WWE PPV Flashback: Rebellion - 11/3/01 - WM Rematch From Across the Pond

November 3, 2001
Manchester Arena, Manchester, England

As we ventured into the month of November in 2001, the end of the Invasion storyline that had dominated the company since the summer was in sight. The battle between the WWF and the Alliance was set to culminate later in the month at the Survivor Series. Before we got there however, we had another one of these UK exclusive PPVs, as the company headed to Manchester for Rebellion. You know what that means by now - another glorified house show, although this time it is headlined by quite the big match as Stone Cold Steve Austin defends his WWF Championship against the Rock. Lets dive right in. As always, please send your feedback to me on Twitter at @Mpmcc91 and spread the word about these reviews.

Our opening video package is all about Austin/Rock. We head into the arena where our usual broadcast duo of Jim Ross & Paul Heyman get the show started.

WWF Intercontinental Championship - Steel Cage Match:
Edge (c) vs Christian

The feud between these guys had pretty much come to an end with the real blow off being the ladder match at No Mercy, but in true UK PPV fashion, we get another meeting of the brothers and former tag team partners to settle the score once more. This time its contested inside a steel cage. Edge enters as the Intercontinental Champion here, but his brother also has gold around his waist in the form of the European Championship. Whilst the title was last was another Alliance superstar, the Hurricane, he was defeated by the WWF's Bradshaw on Raw after No Mercy. The reign would prove to be short lived though, as Christian would beat the new champ for the title a week later on Smackdown. Only Edge's title is on the line here though, making this one of those rare UK PPVs without a European Championship match. Anyway, Christian jumps Edge right from the outset as the champ gets into the cage. The cheap attack doesn't work in his favour though, as Edge quickly fights back and strangles him with his jacket. We get some initial Edge offence, but Christian counters with a DDT and looks to escape the cage moments later. Edge stops his brother in his tracks and goes for the Spear. Christian moves out of the way though, and the champ goes right into the cage wall as a result. This gives Christian another chance to try to escape, but its short lived as Edge stops him yet again. Edge starts to build some momentum, but Christian blocks him off and locks in a chinlock to slow things down. Edge fights back and capitalises with a Spear, but Christian recovers and attempts an Unprettier. Edge reverses into the Edge-O-Matic, and that takes the challenger out to allow the champion the chance to escape. Edge goes up, however Christian recovers and pulls his brother back down, crotching him on the ropes in the process. Christian now goes up to the top and starts climbing down the outside wall. With it looking like he is about to lose his title, in a spot of brilliance, Edge pulls his brothers legs back through the cage (its the old one rather than the mesh). He then pulls off his own wrist tape and uses it to tie Christian's legs together, rendering him stuck hanging through the cage wall. With Christian immobile, Edge goes up and over, escaping the cage to retain his title. Now Wikipedia says this match went over 20 minutes. That's gotta be a typo. I'd say it was more around 12-13 minutes of action. The match as a whole was okay, but nowhere near their ladder match the month before. I did really enjoy the ending though, as it was creative and made Edge look like a smart champion. The two brothers now go their separate ways with the Survivor Series in sight.
Grade: **3/4

We now get a brief recap looking at footage of Kurt Angle's recent defection to the Alliance. It was strange that we'd get such a major defection so late in the storyline, but all would be revealed come Survivor Series.

Elsewhere, Chavo Guerrero, who used to be a member of WCW and the Alliance, is backstage as an interviewer. He says he's going to be talking to the divas competing tonight, when Hugh Morrus comes in and says that was his job. They agree to share the job and then walk in on Trish Stratus who is getting dressed to referee that match. Trish tells them to talk to Lita instead, and she'll give them an interview once she is done getting ready.

Scotty 2 Hotty vs The Hurricane
There's no real storyline here as this is just two Cruiserweights going at it to fill out the card. As I mentioned in the previous match, Hurricane is no longer the European Champion. He's still with Mighty Molly, but she has a match later on so he's on his own for tonight. Scotty has been out of action for a while due to injury, but since returning, his former partner Grandmaster Sexay is no longer with the company. He'd get a rather interesting new partner soon enough. Heyman talks Hurricane up big time here, but the crowd is pretty dead for this. We get some opening back and forth with the Hurricane taking the advantage, with the resident superhero of the Alliance tossing Scotty into the ring post just as the former Too Cool member looks to be building some momentum. Hurricane ends up putting his cape back on to come off the top, but Scotty quickly turns the tide with a thrust kick. Hurricane manages to counter a suplex however, and he mockingly goes for the Worm moments later. Scotty stops him from connecting, and avoids a chokeslam as well. After scoring a roll up on Scotty for a near fall, the superhero goes for the Eye of the Hurricane, but Scotty counters into a bulldog. He follows up with the Worm and that puts the former European Champion away at 8:55. The match was fine for what it was, but it didn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things. This was filler, but solid filler.
Grade: **1/2

We go back to Chavo & Morrus again, with Trish taking them to Lita's dressing room. Lita is in the process of getting dressed, and she kicks them out.

Elsewhere we hear from Diamond Dallas Page, who has thankfully ditched the stalker gimmick and is now doing his self-help persona. He thinks England is too depressed. He's in action next.

Big Show vs Diamond Dallas Page
Another thrown together match here. Big Show hasn't really done much at all aside from filling out tag matches since the Invasion began, whilst DDP has basically lost any credibility he had in the fans eyes after the terrible stalker storyline which led to him being pinned by Sara a few months back on TV. Anyway, its a glorified squash as Show spends the early moments throwing DDP in and out of the ring. Page ends up clipping the giant's knee and that allows him to go for the figure four, but the big man easily squats him away. Show comes back with his power offence and goes for the Chokeslam, but DDP counters with a Diamond Cutter out of nowhere. By the time DDP is able to make the cover however, Show kicks out at two. The big man gets to his feet and hits a Chokeslam for the easy win at 3:15. After the match, DDP gets on the mic and says he gets to leave England, which is a good thing, not a bad thing. Thanks for coming DDP - your time as a main eventer in WCW seems so long ago.
Grade: 1/2*

We now go back to more shenanigans with Chavo & Morrus. This time its Mighty Molly, who gets upset with them for seeing her without her cape.

Up next we have a hilarious segment backstage with Austin, Angle, Shane and Debra around a round table as Shane attempts to get them focused on tonight rather than Survivor Series. Angle gets way into it with Knights of the Round Table references, calling Shane, Merlin. The line of the night comes when Angle says "since we have the Good Knights, we need Bad Knights as well", to which Austin responds "I'm having a bad night right now". Funny stuff.

WCW Tag Team Championship - Elimination Match:
Dudley Boyz (c) vs Hardy Boyz vs APA

We've had a few changes in the tag title scene, as when we last left off the Hardy Boyz were the WCW Tag Team Champions, whilst the Dudley Boyz were actually the WWF Tag Team Champions. Well, the Dudley Boyz would lose their WWF tag titles to the Rock & Chris Jericho on Raw the night after No Mercy. They would not be without gold for long though, as they would defeat the Hardy Boyz later that week on Smackdown to win the WCW version of the titles, which are on the line here. The APA are in this just for the sake of getting more guys on the show as they weren't major players in the division at the time. Its elimination rules by the way and we start things out with Matt and Bubba going at it. Bradshaw comes in and the two WWF guys work together before the APA member turns on the Hardy boy with a DDT to some boos from the crowd. Bradshaw works Matt over until D-Von tags himself in, but the APA work together to take him down as well. Bubba comes in and gets a Clothesline from Hell for his efforts, but Matt tags himself back in and hits. Twist of Fate on Faarooq. That allows Matt to get the cover and the APA are eliminated from the match about five minutes in. This brings us back to the two top teams in the company once again. We go back and forth and D-Von ends up going for the tables, only for Jeff to dropkick it back into him. Jeff's momentum is short lived though, as Bubba delivers a Bubba Bomb and the champions take control from there. After taking a beating from the Dudley Boyz, Jeff fires back and gets a hot tag to Matt who cleans house whilst D-Von also scores the tag. The Hardy Boyz hit some double teaming offence, dishing out the Poetry in Motion to both their opponents. Jeff goes up for the Swanton, but D-Von manages to roll out of the way, leaving him to crash and burn. With Matt alone, the Dudley Boyz deliver the 3D and D-Von gets the cover for his team to retain their titles at 12:01. The match was fine for what it was, but the Dudleyz/Hardyz rivalry was really running its course by this point in time. They'd cross paths again at the Survivor Series. Whilst I say that, the APA getting eliminated first was the right way to go as nobody cared about them at this point.
Grade: **1/4

After a look at some recent footage of Jericho accidentally hitting Rock during a tag match. Despite defeating the Dudley Boyz to win the WWF Tag Team Championship, they've since dropped the titles to Booker T & Test on Smackdown. Anyway, we go backstage to Mr McMahon who is with the former champs. He wants them on the same page to battle the Alliance at Survivor Series. Vince orders them to shake hands and they do so. Moments later they trade insults however, and end up coming the blows before being separated.

Tajiri vs William Regal
Our next match of the night sees two former friends go at it. Tajiri of course used to be Regal's assistant back when he was the WWF Commissioner, but since defecting to the Alliance that friendship has come to an end. Tajiri is still with Torrie here by the way, but she's in the divas match later on. He's also the new WCW Cruiserweight Champion, having defeated Billy Kidman on an episode of Raw (who had initially beaten X-Pac a few weeks before on Smackdown to gain the title in the first place). This is non-title for obvious reasons. Regal gets on the mic before the match and proclaims to be a role model for his home country before ripping on David Beckham and Manchester United to turn the crowd against him. Regal dominates the match with some grappling to start, but Tajiri nails him with a kick and sends his former friend to the outside. Regal regains control on the floor however, sending Tajiri into the ring post. Regal continues to grind at his opponent back in the ring and cuts off a crossbody attempt by the Japanese Buzzsaw to continue dictating the pace. Tajiri ends up firing back with a roundhouse kick and follows with a handspring elbow. That leads to the Tarantula being locked in before having to be broken before five. Tajiri attempts to capitalise with a moonsault, but misses. Regal takes advantage and locks in the Regal Stretch, which gives the Alliance Commissioner the submission win at 5:55. A basic match to fill things out that really could have been on TV. Tajiri continues to slide down the pecking order despite being over, although he does get some revenge by misting Regal afterwards.
Grade: *1/2

In the back, Kurt Angle cuts a promo ripping on the UK fans and Chris Jericho. They face off next.

WCW Championship:
Chris Jericho (c) vs Kurt Angle

Our first world title match of the night is another thrown together match for this show, as Chris Jericho is mainly feuding with the Rock right now, whilst Angle has mostly been involved in the WWF title scene over the past few months. Kurt Angle is actually the WCW United States Champion here, although the title is not on the line, having defeated Rhyno on Raw the night after No Mercy. That was when Kurt was still a WWF guy. A week later, Shane McMahon warned Mr McMahon that one of his superstars would be defecting to the Alliance. Later that night, Kurt Angle would prove to be the defector, laying out top WWF superstars, including Chris Jericho, with a steel chair. More on Angle's new affiliation with the Alliance down the line though - there's more to it than meets the eye. Anyway, Jericho starts this one building momentum from the bell as he looks to prove he deserves his place as a main title holder. Angle comes back with a German Suplex and the action takes to the floor with Y2J going back on offence. Back in the ring, Kurt attempts the Ankle Lock, but Jericho fights out and sends Angle into the ring post. Nonetheless, the Olympic medallist gets back into it and dishes out some more suplexes. Angle goes for the Walls on Jericho himself, but the champion counters only to be hit with a belly to belly. We go back and forth, with Angle resorting to a chinlock to control the champion, but Jericho stays in it and ultimately gets Kurt in the Ankle Lock. Angle gets to the ropes however, and bursts back with the German combo. Now Kurt attempts the Ankle Lock, only for Y2J to reverse into the Walls. Angle gets to the ropes again, and gets his knees up to block an incoming Lionsault. Back in control, Kurt goes for the Angle Slam, but Jericho rolls out and pins Kurt with a roll up out of nowhere at 14:55. Chris Jericho retains the WCW Championship. This was a good match between two men that had really come into their own throughout the year. Jericho gets a clean title defence but his reign won't last much longer. Still, good stuff here. Angle gets some revenge afterwards by assaulting Jericho.
Grade: ***1/2

We now go to the back where Michael Cole is with the Rock. Rock makes some gay jokes at Cole's expense before going into his usual stuff.

Lita & Torrie Wilson vs Mighty Molly & Stacy Keibler
Special Guest Referee: Trish Stratus

Just some T&A filler between the two big matches here. The women's division would get a shift to a more legitimate division again soon though. This is basically an extension of the Torrie/Stacy feud with Torrie well and truly with the WWF now. Trish is the guest referee, and considering she is with the WWF and this is a glorified house show, that should easily tell you who is winning this one. I don't think I even need to tell you that all the ladies look amazing. Heyman goes off on a disturbing tangent by saying that he wears the same kind of underwear as Lita. Too much info there Paul. Anyway, Torrie and Stacy start out in the ring for their teams, and the Alliance team spends most of the match double teaming Torrie. Lita eventually gets the hot tag, and all four competitors end up going at it. Torrie catapults Molly into Stacy, which allows Lita to hit the Twist of Fate on Hurricane's sidekick. Trish counts the three and the WWF divas pick up the win at 4:16. Short and inoffensive. This is what it was expected to be. Stacy gets in Trish's face after the match, so Trish hits her with a bulldog to continue the celebration.
Grade: 1/2*

The main event is up next, so we get a video package on Austin/Rock.

WWF Championship:
Steve Austin (c) vs The Rock

Our main event is a WrestleMania rematch, although obviously on a much lesser stage. Both men are the captains of the teams at Survivor Series, which I'll get more into next time. Austin decks Rock as he's posing on the turnbuckle and this one quickly gets started with a brawl on the outside with Rock taking the advantage before Austin even has the chance to take off his jacket. He spits a mouthful of water at the champion and the brawl moves up the ramp where Rock counters both a suplex and a piledriver, sending Austin's back onto the steel on both instances. Rock remains in control as he takes Austin back down to ringside, but once there, Austin has a burst of energy and sling shots the Great One into the ring post. Austin flips off the crowd as he gets back in the ring and gets rolled up by the Rock, but the champ kicks out and regains control. The action doesn't stay in the ring for long though, as moments later they are back on the floor. Austin remains in control and uses some cables to choke Rock out. Austin remains on offence, but Rock takes advantage of the champion's jaw jacking with the fans once more. Back inside Austin resorts to a sleeper hold, but Rock comes to before the three and returns the favour by applying the same hold to the champion. The Rattlesnake fights out of it and gets Rock in the Boston Crab. Rock gets to the ropes, forcing the break, which leads to some back and forth and the ref getting bumped in the process. Rock counters a Stunner attempt and follows up with the Sharpshooter. With the ref still down, Rock releases the hold to try to revive him, but Austin uses this opportunity to apply his own Sharpshooter to the challenger. Rock fights out of it, but this brings out Kurt Angle, who nails the Great One with a chair. Jericho rushes out to even the odds, grabbing the chair and taking Angle out. Of course, this leads to Rock looking up and seeing Y2J with the chair, thinking he was the one that hit him. Rock and Jericho end up trading blows, which Austin hopes to capitalise on with a Stunner. Rock counters into a Rock Bottom however, but there's still nobody to make the count. Angle attempts to jump Rock again, but the People's Champion fights him off. Rock then delivers a Spinebuster to Austin and sets up the People's Elbow. Angle gets involved yet again though, as he trips Rock up and nails him with the title belt. That allows Austin to come back and take Rock out with a Stunner and the ref recovers to count the three at 22:09. Stone Cold retains the WWF Championship heading into Survivor Series, with a major assist coming from his long time rival. This obviously wasn't at the level of the awesome Mania main event, but it was still a very good match. The interference furthered key storylines in Angle's Alliance defection and Rock's tension with Y2J, so it doesn't hurt the match. A very good main event, especially for one of these shows. Then again, its Austin/Rock, what did you expect? We end the show with Austin and Angle celebrating in victory.
Grade: ***3/4

The UK exclusive PPVs were always a throwaway after the first one in 1997. This was no exception as there were no major developments or anything. The WWF was focused on Survivor Series a few weeks away, where the Alliance storyline would finally be blown off. What we got here was a decent show though, and probably one of the better UK events overall. Sure there was a lot of fluff, but the two main events delivered, especially the Rock/Austin match. Being a glorified house show, a lot of the big names like RVD, Taker, Booker T and the like were nowhere to be seen here, but we still got a pretty fun show. For this type of event, thats a plus.

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Steve Austin - retained his title and picked right back up with his chemistry with the Great One. His exchange earlier in the night with Angle was hilarious as well.
2. The Rock - the most electrifying man in all of sports entertainment may have come up short tonight, but he still put on a very good match with his long time adversary.
3. Chris Jericho - a clean and impressive win over Kurt Angle as he looks to cement himself as a main event player. His reign would not last much longer, but by the end of the year, Y2J would be smiling again.

FINAL GRADE: 6 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 = 106
Bret Hart = 83
Shawn Michaels = 67
The Rock = 56
Triple H = 51
Mick Foley = 38
Randy Savage = 28
Kurt Angle = 28
Undertaker = 26
Owen Hart = 21
Hulk Hogan = 18
X-Pac = 18
Chris Jericho = 18
Chris Benoit = 16
Jeff Hardy = 16
Diesel = 15
Matt Hardy = 14
Ultimate Warrior = 13
Vader = 13
British Bulldog = 12
Christian = 12
Edge = 12
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
Rob Van Dam = 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
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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