Vengeance 2002: The Great One Is Still Great

Vengeance 2002
Date: July 21, 2002
Location: Joe Louis Arena, Detriot, Michigan
Attendance: 12,000
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Tazz

So at this time, the Brand Split has just happened, although this is still a double branded show. The main feud is Rock vs. Angle vs. Taker. Just glancing at the card, this show more or less sucks. Other than that, there just isn’t much here. Cena’s PPV debut is here if that helps anything at all. Van Dam vs. Lesnar could be ok I guess. Uh yeah let’s just get to this as I’m not sure how it’s going to go.

Should be noted that in April of this year, Orton debuted. In May Batista debuted, and in June, about a month prior to this, Cena debuted. Not bad for a three months period is it?

The opening video is based on a passage from the Bible of all things. Oh I forgot. Bischoff made his WWF debut around this time. Oh sorry. It’s WWE now. Really short though.

Tazz and Cole threatened JR and King and therefore they get to call half of the show due to JR and King not wanting to deal with a pair of idiots like them.

BubbaRayDudley/SpikeDudleyvs. ChrisBenoit/EddieGuerrero

This is an elimination match. Since D-Von got sent to Smackdown and is now a preacher (with a deacon named Batista), Spike and Bubba are more or less the new Dudley Boys. Yeah it didn’t work and at I think Survivor Series they put D-Von and Bubba back together. Eddie’s mullet is insane here. Benoit gets a decent pop. I’ve always liked how Fink said Benoit. Absolutely no reason for these guys fighting has been given yet.

Tazz says the Dudleys have tables all over their yard and porch. That’s kind of an amusing visual. Also, it’s stuff like that that is dead in wrestling today. It’s ridiculous, but it gives their characters a sense of kayfabe realism. Today, they’re just two guys that like putting people through tables. Here, they still have a bit of the crazed hillbillies in them which is what made them awesome in the first place. Benoit was hurt at KOTR 2001 so he’s back full time now.

See, that’s the kind of stuff we need to be told in case we’re not up to date. You know, information like WHY THEY’RE FIGHTING! Later in the fall, Bubba would get to feud with HHH over the world title of all things. To say they were low on ideas at this point is an understatement. With no tables involved yet, Cole is surprised that Benoit and Eddie are controlling this.

In other words, Cole is surprised that Benoit and Eddie are out-wrestling the Dudley Boys. WOW. Taz starts a sentence with “Those of you out there that haven’t been put through a table.” That sums up why I don’t have to make fun of it, even though it was made in a joking manner. HHH decides on Raw or Smackdown tonight. Ok then. Also, four ECW guys in there. But yeah Vince, ECW didn’t have much influence on WWE today. None at all.

Spike runs in for a modified Poetry in Motion that was pretty nice. This has been ALL Radicalz. Yes I know that’s not their name anymore so save your annoying comments. Bubba spears Spike to save him from going through a table. We’re about ten minutes into this and no one is eliminated yet. Spike does a double stomp to the ribs of Benoit from the top rope.

There’s no way that doesn’t hurt no matter how well you get ready for it. Bubba misses his back splash through the table but it doesn’t count since it wasn’t via an offensive move. They’ve been consistent with that so I can buy it. Spike reverses a suplex into a Dudley Dog on Eddie to eliminate him.

They kind of mess up the landing though as Eddie goes ribs first into it and doesn’t hit the ground with his body. Ow I think. Benoit hits a gorilla press on Spike (think about that for a second) and it’s one on one. And Bubba wins it with a Bubba Bomb.


Rating: D+. It was long and had some drama, but in what non-existent universe should the Dudleys beat Eddie and Benoit in ANY kind of match? Someone explain this to me. Also, NO EXPLANATION of why they’re fighting at all. This was just a bizarre fifteen minutes if there ever has been a bizarre fifteen minutes. I’m legit stunned.

Bischoff says he’s here to sign the most ruthless athlete he knows of: HHH. Oh let it begin. He’s going into the Smackdown GM’s office. The Smackdown GM at the moment: Stephanie. I’d love to see HHH trying to get them to compete for his services. Three round competition: karate, lingerie, mud wrestling. Hey, tell me Stephanie wouldn’t look hot in a gi.

CruiserweightTitle: JamieNoblevs. BillyKidman

At this point, the belt means jack. It’s the guy wins title after being on “an impressive roll as of late”, holds it for like three months while never defending it, another guy goes “on an impressive roll as of late” and normally he wins the title. This would be the first major, and I use that term more loosely than Lita after a bottle of Jack, title defense for Noble though, so there’s more or less no way he loses here.

That and I reviewed the match where he did lose it already so yeah this isn’t in any doubt at all. Wow absolutely no one cares here. We get the line about Noble not being your traditional cruiserweight as he uses a ground based attack and isn’t a high flier. Well duh, he’s a heel champion. Has there ever been a high flier that’s a heel? Only an idiot would book that? Kidman goes up top. I wonder if he’s about to GET READY TO FLY.

I really could not be less interested in this. Yet I’m writing a review of it. There’s something extremely wrong with me I think. How in the world did Noble win the ROH Title for a month? Was that like a massive rib or something? Noble messes up Kidman’s shoulder to try to make people care. To be fair, Kidman gets some pops in there.

Oh some guy named Rey Mysterio debuts Thursday. So four months you got Ortn, Cena, Batista and Mysterio. Not bad. Kidman doesn’t tap to an armbar. Kidman goes for an enziguri. It lands on Noble’s back. Wow this is making my head hurt. Shooting Star misses and Noble rolls him up for two. Noble hits a Tiger Bomb to end this.

Rating: D+. Not bad, but seriously, no one really cared. This just filled in about 8 minutes and wasn’t that good at all. More or less a nothing match that went nowhere at all. Not that it was terrible or anything, but no point at all.

Angle says he’ll win tonight but does so in a comedic manner. He makes economy jokes based on Detroit. Wow that’s odd. Heyman and Lesnar interrupt and a rivalry is set up. Lesnar has the title shot at Summerslam. Brock was still the silent killer at the moment. Angle’s character has slowly grown on me over the years. He’s so happy go lucky and joking but he can whip so much ass in the ring that it’s ok.

EuropeanTitle: WilliamRegalvs. JeffHardy

Hardy is champion here for no reason whatsoever. Maybe the reason is he pinned the European Champion in a title match. Ah apparently it was to Hardy on Raw a few weeks back. He cried after losing the title. Cole of course makes fun of him. Jeff gets a big old pop even at this point. The fans can’t stand Regal at all. He always was a good guy for getting heat. Hardy does that dropkick through the middle and bottom ropes that he does but leaves it short.

Hardy messing up a move. Who would have guessed that? Whisper in the Wind doesn’t have a name yet. Oh and Jess is wearing body paint now. Swanton lands on the knees. That must hurt badly. Hardy gets a weird looking rollup from nowhere to retain. Seriously he was getting his head kicked in and then was rolling him up. Nice ending….I think. Regal freaks again afterwards.

Rating: D+. I know I’ve used that a lot here but it’s what comes up. Just a weird match to put it mildly. It was just random with Regal dominating most of the match but losing out of nowhere. The fans popped big for Hardy though so I can’t complain there.

Flair congratulates Hardy. Hogan is here too. These three are in the same company 8 years later and two of them are legends here. See something wrong there? Hogan says he might use a Swanton later. Flair says what he thinks Ross would say. It’s….not that funny. Hogan says he’s worried about Vince appointing Eric and Stephanie as GMs of THEIR company. Flair was still onscreen owner here, so what the heck is Hogan talking about HIS company?

Flair says he’s worried for the young guys. Oh that’s PRICELESS. You hear all of the political stuff coming, and you have to wonder why they have no problem talking about their bosses like this with a camera looking right at them. That’s wrestling though so I can go with it.

JohnCenavs. ChrisJericho

So Cena had debuted like a month before this and had nearly beaten Kurt Angle in a challenge match. Jericho is heel here mind you. Not bad for a debut feud. Jericho couldn’t beat him three days ago so he beat the tar out of him with a chair. Yeah Jericho not being able to beat Cena. I’m stunned too. Cena has generic rock theme #849B here. Oh and he’s from Boston here. Also he’s wearing red shorts with a white stripe up the side. It was a very different time.

He wouldn’t be a rapper for a few months. This is a totally different guy than you’re used to. He’s not that good in the ring, he has NO heat, and I don’t think he has an actual signature or finishing move. Jericho kicks his head off with a spinning heel kick. I love that move. More or less Cena is just trying to survive here. Random note but TNA started about a month before this. Lionsault misses and Cena gets two on a rollup. Jericho getting pissed off is a thing of beauty.

Lionsault hits but he doesn’t cover like an idiot. Cena counters the Walls into a rollup for a quick pin. See what I mean by not having a finisher? And remember, Jericho was main eventing Mania three and a half months earlier.

Rating: C-. TV level match here but this is far more of a signature moment than anything else. Jericho put him over clean here and you can’t ask for much more. This wasn’t bad at all, and given Cena’s experience at this point, there was only so high they could take this. Also, Cena beats Jericho again.

Bischoff and Coach are waiting outside Stephanie’s office where HHH has been for awhile. Her lawyer goes in. I don’t care.

JR and King take over on commentary.

RVD is stretching. So is Lesnar. BUYRATE BABY!

We recap them, which more or less is Lesnar is awesome and beats up everybody he fights. He beat RVD to win KOTR. That’s about it.

IntercontinentalTitle: BrockLesnarvs. RobVanDam

Ok so make that Cena, Orton, Batista, Mysterio and Lesnar in four months. Think this was a good time for the company? Heyman was perfect in this role. Although I do wonder why knowing Heyman’s money history Lesnar would let him handle his contracts. Makes little sense. Van Dam is OVER. Oh yeah he’s the hometown boy here. Brock uses an FU about 4 seconds in and since he’s not John Cena, it does nothing. Yeah Lesnar’s strength is nothing compared to Cena’s.

Van Dam gets some solid shots in on Lesnar that makes things believable at least. Weird to think that both of these guys are world champions today, almost eight years later. Lesnar hits a powerslam on the floor. Freaking OW! Ross thinks Van Dam has the advantage in speed in quickness. My head hurts from announcers at times.

We hit the bear hug with Brock in control. Van Dam cues up his comeback with Heyman’s advice being DON’T LOSE! F5 is countered into a DDT. Five Star connects but Heyman pulls the referee out. Yep, it’s a weak DQ. The referee beats up Heyman for no apparent reason. F5 to RVD post match.

Rating: C+. The key thing here was they had to protect both guys and that’s what they did. Van Dam keeps the title and had Lesnar beat, but Lesnar didn’t get pinned. It’s a nice deal because as they said, Lesnar had nothing at all to lose here. This was fine for what it was.

Let’s waste more time outside Stephanie’s office because it worked so well last time. Stephanie walks out and she’s not happy looking. She says he signed. Ok then. HHH walks out and Bischoff yells at him. Apparently he signed divorce papers. He hasn’t decided on who to sign with yet.

BigShowvs. BookerT

This is no DQ for no apparent reason. Maybe we’ll GET AN EXPLANATION HERE! No count outs either which I would have though was self-explanatory. Ah here’s an explanation. Show beat up Booker on Raw to culminate their feud. SO WHY ARE THEY FIGHTING??? Booker is in blue here which is oddly working for him. Apparently Show wanted the stipulations here. Oh and Show is in his one piece swimsuit again.

He would be the first guy to beat Lesnar. Wow. He’s just big, slow and bad here. We hear WWF here which would be a big issue today. If nothing else Show looks funny, although I don’t think that was their intention. Booker gets a good monitor shot into the head of Show on the floor. We now get one of the most contrived spots I can remember in a long time.

After that monitor shot, Booker gets on the other end of the tables and Show just happens to stay in perfect position for the axe kick. So if he hadn’t stood like that, what would Booker have done instead? That’s what I mean by contrived. We go back in and an axe kick and the Houston Hangover (front flip into a leg drop from the top) gets a clean pin. This was borderline squash.

Rating: D+. Not very good and that awful spot killed it for me. This was just random and it came off badly. Booker went on the hottest streak of his life just after this, culminating in being fed to HHH at Mania 19. This was just a weird one though.

Torrie and Dawn Marie are at The World, the newly named WWF New York. This was pointless.

And here’s HHH. Yeah, after about a month off or so, it’s time to talk about what his career plans are. Oh freaking JOY. Apparently he’s the biggest name in wrestling. Ok then. And we’re into HHH is awesome time now. Ross says he coined the phrase Cerebral Assassin months ago. Yeah that’s why they were using it OVER A YEAR AGO at Mania 17. Before he can talk though, here’s Bischoff. Once his theme song ends, his video keeps playing. Ok then.

Bischoff’s main pitch is he’s all business rather than personal. He offers HHH movie roles etc. He almost calls HHH a WCW Superstar. That was almost funny. He’s getting a shoe deal too. And here’s Stephanie of course. Ok to be fair, I think she’d look better naked than Eric. The weak rap/hip hop song for her just fails though. Wow Stephanie trying to be tough always FAILS. Oh yeah, and she cannot talk at all. They were unstoppable apparently.

You know, until they got, you know, stopped. Eric and Stephanie go back and forth for a bit with Stephanie mentioning that Eric once said HHH had no talent or charisma. WOW this is making my head hurt. Now HHH talks for awhile. This is just painfully bad. He sticks his hand out to Eric. He doesn’t shake it. He says he’d rather go with the devil he knows rather than the one he doesn’t. And here’s HBK who just left the NWO. Yeah that was just stupid.

The NWO had more or less been threatening to force HHH to join them on Raw. OH THAT’S RIGHT! Booker and Show were fighting because they were in the NWO together and Shawn said Booker was the reason the team sucked so Big Show started fighting Booker. This era sucked.

The NWO is gone now as they realized the thing was just stupid at this point. Shawn talks him into coming back to Raw. HHH turned heel the next night and beat up Shawn. This is ten minutes I’ll never get back. Gah it’s not over yet. Stephanie and Eric have to talk a bit more.

Rikishi says he’s surprised about HHH. This was pointless.

Booker and Goldust get asked about HHH. Booker says bring him on. Goldust makes a bad sex joke.

We recap the 4th of July tag title change. Edge was a childhood Hulkamaniac so they just randomly won the tag titles. Christian and Lance Storm were the UnAmericans at the time, so the REAL CANADIAN Edge and Hogan defended the country. Yeah it was stupid.

TagTitles: LanceStorm/Christianvs. HulkHogan/Edge

This isn’t going to be fun is it? I think the tag titles went on both brands at the time but I’m not sure. Yeah they did. Ross then explains that Toronto is in Canada. Ok then. It’s also the Hendrix music for Hogan. Yes let’s pay a commercial artist for music when WE OWN THE MOST FAMOUS SONG IN WRESTLING HISTORY! He follows that up by TWICE, yes TWICE saying that Hogan fought Warrior at Mania 3. WOW.

I knew that when I was 4 years old. Hogan vs. Christian starts. That’s a weird thing to see: Hogan fighting a guy that’s young and talented that hasn’t been elevated up yet. Dang how out of place does Hogan look here? If you get another talented guy in there, you could have a pretty interesting tag match. Or like this: Edge vs. Lance Storm. That sounds perfectly entertaining. This however, just isn’t interesting. Also, within about two months, Hogan has won the tag and world titles.

He’s like what, 50 at this point? Is there a reason to give him such title runs here? I can almost guarantee you that Edge will get pinned here if they lose the belts. Naturally Edge is the one getting beaten down. Hogan comes in and Christian goes for that diving reverse DDT of his. Hogan botches the HECK out of it. You know, because it’s such a hard move to take isn’t it? Leg drop to Christian but Storm makes the save.

Hogan doesn’t take the superkick from Storm right either. Edge comes in to clean house while Hogan looks for a pudding pack or something. And there goes the referee. Test runs down to beat up Hogan and Edge. Storm covers Edge for only two. Wow that surprised me. Rikishi of all people comes down to beat up Test. Sure why not?

Christian distracts the referee and JERICHO comes out to nail Edge with a title belt for the ending. Wow it only took four guys to get the belt off of Hogan and he didn’t even get pinned. That might be a new record low for Hogan. Naturally, this title that Hogan was so proud of was never mentioned again and he never went after it again.

Rating: D. Just bad and Hogan looked awful out there. Four guys to get the title off of Hogan. He botches a ton of spots, and he doesn’t even let Storm or Christian get to say they pinned Hogan. Yeah, this is definitely about the young guys. Can’t you see that?

Bischoff tries to get Angle onto Raw. Smart if nothing else.

Stephanie threatens to rip the heart out of Raw. Not sure what she means but she did get the IC Title to Smackdown. Pay no attention to the fact that the belts were unified soon after and we had the idiotic year where there were only world champions. Yeah it was stupid.

We recap the triple threat main event. Rock had a title shot for no apparent reason and there’s the famous Taker taps out while pinning Angle thing. Replays in slow enough motion show Taker tapping before the three hit the mat but whatever. It was a draw but whatever. That actually happened at UFC 34 in a Matt Hughes fight.

He was in a triangle choke and tried to slam the guy into the mat. He did so and won by knockout, but he was out from the choke. Taker suggested doing it to set up this angle. But no Vince, UFC which today is light years ahead of what it was back then has no impact on wrestling at all.

UndisputedTitle: TheRockvs. KurtAnglevs. Undertaker

So Rock is officially an actor now but he’s here for no adequately explained reason. That would come at Summerslam though. It’s your standard triple threat so far with Angle and Rock doing the heavy lifting early on. Taker goes for the chokeslam on Rock but Rock does it to him. In other words he did a Rock Bottom but didn’t go down with him. They show a close up replay and I forgot it was a chokeslam. Rock puts the ankle lock on Angle and Angle hits him with a Rock Bottom.

Taker hits an Angle Slam on Angle as we have a nice little sequence there. That wasn’t bad at all. I love it when Taker grabs a guy by the throat and throws them into the corner to punch the heck out of them. We do the standard one guy goes down and the other two fight for awhile. It does help as you can get three one on ones rather than a threeway so that’s good. Angle is bleeding. Not a bad cut either. He gets beaten back and forth between both guys.

Not bad, but this needs to pick things up a little. Oh look the referee is down and his leg hurts. Oh ok he’s already up again. Angle takes both guys out and covers Taker which is stupid as he was put down first. Taker hits the Last Ride but Angle gets the ankle lock. We use the same finish from Smackdown but now Rock is in the ankle lock. We’re fully into the whole finisher marathon segment here and it’s boring.

Rock Bottom to Taker gets two as Angle is down. Angle Slam to Taker but the Rock Bottom to Angle ends it. Meh. I would have been more interested if I didn’t know the winner beforehand. And I didn’t know because of this being 8 years ago. I knew because of the Rock/Lesnar poster they accidentally released two weeks before Rock won the title.

Rating: B-. Not bad, but DANG the whole nothing but finishers for the last 5 minutes got annoying. Rock jobbing to Lesnar was good and this set that up so I can’t complain much there. Angle was a nice placeholder I guess but this just wasn’t anything special at all. Seeing Taker do an Angle Slam was cool though. Just nothing special at all.

Overall Rating: D+. Nothing special here at all. This was a totally uninteresting show from start to finish with no great matches and 15 minutes going to HHH saying Raw rather than a long match in between. Thankfully this was the end of Hogan’s time around titles but man this was boring. The whole show just came off as uninteresting and like a waste of time. Take a pass here, although the triple threat is watchable.


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  1. Greg says:

    First of all I really enjoy your reviews KB. We agree on a lot and disagree on some but thats fine obviously.

    Wanted to talk about HHH real quick:

    My goodness his power within the industry is starting to show here lol…
    Having bishoff say on like the last raw hes the ONE guy he wish he woulda signed back in WCW and just putting him over so hard LOL. Having steph, bishoff and his buddy shawn all out there trying to sign the greatest thing ever. I kinda got a kick out of watching the hhh reign just to see his massive ego and influence on the show being so obvious on screen during raw etc. cracked me up.

    Also shawn was just trashing the fans as a heel like two weeks ago right?

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Much appreciated.

    Yeah it’s a lot to take. There’s always SOMEONE sucking up to him in one way or another and it’s really tiresome. What’s even worse though is how Stephanie is treated. She just dominates everyone around this time and it’s really hard to sit through. What a sickening family.

    ANd true on Shawn, but the NWO wasn’t the most vicious heel faction.

    Greg Reply:

    Good point. Ya they completely screwed up the NWO.