December 15, 2002
by Samoa Rowe
-Follow me on Twitter: @SamoaRowe
-From Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, and Tazz.
World Tag Team Championship:
Yes, the Dudleyz are together again after their singles pushes fizzled. The match starts off as if it as a 4 vs. 4 match with the heels and baby faces working together. The Dudleyz are more than happy to dish out the “WASSUP” head butt. Regal makes a blind tag as the Dudleyz nail the 3D on Christian. Regal and Bubba have a miscue on a roll-up so the Dudleyz are awkwardly gone at 5:15. Goldust gets a quick roll-up as well to eliminate Storm and Regal at 5:35. With that nonsense done with, the match settles into a normal 2 on 2 outing. Jericho uses Regal’s flag to weaken Goldust and isolate him. Booker T gets a hot tag and dishes out a series of attacks. Jericho plants Booker for a 2 count but the Walls are countered. Jericho dodges the Scissors Kick and applies the Walls! Goldust makes the save and trips Christian on the ropes. Jericho gets driven into Christian’s groin and Booker nearly gets the pinfall. Booker counters into a missile drop-kick! Bulldog by Jericho but the Lionsault misses! Flapjack by Booker and the SPINAROONIE! Scissors Kick by Booker only gets 2! Jericho clocks Booker with the belt but the Lionsault only gets 2! The Bookend finishes Jericho at 16:40! This was very good once it got down to business, ***.
Chris Jericho and Christian © vs. Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley vs. Lance Storm and William Regal vs. Booker T and Goldust
Winners and new World Tag Team Champions: Booker T and Goldust
-Booker and Goldust are emotional in their celebration and the crowd is totally behind them. For some reason, they would drop the titles pretty quickly to the heatless wonders that were Storm and Regal.
-Earlier today, Josh Mathews tries to interview Brock Lesnar, who only promises to make an impact.
Edge vs. A-Train
Albert was repackaged as A-Train just a few weeks earlier and now it’s Edge’s job to help him get over. Crowd chants “Shave your back” as A-Train tries to build some momentum. Edge quickly attacks several body parts to slow down the big man, but A-Train turns it around. Edge escapes a chinlock and goes wild punching. Face plant by Edge only gets 2. Edge slams A-Trains head to the mat off the second rope. A-Train counters with a bicycle kick in mid-air! A-Train grabs a chair but Edge counters with a baseball slide drop-kick. Flying cross body by Edge gets another near fall. The Baldo Bomb only gets 2. A-Train fights with the referee over the chair, allowing a SPEAR from Edge. A-Train connects a chair shot to the knee of Edge for the DQ at 7:10. Cop-out finish to a dull match, *¾.
Winner via DQ: Edge
-Edge drop-kicks the chair into A-Train’s skull. The crowd wakes up as Edge loses his temper and delivers a series of chair shots to leave A-Train down and out.
-Paul Heyman is pleading with Big Show not to do anything stupid. Show is worried that Brock Lesnar might be in Kurt Angle’s corner for their match. Heyman stops Show from going to Stephanie, because that would only backfire. Heyman coaxes Show back into his locker room, promising to take care of it himself.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit
They lock up and exchange counters in a mat wrestling contest. Benoit nails a back body drop and goes after the head. Eddie counters with an arm scissors. Benoit counters by lifting Eddie with one arm for a slam! They exchange chops and Guerrero applies a head scissors. Benoit counters, but Guerrero sends him to the floor for a top rope cross body! Back to the ring, Eddie goes after the knee. Benoit fires back with rolling German suplexes. Benoit blows his nose on his former friend and continues throwing Germans. Eddie counters with Germans of his own. Eddie’s Frog Splash connects! They both tumble to the floor, and Chavo Guerrero runs in and clocks Benoit with a tag title. Benoit is vulnerable and Eddie applies the Lasso from El Paso. Benoit survives and mounts a comeback with a power bomb. Chavo attacks Benoit on the top rope and gets hung up on the ropes. Benoit counters Eddie as well and finally hits the diving head butt. Eddie counters back into the Lasso, but Benoit aggressively counters into the crossface! Benoit switches arms and refuses to let go, forcing Eddie to tap at 16:42. Great finish! The in-ring action was top notch, but it took a while to get the crowd invested as this started as heel vs. heel, ***¾.
Winner: Chris Benoit
-Paul Heyman barges into Stephanie McMahon’s office. Stephanie refuses to change her mind on lifting Brock Lesnar’s suspension. Paul tries to BS her on the integrity and prestige of the WWE title and she throws his interference at Survivor Series back into his face. She says that Lesnar is free to do what he wants tonight. Paul promises that if Lesnar gets involved, Big Show will break his neck.
-Dawn Marie and Al Wilson come to the ring to eat up some valuable PPV time. Dawn takes her sweet time introducing the video tape of Torrie Wilson reluctantly going into her hotel room for some forced HLA (WWE creative at the time had some serious woman issues, eh?). The tape comes as close to being soft-core porn as they could get away with before Al insists they stop the footage. The PG era doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?
Batista (with Ric Flair) vs. Kane
This is Batista’s first ever PPV match and it’s painfully obvious. Kane throws a swinging neck breaker and drops Batista over the ropes. Kane counters with a body slam and elbow drop for 2. Batista hangs Kane on the ropes and takes control with a spear. Flair attacks Kane at ringside and all his chops are completely no-sold. This allows Batista to ambush with a clothesline to remain in control. Kane blocks a power bomb and hits a low blow. Flying clothesline by Kane, but Flair’s distraction prevents a pinfall. Botched spinebuster by Batista gets 2. Choke slam by Kane, but Flair distracts again. Kane attacks Flair, making him an easy target for Batista’s Sit-out Power bomb for the win at 6:37. Batista was not ready for this push at all, ½*.
-Kurt Angle asks Funaki for directions to Brock Lesnar’s locker room. When in doubt, you can always ask Funaki.
-John Cena and B2 come out on the stage to drop some rhymes. Cena was so good as this character, it gave him the momentum he needed to get noticed and move up the card.
Victoria aggressively storms the ring and gets tossed. Victoria and Jackie have an exchange while Trish is down. Stratusfaction is countered with a double back suplex. Victoria nails a superplex on Trish, but Jackie tries to steal the pin. Jackie and Trish double team Victoria whenever convenient. Trish builds some momentum on both opponents, but Victoria cuts her off. Jackie shoves Victoria off the turnbuckles but walks into a Chick Kick. Stratus gets Jackie right where she wants her, but Victoria uses the Women’s title as a weapon and steals the win at 4:31. Complete triple threat spot-fest here, *.
Victoria © vs. Trish Stratus vs. Jacqueline
Winner and still Women’s Champion: Victoria
-Kurt Angle tries to recruit Brock Lesnar to be in his corner against Big Show and Paul Heyman. Lesnar doesn’t commit to anything but hints that Angle will not regret getting his suspension lifted. Angle leaves Lesnar to watch a replay of Heyman screwing him at Survivor Series.
It’s our second heel vs. heel match of the night, but the crowd gets right behind Angle. Show dumps Angle onto Heyman, but Angle quickly runs around for a sneak attack. Show recovers and drops Angle on the barricade. Show methodically wears Angle down for a bit. Angle bites to escape a Bear Hug and leaps for a chinlock. Show counters with a snap mare, but Angle nails a tornado DDT. Angle almost misses a standing moonsault, with his legs hitting Show in the head. Show rebounds with a clothesline, but Angle counters with the Olympic Slam for only 2! Angle reverses into the Ankle Lock but Show kicks Angle into the referee. Heyman is back and throws a chair into the ring. Angle gets the chair first and delivers some shots to the head. Show taps to the Ankle Lock but the ref is down. A-Train runs in and puts Angle down with a backbreaker! Show gets a desperate choke slam, but Lesnar runs in (to a monster pop) and plants Show with the F-5. Brock chases Heyman to the back, leaving Angle behind to score the pinfall at 12:32. This was a smartly booked big man vs. smaller man contest, the overbooked finish is what it is, **½.
Big Show © (with Paul Heyman) vs. Kurt Angle
Winner and new WWE Champion: Kurt Angle
-Rob Van Dam drew the short straw and is hosting the PPV party at The World. RVD predicts that Shawn Michaels emerges victorious tonight.
World Heavyweight Championship (3 Stages of Hell Match):
The first fall is a Street Fight! Flair is ejected from the building immediately. It’s all Shawn until he misses a dive onto a trash can (which doesn’t break). Triple H, limping with a bandaged leg, takes control. HBK counters with a cross body into the trash can. The match has been pretty sloppy thus far. Triple H attempts to suplex Michaels through two tables at ringside, but it’s blocked. Shawn counters with a backbreaker through a chair! Sweet Chin Music is countered with a sick attack on the knee. HHH softens the knee and applies a Figure Four. Shawn is trapped in the hold for a long while before reversing it. HHH leads HBK to the set and rams him into the metal wall. HHH retrieves the barb-wire 2x4 (which I will refer to as “Barbie”) and sets it on fire! Michaels blocks and clocks HHH with the flaming weapon! Back to the ring, Triple H counters with a drop toe hold onto a chair. HBK delivers a low blow but Triple H attacks the knee, leading to a Pedigree for the win at 20:29.
Shawn Michaels © vs. Triple H (with Ric Flair)
The second fall is a Steel Cage match. Triple H loads the ring with weapons while the cage slowly lowers. HHH leans a table in the corner, but HBK blocks. HHH busts HBK open with a catapult into the cage. Michaels finds his second (or third) wind, prompting Triple H to attempt an escape over the top. They brawl on the top as Flair shows up again to stack a second level of tables to the pile. Flair sneaks in through the door for an ambush, nearly allowing Triple H to escape. Michaels busts Flair open with the cage. Michaels counters a Pedigree and serves a pair of SCM. Shawn sets Triple H on the table for a cross body off the top of the cage! HBK scores the pinfall at 31:04.
The final fall is a Ladder match. Flair is carried out while Michaels wastes no time bringing in a ladder to use as a weapon. Triple H twists in a suplex and takes a bad landing onto the ladder. Michaels misses a splash off the ladder! The crowd is distracted by something to the side as Triple H hits a Pedigree. HHH makes the climb but gets pulled down for a SCM! Michaels climbs and has the belt within his grasp, but Triple H tips the ladder to send Michaels crashing through the stack of tables at ringside. Triple H retrieves the belt to win the whole thing at 38:25. This felt like an awesome 25 minute match stretched out to fill almost 40 minutes. After a rough start, it got better as it went along, but was incredibly self-indulgent and just way too long. It evens out to be about ***.
Winner and new World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H
Final Thoughts: Almost everything on this show is either crap or a disappointment. The Torrie/Dawn stuff was embarrassing and kind of killed off my good-will for the remainder of the event. Benoit vs. Guerrero was good, but they’ve had better matches on better shows, so go ahead and skip this one. Thumbs down.
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