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PostSubject: Re: 2001 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:05 am

Chris Benoit v Kurt Angle (RAW, 6/11/01)
- Not feeling this a whole bunch other than Austin on commentry, but it's good. I can see why people dig it heaps, though. My "problem" with it isn't an Angle problem, just to clarify. Actually, I don't have any real "problem" with it at all; I just don't like it a great deal. The two big spots are great (Angle's missed moonsault and Benoit's headbutt), there's plenty of "smaller" spots that are good (German off the ropes), etc... it just isn't really my thing. Doubt I'll vote for it. ***1/2
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PostSubject: Re: 2001 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:41 am

The Rock vs Kurt Angle - WWF Championship - Raw 12.03.2001
Watched this a couple of weeks ago so it's only vague but it's an awesome awesome match for 10 minutes. If you like the Austin/Angle title match on Raw from the start of 2001 then you'll probably like this as well. Personally I prefered the Austin match ever so slightly, mostly because the ending was much better. The ending being the only thing that kinda lets this match down. Terrific mix of brawling on the outside mixed in with Angle's technical in ring wrestling.

***1/2
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PostSubject: Re: 2001 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:54 am

Chris Jericho & Chris Benoit vs Stone Cold Steve Austin & Triple H - WWF Tag Team Championships - Raw 21.05.2001
Watched this quite a few times now and it never gets old and I still loved it just about as much as I did when I first saw it which speaks volumes for how good it is. The pacing is absolutely incredible which is always a massive win for me. Great pacing is probably the best thing for any match, for me at least. For instance I'd much rather watch a ***** match in 15 minutes than 35 minutes at least most of the time.

Jericho & Benoit are billed as big underdogs against the dominant two man power trip who have been running rampant for the past month or two. This suits them perfectly, especially Jericho and gives great reasoning to the rapid pace and with all the factors in place the crowd are electric for it and rightfully so. Trips does brilliantly to finish off the match after the nasty way he blew his quad and the walls of jericho spot on the table is so iconic, especially adding to the fact that Trips blew his quad just before it. The entire match and story is booked perfectly too with how the match is setup, played out and the finish with Trips costing Austin the pinfall. Maybe kinda fortunate that the Power Trip ended like this after Trips' injury but with a match like this you make your own luck and they certainly did that. You kinda have to look past the fact that less than 5 months prior to this both guys and their partners were feuding and couldn't stand the sight of each other but that's early 2000's booking for ya. Didn't make complete sense but they got away with it because the shows were so great.

****3/4
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PostSubject: Re: 2001 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:55 am

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Chris Benoit - WWF Championship - Raw 28.05.2001
Austin and Benoit in a main event with hype build up and a big match atmosphere. Of course this is going to be good. The Canadian crowd really add to the big match atmosphere of it and the location really plays so much onto the match. Once again the match is extremely smartly booked. It annoys the hell out of me when Vince seems persistant in bringing up the Screwjob everytime he goes back to Canada and recreating it in a way but it works well this time for me. It's great for the feud, great for getting Austin further over as a heel and great for getting more babyface support for Benoit in the future against Austin. The boxing esque introductions with Howard Finkel make the match seem far more important without having to do anything plus it gives Vince a chance to let Hebner get some heat from the canadian crowd. Just another petty example of Vince not being able to let the screwjob go. The match is really good though and typical attitude era style match with extended time on a normal TV main event. I'm not a massive fan of the screwjob finish but it worked well in this case. Thankfully these two would still get the chance to have the classic match they had in them.

****
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PostSubject: Re: 2001 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:12 am

Raw 2001 (05/21 ) - Steve Austin & Triple H vs Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho
This is an amazing match that everybody needs to go back and see (without thinking of the people who rate it *****). It remains in the top 3 moments of either guy's career. Austin & Triple H had such star power and current momentum that it felt like they were defending two World Titles rather than the tag titles. It's hard to think when there was more star power or credibility attached to those titles. For one night, they were the most important things in the world. The Power Trip were also incredibly sinister, psychopathic, evil bastards so this match screams character. They're the devils who have sold their souls and images as icons who get the job done alone from their personal greed for glory. The background for how they aligned together and what they'd done since (interference during each others big singles matches etc) made this an even bigger stage. Benoit & Jericho's massive run of momentum leading to this added to it too. They were two stars ready to break the glass ceiling and serve it up to the evil corporation that was the Two Man Power Trip . It was the ultimate underdog and comeuppance story in the tag team environment, better in that way than any other match of its type in company history.

You also have the crowd which is hot as magma and JR/Heyman going ballistic on commentary. There's so much replay value and fun involved in this. Has there ever been more intensity and energy in a tag match? The pace in this is staggering, with absolutely no stalling, awkwardness or pauses to call sequences. It's extremely smooth, fluent and full of fire. This one is a sprint, but a sprint based on character and storytelling rather than heavy spots. That's a terrific combination. Austin starts off with the first of his many relentless assaults. He's got a great presence about him too and his facial expressions sell him as a guy on the edge of a psychotic episode. When the guys run the ropes during this, they're literally sprinting. Thus everything has this huge velocity or extra something when it's hit. Needless to say Benoit, Jericho and Hunter are all ravenous with their intensity too. You get the feeling these are the toughest, most physical guys on the planet. The Power Trip heel it up perfectly here: double teaming, raking the eyes, breaking up pins, using the ropes for leverage and applying heel teamwork for literally 95% of their offence. They're such a cohesive unit and none of it comes off as forced - personally I really bought it.

There's a great sequence where Benoit locks in the Crossface on Austin, Jericho sends an interfering HHH flying and HHH out of desperation has to get a steel chair and smash Benoit with it. He then drags Austin's lifeless body onto Benoit and smashes Jericho's face in so that the ref can count. The whole match is filled with well timed, well executed and well booked sequences like this. It's difficult to think of a match that's so compact and bang for your buck with four excellent workers clicking on all cylinders. They busted their asses in a major way. The beatdown on Benoit is, needless to say, terrific. They grind his face into the ring, choke him, kick him in the balls, smash him into the steel steps when the ref's not looking and cutoff potential comebacks. Benoit selling like a legend helped. No joke, Hunter's shoulder blocks made me cringe they looked like they hurt that much. The follow up abdominal stretch where HHH kept reaching for Austin's hand for leverage was awesome. All of this makes the eventual comeback and victory so meaningful. The hot tag is really well built to. The ref misses the tag and things turn to chaos from there.

All four guys go on a frenzy and there's payoff galore. The heels break up these payoffs with a heap of asshole tricks with some of the best illustration of the champs using every bit of desperation to hold onto their titles that I've ever seen. It's one of the hottest finishes of all time and Hunter deserves credit for being able to stick with it. The finish is the ultimate payoff to the ultimate assholes, with Hunter's sledgehammer mistakenly being driven into Austin. That one spot had been built for since they'd joined up IMO, so it came off incredibly well. Benoit and Jericho had ended the Power Trip era, restored order to the company and put their names on the map. Heyman screaming "No! NO! NOOOO~!" as the pin is counted is like my favourite moment in company history almost. Nothing screams war more than this and think about all that it achieved. It ticked all the boxes required for a tag match and it was flawlessly delivered.I actually watched this twice for this review. The first time I thought it was fantastic but the second time I legit fell in love with it. I finally "get" this match. It must get better with age or more rewatches, which is an enviable feature to have. This is perfection within its genre and one of the key matches I'd use to show an outsider what this promotion is all about.

****3/4 - ***** (I really, really wanna give this the 5 I was invested so much)
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PostSubject: Re: 2001 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:13 am

Chris Benoit vs Kurt Angle - Cage Match - Raw 11.06.2001
Enjoyed this one a little more than I remembered it previously, which suprised me actually. There's 3 big spots which really make it memorable and they're 3 awesome spots. First the german suplex off the top rope and then both Angle and Benoit going to the top of the cage to hit a moonsault and a diving headbutt.

Obviously though because this is a Benoit/Angle match, the wrestling in amongst the spots is very good too with a load of suplexes which shouldn't shock anyone. Austin out on commentary really adds to the match and the build up of the Benoit/Jericho/Austin fued. Plus you get some great JR/Austin interaction for the first time since he beat the shit out of him after Mania. Heyman is awesome sucking up to Austin in the middle of him and JR.

The aftermath is really cool too with Austin costing Benoit the match and beating the hell out of him with a chair, reminiscent of the last time the cage showed it's face on Raw where Rocky was the victim. I still think shome people really overrate it though as a match but I'm definitely higher on it now than I was before today.

***3/4+
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PostSubject: Re: 2001 Discussion   Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:18 am

Kurt Angle, Edge & Christian vs Booker T & The Dudley Boys - Elimination Tables Match - Raw 23.07.2001
Tables matches are great because everyone loves seeing people go through wooden tables. This is a 6 man tables ELIMINATION match meaning at least 3 people are going through tables. This makes the match instant fun but there's some real good storytelling going on too, particuarly around Angle. Austin's just left WWF for the Alliance and Angle is taking the role upon himself to step up as the new lead guy. They need to prove that Angle can be a dominant force and champion material though, especially after they spent the last month making him look like a goofy idiot in some weekly hilarious skits with Austin and Vince.

They do this perfectly and also manage to keep the alliance looking as a real threat to the WWF. Edge & Christian are the first two eliminated, which makes the alliance look brilliant and sets up the next stage with Angle being left in a 3 on 1 situation but with the perfect chance to prove he can lead Team WWF into battle. Kurt gets some real bad luck with tables not breaking though but he improvises brilliantly. First he goes to put D-Von through a table but it doesn't break and then the same unfortunate luck happens with Booker. He makes up for it though with an awesome belly to belly through the table on D-Von and another great table spot on Booker. In essence you get 2 extra table spots for free and Angle's table spots are all great stuff. The finish then comes with Austin adding a bit more story to the match by igniting the flame for his and Angle's feud to kick off by attacking Angle and costing him the match so that the alliance win the match and continue to look strong.

It's not only a really fun tables match with plenty of table spots but there's loads of other little side stories going on such as the alliance's dominance, Angle's character advancment and the continuation of the Austin/Angle feud. Really good match here..

***1/4
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