SummerSlam 2001

WCW Championship
Booker T (c) vs. The Rock
The issue here is that Booker is basically being pushed as the Alliance’s answer to the Rock, quite literally, being referred to as ‘the Book’ and putting more emphasis on the Bookend (Rock Bottom) as his finisher. You know, the Rock vs. DDP, People’s Champ vs. People’s Champ was right there, and instead they went with pushing a guy as a pale imitation of their own star. Just another nail in the coffin that was the invasion angle.

The match is pretty similar in make-up to the previous one, which can perhaps be explained by Austin’s insistence on changing the structure of his outing. There’s walkabout brawling to start before they fight into the ring, and then inevitably back to the floor before trading hot and heavy moves back inside, with Rock even breaking out La Majistral at one point. Unfortunately, where this match fails to compare to the previous one is with Booker slapping on a chinlock right in the middle of it, and Rock coming back with a Sharpshooter (Scorpion King Deathlock?) despite no previous legwork. Booker was always a talented guy, sure, and few workers have ever been as naturally good at performing as the Rock, but neither are holding a candle to Austin’s performance tonight.

Rock catapults Booker into a turnbuckle exposed earlier by ringside cheerleader Shane McMahon (what cruel irony), and then because all WWF main event matches require it, there follows a gigantic dose of shenanigans as Shane lays out Rock with the WCW Title belt before getting his head completely ripped off by a vengeful Bradshaw, paying off Shane’s earlier interference in the six-man. The Bookend gets two and Rock comes back with a flying lariat and a belly-to-belly before going into his usual finishing stretch with a spinebuster and the People’s Elbow. A recovered Shane breaks that up so Rock gives him a Rock Bottom, only for Booker to land an axe kick and deliver the Spinneroonie to an overwhelmingly large reaction. JR’s burial of it is a little hard to swallow, but then he is a WWF guy. Rocky of course pops right back up and ends it with the Rock Bottom to restore World Title parity that had been the Alliance’s bragging rights for 28 glorious days. What a truly epic run of dominance.

Pretty good match in all, but it might be best viewed in isolation as it just couldn’t follow Austin vs. Angle, especially given the layout similarities it bore, and while everything they did was perfectly competent, they just didn’t have the chemistry to take it to the next level.
Final Rating: ***½

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