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WWF debuts at ACC


The Dudley Boys drop Albert through a table to win their tables match at Toronto's Air Canada Centre October 28, 2000. -- Craig Robertson, Toronto Sun
By ALEX RISTIC -- SLAM! Wrestling

 A fan could assume that the Toronto stop on the World Wrestling Federation's current tour would be a special one. After all, it was the last gig the WWF was putting on in Toronto this year, and it was the company's inaugural event at the Air Canada Centre, so you wouldn't be able to fault someone for thinking that the card would be a good one.

 And if that was your assumption, then it would have been right, as the WWF put its stars in matches that most would not have expected, and set some ones up that the fans wanted to see, highlighted by the tag team main event of Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Rock, versus Chris Benoit and Rikishi.

 The heels entered the ring first, to audible boos, but nothing compared to the pops that the Rock and Austin received, with Austin's being just a bit louder after an informal poll amongst the people sitting in our section.

 Recovering from an injury, one would think Austin would want to prove to the masses that he was still capable of being the top dog, coupled with the fact that this was Austin's first Canadian wrestling appearance since preparing to go under the knife for neck and back injuries in November of 1999. Well, you'd be disappointed, as outside of playing to the crowd, Austin also played it safe, relying on sleepers, punches, and the usual mud hole stomping he puts on his opponents. Not a scientific match-up, despite Benoit's presence.

 Austin and Rikishi started off the match, with Austin pummeling Riskishi into a corner before having even taking his leather vest off, than proceeding to disrobe, and choking Rikishi with the aforementioned item of clothing. The islander did get a chance to fight back, for about 30 seconds, before Austin once again got the upper hand.

 After a short while Benoit and Rock both got the hot tag, but it was the Wolverine that performed his version of the mud-hole stomp on the People's Champ, before the rock found the fortitude to escape and tag Austin back in, who proceeded to teach Benoit a lesson in stomping. The team of the Rock and Austin also appeared to have more continuity, with each member tagging in back and forth with more regularity than their opponents. For much of the match the faces had the upper hand, but the heels had their moments, such as Benoit reversing a stunner attempt on Austin into an attempted German suplex, about a third of the way into the match. Benoit would proceed to get double-teamed, getting a double beating from Austin and the Rock, which prompted Rikishi to enter the ring, but he ultimately didn't solve anything.

 A fair portion of the match also spilled outside, with Rikishi and Austin fighting on the outside, and where Rikishi seemed to get the upper hand by throwing the Texan in the guardrails. On the inside, Benoit echoed his teammates success against the Rock. Rikishi and Austin eventually re-entered the ring, where the islander was successful in performing some offense on his nemesis, much more in the span of two minutes than at the entire No Mercy pay-per-view he had against the same opponent. The attack of Benoit and Rikishi would culminate in a flying head-butt by the man from Calgary, AB., only to have his pin attempt interrupted by the Rock. At that point, the tide of the much pretty much turned in favor of the faces.

 Rikishi and Rock both got tagged in, and the Rock went on to rule the roost. Some interference from Benoit did momentarily allow Rikishi to gain some offense, attempting a stink face on the Rock, who managed to avoid, and rock bottom his 400 plus pound opponent. Benoit and Austin get tagged in soon after, while Rock and Rikishi fight outside. Soon after, Austin stuns Benoit with his finishing maneuver, the stunner, and the three-count was laid down.

 Afterward, Perry Saturn and Dean Malenko entered the ring to pound on Austin and the Rock, but HHH joined the fray, evening the odds, and sending the heels to, well, kick up their heels and leave the ring. The usual after match party of posing and beer preceded with all three faces in the ring.

 All in all, outside of some quiet moments where the fans didn't appear to be getting into some scientific mat wrestling on the undercard, the majority of WWF stars were in attendance, and the smiles seen on many faces exiting the venue seemed to support the theory that the WWF's first card at the ACC was well accepted.

 Right To Censor d. Too Cool

 In the opening bout, the Right To Censor beat the dancing sensations of the WWF, when the Goodfather pinned Grand Master Sexay after Steven Richards threw the lightweight off the top rope.
William Regal dropkicks Dean Malenko at Toronto's Air Canada Centre October 28, 2000. -- Craig Robertson, Toronto Sun


 European Title Match - William Regal d. Dean Malenko

 In an unexpected match-up of two scientific mat wrestlers, Regal reversed a Malenko wear-down hold into a modified neck breaker to get the 1-2-3.

 Tag Team Table Match - The Dudley Boyz d. T&A

 In a brawl that actually saw Albert break a table in two by kicking it, the Dudley Boyz pulled out the win, despite interference from Trish Stratus. Doing her best to keep Buh-Buh tied up, he eventually came to the rescue of D-Von, who was being set-up on the top-rope for a beating. Buh-Buh sneaks in under Albert, and bombs him through the table.

 Intercontinental Title Match - Eddie Guerrero d. Crash Holly

 In another surprise match-up, Guerrero put on a display of mat wrestling, still nursing his hamstring injury. While not showing too many ill affects, Guerrero connects with a suplex on Holly from the second rope, but instead of going for pin, performs a modified arm bar with his legs on the Elroy Jetson look-alike, getting the submission win. Chyna would make her presence known however, low blowing Guerrero after the match, and escorting Holly to the back as if he had won the match.

 Mr. Ass Billy Gunn d. X-Pac

 In a meeting of the ex-D-X members, Gunn sported a new hairdo that made him resemble former WWF stablemate Sean Stasiak. Gunn gets the win after his Fame-ass-er.

 WWF Heavyweight Championship Title Match - Kurt Angle d. HHH

 Angle gets the line of the night, saying that he's had a better year than the Canadian Olympic Team, accomplishing more in the WWF than the amateur athletes did in Sydney, AUS., this year. The match had two referee's at one point, but both got knocked out, allowing Chris Benoit to interfere, swan-dive head butting HHH, and setting up Angle for the successful pin.

 Perry Saturn d. Al Snow

 While not the first time in their WWF tenure's that these two have paired off, once again the match wasn't expected, and the crowd silence was deafening in its own right. Saturn and Snow trade a series of reversals, which sees Saturn eventually take the former European Champion down to the mat, putting Snow in the Rings of Saturn for the submission win. Terri, while present, didn't really factor into the match-up.

 6-Person Tag Match - Jacqueline and Edge &Christian d. The Hardy Boyz and Lita

 While the Canadian team and their American partner did receive a warm reception, it was nothing compared to that of the Hardys and Lita. The match was a seesaw battle, with both teams trading the advantage, until the men brawled on the outside, leaving Lita to have her with Jacqueline in the squared circle. Lita goes for the moonsault, only to have Edge pull her off the turnbuckle, and roll Jacqueline on top for the pin.

 Kane d. Chris Jericho

 Not the squash that everyone thought, it would be safe to say that Jericho produced most of the offense during the match. While it seemed the native Manitoban had Kane on the ropes, setting the behemoth up for the lionsault, Kane caught Jericho in the throat coming down, never let go, and turned it into a choke slam for the pin.

 Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock d. Chris Benoit and Rikishi

 Austin stuns Benoit for the tag-team win.