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WWE King of the Ring

June 23, 2002

by Samoa Rowe

-Follow me on Twitter: @SamoaRowe

-From Columbus, OH. Our hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.

KOTR Semifinal:
Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam

This match is kind of infamous for Jericho arguing with fans online about the quality. Jericho thought this was a ***** classic, the internet just kind of shrugged. The match begins competitively, at least until Jericho slaps RVD for being a show-off. RVD returns the favor with a kick to the face and they sprint through an exchange. RVD scores with a somersault plancha to the floor. Jericho blocks a Frog Splash by kicking the official into the ropes. Jericho nails a superplex to gain control. RVD struggles to make a comeback but manages to unload his bag of tricks. Jericho leaps over a leg sweep and delivers an enziguri. Jericho busts out a German suplex for a near fall. RVD comes back with a split legged moonsault. RVD has a reversal for most of Jericho’s move set. Jericho almost steals the pinfall with the ropes and nails a Bulldog. The Lionsault misses but so does the Five Star Frog Splash! The Lionsault connects but RVD kicks out. Jericho briefly applies the Walls and pulls RVD by the hair to the top rope. RVD shoves Jericho down for the Frog Splash for the win at 14:28. Great opener as they went into a higher gear in the final stretch, but not an all-time classic, ***½.
Winner: Rob Van Dam

-Jerry Lawler interviews RVD in the ring. RVD is going on about facing Lesnar, Test, or Godzilla in the finals when Jericho ambushes him from behind. Jericho applies the Walls and has to be pulled off by a pack of referees. This doesn’t bode well for RVD going into the KOTR finals.

-Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar are watching the monitor and are delighted by what just went down. Heyman loves the Godzilla reference, but unlike Godzilla, Brock Lesnar is real!

KOTR Semifinals:
Test vs. Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman)

Lesnar takes control early, clubbing Test into the corner. Test rebounds with a clothesline as the crowd chants “Goldberg” at Lesnar. Brock takes a time out to consult with Heyman but runs into a flurry of punches from Test. Lesnar rebounds with a spinebuster. Lesnar uses his power offense well but can’t put Test away with a suplex. Atomic drop by Test, but Lesnar fires back with a power slam. Test puts together a string of moves, including a Full Nelson Slam! Test nails a Pump Handle Slam for only 2. Test nails the running Big Boot for a devastatingly close near fall. Heyman provides a distraction, allowing Lesnar to finish things with the F-5 at 8:16. This was a surprisingly lively outing. Test nearly pulling off the upset was a cool moment, **½.
Winner: Brock Lesnar

-Jonathan Coachman interviews Bubba Ray Dudley for his KOTR pick. Bubba says both RVD and Lesnar are great, but no one is getting past The Next Big Thing. Bubba is disappointed that he isn’t going to Summerslam, but he’ll find another way to make an impact.

-Lance Storm and Christian are interviewed about their KOTR pick. Storm is unhappy that the finals won’t be the all-Canadian match-up of Test vs. Jericho. Christian accuses WWE of being prejudiced against Canadian athletes. They bad-mouth America. This angle ended up going nowhere fast and made everyone involved look bad.

Cruiserweight Championship:
The Hurricane © vs. Jamie Noble (with Nidia)

The match begins with an even exchange, but Noble begins showcasing some aggression. Hurricane fires back with a Shining Wizard. Hurricane looks for the choke slam but settles for a head scissors. Nidia botches a distraction but manages to lure Hurricane into a clothesline trap from Noble. Hurricane takes a beat down as Noble wears him out with a combination of power moves and submission holds. We get a Hurri-comeback as the champion puts some offense together, but Noble cuts it short with a sleeper. They trade shots and Hurricane nails a neck breaker. Another neck breaker off the turnbuckles only gets 2 for Hurricane. Noble rebounds with a German suplex pin attempt. The Eye of the Hurricane hits! Nidia steals Hurricane’s cape, prompting him to suplex Noble out of the ring. Flying cross body to the floor connects! Swinging neck breaker off the top rope by Hurricane! Nidia distracts the referee but Hurricane launches Noble into her. Chokeslam by Hurricane but Noble kicks out! Noble nails a power bomb and Nidia shoves Hurricane’s leg off the ropes, giving Noble the win at 11:53! This was a well executed contest, with the action building up to the big spots. Too bad the crowd was lethargic until the end, ***.
Winner and new Cruiserweight Champion: Jamie Noble

-Earlier today, The Rock arrived at the arena! He’s got a main event to interfere in. -Terri Runnels interviews Eddie Guerrero about his match with Ric Flair. Last week, Chris Benoit returned and blamed Ric Flair for allowing Steve Austin to leave before he could get his payback. Eddie Guerrero joined Benoit in beating down Flair, thus resulting in this match tonight. Eddie gets carried away giving shout-outs to all the members of the Guerrero family, ignoring Terri’s question. Eddie says he’s in his prime and Flair can’t do half the stuff he can do in the ring (that was a shoot, methinks).

Ric Flair vs. Eddie Guerrero

Poor Flair turned heel to feud with Austin, who swiftly walked out, and now he’s a baby face again. That’s some WCW-style nonsense right there. It’s worth noting that Guerrero was supposed to wrestle Austin on this event, so he has a chip on his shoulder. After a feeling out portion, Flair starts delivering chops. Eddie takes a break before going after the head. Flair counters with a vertical suplex but Guerrero drop-kicks the knee. Eddie smells blood and targets the freshly hurt knee (including stealing the Figure Four). Eddie makes a blunder by shifting his attention from the knee, and Flair throws some chops. Eddie chops back and gets back dropped over the ropes! Eddie rebounds with a suplex but misses the Frog Splash! Flair prepares Eddie for the Figure Four when Chris Benoit appears at ringside. Flair applies the hold as Benoit looks on in concern. They trade pinning predicaments and Guerrero nails a Tornado DDT. Benoit pulls Flair to ringside and applies the Crossface! The referee ejects Benoit and doesn’t see Bubba Ray Dudley run in and hit Eddie with the Bubba Bomb! Benoit chases Dudley out, while Flair covers Eddie for the win at 16:56. This was a bit long and slow for that finish, **½.
Winner: Ric Flair

-William Regal and Christopher Nowinski are upset with the service at The World. Great advertisement for the restaurant, eh? They make fun of the waitress for going to school while working there, and they don’t see her stick her finger in their food. The waitress gains 5 points of overness from this segment.

Women’s Championship:
Trish Stratus © vs. Molly Holly

Both J.R. and King are giving Molly crap for having a fat ass, which only makes me think less of them. Molly, the unintentional baby face of this feud, brings the fight to Trish in the early going. Trish rebounds with a Victory Roll and neck breaker. Molly rebounds with a drop toe hold into the ropes and retakes control. Trish trips Molly on the top rope and nails the leg scissors takedown. Trish throws chops and makes fun of Molly’s butt, which is not endearing. Molly absorbs some kicks but nails a belly to back suplex! The Molly-Go-Round misses but Trish reverses a roll-up and grabs the tights to win at 5:41. Molly winning is a great moment, but the fat jokes continue, **.
Winner and new Women’s Champion: Molly Holly

-Kurt Angle, with an embarrassing wig strapped to his head, is upset that people cheer Hulk Hogan. He doesn’t get the “You suck” chants but he’s going to do something about it.

Hulk Hogan vs. Kurt Angle

They trade headlocks and Hogan scores a shoulder tackle. Angle takes a timeout and manages to put together some offense of the punching variety. Hogan tosses Angle so he can pose. Hogan bats Angle around the ringside area and then in the turnbuckles. Hogan goes after Angle’s head gear, which makes Angle deliver a mule kick out of fear. Angle is now in the driver’s seat and unloads a variety of strikes and suplexes. Hogan fights out of a sleeper and reverses. Angle counters with a back suplex! Angle delivers the Olympic Slam but Hogan kicks out! Hogan hulks up and nails the big boot. Instead of going right for the finish, Hogan pulls off Angle’s headgear to expose his bald head. Angle is going to walk out but is so infuriated by Hogan wearing his wig that he storms back with a chair. Angle misses a wild swing and the chair bounces off the ropes into his own head. Sadly, Hogan misses the Leg Drop and Angle reverses with the Ankle Lock! Hogan is trapped in the hold for an eternity before finally tapping at 12:04. Hogan puts Angle over in another well-booked, yet still clunky outing, **.
Winner: Kurt Angle

-The Rock bumps into Goldust and Booker T backstage, catching Goldust imitating him. Rock tells them off. Booker T delivers a string of catchphrases of his own. Goldust tries to do the same but fails. Rock cuts another promo, challenging them to step up and confront the n.W.o.

KOTR Finals:
Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) vs. Rob Van Dam

They lock up and RVD is initially able to use his quickness to his advantage. Lesnar counters a monkey flip with a power bomb and the momentum shifts. Lesnar delivers a power slam for 2. Pair of backbreakers by Lesnar and a bear hug. RVD attempts a comeback and connects with a flying kick. Rolling Thunder is good but Lesnar kicks out with authority. The Five Star Frog Splash connects, but Heyman hangs RVD on the ropes! RVD falls into a cover on Lesnar for 2. RVD kicks Heyman off the apron but Lesnar catches him for the F-5. Lesnar becomes King Brock at 5:41. This was pretty much a glorified squash match. Jericho’s attack on RVD didn’t seem to factor in here at all, *½.
Winner: Brock Lesnar

-Triple H is ready for action and bumps into the n.W.o. They tease a fight, but he embraces old friends Shawn Michaels, Kevin Nash, and X-Pac. They offer him help if he signals it. Remember folks, Triple H is a baby face.

-Paul Heyman joins commentary for the main event, now that his client, Brock Lesnar, is guaranteed a title shot at Summerslam.

Undisputed WWE Championship:
The Undertaker © vs. Triple H

Triple H has a bandaged arm and is working hurt here. The early portion turns into a slow motion beat down by Undertaker. Triple H is acting like he’s 50 minutes into a 60 minute Iron Man match as he tries to put together some offense (and we’re under the 11 minute mark). HHH reverses an Irish whip into an exposed turnbuckle and nails a neck breaker. Spinebuster by Triple H gets 2. HHH absorbs Snake Eyes and nails a knee lift for another 2 count. An Undertaker DDT gets a near fall and the Pedigree is reversed with a catapult into the referee. Taker and Triple H knock each other down and The Rock decides to grace us with his presence. The Rock chases Paul Heyman away from commentary and takes his place. Taker is up and grabs a chair but Triple H blocks. They brawl dangerously close to the announce table and Undertaker decides to cheap shot Rock with a big boot to the head. Rock attacks Undertake but misses a chair shot and takes down Triple H. Taker knocks Rock into the ring post. Triple H is freshly busted open and takes the Last Ride. A new referee counts the near fall and gets punched out by Undertaker. The Rock storms the ring and puts Undertaker down with the Rock Bottom! Rock storms to the back. The original referee wakes up in time for a HHH near fall. They stumble around until HHH hits the Pedigree, but the referee is too injured to count. Undertaker capitalizes with a low blow and roll-up for the win at 23:38. They would have to dig deep to find a worse finish than that. This main event was a disaster, as neither man was over enough or physically or mentally ready to deliver the goods. This match sucked, DUD.
Winner and still Undisputed WWE Champion: The Undertaker

-Undertaker picks a fight with The Rock and gets one. The Rock delivers the Peoples’ Elbow to send the fans home happy. Or so we think, Triple H puts Rock down with the Pedigree. Undertaker gets back up and choke slams Triple H. Undertaker stands tall as the show finally ends.

Final Thoughts: One of the worst main events in WWE pay-per-view history capped off a night of middle-of-the-road action. The bad taste of the finale is enough to drag this event down to the point where I recommend you avoid it. Thumbs down.

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