Monday, July 28, 2014
May 4th, 2002 – Wembley Arena in London, England – Attendance: 10,500
It's time for another England Pay-Per-View. I've mentioned before that I'm not a huge fan of these because the wrestlers seem to not give their all in their performances. The crowd is always hot because they don't see these guys enough so nearly everything gets a reaction. Anyway, Hulk Hogan is the WWF Undisputed Champion at this time but wasn't on this show. Interesting note, this is the first brand exclusive show even though the brand exclusive Pay-Per-Views didn't become a thing for about another year. This is also the last televised event under the WWF name before the change and it's the one that featured the infamous “plane ride from hell” that resulted in a few releases.
They show a recap of Backlash when Eddie took the Intercontinental Title from RVD. Quick wrestling sequence starts things until Eddie gets all mad and shoves RVD. On the outside, RVD connects with a baseball slide and Asai moonsault before rolling Eddie inside and getting a slingshot leg drop. He is pretty damn fast. Split legged moonsault only gets two. Eddie and his mullet regain control because he's a cunning son of a gun, which wins out over RVD's quickness right now. Eddie continues to work over RVD for a while. RVD goes for a sunset flip but Eddie holds on the ropes. In a strange twist, the referee kicks Eddie's hands away. He wasn't cheating or anything, they just did this. Weird. Eddie goes back to work, focusing on the leg this time with submissions and dragon screws. Smart wrestling since RVD's strength is his flying ability. Finally, a kick to the mouth turns things in RVD's favor. Big monkey flip from RVD, who seems to have forgotten that his leg was worked on the entire match. Rolling Thunder only gets RVD a two count. RVD hits another moonsault for two and the lack of selling is hurting this match. Step over enziguri and RVD goes up top but misses the Five Star Frog Splash. Eddie takes the Intercontinental Title and the referee goes to stop him from using it, only to get pushed and call for the DQ.
It was going good until RVD forgot to sell the leg work from the entire match. The disqualification finish didn't help either.
After the match, RVD gets some revenge by nailing Eddie with the belt and hitting a Five Star Frog Splash. Backstage, Terri Runnels interviews Molly and Jazz. They have problems with Terri, Trish, Jackie and the other Divas for exploiting their bodies. She's totally in Ivory mode right now. She does show a quick glimpse of a UK newspaper with nudity on it. That wasn't censored surprisingly.
Trish was becoming a serious competitor and stopped wearing her tiny shorts. It's a shame. Trish gets tossed at the start and Jazz and Molly work over Jacqueline for a while. She finally makes the tag and Trish comes in hot. She takes down Jazz and brings Molly in the hard way. Focusing on Molly was a bad move though as she eats a kick from the Women's Champion. Jazz is now in control and now Trish in the face being worked out. Jacqueline kicks the hell out of Molly to break a pin. Trish starts a rally but gets kicked by Molly. She then gets a backslide that the referee doesn't see because he was accidentally distracted by Jackie. Neckbreaker from Trish earns a near fall. Jacqueline comes in and hits a DDT but Molly stops the pin. Jacqueline knocks her outside and Jazz puts her in a single leg crab. Jazz turns it into an STF that still LOOKS WAY BETTER THAN JOHN CENA'S. Trish breaks it and we get clotheslines and shots from both faces. ALL HELL HAS BROKEN LOOSE as all four girls are in. A Stratusfaction at the same time as a tornado DDT gets the faces the duke.
Decent little Divas match. They got more time than usual and did their best.
X-Pac is backstage and he tells Scott Hall to stay in the back, THERES A HURRICANE COMING THROUGH. Seriously though, he tells him to stay back and that he won't come back to this country if he loses.
X-Pac is still sporting Kane's mask. So quick note, the nWo went from feuding with Austin and the Rock to losing Hogan, gaining X-Pac and feuding with Bradshaw. This was the WWE's first attempt to push Bradshaw. Bradshaw beats down on his smaller opponent with clubs and a back body drop. X-Pac uses kicks to try and change things but Bradshaw catches and slams him. X-Pac wisely dropkicks the knee and he exposes the second turnbuckle. For some reason the referee doesn't call for the DQ. Bradshaw has bladed and is busted open. X-Pac continues to be on the offensive as Bradshaw is a bloody mess. He powers back because he's much bigger and nails a shoulder block off the top but X-Pac gets his foot on the rope. Scott Hall struts down to ringside shortly after X-Pac takes a fallaway slam. Hall levels Bradshaw with X-Pac's nunchakus but he kicks out. Distraction from Hall does end up allowing X-Pac to win with the X-Factor.
Weird match. Having X-Pac dominate was strange for sure and Bradshaw was still not great in singles matches.
Booger Red is backstage as Jonathan Coachman is setting up to interview him. He talks about making Triple H rest in peace. Raw and it's rehashed main event feuds.
Remember when Booker T was the face of the WCW Invasion? Anyway, Steven starts with an arm drag before Booker stomps him out in the corner and grabs some weapons. Booker is beating the stuffing out of Steven as it seems like he's taking out months of frustrating losses on him. Booker uses a broom, cookie sheet and trash can to continue the beating. Flapjack from Booker reminds me of Stevie Ray and the slapjack. These aren't fond memories. Steven finally gets some offense and a near fall on the outside. Steven pulls a WCW/NWO Revenge and steals Booker's taunt. Steven applies a headlock for some reason. This wasn't even his gimmick, though that would've been gold. The Hardcore Champion who refuses to work a hardcore style. Booker uses a hard Irish whip into a trash can to take advantage again. Richards kicks out of a top rope kick while he was in a garbage can. Booker goes for the Scissors Kick and eats the best Steven Kick I've ever seen but he gets his shoulder up. Booker End folds Steven and Booker gets his first Pay-Per-View win since Invasion.
Why this had to go over ten minutes is beyond me, but it wasn't terrible. Fun little match even though it slowed in the middle.
Of course, Booker can have no success at this point, so Crash Holly runs down and rolls him up to win the belt. He steals Booker's taunt, but gets a Scissors Kick for his troubles. Booker wins the belt back. ECW INVASION! Justin Credible and Tommy Dreamer both come out and beat on Booker. They get a table which gives Booker time to regroup and fight them off. Booker celebrates until Jazz shows up, hits him with a low blow and Steven Richards puts Booker through a table to win the belt back.
Stasiak and Brock is such an oddball pairing. Stasiak starts the match even though Paul Heyman told him before the match to let Brock do all of the work. He actually does pretty well, getting a near fall after a sidewalk slam. He applies a chinlock and Heyman yells at him. Hardys start to double team him and they got for Poetry in Motion, but Brock pulls Stasiak out of the way and tags in. He gets a pop and beats the hell out of Matt. Matt tries to fight back but takes three backbreakers for his efforts. Brock continues to completely dominate as Heyman shouts at the Hardys. Brock channels his inner Davey Boy Smith with a stalling vertical suplex. Brock misses a shoulder thrust in his corner, so Stasiak tags himself in. He misses his move, so Matt tags Jeff, who gets in all of his trademark offense. Whisper in the Wind gets him a near fall as the Hardys knock Brock off the apron. Twist of Fate and Swanton Bomb combo follow as the Hardys pin Stasiak for three.
Solid little tag match. Brock dominated and looked as strong as he needed to, while Stasiak provided comedic relief.
Of course, the celebration is short lived as Brock comes in and takes out both Hardys and Shawn Stasiak. Sick spinning powerbomb on Stasiak ends the beating.
Coach interviews William Regal, who gets a pop from his home country. Of course, being the heel that he is, he turns the fans against him quickly.
You know, I keep seeing Spike Dudley on Pay-Per-View and he seems to always have a title. How? Hardcore, European and Tag Team and I just don't get it. Regal still gets a positive reaction despite his interview. “Regal” chants break out as he abuses Spike with some shots in the corner. Spike goes for some dropkicks but hurts his leg and needs to have the trainer cut his boot off. They go to help him leave but Regal, ever the heel, attacks him and sends him back in the ring. He focuses on the ankle to a massive pop. He taunts for another positive reaction. Butterfly bomb could've gotten three but Regal pulls Spike up before three. Spike gets a small package and retains the gold.
Not much happens as a good chunk of time is spent focusing on Spike's “injury.” The wrong man went over.
William Regal gives the fans some of what they want as he uses the brass knuckles to knock out Spike.
According to the pre-match video package, Big Show turned heel for the 455th time to join the nWo and they beat down Austin. Ric Flair is the second referee, which just means that he is outside and will come in if Nick Patrick is knocked out or something. Which means, Nick Patrick will take a bump. Show overpowers Austin who decides that he should do some push ups to prevent that from happening again. It fails. They go through the motions of Show overpowering Austin, Austin rallying by targeting the knees and then getting overpowered again. It's strange that they do this like five times. Austin points in the crowd, distracting Nick Patrick, and he low blows Show. Austin continues to target the knee as this is pretty bland so far. Apparently the fans just watched Austin Powers as a “you fat bastard” chant starts in Show's direction. Show continues to dominate and applies the dreaded bearhug. Austin fights out but Nick Patrick eats a clothesline. Stunner is hit and Ric Flair, who was fighting off the nWo, returns but is pulled out by them. Flair fights off the nWo to the back, but Kevin Nash shows up to try and cheat. He takes a Stunner, and Show gets hit with two more as Austin wins.
I don't know why this had to go over fifteen minutes. It was slow, plodding and pretty boring. The main event scene on Raw was pretty rough at this point.
Flair tries to share a beer with Austin after the match but gets hit with a Stunner. Jim Ross is shocked at this, even though it's been Austin's thing since 1998.
As soon as the bell rings, a fist fight ensues. A clothesline takes Undertaker outside after a big back drop. They brawl outside for a bit before Taker clotheslines Triple H back inside. SOUPBONES in the corner. Taker goes for Old School and Triple H pulls him down. Jim Ross is fond of saying “Triple H jerks the Undertaker off”. I've heard him say it about different people in different situations. He has to know what he's saying. Taker gets back in control and beats down on HHH for a while. Guillotine leg drop on the apron is the biggest spot during that time. HHH brawls back and the top turnbuckle breaks on an Irish whip. The top rope is now loose. HHH hits two neckbreakers and a DDT but Taker still connects with a chokeslam. He gets a chair, but HHH knees it into his face. HHH counters the Dragon Sleeper and is hit with Snake Eyes on the broken buckle. He stops a big boot with a knee to the face and a Pedigree finishes the job.
Another match that didn't deliver. Kinda boring and could've been much better. Jim Ross calls it “one for the ages” which I totally disagree with.
Overall: As always with the UK Pay-Per-Views, this didn't deliver. I don't know if everybody phoned it in, but it just wasn't very good. Having it be Raw exclusive was dumb too as it made for a less stacked card. Completely skippable show.