Promotional poster featuring Steve Austin
|Tagline(s)||The Greatest of Battles Are Fought from Within|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Federation|
|Date||September 23, 2001|
Unforgiven 2001 was the fourth Unforgiven professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by World Wrestling Federation (WWF). It was presented by Clearasil and took place on September 23, 2001 at the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This was the first WWF pay-per-view held since the September 11 attacks; as a result the event included a tribute to the victims.
The main event was a standard wrestling match for the WWF Championship. Alliance representative Stone Cold Steve Austin defended the title against WWF representative Kurt Angle. Angle defeated Austin to win the title by forcing him to tap out to the Ankle Lock. Two predominant matches were The Rock versus Booker T and Shane McMahon in a Handicap match for the WCW Championship, and Rob Van Dam versus Chris Jericho for the WWF Hardcore Championship.
The undercard featured Tajiri versus Rhino for the WCW United States Championship, Brothers of Destruction (The Undertaker and Kane) versus KroniK (Brian Adams and Bryan Clark) for the WCW Tag Team Championship, Edge versus Christian for the WWF Intercontinental Championship, Perry Saturn versus Raven and Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) versus Big Show and Spike Dudley, Lance Storm and The Hurricane and Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff) in a Fatal Four-Way Elimination match for the WWF Tag Team Championship.
Unforgiven featured professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing feuds, plots, and storylines that were played out on Raw is War and SmackDown—World Wrestling Federation's (WWF) television programs. Wrestlers portrayed a villain or a hero as they followed a series of events that built tension, and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches.
The predominant rivalry heading into Unforgiven was between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Kurt Angle over the WWF Championship. At SummerSlam, Angle challenged Austin for the WWF Championship but at the end, Austin intentionally got disqualified in his title defense against Angle by attacking several referees. As a result, Austin retained the title. The following night, on Raw is War, Austin held an "appreciation night" on retaining the title against Angle and was appreciated by several members of The Alliance. However, Angle interrupted the appreciation night and ruined it by entering in a milk truck and spraying milk on all the Alliance members. On the August 27 edition of Raw is War, Austin stole Angle's Olympic gold medals after a tag team match pitting Angle and Chris Jericho against the WWF Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam and Tazz. Austin went on to throw Angle's medals into the Detroit River. On the September 3 edition of Raw is War, Angle threatened to throw Austin into a river in Toronto, Ontario, Canada if he did not give him a WWF Championship rematch at Unforgiven. Austin agreed to defend the title against Angle in a rematch at Unforgiven. Angle then told Austin that he's still going in the water and proved his point by shoving Austin into the pool of water that was sitting on the street.
Another predominant rivalry heading into Unforgiven was between The Rock and the team of Booker T and Shane McMahon over the WCW Championship. The Rock returned to the WWF on the July 30, 2001 edition of Raw Is War, where he chose to align himself with the WWF instead of The Alliance for The Invasion. This action was shown by The Rock delivering a Rock Bottom and the People's Elbow onto Shane McMahon, The Alliance leader. At SummerSlam, Rock defeated Booker to win the WCW title. On the August 27 edition of Raw is War, McMahon announced that Rock would defend the title against Rhyno later in the night but Rock challenged McMahon to a match, which McMahon initially accepted before escaping. Rock would retain the title against Rhyno. On the August 30 edition of SmackDown, Booker and McMahon cost Rock and Chris Jericho, a tag team match against the WWF Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam and Rhyno. On the September 6 episode of SmackDown, McMahon announced that Rock would defend the title against Booker and himself in a Handicap match at Unforgiven. The following week on Raw Is War, The Rock won the Handicap match by defeating Shane's sister Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and Test then on the September 17 edition of Raw, The Rock lost to Stephanie and Test in the same match due to interference by Shane McMahon and Booker T.
On three occasions, Chris Jericho and the WWF Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam wrestled each other in several tag team matches with different partners. This eventually led to a title defense for RVD against Jericho at Unforgiven.
On the September 3 edition of Raw is War, Steven Richards attacked one half of the WCW and WWF Tag Team Champions Brothers of Destruction, The Undertaker during his match with Test. This led to a match between Undertaker and Richards on the next night on SmackDown. Before their match, Richards explained that he had attacked Undertaker because he considered Undertaker responsible for the disbanding of his faction Right to Censor. As Undertaker and Richards' match started, former WCW Tag Team Champions KroniK (Brian Adams and Bryan Clark) debuted in WWF and attacked Undertaker. The following week on Raw Is War, Richards interfered in The Undertaker's match against Booker T. Afterwords, as Undertaker was about to perform a Last Ride on Richards, Adams and Clark took down Undertaker with the clothesline and finished him off with a double chokeslam through the announce table. On the September 17 edition of Raw, KroniK cost Brothers of Destruction (The Undertaker and Kane), the WWF Tag Team Championship against Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von). After the match, the on-screen WCW Owner Shane McMahon announced that Brothers of Destruction would defend the WCW Tag Team Championship against KroniK at Unforgiven.
After Edge won the 2001 King of the Ring tournament, his tag team partner Christian started growing jealous of him and insisted on carrying his King of the Ring trophy. Apart from winning the King of the Ring tournament, Edge found more success by defeating Lance Storm for the WWF Intercontinental Championship at SummerSlam. On the other hand, Christian failed in his respective title opportunities against Matt Hardy for the WWF European Championship and The Rock for the WCW Championship. On the September 3 edition of Raw is War, Christian turned on Edge by hitting him a One-man Con-chair-to after Edge successfully defended the Intercontinental Championship against Lance Storm. The following night on SmackDown, Christian announced that he attacked Edge because he wanted an Intercontinental Championship title shot and announced that he would wrestle Edge for the title at Unforgiven. On the September 10 edition of Raw Is War, the night before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Christian defeated Billy Gunn by using his feet on the ropes for leverage. He followed it by nailing Gunn with a chair to the head and finishing him off with the One-man Con-chair-to. The following week, Christian was going to finish off the WCW United States Champion Tajiri with the same move until Edge returned and attacked him from behind, only to be restrained by the referees and enabling Christian to leave the ring and walk to the back.
On the September 17 episode of Raw Is War, Tajiri retained the WCW United States Championship against Christian by getting disqualified but was attacked by Christian and his ribs were injured. As Tajiri was being accompanied to the backstage by his valet Torrie Wilson, Rhyno attacked him by hitting him a Gore. As a result, the WCW Owner Shane McMahon announced that Tajiri would defend the United States Championship against Rhyno at Unforgiven.
On the September 17 episode of Raw Is War, Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) defeated Brothers of Destruction for the WWF Tag Team Championship. During this time, two new tag teams were formed, consisting of Big Show and Spike Dudley and the team of Lance Storm and the WWF European Champion The Hurricane. Hardy Boyz were also in contention for the titles. On the September 20 episode of SmackDown, The Hurricane and Lance Storm defeated Spike Dudley and The Big Show. After the match, the Dudley Boyz attacked Spike & The Big Show and followed it by double suplexing The Big Show through a table. Later that night, The Hardy Boyz defeated the WWF Tag Team Champions, The Dudley Boyz, in a non-title match when Spike Dudley interfered. Afterwords, the Dudleyz retaliated by performing a 3D on Matt Hardy through a table. As a result, a Four Corners Elimination match was made between the four teams for the Tag Team Championship at Unforgiven.
On the June 21 episode of SmackDown, Perry Saturn discovered a mop during a match against Test for the WWF Hardcore Championship. He carried the mop around with him for several months. He dismissed his valet, Terri Runnels, and kept the mop, which he named Moppy, in his corner during matches. Runnels and Raven eventually stole Moppy and destroyed it in a wood chipper, which led to a match at Unforgiven. On the last edition of SmackDown!, after Raven lost to Rob Van Dam in a Hardcore match, Perry Saturn charged to the ring and attacked Raven until Terri caused a distraction, enabling Raven to perform a Raven Effect on Saturn.
As the event concluded, Jennifer Holliday performed "America the Beautiful" in the honor of the victims of the World Trade Center attacks on September 11. The first match that took place was a Fatal Four-Way Elimination match for the WWF Tag Team Championship. Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) defended the title against Big Show and Spike Dudley, Lance Storm and the WWF European Champion The Hurricane and Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff). Big Show dominated Dudley Boyz until Show and D-Von tagged out. Jeff and Hurricane entered the ring and battled each other. The tagging continued until Spike fought Storm when Storm accidentally attacked his partner Hurricane. Spike took advantage and hit Storm with the Dudley Dog and soon tagged in his partner Big Show. Big Show threw Spike on Dudley Boyz and Hardy Boyz and chokeslammed Storm to eliminate Storm and Hurricane. Big Show tagged in Spike and Matt came in. Matt quickly hit Spike with a Twist of Fate to eliminate Big Show and Spike. The match was left between Dudley Boyz and Hardy Boyz. The two teams battled each other until the Dudley Boyz hit the 3-D. Jeff then hit D-von with the Swanton Bomb to break up the pin attempt. Bubba Ray then hit a Bubba Bomb allowing D-Von to pin Matt to win the match and retain the WWF Tag Team Championship.
The second match was between Perry Saturn and Raven. Raven dominated earlier part of the match and kept on tossing Saturn outside the ring to prevent him from returning to the ring. Raven tried to attack Saturn outside the ring but was attacked by Saturn instead. Saturn started dominating Raven until Raven tried to finish Saturn with a Raven Effect. However, Saturn reversed it into a Three Handled Moss Covered Family Credenza to win the match.
The third match featured Edge defending the WWF Intercontinental Championship against Christian. As Edge entered the ring, Christian started attacking him. The two exchanged punches until Christian retreated to the ringside. Edge followed Christian outside the ring and the two battled each other on the rampway. The action returned to the ring where Christian dominated Edge for much of the match. Edge started using illegal moves on Christian until Christian hit Edge with his own finisher, an Impaler DDT. Christian got a near-fall and attempted to hit Edge with a One man Con chair to but Edge avoided the move and tried to hit a One Man Con chair to on Christian but the referee snatched the chair from Edge. Christian took advantage and low blowed Edge, followed by a successful pinfall attempt. As a result, Christian won the Intercontinental Championship.
The fourth match was a tag team match for the WCW Tag Team Championship. Brothers of Destruction (The Undertaker and Kane) defended the titles against KroniK (Brian Adams and Bryan Clark). Undertaker and Kane started fighting KroniK outside the ring until Undertaker and Adams started the match as the legal competitors. All the four men were billed as superheavyweights and used their bigger moves on each other in the match. KroniK got control of the match when Undertaker tried to hit an Old School on Clark but Clark countered by low blowing Undertaker. KroniK double-teamed Undertaker for much of the match until Kane was tagged in. He tried to hit a Double Chokeslam on Adams and Clark but Adams and Clark countered by punching him. Undertaker entered to help Kane. Kane cleared the ring of Adams and Undertaker chokeslammed Clark to win the match and retain the WCW Tag Team Championship.
Next was Rob Van Dam defending the WWF Hardcore Championship against Chris Jericho. Jericho and RVD started punching each other until RVD started getting momentum after gaining crowd support. He tossed Jericho outside the ring and tried to hit him a Spinning Heel Kick on the security barrier. However, Jericho avoided the move and RVD's feet were injured. Jericho grabbed a ladder from under the ring and attacked RVD with it. Jericho suplexed RVD on the ladder until RVD recovered and suplexed Jericho on the ladder. Both men were down until Jericho recovered and applied the Walls of Jericho on RVD. RVD escaped the move and Jericho attempted to hit a Lionsault but RVD avoided the move. RVD took advantage and tried to hit a Five Star Frog Splash on Jericho but Jericho avoided the move. Jericho tried to hit RVD with the ladder but RVD knocked him down. The two battled on the ladder until RVD escaped the ring. Jericho tried to dive from the ladder on RVD outside the ring but missed and hit the ring barrier. Jericho began dominating RVD by tossing him into the steel steps. Jericho started attacking RVD with the chair until the ECW Owner Stephanie McMahon distracted Jericho. RVD took advantage and hit Jericho, a Van Daminator and a Five-Star Frog Splash to win the match and retain the Hardcore Championship.
Main event matches
The sixth match featured The Rock defending the WCW Championship against Booker T and Shane McMahon in a handicap match. Rock dominated Booker and McMahon in the earlier part of the match until Booker and McMahon started double-teaming Rock. At one point, McMahon tried to hit Rock with the WCW title belt but Rock avoided and Booker was hit with the belt instead. McMahon also hit Rock with the belt. McMahon attempted to hit a Leap of Faith on Rock but he rolled away. Booker was tagged in but Rock hit Booker and McMahon a double clothesline. Rock hit McMahon, a Rock Bottom and a Spinebuster on Booker. Test interfered in the match and prevented Rock from winning the match. Bradshaw came out to prevent Test from interfering. Booker tried to pin Rock but Mike Chioda and a WWF referee attacked the WCW referee Nick Patrick, who was refereeing the match. Earl Hebner replaced Patrick and took over as the official. Rock hit Booker with a Rock Bottom to win the match and retain the WCW Championship.
In the final match on the undercard, Tajiri defended the WCW United States Championship against Rhyno. Rhyno started attacking Tajiri's injured ribs until Tajiri started to fight Rhyno. Tajiri's valet Torrie Wilson checked on him when Rhyno was about to hit Wilson with a Gore,however before impact, Tajiri hit a Buzzsaw Kick on Rhyno. Rhyno continued to beat on Tajiri and hit him with a Gore to win the United States Championship.
The main event featured Stone Cold Steve Austin defending the WWF Championship against Kurt Angle. As Austin was making his entrance, Angle started attacking him outside the ring. The action started in the ring, where Angle continued to assault Austin. Austin tried to escape the ring on many occasions but Angle followed him outside the ring and attacked him and brought him inside the ring. However, Angle's injured neck eventually started getting hurt and Austin focused on further injuring his neck. Angle eventually hit Austin with three German suplexes. However, in the third German suplex, Angle injured his neck as he had landed on his own neck. Austin took advantage and attacked Angle. Angle eventually hit Austin with his own finisher, a Stone Cold Stunner but got a near-fall. Austin proceeded by hitting Angle's own finisher, an Angle Slam, but got a near-fall. Austin followed by hitting a Piledriver on Angle but Angle kicked out of the pinfall attempt. Austin attempted to finish Angle by attempting a Stone Cold Stunner but Angle countered it into an ankle lock. Austin tapped out to the hold. As a result, Angle became the new WWF Champion. Following his title win, Angle celebrated with his family until the entire WWF roster came out to congratulate him on his title win.
After losing the WWF Championship to Kurt Angle, Stone Cold Steve Austin continued his pursuit for the title. On the October 8 episode of Raw is War, Austin defeated Angle to win the WWF Championship, with the help of the on-screen WWF Commissioner William Regal. With this, Regal joined The Alliance and became Alliance Commissioner. Austin was also feuding with his Alliance teammate, the WWF Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam over the leadership of Alliance. As a result, Mick Foley made a Triple Threat match for the WWF title at No Mercy, pitting Austin against RVD and Angle. At No Mercy, Austin pinned RVD after a Stone Cold Stunner to retain the title.
After unsuccessfully challenging Rob Van Dam for the WWF Hardcore Championship at Unforgiven, Chris Jericho continued his rivalry with RVD and Jericho's main eventer push started. On the October 11 edition of SmackDown, Jericho defeated RVD in a number one contender's match for the WCW Championship. At No Mercy, Jericho defeated The Rock to win the WCW Championship.
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