Reviews

TJR Retro: WWE Judgment Day 2002 Review

The WWE Judgment Day 2002 show came at a time when the company was undergoing some changes. The big change was that the company’s name changed from the World Wrestling Federation to World Wrestling Entertainment about two weeks before this show. I remember at the time it was such a weird thing to have to stop saying WWF or writing “the WWF” when talking about the company, but as with anything, we got used to it. That was nearly 20 years ago now. I remember it so well. The “Get The F Out” campaign was a lot of fun too. There was also the first-ever WWE Draft to separate the rosters into two brands in March 2002.

The main event scene was going through changes as well since Triple H beat Chris Jericho to become WWE Undisputed Champion at WrestleMania 18, then he lost it a few weeks later to Hulk Hogan at Backlash 2002 and at this show, Hogan was defending it against The Undertaker, who beat Hogan for the WWE Title over a decade earlier. This was also Steve Austin’s last PPV match of the year because it was right before his issues with the creative team that led to his departure until he came back in early 2003.

This event took place shortly after the infamous “Plane Ride from Hell” when the WWE crew was returning from Europe and a lot of crazy stuff happened on the flight home from Europe. My friends at ProWrestlingStories covered it well here if you don’t know about it.

Judgment Day did a decent number on pay-per-view with 373,000 buys. It was around an average number for WWE PPVs in 2002. I think there was some intrigue in Hogan vs. Undertaker, plus some pretty good matches on the undercard.

This show followed WrestleMania 18 two months earlier. There was also Backlash 2002, but I haven’t reviewed that yet.

Here is the synopsis on WWE Network:

“Hollywood Hulk Hogan defends the Undisputed Heavyweight Championship against The Undertaker. Triple H and Chris Jericho battle inside Hell in a Cell. Edge and Kurt Angle meet in a Hair vs. Hair Match. Big Show & Ric Flair take on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman take on The Hardy Boyz. Plus, Eddie Guerrero and more.” 14+ (S,V)

The DVD looks like this:

Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Let’s get to the show.

WWE Judgment Day
From Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, Tennessee
May 19, 2002

The opening video package focused on the main feuds on the show: Triple H vs. Jericho in the Hell in a Cell match, Steve Austin vs. Ric Flair/Big Show and Hulk Hogan vs. The Undertaker. Those were the main focus of the video package while letting us know that Judgment Day is upon us.

There was a pyro display as the show began with a lot of sounds in the crowd as usual. Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler were the announcers for the show. They were the Raw announcers. The Smackdown announce team was not on the show.

Eddie Guerrero entered as the heel Intercontinental Champion with the fans booing him as he made his entrance. Big pop for Rob Van Dam for his entrance.

Intercontinental Championship: Eddie Guerrero vs. Rob Van Dam

Pre-match notes: Guerrero was the heel Intercontinental Champion while RVD was the popular babyface challenger. Eddie won the title one month earlier at Backlash. It was the battle of the Frog Splash.

They shoved eachother to start, RVD with a shoulder tackle and a clothesline for two. Van Dam with a powerslam for two leading to Guerrero bailing to the floor. Guerrero went back in with uppercuts, RVD got a boot up to stop a charging attack and then RVD hit a split-legged moonsault. RVD with a back body drop followed by a spinning leg drop for two. RVD with a backbreaker for a two count. RVD applied a surfboard submission leading to a pin attempt for two. The fans were cheering for RVD as Rob hit a standing moonsault for two. Guerrero came back with a barrage of punches/kicks against the turnbuckle. Guerrero did some dreaded eye raking as well to get some more heat. RVD got back into it with a monkey flip across the ring. RVD with shoulder tackles to the back and another monkey flip across the ring. RVD had Eddie on his shoulders, then tossed him into the top rope for a stun gun and RVD hit the Rolling Thunder splash for a two count. Eddie countered a suplex into a sunset flip. RVD with a stepover heel kick, but then when RVD went up top, Eddie shoved him onto the turnbuckle. Guerrero with a Powerbomb in the middle of the ring. Guerrero went up top, he took a long time, jumped off with a Frog Splash and RVD moved out of the way. RVD with a spin kick to the head. RVD went up top, jumped off with a Five-Star Frog Splash and Eddie moved, so RVD hit the mat hard. That meant that both men missed their top rope splash attempts. Each guy ran the ropes, RVD hit a running cross body block and that got a two count. RVD got a backslide pin for a two count, and then Guerrero got his own backslide pin with his feet on the ropes for leverage! That was good for one…two…and three because the referee Chad Patton never saw it. Lie, cheat and steal worked for Eddie Guerrero! It went 10:18.

Winner by pinfall: Eddie Guerrero

Analysis: ***1/4 This was a good choice for an opener since they wrestled at a fast pace and the crowd was into it. It was all about putting on an entertaining match without slowing down. No chinlocks or rest holds here. They made the most of their time with RVD getting a lot of the offense, then Eddie got some cheating offense and then Eddie cheated to win because that was fitting for his heel character.

Eddie celebrated with the Intercontinental Title while RVD was frustrated in the ring.

Analysis: They would go on to have an awesome Ladder Match for the IC Title on Raw eight days after this. RVD won the title that night. That was around a four-star level match.

There was a backstage scene with Vince McMahon, Reverend D-Von, Stacy Keibler and Deacon Batista. Vince was checking out Stacy’s body while D-Von did a prayer. Vince wanted to know if Bubba was going to show up and D-Von said that Bubba better not show up or he’ll have hell to pay due to Batista. Vince said he’ll be watching Stacy’s match, but he may be late to the celebration party.

There was a commercial for the “Get The F Out” campaign they were doing to let people know it was WWE now, not WWF anymore.

Trish Stratus made her entrance looking incredible in a purple outfit along with a hat and jacket that was part of her entrance attire. Big pop for Trish. Stacy Keibler was the heel challenger, but the fans still cheered for her because she’s a gorgeous woman as well. They showed a clip from Smackdown when Trish showed up and beat Stacy in a swimsuit competition. That was a memorable outfit for Trish. Reverend D-Von entered with Deacon Batista from the Smackdown brand made their way to the ring to help Stacy since Stacy was Vince’s “personal assistant” at this time. Before the bell began, Bubba Ray Dudley also made his entrance to support Trish. Bubba was on Raw.

Women’s Championship: Trish Stratus vs. Stacy Keibler

Pre-match notes: Trish Stratus was the babyface Women’s Champion while Stacy was the heel challenger.

Stratus with forearms, then she ran the ropes and Keibler hit a spin kick to the head. Keibler with a back body drop for two. Stratus with two clotheslines and then a Boston Crab submission. Stacy countered into a two count and then Stratus got a two count of her own. Stratus hit a neckbreaker for two. Stratus kicked Keibler out of the ring, so Bubba laughed at Stacy, who replied to that with a slap to the face. Batista went into the ring and body slammed Trish in the ring while referee Jack Doan was distracted by Bubba, so Stacy got a two count. Keibler did some hair pulling. Stratus bounced off the ropes, kicked Keibler, kicked Batista and Stacy accidentally hit Batista. Bubba tripped Batista off the apron and then Stratus hit a bulldog on Keibler for the pinfall win at 2:54.

Winner by pinfall: Trish Stratus

Analysis: * It was a short match that was passable. Trish was getting a lot better around this time while Stacy was never that good in the ring, but she did bump well in this match. The nearfall after Batista’s body slam on Trish was a clever spot. Trish winning was never in doubt here.

After the match, D-Von charged at Trish, who bailed to the floor and left up the ramp. Bubba confronted D-Von in the ring with JR noting they were separated in the draft with D-Von as a heel on Smackdown and Bubba as a face on Raw. Bubba shook D-Von’s hand, Batista went in the ring and Bubba tossed Batista out of the ring. D-Von hit Bubba with a running clothesline. D-Von and Batista worked over Bubba with kicks, so then D-Von told Batista to bring in a table. Batista set the table up while D-Von said that he wanted Bubba to see the light. Bubba fought out of a Powerbomb attempt by Batista, then Bubba went after D-Von, so Batista hit Bubba with a money box. Batista and D-Von gave Bubba a double team flapjack through a table. Stacy went back into the ring to raise the hands of the heels.

Analysis: This really didn’t lead to anything, but it was a way to put over D-Von’s new heel persona and to make Batista look impressive as a newcomer.

The Raw owner Ric Flair was talking to Arn Anderson in his office. Vince McMahon, the Smackdown owner, showed up to talk to Flair. Vince shook hands with Ric. They were both heel owners. Flair said that Vince was right all along because Austin is a no-good son of a bitch. Flair said that tonight, he is taking Austin down. Vince wished Ric good luck, Vince hugged Ric and had a look of concern on his face.

Analysis: Earlier in the year, Vince was the heel and Ric was the face when they were feuding. By this point, Ric was a heel as well since he was the Raw owner, so WWE had him feuding with Austin in a storyline that was all too familiar to WWE fans.

The Hardy Boyz made their entrance to a good pop. JR noted that Lita was healing nicely from her neck surgery. They showed replays of the Hardy Boyz getting beat up repeatedly by Brock Lesnar. That led to Lesnar’s introduction with Paul Heyman as his tag team partner.

The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy) vs. Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman

Pre-match notes: The Hardys were the faces while Lesnar/Heyman were the heels.

The Hardys jumped on Lesnar to start, then they chased after Heyman, but Lesnar saved Heyman. Lesnar drove Jeff into the turnbuckle and then a shoulder tackle. Lesnar caught Jeff out of the air leading to Lesnar tossing Jeff across the ring with a belly-to-belly suplex. Jeff sent Lesnar into the turnbuckle. Matt tagged in with punches on Lesnar, but Lesnar turned it around with shoulder tackles. Lesnar with a press slam attempt, Matt slipped out, hit a dropkick and then Lesnar hit a powerslam. There were “Goldberg” chants for some reason. Lesnar with a back body drop across the ring. Lesnar with a backbreaker on Matt, who came back with a Tornado DDT out of the corner. Jeff tagged in with a twisting splash off the ropes, then a jawbreaker and Matt/Jeff hit double team leg drops on Lesnar. Jeff hit the Poetry in Motion attack against the turnbuckle and Matt clotheslined Lesnar out of the ring. The Hardys chased Heyman, who ran around the ring, then Matt punched Paul and Jeff splashed Heyman against the turnbuckle. Jeff went up top, Lesnar took care of Matt and Jeff landed on top of Brock for a two count. Lesnar launched Jeff into Matt on the apron, so Matt bumped into the turnbuckle. Lesnar hit the F5 on Jeff. Heyman demanded the tag, Heyman stumbled into the ring and Heyman covered Jeff for the pinfall at 4:47.

Winners by pinfall: Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman

Analysis: *3/4 It was a fun match for the time given. Lesnar did all of the work while Heyman only tagged in when Lesnar had the match won, so Heyman was able to steal the glory. I liked the Hardys offensive spots in the match. It was obvious Brock would win, but at least the Hardys got some offense to look competitive enough. They booked Lesnar very well in the first few months of his career. No doubt about that.

Booker T was interview by Mark Lloyd with Booker wearing the New World Order shirt. Booker said that Ric Flair chose Booker T as the newest member of the NWO. Booker said he’s down with that because he’s a professional. Booker looked off in the distance and he saw a pretty woman in a black dress. She said something in Booker’s ear, so Booker could say his “tell me you didn’t just say that” line and she gave him a hotel room key. The woman left while Booker celebrated.

There was a video package about the rivalry between Raw owner Ric Flair dealing with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. That led to Big Show getting involved in the feud as Flair’s heel ally. Big Show complained about how he was at a restaurant during WrestleMania instead of being at WrestleMania, so he was angry about a lot of things. Austin said he didn’t have a problem with it and said that Flair will learn that you do not screw with Austin. Flair said that Austin will bleed, sweat and pay the price.

Big Show made his entrance to the New World Order theme song because he was in the NWO group at this point. Ric Flair made his entrance to his classic theme song. Steve Austin got a huge pop as he made his way down to the ring looking as determined as ever. Austin was unable to do his turnbuckle poses because the heels stood in his way.

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Ric Flair & Big Show

Pre-match notes: Austin was the babyface while Flair was the heel owner of Raw and Show was also a heel that was part of the New World Order group.

Austin with a back body drop on Flair, then a clothesline and Austin kicked Show in the leg three times. Austin hit Show down with forearms to the head. Austin avoided a Flair attack and then Austin sent Flair out of the ring. Austin went for a Figure Four Leglock on Show, but then Flair got involved and Austin put a Figure Four Leglock on Flair briefly. Austin avoided an elbow drop from Show. Austin grabbed a steel chair from ringside, but referee Charles Robinson made Austin put it down. Austin grabbed another chair and Austin sat in it in the ring while flashing the double middle fingers at the referee. The fans chanted “WHAT” for Austin as he locked up with Flair with Austin hitting a shoulder tackle followed by punches, so Flair bailed to the floor. There were loud “Austin” chants, then Flair hit a shoulder tackle, but Austin came back with a back body drop. Flair did an eye poke followed by two chops to the chest, but then Austin came back with chops as the fans chanted “WHAT” for all of them and Flair did a face first bump. Austin with a back body drop. Austin avoided an atomic drop and then hit a clothesline, so Flair tagged in Big Show to boos. Austin dropped to the mat to do some pushups. Show with a huge open hand chop to the chest followed by another hard chop. Austin worked over Show with repeated punches, but then Show sent Austin into the ropes and Show hit a boot to the face. Flair with punches followed by Flair hitting a low blow punch while he distracted the referee at the same time. Flair and Austin exchanged punches, Flair up top, so Austin tossed Flair off the top. Austin stomped Flair repeatedly, then Austin went towards Show and Show hit a powerslam, which led to a two count for Flair.

That led to Flair beating up Austin with some punches and chops. Flair drove his knee into Austin’s leg. Show tagged in with repeated elbow drops on the left knee and then he drove Austin’s knee into the mat two times along with a leg drop. Flair went for the Figure Four Leglock, but Austin got an inside cradle and then a clothesline. Flair kicked the left leg again. Flair applied the Figure Four Leglock on Austin with the fans cheering for Austin. When Austin turned the Figure Four Leglock, Big Show hit an elbow drop on Austin. There was a backslide pin attempt by Austin on Flair for two. They exchanged chops leading to “WOO” and “What” chants from the crowd. Austin with a sloppy-looking spinebuster and then Austin applied the Figure Four Leglock on Flair, so Show did a leg drop on Austin. Show was back in, Austin blocked a charge with his feet up and a Thesz Press on Show. Austin with a Thesz Press on Flair too. Austin hit a spinebuster on Flair for two although I think Show was legal. Austin with elbows to Show, then a kick to the gut and a Stone Cold Stunner on Big Show. X-Pac went into the ring, he went for a kick on Austin, but he ducked and X-Pac kicked Big Show. Austin with a Stunner on X-Pac, Austin with a Stunner on Flair and Austin covered Flair for the pinfall win at 15:36.

Winner by pinfall: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin

Analysis: ***1/4 It ended up being a pretty good match although I believe Austin pinned the wrong man. The announcers didn’t mention it probably because they had no idea since it was a chaotic ending. They kept Big Show strong since he wasn’t pinned and he only lost because X-Pac accidentally kicked him in the face. The fans loved Austin hitting so many Stunners in a row and they popped big for the finish.

Post match, Austin had a couple of beers and limped up the ramp because he was selling the left knee injury. Austin had a beer celebration with two beers on the stage.

There was an appearance from Smackdown’s Michael Cole and Tazz in the back part of the arena. They talked about the Angle vs. Edge match.

A video package aired to set up Kurt Angle vs. Edge. Edge congratulated Angle for the win at Backlash and Edge wanted to see Kurt’s new shirt, but then Kurt unveiled it to reveal that it says “YOU SUCK” on it. Angle was sick of Edge mocking Angle’s shirts, so then Angle challenged Edge to a Hair vs. Hair match and Edge agreed to it.

Kurt Angle made his entrance as the fans greeted him with “you suck” chants for his song. There was a barber’s chair on the right side of the ramp. Edge made his entrance to a pretty good pop. This was during his “Never Gonna Stop” phase.

Hair vs. Hair Match: Edge vs. Kurt Angle

Pre-match notes: Edge was the face while Angle was the heel. Angle started in WWE over a year after Edge, but Angle reached main event level first. The stipulation is that whoever loses the match will have their head shaved.

Angle went for a knee to the ribs, but Edge countered with a rolling cradle for two. Angle charged at Edge, who tossed Angle over the top to the floor. Edge kicked Angle into the barricade. Back in the ring, Edge hit a back body drop and tied up Angle in the ropes, which led to a running shoulder tackle to the ribs. When Edge tried it again, Angle caught him and hit a belly to belly overhead suplex over the top to the floor. Ouch. That’s a painful-looking bump. Angle took over from there with punches and kicks as fans chanted “Angle sucks” to agitate Kurt. Edge got a boot to the face, but then Angle countered into a spinebuster for two. Angle didn’t do the spinebuster that often in his career. Angle stomped on Edge to keep him down. Edge with a back elbow, but Angle came back with a DDT for a two count. Angle grounded Edge with a chinlock for about a minute. Lawler said WWF by accident and told JR to tell him to “get the F out” if he does it again. When Edge got back up, Angle did a hair pull to knock Edge down again and then Angle hit a suplex for two. Angle applied another chinlock for another minute. Edge sent Angle into the ropes leading to a huge overhead belly to belly suplex by Edge, which is a move he didn’t do that often in his career. Edge with a running forearm, then a clothesline and a spin kick. Edge with the sitout neckbreaker for a two count. Angle with an overhead belly to belly suplex of his own. Edge kicked Angle out of the ring and then Edge hit a dive over the top onto Angle on the floor.

Back in the ring, Edge went up top, Angle tried to attack, Edge shoved him down and Edge hit a missile dropkick for two that the fans bought as a possible finish. Angle came back with a huge German Suplex. Angle went for another German Suplex, but Edge countered with a forward roll for two. Edge with an Edgecution DDT that was like a sitout DDT. Edge went up top again, but this time he took too long and Angle hit a popup belly to belly suplex off the top for two. Great nearfall there. Edge kicked Angle into the turnbuckle and Edge hit a DDT off the ropes for two. They did a spot with a whip into the ropes, Edge went for a Spear, Angle moved and Edge inadvertently hit referee Brian Hebner with a Spear. Angle got back up with a release German Suplex where Edge flipped over to land on his stomach. Angle brought a chair into the ring, he charged at Edge, but Edge came back with a Spear and a cover with no referee to count. Edge got back up again, but Angle kicked Edge to block a Spear attempt. Edge avoided an Angle Slam and hit a second Spear as the referee turned over to count one…two…and no! The fans reacted with screams and boos because they thought that was it. Angle got out of a DDT from Edge, Angle ran the ropes and hit a Spear of his own. Angle hit the Angle Slam for one…two…and no! That led to screams and cheers because the fans were so happy that Edge kicked out. Angle pulled down the straps, Angle with an Ankle Lock, Edge to the ropes, Edge hit an enziguri kick to the head and then Angle applied an Ankle Lock again. Edge kicked Angle into the ropes, Angle bounced off and Edge applied an inside cradle for one…two…and three! Huge pop for the win. It went 15:30.

Winner by pinfall: Edge

Analysis: ****1/4 That was awesome. What a great reaction for the pinfall too because they know it meant that Angle would have his head shaved. A fun match that the fans were invested in from the moment the bell rang. The time of the match felt just right because they didn’t go too short or too long. This was a great match with Edge picking up the big win meaning that Angle had to have his head shaved. The fans were into it because of the story with the stipulation. Normally I don’t like referee bumps, but it played a part in the story with Edge about to win after it happened and often times the guy that was screwed out of the pin ends up losing. Not here, though. Having Edge kick out of the Angle Slam felt like a big deal as well and then Edge managed to win soon after. Nice job by Angle putting over Edge in a big way because it was clean. (Dave Meltzer rated this ****1/2 in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, so he liked it even more than me.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iaZGGpJta5A

Post match, Angle attacked Edge with punches, but then Edge hit the Edgecution DDT in the middle of the ring. Edge sent Angle out of the ring and then pointed over to the barber’s chair that was over by the entrance area. There was a barber there with a big barber chair on the stage. Angle kicked Edge into the side of the stage and then Angle ran to the back.

Analysis: No head shaving yet. We would see more of them later.

They showed the Marriott hotel down the street. Booker T was in bed with the pretty woman he saw earlier in the show. She asked Booker to make it more romantic by doing it in the dark, so Booker turned the light off. There were kissing noises. Then the lights went on with Goldust saying he wanted Booker to leave the NWO and come back to Goldust. The light was back on as Goldust said Booker wouldn’t return his phone calls. Booker left the ring with his underwear down so we could see his ass, which we really didn’t need to see. Goldust was all sad because his plan failed.

Analysis: This was mildly funny, but also didn’t need the ass shot. The team of Goldust and Booker were very successful as a babyface team on Raw. Booker’s run in the New World Order didn’t go well for him at all.

The Hell in a Cell structure was lowered. Michael Cole and Tazz were shown talking about the match with Triple H facing Chris Jericho.

There was a video package setting up Triple H vs. Chris Jericho in a Hell in a Cell match. Vince McMahon, on Smackdown, didn’t like Triple H, so he sent a bunch of heels to attack Hunter and Jericho hit Hunter in the head with a steel chair. Vince told Hunter he was in a Hell in a Cell match with Jericho. Hunter followed up with a sledgehammer attack on the heels, but then Jericho hit Hunter with a chair to the head.

Analysis: It was a rematch from WrestleMania two months earlier when Triple H beat Jericho. Triple H lost the WWE Title at Backlash to Hulk Hogan and now they were back to feuding again. Also, I had forgotten about Triple H being on Smackdown at this point although it was more because he was the former WWE Champion, which would lead to Hunter choosing what show to be on. It would be a few months later when he would become a Raw guy. That was a situation that we found out about at Vengeance 2002 in July.

Chris Jericho made his entrance for his first Hell in a Cell match. Jericho wasn’t booed that much. Big pop for Triple H and his classic “Time to Play the Game” theme song.

Hell in a Cell Match: Chris Jericho vs. Triple H aka Hunter Hearst Helmsley

Pre-match notes: Jericho was the heel while Hunter was the face. The referee was Tim White, who unfortunately had a rough time in this match. We will get to that.

Hunter looks as tanned as he’s ever looked for a match. I don’t know if he fell asleep in a tanning bed or what happened to him. They had a staredown, then punches and Hunter hit a jumping knee. Hunter with a back body drop. Hunter worked over Jericho with punches and then Jericho was tossed over the top to the floor. Hunter sent Jericho back in the ring followed by Jericho hitting a running forearm. Hunter came back with punches, Jericho charged, Hunter moved and Jericho’s shoulder hit the ring post. Hunter whipped Jericho into the cage three times leading to a clothesline. Back in the ring, Hunter hit two more clotheslines and a suplex for two. Jericho whipped Hunter into the turnbuckle leading to Hunter’s bump where he went over the top to the floor. Hunter was sent into the cage. Jericho’s left arm was bleeding as Hunter whipped Jericho into the steel steps. Jericho did a catapult that sent Hunter into the cage. The referee Tim White kept telling the guys to get back into the ring even though they really don’t have to do that. Jericho grabbed a ladder and hit Hunter in the head with it. Hunter did a blade job while the camera was off him, so he was bleeding from the forehead. Back in the ring, Jericho hit Hunter in the head with the top of a ladder again. Jericho whipped Hunter into the ladder, so Hunter bumped out of the ring and onto the steel steps. Jericho tossed the ladder on Hunter’s body. They exchanged punches on the floor leading to Jericho whipping Hunter into the steel cage. Hunter brought a chair into the ring so when Jericho attacked with the ladder, Hunter hit the chair into the ladder. Hunter with a hard chairshot to the upper back of Jericho, but Jericho came back with a bulldog into the edge of the ladder that was in the ring. Jericho brought the steep steps into the ring, but Hunter did a drop toe hold so Jericho’s upper body went into the steps. Hunter with a neckbreaker. Hunter with a facebuster and then Hunter threw the steps right at Jericho, who was grabbing his right arm after that. Hunter sent Jericho face first into the cage and then Jericho bounced off the ring post. Hunter sent Jericho into the steps again. Back in the ring, Jericho charged, Hunter avoided him and whipped him right into Tim White, who took a huge bump off the apron to the cage! Ouch. Tim White was down and he was legitimately hurt. It hurt Tim’s shoulder really bad. Hunter knocked down Jericho with a clothesline, and then Jericho got back up with a steel chair to the face with Hunter getting his hand up to block. Jericho whipped White right shoulder first into the cage. Jericho beat up White with punches while White was bleeding from the head as well, so the referee did a blade job too. JR: “Poor Tim White.” That’s true. Jericho charged at Hunter, who hit a spinebuster. That led to referees using bolt cutters to cut the chain so they can check on Tim White, who had the key to the cell. Jericho charged with a chair and Hunter kicked a chair into Jericho’s face. Hunter grabbed a sledgehammer from under the ring. Hunter hit the sledgehammer to the face with his hand on the front of it. Jericho was bleeding after the chair shot. Hunter covered Jericho with no referee there to count. That meant that both guys had pinfalls without a referee there to count.

Jericho crawled out of the cage because the door was open. When Hunter tried to walk out of the cage, Jericho slammed the door on his face. Hunter and Jericho got in a brawl on the outside of the cell. Jericho cleared off the Spanish announce table. Jericho teased a Pedigree on the table, Hunter fought out of it and Hunter gave Jericho a DDT through the Spanish announce table! Both guys were out on the table as they bled heavily from the forehead. Hunter grabbed a barbed wire 2×4 piece of wood, so Jericho climbed to the top of the cell. Hunter climbed up the cell after Jericho with the barbed wire piece of wood. Jericho got the barbed wire piece of wood and hit Hunter in the back with it. Jericho hit Hunter in the back with the barbed wire piece of wood again. Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho submission on top of the Hell in a Cell as if it is supposed to hurt more while on there. Referee Mike Chioda went up to the top of the cage to see if Hunter was going to tap out, but Hunter powered out of it. Jericho was near the edge of the cell, then he went back to the middle and Hunter countered a barbed wire attack with a low blow uppercut punch. Jericho did a back body drop on the top of the cell and thankfully the cage didn’t break. Hunter landed right near the 2×4 piece of wood with barbed wire and he hit Jericho in the head with it. Hunter covered Jericho on the cell for a two count with Chioda selling his hand while counting the pin because he was hitting steel. Hunter hit a Pedigree on top of the cell leading to the pinfall for the one…two…and three. It went 24:31.

Winner by pinfall: Triple H

Analysis: ***3/4 It was a very good brawl with a strong finish. Lots of blood since there were blade jobs by Hunter, Jericho and even referee Tim White as well. The fans weren’t into it the whole way because it was a long match worked at a slow pace. The second half of the match had a lot of exciting moments after White was bumped, then the blood in the match increased and they left the cell as well. I think when people watch Hell in a Cell matches they want somebody to get thrown off the cage, but that didn’t happen here. They still did something unique by doing submission and nearfalls on top of the cell before Hunter was able to pin Jericho on the cell. Whenever Triple H wrestled Chris Jericho in their careers, Hunter won most of the matches. This was no different. As the babyface in the match, it made sense for Hunter to win.

Triple H celebrated the win on top of the cell. Both guys were a bloody mess and Hunter had some red scarring on his lower back as well. They didn’t show the wrestlers and referee getting down from the cage. It was onto the next scene.

Kurt Angle was shown running down a hallway where he sat in the makeup lady’s chair and the camera was right there. Edge was shown running by. Angle took off going the other way and then Edge chased after.

A commercial aired showing two people having sex in a car, the window had a “WWF” logo and then the naked woman sent the window back up as the “WWE” logo was shown. It ended with the “Get the F Out” phrase.

Analysis: I had forgotten about that commercial. It’s pretty raunchy, but the company was always trying to be edgy like that during this period.

They showed Maven on a date with Torrie Wilson at the World restaurant in Times Square in New York. She looked tremendous. She talked about how she felt free after moving on from Tajiri, who made her cover up. They were having a good time.

Analysis: This was when WWE was trying to make Maven more popular by having him date Torrie. In real life, Torrie was dating Billy Kidman and they got married about a year after this. Torrie and Billy were married for about five years. Speaking of Torrie, here she is tweeting about how I’m her buddy, which is true. And here’s another tweet from her about me. You’re welcome. She’s wonderful.

“You look soooooo…good to me.” What a song. It’s Billy & Chuck with Rico. Rikishi made his entrance on his own to a pretty good pop. They said that Vince McMahon would appoint a partner for Rikishi. Howard Finkel was handed a sheet with the name of Rikishi’s partner…Rico.

WWE Tag Team Championships: Billy & Chuck vs. Rikishi & Rico

Pre-match notes: Billy & Chuck were the heel WWE Tag Team Champions. Rikishi was a face. Rico was a heel, but he was teaming with Rikishi here as chosen by Vince McMahon.

Rikishi made Rico start on the apron. Billy with a DDT on Rikishi, who no sold it since he’s Samoan and Rikishi hit a superkick. Chuck went into the ring, Rikishi’s corner attack missed and B&C hit a double team flapjack on Rikishi. Billy went for a dropkick, Rikishi held onto the ropes and Rico turned away rather than tag in. Billy with a neckbreaker on Rikishi and then Chuck hit an overhead belly to belly suplex for a two count. Billy tagged in with a Fameasser for two. That was Billy’s finisher for most of his career. Chuck was back in, Rikishi hit a belly to belly slam and Lawler claimed this was a brilliant strategy move by Vince McMahon. Rikishi with a back body drop on Chuck and a Samoan Drop on Billy. Chuck tried a sunset flip, but Rikishi sat on him for a two count as Billy broke it up. Rikishi launched Billy in the air leading to a Cutter. Chuck with a dropkick on Rikishi. Chuck held Rikishi, Rico did a spin kick, Rikishi ducked and Rico kicked Rico. Rikishi pinned Chuck to win the titles at 3:50. That means Chuck got pinned by Rico’s spin kick. Yes, really.

Winners by pinfall AND NEW WWE Tag Team Champions

Analysis: 1/2* This sucked. The good thing is that it was kept short. The fans didn’t care about it much at all. This didn’t make Billy & Chuck at all since Chuck lost the titles to a spin kick by Rico after Rikishi covered Chuck. The fans were dead quiet for most of it as well. The angle just didn’t work at all.

Post match, Rikishi did a victory dance on the stage. There was even some pyro as Rikishi did his dance. When Rico left the ring, he saw his Tag Team Title on the floor and left with it.

Analysis: This title reign didn’t last that long. Billy & Chuck would get the titles back about two weeks later.

Edge was shown backstage looking for Kurt Angle again. Angle surprised Edge by hitting him with a trash can to the face. Angle pulled Edge up the stairs and got out to the arena. Angle did a promo saying he’ll show you a haircut. They were fighting by the side of the ramp and they were on the stage with the barber’s chair. Edge applied a sleeper on Angle to lead to Angle passing out. Edge put Angle into the barber’s chair. The barber handed Edge the clippers and then Edge shaved the head of the sleeping Kurt Angle. The fans sang “na na na hey hey goodbye” to Angle’s hair. That was a good chant. Edge shaved most of Angle’s hair off. Edge put some shaving cream on Angle’s hair and then Edge used a straight razor to clean it. Edge slapped Angle to wake him up, so Angle realized he was shaved bald. Edge punched him down. Edge said instead of people chanting “you suck” the fans are going to chant “you’re bald” at Angle. That led to Kurt’s song playing and the fans chanting “you’re bald” right on cue. Angle was freaking out about it and ran to the back.

Analysis: This was 19 years ago, so I think it’s fair to say we have gotten used to bald Kurt Angle. Due to his hairline at the time, I think Kurt made the right call going with the bald look.

The video package aired for WWE Champion Hulk Hogan defending against The Undertaker, who was the heel. Undertaker cost Triple H the WWE Championship because Taker was the number one contender and would rather face Hogan. That led to cheap attacks from Undertaker on Hogan and then Hogan drove Undertaker’s motorcycle with a truck. It also led to a backstage scene where Undertaker tied Hogan to a motorcycle and Undertaker drove it into some boxes in the backstage area.

The Undertaker walked out to the ring in his Big Evil gear. Hollywood Hulk Hogan was up next as the Undisputed WWE Champion. JR mentioned that at Survivor Series 1991, The Undertaker pinned Hogan to win the WWE Championship for the first time in Undertaker’s career.

WWE Undisputed Championship: Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. The Undertaker

Pre-match notes: Hogan was the babyface WWE Champion while The Undertaker was a heel. Hogan was 48 years old at the time of this match while The Undertaker was 37 years old. Hogan was the WWE Champion for 28 days going into this match.

When Hogan got into the ring, The Undertaker got a hold of Hogan’s weight belt and hit Hogan in the back with it. Taker put the belt buckle on his fist, Hogan came back with punches and Hogan whipped Taker with the belt to the back. Referee Earl Hebner took the belt away and the bell rang to start the match.

Hogan with a running clothesline followed by punches and a back body drop. Hogan with a clothesline that sent Taker over the top to the floor. The crowd popped big when Hogan ripped his shirt off and did some of his famous posing. Taker was on the floor, Hogan went after him, Taker with elbows, a headbutt and then Hogan whipped Taker knees first into the steel steps. Hogan sent Taker into the barricade and then back into the ring. Taker with an arm wringer, then shoulder tackles, but when Taker went to the top rope, Hogan tripped up Taker to prevent the rope walking. Hogan hit a superplex off the middle rope. That was not a move that Hogan did often, but it worked for a two count for Hogan here. Hogan with punches, the Taker went low and did a chop block to the left knee. Taker drove the left knee of Hogan into the ring apron and into the ring post. Taker put his legs around Hogan’s knee for a submission hold on the mat, so Hogan managed to use his right leg to kick himself free. Hogan with a double axehandle to the chest, then Hogan with a boot to the face and Hogan went for the leg drop, but Taker moved out of the way. Taker applied a half crab submission on the left knee with Hogan able to get to the ropes to break it. Taker worked over Hogan with punches while up against the turnbuckle. Taker with a back elbow, but then when Taker went for a boot to the face, Hogan moved and Taker caught his leg against the top rope. Taker got back into it with a weak-looking Chokeslam. That looked bad since Hogan barely went up for it. Hogan did his Hulking Up routine, which meant no selling Taker’s punches, Hogan hit multiple punches and the boot to the face. Hogan hit the leg drop for one…two…and no because Undertaker got the left shoulder up. Taker came back with a DDT after running the ropes and Hogan lowered his head, so that got a two count for Taker. Vince McMahon made his entrance with the fans booing him. Taker grabbed a chair, Hogan kicked the chair into Taker’s face and then Vince distracted referee Earl Hebner, so Hogan brought Vince into the ring. Hogan with a punch to Vince’s face and then a leg drop on Vince. That allowed Taker to recover with a chair to the back of Hogan while referee Hebner was apparently deaf as he made Vince leave the ring. Taker hit a Chokeslam on Hogan (this was better than the first one) for the one…two…and three to become the Undisputed WWE Champion. It went 11:17.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW WWE Undisputed Champion: The Undertaker

Analysis: *1/2 This was a bad match with Hogan barely able to move out there with the bad knee, plus he was nearly 50 years old at this point. The Undertaker wasn’t at his best as a character or as a guy that had good matches, so it was boring to watch. Vince getting involved in the finish meant that it was another WWE Title PPV match with interference, which was happening way too much in this era. That first Chokeslam by Undertaker to Hogan was awful. I blame Hulk for it. The second one was better at least. When Taker kicked out of the Hogan leg drop it felt like a big deal. It wasn’t that much of a surprise since Hogan lost because of his age, but it was a bit surprising that they would do a WWE Title change at three straight PPVs (Triple H to Hogan to Undertaker).

The Undertaker celebrated the win as the new WWE Undisputed Champion. Undertaker made referee Hebner put the WWE Title around his waist. They replayed the finish including Undertaker’s chair shot to Hogan’s back and a Chokeslam to win. Vince McMahon was shown smiling at the sight of Undertaker as the WWE Champion.

The Undertaker went back into the ring with a steel chair. Undertaker jabbed the chair into the throat of Hogan. Undertaker hit Hogan three times in the ribs with the steel chair. Undertaker posed in the ring with the WWE Title again. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: This was the first and only time where Undertaker won the WWE Title as this “Big Evil” version of his character. I thought he was entertaining in this gimmick, but as I alluded to earlier, the match quality wasn’t what it would be in some of the later years in the decade.

This event had a runtime of 2:40:36 on WWE Network.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Show rating (out of 10): 7.5

This was a pretty good show overall with the Edge/Angle Hair vs. Hair match standing out as the best while the Triple H/Jericho Hell in a Cell match ended up as a strong match as well (poor Tim White!). The HIAC match was slow early on, but the pace picked up and it had a unique finish since the pin took place on the cell. Edge/Angle worked so well because the fans were buying every nearfall due to the head-shaving stipulation. I think because those two matches were stipulation matches that were feud enders, it really made them stand out a lot on the card.

Putting Eddie Guerrero/Rob Van Dam on first was a smart move since they wrestled a fast pace match. Steve Austin worked hard in his final PPV match of 2002 in a handicap match with Flair/Show. Those matches are hard to do sometimes, but they made it work. The main event with Undertaker/Hogan wasn’t good at all and the fact that there was a cheap ending hurt it as well. That one Chokeslam from Undertaker to Hogan was so awful looking. Hogan could barely move out there at times in the match. The fact that they did three WWE Title changes at three straight PPVs was very rare, but that’s what happened.

This isn’t going to be remembered as some all-time great show or anything like that, but it’s worth checking out for some good matches especially when it comes to the Edge vs. Angle match.

 

FIVE STARS

1. Kurt Angle – Greatness as usual. Also was hilarious after the head shaving.

2. Edge – Kept up with Angle well and had a great match.

3. Triple H

4. Chris Jericho

5. Eddie Guerrero/Rob Van Dam

 

OPINIONS

Best Match: Edge vs. Kurt Angle (****1/4 out of 5)

Worst Match: Rikishi & Rico vs. Billy & Chuck (1/2*)

Most Memorable Moment: Kurt Angle getting his head shaved.

That’s all for me. Check out the full list of my WWE PPV Review archive right here. Thanks for reading.

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My contact info is below.

John Canton

Email mrjohncanton@gmail.com

Twitter @johnreport

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