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September 22, 2002
by Samoa Rowe
-Follow me on Twitter: @SamoaRowe
-From Los Angeles, CA. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, and Tazz.
The Un-Americans (Lance Storm, Christian, Test, and William Regal) vs. Booker T, Goldust, Bubba Ray Dudley, and Kane
Goldust gets the better of Christian initially. Storm tags but Goldust nails a double clothesline. Bubba gets a tag and cleans house before eating a Storm jawbreaker. Bubba puts Storm in a Tree of Woe for open hand slaps. Christian trips a fresh Goldust, allowing him to become our baby face in peril. Booker tags and has better luck against Test, but Regal interferes. Bubba holds Test in place for Booker’s “WASSUP” head butt. Bubba thinks Booker is D-Von and orders him to get the table. The table gets drop-kicked into Booker T and it’s his turn to get isolated. Kane gets the hot tag and plows through the Un-Americans. The match breaks down with all eight men in the ring. It comes down to Test delivering the Pump-handle slam on Kane. Booker puts Test down with the scissors kick, allowing time for a Spinaroonie. The match loses order with a series of finishers and saves. Kane finally puts Test away at 9:50. Crowd-pleasing way to start the show, **¾.
Winners: Kane, Bubba Ray Dudley, Booker T, and Goldust
-Bubba Ray waves the American flag as they celebrate. All this is missing is a surprise Kid Rock concert.
-Stephanie McMahon motives Billy and Chuck to win their match in the name of Smackdown! Actually, Stephanie is worried because if they lose, she has to participate in some HLA. Oh yeah, forgot about that.
Chris Jericho © vs. Ric Flair
Jericho, who started 2002 as Undisputed Champion, hasn’t won a match on PPV since February and has been demoted back to the IC title scene. Flair slaps the face. Jericho’s missile drop-kick is blocked and it’s time for some CHOPS! Jericho drop-kicks Flair off the apron and takes control. Flair answers with more chopping. Flair tosses Jericho over the ring post to the floor. Flair sends Jericho into the ring steps and follows up with, what else, chopping! Oh yeah, and knee drops. Jericho seems to have hurt his knee on a missed lionsault. Of course he’s playing possum and ambushes Flair once his back is turned. Flair taps to the Walls at 6:15. Jericho’s PPV losing streak is over! Jericho takes his wins where he can get them, **.
Winner: Chris Jericho
-Eric Bischoff rallies Rosey and Jamal for their official in-ring debut, representing Raw. Bischoff puts Rico in their corner because he knows Billy and Chuck oh-so well. Rico assures Bischoff that he can sit back and watch Stephanie perform HLA later on.
-Shaq and his young son are in the front row, no doubt looking forward to the HLA.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Edge
Edge is all pumped up, forcing Eddie to choose his spots carefully. Guerrero catches Edge off-guard with a Tornado DDT. Edge suffered a worked concussion on Smackdown, so now Eddie is targeting the head. Edge throws a desperate punch at the head, which seems to have knocked Guerrero out. Eddie recovers first and continues his head assault. Edge comes back with a swinging neck breaker. Edge follows up with a face plant for 2. Edge slams Guerrero on his back for another near fall. Edge counters a rana with a sit-out power bomb! Eddie blocks the spear but suffers the Edge-o-cution! Guerrero blocks a missile drop-kick but Edge spears him into an exposed turnbuckle. Eddie counters a superplex with the exposed steel and nails a sunset flip power bomb for the win at 11:53! This was more deliberate than their Summerslam outing, but it was hard not to root for Edge towards the end, and the finish was excellent, ***½.
Winner: Eddie Guerrero
-Newly crowned World Heavyweight Champion Triple H pays Rob Van Dam and Ric Flair a visit in their dressing room. HHH mocks RVD for being so calm, which seems to indicate a lack of passion. Triple H calls Flair a loser and thinks it’s appropriate that RVD is getting ready with him. RVD says he’d rather associate with a so-called loser like Flair than an alleged winner like Triple H. Be A Star!
Billy and Chuck vs. Jamal and Rosey (with Rico)
This match stems from the botched gay wedding on Smackdown, when the future 3 Minute Warning beat up the grooms. Billy and Chuck storm the ring for a brawl. Rico cheap shots Chuck, allowing 3MW to take control. Rosey, looking fatter than I remembered, misses a moonsault! Billy gets the hot tag and cleans house on the Samoans. 3MW no-sell a meeting of the minds and Billy’s momentum comes to a halt. Chuck sneaks in to toss Jamal off the top rope. Rosey plants Billy but takes Chuck’s super kick. Jamal super-kicks Chuck but Billy counters with the Fame-asser! Billy clocks an interfering Rico and tosses him. Sadly, the Samoan Drop from Jamal finishes Billy at 6:36. This was much better than you’d expect, with some creative counters and strong effort, **½.
Winners: Jamal and Rosey
-Bischoff has a trio of alleged lesbians, all eager to perform some HLA. Eric leads them in an “HLA” chant and is so happy he might burst into tears.
World Heavyweight Championship:
Triple H © vs. Rob Van Dam
They exchange holds in a feeling out period. RVD slaps the face and laughs it off. Triple H isn’t amused and turns up the aggression, but RVD counters. HHH takes a break, giving RVD time to mock Triple H’s entrance with a water bottle. An angry Triple H runs into another side headlock. They exchange pinning predicaments and RVD connects with a leg sweep. RVD uses a headlock to annoy The Game. Spin kick by RVD but he completely misses a somersault plancha over the ropes! RVD crawls back at the 9 count only to become victim to a methodical Triple H beating. RVD catches Triple H on the top rope with a throw. Van Dam counters a sleeper and nails a desperate spin heel kick. RVD finds his second wind and mounts a comeback. Rolling Thunder only gets a 2 count. RVD connects with a dive and a flying kick. Face buster by Triple H and it’s time for the regularly scheduled referee bump. Van Dam gets the visual pinfall while the ref naps. Van Dam blocks the Pedigree and catapults Triple H into position for a Five Star Frog Splash! RVD gets a second visual pinfall. Low blow by HHH, who grabs his trusty sledgehammer. RVD kicks the hammer into HHH’s chest and Ric Flair runs in! Flair grabs the hammer and makes his second heel turn of 2002 by attacking Van Dam with it. Kick, wham, Pedigree, and it’s over at 18:16 (despite the referee making a slow count). Flair hands the belt to HHH and they celebrate. This was as much of a Triple H ego stroke as you’ll ever see. The match was alright, but it was designed to halt RVD’s main event momentum, **½.
Winner and still World Heavyweight Champion: Tripl
-D’Lo Brown and Billy Kidman don‘t like what they saw on the monitor. A Young and the Restless star joins them and D’Lo marks out for him. Turns out the soap star is here for Dawn Marie. This continued the 2002 trend of pointless segments.
Molly Holly © vs. Trish Stratus
Trish goes after the arm and they trade counters. Trish delivers some arm drags and a drop-kick. Trish misses an elbow drop, allowing Molly to take control with a suplex. Trish takes a hard bump when Molly throws her through the ropes. King and J.R. speculate Molly’s virginity while she dominates. Trish makes the plucky baby face comeback but Molly blocks a hurricanrana by stretching her in a Tree of Woe. Back handspring elbow by Molly gets a 2 count. Trish counters with a bulldog for the sudden win at 5:45. This was a tad short for the story they were trying to tell. Would have been nice to cut one of the numerous HLA segments and give this one another few minutes, **.
Winner and new Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus
-Jonathan Coachman interviews a tearful Trish Stratus. She can barely contain her emotions as she puts over her love of the sport and the fans.
-Rico and 3 Minute Warning are enjoying the company of Bischoff’s army of lesbians. Eric sends them out for a night on the town, but he saves his two favorite to stick around for some HLA.
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit
They lock up and tumble through the ropes. The match restarts with them trading counters in the ring. They put on a regular clinic as they trade pinning predicaments. Angle takes a breather after escaping the crossface and tosses Benoit to the floor. Angle is in control and wears Benoit down with submission holds. Benoit turns it around, going to work on the shoulder, but Angle nails a belly to belly suplex. They take turns throwing rolling German suplexes. Angle signals the end, but Benoit nails an overhead throw. Angle blocks the diving head butt with a top rope belly to belly throw. Angle counters into the Ankle Lock. They exchange counters until Benoit nails a shoulder breaker. The diving head butt connects, but Benoit is too slow to cover. Angle almost taps to the crossface before countering with an Ankle Lock. Benoit reverses back into the crossface, but Angle reverses again. The crowd is going nuts, by the way. Angle steals the crossface and kicks the rope to prevent a break. Benoit retaliates by using the ropes for leverage in a cover and steals the win at 13:51. The way they sucked the crowd into this is truly impressive, routinely excellent outing between these two, ****.
Winner: Chris Benoit
-Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman are interviewed backstage. Heyman says any time someone tries to take the WWE title away from Lesnar, the fight has gotten personal. Lesnar says he isn’t sorry for what he did to Mrs. Undertaker and will not be sorry for what he does to Mr. Undertaker, considering this is Unforgiven and all.
-It’s time for Stephanie McMahon to perform sexual acts against her will! Eric Bischoff and his loyal lesbians make their way to the ring. I’ve never seen Eric this happy as he hypes up the pending HLA. His ladies, Peaches and Cream, fondle each other and tease a kiss. Stephanie McMahon joins them and awaits her punishment as the lesbians strip down to their bra. Eric creepily instructs the ladies to removes Stephanie’s jacket and give a massage. Eric changes his mind and dismisses the lesbians, instead opting to bring out the “ugliest lesbian” he could find. It turns out to be Rikishi in drag. Long story short, Rikishi attacks Bischoff and gives him a stink face. This is what passes for humor in WWE land. Beyond stupid and a big middle finger to all those who shelled out money for this pay-per-view.
Brock Lesnar © (with Paul Heyman) vs. The Undertaker
Lesnar shows absolutely no fear of Undertaker and gets in his face. Taker shoves Lesnar back and they feel each other out. Lesnar gets knocked to ringside and throws a fit. Lesnar returns with greater urgency but gets clotheslined out. Lesnar has another tantrum but manages to build some offense against The Dead Man. Taker nails another clothesline for a 2 count. Undertaker follows up with Old School and kicks Heyman off the apron. Lesnar uses his opportunity to take control with his power offense. Taker counters by tossing Lesnar to the floor. Taker punches his way into a comeback. Heyman distracts the ref while Lesnar busts Taker open with the WWE title. Lesnar targets the bloody forehead, but Taker punches back. Big boot by Undertaker gets a 2 count. Snake eyes by Taker and another big boot isn’t enough. Taker whips Lesnar into the ref for the regularly schedule referee bump. Choke slam by Taker gets the visual pinfall. Matt Hardy, of all people, runs in and takes the Last Ride. Spinebuster by Lesnar gets a close 2 count. Taker’s DDT is another near fall. The ref takes ANOTHER bump, allowing Paul to slide a chair in. Taker blocks the chair and cracks Brock’s skull. Taker seems like he’s going through the motions, not actually trying to win a title. Taker delivers another big boot and a leg drop for 2. Brock blocks the Last Ride but Taker counters the F-5. The referee is unable to separate them in the corner and calls for the bell at 20:18. That might be the worst finish to a PPV main event ever. This was too long and tedious for that dumb-ass finish, *¾.
-Undertaker isn’t done beating up Lesnar and a troop of referees have to break it up. Undertaker throws Lesnar through the set anyway. I guess that’s supposed to send the crowd home happy.
Final Thoughts: This is a perfect example of why pretty much every smart mark on the internet lost respect for Undertaker in 2002. He didn’t want to job to Lesnar, so he half-assed yet another far-too-long main event and we got a flat, unsatisfying finish. Undertaker would be more motivated next month in the Hell in a Cell (probably because he was leaving for a vacation) and finally put Lesnar over in a much, much better match. Unfortunately, Undertaker being a huge baby caused this show to end on such a sour note that the event as a whole is dragged down. Meanwhile, Triple H was playing his own politics on the Raw side. There was a lot to like on this show (namely the Smackdown mid-card) but HLA, Triple H, and Undertaker really messed things up. Thumbs down.
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