I planned on reviewing every WWE SummerSlam event ever in 2017, but life got in the way. I had more responsibilities that came up last year, so I just didn’t have time to finish it. Here we are in 2018 and I planned it out a lot better, so I’ll get every SummerSlam review posted from 2001 to 2018 during this year’s SummerSlam season. The good news is I only have a handful to write from scratch because I have a lot of them finished already.
If you want to re-live every SummerSlam from 1988 to 2000 you can do so in my SummerSlam review archive here. It’s time to pick it up with 2001, which was a great show.
The 14th annual SummerSlam happened a few months after WWE bought out their main competitor World Championship Wrestling. In addition to buying WCW, WWE also acquired the remnants of Extreme Championship Wrestling as well. That meant that WWE’s roster was bigger than ever after they added dozens of new wrestlers to their roster, which was already strong to begin with.
This SummerSlam event followed the July 2001 Invasion pay-per-view, which I reviewed here. That show did a monstrous PPV number with 775,000 buys, which is the most buys for any WWE event other than a WrestleMania. This SummerSlam did 565,000 buys, which is a strong number. Business was good in WWE in 2001 even though the company lost money on their XFL venture that year.
Triple H, who headlined the previous two SummerSlams, was out of action for this event after suffering a very serious torn quadriceps injury in May 2001 that caused him to miss about eight months of action.
The main storyline that summer focused on Shane McMahon buying WCW, Stephanie McMahon buying WCW and them working together to form “The Alliance” group that had a goal of taking over WWE from their father Vince McMahon. Let’s get to it.
WWE SummerSlam 2001
Compaq Center in San Jose, California
August 19, 2001
The show gets a TV14 and “V” for Violence rating on WWE Network. I remember a lot of blood. I guess nothing was too bad to earn the “S” for Sexual Content this time.
The opening video package was perfect for the Attitude Era with the “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” song playing while they showed clips of WWE stars as well as a dude in a psych ward.
Analysis: I vividly remember a Chris Jericho promo around this time about Stephanie McMahon where he said “Let the Boobies hit the floor” because she got breast implants around this time. What can I say? They were noticeable.
There was a huge pyro display by the entrance with the fans going wild. Jim Ross busted out the “they’re hanging from the rafters” line to describe the capacity crowd. Ross hyped up seven inter-promotional matches and six title matches. Ross was joined on commentary by Paul Heyman, who was part of The Alliance.
Analysis: JR’s usual broadcast partner was Jerry Lawler, but this was when Lawler quit the company to support his then wife The Kat after she quit earlier in the year. Heyman did a great job on commentary. Heyman was with Ross on commentary for about ten months until Survivor Series 2001.
Lance Storm was part of The Alliance and was the Intercontinental Champion. Storm tried to do a promo, but Edge’s music played to interrupt him. There was a shot of the WWE locker room looking on as Edge made his entrance.
Intercontinental Championship: Lance Storm vs. Edge
Pre-match notes: Storm was the heel champion that was part of The Alliance and Edge was a face that won King of the Ring 2001 two months earlier. It was a battle of my fellow Canadians since Storm was from Calgary and Edge was from the Toronto area. The ref was my buddy Jimmy Korderas, who is also from Toronto, so this was an All-Canadian matchup.
Storm with a shoulder block, Edge with a flapjack followed by a dropkick and clothesline that sent Storm over the top to the floor. Back in the ring, Edge went up top and hit a cross body block for a two count. Storm took control with a move where he suplexed Edge stomach first on the top rope. Storm sent Edge to the floor. They were back in the ring Storm in control until Edge got a rollup for two. Storm with a front suplex for two. Edge tried a dropkick, Storm avoided it, Edge managed an inside cradle and Storm hit a knee to the ribs for two. The WWE locker room was shown watching backstage. Storm put Edge on his shoulders and rolled through with a rolling senton slam for two. Storm continued his offense with an abdominal stretch to slow down Edge again. Edge broke free, Storm with a shoulder to the ribs, Storm up top, he jumped off and Edge nailed a powerslam to take control. Edge with a few clotheslines, a back body drop and a spinning heel kick that got a two count. Edge with a neckbreaker with Storm kicking out by kicking Edge in the head. Storm went for a hurricanrana type move, but Edge countered into a sitout Powerbomb for two. Storm came back with the single leg crab that was Storm’s finisher. Edge managed to crawl to the ropes to break free. Edge slapped on his own half crab submission. Christian ran down to the ring with Edge noting that he was Edge’s brother and tag team partner (they were originally brothers in the storyline). The ref was bumped momentarily, Christian in the ring, he charged at Storm, who moved and Christian hit Edge with a Spear. Storm hit a superkick to knock Christian out of the ring. The ref got back to it with Storm covering for two leading to a cheer from the crowd. Each guy went for a move, there were counters and Edge hit his Edgecution leaping DDT for the pinfall win after 11:16.
Winner by pinfall and New Intercontinental Champion: Edge
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match between two guys who can have a quality match any time they were given more than ten minutes. Storm was on offense for most of it, the crowd got behind Edge with his comebacks and it led to an exciting finish. There were so many titles changes during this period that no champions really had memorable runs with the gold, so switching the title to Edge made sense. Plus, it set up the Edge/Christian rivalry that I thought was too early in their careers.
Post match, Christian handed the IC Title to Edge. Heyman complained about how Storm had to face two men.
Analysis: Christian turned heel soon after this leading to Christian winning the IC Title at the next PPV, Unforgiven, and then Edge won the title back to win the feud in a ladder match at No Mercy. As I said earlier, I thought it was too early to split them up.
Test and the Dudley Boyz were interviewed by Michael Cole. Test was asked by Cole why he turned his back on WWE. Test said that WWE turned their back on him. Test called the Dudleys the greatest tag team in WWE, so Test found himself a team that was right for him. Test said he’ll show us loyalty tonight. The Dudleys didn’t say anything.
Chris Jericho was interviewed by Lilian Garcia, who he called Vivian. Jericho talked about how this would be his first time beating Rhyno, then he went into slut jokes for Stephanie McMahon by mentioning different guys in high school that were her “first time.” Jericho said that Stephanie had the advantage since they are in the middle of the silicone valley (boob joke). Jericho said he’ll do something to Rhyno that Stephanie has no concept of: “leave him flat.” He left. Heyman noted it was the Silicon Valley, not silicone valley.
Analysis: I mentioned the boob jokes earlier. There were some more of them.
APA (Bradshaw and Faarooq) and Spike Dudley (w/Molly Holly) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) and Test
Pre-match notes: Test and the Dudley Boyz were heels while Spike and the APA were faces.
The Dudleys hit a double team neckbreaker on Faarooq early in the match. D-Von with a running back elbow, but Faarooq came back with a spinebuster. Test tagged in, elbow by Faarooq and Bradshaw teamed with Faarooq with a double team shoulder tackle. Back elbow by Bradshaw. Bubba got back in the ring with a forearm to the back and Test hit a back body drop on Bradshaw. Forearm to the back by Bradshaw to D-Von followed by a DDT. Spike got an inside cradle and a rollup on D-Von for two counts. The heels made quick tags to work over Spike for a bit with Test hitting a huge spinebuster on the 150 pounder Spike. The Dudleys took out a table even though it wasn’t a match where tables were legal. Test teased putting Spike through the table, Spike gouged his eye and that stopped it. The Dudleys double teamed Spike with a double team flapjack where Spike got a lot of height. That looked cool. D-Von went to the middle rope, took way too long, jumped off, Spike moved and D-Von hit the mat. Hot tag by Bradshaw against Test with a shoulder block, two clotheslines and a neckbreaker. Faarooq in leading to a double team spinebuster on Bubba. D-Von hit Bradshaw in the back. Test went for a big boot, Bradshaw avoided it and Bradshaw hit a Powerbomb on Test for a two count as Bubba pulled Bradshaw out of the ring. Spike tried the Dudley Dog, but Test picked him up and tossed him through the table at ringside. Bradshaw hit the Clothesline from Hell on Test, but the ref Nick Patrick was checking on Spike. Shane McMahon ran down, he had a chair and hit Bradshaw in the head with a chair. Test covered Bradshaw to win for his team at 7:19.
Winners by pinfall: The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) and Test
Analysis: **1/2 It was a solid match for the time given. They made the most of their time by working at a faster pace to get everybody in the match. The last few minutes were exciting with Spike taking that huge bump through a table. There was no disqualification for that since Spike was not the legal man. Shane coming in to help The Alliance was a cheap way to end it, but it fit the story. I liked the match.
There was a shot of the WWE locker room with wrestlers congratulating Edge on winning the IC Title. Christian said that he’s facing Matt Hardy for the European Title on Raw. Christian answered his phone saying that it was their grandma. He handed the phone to Edge, who called her Grandma Edna. He said Christian wanted to talk to her, but when he handed it to Christian, grandma hand hung up. The fans laughed.
Analysis: Cell phones in 2001 were not that common. I was nearly 21 at the time and I don’t think I got my first cell phone until about 2004 or so. I didn’t expect to see one here, but there it was.
Debra, the lovely wife of Steve Austin at the time, was in her locker room looking at some schedule. Shawn Stasiak showed up and she yelled at him for walking in without knocking. Stasiak asked for Stone Cold. He said that he screwed up the last few weeks trying to impress Austin. He pointed out that his tights were bad luck because they were pink with stars on it and it said “MECCA” on the back, but he didn’t know what Mecca even means! She said she and Austin don’t care what Mecca means. She pointed out that Austin is preparing for his very important WWE Title match. Debra told him to kick some butt and next time he should knock. Stasiak left.
Analysis: Stasiak’s gimmick was that he was an idiot trying to impress people, but he always managed to screw things up. I don’t want to say I forgot how hot Debra was because she’s an all-time favorite for me, but she really is gorgeous.
Light Heavyweight Championship vs. Cruiserweight Championship: Tajiri (Light Heavy Championship) vs. X-Pac (Cruiserweight Champion)
Pre-match notes: Both titles were on the line. Tajiri was the face and X-Pac was the heel. This was the last time the Light Heavyweight Title was defended on a pay-per-view. The title was retired a few months later in November. Tajiri was the face and X-Pac was the heel.
X-Pac with an arm drag take down early in the match that drew some heat. X-Pac with a takedown followed by some taunting, so Tajiri got some revenge with a slap. X-Pac charged in, Tajiri took him down with a hurricanrana and a dropkick that sent X-Pac out of the ring. Tajiri hit a springboard moonsault off the middle ropes on X-Pac on the floor. X-Pac drove Tajiri groin first into the ring post. That doesn’t lead to a DQ even though it’s a direct low blow. X-Pac with a spin kick in the middle of the ring. X-Pac with a surfboard submission. Tajiri went for a hurricanrana and X-Pac hit a sitout Powerbomb for a two count. Edge and Storm did that spot better in the first match. X-Pac teased a bronco buster, Tajiri countered and X-Pac was upside down in the tree of woe, so Tajiri hit a dropkick and kick to the head. Tajiri with the handspring elbow for a two count. Tajiri slapped on the Tarantula submission against the ropes. Tajiri up top with a cross body block, but X-Pac rolled through for a two count. They battled on the top rope, Tajiri took down X-Pac and got him in a pinning position. Tajiri hit a bridging German Suplex for a two count. X-Pac kicked Tajiri off the apron to the floor. X-Pac wit ha somersault plancha over the top to take out Tajiri on the floor. Back in the ring, Tajiri with a kick and X-Pac came back with the X-Factor facebuster. Slow cover by X-Pac allowed Tajiri to kick out. Pinning combination by Tajiri using his legs led to a two count. X-Pac’s buddy Albert made his way down to ringside as X-Pac hit a kick to the face. Albert on the apron, Tajiri spit the red mist in Albert’s face, the ref was distracted, X-Pac with a low blow punch (the camera missed it) and X-Pac hit the X-Factor for the win at 7:33.
Winner by pinfall – The Cruiserweight Champion and Light Heavyweight Champion: X-Pac
Analysis: **3/4 Good match with a slow pace early, but then it really picked up. The cheap finish meant it was the third straight match with somebody getting into the ring to play a part in the finish although Christian didn’t really help Edge. I just pointed it out because when you do that sort of thing it feels repetitive. The crowd was into the match and really wanted Tajiri to win. It was a crafty heel win for X-Pac.
Perry Saturn was at WWF New York saying that he has been searching for Moppy for over a week. Saturn held up a milk carton with Moppy’s face on it.
Analysis: It was a stupid gimmick that didn’t really help Saturn at all. They could have booked Saturn like a tough guy like he was, but instead they gave him this shitty character.
Rhyno was in the locker room with Stephanie McMahon. She told Rhyno he needs to take out Jericho. He said he’ll do it.
The video package aired showing the story between Jericho and Rhyno. Jericho insulted Stephanie a lot, especially talking about her breast implants, and Rhyno attacked Jericho for Stephanie. There was a memorable moment with Rhyno hitting Jericho with a Spear into the curtain at the top of the Smackdown stage.
Rhyno entered with Stephanie McMahon, who was the owner of ECW in the storyline. They were part of The Alliance. Chris Jericho got a big ovation for his entrance. He was very popular during this period.
Chris Jericho vs. Rhyno (w/Stephanie McMahon)
Pre-match notes: Jericho was the face representing WWE and Rhyno was the heel representing The Alliance.
Rhyno with a shoulder tackle, Jericho with a cross body block and punches. Rhyno tossed Jericho to the apron, Jericho up top, forearm smash and Jericho hit a spinning heel kick for two. Rhyno charged, Jericho wit ha back body drop and Jericho hit a springboard dropkick to knock Rhyno off the apron. Jericho up top, Stephanie grabbed his foot, the ref never saw it and Jericho jumped off leading to a Gore by Rhyno on the floor. Jericho rarely did moves off the top to the floor, so you could tell that wasn’t going to work. Both guys were down for a bit. Back in the ring, Rhyno got a two count. Rhyno with a suplex that sent Jericho ribs first onto the top rope. Rhyno distracted the referee, so Stephanie nailed Jericho with a hard slap. Rhyno used his legs to slap on a body scissors around the waist of Jericho. Rhyno did an airplane spin followed by a TKO for a two count. Rhyno grounded Jericho with a submission with a knee to the back. Jericho with a rollup for two, but Rhyno stopped him again with a suplex. Rhyno went up top, Jericho was too far away and Rhyno didn’t come close to connecting with a splash. They did a double clothesline spot to knock both guys down.
Jericho got a backslide cover for two. Jericho worked over Rhyno with chops, Jericho went for a Lionsault and nearly broke his neck, but Rhyno caught him. Jericho slipped. Thankfully Jericho didn’t hit his head there. Jericho with boots to the face. Jericho with a missile dropkick of the middle ropes. Stephanie was on the apron distracting the referee. (Jericho actually messed up the missile dropkick the first time he did it, but it’s edited out of this broadcast.) Jericho went over to Stephanie and kissed her on the lips, which drew a big pop. Jericho with a bulldog on Rhyno. Jericho went for a Lionsault, Rhyno moved, Jericho knocked him down and Jericho hit another Lionsault for two. Rhyno came back with a spinebuster. Rhyno slapped on his own version of the Walls of Jericho. Jericho got his hand on the bottom rope to break the hold. Enziguri kick by Jericho. Rhyno hit a side belly to belly suplex. Rhyno went for a Gore, Jericho moved, Rhyno hit the turnbuckle and Jericho slapped on the Walls of Jericho submission. Rhyno tapped out to give Jericho the win at 12:34.
Winner by submission: Chris Jericho
Analysis: **1/2 It was just an average match. I think the story was lacking in terms of working over a body part or something like that to make it more interesting. There were several moments where you could tell they were just off with some of the moves they did. Plus, that spot where Jericho slipped off the top that was completely edited out of this version of the match. The outcome was obvious because they kept saying that Jericho had never beat Rhyno before, so it seemed obvious that was coming.
Post match, Stephanie threw a tantrum at ringside and went to the back alone. A sign in the crowd: “SummerSlam MVP: Steph’s breasts” is near “Steph McJugs.” They showed the replay of Jericho kissing Stephanie with Heyman saying he was ashamed to have ever met Jericho.
Analysis: Even though Jericho was popular during this period, he turned heel a few months later as he got into a great feud with The Rock. The heel side was lacking at the time, so it made sense at the time.
The Rock was shown walking backstage with William Regal there to ask him if he’s 100% after what happened on Smackdown. The Rock said he is hurt, but he is there at SummerSlam. Rock said the only thing Booker managed to do was piss The Rock off. Rock asked Regal if he hears it leading to the “Rocky” chants. Rock asked if he feels the electricity. Regal said yes. Rock asked if he smells it, Regal asked what and Shawn Stasiak went running into a garage door nearby. The guys moved out of the way. Rock told Regal to smell what The Rock was cooking.
Analysis: It was a typical good Rock backstage promo. The Stasiak spot was good for a mild laugh.
Rob Van Dam got a nice ovation for his entrance. He started with WWE about one month before this and was getting over with the fans quickly after his great career in ECW. Jeff Hardy got the bigger ovation. He was the Hardcore Champion at the time.
Ladder Match for the Hardcore Title: Jeff Hardy vs. Rob Van Dam
Pre-match notes: Both guys were faces even though RVD was a part of the heel group known as The Alliance. Hardy was on Team WWE. This was a rematch from the Invasion PPV, which was a great match. RVD won the title that night, Hardy got it back and this was the rematch. They were two of the best high fliers of this era.
RVD went for a kick early, Hardy avoided it, RVD missed a dropkick and Hardy with a leg drop to the midsection. They battled on the apron where Hardy gave RVD a hip toss over the top to the floor. Hardy hit a springboard corkscrew moonsault that took down both men by the announce tables. RVD came back with a leg drop to the back of the neck while Hardy was positioned on the barricade. Some fan was yelling at RVD to “fuck him up.” Hardy ran the railing on the barricade and took down RVD with a cross body block. Hardy brought a ladder in the ring, so RVD jumped off the barricade and sent it into Hardy’s face slingshot style. Hardy came back with a move where he hit a splash onto the ladder that led to the ladder hitting RVD in the ribs. Hardy hit a springboard moonsault onto RVD, who was on a ladder. Ouch. Hardy with a leg drop to the legs of RVD. Hardy sent RVD into the turnbuckle, RVD set up Hardy against the turnbuckle and hit shoulder tackles. The fans chanted for RVD. Hardy was set up on a ladder across the middle ropes, so RVD hit the Rolling Thunder splash onto Hardy to crash that ladder. Spin kick by RVD knocked down Hardy again. Van Dam jumped over the top rope leading to a leg drop on Hardy, who was laying on the ladder. Hardy kicked the top of the ladder to ram the bottom part of it into RVD’s chest, which led to RVD bumping up the aisle.
Hardy climbed up the ladder for the first ladder climb of the match, so RVD jumped off the top rope and knocked Hardy down with a kick. Van Damn put a ladder on top of Hardy and hit a moonsault onto the ladder while crushing Hardy at the same time. That looked great. Van Dam did a climb, so Hardy went up top and hit a missile dropkick with Van Dam landing on top of Hardy. That looked painful for both guys. Hardy with a DDT. Hardy went up top, he jumped off with a Swanton Bomb and RVD moved. RVD went up top for the Five Star Frog Splash, but Hardy moved and RVD hit the mat hard. Hardy climbed up, RVD went up the other side and RVD hit a superplex off the ladder that sent both men crashing to the mat. That drew a massive ovation from the crowd. Van Dam tried a climb, but Hardy met him with punches and Hardy hit a sunset flip Powerbomb from one side of the ladder to the other. That was cool. Hardy climbed the ladder again, he got his hands on the hook that holds the ladder, RVD removed the ladder from under him and Van Dam tried a kick off the top to knock him down. Van Dam didn’t connect with it, so Hardy just went crashing to the mat. It’s not a big deal that they missed that spot because it was so risky. Hardy climbed again, so RVD shoved the ladder that led to Hardy crashing into the ropes. RVD climbed again and pulled the title down to win the match.
Winner and New Hardcore Champion: Rob Van Dam
Analysis: **** It was a great match as usual from these men. They clearly had chemistry together. I like how the match didn’t have too many of those slow climbs where it’s not believable. There was a lot of action in this match, it was booked in an even way and they did some incredible spots along the way too. The crowd was really into the match, they cheered both guys and loved the big spots that these guys did. I’m not going to get mad about the blown spot because of how hard it was with RVD trying a spin kick while Hardy was hanging from the titles. I give them credit for even trying that move. It didn’t matter who won because the Hardcore Title had little value, but having RVD beat Hardy in two straight PPVs gave RVD a lot of credibility early in his WWE career.
Post match, RVD and Hardy nodded at eachother as a sign of respect. Van Dam celebrated as the new Hardcore Champion.
Booker T was in the locker room with Shane McMahon, the leader of The Alliance. Shane was happy about RVD’s win and said that Booker’s going to retain the WCW Championship. Shane had a present for Booker. Shane gave him a Book End from the announce table that Booker put Rock through on Smackdown. Booker liked the gift and gave him a hug. Booker said he’s dedicating the match to him.
The Undertaker and Kane were shown walking backstage with Taker’s wife Sara. They were the WCW Tag Team Champions.
A video package aired about the story with Diamond Dallas Page filming The Undertaker’s wife Sara. They showed clips of Page filming Sara and becoming obsessed with her. Page built a shrine for Sara, Undertaker saw it and Kanyon attacked him with Page. Kanyon and Page were WWE Tag Team Champions at the time while Kane and Taker won the WCW Tag Team Titles, so Regal put them in a Steel Cage match.
Analysis: I thought it was an awful storyline. DDP was one of the most likable guys in WCW, so it was weird to see WWE bring him in with a stupid storyline like this. Plus, Page was married to the lovely Kimberly Page at the time, so that made it even stupider although she was not brought onto WWE TV much to my dismay.
Kanyon and Diamond Dallas Page made their entrance with the WWE Tag Team Titles around their waist. Kanyon was also the US Champion at the time, but that was treated as a joke title that he was gifted.
Analysis: Kanyon was a very talented wrestler that took his own life at the age of 40 in 2010. I enjoyed his work in WCW a lot and wish his WWE run went better for him.
There was a big ovation for The Undertaker and Kane with Sara although it was dubbed over on this version of the broadcast due to the song. Taker was using the Kid Rock “American Bad Ass” song, but they dubbed over that with the “You’re Gonna Pay” song that WWE had for him. The dubbing sounds so fake and hurts the quality of the broadcast.
Analysis: If you’re wondering about Sara, she was Undertaker’s wife (his second wife) at the time. He had “Sara” tattooed on his neck. They had two daughters together and divorced later in the decade. He went on to marry Michelle McCool. Taker has been married three times. He had one son from the first marriage, two girls with Sara and a girl with Michelle. Sara was not an on-screen performer in WWE for that long. It was only a few months.
Steel Cage Match for the WCW and WWE Tag Team Championships: Brothers of Destruction – The Undertaker and Kane (w/Sara) vs. Kanyon and Diamond Dallas Page
Pre-match notes: The Undertaker and Kane were the faces on Team WWE while Page and Kanyon were part of The Alliance. You can win by pinfall, submission or both men can escape the cage. No tags in this match. The door was locked and Sara put the key under her shirt, so there was no escape the door option.
Taker and Kane dominated early on. When Page tried to work over Taker, it was unsuccessful, and Taker decked him with punches. JR called Page a pervert. Low blow kick to the balls by Page on Taker. Page sent Taker into the cage two times. Page with a clothesline. Kanyon with a dropkick on Kane. Taker decked Page with a boot to the face and a punch to Kanyon. Kane nailed Page with a boot to the face and a boot to the face for Kanyon as well. Kane threw Kanyon over the top into the cage. Kanyon sent Kane into the cage to stun him, but Kane came back with a Chokeslam. Kane hit a Powerbomb on Kanyon against the cage. Undertaker with two running shoulder tackles against Page against the cage and a running kick. Kanyon came back with a clothesline off the top to knock down Undertaker. Kanyon hit a leg drop to the back of Kane’s head. DDP with a DDT on Taker. Kanyon and Page tried to climb out, but Kane and Taker sat up at the same time to stop them. Taker knocked Page off the cage leading to Page getting crotched on the top rope. Taker told Kane to let Kanyon leave, so Kanyon went to the floor and walked to the back. That led to Page taking an ass kicking as Taker and Kane hit clotheslines along with a sidewalk slam by Undertaker, who covered for two only to pull Page up. Taker worked over Page with punches while Kane sat on the top rope watching the carnage. Taker had a steel chain, he whipped Page into the cage and told Page to get his ass out of here, but he should not come back. Page slowly tried to climb out, but it was all a ruse from Taker, who hit a Chokeslam on Page off the top rope. Taker hit the Last Ride Powerbomb and covered Page to win. It went 10:15.
Winners by pinfall: The Undertaker and Kane to become the WWE and WCW Tag Team Champions
Analysis: *1/4 It was a glorified squash match to put an end to this storyline that wasn’t working. Page and Kanyon barely got any offense. It could have been more effective if it was five minutes shorter too.
Post match, Taker and Kane celebrated while Sara talked trash to DDP because she was happy that Page lost after he had stalked her. The music dubbing is so bad because WWE chooses to insert a crowd cheering consistently at the same audio level, so it just comes off as cheesy.
Analysis: There were stories about how DDP tried to tell Undertaker how to do their match because Page liked to script every move on paper before a match, so that was not well received. Page even lost to Sara on Raw. They did turn Page face in early 2002 with the goofy smiling gimmick leading to a WM18 win over Christian, but other than that his WWE run failed miserably. Part of it was due to age since Page was 45 years old at the time of this match. It just wasn’t going to work for him in WWE.
The Rock was in the trainer’s room talking to a doctor saying he didn’t need any medical attention. Rock told the doctor it will take more than one Rock Bottom through a table to beat him. Shawn Stasiak ran into the room, Rock moved and Stasiak went crashing again. That was funny. Rock informed the trainer that he (The Rock) would be the next WCW World Champion.
The WWE and Alliance locker rooms were shown in anticipating of this next match.
The video package aired to set up the WWE Title match between Steve Austin and Kurt Angle. It started at Invasion when Austin turned on the WWE team when he hit Angle with a Stunner and helped The Alliance team win the big tag team match. Austin’s explanation was that Vince McMahon didn’t love Steve Austin, he was grooming Kurt Angle and Austin decided to join a team that loves and respects him. There were clips of Austin being a tough leader to his guys in The Alliance.
Analysis: This video package was great. It’s not remembered like Austin/Rock WM17 earlier in the year, but I thought it was excellent. It also fit the “Let the Bodies Hit the Floor” song perfectly.
Kurt Angle made his entrance looking intense. He got a big ovation. It was weird seeing Kurt as a face, but the story called for it. Plus, Angle had earned the respect of the audience.
Steve Austin made his entrance. I didn’t like this modified heel song that he had. Austin stood in the aisle, they had an intense staredown and the shit was on from there!
Analysis: I was so excited for this match. Austin and Angle were my favorite wrestlers at the time (they are my top three favorites with Shawn Michaels), so I was pumped to see what they would do. It was Angle’s first major singles match as a face because he was a heel for nearly two years going into this. It’s not fair to expect a Match of the Year, but these two were certainly capable of it.
They started brawling on the floor with referee Earl Hebner trying to get them back into the ring. Austin worked over Angle with punches and chops. After about a minute of brawling, they went into the ring to start the match.
WWE Championship: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle
The bell rang with Angle taking over with punches. Austin with punches, hard whip into the corner and Angle bounced back with a clothesline. Angle did a running cross body block on Austin for a two count. Angle with an elbow to the back of the head. Austin took over working on the left leg of Angle because going to this match, Austin wrapped a chair around Angle’s left leg and stomped on it. Angle managed to slap on an Ankle Lock, Austin got to the ropes and left the ring. Angle followed, so Austin decked Angle with a clothesline. Austin with a back body drop that sent Angle over the top to the floor. A kid at ringside told Austin he sucks, so Austin gave him the middle finger. That’s funny. Back in the ring, Austin hit three vertical suplexes. Angle came back with three German suplexes, Austin tried to fight back, Angle hit more and JR counted seven German Suplexes. I think it might have been six, but I wasn’t counting. Austin came back by kneeing Angle in the back sending Angle into the middle turnbuckle. They battled by the turnbuckle, Angle knocked Austin down, Austin came back with punches and Austin connected with a superplex off the top rope. They got back to their feet, Austin hit a Stone Cold Stunner and a cover. Angle got his left shoulder up to kick out at two. Austin was upset with the ref about that. Austin hit another Stone Cold Stunner, but Angle bumped out of the ring to the floor. Austin whipped Angle face first into the ring post. Austin stalked ref Hebner on the floor to give Angle a chance to blade and Angle was busted open. Austin sent Angle face first into the ring post three times. The ref was not counting them out of the ring. Austin grabbed the title, Hebner took the title away from him and Austin whipped Angle into the ring post two more times, so five times total. Austin worked over a bloody Angle with punches. Back in the ring, Austin went for a pinfall that got a two count. They left the ring again with Austin whipping Angle int to the ring post and the announce table. Angle managed to come back by pushing Austin over the barricade at ringside. Austin managed to suplex Angle over the barricade onto the concrete. Hebner was outside the ring with them. When Austin tried to get back to ringside, Angle slapped on the Ankle Lock while Austin was on the barricade. The announcers bickered about what was legal.
Angle pulled Austin into the ring by the leg and slapped on the Ankle Lock submission with the crowd cheering. Austin got to the ropes to break the hold. They left the ring again with except this time Angle was in control with a belly to belly overhead suplex. Austin got back up, so Angle dropped him with a belly to back suplexes. Heyman complained about the ref, so JR fired back saying that the ref wants to have a winner in this match and he’s being lenient. Angle sent Austin into the Spanish announce table twice and then rolled Austin back in the ring. Angle was a bloody mess as he went to the top rope. Angle hit a moonsault off the top for a two count as Austin got his shoulder up to kick out. Austin slapped on a Million Dollar Dream submission, Angle walked the ropes and kicked off leading to a pinfall for two. That’s the finish they did at Survivor Series 1996 with Bret Hart beating Steve Austin with that move. The ref raised Angle’s hand to check on hand and Angle managed to send Austin to the floor. Austin got back in the ring, he had Angle’s blood all over and Austin hit another Stone Cold Stunner for just two with Angle getting his shoulder up. The crowd was going crazy for this. Angle looked like he was out of it, Austin slapped him in the face, Angle blocked a kick and hit an Angle Slam. The crowd love that too. Angle took a few seconds to cover for a two count. Austin got back up to his feet and decked referee Earl Hebner with a punch that knocked him out of the ring. Angle hit a DDT on Austin. Referee Mike Chioda went down to the ring to count the pin for a two count for Angle. Austin hit a low blow right in front of the ref, the ref asked him about it and Austin hit Chioda with a Stone Cold Stunner. Austin brought the WWE Title in the ring. Ref Tim White went into the ring, so Austin hit White with the WWE Title. Angle back up with another Angle Slam on Austin. There was no ref to count the pinfall until ref Nick Patrick of The Alliance called for the bell. Patrick told ring announcer Howard Finkel that Austin was disqualified at 22:30.
Winner by disqualification: Kurt Angle (Steve Austin retained the WWE Title)
Analysis: ****3/4 This was an incredible match that lived up to the hype in terms of delivering one of the best matches of the year. This match worked on so many levels because both guys were on their games as well as I could ever remember. I can’t think of a match where Angle wrestled better as a babyface. The crowd was behind him so much. Austin was at his heel best here. People who think his heel run didn’t work because the crowd was reluctant to boo him need to watch this match. The story was that Austin tried everything he could put away Angle, but Angle kept fighting back and when Austin realized that, he attacked the referees because he wanted to find a way to get out of the match. It’s worth pointing out also that they went nearly 25 minutes without slapping on a chinlock or an armbar to take a break. The submissions they used were more like finishers to try to end the match. The finish pissed off the fans in the arena, but it never bothered me because it meant there would be a rematch. It’s my favorite WWE match ever with a DQ finish along with Shawn Michaels vs. Mankind from Mind Games 1996. I can’t pick one over the other, but both are outstanding.
Post match, Austin left with the title. Angle complained about Patrick screwing him. Austin threw Patrick into the ring and decked him with a punch. Angle slapped on the Ankle Lock on Patrick. Patrick tapped. The crowd liked that. Angle’s music hit with JR yelling about how Angle never quit and never gave up. JR said it’s not right. Angle was frustrated about not leaving with the title.
Analysis: Angle attacking after the match made sense since he came so close to winning. They went on to have a rematch at the next PPV, Unforgiven 2001, in Angle’s hometown of Pittsburgh. Angle won the WWE Title that night, which was shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Austin won the title back a few weeks later on Raw.
The announcers bickered about what happened with JR yelling about how Austin knows he can’t beat Angle for the WWE Title. Heyman was happy that Austin retained the title.
The video package aired for the WCW Championship match with Booker T defending against The Rock. The Rock took a break for a few months to film The Scorpion King after WrestleMania, so Rock declared he was still part of WWE (not The Alliance) and he’ll forever be the People’s Champion. That led to some funny promos from Rock mocking Booker T, who had Shane McMahon by his side. Booker put Rock through the announce table with the Book End (same move as the Rock Bottom) to send a message.
Analysis: The match was built up well. As a Booker fan, I was excited to see him against Rock. I don’t think anybody believed Booker had a shot in winning this match, though.
The WWE and Alliance locker rooms were shown watching backstage.
Booker T made his entrance with the WCW Championship and Shane McMahon by his side. He was booed, but it was not that loud.
The Rock made his entrance to a huge ovation. It was typical for him in this era when he was the most popular guy in WWE.
WCW Championships: Booker T vs. The Rock (w/Shane McMahon)
Pre-match notes: Booker was the heel WCW Champion while Rock was the face challenger.
Rock was intense to start the match with a back elbow on Booker. Rock left the ring to go after Shane, a camera guy got run over and Booker decked Rock with a punch. Rock back into it with a Samoan Drop for two. Booker with a knee to the ribs of Rock. Clothesline by Rock and Rock applied the la magistral cradle for a two count. Booker with a jumping leg lariat for two. Rock whipped Booker over the top to the floor. Rock whipped Booker into the announce table, Rock swore at him and hit him with a low blow punch. The ref Charles Robinson was right there, but he did nothing about it. Booker sent Rock face first into the steel steps. Booker sent Rock groin first onto the barricade at ringside. This is another match where the ref isn’t counting guys outside the ring. Booker decked Rock with a clothesline as they battled in the crowd. Booker cleared off one of the announce tables. Rock tried to fight back, but Booker whipped Rock into the ring post. Shane McMahon unhooked a turnbuckle pad to expose the steel. Booker sent Rock into the barricade again. After a few minutes on the floor, they went back into the ring with Booker nailing a spinning heel kick for two. Booker with a clothesline and elbow drop. Rock tried to fight back, but Booker dropped him with a flying forearm to the head for two. Booker slapped on a chinlock. Rock got back up with a takedown leading to a Sharpshooter submission. Shane on the apron, Rock brought him into the ring and Booker hit a superkick for two.
Rock with a clothesline, a catapult sent Booker into the exposed steel turnbuckle and Rock hit a DDT for two. Shane put a steel chair on one side of the ring. Booker crawled to the chair, so Shane grabbed the WCW Title and while the ref was busy with Booker, Shane hit Rock with the WCW Title to the head. The APA duo of Bradshaw and Faarooq showed up at ringside. They chased Shane around the ring with Bradshaw drilling him with a Clothesline From Hell. The crowd loved that moment. I had forgotten about that, but it was a great spot. Back in the ring, Booker with the Book End. Ref Charles Robinson was checking on Shane for some reason, so when Booker covered, Rock got his left shoulder up to kick out. Rock ran the ropes, he hit a leaping clothesline and a belly to belly suplex by Rock for two. Rock hit a spinebuster, the crowd went wild and Rock hit the People’s Elbow to the chest of Booker for a two count due to Shane grabbing Robinson’s legs. Rock left the ring and gave Shane a Rock Bottom on the floor. The fans love that. Back in the ring, spit punch connected for Rock and Booker hit a spinebuster of his own. The fans chanted “Rocky” for the challenger. Booker connected with a scissors kick to the back of the head. Booker hit the Spinarooni dance, Rock kipped up and hit a Rock Bottom for the pinfall win after 15:19 of action. That drew a huge ovation from the crowd.
Winner by pinfall and New WCW Champion: The Rock
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match with Booker in control for most of it, Shane getting involved when needed and Rock made the predictable comeback to get the win. There was a similarity to the Austin/Angle match in the sense that they fought outside the ring for several minutes without the referee counting them out. It doesn’t bother me if it’s consistent during most of the show and it was during these two title matches, so it’s fine. I think the match would have been better if there were more believable nearfalls for Booker. Other than the title to the head by Shane to Rock, there just wasn’t enough excitement in terms of teasing the idea that Booker might win. As noted earlier, Rock winning was the obvious decision.
The Rock celebrated with the WCW Title. It was his first time winning that title. There was a shot of the WWE locker room celebrating Rock’s win.
The Rock celebrated with title some more and that was it for SummerSlam 2001.
This event has a run time of 2:41:57 on WWE Network.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– This is a loaded show without a bad match. The worst match was Taker/Kane over DDP/Kanyon, but even that was fun because it fit the story with Taker/Kane dominating the match. Everything else was fun to watch.
– The match order made sense. Austin/Angle was the bigger championship match, but it’s smarter to end with a babyface winning a major title like Rock. I don’t mind that all. Edge/Storm was an exciting opener. RVD/Hardy was an excellent match in the middle of the show that was different from anything else.
– I’ll remember this show mostly for Austin vs. Angle because of how it brought this vibe of a real fight from guys that wanted to hurt eachother. Obviously, they don’t really want to hurt eachother, but they played their roles so well it was easy to buy into it. It didn’t feel like a traditional wrestling match where guys are going through the motions to set up the same spots we see all the time. They laid out the match perfectly. I don’t mind the DQ finish at all.
– It was noticeable that there were no women’s matches on the show. They did wrestle before the PPV aired in a six-woman tag, but keeping them off a major PPV showed how WWE felt about women’s wrestling during this period. They were part of the show sometimes, but they were not considered a priority.
– RVD and Hardy’s match was overshadowed a bit because of the other matches, but they really impressed me. It’s tough to have a face vs. face match like that, yet they pulled it off without killing themselves even though Jeff took some nasty bumps a few times.
Best Match: Kurt Angle vs. Steve Austin for the WWE Title (****3/4 out of 5)
Worst Match: The Undertaker and Kane vs. Kanyon and Diamond Dallas Page (*1/4)
Most Memorable Moment: The last few minutes of Austin vs. Angle. It’s tough to pick just one moment this time.
- Steve Austin
- Kurt Angle
- Rob Van Dam
- Jeff Hardy
Show rating (out of 10): 8
Great show from top to bottom. The two best matches were four stars and above while there were consistently good matches all night long. It was a fun show to watch.
Matches With Ratings ****+ (out of 5*) and higher:
British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart @ SummerSlam 1992 (*****)
Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart @ SummerSlam 1994 (*****)
Shawn Michaels vs. Razor Ramon @ SummerSlam 1995 (*****)
Kurt Angle vs. Steve Austin @ SummerSlam 2001 (****3/4)
TLC: Edge & Christian vs. Dudley Boyz vs. Hardy Boyz @ SummerSlam 2000 (****3/4)
Triple H vs. The Rock @ SummerSlam 1998 (****1/2)
Bret Hart vs. Mr. Perfect @ SummerSlam 1991 (****1/4)
Shawn Michaels vs. Vader @ SummerSlam 1996 (***1/4)
The Rock vs. Triple H vs. Kurt Angle @ SummerSlam 2000 (****)
Rob Van Dam vs. Jeff Hardy @ SummerSlam 2001 (****)
Ranking SummerSlam Reviews (on 1-10 scale)
SummerSlam 2001 (The Rock vs. Booker T, Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle) – 8
SummerSlam 1998 (Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker) – 8
SummerSlam 2000 (The Rock vs. Triple H vs. Kurt Angle) – 7.5
SummerSlam 1992 (British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart) – 7
SummerSlam 1997 (Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker) – 5.5
SummerSlam 1996 (Shawn Michaels vs. Vader) – 5.5
SummerSlam 1989 (Hogan/Beefcake vs. Savage/Zeus) – 5.5
SummerSlam 1994 (Undertaker vs. Underfaker, Bret vs. Owen) – 5
SummerSlam 1999 (Mankind vs. Steve Austin vs. Triple H) – 5
SummerSlam 1988 (Mega Powers vs. Mega Bucks) – 5
SummerSlam 1991 (Match Made In Heaven & Hell) – 4.5
SummerSlam 1995 (Diesel vs. Mabel, Michaels vs. Ramon) – 4
SummerSlam 1993 (Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna) – 4
SummerSlam 1990 (Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude) – 3.5
Next up is SummerSlam 2002, which might end up topping this list as the best SummerSlam ever. I’m looking forward to watching it and writing about it.
Check out the SummerSlam Reviews archive.