WWE PPV Flashbacks: Fully Loaded – July 23, 2000

Fully Loaded
July 23, 2000
Reunion Arena, Dallas, TX

Coming off the heels of the first underwhelming PPV in quite a while at the King of the Ring, as the WWF continued to move through the summer of 2000, the following month’s PPV featured what was marketed as a triple main event. On this night, three established top stars would face off against three fast rising competitors in the major matches of the evening. WWF Champion The Rock would defend his title against Chris Benoit. Triple H and Chris Jericho would settle their heated rivalry in a Last Man Standing Match. The Undertaker would attempt to beat some respect into Kurt Angle. This PPV also marked a shift in the year as Mr McMahon was back off screen, with the newly appointed Commissioner Mick Foley taking over as the main authority figure in a babyface role. It was the perfect compliment after six months of the heels calling the shots. Anyway, lets get going. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at @Mpmcc91 and share your thoughts!

Our opening video package is all about the big matches tonight set to a gambling theme of rolling the dice. In the arena our announce team as usual is Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler. We get the show going quickly as the heel team in our opening contest heads out to the ring and we cut to a brief video highlighting the growing issues between Lita and Trish Stratus.

Hardy Boyz & Lita vs T&A & Trish Stratus
These two teams have been feuding for a while now, with the two divas getting more involved in recent weeks as well, with Lita thwarting Trish’s interference in the four corner tag title match last month at the King of the Ring, leading to the brothers from North Carolina eliminating T&A in that match. These teams would face off again in an elimination match on Heat a few weeks before this PPV, where T&A & Trish came out on top, getting a little revenge. Since then they have continued going at it in what has been a fun way to keep these teams busy whilst being out of the title picture. Team Extreme gets a huge pop as they were really getting over by this point in time. Matt and Albert start this one out, and whilst the Hardy Boyz get the early momentum, the tide quickly turns allowing T&A to take control of the match. Trish even comes in and takes her shots which leads to Lita tagging in and going nuts on her to a huge pop. This leads to Albert coming back in and stalkig Lita, but the Hardy Boyz make the save which leads to a really cool triple suplex spot to Albert and Trish. Anyway, Test comes in and the heels start working over Jeff Hardy for a bit. Lita ends up getting the hot tag and she hits Test with a hurricana only to be blindsided by Albert. Trish comes in and attempts to capitalise, but Lita kicks out. Lita fights back and takes it to Trish, putting her away with a moonsault to pick up the win at 13:12. A really good opening match that is often lost when talking about high quality matches to kick off shows. Its not epic or anything, but was full of some awesome fast paced action. Trish didn’t look out of place in there despite not being much in the ring yet, as they played up her inexperience as part of her character. After the match Trish attempts to get some revenge by whipping Lita with a belt, but the Hardy Boyz make the save and run the heels off.
Grade: ***1/2

We now go to the back where Edge approaches Commissioner Foley. Edge says that Christian has a really bad case of food poisoning and won’t be able to compete tonight, but Mick is sceptical. More on this later. Elsewhere, the Undertaker arrives in the building and sees Kurt Angle so he gives chase on his motorcycle, wanting revenge for Angle’s actions in recent weeks.

Al Snow vs Tazz
Our next match is a battle of two former ECW alumni, but it seems kind of random to me. Tazz had been out of action for a few months after going down with a bicep injury and has returned to TV in the weeks leading to this show. He would show up with a new attitude however, randomly attacking people during their matches, particularly popular stars leading to a heel turn. After weeks of random assaults, Commissioner Foley confronted Tazz and announced that he would be in a match at this PPV which brought out Al Snow to make a challenge. Tazz would lock in his Tazmission hold on Snow which led to Foley making the match official. Anyway, Snow comes out with Head in his hand as usual and looks to get a bit of payback as he unloads on Tazz to get this one under way. The crowd really don’t get into this at all though. After dishing out some more offence on the Human Suplex Machine, Snow goes for Head but the brief lapse of attention allows Tazz to nail him from behind and take over. Snow attempts to fight back, but Tazz catches him into a suplex. From there, Tazz locks in the Tazmission, and after failing to counter the hold into a pinfall, Snow eventually taps out at 5:20. This was really just about giving Tazz a win to try to get his new heel persona over. As a match it wasn’t much at all. Overall the momentum would not continue for long for the Human Supex Machine though.
Grade: *1/2

In the back, Foley gets a doctor to check on Christian. Christian fakes the symptoms and the doctor says he is not able to compete. As a result Foley says the tag title match is off. Elsewhere, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley (who is still the Women’s Champion by the way) are hanging out in their locker room when they are interrupted by a flower delivery. Stephanie thinks they were from Trips, but the Game gets pissed since they weren’t. He reads the card which says ‘Its True, Its True’.

WWF European Championship:
Eddie Guerrero (c) w/Chyna vs Perry Saturn w/Terri
The battles between the former Radicalz continue with our first championship match of the evening. This rivalry picked up when Saturn attacked Eddie who was in Chyna’s corner for a Light Heavyweight title match against the champion Dean Malenko on a recent episode of Raw is War. Later that week on Smackdown, Eddie successfully defended his title against both Saturn and Malenko, but was jumped by Saturn after the match, leading to Commissioner Foley making this match for PPV. Saturn had also taken on Terri as his manager in the weeks heading into this show, with Terri promising Saturn the opportunity to move out of the shadow of the rest of the Radicalz. Eddie and Chyna’s dynamic was really winning fans over and they get a pretty good pop on their entrance here. Saturn makes his way out next, but Chyna knocks him out of the way and goes after Terri in the aisle before this one can get started. Meanwhile, Eddie takes the fight to his opponent in the ring, which leads to Saturn bailing to the outside early on. He takes a clothesline from the Ninth Wonder of the World for his effort and is tossed into the ring steps on a subsequent attempt to escape Eddie’s momentum. After hitting a crossbody of the top onto his opponent, Eddie brings Saturn back into the ring and we get some back and forth. After countering a hurricana into a powerbomb, Saturn attempts a moonsault on the champion, but Latino Heat manages to roll out of the way. Saturn eventually gets drop kicked off the top to the floor. Chyna attempts to get her hands on him again, but Saturn decks her instead. With Chyna down, Terri returns to ringside and shields Saturn from Eddie. Eddie hesitates, not wanting to hit a woman, but it costs him as Terri nails Latino Heat with a lowblow. Back in the ring, Saturn follows up with an elbow drop from the top to the champion, and he wins the title by pinfall at 8:10. A bit of an upset at the time as Eddie was clearly the more over of the two here. The match was okay, but underwhelming considering the talent. Of all the Radicalz, Perry Saturn was always the one who seemed out of place in the WWF for some reason. That’s not a knock on his talent as he had some great matches elsewhere. Nonetheless, Perry Saturn is the new WWF European Champion.
Grade: **1/4

We now cut to Edge & Christian in the back packing their bags, ecstatic about having fooled Foley into giving them the night off. Of course, Foley walks in right on cue, and Christian pretends to be sick again rushing off to the toilet. Foley looks over the top of the stall to see the whole thing was faked, and says that the champions will indeed defend their titles up next after all. Elsewhere, the Undertaker is still chasing Angle around on his motorbike.

WWF Tag Team Championship:
Edge & Christian (c) vs The Acolytes
After winning back the tag titles last month at the King of the Ring, Edge & Christian were scheduled to defend those titles against the Acolytes on a recent episode of Raw is War. Just like we saw earlier however, Christian would fake that he was sick, which led to the match not taking place. Over the weeks that followed, Edge & Christian would weasel their way out of putting the titles on the line against the Acolytes by citing illnesses or injuries. All this led to Commissioner Foley ordering the champions to put their titles on the line here tonight at Fully Loaded. Now then, Edge & Christian rip on the Dallas crowd before the match, mentioning JFK in the process. Before they can do their five second pose however, they are interrupted by the Acolytes with Bradshaw coming to the defence of his home state on the mic. The challengers then proceed to take the fight to the champs, dominating them early on in the match. After Bradshaw takes out Edge with a powerbomb, Christian comes off the top with a missile drop kick which finally allows the champions to go on offence and work over the big Texan. Faarooq gets the hot tag and cleans house, taking down both Edge & Christian with a spinebuster and Dominator respectively. With the match clearly going the way of the challengers, the champs decide to take the easy way out, as Edge grabs one of the title belts and hits Faarooq with it to trigger the intentional DQ at 5:29. The Acolytes win the match but Edge & Christian are still the WWF Tag Team Champions. The match was nothing much aside from a chance to establish Edge & Christian as sneaky heels that would do anything to keep their titles. The feud wouldn’t really continue much from here though, so I probably would have had Edge & Christian go over in this one. Nonetheless, the Acolytes fight the champs to the back after the match.
Grade: *1/4

We now go across to WWF New York where the Big Bossman is harassing patrons at the bar. Back at the arena, Triple H is still angry with Stephanie about the flowers. He decides that he is going to deal with Kurt Angle. Speaking of Angle, he is still being chased around by Taker. He manages o lure him into a trap however, sneaking up on the American Bad Ass with a wrench to injure his knee.

WWF Intercontinental Championship – Steel Cage Match:
Val Venis (c) w/Trish Stratus vs Rikishi
The rivalry between these two goes back to when they faced off in the semifinals of the King of the Ring tournament at last month’s PPV. In that match, Rikishi was victorious, but was assaulted by Venis afterwards. The animosity between the two continued to build over the weeks that followed leading to Venis challenging Rikishi for the Intercontinental Championship on an episode of Smackdown. Venis was victorious in that match, thanks to the interference of Tazz who hit Rikishi in the head with a camera, thus we had a new Intercontinental Champion. Over the weeks that followd, Venis said he resented Rikishi for playing to the fans like he had done for so many years, and the feud was set to culminate in a steel cage match here tonight. Anyway, Val tries to escape the cage as soon as this one gets under way, but Rikishi pulls him back down and the action gets under way. After building some momentum Rikishi attempts the Stinkface, only for Val to counter with a low blow. He attempts to climb again, but the former champion gives chase and the two go at it on the cage wall. They both end up falling back down to the mat, where Rikishi is the first to recover, but Val stops him from getting through the door. Nonetheless, the big man continues to build momentum, hitting the Banzai Drop on the champion, but Venis gets his foot on the ropes to break the pin that follows. Rikishi instead decides to go for the door, but before he can escape, Trish slams the door into his head from the outside. The interference stops the challenger escaping, but it also brings Lita out to ringside. She whips Trish after ripping off her top, getting a little revenge from earlier in the night, and chases her to the back. Back in the ring, the referee goes down when Rikishi is sent crashing into him. Rikishi puts Val down nonetheless and begins to ascend the cage. Once at the top however, he looks down in the ring and hits a splash from the top of the cage to Venis a la Jimmy Snuka, and the fans go nuts! After recovering from the awesome spot, Rikishi crawls over to the door, but just when it seems he has the title back in his grasp, Tazz comes out of nowhere and whacks him with a camera again. That does the damage, and Venis gets the cheap victory to retain the title when he pins the big man at 14:10. A really solid match overall with the huge spot obviously being Rikishi coming off the top of the cage like a cruiserweight. Tazz once again costs Rikishi the title, but I don’t remember the feud really going anywhere between the two. Val would move on to different things soon enough.
Grade: ***

In the back we see the Undertaker walking off the damage Angle did to his knee. Elsewhere Triple H finds the guy responsible for delivering the flowers everywhere. He tells him the guy that ordered the flowers is right through a door. Triple H goes through, assuming that its Angle, but we hear crashing and banging from outside. Once the door opens again, Chris Jericho emerges having outsmarted and laid out the Game before their match later on.

Back in the arena, Shane McMahon makes his way out to the ring. He wasn’t really in an authority role following the departure of his father, but was now effectively serving as the manager of Chris Benoit. Shane challenges the Rock to a non-title match right now, which leads to a big pop as the Rock himself heads out to the ring sensing a trap. Before he can do anything though, Chris Benoit appears on the screen in the Rock’s locker room. He proceeds to rip up the Rock’s clothing, adding some more animosity between the two before our main event later on.

Before the first part of our triple main event gets under way, we get a video package looking at the issues between Kurt Angle and the American Bad Ass.

Undertaker vs Kurt Angle
Since winning the King of the Ring last month, this is Kurt Angle’s first real shot at hanging with the big players. This feud started when Undertaker & Kane challenged Edge & Christian for the tag titles on an episode of Raw is War. During that match, Kurt Angle would come to the aid of his buddies, hitting Taker in the knee with his King of the Ring sceptre to trigger a disqualification. The following week Angle showed up with a scooter as a gift for Taker as a means of apology for his actions. Taker would not take kindly to the gesture however, chasing Angle off and tossing the scooter off the stage. In the weeks that followed, Taker promised to give Angle a beating, whilst the Olympic Hero continued to mess with the veteran. His mind games would continue the Smackdown before this show where he dumped milk all over Taker’s bike before whacking him in the knee with a wrench, which he of course would follow up on earlier tonight here. Basically, Taker is pissed off and looking for revenge on the cocky youngster. Angle makes his way out first, but Taker rides out on his bike during his entrance and beats him down in the aisle. They brawl around ringside a little before getting into the ring, where Taker quickly connects with a big boot to his opponent. Taker absolutely dominates the early going, but intentionally lifts Angle’s shoulders with each pinfall so as to prolong the beating the Olympic Hero suffers. Eventually Angle fights back targeting the injured knee of the American Bad Ass and working it over for a bit. Taker ends up fighting his way out of a submission hold though, and follows up with a chokeslam to Angle. From there, Taker puts Angle away with the Last Ride to pick up the definitive win at 7:34. Definitely not the best match that these two would have, as they would have some classics down the line. This was really pretty basic and probably about elevating Angle to a main event level feud, whilst getting him to pay his dues before his big push at the same time. Really nothing to go out of the way for as a first battle between two of the greats.
Grade: *1/2

We now go straight to a video package about our next match, the Jericho/Triple H encounter.

Last Man Standing Match:
Chris Jericho vs Triple H w/Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley
The issues between these guys go all the way back to their WWF Championship match on Raw back in April, but things were taken to the next level when Jericho kissed Stephanie during his match with Kurt Angle last month at the King of the Ring. The next night on Raw, Triple H beat Y2J down during a match against X-Pac, however in return Jericho cost the Game a number one contender match later in the evening. The two would face off in a series of tag matches over the weeks that followed, with Trips demanding Commissioner Foley give him a one on one match against Jericho. Foley would make the match for this PPV and eventually add the Last Man Standing stipulation, but Jericho would get the last laugh on a recent episode of Smackdown where he cost the Game a match against long time jobber, the Brooklyn Brawler. Anyway, the tension between these two is through the roof at this point, so this is going to be brutal. Jericho starts out on fire taking the fight to the Game, but Trips takes over after choking his opponent out with his wrist tape and sending the action to the outside. Out there Stephanie gets some shots in on Y2J of her own before Trips brings him back into the ring and locks in an abdominal stretch. After Trips is forced to break the hold, Y2J comes back and goes for the Lionsault, but the Game gets his knees up to cut off his opponent’s momentum. From there Triple H puts Jericho in the sleeper, but the popular superstar gets to his feet and gives the Game a crotch chop for good measure. This causes the Cerebral Assassin to snap, and he levels Jericho with a Pedigree, only for Y2J to make it to his feet at the nine count. Hunter continues to beat him down with a chair and delivers a second Pedigree on top. The ref tries to stop him from unloading more punishment, but this allows Jericho to hit his adversary with a low blow and he busts the Game open afterwards with a chair shot. The two men go back and forth some more before heading to the outside, and at this point Trips goes for another Pedigree on the ring steps. Jericho manages to counter with a back drop and the two continue to trade blows, each taking a monitor from the announce table and doing the double knock out spot before both get back up at nine. Back in the ring Jericho locks in the Walls of Jericho, but Stephanie comes into the ring and breaks it up when Y2J refuses to break upon Trips getting to the ropes. Jericho doesn’t take too kindly to this though, and he locks Stephanie in the Walls instead before being nailed from behind by his opponent. The action goes back to the outside after this and the two men brawl around the announce area. Trips ends up hitting suplex off the crowd barricade on Jericho and sacrifices his own body in the process as the two go crashing through the announce table. The two men are both out of it as the referee starts counting. Just before he gets to ten, Triple H staggers to his feet whilst Jericho is down for the count, giving the Game the match at 23:11 before collapsing again afterwards. Post-match officials tend to both men who have given it their all to beat the hell out of one another. This was a very good match and overall the match of the night. The feud had been simmering for quite a while, so the Last Man Standing gimmick was perfect for them to destroy one another. A lot of people would probably complain about Trips getting the win as the established guy here, but the loss didn’t hurt Jericho at all. In fact he looked very strong in defeat with the Game only just managing to beat him. Nonetheless, Jericho would move back down the card a bit after this match, whilst Trips would be back to the main events so I can understand why some people might think that way. It doesn’t take away from the match though – this was excellent!
Grade: ****1/4

We have one match to go, so that’s obviously the WWF title match. We get a video package highlighting the Rock/Benoit rivalry beforehand.

WWF Championship:
The Rock (c) vs Chris Benoit w/Shane McMahon
The feud behind this match all started on the episode of Raw is War on which Mick Foley was appointed as the new commissioner of the WWF by Linda McMahon. As Foley was in the ring with the Rock, he was interrupted by Shane McMahon. Shane said that as a McMahon he should decide who faces Rock for the title, however Foley instead decided to book Shane in a title match that night with the Great One. That match would take place later in the night, but Chris Benoit made his way out and double teamed Rock with Shane, signalling his intention to become WWF Champion. In the weeks that followed, Benoit would continue to get one over on the Rock, which led to Commissioner Foley adding the stipulation that if Rock got himself disqualified out of frustration, he would lose the WWF Championship here tonight. Of course, thats why Benoit and Shane attempted to get in Rock’s head earlier, and the continue to taunt the champion as they come out wearing Rock’s ripped up clothes on their way to the ring now. Overall it was a simply but effective build to a fresh title match after the Rock/Triple H feud had run its course. Rock gets his usual good pop as you would expect. The match starts out with Benoit jumping Rock from behind after Shane provides a distraction, but the champion comes back and gives chase to Shane around ringside. After some more shenanigans and a breather on the outside for the wolverine, Benoit comes back in the ring and takes control of the champ. Shane throws the title belt in to Benoit as it looks like Rock is about to come back, and the challenger whacks Rock with it behind the ref’s back, but the champion kicks out at two. Benoit continues to beat on Rock some more, locking in the sharpshooter twice, only for Rock to escape the hold via the ropes and fight his way out of it. After a bit more back and forth featuring some more Shane interference, Rock finally goes for the People’s Elbow. As he makes the pin, Shane distracts the referee and the delay allows Benoit to kick out. Benoit dishes out some more offence from here and ends up bringing a chair into the ring. The referee goes to take it, but in the meantime, Shane jumps in and knocks the ref down from behind. Rock grabs the chair and chases Shane out of the ring with it and then manages to lock in the Crippler Crossface on Benoit! Rock has the hold locked in, but the bell rings and it is announced that Chris Benoit is the winner of the match by DQ and the new WWF Champion! A replay shows that the referee saw Rock holding the chair and assumed he used it. Benoit and Shane are ecstatic and go to leave whilst the crowd is pissed. Before they can get through the curtain though they are cut off by Commissioner Foley. Foley comes down to ringside and grabs a mic and says he didn’t see anything that warranted a DQ so the match was going to continue. Benoit returns to the ring angry, and whilst Rock gets some shots in, Benoit goes to town with the German Suplexes before locking in the Crossface on the champion. Rock fights it and eventually gets to the ropes to cause the break and fights back. He then connects with the Rock Bottom which scores the pinfall, allowing the Great One to retain his title at 22:09. A very good match as these two had some really good chemistry. I have no problem with Benoit losing here as Rock had just won the title again a month prior and deserved more than another month reign. The loss wouldn’t hurt Benoit too much as he would still have a relatively high profile position on the card going forward. Rock would move into a great feud which he was really looking in from the outside from here at our next show, but this was a very good first major title defence for what would be a pretty good reign for the Great One.
Grade: ****

After an underwhelming King of the Ring, this PPV got the WWF right back on track in terms of the high quality shows it had been putting on for the rest of the PPVs this year so far. Tonight we had two awesome main event matches that together took up a third of the show. I really enjoyed both matches, although I think Triple H/Jericho was slightly better (and I do mean slightly) as it was an effective blow off to some long standing animosity. Rock/Benoit was also a very good way to end the show though. Whilst the Undertaker/Angle match was nowhere near as good as the other main event matches, it was good for Angle to get some exposure working higher in the card as his big push was really about to take off. The rest of the show was pretty solid as well with the I.C title and opening matches being highlights on that front. Overall I think this is a somewhat forgotten show after the other great ones in early 2000, and is well worth checking out.

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Chris Jericho – whilst he was not victorious in his match, I’m giving him first place in the awards. This was his first major PPV match of many over the course of his career and he was elevated by working with Triple H. It would be a while before Y2J was this high on the card again, but tonight he showed he could hang with the top tier.
2. Triple H – to say this guy has his critics would be an understatement. I’ve always been someone that has enjoyed Triple H over the years, but I truly think he was at his peak in 2000 as it seemed like he was having great matches all over the place. It was fun seeing him work with Jericho after being involved in the title picture since the turn of the year and the match was great.
3. Chris Benoit/The Rock (tie) – I was going to just give this to Benoit since this was really his first chance in the main events whilst the Rock had established himself there before, but I feel it would be wrong to mention one without the other here. They had an excellent match as I’ve already mentioned to cap off a pretty good night.

FINAL GRADE: 8 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. The Rock and the Game continue to chase each other up to the top of the pack.

Steve Austin = 84
Bret Hart = 83
Shawn Michaels = 67
The Rock = 45
Triple H = 44
Mick Foley = 38
Randy Savage = 28
Undertaker = 25
Owen Hart = 21
Hulk Hogan = 18
X-Pac = 18
Diesel = 15
Ultimate Warrior = 13
Vader = 13
Chris Jericho = 12
British Bulldog = 12
Ted DiBiase = 10
Razor Ramon = 10
Vince McMahon = 10
Ric Flair = 8
Matt Hardy = 8
Jeff Hardy = 8
Jim Neidhart = 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
Kurt Angle = 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
Chris Benoit = 3
Brutus Beefcake = 2
Paul Orndorff = 2
Andre the Giant = 2
Rick Rude = 2
Sgt Slaughter = 2
Jeff Jarrett = 2
Jesse Ventura = 1
Texas Tornado = 1
Tito Santana = 1
Virgil = 1
Scott Steiner = 1
Rick Steiner = 1
Lex Luger = 1
The Roadie = 1
Billy Gunn = 1
Bart Gunn = 1
Marc Mero = 1
Flash Funk = 1
Animal = 1
Hawk = 1
Taka Michinoku = 1
Test = 1
Big Show = 1
Dean Malenko = 1
Scotty 2 Hotty = 1

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