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FLASHBACK: The 2001 WWF King of the Ring

Part 9 of 10 in the series

King of the Ring 2001 was the ninth annual King of the Ring and took place on June 24, 2001, at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Sticking with the theme of the prior year, WWF stuck with promoting their top young star to the next level. This time it was Edge getting the honor. He ran through both Rhyno and Kurt Angle in two fantastic matches for the crown. Little did anyone know, just how successful the first ballot hall of famer would become.

His second opponent that night, Kurt Angle had his third match shortly after losing the King of the Ring final.  A Street Fight between Kurt Angle and Shane McMahon was an instant classic and will forever be remembered for Shane McMahon being slammed against the Titantron, not once, but four times. Twice, breaking the glass.

A WWF Light Heavyweight Championship match between champion Jeff Hardy and challenger X-Pac nearly stole the show.  Both men fought hard and put on a spectacle before Pac retained the gold.

The WWF Tag Team Championship was on the line between champions Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) and the challenger team of Kane and Spike Dudley.  The match would see the champs retaining the title and heading into a run as heels with the Alliance.

The Undertaker vs Diamond Dallas Page Ended in a no contest. However, it wasn’t really a sanctioned match, more so a one way beat down of Page. That trend of WCW competitors getting beat would continue.  The Undertaker mauled him.

The main event was a Triple Threat match for the WWF Championship. Steve Austin defended the title against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. The WCW Champion Booker T made his WWF debut and attacked Austin on the Spanish announce table.

This opening allowed Benoit to capitalize on the opening  by hitting a back-suplex off the top-rope on Jericho, which legitimately broke Benoit’s neck. Austin would crawl over to Benoit and pin him to retain the WWF Championship.

It was great to see Jericho and Beniot finally on the main stage as legit World Championship contenders. This was also the first PPV, that the WCW influence was starting to sink in.

All in all , a good King of the Ring, with the Shane McMahon vs Kurt Angle match being the best match of the night.

For part 8 of the series, click the below link

FLASHBACK: The 2000 WWF King of the Ring

Vince McKee can be followed on twitter at VinceTheAuthor

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