Arnold Furious: This is a strange tape. It was only ever sold in the USA. It barely covers anything at all, just the first four months of 2001, and it’s only 40-minutes long. It’s one of those tiresome tapes that needs tracking down for the book but serves no purpose in the big scheme of things. With DVD already taking over the home entertainment market, tapes like this were increasingly pointless. Who buys a 40-minute tape anyway? Well, I did obviously, but I had to. Host is the Coach.
Kurt Angle vs. Triple H
Angle comes into this segment as the champion. Triple H, Stephanie, Vince and Trish Stratus all come into play in an intertwining storyline, which exemplified Steph’s best booking. The video comes across as a shill package for the PPV match but does capture what was so good about it, with Angle eventually picking Trish to corner him to offset Steph and upset Hunter. We skip ahead to the Royal Rumble. JIP with the ref already down and the match in its closing moments. Angle goes to use the belt but gets clocked with the Pedigree. No ref. Steve Austin runs down to kick Hunter’s ass, thus building tension for their No Way Out match (which doesn’t appear on the tape at all). Hunter gets smacked with the WWF Title belt, which causes him to blade. Stunner! Earl Hebner crawls across the ring and slowly counts three. I’m actually shocked, even though I’ve seen this match a couple of times, that it’s not a false finish because of how slow Hebner moved.
Rock calls Kevin Kelly a hermaphrodite. Kaientai do their EVIL bit (“by the power of Greyskull”). Edge & Christian make fun of the Dudleys. Jericho’s “I will fight Chris Benoit on a boat” bit follows. Christian and Edge do the reverse Kaientai bit where their voices are dubbed in Japanese. Rock goes off on a tangent about Hunter’s mother and all the “sailors and circus midgets that have been having their way with her”. Rock finishes the segment by calling Steph a whore, albeit beeped out. I’m not sure what the point of this was. Very brisk segment.
We see clips of Trish goofing around with Vince McMahon, which leads to Vince McMahon & Trish Stratus vs. William Regal & Stephanie McMahon in a mixed tag. Regal leaves Steph high and dry against Vince. Regal brings in a bucket full of stuff he’d cleaned up off the locker room floor (hepatitis?). “Yeah, BOOOOOOOOY” says Vince as he mixes it up. Vince then turns on Trish, they beat her down and poor Trish gets mop water slapped all over her. “There’s only one Daddy’s Little Girl”. This is what it’s like inside Vince McMahon’s brain. It’s terrifying.
Kurt Angle vs. The Rock
Rock beat Big Show to set this up. Rock’s promo work, as always, is exemplary. His hype videos feature a lot of very solid delivery and not so many catchphrases. Forward to the match and Rock kicks out of the Olympic Slam. Rock’s normal approach is railroaded by Angle going to the leg. They botch the finish with Angle not kicking out of the Rock Bottom but Hebner saying he did anyway. I honestly have no idea why they do that as Rock finishes right away with the Rock Bottom. This clip didn’t do the match justice at all, as it showed the worst part of it! Why would you show the botched finish?
We get the promo where Vince is simulcast on WWF RAW and WCW Nitro. Vince tells us he’ll sign the contract at WrestleMania with Ted Turner himself bringing the papers, as Ted was begging him to buy WCW. “WCW is buried and will remain buried” says Vince. And that’s a shoot! Shane McMahon appears on Nitro, with the Nitro logo next to his name, and it still gives me chills. It was a great idea but they never followed through on it. Shane announces he’s bought WCW from under Vince’s nose. This leads into Vince vs. Shane at WrestleMania, which is a superbly well booked match considering it was McMahon vs. McMahon. Zombie Linda makes me laugh too. Shane’s insistence at going coast to coast, a’la RVD’s Van Terminator, pops the hell out of the crowd. I wonder what they’d have done as a finish if he’d missed? Unlike Angle-Rock, this was actually a representation of the best part of the match.
Austin’s Heel Turn
We get the finish from WrestleMania X-Seven where Austin turned heel before moving on to the next night and the formation of the Two-Man Power Trip. You can almost sense the fun disappearing from the booking. Coach points out the turn made no sense as it took away what made him ‘Stone Cold’. How very perceptive of him, maybe he should have been booking the show. Hardly any footage here.
Christian gets the name of a town wrong. Angle claims he’s the most requested sperm donor in Pittsburgh history. Vince takes a series of shots at Los Angeles, calling them phonies. Edge & Christian do the fat Elvis gimmick in Memphis. Angle disses Texas. “Lone Star State, my ass”.
Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon
Angle was planning on recreating his gold medal ceremony but he’s interrupted by Shane McMahon and “the WCW”. Angle gets pissed off with Shane’s mockery and Angle Slams him. Shane continues to make fun of Angle, so the Olympic hero challenges him to a street fight. No footage of the street fight appears, which is just bizarre, and renders this pointless.
Mike Awesome takes the Hardcore Title off Rhyno as WCW begin to sneak into WWF territory. JR treating the Hardcore Title as important makes me laugh. Vince is more irate that a WCW guy was in Madison Square Garden. Booker T calls Austin out to WWF New York so Austin and Angle go after him. The APA stand up for the WWF backstage, which is also hilarious as Haku is standing right next to Bradshaw as he does the speech. Haku, who was in WCW about two months ago. Austin shows up at WWF New York but Booker has left and arrives at MSG to lay out Vince with an axe kick. The early booking was okay but it’d soon go completely down the toilet.
We go back to Coach who signs off, promising more hits and disses soon. Or never. One or the other.
Summary: This bizarre relic feels like the kind of thing you’d see on Saturday morning TV. A quick recap tape for kids and people with limited attention spans to catch up on the first four months of 2001. At least it’s brisk, at 40-minutes including titles, so nothing outstays its welcome. I just don’t get why it exists. With the advent of DVD as a format, tapes like this were destined for the scrapheap. It would have worked better as a year in review, but that would have required patience and effort. Even the most avid collector would question the need for acquiring this tape, but if they do want it they’ll have to import it from America. Or, if you’re reading this in America, you can pick it up $5 or less. Not that you’d need to.