Monday, August 25, 2014

Through the Years Reviews: Unforgiven 2002

Unforgiven 2002
September 22, 2002 – Staples Center in Los Angeles, California – Attendance: 16,000

Obviously, I consider SummerSlam to be the peak of 2002, at least Pay-Per-View wise. It was the first show that I've fully reviewed to earn the coveted 10 out 10 perfect rating. So it would be hard for the WWE to best that the following month, but they could build on how positive it was. Brock Lesnar was set for his first Pay-Per-View WWE Title defense and it would be against the former Champion, The Undertaker, in a first time ever match! Also, Eric Bischoff was engaged in a feud with his rival General Manager Stephanie McMahon, that could result in some HLA! HLA! HLA! Lastly of note before we begin, Bischoff handed Triple H Big Gold and dubbed it the World Heavyweight Championship and he would have his first defense on this very show. 

The opening video package is pretty cool and highlights how we now have two World Titles. The Undertaker's heel turn lasted about seven months only and both title matches sound like they'll be pretty good.

Eight Man Tag Team Match
Booker T, Bubba Ray Dudley, Goldust and Kane vs. The Un-Americans (Christian, Lance Storm, Test and William Regal)

I have no idea where Kane was form WrestleMania until now, but he has badass attire and the great “Slow Chemical” theme. He will NEVER have a better theme. Goldust and Bubba do identical punch sequences together on the Tag Team Champions in a fun spot. The Un-Americans isolate Goldust and he gets a mudhole stomped in him by Test. Goldust manages to tag in Booker, and the crowd pops pretty big for him. Booker whiffs on a kick that gets him a near fall. He then replaces D-Von as the black guy who does the diving headbutt in the WASSUP sequence. He continues to be the token black guy as Bubba Ray is all like “BOOKER...GET THE TABLES!” The table gets baseball slid into Booker's face by the Champions. The heels work over Booker, but he rallies out of it and plants Christian with a spinebuster. I assume the hot tag is coming to the returning Kane. I was right. Kane comes in and beats up the entire Un-Americans. The pier six brawl breaks out as everyone goes to war outside. Test hits Kane with the pump handle slam but eats a Scissors Kick from Booker. SPINAROONIE! Christian ruins the fans' fun with a reverse DDT though. Kane nearly hits Storm with a Chokeslam but Christian low blows him. He eats a Bubba Bomb before Regal knocks him outside. Goldust sets up Christian in the corner and it's time to SHATTER SOME DREAMS! Test hits Goldust with a big boot but gets a flying clothesline from Kane. He Chokeslams Storm and it's over!

Winners: Booker T, Bubba Ray Dudley, Goldust and Kane in 9:51
Really fun opening contest. The crowd was hot and frantic finish with everyone getting some shine was entertaining as hell. ***

Stephanie McMahon is giving Billy and Chuck a pep talk because if they lose to 3 Minute Warning tonight, Stephanie has to engage in some Hot Lesbian Action.

Intercontinental Championship
Chris Jericho (c) vs. Ric Flair

Their feud from SummerSlam carries over into Unforgiven, but with the Intercontinental Title on the line this time around. Jericho shoulder blocks Flair down, but fails when trying to come off the top rope. Flair lights up Jericho's chest with chops and goes for the Figure Four, but Jericho blocks it. He hits a springboard dropkick and is very proud of himself. A missile dropkick follows and I find it odd that Jericho would do the same move twice in a row. Jericho applies the dreaded abdominal stretch but Flair counters with a hip lock takeover. Flair goes his corner bump but is right back on the offensive and sends Jericho over the turnbuckle and outside. Flair targets the leg and goes for the Figure Four but Jericho counters with a small package. Lionsault misses and Jericho seems to hurt his leg more. He sells it like his leg is about to fall off and a medic comes down. When Flair turns his back, Jericho gets to his feet and attacks. ITS A BY GAWD MIRACLE! He locks on the Walls of Jericho and Flair submits.

Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho in 6:16
Nothing special, but it had the good story of Jericho outsmarting the dirtiest player in the game. **

Eric Bischoff now gives a pep talk to 3 Minute Warning. For those who don't know, this team consists of the future Superhero in Training, Rosey, and Umaga! He announces that Rico will be in their corner tonight.

Ah, this is the first ever Pay-Per-View in the Staples Center. That's cool. Shaq and his son are in the front row and its' highlighted. MAD TV's Will Sasso is actually behind the announce table but they don't focus on him.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Edge
Edge comes out aggressively so Eddie uses that against him to start. Edge hits a very nice looking suplex for two. I'm so glad that the WWE realized that Eddie should be a face. He cheats well, obviously, but I don't think he did enough to draw good heat. He hits a tornado DDT and stomps away. He works the neck for a while. A huge right hand from out of nowhere helps Edge to turn the tide. Edge is playing the desperate face here and it works pretty well. He hits a few big moves in a row but is unable to put him away. THE SMACKDOWN SIX! I just had to throw that in there. Eddie hits a jawbreaker and goes for a hurricanrana but Edge counters into a big powerbomb that only gets a near fall. Edge goes for a Spear, Eddie dodges and Edge nearly hits the corner but stops himself. He hits the Edgecution, but, not yet being a veteran, Edge covers too close to the ropes and Eddie gets his foot on the ropes. Crowd chants for Eddie as Edge misses a missile dropkick. Eddie exposes the turnbuckle but it backfires when he gets whipped into it and Speared into it. Edge puts Eddie on the top but Eddie counters and slams Edge's face into the exposed buckle! He follows with a big sunset flip bomb and pulls the tights for good measure to win.

Winner: Eddie Guerrero in 11:55
Really good stuff from these two again. They told a good story and Edge's desperation coupled with Eddie's need to cheat was fun. ***1/2

Triple H is walking around with big gold and he enters the Raw locker room. He finds RVD, who is all “whatever and cool” instead of being nervous, so HHH calls him out. He points out Ric Flair in the locker room and says that he doesn't have things like “desire” or “determination” now. Flair gets upset but RVD backs him up and HHH leaves.

Billy and Chuck vs. 3 Minute Warning w/ Rico
The stipulation here is that if 3 Minute Warning win, Stephanie McMahon has to perform HLA. If Billy and Chuck win, Eric Bischoff has to kiss Stephanie's ass. So, it's a win-win for us guys. 3 Minute Warning don't have their awesome theme just yet. They do get the advantage early because they're much tougher than the former Tag Team Champions. They double headbutt Chuck and because they're Samoan, he might be dead. But he kicks out. A “Rico's gay” chant starts which has to be like, politically incorrect or something. Rosey misses a second rope moonsault, which impressed me and a lot of people. Billy gets the hot tag and he wails away on both opponents, hitting a dropkick and big clothesline. DOUBLE NOGGIN KNOCKER, but they're Samoans you idiot! That's like, wrestling rule #3. They no sell it and take down Billy. Chuck hits Rosey with a superkick but then eats one from Jamal. Jamal sends Billy up for a flapjack but he counters into the Fameasser! Rico enters but gets tossed out, allowing Rosey to send him into Jamal for a pop up Samoan drop to end it.

Winners: 3 Minute Warning in 6:38
So it took twice as long as three minutes. A decent little tag team match that I enjoyed, but nothing special. **

Jonathan Coachman interviews Eric Bischoff, who like every other straight male, is excited about Stephanie and lesbians. He makes three lesbians in his office chant “HLA” and, cutting to the announce table, so is Jerry Lawler.

World Heavyweight Championship
Triple H (c) vs. Rob Van Dam

I hate when Triple H has no facial hair. In the early goings it's a battle of RVD's athleticism and care free attitude against Triple H's power and serious demeanor. RVD out wrestles Triple H at one point, causing him to regroup, so RVD takes his water bottle and totally steals HHH's taunt. You just wasted a finisher dude! We get a bit of sloppy wrestling for a moment as RVD does an impressive bridge before sweeping the leg like it's Karate Kid or something. Triple H starts to get more aggressive as he sends RVD's outside and nearly gets a countout win but RVD makes it back in. Triple H is picking apart RVD because he's the CEREBRAL ASSASSAIN! HHH gets two with the high knee. He goes to mock RVD on the top, allowing the challenger to slam him off. His rally is cut short by a sleeper hold though. He breaks out of it and both guys are down. RVD uses his educated feet to mount a comeback and hits the cartwheel moonsault for a near fall. He picks up another near fall with a kick to the mouth and seems to get frustrated. Triple H absolutely tramples the referee so of course it's time for RVD to attempt a pin. He's all like, screw it and hits a Five Star before going for the pin again like an idiot. HHH uses this time to nail a low blow. He goes to use his sledgehammer but it backfires until Ric Flair runs out. He threatens to take out HHH with it but instead levels RVD! Triple H follows with the Pedigree as Flair wakes up Earl Hebner to count the three.

Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H in 18:17
Good match. Everything made sense from HHH being methodical to RVD surprising everyone and even the referee bump made sense to lead to Flair and Hunter joining forces. The first seeds of Evolution are planted here. ***1/4

D-Lo Brown and Billy Kidman are talking about Ric Flair's heel turn when a soap opera star appears. It's an odd segment.

Women's Championship
Molly Holly (c) vs. Trish Stratus

Molly starts the match in control and Trish misses an elbow to keep her in control. Molly gets a near fall with a clothesline and slams Trish's face into the mat before tossing her outside. We continue to see a mean streak from the Champion as she throws Trish into the steel steps and guardrail. Trish gets a counter in the ring, but it again goes nowhere when Molly dropkicks her. Trish pulls her into a small package for two. Trish busts out a bulldog but Molly is able to kick out. The challenger also nails the Chick Kick but again can't win the gold. Molly goes up for the Molly Go Round, but Trish attempts her handstand hurricanrana. Molly catches her leg and gets her in the tree of woe. She goes all Chyna and does some gymnastics before bumping Trish in the corner. Trish hits another bulldog from out of nowhere and wins the belt!

Winner and New Women's Champion: Trish Stratus in 5:46
Decent stuff. Very fast paced though and didn't have much direction but we got a lot of near falls. *3/4

Jonathan Coachman interviews Trish Stratus, who is emotional about the win and clearly loves what she is doing for a living. Cutting backstage, 3 Minute Warning and Rico are enjoying the ladies, which is kind of pointless since they're all lesbians. Bischoff picks his two girls for Stephanie's HLA.

Chris Benoit vs. Kurt Angle
I had no idea that this was on the card. DIS GUN B GUD! This honestly stemmed from these two laughing at each other over getting Stinkfaces. Yup. Feeling out process early on as they try to out wrestle each other. A series of pinfall attempts ends in multiple near falls before Benoit tries to apply the Crossface. Angle wriggles free and catches his breath outside. Angle gets angry, sends Benoit outside and throws him into the guardrail. He applies a seated bear hug of sorts but Benoit eventually gets out. He turns the tide when Angle misses and goes shoulder first into the corner. Benoit is like a shark smelling blood as he focuses on the shoulder because PSYCHOLOGY! Angle doesn't care about that and hits a belly to belly suplex. Both men are down but when they get to their feet, Benoit hits two Germans, only to have Kurt block the third. He then hits two Germans but Benoit blocks a third and hits another German of his own. Angle counters and finally hits three straight. My goodness, eight Germans. STRAPS ARE DOWN!Benoit ducks a shot and hits a release German! Benoit goes up for the headbutt, but Angle scurries up and hits a top rope belly to belly. Angle slaps on the Ankle Lock but Benoit kicks him off. They do some tombstone reversals and Benoit wins with a shoulder breaker. He goes back to the top and hits the headbutt but can't cover in time. He gets a near fall but goes right into the Crossface! Angle puts on the Ankle Lock WHILE IN THE CROSSFACE! He ends up countering it into just the Ankle Lock, but Benoit rolls through and gets on the Crossface. Kurt reverses it back and I don't even know what to do with myself anymore. Benoit reaches the ropes so Angle pulls him back and puts him in the Crossface! Benoit gets close to the ropes, so Angle uses his foot to push the bottom rope away like a genius. Benoit counters and pins Angle for three with his feet on the ropes.

Winner: Chris Benoit in 13:55
I just witnessed a classic. Once they got their reversals going the crowd ate this up and two of the very best of all time, put on an excellent match. Their best match together up to this point. ****1/2

Brock Lesnar gets interviewed backstage, which means that Paul Heyman gets interviewed. Time for the HLA segment. If you don't remember it, Bischoff teases that the two lesbians are going to get down and dirty with Stephanie. He cuts them off and brings out a huge, ugly lesbian for Stephanie. This turns out to be Rikishi and Bischoff gets a stinkface. Stupid segment, and I didn't get my damn HLA. Like, wouldn't Bischoff know the lesbian that he hired to make out with Stephanie? So he should know that it was Rikishi.

WWE Championship
Brock Lesnar (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. The Undertaker

The build up video for this match is pretty great and the Undisputed Title looks perfect on Brock. At the bell, they go so face to face that they basically kiss. Taker overpowers Brock and send shim flipping outside. Brock rushes in and tries to wrestle, but Taker knocks him outside again so he kicks the steps. Back inside, Brock jumps with Taker's jumping clothesline, making it look cooler. OLD SCHOOL! A Heyman distraction allows Brock to take control with some shoulder thrusts. Brock targets the ribs, but Taker fires away on him with SOUP BONES. Following a powerslam, Brock puts Undertaker in a bear hug for like five minutes. Taker fights out and they brawl outside. Heyman distracts Brian Hebner, allowing Brock to nail Taker with the title. Undertaker is busted open but isn't going down without a fight. He hits two big clotheslines and a big boot for two. Snake eyes and a second big boot gets him another near fall. The referee ends up getting bumped just before Undertaker hits a Chokeslam. Matt Hardy of all people runs out to attack The Undertaker but he just eats a Last Ride. That allows Brock to hit a stiff spinebuster for two. Undertaker fights back and goes for the Last Ride, but Brock blocks it and the referee gets knocked out again. Heyman brings a chair into play. Lesnar goes to use it but takes a big boot to the face. Taker picks up the chair and clocks Brock with it. The chair is completely bent as he absolutely nailed him. Undertaker nails a leg drop but can only get a near fall. Brock reverses the Last Ride and Undertaker counters the F5! They brawl in the corner and Hebner continues to try and stop them so Brock throws him into the corner and they continue to brawl until they call for the bell.

Winner via disqualification: The Undertaker in 20:27
Solid brawl. Could have been better but it was still entertaining. I would've liked it more if it was shorter. I didn't mind the DQ ending. **1/2

Overall: 7.5/10; Very good. I enjoyed this more than I expected to. Angle and Benoit had one of the best matches of 2002, while the main event was a decent brawl. The opener, World Title and Eddie/Edge matches were all very good and nothing on this card was bad at all. Solid follow up to an outstanding SummerSlam.