By July 2000, the wrestling war was all but over. WCW had just turned Goldberg heel, killing their last cash cow in the process. ECW was bouncing checks and losing wrestlers left and right.
Meanwhile, 2000 ended up being one of the best years ever financially for the WWF. Not only that, but the one thing WWF got right during this era that WCW didn’t was knowing they need to make new stars. And that is what we get here at Fully Loaded 2000.
The show was billed as having a triple main event. And these matches really were big as some of the new guard in the WWF (Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit) would take on the WWF’s old guard (The Undertaker, Triple H, The Rock).
For two of the three newcomers, they came out of tonight looking great. For one of them, not so much. Which one was that? Read along to find out!
Test, Albert, Trish Stratus vs The Hardy Boyz and Lita
The beginnings of the Trish Stratus/Lita feud that would span the better part of the next decade. It’s amazing that here we are 20 years later and both Matt and Jeff are still plugging along in the world of pro wrestling, especially given their work style and past issues.
A huge Lita chant starts right as both teams brawl at the start of the match. I wonder what the process was for Albert to have all those piercings taken out of his face. Does it hurt more than going in?
Matt hits a second rope leg drop. Those smaller moves are the reason he is not walking right today. Another Lita chant breaks out. I legit do not remember being that over. But Trish gets a tag. Matt ducks a slap and she gets Test. Matt rolls her up for two. I guess since this is intergender that’s okay. Lita finally gets the tag to a huge pop but Trish bails and tags Albert.
The Hardyz clear the ring. They go for a double suplex on Test. Trish runs in, so Lita adds to it and makes it a triple suplex. Albert comes back in though and just press slams Jeff to the outside. Why don’t people do that when they are in a Rumble match too?
Jeff gets worked over, but gets a few near falls every so often and the crowd gets on their feet for each one. Do you remember when crowds popped for a potential win via rollup like that? Test makes the mistake of going for an elbow off the top. He misses and Jeff tags in Matt.
Test hits the Pump Handle Slam on Matt but Jeff breaks it up with a Swanton. Lita gets tagged in and hits a tilt-a-whirl DDT on Test. She goes to the top and dives onto Albert on the outside. She then hits a hurricarrana off the top for two. Lita goes off the ropes but Albert hits her in the back and Test adds a pump handle powerbomb, which wouldn’t fly today.
Trish gets tagged in to pick up the scraps but Lita kicks out at two. Trish hits a bulldog then goes to the top. Lita meets her there and hits a top rope superplex but Albert breaks up the pin. The men brawl on the outside as Lita hits a moonsault off the top for the win. Very fun opener that the crowd was really in to. Remember when midcard acts were over like that?
The heels get their heat back after by attacking the faces.
Edge is trying to get out of defending the tag titles later because Christian has food poisoning. Commissioner Mick Foley isn’t buying it, so they are getting a doctor.
Undertaker chases Kurt Angle backstage on his motorcycle. Kurt’s facial reactions here are great.
Tazz vs Al Snow
Remember when Tazz was a big deal in the WWF for like, a month? Tazz was never going to get over in the WWF because of his size. He worked in ECW, because Paul Heyman knew how to book him. Same with Al Snow. Do you think Vince McMahon understood the head gimmick?
This is a cool down match as the crowd is super quiet. And here’s another problem with Tazz in the WWF: He had to work a WWF style match and that was not his strong suit. A “Boring” chant breaks out so Tazz grabs Head. Tazz chops the leg.
Honestly, Tazz should have had Brock Lesnar’s suplex gimmick. Maybe he would have gotten over more. Tazz eventually applies the Tazzmission for the win. Two years ago these guys were the most over acts in ECW. They just wrestled in the second match on a WWF PPV.
An EMT checks on Christian. He checks his eyes and makes the decision Christian can’t go tonight. How do you make that determination by looking at his eyes?
Stephanie McMahon and HHH are in the back. Steph keeps getting flowers. She assumes they are from HHH, but they are actually from Kurt Angle! And so begins the HHH/Angle/Steph love triangle.
WWF European Championship: Eddie Guerrero (c) vs Perry Saturn
Terri Runnels taunts Chyna early on. So Chyna ends up chasing her to the back. Chyna is able to land a couple of shots on Saturn when Eddie throws him to the outside. Eddie and Chyna really worked well together.
These guys made their debut earlier this year in January. It took the WWF less than a year to break them up. It works out for a bit. The match is okay action but nothing too great. You can see the early signs of Eddie getting over with the audience. It’s too bad it takes a few more years for Eddie to get there.
Saturn decks Chyna on the outside and sends her over the Spanish announce table. Terri decides to run back out. Saturn uses her as a shield then Terri low blows him. Saturn goes to the top and drops an elbow on the back of Eddie to get the win. Alright then.
Edge and Christian are caught celebrating, on camera. Foley comes back in. Christian runs to the bathroom but it’s revealed Christian is dumping slop into a toilet. Foley makes them defend the titles.
Undertaker is interviewed but he sees Kurt Angle messing around on his bike.
WWF Tag Team Championship: Edge and Christian (c) vs The Acolytes
Edge rips on Dallas sports teams, which makes him an instant babyface in my eyes. Christian says if JFK would have had to spend another 5 minutes in Dallas, he probably would have committed suicide anyways. I guess that joke is ok over 30 years later.
Tough guy Bradshaw comes out to defend his state. I’m sure Texas would want someone else representing them. He brings up the Dallas Stars winning the Stanley Cup last year. Folks, Brett Hull’s game winning goal should not have counted. Look up No Goal from the 99 Cup Finals. And I have zero bias despite the Stars beating my Buffalo Sabres. None whatsoever.
I guess Bradshaw at least did his job of pumping up the crowd for the match. Might be the only time Bradshaw ever got the crowd to care about him. The crowd quickly dies down though, even with the Acolytes on offense. For some reason the heels work over Bradshaw instead of Faarooq for the heat. It should have been the reverse.
Anyways Faarooq has a pin and Edge blatantly hits him with the belt in front of the ref for the win. Pretty cheap finish as the Acolytes beat down Edge and Christian to please the crowd.
Big Boss Man checks the ID of some guy drinking at WWF New York. Good guy Boss Man maintaining law and order!
Stephanie tells HHH if he has a problem with Kurt sending her flowers, he should go confront him. Meanwhile, Undertaker is chasing Kurt and Kurt eventually hits him in the leg with a wrench.
Steel Cage Match for the Intercontinental Championship: Val Venis (c) vs Rikishi
Val Venis has this really crappy generic club like dance music as a heel. I do not remember that at all.
Rikishi goes for an early stink face but Val hits a low blow on him. Val hits a clothesline and Rikishi sells it by doing a 360. Val tries climbing the cage but Rikishi meets him on the ropes. I never understood climbing the cage to get out when there is a door. I just wouldn’t have a door for my cage matches if I ran a wrestling promotion.
Val gets to the top of the cage but Rikishi brings him back. Both men exchange blows and they both fall off the ropes and get crotched. Val is busted open after being thrown into the cage. Rikishi hits a bonzai drop, but Val gets his foot on the ropes. Rikishi goes to the door but Trish slams the door in his face.
The Money Shot only gets Val a two count. Lita comes out with the belt Trish whipped her with earlier in the night and starts whipping Trish with it. Lita beats her all the way to the back.
Rikishi and Val fight on the ropes. Val gets knocked off and right into the ref. Rikishi goes to the top of the cage. Rikishi then slides over to the middle of the cage and jumps right off onto Val for a splash and the crowd loves it.
The ref is still down and we lost the second ref. Rikishi crawls to the door, but Tazz is there and hits Rikishi with a camera. Val crawls over and gets the pin. I guess that is why you needed a ref bump in a cage match.
Triple H thinks he is interrupting another flower delivery. But he walks into a trap and Chris Jericho beats him up.
Shane McMahon comes out and says, in fact, he is not a pussy. Shane calls out The Rock and out he comes. Rock knows it is a setup. But we then cut to Chris Benoit ripping up Rock’s clothing in the back!
Kurt Angle vs Undertaker
Taker attacks Kurt Angle during his entrance. Oh and by the way, he is not selling his knee injury from earlier.. Not even close.
The match starts back in the ring and Taker goes right back to beating down Angle. It’s a Taker beat down until Angle gets sent to the outside. Angle grabs the wrench and hits Taker in the bad. Would it kill Taker to sell it for more than two seconds? Angle keeps working it over and every time Taker gets up he walks fine.
Maybe now we will have Taker selling the knee since we have a prolonged Angle beat down on the left knee. Taker tries a chokeslam but Angle goes right back to a knee bar. Taker gets out of it and slams Angle’s knee into the mat. Taker hits a one-armed chokeslam. He hits the Last Ride Powerbomb and gets the win.
I’m sorry, but I did not like that match. These two would have a better match at No Way Out 2006. But Taker wasn’t selling shit before, during or after the match and that took away from the majority of the match for me. Angle can lose, that’s fine, but he comes off as a complete chump the entire match.
Last Man Standing Match: Chris Jericho vs Triple H
Both men brawl right at the sounds of the bell. Jericho is channeling his inner DDP here tonight and has his ribs taped. Triple H goes at them and drops Jericho ribs first on the barricade.
They get back in the ring and HHH goes right back to work on the ribs of Jericho. He even pulls off the rib tape. Back on the outside Stephanie runs over and slaps Jericho a couple times. HHH applies an abdominal stretch, and because Jericho appreciates the business, he sells. Jericho fights out of it then catches HHH with a spinning heel kick. He goes for the Lionsault but HHH gets his knees right into the ribs.
This match hasn’t gone to anything a normal match wouldn’t yet and I’m quite enjoying it. And so is the crowd. Jericho gets up at 8 after a sleeper hold and tells HHH to keep bringing it. HHH hits a Pedigree but Jericho gets up after 9.
HHH grabs a chair and hits Jericho in the ribs then the back. HHH goes for a Pedigree on the chair. The ref is telling him to stop, which he shouldn’t, so HHH shoves him way. Jericho then hits a low blow and hits Jericho across the head with the chair. HHH is busted open.
Jericho gets going on offense as the crowd is getting fully behind him. He bulldogs HHH onto the chair. Jericho tosses HHH to the outside, but HHH reverses him and tosses Jericho into the steps. HHH goes for a Pedigree on them but Jericho back drops HHH onto the floor. Both men grab monitors and hit each other simultaneously.
Both men get back in the ring as Jericho applies the Walls of Jericho. HHH gets to the ropes but Jericho doesn’t have to break it. Stephanie comes in but Jericho applies the Walls on her and the crowd loses it. HHH gets up and hits Jericho in the back of the head.
Back to the outside we go. HHH swings the sledgehammer at Jericho but Jericho ducks and HHH hits the post. Jericho catapults HHH into the post then hits HHH in the gut with the sledgehammer. Jericho sets HHH up on the table but HHH gets up and back drops Jericho onto the table. HHH just gets up at 9.5 as the ref counts 10 and gets the win.
My god that match was awesome. This is what happens when you actually have someone selling for their opponent to make them look good. Jericho sold the ribs and HHH sold the beat down Jericho gave him perfectly after the match. HHH looked like he had been through a war after.
WWF Championship: The Rock (c) vs Chris Benoit
So the story of the match is The Rock can lose the title via DQ because of his actions last Monday on RAW. So Shane McMahon naturally lands as many cheap shots on Rock when the ref isn’t looking.
This match is obviously completely different from the last one. But once again Rock is selling for Benoit and making him look good. All of Benoit’s punches and kicks look great and the Rock sells them like death. Benoit works over Rock for the early part of the match and applies a Sharpshooter, which looks much better than The Rock’s version.
Shane pulls the ropes down and Rock goes to the outside. But Rock crotches Jericho into the post. Rock applies a Figure Four but Benoit gets to the ropes. We go back to the outside and into the crowd. Rock grabs a water and tosses it into Benoit’s face. But Benoit suplexes Rock over the barricade onto the floor.
Benoit continues to distract the ref at various points and allow Shane to get some cheap shots in. Rock goes for a powerbomb but drops back and Benoit lands on the ropes. That was different. It doesn’t matter because Benoit hits a headbutt off the top after a German suplex.
Both men exchange blows until Rock hits a Spinebuster and follows it up with a People’s Elbow. Shane gets on the ropes to distract the ref. Shane jumps down and the count only gets two. Benoit gets Rock on the top rope and hits a superplex for two.
Rock bursts out of the corner with a clothesline but Benoit comes right back with one of his own. Benoit grabs a chair but the ref pulls it away. Shane then hits the ref in the back with a steel chair and Rock chases him off. The ref sees Rock with a chair. Rock throws it down and applies a crossface. The ref gets up and calls for the bell.
But why? Because he is DQ’ing The Rock for hitting him with a chair! Chris Benoit is WWF Champion. Shane hits The Rock with a chair for good measure and busts him open.
Hold on a second! Out comes Commissioner Foley to right this wrong. A really good Dusty finish here as Foley says there was no DQ, and he orders the match to continue. And we get a GREAT shot of a bloody Rock telling Benoit to bring it.
Fans were pissed because there is some garbage in the ring. Benoit goes right back to work and hits a German suplex for two. Benoit applies a crossface. Rock eventually gets over to the ropes to break the hold. Benoit lands some kicks and goes for the crossface again but Rock hits the Rock Bottom for the win.
Overall, I’d give this show a solid thumbs up. Benoit and Jericho had star making performances and their counter parts made them look great in the process. The same could not be said for the Undertaker against Kurt Angle. Of course all three (Jericho, Angle and Benoit) would go on to become World Champions down the line.
The under card is solid. The opener is fun and the cage match has a memorable spot in it. Eddie Guerrero started to show his charismatic side in this one as well. It was a good night for future stars of the company, even in defeat.