Saturday, August 2, 2014
Through the Years: Judgment Day 2002
May 19th, 2002 – Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, Tennessee – Attendance: 14,521
After beating Steve Austin at Backlash last month, The Undertaker earned the right to face another winner from Backlash, Hulk Hogan, for the Undisputed Championship. At this point, the brand split was struggling and ratings went down after Hogan won the title. Hogan saved the WWF in the late 80's and WCW in the mid 90's but it was too late for him to do so here. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all his fault. Ratings continued to drop until about the summer when they heated up again. Pun intended. Moving on, this is the first Pay-Per-View ever held under the WWE name instead of WWF so let's see how the “WWE Era” begins.
The opening video package is similar to the video that The Undertaker had when he returned as the American Badass. It's kind of hyped as a Triple Main Event though I'm only looking forward to one of them.
Fun fact; the theme song for this event is “Broken” by 12 Stones, which is a song that I love, but also the same band who would later record the Nexus theme “We Are One.”
I believe that I see Edge's mom in the crowd. Wrestling sequence opens things and RVD wins with a powerslam that upsets Eddie. RVD fakes out Eddie and then hits him with the split legged moonsault in a fun little spot. RVD nails a leg drop for two as he's controlling more offense than their last two matches. Eddie fights out of a surfboard stretch, so RVD drops an elbow and does it anyway. Eddie uses cowardly tactics to gain the upper hand. RVD does his usual impressive split and monkey flips Eddie, who has always sold that move great. Rolling Thunder connects but RVD only gets a near fall. RVD goes to the top but gets crotched and powerbombed. Because callbacks and continuity matter, Eddie misses the Frog Splash, just like RVD did at Backlash. Things get changed up though when RVD still misses his Five Start Frog Splash. They get to their feet and Eddie shouts some Spanish stuff before they charge each other and RVD gets a cross body. RVD earns a VERY close near fall with a backslide, before Eddie gets one of his own and wins after using the ropes for leverage.
Two guys that are really good didn't seem to have a great match. Their Backlash encounter was better, but this wasn't bad.
Devon, Stacy Keibler and the Deacon Batista, in his first PPV appearance, are backstage with Vince McMahon praying for Stacy's safety. While they pray, Vince checks out Stacy. For the failure that was the Reverend character, Devon played it well.
I LIED AT BACKLASH! TRISH IS WEARING TINY SHORTS AGAIN! That must have been what Devon was really praying for. I guess Trish is over the whole Bubba putting her through a table less than two years ago thing. Stacy gets an early near fall with a spin kick. Trish slaps on a Boston Crab which surprised the hell out of me. Stacy gets tossed outside and throws a tantrum leading to Bubba laughing in her face. Stacy slaps him and he gets “that look” in his eyes. Batista comes in and body slams Trish. She manages to kick out and kicks both Stacy and Batista. Bulldog follows and Trish retains.
Nothing match that was really only used to promote the reunion of the Dudleys.
Devon nails his brother but then feels remorse. That's a lie though as he and Batista end up putting Bubba Ray through a table. Ironically, Batista would beat these two Dudleys to win his first title in the WWE.
Vince McMahon enters Ric Flair's office and all of a sudden, because they're both heels, they forget that they've hated each other since the end of 2001 and are friends now. They talk about hos untrustworthy Steve Austin is.
Jeff Hardy leaps out onto Brock Lesnar before the bell and then the Hardys target Heyman. Brock is back in and starts to be his usual dominant self. Jeff tries a cross body but gets caught with a belly to belly suplex. The Hardys start to get a bit of offense but Matt takes a big powerslam. Matt finally turns things around with a tornado DDT while Heyman is pissing himself. Jeff and his green hair connect with Whisper in the Wind, a jawbreaker and then double leg drops from the Hardys. Poetry in Motion hits before Lesnar is knocked outside and the Hardys chase Heyman. They get their hands on him a bit before Lesnar puts a stop to this. Brock tosses Jeff into Matt, knocking him outside and then it's F5 time for Jeff. Heyman begs for the tag and gets it. He hilariously falls into the ring and covers Jeff for the three. So, quick note, Heyman holds pinfall victories over Jeff Hardy and CM Punk.
This was exactly what it should've been. Brock dominates, the Hardys get in their signature offense and Heyman draws heat.
Booker T, in his nWo shirt, is being interviewed by Mark Lloyd I think. Ric Flair handpicked Booker to be the newest member and this was around the time that the nWo, Flair and Booker were all going nowhere. Booker hits on some random chick in the back who gives him her hotel key. Sharmell will not be pleased.
If I'm right, this is the last Pay-Per-View match for Steve Austin before he took his ball and went home in 2002. I can see part of why he left. Things begin with a brawl as the heels double team Austin. Flair locks on a Figure Four but it obviously doesn't end things. The double teams continue until Austin gets a chair and Charles “Lil Naitch” Robinson gets things calmed down. Austin and Flair do battle in the ring. Flair fails at doing an atomic drop, leading to a tag to the Big Show. I really didn't like their match at Insurrextion. Show beats down on Austin for a while until he tags in Flair who hits a low blow that Robinson misses. Every Flair chop gets the obvious “woo” from the fans, while Austin's punches and kicks earn “what”. Show comes in and powerslams Austin. Flair and Show now focus on Austin's leg/knee to set up for the Figure Four again. Flair comes in and slaps on the Figure Four but Austin turns it over, only to get elbowed by Big Show. Austin manages to put on the Figure Four for the second time but again takes a leg drop from Show. Austin takes control and hits Show with a Stunner but X-Pac arrives and accidentally kicks Show. Austin hits X-Pac with a Stunner and then hits Flair with one to win.
Boring match as none of these guys seemed really motivated. Fifteen minutes was too long also and that hurt this bout.
Early on, Edge gets a near fall with a rollup and does the “this close” sign with his hand that has been used from time to time since. Edge is in control as he gets Angle tied up in the ropes like Andre the Giant and Spears him. He goes for another but Angle gets loose and belly to belly suplexes him to the outside. SWEET JESUS! Angle fires away with chops while the crowd chants “Angle Sucks!” He continues to work Edge over and nails a DDT for two. He applies a sleeper and they do the “raise the arm three times spot” and of course, Edge is alive after dropping his arm twice. Angle pulls him down by the hair to stop his momentum. Front face lock time because REST HOLDS are key. Edge does rally and hits a high arching belly to belly on Kurt. Kurt now hits one of his own as this is becoming a battle of suplexes. Taz is pissed he wasn't booked in this thing. Angle lands on the apron and gets dropkicked off, allowing Edge to dive over the top and take him out. Missile dropkick back in only earns Edge two. Angle quickly busts out a German suplex to buy him some time. Edge hits a big DDT and goes to the top again, but Kurt runs up and hits another belly to belly. Edge kicks out though. Edge accidentally Spears the referee and Angle turns Edge inside out with a German. Angle gets a chair but eats a German though the referee is down. They counter each other and Edge hits a second Spear but Angle kicks out to everyone's surprise. Angle now hits an Olympic sized Spear and the Angle Slam! One, two...NO! The place is stunned and Angle is pissed. STRAPS ARE DOWN! Ankle Lock but Edge enziguris out of it. Angle is all like, “IM A WRESTLING MACHINE” as he puts the Ankle Lock right back on. Edge pushes him off into the ropes and uses a small package as he bounces off and gets the three!
Okay, that was fantastic. I was waiting for something like this on this show and Edge and Angle delivered. The finishing sequence was something to behold.
Angle is livid and attacks Edge after the match. However, Edge fights him off and hits the Edgecution. He takes him to the barber's chair but Angle gets free and runs away. The camera cuts to the hotel across the street as Booker T is in bed with that chick he spoke to earlier. She asks him to turn out the lights and you just know that shenanigans are coming. Goldust's voice is heard as he scares the hell out of Booker and is in bed with him, asking him to come back to their team. Booker escapes with his ass hanging out.
I don't know why, but I always thought that their Hell in a Cell match had a face Jericho and a heel Triple H. Guess I was wrong. Harley Race high knee in the early goings as HHH pounds away on Jericho in the corner. Jericho uses a rake of the eyes to gets in the driver's seat as he fires away with chops in the corner. Tim White yells at Jericho to get inside after he crashed into the corner and was hurt out there. Like Jericho was out there for his own good. HHH tosses Jericho into the cell a few times. Jericho's arm is bleeding and they continue to brawl outside. HHH goes for a piledriver on the steel steps, but Jericho reverses and catapults HHH into the cell. Jericho must be confused about the match type as he gets a ladder and takes out HHH with it. He does it again as HHH is now gushing too. The brawl continues as Jericho goes to use the ladder again but HHH hits it with a chair, taking out the former Undisputed Champion. Jericho takes a chair shot to the back as well. Jericho does get up to try and use the steel steps but gets a drop toe hold, causing him to face plant onto them. HHH picks up the steps because he's the Game and launches them at Jericho, before they spill back outside. Tim White takes an impressive bump into the cell and JR instantly gives away what's going to happen by stating “I think Tim has the key to the cell.” Jericho lays out Hunter with a chair but there's no referee to count. Jericho is pissed so he beats on Tim White as other officials open the cell and come to check on him. EVEN TIM WHITE HAS BLADED! Jericho runs in the ring but gets a spinebuster for his troubles. HHH takes out Jericho with a sledgehammer but there's still no referee. Jericho manages to escape the cell and HHH slowly follows. They go over to the announce table and HHH hits a DDT through the table. Trips gets the barb wire 2x4 as Jericho climbs the cell to run away. I don't think this feud is personal enough for this weapon. HHH tosses it up top like a moron, so Jericho uses it on him. The brawl goes on up top and Jericho applies the Walls. Mike Chioda climbs up even though I thought a Hell in a Cell couldn't end anywhere but the ring? Anyway, Triple H hits a low blow and goes for the Pedigree, but Jericho hits a back body drop. HHH is up first and hits Jericho with the 2x4.
This was good, but not great. It was a glorified spotfest as they tried to recreate some classic Cell spots, but something didn't click the way it should've. Maybe it's that this feud wasn't personal or big enough for the Cell. It was brutal and entertaining, but still disappointing.
Edge is still searching for Angle, who hides under a shower cap in a makeup chair. Next, we get a weird sex WWE promo with the Sexual Chocolate theme in the background.
Basically, Mr. McMahon handpicks Rikishi's partner and chooses Billy and Chuck's manager, Rico. So this is generally a three on one handicap match. This is the kind of thing you do on free TV. Rikishi and Billy start out with Rikishi dominating. Chuck runs in and they hit a double flapjack after Rikishi misses a corner splash. Rikishi actually goes to tag Rico, who is suspiciously arguing with a fan. Rikishi starts to fall victim to Billy and Chuck working a tag formula but then he hits a belly to belly for one. Eventually, even though Rico tries to go against him, Rikishi squashes Chuck to win the belts.
Awful. The match was crap and the booking decision was worse. Rikishi wasn't as over as he was in 2000 and putting him with Rico was pointless.
Edge finally catches up with Angle only to be nailed with a trash can lid. Angle drags Edge out and threatens to cut his hair but Edge counters and puts him in a sleeper hold. With Angle taking a nap, Edge shaves his head and the rest is history. Kurt's hair looked dumb anyway. Edge gets the fans to chant “You're Bald” instead of “You suck” which is pretty funny.
A recap is shown of one of the worst feuds in WWE history, between Hogan and the Undertaker.
Undertaker walks to the ring because Hogan ran over his bike with a truck, even though we've seen Undertaker use multiple motorcycles. He whips Hogan with the WEIGHTBELT OF DOOM before the bell, but Hogan no sells them and starts to whip him. Hogan dominates until they spill outside where Undertaker wails away on him. Jim Ross continues to sell this as “not a catch as catch can match” which is basically him saying this will suck. Back inside, Undertaker attempts to go Old School but gets crotched and Hogan actually does a second rope suplex. Again, I refuse to call it a superplex unless it's from the top. That only gets a near fall as Undertaker decides it's time to target Hogan's knee. He decides that he's a mat wrestler and he applies some submissions. Hogan shakes that off and hits the big boot. He goes for the Leg Drop but Hogan blocks it and puts on a pretty bad looking half Boston crab. Hogan breaks it by reaching the ropes though. Taker misses a bit boot and gets crotched on the top rope again. Undertaker shakes that off and hits the worst looking Chokeslam in history for two. It's “Hulk Up” time! He hits the big boot and the Leg Drop but Undertaker kicks out. Mr. McMahon comes out as Undertaker gets a chair from ringside. Hogan big boots the chair into his face while Vince distracts the referee. Hogan brings him in the hard way and uses a very 1980's punch and leg drop on him. Undertaker hits him in the back of the head with the chair, which the referee somehow doesn't hear, and hits a better looking Chokeslam to win the strap.
I didn't like it at Survivor Series 1991 and I don't like it 11 years later. Crap match between two guys who weren't lighting the world on fire at the time. The Undertaker title reign at least led to the ladder match with Jeff Hardy, but this was bad.
Overall: Not a good show. The only thing you should go out of your way to catch is Edge vs. Angle. Hogan and Taker put on one of the worst main events in recent memory and even the Hell in a Cell is not must see. The Intercontinental Title match is solid but nothing else passes two stars. I remember the summer of 2002 being much better than this so hopefully, good things are coming.