September 27, 2009
Alexander Settee

King the Ring 2002, June 23, 2002, Nationwide Arena, Columbus, OH
Announcers: Jim Ross & Jerry ďThe KingĒ Lawler

Hereís a look back at the final (as of 2009 anyways) King of the Ring PPV.

Opening Match, KOTR Semifinals: Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam
RVD is the IC Champion coming in here, but the belt is not on the line in the tournament, obviously. He beat Eddie Guerrero in the first round and X-Pac in the semifinals to get here, while Jericho got wins over defending champion Edge and Val Venis. They trade reversals to a stalemate to start things off. RVD then controls with kicks, a monkey flip, and a legdrop for 2. Jericho takes him to the apron with a spinkick, but misses the springboard dropkick and goes to the floor. RVD follows with a sommersault plancha. Back in, RVD goes up, but Jericho shove the ref to the ropes to crotch him. Double underhook superplex gets 2. Jericho gets a turnbuckle pad off, and then gets cradled while the ref tries to get it back so, so RVD only gets a delayed 2. Jericho hits the Breakdown, but that only gets 2, so he chokes RVD with his wrist tape. Charge in the corner misses to give RVD control. He hits a variety of kicks, and then a backflip splash for 2. Jericho comes back with an ensiguiri for 2, and then a German suplex for another 2. He runs into a stungun, which sets up the split legged moonsault, but that only gets 2 as well. Jericho tries the Wall, but RVD cradles him for 2. He kicks Jericho to the corner and charges, but misses and ends up getting rammed to the exposed buckle from earlier. Jericho rolls him up with his feet on the ropes, but RVD kicks out at 2. Bulldog hits, but the Lionsault misses. In turn, the Five Star frog splash also misses and now Jericho successfully hits the Lionsault, but it only gets 2. RVD tries a rana, but gets caught and hooked in the Walls though. He struggles to the ropes for the break. This leads to a fight in the corner, and Jericho gets knocked down to the mat. RVD hits the frog splash this time and it gets the 3 count at 14:33. Lawler comes in to interview him about making the finals, but poor sport Jericho attacks and leave him laying. This was some pretty good stuff to kick things off here. ***

KOTR Semifinals: Test vs. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman)
Test won his early round matches over The Hurricane and Hardcore Holly, while Lesnar defeated Bubba Ray Dudley and Booker T. Lesnar was also getting the monster push at this point and was the clear favourite to win. Test hadnít really done anything recently make anyone think he had a chance here, so I wouldnít expect too much out of this match. Lesnar starts by hammering Test in the corner, but Test comes out with a clothesline. He sends Lesnar off, but Lesnar hangs on and slides out to consult with Heyman. Back in, Lesnar takes over with a spinebuster and drops some elbows. Back suplex gets 2, and then he gets a backbreaker and a powerslam for another 2. A bit of brawling leads to Test catching him with a side slam and a couple of corner clotheslines. Full nelson slam gets 2 and he goes for the pumphandle slam, but Lesnar escapes. Test then elbows out of a suplex attempt and gets the pumphandle slam, but Lesnar kicks out at 2. Test goes for the big boot, which Lesnar ducks. Lesnar then sets up a powerbomb, but Test gets out of that too and now he hits the big boot. Lesnar kicks out of that as well though. Testís arsenal is empty, so he sets up the boot again, but Heyman provides the distraction long enough for Lesnar to catch him with the F5 and get the pin at 8:19. Lesnar was pretty green, and Test wasnít that great of a choice of an opponent, but this was still ok. *1/2

Cruiserweight Championship Match: The Hurricane vs. Jamie Noble (w/Nidia)
Hey, how about this? Itís a Cruiserweight Title match in WWE with not only an actual angle behind it, but one that was given a significant amount of TV time to develop. Apparently Nidia had been harassing Hurricane recently over a relationship they had in the past, but it turned out to be a setup for her new boyfriend Jamie Noble to debut. They even ended up stealing Hurricaneís mask and cape. Hurricane got the mask back, but Nidia still has the cape with her when she comes out. Hurricane gets a knockdown and rollup for 1. He sets up the chokeslam right off the bat, but Noble escapes it. He does get a crescent kick for 2 though and then controls with a headscissor. He then comes off the ropes where Nidia tries to trip him but misses. Hurricane is kind enough to oblige her in any case and chase her outside, but that lets Noble blindside him with a clothesline. Back in the ring, Noble covers for 2. He then gets a snap suplex for another 2, as well as a back suplex for a third nearfall. Hurricane comes back quickly with a small package for 2 and then a bodypress for 2 again. He sets up a victory roll, but Noble drops him from his shoulders and gets another 2 of his own from that. Hurricane recovers and hooks a sleeper, but Noble jawjacks out and hooks his own. Hurricane gets out of that and it breaks down into a slugfest before he gets a neckbreaker. Blockbuster hits and gets 2, but then the Nightmare on Helms Street is countered to a German suplex that gets 2 for Noble. Hurricane comes back and gets the Nightmare on the second try, but it only gets 2. Thereís been a lot of casual kickouts of finishers on this show so far. He suplexes Noble to the floor, and then dives on him to finally do something that fits with the Cruiserweight style. They end up fighting on the top rope, and Hurricane takes him down with a swinging neckbreaker from there. Nidia distracts the ref on the cover though. Hurricane confronts her, but then a bit of heel miscommunication sees her get knocked off the apron. Hurricane then hits the chokeslam, but Noble kicks out at 2. He goes up, but Noble recovers quickly enough to crotch him. Powerbomb then finishes Hurricane off and gives Noble the Cruiserweight Title at 12:00. Iím glad this belt is gone because WWE had no clue how to use it effectively. These guys just went out there and did nearly everything in the same style as the heavyweights would do, and no one really cared because they arenít portrayed as stars. **1/2

Ric Flair vs. Eddie Guerrero
This match came about as a direct result of Steve Austin walking out on the company a few weeks earlier. Flair, in his role as owner of Raw, had turned heel and taken on Guerrero and Chris Benoit as allies. They were positioned for a feud with Austin, but his leaving changed everything. Vince McMahon decided to go a new direction, so seven months of storylines regarding he and Flair feuding as co-owners of the company were hastily dropped with Vince simply winning it all in a match held on Raw with no buildup. Flairís heel turn was also forgotten as Guerrero, who was originally scheduled to face Austin on this show, and Benoit put him at fault for Austin walking out and thus ruining their chance to work at a main event level. So Flair, hired back as a wrestler by Vince, was turned babyface and put into the match here. Eddie starts by shoulderblocking Flair down and strutting. Dropkick then puts Flair on the floor. Back in, Flair gets going with some chops. They trade them for a bit until Flair gets him with a low blow. Eddie stalls for a bit, but then grabs a front facelock. Flair suplexes out, but Eddie dropkicks the knee. He takes a page out of Flairís book and goes to work on it, even hooking a figure four, but Flair makes the ropes. More chops are traded, and then Eddie gets backdropped out on a charge. He comes back and gets a suplex, but misses a quick attempt at the frog splash. Now Flair clips the leg and goes to work on it. He gets the figure four on as Chris Benoit makes his way down, but Eddie makes the ropes without any help. He then gets a rollup for 2, and a backslide for another 2. They do the ďbridge out of the pinĒ spot, but canít get it and Eddie nearly gets counted down for real. Eddie gets a DDT for 2 and then distracts the ref which allows Benoit to pull Flair out and hook the Crossface on the floor. Eventually the ref sees this, and decides to eject Benoit, and then in the confusion Bubba Ray Dudley, who in an earlier interview had promised to make an impact tonight, runs in and hits the Bubba Bomb on Eddie. Flair covers and gets the 3 count at 17:02. Thatís too long for such a dumb finish. The match wasnít really even that good either, although maybe I set my expectations too high. *

Thereís a mind boggling segment now at The World with William Regal and Chris Nowinski which in about sixty seconds manages to sum up the complete lack of big picture vision that this company has. First they complain about the slow service theyíve received and then when their food finally arrives, Nowinski makes a crack about the server working here to pay her way through community college (because he went to Harvard, you see), and her response is to stick her finger in his food and stir it around (without him noticing). He then eats it and goes right back to complaining about her. Ha ha, what a funny segment about the heels getting their comeuppance, right? And it could have been in another setting, but did no one stop and take notice of that fact that they are portraying this as happening in THEIR OWN RESTAURANT?!?! Yes, slow service and a completely uncaring staff who will sabotage your food at the slightest provocation is what you can expect at The World. Letís all go eat there right now. Oh wait, we canít because it closed down after taking on millions of dollars in losses. Not that this segment necessarily had anything to do with that, but it certainly couldnít have helped the situation. Still, good job there guys.

Womenís Championship Match: Trish Stratus vs. Molly Holly
Molly had a gimmick at this point where she was aghast at the idea that all the other divas used their sexuality to get ahead in life. They also made fun of her supposedly being overweight because she was like 140 pounds instead of the standard 110. She had recently gotten into a feud with Womenís Champion Trish Stratus, who she pointed to as the prime example of what she thought a woman should not be, so we have this match here. Trish tries to attack, but the ref holds her back, which allows Molly to nail her. She gets 2 counts off of some elbows and a backdrop before going to an armbar. Trish rolls her up for 2 and then takes over with a victory roll for another 2. Neckbreaker also gets 2 as does another rollup. Molly gets her with a drop toehold on the ropes and then dropkicks her to the floor. Out there she sends Trish to the barrier before getting her back in. Molly goes up, but gets crotched. Trish joins her on top only to get shoved down, but then sheís right back up there with a headscissors takedown. She follows with a clothesline and dropkick, and tries Stratusfaction, but Molly blocks it. German suplex gets 2 for Molly, and then she goes up, but the Molly Go Round misses. Trish gets a rollup for 2, which Molly then reverses and gets the 3 count to win the Womenís Title at 5:42. Pretty good for the short amount of time that they had. **1/2

Hulk Hogan vs. Kurt Angle
Last month at Judgment Day, Angle lost a hair vs. hair match to Edge, resulting in him getting his head shaved for the look he would maintain for the rest of his WWE run. For now though, heís going with a gimmick where heís in denial about being bald, and covering it up with a wig thatís held in place by amateur wrestling headgear. Hogan starts out in control, shoving Angle out of a lockup and then shoulderblocking him to the floor. Angle comes in with a clothesline, but Hogan ducks the next charge and tosses Angle again. After a shot to the barrier, Hogan gets him back in. He makes the mistake though of going for the wig, and ends up taking a low blow. Angle then hits two back suplexes and gets a 2 count. Hogan reverses another suplex and hits one of his own, followed by a slam. Irish whip is reversed though and Angle hooks a sleeper. The arm drops twice before Hogan gets back up and reverses it. Angle suplexes out and then hits the Angle Slam, but it only gets 2. Hulk Up Time, but following the big boot, Hogan goes for the wig again, and this time he gets it, so Angleís baldness is exposed. So even though he lost the hair a month ago, and in storyline terms is pretty angry about it, why is it still perfectly shaved? You could have regrown it, you know? Anyways, Angle is so pissed that he grabs a chair, which Hogan ducks and Angle hits himself on the rebound. Another big boot hits, but on the legdrop attempt, Angle grabs the ankle and hooks the ankle lock. Hogan struggles for quite awhile, but in the end has nowhere to go and taps out at 12:09. Good usage of Hogan here, and the match was actually decent, which is more then what I was expecting. *1/2

Next we have a great backstage segment. It starts out with Goldust doing his impression of The Rock for Booker T. Then the Real Deal walks in and immediately blows everyone on this show away in the span of a few minutes. This is the kind of stuff that they wish they could be putting out today, but they donít have the performers needed to pull it off. As awesomely entertaining as this segment is, it also has a point: To establish that Rock is here to watch the Undisputed Championship match later on and that he wants a shot at the winner.

KOTR Finals: Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Rob Van Dam
RVD comes out looking and acting no worse for wear from the attack earlier on, so whatever. He takes it right to Lesnar with kicks and shoulders in the corner. He tries a monkey flip, but gets caught and hit with a powerbomb. Lesnar runs him to the corner, and then hits a powerslam for 2. Following a bearhug, Lesnar misses a charge to the corner, allowing RVD to connect with more kicks. Dropkick off the top leads to Rolling Thunder, which gets 2. He goes up again and hits the Five Star frog splash, but Heyman is on the apron. RVD goes for him, and Heyman actually pulls him down on the ropes, but then RVD falls back on top of Lesnar for a cover. Lesnar kicks out at 2 as Heyman nearly has a heart attack. Now RVD takes a proper shot at Heyman. He then tries a bodypress on Lesnar, but gets caught and hit with the F5 for the pin at 5:43. Not that great for a finals match, and it really didnít even put Lesnar over that huge. *

Backstage, HHH runs into the nWo, which at this point consisted of Kevin Nash, Shawn Michaels, X-Pac, and Big Show. They tell him that if he needs their help, all he has to do is give the sign.

Main Event, Undisputed Championship Match: The Undertaker vs. Triple H
With Brock Lesnar having just earned a shot at the Undisputed Title at Summerslam, Paul Heyman sticks around to do guest commentary. Undertaker was the heel here while HHH was the face for anyone who forgets. They would both turn shortly after this show as well, adding to the potential for confusion. We start out with a slugfest which HHH wins. He takes Taker to the floor and rams him to the stairs, followed by a whip to the stairs. Back in, Taker gains control, dropping HHH on the buckle and hitting a clothesline for 2. The action hasnít been too hot so far, and the crowd actually seems a bit restless. Taker gets a side slam and elbow for 2. Legdrop then gets another 2. HHH fights back, but runs into a big boot and then Taker tosses him. The after suplexing him back in, he hits another legdrop for 2. He sets HHH on top, but gets knocked back. Taker ducks on a whip and nails a clothesline for 2. He then pulls a turnbuckle pad off. HHH blocks the shot to that, but gets hit with a clothesline. Corner whip to the exposed buckle is reversed and Taker ends up hitting it. HHH then gets a neckbreaker and spinebuster for 2. Whip is reversed and leads to HHH taking Snake Eyes on the exposed buckle, but he completely no sells it and nails a high knee for 2. Taker gets him with a DDT for 2. HHH sets him for the Pedigree, but Taker blocks and sends HHH right into the ref, putting him out. They clothesline each other, and this lull in the match is the perfect time for The Rock, complete with entrance music, to make an appearance. He chases Heyman away and takes over on commentary. Taker grabs a chair, but HHH kicks him and hits a facebuster. They brawl on the floor, and after knocking HHH back, Taker boots Rock in the face. He turns his attention back to HHH, only to be attacked by Rock, who now has a chair. He goes for a shot, but Taker ducks and HHH gets hit instead, busting him open. Taker sends Rock to the post to put him down. Back in the ring he sets up the Last Ride, and hits it, but the ref is still out. A new one sprints in to count, but HHH kicks out at 2. Takerís response to this is to lay out the new referee. Rock comes in the ring now and hits Taker with Rock Bottom. HHH covers just as the original ref is coming to, but it only gets 2. Pedigree hits, but the ref is still groggy so HHH has to drag him into position. Taker takes advantage of that to hit a low blow. He then rolls up HHH, holding the tights, and gets the 3 count to retain at 23:45. That was a pretty long and not too exciting match. It would seemingly setup a three way at the next show with Undertaker/HHH/Rock, but for reasons I canít currently recall, Kurt Angle was put in there instead of HHH. Ĺ*

Well, it showed a bit of promise early on, but kinda fell off at the end, and that main event really drags things down with a long boring match, and a cheap finish to top it off. With nothing that good, or even close to memorable that means that Iím going to call it a Thumbs Down for King of the Ring 2002.

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