PPV REVIEW: WWE Rebellion 2002

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Event poster
October 26, 2002,
Manchester Arena, Manchester, England

WWE Rebellion 2002 may not be a show anybody talks about today, but it does have the distinction of clocking up a number of firsts and lasts in the history of Vince McMahon's sports entertainment empire.

Since all of the previous incarnations of this event had been held while the company was still known as the World Wrestling Federation, tonight's show was the first Rebellion event to be promoted under the WWE banner.

In fact, it was the only Rebellion to be promoted under this banner as Vince would decide to stop doing UK-exclusive PPVs entirely the following year, making this the last ever Rebellion.

Notably -and here's a bit of obscure trivia for you- it was technically the first Smackdown-exclusive Pay Per View in WWE history as the Blue Brand made their way over to Manchester for one last hoorah.

Of course, the only question is:






Was it any good?

Let's head down to jolly old England and find out together, shall we?

The Rebellion Has Begun

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Michael Cole and Tazz called the action
We started tonight's show with a very impressive opening video in which a little girl gave a monologue over shots of the Smackdown superstars.

When the heels were shown on screen, the girl talked about how sad she was that evil forces had taken control and took pleasure in the pain and suffering of others. 

Switching over to shots of the babyfaces, she spoke of her hope that things would get better now that the rebellion had begun. 

This was very well done, especially for a UK PPV. 

From there, Michael Cole and Tazz welcomed us to the show as pyro exploded, the cameras panned the crowd, and WWE Rebellion 2002 got underway. 

Steph Starts the Show

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Stephanie McMahon made an announcement at the start of the show
Much as she'd done back at WWE Global Warning, Stephanie McMahon kicked off another international event by hitting the ring and taking to the microphone. 

This time, the Smackdown General Manager informed us that The Undertaker would not be here, partly becasue he'd been beaten up by Big Show and Brock Lesnar, but mostly because his new child was due to be born any day. 

She went onto inform us that Edge would be taking The Dead Man's place in a scheduled 2 vs. 1 handicap match against Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar for the WWE title, before wrapping up by announcing that, as part of a "special trade agreement" with Raw GM Eric Bischoff, Smackdown had secured the services of Booker T for one night only. 

On that note, the Booker Man himself made his way to ringside and it was on to our opening match.

Booker T vs. Matt Hardy V1

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Matt Hardy loves English muffins
Here, we had the PPV debut of Matt Hardy's V1 character, complete with "Matt Facts" and that awesome Monster Magnet theme song.

Tonight, he went up against Booker T in a fun opening contest. 

This wasn't an all-out wrestling classic, but it wasn't designed to be.

It was designed to entertain the fans by pitting a despised heel against a beloved babyface and having them appeal to the crowd. 

From a pure wrestling stand-point, it was average at best, but entertainment value, it was very good indeed.

To the surprise of no one (especially given that the faces usually always went over on these UK PPVs), Booker T picked up the win.
Your Winner: Booker T

Post match, The Five Time, Five Time, Five Time WCW champion continued to entertain the fans with a spinarooni.

Paul Heyman is Furious

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Paul Heyman confronts Stephanie McMahon about his role in the show's main event
Out in the backstage area, an upset Paul Heyman burst into Stephanie McMahon's office and did his damndest to get out of the handicap match later on in the show. 

Heyman first appealed to McMahon by noting how unfair it was that Edge could become champion by pinning him, rather than Lesnar.

When that didn't work, the former ECW owner insisted that he couldn't wrestle anyway because he hadn't brought his "trunks," as if he ever owned a pair of wrestling trunks in his life. 

That didn't work either, with Steph simply demanding that Lesnar's manager go and get ready for the match.

This was followed by a look back at the rivalry between Dawn Marie and Torrie Wilson, and was pretty much the same video we'd just seen back at No Mercy 2002 the week before.

Mixed Tag Team Match
Dawn Marie & John Cena vs. Torrie Wilson & Billy Kidman

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Kidman & Torrie Wilson vs. John Cena & Dawn Marie
John Cena
had recently turned heel on Kidman after the two had lost in the recent tag team titel tournament, making both men the perfect partners for Wilson and Marie.

Much like the last match, this was more about entertainment than actual wrestling, but it certainly wasn't bad. 

OK, so they once again did the lame spot where the girls cat fight and wind up rolling around on top of one of the guys, only this time it was Billy Kidman who got to be the "lucky" recipient rather than the referee as it usually was. 

I'd complain that this is the third event I've watched in about two weeks that I've seen this spot, and that Wilson and Marie did the exact same thing back at No Mercy, but hey, it always got a pop and Kidman's reaction afterward was pretty funny.

After that, we got a little more action before the girls toppled to the outside and Kidman smacked Cena with a wicked kick, causing the future world champion to face plant the mat in such a glorious fashion that it almost put the famous "Flair Flop" to shame. 

Billy followed this up with a shooting star press and, one three count later, won the match.
Your Winners: Billy Kidman & Torrie Wilson

Afterwards, Torrie celebrated by giving Kidman a good snog. Once again, the former cruiserweight champion's reaction was gold.

Edge Swears Victory

Out in the back, Edge cut an intense promo in which he vowed to become the WWE champion in front of the "Manchester chapter of the Edge Army."

This was good stuff from Edge, but he wasn't yet at a point in his career where I imagine many saw him as a legitimate threat to Lesnar. 

Funaki vs. Crash Holly

Holy crap, an actual Funaki match. 

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Funaki vs. Crash Holly
Funaki hadn't beeen seen on PPV since participating in a Battle Royal at Survivor Series 2001, and it had been so long since he'd participated in a non-battle royal PPV match that I can't even figure out when that would have been. 

Smackdown's Number One Announcer was popular with the UK crowd, but not popular enough to get them invested in this match.

In fact, despite the fact that it was competently performed, this one played out to almost total silence.

Not even Crash Holly sporting a Japanese headband and busting out Karate Kid moves was enough to elicit a response, proving that racial stereotyping wasn't always as funny as the wrestling business used to pretend it was.

In fact, the match was so uninteresting that Tazz started entertaining himself with a Gordon Sollie impression.

The match ended with a roll-up for Funaki.
Your Winner: Funaki 

Out in the back, Jamie Noble and Nidia agreed that people in the UK were smelly trash while across the way, Rey Mysterio psyched up himself up to face Noble and Tajiri in this next match.

Triple Threat Elimination Match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
WWE Cruiserwieight Champion Jamie Noble (w/ Nidia) vs. Tajiri vs. Rey Mysterio 

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Jamie Noble defends his Cruiserweight title
This was just about as good a cruiserweight match as you might expect it to be, showcasing the kind of fast-paced, back-and-forth action that you just weren't going to see anywhere else on the card.

Somewhat predictably, Tajiri got taken out of this elimination rules match early on, clearing the way for champion Jamie Noble to have an exciting one-on-one encounter with Mysterio.

At multiple points, the challenger looked to have the match won, only Nidia to get in the way and stop things. Eventually, Noble drilled Mysterio down in to the mat and got the win thanks to his girflriend's assistance.
Your Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Jamie Noble 

Post match, Mysterio delivered a 619 to both Noble and Nidia. 

Who's The Captain?

Out in the back, Kurt Angle tried to explain to Chris Benoit that because he was American, he was therefore better than his Canadian tag team partner and therefore the captain of their team. Benoit countered by reminding the Olympic Gold Medalist that since he'd beaten him on Smackdown, that technically made him the captain. 

The two were clearly at loggerheads, but somehow they'd have to settle their differences in order to defend their titles on tonight's show. 

Chuck Palumbo & The Big Valbowski vs. D'Von & Ron Simmons

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Ron Simmons puts a hurting on Chuck Palumbo
After the whole wedding-that-wasn't debacle between Billy & Chuck, Billy Gunn had been injured, leaving Chuck Palumbo wandering around with nothing to do, hence a random tag team with The Big Valbowski

Across the ring, D'von had dropped the whole Reverand thing while Ron Simmons had ditched his Farooq moniker.

The match between the two teams was fine for what it was, but the crowd were practically silent for it and I can't really blame them. It was a by-the-numbers, go-through-the-motions affair which ended with a win for Ron and D'Von when the latter rolled up Valbowski.
Your Winners: D'Von & Ron Simmons

Prior to the next match, Eddie Guerrero & Chavo Guerrero cut a backstage promo in which they played up to some Mexican stereotypes and then tried to get heat by ragging on British staples like tea and crumpets.

Their match was later, but first, we had this. 

Kiss My Arse Match
Albert vs. Rikishi

WWE Rebellion 2002 - Rikishi faced Albert in a "Kiss My Arse" match
Yes, it's a Kiss My Ass match, but we're in England, so it's Kiss My Arse instead.

Prior to the bell, Albert took to the microphone to talk about how sexy he was and promised to make Rikishi kiss his "Big Hairy Ass."

Unfortunately for the big fella, he didn't get to keep his promise. 

After a decent but rather unexciting match, 'Kishi predictably toppled his "sexy" opponent and picked up the victory.
Your Winner: Rikishi 

Post-match, Albert tried to leave but Rikishi called him back to the ring. Instead of willingly puckering up, the former Hip Hop Hippo attacked and went to ram his hairy butt into his foe's face, only for Big Kish to hit him with a low-blow and an equally as predictable stink face.

From there, the one-time Headshrinker called Michael Cole, Tazz, and Tony Chimmel into the ring for a spot of some of the most awkward dancing you've ever seen in your life. 

This was followed by a look back at the rivalry between The Guerreros and the team of Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit, leading into their upcoming title match.

WWE Tag Team Championship
WWE Tag Team Champions Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit vs. Los Guerreros (Eddie & Chavo Guerrero Jr)

WWE Rebellion 2002 - Eddie Guerrero Tries to Break Kurt Angle's back
It's fair to say that, alongside Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker from One Night Only 1997, this was one of the best matches ever showcased on a UK PPV. 

Whereas many wrestlers tended to phone it in at these kind of shows, Eddie, Chavo, Benoit, and Angle all busted their behinds to deliver an excellent performance that was captivating from start to finish. 

At various points, it looked as though Los Guerreros would genuinly be taking the titles home with them but, of course, that never happened. 

After a thrilling contest, Kurt drilled Eddie with the Angle Slam and that was that.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit

Post-match, Angle and Benoit continued their "partners who hate each other" thing by almost coming to blows before finally united to see off Eddie & Chavo, who had tried to steal the tag titles.

Brock is Mad

Backstage, Brock Lesnar scolded his manager Paul Heyman for not getting tonight's main event cancelled, and insisted that if Edge should beat the former ECW manager, he (Lesnar) would have no problem busting him in half. 

Handicap Match for the WWE Championship
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman vs. Edge

WWE Rebellion 2002 - Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman
This was another thrilling match in which Edge looked like he could genuinly beat The Next Big Thing and become our new champion.

Of course, despite it being a handicap match, Paul Heyman didn't get involved any more than he would have done in his capacity as a manager, though he did recieve a wicked spear courtesy of the future Rated-R Superstar. 

After a tremendously exciting match in which the challenger gave his opponent everything he could possibly throw at him, Brock hit an F5 to retain.
Your Winner and Still WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar

Post-match, Paul Heyman yelled at Edge for spearing him and looked to hit him with a chair, only for Edge to kick the chair right into Heyman's face and give him a Downward Spiral to end the show. 








The last ever WWE Rebellion Show was a largely positive show. 

While matches like Albert/Rikishi, Funaki/Crash, and Dvon/Simmons vs. Palumbo/Valbowski didn't really deliver, everything else did to varying degrees. 

The opening Hardy/Booker match was a fun sports entertainment contest, the Cruiserweight title match was great, and the last two matches were as exciting as you could possibly ask for. 

Despite nothing major happening in terms of development, this was still a very watchable show that saw the Rebellion brand go out on a high note. 




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