We’re on such a roll with keeping things topical that I decided now was the time to break out one of the shows I knew I’d eventually be selecting: SummerSlam 2002. This is a great PPV, contains one of my favorite matches, and is really just a solid show overall with top notch performances all around.
Kurt Angle v. Rey Mysterio – I cannot wait until Kurt Angle walks out to that music again, and considering TNA is seemingly unable to land a TV contract, I can’t see him going anywhere for his last run but WWE. I’m not sure he’ll ever go against Rey Mysterio again (or if anyone will go against Rey again) but either way, I look forward to it. This match starts fast and furious (maybe I should try and see how many Rock references I can make…) thanks to Rey Rey and Angle’s well-known ability to hold his own against anyone. They somehow manage to keep the same pace throughout the match. Very entertaining, very fast, but still: a high impact match, peppered with Angle’s technical prowess. The crowd, already a packed house of pumped New Yorkers, is fully on fire after this one.
Can you imagine a Kurt vs. Daniel Bryan match? I think my brain would melt. These two had great chemistry together. This match happened when they were both still in their prime, but I would love to see a re-match. Their styles combined for a great match. This is one of the few matches I remember watching from that era and being blown away.
I missed out on quite a bit of the Angle-heel stuff, so this was a refreshing glimpse of what could be, hinging on his current contract situation. I mean, it was 12 years ago, but still. There’s no doubt in my mind he could continue performing at that level.
Chris Jericho v. Ric Flair – Jericho takes over Angle’s usual title of “guy who says the most words to nobody as he walks out.” Ric Flair comes out as Ric Flair (sporting Chris Jericho’s 2014 body), and while he doesn’t blade himself on the ramp, he does during the hype video. (Side Note: WWE needs to go in and re-edit Zarathustra back into Flair’s entrances.)
This doesn’t qualify as one of Jericho or Flair’s top ten matches, but it remains decent. Still, the highlight of the match is referee Charles Robinson (aka Lil’ Naitch) telling Jericho not to do something and Jericho responding “I’m the king of the world!,” in a pitch insinuating that it’s okay for him to do it, because he is the king of the world. Also, Jericho makes it super clear that Flair’s mother is a bitch throughout the match.
Great match from two of the best heels to ever enter a ring. Definitely not DVD-quality for either of these two, but still, a great match. I personally would like to see more heel tricks pulled during matches nowadays. Recently, it seems like heels only want to interfere in every match possible or purposely get DQ’ed because not caring is apparently cool.
Wow, I think I’ve been listening to JR’s podcast too much.
Nah. If that were the case, you would’ve hit your quota on BBQ mentions by now.
Eddie Guerrero v. Edge – Some SmackDown Six action here featuring face-Edge, which always feels weird. Another good match, however, even if it devolves into Eddie focusing on a kayfabe shoulder injury Edge receives only a couple minutes in. Eventually, Edge overcomes (…the odds?) the match’s pace das the high-flying begins.
Yeah, focusing on the shoulder injury nearly ruined this match for me. Fortunately, their performances saved it. I hold these two to pretty high standards and can’t help but think they could’ve gone all out, but whatever the case, a decent bout.
Good match, but I think these two have had better. And Edge will always be face-Edge to me!
Booker T. and Goldust v. Lance Storm and Christian (c) – WWE Tag Team Championship match – Following a solid heel promo with Storm and Christian (two of the best heels ever, mind you), we get our one tag match of the night. Most of this match is ruled by the heels being as heel-y as possible, with The Un-Americans trying to get away with as much as they can behind the back of the ref. Booker T is made to look like the only half of the team with talent, while Goldie is made to get beat up (furthering that storyline).
Intermission: Jamie Noble, currently a WWE producer, encourages his girlfriend, Nidia (currently a chef), to make out with a stranger in a “Make Out Contest” held at the WWE restaurant, “The World,” in New York. Things were different 12 years ago.
Who really wins in the make-out contest? Obviously the loser is Jamie for somehow forgetting that he’s dating Nidia.
Chris Benoit (c) v. Rob Van Dam – Intercontinental Title match – A bit more technical than I expected. Surprising from RVD, but not Benoit. Van Dam’s flexibility leads to some good submission escapes. Great suplex…to cover…to submission sequence.
Rob Van Dam is so old! I thought these two would have had a better pace and flow together but still a great stiff match.
No shenanigans. Just straight wrestling. I’m fine with that.
The Undertaker v. Test – Taker, representing the American part of American Badass. Will there ever be a time the American v. anti-American angle will not work? I should note that I hate Test. As I’ve mentioned before, when watching old wrestling, I looked up when Test died so I knew when he wouldn’t be on TV. Anyway, this is a brawl that wasn’t anything special.
Unfortunately, if it ever does stop working, Rusev will immediately be shipped back to NXT. So keep your fingers crossed.
But Test died… So all of his matches were 5-star Meltzer approved matches right? Right?!
Shawn Michaels v. Triple H – About four years after retiring (the first time), Michaels returns in what was labeled a non-sanctioned street fight. Triple H turned on Shawn because he felt his former friend had become “too weak”, leading to this match, which is one of my favorites. Great, brutal performances from both HBK and HHH. Some of the absolute best commentary from JR. I would love to see video of just JR and King at the announce table commentating this match, especially towards the end. “Does he have no conscience? Does he have no heart? Do you have no soul? You son of a bitch!” I don’t know what to say about this other than it’s non-stop entertainment and the must-see match of this PPV.
Two of the best story-tellers ever. You can kind of tell they’re having fun at some points in the match. Michaels sells so good you want to buy him a new back. No way to describe this match. Go watch it. Now.
In retrospect, I would’ve been just fine writing a live-diary of this match alone.
Before the Smackdown main event, Howard Finkle drops the greatest pipe bomb in the history of pro wrestling. Actually, he doesn’t. He’s apparently just filling in for Lillian for a while, and since you can’t just say someone is on leave, they had to make a story out of it. So Howard gets kicked in the nuts and Lillian comes back from her time off. Thank goodness The Network exists for moments like this.
The Rock (c) v. Brock Lesnar – WWE Undisputed Title match – After two Rocky-esque (Balboa, not Maivia) montages, we get to the greatest entrance theme of all time, accompanied by Paul Heyman. The Rock (Maivia, not Balboa) charges the ring and the match starts with genuine intensity. Brock dominates, thanks to a few cheap shots from Paul E. And, despite boos for Heyman, the crowd is simultaneously chanting for Lesnar while booing the Rock with sporadic chants of “Rocky sucks!”.
The beginning of the Cena-esqe reaction from fans to super faces. Both of the guys are comically over-the-top in a lot of ways but it just works so good when they are both on their game.
Essentially the passing of the torch. And just think: this was 12 years ago. 12! This same storyline basically happened two weeks ago and I’m still perfectly content with all of it.
The most Rock gets in early is a sharpshooter, which Brock sells like a champ, cause holy shit does it look weak. Rock eventually gets pissed at Heyman and throws him in the ring, intending to give him a Rock Bottom. Bork sees Rock trying to hurt Heyman and Bork, in turn, hurts Rock with a chair. Brock puts Rock in an even weaker looking bear hug (seriously?) but Rock gets out of it (to loud boos) and starts to take over. At one point, Heyman eventually receives that Rock Bottom through the Spanish announce table. Lesnar gets one himself (though, on the mat) and then Rock gets a “Brock Bottom” (thanks, Taz.) After a series of well coordinated counters, Brock lands an F5, and five months after debuting, wins the championship, which was then quickly handed over to the true winner, Brock Lesnar’s entrance music.
Just kidding. The real champion after this show: those girls in the front row.
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Now, where were we?
Mike Edwards’ Grade: A
Kevin Bowden’s Grade: B+
John Daigle’s Grade: A
Average Grade: A
Next Time: ECW Barely Legal ’97