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So, decided on a little side project for fun, perhaps. My intention, to watch (and half-assedly review) every major wrestling event available on the WWE Network, in chronological order. Right now, that list is All JCP/WCW PPV's and Clash of the Champions, all ECW PPV's, and all WWF/WWE PPV's, Saturday Night Main Event's, and NXT Takeovers. I'll add and go back to Territory supercards (AWA, Mid-South, World Class) if they pop up. This is nuts, and will take forever, but dammit, I'm gonna do it. First up, NWA Starrcade 83.
This era of TV matches is something that doesn’t get talked about much so I tried to come up with a fun way to revisit some ‘classics’ and find some hidden gems on the Network. To start, I’m watching one match from each year of 2000-2007. To help narrow down the choices, I’m taking one person from the match and trying to find a match of theirs from the following year. I figured the easiest place to start was the Main Event of the first RAW of 2000… WWF RAW #345 - January 3rd, 2000 DX (X-Pac, Road Dogg & Mr. Ass) vs. The Rock - 3-on -1 You’re Fired Match The first RAW of 2000 is in Miami and The Rock is upset with how Foley was fired last week. He wants HHH but instead HHH puts Rock in a handicap match against DX. The Rock will be fired if he loses and if anyone interferes, they’re also fired. During the show, Triple H beats Big Show for the WWF Title. Triple H and Stephanie come out drinking champagne and sit on the stage to watch. He makes the match No Countout and No DQ just to stack the deck even more. The Rock gets off to a hot start before running into a big clothesline from Mr. Ass. The triple teaming begins on the outside. An ‘X-Pac Sucks!’ chants break out and Rock satisfies his people by crotching him against the ringpost. Most of this match plays out the same way as DX triple team Rock, he’ll make a brief comeback and immediately get cut off. Eventually Rock strings together a DDT, samoan drop and spinebuster on the three members of DX to take them all out. The crowd is going crazy as he drops the People’s Elbow! Billy Gunn pulls the referee out to break up the pin. Gunn hits a Jackhammer and they hold Rock down in the corner so X-Pac can hit the Bronco Buster on him. Road Dogg goes out to get a chair and gets attacked by Mick Foley out of the crowd. Foley hits everyone with chairshots, including Triple H, and quickly exits through the crowd. That leaves Mr. Ass to eat a Rock Bottom and get pinned in 9:16. RATING: B-. Perfectly fine ‘feel good’ Attitude-era style match with Rock being over huge in his hometown and Foley making a surprise return. Rock’s comebacks were all fiery. X-Pac was good on his side but the Outlaws added very little to the match. They should have been beating the hell out of The Rock but they were pretty weak. WWF RAW #441 - November 5th, 2001 The Rock vs. Chris Jericho (c) - WCW World Heavyweight Title Rock and Jericho are both on Team WWF heading into Survivor Series but they’ve been having all sorts of issues. Mr. McMahon wants them to beat the hell out of each other tonight and put their differences aside before Survivor Series. Jericho smacks Rock pretty damn hard in the face early on. The crowd seems to be split. They tease their finishers early on and there’s quite a bit of back and forth action. Jericho’s utilizing a lot of chops and Rock even does a couple of his own. Rock acts a bit heelish arguing with the ref and going to Jericho’s eyes. Jericho soon hits a DDT and strings together some offense to build momentum until Rock counters him. Jericho goes to the eyes but Rock comes back and gets Jericho in the Sharpshooter. Jericho fights his way to the ropes and it feels like we’re going into the finish. Rock hits the spinebuster and it’s time for the People’s Elbow. Everyone rises to their feet and … Jericho moves! He surprises Rock with a Rock Bottom of his own for a nearfall. The crowd is fully behind Rocky now and Jericho is starting to lose his cool. He throws Rock to the outside and puts him through the announce table with the Breakdown. Rock comes up bloody while Jericho goes back inside to remove the turnbuckle pad. He smashes Rock’s head on the exposed turnbuckle and punches the cut with some short shots. It wasn’t the best bladejob by Rock so maybe Jericho was trying to open it more? Jericho puts him in the Walls of Jericho which gives us the visual of a bloody Rock fighting his way to the ropes. He finally makes it and Jericho goes for the Walls again but gets cradled for the pin. Rock wins the WCW Title in 15:07. Jericho snaps after the match and nails Rock with the title belt and a couple chairshots. RATING: B+. Not quite a PPV level encounter between these two but they were working hard and it got pretty good as it went along. I certainly wasn’t expecting the blood. The crowd didn’t seem to commit to cheering either guy until Jericho denied them the satisfaction of seeing the People’s Elbow. The Rock sure loves his offense off reversals or irish whips! WWF Smackdown #141 - May 2nd, 2002 Chris Jericho vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan (c) - WWF Undisputed Title No DQ Match Mr. McMahon has stated that if Triple H will be fired if he lays a hand on Jericho in this match. The Undertaker cannot get involved due to an agreement between RAW and Smackdown that talent cannot appear on the opposition’s show. The Pittsburgh crowd is going nuts for Hogan from the start. Hogan overpowers Jericho in the opening moments of the match with Jericho bumping big for him. Jericho kicks the announce table in frustration and sells his foot! Hogan continues to roll until Jericho goes to eyes. In a great spot he grabs Hogan’s bandana and wipes his pits with it! Jericho is fantastic here as he’ll work over Hogan a bit, get cocky, allow Hogan to fire back and then cheat again to regain control. At one point he even pays tribute to Flair by getting slammed off the top and begging off in the corner. Jericho gets dirtier by choking Hogan with his wrist tape. The crowd is super behind Hogan and they tease the Hulk Up but Hogan just fires up normally. He hits a pair of elbow drops but misses a third big one. Jericho gets the bulldog and a lionsault. Does he get the pin? Of course not as Triple H comes out to distract him. Hogan fires back once again but Jericho ducks the big boot and hits a DDT for a great nearfall. Now Hogan finally hulks up and the crowd is going nuts. Big Boot! Legdrop? NO! Jericho counters it into the Walls of Jericho in another great sequence. Hogan fights to the ropes and Jericho flips his lid. He grabs a chair and nails Hogan in the back with it. Now Undertaker’s music hits, he doesn’t come out, but Jericho is distracted anyway and gets rolled up by Hogan at 10:19. RATING: A. This felt like an all-time great performance by Jericho given Hogan’s obvious limitations. He managed to bump and sell for him without looking like a clown. His taunting and cheating made him seem arrogant and not weak. The only negative with the match is the distraction finish. I also felt like Hogan stepped it up as much as he could once the match got going and he could sense how good it was. Share any memories of these matches or watch them on the Network and let me know what you think…