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10 Things We Learned From WWE SummerSlam 2000

Edge and Christian weren't originally winning that TLC Match...

Younger fans may occasionally read some chatter from veteran wrestling viewers that's heavy on torch-carrying for WWE in the year 2000. There's a reason for that - plausibly, there are about six or seven pay-per-views from the millennium-turning year that rate about a nine or a 10 in terms of quality. As for events that pin perfection, you're talking Backlash, Judgment Day, and of course SummerSlam.

What else can you say about a SummerSlam that boasts the first-ever TLC match, a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match with Chris Benoit and Chris Jericho, and a Triple Threat World Title match with multiple storylines in play (the best of which doesn't even involve the champion)? While the midcard and undercard matches may not have been as loftily ambitious (save for Shane McMahon practically setting the stage for Pacitti's airplane jump), they still helped augment a show that was always fun, always exciting, and helped reinforce WWE's unassailable standing of the time.

Certainly, it's one of the greatest SummerSlams of all time, and may have been the centrepiece for one of WWE's most auspicious years creatively. Watching Summerslam 2000 today takes you back to a time when nitpicking wasn't heavily employed, when you could check your brain at the door and just allow yourself to be enthralled.

10. The Summer Of Money


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With all due respect to the city of Raleigh, NC (the city that gave us both Michael C. Hall and Carson Wentz), it's not a municipality that comes to mind when you think of WWE's major towns. The Carolinas have had a rich and storied history in pro wrestling, but when it comes to WWE, Raleigh falls deep in the dust of New York, Toronto, Philly, and others. Yet, Raleigh gets to stake a rather unique claim in WWE history.

According to the Wrestling Observer, more than 15,600 fans paid a combined $1,151,940 at the gate for SummerSlam 2000, making it, at the time, the seventh-highest live gate in American wrestling history. Additionally, and most notably, it marked the very first time that an event other than WrestleMania drew more than $1 million at the box office. Perhaps Raleigh deserves a little more thought when it comes to WWE's ace cities, if only for this lone reason.

9. New Class, Same Attitude


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It used to be pretty easy to look at the results of an old WWE show and be able to pinpoint what year it took place without even being told. Looking at the roster for SummerSlam 2000, the turn-of-the-century vibe rings out clearly, even as the show itself saw nearly half the performers working in their very first SummerSlam matches.

It's true: 15 out of the 31 wrestlers active on the show were competing on their very first SummerSlam. Many of them were defectors from WCW and ECW (Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Tazz, The Dudleyz), while others were mostly-honed by WWE, such as Kurt Angle, Chyna, Trish Stratus, and Too Cool. Add in some second-year participants like Edge and Christian and The Hardy Boyz, and WWE was in the midst of their most impressive haul of fresh faces, perhaps ever.

8. The Real DX Split


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In less than five minutes time, X-Pac defeated Road Dogg in a somewhat lukewarm battle of D-Generation X allies that had fallen out weeks earlier. By this time, Triple H was off doing his own thing in the main event scene (ditto Chyna in the upper midcard), while Billy Gunn was still on the mend with an injury.

Effectively, this show was the end of D-Generation X for nearly six years. Three years earlier, the Shawn Michaels/Triple H co-op would help redefine the WWE product in ways once hard to fathom, and the black-and-green machine quietly passed into oblivion three years later. X-Pac would continue as a heel singles in matches with Jericho, while Dogg would migrate back to the babyface side, eventually teaming with young K-Kwik (R-Truth), before getting released from the company in January 2001.

7. An Oft-Forgotten Women's Revolution Landmark


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In the third match of the evening, Chyna and Eddie Guerrero would be victorious in a Mixed Tag Team Match against IC Champion Val Venis, and manager Trish Stratus. In a curious note, Venis' IC title was on the line, and could be procured by either opponent via pinfall or submission, even if Stratus herself was defeated. Sure enough, Chyna pinned Stratus to win Venis' belt.

The title change marked the first and only time in WWE history that one woman defeated another woman to win a belt primarily held by men. While Stratus was not the reigning champion at the time, it's still a moment that will probably be never duplicated ever again, due to the much tighter restrictions on intergender wrestling that WWE adheres to these days.

6. Like Braun Strowman Advocating A Vegan Diet


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It's said that whenever WWE offers some sort of awing gimmick match that entails a number of high-wire stunts, that Vince McMahon or some other high-ranking official gives the "spectacular but safe" speech to the wrestlers involved. Meaning, do what you must in order to make the match stand out and to impress the fans, but don't go too far outside of your own comfort zone in order to enthral the fans.

According to Edge, the individual who gave the speech to he and his fellow TLC competitors was Shane McMahon. This was a bit ironic, considering that two matches prior to Edge and his five fellow risk-takers scaling ladders and breaking tables, McMahon would fall about three stories from the set rigging (backwards, mind you) onto a crash pad, with Steve Blackman jumping onto him from a similar height after that first fall. Because if somebody has to give the safety speech, by God there's nobody better than Shane O'Mac.

5. Edge And Christian Load Up On Vitamin C


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The components of the TLC Match are simple: tables for breaking, ladders for climbing, and chairs for swinging. The Dudley Boyz were synonymous with putting opponents through tables, and the Hardyz were equally known for their penchant for performing high-risk moves off of ladders. It wasn't until the TLC Match drew nearer that Edge and Christian took on the usage of steel chairs as part of their identity, a way to make the TLC Match feel like something of a potluck with equal contributions.

The reigning Tag Team champions invented the Con-Chair-To as a way to associate steel chairs with their personas. As far as making the wrestler fit the match as opposed to vice versa, it didn't feel all that contrived to have Edge and Christian all of a sudden be chairmen in the vein of La Parka.

4. No Happiness For The Home Fans


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Prevailing logic said that The Hardy Boyz were an ideal pick to win the TLC Match on account of not only their general popularity, but also the fact that SummerSlam's location of Raleigh wasn't all that far from their shared home of Cameron, NC. Edge has indicated that the original plan was to have Matt and Jeff Hardy reign supreme that night, but plans were changed along the way.

According to "The Rated-R Superstar", WWE officials felt that Edge and Christian had built up a great amount of heat in their time as champions that so totally reeked of awesomeness, and that having them beat the Hardyz on their home turf (the state of North Carolina, not the eerie Hardy Compound) would only make them even more hated. Edge adds that Vince felt a title change was too predictable, to which Edge counters that sometimes predictable can be a good thing.

3. The Show Goes On Hiatus


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One of the original matches for the 2000 SummerSlam would've pitted The Undertaker against The Big Show in a true battle of resident colossi. Plans changed about two weeks before the pay-per-view when Show was written out following a brutal assault at Undertaker's hands, at which time Kane hastily turned heel, and was slotted in as Undertaker's opponent. As for Show, lying unconscious in a heap would mark his last WWE appearance for more than five months.

Show was being sent down to Ohio Valley Wrestling to improve his conditioning, as well as an allegedly poor attitude. The Wrestling Observer of the time also notes that Show was hampered by a herniated disc in his lower back, but the other issues were cited in why he found himself in WWE's doghouse. This was around the time where Show was removed from WWE's forthcoming video game releases, infamously N64's No Mercy, which would birth a meme when Stevie Richards replaced Show in the big man's in-game storylines.

2. The Fourth I Was Almost "Incapacitated"


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We've seen Kurt Angle work hurt before, mostly through an injured (if not outright broken) freakin' neck, but SummerSlam provided a different obstacle for Angle altogether. Even before The Rock made his entrance for the Triple Threat main event, Angle and Triple H began a raucous brawl that stemmed from the creatively-brilliant love triangle with Stephanie McMahon, and the brawl didn't exactly end well. When Helmsley attempted to Pedigree Angle through the Spanish Announce Table, the desk gave way, and the two collapsed, with Angle's head bonking the floor.

It's disputed as to whether or not Angle suffered a concussion (The Observer of the time reported that the CAT scan was negative), but all sources confirm that Angle was definitely in a bad state after the fall. Angle reportedly had no memory of anything that happened in the match once he got backstage, but years later recalled that both Triple H and Stephanie had to feed him verbal cues to get him through to the end.

1. A Surprise Among The Numbers


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You can usually count on SummerSlam to deliver the second or third highest WWE buyrate of any given year, competing alongside the Royal Rumble for silver behind WrestleMania's all-too-assured gold medal run. The year 2000 was a different beast, however, and it would actually surprise some folks to learn that SummerSlam did only the fifth-best buyrate of the year. Was business suddenly down?

Hardly. Clocking in at 570,000 buys (read: that's excellent), SummerSlam finished fifth behind WrestleMania (824,000), Backlash (675,000), Unforgiven (605,000), and the Rumble (590,000). The reason for two secondary shows doing electric business stems from the absent Stone Cold Steve Austin appearing at both: Backlash as Rock's equalizer, and Unforgiven as his official return. SummerSlam 2000 having to settle for fifth speaks to just how incredible the year was for WWE in terms of pay-per-view sales. In fact, SummerSlam nearly fell to sixth place - No Mercy did 550,000 buys, as that show featured Austin's first match in nearly a year. Had Austin returned at SummerSlam, WrestleMania may have been the one settling for silver.

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10 Things We Learned From WWE SummerSlam 1999

10 Things We Learned From WWE SummerSlam 2001

Justin Henry

Written by Justin Henry

In addition to writing lists and commentaries for Cultaholic, Justin is also a features writer and interviewer for Fighting Spirit Magazine, and is co-author of the WWE-related book Titan Screwed: Lost Smiles, Stunners, and Screwjobs.