivory, but then Venis saved Ivory and Venis hit a Blue Thunder Bomb on Chyna. Venis left with Ivory while Chyna was down in the ring.

Analysis: The story would continue with Chyna facing Chyna at Royal Rumble and it would go onto WrestleMania 17 with Chyna beating Ivory to win the Women’s Title. It was a long-term story, but I wouldn’t call it great or anything like that.

They showed a clip from No Way Out 2000 when Cactus Jack lit a 2×4 piece of wood on fire and hit Triple H with it while they were on the Hell in a Cell structure.

There was a backstage scene with Stephanie McMahon talking to her father Vince, who says he was hurting physically and emotionally. Vince said he didn’t want to talk about his divorce. Stephanie said she was afraid for Triple H and she said that Hunter could barely walk after the Hell in a Cell with Mick Foley. Stephanie said she is scared. Vince complained about Foley and said he was going to put a stop to this right now.

There was an Undertaker interview from earlier in the day with Kevin Kelly interviewing The Undertaker in the ring. Undertaker said that this is the time for reckoning. Undertaker said he has visions of things he has done to men inside this cell. Undertaker said that this cell even scares himself because it brings out a side in him that is more animal than it is human. Undertaker craved grinding a man’s face against the steel and all there’s left is blood. Undertaker talked about sending Shawn Michaels into the cell, then he bled and bled and the more he bled, the more he wanted him to bleed. They showed a replay of that. Undertaker said that he didn’t want to reach down and help him up when Shawn was on the side of cell, which led to Shawn’s big bump off the cell and through the table below. Undertaker talked about when he Chokeslammed Mick Foley off the cage and through the cell into the ring. They showed replays of that. The Undertaker also talked about how he threw Foley as hard as he could off the side of the cell through the table below. The undertaker said that the scariest part is that he liked it while saying that this is the side that made Mick Foley famous and made Shawn Michaels even more famous. The Undertaker said the only thing to wonder about is who he’s going to make famous tonight.

Analysis: This was effective in terms of putting over how dangerous The Undertaker was inside the Hell in a Cell match. With that said, there were so many promos on this show. I think there were too many.

Let’s Hear from Vince McMahon

Vince McMahon, the WWE Chairman, walked out to the ring with a cane by his side. Vince had the Stooges duo of Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco by his side. Vince said he meant every word he said on last week’s Smackdown. Vince claimed he meant it when he said that he has given the fans his life and he meant it when he told his wife Linda that he wants a divorce. Vince said that Linda was never good enough for him and she never will be. Vince claimed he meant that he has genuine concern for the six men in the Hell in a Cell match later in the night. Vince said that his concern for their welfare has been rebuked by Commissioner Foley. The fans chanted “Asshole” at Vince. Vince said he had his heart in his hand, not as Vince McMahon the owner of WWF Entertainment or a certified billionaire, he is Vince McMahon – simply a concerned and compassionate humanitarian. Vince wanted us to join him in preventing Commissioner Foley in presenting this Hell in a Cell match tonight. Vince wants us to open our hearts, come forward, show our support and send a message to Foley.

Vince asked the fans to contemplate the results of this Hell in a Cell match. He wants five seconds of silence, which led to booing. Vince wanted people to join him by standing up to support him against this Hell in a Cell match taking place. Vince: “Dammit I said stand up.” There were not a lot of people standing, but some people did. Vince said that after the Hell in a Cell match is over, not only will it be on Mick Foley’s conscience, but it will be on your conscience as well.

Analysis: The promo was fine, but this is a PPV and people were already watching the show. They already ordered the show. Do we really need another long promo on the PPV? There were enough promos on Raw and Smackdown.

The video package aired for Chris Jericho’s feud with Kane that started over a cup of coffee when Jericho accidentally spilled coffee on Kane. Jericho said that there is a bitter, unforgiving monster, but that’s not Kane – it’s Jericho. They showed clips of all their fights around the ring with weapons and fights in the backstage area.

Kane made his entrance for the Last Man Standing match. Chris Jericho was up next and he got a big pop as one of the most popular guys in WWE at this point. Kane met Jericho in the aisle and they started brawling right away.

Last Man Standing Match: Kane vs. Chris Jericho

Pre-match notes: Kane was the heel while Jericho was the face. The feud started when Jericho spilled coffee on Kane and apologized for burning him, which set Kane off since that was Kane’s history as a character. This was Jericho’s second Last Man Standing Match in five months since he lost to Triple H at July’s Fully Loaded PPV.

Kane punched Jericho so that they went through the curtain and were brawling back there. The action picked up backstage with Jericho avoiding an anvil case that Kane tried to throw at him. Kane tried a shovel attack, but Jericho avoided that. They randomly went up to Mideon and punched him. Poor Mideon. Kane and Jericho went walking back out to the arena. Jericho sent Kane into the barricade on the way to the ring and Jericho shoved Kane into the ring post. Jericho sent Kane into the steps. Back in the ring, Jericho with an elbow smash off the top rope. Jericho with a clothesline that sent Kane over the top to the floor. Kane caught Jericho on the floor and then Kane drove Jericho back first into the steel ring post. Kane gave Jericho a powerslam on the floor followed by Kane whipping Jericho into the steel steps. Kane hit a backbreaker in the ring and then Kane did a hard whip into the turnbuckle. Kane worked over Jericho with punches followed by a hiptoss across the ring. Kane stretched Jericho over his back in a submission, the referee Teddy Long counted to three to signal that Jericho was out and then Jericho was down on the mat for about a seven count before getting back up. Jericho got a boot up, then Kane caught a heel kick and did a slam. Jericho avoided an elbow drop followed by Jericho hitting a spinning heel kick. Jericho went for the Lionsault, but it failed because Kane got his knees up to block. Kane jumped off the top with the clothesline that he did in nearly every match in his career. Kane worked over Jericho with punches. Kane delivered a huge Chokeslam in the middle of the ring. Jericho got back up by the count of nine. Kane was mad, so he grabbed a steel chair from ringside. Kane hit Jericho in the ribs followed by a hard chair shot to the back. Kane teased a Tombstone, Jericho fought out of that and hit a low blow punch to the groin followed by Jericho hitting a DDT. Jericho hit Kane in the head with the steel chair. I don’t think Kane blocked it. Jericho with a running forearm, then Jericho up top and Jericho hit a missile dropkick. Jericho with a bulldog. Jericho put the chair on Kane’s chest and Jericho hit a Lionsault onto the chair that was on Kane. Both guys were down for a count and they got up before ten. Jericho ran right into a boot from Kane. There was a press slam by Kane over the top to the floor.

Kane and Jericho left the ring as they went over to the right part of the set that had some old cars and barrels that were stacked up. Kane stood on an equipment case and then tried a Chokeslam, but Jericho countered it with a bulldog through the table. There was some obvious edit there, so they must have messed up the original spot. I read a review from back in the day that said the first attempt failed, so they did it again. Jericho went over to the stack of barrels that was about 12 feet high. Jericho pushed the barrels and they fell onto Kane although you could see that the top of them hit some of the cases that were there, so Kane wasn’t actually hit. Kane was just trapped under the barrels. Referee Teddy Logan counted Kane down for the ten count and Jericho was the winner of the match at 17:16.

Winner: Chris Jericho

Analysis: **3/4 The match was okay. I thought it dragged on a lot and didn’t really have a lot of dramatic spots in the match. Kane dominated a lot of it, Jericho did a nice job of making the babyface comeback and finding a way to win. I just think the match didn’t need to go as long as it did. The premise of the feud being that a man spilled coffee on another man is a weak storyline to begin with. Jericho won in a way that made him look smart since he managed to push the barrels onto Kane, who was unable to get out from there. I’ll give them credit for doing a finishing spot that worked well in terms of popping the crowd.

There was a backstage interview with Lieutenant Commissioner Debra telling Commissioner Mick Foley it was going to be fine. Jonathon Coachman showed up for an interview. Debra said Mick is upset, but you can try to interview him. Debra left. That’s a shame because she looked incredible. Foley was interviewed about the Hell in a Cell match. Foley said that Vince McMahon may have been right about a lot of things in his career, but he’s wrong about this because the people want to see this match. Foley said that this match is all he thinks about, but he’ll be really happy when it’s over with.

There was an appearance from Shawn Michaels at WWF New York, who was retired at this point. Shawn talked about the first Hell in a Cell match that he was in and said that with six guys in this match, he has no idea what’s going to happen. Shawn said this match is tailor-made for The Undertaker and it’s true because Undertaker is a different man in that kind of match. That ended it.

Highlights were shown from King of the Ring 1998 when Undertaker gave Mick Foley a Chokeslam onto the thumbtacks inside the Hell in a Cell match.

Analysis: They were really pushing the Hell in a Cell match as being dangerous with all of the interviews and videos. Keep in mind that people watching this already ordered this, yet WWE kept on pushing the story about the danger of the Hell in a Cell match.

They showed some Birmingham Bolts XFL players. I hope they saved their money. Just saying.

The entrances took place for the four-way Tag Team Title match.

Fatal 4-Way Match for the WWE Tag Team Championships: Right to Censor (The Goodfather & Bull Buchanan) w/Steven Richards vs. Edge & Christian vs. Road Dogg & K-Kwik vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von Dudley)

Pre-match notes: RTC were the heel Tag Team Champions. Edge & Christian were also heels. Road Dogg & K-Kwik were also faces with Kwik being the first WWE name for R-Truth. The Dudley Boyz were faces as well.

The rules are two legal guys are in the ring while the other six are on the apron. The first fall wins. RTC did a double team slam on D-Von early on. D-Von came back with a jumping back elbow and then Bull hit a boot to the face. Goodfather hit a boot to the face, then a corner splash and Bubba went in to save his partner with a clothesline and D-Von got a two count. Dogg tagged D-Von to become the legal man, so Goodfather decked Dogg with a punch. Edge tagged Goodfather to become legal in the match with Edge and Christian targeting Dogg and Bubba, who did a dance punch routine and then Dogg/Bubba punched eachother. That was funny. Dogg decked Edge with a punch to the head. Kwik tagged in with a hip toss and then a double team elbow drop. Kwik with an incredible counter leading to a heel kick. Christian wrenched Kwik’s arm and then Edge kicked Kwik’s left shoulder. Christian sent Kwik into the turnbuckle. Edge with an armbar takedown for two. The fans chanted for tables for the Dudleys. Goodfather tagged himself in, then he worked over Kwik’s left arm/shoulder. Bull worked over Truth’s arm a bit and Edge was back in punches to the left arm of Kwik. Edge jumped off the turnbuckle with nothing, but then Kwik countered into a neckbreaker. Dogg was pulled off the apron, so Bubba got the tag with Bubba hitting back body drops and a sidewalk slam. Bubba with two clotheslines on RTC as well. All eight guys were in the ring for a few moments, then RTC was sent out of the ring and Kwik tried a dive to the floor, but Goodfather hit a shoulder breaker. Dogg hit a clothesline on the floor. Richard hit a superkick. Bubba set up Edge and D-Von jumped off the top with the headbutt for the Whassup Drop. The fans LOVED that. The fans popped huge for Bubba telling D-Von to get the tables. The Dudleys ran over RTC with a table. Dudleys hit a Doomsday Device clothesline for two as Christian pulled Bubba off Edge. The Dudleys hit the 3D on Bull, who wasn’t legal. The Dudleys hit 3D on Goodfather as well. Dudleys did the Whassup Drop on Christian as well. Both times that happened, the referee was looking away. Richards hit a DDT on D-Von on the floor. Edge hit a Spear on Bubba in the ring for a two count. Christian hit the Unprettier on Bubba and Edge covered Bubba for the pinfall win. It went 9:42.

Winners by pinfall AND NEW WWE Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian

Analysis: **1/2 That was a chaotic match. What really stood out to me was how popular the Dudleys were. The fans were going crazy at the thought of a table being used, they popped for the 3D big time and they also loved the Whassup Drop headbutt a lot. Edge & Christian were the crafty heels in the match that found a way to win thanks to Christian hitting his finisher without the referee seeing it, so Bubba took a Spear from Edge and an Unprettier from Christian back to back. I was impressed by K-Kwik when he was in there. It was very early in his WWE career and he proved he belonged with these guys.

The title win meant that Edge & Christian were four-time WWE Tag Team Champions at this point.

Triple H was shown warming up with storyline wife Stephanie McMahon talking to him about tonight’s match. Hunter said that the WWE Championship means so much to him. Hunter said it didn’t matter if he had to put his body on the line. Hunter said nobody is going to stop him and he mentioned all the guys saying nobody will stop him. Hunter said nobody will stop him until he gets what he wants – to be WWE Champion again.

They showed a highlight from No Way Out 2000 when Cactus Jack took a bump off the side of the cell through the announce table below.

Billy Gunn made his entrance as the Intercontinental Champion. Billy was a face known as “The One” Billy Gunn at this point in his career, so he was no longer Mr. Ass and evolved into something else. Chris Benoit entered as the opponent to not much of a reaction.

Intercontinental Championship: “The One” Billy Gunn vs. Chris Benoit

Pre-match notes: Gunn was the babyface Intercontinental Champion while Benoit was the heel. The nickname “The One” was something WWE tried for Billy because I guess they felt like he needed a name and “one” rhymes with “Gunn” so there it is. Needless to say, “The One” did not take off as an iconic wrestling nickname like Macho Man or Stone Cold.

Benoit was aggressive with his striking as he connected with punches and kicks. Gunn did a drop toe hold followed by multiple hip tosses. Gunn tossed Benoit over the top to the floor. Gunn sent Benoit into the barricade and then Gunn whipped Benoit into the ring post. Gunn charged, so Benoit sidestepped Billy and sent Gunn into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Benoit kicked the left knee of Gunn repeatedly. Benoit drove Gunn’s left leg into the mat. Gunn hit a sunset flip for two and Benoit came back with a trip. Benoit jumped onto Gunn’s left leg while it was against the ropes. Benoit with a leg whip to take down Gunn again. Benoit applied the Figure Four Leglock submission for nearly a minute until Gunn turned it and Benoit grabbed the bottom rope. Gunn sent Benoit into the turnbuckle, Benoit moved and Gunn hit the turnbuckle. Benoit hit three straight German Suplexes. Benoit went up top, he jumped off with a headbutt, but Gunn moved out of the way, so Benoit hit the mat. Gunn with punches leading to a powerslam for two. Gunn with a whip into the corner leading to a press slam. Gunn hit a Jackhammer slam. Gunn went for the Fameasser and he connected with it, but it only got a two count. Benoit fought out of a slam attempt, Benoit with a takedown and then Benoit punched Gunn repeatedly to wear him down. Benoit applied the Crippler Crossface on, but Gunn had his foot on the bottom rope, so Benoit had to break the hold. Benoit charged, Gunn caught him and hit a sloppy tilt-a-whirl slam. The fans were booing that. You could tell the wrestlers were talking to eachother to try to figure out what was next. Gunn ran into the boot of Benoit and Benoit got a two count. Benoit hit a belly to back suplex for two. Gunn with an inside cradle for two. Benoit came back with the Crippler Crossface and Gunn tapped out to give Benoit the title. It went 10:04.

Winner by submission AND NEW Intercontinental Champion: Chris Benoit

Analysis: **1/4 It was just an average match. Benoit usually had better matches than this with most opponents, but Gunn seemed a step slow throughout the match and I think he was injured or dealing with something here. Putting the title on Benoit was the smart move and it led to that outstanding Ladder match against Chris Jericho at Royal Rumble 2001.

Steve Austin was interviewed earlier in the day by Jim Ross. It began with JR putting over the danger of the Hell in a Cell match. Austin said that he didn’t even sleep last night because he just wants to get the damn match started. Austin said that the match will be flat-out brutality. Austin is setting himself up to win the WWE Championship and so is everybody in that match. Austin wanted to get the match started, whip somebody’s ass and that’s all he’s got to say about that.

The introductions took place for the women’s triple threat match. Molly Holly was out first, Trish Stratus was next looking amazing in an T&APA shirt and the RTC’s Ivory was last as the champion.

Women’s Championship: Ivory vs. Molly Holly vs. Trish Stratus

Pre-match notes: Ivory was the heel champion that was part of the Right to Censor group. Molly Holly was a face and Trish was a heel although I have a difficult time booing that woman.

Molly tossed Trish across the ring by her hair. Trish did a monkey flip, Molly landed on her feet and Ivory hit a clothesline on Molly. Molly was whipped into the ropes and hit a dropkick on both women. Molly got a backslide pin on Ivory for two with Trish breaking up the pin. Trish and Ivory hit a double suplex followed by Ivory hitting Trish in the back. Molly went up top and hit a cross body block on both women for a two count. Molly sent Ivory over the top to the floor. Molly hit an impressive running Powerbomb on Trish. Ivory tossed Molly out of the ring and Ivory covered Trish for the pinfall win at 2:12. JR called it a “short, abrupt ending” to this matchup.

Winner by pinfall: Ivory

Analysis: * This felt very rushed. I wonder if they were supposed to get a few more minutes and it was cut or if the plan was just to keep it short. Anyway, they went with the finish that happens in triple threats a lot where Molly hit the big move on Trish, Ivory sent Molly out of the ring and Ivory stole the pin to win the match. Molly hit some cool-looking moves. Other than that, there wasn’t much to this.

After the match, Test & Albert went out to ringside to try to bully Molly, so then Crash showed up to save his cousin. That led to the APA duo of Bradshaw & Faarooq making their return from injury. Bradshaw hit a Clothesline from Hell on Albert and Test already bailed to the floor. The APA guys celebrated and the fans cheered.

Analysis: It was a way to end the segment on a happy note with APA returning to kick some ass.

They showed a replay of King of the Ring 1998 when The Undertaker famously tossed Mankind off the Hell in a Cell and sent him through the announce table. That was one of the craziest bumps ever.

The Rock was interviewed backstage by Kevin Kelly, who asked if he was prepared so Rock did his “Finally” routine to get a pop from the Birmingham crowd. Rock said if he has to bleed from every single pore in his body to become WWE Champion, he’ll do it. Rock said he doesn’t know whose career will end or who will be made famous. Rock said that he’ll sweat, bleed and he’ll whoop all their candy asses. Rock said he’ll walk straight into hell and walk out as the WWE Champion…if you smell what The Rock is cooking.

Analysis: Awesome Rock promo as usual. He didn’t make jokes that he does sometimes. He was intense in this promo.

The video below is not from this show, but it was from the last Raw before Armageddon. It’s a classic Rock promo featuring impressions and it’s hilarious.

A video package aired showing how Commissioner Mick Foley set up the Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon. Vince McMahon called Foley a sadist for setting up this match. Vince didn’t want any of the guys in a Hell in a Cell match because it’s dangerous. That led to Steve Austin giving Vince a Stunner, The Rock gave Vince a Rock Bottom and The Undertaker delivered the Last Ride as well. The rest of the video put over the violent nature of Hell in a Cell.

Analysis: The story between Vince and Mick was done to set up Foley’s removal as Commissioner. Vince didn’t like that Mick set up this match because it was so dangerous, so a few weeks later, Foley was out as the Commissioner. The story behind that is that Mick’s wife was about to give birth soon to their third child, so Mick wanted to be off the road and WWE removed him as Commissioner.

The Hell in a Cell structure was lowered around the ring with Ross and Lawler talking about how dangerous this kind of match is. JR made it clear that the pinfall has to happen inside the ring.

Triple H made his entrance with the announcers mentioning that Hunter ended Mick Foley’s career earlier in the year at No Way Out in a Hell in a Cell match. Rikishi was up next without much of a reaction to him. Lawler pointed out that Rikishi was the only man in the match that has never been WWE Champion and he never did win it in his career. Kurt Angle was up next as the WWE Champion that was wearing the title around his waist. Angle took several deep breaths before he entered the cell to sell the idea that he was nervous about it. Most of the referees in WWE were around the ring to try to keep the wrestlers apart.

The Undertaker was up next as he walked out there wearing his Deadman Inc shirt. There was no motorcycle ride on his way to the ring for this match. Good pop for Undertaker. The Rock got a huge ovation from the crowd as he quickly walked down to the ring with a purpose and looked as intense as usual. Angle was still outside the cage as Rock did his poses in the ring. The loudest pop of the night went to “Stone Cold” Steve Austin for his entrance. The fans went crazy for Austin, who walked down to the ring, attacked Angle and brought Kurt into the cell. The bell rang to start.

WWE Championship Hell in a Cell Match: Kurt Angle vs. Triple H vs. The Rock vs. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker vs. Rikishi

Pre-match notes: Kurt Angle was the heel WWE Champion that won the WWE Championship from The Rock two months earlier. Triple H and Rikishi were heels. The trio of Austin, Rock and Undertaker were the faces. Austin and Rock were by far the most loved guys by the fans. Earl Hebner was the referee. The first pinfall or submission wins the match.

The wrestlers paired off with Undertaker batting Angle, Austin facing Hunter and Rock battling Rikishi. Undertaker hit Angle with a clothesline in the ring. Rock was choking Rikishi with a cord. Taker worked over Angle with an elbow to the head. Austin sent Hunter into the cage. Rock battled Rikishi in the ring as they exchanged punches and Rock hit a leaping clothesline to knock down Rikishi. Austin and Hunter went at it in the ring with Hunter hitting a facebuster, but Austin came back with the Thesz Press, punches and an elbow drop. Austin jumped on Hunter’s back against the ropes for a two count. Hunter delivered a jumping knee to Austin while Angle was choking Rock in the ring. Hunter whipped Austin’s left leg into the ring post with Austin saying “shit” on camera. Rock hit a Samoan Drop on Angle for a two count. Angle came back with an elbow to Rock. Taker pulled Angle out of the ring, then into the ring and he tossed Angle out of the ring again. Hunter suplexed Austin on the floor. Rikishi whipped Rock into the cage and then Angle hit a sliding dropkick that sent Rikishi into the cage. Angle sent Rikishi into the steel steps. Austin knocked down Hunter with a clothesline on the floor. Austin grinded Hunter’s face against the cage and then whipped Hunter into the cage. The camera followed Austin, then went back over and Hunter came up bleeding after that since he did a blade job. Hunter bled a lot during big matches in 2000. Austin kept on driving Hunter’s face into the cage with Austin walking him around the ring and then a hard whip into a post. When Austin got back into the ring under the bottom rope, he was met with a Rikishi leg drop to the back/neck. Hunter hugged Rikishi as if he was going to work with him, but then Hunter hit a Pedigree for two as Rock made the save. Rock hit a DDT on Hunter for two as Angle made the save. Angle hit the Olympic Slam on Rock for two as Austin made the save by hitting Angle. Austin with a Stunner on Angle for two, but Taker broke that up. Taker hit a Chokeslam on Austin for two with Hunter breaking up that pin. That was a cool sequence of finishing moves for nearfalls. Undertaker and Hunter battled on the floor with Undertaker sending Hunter into the cage multiple times. Triple H was sent in the cage a lot in the first part of this match. Undertaker sent Hunter face first into the cage. Back in the ring, Austin hit a clothesline on Rikishi. Austin clotheslined Taker over the top to the floor with Taker landing on his feet. Rikishi went after Austin, but Austin hit a Thesz Press leading to punches.

That led to Vince McMahon, Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco appearing on a construction truck that had a bed of hay and they drove it up to the side of the leg. Vince got the truck to pull off the door. Vince wanted the truck to take down the whole Cell to prevent the match from continuing inside Hell in a Cell. Mick Foley’s hit as the Commissioner went out to ringside to get in Vince’s face. Foley told Vince to get out of there while Foley punched Patterson and Brisco to knock them down. Vince tried to attack with a cane, but then some cops were there to take Vince to the back.

The focus was back on the match with the cage door removed, so that led to Hunter leaving the cell and Austin was following him. Austin hit Hunter with a running clothesline to the back. Austin sent Hunter into some old car that was by the entrance area as part of the set. Austin got the boom camera and used it to hit Hunter. There were a few more old cars in that area. The Rock, Rikishi, Undertaker and Angle were brawling in that area as well. Hunter sent Austin face first through one of the windows on the truck. The camera focused on the other guys and then it was back on Austin, who was a bloody mess. Rikishi sent Angle through a car door window. Rock battled Hunter on a car roof and Rock went for a Rock bottom on top of a car, but Hunter hit Rock with a low blow punch to the groin. That led to Hunter hitting a Pedigree on the top of the car. Rock was protected because his head was on Hunter’s thighs, so it was not like Rock hit the car. The Rock was busted open as well, so that’s three guys bleeding at that point. Rock did not do a lot of blade jobs in his career, but it made sense in this match. Undertaker body slammed Angle on the hood of a car. Hunter sent Angle and Taker into cars. Austin did a catapult move that launched Hunter onto the hood of a car. Austin tried to hit Hunter with a barrel, but Hunter moved and Austin hit a car with it. Taker and Angle were at the ringside area with Taker choking Angle with a cable. Angle was bleeding on his upper back. Rikishi sent Rock into the cage. Angle got his hands on a steel chair and he hit a seated Undertaker with the chair. That was brutal! That led to Undertaker bleeding as well. Triple H was climbing up the Hell in a Cell structure. Undertaker tossed Angle over the barricade. Austin climbed up the other side of the cage and Hunter was already on the top. There were climbing holes on the side of the cage. Austin was brawling with Triple H on the cage with the fans screaming about it. Austin punched Hunter repeatedly, Hunter was near the edge and then they went towards the middle. Angle climbed up the cage with Undertaker going after him. Austin hit the Stunner on Hunter! Angle was on top, Undertaker was up there as well and Austin greeted Angle with punches. The fans were going crazy at the sight of four guys on top of the cell. Taker sent Angle into one of the steel support beams that were on top of the cell. Angle was bleeding from the forehead as well, so that’s five out of the six guys. Hunter tried to climb down, Austin went after him and then Hunter did an eye rake to get away, so Hunter got to the bottom of the cell. Rikishi and The Rock climbed up the cell as well while Undertaker wanted the timekeeper to toss him a chair. After a few attempts, Undertaker got a hold of the chair. Taker hit Angle in the head with a hard chair shot as payback from earlier. Rikishi was up on the cell and he hit Taker in the back as well as a chair shot to the head. Rikishi hit Angle in the head with the chair as well. Rikishi choked Undertaker with the chair. The Rock was the only guy that didn’t climb up the cell. He stayed at the bottom. Angle got away from Rikishi and Angle climbed down to the floor. Undertaker and Rikishi were the last two men on the cell. Undertaker worked over Rikishi with punches. Rikishi with a headbutt that knocked down Taker. The foursome of Austin, Hunter, Rock and Angle were fighting in the ring while Rock was punching Rikishi on the cell. Rikishi was at the edge of the cell. The Undertaker grabbed Rikishi by the throat and Undertaker tossed Rikishi off the cell so that Rikishi landed on the bed of the truck! What a bump for any man especially a guy that weighed over 400 pounds. They showed the bump from Rikishi from many angles.

Analysis: That bump by Rikishi was epic. Yes, he had a soft landing because of all the hay that was in the truck, but it’s still a 400-pound man taking a 20-foot fall and trusting the guy you’re with to toss you off in the right place.

The focus was back in the ring with Austin having a showdown with Rock. There was your WrestleMania 17 main event tease a few months earlier. The fans were going crazy as Austin and Rock exchanged punches. Austin was in control for a bit, then Rock hit some punches. Austin wanted a Stunner, Rock pushed him into the ropes and Rock hit a spinebuster. Taker was still on top of the cage looking exhausted. Rock set up for the People’s Elbow, but Hunter hit Rock with a forearm to knock Rock down. Rock with punches that knocked Hunter over the top to the floor. Angle was back in and Rock hit the Rock Bottom on Angle for two with Austin punching Rock to stop the count. Great nearfall there. Austin got back up and hit Rock with a Stone Cold Stunner with Rock doing a great sell. Austin crawled over to cover, but Hunter went back into the ring. Austin wanted a Stunner on Hunter, but Hunter hit a neckbreaker to counter Austin. Angle crawled over to Rock and covered Rock with one hand on the chest for one…two…and three! Angle pinned Rock after Rock took that Stunner from Austin! The match went 38:14.

Winner by pinfall: Kurt Angle

Analysis: ****1/4 This match is so great. It wasn’t at the level of a Match of the Year, but it was so much fun to watch. It certainly didn’t feel long at nearly 40 minutes considering there was so much action. The drama towards the finish was incredible with so many nearfalls and all of these top guys hitting big moves looking like they were going to win the match. There was a lot of blood in the match with Hunter, Austin, Rock, Undertaker and Angle doing blade jobs during the match. Rikishi was the only guy that didn’t do a blade job, but he did the biggest bump of the match. Angle was booked in the way where he barely did any offensive moves in the match, yet he won because he pinned Rock after Austin’s Stunner. Angle beat Rock for the title two months later and then two months after this, Angle would drop the title back to Rock. I thought Triple H and Austin stood out the most in the match. Hunter took a beating throughout the match while Austin’s energy level was incredible. Rikishi deserves a lot of credit for being willing to take such a dangerous bump back first off of a cell. Yes, landing on a pile of hay is a soft landing, but it’s still a 400-pound man that has to trust The Undertaker to push him in the right spot and land safely. Even though it was a Hell in a Cell match, it had elements of being a Street Fight style match since they fought up the aisle, all around the ringside area and so on. What’s most impressive is that they kept the crowd engaged for a nearly 40-minute match. That’s not easy to do, but there was so much star power out there and the fans were so interested in seeing what happened that it was easy to be interested in what they were doing. (If you’re wondering, Dave Meltzer rated it ****1/2 so he rated it a bit higher than me.)

Kurt Angle had his hand raised as the winner of the match with the WWE Title in his hand. Angle was bleeding from the forehead and it looked like he was bleeding from the ear as well. As Angle turned around, Austin hit Angle with a Stone Cold Stunner to drop the WWE Champion. The foursome of Angle, Rock, Austin and Hunter were all down in the ring selling the physicality of the match. The show ended with a shot of Angle laying on the mat and that was it for Armageddon.

Analysis: All of the guys were heavily involved in the WWE Title scene in the coming months. Austin won the Royal Rumble, Angle was able to beat Triple H to keep the WWE Title, then Triple H beat Austin in an epic 2/3 Three Stages of Hell Match at No Way Out 2001 where Rock also beat Angle for the WWE Title. That led to Austin beating Rock for the WWE Title at WrestleMania 17 in an incredible main event match.

This event had a runtime of 2:42:19 on WWE Network.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Show rating (out of 10): 5.5

It’s a one match show in a lot of ways and you could tell that by how much they promoted the 6-man Hell in a Cell match. They didn’t just promote it during TV leading up to Armageddon, but there were so many interviews and video packages promoting that one match during the actual PPV. The match delivered in many ways with a lot of creative spots, the unique style of brawling where they fought outside the ring, there were multiple guys on the cage, five guys were bleeding and the only guy that wasn’t ended up taking the biggest bump of the show (that would be Rikishi). It was so cool seeing Rock and Austin battling eachother as a WrestleMania main event preview and the fans were going crazy for it because they knew how special that is. Kurt Angle winning the Hell in a Cell was booked as a fluke because he didn’t hit his finisher to win. He got the pin after Austin hit Rock with a Stunner, but Austin wasn’t able to cover because he was taken out by Triple H. I thought it was a creative way to end it.

The rest of the show was just decent. There were two title changes with Edge & Christian winning the Tag Team Titles again and Chris Benoit won the Intercontinental Title, but neither of those matches were anything special. The Last Man Standing match between Chris Jericho and Kane (the dreaded “coffee” feud) was just average for that kind of match, but the finish was creative at least. Everything else was either too short or mostly forgettable.

If it wasn’t for the great Hell in a Cell match, this might have been a 3 out of 10 type show. The Hell in a Cell match definitely saved it from being bad. As it is, I’d call it an average PPV thanks to the Hell in a Cell match. It was one of the worst WWE PPVs of 2000 since that was such a strong year, but as I noted earlier, it was the most successful December PPV ever in terms of PPV buys, so I’d call it a successful show thanks to one match.

 

FIVE STARS

  1. Triple H
  2. Steve Austin
  3. Kurt Angle
  4. The Rock
  5. The Undertaker/Rikishi

I have to go with the six guys in the main event. That was clearly the high point of the show.

 

OPINIONS

Best Match: Hell in a Cell: Kurt Angle vs. The Rock vs. Steve Austin vs. Triple H vs. The Undertaker vs. Rikishi (****1/2 out of 5)

Worst Match: Ivory vs. Molly Holly vs. Trish Stratus (*) – It’s not the fault of the talent. It’s just hard to have a meaningful match when you only get two minutes.

Most Memorable Moment: The Undertaker throwing Rikishi off the cell onto a truck full of hay.

That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.

—-

My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

More Reviews