And get the F out!
Date: May 4, 2002
Location: Wembley Arena, London, England
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
This is just after Backlash 2002 where Hogan won the world title from HHH. Naturally the Undisputed Champion isn’t here but why should he waste his time on something like that? The two most important things here though are that two days after this we GET THE F OUT and it’s WWE. This is also the debut of the single brand show, making this an historical show which is likely going to suck. Let’s get to it.
The opening video is about bringing the fight across the ocean or something like that. It’s REALLY bland which is how most of these shows were.
This show sold out in 21 minutes apparently. Not bad.
Intercontinental Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. Rob Van Dam
Well this should be good if nothing else. Eddie won the title at Backlash and this is one of the rematches. They trade control to start as the fans are way behind RVD. Both of these guys are incredibly fast. Catching Van Dam is like pouring smoke through a keyhole. Where does he get these metaphors? Eddie takes over as I have a feeling this is going to be the best match on the card for the rest of the night.
The fans are all over Eddie here as he puts on something like an ankle lock. You know for two guys of this caliber, this isn’t really anything special. That always plagues these shows: everything you see here has been done elsewhere and done better. That and you know there’s nothing significant coming so why bother watching? I guess that’s the benefit of being in America as we get the main stuff.
Van Dam gets us to even with a superkick which is fair since Shawn is still out hurt. Monkey flips are fun but how did they get that name I wonder. Five Star misses though and I wonder how alive Eddie’s hair is. There’s no way that’s not a creature that lives there in hiding. Eddie goes to get the belt but nails the referee for the DQ when he tries to take it from him. RVD beats him up afterwards and hits a Five Star to make the fans smile.
Rating: C+. Nothing all that great here but it was ok. A match with these two is really hard to mess up and this was certainly watchable. It just didn’t have that pop though and that hurts it a bit. It got the crowd going though so that’s the main goal. Van Dam was very exciting back around this time when he wasn’t getting old (he’s like 32 here) . He would get the title back in like a month.
Molly and Jazz get Trish and Jackie later. Molly hates Terri, the interviewer.Molly can’t act at all. This is in the virgin period which was rather funny. It ends with Terri showing her bra to the girls. This was idiotic.
Trish Stratus/Jackie vs. Molly Holly/Jazz
Trish was just starting to get the hang of wrestling here but had a long way to go. Lawler makes masturbation jokes and Ross’ reaction of not getting it is great. Apparently the virgin aspect was a real life thing for Molly. That’s very awesome. Trish comes in and Lawler keeps using slang that I don’t get. I still don’t get why they picked Jazz if they wanted to have a girl from ECW. She wasn’t very well known there at all but I get the whole fighter thing.
Why do so many women use the handspring elbow? Trish throws those forearms of hers and takes Jazz down. She gets a backslide but Jackie messes things up. Yeah I’m stunned too. We get some BAD spot calling which is always fun to catch. This isn’t terrible but it’s kind of all over the place. Trish vs. Jazz or Molly would have worked much better.
Jackie gets caught in a Boston Crab and taps her fingers on the mat. STF is broken up by Trish as Lawler talks about flying puppies. Jackie hits a tornado DDT on Molly and Trish hits Stratusfaction on Jazz to get a double pin. Trish was clearly getting better and was clearly going to be a big star. Lita was out with a broken neck but she was getting back soon.
Rating: C. Not bad here at all but Jackie and Jazz kind of held it back a bit. Not that they’re bad in the ring but that they just weren’t that interesting and not a lot of people cared about them at all. This was more of a way to get Trish over than anything else which is what it was supposed to do.
X-Pac tells Hall to stay in the back for his match in a kind of pointless segment.
Bradshaw vs. X-Pac
This is NWO time here which would be done in like a month. Bradshaw kept getting little mini-pushes to see how he would handle them. He would be world champion in a little over two years though so apparently they worked. Pac has Kane’s mask for some reason that I don’t remember. Oh yeah Kane was the guardian of the NWO or something according to the Draft.
Who would have guessed that Bradshaw would be a far more successful guy in the end than Pac? The middle turnbuckle gets exposed and the referee is fine with this for some reason. He’s busted open now and Pac goes for it. This is nothing special but it’s working to fill in the time. It’s just a weird pairing though. Pac uses one of the worst chokes I’ve seen in a long time.
He does the ten punches in the corner and gets powerbombed out of his shoes. Wow my sarcasm isn’t coming at all here. Not sure if that’s because of me or the match but it’s just not there this time. I think it’s because of the match as I just do not care about this at all, but that could be the era and the British aspect. These shows all have tendencies to just not be interesting at all for obvious reasons.
Bradshaw gets a nice top rope shoulderblock which is as simple of a move as possible: just throw yourself at the other guy with as much weight as possible behind it. Fall Away Slam gets two and here’s Hall, probably to sue for copyright issues. He hits Bradshaw in the head with knunchucks for two which I thought was the finish. The Bronco Buster misses and I begin to smile. Hall interferes again and the X-Factor ends it. I hate that move.
Rating: C-. It’s not bad really which surprises me. I expected this to be pretty horrible but it really worked in the end. Pac against a big guy being watchable isn’t something I’m used to typing but this was actually decent. I’m still not sure why this was happening but they mentioned something about Austin and Bradshaw and the NWO stopping them from teaming up. I was pleasantly surprised here though.
Taker talks about beating up HHH. He’s a heel here and a Bad Ass. It’s weird hearing him talk like this.
Hardcore Title: Steven Richards vs. Booker T
Now here’s a weird pairing. Stevie has short hair here and won the title on Raw from Bubba Dudley. Booker fighting for the Hardcore Title is just weird. Richards is in long black and blue tights which look weird on him. We start breaking out the weapons with nothing being out of the ordinary. Richards throws them out as Booker throws them in. He wants a straight match with Booker?
We get a few weapons used as we realize that Booker is Booker and Richards is Richards and it just goes downhill from there for the champion. Damn that trashcan lid cracked over Booker’s head. A sidekick misses and Booker is in trouble. We get a chinlock in a hardcore match. There isn’t much going on here but to see this pairing is just odd. Also, Booker is high enough on the card that he’s in a hardcore title match? Really?
Missile dropkick into a trash can into Richards only gets two in a surprising kickout. SICK Steven Kick and down goes Booker. That looked GREAT. Booker catches him in a Book End and pins him in easily the biggest win of his career. Crash takes a Scissors Kick and Booker is a two time champion. Justin Credible and Tommy Dreamer run out and beat down Booker. He fights them off and it’s Spinarooni Time! It’s also Jazz and Richards time as they come in and hit a flapjack onto the table. It doesn’t break and only gets two in a painful looking spot. Another one goes through it and Steven gets the title back and bails.
Rating: C+. The match was actually pretty entertaining. Richards could have decent matches in the ring when he was being serious as he was here. Booker beating him makes sense though as he’s a former world champion so it’s not like he was going to lose the initial match one on one. These title changes were fun for the house shows as you see multiple title changes and get to see history, but it changes really fast which makes it fun. That’s what this was: fun.
We recap Brock’s first PPV match which was a total squash of Jeff Hardy. Brock’s partner tonight is…..Shawn Stasiak? He’s completely insane here and Heyman goes over the battle plan: Brock starts, Brock finishes and Shawn never comes in. It’s so weird to look at Brock here and then as the unstoppable force that made Carwin tap.
Hardy Boys vs. Shawn Stasiak/Brock Lesnar
I can’t imagine this ends with anything other than the Hardys pinning Stasiak. Apparently Lita just got hurt and had surgery like 5 days before this so she’s gone for awhile. Stasiak runs past Brock and Heyman so he can start. They double team Shawn and it’s not pretty. Lesnar comes in and Matt beats the hell out of him. Lesnar is like bitch please and just kills him with shoulders.
Brock just destroys Matt and this is fun to watch. Ross put Lesnar over like a god and that’s what he came off as. Heyman is either on a mic or really loud and his yelling is awesome. Brock misses a charge and hits the post so Shawn tags himself in. Jeff gets the hot tag and just beats the hell out of him. Their usual stuff ends him. Both of them get F5s (not named yet) and Stasiak gets a powerbomb. Lesnar was freaking SCARY and still is to this day.
Rating: D+. Pretty basic match but the idea was perfect: Brock dominates but the Hardys win while keeping Brock undefeated. This was fine for what it was and a decent enough match. I still don’t get how Brock was ever allowed to leave. You pay him whatever you want and do it as fast as you can to get him to stay. Either way, he made the right choice it seems. Match was fine.
We see clips of a charity dinner last night for Make-A-Wish. Nothing wrong with that so no jokes.
Coach is with Regal who of course gets cheered. He has Spike tonight for the European Title and cuts a heel promo about it. Nothing special at all here.
European Title: Spike Dudley vs. William Regal
I can imagine someone in the crowd looking up at their mother and saying “Mummy, he weighs money?” Spike is very hated here but he should be used to that over the years. And Spike has hurt his ankle. It looks legit and the match more or less stops as the trainer comes down to check on it. They start to take him to the back and Regal jumps him, taking away any semblance of realness here. Regal beats him up but gets small packaged for the pin. Power of the Punch hits after that.
Rating: N/A. With so much of the match being based around the ankle thing you can’t really grade it fairly. I don’t really get the idea of not putting the belt on Regal here as it’s not like it meant anything and it would have given the fans a thrill. This at least wasn’t the same basic ending as always.
We recap Show vs. Austin. Flair is guest referee which started because at Backlash, Taker beat Austin but Austin had his foot on the rope. Flair was referee there too and didn’t see it which makes sense. This led to Show joining the NWO for the reason of he’s the Giant and that’s what they did in WCW so they’re going to do it here.
Big Show vs. Steve Austin
Flair is the referee and the owner of Raw at this point. He says that he’s there to keep X-Pac and Hall out. Oh he’s just the outside referee. Show is the biggest athlete in the history of sports entertainment apparently. Old school Austin music here and a great pop, but not like it used to be.
Austin flips him off to start and we stand around a lot. Ok we need to like DO something here. This was right before Austin bailed just because he was unhappy with his angles or something. We finally get some offense in as Show pounds away on Austin’s chest. This is during the WHAT period so we get it a lot.
He goes for the knees as you would expect. Why does Show think a one piece swimsuit is a good idea? The fans think Show is a big fat bastard. It’s weird to see Austin on offense this long. The straps come down and Austin is in trouble. It’s all Show for awhile here as he beats up Austin for a good bit here.
We hit a bearhug for awhile just to waste some time. Why do all bearhugs end with punches and biting? It amuses me greatly that we have Austin, perhaps the greatest brawler ever while using a move named after one of the most famous technical guys ever. Stunner hits but the referee is down. Hall and Pac come out and that goes nowhere as Flair chases them off.
Nash shows up and takes a Stunner. A jumping Stunner ends Show in a cool visual. Flair comes back and chases off Nash before we have a beer bash. Flair drinks too without being asked. Guess what happens. Flair kisses his ass for some reason and it goes nowhere. He doesn’t sell the kick at all and there it is.
Rating: D+. Pretty boring match here with not a lot actually happening. This was just a way to get the crowd excited as Austin was certainly still a big deal. He was about to start feuding with Flair which led to him leaving for about 8 months before coming back for his last match with Rock at Mania 19. Not a very good match but the fans liked it.
We recap HHH vs. Taker. Taker cost HHH the Undisputed Title at Backlash and that’s about it.
Undertaker vs. HHH
Taker’s music is dubbed over here with generic rock music even though you see Limp Biskit on the screen. Taker gets a much better pop than HHH. HHH is a Smackdown guy but since this is a grudge match it’s ok I guess. We start with a small slugout and HHH wins. Taker goes Old School but HHH “jerks him off” to escape.
We brawl on the floor again as this is far different than their really good Mania match from about 14 months before this. HHH is really good at overselling stuff. Taker goes for the knee which HHH had repaired recently. HHH comes back and the top rope breaks on an Irish Whip. You can hear them talking to make sure they know what’s going on which is always interesting.
Taker with short hair just never worked for me. He just didn’t fee right. A bunch of powerw stuff doesn’t work on him and HHH isn’t sure what to do. I think HHH countered the chokeslam into a DDT. That chokeslam hits though as the Pedigree is countered. Taker broke HHH’s heart when he cost him the title. That’s just amusing for some reason.
Taker was using a Dragon Sleeper around this time and tries to do so here but it doesn’t work. Out of nowhere HHH gets the Pedigree to end this. Yes, Taker did a perfectly clean job in the middle of the ring. I can’t believe it either.
Rating: B. This wasn’t exactly their Mania match, but it was a fun slugout and they beat the hell out of each other. Taker jobbing is always fun to see if nothing else. This was designed to be a big main event and that’s what it was. How many times do you see these two fight? It’s not a match that you get very often which is what makes it special. Taker would win the title at the next PPV.
Overall Rating: B. This was probably the best European show that I can think of. The main event was fun and we actually got some title changes although you know there should be some asterisks there. The show was fun here and everything worked very well overall. The crowd clearly was into it and for a glorified house show, this was very fun and definitely worth checking out at some point.
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