Famous and Forgotten WWE Matches of the 2000s

WWE Matches of the 2000s
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I’m not yet famous enough to go without an introduction, so hello, I’m Sebastian Howard. I’ve been working with Caliber since 2012 on our WCW in 2000-01 site, were we’ve been covering all of the Nitro’s, and PPV’s of that time. What shocks me about WCW from the time period is that they’ll randomly have great shows, and great matches in the middle of the wasteland, and endless ego bullshit that was going on at the time. It shows that, with a little direction, WCW could’ve been great, and didn’t have to die… at least not for quality reasons. But that sleazebag Jamie Kellner had to come in to destroy the company because, “he didn’t get wrestling.” Jamie Kellner is pretty much known for his horrible decisions as he had run WB 4 Kids, beforehand, and gotten rid of Animanics (which was doing great ratings and having critical success at the time), tried to tone down Batman TAS because he’d rather be safe than have anything with quality, and brought Pokemon to the network. The only saving grace he has is that he did a decent job with Cartoon Network in the mid 2000s.

Anyway, enough about Kellner, since most of you haven’t seen my writing style you’re in for a bit of a treat. I’m completely vile, hugely opinionated, and am usually never middle ground on a subject. However, for wrestling I am used to doing more of a play by play style, since it works well with my quick thinking, and allows me to add some humor into the column. However, this site wants pretty much just thoughts, so I might be a bit rough around the edges to start, but I’m sure I can still write something entertaining enough.

One more thing before we get started. Do not vote for Jeb Bush if he wins the GOP primary this year. If you’re even considering voting for him this year, either castrate yourself, or bump yourself off so the rest of us don’t have to deal with you. Actually, if you’re a Republican at all, you should probably do that.

So this week’s theme is 2000s matches, I’m going to try to stick to mid 2000s, but I might jump around here and there. There’s a lot of good stuff that people just don’t mention anymore, for example I was just checking out a four and a half star match between Trips and Shawn Michaels from December 2003 Raw, that was critically praised at the time, but is mostly forgotten today. I’m also going to add Youtube links, which isn’t too hard because I’ve been watching wrestling through Youtube since 2007, and before I had any DVD’s, I was primarily switching between Youtube, and Justin.tv (the later one is completely dead now wrestling content wise, due to copyright) so I’ve always been kind of good at searching the net for matches I want to watch. Alright, let’s get this party started.

1st Match: Edge vs Chris Benoit Smackdown October 31st, 2002

Random Notes:

Youtube quality for wrestling matches is always so damn gritty.

Edge’s gimmick was so lame in 2002, he was just this really cheesy face who had a Rob Zombie theme song. I think Edge has always been a lot better as a heel, and I wish he was given more to do in the prime of his heel career in 2006 other than wrestle Cena 80 times in a row.

 

What I love about Benoit is his stiff, technical style was so damn good, and it always brought the best out of his opponent. You can almost see the other guy turning it up, because Benoit’s already going a hundred percent.

Some horrible news from Tazz and Cole, Steiner was signed by WWE and Smackdown and Raw were fighting over who would get him. If it was me, I’d be fighting NOT to get him. When me and my bud Nick were playing Universe mode we actually played Rock, Paper, Scissors and the loser got Cena.

Benoit slams Edge so hard on his head, Edge starts bleeding out his nose! Now that’s stiff!

It’s pretty weird seeing Benoit playing heel, and Edge playing face.

The reversal from the spear into the crossface is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen.

Kurt Angle comes out to screw with Benoit, even though they’re tag champions, and it leads to a pretty sweet spot were Edge comes off the top with a cross body onto Angle. Edge then hits the spear, pretty much out of nowhere to win the match.

4.0/5.0 – As much as I prefer Benoit being a face, and Edge being a heel, they actually worked well in the opposite formula here. Benoit was playing a super stiff, technical badass who was just planting Edge with everything he had, but Edge, the blonde haired hero, was able to come back with some flashy moves, and barely get the victory due to a distraction. Pretty well done, but this match highlights the main problem with Edge as a face, namely that he’s somewhat reminiscent of Cena in that he gets trashed the whole match, and then comes back with a few flashy moves, and then hits the spear out of nowhere to win. The match was a tad generic, but overall pretty decent, and worth checking out.

2nd Match: Triple H vs Chris Benoit No Mercy 2000

Random notes:

Are you ready for some more Benoit, babbbyyy!!??? Because you’re going to get a whole lot of him in my columns, Benoit’s probably my favorite wrestler, or close to it. The angle leading up to this match is kind of creepy in hindsight… yet still pretty badass. Benoit put the Bitch of Baskerville (TM Eric S) in the crossface. So of course because she’s the boss’s daughter she needs to get revenge, so she slaps him backstage. And instead of being a lil bitch about it, Benoit just laughs it off. Again… kind of creepy, but it does highlight the fact that WWE doesn’t build up straight badass characters like Benoit anymore. Bryan doesn’t even come close, character wise.

I watched this match back when I was in Washington and had the Network, and remember it being fucking awesome. I wish Benoit and Trips were able to have more straight up singles matches in 2004, but all of their matches then were ruined because WWE had to push that retarded Nick Dinsmore angle down our throats. Yuck. So this is probably the best, clean ending match they’ve had.

Triple H was so damn good in 2000-01. I really wish he didn’t get injured, it would’ve at least made the Invasion tolerable.

I was watching a Triple H/Shawn Michaels match before this, and on the side where they show the other videos, I saw a youtube video were Bret Hart said Trips had never had a good match. Please, I think just about anything Trips did from 2000-01 was better than anything Hart did… except for maybe Hart/Benoit from the Owen Hart, Nitro Tribute.

This is one the most technical, psychological matches I’ve ever seen from the WWE. Trips is working over Benoit’s legs, and Benoit is working over Trips’s arm. What’s interesting about this is that both guys were heels at this point, and they didn’t change up their style to the match… and it actually works better because of it.

And what’s great is they actually continue to work over the body part, even with their signatures. Benoit does the headbutt of the top, and hits Trip’s arm, which he’s been working over the whole match. I also love how they continue to sell the injuries throughout the match. WWE is very obnoxious these days, you’ll have someone work over Cena for twenty minutes, and he’ll come back and no sell the injuries.

TRIPS HITS A SUPERPLEX!!??? I can’t even remember him doing that in… well, ever.

Just to add to the psychology, Benoit almost wins the match with a Dragon Suplex. Trips doesn’t even kick out of it, he just barely gets his foot on the rope. Really nice, subtle touches.

Benoit was so fucking stiff.

Trips reverses the Crossface with a Samoan drop, which is sick! Never seen that before.

Bitch of Baskervilles comes out, because it’s all about her.

BENOIT’S STILL WORKING THE ARM AT THE END OF THE MATCH!!! And Trips barely wins with a low blow into a pedigree, which makes it look like Trips was this close to losing if the Ref wasn’t distracted, and makes both guys look good.

5.0/5.0 – Admittedly, the leg psychology by Trips really didn’t go anywhere, but this match felt exactly like a wrestling match should. A human chess game, with both guys looking even, and having to use their technical expertise, and smarts just to get an advantage on the other. Benoit continuously working over the arm was a great part of the match, and the fact that it seemed like he almost beat Trips, was just great. Just really, really well done, and probably my favorite Trips/Benoit match, and my favorite match of 2000.

And now, random notes from my life:

And a good shoutout to Krista, fuck you. You’re family’s white trash, and I’m pretty sure your brother’s half retarded.

God, it’s nice being in Florida were I don’t have to deal with any of that white shit, or below zero temperatures. Also, while I’m at it, fuck Karla Winston, and fuck Wenatchee. Goddamn, I need to find something to do today other than sitting around watching Steven Segal movies again. But Ben, the rat bastard, won’t pick up his phone. If I don’t find something to do tonight, my Zoloft might make me go completely insane.

BTW, I’ve been playing Smackdown vs Raw 2007, and it is the shit. Great game, and I’m glad I’ve got it. I might have to change out to someone other than Benoit in the game though, I’ve just gotten too good at it with him at this point.

And talking about games, God, do I want to play that new Aliens game. It looks so damn creepy, and I love that it’s set up as a video game version of the first Alien movie.

If your computers fucked up, get Ad Aware Anti-Virus, you can scan your whole computer and it’s completely free. And be careful when you’re downloading torrents, the fake torrent commands on KAT really fucked me up for a bit.

God, I tried watching Smackdown this week, but WWE is just so damn safe and repetitive.

It’s some bullshit that I have to do a sixty dollar co-pay to see my Doctor, when I have Blue Cross. Fuck Dr. Shiek, bitch was gonna drug test me anyway.

Ronald Regan and Hitler are holding hands in Hell together.

I’m pretty excited for that new Tarintino flick coming out, it’s going to be a Western with Russell and Jackson. Though, I kind of want to see what Tarintino would do with a Sci-Fi flick.

Tyson Buffalo Chicken Wings are amazing. So is Home Run Inn Pizza.

Ebola has been around for longer than just 2014, you idiots.

I need a job, big time. Also, I may be joining the Air Force which would kind of suck because I’d have to go a long time without any cigs.

70s Doctor Who is the shit.

Random Wrestling Thoughts:

If anyone knows who Hyatte is, he’s still alive on Twitter.

Fuck real sports, real sports suck. Except for golf, golf’s kind of relaxing.

CM Punk jumping to UFC is the only thing that could get me interested in that boring bullshit. I really hope it’s not completely embarrassing though, and he gets ko’d in his first fight, or something like that.

So with Jerry Lawler fucked up again, are we finally going to get a different Raw commentator? Please make it Tony Schivaone….

My computer is far too slow.

Reigns is going to look strong… and I think while going to the Dead Tree Torch, looking for wrestling news to talk about (there’s absolutely nothing interesting) it hit with me a virus AVG just removed. So not only are you a terrible site with no interesting news, but you also have viruses? Great.

Oh, and The Authoirty came back completely negating any importance Survivor Series would have, like three weeks after it happened. Dolph Ziggler’s backstage fallout reaction was pretty funny, as he was just so honest and depressed about the whole situation.

WWE Stock is going down even more, maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to bank your whole plan on the Network, especially since most kids might have sixty bucks one week, and after their subscription ends, they aren’t getting any more money from Ma and Pa to buy wrasslin. Also, your booking is pretty terrible.

How is TNA not dead yet?

Alright, and back to the actual, y’know content (I’m going to be shocked if all of that doesn’t get taken out).

3rd Match: Chris Jericho vs RVD Raw August 5th, 2002

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_h10P5-Ot4

Random Thoughts:
It’s almost unbelievable how far they dropped the ball on Jericho after his Undisputed Title Reign. Throughout 2002-2005 he was stuck in mid-card hell, and had to dick around with Christian for a complete year.

RVD was actually pretty decent in 2002, but by 2004 when he was stuck in Smackdown he got SOOO formula, and every match he was in was exactly the same thing, with him just getting the same spots in. He didn’t really get good again ‘till he had a reason to, which was around 2006 when he won the MITB contract.

Sweet spot were RVD’s trying to go for his spotty, kicky bullshit and Jericho shuts him down with an enzuguri.

Ref gets knocked out, and Jericho fucks Rob up with a chair, and dodges the stupid assed Van Daminator. Jericho has the match pretty much won, and then Ric Flair comes out to attack Jericho, and cost him the match. This highlights how weird the face/heel dynamic was back in that era. Jericho did cheat to almost win, but if RVD had hit the Van Daminator that would’ve been fair… even though it was illegal? And Flair beating the shit out of Jericho with a chair is okay for a good guy to do because they have a match coming up? But the atmosphere was so different back then that it makes the fucked up face/heel dynamics acceptable, whereas today it wouldn’t float.

4.0/5.0 – Admittedly, the story of the match wasn’t that great, with Jericho carrying most of the match doing basic heel stuff, and RVD coming back with his usual, but both guys just had so much energy and enthusiasm. It showed in the match, and also the match was so different from anything we see now. It was really fast paced, but still told a story, and the match itself had a sense of urgency, and importance that is sorely lacking in today’s midcard matches. And it even helps to extend a mid-card feud between Jericho and Flair.

4th Match: Goldberg © vs Shawn Michaels for the World Heavyweight Championship Raw, 2003 October 21st

Random Thoughts:
God, I didn’t even know about this one. Let’s see if Shawn can carry Goldie to a better match than Page did…

Shawn is bumping for Goldberg like he’s on coke, and in the 90s.

These guys are both so on top of their game in this match that it literally feels like this is some weird, lost, WWF vs WCW match from the 90s.

The match is coming to the conclusion when Batistia decides to ruin it, and beat the shit out of Shawn Michaels and Goldberg. I guess they were trying to make the IWC have a heart attack, and set up a match between Batistia and Goldberg. God, that just sounds awful on so many levels….

 

3.5/5.0 – This was fucking awesome because Shawn was bumping for Goldie like he was the Undertaker, and their styles just made this feel like both guys had somehow transferred their 90s minds to their 2003 bodies. Shawn completely carried Goldie here, however Goldberg did remember to sell the ribs which were hurt by Mark Henry earlier in the night, and his offense did look pretty good. This match was a fun mix of styles, and I kind of wish they were given a rematch with longer time, because with five, or ten more minutes they could’ve beat the Goldberg/Page match, quality wise.

5th Match: Triple H © vs Goldberg for the World Heavyweight Championship Unforgiven 2003

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLl2UdIOma8

Random Notes:

My Time is way better than that shitty Motorhead theme song.

The sound quality on this Youtube Video is awful.

Goldberg sounds like he has something stuck in his throat.

Has anyone ever read The Taking of Triple H? I can’t look at Trips the same since reading it.

A lot of people bitch about Goldberg’s WWE run but he was OVER during that time.

2003 WWE is like, Triple H vs WCW. Think about it, Trips beat Nash, Goldberg, Booker T, and Scott Steiner. I’m surprised they didn’t bring back Buff Bagwell just so Trips could beat him.

Trips’s black spandex tights look terrible.

Trips reverses the spear with his knee in a pretty cool spot.

I think the problem with Trips’s mindset going into matches is that he always wants to have really good, technical matches (when he’s not trying to do a garbage brawl). And the problem with that is that it leads to a lot of his matches ending up very formula, especially when he has to do the carrying.

Another problem with the Trips formula is that he was so methodical and slow paced. It gets to the point were you just want the other guy to hurry up and come back, because the build up is so boring, and seems unimportant. Also, I feel like Trips would wrestle people he knew were shitty because he wanted to be Ric Flair so badly, and wanted to be able to carry anyone, but he’s just not the same person. Trips works better with someone who compliments his style, or if he’s wrestling a big guy, when he’s a face. Not when he’s trying to carry a lug, and he’s being a heel.

If you told someone in 2003 that Benoit was going to be main eventing Wrestlemania the next year, and beating Trips and Shawn in a triple threat, they would’ve thought you were a dumb mark.

THE CROWD IS SO DEAD!!!!! Even the Ref Bump doesn’t wake them up.

GOLDBERG NO SOLD A FUCKING SLEDGEHAMMER SHOT!!! WHAT IN THE FUCK!!!????

2.5/5.0 – Technically good, as in Trips was pretty much copying Flair’s style perfectly, but he’s just so damn slow and methodical as a heel. He needs a better face to be working off of otherwise his entire formula falls flat, and the match is really fucking boring. The whole match, and basic psychology felt entirely unimportant anyway as Goldberg just no sold everything, and won with a Jackhammer. Very boring, and it almost felt like Trips was going through a checklist of things to make a match good, and none of it really worked.

Final Thoughts: Well, I’m going to wrap this up here, because I’m trying to look through more 2003 stuff, but all the main events involve Goldberg, and I’m completely sick of him already. I also feel like saving some more of the 2005 and beyond stuff for later. So if you liked this column I’m definitely going to be writing more of them, and I had a mostly fun time doing it. This is still a kind of test run because I’m so used to do play by play, but doing the match reviews in this format was actually pretty fun, and I might end up incorporating it into my WCW reviews, on my other site.

Anyway, you can see the 2000s were a very mixed bag, and had a lot of good stuff and bad stuff. My personal favorite era after mid 2001 was 2004 because Benoit brought this great technical, stiff style to Raw that was very realistic, and hasn’t really been duplicated since.

So stay safe, and try not to watch any Goldberg matches… for the sake of your well being, of course.

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About the Author

Sebastian Howard
I'm generally a pretty crazy guy, and try to have as much fun as possible. My tastes are very peculiar, and I've probably done far too many drugs for how old I am. I've been homeless before, lived in Washington and Florida, and hooked up with a chick who ended up having sex with two homeless guys later in the day. I'm generally a pretty peaceful guy, but do have a temper, and some bad depression and OCD, which I have to fight regularly, and am constantly getting new pharmaceutical drugs for these problems. So if I'm a bit edgy, and switch to mellow, its probably because of the drugs.
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