Date: July 21, 2002
Location: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Tazz
We’re in an interesting place here as both shows have their first General Managers but the stories are hit and miss at best. The main event is the Rock, who has had one match since he came back, challenging Undertaker for the title in a triple threat also involving Kurt Angle. This is really just a pit stop before Summerslam though so let’s get to it.
We open with a Biblical passage talking about being your brother’s keeper. Somehow this is supposed to be about the main event. I’m pretty sure this is the Samuel L. Jackson speech from Pulp Fiction.
The show’s announcing will actually be divided in half with Smackdown commentary first and then Raw. I don’t remember them doing that very often.
Dudley Boyz vs. Chris Benoit/Eddie Guerrero
Elimination tables match and the Smackdown commentary is already weird here as they have no connection to these guys. Benoit runs Spike over like he’s Chris Benoit and he’s wrestling Spike Dudley. A quick tag brings in Bubba, who can suddenly stick with Benoit and Guerrero.
Benoit quickly takes Bubba down and drops some running elbows, followed by the first German suplex. The heels take turns stomping away in the corner until it’s time for the first table. Spike makes a quick save but doesn’t make a tag, meaning Bubba’s beating continues. Now the table is set up in the middle of the ring so Spike has to save Bubba from a double superplex. By that I mean he moves the table instead of breaking it up so Bubba goes flying. Spike is a really, really bad partner.
That’s not cool with Benoit and Guerrero so they try to put Spike through the table, only to have Bubba tackle him down to prevent going through the table. So Bubba is a better partner too. Everything breaks down and Spike gives Benoit a top rope double stomp, followed by What’s Up.
Bubba’s middle rope splash only hits table, which doesn’t count as an elimination because it wasn’t an offensive move that put him through the table. Well yeah it was but it was Bubba’s own offensive move. Spike actually does something right by giving Eddie the Dudley Dawg through a table. It bangs him up too much though and Benoit throws him through a table of his own, only to get Bubba Bombed onto a table to give the Dudleyz the win.
Rating: C+. Stupid decisions by Spike aside, this was entertaining stuff and a good way to open the show. Now of course it doesn’t make a lot of sense to have Eddie and Benoit lose to Bubba and Spike of all people but you can’t expect WWE to get things right with them just yet.
Bischoff chases down HHH, who is going into Stephanie’s office. See, HHH is always negotiating.
Cruiserweight Title: Jamie Noble vs. Billy Kidman
Kidman is challenging and they exchange some fast near falls to start. A hurricanrana has Noble staggered and a Fameasser with Jamie in the ropes makes it even worse. Like a good heel should though, Noble hides behind Nidia and takes Kidman’s arm out to take over. The arm goes into the post but Kidman is still fine enough to dropkick his way out of trouble. Jamie takes him right back down into a Fujiwara armbar. The title has gone to Jamie’s head though as he thinks he can powerbomb Kidman, earning himself a Sky High for two. The Shooting Star press misses and a tiger bomb gives Jamie the clean pin.
Rating: C. This was fine as a coronation match to crown Rey Mysterio’s first victim for the title. Kidman is still one of the best performers on the roster but he’s stuck in the cruiserweight division again because everything that happened in the last year of WCW means nothing. I mean, it was worthless back then too but this just proves it even more.
Kurt Angle is ready to win the title when Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar come in for the dream match staredown. Brock wishes him luck and leaves. Kurt: “I hate pompous people.”
European Title: Jeff Hardy vs. William Regal
Jeff is defending and gets shouldered down for three early near falls. The sitout jawbreaker puts Regal down for two and they head outside, only to have Jeff miss the barricade running clothesline. Back in and Jeff’s Swanton (in case you had it confused with Regal’s Swanton) hits knees, only to have Jeff roll him up to retain.
Rating: D. Well that happened. This might as well have been on Raw because the title means nothing more than a way to fill time. Hardy retaining is fine and in theory should let him move on to his next feud but why would anyone want the thing at this point? It’s just a worthless belt and at least Regal holding it made sense. Now it’s a prop for Jeff, who is no more over now that he has the thing.
Hogan and Flair congratulate Jeff before shaking hands. Hulk thinks he might hit a Swanton of his own tonight. After that bizarre visual, Hogan wants to know what’s up with the new GM’s. Flair is worried about the young superstars getting caught up in the power struggle. I have no idea why this was added save for giving Flair a cameo and therefore a payday.
Chris Jericho vs. John Cena
Rematch from Smackdown where Jericho got disqualified. Jericho is all ticked off and grabs a chair before the bell, only to have Cena take it away and blast Jericho over the back. Now we get the bell because anything that happens before the bell only counts when it’s important to the story. Cena gets in a few right hands until a shot shot slows him down and calms Canadian fans everywhere. A few more right hands put Cena down and he even throws in a little shuffle.
Chris takes too long going up and gets caught in a superplex but Cena can’t follow up. Instead he misses a dropkick, only to roll away from the Lionsault. The second attempt works but Jericho doesn’t want to cover. Chris tries the Walls and is quickly small packaged for the pin.
Rating: C-. Cena getting the win is a big deal for him but you can only give him so many flukes before he needs some kind of big offense of his own. At the moment he’s just a tough rookie, which is fine for a start, but he needs something more substantial going forward. For now though it’s fine as the long list of pins over Jericho begins.
Jericho has a fit after the match.
Bischoff fails to stop Stephanie’s attorney from going into her locker room.
The commentary switches up.
Intercontinental Title: Rob Van Dam vs. Brock Lesnar
Lesnar is challenging after defeating Van Dam in the King of the Ring final. Some quick strikes have Brock on the floor, followed by some kicks to the knee. Lesnar gets knocked outside a second time but he easily catches Rob diving through the air for a powerslam. Back in and it’s suplex time but Rob escapes a second and kicks Brock in the face. Heyman: “THAT HAD TO HURT!” They’re doing a good job here of showing that only strikes work on Brock as all of Rob’s high flying has gotten in trouble.
An attempt at a monkey flip sends Rob over the top and into the steps, followed by the bearhug to keep things slow. Brock makes it even better with an abdominal stretch which lasts as long as your average abdominal stretch is going to last. The top rope kick to the chest sets up Rolling Thunder for two on Brock. Heyman’s advice in this situation: “DON’T LOSE!” The F5 is countered into a tornado DDT and Rob adds the Five Star, causing Heyman to pull the referee for the DQ. Big pop for Van Dam retaining the title.
Rating: D+. There’s just not much left to do with Brock other than put the title on him and hope for the best. He’s dominating everyone he faces until Heyman has to save him at the end. Thankfully WWE wasn’t stupid enough (yet) to set up a champion vs. champion match on pay per view because they still realized you could do two title matches and get twice the impact.
Post match Heyman breaks up the Van Terminator, allowing Lesnar to F5 Van Dam onto a chair.
Stephanie comes out of her office and says he signed in her intimidating voice. HHH comes out a second later and Bischoff yells at him. It turns out though that those were divorce papers and HHH hasn’t made up his mind. Sweet goodness why am I supposed to care about this stupid stuff?
Big Show vs. Booker T.
No DQ and a rematch from Raw. In other words, the same story as Jericho vs. Cena from Smackdown plus the stipulation. Booker’s early kicks are pulled out of the air as Big Show sends him flying. An enziguri slows Show down but that’s a bit too much selling so he clotheslines Booker outside.
A chair swing is punched out of the air but since this is Big Show, he screws up by clotheslining the post. They fight behind the announcers’ table as this is finally starting to play towards the gimmick. A monitor shot to the head knocks Show down and we get the big spot of the match with an ax kick through the table. Back in and another ax kick sets up the Houston Hangover to give Booker the pin, which is treated like a huge upset.
Rating: C. The match wasn’t anything great but the important thing here is Booker going over. Beating Big Show isn’t going to change his career or anything but it’s a sign that WWE is actually doing something with him. Not a great match of course as Big Show is mostly worthless at this point, though he’s fine for a punching bag.
Torrie Wilson and Dawn Marie argue over who is winning the main event.
Here’s HHH for the big contract decision. Bischoff comes out for the first pitch and suggests making HHH a movie star because everything will be business., meaning there’s no ex-wife to deal with on Raw. Talk of a sneaker deal brings out Stephanie with that horrendous “I’m all grown up” theme and Lawler saying she’s hot.
Stephanie brings up their past successes and says it’s all personal this time around. She even has an ace in the hole by bringing up Bischoff calling HHH a no talent back in the day. HHH insults them both and says he could say screw you to both of them, though Stephanie would like it. He’d rather go with the devil he knows (Stephanie)…..and here’s Shawn Michaels.
Shawn said he’d come out here but he doesn’t want to get in the middle of all this. The NWO is out of business and Shawn wouldn’t want to be in HHH’s shoes. However he wants HHH to remember something. The two of them had more fun together than anyone else ever and it would be a blast to make Bischoff miserable. HHH hugs Shawn and goes to Raw, wrapping this up at just shy of sixteen minutes, or longer than any match so far.
Actually we’re still not done as Bischoff has to rub Stephanie’s nose in it to make this even longer. Bischoff: “The one big difference between you and I? I’ve got testicles and you don’t.” Stephanie slaps him and leaves to her music to make sure we know she’s tough. So yeah, Stephanie is all awesome and amazing but Raw got HHH because like he was going to stick around on Smackdown.
Now we go to Rikishi of all people to hear about HHH leaving Smackdown. He thinks it’s bad.
Booker is glad HHH is coming to Raw. Are we really having a post announcement reaction show? Goldust makes penis references.
Tag Team Titles: Hulk Hogan/Edge vs. Un-Americans
Lance Storm and Christian are challenging here with no Test in sight. During the entrances, JR outdoes himself by saying Wrestlemania III was 15 years ago and saw Hogan face Ultimate Warrior. He then corrects himself by saying it was Wrestlemania VI because Wrestlemania III was here in Chicago.
Hogan dumps Christian out to the floor to start and there goes the bandana. Storm gets punched in the face as Lawler is talking about bra and panties. It’s off to Edge for some right hands in the corner, only to have Christian offer some cheating to take over for the first time.
The fans want Hogan as Edge fights out of a chinlock. It’s back to Hogan for the usual with the legdrop getting two on Christian as Storm saves. Hogan is sent outside for the superkick from Storm and the stomping begins. It ends just as quickly though with a double clothesline to drop Storm and Hogan.
The tag brings in Edge for a series of clotheslines and the ref gets bumped. Cue Test for the big boot to Edge, giving Storm two. They actually had me on that one for a second. Rikishi waddles down to deal with Test, allowing Jericho to come in and hit Edge with a belt for the pin and the titles.
Rating: D+. Not much to the match here but again they get the booking right by using Hogan and Edge as a transitional team to get the belts on a regular team. The Un-Americans aren’t the best act in the world but I’ll take them over thrown together teams like Rikishi and Rico.
Bischoff tries to get Angle on Raw. Kurt says they’ll talk later.
Stephanie promises to win the war because she’s in contact with EVERY Raw superstar.
The announcers recap the show.
We recap the World Title match. Rock tried to cost Undertaker the title at King of the Ring so Undertaker wanted to fight him. Then Undertaker vs. Angle went to a draw so Angle was added to this match.
Undisputed Title: Kurt Angle vs. The Rock vs. Undertaker
Undertaker is defending and comes to the ring without his bandana for a weird look. It’s a three way staredown to start with Undertaker and Rock jawing at each other while Angle waves his arms behind them. That earns him a double right hand and a big clothesline to send him outside.
Undertaker gets the same treatment but Kurt slides back in for a belly to belly on Rock. The champ takes Angle’s place and gives Rock a side slam for two. To really mix things up, Rock chokeslams Undertaker, which is pretty much just a release Rock Bottom anyway. All three are back in now and Rock grabs a horrible, HORRIBLE ankle lock on Kurt.
Angle gets out and Rock Bottoms Rock, only to get Angle Slammed by Undertaker. Cute sequence though Rock’s ankle lock was worse than his Sharpshooter. The spinebuster sets up the People’s Elbow with Angle pulling Rock to the floor and stealing the two count. Everyone heads outside with Rock being dropped onto the announcers’ table and Kurt getting busted open.
Old School, with a right hand to the face instead of the shoulder, gets two on Angle. The running DDT gets the same on Rock, who doesn’t even need help kicking out. Angle brings in a chair but gets caught in the middle of alternating right hands. The ref gets bumped (of course) and one heck of a chair shot knocks Undertaker out. An Angle Slam drops Rock as the referee is back up (good) but he kicks out at two and puts Angle in the Sharpshooter.
Undertaker saves and gives Rock the Last Ride, only to have Angle break it up with the ankle lock. That’s rolled through and now it’s the triangle choke that made Undertaker tap a few weeks ago. Rock makes a save this time and gets ankle locked, which is quickly escaped as well. A Rock Bottom gets two on Undertaker but he walks into the Angle Slam. One more Rock Bottom puts Kurt away to give Rock another title.
Rating: B. The over hyping hurt this as JR made it sound like the greatest thing he had ever seen. It’s certainly good and entertaining with the stolen spots sequence being one of the better parts but Rock winning the title by beating Angle isn’t great. Then again that’s how triple threats work most of the time and Rock is just holding it for Lesnar anyway.
Overall Rating: C-. This is such a forgettable show and there isn’t much other way to put it. The main event was very good but that’s really about it. Maybe they could have had a better match in the middle if we didn’t need a fifteen minute HHH announcement but that’s where the money is in this company, or so WWE would tell us. There’s just not much to say about this one and it shows badly. Summerslam will be the bigger deal though and that’s what really matters.
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