WWE PPV Flashbacks: Judgment Day - May 21, 2000

Judgment Day
May 21, 2000
Freedom Hall, Louisville, KY

By May of 2000, the Rock's issues with Triple H and the McMahon Regime was at a breaking point. The Rock had finally regained the WWF Championship after over a year without it at Backlash, and tonight Triple H has his chance to take back the title he lost, this time in a 60 minute iron man match, with his old friend former WWF Commissioner (more on that later) Shawn Michaels acting as the guest referee. Heading into this event we got a mysterious set of videos hyping a certain return at Judgment Day. We'll get into all that and more tonight. Please follow me on Twitter at @Mpmcc91 and leave all feedback and thoughts.

Our opening video package is all about the concept of what can take place in an hour, which is of course hyping up the big iron man main event tonight. Inside the arena our announce team as usual is Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler set to get under way.

Before we do though, we cut to the back where Mr McMahon and the rest of the Regime are hanging around. They send Gerald Brisco to go get them some coffee. Brisco was the reigning WWF Hardcore Champion at this time, having traded the title with the star of the division Crash Holly a few times (among others) heading into this show. Most recently he pinned Crash at the Smackdown before the PPV whilst the champ was sleeping backstage (24/7 rule remember!). Anyway, Brisco heads into the hallway and is jumped by the Headbangers, attempting to take the title. Brisco's title remains in tact though, and we cut elsewhere to Shawn Michaels, preparing to referee the main event later on. With that, its time for our first match.

Rikishi & Too Cool vs Kurt Angle, Edge & Christian
A good way to kick off the show here, as these guys were always capable of putting on a fun match together. Edge & Christian had formed an alliance with Kurt Angle in the weeks heading into this show, pretty much completing their heel turn that had been ongoing since they won the tag titles back at Wrestlemania. They've also added the famous 3 second pose (for the benefit of those with flash photography!) and proceed to do the famous Jug Pose once Angle is done talking about the Three I's. These three were great together, affectionately called Team ECK, and would be involved in numerous hilarious moments over the course of the year. Anyway, Too Cool had begun chasing the tag titles heading into this show, hence their involvement in this match, and they were obviously aligned with the popular Rikishi. Team ECK jumps the fan favourites from behind to get this one started, but the faces quickly take control of the initial skirmish, with Scotty busting out the moon walk and some heel miscommunication leading to Edge's face going into Christian's crotch. Anyway, Christian follows up by blind siding Grandmaster Sexay, and we get a little back and forth from their with the heels mostly in control. Scotty attempts a Worm at one point but Angle stops him in his tracks. Scotty ends up getting the hot tag to Rikishi, and the fans go nuts as he cleans house and delivers the Stinkface to Angle. After building some offence, Edge takes the big guy down with a Spear and follows up with an attempt at the Worm, only for Scotty to deliver the real thing to the tag team champion instead. From there the whole thing breaks down as Christian comes in and whacks Rikishi with the ring bell without the ref seeing. Before the heels can capitalise though, Sexay comes in and hits the Hip Hop Drop onto the subsequent pinfall, then places Scotty on top of Edge, picking up the pin at 9:46. A fun match to start the show with the popular Too Cool & Rikishi going over and busting a move after the march. It made sense as they were being built as the next challengers for Edge & Christian's tag titles. Meanwhile, Angle was in line for a huge push, and Rikishi was always over. Good stuff to start the show on a high note.
Grade: ***

In the back, Michael Cole is standing by with Shawn Michaels. Cole asks him about alleged internet rumours saying that he is jealous of the Rock's success after Shawn vows to call the match down the line. Michaels says that if its on the internet, it must be true! Take that dirt sheets. Before our next match we see footage of Eddie arriving in the arena with his mamacita Chyna, only to be confronted by Malenko and Saturn. That match is up next.

WWF European Championship:
Eddie Guerrero (c) w/Chyna vs Dean Malenko vs Perry Saturn

This is all about the Radicalz split after only being together for around three months or so. Eddie & Chyna's dynamic was getting over, so the decision was made to fully turn Eddie face, breaking him away from his stable mates as he chose his woman over his partners. With Benoit moving up the card on his own, this was effectively the end of the Radicalz, at least for now. By the way, Dean Malenko is still the Light Heavyweight Champion here, but its obviously not on the line, and the belt had pretty much been forgotten now despite the awesome match at Backlash. Meanwhile Eddie has held the European title since the night after Wrestlemania. Eddie gets a pretty big pop here, but he is quickly double teamed by Malenko and Saturn as this one gets started. They take Latino Heat out with the Decapitation, and shake hands afterwards, only for Saturn to blind side Malenko with a clothesline. Eddie comes back with his cheat to win tactics, hitting a low blow on both challengers and from there we get some typical triple threat back and forth action as different pairings go at it. Dean and Eddie end up going at it on top until Saturn comes in and takes Eddie down onto the ropes. Malenko hits Guerrero with a gut buster and Saturn follows up with the frog splash before locking in the cloverleaf on Dean. Eventually Chyna derails Saturn's dominance, hitting him with a loaded bouquet of roses. Dean then gets into an altercation with Chyna over the object, but he ends up whacking himself, which allows Eddie to roll him up for the win at 7:57. After the match, Eddie reveals a lead pipe inside the bouquet. Cheat to win baby! A short but solid match here with Eddie retaining the European Championship. With more time, this could have been awesome.
Grade: **3/4

We now get a recap of the previously mentioned Smackdown where Brisco won the Hardcore Championship. Back in the arena, Brisco is in the bathroom. He's all jumpy due to the 24/7 rule and goes after his own reflection in the mirror.

Falls Count Anywhere Match:
Big Show vs Shane McMahon

The story here stems from Shane managing the Big Show prior to joining the Regime at Wrestlemania and Big Show's subsequent face turn after going out alone once more. We saw at the past few shows that Big Show had been embracing his comedic side, however the fun and games led to Shane tearing into Show for losing what made him a monster. Shane offered to help Show get back on track, but thanks to the ever present GTV, Show caught Shane and the rest of the Regime mocking his antics. Show would snap and looked to get some revenge on his former mentor in this match, which was to be contested under falls count anywhere rules. Anyway, Shane starts this one out by coming off the top but Show catches him in his tracks and proceeds to beat Shane down, crushing his hand in the process. Before he can do more damage with a chokeslam, old foe Big Bossman runs in on Shane's behalf, but Show quickly takes him out with a powerbomb. Subsequently, T&A make their way out to ringside along with Trish Stratus. Show takes them both out whilst Trish takes the opportunity to hit the giant with a low blow. It doesn't have any effect though, and Show throws her out onto both Test and Albert outside. Whilst all this takes place, Shane attempts to flee and runs up to the set,with Show in pursuit. Show attempts to tear the set apart, but Shane utilises it to deliver a dropkick to his opponent, leading to another attack from T&A. Show fights them off once more and Shane climbs up the set before Bull Buchanan makes the save and whacks Show with a nightstick shot. Shane follows up with a cinder block to the head of the downed giant to pick up the big upset at 7:12. Shane getting the win here didn't make much sense at the time, but Show was being phased out here and was en route to the developmental leagues to get back in shape, where he would basically spend the rest of the year. Talk about a fall from main eventing Wrestlemania! Anyway, this wasn't really a match per se. It was okay for what it was.
Grade: **

More backstage shenanigans up next as Gerald Brisco seeks refuge in the referee dressing room. It turns out they too wouldn't mind a chance to be Hardcore Champion though so he takes off again. Elsewhere, Shawn Michaels comes across Triple H and they exchange pleasantries. A recap for our I.C title match follows, which is coming up next.

WWF Intercontinental Championship - Submission Match:
Chris Benoit (c) vs Chris Jericho

Yep, these guys have traded the title once again. This rivalry has really gotten into another gear over the weeks heading into this show. Benoit emerged from their first singles meeting with the title at Backlash last month, however as mentioned at Insurrextion, Jericho managed to pick up a victory over Benoit to win the gold later that week. However Jericho's reign came to an end on the very next episode of Raw is War, where Benoit was victorious in a rematch, so the Rabid Wolverine enters as the I.C Champion here. By the way, this is a submission match, which fits both of these guys due to their respective finishers. Benoit is actually entering this one with an injured knee, it having been targeted by Hardcore Holly in a match on Smackdown before this PPV. Anyway, the match starts out as a chopping war and some back and forth before Benoit goes after the challenger's shoulder. After a shoulder breaker, Benoit follows up with the diving headbutt to Jericho's shoulder. Jericho fights back and the action goes to the outside, but Benoit once again takes control, sending Y2J into the ring steps. Jericho gets a few shots in as we see Val Venis looking on backstage, keen to enter the I.C title picture. Back in the ring, Benoit takes over once more as he goes after Jericho's shoulder again. We also see Hardcore Holly looking on in the back as Benoit dishes out more punishment until Y2J finally comes back. He finally gets his chance to do some damage as he removes Benoit's knee brace and uses it against the champ's knee as a weapon! Following a Lionsault and Tarantula from the challenger, Benoit comes back with some german suplexes, only to be caught in the Walls of Jericho. Before Y2J can lock it in though, Benoit counters into the Crippler Crossface. Jericho refuses to give in as he tries to get to the ropes, but Benoit keeps the hold locked in. In the end, Jericho passes out which allows Benoit to retain the title at 13:27. An excellent match for the amount of time it was given. With more, this would have been a classic from two of the best submission technicians ever.
Grade: ****

Back to the adventures of Gerald Brisco. Michael Cole is standing by and Brisco has lost it, as he attacks some concession vendors hanging out with an official, the idea being he is paranoid they were going to jump him for the title. Elsewhere the Rock confronts Shawn Michaels and demands that he call the main event down the line or he'll kick his ass. Now there is a dream match we never got!

Double Tables Match:
Dudley Boyz vs X-Pac & Road Dogg w/Tori

Our final match on the undercard puts the increasingly popular Dudley Boyz up against the duo of degenerates, X-Pac & Road Dogg. The issues here stem back to a recent episode of Raw is War, where the Dudley Boyz faced off with Gerald Brisco & T&A in a handicap tables match. X-Pac & Road Dogg would interfere and attack the Dudleys, putting them through the tables, so the popular tandem are out for revenge here. Of course, Bubba also has his eyes on sending Tori through a table after she actually did the same to him heading into this show. This is a double tables match, which basically means both members of a team need to go through a table to end the match. Also you need to tag in and out which is a bit ridiculous. The Dudley Boyz rush the ring following Road Dogg's pre-match routine and take the early advantage, working in the head to the crotch spot on both their opponents early on. Tori tries to get involved, so Bubba gives chase, but this allows the heels to double team D-Von. After receiving a beating, Bubba gets the hot tag in and all four men go at it. On the outside, Road Dogg and D-Von go at it, with the Dogg hitting a pump angle slam to the Dudley through a table. DX then look to follow up with a Bronco Buster back in the ring, but Bubba comes back in and power bombs X-Pac through a table instead. From there, Bubba and Road Dogg go at it some more, and the ref ends up going through a table. This brings out Gerald Brisco whilst the Dudley Boyz manage to hit the 3D through the table to Road Dogg whilst the ref is down. Tori confronts Bubba, but Brisco blindsides him, and this allows X-Pac to capitalise with the X-Factor to Bubba through the table. The referee recovers in time to see this, which gives the match to DX at 10:55. Solid enough for what it was. The tables gimmick was still pretty fresh at this point. After the match, the Dudley Boyz get their heat back by delivering a 3D to Brisco through the table. Hey, where's that 24/7 rule now?
Grade: **1/2

We get another one of those mysterious videos with the creepy girls up next. Judgment Day is here. He's coming! Anyway, from there, its over to a video package highlighting the Triple H/Rock feud culminating in our upcoming iron man match.

WWF Championship - 60 Minute Iron Man Match:
The Rock (c) vs Triple H
Special Guest Referee: Shawn Michaels

After losing the WWF Championship to the Rock at Backlash, Triple H challenged the new champion to a rematch for Judgment Day in a sixty minute iron man match - the first to take place on PPV since Shawn Michaels battled Bret Hart at Wrestlemania XII. Speaking of Shawn Michaels, the Commissioner of the WWF made his return to TV after many months away on Raw is War few weeks before this show. Shawn Michaels announced that he was officially resigning as the WWF Commissioner, but he had been appointed by CEO Linda McMahon to be the referee for the iron man match, to ensure a fair and impartial outcome was reached. Of course, there was suspicion as to whether Michaels would indeed act as a fair official, as in his last appearance on TV back in 1999 he acted as the guest referee for a WWF Championship match between Triple H and the Rock on the first episode of Smackdown, costing Rock the match in the process. Anyway, this would pretty much be the end of Michaels as an on air character for quite some time as he would vanish after this PPV. Anyway, the Game sends the rest of the Regime to the back for this one, wanting to go at it alone. Huge pop for the Rock as expected. The two lock up after some trash talking, and the clock gets ticking. In the early going, Rock seems to have the momentum so Trips gets frustrated and goes outside to take a breather. He briefly comes back in and works over the Rock's arm but before he can capitalise, the Great One hits the Rock Bottom just over ten minutes in which scores the first fall of the match. From there, the action continues as they brawl to the outside a little before returning to the ring. Rock targets the Game's leg, locking in the figure four before they go back out and into the crowd. Back in the ring, we get a little back and forth which Rock comes out on top of. He continues to target the knee of the challenger, but out of nowhere, Triple H levels Rock with a Pedigree to even the score up at around twenty five minutes. After recovering from the Pedigree, Rock attempts to get back on track with a back drop attempt, but Triple H manages to immediately score another fall from a small package counter, which now puts the challenger at the 2-1 advantage. Some more brawling up the aisle follows. Both men end up taking each other out simultaneously at around the halfway mark, but Shawn doesn't count them down since there's really no point in an iron man match. They stagger back to the ring, but once there, Triple H scores yet another pinfall following a piledriver to the Rock, bringing the score to 3-1 in the challenger's favour. Great way to build an iron man match here making the face fight back, unlike the no fall concept at WM12. Speaking of fighting back, thats exactly what Rock does after taking a little more punishment from the Game. After scoring a near fall on a belly to belly suplex out of nowhere, the DDT does the job for the Great One, and he gets the cover to bring the score to 3-2. The action once again spills outside as we approach the 45 minute mark, with Triple H getting his hands on a chair. Shawn stops him from using it though, which gives the Rock the chance to send the Game into the ring steps. Rock looks to build more offence, but Triple H ends up losing his cool. He grabs the chair once more and this time whacks Rock with it, triggering a DQ and evening the score back up at 3 a piece. It turns out there was a method to his madness though, as with Rock down from the chair shot, the Cerebral Assassin uses the situation to his advantage, covering him for another fall, taking the 4-3 lead once more. From there, the match continues to play out in the challenger's favour as he locks in a sleeper hold. Rock tries to fight it, but it becomes too much, and Triple H puts the champion out to get another point. Its now 5-3 to the Game, as he maintains the clear lead just when it seemed Rock was closing in about ten minutes prior. Triple H keeps the sleeper on after the decision, which leads to Michaels breaking it himself. The former friends get into an argument, which gives Rock his window to come back. Triple H cuts his momentum off moments later with a DDT. They end up back outside shortly after, and fight over by the announce table. Trips looks to Rock Bottom the Rock through it, but the champion counters into a Pedigree instead. With Triple H out on the remains of the announce table, Rock makes it back to the ring, scoring a decision by count out in the process. The score is now 5-4 with Rock needing one more point to tie things up with less than five minutes remaining. At this point, the McMahons make their way out to ringside, with Trips getting back into the ring just in time to avoid another count out. The McMahons attempt to interfere on the Game's behalf, but Rock fights them off and levels Trips with a spinebuster. The People's Elbow follows and the Rock evens the score at 5-5 with less than two minutes left. With the timer getting low, Shane pulls Michaels out of the ring, but HBK responds by taking the fight to the McMahons. Whilst he is occupied though, X-Pac and Road Dogg run down and do battle with the Rock. In the middle of all this chaos, the girls voices from the video start up and out rides the Undertaker, motorbike and all! The American Badass has arrived after a long hiatus from the man who used to be the Lord of Darkness! The crowd goes nuts as Taker unloads on everyone. Triple H ends up jumping Taker from behind, but Taker responds with a chokeslam followed by the Tombstone. Shawn sees this though, and gives Triple H a decision by DQ, putting him back in the lead at 6-5. There's only seconds remaining, so at 60:00, Triple H is the new WWF Champion! Wow, what a match. The ending was a bit of a mess, but up until then, this was a textbook example of how you do an iron man match. The heel took the lead, the face fought back only for the heel to take over again and so on. Really awesome stuff. The crowd loved Taker's return even though he inadvertently cost Rock the title. Knowing where this went, I probably would have just had Rock win here, with Taker helping him fight off the McMahon's in the closing moments, but hey what can you do. It just seems strange for Triple H to win thanks to the return of Taker who is a face again. Overall though, a really good match, the best of this feud, to cap off another hot PPV.
Grade: ****1/2

Another really good show from the WWF continuing the hot streak once more. The main event was excellent and took up a third of the show, so what more can you ask for? On top of that, you have a very good match for the I.C title and a pretty hot opener as well. The 24/7 Hardcore title skits were always fun too. The rest of the card was solid enough as well - there was nothing bad here, even if the Shane/Show outcome seemed like a head scratcher at the time. All up, highly recommended. Enjoy it, the streak of greatness ends next month.

Three Stars of the Night:
1. The Rock/Triple H (tie) - it was impossible to decide who should get this. Just a phenomenal performance in what was their best match in my opinion. Triple H was the smart heel who did what he could to stay on top, whilst Rock was the fiery babyface fighting back to try to take the lead.
2. Chris Benoit - emerged with his I.C title and looked like a calculating competitor targeting Jericho's shoulder throughout his match and then taking the fight to the challenger to the point where he could not go any longer.
3. Chris Jericho - another great showing of many from Y2J on PPV. His feud with Benoit is the one that got him really over as a guy who excelled in the ring in the WWF after he established his character through his previous work with Chyna. He comes up short but looks strong in defeat as he did not submit to the crossface.

FINAL GRADE: 9 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. Rock continues to stay just ahead of Triple H in the rankings after another show.

Steve Austin = 84
Bret Hart = 83
Shawn Michaels = 67
The Rock = 43
Triple H = 42
Mick Foley = 38
Randy Savage = 28
Undertaker = 25
Owen Hart = 21
Hulk Hogan = 18
X-Pac = 18
Diesel = 15
Ultimate Warrior = 13
Vader = 13
British Bulldog = 12
Ted DiBiase = 10
Razor Ramon = 10
Vince McMahon = 10
Ric Flair = 8
Matt Hardy = 8
Jeff Hardy = 8
Jim Neidhart = 7
Chris Jericho = 7
Jerry Lawler = 6
Christian = 6
Dynamite Kid = 5
Arn Anderson = 5
Roddy Piper = 5
Mr Perfect = 5
Marty Jannetty = 5
Bob Backlund = 5
Edge = 5
Ricky Steamboat = 4
Ax = 4
Smash = 4
Bobby Heenan = 4
D’Lo Brown = 4
Bubba Ray Dudley = 4
D-Von Dudley = 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
Chris Benoit = 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
Kurt Angle = 1
Dean Malenko = 1
Scotty 2 Hotty = 1

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