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, 12 August 2021

EVENT REVIEW: WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Costal Crush

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Costal Crush
June 13, 1990 Charleston, South Carolina

By the time WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Costal Crush came around, Sting was still out of action, recovering from the knee injury he'd suffered back at the tenth Clash event.

Still, as the company's top babyface, WCW eager to keep him around on screen, having him pop-up for promos in which he verbally sparred with The Four Horsemen.

Meanwhile, the man he would inevitably go on to dethrone for the World Heavyweight Championship, Nature Boy Ric Flair prepared to put his title on the line against Junkyard Dog.

While there was no doubting JYD's popularity, his inclusion in this match certainly felt like something of a stop-gap, a way to kill time until Sting could finally get his date with destiny.

Here's what went down when Costal Crush came to South Carolina.






They’re Back (and better than ever)

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Tony Schiavone
Our show tonight began with a tour of Charleston, with a voice-over informing us that the last time WCW had scheduled a show here, Hurricane Hugo had prevented it.

Tonight, WCW was back, and sow too were the people of Charleston.

Heading live into the arena, a fresh-faced Tony Schiavone had questions for us:

Could Junkyard Dog dethrone Ric Flair to become the first black NWA champion?

Could The Steiners reclaim the world tag team titles from Doom? And would the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express be able to make history by capturing the US tag team champions?

We’d find out the answers to all of these questions tonight at Costal Crush, but first, we went to our announcers Jim Ross and Bob Caudle.

The duo hyped up tonight’s three big title matches along with other exciting moments such as an appearance by El Gigante and Lex Luger answering questions on the WCW hotline.

With that, it was down to ringside for our opening contest.

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

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - The Wild-Eyed Southern Boys
Prior to the bell, Tracy Smothers & Steve Armstrong gave a pre-recorded promo in which they stood in front of a rebel flag and talked about how southern they were.

We then saw a clip of Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes strutting his stuff in front of a live band as he sang ‘Bad Street USA.

The match finally got underway and proved to be a textbook opening contest - not so much a classic wrestling match, but the Freebirds heeling it up and the Wild-Eyed Southern Boys doing their plucky underdog routine to perfection.

It was a good combination that produced a fun match with lots of enjoyable back-and-forth action culminating in the Southern Boys picking up the upset victory thanks to Armstrong’s well-placed flying head butt to Jimmy Garvin’s kidneys. Your Winners: The Wild-Eyed Southern Boys

Before going to a commercial, we got a reminder that LEX LUGAR was going to be on the wrestling hotline.

Trust WCW to spell the name of one of their biggest stars wrong.

After the commercial, it was right on to our next match.

Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink) vs. ‘Wildfire’ Tommy Rich

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink
This wasn’t much of a match at all.

Tommy Rich control in the early going and worked Bam Bam Bigelow’s arm for a bit then got him in the corner to drop ten punches on his noggin.

Bammer responded by choking Rich out until he got himself disqualified and that was that. Your Winner by DQ: Tommy Rich

Post-match, Bam Bam went nuts, beating Rich some more then storming about the ring yelling ‘ARGH! I’LL KILL EVERYBODY!’

To be fair, that was better than almost the entire match.

Another commercial break followed, after which we were told about the company’s next PPV, The Great American Bash.

Jim Ross informed us that none other than Big Van Vader would be debuting at that show, and this led us to a clip of the late, great Leon White making his entrance at a show in Japan wearing that absolute bad ass head gear that he used to wear.

Speaking of bad ass, we next went to Gary Michael Capetta.

Standing in the ring, GNC confirmed that Vader would be debuting at the Bash along with another man, the largest athlete in the world, El Gigante.

El Gigante Speaks (in Spanish)

The big man made his way to the ring as GMC read off some impressive stats about how big his feet were before informing us that Gigante would be teaming with Junkyard Dog and Paul Orndorff to take on The Four Horsemen at The Great American Bash.

Capetta then interviewed the newcomer in Spanish, informing us that the future Giant Gonzales was looking forward to making his debut and knew that WCW was the place to be.

Honestly, it says something when your hot, new star is outshined by your ring announcer.

The Samoan Swat Team (Fatu & The Savage) vs. Captain Mike & Z-Man

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - The Samoans faced Captain Mike & Z-Man
This was decent for what it was, but it was too short to be anything meaningful.

The Samoans dominated the match with some fast-but-hard offence, taking out Z-Man and leaving him prime for pinning.

Before they got the fall, however, Fatu and The Savage took to the ropes to pose.

With their backs turned, Zenk swapped places with Captain Mike who lay prone on the mat but then revealed he was playing possum and rolled up his opponent for the 1,2,3. Your Winners: Captain Mike & Z-Man

Yes, apparently, The Samoans were too stupid to realise that Rotunda and Zenk were not the same person even though they looked nothing alike.

Up next, we got a highlight package of Mean Mark, showing us that the big man was far more capable and athletic than his early portrayal of The Undertaker would have you believe.

Mean Mark (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman

This was another fun-but-short match pitting Mark’s brute strength and aggressiveness against Brian Pillman’s fast-paced, high-flying offence.

It was good stuff for the most part, but everything felt really rushed in order to make it to the commercial break on time.

After getting his butt handed to him for a while, Pillman made a valiant, crowd-popping comeback only to have Mean Mark lift him up and drop him, throat-first on the top rope.

That was enough to end the whole match. Your Winner: Mean Mark

After the commercial break, Sting gave a backstage interview to Tony Schiavone.

The future Hall of Famer didn’t really say anything particularly noteworthy other than reminding us that he hated Ric Flair, but he spoke with an intensity and charisma that made it obvious why he would be a headline act for the rest of his career.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Tag Team Championship
NWA US Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express (Sweet Stan Lane & Beautiful Bobby Eaton w/ Jim Cornette) vs. The Rock & Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson)

The one thing you have to love about the Midnight Express and the Rock & Roll Express was that they must have wrestled each other a million times over and yet no two of their matches ever felt exactly the same.

Prior to the bell, both teams gave us pre-record promos in front of a green screen.

The green screen enabled WCW’s production team to present each promo as if they were stood in front of an old, slowly-chugging locomotive.

It was the least ‘express’-looking train in the world.

The match got underway and was great fun until Sweet Stan Lane got his team disqualified for roughing up Retro Pro Wrestling favourite Nick Patrick.Your Winners via Disqualification: The Rock & Roll Express (The Midnight Express retain the titles)

After a quick commercial break, it was onto our next match.

‘The World’s Strongest Man’ Doug Furnas vs. Barry Windham

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Barry Windham
Like most Clash bouts, this one didn’t last very long but it was at least entertaining.

Jim Ross spent most of the bout gushing over Doug Furnas’ athletic credentials and how well he did in high school football, but if he’d been paying attention to what was going on in the ring he would have called a fun, explosive big man match which ended when Barry Windham hit Furnas with a back suplex then used the ropes for leverage to score the three count. Your Winner: Barry Windham

The match was followed by multiple replays of Windham’s nefarious cheating ways.

Then, following another commercial break, a tuxedo-clad Sid Vicious gave us a green-screen promo in which he ranted about how much he was going to destroy Lex Luger.

Sid Vicious (w/ Ole Anderson) vs. Lex Luger

Not that Sid would actually get a chance to.

Luger, who was now a babyface again, stormed the ring and immediately clobbered Four Horsemen reps Sid and Ole Anderson.

He then clotheslined Sid and pinned him in about 30 seconds.

Seriously, what was the point of that? Your Winner: Lex Luger

Post-match, Jim Ross and Bob Caudle hyped the upcoming Great American Bash.

WCW World Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed w/ Teddy Long) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)

You know, I can’t believe I’ve never mentioned this before, but it’s funny how un-Doom-like Doom’s jazzy theme music was.

Anyway, this rematch from Capital Combat was a damn fine effort. It went twice as long as most Clash matches and saw Scott Steiner shine as an absolute superstar in the making.

Not that the rest of the competitors didn’t play their part.

All four delivered a decent match which may not seem like a classic today but was very entertaining in its own right.

The end came when Scott Steiner looked to have the match won with a top rope clothesline to Butch Reed, only for Ron Simmons to nail him with what Jim Ross later called -and I quote- “one of those world-famous international objects.

That allowed Doom to retain their titles for our second cheap win in as many matches. Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: Doom

Out in the crowd, Junkyard Dog gave a lively interview to Tony Schiavone in which he promised that tonight was definitely going to be his night.

This was followed by a green screen promo in which Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff promised Arn Anderson that it was payback time.

Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff vs. WCW Television Champion Arn Anderson

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Paul Orndorff
Double A’s title wasn’t on the line here for this one, but Orndorff took it and strutted around the ring with it anyway.

Title or not, this was a solid effort.

Both men were talented performers and certainly didn’t disappoint on this occasion, giving us a decent old-school match with the crowds firmly on the side of Mr. Wonderful.

After a fun contest, Orndorff scored the three count with an inside cradle. Your Winner: Paul Orndorff

Before the main event, Tony Schiavone interviewed The Four Horsemen.

Ole Anderson ranted about how nobody would ever take the title away from Flair, while Flair himself cut his typical charismatic promo.

As well as hyping his match with JYD, Flair put over Arn Anderson almost beating Mr. Wonderful and Barry Windham “destroying” Doug Furnas, but curiously said nothing about Sid getting his ass handed to him in about 20 seconds by Lex Luger.

Finally, it was time for our feature attraction.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair (w/ Ole Anderson) vs. Junkyard Dog

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Ric Flair graphic for the main event
This was a short but fun main event that was played more for its entertainment value than as a straight-up technical masterpiece.

I doubt anyone ever really took Junkyard Dog seriously as a credible contender and he was never going to go toe-to-toe and hold-for-hold with the Nature Boy, but the crowds loved him anyway as he battered Flair from pillar to post.

Getting frustrated at not being able to get the better of his opponent, the champion grabbed a chair and waffled JYD with it while Ole Anderson distracted the official.

Dog no-sold the move, and when the cowardly heels realised they were running out of options, Ole ran in for the DQ. Your Winner via Disqualification: Junkyard Dog (Ric Flair retains)

Post-match, The Four Horsemen ran in to attack JYD but this brought out Sting, Luger, and Paul Orndorff to even the score.

El Gigante came out too, but he mainly stood around on the apron looking completely lost.

Sting Issues a Challenge

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Sting issues a challenge to Ric Flair
After a commercial break and an ad encouraging you to call or write in for information about “WCW Gift Items,” Jim Ross interviewed Rocky King who said something about people having no necks before making room for Sting.

Wearing a garish Lex Luger t-shirt, the company’s biggest babyface challenged Flair to put the title on the line at The Great American Bash 1990.

Flair didn’t say one way or the other whether he accepted the challenge, but he did return to the ring for a brawl with Sting.

The two continued to fight as the credits rolled, with Jim Ross urging us to call the WCW Hotline to hear how that fight turned out.

In other words, folks, we’re outta time!






On the whole, Clash of the Champions 11 was a good show.

The main event was entertaining in its own way. JYD may have been limited from an in-ring standpoint (at least compared to Flair), but he and the champion made the most out of what they had to work with and the results were a lot of fun.

Elsewhere, most matches were reasonably good if you remember that this was really only a glorified TV show and thus don’t go into it expecting Pay Per View quality.

Doom vs. Steiners was this writer’s favourite, but overall this was a decent, watchable show.




Thursday, 5 August 2021

EVENT REVIEW: ECW Ultra Clash 1993

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Event review
September 18, 1993
ECW Arena Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 may not be the most widely-remembered wrestling event in history, but that doesn't mean it isn't significant in its own right.

This was the first event for which Paul Heyman had taken control of Eastern Championship Wrestling's booking and creative vision. 

It was the event in which he first began to turn this little indie outfit into an extreme institution and one of the Big Three US wrestling companies. 

It was also the event at which we would first meet future ECW mainstays like Joey Styles and The Public Enemy...

But was it any good?

Let's head down to the ECW arena to find out.




Welcome to Ultra Clash


ECW was still Eastern Championship Wrestling at this point in time but our opening video (set to what sounded like a cut from a low-budget PlayStation skateboarding game) featured shots of a woman getting her top ripped off and JT Smith being knocked from a balcony, so it was already fairly extreme...at least more so than the fairly tame product we’d seen back at ECW Super Summer Sizzler Spectacular earlier in the year.

After said video, we went straight into our opening match.

The Public Enemy (Flyboy Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) vs. Jason Knight & Ian Rotten

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - The Public Enemy
If your only exposure to The Public Enemy was as the party-loving jobbers from WCW, you’ll likely be surprised to find them here as two ass-kicking heels who just destroyed their opponents.

I mean they demolished them. So much so Ian Rotten and Jason Knight didn’t manage to get in a single offensive move between them for the duration of this five-plus minute slaughter.

In fact, Jason Knight didn’t even get tagged in. He just got his ass kicked on the outside while Rotten got destroyed between the ropes.

Unsurprisingly, Johnny Grunge and Flyboy Rocco Rock prevailed when the latter cannonballed onto Rotten for the win.
Your Winners: The Public Enemy

Post-match, The Public Enemy further drew the ire of the crowd by continuing their beat down of Ian Rotten.

When they’d had enough, Joey Styles started to tell us all about the group’s next big event, NWA Blood Feast ‘93.

Sadly that isn’t on the WWE Network, though I did find a https://youtu.be/WRltkUbMV0Qone-hour version on YouTube so we’ll get to that soon.

ECW Pennsylvania State Championship 
ECW Pennsylvania State Champion Tony “Hitman” Stetson (w/ Hunter Q. Robins III) vs. “Ironman” Tommy Cairo

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Tony Stetson vs. Tommy Cairo
Imagine still using the nickname “Hitman” in the 1990s and not considering changing it.

Here, the not-so-excellence of execution put his title on the line against Tommy Cairo in a decent if somewhat unremarkable match that failed to maintain this fan’s attention.

After roughly ten minutes, Stetson’s manager, Hunter Q. Robins III distracted referee Jim Molyneux while the champ blasted his opponent with the title belt.

One three count later and this one was done.
Your Winner: Tony Stetson 

Mask vs. Mask Match
Super Destroyer I vs. Super Destroyer 2 (w/ Hunter Q. Robins III)

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Super Destroyer 1 vs. Super Destroyer 2
Prior to the match, Robins took to the microphone to berate Super Destroyer I, but the quality of this recording is so bad that I could only make out the words “building” and “ugly face.”

This was a weird match that was very slow and basic. 

Though that doesn’t necessarily make it bad, it was like watching two wrestlers early in their training being told to demonstrate a basic sequence of moves for a match.

Plus there was the fact that both men wore identical attire and masks. Sure, Joey Styles told us that one of them was technically bigger than the other, but it was still impossible to tell them apart.

In the end, the babyface Super D. 1 picked up the win.
Your Winner: Super Destroyer 1

Super Destroyer 2 was then forced to unmask, and while Styles pretended like he recognized him but couldn’t remember his name, The Dark Patriot came down and helped Super D. 2 carry out a beat down of S.D 1.

Eventually, J.T Smith came down to make the save and this led us right into our next match.

Scaffold Match
The Dark Patriot vs. JR Smith

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - JT Smith vs. The Dark Patriot in a scaffold match
No joke, this was probably the best scaffold match this fan has ever seen.

All of the scaffold matches the NWA had in the 1980s (including at Starrcade '86 and Starrcade '87) saw big, tough men hanging around the edges of the platform where it was safe, and then basically hanging onto the edge of the platform and dropping down into the ring as gently as possible.

JT Smith and The Dark Patriot showed no such restraint.

They brawled fearlessly in the middle of the platform and took bumps. Smith even threw a neat dropkick.

Speaking of threw, Patriot won the match by hurling his opponent off the scaffold. Smith took an unbelievably nasty bump but then popped back up so that Patriot could come down and attack him some more.
Your Winner: The Dark Patriot

And attack him he did.

Smith got thrown into the crow, hit with a chair, thrown into another part of the crowd, hit with another chair and so on until he was destroyed.

Tag Team Bunkhouse Match
Kevin Sullivan & Abdullah The Butcher vs. Terry Funk & Stan Hansen

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Abdullah The Butcher & Kevin Sullivan vs. Terry Funk & Stan Hansen
I don't know why anybody would think this was good.

Sure, I can see how it might have been entertaining if you were there live, but watching it back now, it just looks like four sloppy-arsed drunks falling over each other after closing time.

At various points, Kevin Sullivan tried a brand new, never-before-tried approach to winning a pro wrestling match:

He would just walk up to his opponents and look at them.

 Seriously, there was a moment when he wandered towards Stan Hansen and just stood there staring at him for a while until Hansen thought 'screw it' and slapped the Taskmaster silly.

In the end, Eddie Gilbert ran out with a steel chair, causing a disqualification, which was dumb because this was a weapons-filled, anything goes brawl.
Your Winners via Disqualification: Terry Funk and Stan Hansen

Post-match, Kevin Sullivan and Abdullah The Butcher started fighting each other for no explainable reason until some dudes ran in to break it up. 

Funk and Hansen then returned to beat up those dudes and we got another wild brawl into the crowd that was exactly the same as the Dark Patriot/J.T. Smith brawl except with more people.

I'll say it again, this was not good.

$5,000 Intergender Battle Royal
Sensational Sherri vs. Tigra  vs. Angel  vs. Don E. Allen  vs. Jay Sulli vs. Hunter Q. Robbins III

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Tigra
Nor was this. 

While Tigra spent the whole match sat on the turnbuckle, watching, each of the men took turns in walking over to Sensational Sherri and Angel and being routinely eliminated by them.

Sherri then did a Mil Mascaras and eliminated herself, though rather than hitting a top rope splash, she chased off some dude in a shell suit who Joey Styles told us was Freddie Gilbert, Eddie's brother and ECW referee.

At that point, Angel deliberately popped herself up on the ropes making her an easy target. Tigra came over, poked Angel in the bum with the tip of her finger, and won the match.
Your Winner: Tigra

I'm a big fan of Sensational Sherri, but this was dumb and pointless.

Loser Receives 10 Lashes
Wildman Sal Bellomo (w/ Sensational Sherri) vs. Sir Richard Michaels (w/ Hunter Q. Robins III)

Did Hunter Q. manage every single heel in ECW?

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Wildman Sal Bellomo
I’m sure he did, because here he was again, backing Sir Richard Michaels.

Not to be outdone, Wildman Sal Bellomo got on the microphone before the match started and said ”whmph, mmph, bumpy bum bmmph, Sherri would you come to the ring, please?”

OK, so it may not have been that exactly, but like I said earlier, the recording quality is so bad that I’ve really no idea what he said beyond asking Sherri to join him in the ring.

The Sensational One did so, making her presence felt in Big Sal’s corner for what was a fairly average, if inoffensive, match.

After a few minutes of uninspired action, Sal fell like a sack of potatoes onto Richard Michaels and got the one, two, three.
Your Winner: Wildman Sal Bellomo

If you were worried that this show didn’t have enough post-match brawls,  you’ll be delighted to know that yet another one came right up.

Wildman Sal started to lash Michaels with a training belt while Sherri rolled around on top of Hunter Q and made him the luckiest dude in the whole building.

At that point, Rockin’ Rebel ran down to blast Sal with a chair and throw Sherri around the ring.

Eastern Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship 
Fabulous ECW Heavyweight Champion Shane Douglas (w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. The Sandman

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Shane Douglas vs. Sandman
Yes, Shane Douglas was “Fabulous” here, apparently. 

Though, to be fair, he almost wasn’t much of anything as he first walked off and threatened not to defend his title until the referee promised that he would give said title to Sandman if Douglas didn’t return to the ring immediately.

The champion did so, and consequently entered into what I have to say was the best match on the card up until this point.

No, I can’t quite believe that I just wrote that either, but it’s true. It was a competently wrestled heel vs. face match with some stuff which, while fairly textbook, was still pretty fun.

In the end, the ref took a tumble and Paul E.‘s phone came into play as an international object to give us a very near fall.

The challenger then dove off the top with what looked to be the match-winning flying cross body only for Douglas to roll through, grab a handful of tights and retain the gold.
Your Winner and Still ECW Heavyweight Champion: Shane Douglas 

Afterwards, Sandman berated the referee while Fabulous Shane made his escape.

Baseball Bat Match
W*ING Tag Team Champions Headhunters (Mofat & Mahim) vs. Miguel Perez & W*ING Heavyweight Champion Crash the Terminator

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - The Headhunters
Ok, scrap what I said about Douglas vs. Sandman, this was the best match on the card.

As a baseball bat match, things started with all four men outside the ring and a baseball bat inside.

After the count of ten, they charged to the ring to grab the bat and beat the living hell out of each other with it.

And beat the living hell out of each other they did.

The match immediately spilled back out into the crowd for a wild brawl which was hampered only by ECW's lack of budget. 

The show was filmed entirely on a single camera, and when you have two teams pairing off and brawling all over the building, that one camera is going to miss stuff.

At one point, one of the Headhunters got thrown through a fricken wall by Crash the Terminator and the camera was focussed purely on the other Headhunter hanging around in the ring doing nothing much of anything. 

That gave us the odd moment where Joey Styles called something that we didn't actually see.

When we could see stuff, it was all good stuff, culminating in one of the big fat Headhunters hitting a sweet moonsault for the three.
Your Winners: The Headhunters

At this juncture, Joey Styles told us that The Headhunters had successfully defended their W*ING tag team titles, though there was no mention on the show -or in anything I've read since- that says the titles were actually on the line.

Afterward, both teams continued fighting to end the show with yet another brawl through the crowd because why choose to end your show with something different when you could just repeat the same damn thing you'd been doing from the beginning?

To be fair, it was a pretty entertaining brawl, but I can't help but feel that it would have meant so much more had we not already seen the exact same thing multiple times.







So no, Paul Heyman's start as ECW booker was not a spectacular one by any stretch of the imagination.

When one of the best matches on the show is Shane Douglas vs. The Sandman, you know things are pretty bad.

Sure, it's historically important, and if you do watch it you'll get to see not only Heyman's first attempt at booker but also the ECW debut of The Public Enemy and Joey Styles on commentary, but don't expect to be entertained very much.

If you can get the moment JT Smith plummets to his doom and the main event on YouTube, those are the only moments you need to see from what was otherwise a poor show.


Thursday, 29 July 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWE Judgement Day 2002

WWE Judgement Day 2002 - Event poster
May 19, 2002
Gaylord Entertainment Center, Nashville, Tennessee

In some ways, WWE Judgement Day 2002 was a night of firsts. 

It was, of course, the company's first PPV since they switched from being the WWF to WWE.

It was also the first PPV appearance of future main eventer, world champion, and movie star, Dave Batista. 

Yet it was also a night of lasts. 

This was the last time we would see Stone Cold Steve Austin competing before he "took his ball and went home" for a while, and it was the last time Brock Lesnar would be stuck around the undercard before his King of the Ring 2002 victory catapulted him to main event status. 

With all that being said then, let's head on down to Nashville and check out the show.






Judgement Day is Upon Us

WWE Judgement Day 2002 - Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler called the event
Tonight’s show began with a rather sinister video package that spliced clips of the company’s biggest stars talking about their rivals with ominous footage of a noose and, eventually, somebody hanging from said noose.

As morose as that was, it eventually gave way to the standard pyro, crowd shots from the audience and the newly re-christened The World restaurant (formerly WWF New York), and our greeting from Jim Ross.

Tonight, he and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler would be calling all of the action, including this, our opening contest: 

WWE Intercontinental Championship 
WWE Intercontinental Champion Eddie Guerrero vs. Rob Van Dam 

This was as solid an opening match as you were going to get.
WWE Judgement Day 2002 - Eddie Guerrero defended the IC title against Rob Van Dam

Miles better than their match at Insurrexion 2002 and at least on a par with their battle at Backlash 2002, it was a tremendous back-and-forth encounter that engaged the crowd from bell to bell.

After a very enjoyable match, Eddie Guerrero got the backslide on RVD and scored the fall thanks to rope-assisted shenanigans.
Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Eddie Guerrero 

Out in the back, Batista made his WWE PPV debut as Deacon Batista, Reverend Devon’s muscle-bound briefcase carrier.

The two were joined by Vince McMahon and his assistant, Stacy Kiebler, who was set to challenge Trish Stratus for the women’s Championship.

WWE Judgement Day 2002 - Batista, D'Von, Stacy Kiebler and Vince McMahon
The Reverend called for a prayer to ask  The Good Lord to keep Stacy safe, but when he, Keibler and Batista had their eyes closed in prayer, Vince opened his and used the moment to do a sly bit of perving on Stacy’s boobs and bum.

I get that this wasn’t very PC, but McMahon’s facial expressions throughout this whole segment were at William Regal levels of funny, and I couldn’t help but find this whole segment hilarious.

It was followed by a quick video in which an old woman trimmed her bush and set fire to it as a means of telling us to Get the ‘F’ Out.

WWE Women’s Championship 
WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus (w/ Bubba Ray Dudley) vs. Stacy Keibler (w/ Reverend Devon & Deacon Batista) 

WWE Judgement Day 2002 - Bubba Dudley mocks Stacy Kiebler
Since being split up in the draft, Devon had been a heel and was Vince’s ‘Spiritual Advisor’ which put him in Stacy’s corner while Bubba Ray Dudley had turned face and formed a loose alliance with Trish Stratus which meant that he was in her corner.

I mention this, because even though both women worked hard in this match, it was clear that the only reason for this taking place was to give The Dudley Boyz an excuse to be back in the ring together.

The match was as good as you were going to get out of Trish and Stacy, but it was more of a plot device than anything.
Your Winner and Still Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus 

Indeed, we got our obligatory Dudleyz reunion after the match followed by Devon and Deacon beating up Big Bad Bubba and dumping him through a table.

Let’s Be Friends

Backstage, Ric Flair and Vince McMahon decided that since they were both now heels they should shake hands and pretend to like each other despite having hated one another’s guys for months on end.

OK, so it was heavily implied that neither man really liked the other, but why even bother having this segment at all?

The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy) vs. Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman

WWE Judgement Day 2002 - Paul Heyman teamed with Brock Lesnar against The Hardy Boyz
For all that Brock Lesnar did in his career, it’s mad to think that his first few months in the WWE were limited to beating up The Hardy Boyz every week.

This was just another in a long series of matches that the three had were the challenge was to make Brock look like a total monster without making Matt and Jeff look like total jobbers.

To that end, they were mostly successful. The brothers took the fight to The Next Big Thing in an entertaining contest but ultimately fell short.

Following a fun bit of action, Brock destroyed Jeff Hardy before finally tagging in Paul Heyman who got the three count.
Your Winners: Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman 

Out in the back, Mark Lloyd interviewed Booker T

The Booker Man had been hand-selected by Ric Flair to be the newest member of the New World Order which was apparently how that worked now.

It was dumb, but not as dumb as the way the promo ended.

After boasting about being a five time (five time, FIVE TIME!) Dubya See Dubya champion and not really addressing Lloyd’s comments at all, Booker noticed a woman in an evening gown randomly standing by herself and looking completely out of place.

Wanting himself a piece, Mr. Five Time approached her and accepted her hotel key so that they could apparently go and have some sexy times later on.

It was very silly and made no sense whatsoever.

Who was the woman?

Why was she dressed all fancy yet randomly hanging around next to some dirty production equipment backstage at a wrestling show? 

After a quick look at the rivalry between Steve Austin and Ric Flair, it was onto our next match.

Handicap Match
Nature Boy Ric Flair & The Big Show vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin 

WWE Judgement Day 2002 - Stone Cold Steve Austin
This was famously Steve Austin’s last PPV match until No Way Out 2003 and, honestly, with a match like this, it’s hard to blame The Texas Rattlesnake for ‘taking his ball and going home.’

This was Stone Cold Steve Austin, main event superstar and certified legend competing in what was basically a midcard match.

Some of the action was fairly decent, and the chop-offs between Austin and Flair was fun stuff, with the crowd chanting ‘WOO!’ Every time Flair landed a chop and ‘WHAT?’ Each time Austin did.

Yet despite that, this really felt like a demotion for Stone Cold.

In the end, X-Pac came down and accidentally kicked his nWo team mate Big Show in the face, Austin delivered stunners all round and won what was a pretty entertaining but still questionable contest.
Your Winner:  Steve Austin

Afterwards, Austin drank a couple of beers and hobbled to the back, probably feeling annoyed that he’d gone from main eventing to being done within the first hour of the show.

Hair vs. Hair Match
Kurt Angle vs. Edge

WWE Judgement Day 2002 - Edge vs. Kurt Angle
These two had a cracker of a match back at Backlash which this fan enjoyed immensely.

Since then, Kurt Angle had meant to reveal a new t-shirt boasting all of his accomplishments but Edge had switched it to one that said ‘You Suck’ on it.

By some twist of logic, that low meant the two were set to meet again in a hair vs. hair match which turned out to be arguably even better than the aforementioned Backlash encounter. 

A thrilling contest that only got better the longer it went on, this one saw Edge and Angle really up their game as they built to a dramatic finale with Edge battling out of the Ankle Lock and scoring the win with a roll up. 
Your Winner: Edge

Post-match, Angle attacked Edge but the future Rated R Superstar made a quick comeback and dragged his rival to the entrance where a barber was stationed with all of his tools.

Before the Olympic Gold Medalist could get his head shaved, however, he managed to escape and run off. Edge gave chase, leaving the bemused barber to stand around aimlessly.

Earlier, I was going to say they really should have brought Brutus Beefcake in for this segment, but now I see why they didn’t.

Booker T’s Naked Bum

Down the street, we went inside a room at the Marriott Hotel where Booker T was about to get it on with the random woman from earlier.

You’d have to imagine that it was only due to Booker’s inflated ego that he was perfectly OK having a cameraman in the room while he was about to get it on.

Anyway, the girl wanted the lights off which was the obvious cue for something to happen.

Sure enough, Booker’s estranged tag team partner Goldust emerged, and when the light came back on he was under the covers with Booker and his girl. 

The reason? Booker hadn’t been returning any of his phone calls and he wanted to get the proverbial band back together.

In the only entertaining moment, Booker fled from the bed and left the room where his bare bum on full display.

Honestly, I can’t explain why, but that part was funny whereas the whole rest of this skit was just plain dumb.

Hell in a Cell is a Cell in Which There Will be Hell

Before the next match, we went to Smackdown commentators Michael Cole and Tazz to put over their show’s big match.

“Hell in a cell is simply a cell,” said Michael Cole. “And Triple H and Chris Jericho will go through hell in that cell.”

Well, thanks for that original and creative explanation, Michael. 

A video package then followed which did a better job of explaining the feud than Michael ‘State the Bloody Obvious’ Cole had just done, and with that it was on to the cell where the hell would be.

Hell in a Cell
Chris Jericho vs. Triple H

WWE Judgement Day 2002 - Triple H vs. Chris Jericho - Hell in a Cell
This was the first Hell in a Cell match since the multi-man match at Armageddon 2000.

It was also excellent, way better than said match and even better than HHH and Chris Jericho’s meeting at Wrestlemania 18.

It didn’t necessarily start out that way, however. The early part of the match was slow and sluggish as The Game and The Larger Than Life Living Legend cranked up the violence factor and tried to inflict as much damage as possible.

Then, referee Tim White absolutely stole the show by getting knocked off the apron and taking a wicked bump into the steel mesh.

Honestly, it was an insane bump that was more impressive than any individual spot that the actual wrestlers pulled off. Sadly, it was also the spot that ended White’s career as a referee and eventually led to those awfully distasteful segments a few years later where White would repeatedly try to off himself.

The moment Tim landed on the floor, JR started yelling. 

“But Tim White has the key! Tim White has the key!”

Not “OMG, Tim White just went flying and got knocked the F out.” Or “holy crap Tim White must be hurt!” But “Tim White has the key!”

Jim Ross, ladies and gentlemen, master of subtlety.

Sure enough, White’s bump would lead to the cage being opened so that a gaggle of officials could rescue him, but not before Chris Jericho kicked his ass for costing him the match.

The cage opening was the real turning point.

We got some brawling, a cool spot where HHH DDT’d Jericho on top of the ever ill-fated Spanish announce table, and then The Game making a call back to his No Way Out 2000 match against Cactus Jack by producing a barb wire-wrapped baseball bat.

The two inevitably made their way to the top of the cage where some excellent action culminated in a match-winning pedigree.

I loved this match.
Your Winner: Triple H

Out in the back, Kurt Angle tried to hide from Edge by pretending to be a woman getting her hair cut.

Edge caught up to the Olympic Gold Medalist and the chase continued.

We then saw a video in which a couple had sex in the back of a car while Mark Henry’s old ‘Sexual Chocolate’ music played. The window went down with a WWF logo on it and came up again the WWE logo on it.

Get it? 

Because GET THE ‘F’ OUT!

Meanwhile, at The World, Maven and Torrie Wilson were on a date where Torrie talked about how much she liked to take her clothes off.

WWE Tag Team Championship 
WWE Tag Team Champions Billy & Chuck (w/ Rico) vs. Rikishi & Rico

WWE Judgement Day 2002 - Billy & Chuck vs. Rico
No, I didn’t make a mistake there.

Rico was still Billy & Chuck’s stylist but Vince McMahon had decided to screw with Rikishi by making Rico his partner for tonight’s match.

Ultimately, the plan backfired because when Rico went to kick his partner in the face, ‘Kishi ducked and Chuck ate a face full of boot. 

Chuck also ate some big ol’ booty as Rikishi squashed him and one three count later we had new tag team champions.

The match was nothing. 

It lasted about three minutes and wasn’t very exciting, but at least it served it’s purpose in putting some space between the Hell in a Cell match and the main event. 
Your Winners and New Tag Team Champions: Rikishi & Rico

WWE Judgement Day 2002 - Kurt Angle got shaved bald
Out in the back, Edge continued to pursue Kurt Angle, only for Angle to sneak attack his enemy and whack him over the noggin with a trash can lid.

The former champion then led Edge to the arena and the barbershop area, aiming to chop off his long, blonde locks.

Instead, Edge kicked his foe in the gut and knocked him out with a sleeper hold and shaved Angle’s head to create the look that Angle would maintain for the rest of his active career.

Finally, Edge encouraged the crowd to sing along to Angle’s theme, replacing their usual ‘you suck’ chants with ‘you’re bald’ ones.

Then, we got a video for the main event before the bell rang snd the match itself got under way.

WWE Undisputed Championship 
WWE Undisputed Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. The Undertaker 

WWE Judgement Day 2002 - Undertaker beat Hulk Hogan for the Undisputed Title
In another ‘first’ for this PPV, it was the first PPV to see Undertaker using his Dead Man Walking theme song.

Tonight, he and Hogan met in their first PPV match since This Tuesday in Texas, and it was probably about on a par with that match in terms of quality.

That’s not to say it was bad or anything, but after several solid matches on this show, Hogan/Taker wasn’t exactly going to end things on a high note.

After some decent but unspectacular action, Vince McMahon came down and got himself beat up by the Hulkster.

The distraction allowed ‘Taker to waffle the champion with a chair and pin him for the title much like he’d done back at Survivor Series 1991.
Your Winner and NEW Undisputed Champion: The Undertaker

Afterwards, the new champion destroyed Hogan with a chair before walking to the back with the belt proudly around his waste.








In a way, it was entirely fitting that the first WWE-branded PPV should end with the man synonymous with the WWF being taken out and destroyed once and for all.

It was a poignant moment on which to end what had been an all-round good show.

Though not every match was amazing, the opening Intercontinental Championship match was very entertaining , the Hell in a Cell match was really enjoyable, and the Hair vs. Hair match was an awesome Match of the Night winner.

Skip the women’s match, the handicap match, and the main event, and this is a good show to watch.


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.