Thursday, 15 July 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF Insurrexion 2002

May 4, 2002
Wembley Arena, London, England

Like most UK-exclusive PPVs, WWF Insurrexion 2002 may never be remembered for anything that took place in the squared circle, yet regardless, it's still an event that holds a unique place in the history of professional wrestling. 

For one thing, it was the last ever PPV of any type by Vince McMahon's sports entertainment empire to be branded as a "World Wrestling Federation" event. 

Technically, Backlash 2002 was the company's last WWF Pay Per View on American soil, but since Insurrexion took place a few weeks later, it holds the distinct honour of being the last major event to take place before the company became WWE. 

Still, that's not the only reason why it's important. 

After all, it was following this event that the WWF superstars boarded a plane and embarked on what would go down in history as the infamous Plane Ride From Hell

That tumultuous journey has already been covered in great detail by just about every pro wrestling site on the web, so for today, let's simply head down to London for the World Wrestling Federation's last hurrah. 





The Battle Has Crossed the Ocean 

WWF Insurrexion 2002 - Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross

We began tonight with a simple video which spliced footage from moments from some of the bigger storylines going on at the time with a generic vocice over which told us that all of the stars who hated each other had crossed the ocean to continue their battle.

As opening videos went, this was hardly the greatest, but let's face it, nobody watches a pro wrestling event purely for the opening videos.

When it was over, we got the customary crowd shots and introduction from Jim Ross and Jerry 'The king' Lawler

King was on one as he promised to teach JR all about how to speak the Queen's English and then spent the evening demonstrating how to do so by tossing out phrases like "It's all gone Pete Tong" which, honestly, I don't think I've heard anybody say in about 20 years.

It means "it's all gone wrong," in case you were wondering.

With that, it was on to our opening match.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Eddie Guerrero vs. Rob Van Dam

WWF Insurrexion 2002 - Eddie Guerrero vs. Rob Van Dam
I've mentioned multiple times before that no matter how good the performer, they always seemed to turn it down a notch or two when they came over to jolly old England. That was still the case with two talented wrestlers like Eddie Guerrero and Rob Van Dam, as their intercontinental championship match here paled to in comparison to the excellent encounter they'd had a fortnight previously at Backlash 2003.

Still, RVD and Guerrero at their worst was still better than many others best and this was still a fine effort nonetheless.

After a very good opener, Eddie Guerrero tossed the referee into the corner to get himself disqualified. 
Your Winner via Disqualification: Rob Van Dam (Eddie Guerrero retains)

Afterward, Eddie chased the official around the ring, only to get whacked in the face by one of Rob Van Dam's 'educated' feet. RVD then proceeded to wallop his rival with the title belt and finish him off with a crowd-pleasing frog splash before basking in the glory of the fans, making this the perfect way to start off the show.

The UK is Full of Trash...And So is Terri Runnels

WWF Insurrexion 2002 - Terri interviews Molly Holly & Jazz
Backstage, Terri continued to settle into her new role as a backstage interviewer by asking Molly Holly and women's champion Jazz for some comments about their upcoming match.

Playing the puritan, Molly lambasted Trish Stratus, Terri, and other models for exposing their bodies and then turned her attention to the UK tabloid newspapers which featured topless models on Page 3.

According to Molly, Trish Stratus was trash, the Page 3 models were trash, and the whole UK was trash.

Terri then stood up to Molly by claiming that The Hurricane's former sidekick was jealous that she didn't have good boobs. As if to prove that she, Terri did have good boobs, she proceeded to get her kit off and stand around in her bra. 

Don't get me wrong, Terri was all kinds of gorgeous, but that was a pretty trashy move. 

WWF Women’s Champion Jazz & Molly Holly vs. Trish Stratus & Jacqueline 

The ‘Divas’ era wasn’t exactly known for producing five-star classics, but it has to be said that all four women worked hard in this match and did the very best job they could with what they had.

Though it wasn’t spectacular by any stretch, it was a fairly enjoyable wrestling match in which Trish, Jacqueline, Molly, and Jazz were able to show off their wrestling prowess rather than their boobs.

Naturally then, the crowds all chanted for puppies.

In the end, Trish and Jacqui hit a couple of matching tornado DDTs for the three count.
Your Winners: Trish Stratus & Jacqueline 

Backstage, X-Pac twiddled his nun-chucks and boasted to Scott Hall about destroying Kane so bad that he was able to steal The Big Red Machine’s mask.

Tonight, ‘Pac promised that he’d never return to England again if he couldn’t beat Bradshaw.

“I don’t know why you’d want to come back here anyway,” scoffed Hall.

Cheeky.

X-Pac vs. Bradshaw

WWF Insurrexion 2002 - X-Pac faced Bradshaw
This wasn’t as random a match as it sounds.

Bradshaw had been jumped by the nWo on a previous episode of Raw and found himself loosely aligned with Stone Cold Steve Austin in a war with the black-and-white rebels.

Tonight, he went up against X-Pac in what was a reasonably entertaining match.

Prior to the bell, ‘Pac -who always came to the ring wearing Kane’s mask now- loosened the padding from a middle turnbuckle and later used the exposed buckle to beat Bradshaw into a bloody pulp.

That wasn’t enough to put the Texan away, but plenty of outside interference courtesy of Scott Hall certainly was.

Though this was never going to earn Match of the Night honours, it was a perfectly serviceable undercard match that this fan enjoyed.
Your Winner: X-Pac

Out in the back, a pissed-off Undertaker told Jonathan Coachman that he was going to destroy Triple H tonight just like he destroyed Hollywood Hulk Hogan on that week's episode of Raw.

'Taker didn't care about The Game's passion for the wrestling business. All he cared about was kicking ass, and that's exactly what he was going to do tonight.

This was standard stuff from Booger Red, but that didn't make it any less of a convincing promo.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
WWF Hardcore Champion Steven Richards vs. Booker T

WWF Insurrexion 2002 - Steven Richards faced Booker T for the hardcore title
Pac/Bradshaw may not have been as random as it appeared, but this match certainly seemed to be thrown together at the last minute. 

Steven Richards had beaten Bubba Ray for the Hardcore title on Raw with an assist from Jazz and here put it on the line against Booker T, who, despite being a heel, was very popular with the London audience.

"I guess they like a sucka over here," quipped a puzzled JR as he tried to figure out why 'T was getting such a positive reaction.

The crowd response helped elevate what was a good match in its own right and probably the best thing this writer has ever see that had Steven Richards involved.

The hardcore stuff was kept to a minimum in favor of some honest-to-goodness pro wrestling and was all the more enjoyable for it.

After a good battle, Booker T decked Big Stevie to win the hardcore title.
Your Winner and NEW Hardcore Champion: Booker T

As Booker was celebrating, Crash Holly ran out and rolled him up for a flash victory.
Your Winner and NEW Hardcore Champion: Crash Holly

Crash's joy was short lived as Booker almost immedietly got up, decapitated him with his patented scissor kick and regained the title.
Your Winner and NEW Hardcore Champion: Booker T

Not that he'd have much chance to celebrate either. Tommy Dreamer and Justin Credible rushed out next and began an attack, only to get their butts whooped and sent packing.

Finally, Steven Richards returned to the ring wih Jazz, whacked Booker from behind and took the title back.
Your Winner and NEW Hardcore Champion: Stevie Richards

Honestly, there was more title changes in this one segment than there had been in the entire history of UK-based WWF PPVs.

Brock Visits Planet Stasiak

WWF Insurrexion 2002 - Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar confront Shawn Stasiak
Up next, we got a look at newcomer Brock Lesnar's feud with The Hardy Boys, which was based on nothing more than Matt and Jeff repeatedly getting their asses kicked by The Next Big Thing.

Tonight, they'd team up to fight Brock and Shawn Stasiak in what was supposed to be a tag team match. Paul Heyman, however, had other ideas.

Backstage before the match, he urged Shawn to stay on the apron and have an easy night, essentially letting Brock do all the work.

The Hardy Boys (Matt & Jeff Hardy) vs. Brock Lesnar & Shawn Stasiak (w/ Paul Heyman)

So of course, Stasiak didn't stay on the apron, he rushed to the ring ahead of his partner and took the fight to Matt and Jeff, only to inevitably get beaten up. 

Eventually, Big Brock managed to tag himself in and commence with the dismantling of his opponents, but when he attempted to shoulder tackle Matt in the corner, Hardy moved out of the way. That allowed the man from Planet Stasiak to tag himself back in and swiftly eat a Twist of Fate and Swanton Bomb to technically give Brock Lesnar his first official taste of defeat in the World Wrestling Federation.
Your Winners: The Hardy Boys

Afterwards, Brock F-5'd everyone in sight.

As a side note, I want to register how much I enjoyed Shawn Stasiak. 

I know that's not a popular opinion, but the time he tried to attack The Rock at Summerslam 2001 and ran straight into a wall was absolutely hilarious, and the whole Planet Stasiak thing, if given enough time, could have gotten over.

Anyway, that being said, let's move on with the show.

William Regal: Britain’s Last Great Hope

Backstage, William Regal spoke to Jonathan Coachman about challenging Spike Dudley for the European Championship.

Trying to make sure he was still very much the heel, Regal put down his own countrymen and insisted that he was a role model to all the “dossers” in the audience.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion Spike Dudley vs. William Regal 

WWF Insurrexion 2002 - Jonathan Coachman interviews William Regal
The match itself was pretty good, not necessarily because of the actual wrestling but because it was very cleverly done.

After a few minutes of decent action, Spike Dudley appeared to bust his ankle. Presenting it as legitimate, the champion spent a long time agonizing in the corner until a trainer arrived on the scene, cut Spike’s boot off and began helping him to the back.

The crowd gave Spike a genuine ovation, believing that the whole thing was real, but then Regal attacked him from behind to show that it wasn’t. 

Back in the ring, the challenger dominated but made the mistake of being too cocky, making a pin attempt and then breaking it at the count of two so that he could punish his opponent even further.

That was to be Regal’s downfall.

Spike got up, caught his rival off guard with a small package and that was that.
Your Winner and Still European Champion: Spike Dudley 

Afterwards, Regal blasted Spike with his trusty brass knucks.

This was followed by a video pacakage detailing the story behind our next match.

To sum up, Ric Flair had been the special guest referee for Steve Austin’s match at Backlash 2002 against The Undertaker. Flair had inadvertently counted a fall on Austin not realising that The Rattlesnake’s foot was on the rope.

Flair then tried to make things right by giving Austin a tag team match pitting him and Bradshaw against the nWo, but someone had knocked Bradshaw out so Big Show took his place.

Big Show then proceeded to make heel turn #824 by turning on Austin and rejoining the nWo for the first time since the late 90s.

The two would clash next.

The Big Show vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin 
Special Referee: Nature Boy Ric Flair 

WWF Insurrexion 2002 - Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Big Show
Prior to the bell, Ric Flair came out and made himself the special guest “second” referee, meaning he’d be on the outside of the ring while Retro Pro Wrestling favourite Nick Patrick would officiate on the inside.

The match was...I mean it was as good a match as you were going to get out of a bloated Big Show at this stage of the career and was very formulaic (Austin worked his opponent’s legs, Big Show beat up Austin, Austin made a comeback and won) but it was entertaining in its own right and pretty enjoyable.

Towards the finish, Nick Patrick got bumped and Scott Hall and X-Pac came out, only for Flair to see them off.

Kevin Nash then turned up but Stone Cold gave him a stunner, followed up with one for Show and won the match.
Your Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin 

Post match, Flair returned to the ring and tried sucking up to Austin by boasting about how he’d gotten rid of the nWo. Unimpressed, Stone Cold gave Flair a beer then stunned him into oblivion.

A video then reminded us of the moment The Undertaker cost Triple H the WWF title at Backlash, leading to tonight’s main event.

The Game was a Smackdown star and had no business being on a Raw show like this one, but that didn’t fit the narrative so nobody mentioned it.

The Undertaker vs. Triple H

WWF Insurrexion 2002 - Triple H prepares to Face The Undertaker
There was nothing particularly remarkable about this match, not that you’d know that if your only experience of it was from JR’s commentary.

Doing his job perfectly, Ross sold this like it was the greatest match of all time and that both The Game and The Dead Man had waged an absolute gruelling war on each other.

The truth was that they took everything down a notch from their usual standards and delivered a match which, while enjoyable in its own right, was nothing more special then you might see on an average episode of Raw.

Triple H went over with the Pedigree.
Your Winner: Triple H

Afterwards, HHH and ‘Taker had a post-match staredown as the latter walked backstage, forgetting to take his motorbike with him.







These UK PPVs were never stand out classics, but give to give credit to the Raw roster, Insurrexion 2002 was better than average.

Nothing outright sucked, almost everything was watchable, and the wrestling-starved UK audience were pumped up enough that it created a great atmosphere.

All in all then, a resounding success of a show. It’s just a shame that what would happen on the plane ride home was anything but a success.

1 comments:

Main event should have been WWF Champion Hulk Hogan vs Undertaker.

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Retro Pro Wrestling

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