WWF Intercontinental Championship
Chyna (c) vs. Chris Jericho
Despite the uninspired booking, Jericho is still over huge with the crowd tonight. I guess the sight of their babyface hero of the last three years nearly getting murdered hasn’t affected them too badly. I have written elsewhere in this tome about my feelings on Chyna being Intercontinental Champion, and to sum it up I agree with Jericho’s assertion that it is an embarrassment. I mean, she just goddamn sucks as a wrestler. The fisticuffs brawl they have at the start is poor, and nothing Chyna does feels or looks natural, it’s like she is carefully thinking about every pre-planned spot. There is an amusing moment where they do a waistlock switch and Jericho mule kicks Chyna directly in the cunt, but she just looks at him as if to say: “Yeah? And what is THAT gonna do!?”. Well, he probably assumed like most of the rest of us did that she was actually a dude. Chyna follows that with a rana that more closely resembles her being powerbombed, and then she takes Triple H’s wild bump in the corner over the ropes, and actually does it well. She is yin and yang. Jericho starts to boss things, which means Chyna has to sell. She is very hit and miss with that too. Chyna eventually tries to fire back with her wild haymaker punches, and the girls in the crowd cheer, but the males start to turn on her, and they pop Jericho big when he belts Chyna back to the ground. Jericho starts taking the piss and strutting around, and Chyna is gassed from being in the ring for more than ten minutes so doesn’t show any fire in response. To give her a rest, Jericho gives Miss Kitty a kiss, right in front of Jerry Lawler, then snapmares her on the outside to almost no response. Years ago that would have been an inquest, a suspension and months off injured for the femme in question. Hell, Roddy Piper did the same thing to Cyndi Lauper to set up the historic The War to Settle the Score. Chyna recovers enough to go into the next round of the pre-discussed routine and gets the better of Y2J on the outside, but back in the ring takes a big powerbomb, which she nearly botches by jumping wrong. Thankfully for her, Jericho is a veteran by this point and knows what he is doing, so saves her from a broken neck. Chyna fires back again, slowly, then connects with her impressive springboard elbow and a DDT for a near fall. JR and Lawler discuss Jericho’s pre-match promise to get a sex change if he doesn’t win the title, but thankfully the WWF didn’t hold him to that one. In 1999, would you have put it past them to do so? Jericho hits Chyna with the IC belt which should obviously finish, but Chyna is nailing Triple H so she gets to kick out. Chyna responds with a Pedigree, but Jericho kicks out of that and now the crowd is raucous in support of Jericho. The Walls of Jericho gets a HUGE pop, and they boo like crazy when Chyna reaches the ropes, apart from a few shrill cheers, of course. That might not seem like much of a big deal reading this now, but Chyna was super-over as a babyface in 1999 and was genuinely one of the top stars in the company as far as reactions go. For a while at least, until the WWF pushed her too far and pissed off the fans who had being accepting of her competing with the guys, but who were not on board with her winning titles. After a sloppy and slow start, this has got good and has built really well. They go up top and Chyna hits Jericho in the nuts, then sets up a friggin’ PEDIGREE FROM THE TOP. Jesus, I can barely look. Thankfully she lets go way early and lets Jericho take his own bump, making it look pretty sloppy but at least it is safe. That is of course enough for the win. Dave Meltzer only gave this a single snowflake, which I think is outrageously harsh. It was clunky at first, but Jericho showed why he was one of the best in the world at this point and dragged Chyna to a very watchable match, made all the more entertaining by the superb reactions from the crowd, which alone make this worth seeing.
Final Rating: ***
Backstage, Triple H continues to deny all involvement in the hit and run, but like a bastard he asks Shane McMahon if tonight’s match is now just a straight-up singles bout against The Rock.