WWE PPV Flashbacks: Invasion - July 22, 2001

July 22, 2001
Gund Arena, Cleveland, OH

Well here we are - after Shane McMahon's WCW sat at the back of everyone's minds for the past few months, one of the most infamous storylines in WWF history has commenced. I'm of course referring to the Invasion. For the next many months, the entire roster would be involved in a major clash between the WWF and what was at this point known as the WCW/ECW coalition. Due to this being such a major storyline that affected pretty much every match on this PPV, I feel like I should first set the stage before we jump into the actual show. Don’t forget to leave your thoughts on Twitter at @Mpmcc91.

While there had been mention of WCW and appearances of various WCW superstars on TV since WrestleMania, things really kicked into gear on the Raw is War episode the night after the King of the Ring. During a confrontation between Vince and Shane McMahon, WCW Champion, Booker T, hit the ring and laid Vince out with a scissor kick. Whilst Shane had been portrayed as the face to this point, the WWF fans were not going to support the brand that tried to put their company out of business during the Monday Night War. Shane and Booker were booed and Vince was the leader of the company that we all loved. The next week, Raw was headlined by a WCW exclusive match between Booker T and Buff Bagwell (complete with commentary from Scott Hudson & Arn Anderson). The match was shit on from the start and eventually interrupted by Stone Cold Steve Austin & Kurt Angle showed up to beat the WCW competitors down to get some retribution for the attack on Vince the week before. A week later, Shane cemented his newly found heel status by saying that WCW was here to run the WWF out of business. At this point everyone on the WWF roster basically became a face, whilst WCW guys were all heels by default. Another twist was added later in the night however during a tag match between the WWF's Kane & Chris Jericho and WCW's Lance Storm & Mike Awesome. During that match, ECW stars Rob Van Dam & Tommy Dreamer hit the ring and attacked the WWF guys (Storm & Awesome also had ECW ties). Suddenly the Dudley Boyz, Raven, Rhyno & Justin Credible headed out to seemingly make the save, only to join in the beat down. Heyman got up on commentary and announced that the Invasion had just been taken to the Extreme, as ECW had arrived. Later that night, Vince & Shane agreed to set aside their differences to eliminate the ECW threat first and a WWF/WCW vs ECW battle royal took place. The WCW participants would show their true colours however, by teaming up with ECW to attack their WWF team mates. Shane would introduce Stephanie McMahon as the new owner of ECW, and with that the WCW/ECW coalition was born.

Now then, with that out of the way, our opening video package is all about the threat to the WWF posed by the WCW and ECW invaders. Our announcers are Michael Cole & Jim Ross. Cole essentially handles the play by play tonight, and whilst he's still nothing special, he's a lot better than his 1999 PPV run. He was only in this spot temporarily on PPV, as Heyman would be back in the booth the following month. Every match tonight is inter-promotional by the way.

Edge & Christian vs Lance Storm & Mike Awesome
Edge & Christian are representing the WWF here and they basically turned face following Edge's King of the Ring victory over Kurt Angle last month. Speaking of which, Christian is carrying Edge's trophy here and he had become quite attached to it. Their opponents are responsible for two firsts in the Invasion storyline - Lance Storm was the first WCW competitor to run in during a WWF TV match on Raw in May, whilst Awesome was the first WCW guy to win a WWF title, winning the Hardcore Championship from Rhyno the night after the King of the Ring, although he's no longer champion here. Storm gets on the mic before the match and asks for the crowd to be serious for a minute, but E&C interrupt and our first match of the night is under way. Edge & Christian start out on offence and we get a bit of back and forth in the early going. The heels take co control when Awesome trips Christian up on the turnbuckle, and he and Storm proceed to work over their opponent from here. Christian turns the tide with a back body drop to Awesome and gets the tag to Edge, and the 2001 King of the Ring starts to build momentum. We get some miscommunication when Edge bumps into Christian on the apron leading to Storm rolling him up, but Christian saves his partner by rolling the cover over so Edge is on top. Storm kicks out and Awesome comes in and looks to deliver the Awesome Bomb to Edge. Midway through the move Christian spears Awesome, and Edge lands on top to score the victory for the WWF in our opener at 10:10. The match was okay for the time it was given and a decent opener to the show, but overall I don't understand why Edge & Christian won this one, especially with where they were headed. Already the big WCW/ECW threat has a loss. I would have had some miscommunication between Edge & Christian lead to the win for Storm & Awesome here, both furthering the issues between E&C and continuing to establish the threat of the invasion. This booking would become a bit of a trend going forward.
Grade: **1/2

In the back, Vince McMahon is gloating over the victory. Commissioner Regal tells Vince that Austin has arrived before getting ready for his match later on. We now go to a video package focusing on the issues between the WWF and WCW referees leading to our next match.

Earl Hebner w/WWF Referees vs Nick Patrick w/WCW Referees
Special Guest Referee: Mick Foley

This was a fun little mini-feud to really put across the war between the WWF and the coalition. Along with competitors, WCW brought its own referees to the company and they would officiate assigned matches. The head referee, Nick Patrick in particular, would show great bias towards WWF superstars, reprising his role as the evil referee in WCW's nWo storyline. Earl Hebner would complain to Commissioner Regal on behalf of the WWF referees, and Regal told him to stand his ground, which led to this match being made. Mick Foley randomly shows up to be the unbiased referee here, having ties to WWF, WCW and ECW. Obviously this isn't going to be much of a match. Nick Patrick runs his mouth before slapping Earl, so Earl spears the corrupt referee and unloads on him. Patrick hits a low blow and throws Hebner to the outside and the other refs all get involved. Foley has enough and sends the WCW refs packing as they initiated it. Nick Patrick is unhappy with Foley's decision and gets in his face, but Hebner uses the opportunity to hit another spear on Patrick and pins him for the win at 2:50. After the match, Patrick is upset and gets in Foley's face again, and this time he's rewarded with a taste of Mr Socko for his effort. This was kept short and was fun for what it was meant to be. The WWF are now 2 up, but unlike the opener I don't have a problem with them winning this one. Its not like this meant anything in the grand scheme of things.
Grade: *

After seeing footage of Diamond Dallas Page abducting Debra on Smackdown, we go backstage to see Debra and Sara sharing their mutual disdain for DDP. They say both of their respective men (Austin and Taker) will get revenge tonight. We then go to a brief video heading into our next match, focusing on the APA rallying the WWF troops to fight.

APA vs Sean O'Haire & Chuck Palumbo
This match pits the WWF Tag Team Champions against the WCW Tag Team Champions, although neither titles are on the line in this one. The APA defeated the Dudley Boyz to win the WWF Tag titles on Raw a few weeks before the show, and have really stepped up as the locker room leaders in this whole invasion, boosting the fighting spirits of the roster. O'Haire & Palumbo were the reigning WCW tag champs at the time the company closed its doors (going by the Natural Born Thrillers at the time), and they showed up with the titles, attacking the Hardy Boyz on the Raw after the King of the Ring. They would go on to assault the APA at WWF New York, so Faarooq & Bradshaw are out for revenge tonight. This starts out as the brawl you would expect it to be, with the APA picking up the early advantage. Some back and forth occurs until O'Haire takes down Bradshaw with the Widow Maker. Bradshaw briefly comes back when Palumbo comes in and he tags in Faarooq, but O'Haire pulls the fresh guy out of the ring and introduces him to the ring steps. The heels take control of Faarooq, but he comes back with a spine buster and gets the hot tag to Bradshaw. With Palumbo legal for his team, O'Haire hits Bradshaw with a superkick, but Faarooq fights him off. Chuck delivers his own superkick to Faarooq, but this gives Bradshaw the chance to take him out with the Clothesline From Hell at 7:17. The WWF get yet another win with the APA victorious. This was another match where the WCW guys should have gone over to continue to put the WWF's back against the wall early on in the storyline. The APA was really played out by this point, whilst O'Haire & Palumbo were two young guys with future potential. The match was pretty basic and the booking made no sense here in the context of the overall storyline.
Grade: *1/4

Backstage Vince is talking to Chris Jericho, still happy with the WWF's efforts so far. Jericho says Vince doesn't need to worry about WCW, but its ECW that is the threat, especially with Paul Heyman involved.

Speaking of Heyman, he's in the back elsewhere freaking out with Shane & Stephanie over the fact that they are losing. Yeah, thats not how you want to build up a group as a major threat. Billy Kidman comes in and tells them to relax because he's got this.

X-Pac vs Billy Kidman
This is another champion vs champion match, with neither belt being on the line. X-Pac is the WWF Light Heavyweight Champion, having defeated Jeff Hardy on Raw the night after the King of the Ring to win the title after coming up short on our last PPV. Despite being with the WWF, he's still booed although the announcers don't acknowledge this. Being cheered on the other hand is WCW star Billy Kidman. Kidman defeated the last man to hold the WCW Cruiserweight Championship in that company, Shane Helms, on an episode of Smackdown earlier in the month. We'd see that Helms guy down the line. Anyway, we go back and forth to start here, with Kidman taking the advantage following an enzuigiri sending X-Pac to the floor. X-Pac comes back and sends Kidman out, following up with a crossbody, before getting back in the ring and locking in a sleeper. Kidman fights out and attempts to apply a sleeper of his own, but X-Pac stays in control with a belly to belly. Kidman gets out of the way of a legdrop and and the two trade a few powerbombs and near falls as the match goes on. X-Pac ends up hitting the X-Factor on his opponent as Kidman comes off the top in an impressive spot, but rather than go for the win he decides to follow with the Bronco Buster. Kidman blocks it with a shot to the groin and follows with a Shooting Star Press to X-Pac which gives him the win at 7:12. Finally the coalition gets a win - it only took four matches to get there! This was a pretty good little match and an impressive first outing for Kidman in the WWF.
Grade: **3/4

Backstage, Shane, Stephanie and Heyman are happy now that their team is back on track following Kidman's performance. DDP comes in and talks about his involvement in the main event later on. Elsewhere the incredibly lovely Torrie Wilson & Stacy Keibler from WCW talk about their bodies and upcoming bra & panties match with Trish & Lita. They say that the Hardy Boyz will want to celebrate their victory with them. More on that later.

William Regal vs Raven
This is a strange little match thrown together to fill out the card here. Regal has had a change of heart due to the Invasion situation, and has shown his loyalty to the company as he remains Commissioner. Raven on the other hand has defected to the opposition, with past ties to WCW and most notably, ECW. He hasn't really done much since dropping out of the Hardcore title ranks earlier in the year though. Its a total contrast in styles here as Regal is a grappler, whilst Raven is a brawler, but the crowd really don't seem to care at all for this one. Regal takes control early on in the match and eventually sends his opponent to the outside. Raven takes over back inside when he tosses Regal off the top, and from there he sends the WWF Commissioner into the barricade outside. We get some back and forth from both guys as they go at it back in the ring. Raven attempts a DDT but Regal counters into a Northern Lights Suplex. With the momentum not in his favour, Raven bails to the outside, but all of a sudden fellow ECW defector Tazz runs out and hits a suplex on Regal. The referee does not see the interference, and Raven returns to the ring to hit the Evenflow on the Commissioner to pick up the victory at 6:34. After getting destroyed early on, the WCW/ECW coalition look to be back on track, but the match here was fairly poor with nobody caring about it anyway.
Grade: 1/2*

Vince is now backstage with the Brothers of Destruction, which is somewhat strange due to their feud with his Power Trip just months prior. He tries to fire them up for the main event by bringing up what DDP has done to Sara. Taker grabs Vince by the throat then walks off, with Vince smiling confidently as they leave.

Big Show, Billy Gunn & Albert vs Shawn Stasiak, Chris Kanyon vs Hugh Morrus
This is another match thats just here to get guys from both sides on the card. Albert is actually the new Intercontinental Champion here, having defeated Kane on Smackdown a few days removed from King of the Ring, in a match that was much better than you might expect. He's still affiliated with X-Pac and comes out to the X-Factor theme. Big Show & Billy Gunn had begun teaming up in recent weeks (that's another Big Show face turn for those playing along at home) and would become known by fans as the Show-Gunns (or to Vince McMahon "double trouble crap on a stick"). The heel team is a bunch of younger guys from WCW, although we have seen Stasiak back in 1999 very briefly. They come out together to a version of the Mr Perfect theme which was playing off Stasiak's "Perfect" gimmick in WCW prior to the company going under. The WWF guys start off with the momentum here, as they military press their opponents before the match officially begins. Gunn and Kanyon start the match out, but its not long before Stasiak tags in and his team takes control of the former Ass Man. Albert gets tagged in and he cleans house, hitting Stasiak with the Baldo Bomb only for the other WCW guys to break up the pin. Morrus is tagged in, but Albert slams him and tags Gun back into the match. He hits the Fameasser but is jumped by Stasiak as he sets up for the One and Only. Stasiak nails Gunn with a DDT, and Morrus climbs on top for the pinfall at 4:23. The WCW celebration is short lived though, as Big Show cleans house after the match, taking out Morrus and Stasiak with a chokeslam each and following with the Alley-Oop to Kanyon, Nonetheless, WCW has tied things back up. The match itself was nothing special though.
Grade: *

Back in the coalition office, Booker T drops by to talk. Shane is ecstatic as including the match on Heat before the PPV which saw WCW's Chavo Guerrero defeat Scotty 2 Hotty, the coalition is now winning 4-3.

Elsewhere, Regal is infuriated by Tazz' interference earlier, and he fires his assistant Tajiri up to get revenge.

Tajiri vs Tazz
Tajiri had become quite popular due to his antics on WWF TV since debuting back in May as the assistant to Commissioner Regal. Heading into this show there had been some doubt as to where his loyalties would lie however, as he had previously been a part of ECW before the company shut down earlier in the year. Those doubts were answered during a match between Tazz and Regal on Raw when Tajiri came out wearing an ECW T-shirt. As it seemed Tajiri had jumped ship, he would unleash a buzzsaw kick on Tazz and then ripped off the shirt to reveal a WWF shirt underneath before embracing Mr Regal in a great moment. Tazz is out for revenge here, whilst Tajiri wants to get him back for costing Regal his match earlier. Tajiri starts out on fire, but Tazz takes control after a suplex and he starts beating his opponent down. The Human Suplex Machine does not relent, but Tajiri fires back with a handspring elbow which knocks Tazz to the outside. The Japanese Buzzsaw follows him out, but gets thrown into the ring steps. Its only a brief setback though, as back in the ring, Tajiri locks in the Tarantula, but has to break the hold due to it using the ropes. After a few more bursts of momentum, Tazz catches Tajiri and looks to put him away, but Tajiri unleashes the Green Mist! He follows up with the Buzzsaw Kick and Tajiri picks up a win for the WWF at 5:43. I don't really have a problem with the result in this one as Tazz' days in the ring were slowly winding up here, whilst Tajiri was over big time. The match was fine for the short amount of time it got and the overall score (including Heat) is now tied back up.
Grade: **

Backstage, Matt Hardy warns Jeff about Rob Van Dam as he prepares to take him on in our next match. RVD runs in and nails Matt with a chair and tells Jeff that he is next.

We now go across to WWF New York, where Hardcore Holly is conducting an autograph signing. A fan shows up wearing a WCW shirt, so Holly kicks his ass before going back to signing.

WWF Hardcore Championship:
Jeff Hardy (c) vs Rob Van Dam

Here comes our sole title match of the night as two popular athletes face off for the Hardcore Championship. Now last month, Test was the Hardcore Champion, but he would lose it to the former champ, Rhyno, on Raw the night after the King of the Ring. As soon as Rhyno won the title he was jumped by the invading Mike Awesome, who took advantage of the 24/7 rule to become the new champion. His reign would not last for long, as he was defeated by Jeff Hardy on Smackdown a few weeks later, who enters as champion here. The challenger is no stranger to hardcore matches, as Rob Van Dam was one of the most popular stars in ECW history, and he comes into the WWF with all that support here, despite being associated with the heel side of the Invasion. These two actually squared off on Raw in 1997 when Hardy was a jobber and RVD was part of the original ECW/WWF cross promotional storyline, but thats another story. We start off here with both men trading offence and Jeff getting the early advantage after hitting a dropkick on RVD. The crowd is fairly split here, but I'd say RVD is getting more cheers. Jeff's momentum is short lived as he misses a crossbody, and this allows RVD to take control and he goes through his offence including the Rolling Thunder. He goes up top afterwards, but Jeff gets to his feet and shoves the challenger down to the floor where the action moves. Jeff attempts to run the barricade like usual, but RVD shives him off into the crowd. RVD takes control and places Jeff on top of the barricade after delivering a moonsault off it. With Hardy draped across, RVD gets on the apron and hits him with a guillotine legdrop. It only gets two though, and Jeff fights back with a sunset flip and brings a ladder out from under the ring moments later. Business has just picked up! Jeff sets the ladder up in the ring and climbs, but Van Dam gets to his feet and tips it over, causing Jeff to crash to floor. Meanwhile JR bursts out the now classic "how do you learn to fall off a twenty foot ladder?!" that featured in the Don't Try This at Home video for years. On the outside RVD grabs a chair, but Jeff takes it from him, only to be nailed with a Van Daminator. Jeff won't stay down though, and he takes the chair after hitting RVD with a corkscrew legdrop. Back inside the ring, RVD dropkicks the chair into Jeff's face and looks to follow with the split legged moonsault, but Jeff gets his knees up to block it. After being unable to put the challenger away with some more offence, Jeff goes for the Swanton, but RVD gets out of the way. From there, Van Dam grabs the title belt and places it on top of his opponent before finishing him off with the Five Star Frog Splash at 12:24. Rob Van Dam is the new WWF Hardcore Champion! This was a very good match with both men looking great in an environment that suited them well. The match seemed separate to the rest of the night despite still being part of the WWF vs WCW/ECW war, and these two would have a solid feud over the title going forward. RVD has a ton of momentum heading into the WWF and picking up the Hardcore title in his first PPV match was a good way to capitalise on that. The momentum would grow and grow from here, but this feud is not over. Very impressive stuff.
Grade: ***3/4

Backstage, Vince gives Kurt Angle a pep talk for the main event. Angle says that while he is fighting for his country and his company, he is most of all fighting for himself. We then go to a video package looking at the events leading to our next match.

Bra & Panties Match:
Trish Stratus & Lita vs Torrie Wilson & Stacy Keibler
Special Guest Referee: Mick Foley

This is the first ever tag team Bra & Panties match. You win by stripping both your opponents to their bra and panties. This stems from Torrie Wilson & Stacy Keibler making advances towards the Hardy Boyz in recent weeks since showing up from WCW. Lita has been romantically linked to Matt Hardy for ages, whilst Trish has recently becoming involved with Jeff as well. Trish and Lita acknowledged that they had their differences and didn't necessarily like each other, but were willing to team up to teach the WCW women not to stay away from their men. It was a decent way of explaining them teaming together after feuding for much of the past year prior to Trish's face turn at Mania. Mick Foley is randomly refereeing this one - must be one of those contracts he signed back when he was the Commissioner or something. Anyway, this was exactly what you would expect it to be so I'm not going to really go into the play by play. All four women look amazing and its basically them just trying to rip each other's clothes off. Trish and Lita hit a Poetry of Motion in a cool spot to Torrie as the match winds down. All four women lose their tops, but Torrie is the first to lose both top and bottom. Trish hits a bulldog on Stacy afterwards, which Lita follows up with a moonsault, and Stacy loses her pants to give the match to the WWF divas at 5:04. This was fine to fill in the time before the main event and everyone looked great so no complaints here. After the match Mick picks up the clothes that had been torn off during the match. The WWF is tied with WCW/ECW at 5-5 heading into our last match.
Grade: *

The main event is up next, and Stephanie and Heyman rally their troops. Elsewhere Vince talks to Austin, who is ready to kick some ass like the old Stone Cold. Austin's reversion to his old persona was a major part of the build to this match.

Inaugural Brawl:
Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Undertaker & Kane w/Mr McMahon vs Booker T, Diamond Dallas Page, Rhyno & Dudley Boyz w/Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley & Paul Heyman

This is the match that the entire night has been building to. With the Invasion storyline just getting started, the result here was fairly predictable, but there was intrigue as to how they would get there. After the events I covered at the start of this review, Mr McMahon was desperate to fight back against the WCW/ECW coalition and would assemble a team to take on the best that his opponents had to offer. On an episode of Smackdown he approached Austin and told him that as the WWF Champion he needed him to lead the WWF to victory. There was one catch though - Vince didn't want the new Austin that sang songs and asked him for hugs - he wanted the old Stone Cold! Austin would ultimately refuse and walked off, upset with Vince's sudden lack of affection towards him. The next episode of Raw was a highly memorable one and Austin was drinking away his sorrows at the Friendly Tap. All of a sudden, Austin would see a WWF pep talk which even featured the legendary "Classy" Freddie Blassie calling upon the troops to fight. Austin would end up snapping a pool cue and leaving the bar. Back at the arena, the show ended with the WWF guys in a huge brawl with the WCW/ECW contingent. The invaders got the upper hand, but all of a sudden Austin drove into the parking lot in his truck, the glass broke and the old Stone Cold was back dishing out Stunners to the WCW/ECW guys in an awesome moment. So Austin is teaming with four other top guys in the company against a team led by the reigning WCW World and U.S Champion, Booker T. They stagger the entrances and Taker jumps DDP before everyone is even out to continue that storyline. This starts out as the wild brawl that you would expect it to be, and the crowd are right behind Austin with it like the past few months had never happened...or was it? Its one fall to a finish by the way. Austin and Rhyno start things out for their respective teams, and Stone Cold gets the early advantage. The momentum shifts when DDP gets in there with Taker, and the heels begin to team up on the American Bad Ass, who's probably the last guy on the WWF team you want playing face in peril. Jericho and Angle also are subsequently tagged in, but they take a beating as well. All hell breaks lose when the ref misses a tag out from Kurt, and everyone ends up brawling, with Rhyno accidentally Goring Booker. Meanwhile Taker hits the Chokeslam and Last Ride on DDP before attacking the WCW ref (Charles Robinson) when he tries to get him out of the ring. Meanwhile Austin looks like he injures his knee outside the ring from the brawl. The Dudleyz go for the tables from here, but Kane stops them in their tracks by Chokeslaming D-Von through the announce table! He's taken out moments later though as Bubba and Rhyno drive him through the wood, but Y2J subsequently takes out Rhyno through another with a shoulder block. Kurt ends up alone in the ring against Booker T & Bubba, and the crowd goes crazy as he fights them off. He hits an Angle Slam on Bubba and then goes for the Ankle Lock on the WCW Champion, only for Booker to counter and send him crashing into the ref. As Booker gets in a little offence, Vince throws Kurt the WWF title, but Shane intercepts it and nails his father instead! He goes to hit Kurt, but he misses and gets thrown out of the ring by the Olympic Gold Medallist. Kurt is on fire here as he hits Booker with an Angle Slam and gets him in the Ankle Lock yet again. Booker taps, but there's no ref in sight. Austin brings the ref into the ring, but then we get the big moment of the match as he hits Kurt with the Stunner! It was a scheme all along! Austin puts Booker on top of Kurt, kicking off a great feud between the two, and giving the big victory to WCW/ECW at 29:03. This was a wild match that delivered a solid main event. The coalition ends the night strong after ripping the WWF Champion away from his own company, which is exactly what they needed after not looking as dominant as they should have for the rest of the show. The PPV ends with JR & Cole shocked as Austin celebrates with the WCW/ECW leaders.
Grade: ***1/2

From a quality stand point, this was not a very good show. The main event and Hardcore title matches were pretty good, but the rest of the card really did not deliver aside from a few decent matches here and there. That said, its still a fun PPV to watch due the feel of the show in general and the hot crowd all night. The Invasion storyline was still very fresh here and it was cool to see the WCW and ECW guys taking on those on the WWF roster. The booking was a sad sign of what would become a trend for the rest of the storyline though. Really, the invaders should have destroyed the WWF here and set then scrambling before eventually coming back with the big win down the track. Yeah, you have that to a degree with the Austin turn at the end, but you really didn't need the main event to be a tie-breaker to begin with. Aside from the referee match and Tajiri's win which I mentioned above, the WCW/ECW guys should have won every match here. Thats how you make them look like a dominant threat. It would get worse as time goes on. Overall a middle of the line show, but the atmosphere boosts this one up a bit despite the match ratings.

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Rob Van Dam - RVD looked the strongest of all the incoming guys on this show. The crowd was into him big time from the get-go, and he wins his first piece of WWF gold here in a very good Hardcore match that fit his ECW style. It seemed as though the sky was the limit for RVD here.
2. Jeff Hardy - had a great performance taking the death defying risks he always did. He was the perfect first opponent for RVD on a major WWF stage.
3. Kurt Angle - I was going to give this to Austin for his memorable heel re-turn to WCW/ECW, but Kurt looked great in the main event and the crowd were behind him big time. This was the first time in his WWF run that the fans were given the chance to cheer Angle on, and he showed great babyface fire despite being a natural heel to this point in his WWF career. Great things lay ahead for the man who was double crossed by Stone Cold tonight.

FINAL GRADE: 5.5 out of 10

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.

Steve Austin = 99
Bret Hart = 83
Shawn Michaels = 67
The Rock = 52
Triple H = 51
Mick Foley = 38
Randy Savage = 28
Undertaker = 26
Kurt Angle = 22
Owen Hart = 21
Hulk Hogan = 18
X-Pac = 18
Chris Benoit = 16
Jeff Hardy = 16
Diesel = 15
Chris Jericho = 14
Matt Hardy = 14
Ultimate Warrior = 13
Vader = 13
British Bulldog = 12
Christian = 12
Edge = 11
Ted DiBiase = 10
Razor Ramon = 10
Vince McMahon = 10
Ric Flair = 8
Jim Neidhart = 7
Bubba Ray Dudley = 7
D-Von Dudley = 7
Jerry Lawler = 6
Dynamite Kid = 5
Arn Anderson = 5
Roddy Piper = 5
Mr Perfect = 5
Marty Jannetty = 5
Bob Backlund = 5
Shane McMahon = 5
Ricky Steamboat = 4
Ax = 4
Smash = 4
Bobby Heenan = 4
D’Lo Brown = 4
Rikishi = 4
Kane = 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
Chyna = 3
Rob Van Dam = 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
Rhyno = 1

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