August 25, 2002
-From Uniondale, NY. Our hosts are Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, and Tazz.
Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio
Rey ambushes Kurt with a hurricanrana from behind. Angle goes after the ankle, but Rey sets up 619, which misses. Angle drops Mysterio hard on the floor to gain the advantage. Sick German suplex by Angle, who slows the pace to wear out Mysterio. Rey ducks a punch but Angle counters with a side slam. Kurt applies a half crab but Rey counters into a roll-up. Angle’s clothesline keeps Rey down. Rey hits a jawbreaker but Angle counters with a belly to belly throw. Rey sets up a dive, but the ref says no. Rey leaps over the official and wipes Angle out on the floor! Springboard leg drop by Rey gets a near fall! Angle goes for the ankle lock again but gets caught with 619! The West Coast Pop only gets 2! Rey catches Kurt on the top rope for a hurricanrana, but Angle awkwardly counters into the Ankle Lock! Rey taps at 9:21. Rey had a lighter frame at the time of his debut and was eager to please against a top name in Angle. Great opener, ***¼.
Winner: Kurt Angle
-Stephanie McMahon brags about the greatness that is Smackdown to a techie. She orders him to go tell Eric Bischoff to top the opener. She finds Bischoff in her office and he looks awfully pleased about something. It turns out that they have to share an office since it’s a pay-per-view. They sit back to watch the show, each thinking their brand will show up the other. I have to say, in retrospect it’s refreshing that both Raw and Smackdown were being treated as equals. It’s a far cry from years later, when they’d make storylines out of wrestlers whining that they were stuck on the “B” Smackdown show.
Chris Jericho vs. Ric Flair
Jericho is looking for revenge after Flair ruined his Fozzy concert on Raw. Flair slaps the face, but Jericho turns up the aggression. Jericho misses an elbow drop and eats some chops. Jericho skins the cat but Flair throws more chops. They take the fight to the floor, where Jericho drops Flair on an exposed barricade. Flair is hurt and throws desperate chops to stay in the fight. Y2J distracts the referee by undoing a turnbuckle pad so he can choke Flair with his tape. Flair absorbs a suplex and tosses Jericho off the top rope. Flair sticks to his chopping game and delivers a suplex for 2. They trade counters and Jericho misses the lionsault. Flair tries to steal the Walls, prompting Jericho to steal the Figure Four! Flair grabs the ropes and taps, making Jericho think he won. Jericho loses his cool and becomes an easy target. Flair delivers a blind low blow and finishes Jericho with the Figure Four at 10:18! The personalities involved elevated this, but Flair’s physical limitations were becoming apparent during this time, **½.
Winner: Ric Flair
-Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar are hanging out in the locker room. Heyman compares the new Hogan DVD to when a music artist dies and gets a special Greatest Hits album. Paul pumps Brock up for his title match against The Rock.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Edge
The bell rings and they go right to work. Eddie delivers a neck breaker onto the ropes. Edge retaliates with a monkey flip. Edge ties Eddie in the ropes for a shoulder thrust. Edge attempts a second attack but Eddie sends him crashing to the floor. Edge seems to have injured his shoulder with that bump, prompting Guerrero to drive him into the ring steps. Eddie continues targeting the shoulder in the ring. Edge absorbs quite a bit of punishment before countering with a scoop slam. Edge builds some momentum with clotheslines and a back drop. Guerrero elbows the face but walks into a face buster. Edge suplexes Eddie over the ropes and delivers a flying cross body off the top! Edge drops Eddie off the top rope again and signals the spear. Eddie counters with a drop-kick but the Frog Splash is countered too! The Edgeocution gets a close near fall! Northern Lights suplex by Guerrero and a neck breaker! Eddie blocks a superplex and nails a Frog Splash onto the injured shoulder! Edge counters back with the spear for the win at 11:45! Hell of a match, with Eddie ruthlessly dissecting the shoulder and Edge delivering a fine baby face performance, ***¾.
-Jonathan Coachman interviews The Un-Americans. Christian cannot wait to expose Booker T and Goldust as being shams, but regrets they have to do it in Long Island, where the fans are too greedy to respond to anything in the ring. I liked these guys better when they were the Hart Foundation.
WWE Tag Team Championship:
Christian and Goldust start things off. It doesn’t take long for the Un-Americans to start making tags, but Goldust holds his own. Booker tags and dominates in crowd-pleasing fashion. Storm whips Goldust into a cheap shot from Christian. The distraction allows Storm to dump Goldust onto the floor, where Christian is waiting to drive him into the barricade. Goldust settles into the role of isolated baby face and takes a beating. Booker gets a hot tag, but the referee didn’t see it, so Goldust’s peril continues. Storm pulls Booker off the apron, causing Booker to JUST MISS a tag. Goldust counters with a double clothesline and Booker finally gets a well deserved hot tag. Storm misses a leg lariat and the referee goes down. Booker drops both opponents and prematurely celebrates with the spinaroonie. Booker gets the visual pinfall while the ref is out, but Test sneaks in for a big boot. The ref wakes up enough to give Christian the pinfall at 9:33. The crowd is deflated by that outcome, but this was a well put together match, **½.
Lance Storm and Christian © vs. Booker T and Goldust
Winners and still WWE Tag Team Champions: Lance Storm and Christian
-Jamie Noble and Nidia are hanging out at The World. They’ve dragged two men onto the stage and Nidia has to pick one to devour. She makes her choice and Noble cheers her on while she makes out with the confused guy. Pretty random.
-Stephanie and Eric exchange strong statements in their office. This was Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s “Feud of the Year” for 2002, folks.
Benoit recently defected to Smackdown and took the IC title with him, so RVD has extra pressure to bring it back to Raw. RVD wins the first exchange with his patented kicks. Benoit tries to wear down the arm but RVD turns up the pace. Benoit surprises with a German suplex to take control. Benoit absorbs a monkey flip and clotheslines to remain in control. Benoit counters the split legged moonsault but misses the diving head butt! RVD wipes out again and Benoit applies the crossface. Eric and Stephanie are seen cheering on their guys. Benoit pushes RVD off the top for a hard landing on the floor. Benoit resumes softening up the shoulder for the crossface. Van Dam counters the crossface, but Benoit counters back with a roll-up. Benoit hammerlocks the arm and drives RVD into the turnbuckles. Trio of Northern Lights suplexes by Benoit, all while holding the hammerlock! Benoit reapplies the crossface, but Van Dam escapes and builds a comeback. Benoit blocks a monkey flip and delivers a back superplex, but RVD counters in mid-air! The Five Star Frog Splash ends it at 16:15! This reminded me of RVD vs. Guerrero in that Benoit basically carried the match while RVD played rag doll. Benoit getting 15 minutes to show off still makes for a good match, ***½.
Chris Benoit © vs. Rob Van Dam
Winner and new Intercontinental Champion: Rob Van Dam
-Stephanie looks hilariously pissed over losing the IC title back to Raw. Bischoff gloats but Stephanie suddenly laughs like a super-villain and leaves. Stephanie’s character was all over the place back then.
The Undertaker vs. Test
After his heel turn never quite catching on, Undertaker is back as a flag-waving American Bad-ass baby face. I don’t think Test ever fully recovered from being involved with the Un-Americans and never quite made it this high up the card again. Undertaker dominates until Test trips him up during Old School. Undertaker absorbs some punishment and retaliates with a suplex. Big DDT gets 2 for the Dead Man. Taker successfully delivers Old School and then Snake Eyes. Test ducks a big boot but Undertaker counters a pump handle. They block finishers and Undertaker nails a choke slam but Test kicks out! Taker signals the end, but Storm and Christian run in! The ref allows it at Undertaker fights them off with choke slams. Test nails the big boot for only 2! Test grabs a chair only to have it kicked into his face. The Last Ride ends it at 8:16. Inoffensive big man match (minus Undertaker stroking his ego by obliterating the tag team champions) **.
Winner: The Undertaker
-Undertaker poses with the American flag. Don’t you love shameless pandering?
This was HBK’s first match in four years, since his career ending back injury in early 1998. Needless to say, this was surreal at the time. After months of playing the world’s most unlikable baby face, Triple H is finally back in the role of bad-ass heel. They tear into each other before the bell can ring and it’s on. HBK nails a flying plancha and dominates the ringside brawl. HHH blocks a trash lid and drops HBK on the barricade. Michaels surprises with the lid and skins the cat into the ring. HBK bashes a trash can over HHH’s skull and is back in control. Triple H counters SCM with a backbreaker. Triple H smells blood and goes to work on Shawn’s back. HHH delivers a DDT onto a chair to bust Michaels open. HHH takes too long getting the sledgehammer, and HBK throws punches despite barely being able to stand. Triple H whips HBK into the turnbuckles and resumes working the back. Referee Earl Hebner has seen enough and tells HHH to turn down the violence. HBK desperately perches on the turnbuckles, but Triple H shoves Hebner into the ropes. Chair shot to the back by Triple H, who follows up with a backbreaker onto the chair. Michaels kicks out of about a dozen pin attempts. HHH sets up a Pedigree on the chair, but HBK blocks with a low blow! Sweet Chin Music into a chair busts Triple H open! The crowd explodes as Michaels kips up after a clothesline! Michaels has revenge on the mind as he punishes HHH with the same weapons used on him earlier. HBK gets a ladder and rams it into Triple H’s forehead. Michaels unloads with the ladder and sets it up against the ring post. HBK blocks a whip and catapults HHH into the ladder. HBK covers Triple H for his first near fall of the match. Triple H is up and baseball slides the ladder into Shawn’s gut. HBK recovers with a superplex for 2! HBK maneuvers into a roll-up but Triple H nails a knee lift. Triple H hoists the ring steps but Michaels drop toe holds him face-first into the steel. HBK sets The Game on a table at ringside and delivers a flying cross body off the top rope! Michaels stands the ladder in the ring for a flying elbow drop! Triple H blocks the SCM, but the Pedigree is blocked with a roll-up! Michaels wins at 27:19! Unbelievable match between a guy who hadn’t wrestled in 4 years and another guy who had been underperforming all year. This was every bit as nasty, action-packed, and personal as it needed to be. Almost perfect, *****.
Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H
Winner: Shawn Michaels
-Michaels’ victory moment is stolen from him when Triple H assaults him with a sledgehammer. Triple H isn’t taking that loss laying down and apparently wants to cripple HBK.
-Howard Finkel goes all heel on Trish Stratus, who has been embarrassing him lately. Trish says she feels bad about everything she’s done and has suddenly realized how sexy his voice is. She has a surprise for Fink, who is ready to show her is “weiner.” I’m not making this up. They hug it out but the real surprise is Lillian Garcia, who slaps the taste out of Fink’s mouth. Lillian kicks Garcia in the groin and celebrates with Trish. I don’t remember this storyline whatsoever.
Undisputed WWE Championship:
Rock charges the ring and immediately gets suplexes for a 2 count. The crowd chants “Rocky sucks” as Brock delivers some rib-breakers. I always say that if Rock had stuck around, he would have been getting the mixed reaction that Cena has been dealing with all these years. Lesnar continues the onslaught, dropping Rock gut-first onto the barricade. Rock throws some punches, but gets tripped up by Heyman! Rock gets ambushed again by Heyman and Lesnar follows up with a power slam. Rock looks thoroughly annoyed by the “Rocky sucks” chants. Rock comes back with a back suplex (to mostly boos). Both men kip up and the match restarts. Clotheslines by Rock and a DDT for only 2. Heyman distracts again, but Rock gets the Sharpshooter anyway. Crowd is now chanting “Let’s go, Lesnar.” Paul tosses in a chair but gets attacked by Rock. Lesnar saves Paul and attacks Rock’s ribs with the chair. Cue the bear hug! Back suplex into a waist lock by Lesnar! Loud “Rocky” chant as Rock powers out. Paul is on the apron AGAIN inadvertently allowing Rock to low blow. Lesnar shoulder thrusts, but Rock explodes with a clothesline. Rock punches Lesnar to the floor. Rock clears an announce table but has to settle for catapulting Lesnar into the ring post. Rock puts Heyman through the table with a Rock Bottom! Back to the ring, the Lesnar kicks out of the Rock Bottom! Lesnar steals the Rock Bottom for another near fall! Spinebuster sets up the Peoples’ Elbow, but Lesnar pops up with a clothesline! Rock blocks the F-5, but Lesnar tries again! The F-5 finishes Rock at 15:44! Incredible power match here, with them going full-blast from bell to bell. Rock and Brock meshed well together, it would be interesting to see what they might create if their Wrestlemania XXX match happens, ****¼.
The Rock © vs. Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman)
Winner and new Undisputed WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar
Final Thoughts: Best Summerslam ever? Probably. Best pay-per-view ever? Maybe. Fantastic show from beginning to end? Absolutely! Summerslam 2002 is one of the greatest wrestling shows of all time and is worth revisiting. Highest recommendation.
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