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[2001-02-15-WWF-SmackDown] Steve Austin vs Chris Benoit


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This is a good appetizer to the series they would have in a couple of months. The build to No Way Out 2001 has been two fold. HHH vs Austin was a dead feud for me coming out of the nonsense at the end of 2000 but them not touching to such extremes has been an effective tool in building up naysayers including myself into wanting to watch their match at No Way Out. The downside of that is that Raw has been pretty lackluster with a cooked Rikishi being inserted into the main event and a lot of maneuvering over what will be the stipulation. SmackDown has picked up the slack and given quality tv matches weekly. This was brawl and strike based but the intensity of Benoit matches well with Austin finding his footing as a worker after the injury. HHH Is out at ringside and does a good job creating effective interference to build up heat among the crowd until Austin picks up the win with the stunner. ***1/4 

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  • 11 months later...

We finally have stipulations for Austin vs HHH at the Pay Per View.  These were laid out by ‘the Game’ earlier in the show and it will be 2/3 falls; the first fall a regular match, the second fall a street fight, and the final fall a cage match where there will be “no way out” for either man.  Lots of throwing of leather, kicking and stomping early.  Benoit does that cool Michael Modest arm wringer into the canvas.  Austin reverses the whip to the corner and clotheslines him in the back of the head before returning to stomping a mud hole in him.  ‘The Crippler’ floats over on the suplex and lays in some hard knife edge chops, red welts already appearing on ‘the Rattlesnake’s’ chest.  He escapes the first attempt at the Stunner and when Austin goes for it a second time counters with the crossface, ‘Stone Cold’ getting to the ropes right at the moment Benoit has it locked in. Austin catches a kick and applies an STF, something different from him.  Triple H makes his way out, Austin pointing at him as he mule kicks ‘the Crippler’.  He slams his leg across the apron but then Benoit kicks him off sending ‘the Rattlesnake’ flying over the announce table into the commentator’s laps.  ‘The Crippler’ is relentless as he pours it on.  Belly to back suplex followed by a diving headbutt, HHH having a wry smile on his face as he watches on.  Austin with an inside cradle, but ‘the Game’ is on the apron distracting Tim White who doesn’t see it.  He slides ‘the Crippler’ a chair and goes back to distracting White, however when Benoit picks it up over his head to crack ‘the Rattlesnake’, Austin boots him in the gut.  Stunner, three, Triple H throwing a fit as his plan and intention to screw ‘Stone Cold’ backfires.

Good little brawl out of these two with Austin even busting out an STF in there as he seemed super motivated (not that he isn’t usually) getting to work with Benoit.  Things continue to build nicely for the PPV, Triple H and ‘Stone Cold’ still trying to screw the other while refraining from putting their hands on them.

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