Tuesday, July 25, 2023

The History of WWE SummerSlam (2000)

In a year when the WWF was firing on all cylinders, this overcrowded show has to be considered a disappointment.  Still it had its high points....

SummerSlam 2000 - Raleigh Entertainment & Sports Arena - 8/27/00

Here's a bloated PPV lineup.  As with that year's WrestleMania, the company decided to put entirely too many matches on the SummerSlam card.  Unlike 'Mania, they only had the standard three hours to squeeze in ten matches.  As a result the show was very diluted, despite about half of it being quite good.  But even some of the good matches weren't really given enough time to breathe.

For the second consecutive year the main event was a Triple Threat for the WWF Title, this time between The Rock, Triple H, and Kurt Angle.  This was a pretty damn good 3-way match, and was probably the first time the Triple Threat became worthy of headlining a PPV.  Where just about every previous incarnation of this gimmick was either slow, sloppy, overly chaotic, or all three, this match had a much clearer flow to it.  It was a blessing in disguise that Kurt Angle was legitimately knocked out of the match for much of the running time due to a botched table spot, as it left Triple H and The Rock to settle the match down for a while.  When Angle returned late in the match it created a nice dynamic shift.

Just before the table pulled an ad lib and smashed Angle's face.....

The show featured a pair of awesome undercard matches.  The first was a 2-out-of-3 Falls match between the two Chrises - Jericho and Benoit.  These two had spent much of 2000 feuding over the I-C Title and had both been elevated to semi-main event players.  This match was the third in an excellent trilogy of PPV bouts.  While not up to the standard of their Backlash match (which IMO was one of the best matches of 2000), this was a pretty great undercard match.  It was only given about 16 minutes, which given the stipulations is pretty skimpy.  Had this been an 8-match card they could've had probably another ten minutes to make this match epic.
The show stealer for the second time was the TLC match between Edge & Christian, The Hardy Boyz, and the Dudleys.  As with 'Mania, these three teams turned the ring area into a warzone.  They were only given about 14 minutes but they made that time count with a fast-paced, streamlined spotfest.  Great stuff here.

Just before the tables acted according to plan and smashed Matt Hardy's back...

The semi-main spot inexplicably went to a hastily-thrown together Plan B match.  Originally the Brothers of Destruction, Undertaker and Kane, were supposed to fight Big Show and Shane McMahon at SummerSlam.  While this idea is hardly awesome, Big Show's attitude and physique got him in trouble with management, and he was sent down to OVW to pay some dues and get in better shape.  That left Taker and Kane without credible opponents, so the WWF decided to split them up for no logical reason.  The resulting match was just as nonsensical.  After about six minutes of nondescript brawling, Taker pulled off Kane's mask, Kane rolled out of the ring covering his face, and the referee called for the bell.  Like there wasn't even a countout, the match was just over.  It made zero sense and was a complete waste of both guys.  At that point why not go ahead with the planned tag match and have Big Show do the clean job on his way out?

There were two other decent little matches on the show. 

Shane got reassigned to a feud with Steve Blackman, and the two fought in a WWF-style Hardcore spotfest which climaxed with one of Shane's crazy stunt falls, this time off the Titantron.  It was in this match that we all realized how deranged Shane really was.  The son of the company's owner doing insano high spots when he could just as easily be watching the show from a luxury box.  Crazy.

The other ok match was a mixed tag for the Intercontinental Title (which is an amazingly stupid idea, having a singles champion defend the title in a tag match).  Val Venis & Trish Stratus vs. Eddie Guerrero & Chyna.  Chyna won the I-C belt here by pinning Trish (The second time that year that a major singles title changed hands at a PPV due to the tag partner of a Champion being pinned.  The Rock won the WWF Title by pinning Vince in a six-man tag.).  The match was forgettable but decent.

The rest of SummerSlam 2000 was pointless drivel.  X-Pac vs. Road Dogg was slapped together at the last minute; Tazz turned heel and feuded with Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, losing to Lawler here; Right to Censor beat Rikishi and Too Cool; and for the second time, Terri Runnels fought The Kat on a major PPV.  Seriously, this match happened TWICE.

Basically this show could've been really great had they limited the card to 7 or 8 matches and given the good stuff ample time.  The main event got plenty, but the TLC and Jericho-Benoit matches got shortchanged.  TLC ended up being just fine, but Jericho-Benoit should've gotten over 20 minutes for three falls.  Too many of the bouts were thrown on the card at the last minute and ended up being totally pointless.  In a calendar year where the WWF was firing on all cylinders and nearly every B-PPV was an instant classic (No Way Out through No Mercy were all awesome shows), it was odd to see them misfire with four of the Big Five PPVs.

Best Match: TLC
Worst Match: Terri vs. The Kat - I'd like to know who in the company thought anyone was buying the PPV for this.
What I'd Change: Cut the women's match and the Tazz-Lawler debacle, keep Taker/Kane vs. Show/Shane as planned, and you're down to seven matches.
Most Disappointing Match: I guess Benoit vs. Jericho.  I was hoping for a 25-minute epic and they only got 16.  As it is it's still the third-best match on the show.  But it could've been so much more.
Most Pleasant Surprise: The main event probably.  I didn't have much interest in Kurt Angle yet, so I thought it was premature to include him in a PPV main event for the belt.  Initially I had hoped for a Triple H-Kurt Angle undercard match and a main event of Rock-Jericho-Benoit.  Fortunately the main we got was quite good.
Overall Rating: 7/10
Better than WrestleMania 2000? - Probably not quite.


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