PHANTASM review

27/08/2000

Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Raleigh Entertainment and Sports Arena

Arguably the peak of the Attitude era. One of the great PPV examples of the greatest era of wrestling, firing on all cylinders, not to mention one of the great Summerslam events of all time. Look at the talent involved: The Rock, Triple H, The Undertaker, Kane, Jericho, Guerrero, Benoit, Edge, Christian, The Hardyz, the Dudley Boyz, Chyna, Lita, Trish, to name a few. How far can they raise the bar? Let’s find out.

The opening promo of course emphasising the drama centred around the Triple H, Kurt Angle, Stephanie McMahon love triangle. A unique take. J.R and The King introduce us, as Raleigh is pumped for the hottest event of the year.


Above: 18,810 fans packed the Raleigh Entertainment Centre

Six Man Tag Team Match

Rikishi/ Too Cool vs. The Right To Censor

Annoying. That damn alarm sound kicks off this monumental event. Too Cool lifts the mood, juking n jiving, white guy style, with Rikishi bringing up the rear. Scotty does some high flying to begin the festivities, getting the crowd on his side in the early going. The Godfather or Goodfather as he is known here, taunts a hoe, (Victoria before she was Victoria) before Too Cool entertain the crowd with some of their classic, much missed, comedy. Just as Scotty is pumping up his worm, ready to show the crowd; Stevie Richards nails him with a hideous looking super kick, more like Sweet chest music. This one’s over just like that.

Fun start, good length match to kick off, wrong result. Did the RTC become stronger for this win, or did it further their ongoing storylines in any way? No. Somebody turn the alarm off.

Winners- Right To Censor

4.0/10  ~ Thumbs up

Left : Too Cool and Rikishi went down to RTC

Hype for tonights main event.

Backstage: Shane McMahon  ~ Thumbs down

Singles Match

The Road Dogg vs X-Pac

Weak build, simply a case of the WWF squeezing as much out of Degeneration-X as possible. Why are these guys still wearing the D-X attire? It’s over. Surely X-Pac’s spot here was meant for an injured Billy Gunn/NAO feud? The feud that never really kicked off in 1999. Road Dogg has assumed the role as good guy, fans just love to hate X-Pac for some reason. He is such a technically sound in-ring competitor, so it’s always perplexing when the “X-Pac sucks” chants would echo throughout arenas. Plenty of ‘crotch chops’ and basic back and forth spots make up the majority of the match. The heel X-Pac assumes control, (gasp) then we get a Bronco Buster, a Road Dogg Juke n Jive, a false finish botch and a cheap low blow victory to the kid.

Extremely disappointing given the talent, the match and angle itself seemed hurried act contrived. Not what you would call a great match. In fact, this match was so bad I’m sure most who have watched it, have immediately forgotten about it. Road Dogg simulated doggy style thrusts to his opponent post match, yet I feel like I am the one who has been fucked by wasting 4 minutes of my life.

Winner: X-Pac

2.1/10 ~ Thumbs down

2.1/10  ~ Thumbs Do

Above: Road Dogg battling X-Pac

Backstage: Chyna & Eddie / Val Venus & Trish Stratus ~ Thumbs up.

Above Left: Chyna and Latino Heat. Right: Trish Stratus and Val Venus talking strategy

WWF Intercontinental Championship

Mixed Tag Team Match

Trish Stratus/Val Venus(c) vs Chyna/Eddie Guerrero

Val, techno music and all, makes his way to the ring with Trish. Jerry Lawler does not even mention ‘puppies’ once! Whoever scores the fall- scores the belt. Chyna and Trish start off the match with the commentary team expressing that Trish Stratus is NOT a trained grappler.. this could come into play later. Val enters the ring and The ninth wonder of the world clocks him, shrinking The big valbowski to nothing more than a baby birds beak. Chyna wants to get her big hands on Stratus, who instead cops a Val suplex for her trouble. Eddie grabs the tag and does his thing. Eventually, Venus gains momentum, tagging in the inexperienced Trish for a cheap pin. Eddie kicks out to the delight of North Carolina, eventually finding Chyna for the tag. As the lads fight on the outside, a dominant Chyna picks up a vulnerable Trish, who now has nowhere to run or hide, press slamming her to the mat, for the win and the IC title!

Nice entertainment, but could have had a much more satisfying payoff. I’m not one to root for a woman to get beat up or anything, but Trish was the annoying heel who needed to have her comeuppance handed to her. Trish could have at least nailed Chyna with a foreign object and turned the tables before taking an ass kicking and subsequent 3. Instead, she only took one move for the finish…so this one is ultimately unfulfilling. Having the Intercontinental belt thrown around like this really diminishes the value of the once important title also. (Chyna would lose the title to Eddie 8 days later) The champion, Venus, losing the strap by having his tag partner being pinned does not do anyone any favours. 

Winner and new Intercontinental champion- Chyna(c)/ Eddie Guerrero

3.6/10  ~ Thumbs up

Above left and right: Chyna press slams Stratus to win her 2nd Intercontinental championship

Above : The King and J.R

Singles Match 

Tazz vs. Jerry Lawler

We cut to the commentary duo as they fumble about a jar of lollies as we go to the pre match promo…is this product advertising or something? Nice little feud here, albeit it not for everyone, with Tazz doing some decent heel work. Possibly the best heel work of his WWE tenure, as he was somewhat destined to fail after the office did not like the quality of his in ring work on his MSG debut against Kurt Angle at the Rumble 2000. In contrast, some of the “comedy” work with the whole ‘blind’ walk to the ring and taunts to J.R are quite abysmal. King clocks Tazz to kick things off. Through the match, Lawler hits his piledriver, Tazz no sells and cops another, no selling again then doing the “timbeeeer” fall. The Brooklyn thug taunts J.R while locking in the Tazmission, forcing good ole J.R to smash the aforementioned candy jar into the skull of Tazz. The old boys celebrate the King’s win, you can’t help but love these guys.

Short but a nice payoff, seeing the King get a rare win. An illogical angle seemingly orchestrated for Vince McMahon’s personal amusement. Making fun, or even mentioning bell’s palsy in a storyline is just not funny Vince! And certainly not in good taste. Just a bit of something extra to add to the card, time that could have been better spent on other matches late in the card though no doubt.

Winner- Jerry Lawler

3.5/10  ~ Thumbs up

Above: J.R helps The King out
Below: Shane McMahon talks about his upcoming match

O, again!  ~ Thumbs down, again

Backstage- Shane O, again!  ~ Thumbs down, again

WWF Hardcore Championship

Shane McMahon(c) vs Steve Blackman

It’s bump O’clock. Summerslam could do with a bit of something, as the preceding matches have been a bit flat and uninspiring thus far. The first real gimmick match of the evening- a bit of 2000 era hardcore goodness will go down well. Blackman brings his sticks to the ring and Shane ‘O Mac is packing his dacks. Out amongst ‘em they go, the early beat down largely heading Shane’s way. More toys- trash cans, lids and leather straps, equals more punishment for the young McMahon. How will he win this match? The answer is with a run-in from Test and Albert. No rules, so Steve accepts some ‘T & A’ coming his way. Not the good kind though. The three men beat Blackman down the entrance ramp so they can utilise much larger objects as weapons, such as the steel titantron set and arena speakers. Blackman gets the crowd riled up with a comeback, knocking down team T & A and focussing his attention on his actual opponent. And up they go. The cowardly McMahon makes his way up a steel support structure as wrestling fans builds their anticipation. Anyone who follows the product knows Shane is no coward, with all the death defying stunts he constantly pulls. Here, he climbs 40 feet in the air, (J.Rs measurements, 75 if you take in Kings account) with Blackman hot on his heels. The former captain of ‘Head cheese’ whips out his stick and lashes the back of Shane, teetering on the edge of disaster, to the gasps, screams and egging on from the live crowd. Another shot and the moment everyone wants, happens, as Shane falls backwards, falling falling falling, seemingly forever, landing with a CRASH. A heart in throat, terrifying, HOLY SHIT, moment. Is Shane ok? Blackman checks by dropping an elbow from the heavens, (roughly 10 feet) landing on his hardcore opponent for victory; overcoming the odds and taking home the hardcore belt. 

Good story told throughout, Blackman’s martial arts, hardcore style is arguably at it’s peak right here. Largely a ‘one trick pony’ type of match, centred around and building towards a big stunt. The incredible OMG moment was worth the wait, Shane McMahon was so, so high in the air. How he didn’t over rotate and break his neck is a wonder. Summerslam 2000’s first scary bump….so far

Winner and still hardcore champion- Steve Blackman

5.9/10  ~ Thumbs up

Above Left: Steve Blackman taking out his trash
Above Right: Shane McMahon taking a huge fall

Backstage: Shane McMahon stretchered/ Stephanie worried/ Kurt Angle consoling/ Mick Foley interrupting  ~ Thumbs up

Left: Mick Foley interrupts Stephanie and Angle
Right: Chris Jericho’s entrance

Best Two Out Of Three Falls Match

Chris Jericho vs Chris Benoit

Here comes the grappling part of the evening. These two have wrestled each other all over the world, but never a stage as big as Summerslam. Jericho is HOT at this point in time, after coming off his feud with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. The two men roll around and an exchange of punches sets the tone for a personal fight. An interchange of chain wrestling leads to a text book German suplex from Benoit, followed by plenty more counter wrestling holds, for which these two execute quite smoothly. The match is elevated with the 2 out of 3 stipulation. Benoit gets a very early fall, locking in the cross face submission, then begins some ground and pound work. After plenty of time getting beat, Y2J shows some spirit, launching a comeback and scoring a tap out with the walls of Jericho. 1 fall a piece. Jericho is classic good guy here: long, blonde hair, good Hollywood looks, underdog status- the crowd popping his every move. While Benoit is just a bastard. Good exchange of counter manoeuvres and strong back and forth, hard hitting action. Top rope hurricanrana, 1,2…kick out for Benoit. J.R raises the stakes informing us that the winner will be the unofficial number one contender. Y2J whips his opponent into the ropes for a roll up, Benoit reverses the cradle and gets a roll up of his own, holding the ropes and scoring the deciding fall. 

Left, middle, right: Jericho lays some offence on his opponent

Strong in ring work from both competitors, something is missing though, namely extra minutes, as a good 2 out of 3 falls match generally needs 30 minutes to play out a good story. This one clocks in at 13 minutes. Not the competitors fault, but how about scrapping the ‘Stink Face’ match and putting those minutes into the end of this match? Solid fan investment for Jericho, with history showing that the wrong guy went over here. Obviously every retrospective Benoit match is difficult to watch and impossible to 100% enjoy. Simply rating the match in context of the time period though and this match is strong, just a victim of mid-card time cuts. Good timing and execution from both men, a good match to ultimately end the feud for these guys. (Excluding their brief Royal Rumble 01’ outing)

Winner-Chris Benoit

6.6/10  ~ Thumbs up

Thoughts:

The beauty of this much loved and talked about PPV is that it successfully achieves what every great PPV should- builds and builds with each match and continues to progressively raise the stakes and match quality with each passing match. While some pretty basic, albeit, entertaining matches make up the first 1/3 of the event, the middle card has grown in importance and quality. Next up- history. 

Above: The Dudley Boys, Christian & Edge and the Hardy Boys historic matchup

WWF World Tag Team Championship

Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match

Edge/Christian(c) vs The Dudley Boyz vs The Hardyz

Tables and Ladders and Chairs- Oh my! The expectations are high, as are the belts. Just how far will these guys go to raise the bar, built from No Mercy 99 and Wrestlemania 2000. I remember witnessing this live in August of 2000 and having the very real thought that someone could actually die… it’s a wonder no one was seriously injured in any of the TLC themed encounters these guys would put themselves through. Mick Foley’s hardcore rub mixes perfectly in the build up to this big time match up. The table is set. As are the ladders and chairs. The hometown Hardyz blow the roof off of the building to get things underway. Please do not try this at home. And like every match of this kind- no time is wasted, with the use of weapons and dishing out of punishment coming thick and fast. Unprotected chairs crack unprotected heads. (Not good, see CTE) Ladders make their way into the ring almost immediately.  

Above Left: Attempted conchairto. Right: Jeff drops a leg from up high

Every competitor gets their stuff in before the altitude bumps kick in. Bubba butt bombs Matt and how does that not break some serious coccyx?  Jeff Hardy drops down onto a two-prong ladder set up, whacking his own brother along with Christian’s face, as the steel see-saws. An early conchairto by team E & C puts them in charge. Total non stop action, no time for old school storytelling, this is bump town. “D-Von- get the tables!” Devon does as his white brother asks, popping Raleigh into a frenzy. The Dudleyz are about to put the T in TLC. Christian tastes some serious wood, courtesy of a 3D. Another stiff chair shot, again to Bubba- Ray’s skull, is difficult to watch. One good thing about the PG era and beyond, is the limited use of chairs to the head. The Hardyz are on top of the world after climbing ladders set up on opposite corners, dropping offence from up high. Pause for breath.

After Edge and Christian eat a ladder sandwich, Jeff whips out the mother of all ladders, at least 20 feet long and just jumps off the thing! Holy shit! He is in the air for so long, his flipping body crashes into two tables set up on the outside floor. KO. While Jeff is out of commission for a while, Bubba takes another f’n chair shot to the head. Everyone is down. Bubba-Ray is first to his feet, setting up the giant ladder mid-ring, suspiciously looking to the aisle area while aligning the steel. He climbs, the crowd knows something is about to go down. 

Above Left: Bubba-Ray about to fall. Right: The end result


And it happens, in the form of the champs pushing the ladder slowly over to the screams of the crowd. Bubba-Ray takes the bump of all bumps, flying through the air, over the top rope and explodes into a double stacked set of tables in the aisle. Oh. My. God. An absolutely car wreck. Talk about a life threatening move. The crowd absolutely loses their f’n shit; in both disbelieve and amazement. The attitude era is on full display tonight. E & C look to attain victory before Lita makes a welcomed run in, screaming for her boys. Matt is alone in the ring, his chance to climb towards greatness has never been more prominent. He slowly makes his way towards the dangling gold high, high above. Just as he is an arm length from glory- Christian grabs the ladder and pushes it backwards, forcing Matt Hardy to fall blindly, clearing the ring apron and smashing violently through some wood on the outside area. OMFG, simply terrifying. 

Above: Matt Hardy takes a bump

Possibly the riskiest bump you could ever take, he was so high on the ladder and could not watch where he was landing; just mere inches from the steel guard rail. If Matt’s head or neck hits the rail, he would end his career or life, simple as that. Why they even attempted this is mind blowing. No time to stop to think for too long though, Lita checks on her injured lover and gets nailed by Edge with his spear, in what could only be described as a sign of things to come. Jeff has recovered from his failed swanton bomb disaster and it’s now his turn to scale the ladder. D-Von joins him up top as both grab hold of the belts (rope) simultaneously, knocking the ladder they are standing on, leaving both men dangling 15 feet in the air. D-Von is afraid of heights and I am afraid of what is going to happen next. The crowd reaches fever pitch when Jeff mule kicks D-Von, unlocking his grasp and sending him to the matt with a hideous thud, for which he lands badly on his neck and upper shoulder.

Left: GrahJeff and Devon climbing
Right:
Two men dangling high above the ring

Just as the dream is about to happen for the Hardy Boyz, the heel champions interrupt, awkwardly hitting Jeff with a ladder, sending him back to earth with a splat. To a chorus of boos, Edge and Christian ascend to victory and end the carnage, as the fans let out an exasperated gasp as to what they have just witnessed. As all guys get helped out of the arena, the crowd, including J.R and the King, give a much deserved standing ovation. These guys quite literally risked their lives in this match and it holds up through the annals of WWE history. 

Winners and still WWF Tag Team Champions- Edge and Christian

9.5/10  ~ Golden Thumbs Up

Enough cannot be said about this match- one of the all time greats and quite possibly the most daring and dangerous in federation history. Six hungry, young guys putting it all on the line to make a name for themselves and executing spots that people had never seen before. Mimicked to death over the years as of time of writing, in the summer of 2000 this was a brand new concept for which has led to current brands and concepts, such as the money in the bank ladder matches and the yearly TLC PPV. Many ladder matches would follow this in the years to come, most, inspired because of it. None would be as raw and innovative as this, a trail blazing, sensational spectacle. Bodies were being thrown around everywhere, the competitors squeezing the absolute most out of their minutes. Some of the bumps (especially Bubba through 4 tables and Matt’s backwards drop) are the scariest moments this wrestling fan has ever seen. J.R and King add lyrics to the music with classic commentary, the crowd are as hot as any wrestling crowd could be. For my money; the match of an era. Reliving this classic 20 years later does not tarnish the memory at all, the match is still as fresh, daring and emotional as ever, a match that will last the test of time. In fact, watching a match of this calibre in 2021 places it as a relic that will never be attempted again in the modern era, as the WWE product nowadays will never allow bumps and chair shots of this calibre to take place ever again. Simply outstanding.

Above: Edge and Christian retain the tag titles in a historic TLC match

Stink Face Match

Terri vs The Kat

Waste of time. Toilet break or skip.

.5/10  ~ Brown Thumbs Down

Above: The Brothers of Destruction face off

Singles Match

Kane vs The Undertaker

Not the best outing from the Brothers of Destruction. A heel turn from Kane two weeks earlier was quite confusing and did do this match up any favours. In reality, this spot was booked for Big Show, who was sent over to OVW to get into better shape. J.R warns us of a screwy finish from the get-go, with the words “there’s a slobberknocker on the way”. I love a good slobberknocker and all, but a bad sign for this particular sibling encounter. If you are watching on the WWE network, Taker’s entrance is overdubbed with Your Gonna Pay, rather than original Kid Rock. Don’t censor my childhood WWE dammit! At least give me Rollin. The big men exchange furious fists in the aisle, I have not heard a bell yet… another bad sign. Not everyone thinks fondly of the Undertaker’s Amercian Baddass years, it was a necessity though, giving Mark Calaway a way to release the pressure of being the stoic and emotionless Deadman for so many years. The ABA gimmick gave the man the flexibility to evolve and bring the Undertaker character closer to the individual. A notion for which is quintessentially what the Attitude era was all about: changing the overly used and rarely succesful trope of occupation gimmicks in favour of real life personas. Turning the gauge of a individuls real life personality up to 10. 

Above Left: Undertaker uses stairs. Middle: Kane is bleeding. Right: Kane taking a beating

From the early going, Undertaker tells the fans “I’m gonna rip his mask off”, so the motivation of this one has been settled. We get Taker’s motivation, but what is Kane’s? At least these two aren’t feuding over spilt coffee. The two monsters battle in centre ring, the ref forgets to ring the bell, then Undertaker manages to rip the top of Kane’s mask off. Undertaker feeds his baby brother some soupbones, the illegitimate love child of Paul Bearer is not having a great night thus far. Things only get worse, when the Phenom hurls the ring steps smack bang into Kane’s vulnerable face! Ouch. I hope he has a good dentist…The big red machine starts oozing his life blood from his exposed forehead, as Taker ups the anti with more aggressive brawling and hood tearing. Then, out of nowhere, the Deadman throws Kane down, holding his mask in his hands and Kane’s face is exposed for the first time! Will we see an untimely return of Fake Diesel? Nope, just an infuriated, bloody monster and the information passed across from J.R that “the bell never even rang and this match never even started”. Why!! From a logical, kayfabe perspective, two men were in the ring for a scheduled contest, there were no weapons or run-ins and the ref was in place. That’s a match from where I sit. Always good to see these two square off, even if the contest was not officially declared a match. Considering it was the Summerslam, semi main event- surely a match could have taken place. A shame that the Big Show was not in shape and unable to battle the Undertaker instead of Kane, bookending their unholy alliance angle from the previous year. Disappointing, but still a bit fun to see the brothers.

Winner- No contest

3.1/10  ~ Thumbs down

Above: Undertaker The American Badass

Backstage– Last second hype. ~ Thumbs up

Above: Triple Threat main event

WWF World Heavyweight Championship

Triple Threat Match

The Rock(c) vs Triple H vs Kurt Angle

Get the popcorn. Oh the drama! When it’s all said and done, this has to go down as one of the best long term storyline arcs of the Attitude Era that isn’t Austin/ McMahon related. If you go back, Stephanie started calling Kurt “cute” and making HHH jealous as far back as December 1999. Head writer Chris Kreski really stepped up in the wake of the departed Vince Russo, who in terms of history and hindsight- is vastly overrated. The rise of the rookie Kurt Angle, Triple H as the visceral ‘tweener’, Stephanie as daddy’s little indecisive girl and The Rock as the intense megastar, arguably at the height of his popularity, makes this whole angle (not Kurt) an absolute gem. The sparks are flying for Kurt, making his entrance for his very first PPV main event. *Spoiler* He would be heavyweight champ within 2 months, becoming one of a select few to hold the Heavyweight gold within their first 12 months of being pro. After razzing up the crowd, a steaming Hunter makes his furious entrance, to a  fan favourite-ish pop. The fight for the love of Steph is on! This is not about the world title- it’s damn sure personal! Things devolve to the outside very quickly, the Spanish announce table has a giant invisible bullseye all over it. Hunter hooks up Angle for the Pedigree and then the “Please do not try this at home” moment takes place, as both men’s weight causes the table to collapse prematurely- sending a prone Kurt Angle headfirst down to earth.

Left, Middle, Right: Kurt Angle concussion

Without the proper timing and momentum, Hunter was unable to protect his opponent, who did not brace himself sufficiently, causing what would later be determined as a very serious concussion. As HHH buys time by whipping out his hammer, the Rock’s music hits- here comes the Peoples Champion! The Rock and Hunter’s years-long rivalry culminates in the main event of Summerslam, exchanging right hands to the crowds delirium. These two would cross paths in 6 of the 12 PPV’s of that year and per usual, they pummel the shit out of one another. Kurt is tended to by several medical staff. The camera reveals his eyes to be glazed, so the two competitors in the ring are forced to improvise. The Great one and The game seamlessly renew their chemistry and do not panic, which would be easy to do considering Kurt would be booked to play a huge part in the story arc of this match. Triple H slips back into the heel in control, basically pushing the ‘tweener’ tag into more bad guy territory. This adds more complexity to an already multi-layered persona, the fans finding sympathy for him with Kurt’s antics over the previous weeks. Triple H was at his absolute peak throughout the year 2000 and no exception here in the main event. Kurt is stretchered down the entrance ramp and met by Stephanie, who is met by chants of “slut” from the fans. Shame on you wrestling fans! Poor Stephanie is still most likely traumatised from being engaged to Test, then married against her will to HHH after being roofied. Of course she would have unrequited feelings for a good wholesome, clean cut, American hero like Kurt Angle! Her knight in shining armour. She is no slut, she’s suffering Stockholm Syndrome for God’s sake. The poor woman has been brainwashed and repressed.

Left: : The Rock laying the smack down. Right: Triple H Pedegree

Triple H interrupts the star crossed lovers rendezvous and demands that Stephanie go away, reminding her that he is the man and therefore, in charge. Another sexist reminder as to why Vince’s only daughter is suffering from a serious personality regression disorder. Rock fights back after being squashed on by HHH for several minutes, only to cop a sledgehammer blow to the midsection. No more babyface ideas for the Game. He is back to his bastardly best, Terra Ryzing the competition. The bulls battle some more, Rock shows a glimmer of hope, Hunter shoots it down, taking the audience along the rollercoaster ride. We cut backstage to Stephanie urging Angle to continue, who in a terrible acting moment, agrees to fight for his fair maiden. He makes his way back- wobble boots and all, as Hunter drills Rocky with the Pedigree. Angle almost misses his cue, (Stephanie verbally reminds him) but breaks the count and goes to town on HHH, releasing some sexual frustrating no doubt. The Olympic gold medallist is back in the game and surely winning Stephanie’s heart with his courage! The three I’s! Kurt and The Rock pre-empt the upcoming No Mercy PPV with a heated exchange, in which the two trade shots and near falls. Rock executes an ugly belly to belly and DDT, to gain a 2 count from Earl Hebner. HHH recovers and interrupts: shit is really hitting the fan now. Stephanie inadvisedly makes her way into the squared circle and is inadvertently punched by her own husband! The wife beater then gets dropped by his own sledge hammer- courtesy of Kurt Angle. 1..2.. Rock makes the save! Steph is KO. Rock is on fire- laying the smacketh down on the Olympic hero, then drops the peoples elbow on a battered HHH for the 1, 2, 3 count! The People’s champion walks tall, ending a thrilling main event ride. Triple H hurts, Rock retains, while Kurt creeps- carrying an unconscious SMH to the backstage area as the show goes off the air.

Plenty of sizzle on the steak going in and the payoff did not let down the long build. A well crafted match, even more impressive given the Angle concussion and subsequent improvisation. The injury/ departure of Kurt actually enhances the drama and mythology of this match. Stephanie can add kidnapping to the list of grievances she has suffered on WWF tv, although in this case, I think she kinda likes it. Rock going over and retaining is the right choice, allowing Triple H and Angle to continue their personal rivalry one on one (on one) and ending the Rock/Triple H title feud.

Winner and still WWF Heavyweight champion- The Rock

8.2/10  ~ Thumbs up

Left: Angle with a sledgehammer. Middle: Rock drops The people’s elbow for the win. Right: Angle carries Stephanie away

And there we have it, a roller coaster ride that has it all; drama, despair, violence and vindication. Some of the all time great superstars of any era, on show and giving their all, raising the bar for year’s to come. After a slow, but fun start, the second half of this show is as good as it gets; providing some highlights that will live on in wrestling highlight reels forever more. Or as J.R would say “through hell, high water… and wives,” the Attitude era lives!

Above: The Rock wins

PHANTASM review