WWE PPV Flashbacks: Armageddon - December 10, 2000

Armageddon
December 10, 2000
Jefferson Civic Center, Birmingham, AL

The last PPV of the year 2000 would see a super star studded main event. With so many big names in the main event scene at this point in time involved in intermixing storylines, Commissioner Foley decided that Kurt Angle would defend his WWF Championship against five men - The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Undertaker, Triple H and Rikishi. It would not just be a regular match however. For the first time ever, these six men would go at it inside the Hell in a Cell structure. The match was a guarantee of chaos and brutality. So much so in fact, that WWF owner Mr McMahon made his return to TV in the weeks leading up to this show to attempt to stop the match going ahead. He would also confront his wife Linda and declare that he wanted a divorce. But more on all that later. Its time to jump right in to Armageddon. Please share your thoughts on the show and my review on Twitter at @Mpmcc91.

The opening video package is all about the Armageddon theme, with the classic "end is near" theme playing. From there, "Sweet Home Alabama " hits and we go into the arena where we are welcomed by our broadcast team of Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. Before we get the show under way, the announcers take us to footage from Heat before the PPV, where Commissioner Foley promised to resign if a superstar is seriously injured in the cell tonight. From here we cut to the back where a limo has pulled up. Patterson and Brisco greet the arriving Mr McMahon, who has a cool evil cane with him. McMahon is not in a good mood.

Elimination Tag Match:
Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy & Lita vs Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero & Perry Saturn w/Terri

Carrying across from the Survivor Series a month before, our first match of the night is an elimination tag match. The storyline here is mainly between Lita and Dean Malenko, the latter of whom is still the reigning WWF Light Heavyweight Champion. Malenko would defeat Lita in a title defence on Raw the week before this show, with the additional stipulation on that match being that if Lita lost, she would have to go on a date with Malenko. The date would take place later that week on Smackdown, and the two would end up in a hotel room together. Just as they were in bed and had turned the lights out, Lita told Dean that she preferred to do it with the lights on. Dean would oblige, turning the lights on only to find the Hardy Boyz in the room. The brothers from North Carolina would put a beating on Malenko, getting some payback for Lita, but tonight Malenko has brought his fellow Radicalz along looking for revenge. Lita is over big time here, whilst Eddie is getting some major heat from the crowd. The faces take the early advantage in this one, and mere minutes into the match, Jeff actually eliminates Eddie with a Swanton Bomb. The advantage would be short lived however, as Jeff would go down to a Death Valley Driver from Perry Saturn. Matt would then enter the match and go at it with a little back and forth before successfully taking Saturn out with the Twist of Fate. At this point, Terri attempts to get involved by distracting Matt, only for Lita to retaliate with a Spear. This altercation allows Malenko to roll Matt up for the three however, which brings us down to him and Lita. Lita takes the early advantage, and connects with the Moonsault, only for the Light Heavyweight Champion to kick out at two. Malenko would follow up by countering Lita's offence and delivering a superplex to the Extreme diva, and eventually locking in the Texas Cloverleaf on his opponent to pick up the submission victory at 8:04. This was fine for an opener. It was a bit short for an elimination match, but the feud was really just thrown together to give these guys something to do on the show. Cool to see Malenko get the spotlight here as he would fade into the background again from here.
Grade: **1/2

We now go backstage, where Lillian Garcia attempts to get a word with Kurt Angle, who is preparing for his title defence. Angle ridicules Lillian for her question and then says that he is absolutely prepared for the cell due to everything he overcame to win his Olympic gold medals.

We follow this up with our first of many Hell in a Cell moments of the night - Cactus Jack's drop through the top of the cell in his match against Triple H back at No Way Out.

WWF European Championship:
William Regal (c) vs Hardcore Holly

This is a rematch from Survivor Series. Regal has had continued issues with the Holly family since that PPV. As you might recall, Crash Holly actually defeated Regal to win the title at Armageddon, but Regal would win back the title the following Monday on Raw is War. Upon winning back his title, Regal would take out his aggression on Molly Holly, locking in the Regal Stretch, only for Hardcore Holly to make the save. That pretty much brings us to this contest. Regal gets on the mic before the match and attempts to insult the crowd, only for Hardcore to interrupt to a big pop from his home state. He starts out on fire and the action quickly spills to the outside. The brawl eventually turns to the champion's favour however, with Regal sending Holly into the ring post. Back in the ring we get a little more back and forth action between the two competitors until Regal manages to lock Holly into the Regal Stretch. Holly manages to get to the ropes to break the hold, and levels the champion with a forearm shot. With Holly looking to close in on the European title, Raven makes his way out to the ring and hits the challenger with the DDT after losing to him earlier in the week. The DDT allows Regal to score the cheap pinfall at 4:56 to retain his title. This would effectively end the feud as Regal would move on to new things from here. On the other hand I can't recall much between Holly and Raven going forward. As for the match, it was fine for a quick title defence.
Grade: **

Kevin Kelly now gets a word with Rikishi backstage about the Hell in a Cell match. Rikishi mentions the allegiance between he, Angle and Triple H falling apart heading into the match, stating its every person for themselves and he will do whatever it takes to become WWF Champion.

Chyna vs Val Venis w/Ivory
This match stems from the Right to Censor's issues with Chyna posing for Playboy, a feud which also served to transition the Ninth Wonder of the World into the women's division, with champion Ivory at ringside here. In the weeks heading into this show, Chyna along with Billy Gunn had been the victim to many an RTC attack. Gunn is in action later, so Chyna goes at it alone against Venis here and I have to say that she is looking great by this point in her career. Anyway, Chyna dominates this one to start by taking the fight to Venis. Venis would eventually throw her to the outside which allowed Ivory to jump the Ninth Wonder of the World. She would not do much damage, but the distraction would allow Venis to go on offence and the interference would continue from here. Venis eventually attempts a Money Shot, only for Chyna to get out of the way. Ivory attempts to intervene once more by tripping Chyna up, but this leads to Chyna chasing the Women's Champion around ringside. Once again however, the interference works in the RTC's favour, as Venis catches Chyna in a Fisherman's Suplex, and this gets the three at 5:24. After the match, Chyna attempts to get some payback on Ivory, but Venis instead beats her down, laying her out with the powerbomb for the RTC to stand tall. The match was fine for what it was, but it was all about setting up Chyna/Ivory down the line,
Grade: *1/2

We now get a second Cell moment, going back once again to No Way Out this year. Its Cactus playing with fire on top of the cell against the Game. This takes us right into our next segment where Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley is pleading with her father to stop the match, concerned for the carnage that awaits her husband inside the cell. Vince guarantees to put a stop to the match.

We follow up with a pre-recorded interview shot in the ring before the show between Kevin Kelly and the Undertaker. They talk about Taker's past cell matches (conveniently forgetting that horrible match with the Bossman at WrestleMania XV) as Taker says that he enjoys the things that the cell makes him want to do to his opponents.

Back in the arena, Mr McMahon makes his way out to the ring with his stooges in tow. He talks briefly about the Linda situation, refusing to apologise for his actions and reiterating his want of a divorce before turning his attention to the matters at hand tonight. He orders the crowd to join him in getting Foley to cancel the match, but of course they do not show their support. Vince snaps and says that whatever happens in the cell later on is on the hands of the fans as well as Foley.

We now go to a video package highlighting the Jericho/Kane feud which culminates next.

Last Man Standing Match:
Chris Jericho vs Kane

This rivalry has well and truly gone beyond the coffee that started it all by this point. There really isn't a huge amount to talk about in terms of the build though, as its really just been these two beating the hell out of each other at any possible chance. In terms of their PPV matches (Survivor Series and Rebellion) Kane has come out victorious on each instance thus far, so tonight the popular Y2J is out to get his retribution once and for all under last man standing rules. The action gets under way from the get go here, as Kane meets Jericho in the aisle and we get a heated brawl. They fight their way into the ring where Jericho looks to build some early momentum, only for Kane to take over on the outside by slamming his opponent into the ring post. From here its back to the ring with Kane on offence. Jericho attempts to fight back with the Lionsault, but the Big Red Monster gets his knees up to block it. Kane punishes Jericho from here on out, with the ref attempting to count him down on numerous instances, only for the tenacious Y2J to refuse to stay down. Kane gets frustrated and gets a chair and destroys Jericho with it, before looking to follow up with a Tombstone on top. Before he can connect however, Jericho gets out with a low blow and follows up with a DDT to bring Kane down. Y2J puts the chair on top of the Big Red Monster and connects with the Lionsault, which causes the ref to start counting Kane down. Kane sits up at nine and takes the fight back to Jericho, slamming him out of the ring and brawling up to the entrance area. Kane looks to dish out some more punishment in the production area, but Jericho ends up sending his opponent through a set up table with a facebuster. Knowing this won't be enough to keep Kane down, Jericho uses his smarts and topples over a wall of barrels, which served as part of the set, on top of Kane. This gives the Big Red Monster no way of getting up whilst Jericho poses on top. Kane is counted down for the ten and Jericho finally wins the war at 17:14. This was a decent enough end to the feud, with it being fitting that Jericho would finally get the win here after being unable to get the job done on past instances. The match itself was not great, but these two just didn't seem to have very good chemistry together at this point.
Grade: **1/4

Backstage, Jonathan Coachman gets a word with Commissioner Foley. Foley knows what is at stake for those involved in tonight's main event, but he vows that the match will still go ahead no matter what.

We now cross to WWF New York, and our guest this month is the man who battled the Undertaker in the first ever cell match, Shawn Michaels himself. HBK says that with six men in the cell, its going to be entirely unpredictable, but he has to go with the American Bad Ass.

More Hell in a Cell moments next, this time Mankind getting out the thumbtacks at the 1998 King of the Ring. We get a brief shot of some XFL players (remember that?) in the crowd before our next match.

WWF Tag Team Championship:
Bull Buchanan & The Goodfather (c) w/Steven Richards vs Dudley Boyz vs Road Dogg & K-Kwik vs Edge & Christian

The Right to Censor members are still the tag team champions here and are forced to put their titles on the line against three teams at once. The match is one fall to a finish. The big issue here is between the Dudley Boyz and the RTC. On a recent episode of Smackdown, the Dudley Boyz dressed up in the trademark RTC white shirt, tie and trouser attire and shocked the world by seemingly joining the faction. The union would be short lived however, as moments later the Dudley Boyz proclaimed that if putting through tables was considered wrong, they didn't want to be right, and proceeded to put the champions and the rest of the group through tables. Edge & Christian have held the belts for much of the year so their inclusion in this match makes sense, although Road Dogg & K-Kwik were never perceived as a top team in their short run. This would actually be the last PPV in the Road Dogg's tenure as he would be released a few weeks later, whilst K-Kwik would stick around just a tiny bit longer. They would both be back down the line. Anyway, the match naturally begins with the Dudleyz going at it with the champs, with Buchanan and D-Von starting the match. The RTC take the advantage through double teaming and Richards interference. We get some other teams going at it throughout the match, with K-Kwik getting his brief moment to shine by taking the fight to Edge and going to cross body the champions, only to be taken out in the process. The Dudleyz come back into the mix with tables in their hands and take out the champs with shots from the wood. They follow up with a 3D on both champs and look to be closing in on the titles, but Edge tags in and hits Bubba with the Spear. Bubba kicks out but Christian comes in and breaks up and delivers the Unprettier to Bubba. This allows Edge to score the pin at 9:41. Edge & Christian are yet again the kings of the tag division and your new WWF Tag Team Champions. The match was actually pretty solid and another fun showing from a very stacked tag division.
Grade: ***

Backstage, Stephanie remains concerned for her husband and tries talking him out of the main event cell match. Triple H says that the WWF Championship is the most important thing to him and that he will go through anything to get it. We follow up with more footage from his match with Cactus at No Way Out 2000.

WWF Intercontinental Championship:
Billy Gunn (c) vs Chris Benoit

As we saw back at Rebellion, "The One" Billy Gunn is the reigning Intercontinental Champion here, having defeated Eddie Guerrero to win the title on Smackdown shortly after Survivor Series. His reign would simply be transitional however as tonight he goes up against another member of the Radicalz in Chris Benoit, who is looking to regain momentum after moving back down the card after a few months at the top recently. The feud here was really nothing noteworthy, just that Gunn had continued issues with the Radicalz stemming from his involvement in the Chyna/Eddie rivalry. Anyway, the match here starts with some back and forth wrestling, but Benoit eventually gets sick of things and sends Gunn into the steps on the outside. This leads to a relentless assault on Gunn's knee from the Rabid Wolverine over the course of the match. Benoit eventually locks in the figure four, but Gunn fights his way to the ropes and launches into his comeback. He delivers the Fameasser to Benoit but only manages to get two. Benoit fires back with the Crossface but Gunn gets to the ropes once more. Benoit does not relent on his assault however, as he continues his assault on the injured champion, eventually locking in the Crossface once more, this time getting Gunn to tap out at 9:58. Chris Benoit is the new Intercontinental Champion. The match here was really basic and all about using Gunn's reign to get the title from Eddie onto Benoit. It was reslly a glorified squash, as despite some offence from Gunn, Benoit was in charge for most of the match. This would really be the end of any attempted Billy Gunn singles push. He was better as a tag guy anyway.
Grade: *3/4

We now get a pre-recorded interview from earlier in the day where JR caught up with Stone Cold Steve Austin. Austin says that he hasn't slept the night before knowing he is stepping into Hell in a Cell. He acknowledges that he has some personal scores to settle with Triple H and Rikishi, but his main focus tonight is doing whatever it takes to win back the WWF Championship.

WWF Women's Championship:
Ivory (c) vs Molly Holly vs Trish Stratus

With Ivory obviously moving into her rivalry with Chyna, this is just a filler title defence for the reigning champion and RTC member. In fact, the issue here is probably more between Molly and Trish, with the two women being on opposing teams back at Survivor Series. Trish is still managing T&A at this point, but that team won't be around too much longer. In fact, Trish has the T&A/APA attire on here, with her team still taking credit for putting the APA out of action a few months ago. Anyway, as for the match itself, Trish and Molly go at it to start whilst Ivory picks her spots. The champion eventually decides to work together with Trish, and the heels double team Molly. Molly briefly fights back but falls to the numbers game once more, with the heels taking her down with a double suplex. Ivory ends up double crossing Trish from here and the two begin to argue. This altercation allows Molly to hit a cross body on Trish. Before she can capitalise on a subsequent powerbomb however, Ivory tosses Molly out of the ring and pins the downed Trish to retain her championship at a brief 2:13. The very definition of a two minute filler match. Everyone knew Ivory was winning here due to the events earlier in the night.
Grade: *

As Ivory leaves the ring, T&A make their way down to ringside and along with Trish they stalk Molly. Crash Holly attempts to make the save, but he is quickly ridiculed by the heel powerhouses. Before they can dish out a beating on the Holly family however, the familiar music of the APA fires up, and Faarooq & Bradshaw make their return to TV after being taken out about two months before. They get a huge pop and clear the ring, sending T&A scurrying. From here we throw to our last cell moment of the night - obviously Taker tossing Mankind at the 1998 King of the Ring.

Michael Cole now gets a word with the Rock backstage, moments away from the Hell in a Cell title match. Typically great Rock promo as he talks about the match, runs through his catchphrases and ends with his theme music playing in the arena. We then throw to a video package highlighting the story behind our huge main event.

WWF Championship - Hell in a Cell Match:
Kurt Angle (c) vs Steve Austin vs The Rock vs Undertaker vs Triple H vs Rikishi

The first and only six man Hell in a Cell match in WWF history came about at a time in which all the big players in the company were involved in interlinking storylines. Of course, Kurt Angle had won the WWF Championship a few months ago at No Mercy by defeating the Rock, and had since partaken in a rivalry with the Undertaker in the weeks that followed. Meanwhile, the Rock had issues with Rikishi after being implicated by the bad man in the hit and run that had sidelined Stone Cold Steve Austin for almost a year. Austin was out for revenge on Rikishi when it was revealed heading into Survivor Series that Triple H had been the mastermind of the whole thing, so Austin wants retribution on the Game as well. Now with all that going on, lets just take a minute to explain how this match came about. On an episode of Raw is War, Commissioner Foley would make a number one contender match between the Rock and Rikishi. Kurt Angle would intervene in that match before a winner could be crowned, and as punishment Foley would make an earth shaking announcement later that week on Smackdown. That announcement would be that at the next PPV, Kurt Angle would put his title on the line against the five biggest superstars on the roster, inside the demonic Hell in a Cell. These days the match would have been an Elimination Chamber match, but that obviously hadn't been created here yet. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, Mr McMahon would return to TV the week before this show for the first time since the early summer, and was outraged that Foley would book such a dangerous match with all his top money earners. We'll see how all that would play out over the course of this match. Anyway, big pops for Austin and Rock here as expected. This is also the first PPV appearance of Taker's famous 'Rollin' theme by Limp Bizkit. By the way, this is one of those matches where any attempt by me to do some kind of play by play goes out the window. Everyone goes at it with one another to start, with Austin jumping Angle before the match gets under way as the champion attempts to wait outside the cell. Triple H quickly takes the fight to Austin and this leads to the three major rivalries taking off, as Rock/Rikishi and Angle/Taker pair off as well. Austin absolutely pummels the Game, eventually grating his face along the mesh of the cell to continue their hated rivalry. Soon enough we get a whole bunch of finishers, reversals and break ups from all six guys in the match, but just as things break down into pairs some more, we see a large woodchip truck come down the entrance way. Standing on the back is Mr McMahon, along with his stooges. He's here to bring a stop to the match and hook a cable to the cell door. Intending to pull the cage down, the door ends up flying off, whilst Commissioner Foley heads out and calls for security to escort McMahon and company out of the building. The truck remains in the aisle, and with the door now removed, the match obviously spills out into the surroundings. The action moves up to the set area consisting of old cars, and Triple H ends up taking out the Rock with a Pedigree on top of one. Things soon revert back down to ringside, but instead of entering the cell, the competitors decide to brawl on top of it. Meanwhile Kurt Angle is busted open by this point. Eventually it comes down to Rikishi up on top with the Undertaker, whilst the other competitors are back down below. This is where we get the big bump of the match, as Taker chokeslams Rikishi off the top of the cell, down into the woodchips on the truck below. Everyone takes a moment from the action to pause to look at what happened, and Rikishi is pretty much out of the match. The crowd doesn't get to calm down for long however, as we get the big staredown between Austin and Rock in the ring, and the two fan favourites briefly go at it, giving us a teaser of down the line. Triple H intervenes as the Great One attempts the People's Elbow, but Rock fights him off and delivers a Rock Bottom to the nearby Kurt Angle. Austin breaks up the fall and dishes out a Stunner to the Rock, but before he can capitalise, Triple H brawls with Austin some more. With Taker still out of sight and mind at the top of the cell, Angle finds himself with nobody around him and the laid out Rock. Its at this moment that the reigning champion drapes himself over the People's Champion to retain his title at 32:12. Wow, what an amazing match that never had a single dull moment. This was six of the top guys on the roster at the point in time going all out for the chance to win the ultimate prize in the company. The match was filled with memorable moments and in the end, Kurt Angle once again demonstrates his intelligence by picking up the scraps to survive against all his top contenders at once. His moment if celebration is short lived, as an angry Austin decks him with a stunner moments after the match to end the show, but this match was the culmination of a very successful first year for the Olympic gold medal winner.
Grade: ****3/4

FINAL THOUGHTS:
This was a show that was completely sold by the main event. I don't think there was any doubt of that heading in, as you had all the big time players thrown into the one match. In that regard, the show was a success as the match was awesome, and a fine way to end the hot PPV year that was 2000 for the WWF. With all the big stars in the main event, the rest of the card was somewhat depleted in terms of big time matches, but what can you do? The tag title match was still solid, and the Jericho/Kane match was a decent end to their feud. You also got the I.C title back on Benoit and set things up for the Women's title down the line. Pretty much every match on this show served its purpose, so its an easy show to throw on and enjoy the era. The one thing that this show does demonstrate though is just how stacked the top of the roster is at the moment. That would continue into the new year and put the company on an incredibly hot run heading into the biggest show of the year. All in all, not the greatest show of all time in match quality aside from the cell, but a very fun show nonetheless.

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Kurt Angle - a huge win for the reigning WWF Champion here defeating five top contenders in a stellar match.
2. Steve Austin - this was a tough pick from all the men in the cell match, but I'm going with Austin for looking great in there after taking a few months to feel his way back into things following his year off. The Rattlesnake was out to strike tonight, and he just came up short.
3. Rikishi - part of the most memorable moment of the match without a doubt. Whenever I think of Armageddon 2000, the chokeslam off the cell is the first image that enters my mind.

FINAL GRADE: 6.5 out of 10

ALL TIME PERFORMANCE TALLY:
What I do here is add the three stars of the night with each review so as to keep track of who we can say overall is the greatest PPV performer to any given time. First place scores 3 points, second 2 and third 1. Rock continues to go neck and neck with the Game.

Steve Austin = 91
Bret Hart = 83
Shawn Michaels = 67
The Rock = 48
Triple H = 46
Mick Foley = 38
Randy Savage = 28
Undertaker = 26
Owen Hart = 21
Hulk Hogan = 18
X-Pac = 18
Diesel = 15
Ultimate Warrior = 13
Vader = 13
Chris Jericho = 13
Matt Hardy = 13
Jeff Hardy = 13
British Bulldog = 12
Christian = 11
Kurt Angle = 11
Ted DiBiase = 10
Razor Ramon = 10
Vince McMahon = 10
Edge = 10
Ric Flair = 8
Jim Neidhart = 7
Jerry Lawler = 6
Bubba Ray Dudley = 6
D-Von Dudley = 6
Dynamite Kid = 5
Arn Anderson = 5
Roddy Piper = 5
Mr Perfect = 5
Marty Jannetty = 5
Bob Backlund = 5
Chris Benoit = 5
Ricky Steamboat = 4
Ax = 4
Smash = 4
Bobby Heenan = 4
D’Lo Brown = 4
Rikishi = 4
Greg Valentine = 3
Tully Blanchard = 3
Tanaka = 3
Bam Bam Bigelow = 3
Sato = 3
Jake Roberts = 3
Hakushi = 3
Yokozuna = 3
Savio Vega = 3
Ken Shamrock = 3
Shane McMahon = 3
Chyna = 3
Brutus Beefcake = 2
Paul Orndorff = 2
Andre the Giant = 2
Rick Rude = 2
Sgt Slaughter = 2
Jeff Jarrett = 2
Jesse Ventura = 1
Texas Tornado = 1
Tito Santana = 1
Virgil = 1
Scott Steiner = 1
Rick Steiner = 1
Lex Luger = 1
The Roadie = 1
Billy Gunn = 1
Bart Gunn = 1
Marc Mero = 1
Flash Funk = 1
Animal = 1
Hawk = 1
Taka Michinoku = 1
Test = 1
Big Show = 1
Dean Malenko = 1
Scotty 2 Hotty = 1

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: @Mpmcc91. Thanks for reading!