This is the first in a series of “versus” articles I’ll be doing where I take two shows or DVDs and pit them against each other in terms of the quality found in the work within.
WWF Fully Loaded '98
1. Val Venis vs. Jeff Jarrett - 3
2. D'Lo Brown vs. X-Pac - 2
3. Faarooq and Scorpio vs. Terry Funk and Justin Bradshaw - 4
4. Mark Henry vs. Vader - 2
5. Disciples of Apocalypse vs. L.O.D. 2000 - 3
6. Owen Hart vs. Ken Shamrock - Dungeon Match - 6
7. The Rock vs. Triple H - 2 out of 3 Falls Match - 5
8. Undertaker and Steve Austin vs. Kane and Mankind - 6
Overall Score: 38.75%
Analysis: The “Attitude” era has a bit of a negative stigma in that the shows were congested, overbooked pieces of garbage in large part. I tried to keep any preexisting biases out of my head. The end result was a mixed bag but overall not terribly disappointing. The worst parts were the X-Pac match, which I assumed would had been good, but he looked lethargic and on drugs, the Vader match, who looked visibly miserable as they botched the first spot and later having to put Henry over so cleanly, etc. The middle of the road stuff was the tag match, which was especially fun when Scorpio was doing his best Funk impersonation bumping wildly on the floor for Terry, and Rock’s match, which albeit him performing quite well in, died a sudden death when the match ended in a time-limit draw thus rendering all the build for nothing. The match in Stu Hart’s basement needs to be seen to be believed. I gave it a bonus point for the rarity and uniqueness of the concept, and the work itself is solid, as albeit short, these guys throw some hard strikes, trade submissions, nearly put a hole in the wall (and succeed putting one in the ceiling), etc. The main event is the type of match that detractors of this era would initially wince at, but for what it is, the workers kept the crowd emotionally invested in this, Austin’s work ethic is second to none at this point, and time has dulled the aura of being forced feed this stuff weekly, so now you can look at it more objectively and it’s a pretty solid main event.
WWF Fully Loaded '00
1. T&A and Trish Stratus vs. Hardy Boyz and Lita - Mixed Tag Match - 6
2. Tazz vs. Al Snow - 3
3. Eddie Guerrero vs. Perry Saturn - 3
4. Acolytes vs. Edge and Christian - 4
5. Val Venis vs. Rikishi - Steel Cage Match - 5
6. Undertaker vs. Kurt Angle - 5
7. Triple H vs. Chris Jericho - Last Man Standing Match - 7
8. The Rock vs. Chris Benoit - 7
Overall Score: 50%
Analysis: I was blown away by the freshness and fun of the opener. Offhand, I’d have to make an argument for it as one of the better contemporary mixed tag matches in history. The Boyz were firing on all cylinders, Albert looked great (still think he wasn’t utilized correctly in WWE—their loss!), and Trish, sorry for sounding like such a red-blooded American male, but watching her big ass hang out of a pair of tiny hot pink trunks made the entire show. A real good way to start a show. The next matches dulled my initial feelings, as Tazz and Snow was physical enough and would have been fine as a ECW on TNN main event, but neither guy connected with the deafeningly quiet audience, and Saturn sandbagged Eddie badly, looking like complete shit, using dull power offense and having poor timing. I liked the cage match, sort of felt old school, they dropped the ball on Val who worked hard on both shows, and Rikishi’s splash off the cage was arguably the biggest “holy shit!” moment of either show. Undertaker and Angle was good, but for all of the hype and vignettes throughout the show, they only gave them eight minutes so I couldn’t go any higher on their score. I forgot how fun the “American Badass” character was, as well as goofy Angle. I liked the pace and brutality of the Last Man Standing bout, Hunter bled well and I contest ’00 was one of his better years, only thing I didn’t enjoy was the match-ending back suplex off the security railing through an announcing table as HHH didn’t get any air and made the big spot look sort of pussy. The main event was terrific, both guys work at such a frenetic, breakneck pace—I loved it. Rock juices and Benoit’s a raging manic, the finish is screwy, as Foley re-starts the match but even that didn’t hurt its overall impact on me. I could watch both of these guys’ work of that era endlessly and even if the crowd wasn’t completely sold on Benoit both guys still put a lot of themselves out there in the ring in an under the radar classic.
Winner: Fully Loaded ‘00
Final Thoughts: Well, all things considered, ’00 beat ’98 by a pretty sizable margin. While ’98 wasn’t as bad as I’d initially feared, it definitely had the weaker card and delivery. ’00 was no golden year in general but I think this pay-per-view slips through a lot of fans’ memories because its actually a fairly solid outing and the second-half is full of quality stuff. In closing, anything I scored 6 or higher is worth actively seeking out. If anyone does watch any of it, drop a comment, let us know your thoughts. Future “versus” articles will include battles between the best of Mickie Knuckles and Eddie Kingston, a rumble between two early-90’s Royal Rumble shows, and many more.