WWE UNFORGIVEN 2002
Really, really good opening package to hype up the two main events, using the history of both belts to place importance on the champs. The old WCW footage didn't hurt nuthin', neither.
Comin' atcha liiiiiiiiiiive from the Staples Centre in LA, your (opening) hosts are Good Ol' JR and The King, with MC Cole and Tazz popping in and out for the SmackDown matches. The set is MEGASWANK for a monthly pay-per-view, highly reminiscent of the last two WrestleMania stages, but still (altogether now) It Doesn't Beat The Backlash Spikes. JR welcomes us to the show and proclaims the sell-out crowd "fashionably late". What the Hell?
Opening Match: The UnAmericans Vs. Booker T/Goldust/Bubba Ray Dudley/Kane: It says something about the swankness of the fed's roster when you've got Booker, Kane and Storm all in the opening match. JR hypes Dust's plumbing heritage and misquotes his number of title reigns, then for an encore accidentally calls the UnAmericans the "Unforgivens". Retire, Jim, the dream is over. Dust and Christian start, and Dust gets the butt-butt and an uppercut for two. Storm comes in and the champs get clotheslined, the Dust tags out to Bubba. Double Flip Flop 'N' Fly! Nice touch. Storm nails a jaw-jacker and beats Bubba down, but Bubba turns it around and DROPS LANCE ON HIS HEAD. Oy, not a good start. He picks Storm up and deposits him in the Tree Of Woe, then pounds him, then gets two off of a flapjack. Dust in, and he goes down and gets beaten by Test. I keep waiting for Test to frame those back elbows of his, but no such luck. Dust manages a clothesline and tags in Booker, who hits a flying forearm and a sidekick for two. Tag to Regal, and Bubba and Booker hit Wazzup. Let the spot die, I beg of you. It's old and boring and it's not gonna be cute no matter who takes D-Von's place.
Booker bails to Get The Tables but gets nailed instead, and Regal hits him with some vicious forearms for two. Judo throw gets two, and Christian comes in and hits the chinlock. Booker fights up and knees his way out, then rolls up Christian up for a near-fall. Spinebuster, and Kane gets the hot tag. Those two roles should have been reversed, so Booker could be the number one guy on the team. Kane nails all the heels, and a big ol' brawl erupts, like you couldn't see THAT one coming. Everyone powders out but Kane and Regal, and we go into the extended finishing sequence. Big boot for Regal, but Test comes in hits the pumphandle powerslam on Kane. Booker nails the axe kick on Test and follows up with the Spineroonie, but gets slop dropped by Christian. Kane comes to the rescue but gets superkicked by Storm, for two. Booker tries a side kick and gets dumped by Christian, who then gets Bubba Bombed. Bubba then gets dumped by Test, and Dust comes in for some Shattered Dreams on Christian. That distracts him long enough for Test to smash him with a big boot, but then THAT distracts TEST long enough for Kane to hit the flying lariat. Finally, Storm comes in, chokeslam, goodbye at 10:00. Phew. Super-hot pop-the-crowd opener with a GREAT end sequence, although Booker should have picked up the pin to keep him hot. **½ Bubba waves Old Glory to commemorate the fallen warrior Bradshaw.
Steph chats with Billy and the ULTRA-MANLY Chuck.
Intercontinental Title Match: Chris Jericho Vs. Ric Flair: Again, when your second match in is Jericho Vs. Flair, they really should be doing better business than they are now. Jericho has his candystripe pants on. Get this guy some short tights, STAT. Speaking of fashion faux pas, Flair should regrow his shaggy blonde mullet to go with is robe. Plus he really, really resembles Leslie Neilsen with short hair. Poor Flair-there's not even a stage hand to take his robe. Now THAT'S disrespect. Lock-up, and Flair bitchslaps Jericho then struts a little. Jericho gets tossed to the apron and scales the corner, but gets hit in the gut on his way down. And away we go with the chopping. Jericho boots Flair to the outside off of a Figure Four attempt, then follows up with a springboard dropkick. Haven't seen that regularly in a while. Inside, and a missile dropkick gets two. He chokes Flair and goes to the abdominal stretch, but gets hiptossed. More chops, huzzah. Flair manages to work in a Flair Flip, too. That's the first he's hit that move on pay-per-view since his debut. Jericho charges, but gets tossed OVER the ringpost and to the floor. Goddammit, why can't he wrestle and bump like this more often? Back in, and a second rope kneedrop gets two for Flair. Jericho goes for a springboard in the corner, but Flair low blows him and hits a shinbreaker. Figure Four attempt, but Jericho cradles for two. Back elbow, but he misses the LionSault and "jars his knee". Pfft. Even the crowd isn't buying it, booing the Hell out of him. Flair, however, is a senile old man and backs off as the ref calls out a trainer. Flair turns away-and lo and behold, Jericho pops up and slaps on the Walls for the tap out at 6:17. This felt like the first six minutes of a really good fifteen minute match, 'til the bullshit out-of-nowhere ending cut it short. **
Bisch hypes up Rosey and Jamal, under the watchful eye of the Scary Bischoff Portrait. He assigns them Rico as their corner man, who makes some naughty innuendos. The whole thing ends on a pretty feebly evil laughing session. How long til we see Rico Vs. Booker in a Hair Vs. Hair Match?
It's Shaq! And he's West Side! Quick, cut away!
Eddie Guerrero Vs. Edge: Tazz works in "Tomato" within minutes of picking up the headset. Guerrero stalls to start, then schoolboys Edge for two and bails again. Edge gives chase, and gets a backdrop and flapjack. Edge powerslam gets two. Big ol' vertical suplex gets two, but Eddie comes back with a BEEYOOTIFUL Tornado DDT. He stomps Edge down and hits a brainbuster for two, then goes to a ~LUCHA CHINLOCK~! Yes, I used tildes, get over it. Edge elbows out, but gets suplexed for two, and Eddie goes into a hangman-like neck twisty submission thing. Any help, Lucha fans? Edge fights out but Eddie pounds him down and taunts him. Big mistake, as Edge pops up with a haymaker to put both guys down. Both up at around seven, and Edge misses a corner charge. Eddie beats him down in the corner whilst oh-so-slyly removing a turnbuckle cover. Latino like a FOX. Well, maybe not so-the ref catches him. Eddie tells him to kiss his curvy Latino booty, and Edge schoolboys him for two. Inside cradle gets two, and a neckbreaker by Edge puts both guys down again. The fight up to a knee-high slugfest, and Edge takes over. Half-nelson facebuster gets two. Edge-O-Matic gets two. Guerrero bounces back with a jaw-jacker, but his flippy-floppy springboard rana is countered into a BOSS powerbomb for two. Edgecution gets two, as Eddie gets his foot on the ropes. He dodges a missile dropkick, but gets sent back-first into his own exposed turnbuckle. Oh, the irony and all that crap. Edge sits him up top and looks for a superplex, but Guerrero drops him onto the exposed buckle and follows up with the SUPER SPINE-CRUSHING SUNSET FLIP OF BEMULLETTED GLORY. He grabs a handful of tights for good measure, but it's probably unnecessary as the ref counts three at 11:58. Eddie OWNS IT like we all wish we could, and Edge isn't far behind. ***1/4
Trips and RVD have a scintillating backstage confrontation, during which H manages to again successfully bury Flair. Van Dam rebutts and ALMOST sounds angry.
Interpromotional Match: Rosey &Jamal w/Rico Vs. Billy & Chuck (w/Masculine Stubble Because HE' S NOT GAY, FOLKS): The Three Minute Posse's music rocks, in a quiet sorta way. Speaking of music, dear Lord WHY are Billy and Chuck still using the sleazy boy band track? And Chuck, facial hair doesn't make you look straight, just look at Rico. Pier Four kicks us off, and Billy dumps Jamal as Rico sneaks in a cheap shot on Chuck. Rosey folds him up with a back suplex, and beats the piss out of him. Tag to Jamal, who gets a big kick for two. Rosey hits a slam for two. More fists 'n' feet, yay. Jamal tags in and they hit that ol' Samoan fave, the double headbutt, for a two count. Crowd, absolutely thrilled with the match, chants "Rico's Gay". Rosey goes for the kill with an earth-shaking second-rope moonsault, but Chuck moves, and gets the luke-warm tag. Billy's a completely heterosexual house afire! Clotheslines all round, and Jamal works in the "Fatu Family Triple Flip Oversell". Nice to see him keeping tradition alive. Billy tries a noggin knocker-what a dumbass-and get head butted. Chuck stops a Jamal splash, however, but fails to stop Billy being caught with a rather risky-looking move by Rosey. Picture the victim starting off in a full-nelson, then being tossed into a Flatliner. Yee-owch. Chuck Jungle Kicks Rosey out of the ring, but gets superkicked by Jamal, who then gets hit with a SWEET Fame-Asser by Billy. Rico comes in and Billy slaps him around, allowing Jamal to hit the tossing Samoan Drop for the finish at 6:39. The crowd, utterly disgusted with the heels' victory, chants "HLA". The BOYEEEZ didn't exactly impress in this one, but then they didn't exactly have a lot to work with. *
World Heavyweight Title Match: Triple H Vs. Rob van Dam: van Dam looks stoned. Not a good sign. To up the ludicrousness of the Trips-related verbal fellatio, JR compares the champ to both Harley Race AND Jack Brisco. Uh-huh. They run through a couple of hold exchanges, and van Dam taunts Trips. Watch his feet, they're educated! They won't stand for loutish scum like you, Triple H! More feeling out, and Rob grabs a headlock and won't let go. H breaks loose, and gets he-bitch man-slapped for his troubles. Van Dam armdrags him and goes back to the headlock, and H bails, prompting RVD to MOCK THE WATER SPITTING. You could get shot for doing that on the streets of Greenwich. Enraged, H charges...straight into a headlock. Unless he's trying to turn heel a la Cactus Jack '95, I'd Rob has no idea how to work a match with someone of H's style. H knees his way out, but Rob rolls him up for two. H returns the favour, but van Dam bridges out and flips out of a backslide. Now THAT'S more like it. Trips ducks an enzuiguri, but gets leg-swept for two. And back to the headlock we go. H tries to suplex van Dam to break but he rolls through and hits a heel kick. H bails once more but sidesteps van Dam's somersault tope, letting van Dam splat on the mats. Hebner lays on the count, and van Dam barely makes it back in. Trips stomps him down and pounds him on the floor, then covers for two. Second rope catapult gets two. van Dam escapes a suplex and gets a schoolboy for two, and H retaliates with a neckbreaker for two. They fight outside again, and back inside Trips gets the high knee for two. He goes up top (?!) but van Dam tosses him off, then runs right into the SLEEPER OF DEATH. This is so lame, hearing JR sell the psychology of a frickin' sleeper. I mean God, if you wanna get him a submission hold to use regularly, give him something cool, or even remotely threatening, like a straightjacket clutch or something. I mean I'm sure retards across the world are mightily impressed with Trips' Herculean ability to choke someone into unconsciousness, but for those of us with a smidge of intelligence have a WEE bit of trouble accepting a RESTHOLD as a credible finisher. Unless of course this is all part of Trips' master plan to piss of the smarts, in which case he's succeeding masterfully.
Anyway, van Dam escapes, thus immediately destroying any little credibility the move had gained and returning it to it's former status as a resthold. He hits a heel kick and nails a weird dropkick, then gets two off of a standing moonsault. Monkey flip and a springboard kick set up Rolling Thunder, which gets two. You may put the Undertaker away with that, but a measly senton won't destroy the Game! H bails, and van Dam hits a swank pescado. Back inside, and his top-rope thrust kick gets two. H comes back with his facebuster, but runs straight into the ref, knocking him outside. Van Dam picks this opportune moment to nail a heel kick and cover, but OF COURSE there's no ref. Trips goes for the Pedigree, van Dam blocks THAT and nails the ***** frog splash, but Hebner's still taking a dirtnap. Van Dam goes to fetch him but gets a low blow for his troubles, and Trips grabs his trusty sledgehammer. Van Dam kicks it back in his face, however, and both guys go down, then the smell of predictability wafts through the air as Flair runs in and grabs the sledge. And sure enough, Flair waffles van Dam in the gut and shakes H's hand. H puts on the finishing touches with a Pedigree as Hebner crawls in to make the count at 18:10. They keep putting Trips with opponents like van Dam and maybe he'll remember how to wrestle. *** And at least Flair's turn here is a Hell of a lot more plausible than the evil owner crap we were forced to endure to appease Austin earlier this year.
D'Lo and Kidman do some interpromotional mingling backstage, and are interrupted by some guy from The Young And The Restless. He leaves with Dawn Marie. What the Hell was that?
Women's Title Match: Molly Vs. Trish: Those of you on Weinerville already know my feelings towards this particular match. They exchange holds and pins, and Trish hits a pair of armdrags and a neckbreaker for two. Molly returns the favour with a snap suplex, and they brawl around ringside, including Trish taking a NASTY smack into the steps. Back inside, and Molly goes to a straightjacket choke, then dropkicks Trish in the face. Trish fires back with a couple of cradles for two, but Molly drop toe holds her into the bottom rope. Trish bulldogs her for two, and hits the high kick for two. Molly knocks her down, but Trish crotches her when she goes up top for the Molly-Go-Round. Molly in turn blocks Trish's handspring rana, and locks her in the Tree Of Woe and chokes her. Handspring butt-splash gets two, and Trish comes off the ropes with the Rey Rey leg-scissors bulldog combo for the pin at 5:47. Not bad, but no Rey Vs. Noble, either. **1/4 JR and King piss me off further by raving about the finisher as if it were some spectacular new move, completely ignoring the cruiserweights who pull it off a Hell of a lot better than Trish. Coach interviews the new champ, who damn near cries like a girl.
Rico and the Posse party with the lesbians, and Bisch sends them out on the town for some fun. Rico...with girls. Hmm.
Tazz and MC takes over on commentary for the rest of the show, an Tazz wastes no time in blowing away King with his AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME color.
Kurt Angle Vs. Chris Benoit: Lock up, and they tumble to the floor to break. Back inside, and Angle takes Benoit and rides him, but gets caught in the crossface. He makes the ropes and returns the favour by grabbing the ankle lock. Angle grabs a hammerlock and holds on as Benoit snapmares him. He switches to a headlock, then shoulder blocks Benoit down. Benoit gets a couple of rollups for two, and they go into an ECWish pinning sequence, running through four combinations then fighting over a backslide. Benoit turns it into the crossface, and Angle bails as the crowd applauds. Back inside and Angle goes to a facelock. Benoit reverses to a crossface attempt and Angle finally loses his temper and tosses him. He pounds him on the floor, and nails a backbreaker for two in the ring. He bearhugs Benoit, but Benoit breaks loose. Angle beats him down, but misses a charge and hits the post. Benoit takes advantage and sends him into the post again, then hits a back suplex for two. He beats on Angle a bit, but gets belly-to-bellied. They both struggle up, ladies and germs, now it is time to HIT THE GERMANS! Benoit nails two, then gets hit with two himself. He reverses again for one more, but Angle's got control and hits another three. NICE. Even though Benoit has to take the Austin-like weak bumps due to his neck. Angle galls for the Angle Slam but Benoit slides out and hits the RELEASE GERMAN WITH THE ANGLE BACKFLIP SELL. Fantastic. Benoit goes up top but Angle follows with the climb up belly-to-belly for two. Benoit rolls him up for two, and gets caught in the ankle lock. He kicks his way out and sets up a Tombstone. Angle reverses, but Benoit reverses AGAIN and nails a brutal shoulderbreaker. He nails Air Canada to a BIG pop, but it only gets two. Should've been the finish. Crossface, but Angle grabs the foot and applies the ankle lock at the same time! Just when you think they're out of originality... Angle rolls through to the ankle lock proper, but Benoit quickly turns it back to the crossface. Angle reverses again, but Benoit makes the ropes. Angle outswanks him but using his own crossface, but Benoit rolls through and gets some feet full of ropes for the pin at 13:56. Slap a decent ending on that and you'd have a bona fide MOTY, but as it is it's just ****1/4
Brock test drives a personality backstage.
And now it's time for the HLA! Ugh. At least the lesbians are attractive this time. Bisch brings out Steph and the lesbos do a bit of groping, but Bisch has second thoughts and sends them back. Instead, he's lined up a nice, fat, ugly lesbian. And here she is, looking remarkably like Rikishi if he put on a bad wig and women's clothing. Perhaps I'm not supposed to notice that. Anyhoo, Steph frenches "Hildegard", who then of course superkicks and Stinkfaces The Bisch. Well whoopee fuck. Had they actually gone through with finding a fat ugly lesbian and forcing Steph to kiss her, Bisch would be the biggest heel in the biz right now. As it is this was just pointless time filler.
The main event video package actually makes me realise just how much I'm digging this Brock/Taker feud. For some goddamn reason Taker's a lot more watchable as the Short-Haired American Badass.
Main Event, WWE Title Match: Brock Lesnar w/Paul Heyman Vs. The Undertaker: Taker's music has suddenly sprouted lyrics. That'll be another one for Forcible Entry II. They go eye to eye at the bell, and exchange lock-ups, then Taker shoves Brock to the floor. He gets back in quickly and grabs a headlock, but Taker hiptosses him and sends him to the floor, where Brock throws a hissy fit. Inside, and Taker armdrags the champ but gets pounded in the corner. Taker gets a boot up on a charge, however, and clotheslines him for two. Old School, but Heyman gets up on the apron and eats a big boot for his troubles. Brock uses the distraction and spears Taker into the corner, then suplexes him for two. He goes to the ribs and work them over real good, then powerslams the Dead Man for two. Some more rib-pounding, and we hit the Hulk-Killer bearhug. Taker tries an armdrag to break, but Brock holds on and rolls him into a pin for two. Taker again tries to fight out, but Brock continually rides him down to the mat. Finally Take gets successful with the ol' dizzying trick, and sends Brock through the ropes to break. Brock slides back in quickly, but gets beaten on. To the floor, and Brock sneaks in a quick belt shot behind the ref's back, busting Taker open. Brock covers for two in the ring, and Taker launches his comeback. he hits a pair of avalanches, but Brock blocks the chokeslam. A Taker big boot gets two, however, as does another. They do a little do-si-do, and-surprise surprise-the ref goes down. Chokeslam, but there's no ref. Was Taker not watching earlier? Taker goes to check on him, which heralds the arrival of Matt Hardy Version One, who gets powerbombed and dumped in short order. Taker turns round into an Anderson-like spinebuster for two, however. Taker gets his running DDT for two and calls for the Last Ride, but Brock blocks and the ref gets bumped AGAIN. Oy. Heyman tosses a chair in, but Taker blocks it with a boot and sends brock to the floor with two perfectly EVIL chair shots. I kid you not, the chair was totally caved in. Taker takes the opportunity to punch Heyman into the crowd, then drags Brock inside. Brock's pulled out his first blade job, and it's not too bad. Taker hits the ol' big boot-legdrop combo, but Brock kicks out. Crowd was SO buying that as the finish. Brock backdrops his way out of the Last Ride, but Taker escapes the F5 and they fight in the corner again. Referee Brian Hebner gets caught in the middle once again and takes a kicking, and finally loses it and calls for the bell at 20:23. I was all ready to proclaim this Taker's best one on one match of the year til that shitty finish rolled down the pike. **1/4 The crowd (rightfully) chants "Bullshit" as the refs (SmackDown only-nice touch, guys) come in to separate them, and Taker chokeslams Brock again. Brock bails and they brawl down the aisle, where Taker hurls Brock through the set.
Final Thought: A surprisingly enjoyable show considering how down I was on this going in, but that non-finish was REALLY bush-league. I understand it from a feuding point of view, but GOD. Couldn't we have had some sort of screwjob at LEAST? The booking of the Flair match solely to set up his turn kinda pissed me off too, especially as the match just getting into a groove, but I can handle it. And the Flair turn may signify good things to come; if you wanna model a heel champ after somebody, there's no better template than Naitch.
Overall, thumbs ever-so-slightly up, but let's hope we can get some sort of clean finish next month, 'kay? Toodles!
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