Assorted May-Per-View Countdown: WWE Judgment Day 2002

The SmarK Rant for WWE Judgment Day 2002 (So it’s been a DECADE since the WWF became WWE, and this was the first PPV with that new designation.  Sometimes it still feels weird.) – Okay, first things first: Vegas, baby! I wanted to jot a bunch of stuff down for a later road trip report, but I never really had the time, so consider this a “best guess” timeline for my experiences there. (Can’t believe it’s also been a decade since I was in Vegas.  One day I will return!  Although it’s more likely that if we’re taking a big trip now, it’ll be to Disneyland, but I’d still like to go to Vegas and have my vows renewed by Elvis.  And get tickets for a UFC.)  Day One (Thursday): – My friend Jody and I make the 3-hour drive to Calgary to catch the flight down to Vegas. Customs officers going into the US are total jerks, but whatever. (It’s even worse now, apparently.  Although the months immediately following 9/11 were particularly bad for obvious reasons.)  – We arrive in Vegas at about 6:00, and I’m immediately depressed when I trade in my $180 spending cash and only get about $100 US back for it. (Bwahahahahaha, not any more!  Now you suddenly WANT our Canadian money!)  Immediate questions spring to mind: How can you stand having money that all looks exactly the same? And aren’t there any $2 bills down there? I mean, sure in Canada it’s weird going through your pocket change and finding like $20, but it’s pretty easy to tell the difference just by touch. Every time I went to grab some cash from my wallet I had to stop and make sure I wasn’t paying for a drink with a $20.  (The state of Canadian currency is even weirder now, as all the big bills have been made with a new plastic like the Mexican peso instead of the usual paper.  It’s like futuristic play money or something.)  – First thing after getting off the bus from the airport, the incredibly oppressive and sweltering heat becomes noticeable. Whose bright idea was it to build a city on a DESERT? (Mobsters.  Easier to bury the bodies that way.)  You have to keep in mind that I come from a region of Canada where it only stopped snowing LAST WEEK. (I was since told that I got there at the time of year when it was considered kind of cool, in fact.)  We check into Ballys, and I’m immediately bowled over by the sheer amount of slot machines that are EVERYWHERE. I swear they’d start putting them in toilet stalls if it were feasible.  (I’ve heard that I just wasn’t looking in the right toilet stalls.)  After unpacking and revelling in the glorious air conditioning (sweet, sweet recirculated air.) we decide to head out and check out the Strip to see what all the hubbub is about. – With a couple of free hours before Star Wars, we fight off the hordes of annoying people handing out porn flyers and decide to sample cuisine from an apparent Scottish restaurant: McDonalds. Man, what will they think of next? At any rate, four things quickly become apparent: 1) Canadians are getting SHAFTED when it comes to super-sizing, as the drink and fries down there are roughly 1/3 larger than up here.  (Apparently the same craziness applies to Big Gulps at 7-11 as well.)  2) Dr. Pepper is nowhere, Mr. Pibb is everywhere. Both tasted the same to me.  (Still no Pibb in Canada.  I’m a huge Dr. Pepper drinker, so it was weird not to have it around.)  3) Getting sugar in your iced tea is like pulling teeth. Seriously, how can you people drink iced tea without sweetening? And drink so much of it that even the fountains don’t offer sweetened iced tea? What is WRONG with your country?  (Apparently this is a regional thing in the US, I’ve since learned.  In Canada, we all drink sweetened iced tea, and in fact iced tea powder is a big seller up here and is also nonexistent south of our border from what I’ve been told.)  4) Debit cards. Hi, welcome to the 21st century, where banks should be organized enough that paying with a debit card doesn’t require funny looks from the cashier and a $2 surcharge, assuming that you even have a compatible bank with what the store is using.  (Yeah, what Canadians consider debit cards, that is direct debit from the bank account instead of a fake Visa card, have never really taken off in the US, whereas up here it’s almost literally the only way anyone pays for anything.)  – Since they’re in the same building, we decide to check out M&Ms World and Coca-Cola World before the movie. Both are awesome, albeit expensive. I have my picture taken with the blue M&M for the hell of it and pick up a keychain for a friend of mine. You wouldn’t think there would be enough things dealing with M&Ms to fill a four-story building, but there it was. – Star Wars time! After navigating the maze-like path to the United Artists theater, the trip proves to be worth it as Episode II drags for an hour under the weight of political discussions masquerading as plot, until Yoda kicks much ass and saves the movie big time.  (I’ve since downgraded the movie to probably the worst of the series.)  – Back to the hotel for a bit of gambling, as I go up $20 on the slots for about, um, five minutes, and then lose it all again. Total net loss: $10 US. I can live with that. I completely avoid the card games, because I suck at them and find the slots cooler to look at anyway.  (This is my one big regret, because I’ve since become a pretty enthusiastic poker player, and I would have liked to try my luck at the tables.  Yeah, I’m sure I would have lost my paltry gambling money in the process, but damn it would have been fun.)  – We hit the bar for drinks, as I notice that no one is drinking Smirnoff Ice. In Canada, this would be a very odd sign, but I just file it away for future reference and go with a Vodka-7 as my drink of choice for the weekend. By this point I’ve missed Smackdown and don’t really feel any empty spot in my life. Day Two (Friday): – Back to the strip after lunch to check out the major hotels. The MGM Grand is just an awesome place to be around, even if that Divas commercial playing non-stop on their big screen made me want to poke my own eyes out after a while. We get ready to head over to the Hard Rock Hotel to catch Sammy Hagar later that night, but first it’s a stop at 7-11 to grab something to drink, and perhaps the strangest site I’ve seen yet: Hard liquor being sold in the same cooler as the rest of the soft drinks. That wacky Nevada.  (This is apparently an American thing in general.  That wacky USA.)  – Over to the Hard Rock Hotel, as I try my hand at gambling again, this time working with a $20 budget instead of $10. I know, I’m a high-roller. I try the $1 machines instead of the quarter machines, and on my first try I win $40 on video poker. 5 minutes later it’s fed back into the machine and I understand why Vegas makes so much money. – With a couple of hours to burn before Sammy, we hang out at the Hard Rock Café and do some more drinking. Despite warnings of overpriced food, the combo platter we get for $13 is actually quite worth the money, IMO. Again, no one’s drinking Smirnoff Ice and I’m confused now. So thinking it’s just the alcoholic content difference I order one, and that’s when my world is turned upside-down forever. Because, US readers, what you know to be Smirnoff Ice is not Smirnoff Ice. In Canada, where it’s the most widely-ordered drink in bars all over to the point where a summer shortage last year made news all over the country, Smirnoff Ice is a 7.5% vodka and lemon cooler that tastes great and and tends to give a buzz fast. (Sadly, Smirnoff Ice has fallen off as of late and no longer enjoys the same gigantic market share it once did.  Even I’ve basically switched to other vodka-based mixed drinks since then.)  In the US, it’s BEER. Frigging lemon-flavored beer, and a wimpy 5% beer at that. I mean, it tasted KINDA like the genuine article, but only in the way that unsweetened iced tea and Sweet N Low tastes kinda like sweetened iced tea. No wonder no one drinks it down there. FOR SHAME, Smirnoff. Anyway, mystery solved there. – Onto Sammy, as we wait in line for close to an hour to get into the Joint. It’s SRO anyway, so as long as you’re big and imposing enough you can muscle your way to the front anyway, no biggie. The set was smokin’, as he brought out Michael Anthony to play bass and the guy from Smashmouth to do backing vocals on a couple of songs. After running through all the big hits and closing with “I Can’t Drive 55” and “Mas Tequilla” he leaves to prep for the encore and I’m wondering what Van Halen stuff he’s gonna finish with. Well, he hasn’t done “When It’s Love” or “Dreams” or “Right Now” yet, so they’re pretty good prospects. Instead, after getting the crowd into a frenzy with the last two songs, he brings out Neil Schoen (who I think is awesome) and they do the first couple of songs from their “Planet Us” side-project together. P.U. “Vertigo” is this rambling mess with no real chorus, and then to close the show Sammy introduces “a song about serious child abuse” called “Peeking Through a Hole” and WTF are we watching here? The audience is just dead by the end of that, and poof, end of show just like that. I mean, GEEZ. Was he pissed because everyone hated his new pet project or something? We grumble about that and head back to the Strip.  (Planet Us never even ended up getting released, although thankfully I was able to see the reunited Van Hagar a couple of years later here in Saskatoon before they imploded for good.  Chickenfoot, however, is awesome.)  – We check out a bunch of the hotels after midnight with all the lights in full glory, and it’s a pretty neat place to be. New York New York is just mind-blowingly huge, and I think that I’d like to stay at Excalibur next time, since we ended up passing through there for various reasons about 18 times over the course of the weekend. The street level is a little more ominous after dark, however, with all the various groupings hanging out like a weird 50s cliché or something. Seriously the bikers all sat around in front of the Harley-Davidson Café, the black kids all stood around in front of Denny’s it was a bit weird to see it. Back to the hotel for a bit more gambling as I blow another $5, and then we call it a night. Day Three (Saturday): – It’s way over to the other side of the Strip now as we head to the Hilton to check out the Star Trek Experience. Talk about heaven for a Star Trek geek. The gift shop alone was almost enough to make me take out a loan and spend the day there. We had lunch at Quark’s Bar (I had the Wrap of Kahn) and met a Kingon before heading up to check out the museum and ride. Well worth the $25 admission price, and I’ll leave it at that so as not to spoil the surprise for anyone who’s planning on going and hasn’t tried it yet.  (Sadly, the Star Trek Experience has since been closed down.  Maybe JJ Abrams will reboot it as well.)  – Next stop, Mandalay Bay to pick up the tickets for Styx. Mandalay was probably the nicest of all the hotels (complete with another hotel inside the hotel for those who don’t want to gamble) and also the most expensive. – With time to burn before the show, we head over to the Luxor (the pyramid hotel) and after gawking at the architecture there for a while head upstairs and check out the rather huge arcade and then the Space Station 3D show at the Imax. And THAT in itself was a pretty amazing thing, too, despite the slightly-clunky 3D of the Imax cameras.  (This was of course before the 3D craze blew up and actually started making for pretty decent-looking 3D movies again.)  – Finally, after stopping for an early dinner at the Excalibur’s buffet (hey, I wanted to try at least one of the famous Vegas buffets) it’s over to the Mandalay Bay Beach to wait in line, again, for another concert. I’m there for like 72 hours and 2.5 of them are spent standing in line. Go fig. While in that line I had the unique experience of meeting a retired air force colonel who used to mix grain alcohol with his beer to make it “drinkable”. Someone suggested that he try Australia, and indeed he had been there and found the beer more to his liking. Anyway, I found the beach a terrible place to have a concert, but the show was good, albeit pretty much the same as the one I saw a few months back. Then it’s back to the strip for a bit before catching the monorail back to Ballys and calling it a vacation. Overall, great trip, and a vacation that I’ve needed for a while. Definitely a place I’ll be going back once I get the money together again.  (One baby and mortgage later…)  – Live from Nashville, TN – Your hosts are JR & The King – Some might argue that the promo video for Judgment Day, complete with talking corpses and death images, seems a bit too macabre after losing British Bulldog, Big Dick Dudley and Mass Transit in the span of one weekend.  (S---, I forgot Mass Transit was dead.)  Not me, though. Nope, because I know when I order a PPV, the opening graphics are the #1 thing influencing my buying decision and I know how they’re too important to simply dispense with over a little thing like three people dying. – Opening match, Intercontinental title: Eddy Guerrero v. Rob Van Dam. (Of course, after that diatribe there’s immediately a dead person in the first match.)  I am astonished that supposedly rational people are actually complaining that Eddy shouldn’t be pushed, due to his past problems. Well, two things on that score: 1) The WWF has always shown that they’re much more concerned with what might make them money than with what might happen to their talent should personal problems get out of control. A cynical viewpoint, but works for both the good and bad. Besides, if Scott Hall was having **** matches with Steve Austin, you can damn sure bet HE’D be around today, too. 2) The specific complaint is that Eddy is being pushed over RVD, who has supposedly paid his dues and doesn’t suffer from Eddy’s problems. Um, HELLO? The same guy who spent THREE YEARS blatantly flaunting his addiction to pot? I mean, as long as it doesn’t affect his work in the ring, whatever, but don’t act like RVD is somehow on the moral high ground in his dealings with Eddy. As long as Eddy can bring it in the ring, I can forgive his past troubles.  (Besides, what’s the worst that can happen if they let him work a full-time schedule again?  His heart explodes from years of steroid abuse and painkillers?)  To the match, then: Rob overpowers Eddy for two. Clothesline gets two. Powerslam and Eddy bails. Back in, he forearms Rob, who retaliates with a split-legged moonsault out of the corner and some kicks. Backdrop and legdrop get two. Backbreaker gets two. He stays on the back with an elbow and hooks a Rito Romero Special, which shows that he’s been paying attention to the last match with Eddy and has adjusted his battle plan accordingly. Of course, the match itself was given almost no time to develop on the RAWs leading up to it so they couldn’t even have Rob drop a soundbite like “Yeah, I’ve been watching tapes and learning stuff. Or whatever.” Because that sort of thing might eat into valuable skit time.  (Remember, they’re an entertainment company that’s in the business of telling stories, but the stories don’t have to make sense.) Rob bridges back on the move for two, then releases and quickly dodges the falling Eddy. Neat spot. Standing moonsault gets two. Eddy gets a cheapshot to take over and makes some friends in the front row, but Rob monkeyflips him to keep on the back. Another one sets up a hotshot into Rolling Thunder, which gets two. Eddy reverses a suplex for two, but Rob heel kicks him down and heads up. Eddy crotches him and gives him the MURDER-DEATH-KILL POWERBOMB~! (Always loved that powerbomb.)  However, his back is hurt too badly to cover this time, unlike the first match. Eddy heads up, but again the weakened back prevents him from hitting the frog splash, as Rob has time to move this time. Slugfest is won by RVD, and he goes up.but misses. Should’ve worn Eddy down more. Double KO and they do a criss-cross and collide. Rob backslides him for two, but Eddy proves smarter again and does his own backslide, but uses the feet on the ropes for the pin at 10:57. CHEAT TO WIN. Hell of an opener, even if Eddy was doing most of the work. ****1/4 Hey, he did the same with Chris Jericho in 1996. – Women’s title: Trish v. Stacy. (Funny how so many guys get sucked into the vortex of the business and can never escape until they’re dead, but the bigger female stars cash in and then cash out and go on to bigger and better things.)  The ex-Dudley Boyz are in opposing corners seconding the women. Personally I don’t understand how they can spend a month building to Trish v. Molly and then do this match instead. Well, I CAN, but you know what I mean. Stacy gets a horrible high kick for two. I mean, it LITERALLY missed by two feet. Trish lariats her and gets a Boston Crab, which turns into one of those laughable Eddy-Dean parodies. Kawada kick puts Stacy out, but she slaps Bubba and the hijinx begin. The Deacon (BATISTA!!!) slams Trish, and Stacy gets two. Choking follows (way to follow up), but Trish gets another high kick and finishes with the bulldog at 2:52. DUD Then the subtle undercurrent of the match reveals itself, as the Dudley Boyz get into a fight and Bubba ends up on the wrong end of a table spot as a result. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for that showdown.  (Luckily they patched things up in time for another pair of tag titles in 2003 and 2004.)  – Meanwhile, Vince & Ric mend fences a month after the company was split because they hated each other so darn much. Whoops, guess the Bored of Directors have egg on their face now, don’t they? – The Hardy Boyz v. Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman. The Hardyz attack Brock and chase Heyman, but Brock uses that to gain the advantage and he suplexes Jeff. Matt gives it a go, but gets overwhelmed thanks to Brock’s superior intellect. Powerslam and a pounding follows. Matt finally comes back with a DDT and makes the hot tag to Stick Boy. They do their usual stuff and dump Brock, leaving Heyman to carry the load for the team. Things look bleak, but the Hardyz collide and Brock finishes Jeff with the TKO (with Heyman making the pin) at 4:58. Okay, he’s a big monster and Heyman is a bad person, we get the point. Time to move up the ladder. ¼*  (Brock would do OK for himself.)  – Meanwhile, Booker is happy to be in the nWo. (That was a goofy storyline.)  He stops his interview so he can bust a move on a passing ringrat, however, and gets the key to her hotel. – Steve Austin v. Big Show & Ric Flair. The WWF seems to be trying to phase “Giant” in as a new name for Big Show with all their usual subtlety. Because THAT’s what’s been missing from his character: his old WCW name. (That went nowhere, as usual.)  And who did Steve piss off to get stuck this far down in undercard hell? (A lot of people, as it turns out.)  He should be winning the title TOMORROW so he can get it all polished up for Benoit when he comes back in June. (Well, not quite.  This would be Austin’s last PPV match for a long time.)  Steve holds off both heels and pounds Show down, and then dumps Flair and goes low on Show to set up a figure-four. Then one on Flair for good luck. Regrouping time as Austin gets a chair, which upsets Little Naitch’s moral sensibilities. Flair & Austin start the match proper, and Flair bails. Austin stops for a beer. Austin backdrops him him when he gets back in, but a good ol’ thumb to the eye and some chops follow. Austin returns fire, thus creating the long-awaited “What? WHOO!” battle amidst the peons. Flair does a flop to celebrate this cultural high-water moment. Another backdrop, and Austin pounds away until Flair lets Show have a go at it. He pounds away and gets the big boot. Flair comes back in and goes low, and they have at it with the chops again. Flair goes up and gets slammed off, and a mudhole is stomped. Show slams Austin to turn the tide, however. Flair tells some punk to shut his mouth (good, he was bothering me), (Wonder if it was the same person that was annoying Shawn Michaels at Beware of Dog?) but before the Phantom Fatboy can be told what Flair is going to do to his wife, the chopfest resumes and Flair goes to the knee to win that battle. Show helps out with that, and Flair tries the figure-four, but gets cradled for two. Flair gets it on the second try, however. Austin reverses, and gets a backslide for two. Austin wins a slugfest and gets a bad spinebuster into another figure-four of his own, but Big Show breaks again. Not smart, Austin. Show comes back in and promptly runs into Austin’s boot, and it’s Thesz Presses for everyone! Another spinebuster gets two, some jobber runs in and does nothing, and it’s KICK WHAM STUNNER on Show, which is no-sold. Well, f--- him. Flair takes it like a man and does the job at 15:38. All Big Show matches should involve him standing on the ring apron while Ric Flair does the wrestling. *** – Hair v. Hair: Edge v. Kurt Angle. Angle overpowers him, but gets rolled up for two. Angle pounds away, but gets tossed. Baseball slide follows and they brawl out. Back in, Angle stomps away, but Edge slugs back and ties him in the ropes. Angle escapes and suplexes him to the floor in a sick spot. Back in, Angle stomps away and starts laying in the chops. Man, you just can’t follow Flair-Austin, guys. Spinebuster gets two. Choking follows. This match is dying. DDT gets two. Angle hits the chinlock, and then follows with a suplex for two. Back to the chinlock, but Edge comes back with a suplex. Slugfest, won by Edge, and he gets a flying forearm and leg lariat. Edge-O-Matic gets two. Angle suplexes him, but gets tossed. Edge follows with a running pescado. Back in, Edge blocks the pop-up superplex and gets a missile dropkick for two. Angle suplexes him, but gets rolled up for two. Implant and Edge goes up, but now Angle gets the pop-up superplex. Why didn’t Edge go for the pin after the original DDT? Edge superkicks him and gets a tornado DDT for two. Ref is bumped, and Angle suplexes Edge on his head and grabs a chair. Spear, no ref. Again, but Angle uses that kick to block it again. Another spear gets two. Angle returns fire with his own spear, and that sets up the Angle Slam for two. Thought that would be the finish. Anglelock, but an Edgezuigiri breaks. Again, but Edge cradles for the pin at 15:29. Ugh, cheap finish. Match was really good, but not as good as Backlash due to the boring nature of the first 10 minutes and the manipulative “make the crowd pop for near-falls” nature of the ending, which then didn’t pay off because the finish was a rollup. If you’re gonna go the “My finish! No, my finish! No me doing your finish!” type of thing, you need a better ending. Just MODO. (That’s “My own damn opinion”, by the way, an RSPW-ism that never really caught on outside of the newsgroup.  Anyway, the “my finish, your finish, lame ending” thing would of course end up defining the entire main event scene for years to come.)  ***1/2 Angle escapes the head-shaving, however. – Meanwhile, Booker gets all freaky with the ringrat, but Goldust manages to sneak into the bed and reveal how hurt he is by Booker’s defection to the nWo. Booker storms out, buck naked. The story idea is good in theory, but there are FAR better ways to go about it than turning everything into a sight gag. – Hell in a Cell: HHH v. Chris Jericho. Is HHH using Hulk Hogan’s tanning bed or something? Good lord, I didn’t know he was secretly black. (He’s laid off it a little bit since then.)  Slugfest to start, and HHH gets the high knee and a backdrop Pounding in the corner and he tosses Jericho. They brawl and head back in, where Jericho gets a forearm and chops. Jericho misses a charge and bails and HHH gives him a taste of the cold, cold steel, and it don’t taste like chocolate, or so I’ve heard. Bloodflow starts slow, and HHH gives him a couple of shortarms and a suplex for two. Jericho tosses him and do some weak brawling. HHH tries the Pedigree on the steps, but Jericho reverses him into the cell and I’m hoping the usually reliable forehead of HHH will come through in the clutch. Jericho finds a ladder and gives HHH a mouthful. Back in, another taste of ladder. He whips Hunter into it and out, then tosses it onto him. Outside, HHH eats cage again. Back in, HHH uses a chair to counter the ladder, but gets bulldogged into it. Stairs get involved, but Jericho gets taken down into them. This is turning into a stunt show. HHH gets his neckbreaker and facebuster, and tosses the stairs at Jericho. Jericho has some cage for dinner with a side-order of cage salad. Back in, ref is bumped. Oh, come ON. JR suddenly recalls that Tim White is the only one with the key to the door! How about that. Timmy bleeds as Jericho works out his frustrations on him and a pack of rabid referees cut open the lock. (Was this the match that f----- up Tim White’s neck and ended his career, giving us the suicidal ref skits later on?)  HHH finds his trusty sledgehammer and KO’s Jericho, but all 15 referees are too busy to make a count. Jericho crawls out and slams the door in HHH’s face. I know Michaels-Undertaker was a really good match, but let’s use SOME originality. They fight at ringside and HHH DDTs Jericho on a table, which is totally oversold by JR. Jericho starts to climb as the HIAC “Tribute to Better Matches” tour moves to No Way Out 2000 and HHH finds a barbed-wire 2×4. I’d stick with the sledgehammer, myself. They head up to the top, but Jericho steals the 2×4 and gets his shots in. Walls of Jericho on top of the cage as the ref has now climbed up to follow and the match mysteriously turns into Falls Count Anywhere. (Yeah, I don’t know why that was suddenly a thing, but it was gone by the next Cell match.)  HHH powers out, and goes low to set up the Pedigree, but Jericho backdrops out. Cage holds this time. HHH uses the 2×4 for two. Pedigree on the cage finishes at 24:31 as Jericho remains HHH’s bitch. This was like buying tickets to seeing KISS and getting Black Diamond (I’m talking abou the leading KISS tribute band here, for those in the past who have asked me what I have against the song “Black Diamond”); bits and pieces of better matches patched together into a mish-mash that never really clicked. And not that I’m advocating people killing themselves, but if you’re going to build up a match on the promise of big bumps, you have to deliver. And finally, advertising a match on the basis of the inescapable cage and then having every match lead to a spot where they easily escape the cage is truly WWF Logic. *** – Meanwhile, Angle hides from Edge. – Meanwhile, Maven & Torrie have the lamest date since Anakin & Padme, at the ex-WWF New York. Hey, try telling her that the grains of sand are rough and she’s all smooth. I hear that’s the secret Jedi Pickup Line. Personally I think he should have gone with “Wanna feel my light-saber?” – WWF tag title: Chuckabilly v. Rikishi & The Mystery Partner. And indeed, the partner is Rico, as we go back to that most successful of Vince Russo formula: The Wacky Mismatched Partners Who Hate Each Other. Rikishi handles the champs, but gets flapjacked. Billy misses a dropkick, but gets a neckbreaker. Chuck hammers away and gets a suplex for two. Dumbasser gets two. Chuck slugs him down, but Rikishi suplexes him. This is truly awful. Rikishi makes his own comeback with a buttdrop for two. Bubba Cutter, but Chuck dropkicks him. Rico kicks Chuck by accident, and Rikishi pins Chuck at 3:54 to give the belts to Rikishi & Rico. Rikishi looked stoned throughout the whole match and moved like a slug. DUD  (I totally don’t even remember that whole thing.  Billy and Chuck must have gotten them back pretty quick because I do remember them dropping the belts to Edge & Hogan on the fourth of July show.)  – Meanwhile, Angle attacks Edge in the back and drags him to the barber, but Edge puts him out with a sleeper and shaves him mostly bald. Edge tells the crowd to chant “You’re Bald” from now on, but I suspect that’ll get over about as well as “You Are / An Asshole” did.  (Yup.  Now bald Angle is just normal.)  – WWF title: Hulk Hogan v. Undertaker. UT has newer, lamer, generic music and no bike. And surprise surprise, his pop is greatly diminished. How about that. (Thankfully he switched back to the classic one at Wrestlemania XX.)  UT attacks with the Hulk belt to start, but Hogan fights back with the WINDMILL PUNCH OF DOOM and he also uses that belt. Hogan slugs away and gets a clothesline. Oh, sure, Undertaker won’t sell for DDP, but this nonsense lays him out cold. Taker gets dumped and they “brawl”. WHEN SENIORS COLLIDE~! There’s a Fox special for you. (Undertaker actually started getting much better shortly after this, thanks to his love of MMA.)  Back in, UT works the arm, but gets crotched. Hogan pulls out that superplex from 1990 and gets two. UT clips him and works the knee so that Hogan can do the Dusty Rhodes thing and lay around in crippling pain on the mat instead of, you know, moving. Hulk comes back with more devastating punches, but gets kneed. No! HE’S ALIVE! Big boot, but the legdrop misses and UT gets a half-crab. I’m on the edge of my seat as we speak. Hogan makes the ropes. Phew. UT slugs away, but crotches himself. Hogan comes back again, but takes the worst chokeslam in recorded history for two. (That Kane-Big Show match on RAW a few weeks ago had a MUCH worse one.)  Hulk up! Well, god I hope so, a 4-year old could have kicked out of that thing. Big boot! Legdrop! It gets two. I’m shocked and appalled. Who will be my role model now that my role model is gone? UT DDTs him when he puts his head down. I’m shocked that the reflection off his bald head didn’t stun him. Vince joins us as Hogan regroups and drops another big leg, with no ref. Two legdrops, and UT isn’t crippled yet? HE’S SUPERMAN! Vince takes a legdrop for the team, but UT gets a slightly less-embarassing version of the chokeslam and wins the title at 12:30. DUD This was pretty much lose-lose in terms of the result, so I guess that one, younger, broken-down ex-star beating an older broken-down ex-star is the better choice.  (I love how they panicked and put the title on Hulk, and then panicked in the other direction and took it right off him again.  They should have just kept it on him for a few months and let Brock DESTROY him at Summerslam instead of on that Smackdown.)  The Bottom Line: Four good matches would normally make for an easy thumbs up, but the rest of the show was brutally awful for the most part and dragged it down a lot. Namely, the main event, which wasn’t bad enough for comedic value, thus leaving it with no upside in my eyes. Thumbs in the middle, leaning up. (I’d go thumbs down myself, outside of the Eddie-RVD opener.)