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

Sunday, 26 December 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWE Unforgiven 2002

WWE Unforgiven 2002 Review - Event Poster
September 22, 2002
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California 

By the time Unforgiven 2002 rolled around in the September of '02, the WWE landscape had evolved even further away from the WWF of old. 

In the midst of her ongoing rivalry with Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff, Smackdown boss Stephanie McMahon had lured WWE Champion Brock Lesnar to the blue brand, locking him in on an exclusive contract which ultimately meant that the Monday night show would have no world champion. 

Looking to solve that problem, Eric Bischoff brought out The Big Gold Belt and declared it to be the new World Heavyweight Championship. 

Not only that, but rather than holding a tournament, a battle royal, or even a single match to determine the new champion, Sleazy E simply awarded the champion to the brand's top heel, The Game, Triple H. 

Tonight, The Game would need to prove whether he was worthy of such a title when he put it on the line against Rob...Van... Dam.

Here's what went down when Unforgiven came to Los Angeles, California. 





A Night Like No Other

WWE Unforgiven 2002 Review - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler called the show
Our opening video package focussed on the fact that this was the first time that two major WWE titles would be defended on a PPV.

First of all, there was the newly restored World Heavyweight Championship.

The video linked the current title to the long lineage from WCW and the NWA, showing stars like Harley Race, Ric Flair, Sting, and Vader all holding the belt before noting how it had been brought back and simply handed to Triple H.

While the company gets a lot of stick for awarding The Game the belt without having to compete for it, I personally think it was a smart move to make Raw’s top heel even more despised.

Tonight, we’d see him defend the Big Gold Belt against Rob Van Dam to see if he actually deserved to be called champion.

Elsewhere, we looked at Brock Lesnar's dominant streak before and after dethroning The Rock at Summerslam 2002 and how he would defend the belt tonight against The Undertaker.

With that, it was pyro and crowd shots galore as Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler welcomed us to Unforgiven 2002 and our first match got set to start.

00.04.12 - Announcers

8-Man Tag
The Un-Americans (William Regal, Test, and WWE Tag Team Champions Lance Storm and Christian) vs. Booker T, Goldust, Bubba Ray Dudley, and Kane

WWE Unforgiven 2002 Review - The UnAmericans
Before the match even started, JR flubbed his lines and referred to The Un-Americans as The Unforgivens.

That aside, this was a fun opener, even if it did follow a predictable formula.

After a few minutes of proper tag team action which gave most of the combatants an opportunity to shine, the match inevitably broke down into a free-for-all with everyone hitting their signature spots.

Eventually, Kane chokeslammed Lance Storm for the win, putting an end to what had been a very decent effort.
Your Winners: Booker T, Goldust, Bubba Ray Dudley, and Kane

Post match, Bubba Ray Dudley pulled Old Glory from under the ring and waved it about to the delight of the crowd.

A Pep Talk From Steph

Out in the back, Stephanie McMahon gave a pep talk to Billy & Chuck ahead of their inter-promotional match against 3 Minute Warning.

Steph wanted the boys to do it for Smackdown pride, but Billy Gunn thought it had more to do with Steph not wanting to “French kiss a lesbian.”

Chuck Palumbo assured the Smackdown GM that he and Billy would get the job done and that Eric Bischoff would end up kissing her ass tonight.

WWE Intercontinental Championship
WWE Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair

WWE Unforgiven 2002 Review -  Chris Jericho faced Ric Flair
Ric Flair
turned up in as fine a form as he was able to here, meaning this match was -for this fan’s money- even better than their previous clash back at Summerslam.

Both champ and challenger went at it hard and fast in a good contest with a neat finish.

Chris Jericho pretended to have injured his knee, prompting referee Charles Robinson to call for a trainer.

Then, when Nature Boy’s back was turned, Y2J blindsided him and made him tap to the Walls of Jericho.
Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Chris Jericho

Backstage, Eric Bischoff told Rosie and Jamal that he had recruited Rico as their manager for the evening as nobody knew their opponents better than WWE’s resident stylist.

Rico arrived on the scene and promised Bischoff that, when he was done, the Raw GM could grab some popcorn, some Vaseline, and enjoy some HLA.

With that, we swapped over to Smackdown for our next match.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Edge

WWE Unforgiven 2002 Review -  Edge vs. Eddie Guerrero
And so we had our second Summerslam rematch in a row.

Unlike the last match, I wouldn’t say this was better than their previous PPV bout, but it was still fantastic in its own right.

Half of the story between these two was Eddie Guerrero being jealous of Edge’s pretty-boy looks, so he spent half the match trying to break his rival’s face, all while Edge continued to sell the effects of an apparent concussion he suffered on Smackdown.

Eventually, the future world champion made a comeback to give us a thrilling finale to a great match.

Alas, it wasn’t to be Edge’s night. Guerrero got him with a handful of tights to put their PPV record at one win a piece...just like Jericho and Flair.
Your Winner: Eddie Guerrero

Out in the back, Triple H confronted Rob Van Dam and made fun of him for being so cool, calm, and collected before their big title fight.

Hunter then turned his attention to Ric Flair, who was recovering from his match in the background. The World Heavyweight Champion mocked Nature Boy for being a shell of his former self, but before Flair could confront the champ, RVD insisted that he’d rather associate with a “loser” like Flair than an “alleged winner” like HHH any day.

3 Minutes

Prior to the next match, we got a look back at Eric Bischoff interrupting a “commitment ceremony” between Billy & Chuck by revealing himself to be the officiate and then setting Rosie & Jamal on them.

On Raw, Bischoff found himself confronted by a woman’s protest group who he called a “horde of lesbians” before realising that Steph was one of them. She set Billy & Chuck on the attack and thus, tonight’s match was born.

Interpromotional Match
Billy & Chuck vs. Jamal & Rosie (w/ Rico)

If Billy & Chuck win, Eric Bischoff must kiss Stephanie McMahon’s ass. If Rosie & Jamal win, Steph must snog a woman.

Rosie and Jamal had been around since Eric Bischoff’s first official night in charge on the Raw after Vengeance 2002, but this was their first official PPV match.

A good match it was, too.

Nobody was expecting this to steal the show, but it was performed well and had a hot crowd that helped to make it a fun watch.

The more things went on, the more Billy & Chuck looked as though they could genuinely defeat their unstoppable opponents, but interference from Rico led to Billy eating a Samoan Drop to lose the match.
Your Winners: Rosie & Jamal

In the GM’s office, Jonathan Coachman asked Bischoff who he would send to make out with Steph, but Sleazy E simply led a group of three women in a chant of HLA.

This stuff really hasn’t aged well.

Time to Play the Game

Before the next match, we got another look at Triple H being awarded the World Heavyweight Championship and Rob Van Dam winning a four-way elimination match to become the number one contender.

This led to the two having a showdown on Raw where RVD made fun of The Game in a very funny moment.

Pretending to be putting his opponent over, Rob said:

“And you have proved that you really can..spit a lot of water!”

I won’t lie, I laughed so hard at that.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H vs. Rob Van Dam

WWE Unforgiven 2002 Review -  HHH vs. Rob Van Dam
This was an excellent match even if anyone with half a brain could see the ending coming from the moment Triple H made fun of Ric Flair earlier in the night.

Rob Van Dam started off strong, embarrassing The Game by continually out-wrestling him and then taking a bottle of water and mocking his opponent’s pre-match ritual.

It was another hilarious moment, but Hunter clearly didn’t see the funny side and made RVD pay by beating him senseless.

Van Dam made a spirited comeback and legitimately looked to be in with a shot of winning, but then Earl Hebner took a tumble and the predictable happened.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I wasn’t watching wrestling at all in 2002 and I’ve never seen this event before nor heard much about it, but it was blatantly obvious that Ric Flair was going to run in and turn on RVD because he didn’t like that Mr. PPV had called him a loser.

That happened, and it allowed The Game to win with a pedigree.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H

I know HHH gets a lot of stick for not putting people over, but he helped RVD look so damn good here that the mind boggles as to why Van Dam wasn’t a full-time main eventer right after this.

Afterwards, Flair handed The Game his belt and celebrated with him. The journey to Evolution had begun.

The Young and The Restless

Backstage, D’Lo Brown and Billy Kidman were talking about Ric Flair’s dastardly behavior when some dude from The Young and The Restless turned up and started whispering and mumbling so bad that it was impossible to tell what he was saying.

This all led to Dawn Marie appearing and saying the mumbling dude was with her.

Well alright then.

WWE Women’s Championship
WWE Women’s Champion Molly Holly vs. Trish Stratus

After such a big match, the crowd weren’t really into this one. That was a shame, because Trish Stratus and Molly Holly worked hard to give us a good match with lots of creative spots.

After absorbing a fair amount of punishment from the champion, Trish Stratus finally put Molly down to win her third Women’s Championship.
Your Winner and New Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus

After the match, Jonathan Coachman caught up with Trish for a ringside interview. The new women's champion gave an emotional speech in which she talked about how much she loved pro wrestling, the fans, and being the champion. 

Orgy Time

Back in the GM's office. Rico, Rosie, and Jamal celebrated their big victory with a harem of women while Eric Bischoff looked on approvingly like the world's creepiest father. 

Even Rico -who we were all supposed to believe was gay- was having a good time, and suggested they take the party elsewhere.

Everyone left except for two of the women, who Eric kept behind to help him "with a little HLA."

I feel dirty after watching that.

I felt a little better watching the hype video for our next match, recapping the rivalry between Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle

Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit 

Despite everything that happened with Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle has often cited him as one of his favorite men to be in the ring with, and no doubt matches like this are the reason why.

Whether it was their bout at Wrestlemania 17, their classic at Judgement Day 2001, or tonight, the duo never failed to put on a pro wrestling masterclass that was utterly enthralling from start to finish. 

We had both men trading the advantage, we had ankle locks and crossfaces galore, and just delivered everything you'd want from a match. 

After a very excellent back-and-forth battle, Chris Benoit rolled up Angle and used the ropes for leverage, which was weird since he was a babyface, but oh well.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit

Out in the back, Undisputed Champion Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman that they had no problem making their feud with The Undertaker personal.

Lesnar vowed to end 'Taker once and for all tonight.

HLA

WWE Unforgiven 2002 Review -  Rikishi as Hildergard
Up next, Eric Bischoff came to the ring with two women in tow. 

That meant that we got Howard Finkle giving us this unique introduction:

"Accompanied by THE LESBIANS, Eric Bischoff!" 

It was awful and yet somehow ridiculously hilarious. 

Bischoff teased having two women (called "Peaches & Cream") make out on their own, but then stopped and invited Stephanie McMahon to the ring.

Then, he had "The Lesbians" give her a massage, and they were almost about to make out when he changed his mind, sent Peaches & Cream packing, and introduced Steph's real make out partner, a big, ugly, old woman who was clearly a man in drag called "Hildergard."

Bischoff couldn't wait to humiliate his Smackdown rival by having her snog Hildergard, but then became surprised and disgusted when Steph proved to be very, very into it.

"What the hell?" exclaimed Bisch, that being the cue for Hildegard to rip her own plastic face off and reveal herself to be Rikishi. 

Naturally, a big, ol' stinky stink face to the Raw GM followed. 

While the reveal and subsequent stinkface were kind of entertaining, the rest of this segment just felt awkward and uncomfortable, not to mention the fact that it took up the best part of 10 minutes of PPV time that people had paid their hard-earned money for.

Main Event Time

Prior to our final match, we got an excellent video package highlighting Undertaker's history as the Phenom of the WWE, Lesnar's history as a bad ass legit wrestler, and their collision course towards tonight's meeting.

WWE Undisputed Championship
WWE Undisputed Champion Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. The Undertaker

WWE Unforgiven 2002 Review -  Brock Lesnar faces off with The Undertaker
If you ignore the completely pointless cameo from Matt Hardy (wherein he ran to the ring, was immediately powerbombed, and never seen again), this was a really good main event between two talented, powerful big man.

It was violent, bloody, and out of control, so out of control in fact, that referee Brian Hebner ultimately threw the whole match out as 'Taker and Lesnar simply punched the living daylights out of each other.

While the ending may not be to everyone's liking, this fan thought it worked well, putting Lesnar on the same level as WWE's resident living legend and making both men look unstoppable in the process.

Before the ending, everything else was solid, making this a very good way to end the show.
No Contest

Post-match, the two men continued to brawl. Undertaker eventually got the upper hand and launched Lesnar through the Unforgiven staging as the show came to an end. 






Unforgiven 2002 may not have been quite on the same level as the excellent Summerslam 2002 the month before, but that show had been so good from start to finish that it was always going be difficult to top.

Still, that didn't mean that this event wasn't great in its own right. 

Edge/Gurrero, RVD/HHH, and the main event were all really good matches, though the highlight was, as you might have guessed, Angle/Benoit.

Elsewhere, nothing on the show was bad apart from the whole HLA thing, and overall, this was a very enjoyable 2 hours, 40-something minutes of wrestling. 

Sunday, 19 December 2021

PPV REVIEW: WCW Halloween Havoc 1990

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 - Event poster
October 27, 1990 
UIC Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois

According to legend, the original master tape of WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 was destroyed long ago, meaning all we're left with is the Turner Home Entertainment VHS version with omits a bunch of singles matches and gives us four tag matches, a US title bout, and the world title bout. 

While personally I typically prefer to watch a full event when I'm reviewing something for Retro Pro Wrestling, I'm not going to be too distraught about never seeing the following matches:

* Terry Taylor vs. Bill Irwin
* Master Blasters vs. The Southern Boys
* Brad Armstrong vs. J.W Storm
* The Junkyard Dog vs. Moondog Rex.

Instead, I'll focus this review on the matches we can watch as we head down to Chicago one fall evening in late 1990 for Halloween Havoc: Terror Rules the Ring.






Spooky Time

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - Jim Ross & Paul E. Dangerously
We began tonight's event with a short, animated introduction that zoomed in on a haunted house as spectral images of Sting and Sid Vicious drifted on and off the screen. It wasn't all that spectacular, but at least it was there.

With that over, we went live to Chicago where Jim Ross and Paul E. Dangerously welcomed us to tonight's show. 

Dangerously was dressed as a vampire, while Jim Ross went with that classic Halloween costume, "Man Wearing a Hat."

The Greatest Night of Professional Wrestling

From there, Ross sent us over to Tony "Phantom of The Opera" Schiavone who was standing by for an interview with Ricky Morton and 'Wildfire' Tommy Rich. Morton gave a shoutout to his injured partner, Robert Gibson, and promised that they'd one day get revenge on the Fabulous Freebirds for taking Gibson out of action.

For his part, Gibson ranted loudly about what a great night of professional wrestling this was going to be and, with that, it was down to ringside for our opening contest. 

Ricky Morton & 'Wildfire' Tommy Rich vs. The Midnight Expres (Sweet Stan Lane & Beautiful Bobby Eaton w/ Jim Cornette)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - The Midnight Express
This was as good of an opener as you were ever going to get on a WCW show. Sweet Stan and Beautiful Bobby were always a great team and their endless series of matches with the Rock 'n' Roll Express never failed to deliver. 

Even swapping Gibson for Tommy Rich didn't change that. This was fun, exciting, with lots of big spots (a Rocket Launcher to the outside, for example) that you just didn't usually see on American TV at the turn of the 90s. 

After an exciting match, The Southern Boys came down dressed up as Jim Cornette and got stuck into an all-out mele. In the resulting fracas, Jim Cornette's tennis racket was used against his team, giving the win to the good guys.
Your Winners: Ricky Morton & Tommy Rich 

Black Magic

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - Tony Schiavone Interviews Sting
Our next segment started innocently enough.

Tony Schiavone interviewed Sting about his ongoing rivalry with the Black Scorpion and his upcoming title defence against Sid Justice.

The champion had been dealing with both men since Sid issued a challenge at the end of Sting’s win over the Scorpion at Clash of the Champions 12.

The Stinger was all fired up about tonight, but before he could get very far he was interrupted by the Black Scorpion.

“Sting, Sting, let me show you an example of my black magic!” Said the Scorpion.

Except, by black magic, what he really meant was stage magic because all he did was pick a plant from the crowd and run behind a curtain.

Sting struggled to get to the frame holding the curtain on account of some random security dudes, and when he got there, there was a puff of smoke and Scorpion the girl were -shock of all shocks!- completely gone.

Except they weren’t, because they simply reappeared on the other side of the stage moments later, a move that was so obvious I’m sure even the little kids in the audience knew that they simply exited stage left, ran around, and re-entered stage right.

This was so bad it was hilarious.

Afterwards, Ross and Dangerously sold the whole thing like a much more impressive feat test than it was.

The Renegade Warriors (Chris & Mark Youngblood) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin & Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes w/ Little Richard Marley)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - The Fabulous Freebirds
Interestingly, this was Mark Youngblood’s first appearance on a major NWA/WCW event since Starrcade ‘83.

Here, it was his younger brother Chris Youngblood (who sadly passed away earlier this year) that spent the bulk of this match playing the face-in-peril for the Fabulous Freebirds.

It wasn’t a sound booking strategy for the match. Usually the tag team formula builds sympathy for the battered face and ensures a big pop when he eventually makes the hot tag, but there was none of that.

The crowd didn’t really care for The Renegade Warriors and constantly chanted for either Jimmy Garvin or Michael Hayes to end it with their DDT.

Eventually, the fans got their wish.

After Mark Youngblood tagged in to absolute silence, a big fracas ensued which also saw the Freebirds’ “Roadie,” Little Richard Marley, getting dragged into the completion.

At one point, Chris Youngblood looked to have Jimmy Jam beat with a roll-up but the ref was too busy trying to break up a fight between Mark and Little Richard.

That meant that Hayes could hit the DDT and his team could win the match.

The finish was decent, but everything else about this match was a total snore.
Your Winners: The Fabulous Freebirds

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - The Four Horsemen
Out on the arena floor, Tony Schiavone interviewed Nature Boy Ric Flair, The Enforcer Arn Anderson and Sid Vicious about their upcoming matches.

Flair and Anderson promised to take the tag team titles away from Doom tonight. No offense to Butch Reed and Ron Simmons, nor to Anderson for that matter, but that match sounds like a waste for a talent of Flair’s caliber.

Anyway, when they were done, Sid shouted really angrily about being the ruler of the world and how he was going to destroy Sting once and for all.

Right on.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Tag Team Championship
NWA US Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott Steiner) vs. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - The Nasty Boys vs. The Steiner Brothers
You know, given the kind of reputation The Nasty Boys would develop in later years, it still comes as a bit of a surprise to be reminded that they were once a formidable tag team capable of delivering some truly entertaining brawls.

Take this match, for example.

Here, Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags stormed out of the gate and into a wild, out-of-control fight with Rick and Scott Steiner that was a lot of fun to watch.

Eventually, things settled down with The Nasties dominating Scott Steiner before the equally as chaotic ending in which the champs retained thanks to the Frankensteiner.

Though it may have been a touch too long for some people, for this writer, any time you get two teams of people who aren’t afraid to just beat the crap out of each other, you’re in for a good time.
Your Winners and Still US Tag Team Champions: The Steiner Brothers

Post-match, Knobbs, and Sags attacked Rick Steiner until Scotty saw them off.

This led us to Tony Schiavone interviewing Scott, only to get attacked by Jerry Sags dressed as a concession stand worker. Knobbs eventually joined in the attack before stealing the mic to yell at The Steiners.

I won’t say whether this was good or bad, but I will say that when Scott Steiner is the most coherent promo in a segment, there’s probably something up.

National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship
NWA World Tag Team Champions Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed w/ Terry Long)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - The Four Horsemen vs. Doom
Oh look, another tag team match.

I know there were singles matches on this card that wasn’t up to much, but is it too much to ask to stick at least one on this presentation just to break up the monotony of reviewing four tag bouts in a row?

Despite this being yet another tag match, it was very good one and the best of the four so far, a lengthy, nigh-on 20 minute battle which culminated in a double count out.

That was a smart finish given the need to keep the titles on Doom while still protecting what aura Flair still had about him during this very obvious demotion.
Double Countout

Backstage, Stan Hansen spat on a pumpkin and promised to take the US title from Lex Luger.

It was a unique promo to say the least.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship
NWA United States Champion Lex Luger vs. Stan Hansen

This was a decent big man match but not something that would ever warrant repeat reviewing.

The two men battered each other in a slow and brutal fashion until the ref took a nap in the corner.

At that point, Hansen’s protege Dan Spivey ran in to hand his mentor a cowbell.

That didn’t make much of a difference, but one big larriat did, proving enough to end a Lex Luger US title reign that seemed to have been going on forever.
Your Winner and New US Champion: Stan Hansen

Before the main event, Teddy Long gave an interview to Tony Schiavone in which he insisted that Doom would never again have to defend the tag team titles against The Four Horsemen.

This was followed by Missy Hyatt joining JR and Dangerously at ringside just so that Missy could boast about predicting a win for Sid before Paul did.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Sting vs. Sid Vicious

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - Sting vs. Sid Vicious
Sadly, this match was very underwhelming. Sting was finally getting a run at the top after being one of the consistently most over performers on the roster while Sid, despite not being an amazing worker, had always been the most popular wrestler in any match he was in throughout the duration of his WCW run.

Alas, that didn’t translate to a good match.

While there was some exciting moments, there were also long periods of chin locks, arm bars, and nerve holds all of which were entirely forgettable.

What wasn’t forgettable was the finish.

The Horsemen ran in and Sting ended up going to the back to fight them. Then a fake Sting (Barry Windham) came in and got pinned by Sid.

Fireworks errupted, balloons dropped from the ceiling and the fans half cheered, half wondered what the heck had just happened.

It was at that point that the real Sting returned, with the cameras missing a vital shot of him coming face to face with Windham-Sting in the isle.

That would have explained everything. Instead, we just got this confusing moment where referee Nick Patrick, despite counting the fall for Sid, simply shrugged his shoulders and counted another fall for Sting, giving him the win.

The crowds were bewildered but cheered anyway, probably because the mess was over.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Sting

Post-match, a visibly annoyed Sting promised Jim Ross that he would defend his title anywhere at any time against anyone, and that was all she wrote for WCW Halloween Havoc 1990.






The ending of the main event was disappointing because it was actually a clever idea, but it was so poorly executed that it came across as a baffling mess of calamity.

The match itself wasn’t great either, but Midnights/Morton & Rich, Horsemen/Doom, and especially Steiners/Nasties were all worth a watch.

Just skip right past the Fabulous Freebirds match. It’s utterly insane that despite cutting so many matches from their VHS presentation, Turner Home Network left in a match that was just painfully, painfully boring.

Sunday, 12 December 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWE Summerslam 2002

August 25, 2002, 
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

There once was a time when one of the biggest complaints of the average professional wrestling fan was that authority figures in general, and the McMahon Family in particular, hogged too much screentime and often overshadowed the actual in-ring competitors. 

If you ever needed a prime example of why this was problematic, look no further than the run up to WWE Summerslam 2002. 

With the brand-split still in its infancy, Eric Bischoff and Stephanie McMahon had replaced Ric Flair and Vince McMahon as the GMs of Raw and Smackdown respectively.

The two had then begun feuding as they tried to snatch up all of the company's top talent and secure a fully-loaded roster. 

This storyline overshadowed everything else on TV, including two storylines which really should have taken center-stage during this time:

The Rock defending his WWE title against the young, unstoppable monster known as Brock Lesnar, and Shawn Michaels competing in his first WWE PPV match in four years (albeit an "unsanctioned" one) against former friend turned rival, Triple H.

Would the Bischoff/Steph saga overshadow Summerslam as a whole, or would matches like the ones above steal the show?

Let's get down to it to find out. 




The Hottest Night in the North East

WWE Summerslam 2002 - Tazz and Michael 'Bad Ass Mofo' Cole call the show
In lieu of the usual epic opening video, Summerslam 2002 began with a quick graphic intro and the usual fireworks and crowd shots as Michael Cole welcomed us to “The Hottest Night in the North East.”

With that done, it was straight onto the action.

Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio

After a few weeks of hype, Rey Mysterio had debuted on the first Smackdown after Vengeance in a great match against Chavo Guerrero. That was followed by an equally as enjoyable encounter with Tajiri before the former WCW star dived headlong into a feud with Kurt Angle.

Tonight, Mysterio made his WWE PPV debut and wrestled in his first PPV altogether since WCW Greed, delivering a thrilling opening contest with The Olympic Gold Medalist.

WWE Summerslam 2002 - Kurt Angle hurts Rey Mysterio
Angle countered his opponent’s lightning quickness and breathtaking ability with some seriously heavy-duty slams, making for a truly exciting bout.

Kurt won in the end when Rey had no choice but to tap to the ankle lock, but before that, the supremely over Mysterio looked absolutely awesome.
Your Winner: Rey Mysterio

Out in the back, Stephanie McMahon sent a lackey to tell Eric Bischoff that there was no way his Raw brand could top that excellent opening match from Smackdown.

On entering her office, however, the Smackdown GM found Bischoff waiting for her.

As it turned out, there was only one office for General Managers, so the rivals agreed to watch the show together in one office, mainly so that they could bicker about who’s brand was better all night.

This took us to our Raw announce team of Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler and Jim Ross.

Getting himself confused, King welcomed us to “the Raw portion of Smackdown” before quickly correcting himself.

This is Summerslam,” said JR, who has obviously never made a goof in his entire career.

Chris Jericho vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair

WWE Summerslam 2002 - Chris Jericho hurts Ric Flair
Chris Jericho
and Ric Flair had been beating the hell out of each other on Raw, culminating in Flair disrupting Y2J’s Fozzy concert and destroying all the equipment in an angry rage that was a lot of fun to watch.

Tonight, the two locked up in what was the Nature Boy’s first-ever Summerslam match, one in which he came out to different theme music than the usual Sunrise section of Also Sprach Zarathustra.

Flair relied almost entirely on a single offensive move -the knife-edge chop- for the duration of this contest yet despite that it was still plenty entertaining.

Jericho battered and bullied his olde opponent and even locked in a Figure Four.

Flair got the ropes, planted a sneaky low blow and then won with a Figure Four of his own.

Before that, this was a strong match with a lot to like.
Your Winner: Ric Flair

Post-match, King and JR analysed a controversial spot in the ropes where Flair seemed to simultaneously grab the ropes and tap out to Jericho’s figure four at the same time.

Brock Destroyed Hulk Hogan

Out in the locker room, Paul Heyman reacted to a Hulk Hogan video that isn’t shown on the Network version of this event.

The former ECW boss boasted about his man Lesnar destroying Hogan on Smackdown before giving The Next Big Thing a pep talk about taking out The Rock in tonight’s main event.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Edge

WWE Summerslam 2002 - Edge hurts Test
Just in case you had any doubts at all, let me reassure you that yes, this was a damn fine match.

After a good bit of back and forth, Edge fell to the outside and appeared to aggravate the shoulder injury that had recently taken him out of action for a few weeks.

Naturally, the dastardly heel Eddie Guerrero spent the bulk of this very good match working on that shoulder, only for his resilient opponent to continue fighting back.

Eventually, after a top performance from both men, the 2001 King of the Ring drilled Guerrero with a spear to pick up the win.
Your Winner: Edge

After a promotional video espousing the fact that WWE season never ends, we next went backstage where Jonathan Coachman interviewed The Un-Americans.

As Test cackled in the background while holding the group’s upside-down US flag, Christian explained that he and Lance Storm couldn’t wait to defeat Booker T & Goldust. For his part, Storm got plenty of heat on his team by insulting the Long Island crowd.

Their match was next.

WWE Tag Team Championship
WWE Tag Team Champions The Un-Americans (Lance Storm & Christian) vs. Booker T & Goldust

This wasn’t the most action-packed match in the world, but the way they played up Goldust being cut off from his partner was masterfully done and made for very enjoyable viewing.

When Booker did eventually tag in, the pace picked up and things got even more entertaining until a ref bump allowed for a run in by Test that had been predictable since before the match even began.

That run in gave the bad guys the win.

This wasn’t the best match on the show, but it was perfectly good for what it was.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: The Un-Americans

Over at The World, Jamie Noble cheered on his girlfriend Nidia as she picked some dude to make out with and then snogged his face off on a sofa.

It was erm, well, it was a thing that happened let’s put it that way.

Back in the arena, Steph told Eric that a woman’s place in wrestling was on top before the two bickered over who would win in an inter-promotional match for the International Championship.

WWE Intercontinental Championship
WWE Intercontinental Champion Chris Benoit vs. Rob Van Dam

WWE Summerslam 2002 - Krispin Wah hurts Rob Van Dam
It was weird that this was the second match out of the last three in which the heel spent most of the match working over the babyface’s shoulder, but I’ll admit that’s a small complaint.

That aside, this was every bit as good as you might expect it to be.

Chris Benoit pulverized Rob Van Dam but simply couldn’t get him to tap to the Crippler Crossface and eventually succumbed to a Five Star Frog Splash to end yet another very high-quality match.
Your Winner and New Intercontinental Champion: Rob Van Dam

Out in the GM’s office, Bischoff gloated to Steph about the Intercontinental championship coming back to Raw, but McMahon simply laughed in his face.

The Un-Americans Hate America

Before our next match, we got a look back at how evil The Un-Americans were and how their evilness had turned The American Bad Ass back to being a babyface so that he could face Test.

Test vs. The Undertaker

WWE Summerslam 2002 - The Undertaker pins Test
I won’t lie to you, dear reader, I’ve become a bit of a fan of Test over the last year or so.

Sure, he was never the highlight of the night, but he was a decent big man who had been part of some enjoyable matches since the Invasion.

This was one of them.

While the ending was never in doubt (not was the predictable run-in from Storm and Christian), it was a solid and entertaining match in which Test legitimately looked like a threat before eating the inevitable tombstone from The Undertaker.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

Afterward, the Phenom headed into the crowd to find an American flag then held it aloft to the delight of the New York faithful.

Good Friends, Better Enemies

WWE Summerslam 2002 - Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H - Non-Sanctioned Street Fight
Before the next match, we got an awesome video package looking at the rivalry between Shawn Michaels and Triple H.

The video took us all the way back to 1997 and the height of the original D-Generation-X before skipping to recent weeks when The Game turned on The Heartbreak Kid and threw him through a car window.

It also showed us Hunter promising to end Shawn once and for all, and Eric Bischoff us sanctioning this match so that WWE wouldn’t be responsible.

This was excellent stuff that only got this long-time fan even more pumped up for a match I’ve been looking forward to since the show started.

Unsanctioned Fight
Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H

WWE Summerslam 2002 - Shawn Michaels
Yes, I was very much excited about this match.

Shawn Michaels is my all-time favourite and yet I’d never actually seen his big 2002 comeback on account of this being a time when I’d taken a break from watching any wrestling at all.

Fortunately, the match did not disappoint.

OK, so it nearly did.

There was a section of the match where Triple H was in charge and was trying to systematically cripple The Heartbreak Kid once and for all. That meant long periods of Shawn lying on the floor and Hunter just pacing around the ring doing almost nothing.

That was dull, but when HBK executed his patented kick-up, it was a genuinely exciting moment.

From there, the match picked up in intensity. The Game bled like the proverbial stuck pig, Michaels flew off the top and crashed onto his adversary on the outside, both men crashing through a table.

The showstopper then flew off a ladder and hit HHH with his trademark elbow drop. Hunter blocked a sweet chin music attempt, countered with a pedigree attempt but had that countered with a flip, a cover, and Shawn Michael’s first PPV victory in over four years.

Man, that was good.
Your Winner: Shawn Michaels

Post match, The Cerebral Assassin took out his nemesis with two vicious sledgehammer shots to the spine, causing Michaels to be stretchered out of the arena.

Lillian’s Revenge

WWE Summerslam 2002 - Howard Finkel and Trish Stratus
Over the past few week, Howard Finkel had inexplicably turned heel and become some kind of creepy, egotistical misogynist as he entered into a feud with Lillian Garcia and Trish Stratus.

Tonight, The Fink took a moment to tell us that this was the first PPV he’d announced in this arena since Wrestlemania 2, and was about to put himself over even more before being interrupted by Trish.

The former women’s champion feigned having a crush on ‘Howie,’ promoting the veteran ring announcer to up the creepiness factor to an all-time high.

It was, of course, a rouse, and all designed to set up Lillian Garcia appearing, slapping him in the face and kicking him where the sun don’t shine.

This feud was dumb, but at least it didn’t last long.

All of this followed a video package hyping our main event and then, it was onto the action.

WWE Undisputed Championship
WWE Undisputed Champion The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman)

WWE Summerslam 2002 - The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar
This match was excellent.

Brock Lesnar came out swinging, quickly battering The Rock and taking him to a little place we’d later get to know as Suplex City.

This impressive start clearly won the crowd over, so much so that when the champion made his comeback, the crowd routinely booed him and chanted ‘Lesnar! Lesnar!’ as a means of encouraging the challenger to break out of Rock’s sharpshooter.

From there, things only got better. It was wild, it was brutal, it saw Rock looking seriously pissed off throughout the match, it saw Paul Heyman take a Rock Bottom through the announce table, but more importantly, it saw a hot finish which culminated with Brock hitting the match-winning F5.
Your Winner and New Undisputed Champion: Brock Lesnar

Yes, after just five months after his WWE debut, Brock Lesnar had captured the title in an utterly exhilarating match.






Summerslam 2002 was an exceptional show and undoubtedly one of WWE’s best of the year so far.

While the main event, HHH/HBK, and Mysterio/Angle were the highlights, everything else (apart from the weird Howard Finkel) bit delivered on a scale that ranged from good to great.

Definitely a show worth watching.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

EVENT REVIEW: ECW - NWA Bloodfest '93

ECW Bloodfest '93 - Night 2
October 1 and October 2, 1993
ECW Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

NWA Bloodfest ‘93 was a two-night event promoted by Eastern Championship wrestling a short while after their last event Ultraclash '93.

Unlike other ECW events from around this time, Bloodfest isn’t featured on the WWE Network, though I did manage to find a one-hour version on YouTube which features most -but not all- of the matches from night 2 of the event.

If I ever come across Night 1 of the event (or if any of you can tell me where to check it out), then I will of course, review that too.

For now though, let’s dive in and check this one out.






Welcome to Bloodfest



We opened tonight’s event with a short introductory video featuring highlights of tonight’s stars before heading right down to ringside for our opening contest.

Eastern Championship Wrestling Tag Team Championship
ECW Tag Team Champions Johnny Hotbody and Tony Stetson (w/ Hunter Q. Robbins III) vs. The Sandman & J.T Smith (w/ Terry Funk)

Something tells me this show might be a chore to watch if this match is anything to go by.

It really wasn’t much of anything.

After a few minutes of decent but uninspiring action, Terry Funk got involved, leading to a disqualification in about 5 minutes.
Your Winners via Disqualification and still ECW Tag Team Champions: Johnny Hotbody & Tony Stetson

Moving on..

The Tazzmaniac & Tommy Dreamer

ECW Bloodfest '93 - The Tazzmaniac hurts Tommy Dreamer
Here we had the ECW debut of Tommy Dreamer as he took on The Tazzmaniac (Tazz), a man who himself had only debuted the previous evening against fellow newcomer Sabu.

Dreamer’s debut is well known as an early example of Paul Heyman’s booking prowess, having the future hardcore legend lose the match but gain the fan’s respect after putting on a solid show against Tazzmaniac.

That certainly happened, but it wasn’t as though Tommy completely got his ass whooped here. He held his own against a man who still had long hair, worn a loin cloth and pretended like he was an actual savage from the island of Tasmania.

It was a decent match. Not great by any stretch, but competently performed and reasonably entertaining.
Your Winner: The Tazzmaniac

Post match, the usually belligerent ECW crowd gave Dreamer

Eastern Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship
ECW Heavyweight Champion Shane Douglas (w/ Sherri Martel) vs. J.T Smith (w/ Terry Funk)

ECW Bloodfest '93 - Shane Douglas
And so we have our second appearance from J.T Smith. According to Wikipedia, both of his matches happened on night 2.

That seems odd, but there you go.

There wasn’t much to this match. Going into it, the story was that Smith had an injured knee, so Shane Douglas wasted no time going right after it.

Within the space of 4 minutes (at least as it was presented here) Douglas wore down Smith to the point that Terry Funk had to throw in the towel.
Your Winner and Still ECW Champion: Shane Douglas

Post match, Funk turned on Smith, beating him up with his boot then tossing him to the outside and dumping a chair on him.

It was the most entertaining thing that had happened in the first 20 minutes of this show.

Yesterday’s Trash

Prior to the next match, Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge threw some garbage in the trash which allowed them to deliver the very original and very clever line:

“Diamond, Tanaka, we’re going to take you out like yesterday’s trash!”

Right on.

Badd Company (Paul Diamond & Pat Tanaka) vs. Public Enemy (Flyboy Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge)

Finally, we got a match this fan could really sink his teeth into.

Paul Diamond and Pat Tanaka were excellent and Public Enemy didn’t exactly phone it in either.

Their combined efforts gave us a compelling match which proved to be the best thing on the show up to this point.

After a very strong contest, Badd Company picked up the win following a miscommunication between Rock and Grunge.
Your Winners: Badd Company

And on we go.

Rockin’ Rebel vs. Chris Michaels

We joined this match in progress and it wasn’t really anything.

Rockin’ Rebel beat up on Chris Michaels for a bit, then beat up the referee too and got disqualified.
Your Winner via disqualification: Chris Michaels

Post-match, Rebel went to attack Michaels with a chair, but his arch-rival Big Sal Belomo charged the ring and saw him off.

Bad Breed (Axl & Ian Rotten) vs. Chad Austin & Don E. Allen

This was essentially a squash match, with Axl Rotten & Ian Rotten demolishing their opponents in rapid order.

It wasn’t terrible or anything, but it was very obvious (especially given Joey Styles commentary), that this was intended as nothing more than TV filler to help Bad Breed get over.
Your Winners: Bad Breed

Up next, more Public Enemy.

Don Muraco & Superfly Jimmy Snuka vs. Badd Company (Paul Diamond & Pat Tanaka)

ECW Bloodfest '93 - Jimmy Snuka
Everywhere you look online, this is listed as Jimmy Snuka and Don Muraco beating Public Enemy by forefeit, but that’s not actually what happened.

Badd Company came out second, looking like they were gearing to fight Snuka & Muraco, only to be blindsided by Public Enemy. As Rock & Grunge attacked, Joey Styles yelled:

“We haven’t seen Public Enemy since they lost to Paul Diamond and Pat Tanaka!”

So like, ten minutes ago then Joey?

Anyway, Bad Breed then came out and attacked Public Enemy and the announcer declared the match a forefeit.
Your Winners via forefeit: Don Muraco & Jimmy Snuka.

What a waste of time that was. It was good news for Snuka & Muraco though, and probably the easiest pay check they ever made.

Afterwards, Styles confirmed that Badd Company really were supposed to be the intended opponents.

Eastern Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship
ECW Heavyweight champion Shane Douglas (w/ Sherri Martel) vs. Sabu (w/ Paul E. Dangerously)

ECW Bloodfest '93 - sabu
This was supposed to be Douglas vs. Sandman but the latter had been incapacitated backstage, so Sabu was wheeled out chained to what looked like a sack truck.

Wikipedia says this match lasted nigh on 13 minutes so this version must have been severely edited because it was over in less than 3.

Sabu got attacked by Douglas but then slammed him and landed a moonsault to capture the title.
Your Winner and New ECW Heavyweight Champion: Sabu

Post-match, the new champion was dragged, thrashing and lashing away, to the back.

Superfly Jimmy Snuka vs. Chad Austin


Snuka destroyed Austin in no time at all then hit him with a slingshot suplex and pinned him with an arrogant ‘one foot over the chest’ cover.

The sling shot suplex looked good. The rest of this match did not.
Your Winner: Jimmy Snuka

And finally...

Steel Cage Match
Badd Company (Paul Diamond & Pat Tanaka) vs. The Public Enemy (Flyboy Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge)

This match went from the entrances straight to Bad Breed running in and a whole bunch of chairs being swung about.

It looked like a good brawl, but by this point I have to admit, I’d completely switched off.

Public Enemy won by escaping the cage.
Your Winners: Public Enemy

Thank goodness that’s over







If anyone out there has a copy of night one of this event that they’d like to send me, I’d be glad to review for the sake of completion, but if it’s anything like Night 2, I dare say I won’t enjoy it much.

By the time this hour-long presentation was half way through, it had become very apparent that what NWA Bloodfest really was, was a two-night TV taping with matches shot in no particular order to be played on ECW TV.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, the fact that we only saw abridged versions of mediocre matches did not make for an entertaining hour of pro wrestling viewing.

The first Badd Company/Public Enemy match was enjoyable, but nothing else here was up to much.



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.