On This Day: June 23, 2002 – King of the Ring 2002: Brock Reigns
King of the Ring 2002
Date: June 23, 2002
Location: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross
Austin is gone. That’s your big story number one. He was ticked off at management so he just walked out on the company. This is the story they mean when they say he took his ball and went home. Due to him leaving, and I believe I was at his last match before he left, Rock made a surprise return and said that he would be at the PPV to fill in for Austin. The reason Austin left was he didn’t like creative, namely that he was jobbing to Brock Lesnar on Raw in a KOTR qualifying match.
That brings us to story number 2: Brock Lesnar. He’s in the final four and is about as much of a given winner as you can possibly imagine. Hogan is still here too, fighting Angle tonight. The main event is HHH vs. Taker for the title, which is going to suck, plain and simple. Let’s get to it.
The final PPV brackets:
Rob Van Dam
Oh also, this is the first PPV under the WWE name as the change came just a few weeks prior to it.
We start with a recap of all the great wrestlers to win the tournament but we leave out all of the terrible ones, such as Mabel and Gunn. It has been a pretty good way to determine a good star over the years. For this year the winner gets the title match at Summerslam. Oh and we’ve had the brand split so it’s two shows now.
Oh one last thing: four days before this some company called TNA debuted. Yeah they’re nothing.
King of the Ring Semi–Finals: Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam
Jericho beat Edge and Val Venis (called Big Valbowski at the time) while Van Dam beat Eddie Guerrero and X-Pac who somehow has a job at this point which amazes me. Van Dam is IC Champion here because that’s what he does. Dang Jericho went from main eventing Wrestlemania to opening King of the Ring. That’s quite a fall. The fans are WAY behind RVD, and I think Jericho is still heel here. Yeah he is.
Ross thinks they’re evenly matches in size. Good to know his eyes are working well enough that he can tell they look the same. There’s an ECW chant as this match is about as good as you would expect it to be. This is another one of those that’s just hard to mess up. There are three guys in the front row all in Superman shirts. Jericho just doesn’t seem like he can do anything as a heel. He’s just not good in the ring as one, but I think that’s because of his finishing move.
It just doesn’t work for him as he needs something other than a sibmission. Hardly any heel wins with submissions and he’s no exception. I really hate that move where you just pull back on the other guy’s arms. It just looks like crap. I’ve always loved that springboard kick that Van Dam hits. Van Dam hits the exposed turnbuckle for two and the Lionsasult misses. The Five Star misses and the Lionsault again gets two.
Jericho gets the walls but it’s right in the corner and that breaks it up. Both are up top but Van Dam gets a kick to the head for the Five Star to end it. Van Dam being spent on the mat but still doing the finger point when his name is announced is just classic stuff. Lawler jumps in the ring to ask Van Dam who he prefers and RVD says he doesn’t care if it’s Test, Lesnar or Godzilla. Jericho jumps him and puts him in the Walls.
Rating: B. This was a great choice for an opener as it’s fifteen minutes of two guys that know how to get a crowd into a match. They did just that here and it worked like a charm. RVD winning clean is a big deal too as it gives him a solid push to the finals before he gets slaughtered. This was a good back and forth match and it worked very well though.
Heyman gets Lesnar fired up by saying apparently that he’s Godzilla. Lesnar was freaking scary. Those nipples are hard as too.
King of the Ring Semi–Finals: Test vs. Brock Lesnar
Hmm, I wonder what’s going to happen here. Apparently insiders are picking Test. That just makes me laugh. Heyman is freaking perfect for this job as he makes you want to hate Lesnar but he was just so awesome that he eventually got cheered anyway. The fans chant for Goldberg who wouldn’t be around for about 9-10 months. I think Test is a face here but no one cares at all.
They missed so badly on him that the only time to jump on him was nearly 3 years ago but it never happened. I’m not saying he should have carried the company but a week or two with the belt would have been ok. If nothing else it gives him instant credibility. This just doesn’t seem like a good idea as they’re both power guys but they both have muscles so Vince knows it’s a good idea right? Oh yeah Test beat Hurricane and Hardcore Holly while Brock beat Bubba and Booker T.
Basically Test keeps taking bit moves but kicking out while he never gets any long offense in. He hits a sidewalk slam but this is a glorified squash. They do let Test get offense in actually. Ok they let him get in all three of his big moves with the full nelson slam, the pumphandle slam and the big boot and Lesnar pops up from all of them. Then they decidet to let Heyman hit Test, because we can’t have Lesnar go over a muscle guy clean. Way to make Lesnar look dominant there. There F5 ends him.
Rating: C-. This was being as generous as I could be. The second half was just finisher, kick out, finisher, kick out, finisher, kick out etc. Lesnar was about as obvious as you could be to win the whole thing so this was just a waste of our time. The Heyman interference was annoying too though so whatever.
Coach goes to the Raw locker room to ask who they think will win. Bubba picks Lesnar and says he’ll get a shot eventually. Yes, they actually were pushing Bubba as a midcard guy. They had no idea what they were doing around this time.
Greg Lloyd asks Christian and Lance who is going to win. Lance is annoyed that it’s two Americans and no Canadians. This was the UnAmerican angle that was brilliant but went nowhere.
Hey Cole and Tazz are here, getting their first mention or face time 40 minutes into the show. They recap Jamie Noble vs. Hurricane which is because of Nidia. It was completely freaking stupid. My goodness Nidia was worthless.
Cruiserweight Title: Jamie Noble vs. Hurricane
This was either Noble’s first match or at least his first feud. Oh ok this is his second. Seriously, the recap is still going. It’s getting more time than the opening video. Oh and the heels unmasked him which Burchill is still trying to do. IT’S STILL GOING! I have absolutely no interest in this match at all. Hurricane was running around chokeslamming people. Nidia thinks she means something. That’s just amusing.
There’s a “she’s a crack whore” chant going as we flash back to ECW. She tries to trip Hurricane and misses. You grab the big white thing. It’s how you got a job more than likely as it certainly isn’t for your looks and talent. Oh Tuesday is the Divas Undressed thing. It was a lingire thing that went nowhere. There were some ok looks but that’s about it. As you can tell, I’m not talking much about the match.
This division and title were just jokes and it’s good that the title isn’t coming back. Let it go people. Oh dear we begin the sex jokes about Hurricane and why Nidia dumped him. I hate those. Oh blast it they’re using sleepers. I can barely stand the thought of this match already and they’re just boring me to death. This division was just a freaking waste. Wait a minute. This is a Smackdown match. WHY ARE LAWLER AND ROSS CALLING IT???
We have acknowledged that Tazz and Cole, the SMACKDOWN ANNOUNCERS are in the building, but instead we get Ross and Lawler who have nothing to do with these guys or their show talking about the match. What in the world is wrong with this? Hurricane and Nidia fight over his cape. Hurricane suplexes Noble over the ropes and he lands on his leg. Dang it he’s getting up so we have to keep going.
The main problem here is Nidia. She’s so ridiculously annoying and won’t shut up. Hurricane hits a swinging neckbreaker from the top rope. This match just needs to end. It’s all highspots and Nidia and only one of those things are interesting. Noble kicks out of the chokeslam which stuns the crowd. For some reason they’re into this. Hurricane crotches himself on the top and Noble powerbombs him for the title while Nidia shoves his foot off the ropes. They make out way too much after the match.
Rating: D-. And it passes for the highspots. This was just freaking pointless and of course they gave it 10 minutes. See, in WCW, this was successful because there WERE NO STORIES. It was all highspots and no stupid ugly women screaming all the time. Learn from that Vince.
We see Rock arriving earlier in the night. He would be given the title in a month for the sole reason of putting Brock over at Summerslam. That was probably Austin’s title but he blew that so Rock does it.
We recap Flair vs. Guerrero, which is because Flair wanted “one more run” and Guerrero and Benoit blamed him for Austin leaving. This right here is what I can’t stand about Flair. He might be able to work, but I’d bet anything that he goes over the younger and better (at the time) Eddie. Guerrero goes over his whole family which is like 35 people in something I just don’t get. Eddie runs down Flair and speaks a lot of Spanish.
Ric Flair vs. Eddie Guerrero
I get that everyone loves Flair, but we’re coming off of Hogan being WWE Champion. He has a match later tonight meaning that two guys in their 50s are getting PPV time. I get that they’re legends, but they should be here for one thing: putting people over. And nothing more. If that interview was live, he set a world record for fastest taping of his hands in history. Please let this get done fast.
Eddie imitates Flair which is so original that only about a dozen people have done it this year. Oh apparently this is supposed to be Eddie vs. Austin but we get Flair instead. Two weeks before this I saw that match at a house show and it was ok at best but Austin was still decent. Even still, you couldn’t have him fight Benoit or someone like that? Flair does all of his regular stuff and while it gets a pop, I just can’t get into it at all.
Granted this is my fourth review in two days so that likely has something to do with it. Flair asks for a time check and low blows Guerrero. That leads to, you guessed it, more chops. Flair is orange. That’s just disturbing. Guerrero works on the knee in a little twist on things. Figure four by Eddie but it’s on the wrong leg which to be fair Flair always did too. After a minute or so of trying to power out of it he just reaches up and grabs the middle rope without even having to straighten out his arm.
And now Eddie gives up on the legs and works on general offense. Well so much for psychology. And now we’re back on the floor. This is just meandering along at the slowest pace possible. When the announcers are calling out your lack of psychology you know it’s bad. Frog splash misses as this match needs to just end in a bad way. Flair goes to the knee and here’s Benoit. Flair bossing the referee around here is amusing for some reason.
And now we have some intelligence as Flair has the hold broken but he goes back to the legs. They try a pinfall reversal sequence and it just fails due to age and lack of ability anymore. Benoit puts the Crossface on Flair on the floor and Flair taps like an idiot. Benoit gets thrown out and while he does that, Bubba freaking Ray Dudley hits the Bubba Bomb on Eddie. Flair rolls in while Benoit chases Bubba and gets the pin. I knew it. I FREAKING KNEW IT.
Why in the world does Flair need to win this match? Can someone explain that to me at all? What does Flair gain here? He’s an old man that’s so far past his prime it’s pathetic, so let’s put him over a young and talented guy. God bless Vince.
Rating: D+. This was just SO boring. It goes on for 17 minutes and we get Bubba and Benoit deciding the ending. Seriously, we couldn’t have had Benoit vs. Eddie? They ahd to redo the story anyway so have one support Austin and one hate him. How hard is that? Apparently far too hard because we have Flair win the match. I really want to slap this PPV in the face.
Get the F Out Ad.
Regal and Chris Nowitski (Harvard guy) are at The World (WWF New York) and are complaining that their food isn’t here yet. The waitress says she’s still in school and Chris makes fun of her for going to a community college. Had he not gotten hurt, he could have ridden that gimmick for years. I remember X arguing with someone who said they went to some college. X just busts out that he went to Brown. Argument ended. Chris can do that too and it just ends things.
Women’s Title: Trish Stratus vs. Molly Holly
It’s the pointless match of the month. Trish has just broken through the ceiling here and has some talent now while Molly is being the virgin and perfect character. Oh and apparently Molly is overweight. Molly is a good worker so this should be ok I guess. And it won’t matter anyway as the fans chant about puppies. And there you have the problem with this division. It’s still like that today and it always will be.
Ok, they’re working hard here, but King keeps talking about puppies and in two days they’re having the Undressed show. See what I mean? No matter how good the wrestling is it’s not going to mean a freaking thing and that’s pathetic. You can tell Ross is fed up with Lawler’s stupid lines and jokes. Molly misses her top rope flip but rolls up Trish and uses the tights for the win.
Rating: C+. The wrestling was very good here actually, but the commentary just sucked. It was all fat jokes. Seriously, grow up Lawler. You need to. Not as bad as Vince does though.
Angle, now bald but with a wig on, is with that Lloyd guy. Angle asks an interesting question: what did Hogan ever do to become a real American hero? Apparently he only is because Vince says so. This is some awesomely interesting stuff. I guess beating Nikolai Volkoff counts. Angle just rips Hogan to shreds here. I love how there were so many lines about him that were off limits but now that he’s fallen from grace everything comes out.
HOLY CRAP THE SMACKDOWN GUYS ARE TALKING!!! The recap starts with a recap of Hogan wanting to retire and “bow out gracefully”. That just amuses me. Vince says he can’t because he won’t let him. Hogan says he changed his mind so he can Vince, which led to Angle running in. Again, Hogan is another guy that just needs to retire, but he has TNA to ruin.
Kurt Angle vs. Hulk Hogan
This show just kind of sucks and I have a freaking hour to go in it. We fight over technical stuff to start. What I mean by that is Angle does and Hogan just does power stuff. Hogan keeps taking control despite not actually doing anything. Hogan goes for the hair piece and gets a shot in the red and yellow balls. I guess there’s one of each.
Ross says Hogan is as American as apple pie. That’s true. He’s overrated, strange looking, he’s stayed too long, he doesn’t do anything, he gets on people’s nerves, he lies, he cheats, he steals, he cheats on his wife and he tries to be too young. He’s a REAL AMERICAN! Hogan, apparently tired after the work from throwing punches and putting his hand to his ear, is put into a chinlock. Hogan HULKS UP and hits the big boot but instead of the legdrop he pulls the wig off.
After Angle runs, Hogan goes for the legdrop but Angle catches it into the ankle lock. Hogan actually taps and the fans are stunned. That helps the match about a full letter. Ross tries to save Hogan by saying that he held on as long as humanly possible, which is apparently about 15 seconds. Ross can’t remember Hogan ever tapping. That’s just amusing.
Rating: C-. Angle carried this thing completely. Hogan is just a waste here, but to his credit, he tapped. Had he not, this would have ended any chance this show has. Him tapping was right though and it made Angle look much stronger. Sweetness there.
We go to the back with Booker, wearing a WWE Crew shirt for no apparent reason, and Goldust who is dressed like Rock. You all know what’s coming, and there he is. Rock, whose arm is freaking MASSIVE, says that he’s here for the title match, and wonders what in the world is wrong with Goldust.
Goldie keeps touching himself and mentions something about ammunition in his canon. Rock FREAKS on him and asks what the point of Goldie is. This goes on for about 5 minutes and is hilarious. Rock is maybe the best promo man ever and definitely the best ever at comedy.
King of the Ring Finals: Rob Van Dam vs. Brock Lesnar
Ok, does ANYONE here think RVD can win? If you do, you’re a freaking idiot. Van Dam uses his kicks to start and goes for the legs which makes sense I guess. And there we are as Lesnar just beats the tar out of him. We go through the standard beating that you would expect as they’re keeping things simple here. Why do otherwise I guess? Lesnar hits all of his big power stuff and it works quite well.
He hits the bearhug but Van Dam gets out, making him better than Hogan I guess. RVD makes his comeback and actually hits the Five Star, but Heyman interferes and snaps his neck over the ropes. The problem is that RVD lands on Lesnar for the cover and it gets a long two. See, that’s smart and clever as they make Lesnar look strong by having him kick out, especially when Van Dam rarely covers right after the move anyway.
That’s well thought out and it maks Lesnar look good. Van Dam goes up but gets caught in an F5 which looked great for the pin to give Brock the crown in a 6 minute match. Can we please have a long one? Would it kill you?
Rating: C+. They kept Brock protected here and it worked fine. He’s kind of like Sheamus but not really. They’re not letting him be in there too long at a time and it’s letting him look awesome without being able to pick out his mistakes and flaws that really are pretty obvious. This was fine for what it was as Brock is more or less catapulted into the main event picture off of one win.
HHH runs into Shawn and Nash. Everyone is fine, even though we’re two months from HHH trying to kill Shawn. Oh it’s the NWO. I forgot about that. It was Nash, HBK, X-Pac and Show. Thankfully Bischoff came in and destroyed it. Apparently HHH has a long history with the NWO. They offer their help if needed.
We recap HHH vs. Taker which more or less is Hogan beat HHH and Taker beat Hogan. Taker is all about respect here and thinks HHH doesn’t respect him. Somehow this takes four minutes to recap.
WWE Title: HHH vs. Undertaker
They punch each other. A lot. This is all basic stuff and nothing of note happening here. We spice things up with a backdrop. This goes on for TEN FREAKING MINUTES. Taker was just dreadful around this time and HHH did nothing at all. I’m twelve minutes into this and I have nothing at all to say. There’s just nothing going on. You know that the match isn’t ending this early.
Oh Heyman came out about 5 minutes ago and is doing commentary and saying Rock left rather than face Brock. Why would he have to face him at all? They foreshadow Summerslam by saying Rock is certainly a match for Brock. This is like a WCW main event from the late 90s: all punching and walking. And yep we continue the WCW style with a ref bump. And that brings out Rock, complete with entrance music.
He runs off Heyman and you would think that when he puts on a headset that it means he would talk. Nope, that would make sense. We go to the floor with the referee still down and Taker kicks Rock in the face. They’re right in front of him, and Rock is looking at the monitor. Dude, you can see Taker looking at you and raising his foot. FREAKING DUCK! Wrestlers have never been accused of being brilliant I guess.
Of course this prompts Rock to beat the tar out of Taker but a chair shot meant for the man that isn’t alive hits HHH by mistake. A new referee comes down after a Last Ride and Taker just punches him. Taker gets a Rock Bottom but there’s no referee again. A Pedigree puts Taker down and HHH is bleeding from…something we didn’t see.
There’s no referee though and while HHH is trying to wake him up, Taker hits a low blow and rolls him up using the tights and TEN SECONDS LATER he gets the three. At least it’s over I guess. Rock was standing in the entrance to the arena for about the last three minutes of that. He hits the ring and beats up Taker and we get the elbow. HHH pedigrees Rock to end the show…never mind there’s another chokeslam so the old guy stands tall to end it.
Rating: D-. Oy this was bad. No one cared and it was just boring. Also, you would think this would lead up to these three at Vengeance, but Angle went in HHH’s place due to the complaints about how boring the original triple threat would be. That’s saying a lot. I have no idea who decided these two should have nearly half an hour but they should be made to watch this match. I mean it was BAD. They screwed up a rollup. Let that sink in for a bit.
Overall Rating: D. Aye aye aye what a show. There was just nothing appealing here whatsoever. I mean it just got worse and worse at it went on. Nothing stands out here as appealing or interesting to me. Brock winning obviously means a lot and Hogan losing is fun, but other than that there’s just nothing of note here. The show sucked and it sucked badly. At least it’s over though. In case you can’t tell, stay away from this.
I hope you guys enjoyed these reviews more than I did, as I was bored out of my mind most of the time. King of the Ring was just not a good concept for PPV. It helped a lot of people get big later on, but the shows themselves just flat out sucked more often than not. The three match per show formula worked far better, but it didn’t always mean a good show, like here. I hated this last one and three of the last four were just brutal.
It was usually more miss than hit, but shows like 01 and 98 were great ones. Tournaments just aren’t good for PPV and this is all the proof you need I would think. This is likely my last marathon as I’ll be shifting towards one review at a time as I find it FAR easier to do that way. Anyway, hope you liked it and keep reading or die. Seriously, those are your only options. If you don’t read my reviews, you will instantly die. I have no idea how, but you will. It’s the law.
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Actually HHH wasn’t in the triple threat at Vengeance because he was injured. Thats why this match was shit.
Also you seriously rated Hogan’s match higher than Noble-Hurricane? That’s insane.
Different kind of match, different scale.