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WWE Judgment Day
May 19, 2002
by Samoa Rowe
-Follow me on Twitter: @SamoaRowe
-From Nashville, TN. Our hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.
-Believe it or not, this is the very first North America pay-per-view to be held under the World Wrestling Entertainment banner. Referring to the World Wrestling Federation as “WWE” was simply too weird for a lot of fans to handle at the time and many of them split. Yes, there were bigger problems at the time (mainly creative) but the name change aspect did play a role in the decline of the company during this era.
Eddie Guerrero © vs. Rob Van Dam
This might be sad, but I honestly cannot remember who Eddie ended up losing the IC title to. I’m guessing it was to RVD in a random episode of Raw, but maybe it’ll happen here. They kick things off with a fast paced exchange, sparking a Guerrero temper tantrum. RVD continues to dominate (in entertaining fashion, even applying a surfboard stretch) until Eddie catches him off guard with a punch after hiding in the ropes. Eddie is completely vicious at this point, using nasty punches and stomps to make a statement. RVD turns it around with a monkey flip. RVD delivers Rolling Thunder but only gets a 2 count. Eddie sneaks in a roll-up but RVD answers with a heel kick. Eddie crotches Van Dam on the turnbuckles and nails a hard power bomb. Eddie’s Frog Splash misses, but so does RVD’s Five Star Frog Splash. They both regain their composure and the match restarts with them running the ropes and colliding in dual cross body attempts. RVD’s backslide counter almost ends it, but Eddie uses the ropes for a backslide of his own and pins RVD at 10:55. They went completely balls to the wall for a fabulous opener, ***˝.
Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: Eddie Guerrero
-Reverend D-Von and Deacon Batista hold prayer with Vince McMahon and Stacy Keibler. They are asking God for help in Stacy’s fight against Trish Stratus. Vince wants reassurance that Bubba Ray Dudley won’t be here tonight. D-Von insists that Bubba won’t be there, otherwise there’ll be hell to pay. Weird.
-”Get The F Out” promo. I think the “F” actually stands for fans.
Trish Stratus © vs. Stacy Keibler
This feud is based around Stacy being mad that Trish won a bathing suit contest by showing up in underwear. Before the bell can ring, Reverend D-Von and Deacon Batista show up in support of Stacy. Also joining the party is Bubba Ray Dudley, who was getting a pretty big push as a singles guy on Raw during this time. The match finally starts and Stacy delivers a roundhouse kick. Trish fires back with a clothesline and Boston crab. They exchange pinning predicaments and Trish nails a neck breaker. Stacy has a tantrum at ringside and slaps Bubba. D-Von sneaks in and power slams Trish! Stacy only gets a 2 count! Trish fires back with a bicycle kick. Stacy knocks her help off the apron and Trish scores the win at 2:54. This was entertaining crap, *.
Winner and still Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus
-D-Von wants a hug from his estranged brother. Bubba agrees to a handshake but has to fight off a cheap shot from Deacon Batista! D-Von nails a clothesline and stands tall. Batista sets up a table but Bubba fights back with a back drop. Bubba lunges at D-Von, but Batista clocks him with a steel box. Batista and D-Von flapjack Bubba through the table. I’d say this was a good segment except this feud didn’t go anywhere and was quietly dropped at some point. It’s kind of sad too, because the notion of inter-brand feuds that advance at monthly pay-per-views isn’t a terrible idea.
-Ric Flair and Arn Anderson are hanging out backstage when they’re joined by Vince McMahon. Vince is impressed by Flair’s recent heel turn and they shake hands like old friends. Ric says Vince was right about Stone Cold, who has done everything in his power to disrupt the Raw brand. They smile and share a hug in celebration of Austin’s pending demise. Fun segment.
Matt and Jeff Hardy vs. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman
Jeff catches Lesnar with a dive during his entrance and both Hardy Boyz chase Heyman. Lesnar catches Jeff and the slaughter begins. Jeff counters and makes a tag to Matt, who connects with some shots. Lesnar thinks Matt’s offense is cute and turns it around fast. The fans chant “Goldberg” as Lesnar nails a power slam. Lesnar goes through his entire move set on Matt until getting countered. Jeff gets a tag and delivers some quick attacks, including the Whisper of the Wind. The Hardy Boyz double team Lesnar with leg drops! Lesnar suffers Poetry in Motion and gets clotheslined to the floor. Heyman gets dragged into the ring and gets double teamed. Lesnar storms the ring and almost gets pinned by Jeff’s cross body. Lesnar tosses Jeff into Matt and nails the F-5. Heyman demands a tag and gets to pin Jeff at 4:42. This was pretty much the end of the Hardy Boyz, but Lesnar continued to look good, *˝.
Winners: Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman
-Booker T is interviewed backstage. He’s happy to be the newest member of the n.W.o. He was chosen because he’s a five time champion! Booker is distracted by an attractive lady just hanging around. He offers her an autograph and she whispers something into his ear that seems to excite him. Not sure where this is going.
Steve Austin vs. Ric Flair and Big Show
Austin wastes no time attacking Flair and the match is on. Austin does a nice job fighting off both opponents in the early going. Austin grabs a chair but the referee takes it, so he grabs a second chair. Austin has a seat and flips the bird at the referee. Austin and Flair restart the match by locking up. Austin is aggressive and Flair retreats for a breather. Stone Cold gets impatient and grabs a beer. Austin has the momentum until taking a big boot from Big Show. Flair is happy to make a tag and continue wearing Austin out. They exchange chops and Austin tosses Flair off the top ropes. Big Show intrudes and power slams Austin. Flair and Show beat down Austin for several minutes until the Rattlesnake finds his second wind. Austin traps Flair in a Figure Four but Big Show breaks it with a leg drop. Show gets a tag but is hapless against Stone Cold. Austin fights off an interfering Flair and hits Show with the Stunner. X-Pac runs in and accidentally kicks Show. Austin dishes out Stunners and gains the victory at 15:33. This was a fun handicap match that managed to capture some of the magic of Austin’s glory days. Austin would end up walking out on WWE soon after, but this was his best pay-per-view outing of 2002, ***.
Winner: Steve Austin
-Michael Cole and Tazz introduce the hype video for the Angle/Edge match.
Kurt Angle vs. Edge
They set a fast pace for the early going. Edge tosses Angle for a baseball slide. Back to the ring, Edge seems to have Angle’s number, tying him up in the ropes for a spear. Angle counters a second spear with a belly to belly suplex over the ropes! That bump was disgusting. Angle is now firmly in control and wears Edge down for a while. Edge takes a beating but manages to counter with an overhead belly to belly suplex! Edge unloads his bag of tricks for a comeback. Angle isn’t finished and retaliates with an overhead suplex. Edge drop-kicks Angle off the apron and connects with a flying cross body! Edge blocks a superplex and hits a missile drop-kick. German suplex by Angle but Edge comes back with a roll-up. Edge delivers his DDT but Angle succeeds in another superplex attempt! Big DDT by Edge only gets a 2 count. Angle ducks a spear and the referee takes it. Angle grabs a chair but Edge quickly hits the spear. They block finishers and Edge nails another spear for a painfully close near fall. Angle hits a spear of his own! Edge kicks out after taking the Olympic Slam! Edge escapes the Ankle Lock with an enziguri. Angle reapplies the Ankle Lock, but Edge kicks him off into an inside cradle for the win at 15:26! Despite getting really good in the final stretch, this doesn’t quite hold up to their crisp match at Backlash, ***ľ.
-Angle is distraught over his loss and attacks Edge after the match. Edge turns the fight around and drags Angle over to the barber’s chair set up by the stage. Angle runs away to the back and seems to have escaped.
-Meanwhile, at the Marriott, Booker T is in bed with the girl from the arena. He turns off the light and they start kissing. Suddenly, Goldust’s voice joins the conversation. Booker turns the light on and Goldust has joined them in bed. Booker is beyond pissed and storms out (exposing his bare ass for the camera). Okay, then.
Hell in a Cell Match:
Triple H vs. Chris Jericho
They start with a MAIN EVENT STAREDOWN and a slugfest. Triple H takes control of the brawl, tossing Jericho over the ropes. Back to the ring, Jericho unloads a series of shots, but HHH turns it around. HHH drives Jericho into the cell wall. Jericho reverses an Irish whip to send HHH crashing through the ropes. Jericho sends HHH into the wall but a reverse Irish whip sends him into the ring steps. Jericho counters a Piledriver on the steps with a catapult into the cell! Jericho uses a ladder to punish The Game. Jericho hoisters the ring steps but walks into a drop toe hold! Triple H mounts a comeback, complete with throwing the steps into Jericho’s head. Referee Tim White gets knocked off the apron into the cell. Jericho nails Triple H with the chair but there’s no ref for the cover. Jericho vents by intentionally driving White into the wall, busting him open. Sadly, Y2J runs into a HHH spinebuster. A pack of referees show up for the rescue and open the cell door with cutters. Meanwhile, Triple H kicks a char into Jericho’s head. HHH finds his trusty sledgehammer and drives it into Y2J’s skull. Jericho crawls out the open door and slams it into The Game! Jericho sets up a Pedigree on the Spanish announce table, but HHH counters with a DDT! Triple H finds a 2x4 wrapped in barbed wire, prompting Jericho to escape to the top of the cell. HHH pursues, but Jericho grabs the weapon and blasts The Game on the back! Jericho applies the Walls on top of the cell! Y2J grabs the 2x4 but HHH counters with a low blow! Jericho counters with a back drop! Triple H clocks Jericho in the head with the 2x4 and finishes him with the Pedigree onto the steel at 24:01. This is the type of Hell in a Cell match that I think most people pine for. All around terrific brawl and a suspenseful final sequence on top of the cage, ****.
Winner: Triple H
-Kurt Angle is running around the backstage area, trying to avoid getting his head shaved. He uses some cleaning material to make a hilarious makeshift disguise, temporarily fooling Edge.
-Maven is hosting the party at The World (formerly known as WWF New York). He finally got his date with Torrie, and she’s relieved to be free of Tajiri and the geisha outfit.
WWF Tag Team Championship:
Billy and Chuck © (with Rico) vs. Rikishi and a Mystery Partner
Mr. McMahon’s hand chosen partner for Rikishi turns out to be none other than Rico, who doesn’t like this news any more than Rikishi. Rico wants to start the match, but Rikishi doesn’t trust him. Billy blindsides Rikishi and it doesn’t take long for him and Chuck to double team the big man. Rico isn’t paying attention, forcing Rikishi into a handicap match situation. Rikishi fights off the champions, and an inadvertent assist from Rico allows him to pick up the win at 3:48. Jobbing the tag team champions out in a flukey handicap match is always a bad idea, ˝*.
Winners and new WWF Tag Team Champions: Rikishi and Rico
-Rikishi wears a top hat and enjoys a victory dance on the stage (which is much more entertaining than the match itself).
-Backstage, Edge is still looking for Kurt Angle, who ambushed him with a trash lid. They brawl to the Barber Shop, where Angle thinks he’s going to shave Edge’s head instead. Edge puts Angle in a sleeper until he passes out, making for an easy hair cut. Angle gets shaved, much to the delight of the live crowd.
Undisputed WWE Championship:
Hulk Hogan © vs. The Undertaker
Hogan rolls into the ring, but Undertaker rips off his weight lifting belt and whips him with it. Hogan takes his belt back and returns the favor. Jim Ross is already making excuses for the expected match quality as Hogan throws punches and clotheslines. Hogan dumps Undertaker to the floor and rips his shirt off. They brawl on the floor, with Hogan reversing an Irish whip into the steps. Back to the ring, Undertaker goes for the arm, but Hogan counters Old School. Hogan successfully delivers a superplex! Taker turns his attention to targeting Hogan’s knee. Hogan repeatedly clubs Undertaker with his good leg and they trade punches. Hogan nails a big boot but misses the Leg Drop! Taker applies a half Boston crab! Hogan reverses an Irish whip (slowly) and hangs Undertaker on the ropes by the leg. Undertaker delivers an ugly choke slam for a 2 count. Hogan “hulks up” for his crowd-pleasing comeback. The Leg Drop connects but Undertaker kicks out! It’s kinda scary how into this the crowd is. Sadly, Undertaker rebounds with a DDT. Vince McMahon shows up at this point. Hogan kicks a chair into Undertaker’s face, but Vince distracts the ref. Hogan pulls Vince into the ring and delivers the Leg Drop. Taker swings the chair at Hogan and hits one more bad choke slam for the win and title at 12:21. This match was extremely rough around the edges (and downright ugly at times) but was carefully constructed to keep the crowd with them, **.
Winner and new Undisputed WWE Champion: The Undertaker
-Undertaker is a sore winner and continues to attack Hogan with the chair.
Final Thoughts: There were several ***+ matches to keep this show moving along at an enjoyable pace. The main event was below the quality we’ve come to expect from WWE pay-per-views, but was nowhere near as bad as it could have been. I’ll give this one a mild thumbs up, mainly for the HIAC and Angle/Edge.
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