Wrestling 365 – 8/19

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By Liam Byrne @tvtimelimit

The Brothers of Destruction © vs Diamond Dallas Page and Chris Kanyon © 8/19/01

WCW World Tag Team Title/ WWF World Tag Team Title Cage Match

It would all be a little bit cliché to suggest that the Invasion didn’t quite work out how it could have done. The dream of many a wrestling fan – the chance to see WWF wrestlers battle those from WCW – never panned out exactly how we’d hoped. With contracts that allowed the big names of WCW to sit at home and make millions for doing nothing, it never quite had the star power attached to it that could have engaged the more casual observer. Coupled with singular desire by WWF to showcase themselves as better than WCW at all costs, it was never going to work out the way we’d hoped or imagined.

The one star that did end up joining was Diamond Dallas Page, but with his star built very much under the Turner banner and a man who was no spring chicken when he was acquired, it is perhaps unsurprising that the WWF didn’t quite back him the way some might have expected. Whilst placed into a programme with the Undertaker, the ‘stalker’ gimmick was ridiculous as it stood, especially when many wrestling fans were aware of Page’s relationship with Kimberley which made his decision to follow around Undertaker’s then-wife Sara look all too confusing.

Things could have been saved if he was at least made to look like he was on a similar, competitive level with the Undertaker. He never truly was. It spoke volumes that they never had a singles match together as part of the feud, with the unification match for the tag team titles at Summerslam 2001 the highest profile match of the whole storyline. Kane and Chris Kanyon were along for the ride as tag team partners. DDP and Kanyon had won the WWF titles off of The APA; the Brothers had taken the WCW gold from Sean O’Haire and Chuck Palumbo. The cage match gimmick and the title for title stipulation seemed like window dressing as it felt like it was impossible for Page and Kanyon to come out on top.

Accompanied to the ring by Sara, the Brothers shook the cages with aggression to unsettle the visibly concerned WWF champions. As the bell rang, both Page and Kanyon would make a break to try and climb the cage, but were caught with ease. What followed was a systematic destruction of Page and Kanyon over the course of the following ten minutes. Even when brief comebacks, like a flurry of punches from Page to the Undertaker, were to be seen, they were mainly about popping the crowd for the inevitable response. The fans were more often than not quiet; there was no tension in the contest.

With a two big boots by Kane dropping both Page and Kanyon, the WCW champions were stalking their opponents, looking for the next offensive manoeuvre they could use to continue the assault. Kane would send Kanyon face first into the cage for one of the first really audible responses from the crowd, one which would soon be surpassed by a Kane chokeslam after Kanyon tried to attack off the top turnbuckle and failed. It was Kanyon who was taking a lot of the biggest bumps as Kane followed by running him into the corner of the cage from a powerbomb position. Just to show he could also dish out the punishment, Undertaker would squash Page between the ropes and the cage with three rebound moves, including a big boot.

The one moment that saw both the Brothers down after a Page DDT and a fameasser from the top by Kanyon was really just a set-up for the stereo sit-up. After Page ended up crotched on the top rope, Undertaker would signal for Kane to let Kanyon go. Not only would Kanyon escape the cage, he would walk out on Page, leaving him alone to get squashed by the Brothers. This aimed to be the cathartic moment where the Undertaker got his revenge; instead, it just came across as two men bullying a clearly outmatched opponent. A chain would even be used to send Page into the cage wall.

The finish wasn’t much better; Page was allowed to leave the cage by the Undertaker, only for the Deadman to change his mind and hit a top rope chokeslam. The Last Ride finished the match, but it had been over as a legitimate contest the moment it was booked. The match epitomised the Invasion angle more than perhaps anything the WWF did. It was misjudged, poorly booked and perhaps left some good money on the table in the long run.

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