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

Friday, 25 February 2022

EVENT REVIEW: Clash of the Champions XIV - Dixie Dynamite

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review - Dixie Dynamite
January 30, 1991,
Georgia Mountains Center, Gainesville, 

Only six weeks had passed between Clash of the Champions 14: Dixie Dynamite and WCW’s last big show, Starrcade 1990, and yet a lot had happened in that time.

Behind the scenes, Ole Anderson had been stripped of his powers as head of the booking committee following the disastrous Black Scorpion storyline, a fiasco which had ended with Ric Flair being revealed as the mysterious peddler of hackneyed stage magic.

Since Starrcade, Flair had dethroned Sting to reclaim the world title.

It was the right move. As over as Sting was, every attempt by the WCW brain trust to relegate Nature Boy to the midcard had failed.

The fans knew that Flair was special, and as such, any attempt to have him compete lower down on the card simply backfired as his matches outshone more high-profile bouts on that card.

So here he was, back in his rightful place at the top of the mountain, and was now recognized as the first WCW World Heavyweight Champion due to the increasingly strained relationship between WCW and the NWA.

Of course, later that year, Naitch would take the Big Gold Belt over to the WWF, the company from which Dusty Rhodes had just returned in order to take over from Ole on the booking committee and serve as one of our commentators for the evening.

How would things go down as WCW quite literally attempted a fresh start in 1991? Let’s head down to Gainsville, Georgia and find out, shall we?

It’s Time for Dixie Dynamite

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review - Jim Ross and Dusty Rhodes called the action

Tonight’s show opened with a basic opening that highlighted our two marquee matches before we got some animated credits featuring all of WCW’s major stars.

As the show began, Dusty Rhodes and Jim Ross welcomed us to Clash of the Champions before sending it over to Garry Michael Capetta for the introduction of the US National Anthem.

With all that done, it was on to ringside for our opening contest.

Non-Title Match
WCW Tag Team Champions Doom (Butch Reed & Ron Simmons) vs. United States Champion Lex Luger and Sting

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review - Sting waits for a tag from Lex Luger

As Dusty Rhodes told us that their manager, Teddy Long, was absent due to being out on a spending spree, Ron Simmons and Butch Reed came to the ring to their usual theme tune, one which was far too sprightly and energetic for a team called DOOM.

Tonight, they locked up with Sting and Lex Luger in a decent match that was really only memorable for a spot in which Luger and Simmons continually ran into each other with shoulder tackles for a solid minute or so.

Towards the end, the Total Package was attacked by his upcoming Wrestlewar ‘91 opponent, Dan Spivey, leaving Sting to duke it out with the tag team champions solo.

He did his best, but ultimately got back body dropped to the outside by Reed and won the match via DQ due to the ‘no going over the top rope’ rule.
Your Winners via DQ: Sting & Lex Luger

Post match, Doom continued to attack but were eventually sent packing by Sting & Luger.

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review - Missy Hyatt says the sexiest wrestler is Tom Zenk

Following a commercial break, Missy Hyatt told us that Tom Zenk had won WCW’s Sexiest Wrestler contest due to him having a tan and being single.

We’d see the Z-Man in action next.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW World TV Champion Tom Zenk vs. Beautiful Bobby Eaton

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Tom Zenk defends the Tv title against Bobby Eaton

This was a quality match that was about as good as you were going to get from an undercard bout on a Clash of the Champions show.

Beautiful Bobby Eaton had Z-Man’s number for such a large portion of the contest that a victory seemed inevitable, yet at the last possible second, the champion edged his way to victory thanks to a backslide that barely -and I mean barely- earned him the three count.
Your Winner and Still TV Champion: Tom Zenk

A post-match replay showed that Beautiful Bobby kicked out of the pin attempt before referee Nick Patrick’s hand hit the mat for the third time.

That should have been enough to earn Eaton a rematch, but Zenk had technically already lost the title back to Arn Anderson in a match that hadn’t aired yet, so that wasn’t about to happen.

The York Foundation Expands

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Ms. Alexandra York

Backstage, Alexandra York told us that she had found the perfect wrestler to bring onboard into the York Foundation.

York, of course, would need to add to the ranks of her organization with her main man taking up a new role as a tax man in Connecticut.

‘Wildfire’ Tommy Rich & Alan Iron Eagle vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin)

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  The Fabulous Freebirds

This one had all the makings of a decent TV match and would have been a fun watch were rookie Alan Iron Eagle not so inexperienced.

He frequently looked so lost and adrift next to his experimented partner and opponents that I honestly started to feel bad for him.

It was a good effort from Tommy Rich and The Fabulous Freebirds, sure, but nothing anyone was ever going to be raving about afterwards.

After a few minutes of everyone doing their best, Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin blasted Iron Eagle with a double DDT to score the win for the Freebirds.
Your Winners: The Fabulous Freebirds

Following a quick commercial for the upcoming War Games ‘91 event, Ross and Rhodes spoke to Tony Schiavone and Paul E. Dangerously, who were located elsewhere in the arena.

This was all done to hype Paul E.‘s upcoming arm wrestling match with Missy Hyatt, though all it really achieved was giving Dusty Rhodes a chance to insinuate that Dangerously might be gay,...

...because, you know, this was the 90s and the idea that a man might be homosexual was still a hilarious concept back then. 

Jumpin’ Joey Maggs vs. Sid Vicious

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Sid Vicious pins Joey Maggs

Poor Joey Maggs didn’t stand a chance here.

Sid Vicious got a super special entrance, appearing on a rotating podium with a spotlight on him to highlight his enormous, dominating crowd physical presence.

The man from Wherever He Damn Well Pleases then toyed with Maggs for about a minute before putting him out of his misery with a powerbomb.

It wasn’t much of a match, but Sid was awesome and so over that you couldn’t help but enjoy it.
Your Winner: Sid Vicious

Post-match, Sid has his own emergency medical technicians come down to help poor Maggs, but the Four Horsemen member continued to attack Maggs even while On a stretcher.

A commercial for WCW’s new wrestling hotline followed. That number, as I’m sure no WCW fan will ever forget, was 1-900-909-9900

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Sid Vicious is interviewed by Tony Schiavone

Heading back to the show, Sid gave an interview to Tony Schiavone in which he boasted that his goal for 1991 was to prove that he did indeed rule the world.

Ricky Morton vs. Terry Taylor

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Terry Taylor headlocks Ricky Morton

I won’t lie, I enjoyed this far more than I ever thought I’d enjoy a Terry Taylor match.

As Jim Ross put over what great friends Taylor and Ricky Morton were, the two spent the first half of the match duking it out in a good face vs. face style match were both proved to be incredibly evenly matched.

That part of the match was good. It was just a pure, honest-to-goodness pro wrestling match with plenty of speed, plenty of holes and counter holds, and generally plenty to enjoy.

Then Alexandra York appeared, and after questioning whether his opponent was in cahoots with her, Taylor smashed Morton from behind and basically turned heel mid-match.

As if Taylor heeling it up and continually pointing at York didn’t get the job done, WCW decided to eliminate all semblance of subtlety by playing a pre-recorded inset promo in which Alexandra confirmed that yes, Terry Taylor was the newest member of The York Foundation.

The ending of the match was a little messy. Morton leapt at Taylor with what looked like a dropkick attempt. Taylor moved, and Morton came crashing down, inadvertently landing on Terry with an awkward and accidental senton before being rolled up and pinned.

The ending was a disaster, but everything else was wonderful.
Your Winner: Terry Taylor

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Bill Apter presents Sting with his PWI awards

After a quick commercial break, we got a pre-recorded segment in which Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Bill Apter presented Sting with two awards:

PWI Wrestler of the Year and PWI Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year.

Sting must have just gotten out of bed or something, because although he did try to express his surprise and delight, he really sounded like he couldn’t give a sh*t about either award.

Returning to the arena, Dusty Rhodes abused his position as booker to give himself some promo time so that he could air his own political views about the Gulf War.

If you questioned the president or you didn’t think going to war over the price of oil was a good thing, you were certainly no friend of The American Dream’s.

You have to wonder if Dusty’s promo was unplanned or if he at least went a little too far for TBS’ liking as he issued something of an apology at the start of our next contest.

Ranger Ross vs. El Cubano

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Ranger Ross gets set for action

This is the first time we've seen Ranger Ross on Retro Pro Wrestling since Wrestle War 1989.

Here, he was thrust back into the spotlight so that his army ranger gimmick could help WCW capitalise on the support for the US troops in Dusty’s beloved Gulf War.

The match itself was nothing, a by-the-numbers filler that served no real purpose and that played out to near silence from the live crowd.

Still, in going up against masked jobber El Cubano, Ranger Ross did at least look impressive and you have to wonder if he could have been a bigger star given a different gimmick and a decent push.

Naturally, the Ranger won. Nobody was surprised, nor did they care.
Your Winner: Ranger Ross

A quick commercial for War Games followed, after which it was back to the action.

The Four Horsemen (Arn Anderson & Barry Windham) vs. The Renegade Warriors (Chris & Mark Youngblood)

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Barry Windham & Arn Anderson

Although the ending was never in doubt here, The Renegade Warriors played their roles as babyface fodder to the nefarious Four Horsemen perfectly well.

The result was a fun TV tag match with nary a dull moment in sight.

Was this the best tag match you’ve ever seen in your life?

Absolutely not, but there was certainly nothing to complain about, not even the predictable finish which saw Anderson and Windham pick up the fall.
Your Winners: The Four Horsemen

If you hadn’t already noticed that this show was one giant commercial for Wrestle War ‘91, we got another ad for the War Games match before the next commercial break.

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Tony Schiavone and Stan Hansen freestyle rapping!

When we returned, Tony Schiavone showed us footage of Stan Hansen and Big Van Vader beating the living sh*t out of each other in Japan.

That led us to Schiavone’s interview with Hansen, who claimed that the Japanese audiences liked seeing real men fight while American audiences only liked ‘pretty boys’ who painted their faces.

It was tough luck for the Americans as Hansen announced that he and Vader would meet at Wrestle War.


Buddy Lee Parker vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker thinks he's The Big Boss Man

Introduced while already in the ring, Buddy Lee Parker was dressed in a hat and blue cop shirt that made him look for all the world like a low-rent Big Boss Man.

After taking that attire off, the future Power Plant trainer played his part in putting over the white-hot Brian Pillman in an entertaining but very short match.

Much like the previous contest, the ending was never in doubt here, and after showing off his impressive skill set, Flyin’ Brian easily disposed of his opponent.
Your Winner: Brian Pillman

As we went to commercial, Jim Ross told us to call a special number to join the official WCW Fan Club.

Coming back, he and Dusty talked to the camera while El Gigante sat in the crowd.

The weirdest point was that neither announcer acknowledged him. He just sat on the front row like a regular fan, which was just a little strange.

Paul E. Gets Beat By a Girl

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Paul E. Heyman is distracted by Missy Hyatt's boobs

Up next, we had the special arm-wrestling match between Paul E. Dangerously and Missy Hyatt, with country DJ Rhubarb Jones as the guest arena.

Both competitors locked arms, but then Missy backed away, first to roll her sleeves up and then to remove her jacket, revealing that she was wearing skintight exercise attire that drew all the focus to her boobs.

When I say all the focus, I mean all of it, even Paul E.’s.

The man who would, years later, be involved in a storyline that saw him sniffing Lita’s panties, got so distracted by Missy’s boobage that she easily beat him.

From there, we were all supposed to laugh at Paul E. because being beaten by a woman was an embarrassing thing in the ‘90s, though honestly, given the choice between winning an arm-wrestling match with Missy Hyatt and enjoying a close-up view of her boobs, I certainly know where my priorities would lie.

Finally, before we got to our main event, we got a clip of future Wrestlemania XI star Lawrence Taylor hanging out with Ric Flair, Kevin Sullivan, Michael Wallstreet, and Alexandra York.

If you ask me, this was another weird move.

Why would hanging out with a famous and popular football player make us want to hate that contingent of heels?

WCW World Heavyweight Championship 
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. Scott Steiner (w/ Rick Steiner) 

WCW Clash of the Champions 14 Review -  Scott Steiner challenges Ric Flair for the world heavyweight title

Prior to the bell, GMC introduced Hiro Matsuda, who was there on behalf of New Japan Pro Wrestling to see the outcome of this match as the winner would head to the Tokyo Dome to defend the title against Tatsumi Fujinami later that year. 

Then, El Gigante was introduced. He made his way into the ring, shook hands with The Steiners and then offered Ric Flair a handshake too. 

Flair refused, so the giant simply went and sat back down and watched the match.

Capetta also informed us that the time limit for this match was "TV time remaining," and when the announcer later started to tell us when there were 10, and then 5 minutes left, the time-limit draw ending became very predictable. 

Still, everything before that was good stuff. 

The story here was the young, gifted athlete out-wrestling his opponent, only for the crafty veteran to rely on dirty tricks in order to regain the upper-hand. 

Though it wasn't a five-star classic, it was entertaining stuff which ended when Steiner hit the champion with a belly-to-belly.

The challenger made the cover, the referee counted to two, and then, just as everybody knew it would all along, the time limit expired.
Time Limit Draw (Ric Flair retains the title)

Post match, The Steiner Brothers thought Scotty had won the match and were understandably frustrated when Nick Patrick broke the news. 

With TV time done, Ross and Dusty signed off, and that was another Clash of the Champions show in the bag. 

On the whole, Clash of the Champions XIV: Dixie Dynamite had been a good show for what it was. This is especially true when you consider that what it was, was simply a 90-minute commercial for Wrestle War '91 and the War Games main event. 

Sure, if Clash 14 had been a PPV, I'd be writing it off as a dismal failure, but for a TV special, it did give us a bunch of matches that ranged from decent to good. Skip the Ranger Ross and the Freebirds match, and you've got a good bit of wrestling television here. 

Friday, 18 February 2022

PPV REVIEW: Armageddon 2002

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Event Poster
December 15, 2002
Office Depot Center, Sunrise, Florida

Armageddon 2002 came at the end of a big period of change for WWE.

With the Invasion angle now but a distant memory, the company had gone into the New Year with a bloated roster, leading to the creation of the first roster draft.

Shortly after, the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) became World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), and, shortly after that, one of the company's biggest stars of the previous decade, Shawn Michaels, had returned to action following a four-year hiatus.

In another landmark moment for 2002, the Elimination Chamber was invented and took place at Survivor Series '02, giving Michaels a World Heavyweight Championship win and quickly re-establishing himself as the main event attraction that he was.

Tonight, Michaels would head back to the main event to defend that title against former friend turned bitter rival, Triple H, while on the undercard, the WWE's last PPV of the year would see young stars like Dave Batista and John Cena start their journey to the top.

Here's what went down when Armageddon 2002 came to Sunrise, Florida.

The End is Here

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler called all the action

Tonight’s show began with all of WWE’s trademark opening video staples.

You wanted an elderly Freddie Blassie waxing philosophical like he’d done in countless other videos in the past?

You got it.

You wanted shots of that abandoned warehouse they always showed?

You got that too.

You wanted that bad ass rip-off of The Doors’ that featured on several other PPVs?

Here it was!

You wanted shots of wrestlers interspersed with random pictures of missiles and war-torn lands?

Yep, you got that too.

Ok, so it wasn’t the most impressive video of all time, but it was still mighty good.

With the video over, we got crowd shots and a greeting from our announcers Jim Ross & Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler who led us right into our opening match.

Four Team Elimination Match for the WWE World Tag Team Championship
World Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz (D-Von & Bubba Ray Dudley) vs. Lance Storm & William Regal vs. Booker T & Goldust

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - The Dudley Boyz go WASSUP!

I’ve got to be honest with you, dear readers, this match was a bit of a letdown, at least in the early going.

After a few minutes of decent but unremarkable action, the recently reunited Dudley Boyz got taken out, followed quickly by Lance Storm and William Regal, denying this fan of the opportunity to see some kind of interaction between Storm and his former Thrillseekers partner, Chris Jericho.

With those two teams out of the running, Jericho and Christian went at it with Booker T and Goldust in what turned out to be a fun and explosive exchange.

It was good stuff, but I couldn’t help but feel that the match would have been a lot better had they kept it as a straight 2 vs. 2 between the two remaining teams.

After a good effort, Booker put Jericho away to capture the gold for his team.
Your Winners and New Tag Team Champions: Booker T & Goldust

Post-match, the new champions were interviewed at ringside by Jonathan Coachman, with The Booker Man putting his partner over and working the crowd.

Will Brock Be in Angle’s Corner?

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Josh Mattews interviews Brock Lesnar

Out in the back, Smackdown backstage reporter Josh Matthews asked Brock Lesnar whether he would be in Kurt Angle’s corner tonight against WWE Champion The Big Show.

Rather than give Matthews a straight answer, The Next Big Thing simply promised to make an impact on tonight’s show.

Edge vs. A-Train

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Edge faced A-Train

I don’t know about you, but A-Train was always one of those wrestlers who -though he wasn’t terrible in the ring- I certainly never had any desire to watch wrestle.

He got his way into this match by virtue of beating up Edge’s buddy and tag partner Rey Mysterio before costing the future Rated R Superstar a shot at the title.

The match was surprisingly enjoyable. Not amazing by any stretch, but certainly a solid performance from both men.

After a good outing with a couple of exciting near falls, A-Train got fed up and blasted Edge in his supposedly injured knee with a chair.
Your Winner via DQ: Edge

Afterwards, Edge went loco and destroyed his nemesis with the chair, much to the delight of the audience.

Big Show Wants Respect

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - The Big Show demands respect

Backstage, an angry Big Show ranted to Paul Heyman about not getting any respect. For some reason that I couldn’t quite follow, he had decided they the best way to get it was to barge into Stephanie McMahon’s office.

Before he could do that, however, the champion’s agent, Paul Heyman convinced him to go prepare for his match instead, insisting that he, Heyman, would handle everything.

WWE Tag Team Champion Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Eddie Guerrero faced Chris Benoit

With Michael Cole informing us that the winner of this match would inevitably get a title match, both Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero made their way to the ring with purpose.

As they did so, you got a distinct feeling that this was about to be a show stealer and proverbial Match of the Night candidate

Unfortunately, these two talented performers failed to live up to expectations on this particular night.

The first half of the match saw Guerrero and Benoit focus on a mat-based approach with lots of holds and chain wrestling. It was solid, but unfortunately, it only served to elicit a noticeable “boring”
chant from the Florida faithful.

The two would occasionally liven things up by trading rolling German suplexes or having Guerrero leap off the top to the outside with a big time crossbody on his former Radicalz teammate, but then it was back to basics.

Things picked up towards the finish (which saw Eddie tap to the Crossface) but by that point it was too little, too late.

This was a fine match, for sure, but just not what the crowd wanted to see and by no means either man’s best outing.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Paul Heyman and Stephanie McMahon

Back in Stephane McMahon’s office, the Smackdown GM refused Paul Heyman’s request to ban Brock Lesnar from being in Kurt Angle’s corner tonight.

Steph refused, prompting Heyman to sweat that if Lesnar did get involved tonight, Big Show would break his neck.

No lie, the interaction between Steph and Heyman was one of the most entertaining things on the show so far.

Dawn Marie Seduces Torrie Wilson

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Al Wilson and Dawn Marie

Up next, we saw a video package of the time Dawn Marie promised to call off her marriage to Al Wilson if his daughter Torrie Wilson spent the night with her in her hotel room.

This was followed by Dawn and Al coming to the ring where the former began rolling footage from said hotel room where she began to seduce Torrie.

The live crowd ate it up, but, honestly, it wasn’t sexy in the slightest. It was weird and uncomfortable and this writer for one was glad when Al Wilson put his foot down and ordered Dawn Marie to

That was horrible.

Kane vs. Batista (w/ Ric Flair)

Batista hit the ring to what sounded like a demo version of his signature “I Walk Alone” theme while Jim Ross told us that the future champion was making his PPV debut here.

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Batista and Ric Flair

Ross wasn’t wrong here, this was certainly his PPV debut match, but he’d technically appeared before as Reverend D-Von’s hired muscle back at Judgement Day 2002.

With Ric Flair in his corner, Batista went up against Kane in a match that was…OK.

Sure, it was competently performed and a strong effort from both men, but the match simply wasn’t that interesting or exciting.

What’s more, the regular interference from Flair (who was the most popular man in the whole thing) took the shine of his rising star protege.

After a so-so outing, Batista put away Kane for the three.
Your Winner: Batista

Out in the back, Kurt Angle searched for Brock Lesnar…

Cena Raps

Up next, heel John Cena came out with Bull “B-12” Buchanan in tow to spit lyrics about how awesome he was.

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - John Cena raps raps raps

The whole thing, which sounded more like slam poetry than actual rapping, was greeted with near silence from the crowd.

WWE Women’s Championship
WWE Women’s Champion Victoria vs. Trish Stratus vs. Jacqueline

Prior to the match, we were taken back to Survivor Series 2002 where Victoria beat Trish Stratus for the women's championship, after which she stole Jacqueline’s clothes for no other reason than the fact that she was supposed to be off her rocker.

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Trish Stratus vs. Victoria vs. Jacqueline

The match was a good effort by all three women but, much like the previous bout, did almost nothing to capture the imagination and compel you watch.

After several minutes, the reigning champion picked up the fall to continue her big-time push.
Your Winner and Still WWE Champion: Victoria

After the match, a victorious Victoria stole Jacqui’s hat and took it to the back.

Time for Retribution

Out in the back, Kurt Angle tried to persuade Brock Lesnar to be his corner for tonight’s WWE title match by reminding him that he would be only 20ft away from the man who screwed him out of the gold, Paul Heyman.

In a compelling segment, Lesnar refused to confirm that he’d be there, but did promise that Angle wouldn’t regret helping to get his recent suspension lifted.

This was followed by a video package highlighting the Lesnar/Angle/Show/Heyman storyline before we went down to our penultimate match of the evening.

WWE Championship
WWE Champion The Big Show (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Kurt Angle

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - The Big Show clobbers Kurt Angle

This was a decent match that was hampered by having the Lesnar appearance tease lingering overhead.

Angle tried to use his speed and agility to get the better of Big Show in the early going, but the champion countered by using his strength and size to his advantage and wearing The Olympic Gold Medalist down.

It was as good as you could ask for from a match involving The Big Show, but it was met with reserved applause from an audience who were clearly just waiting for Lesnar to show up.

In fact, when the referee got knocked down along with the two combatants, the crowd merely chanted “We want Brock!”

They would, of course, get him, but not before A-Train ran in with a completely random attack on the challenger.

Eventually, The Next Big Thing hit the ring while official Mike Chioda was napping and hit Show with an F-5.

It got the biggest response of the whole match and led to Angle covering Show to capture his third WWE title.
Your Winner and New WWE Champion: Kurt Angle

Prior to the main event, Rob Van Dam came to us live from The World to give us his prediction.

Though he’d been in the ring with both men and knew how tough they were, The Whole F’N Show gave the nod to Michaels, noting that there was nothing he loved more than seeing Triple H get his ass kicked.

Three Stages of Hell Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H (w/ Ric Flair)

I’ve read numerous complaints from other reviewers who say that something about this match just didn’t click or wasn’t quite right.

WWE Armageddon 2002 Review - Triple H prepares to hurt Shawn Michaels with a flaming barbwire 2x4

Honestly, I’m not sure I agree with them.

This was a good match. It didn’t live up to their awesome unsanctioned match back at Summerslam 2002, but it was enjoyable in its own right.

Both champ and challenger wasted no time in going at one another with fists, fury, and a flurry of weapons as they battled in a street fight.

Triple H won that round after planting HBK with his patented pedigree.

The second fall was a cage match, and it’s here where I’ve seen this contest draw the most criticism, as surely it would have been better to end the match on that one?

Again, I don’t agree with that criticism as it allowed both men to masterfully tease a spot where Michaels would have crashed off the cage through a two-tier stack of four tables, leaving fans wanting more.

They didn’t get it at that moment. Instead, they rolled back into the ring where Ric Flair’s interference infuriated the champion to the point where we got a great spot in which the defending champion simply went ape shit on his adversaries.

This entertaining part of the match saw HBK take out both Flair and Hunter before pinning the latter to even the score.

Blood soaked and battered, the two men intensified their fight in the third and final fall, a ladder match.

Separately, both men had given us better ladder matches than this one, but it was still gripping in its own right.

After six or seven minutes of war, The Showstopper took out his rival then slowly dragged his weary body up the ladder in pursuit of the gold.

Before he could make it however, the challenger recovered and toppled the ladder, sending Michaels crashing out of the ring and through the four tables…just as he’d teased earlier:

The spot -which certainly cool- pretty much killed The Heartbreak Kid, giving the game all the time he needed to scale the ladder and reclaim the title he’d lost one month earlier at Survivor Series.
Your Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H

As the show went off the air, a destroyed Shawn Michaels lay comatose on the outside while his nemesis scaled the top rope, his face a bloody mess but his hand holding a loft the championship.

Speaking of blood, the one thing I didn’t mention was that during Flair’s run-in, the Nature Boy blades and proceeded to seriously gush.

I don’t mean he bled just a little, I mean he bled like he was competing on an NWA show booked by Dusty Rhodes back in the 80s.

I mean more blood than any of the two men actually competing in the match.

Anyway, Armageddon 2002 wasn’t the greatest PPV in the world but, then again, WWE’s December offerings have rarely ever been considered all-time classic shows.

The main event was the highlight of the night for me, though Benoit/Guerrero was also an enjoyable performance.

Given that the worst two things on the show weren’t matches at all but rather the Cena rap and that awful Dawn Marie business, I’m happy to say that this was at the very least a decent show.

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

PPV REVIEW: WWE Survivor Series 2002

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Event poster
November 17, 2002
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

At first, I was going to begin this Survivor Series 2002 review by saying that, for all intents and purposes, this could have just been any other show. 

Indeed, the days of stacking a Survivor Series card from top-to-bottom with teams of four or five facing each other in a series of elimination matches were long gone.

And while World Wrestling Entertainment had continued to use the traditional Survivor Series elimination match sparingly throughout the 90s, they had still been a popular part of the show.

Tonight, they were no such matches outside of an opening six-man which, again, could have been on any other show.

But that doesn't mean that the company had abandoned the survival concept altogether. 

They'd simply refreshed and revitalised it for the new millenium, giving us not your usual tag team affair, but instead, a deadly new concept called Elimination Chamber. 

Far from the played out, over-polished non-spectacle that today gets its very own pay per view, the Elimination Chamber was a genuinly cool and exciting gimmick back in 2002, but don't just take my word for it.

Here's what went down when Survivor Series 2002 came to Madison Square Garden.

Welcome to The World’s Most Famous Arena

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler called all the action

Tonight’s opening video wasn’t one of WWE’s greatest but it still did a solid job of making tonight’s event seem huge.

On the Smackdown side of things, the video focused on Brock Lesnar defending his WWE title against The Big Show while Raw’s focus was on Eric Bischoff creating the monstrous Elimination Chamber in which the World Heavyweight Championship would be up for grabs.

With that, it was onto pyro and crowd shots galore as Saliva’s Always played and Jim Ross welcomed us to The World’s Most Famous Arena.

JR and his broadcast colleague Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler hyped up the Elimination Chamber before we got onto our first contest of the evening.

00.05.23 - 3 MINUTES WARNINg

Six Man Tables Match
Jeff Hardy, Bubba Ray Dudley & Spike Dudley vs. Rico & Three Minute Warning (Rosey & Jamal)

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Rico teamed with 3 Minute Warning

You know, I’m watching this after being completely burned out on wrestling for months and coming nowhere near this blog.

Sitting down to watch this incredibly enjoyable six man match reminds me why the hell I love wrestling in the first place.

If you ignore a weird spot at the beginning where Rosey & Jamal held Spike Dudley in place outside the ring for half an hour waiting for Jeff Hardy to dive over the ropes onto them, and if you ignore the spot where Rosey failed to catch Jeff coming off the ropes and the crowd all chanted “you f**ked up!” at him, everything about this match was fantastic.

Spike Dudley got taken out early on before Hardy took Rosey out into the crowd and hit the exact same Swanton-off-the-stands spot he’d done back at Royal Rumble 2000.

The Charismatic Enigma then got taken out himself, leaving Bubba Ray Dudley against Jamal and Rico.

The former got planted with a top rope powerbomb through the table, but before Bubba could win the match, both members of Three Minute Warning returned and helped Rico beat him down.

At that point, Bubba’s former tag team partner and then-current Smackdown star D-Von Dudley rushed out wearing full Dudley Boyz regalia and helped his old pal win the match.
Your Winner and Sole Survivor: Bubba Ray Dudley

That match was superb, and the Dudleyz reunion led to such a huge pop from the MSG faithful that you couldn’t help but enjoy it.

Saliva Perform

Over at The World, Stacy Kiebler introduced us to Saliva who performed the show's theme song, while we got a look at the remaining matches on this card.

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

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Billy Kidman faced Jamie Noble

Although very different from the last match, this was still nonetheless highly enjoyable.

The two former WCW stars battled back and forth in a high-octane Cruiserweight battle with as many near-falls and high spots as you could ask for.

After a top quality battle, Kidman hit the SSP on Jamie Noble to capture the gold.
Your Winner and New Cruiserweight Champion: Billy Kidman

Backstage, Kurt Angle expressed his conviction that if Billy “Freakin’” Kidman could win the Cruiserweight title then he and Chris Benoit should have no problems winning the tag team titles tonight.

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Chris Benoit & Kurt Angle

The estranged partners once again bickered about who the team captain was before agreeing to put their differences aside tonight.

Across the way, Chris Jericho psyched himself up for tonight’s elimination match.

Victoria Is Crazy

Over in the women’s locker room, we saw CCTV footage of Victoria courtesy of the short-lived “F-View,” a rehash of the I’ll-fated GTV which, in the storyline, had been implemented by Eric Bischoff to spice up Raw.

The footage showed us Victoria talking to herself in a mirror about how much she hated Trish Stratus before finally deciding to trash both the mirror and a Trish cut out.

This was followed by a video package recapping the rivalry between the two women.

If you need a refresher, the basic story involved Victoria being mad that despite WWE previously being interested in both women, she had been robbed of her opportunities by the women’s champion.

Their match was next

Hardcore Match for the WWE Women’s Championship
WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus vs. Victoria

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Trish Stratus vs. Victoria

I’m going to be honest, this was much better than I expected it to be.

That’s not taking anything away from the talent of Trish and Victoria, just that most hardcore matches were usually anything but the highlight of the show.

This wasn’t the highlight either, but it was still a fun match in which the two women used the hardcore gimmick to its full advantage and came up with some unique, entertaining spots.

After a good battle, Victoria captured her first WWE women’s title by blasting her rival with a fire extinguisher then drilling her with a float-over snap suplex.
Your Winner and New WWE Women’s Champion: Victoria

Out in the back, Booker T warmed up for the Elimination Chamber.

Elsewhere in the arena, Jonathan Coachman asked Eric Bischoff what we could expect from tonight’s main event.

Bischoff answered by bigging himself up before he was interrupted by The Big Show.

Show warned the Raw GM that he had made a big mistake by trading him to Smackdown, all of which led us nicely to Show’s upcoming opponent, Brock Lesnar.

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Paul Heyman & Brock Lesnar

As the WWE Champion pounced, his manager Paul Heyman expressed how nervous he was that Lesnar wouldn’t be able to get the job done tonight.

Alas, Heyman vowed that his “client” would leave with the title tonight.

Ooh, ominous

WWE Championship
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman)

Before the bell sounded, we got a video package that showed Big Show dominating the hell out of everyone while Heyman constantly reminded Lesnar that there was no way he could beat his opponent.
Like the previous match, this one delivered beyond expectations.

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show

Both champ and challenger then went at it in a short but explosive match which saw them demonstrate their brute power to full effect.

Show manhandled his opponent multiple times, but The Next Big Thing would always mount a comeback, even taking his larger adversary to Suplex City on a number of occasions, all to the jaw-dropping admiration of the MSG faithful.

Speaking of jaw-dropping, Heyman’s chin nearly hit the floor when Brock leveled the challenger with an F5, but then the cowardly former ECW manager revealed his true colors by preventing the referee from making the three count.

Realising he’d been betrayed, Lesnar gave chase but got walloped by a chair courtesy of Big Show.
One pinfall later and Big Show won the WWE championship for the second time at the very same event where he won his first one.
Your Winner and New WWE Champion: The Big Show

Afterwards, the new champ and his new manager fled in a waiting limo.

A video package for the upcoming tag team title match followed, as did a shot of Al Wilson his new fiancé Dawn Marie hanging out in the crowd.

Triple Threat Elimination Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
WWE Tag Team Champions Edge & Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie & Chavo Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit

This was, as you might expect, a mighty fine match.

The action never stopped and barely slowed down from start to finish, giving us a compelling contest delivered by four stellar performers at the top of their game.

Angle and Benoit went out first and argued all the way to the back, leaving Los Guerreros to duke it out with the champions.

The action then continued to enthrall and entertain until, eventually, Eddie Guerrero made Rey Mysterio tap.

Everything up to and including that finish was great.
Your Winners and New WWE Tag Team Champions: Los Guerreros

Prior to the main event, Chris Nowinski and Matt Hardy V1 hit the ring to argue about whether New Yorkers were stupid or losers.

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Scott Steiner made his debut as a singles star to WWE

It was an entertaining little segment that only got more entertaining when sirens rang and none other than Scott Steiner made his official WWE debut.

Receiving a thunderous ovation from the live crowd, The Big Bad Booty Daddy made light work of Nowinski and Hardy before making it clear that yes, Big Poppa Pump was indeed our hook up..holla, if ya hear me!

That was cool.

What wasn’t so cool was Shawn Michaels’ pre-match promo being interrupted by a video from Randy Orton.

Now playing a smarmy heel, Orton disingenuously thanked fans for their get-well cards and well-wishing emails as he recuperated from injury.

Rather than going back to the HBK interview (in which we were just about to learn why he believed he could be the champion tonight), we instead got an impressive package about tonight’s main event.

Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
World Heavyweight Champion Triple H (w/ Ric Flair) World Tag Team Champion Chris Jericho vs. Booker T vs. Kane vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Rob Van Dam

Before the match started, Eric Bischoff came to the chamber, partly to gloat about inventing the whole thing, partly to explain the rules to us all.

From there, Chris Jericho came out while, simultaneously, Saliva played his ‘King of my World’ theme live from The World.

Kane also had a new theme, the always-popular Slow Chemical one, while Shawn Michaels did have his old theme music but also had a weird haircut and those terrible poop-colored tights.

All that aside, this was a compelling match that had the novelty of being the first Elimination Chamber match and a whole bunch of talented performers going for it.

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Ric Flair watches on as Jonathan Coachman interviews Triple H

The World Heavyweight Champion and Rob Van Dam kicked things off in fine fashion, and continued to look impressive as Chris Jericho and Booker T both entered the fray.

Then, RVD lept off one of the pods with a frog splash right onto The Game’s throat, prompting Earl Hebner to throw up the dreaded X sign.

Van Dam was eliminated shortly after and thus the match continued until only the champion and his former friend turned bitter rival, Shawn Michaels remained.

More good wrestling followed, culminating in Shawn Michaels hitting Hunter with a little sweet chin music to lift a major title for the fist time since Survivor Series 1997 on that fateful night in Montreal.
Your Winner and New World Heavyweight Champion: Shawn Michaels

Man, that was good stuff.

In fact, the whole show was good stuff!

It’s interesting that a title changed hands in all five championship matches tonight, and it’s even more interesting that both major titles were won by guys who won their last big titles at previous Survivor Series events.

What’s most interesting, however, is that this was a mighty fine show with every match grading somewhere on the Good - Great scale.

The tag title match and Elimination Chamber were the standouts here, but really, Survivor Series 2002 was a success from start to finish.

Other 2002 pro wrestling reviews: 

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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.