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Wrestling > TNA

From JHawk's Beak: The Best of WWE 2002
Posted by Jared "JHawk" Hawkins on Dec 30, 2002, 23:24

From JHawk's Beak: Best of WWE 2002
by Jared "JHawk" Hawkins

Playoff bound: Yours truly was at Cleveland Browns Stadium yesterday for the Browns' huge victory over the Atlanta Falcons, and hot damn was that great. That had to be one of the most incredible goalline stands in the history of Cleveland Browns football. Then the Dolphins had to choke (thanks to the WORST pass interference call I've ever seen setting up one touchdown. I mean, it might not have mattered anyway in the grand scheme of things, but don't give key football games to teams) and force me to wait for over three hours to see if the Jets would win or not. Luckily they won, so now, we're in Pittsburgh in the Wild Card round, and they haven't taken on a Browns team that actually had a running game. Of course, they've never faced our backup quarterback either... We're coming, Steelers. We're coming.

Even with a shovel, you still can't get past the bullshit: I've spent the last few days reading Hollywood Hulk Hogan's book, and it's a pretty quick and fairly entertaining read, but even I can't tell how much of it is an honest appraisal and how much of it is merely Hogan stroking his own ego. The road stories are entertaining, and I enjoyed hearing about his training and his early career, but then he makes claims like being the first to have entrance music (Gorgeous George only has you beat by about 30 years, Hulkster) and that he and The Rock are the only wrestlers to ever secure major movie roles (Roddy Piper had the lead in They Live, which was ten times better than anything Hogan had a lead in). And did you know that Mr. Nanny made money? Hogan said so himself! It's worth a read, but bring your shovel with you.

Tonight: Technically this isn't Raw, but actually the "Best of WWE 2002". And don't expect anything except possibly the Hogan-Rock match to be unclipped. Anyway, this probably won't be very detailed since it's the very definition of a throwaway show (and since most of this has been covered on this site previously), but for those of you who decided to miss it, here's at least some form of a rundown for it. And since the lineup WWE has given us only lists one Triple H match, I'll be nice and not bring out the HHHater Clock this week.

Let's get on with this shall we?

Segment 1

A combined Raw/SmackDown opening leads us in.

Coach and Someone Feed Terri are your hosts. See what I mean about this being a throwaway show? They tell us what to expect tonight from. It's a joint production of Raw and SmackDown, so here are Michael Coleslaw and Tazz in another empty arena.

No Disqualification Match: Edge vs. Eddy Guerrero (SmackDown 9/26)

As expected, we join this one in progress. From Dr. Tom's recap:

Edge hotshots Eddy and dumps him, and gets a ladder from under the ring. He runs at Eddy with it, but ends up clocking the ref instead. That looked pretty painful. Eddy chairs Edge in the back, and tosses him back in for some similar treatment. Eddy misses a Frog Splash...

[CLIP]

He faceplants Eddy and goes up, only to get brought down with a hurricanrana for 2. Eddy works the arm and goes for a ropewalk, but Edge counters with a filthy powerbomb for 2. Edge brings the ladder in, but Eddy dropkicks it into his face and gets his own ladder. He slugs Edge down onto one ladder, drapes the other atop him, and slingshots onto the ladder from the apron.

[CLIP]

Eddy climbs the other ladder, as does Edge, and they fight over the top. Eddy wins that one, and comes down with a NICE sunset flip powerbomb. That gets 2.99. Edge backdrops Eddy into the ladder, and Eddy lands right on his head and neck. Yikes. They both do a slow climb again, but this time, Edge wins the scuffle, and hits the Impaler DDT from the top of the ladder. Daaaaamn. That gets the pin, and we saw 16:43 of it. This was an AMAZING match for free TV, and better than Eddy’s Raw ladder match earlier this year. I’d say it was as at least as good as their PPV match. Definitely a MOTYC, but I think Angle-Benoit from Unforgiven beats it, though not by much. 9/10

Tonight, The Rock vs. Hogan from WrestleMania! But next, the worst ladder match in history!

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COMMERCIAL BREAK
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Nothing more to add here, as Dr. Tom pretty much said it all. An easy **** match that we got for free. You can't beat that.

Segment 2

Desire in Review: The Undertaker's video to Gavin Rossdale's "Adrenaline", complete with blurry "WWF" logo.

Coach and Terri put over The Undertaker's reign as Undisputed Champion, which leads us to a history package of the Undertaker-Jeff Hardy feud. Which leads us to:

Ladder Match for the Undisputed Championship: Mr. Extreme vs. The Undertaker (champion) from Raw (July 1)

From my recap:

Jeff on the apron, and Taker rams the ladder into Hardy and sends him off the apron and into the announcers table. Taker sets up the ladder as if to climb, but he decides he wants to kick Hardy's ass some more. Taker threatens Mark Yeaton as if Yeaton's a threat.

[CLIP]

Taker sets up the ladder in the corner and sends Jeff into it. And the charge, but Jeff has a survival instinct and moves, causing Taker to hit the ladder. Corkscrew moonsault, and this might be Jeff's last shot.

[CLIP]

Jeff grabs the bigger ladder from underneath the ring. He sets it up, and he's going for it. He needs about two more rungs, but Taker hits him from behind and sets up the Last Ride. Jeff counters with a rana that sends him to the floor and tries to get the belt again. He touches the belt, but Taker with a shot from behind with a chair before pulling Jeff down. Taker sets up for the Last Ride on the chair, but Jeff grabs the chair and gets out of it. Another chair shot, and he might be out! Dammit, Taker, get up! GET UP! Touching the belt...and Taker with chair shots to the back. And now Taker climbs the other end of the ladder. Jeff with one more grab, but Taker choke slams Jeff off of the ladder and grabs the belt at 14:04. Thank God, because World Champion Jeff Hardy would have sucked ass.

Tonight! The street fight from SummerSlam, but first, Rey Rey vs. Angle.

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COMMERCIAL BREAK
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Even showing only the best bits, time has not been kind to this one. At the time I called this the worst ladder match ever, and when you figure the RVD-Eddy Guerrero ladder match was just five weeks before this, it makes it that much worse. This was the blowoff of an OK feud, but on a best of the year show? Even on Raw, there's better stuff to choose from.

Segment 3

Get a look at Rey Misterio Jr.'s entrance video.

Michael Cole and Tazz lead us into our next matchup from SummerSlam, My Olympic Hero Kurt Angle vs. Rey Misterio Jr.

Let's go to Dames' Diatribe for the call:

Angle out first awaiting Mysterio to make his entrance, but he’s actually behind him and springboard headscissors him from behind. Rey with some more lucha offense before Kurt grabs a hold of Rey and goes for the Anklelock. Rey flips out of it, trips Angle onto the ropes and goes for the 619, but Angle ducks and the move is countered for the first time in WWE. Boy, that move got over quickly.

[CLIP]

Kurt puts on a half crab in the old Liontamer fashion which looks really painful on such a small opponent. Man, Angle just keeps expanding that moveset! So far, the story of the match is that Angle wants to make Rey tap. This is twice that he’s worked on the leg. Rey rolls him up from that position for a desperation two count. Angle takes over again and hits an overhead belly to belly. He goes for the Angle Slam, but gets armdragged. I want to see Rey armdrag his way out of the Anklelock. I swear, he armdrags out of any position! Angle to the outside now and Rey wants to take to the air, but is stopped by the ref to massive boos. As the ref looks on between the ropes, Rey uses his back to flip over the top onto Angle! He shoves Angle back into the ring and hits a HIGH springboard legdrop for a near fall that the crowd totally bought. Rey on Angle’s shoulders but gets tossed to the ground and put in the Anklelock but Rey kicks Kurt’s arms to out of it! The crowd is definitely into this. Rey hits the 619 and the West Coast Pop (springboard hurancanrana) for a near fall! Rey can’t believe he kicked out...and his contacts officially freak me out. Rey with a top rope Dragonrana attempt (spinning rana off the top), but Angle counters into the Anklelock! Kurt pulls him to the middle and Rey taps out!

Tonight! Rocky vs. Hogan!

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COMMERCIAL BREAK
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An excellent contest. Dames gave it *** at the time, I gave it ***1/2, but this was certainly the beginning of an awesome run for the SmackDown portion of things. And that wasn't even considered the best match of the card by most people.

Segment 4

Coach and Terri hype the Hogan-Rocky match, but first, they hype the upcoming Raw 10th Anniversary Show and bring up Owen Hart. The night after his death was the Owen Hart tribute show, and it's this week's Raw Retro (5/24/1999).

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COMMERCIAL BREAK
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Segment 5

Now it's Cole and Tazz hyping Hogan vs. The Rock.

Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock (WrestleMania X8)

Hogan is in the ring to a huge ovation, and Rocky comes down to a less than stellar ovation. You know, if you cut the entrances out you could actually show more of the actual matches. JR makes the infamous "mixed reaction" comment. Staredown. We finally ring the bell. Long lockup, and Hogan throws Rocky down to a huge pop. Hogan with a side headlock. Rock with some forearms out of it, but Hogan tackles him down and poses to a huge pop. Hogan dares Rocky to cross the line. Lockup, and Hogan with somes knees to the midsection. Right hands. And a clothesline for another huge pop. Rocky ducks a clothesline and gets a flying clothesline of his own to a lot of boos. Rocky says "Just bring it." Shoving match. Rocky with right hands and the spit punch to knock Hogan down, and Hogan rolls to the floor for a Tastykake break.

[CLIP]

Hogan with some punches, and a double-axhandle to the back to knock the referee out.

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COMMERCIAL BREAK
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Um...why didn't we just cut to the commercial break and THEN go to the ref bump? Oh, wait, that would have made sense.

Segment 6

We're back, and Rocky gets a double-leg takedown and goes into a sharpshooter, but remember there's no referee. Hogan crawls to the ropes, and Rocky drags him to the center of the ring. Hogan taps, but there's no referee. Huge "Rocky sucks" chant. Hogan with a low blow and a Rock Bottom to a huge pop. The referee magically wakes up and counts 2. Hogan takes off the weightlifting belt and whips Rocky repeatedly with it. And of course, the referee who had magically woken up to make a two count 30 seconds ago has now magically fallen asleep again and sees none of it. Irish whip, and Rocky ducks a punch and counters with a DDT. And Rocky starts whipping Hogan with Hogan's weightlifting belt. Rock Bottom for 2, and here comes the Hulk Up! No selling punches to a huge pop, and Hogan fights back. Big Boot! Big Leg Drop! The cover, and Rocky kicks out! More punches from Hogan. Big Boot #2. The Big Leg Drop misses this time, and Rocky takes him down with Rock Bottom #2. Rock Bottom #3! Rocky with the nip up, the People's Elbow, and the pin.

[CLIP]

Hogan tries to leave the ring, but Rocky stops him. Rocky wants Hogan to pose even though Hogan has some cracked ribs, and the crowd is finally getting behind Rocky after hating his guts for the last 20 minutes. Hogan does his normal posing routine. JR and Lawler should have just let the moment speak for itself and kept quiet though.

Up next, the SummerSlam street fight.

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COMMERCIAL BREAK
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Even though I didn't find the match to be anything special as far as workrate goes (I'd give it maybe ** since the crowd was so incredibly hot for it), it really does deserve to be on this special. This was one of the few matches all year that smarks and marks alike wanted to see, if only because we had never seen it at that point. The atmosphere for it was absolutely incredible and made the match what is was.

Segment 7

Coach and Terri relive Eric Bischoff's initial appearance as Raw GM. And another huge surprise of 2002 was the return of Shawn Michaels. Which coincidentally leads us to an extended history package for his feud with Triple H, which coincidentally leads into:

Street Fight: The Holy Bible Kid vs. Hungry Hungry Hippos (from SummerSlam)

Dames had the call for you.

HBK taunts him in the corner and the match is on. HBK with some punches and punches and more punches. Shoulder tackle by HHH. HBK TAKES A BUMP off that...that just scares me. HHH to the outside now....PLANCHA by HBK!

[CLIP]

Forearm off the top and he signals for Sweet Chin Music but it misses. BACKBREAKER by HHH!

[Here we get a long series of clips here even though the commentary never stops]

HHH with the chair now, but HBK superkicks it back into his face! Both men are down!

[CLIP]

NIP UP~! Holy SHIT! Everyone in the building is marking out! Back body drop by HBK!? What the hell? Chair shot by HBK! HBK throws HHH to the outside now and whips HHH to give him a taste of his own medicine. More brawling around ringside.

[CLIP]

HBK sets up a table! He hits HHH in the head with a a fire extinguisher and HHH is layout out on the table. Shawn Michaels up on the top now.....splash through the table onto Triple H!

[CLIP]

Is he going for his WM X splash??? No, he hits the elbow! He signals for Sweet Chin Music! He goes for it, but its caught and turned into the Pedigree! That’s countered into a roll up for the three!!!! HBK WINS! As HBK celebrates....Triple H nails him with the Sledgehammer in the back! Another VILE shot and HHH walks out smiling. HBK does the stretcher job as Ross condemns HHH to the depths of Hell a few times. How effective was that angle? I was in a room full of marks and they ALL cringed.

Still to come tonight, TLC IV. But next, Angle vs. Edge!

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COMMERCIAL BREAK
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On the one hand, they got that boring 8-10 minute stretch with Triple H using his slow but effective offense out of there. On the other hand, this thing was so horribly clipped that it doesn't do the actual match justice. Either way, this is the only Triple H match since his torn quad that was worth anything.

Segment 8

WrestleMania tickets go on sale January 11. Edge and Angle should be a huge part of it.

Kurt Angle vs. Edge (from Backlash)

Edge with a forearm and a series of shots in the corner. Hard elbow by Angle, but Edge comes back with a dropkick. Flapjack, and a clothesline over the top rope.

[CLIP]

Edge to the top rope, but Angle gets that belly-to-belly superplex for a near fall. Into the ankle lock, but Edge is quickly out of it. Angle goes for a German suplex, and he finally gets the rolling Germans in and gets a two count after the third one. Edge counters the Angle Slam and hits a German of his own.

[CLIP]

Edge back up top...missile dropkick! The cover, but only a count of two. Edgecution blocked, but Edge gets some forearms before Angle gets an Angle Slam for a near fall. Down go the straps...ankle lock! Edge counters it into a Victory roll for 2, but Angle comes back with a clothesline. Angle leaves the ring and brings in a chair. He swings, but hits the top rope and therefore hits himself with the chair. Edgeomatic for 2. Kick to the face by Edge, the referee gets rid of the chair, and Edge with a spear...NO! Angle with a kick to the face and an Angle Slam for the victory.

Up next! Brock vs. Rocky!

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COMMERCIAL BREAK
----------

I haven't actually seen that match in its entirety yet, so that was interesting to see. Most people say that one was better than their hair vs. hair match at Judgment Day. I can believe it, but it's really hard to tell from this when they clip it down to six minutes. Great finish to this one though.

Segment 9

The Rock and Brock Lesnar train for SummerSlam. Luckily this part was edited somewhat.

Tazz and Cole discuss Brock Lesnar's ascension in WWE as we go to SummerSlam:

For the Undisputed WWE Championship: King Brock I (w/Your God and Mine Paul E. Heyman) vs. The Rock (champion)

Take it, Dames!

The Champion comes out last, which always makes it seem more important. Rock rushes in and begins throwing right hands at the Vanilla Gorilla, but Brock absorbs them all and just TOSSES him with an overhead belly to belly. Two backbreakers for a two. Shoulder tackles by Brock and Rock falls to the outside where Paul Heyman takes a cheap shot at him.

[CLIP]

Heyman tries to cheapshot Rocky as he sets up the announce table, but gets caught. “OH SHIT!” says Heyman. Brock tries to save Paul E, but Rocky catapults him into the ring post....and then Heyman takes a Rock Bottom through the table.

[CLIP]

Rock with a Rock Bottom to Lesnar! 1.....2.....NO! Rock is talking to himself now....”What do I have to do to beat this guy?” “Let’s Go Lesnar” chant again! BROCKBOTTOM~! Rocky kicks out at 2! Spinebuster by The Rock! He sets up The People’s Elbow to some boos....but he gets clotheslined before he can do it! Lesnar with The Rock now.....F5! NO! Rock spun out onto his feet! Rock with a Rock Bottom attempt! NO! Lesnar elbows out.....F5!!!! 1.....2......3!!!! to a pop!!! Brock Lesnar is your NEW WWE Undisputed Champion in only 5 months of active competition!

Brock became the youngest WWE champion ever with that win. And don't forget, SmackDown is live this week from Albuquerque, and Dr. Tom will cover the big wedding for you right here on TSM.

The Divas get their own video to the tune of Lillian Garcia's "Shout".

Up next, TLC IV!

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COMMERCIAL BREAK
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That match still amazes me. Not only was it better than I was expecting, but I still can't believe the crowd was that hostile toward Rocky. It must be because he spends more time in Hollywood than in the ring these days. But couldn't we have shown two more minutes of the match rather than just throwing that divas' video in there? Well, the ladies need the airtime too.

Segment 10

Desire in Review: Jeff Hardy's video to "Not Enough".

Remember Raw Roulette from the October 7 edition of Raw? Well, here was the main event for it.

TLC IV for the World Tag Team Championship: Rob...Van...Dam and Mr. Extreme vs. The New but not Improved Dudley Boyz vs. Christian and Y2J+2 vs. HurriKane (champions)

Kane is flying solo but is still pretty much having his way with all six men. Attempts to win already, and they're already failing. Kane and RVD are going at it in the ring. Hardy in for a double team, but Kane counters with a double clothesline.

[CLIP]

They set up a ladder, and RVD springboards it into their faces. Wow, that wasn't nearly as contrived as usual. Hardy sets up the double giant ladders and climbs...and legdrops Kane through the table. "Holy shit" chant breaks out. Bubba dumps a ladder over the top and hits Jericho with it. Bubba climbing up...Christian power bombs him down, and we take our last...

----------
COMMERCIAL BREAK
----------

Segment 11

Bubba and RVD up separate ladders as ECW chants start, and Jericho and Christian for saves. Jericho bulldogs Bubba off, and Christian takes RVD down with an inverted DDT. That was cool!

[CLIP]

And Kane is setting up the ladder for the possible win, but Spike holds his leg for dear life...and nearly dies when he gets put through the ladder. But Jericho with a chair, and he knocks the ladder into Kane's face. And a chair shot for Bubba. But RVD with a spinning heel kick to Jericho (missing the chair). Kane in the corner, Hardy holding the chair...Van Terminator!

[CLIP]

It's Jericho's turn to go for the win, and Spike tries to stop him, but keeps getting kicked away...until he turns the ladder over and Jericho goes headfirst over the top rope. I have never seen that! Thank God he did that flip going over! Spike going for a potential miracle victory...but he's the shortest one so Christian is able to stop him before he can grab the belts. Spike goes for the Dudley Dawg, but Christian dumps him over the top rope and through a table. Christian going for the win, but Bubba up with him...Super Bubba Bomb! That's the one time that move is even slightly credible! RVD to the top rope...Five Star Frog Splash! And to the top rope goes Hardy! And he misses the Swanton Bomb! Bubba backdrops Hardy over the top rope and through a table. RVD with a Van Daminator to Bubba. RVD going for the belts, but Jericho with a chair for the save. Jericho climbing after him...Walls of Jericho (sorta) on the top of the ladder! Jericho reaching, but there's Kane to go for it, and he wants a choke slam, but Jericho's fighting...there's the super choke slam! And Kane sits up old school style! Kane going for the belts...and he gets them at 25:08 in what might be the longest match in Raw history!

Back to Coach and Terri, and Terri digs guys with masks. And that's all the time we have, but happy New Year, Raw is live in Phoenix next year, bye bye.

----------
END OF SHOW
----------

There's no sense in dragging this out since it was only a rehash show, so let's get to it. A Year in Review show is fine, but when you call it the "best" of the year, show the best of the year. If you had to show a ladder match from this year, then it had to be RVD vs. Eddy Guerrero from Memorial Day. Edge vs. Angle is fine, but where's the tag match from No Mercy that is generally considered to be the WWE Match of the Year, or even Angle-Benoit from Unforgiven? For that matter, why did Raw get more matches than SmackDown on a "best of" show? And why rehash the history packages and Desire videos when that time could go to showing more of the matches? These are all little points, but they're valid.

And on a sort of unrelated note, this blurring out of the WWF logo is beginning to border on the absurd. The name change occured on May 6, so anything from May 5 or sooner should remain untouched and to hell with World Wildlife Fund.

Anyway, a decent show, but very poorly executed in both how much clipping was done and which matches they showed in the first place. Maybe I should have just taken the night off.

Happy New Year everybody, and I'll be back for next week's Raw at the latest. You can send me your feedback at the usual addy if you'd like.



 

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