No Mercy 2000

No Disqualification
WWF Championship
The Rock (c) vs. Kurt Angle
As noted, Kurt won a number one contender’s match against Triple H on RAW to get this title shot, and, since Triple H labelled Stephanie a “liability” after she accidentally cost him that match, he’s also invited Steph to be his full-time manager. They start with your usual WWF Main Event Style™ brawl, Kurt jumping Rock at the bell before the fight down the aisle where Rock throws Kurt through the No Mercy set. Back to the ring they finally start throwing in some wrestling moves, Rock landing a dragon screw leg whip and locking in his typically lousy Sharpshooter, but Stephanie distracts the referee and he doesn’t see Angle tap out. That sends Rock in hot pursuit of Stephanie, allowing Angle to cut him off with a belly-to-belly suplex, and he blasts Rock with the title belt as Stephanie provides a completely pointless distraction in this No Disqualifications match. Rock comes back with a superplex but Angle, on this suplex-heavy show, returns fire with a German, only to disobey Steph’s orders and resultantly miss a moonsault off the top. Rock lands a DDT but Stephanie jumps in to break it up so Rock gives her a Rock Bottom, and of course that brings out Hunter. He decks Angle for allowing Stephanie to get hurt, then blasts Rock with a Pedigree for putting his hands on her, and carts her off to the back. Angle’s cover only gets two in a heart-stopping near fall, and then super-heel Rikishi waddles out to really confuse the issue, attacking Angle so that Rock can snap off another Rock Bottom. The crowd seem completely confused about how to react now, as Rikishi is a heel but trying to take out Angle (a heel) for the benefit of the Rock (a babyface), despite the Rock having made it clear that he wants nothing to do with him. I like how layered it all is, but for the casual pro-wrestling audience, particularly a WWF one that’s largely into seeing superstars much more than great matches and interwoven storylines, the lack of a clear black and white narrative really clouds the issue. Rikishi goes for an avalanche in the corner but Angle pulls the Rock in the way and they both get squished, so Rikishi tries to make up for it was a thrust kick, only for Angle to duck at the last second, causing him to again blast the Rock. What a clown. Angle then takes out Rikishi with the Olympic Slam before landing one on the Rock for the pin and the title to a significantly loud babyface reaction. So, with less than a year on the main roster, and indeed, less than a year of major league exposure anywhere, Kurt Angle completes a meteoric rise to the WWF Title. Of course, with Triple H’s impending heel turn and the continued push of Rikishi, that meant the title was now on the third string main event heel, but sometimes, egos just have to be stroked. Really good sports entertainment style match, and a great alternative to the technical wrestling of the Triple H-Benoit match, although I could have lived without all the Steve Austin-level walkabout brawling at the start.
Final Rating: ***¾

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