Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Thursday, 13 January 2022

EVENT REVIEW: WCW Clash of the Champions XIII - Thanksgiving Thunder

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Thanksgiving Thunder
November 20th, 1990 
Jacksonville Memorial Coliseum, Jacksonville, Florida. 

Clash of the Champions 13 - Thanksgiving Thunder saw World Championship Wrestling at weird time.

After rising to the height of popularity, Sting had finally captured the World Heavyweight Championship, only to find himself lacking any serious, credible challengers outside of the man he beat for the title, Nature Boy Ric Flair.

Instead of actually creating any serious, credible challengers, the WCW braintrust created The Black Scorpion, supposedly a dark and mysterious figure from Sting's past (with it being hinted that it might be his former partner, The Ultimate Warrior), but who was really just a goof in a mask who did stage magic and made ominous threats over the PA system.

The gimmick -and, indeed, the whole story line- clearly didn't work, but, as we'll see tonight, WCW were not ones to give up on a bad idea.






Here's what went down when Clash of the Champions XIII - Thanksgiving Thunder came to us live from Jacksonville, Florida.

Thanksgiving Thunder

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Jim Ross and Paul Heyman called the event

We began tonight’s show with a basic intro featuring clips of WCW’s stars beating the hell out of each other, all framed in log tuning bolts...get it, because thunder?

Anyway, we then went live to the arena where Jim Ross and Paul E. Dangerously put over the stipulations for tonight’s main event.

Not only was a tag team title shot on the line, but if Butch Reed won, then Teddy Long would get Ric Flair’s limo and yacht whereas if Nature Boy won, Long would have to be his chauffeur for the day.

Hmm.

Moving on, Dangerously ranted and raved about how we could talk to Lex Luger on the WCW Hotline before JR sent it to Garry Michael Capetta for our opening contest.

The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin w/ Little Richard Marley) vs. The Wild Eyed Southern Boys (Tracy Smothers & Steve Armstrong)

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Bobby Eaton and The Fabulous Freebirds
I often write these reviews months in advance, and right now it feels both fitting and incredibly sad that, less than 24 hours after learning of “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton’s passing, the first wrestling match I sat down to review looked to set to feature the Midnight Express legend.

This was all set to be a six-man, featuring Bobby teaming with Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin to face Tracy Smothers, Steve Armstrong, and El Gigante.

Alas, the Freebirds shot themselves in the foot before the match could start by grabbing the microphone and taking credit for El Gigante’s alleged disappearance.

The referee then declared that since Hayes had owned up to some shady doings, this would now be a regular tag match and Eaton had to go to the back. 

These two teams had a great match back at Clash of the Champions XI, and this looked like it was going to be on par with that.

Unfortunately, it was a much shorter bout than their last effort, and after about 6 short minutes of exciting tag team action, Little Richard Marley tripped up Tracy Smothers, allowing Hayes to hit the match-winning DDT.
Your Winners: The Fabulous Freebirds

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Sting and Tony Schiavone
Out in the arena, Tony Schiavone interviewed Sting

The World Heavyweight champion didn’t have much to say. He simply bounced up and down a lot and confirmed that he was fighting Black Scorpion again tonight.

He didn’t get to elaborate as he was interrupted by Ole Anderson’s Black Scorpion voice echoing through the PA.

Scorpion likewise said nothing that actually meant anything, it was simply a case of “listen to how spooky snd scary I am.”

To his credit, he did promise to show off some of his black magic. I’m telling you now, if that magic ends up being half as hilariously bad as his stunt at Halloween Havoc 90, I can’t wait for it.

Nature Boy Buddy Landel vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman

This rematch from Great American Bash 1990 was a pretty good effort which saw Buddy Landell using all the devious heel tactics he could to counter Brian Pillman’s high-flying offence.

Of course, Pillman was the real star here.

He looked incredibly impressive and so it came as no surprise when he came off the top rope with a flying crossbody and won the match.
Your Winner: Brian Pillman

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Starrcade 1990 commercial
After another reminder that we could speak to Lex Luger on the WCW hotline, we next got a promo for Starrcade ‘90: Colission Course.

The video told us that Sting would face The Black Scorpion, which was news to me as I thought the earlier promo meant that said match was happening tonight.

It also promised us a universal tag team attraction featuring the best tag teams “from across the cosmos.” 

I won’t lie, that tag team thing actually looked pretty cool.

The Big Cat vs. ‘The Candy Man’ Brad Armstrong

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - The Big Cat
No, this wasn’t Ernie Ladd. It was a young Curtis ‘Mr.’ Hughes in an early gimmick.

As he made his way to the ring for his I first appearance at a big WCW event, we got some pre-recorded comments from Cat in which he promised he was here to beat everyone up and that he had his sights firmly set on Lex Luger.

Before he could get to The Total Package, however, Cat first had to dispose of ‘The Candy Man’ Brad Armstrong who’s gimmick was...

...I don’t know, that he really liked candy or something?

Whatever he was supposed to be, Armstrong was really just there to serve as a warm body for Big Cat to throw around, which he did so in impressive fashion.

Indeed, watching this charismatic, well-built dude look like a star in the making here, it’s almost impossible to believe that he’s the same guy I just wrote about a few weeks ago as having an awful match with Sal Bellomo at ECW The Night the Line Was Crossed.

Anyway, Cat, trying to get Luger’s attention, lifted Armstrong up in the torture rack, and even though The Candy Man didn’t give up, the referee took mercy on him and stopped the match.
Your Winner: Big Cat 

Before the commercial, we got a word from Dick The Bruiser.

Sounding like he smoked 60 cigarettes a day, The Bruiser told us that he was known throughout the land as the toughest wrestler and the toughest referee in the world. As such, he was able to guarantee us a winner when he officiated the main event of Starrcade.

‘Prime Time’ Brian Lee vs. The Z-Man

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Prime Time Brian Lee
As The Z-Man made his way to the ring, Jim Ross told us that he was one of the more popular wrestlers in WCW and the crowd response seemed to back that claim up.

That was surprising as on previous shows that I’ve reviewed he was mainly used as cannon fodder for other wrestlers.

His opponent tonight was future Summerslam ‘94 headliner ‘Prime Time’ Brian Lee, making his WCW debut.

The match was decent for what it was, and even though all of these Clash matches were usually short to fit around commercials, Z-Man and Lee made the best out of the time allotted to them.

Of course, I’m not saying that this was a classic or anything, but it was perfectly acceptable for an undercard bout on a TV

Z-Man won, which was a rarity.
Your Winner: The Z-Man

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Tony Schiavone interviews Alexandra York and Michael Wallstreet
After the break, we went live to Tony Schiavone who was standing by with Michael Wallstreet and Alexandra York.

Wallstreet scalded Schiavone for calling him Mike Rotunda and revealed that he had legally changed his name to Michael Wallstreet after inheriting a large sum of money.

He then introduced us to his administrative assistant, Alexandra York, making this Terri Runnel’s first appearance on a big event.

York showed us a computer print out of a strategy she had compiled for Wallstreet using data on his upcoming opponent, The Starblazer.

According to Ms. York, as long as her man followed it to the letter, he would have no problem winning his match.

The Starblazer vs. Michael Wallstreet (w/ Alexandra York)

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - The Starblazer
If you’re anything like me and had no idea who the heck The Starblazer was, it was apparently ‘White Lightning’ Tim Horner in a generic luchadore costume.

York’s strategy for Wallstreet seemed to work as he basically mauled his opponent, but the crowds were silent except for a small but noticeable ‘boring’ chant.

To be honest, you can’t blame them for that. While this wasn’t terrible either, it was lifeless and as formulaic as Starblazer’s attire.

The end came when Starblazer botched whatever move he was going for and ended up just deliberately laying down so that his opponent could put him in a Boston crab.

The former Captain Mike followed that up with a Samoan Drop he called the Wallstreet Crash and put his opponent, the crowd, and this writer out of our collective misery.
Your Winner: Michael Wallstreet 

Up next, Gordon Sollie shilled WCW’s magazine, The Wrestling Wrap-Up which led us into our top ten rankings for both the tag team division and singles competition.

The tag division seemed like a stretch as the bottom three were all make-shift teams featuring guys who had maybe only tagged together on a handful of occasions, while the singles rankings featured US champion Stan Hansen in the top spot, making him one step away from world champion Sting.

We then had Jim Ross tell us that the upcoming tag team tournament was in honour of the late, great Pat O’ Conner, would feature teams from all over the world and would be held at Starrcade.

That led us to our next match, where two teams would duke it out for the right to represent Africa in the tournament.

Pat O’ Conner International Tag Team Tournament African Qualifier
Sgt. Krueger & Col. Deklerk vs. Kalua & The Botswana Beast

Yet more names that I had to Google here.

Col. Deklerk was Ted ‘Flyboy Rocco Rock’ Petty while opinion seems to be divided as to whether Matt Borne or Ray Apollo played Sgt. Krueger.

One things for sure though, none of them were African.

Meanwhile, all signs point to Kalua being Larry ‘Thunderbolt’ Hamilton and the Botswana Beast being played by Bill Tabb, which doesn’t really help here as I’m not familiar with either of them but I’m pretty sure neither of them were African either.

Anyway, this was interesting because it started well enough with some nice wrestling between Kalua and Deklerk, but then The Botswana Beast tagged in and proved that outside of throwing a huge -and admittedly impressive- flying clothesline, he was a pretty terrible and awkward wrestler.

The rest of the match just completely fell apart, with all four men looking lost and having no idea what to do.

Deklerk and Krueger won when referee Randy Anderson shuffled awkwardly into position so that he couldn’t see them doing a double team move and then counted the fall.

I don’t say this often, but that was really, really bad.
Your Winners: Sgt. Krueger & Col. Deklerk

After the match, we went to a pre-recorded bit where legendary promoter Sam Muchnik invited all the wrestling fans to join him at Starrcade for the tag team tournament.

Muchnik was clearly reading from a script and didn’t care about this at all. I doubt anybody bought a ticket or PPV stream on the back of this.

Hansen and Luger Hate Each Other

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - The Big Cat Confronts Lex Luger
Up next, we looked back at Clash of the Champions 12 when Stan Hansen attacked Lex Luger before going on to beat him for the US title at Halloween Havoc.

Weirdly, this didn’t set up a rematch between the two tonight but instead the announcers went on to tell us that Paul E. Dangerously had found some dude called The Motor City Mad Man who was going to fight Luger instead.

Before that match, Luger was about to talk about his various feuds when Big Cat approached him, only to get punched in the face and left seething.

The Motor City Mad Man vs. Lex Luger 

Yet another guy I’d never heard of, The Motor City Mad Man was Mike Moore who apparently was in a tag team called The Motor City Mad Men managed by Dangerously in the 80s.

Before his predictable loss to Luger, The Mad Man had to wait while Big Cat attacked the Total Package.

The referees eventually broke that up, and what we got was a pretty poor match that was saved only by Luger’s popularity.

After a few minutes of sloppy action, the former US champion put his opponent away with a clothesline.
Your Winner: Lex Luger 

After another Starrcade promo, Tony Schiavone interviewed Nick Patrick. Patrick informed us that The Steiner Brothers had been told off for trying to end the careers of The Nasty Boys.

So that was happening.

The Renegade Warriors (Chris & Mark Youngblood) vs. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags)

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - The Renegade Warriors
For what it was, this was a good match. The Nasty Boys had looked very impressive in their short 1990 run in WCW and although they’d be in the WWF for a run as cartoon characters very soon, they looked just as impressive here.

Meanwhile, The Renegade Warriors also brought their A-game and were starting to get over -to a degree- with the live crowd.

Those factors led to a fun match which ended when The Steiners ran in to attack Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags.
Your Winners via Disqualification: The Nasty Boys 

Afterwards, The Nasties simply ran off. 

Vader is Back...Kinda 

Big Van Vader had debuted back at The Great American Bash and then hadn’t been seen -at least not on Clash shows or PPV- since.

A graphic told us that he was back, but that was literally it. There was no promo or hype video and he wasn’t shown again on this show unless it was in a bit that got cut out of the Network version.

The Nightstalker vs. Sid Vicious 

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Sid Vicious
The Night Stalker
was Bryan “Adam Bomb” Clarke carrying a ridiculous, oversized toy ax.

Sid Vicious was, well he was The Master of the World and a man who could never truly be a heel because the fans always loved him.

As the Four Horsemen representative made his way to the ring, we got some pre-recorded comments in which he promised to come after Sting as soon as he got done with The Night Stalker.

The match wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either.

The two behemoths tried a test of strength, then Night Stalker put Sid in a bear hug, then he did this really weird thing where he put him in the ropes and just lay his hands on Sid’s side like he was some kind of faith healer.

That was about the whole match. Big Cat came down for seemingly no reason and Night Stalker just had to stand around awkwardly waiting while Sid took care of him.

The Horseman then used Stalker’s own ridiculous axe toy against him to win the match.

Why didn’t he get DQ’d for using an international object? Because for the second time tonight, Randy Anderson had to awkwardly position himself so that he couldn’t see it, this time by taking a short nap in the corner despite not being touched.
Your Winner: Sid 

Post match, Stalker and Cat got their asses handed to them by The Ruler of The World.

That was a very clumsy and poorly executed finish.

El Gigante is Here After All

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - El Gigante and The Southern Boys
Up next, The Fabulous Free Birds bragged about sending El Gigante packing back to Argentina, but then The Southern Boys turned up with street clothes wearing giant in tow.

I read somewhere that the reason Gigante hadn’t been in the match was that he missed his flight, but he’d clearly caught a later one and managed to make it for this nothing segment.

I wouldn’t have bothered.

With that over, Missy Hyatt reminded us to watch her and Jim Ross call a match between Arn Anderson and Terry Taylor on Main Event.

A recap of the Steiners attacking The Nasty Bots followed, after which we got to see Rick & Scott in action.

Magnum Force vs. NWA United States Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)

You know, I’ve been watching pro wrestling since 1992 and I’ve been writing these reviews for almost ten years now and yet never before have I ever had to Google “who the f**k are these guys?” more than I have with Clash of the Champions 13.

Truth is, even after Google I still don’t know who Magnum Force are as the consensus seems to be that the original Force had been replaced by two other wrestlers and nobody can quite agree what their names are

Not that it really mattered.

Magnum Force were clearly jobbers and were easily disposed of in a quick match that was barely worth watching.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers 

Post match, The Nasties ran in but quickly got sent packing out of the arena, out of WCW, and into the waiting arms of Titan Sports.

A Word With The Horsemen

Up next, Ric Flair reminded Doom that they would have to walk that aisle as he, Tony Schiavone and Arn Anderson went over the stipulations for our main event.

As they did so, stagehands could be seen setting up some contraption for more of The Black Scorpion’s cheap stage magic.

Flair was as good as he ever was in this promo, but to be honest, this Clash show has been such a clusterf**k to write about that it’s hard to maintain interest at this point.

The Black Scorpion is a Magician 

Up next, Sting came out to tell Paul E. Dangerously that he was ready to come face to face with The Black Scorpion, but instead The Scorpion dragged a plant out of the crowd, made his head rotate 360 using a magic box, then turned him into a tiger.

For his final act, Scorpion made himself disappear.

This was all supposed to be  evidence of the Black Scorpion’s super powers, but it was nothing you couldn’t see watching any stage magician in the land.

It was also made worse by the fact that Paul Heyman and Sting both started shouting over what was very clearly some pre-recorded audio of Ole Anderson doing his Scorpion voice.

Silly.

WCW Tag Team Champion Butch Reed (w/ Teddy Long and Ron Simmons) vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair (w/ TV Champion Arn Anderson)

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Teddy Long picks Butch Reed to face Ric Flair
The deal here was that we didn’t know which two men would represent their teams and it was to be decided by a coin toss.

Except it wasn’t. At least not entirely. 

Doom called Heads, but then Nick Patrick simply asked Teddy Long who was going to represent them and he picked Butch Reed. 

Surely he could have done that without a coin toss?

Flair and Anderson’s coin toss was a little more like how it’s supposed to be done. Flair also called heads, heads it was, and thus he got to wrestle.

With that done, Jim Ross reminded us of what was at stake.

If The Horsemen won, they would get a tag team title shot at Starrcade and Teddy Long would have to be their chauffeur for the day.

If Doom won, there was to be no Starrcade match and Long would get both Ric Flair’s 65ft yacht and his limo. 

Unsurprisingly, this was the best match on the card by a country mile and was the first time all night that the crowd really came to life.

OK, so it wasn’t Flair’s greatest match ever, but given the caliber of his work, that’s hardly a criticism.

This was still very, very good and made sitting through all the crap that went before it very much worth it.

At one point, Reed looked to have the match won thanks to an awesome top rope shoulder tackle, but Long was arguing with Patrick on the outside so there was nobody to make the count.

Then Ron Simmons took out Flair and again, Reed could have won, but this time Arn Anderson hit him with a chair.

Flair got the cover, Anderson threw Patrick in the ring and that was that.
Your Winner: Ric Flair

The Horsemen and Doom now had a date with destiny at Starrcade.







You know, I’ve been enjoying watching all of these old WCW shows simply because I never got to see them as a kid due to the company’s non-existent TV exposure here in the UK.
Even when the matches have been poor, nostalgia has kept me invested, but not with this one.

Clash of the Champions XIII was a chore to watch.

Sure, a couple of the undercard matches were decent, but they weren’t enough to make up for the number of squash matches featuring no mark jobbers and that abysmal “none of us are actually African” African qualifying match.

Still, the main event was fantastic. If you’re even mildly curious, enjoy the opening Freebirds/Southern Boys match then skip out all of the other crap until you get to the awesome Flair/Reed match.

Wednesday, 5 January 2022

PPV REVIEW: WWE Vengeance 2002

WWE Vengeance 2002 Review - Event poster
July 21, 2002
Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan

Vengeance 2002 came hot on the heels of a marked shift in the direction of World Wrestling Entertainment.

Since February, the New World Order had tried -and largely failed- to recapture the magic they once had in WCW, only for Scott Hall's firing, the random inclusion of Booker T, and multiple injuries to Kevin Nash all scuppering plans.

In fact, Nash injured himself in March, taken a few months off to recover, and then immedietly reinjured himself in his first match back on Raw, ultimately putting him on the shelf until the spring of 2003.

By this point, Vince McMahon had seen enough.

The following week, he came out to inform fans that he had officially disbanded the nWo once and for all. 

Still, those pining for the glory days of World Championship Wrestling didn't have to miss out altogether as Vince introduced another icon of the Monday Night Wars - none other than his former rival Eric Bischoff- as the new Raw General Manager.

With Easy E in charge of Raw and Vince's daughter Stephanie McMahon heading up Smackdown, the stage was set for Vengeance.






Here's what went down:  

I Will Strike Down Upon Thee With Great Vengeance

WWE Vengeance 2002 Review - Michael Cole and Tazz called the show
Vengeance 2002 kicked off with one the WWF’s usual compelling opening videos.

This one had a biblical theme, with the participants in tonight’s main event -Undertaker, Rock, and Kurt Angle- reciting Ezekiel 25:17 as clips played off them looking awesome in the ring. 

Yes, I know this is more familiar to people from Pulp Fiction and that most people talk about this video being a nod to that movie, but since the Good Book precedes Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece by a few thousand years, I think its fair to say that this is the proper source of the reference.

Anyway, It was good stuff that eventually led us to the obligatory opening pyro, crowd shots, and a check-in with The World in New York.

Michael Cole and Tazz then welcomed us to the show, informing us that they’d cover the first half of the event with Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler taking the second half.

With that, it was onto the ring for our first match of the evening.

Tag Team Table Match
Bubba Ray & Spike Dudley vs. Eddie Guerrero & Chris Benoit

WWE Vengeance 2002 Review - Eddie Guerrero
This may not have been the best tag team tables match of all time, but it was still an entertaining opener with a surprising finish.

Last seen on PPV at King of the Ring 2001, Chris Benoit had subsequently spent 13 months on the shelf with a broken neck.

The Crippler had recently returned and aligned himself with former Radicalz team mate Eddie Guerrero.

One thing this fan really liked about the duo during this time was that whenever they teamed together they always wore their respective ring gear in matching colours. It was a small touch, but one that definitely helped to present them as a cohesive unit.

Here, the duo spent the first half of the match destroying Bubba Ray Dudley. It was decent, but obviously, it was only when the tables came into play that the match really took off.

At one point, Bubba lay Benoit on a table and lept off the ropes. Benoit moved and Dudley crashed through the table but was allowed to continue since it wasn’t an offensive move.

Later, Spike Dudley put Eddie through a table with a Dudley Drop to the outside in what looked to be a nasty spot.

Benoit then hurled Spike over the ropes on the other side of the ring and eliminated him, but then Bubba planted Benoit through a third table and that was that.
Your Winners: The Dudley Boyz

Backstage, Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff gave an interview to Jonathan Coachman before getting distracted by the arrival of Triple H.

Both Bischoff and The Game’s estranged wife Stephanie McMahon (now Smackdown GM) had been trying to secure his services for their respective brands, and Bischoff was none too happy that Hunter was on his way to negotiate with Steph.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Jamie Noble (w/ Nidia) vs. Kidman

WWE Vengeance 2002 Review - Jamie Noble and Nidia
To paraphrase what I said about the last match, this wasn’t the greatest Cruiserweight match in the world but it was still good for what it was.

Jamie Noble and Billy Kidman were both talented performers and gave us a fine match, but it just wasn’t the absolute all-out stormer it could have been.

Noble retained his title after a good effort.
Your Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Jamie Noble

Backstage, Kurt Angle’s interview with Marc Lloyd was interrupted by the arrival of Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman.

Heyman reminded Angle that Lesnar had a guaranteed title shot at Summerslam as a result of winning the 2002 King of the Ring and would face the winner of Angle’s match with The Rock and The Undertaker.

Unperturbed, Angle promised Lesnar that when the two did meet, The Next Big Thing would be taken down by the Olympic Gold Medalist.

This was good stuff.

WWE European Championship
WWE European Champion Jeff Hardy vs. William Regal

WWE Vengeance 2002 Review - Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair congratulate Hulk Hogan
Possibly the best match on the card so far, this saw both champ and challenger go back and forth in an entertaining, technically sound match that this fan enjoyed a lot.

After a very good, albeit short, battle, The Charasmatic Enigma retained his gold.
Your Winner and Still European Champion: Jeff Hardy

Post match, Hardy was congratulated backstage by both Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan.

Once Jeff left, Hogan told Flair that he was considering going to the top rope and doing a swanton bomb of his own in his match tonight. This prompted Flair to mock Hogan, saying he’d be too slow climbing up to the top and would make a mess of the move.

It was a very funny moment, but the two legends found nothing funny about Bischoff and Stephanie McMahon running the company and questioned whether Bischoff in particular would run WWE out of business.

Chris Jericho vs. John Cena

WWE Vengeance 2002 Review - John Cena smiles after beating Chris Jericho in his debut PPV match
And so it begins.

Yes, ladies and gents, this was the Pay Per View debut of the one and only John Cena.

The future legend had arrived on the scene a few weeks earlier and promptly set about trying to embarrass Kurt Angle before entering into a feud with Chris Jericho.

Tonight, the two went tooth-and-nail in a match which was much better than the unenthusiastic crowd would have you believe.

Moving at a good pace, Cena and Jericho worked hard to deliver an entertaining performance before the rookie scored the upset in his first major win.
Your Winner: John Cena

Out in the back, Eric Bischoff accosted Stephanie McMahon’s lawyer whom she had summoned to deliver some important documents. Fearing that he was about to lose HHH, Bisch’ was livid.

Say what you will about Eric Bischoff, he was always a very entertaining personality in front of the camera.

RVD and Brock are Ready for War

As we moved into the second half of the show, Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler made their way out to take over from Cole and Tazz.

Their first task was to show us clips of Brock Lesnar and Rob Van Dam preparing for their upcoming Intercontinental Championship clash.

This was followed by an ace video highlighting their rivalry which was soundtracked by the kind of dramatic music you’d normally here in the Smackdown video games for the PS2 around this time.

WWE Intercontinental Championship
WWE Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam vs. Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman)

WWE Vengeance 2002 Review - Brock Lesnar puts a hurting on Rob Van Dam
This card continued to get better as it went on.

RVD vs. Lesnar was a fine match that ignited the crowd for the first time on the show.

The champion continually countered the challenger’s brute power with quickness and innovative offence and even looked to have the match won.

After a very fine match indeed, RVD hit the Five Star Frog Splash and made the cover, only for Paul Heyman to yank referee Charles Robinson out of the ring and cause the DQ.

The ending was pretty predictable given that Lesnar couldn’t really lose and yet didn’t need the IC belt either, but before that, this was a lot of fun.
Your Winner by DQ: Rob Van Dam

Post match, we got even more fun as Charles Robinson began to rain down on Heyman with the weakest looking punches in wrestling history, only for Lesnar to pick him up and toss him aside like a rag doll.

RVD then came careening off the top rope and took out The Next Big Thing, only for Lesnar to recover and destroy the champion with an F5 onto a steel chair.

He Signed

WWE Vengeance 2002 Review - Stephanie McMahon confronts Eric Bischoff
Backstage, a forlorn Stephanie McMahon emerged from her office looking dejected.

Naturally, Bischoff jumped to conclusions and began gloating about her inability to sign Triple H.

“He signed,” said Steph, wiping the smirk off the Raw GM’s face before walking away.

Moments later, The Game himself emerged and was railroaded by Bischoff for making the wrong choice.

That’s when Hunter set him straight, informing the former WCW head that the papers he signed were actually his divorce papers and that he still hadn’t decided which brand to work for.

This pleased Easy E no end.

No Disqualification Match
The Big Show vs. Booker T

Booker T and Big Show had been feuding ever since ‘T had been kicked out of the now-defunct New World Order.

Their No DQ match tonight was never going to be the best thing on the card but it was surprisingly more enjoyable than anyone could have expected.

This, of course, was largely due to the sweet spot where Booker ran off the US announce table and scissor kicked Big Show through the Spanish announce table.

This short match didn’t last long after that, but it was fun while it lasted.
Your Winner: Booker T

Meanwhile, over at The World, Torrie Wilson and Dawn Marie argued about who had the best butt.

Time to Play The Game

WWE Vengeance 2002 Review - Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, and Eric Bischoff
Up next, Triple H came to the ring to reveal whether he’d sign for Raw or Smackdown, prompting both Eric Bischoff and Stephanie McMahon to hit the ring for one last sales pitch.

Just when it looked like The Game was about to side with Steph, none other than Shawn Michaels hit the ring.

HBK reminded us that while Hunter had been out with a minor injury, it was he, Shawn, who had been promising to head to Vengeance and bring his buddy “home” to the nWo before “Big Kev” had gotten hurt and Vince had dissolved that faction.

With the fans all chanting for DX, Michaels reminded HHH how much fun they used to have together, and that seems to do the trick, promoting Hunter to announce he was signing with Raw so that he and HBK could make Bischoff’s life a living hell.

Reacting to Triple H

Backstage, Rikishi expressed his disappointment about Triple H joining Raw, telling Marc Lloyd that it was a big loss to the young guys on Smackdown who looked to The Game as a leader.

Across the way, Terri interrupted Booker T and Goldust to get their thoughts.

Hilariously, Goldust sheepishly covered his crotch when Terri walked in the room. He then stood by while an enlivened Booker ranted about the time Shawn Michaels super kicked him out of the nWo.

That’s right Booker,” said Goldust. “He may be The Game, but we’re the ones with the bigger joysticks.

Imma ignore that,” quipped Booker as Goldie left the room.

This was, as you might expect, a very entertaining segment.

Prior to the next match, we got a brief look back at the rivalry between Edge & Hulk Hogan and Christian & Lance Storm.

WWE Tag Team Championship
WWE Tag team Champions Edge & Hulk Hogan vs. Lance Storm & Christian

WWE Vengeance 2002 Review - Hollywood Hulk Hogan & Edge vs. Christian and Lance Storm
Hogan spent the first half of the match doing the work for his team, giving us a very old-school style match until getting beat down and eventually making the hot tag to Edge.

It was at that point that the match really kicked up a notch and started to get exciting.

A ref bump allowed to Test to run in for his Canadian team mates, but that wasn’t enough to give Lance Storm and Christian the win, so Jericho had to get involved, interfering to help his fellow countrymen capture the tag team titles.

It wasn’t the best match on the card, but it was a perfectly serviceable tag bout that served a purpose.
Your Winners and NEW Tag Team Champions: Lance Storm & Christian

Out in the back, Eric Bischoff tried to recruit Kurt Angle to Raw, but the Olympic Gold Medalist was far too focused on his match to think about that right now.

Elsewhere, Marc Lloyd asked Stephanie McMahon about Bischoff’s heavy-handed recruitment tactics.

Steph wasn’t concerned about Bischoff, telling Lloyd that she was in direct contact with every Raw superstar and would “rip the heart” out of the red brand.

What does that mean?” Asked Lawler. “Are you going to Smackdown, JR?”

Nope, I’m a Raw guy. Besides, I’m not the heart of Raw,” replied Ross. “I may be the butt.

Bless JR, that was funny.

WWE Undisputed Championship
WWE Undisputed Champion The Undertaker vs. The Rock vs. Kurt Angle

WWE Vengeance 2002 Review - Kurt Angle goads The Undertaker and The Rock
Time and time again, this triple-threat match has been referred to as a classic and considered one of the best triple threat matches of all time.

While I can neither confirm nor deny that it is, I can certainly say that it was a damn good match which, though it started slow, got infinitely better as it progressed.

Though the WWE's tried-and-trusted formula of one guy napping on the outside while the other work and then switch certainly came into effect here, it was a formula that was used sparringly and effectively.

For the most part, all three world-class performers worked their asses off to deliver.

There were peaks, there were valleys, there was drama and suspense and everything you'd want from a compelling match. 

There was even a five-minute Finisher Fest at the end too, and though I suppose that could be cause for criticism, it, like everything else in this match, worked.

After a gripping 20 minute epic, The Rock drove Kurt Angle into the mat and pinned him to become the new undisputed champion.
Your Winner and NEW Undisputed Champion: The Rock 

As JR yelled about how The Rock was the first-ever seven time champion, The Great One posed for the fans and this writer questioned whether having him pin Angle rather than The Undertaker was such a smart move.

Ultimately, I think it was. 

Sure, pinning the actual champion rather than the third-man would have added a little more kudos and credibility to The Rock's win, but was The F'N Rock for crying out loud. At this point in the game, he simply didn't need any more kudos or credibility to be considered a worthy champion.

Plus, by the sheer fact alone that he had never been pinned for the gold, The Dead Man would have a legitimate reason to jump right back into the title picture post-Summerslam.





And so Vengeance 2002 was over and had proved to be a decent but hardly spectacular show.

The main event was off-the-page excellent, but the rest of the card was full of those "good but not great" matches which, while they may have been entertaining, didn't really go all out to impress.

Still, this was a watchable show with nothing noticeably terrible going on, so if you're looking for a dose of Ruthless Aggression-era nostalgia capped off with a smoking hot main event, this may be worth your time. 


Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.