Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Ruthless Aggression Era Project: WWE SummerSlam 2002 Review

WWE: SummerSlam 2002
Uniondale, New York
August 25th, 2002

Commentators: Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross (RAW) + Michael Cole & Tazz (Smackdown)

1) Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio

WOOWW. Fucking great opener. Angle is the perfect base and challenge for Mysterio. They play off the Mysterio being in Angle's head super well with Mysterio springboarding in from behind while his music is playing instead of making his entrance up the ramp. This set the tone for a rapid fire match that saw Angle eventually put away the newcomer, but not after a hell of a match. Sub 10 minute gold.

Match rating - ***3/4

2) Chris Jericho vs. Ric Flair

For Ric Flair to have bled on the go-home episode of Raw in the name of this match, it was pretty lackluster and there isn't really much to talk about. They do a funky finish where Flair gets his foot on the ropes, but is also tapping. Jericho breaks the hold and gets low-blowed and locked in the figure four and is forced to submit.

Match rating - **

3) Eddie Guerrero vs. Edge

Guerrero goes after Edge's shoulder and works it all match in great fashion like only Eddie can. They do a couple false hope comeback attempts including a big facebuster from the top rope from Edge to Eddie. Nothing works, though. UNTIL Eddie walks the top rope for more shoulder work only to be swung down and he runs into a spear out of nowhere. Edge takes the win after a super solid contest.

Match rating - ***1/4

4) Christian & Lance Storm (c) vs. Booker T & Goldust - WWE Tag Team Title Match

Crowd is into this mainly because of the american sentiment. They work over Goldy and do some spots where the ref doesn't see the tag. Teasing the hot tag to Booker heavy and it works. They go as far as to bring chairs in behind the ref's back and attempt a conchairto. They miss and it's the break Goldy needs. Hot tag to Book. Clears house. Test runs down and clocks Booker allowing the Unamericans to retain. I'll be damned. Guess it gives Test more heat headed into his match with Taker later, though?

Match rating - **3/4

5) Chris Benoit (c) vs. Rob Van Dam - Intercontinental Championship Match

This is a big one because this is Raw's only chance to get the IC Title back from Smackdown after Benoit dipped out with it. Benoit beats up Van Dam all match and Van Dam is forced to fight from underneath. This was kinda missing something for me, though. Van Dam fires back and hits a frog splash and brings the title back to Raw.

Match rating - **1/2

Bischoff is backstage and tells Steph she can catch the IC Title every Monday if she misses it. Steph laughs and walks off... hmm..

6) The Undertaker vs. Test

So much bullshit ends up going on here, but I struggled to care. I liked that they played off Test pinning Taker clean on Raw a few weeks ago and the crowd popped huge when Taker kicked out this time. Test goes for a chair, but Taker catches him with a BAHGAWD TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER.

Match rating - **1/4

7) Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels - Unsanctioned Match 

Been looking forward to this one especially since the last few matches on this show were lackluster. BUT it changed here as this felt super important and was a great, bloody grudge match. Crowd popped hard seeing HBK slowly come back into himself. It lagged a moment or two in the middle, but overall kept me invested the entire time and they really tore into each other with chairs and even a table bump. It makes sense that they didn't completely all out in a chapter closing type scenario as this feud would continue far past this. HBK goes for the superkick finally, H blocks and goes for a pedigree, HBK reverses into a pinning predicament and gets the three count. Post-match, H nails HBK with the sledgehammer and he leaves on a stretcher while JR talks about how sadistic Triple H is. Best match on the show.

Match rating - ****

8) The Rock (c) vs. Brock Lesnar - WWE Undisputed Championship Match

This was WEIRD. Crowd was sorta split? I have seen this match a few times as it was on the History of the WWE Title DVD comp that I got as a kid, but I don't remember much from it and honestly feel like I enjoyed more as a kid than during this re-watch as a 24 year old. Crowd was split and it felt very run through the motions. Not bad, but just there. The best thing about it for me was the start with Rock running to the ring and charging Brock. From there it went into basic territory. Hearing the crowd chant for Brock and seeing the shift was definitely a sight to behold though. Brock wins and becomes the youngest WWE Champion of all time. 

Match rating - ***

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