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

Showing posts with label UK events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UK events. Show all posts

Friday, 2 December 2022



WWF UK Rampage 92 Review - VHS Cover

April 19th, 1992
Sheffield Arena, Sheffield, England

Despite growing up in the UK, I was only just getting into wrestling when WWF UK Rampage '92 came out, and never got to see it in the years that followed. 

Even once Peacock and the former WWE Network came about, it never really occurred to me to track this one down until I started work on the second Retro Pro Wrestling book, The Complete History of WWE's UK PPVS: 1991 - 2003

So here I am at last, ready to check out what the VHS cover promises to be "2 1/2 hours of explosive video action."

Enjoy the review, and if you'd like to support Retro Pro Wrestling, get yourself a copy of the ebook below (print version coming in January) or read it for free on Kindle Unlimited

Welcome to UK Rampage 

Our show began with a brief and basic introduction featuring clips of some of the superstars we’d see tonight. 

You want Bret Hart? Repo Man? Virgil? Tatanka

You got em! 

WWF UK Rampage 1992 - Gorilla Monsoon & Bobby Heenan

From there, we went live to the Sheffield Arena were our hosts, Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon welcomed us to the show and ran down tonight’s card.

Having never seen this show before, I can tell you now that I’m particularly looking forward to Shawn Michaels challenging Macho Man Randy Savage for the world title as well as Bret Hart defending the Intercontinental Championship against Rick Martel.

With the pre-amble out of the way, Monsoon sent us down to ring announcer, Mike McGuirk (remember her?) for our opening contest. 

Tatanka vs. Skinner 

Is it just me, or did Tatanka always look way cooler in those white tights than he did in the trunks he’d wear for most of his career?

WWF UK Rampage '92 - Tatanka battles Skinner

Honestly, I had few expectations for this match, but both Tatanka and Skinner worked their butts off to deliver the best opening contest they were capable of delivering.

After the babyface took control in the early going, Skinner managed to get the upper hand and decimated his opponent before Tatanka picked up the win with a Samoan Drop.

It’s crazy to think that such a move was an effective finisher back in the early 1990s.

That aside, despite not being the best match of all time, this was still an enjoyable way to kick off UK Rampage ‘92.
Your Winner: Tatanka 

Out in the back, Sean Mooney interviewed The Legion of Doom about their upcoming match against the makeshift team of Col. Mustafa and Dino Bravo

Animal ranted and raved about how much they were going to beat their opponents before Hawk waxed poetical about fluid sacs and splintered sphincters.

It was a crazy promo, but I have to admit, the old-school fan in me enjoyed it a lot.

Col. Mustafa and Dino Bravo vs. The Legion of Doom (Hawk & Animal)

Prior to the bell, Mustafa, better known to you and me as The Iron Sheik, grabbed the microphone to blast both the United States and the United Kingdom.

WWF UK Rampage '92 - Mike McGuirk holds the mic while Col. Mustafa rants on

From there, he and Bravo entered into a lackluster affair with Hawk & Animal, getting their heads kicked in for the better part of four and half minutes before a flying clothesline from Hawk gave the LOD the predictable win. 

This wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t all that entertaining either.
Your Winners: The Legion of Doom 

As Hawk and Animal celebrated, Gorilla Monsoon told us that we were going to his colleague, Shawn Michaels, who was standing by with Sid Justice.

WWF UK Rampage '92 - Sid Justice cuts a promo on The Undertaker

Monsoon, of course, meant Sean Mooney, who reminded Sid of his boast of being ‘The Master and Ruler of the World.’

Agreeing that he was exactly that, Sid referenced William McGivern’s best-selling novel, The Night of the Juggler, as he talked about picking up The Undertaker by his throat and slamming him to the mat. 

Sid was calculated, intense, and sinister, and it made for an awesome promo. Man, I can’t deny it, I love Sid.

Offering a retort, The Undertaker’s manager Paul Bearer warned Sid that there was no justice in death, before The Dead Man claimed to have followed his upcoming opponent across the sea just to give him a tombstone.

The two would meet next.

Sid Justice (w/ Harvey Wippleman) vs. The Undertaker (w/ Paul Bearer) 

After an introduction from Harvey Wippleman (who first threatened to slap referee Tim White), Sid made his way to the ring ranting about himself and referring to himself as “Sycho Sid” some 4 years before he would officially adopt that moniker. 

WWF UK Rampage 1992 - Sid and The Undertaker square off

The match itself was nothing special. The Undertaker was still in his Zombie Mortician character which meant he did very little, and as awesome as Sid might have been, he wasn’t the guy to turn this into a stellar classic.

Still, while it wasn’t the greatest match in the world, Sid Justice vs. The Undertaker was still a spectacle in its own right, and -for nostalgia purposes if nothing else- this writer enjoyed watching it.

The end came when both men battled on the outside but ‘Taker took his sweet ass time getting back in the ring and was counted out.
Your Winner via Countout: Sid Justice

Post-match, The Master and The Ruler of the World rattled The Dead Man with a steel chair, only for ‘Taker to pop back up and plant his foe with a tombstone to the delight of the Sheffield faithful. 

Shawn Michaels is Shocking

With Sensational Sherri hanging from his body, Shawn Michaels told Sean Mooney that his good looks, his physique and his wrestling ability were all shocking, and tonight he was going to shock the world, not because he was the Shockmaster, but because he was going to dethrone Macho Man Randy Savage for the World Wrestling Federation Heavyweight Championship.

WWF UK Rampage 1992 - Sean Mooney interviews Shawn Michaels and Sensational Sherri

Michaels wasn’t quite the five-star promo he would later become here, but this was nonetheless a strong, confident performance from the future Hall of Famer. 

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Macho Man Randy Savage (w/ Miss. Elizabeth) vs. Shawn Michaels (w/ Sensational Sherri)

Unless you know absolutely nothing about pro wrestling, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to you when I say that Michaels vs. Savage was the best thing on the card up to this point. 

WWF UK Rampage 92 review - Shawn Michaels takes the fight to Randy Savage

I vaguely recall reading somewhere that one of the reasons Macho jumped ship from the WWF to WCW is that he wanted to work with guys like Michaels and Bret Hart and put them over in the ring, whereas Vince wanted one of the most popular guys in the company to focus on commentary.

 If that’s true, Vince was clearly losing the plot years ago, because if this was even a small taste of what Shawn and Randy could do together, then we missed out on some majorly impressive matches.

Of course, this was helped along a lot by Macho’s former queen, Sensational Sherri, who ran interference on her new boyfriend’s behalf throughout the entire thing and even put the boots in to Savage.

Making her final ever WWF appearance, Miss. Elizabeth also got involved, with all four participants helping build to an exciting finsih where Macho picked up the win thanks to a flying crossbody.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Randy Savage

Post-match, the bad guys attacked, but Sherri inadvertently hurt her man and left him laying as Savage and Liz celebrated.

The Bushwhackers Shag Sheep

For the second time in a row, Gorilla Monsoon told us that we were going to Shawn Michaels. This time, Bobby actually corrected him and reminded him that it would be Sean Mooney we’d be hearing from next.

WWF UK Rampage 92 review - Sean Mooney interviews The Bushwhackers

Mooney introduced The Bushwhackers who embraced what seemed like every single fan in the arena as they made their way to Mooney’s interview platform.

Seriously, Luke and Butch spent so long making their way to Mooney that it made one of The Undertaker's grand Wrestlemania entrances seem like a 100-metre spring by Usain Bolt.

When Mooney asked the New Zealanders how they found England, they insisted that they didn’t find it at all, but rather a plane did.

The misunderstandings continued until the cousins finally admitted that they loved the UK, its people, and even the sheep, claiming that the only downside was that you had to get up real early in the morning to get the attractive sheep.

I could be wrong, but did The Bushwhackers just openly admit to being sheep shaggers?

The Talking is Over

Out in the back, Lord Alfred Hayes caught up with The Mountie and Jimmy Hart.

The promo started in fine fashion as the two nefarious heels both boasted about the UK somehow falling under Mountie’s jurisdiction.

WWF UK Rampage 1992 - Lord Alfred Hayes interviews The Mountie and Jimmy Hart

Things took an awkward and uncomfortable turn, however, when Mountie decided to drop some casual racism, implying not only that all black men look alike, but that they were all lazy and only fit for shining shoes.

Offering a reply, Virgil gave an angry interview to Sean Mooney, insisting that there was nothing wrong with shining shoes as it was a hard day’s work for a hard day’s pay.

I can’t argue with that, though I do have to question Virgil’s sanity when he claimed that he was going to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, just like…Frank Bruno.

WWF UK Rampage 1992 - Sean Mooney interviews WWF Superstar Virgil

Honestly, in the 30+ years that I’ve been watching wrestling, that’s the first Virgil promo I’ve ever seen and, judging by the quality of it, I’m not surprised that I haven’t seen many more.

The Mountie (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Virgil 

If you were watching this match in the hope of seeing some excellent in-ring action, you’d be sorely disappointed.

WWF UK Rampage 1992 - Virgil threatens to knock The Mountie's block off

Indeed, this wasn’t a stellar match, but it was entertaining in its own ridiculously exaggerated sort of way as both men spent most of the time doing the kind of spots that were great for the live crowd but not as fun when watching on TV.

The end came when Mountie jabbed Virgil in the belly with his cattle prod to retain the title.
Your Winner: The Mountie 

Out in the back, Sean Mooney interviewed The Model Rick Martel.

WWF UK Rampage 1992 - Sean Mooney interviews The Model Rick Martel

After expressing his disappointment at the lack of class and fashion sense, The Model cut a decent (if strangely out of breath) promo in which he promised to dethrone Bret Hart and become the best-dressed Intercontinental champion ever.

In response, The Hitman was all business as he promised to leave England still with his gold in tact.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart vs. Rick ‘The Model’ Martel

I’m not sure if I’m alone in this, but I honestly expected more from this match.

WWF UK Rampage 1992 - The Model Rick Martel gets the better of Intercontinental Champion Bret Hart

Sure, this was two masters of their craft going at it, so it certainly didn’t suck and the action was pretty good, but they moved at such a slow pace that it really took the shine off what could have otherwise been a tremendous contest.

What was more disappointing was that, after being on the receiving end of Mattel’s offense for some time, Bret won the match with a quick small package from out of nowhere, cutting things short just when it was getting good.
Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Bret Hart

Backstage, Hacksaw Jim Dugan flushed the crapper and left the bathroom stall so that he could talk to Alfred Hayes about his upcoming battle of the titans with Repo Man.

WWF UK Rampage 1992 - Hacksaw Jim Duggan promises to beat up Repo Man

He began by encouraging the UK fans to chant “USA” for him and then followed up with the best example I’ve ever seen of managing expectations as he told us that his upcoming bout wasn’t going to be a wrestling match with holds and takedowns but rather a good, old fashioned fight.

The Repo Man vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan 

WWF UK Rampage 1992 - Hacksaw Jim Duggan promises vs. Repo Man

Duggan may have wanted the British fans to yell another country’s name, but at least he had the good sense not to bring his trusty US flag to ringside with him.

I’m sure that wouldn’t have gone down well.

Much as Hacksaw has promised, this wasn’t much of a wrestling match and was more about Duggan and Repo Man working the crowd in between bouts of clobberin’ on one another.

After a few minutes of uninteresting action, Repo walloped Hacksaw with his trusty grappling hook thingy and got himself disqualified.
Your Winner via DQ: Jim Duggan 

Post-match, Repo Man choked out his opponent,  Only for Big Jim to make the inevitable comeback and chase Repo off with his 2x4 to the delight of the audience.

Duggan then waited until his music had stopped to demand that it be turned off before leading the crowd in one last chant for a country thousands of miles away.

Macho Madness Running Wild, Yeah!

Once again, we went backstage to Sean Mooney, who was standing by with world wrestling federation champion Randy Savage and his lovely wife Elizabeth.

WWF UK Rampage 1992 - Sean Mooney interviews WWF Champion Macho Man Randy Savage and Miss. Elizabeth

When he wasn’t losing his mind about he and Elizabeth having thousands of honeymoons in England, The Macho Man graciously put over both Shawn Michaels and The British Bulldog though he insisted that as good as both of those men were, he was really only interested in facing Ric Flair again.

The British Bulldog Way

Prior to our main event, Alfred Hayes talked to the UK’s own British Bulldog.

WWF UK Rampage 1992 - Lord Alfred Hayes interviews The British Bulldog

Declaring the European Ramage tour to have been a successful time for both himself, his brother-in-law Bret Hart, and for Macho Man, Davey Boy bigged up the UK fans and promised that his opponent, IRS was “going down, The British Bulldog way.”

Honestly, I've always been a huge fan of The Brtish Bulldog, but this was a horrible promo from the Wigan-born star.

WWF Tag Team Champion Irwin R. Schyster (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The British Bulldog

Davey Boy was so over with his fellow countrymen that I bet he and IRS could have stood there for the whole match without so much as locking up and the fans would have still blown the roof off the place.

WWF UK Rampage 92 review - The British Bulldog soaks up the adoration of the UK fans as he prepares to face IRS

As it happens, they didn’t just stand there and they did lock up before giving us as entertaining a match as the two were capable of.

Though it obviously paled in comparison to the earlier Savage/Michaels bout, it was still a good effort that kept the crowd hot from start to finish and ended with a predictable (though no less satisfying) powerslam victory for The Bulldog.
Your Winner: The British Bulldog

As Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan signed off for the evening, Davey Boy scaled the ropes and celebrated his big win with a rapturous hometown crowd.

If you’re watching UK Rampage 1992 expecting to see a bunch of classic wrestling matches, you’re going to be disappointed.
Yes, Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Shawn Michaels was a great effort and worth tracking down, but other than that, there were not a lot of potential five-star classics on this card. 
If you were a fan back in the early 90s, however, and you watch this show purely for nostalgia’s sake, then I’m going to assume you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
After all, what it lacked in wrestling prowess, the show more than made up for with the larger-than-life characters and general sports entertainment craziness that made so many of us fans in the first place. 

PS: Don't forget to pick up your copy of The Complete History of WWE's UK PPVS: 1991 - 2003.

Monday, 29 August 2022

The Complete History of WWE'S UK PPVs: 1991 - 2003

The Complete History of WWE's UK PPVS: 1991 - 2003 is the second book from Retro Pro Wrestling. 

With WWE Clash at the Castle now just days away, I thought it would be the perfect time to go back and relieve all those earlier UK exclusives and special events. 

The result was this book, which recounts every major* event from Battle Royal at the Royal Albert Hall to the company's last UK PPV for 19 years, Insurrextion 2003.

The Complete History... recounts every match,angle, promo video backstage interview from these events and features a Who's Who of WWE legends such as: 

Andre The Giant, British Bulldog, Bret 'The Hitman' Hart, Macho Man Randy Savage, Ultimate Warrior, Nature Boy Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, The Undertaker, John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Kurt Angle, Eddie Guerrero, Kane, The Rock and many more. 

Get your copy from Amazon today.

PS: I'll be back to posting my regular reviews from September 4th, 2022.
P.P.S: Both The Complete History of WWE's UK PPVs and The Complete History of NWA/WCW Starrcade will be published in print form by the end of November.

Saturday, 21 May 2022

PPV REVIEW: WWE Insurrextion 2003

WWE Insurrextion 2003 - Event Poster
June 7, 2003
Telewest Arena in Newcastle, England

WWE Insurrextion 2003 has the distinction of being the WWE Insurrextion 2003 has the distinction of being both the first Insurrextion to take place under the WWE name following the WWF vs. WWF lawsuit and also the last Insurrextion to take place ever. 

After this, WWE wouldn't return to the UK for a pay per view offering until Clash at the Castle in 2022. 

So how was their final British PPV for 19 years?

Let's go down to Newcastle to find out. 

We’re Going Through Changes

Tonight’s opening video talked all about change, focussing on recent developments such as the return of Kevin Nash and Stone Cold Steve Austin now co-managing Raw with Eric Bischoff.

WWE Insurrexion 2003 Review - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler called the action

It was a decent opening, but not one of WWE’s best.

With that done, Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler welcomed us to Newcastle for what would prove to be WWE’s last-ever UK exclusive PPV before sending to the ring for our opening bout.

WWE Women’s Championship
WWE Women’s Champion Jazz (w/ Theodore Long) vs. Trish Stratus

This match, along with multiple variations of it (triple threats, four-ways etc.) had been done so many times by this point that your writer is kind of tired of talking about Trish Stratus vs. Jazz.

WWE Insurrextion 2003 - Jazz is ready to defend her Women's Championship

The match wasn’t terrible or anything, but for the better part of ten minutes, the two ladies did nothing that particular made you sit up and take note.

That is apart from one brief moment when Trish Stratus slapped her opponent in such a horribly weak-looking Boston crab that it made The Rock’s sharpshooter look positively crippling by comparison.

Speaking of weak, the end came when an angry Victoria ran in, distracting the referee so that old man Teddy Long could grab Trish and attempt to throw her into the corner.

Long’s attempt was so slow and feeble that Stratus pretty much had to hurl herself into the corner.

With Long out of the ring, Jazz made the cover and that was all she wrote.
Your Winner and Still WWE Women’s Champion: Jazz

Up next, we got a quick look back at Christian screwing Booker T out of the Intercontinental title back at Judgement Day 2003.

The two would meet next.

WWE Intercontinental Championship
WWE Intercontinental Champion Christian vs. Booker T

WWE Insurrexion 2003 Review - Christian

Thanks to the guy in the crowd with the “Christian is on crack” sign. I laughed at that one.

Booker T was in no mood for humour though. The stoic-faced superstar snatched the title belt from Christian and lifted it aloft, nodding in recognition that be was the real champion before locking up in attempt to prove it.

The match was, quite honestly, fantastic.

I’ve read three other reviews of this show and all seem to say this one wasn’t anything special, but personally I absolutely enjoyed the hell out of it.

As I’ve mentioned many times, the wrestlers usually toned things down a notch or two when they wrestled in the UK, but these two didn’t.

The match was solid, exciting and genuinely entertaining and I don’t know what more anyone could expect from them.

Towards the end, referee Jack Doan took a tumble. Booker knocked Christian down and got him with what would have been a three count had Doan been in the zone.

Instead, by the time the zebra got to make the count, the challenger could only get a two.

Christian then went for an Unprettier but Booker reversed it into a German Suplex into a roll-up, but the champion reversed it and got the win by holding onto the ropes like the flukey cheating heel that he was.
Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Christian

Out in the back, Stone Cold Steve Austin confronted Theodore along.

WWE Insurrextion 2003 Review - Stone Cold Steve Austin confronts Teddy Long

Punishing Long for getting involved in the women’s title match, Austin announced a change to the upcoming Dudley Boyz vs. Rodney Mack & Chris Nowinski, making it a six-man with Spike Dudley on his brothers’ side and Long himself as Mack & Nowinski’s partner.

I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere about Teddy Long being booked in a tag match, but I can’t think of it right now.

Kane then walked by and stared down Austin as he made his way to the entrance for our next contest.

Before that, we looked back to Raw where Austin had tried to motivate Kane, who had been on something of a downward spiral.

When encouraging Kane to be the same badass who beat him for the title in a first blood match at King of the Ring ‘98 didn’t work, Austin slapped the piss out of the Big Red Machine and encouraged him to hit him with a chokeslam.

When that didn’t work, Austin merely stunned the tag team champion.

WWE Insurrexion 2003 - RVD & Kane vs. La Resistance

I’m glad they showed that because the backstage stare down made zero sense otherwise.

WWE World Tag Team Championship
WWE World Tag Team Champions Kane & RVD vs. (Sylvian Grenier & René Duprée)

Our third straight title match in a row began with La Resistance getting heat by claiming that the UK was as bad as the USA and they couldn’t wait to leave with the titles.

Unfortunately for them, they wouldn’t get that opportunity as Kane and RVD beat them in a decent match.

Though this was nothing out of the ordinary, it served its purpose well and got the crowds involved.

After a good effort, Kane hit double choke slams to the French men and RVD came off the top with a five-star frog splash for the win.
Your Winners and Still World Tag Team Champions: La Resistance

Out in the back, Goldust was interviewed by Al Snow of all people

I’m not sure when Al got relegated to this position, but here we are.

Al Snow interviews Goldust

Promoting his upcoming match with Rico, Goldust -who was going through his ‘I have a vocal stammer/Tourette’s/whatever’ phase yelled the word “tally whacker” several times before promising to beat the “tally ho” out of Rico.

This was far less funny than it meant to be, and not just because nobody in England uses the word “tally whacker.”

Rico vs. Goldust

This match was OK, but it was the sort of thing that was best left to whatever B-show WWE was running at the time rather than what was supposed to be a special event.

Not that Jim Ross seemed to think it was anything special.

The announcer spent part of the previous match joking with King about having a small penis. In this match, he randomly name-dropped James Bond character Pussy Galore out of nowhere seemingly just to get a rise out of Lawler.

To be fair, that was more interesting than anything going in the match, which ended when Goldie power slammed his way to victory.
Your Winner: Goldust

The match was followed by an emotional tribute to Classie Freddie Blassie who had recently passed.

In memory of Classie Freddie Blassie

On behalf of pencil-necked geeks everywhere, RIP Freddie, you were one of a kind.

The Highlight Reel with Eric Bischoff

WWE Insurrextion 2003 Review - Jericho, Stone Cold, and Bischoff

Up next, Chris Jericho came and proved he’d done his research by calling the Newcastle crowd ‘tossers’ and referencing rival city Liverpool’s recent appointment as a European City of Culture.

He then brought out his buddy Eric Bischoff and the two continued to insult the live audience until Steve Austin showed up.

Stone Cold was really there to announce that tonight’s main event between Triple H and Kevin Nash was now a street fight, but he also had some hilarious banter with the two heels before offering them a beer.

“If you want to see Chris Jericho and Eric Bischoff drink a beer with Stone Cold
Steve Austin, give me a doo-wah-diddy-diddy-dum-diddy-do!” Yelled Jericho in a line that made this fan laugh his ass off.

The crowd naturally obliged, beers were drank and the whole thing ended with a couple of predictable stunners.

This whole thing was fantastic.

All three men were on form and were clearly having a laugh, with Austin visibly making Jericho break character and laugh on several occasions.

Honestly, I bet that segment ends up being the best thing on the whole show.

WWE Insurrextion 2003 Review - Ric Flair and Triple H

Out in the back, Triple H and manager Ric Flair were understandably outraged at Austin’s announcement.

A quick look at the outside of the arena followed at the Insurrexion theme played.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but that theme was just a take on Machine Head by Bush.

Rodney Mack, Chris Nowinski, and Teddy Long vs. The Dudley Boyz (D-Von, Bubba, and Spike Dudley)

WWE Insurrextion 2003 Review - D'Von Dudley

This match was, like many UK PPV matches, just OK.

The heels did their job well but this one was all about The Dudleyz getting their trademark spots in and popping the crowd.

It was reasonable enough, but no better than anything you might’ve seen on Raw around this time.

The end came when Rodney Mack accidentally clotheslined Teddy Long. Spike pounced on Long.
Your Winners: The Dudley Boyz

Next, we got a look back at the rivalry between Test and Scott Steiner.

To recap, this revolved Test being an absolute misogynistic asshole to his manager Stacy Keibler and Steiner being the chivalrous gentleman wanting to protect her.

The two would meet with Stacy’s services on the line at Badd Blood in a few weeks, but first we had this.

Test vs. Scott Steiner

(Special referee: Val Venis)

Prior to the match, Val Venis surprised everyone by coming out in tight little shorts and a referee’s shirt.

After doing his usual “hello, ladies…” shtick, he next introduced our girl Stacy, who took it upon herself to be the ring announcer.

WWE Insurrextion 2003 Review - Stacy Keibler and Scott Steiner

The match itself was…well, I mean it was no better but no worse than you’d expect a Test/Steiner match to be.

The action was fine, while the involvement of Stacy and the whole storyline surrounding it made it a little more entertaining than it might have otherwise been.

At the finish, Test went to swing a chair at Steiner, but Stacy blocked it and Big Poppa Pump hit what I think was a reverse DDT for the one, the two, and the three.
Your Winner: Scott Steiner

Post match, Stacy celebrated with The Big Bad Booty Daddy.

Finally, we got the standard video package for HHH vs. Kevin Nash that i feel like I’ve already seen a thousand times.

WWE Insurrextion 2003 Review - Kevin Nash vs. Triple H

With that, it was on to our main event.

Street Fight for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H (w/ Ric Flair) vs. Kevin Nash (w/ Shawn Michaels

The match started with a wild four-man brawl. The actual combatants fought inside the ring while Shawn Michaels took Ric Flair to the outside to duke it out with his upcoming Badd Blood opponent.

WWE Insurrextion 2003 Review - Earl Hebner warns Triple H and Kevin Nash

The contest was barely two minutes in when Nature Boy began gushing blood despite not being in the actual match.


Because he was Ric Flair and he couldn’t help himself.

Flair and Michaels then made their way to the back, leaving the spotlight on The Game and Kevin Nash who gave us a solid match with an overbooked finish.

Although not the best street fight you’ll ever see, I genuinely thought this was a good outing for the two Kliq members and was exactly on the kind of level that you’d expect for a UK-only PPV.

Towards the end, Earl Hebner (who had been bombarded with “You screwed Bret!” Chants all night despite it being six years since Survivor Series 1997) got knocked and took a nap so long you’d be forgiven for thinking somebody had slipped him a NyQuil.

The ref bump opened up an opportunity for HBK and Nature Boy to return to the ring, Nash to hit a powerbomb and cover HHH for an eight count until a second referee came in and delivered an official two count, and finally, for the champion to plant his opponent with a sledgehammer to the head for the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H

Afterwards, H and Naitch’, both covered in blood, made their way to the back having narrowly escaped with the title intact.

All in all, Insurrextion 2003 was a good show for what it was.

If this had been a major PPV meant for global audiences, I’d probably be marginally less favorable towards it as nobody needs to see Goldust vs. Rico on PPV…or probably at all for that matter.

But it wasn’t, this was a show catering to a live audience who really only got the chance to see WWE live once or twice a year at most, and by those standards, it delivered.

Although this Raw-brand card didn’t give us as many stand out matches as the Smackdown only Rebellion 2002 had months earlier, it was perfectly acceptable for a piece of throwaway entertainment.

Besides, that Austin/Bischoff/Jericho Highlight Reel segment was a joy, especially when you could see Steve and Chris clearly having fun and laughing at themselves and each other.

All in all, a fitting way to bring WWE’s run of UK-exclusive PPVs to an end.

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

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. 

Other 2002 pro wrestling reviews: 

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