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

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

PPV REVIEW: WWE Rebellion 2002

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Event poster
October 26, 2002,
Manchester Arena, Manchester, England

WWE Rebellion 2002 may not be a show anybody talks about today, but it does have the distinction of clocking up a number of firsts and lasts in the history of Vince McMahon's sports entertainment empire.

Since all of the previous incarnations of this event had been held while the company was still known as the World Wrestling Federation, tonight's show was the first Rebellion event to be promoted under the WWE banner.

In fact, it was the only Rebellion to be promoted under this banner as Vince would decide to stop doing UK-exclusive PPVs entirely the following year, making this the last ever Rebellion.

Notably -and here's a bit of obscure trivia for you- it was technically the first Smackdown-exclusive Pay Per View in WWE history as the Blue Brand made their way over to Manchester for one last hoorah.

Of course, the only question is:






Was it any good?

Let's head down to jolly old England and find out together, shall we?

The Rebellion Has Begun

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Michael Cole and Tazz called the action
We started tonight's show with a very impressive opening video in which a little girl gave a monologue over shots of the Smackdown superstars.

When the heels were shown on screen, the girl talked about how sad she was that evil forces had taken control and took pleasure in the pain and suffering of others. 

Switching over to shots of the babyfaces, she spoke of her hope that things would get better now that the rebellion had begun. 

This was very well done, especially for a UK PPV. 

From there, Michael Cole and Tazz welcomed us to the show as pyro exploded, the cameras panned the crowd, and WWE Rebellion 2002 got underway. 

Steph Starts the Show

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Stephanie McMahon made an announcement at the start of the show
Much as she'd done back at WWE Global Warning, Stephanie McMahon kicked off another international event by hitting the ring and taking to the microphone. 

This time, the Smackdown General Manager informed us that The Undertaker would not be here, partly becasue he'd been beaten up by Big Show and Brock Lesnar, but mostly because his new child was due to be born any day. 

She went onto inform us that Edge would be taking The Dead Man's place in a scheduled 2 vs. 1 handicap match against Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar for the WWE title, before wrapping up by announcing that, as part of a "special trade agreement" with Raw GM Eric Bischoff, Smackdown had secured the services of Booker T for one night only. 

On that note, the Booker Man himself made his way to ringside and it was on to our opening match.

Booker T vs. Matt Hardy V1

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Matt Hardy loves English muffins
Here, we had the PPV debut of Matt Hardy's V1 character, complete with "Matt Facts" and that awesome Monster Magnet theme song.

Tonight, he went up against Booker T in a fun opening contest. 

This wasn't an all-out wrestling classic, but it wasn't designed to be.

It was designed to entertain the fans by pitting a despised heel against a beloved babyface and having them appeal to the crowd. 

From a pure wrestling stand-point, it was average at best, but entertainment value, it was very good indeed.

To the surprise of no one (especially given that the faces usually always went over on these UK PPVs), Booker T picked up the win.
Your Winner: Booker T

Post match, The Five Time, Five Time, Five Time WCW champion continued to entertain the fans with a spinarooni.

Paul Heyman is Furious

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Paul Heyman confronts Stephanie McMahon about his role in the show's main event
Out in the backstage area, an upset Paul Heyman burst into Stephanie McMahon's office and did his damndest to get out of the handicap match later on in the show. 

Heyman first appealed to McMahon by noting how unfair it was that Edge could become champion by pinning him, rather than Lesnar.

When that didn't work, the former ECW owner insisted that he couldn't wrestle anyway because he hadn't brought his "trunks," as if he ever owned a pair of wrestling trunks in his life. 

That didn't work either, with Steph simply demanding that Lesnar's manager go and get ready for the match.

This was followed by a look back at the rivalry between Dawn Marie and Torrie Wilson, and was pretty much the same video we'd just seen back at No Mercy 2002 the week before.

Mixed Tag Team Match
Dawn Marie & John Cena vs. Torrie Wilson & Billy Kidman

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Kidman & Torrie Wilson vs. John Cena & Dawn Marie
John Cena
had recently turned heel on Kidman after the two had lost in the recent tag team titel tournament, making both men the perfect partners for Wilson and Marie.

Much like the last match, this was more about entertainment than actual wrestling, but it certainly wasn't bad. 

OK, so they once again did the lame spot where the girls cat fight and wind up rolling around on top of one of the guys, only this time it was Billy Kidman who got to be the "lucky" recipient rather than the referee as it usually was. 

I'd complain that this is the third event I've watched in about two weeks that I've seen this spot, and that Wilson and Marie did the exact same thing back at No Mercy, but hey, it always got a pop and Kidman's reaction afterward was pretty funny.

After that, we got a little more action before the girls toppled to the outside and Kidman smacked Cena with a wicked kick, causing the future world champion to face plant the mat in such a glorious fashion that it almost put the famous "Flair Flop" to shame. 

Billy followed this up with a shooting star press and, one three count later, won the match.
Your Winners: Billy Kidman & Torrie Wilson

Afterwards, Torrie celebrated by giving Kidman a good snog. Once again, the former cruiserweight champion's reaction was gold.

Edge Swears Victory

Out in the back, Edge cut an intense promo in which he vowed to become the WWE champion in front of the "Manchester chapter of the Edge Army."

This was good stuff from Edge, but he wasn't yet at a point in his career where I imagine many saw him as a legitimate threat to Lesnar. 

Funaki vs. Crash Holly

Holy crap, an actual Funaki match. 

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Funaki vs. Crash Holly
Funaki hadn't beeen seen on PPV since participating in a Battle Royal at Survivor Series 2001, and it had been so long since he'd participated in a non-battle royal PPV match that I can't even figure out when that would have been. 

Smackdown's Number One Announcer was popular with the UK crowd, but not popular enough to get them invested in this match.

In fact, despite the fact that it was competently performed, this one played out to almost total silence.

Not even Crash Holly sporting a Japanese headband and busting out Karate Kid moves was enough to elicit a response, proving that racial stereotyping wasn't always as funny as the wrestling business used to pretend it was.

In fact, the match was so uninteresting that Tazz started entertaining himself with a Gordon Sollie impression.

The match ended with a roll-up for Funaki.
Your Winner: Funaki 

Out in the back, Jamie Noble and Nidia agreed that people in the UK were smelly trash while across the way, Rey Mysterio psyched up himself up to face Noble and Tajiri in this next match.

Triple Threat Elimination Match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
WWE Cruiserwieight Champion Jamie Noble (w/ Nidia) vs. Tajiri vs. Rey Mysterio 

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Jamie Noble defends his Cruiserweight title
This was just about as good a cruiserweight match as you might expect it to be, showcasing the kind of fast-paced, back-and-forth action that you just weren't going to see anywhere else on the card.

Somewhat predictably, Tajiri got taken out of this elimination rules match early on, clearing the way for champion Jamie Noble to have an exciting one-on-one encounter with Mysterio.

At multiple points, the challenger looked to have the match won, only Nidia to get in the way and stop things. Eventually, Noble drilled Mysterio down in to the mat and got the win thanks to his girflriend's assistance.
Your Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Jamie Noble 

Post match, Mysterio delivered a 619 to both Noble and Nidia. 

Who's The Captain?

Out in the back, Kurt Angle tried to explain to Chris Benoit that because he was American, he was therefore better than his Canadian tag team partner and therefore the captain of their team. Benoit countered by reminding the Olympic Gold Medalist that since he'd beaten him on Smackdown, that technically made him the captain. 

The two were clearly at loggerheads, but somehow they'd have to settle their differences in order to defend their titles on tonight's show. 

Chuck Palumbo & The Big Valbowski vs. D'Von & Ron Simmons

WWE Rebellion 2002 Review - Ron Simmons puts a hurting on Chuck Palumbo
After the whole wedding-that-wasn't debacle between Billy & Chuck, Billy Gunn had been injured, leaving Chuck Palumbo wandering around with nothing to do, hence a random tag team with The Big Valbowski

Across the ring, D'von had dropped the whole Reverand thing while Ron Simmons had ditched his Farooq moniker.

The match between the two teams was fine for what it was, but the crowd were practically silent for it and I can't really blame them. It was a by-the-numbers, go-through-the-motions affair which ended with a win for Ron and D'Von when the latter rolled up Valbowski.
Your Winners: D'Von & Ron Simmons

Prior to the next match, Eddie Guerrero & Chavo Guerrero cut a backstage promo in which they played up to some Mexican stereotypes and then tried to get heat by ragging on British staples like tea and crumpets.

Their match was later, but first, we had this. 

Kiss My Arse Match
Albert vs. Rikishi

WWE Rebellion 2002 - Rikishi faced Albert in a "Kiss My Arse" match
Yes, it's a Kiss My Ass match, but we're in England, so it's Kiss My Arse instead.

Prior to the bell, Albert took to the microphone to talk about how sexy he was and promised to make Rikishi kiss his "Big Hairy Ass."

Unfortunately for the big fella, he didn't get to keep his promise. 

After a decent but rather unexciting match, 'Kishi predictably toppled his "sexy" opponent and picked up the victory.
Your Winner: Rikishi 

Post-match, Albert tried to leave but Rikishi called him back to the ring. Instead of willingly puckering up, the former Hip Hop Hippo attacked and went to ram his hairy butt into his foe's face, only for Big Kish to hit him with a low-blow and an equally as predictable stink face.

From there, the one-time Headshrinker called Michael Cole, Tazz, and Tony Chimmel into the ring for a spot of some of the most awkward dancing you've ever seen in your life. 

This was followed by a look back at the rivalry between The Guerreros and the team of Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit, leading into their upcoming title match.

WWE Tag Team Championship
WWE Tag Team Champions Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit vs. Los Guerreros (Eddie & Chavo Guerrero Jr)

WWE Rebellion 2002 - Eddie Guerrero Tries to Break Kurt Angle's back
It's fair to say that, alongside Bret Hart vs. The Undertaker from One Night Only 1997, this was one of the best matches ever showcased on a UK PPV. 

Whereas many wrestlers tended to phone it in at these kind of shows, Eddie, Chavo, Benoit, and Angle all busted their behinds to deliver an excellent performance that was captivating from start to finish. 

At various points, it looked as though Los Guerreros would genuinly be taking the titles home with them but, of course, that never happened. 

After a thrilling contest, Kurt drilled Eddie with the Angle Slam and that was that.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit

Post-match, Angle and Benoit continued their "partners who hate each other" thing by almost coming to blows before finally united to see off Eddie & Chavo, who had tried to steal the tag titles.

Brock is Mad

Backstage, Brock Lesnar scolded his manager Paul Heyman for not getting tonight's main event cancelled, and insisted that if Edge should beat the former ECW manager, he (Lesnar) would have no problem busting him in half. 

Handicap Match for the WWE Championship
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman vs. Edge

WWE Rebellion 2002 - Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman
This was another thrilling match in which Edge looked like he could genuinly beat The Next Big Thing and become our new champion.

Of course, despite it being a handicap match, Paul Heyman didn't get involved any more than he would have done in his capacity as a manager, though he did recieve a wicked spear courtesy of the future Rated-R Superstar. 

After a tremendously exciting match in which the challenger gave his opponent everything he could possibly throw at him, Brock hit an F5 to retain.
Your Winner and Still WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar

Post-match, Paul Heyman yelled at Edge for spearing him and looked to hit him with a chair, only for Edge to kick the chair right into Heyman's face and give him a Downward Spiral to end the show. 








The last ever WWE Rebellion Show was a largely positive show. 

While matches like Albert/Rikishi, Funaki/Crash, and Dvon/Simmons vs. Palumbo/Valbowski didn't really deliver, everything else did to varying degrees. 

The opening Hardy/Booker match was a fun sports entertainment contest, the Cruiserweight title match was great, and the last two matches were as exciting as you could possibly ask for. 

Despite nothing major happening in terms of development, this was still a very watchable show that saw the Rebellion brand go out on a high note. 




Other 2002 pro wrestling reviews: 

Thursday, 27 January 2022

PPV REVIEW: WCW Starrcade 1990 - Collision Course

WCW Starrcade '90 Review - Event Poster
December 16, 1990, 
Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri

It's entirely fitting that Starrcade 1990 - Collision Course was the last Starrcade event to have an association with the National Wrestling Alliance and the first to feature the proper WCW branding that us fans would go on to know, love, and instantly recognise.

Why?

Simple:

In the early days, Starrcade was a place were old-school stars like Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes, The Minnesota Wrecking Crew, and, of course, Ric Flair, would all go to war with their opponents on cards steeped in NWA tradition and straight-up professional wrestling.

Tonight, as Sting looked set to defend the iconic World Heavyweight Championship against the goofy Black Scorpion, it was becoming more and more obvious that this was a company moving away from that tradition and old-school pro wrestling approach and towards the kind of ill-fated attempts at sports entertainment that would give the guys over at Wrestlecrap enough ammunition for years.






Still, this wasn't yet the kind of show dominated by the likes of the Ding Dongs, Oz, and other awful gimmicks. The Black Scorpion aside, there was still a lot of straight-up wrestling to be enjoyed here.

Would that help make this a good show, or would Ole Anderson's voice overs, a goofy guy in a mask, and a storyline that its creators were clearly scrambling to find a decent ending for, all put a dampener on things?

Let's head to the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri to find out, shall we?

On a Colission Course

WCW Starrcade '90 Review - Jim Ross and Paul Heyman called all the action

Tonight's show opened with one of WCW's usually naff opening videos, this one featuring some of tonight's stars featured in the shape of actual stars which floated through the cosmos before a bunch of rocks exploded because, you know, COLISSIONS and stuff. 

With that uninspired opening out of the way, our announcers Jim Ross and Paul E. Dangerously welcomed us to Starrcade and ran through some of tonight's matches before sending it on down to your writer's favorite ring announcer, Gary Michael Capetta

The Opening Ceremonies

For his first act of the evening, GMC introduced us to a man he called "The Greatest Promoter of All Time," Sam Muchnik

After waiting patiently in the corner with Missy Hyatt on his arm, Muchnik took center stage and began to speak with the microphone so far away from his face that it was hard to hear him properly.

From what we could hear, Muchnik put over professional wrestling as the greatest and oldest sport in the world, thanked Ted Turner, Jim Herd, and a bunch of WCW excutives, and finally welcomed us to the Kiel Auditorium.

This was followed by the playing of the national anthem and, finally, our opening contest. 

Beautiful Bobby Eaton vs. The Z-Man

WCW Starrcade '90 Review - Bobby Eaton faced The Z-Man in a good match

This was Bobby Eaton's first PPV singles match, and what a match it was. 

He and The Z-Man gave a great performance from start to finish and the results were utterly enjoyable. 

No nonsense, no fancy gimmicks (apart from Beautiful Bobby weirdly being billed as from "The Dark Side"), just straight-up pro wrestling the way it was meant to be done. 

After a fantastic opener, Z-Man missed a top-rope dropkick, allowing Eaton to roll him up for the one, the two, and the three.
Your Winner: Beautiful Bobby Eaton 

Somewhere out in the arena, Tony Schiavone interviewed Dick The Bruiser

The ring veteran had originally been scheduled to officiate the finals of the upcoming tag team tournament but now he was going to referee the cage match between Sting and The Black Scorpion later on in the show.

With that in mind, The Bruiser, sounding like he'd smoked 100 packs of cigarettes a day for 100 years, told Schiavone that since he was undefeated in cage matches, he was the perfect man for the job. 

Alrighty then.

The Parade of Nations 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review - Pat O' Conner Memorial Tag Team Tournament Brackets

Up next, Garry Michael Capletta MC'd what he called "The Parade of Nations."

Basically, this was a group of attractive women who walked down the entrance way and back, each one carrying the flag for a different country involved in the upcoming Pat O'Conner Memorial International Tag Team Tournament.

After each of the flags had been displayed, Jim Ross and Paul E. Heyamn looked at the tournament brackets before our show finally got underway. 

Pat O'Conner Tag Team Tournament Round 1: 

(South Africa) Sgt. Krueger & Col. Deklerk vs. (USA) The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)

If you recall, Ted 'Flyboy Rocco Rock' Petty was playing the role of Col. Deklerk with either Ray Apollo the man most likley to be Sgt. Krueger, though please leave me a comment if I'm wrong on that one. 

The two had earned their right to compete in this tournament by winning a sub-standard match against another "South African" team back at Clash of The Champions XIII, though this match was somehow even worse. 

It was, for all intents and purposes, the briefest of squash matches. 

The South African team (neither of which were actually South African) would try for a move, Rick and Scott Steiner countered it, and that was that for about three minutes until Scotty hit the Frankensteiner to put this mess behind us. 
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers (advance to the next round)

Pat O'Conner Tag Team Tournament Round 1: 
(Team Great Britain) Gentleman Chris Adams & Norman Smiley vs. (Team Mexico) Konnan & Rey Misteric)

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Konan and Rey Mysteric

Here we had Konan teaming with Rey Jr's uncle, Rey Mysterio, though apparently WCW couldn't agree on what to call him.

GMC introduced him as "Rey Mysterio," all of the graphics had him listed as "Rey Misteric" and later, Jim Ross called him "Rey Mysterioso."

Whatever he was called, Rey Sr., Konnan, Norman Smiley and Chris Adams gave us another fun match which surpassed the last tag team match by a thousand miles. 

Moving at a fast pace with plenty of high-flying and technical offence, this was a very good effort that kept the fans (including this one) highly entertained from first to last. 

After an entertaining contest, the Mexican duo picked up the win to go on to face The Steiners later in the show.
Your Winners: Konnan & Rey Misteric/Mysterio/Mysterioso

Post match, Mysterio dove over the top rope, missing Chris Adams by a quarter mile and taking himself out. It was a silly move. 

A Word With Wallstreet

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Missy Hyatt interviews Alexandra York and Michael Wallstreet

Out in the arena, Missy Hyatt interviewed Alexandra York and Michael Wallstreet, both of whom were confident that Wallstreet would beat his rival Terry Taylor in under eight minutes.

Why? Because Ms. York's computer had declared it so, of course. 

This wasn't the greatest promo segment in the world, but it served its purpose, and the whole computer gimmick was always fun.

Pat O'Conner Tag Team Tournament Round 1:
(Team New Zealand) The Royal Family (Rip Morgan and Jack Victory) vs. (Team Japan) The Great Muta & Mr. Saito 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Mr Saito hurts Jack Victory as The Great Muta look on


This wasn't the best of the three tag team matches we'd seen so far, but it was still a decent effort with some good action. 

Of course, in order to fit a whole tournament on the show as well as other matches, all of these opening contests were kept quite short, but that was a good thing as it meant none of these matches dragged and were each pretty explosive in their own different ways. 

After a pretty good few minutes of action, The Great Muta drilled Jack Victory with a suplex to pick up the win for his team. 
Your Winners: The Great Muta & Mr. Saito 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Mr Saito and The Great Muta celebrate their victory


Post-match, Paul E. interviewed Mr. Saito and his silent partner, The Great Muta

Saito insisted that he and Muta didn't care who they had to face in the tournament, they were the best team and would prove it tonight.

Pat O' Conner Tag Team Tournament Round 1: 
(Team Canada) Bull Johnson & Troy Montour vs. (Team U.S.S.R) vs. Victor Zangiev & Salmon Hasimikov 

I'll be honest with you, dear readers, I've never heard of a single one of these competitors and Googling around doesn't seem to turn up much beyond a few sparse Cage Match profiles. 

The crowd clearly weren't too familiar with these two teams either as the match played out to near silence despite it being a technically competent performance. 

The men from the Soviet Union were billed as accomplished amateur wrestlers and Olympic athletes and thus used their skills to keep Bull Johnson & Troy Montour suitably grounded until a big-time German suplex sent Team U.S.S.R into the next round.
Your Winners: Victor Zangiev & Salmon Hasimikov

Following the bell, the Canadians constantly tried to get at their opponents, only for the referee to hold them back. 

Sting is Ready


WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Sting gives a backstage Interview about his match with The Black Scorpion


Out in the back, Tony Schiavone interviewed Sting.

Cool, calm, and collected, the World Heavyweight Champion insisted that he was more than ready to take on The Black Scorpion and reveal his rival's identity once and for all.

A far cry from the Stinger's usual hyped-up, SHOUT-REALLY-EXCITEDLY promo style, this was good stuff that showed the champ was taking things seriously and lent a molecule of credibility to what had otherwise been a ridiculous storyline.

This was then followed by a look back at a confrontation between Terry Taylor and the duo of Michael Wallstreet and Alexandra York which had taken place on WCW Saturday Night, leading us to our next match.

Terry Taylor vs. Michael Wallstreet (w/ Alexandra York) 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Alexandra York leads Michael Wallstreet into action


Given Wallstreet and York's insistence that Taylor could be beaten in 8 minutes, a countdown clock displayed in the bottom-right hand corner of the screen for the entirety of the match.

Fortunately, it didn't distract too much from what was a solid yet unspectacular match.

The former Red Rooster came out swinging from the opening bell, battering his arch-nemesis with gusto before Wallstreet took control and maintained it for the majority of the match.

After a decent outing, the one-time Varsity Club member hit the Wallstreet Crash to win the match with 1 minute, 42 seconds to spare.
Your Winner: Michael Wallstreet

The match was followed by a commercial for the upcoming Wrestlewar 1991 PPV coming up in February. The show was set to feature a War Games match and, I have to be honest, I'm looking forward to watching it. 

The Motor City Mad Man & Big Cat vs. Sid Vicious & Dan Spivey

You know what a show featuring a seven-match tag team tournament needs? more tag team matches! 

More importantly, this was the first time we'd seen Sid Vicious & Dan Spivey teaming as The Skyscrapers on PPV since Halloween Havoc 1989, although Jim Ross informed us that Sid was still a member of the Four Horsemen. 

Interestingly, I didn't even have time to type that sentence before the whole the whole match was over.

Sid and Big Dan pummelled their opponents and destroyed The Motor City Madman with a spiked powerbomb in barely sixty seconds.

The crowd were hot for The Skyscrapers, but this was really nothing. 
Your Winners: The Skyscrapers 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - The Skyscrapers manhandle Paul E. Dangerously


After the match, Dangerously tried to interview The Skyscrapers, telling the crowd that this was a one-night only reunion. To correct him, Sid and Spivey lifted the announcer up and intimitated him by insisting that they would decide whether or not it was a one-night only thing.

Ricky Morton & 'Wildfire' Tommy Rich (w/ Robert Gibson) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael 'P.S' Hayes & Jimmy 'Jam' Garvin w/ Little Richard Marley)   

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Jimmy Garvin confronts Little Richard Marley


You know, by the time this match ended, we were only one hour and twenty minutes into the show and we'd already seen eight matches. Apparently, there are 14 on this card, so it looks like we're going to be here a while. 

That little grumble aside, this whole feud had come about when The Fabulous Freebirds had taken credit for destroying Robert Gibson's leg, forcing his partner Ricky Morton to tag with 'Wildfire' Tommy Rich in the meantime. 

Gibson accompanied his partner to the ring tonight while hobbling down on crutches and at various points getting involved in the match.

The match itself was OK. 

The crowd were on fire, which helped proceedings, but the actual action never went beyond decent, which pretty much sums up most of Starrcade 1990 so far. 

Towards the finish, Little Richard Marley went to jump off the top rope to assist Michael Hayes in breaking one of their opponents' legs, but Gibson knocked Marley off the ropes and straight into Jimmy Garvin. Garvin grabbed Marley by the throat, allowing Morton to get the roll-up for the three count.
Your Winners: Ricky Morton and Tommy Rich

Post-match, the Freebirds beat up Marley and double-suplexed him. Morton and Rich ran in for the save, but while they were distracted, Hayes and Garvin simply left the ring and knocked Gibson on his ass with a double clothesline. 

Stan 'The Larriat' Hansen Explains How a Strap Match Works

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Tony Schiavone looks disgusted as he interviews US Champion Stan Hansen


Out on the arena floor, Tony Schaivone interviewed US Champion Stan 'The Larriat' Hansen

As wild and out of control as ever, Hansen explained that he was defending the title in a "Texas Larriat" match and began to outline the rules, which were basically those of a strap match.

Hansen was a lot of fun here.

Pat O' Conner Tag Team Tournament - Semi Final
Team Mexico (Konnan & Rey Mysterio) vs. Team USA (Rick & Scott Steiner)

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Tony Schiavone interviews Arn Anderson & Barry Windham

This was another one of those matches that just sort of seemed to be there. It was neither good nor bad, but just kind of happened.

The Steiners beat up on Konnan for a bit and nailed him with their patented top rope bulldog, then they beat up on Rey Mysterio, who Rick Steiner eventually put away with a powerbomb.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers 

Back on the arena floor, Tony Schiavone interviewed Four Horsemen members Arn Anderson & Barry Windham

The two started their promo while we were shown a video of Ric Flair recently getting dragged out of his limosine and attacked (hence Windham substituting for him tonight). 

This made it almost impossible to hear what Anderson was saying, and it was only later on that we heard him raging about how he and Windham had nothing to lose and would take it to Doom in their upcoming street fight.

Pat O' Conner Tag Team Tournament - Semi Final
Victor Zangiev & Salmon Hasimikov vs. Mr. Saito & The Great Muta 

This was much better than the previous match, but it wasn't fantastic or anything, just some very competent wrestling displayed in a very short space of time, all leading to a win for the Japanese contingent when Mr. Saito drilled one of the Russian dudes into the mat.
Your Winners: Mr. Saito & The Great Muta 

Out on the arena floor, Tony Schiavone spoke to Doom and their manager, Teddy Long, about the upcoming streetfight. 

An intense promo which -along with the earlier Horsemen promo- made you really believe that the two teams were vying for blood, this one saw Ron Simmons talk about how much he and Butch Reed had needed to fight for everything they had, while Reed himself claimed to have invented the street fight.

OK then.

Texas Larriat Match for the United States Championship
WCW United States Champion Stan Hansen vs. Lex Luger 

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Stan Hansen chokes Lex Luger in the corner


This was a compelling match which proved to be one of the best things on the card up until this point. 

Hansen brawled and mauled Luger while The Total Package used his size and brute strength to overpower the champion in an exciting contest which saw both men touch all three corners on multiple occasions.

Eventually, Luger got the fourth corner but took referee Marc Curtis out in the process. 

With the announcers claiming that a prone Curtis simply hadn't seen Luger hit that final corner, Nick Patrick came out and the match continued with Hansen finally touching all four corners.

However, just when you thought it was all over, Curtis popped back up and revealed that he had seen Luger hit all four corners after all, giving him the victory, and the title. 

This was good stuff.
Your Winner and NEW United States Champion: Lex Luger 

Post match, Lex gave a ringside promo to Jim Ross, telling him just how good it felt to once again be the new US Champion. 

World Championship Wrestling World Team Championship Street Fight
WCW Tag Team Champions Doom (Butch Reed & Ron Simmons w/ Teddy Long) vs. The Four Horsemen (Arn Anderson & Barry Windham)

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Arn Anderson & Barry Windham head into battle against Doom


This was a damn fine street fight right up until the silly finish. 

All four men went at it full bore, holding nothing back in a wild, chaotic, and violent street fight that was just incredibly fun to watch from start to..well, almost the finish. 

After a tremendous brawl, Barry Windham rolled up Butch Reed while Ron Simmons simultaneously covered Arn Anderson. Unsure of what to do, referee Nick Patrick simply counted the fall for both teams and the match just...somehow ended.
No Contest

It was a dumb finish, and while I get that the idea was to ensure neither team had to do the job, there's still better ways they could have done this. 

The fighting didn't even end there, either. Both teams brawled to the back as Paul E. and JR got really angry and confused about who had won the match. Eventually, as the Horsemen and Doom were separated, Ross told us that it was a no contest but Doom retained the gold. 

This was then followed by another commercial for Wrestlewar in which the voiceover told us we'd seen MAN VS. METAL. 

Hell yeah, I really hope that match is just some random dude taking on the concept of heavy metal music. 

Pat O' Conner Tag Team Tournament Final
Team Japan (The Great Muta & Mr. Saito) vs. Team USA (Rick & Scott Steiner)

During the introductions, GMC told us that this match would determine the WCW International Tag Team Champions. I'm pretty sure that was just a name only and that the company didn't introduce a third tag team title. 

This was another good match, although it did seem a little too similiar to some of the other contests in this tournament. 

The early part saw Scotty putting on a clinic in finesse with The Great Muta before The Dog Faced Gremlin tagged in and matched power and brawn with Mr. Saito. That was a great way to open the match before Scott played face in peril and even ate a spiked piledriver which Jim Ross was sure was going to end things.

It didn't. Scotty managed to make a blind tag to his brother, after which Rick came off the top rope with with a sunset flip for the cover, the count, and the tournament.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers 

Afterwards, The Steiners headed up to the top of the entrance way to meet Tony Schiavone.

Surrounded by the same flag-bearing women from the start of the show, with the giant 7-8ft trophy behind them, Schiavone introduced WCW president Jim Herd who first congratulated all of the teams who had taken part in the competition before finally congratulating "the two best superheavyweights [he'd] ever seen, The Steiner Brothers." 

As fireworks went off, Rick and Scott didn't give a traditional celebratory speech, but instead tipped their hats to the servicemen who were then currently fighting in Kuwait.

Steel Cage Title vs. Mask Match for the National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Sting vs. The Black Scorpion

Special Guest Referee: Dick The Bruiser

WCW Starrcade '90 Review  - Ric Flair disguised as The Black Scorpion


This was an interesting one in that the pre and post match goings on were far more interesting and entertaining than anything that actually happened bell to bell.

Things began with a gaggle of men dressed in Black Scorpion attire walking to the ring before a large contraption was lowered from the ceiling. 

JR mentioned that it looked like a space craft, though to this fan it looked much more like a giant lampshade. The lampshade-craft folded in on itself as The Black Scorpion's voice boomed through the PA, telling us that the other Scorpions were just his messengers while he was the real deal. 

The contraption then unfolded to reveal the challenger himself before returning to the ceiling. Cameras panned in on the Scorpion, and if it wasn't immediately and abundantly obvious to you who was underneath the mask then you'd clearly never seen a single NWA/WCW show in your life. 

After Sting made his entrance, the match got under way and proceeded to be the most boring thing you've ever witnessed. 

Half the problem was that despite being one of the greatest of all time, the man under the mask was unable to wrestle as he usually would, sticking to a very generic style in an attempt to hide his identity.

It didn't work. 

At various points, the fans began chanting the Scorpion's real identity and that was just about the only time they chanted anything.

Seriously, in all the time that I've been doing this, I don't think I've ever watched a main event play out to a quieter crowd.

Towards the finish, Sting ripped the challenger's mask off, only to reveal that he was wearing a second mask with a very distinctive tuft of blonde hair poking out of the back.

After a fairly dismal contest, Sting hit a flying crossbody to pick the predictable win.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Sting

Post match, Sting attempted to unmask his nemesis, only for the fake Scorpion messengers to hit the ring and attack. The champion and special referee Dick The Bruiser began to attack them and strip them of their masks, revealing each man to be some generic jobber.

Before Sting could get his hands on the real deal, however, Anderson and Windham hit the ring and joined the fake Scorpions in a beat down. 

Z-Man, Ricky Morton and -I think- Terry Taylor all tried to help but couldn't get into the cage until The Steiners came down with some bolt cutters and finally -after a bit of a struggle- got the cage unlocked.

That managed to turn the tide, giving Sting an opportunity to finally rip his rival's mask off and reveal him to be, yes, Nature Boy Ric Flair.

Well, colour me shocked. 

The match sucked, but I won't lie that the ending was pretty exciting.







That boring main event aside, Starrcade 1990: Collision Course was not at all a bad show. 

Though I'm not normally a fan of one-night tournaments, most of the Pat O' Conner stuff was decent while Wallstreet/Taylor and the opening Eaton/Z-Man clash were enjoyable in their own way.

The US title match was a lot of fun too, though match of the night simply has to go to the compelling Horsemen/Doom street fight which is well worth a watch.

Perhaps not the greatest Starrcade of all time, but certainly a decent show until it fell off a cliff with the main event. 

Thursday, 20 January 2022

PPV REVIEW: WWE No Mercy 2002

WWE No Mercy 2002 Review - Event poster
October 20, 2002, 
Alltel Arena, North Little Rock, Arkansas

WWE No Mercy 2002 came to us in the midst of storyline that has since gone down in history as one of the worst of all time:


As if anybody needs reminding, this was a time when Triple H decided that he didn't like Kane being happy, so accused him of murdering a girl called Katie Vick as a result of drunk driving. 

Not content with that, The Game proceeded to shag a mannequin that was supposed to be Katie, a moment few wrestling fans who saw it have ever forgotten.

The dumbest part of all this was that it was entirely unnecessary.

The Cerebral Assasin and The Big Red Machine were set to meet tonight at No Mercy in a match that would unify the World Heavyweight Championship, a story that itself was steeped in enough significance that it could have surely been enough to give the two men a compelling reason to meet.

Regardless, this is where we found ourselves tonight as No Mercy came live from North Little Rock, Arkansas.




Winner Take All

WWE No Mercy 2002 Review - Kane and The Undertaker
No Mercy 2002 began with a cold open featuring The Undertaker sitting in the locker room looking at his injured hand.

At that point, his brother Kane walked in, took a seat, and asked “so, how’s your week been?”

It was a pretty funny moment despite the fact that the two had been in some pretty intense storylines.

The obligatory opening video then showed us that Kane had been at war with Triple H during the infamous Katie Vick debacle.

The two would face off tonight in a winner-take-all match with Kane’s Intercontinental title and The Game’s World Heavyweight Championship both on the line.

Meanwhile, ‘Taker was still engaged in a bitter rivalry with WWE Champion Brock Lesnar after the two failed to settle things last month at Unforgiven 2002.

Tonight, they’d look to end things once and for all in a Hell in a Cell.

With that, we got crowd shots and pyro (but nothing from The World which was new) as Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler welcomed us to the show.

From there, it was down to ringside for our opening contest.

WWE World Tag Team Championship
WWE Tag Team Champions Chris Jericho & Christian vs. Booker T & Goldust

WWE No Mercy 2002 Review - Booker T teamed with Goldust to face Christian & Chris Jericho
So, does Christian have the distinction of being the only man to have separate tag team title reigns with both members of The Thrillseekers?

I think so. I also haven’t been watching the ‘tween-PPV tv shows as of late so I’ve no idea how Christian’s alliance with Lance Storm came to an end, but here we are.

Regardless of how they got together, Christian and Chris Jericho entered into a spirited performance with Booker T & Goldust, the result of which was a very fun opening match.

The champs cut Goldust off for the first part of the match before Booker T got involved to the delight of the live crowd.

We then got several moments of wild action before Jericho attempted a springboard dropkick on Booker only for the middle rope to completely snap, causing Y2J to collapse in a heap.

The former Undisputed Champion recovered well, hurling Book out of the ring then polishing off Goldust with a DDT onto the title belt and a top rope moonsault that was even more impressive given that he had no middle rope to help him up to the top.

Even with the scary moment when the rope broke, this was a great opener.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: Chris Jericho & Christian

WWE No Mercy 2002 Review - Funaki interviews Al Wilson
Backstage, Smackdown’s Number One Announcer, Funaki questioned Al Wilson about his goings-on with Dawn Marie.

Funaki showed Wilson two separate instances in which Marie had given him a peak at her body and asked how those peaks made him feel.

Wilson ummed and ah’d but never answered the question, so Funaki then showed him footage of Torrie Wilson catching her dad in the shower with Dawn.

In slow, broken English the man with the microphone asked:

So, Funaki have one question: Why you wear your clothes in the shower?”

Wilson ignored that and simply gave a very dated Bill Clinton reference by insisting that he did not have sexual relations with that woman.

Way to keep it relevant, Al.

Mr. Wilson may not have been much good here, but Funaki was good, especially when he gave us the punchline to the whole segment, speaking in further slow, broken English as he said:

It seems...that Al...Wilson...does not understand English.”

Brilliant. I laughed so damn hard at that.

Dawn Marie vs. Torrie Wilson

WWE No Mercy 2002 Review - Dawn Marie faced Torrie WIlson

Dawn Marie made her way to the ring as the crew were still fixing the ropes.

The match was never going to be a classic, but it was the best it could be given each woman’s skill level and it certainly didn’t stink.

Dawn Marie spent most of the match mauling Torrie before they went into the same old tired spot that got done in every match involving two hot women:

Both girls get in a cat fight, end up rolling around on top of the referee and the referee likes it too much.

Yawn.

That was lame, but the rest of the match was OK for what it was.

After spending most of the time getting her butt whooped, Wilson pulled off a swinging neck breaker to score the fall.
Your Winner: Torrie Wilson

WWE No Mercy 2002 Review - Coach interviews Rob Van Dam

Backstage, Rob Van Dam gave an entertaining interview to Jonathan Coachman about his rivalry and upcoming match with Ric Flair.

Flair had turned heel on RVD by costing him a title match against HHH back at Unforgiven. The two would lock up later, but for now Mr. PPV claimed that he not time for styling, profiling, limos or jets as he was a chair smashing, frog splashing, ying-yanging man named Rob Van Dam.

That was good stuff from RVD. What wasn’t so good was that Coach then saw Paul Heyman, Brock Lesnar and Undertaker’s ex, Tracy, all heading through the back.

Lesnar and Heyman had nothing to say but Tracy wanted Coach to know that ‘Taker was a scumbag and would get what was coming to him tonight.

Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. Rob Van Dam

WWE No Mercy 2002 Review - Ric Flair battles Rob Van Dam
This was neither man’s greatest ever match, but it was still a solid effort with a lot to enjoy.

Ever the veteran, Flair spent time attacking RVD’s greatest weapon, his two legs, and even locked him in the figure four.

Van Dam made a comeback and one frog splash later picked up a big victory following a decent contest.
Your Winner: Rob Van Dam

Backstage, Big Show was seen venting his frustrations to Stephanie McMahon, much to the chagrin of Raw GM Eric Bischoff.

As Show’s boss, Easy E wanted to know just what was going on, so the giant let him have it, bemoaning the fact that he hadn’t been featured on a PPV since July and hadn’t headlined a show in ages despite the fact that he was 7ft, 500 pounds and a former WWE and WCW champion.

Bischoff berated his employee for daring to take that kind of tone with him, so Big Show grabbed hold of him and threatened to break his neck if things didn’t change.

How Awesome Was the Intercontinental Championship?

Tonight’s winner-take-all match meant that this would be the last time the Intercontinental Championship would be defended as it got absorbed with the world title.

As a final farewell, WWE gave us an awesome video package highlighting the history of the prestigious title and showcasing just about every man to ever hold the title.

It was very good, not least because it gave us a few shots of the much-missed Owen Hart.

Honestly, this made you question why ok earth WWE would get rid of the belt in the first place.

The video made it look like HHH vs. Kane was next, but it wasn’t.

Instead we got this:

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

WWE No Mercy 2002 Review - Tajiri gets set to face Jamie Noble
This was as solid a Cruiserweight match as you were going to get from WWE, an exciting back and forth with lots of unique spots and plenty to enjoy.

After a compelling battle, Tajiri looked to have the match won, but Nidia snogged the referee’s face off so that he couldn’t count the fall.

She then prevented the challenger from executing a roll-up, allowing her man to retain the gold.
Your Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Jamie Noble

Post-match, Tajiri kissed Nidia. Irate, Noble then went to show his rival how it was done but got kicked in the back of the head by the Japanese Buzz Saw.”

Chavo Gets His Butt Handed to Him

Out in the back, Chris Benoit warned Eddie Guerrero that Kurt Angle was whooping Chavo Guerrero’s butt.

Concerned, Uncle Eddie raced to the rescue but then stopped short of entering the room where the assault was taking place.

As Chavo screamed for help from behind closed doors, Eddie reached the conclusion that it had all been a rouse and, in a hilarious moment, mistook his nephew’s voice for that of a little girl.

When Chavo was finally sent hurling through the door, Eddie pounced on Angle but was immediately stopped by two officials, which begs the question as to why said officials did nothing to stop Angle destroying Chavo.

Winner Take All
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H vs. Kane

WWE No Mercy 2002 Review - Kane vs. Triple H
On any other night, a title unification match for the World Heavyweight Championship and the Intercontinental Championship would have been a big enough story in its own right.

WWE being what they were (and many would say, still are), they all but ignored the significance of such an event and instead focused on a dumb story involving Kane’s friend Katie Vick dying in a car accident while he was at the wheel and Triple H shagging a mannequin in a coffin while wearing a Kane mask.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the first half of this match was pretty lifeless.

Things picked up when Ric Flair got involved to start running interference for his protégé. We even got the briefest of cameos from Kane’s tag team partner Hurricane who got immediately pedigreed and spent the rest of the match napping on the outside.

Flair’s shenanigans did liven things up a bit and gave us a finishing sequence that was at least more exciting than the first part of the match, but it was nothing out of the ordinary for a PPV title match.

After an underwhelming match, The Game scored the pinfall thanks to the pedigree.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Triple H

So long IC title...for now.

Tracy Confesses

Back in Stephanie McMahon’s office, Tracy confessed to the Smackdown GM that she’d made up having an affair with The Undertaker at Paul Heyman’s request and had gone along with it because she wanted “Mark” back.

Unbeknownst to her, Mark had been listening in from behind the door and heard the whole thing. He walked in, called her a lying bitch, and left again.

WWE Tag Team Championship
Rey Mysterio & Edge vs. Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit

WWE No Mercy 2002 Review - Edge & Rey Mysterio vs. Kurt Angle & Chris Jericho
This was just such a tremendous match I’m almost tempted to go back and rewatch it.

Stephanie McMahon had created the WWE Tag Team Championship to give Smackdown its own duos title only to realise that she had no real tag teams on her roster.

Make shift teams like Edge & Rey Mysterio and Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit had been formed and had gone on to duke it out in a tournament to determine the first ever champions.

This was the final, and what a final it was.

Exceptional wrestling, jaw-dropping high spots, Rey Mysterio getting thrown 500ft in the air by Benoit and Angle, this match had it all...

...OK, so 500ft may be an exaggeration, but it’s no exaggeration to say that this was a truly excellent match, one which ended when Angle made Edge tap to the ankle lock.
Your Winners and first ever WWE tag team Champions: Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit

01.58.26 - TAKER

Backstage, Undertaker bullied a medic into giving him a shot. In a rare moment of vulnerability, ‘Taker admitted that without a shot to help him with his injured hand, he wouldn’t survive Hell in a Cell.

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

As Victoria made her way out for her debut PPV match, Jim Ross described her as being “permanently pre-menstrual,” a comment that was so problematic even Jerry Lawler of all people called him out on it.

Questionable commentary aside, this was a decent match, not great by any stretch, but competently performed and inoffensive.

After a few minutes of getting battered by the challenger, Trish Stratus picked up the three count to retain her title.
Your Winner and Still Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus

Before the main event, we went over to The World, where Rikishi told us about that time Undertaker pushed him off the top of the cell at Armageddon 2000 in a spot that was nowhere near as impressive as WWE made it out to be.

We then got one final video package for Taker vs. Brock and then it was on with the match.

Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. The Undertaker

WWE No Mercy 2002 Review - Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
This incredible match was proof positive that sometimes less really is so much more and that Hell in a Cell match didn’t need insane, Foleyesque stunts to be effective.

In fact, neither ‘Taker nor Brock ever left the cell, instead choosing to destroy each other -and I mean utterly *destroy* each other- inside the structure.

Lesnar immediately went after his opponent's injured hand but the challenger fought back and battered Brock to a bloody pulp outside the ring.

‘Taker was even able to get his hands on Paul Heyman and attack him to the point that Lesnar’s manager bled beautifully.

The sight and sound of Heyman, his face dripping with blood, screaming desperately from outside the cage, begging ‘Taker to show mercy and then begging Brock to fight back, really added something special to what was already an amazing match.

The tides turned once again and Brock took charge, ensuring his rival also donned the proverbial crimson mask...except it wasn’t so much a mask for Undertaker. He bled so much that it was more like a crimson all-over body suit.

Anyway, things went back and forth in an awesome display of brutality until finally, the champion countered a Tombstone with an F5 to retain the gold.
Your Winner and Still WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar

As the show went off the air, Lesnar grabbed his title and stood atop the cage as a battered, bloody, and defeated Dead Man looked on in despair.

Honestly, that was one of the most compelling matches I’ve ever seen in all my years as a wrestling fan and one I’m definitely adding to my favourites.






If you fast forward through the World Heavyweight Championship match and don’t set your expectations too high for the women’s matches, No Mercy 2002 proved to be a very enjoyable show from start to finish.

The opening tag match, Cruiserweight Championship and, to a lesser extent, RVD/Flair all delivered, and while the Smackdown tag title match was so good that it seemed certain to steal the show, it was topped by a brutal, bloody, and utterly enthralling main event that has to be considered one of the best Hell in a Cell matches of all time.


Retro Pro Wrestling

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