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Thread: WWE Judgment Day 2002 Review

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    Judgment Day WWE Judgment Day 2002 Review

    Judgment Day
    May 19, 2002



    It’s the end of an era! The last WWE PPV DVD that I have to review. It may not mean much to anyone, but when I first started to review wrestling events, I only reviewed events I owned on VHS (WM 6), owned on DVD (Unforgiven 2002), or borrowed from the library (Great American Bash 2005). Now, it didn’t take long before I started to heavily rely on downloads and many years later, the WWE Network. However, physical media was how I started these reviews, but with less and less need of actually buying WWE PPVs on DVD, this show is apparently the only show I have left to review.

    BUT WAIT! It’s also the start of a new era~! The WWE has gotten the F out. This marks the first WWE PPV.

    Eddie Guerrero © vs Rob Van Dam - WWE IC Title
    The first of many rematches tonight. Guerrero won the title from RVD last month at Backlash. Much like their Backlash match, it’s a dream match on paper that does little for me in execution. Guerrero, like always, showed some good aggression, but it’s snoozecity for the actual match. It’s pretty back and forth with Lawler trying to sell JR on the fact that Guerrero has the better Frog Splash. Not that it would matter as Guerrero would steal the victory with a backslide and win with his feet on the middle rope. In the battle of the Frog Splashes, neither man managed to connect with their version of it, which makes the finish feel pretty underwhelming. You can flip a coin to decide which match I prefer more, this or their Backlash one. Neither one is anything more than decent. ** ¼


    Backstage, Mr. McMahon is with Rev. D-Von, Deacon Batista, and Stacy Keibler. D-Von leads a prayer while McMahon uses this as a chance to check out Stacy. Concluding the prayer, D-Von again confirms to McMahon that there’s no reason to be concerned about Bubba Ray Dudley tonight. Besides, even if he is a problem, he will bring hell to his brother. The Women’s Title is coming home to Stacy, tonight!

    Trish Stratus © w/Bubba Ray Dudley vs Stacy Keibler w/Rev. D-Von and Deacon Batista - WWE Women’s Title
    Technically speaking, the Women’s Title is currently not a brand title, thus being defended on both Raw and Smackdown, just like the Undisputed Title, but since Stacy was Smackdown’s owner, McMahon’s personal secretary, this was still given a Raw vs Smackdown match feel to it. With Stacy’s limited skills, this was treated as more of a segment than a match. Trish dominated the early going until Stacy was sent to the outside, causing the referee to be distracted by Stacy slapping Bubba Ray. That allowed Batista to perform his first wrestling move on PPV - slamming Trish in the middle of the ring. Back in the ring, Stacy gets a two count. Batista continues to try to get involved with Trish avoiding it all and allowing Stacy to hit a closeline on Batista before Stratus won with a weak looking bulldog. I’ll give the match credit, they found a way to make it “Work” despite the lack of talent. * ½

    After the match is where the important stuff actually happens. There’s a long segment in the ring with Bubba Ray and Rev. D-Von. Batista would attack Batista from behind, D-Von would join in on the attack on his brother, Bubba would would mount a brief comeback, but it would end with the heels performing a double flapjack through a table. Of course, all of this built up to absolutely nothing. So...yay?

    The Hardy Boyz vs Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman
    Poor Lesnar still doesn’t have his trademark theme, but I can’t imagine it’d be much longer until he does. This earliest Lesnar feud continues after the set-up of Brock killing Matt before Backlash and Jeff at Backlash. This time around, The Hardyz are able to join in the fight together to actually get in some offense against the future WWE mega star. Heyman remains on the ring apron for the majority of the match while the actual action keeps going back and forth between Lesnar dominating and Hardyz getting in a flurry of offense. Despite Matt and Jeff hanging in there, eventually Matt is sent flying off of the apron to the outside and Jeff is killed with a F5. It’s at this point that Heyman insists on being tagged in for the first time, being the one to score the actual pinfall. Fun stuff. No one knew it at the time, but this was a history match as The Hardyz wouldn’t team on a WWE PPV again until late 2006. ** ½

    Backstage, Marc Lloyd tries to interview the newest member of the nWo, Booker T, but he quickly catches the attention of a girl. Booker approaches and scores her hotel keycard. The weirdest thing about Booker T in the nWo is that he didn’t join the group nor was he brought in by the nWo, but rather he was added to the group by Raw owner, Ric Flair.

    Steve Austin vs Ric Flair and The Big Show
    So let’s see. Flair and McMahon were co-owners of the WWE, but they couldn’t get along. McMahon brought The nWo into the WWE to kill the company. The board of directors decided to split the WWE in half with Flair controlling Raw while McMahon controlled Smackdown. Flair decided to draft The nWo...the very group that McMahon had buddied up with. Luckily, Flair had Steve Austin, a big rival of the nWo, sign with Raw the week after the brand extension. In late April, The Big Show joined forces with Austin to combat The nWo, only to turn on Austin to join the nWo. A couple of weeks later, Flair, after weeks of having problems with Austin, turned heel on him in a six man tag, becoming buddies with The nWo, but not officially joining the faction. Gee, I have no idea why Austin up and walked out of the WWE shortly after this PPV with such compelling storytelling! Although the initial moments of this was fun with Austin getting the best of the heels in an essential Texas Tornado style handicap match, eventually things quieted down with tag being enforced. That allowed this match to start to become a bore. It’s mostly just the heels working over Austin before eventually starting to target his knee. While losing Austin was a huge blow to star power, it certainly wasn’t for quality since he did absolutely quality wise in 2002. The match drags on until X-Pac runs out to help his fellow nWo member, Big Show. While Show does no sell a Stunner, he gets dropped with a super kick by X-Pac after Stone Cold moved out of the way. Austin would then deliver a trio of Stunners before cleanly getting the pinfall. Nice that all of that knee work ended up meaning nothing. While the match was better than Austin’s last two PPV matches, it’s yet another disappointing one for him. This is another match that was historic without anyone realizing it at the time. With Austin’s walkout soon afterward, it would be Austin’s last PPV match of 2002 and really, the last PPV match from the main point of his WWE career. **


    Kurt Angle vs Edge - Hair vs Hair
    A rematch from Backlash. Since Backlash, not much has happened. Edge messed with Angle’s new t-shirt so that when the big reveal occurred, it showed off a “I Suck” t-shirt. Other than that, they were involved in four straight weeks of tag matches with such stars as Triple H, Hulk Hogan, and Chris Jericho, and such non-stars as The Big Valbowski, Albert, and Lance Storm. It’s truly a program that involved everyone on SD. Much like their Backlash match, it’s a match that really stood out in 2002 for being a very strong workrate match, but now you watch it with modern eyes and there isn’t anything remarkable about it. It certainly isn’t bad, but the majority of the match is pretty back and forth without much of a story. Again, for 2002, especially the WWE, this was completely fine. Great even. I found it got a lot more interesting at the very end after Edge accidentally speared the referee and suddenly the match could end at any time. A steel chair, which had been used throughout the feud, including at Backlash, was brought into the ring by Angle. Edge seemingly had the match won with the referee down. Angle would hit a spear and would seemingly have the match won. Then just as the referee was waking up, Edge lucked into countering an Ankle Lock by kicking Angle into the ropes and then surprising him with a small package for the pinfall. The final couple of minutes were pretty hot and like the Backlash match, Edge looked great by hanging in there with a legitimate high midcarder/low main eventer like Angle. Winning here may just be winning the second match (And after losing 3 out of 4 tag matches leading to this PPV), but it’s a really good win for Edge. I just wish that these matches held up with modern eyes. They’re clearly the best things that were offered on PPV in the initial offerings for the brand extension era of PPVs. ***


    After the match, Angle attacks Edge, but Edge recovers to drag him to the hair cutting station. Luckily for Angle, he recovers enough to run off in time. No haircut yet.

    Meanwhile, over at a hotel, Booker T looks to be moments away from getting lucky with the woman he met at the arena. After the lights are turned off, Booker T hears the voice of Goldust, begging him to leave the nWo and return to him. Booker T turns the lights back on, sees Goldust in bed with the woman and him, causing Booker to flee with his ass hanging out. Poor Goldust, he even got dressed up in a saucy nightie.

    Triple H vs Chris Jericho - Hell in a Cell Match
    A rematch from Wrestlemania 18. While that match was really about Triple H vs Stephanie McMahon, this match was about Triple H vs Mr. McMahon. This is a lowkey historic match since it’s the longest that the WWE went without a HIAC match. It’s been about a year and a half since Armageddon 2000, the last HIAC match. Since the creation of HIAC in 1997, the only calendar year that they skipped was 2001. I’d compare this match in the history with HIAC with Fall Brawl 1993’s War Games in the history of War Games. Technically speaking, that was a pretty solid War Games match, but it’s hardly the classic like War Games was putting out previous. In both cases, this and the Fall Brawl 1993 match ushered in a new era for the gimmick match that wasn’t always a great thing. On one hand, I do feel as if this is a really good match. It’s way better than their Wrestlemania match and the easy MOTN for Judgment Day. In the case of HIAC, unlike War Games, it’s about moments rather than quality. Moments wise, there’s not much here. Truthfully, the biggest moment in the entire match is just Tim White being sent off of the apron into the HIAC in a spot that would injure White so badly that his career would basically be over. He’d make a brief comeback starting at WM 20, but it wouldn’t last. He’d do some memorable skits following Armageddon 2005 on WWE.com, but those wouldn’t last long for long. Considering White is one of the more memorable referees in WWE history, it’s a bit memorable, but the most memorable aspect is still built around a legit injury to the referee. The actual violence is pretty good though. There’s weapons without with everyone, including White, being busted open. Jericho’s tights are even ripped up on the thigh to further add to the violent tone of the match. Thanks to the injury to White, which only was further worsened by the fact that Jericho picked White up and slammed him into the cage, other referees rushed out and opened up the door to the cell to help out their fallen fellow referee. This allowed the action to go to the top of the cell. It’s at this point that Hunter revealed...idk…”Barbara”(?), the cousin to Cactus Jack’s Barbie. A barbed wire wrapped 2x4. This connects this HIAC to some of the most recent HIACs with Hunter this time further adding potential violence to the match, rather than be the target. Yet, it’s Jericho who gains control of “Barbara” on the top of the cell, blasting Hunter a few times. A new referee climbs the cell to be the official just in time for Hunter to hit the Pedigree and pin Jericho on top of the cell to win the match. I imagine everyone expected some big dive or fall from the cell, but with modern eyes, it’s still a nice visual seeing Jericho lock in the Walls of Jericho from on top of the cell. Although I think it’s actually a really good match, certainly better than the six way HIAC at Armageddon, there’s not much that’s truly memorable about it. At this point, HIAC was about giant falls/dives from the top of the cell, so to have a match without that, it’s pretty underwhelming. It may not be as good as their classic at Fully Loaded 2000, but it’s underrated...while also being underwhelming in the context of then HIAC matches...but then holds up incredibly well in the context of current HIAC matches. So I suppose I’m saying it’s a great HIAC match, but one that happened in the wrong time period. *** ¾

    Backstage, Edge is looking for Angle, but Angle hides at the hairstylist location to avoid detection. Will Angle escape Judgment Day with his hair?!

    Billy and Chuck © vs Rikishi and Rico - WWE Tag Titles
    God, the WWE Tag Team Titles division was so terrible in these first few months of the brand extension. Since before Backlash, Rikishi was an enemy of sorta to Billy and Chuck, facing off against them in a few tag matches and six man tag matches. Rikishi was mostly just teaming with Al Snow and Maven against Billy, Chuck, and Rico since Rikishi didn’t have an actual partner. This was build as a mystery partner match with Mr. McMahon announcing Rikishi’s partner at the PPV. As it turns out, the partner is revealed to be Billy and Chuck’s personal stylist, Rico. This was pretty uneventful with Billy and Chuck working over Rikishi for the entire match while the Samoan tries to hang in there. With all of the bleached hair, you can almost smell it from your TV. Rikishi mounts a very brief comeback with a pop up Ace Crusher on Gunn. That brings in Gunn to attempt a standing spinning heel kick on Rikishi, but he ends up missing his partner and ends up blasting Chuck instead. Rikishi takes care of Rico and then squashes sits down on Chuck to score the pinfall to become the NEW WWE Tag Team Champions. You know the WWE Tag Titles division has went down the shitter in these early brand extension months when Rikishi and Rico are the champions. Billy and Chuck would regain the titles a couple of weeks later on Smackdown, making this whole match feel pretty worthless. Looking back, maybe it would have been better to just run a SD six man tag with Rikishi, The Hurricane (Recently won the Cruiserweight Title), and Billy Kidman (Lost the Cruiserweight Title at Backlash) against Billy, Chuck, and Tajiri (Previous Cruiserweight Champion) instead. It still would have been a pretty unremarkable match, but at least it would have served more of a purpose by showcasing a few feuds. * ¾

    Backstage, Edge is still chasing Angle when Angle manages to attack him. Angle brings him out to the arena near the barber’s chair. Edge recovers and locks in a sleeper, putting Angle to sleep. Angle gets thrown into the barber’s chair and gets his head shaven to forever change how he looked. Angle awakens only to learn what has happened to his hair. Much like Backlash, the loser of the Angle/Edge match benefited more than the winner.

    Hollywood Hogan © vs The Undertaker - WWE Undisputed Title
    A rematch from Survivor Series 1991 and This Tuesday in Texas. It’s time for the PPV rubber match, more than a decade in the making~! Taker earned this title shot by beating Steve Austin in a #1 contender’s match at Backlash. Since then, they’ve had a couple of segments together including Taker dragging Hogan away on his motorcycle and Undertaker interfering in a Hogan/William Regal WWE Undisputed Title match on Raw. I feel as if this match receives too much hate. Is it good? Not really, but their 1991 matches are also somewhat fresh in my mind when I watch this. Right away, a clear advantage this match has going for it over their 1991 matches is that Taker’s character/style is completely different. He’s not a slow, lumbering monster, but a more active asskicker. Granted, The Hulkster can barely walk around any more, but the mobility is still better than 1991. The story of the match revolving around Taker working over the knee is better than their 1991 matches too. Another advantage this match has going for it is that the live PPV broadcast showcased one of the weakest looking chokeslams ever. On the DVD (And from what I hear the WWE Network), it’s edited and an alternative angle is shown to make the spot look so much better. It went from being one of the worst chokeslams ever to merely a serviceable chokeslam. That only gets Taker a two count, with Hogan quickly hitting a leg drop for a two count. That brings out Mr. McMahon for the distraction while Taker grabbed a chair. Hogan is blasted with a chair and hit with another chokeslam for the win and to become the NEW WWE Undisputed Champion. Considering the fact that Hogan is past the point where he should be in the ring and Taker is so damn inconsistent, I really think that this overachieved. By no means should this have ever been a PPV main event in 2002, but still better than what the WWE put as the main event of PPVs in 1991 though. **


    Overall
    These initial few months of the original brand extension was not a pretty time for the WWE. Raw was pretty awful all around. Their PPV matches were poor and the booking was even worse. Just look at the booking of the nWo to see the flaws in the booking. From a ring quality perspective, Smackdown was vastly better, but they were held back from a lack of star power. The tag team division was especially flawed as Billy and Chuck's title reign was booked to fail because they went from being able to work the likes of The Hardyz, The Dudleyz, The APA, ect to suddenly working...Maven/Al Snow and Rikishi/Whoever they can find to team with Rikishi. I'm a big fan of Jericho/Hunter, but not only do I recognize that it's not a memorable HIAC match, but that most people aren't very high on it. Edge/Angle delivered another good PPV match, but one that can't stand out much with modern eyes. Despite the other two SD matches (Women's Title and WWE Tag Titles) being weak, the SD offering is still loads better than what Raw to offer tonight. For me, Judgment Day 20002's legacy is a show that is historic in hindsight. It's the final PPV for The Hardyz teaming up until 2006. It's the final PPV match of Steve Austin before his infamous walkout. It's the night that saw Tim White's infamous injury in HIAC. It's even the PPV debut of Batista, months before his in ring PPV debut. Like the majority of 2002-2003 PPVs, you can skip all of Raw's offerings and just pick and choose which SD matches to watch.

  2. #2
    The Only 2x WC HOF
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    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2002 Review

    Edge Vs Angle was fantastic at the time but I agree hasn't aged well at all due to Angle copy and pasting that match into every match he had for the next 15 years.

    Edge was made to look very good but, much like every other part of his career, I always feel he wasn't as over as a face as his push suggested he should be. They were all in on Edge as their next big babyface from 2001-early 2003 but he never became as popular as they wanted him to

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    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2002 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Shock View Post
    Edge was made to look very good but, much like every other part of his career, I always feel he wasn't as over as a face as his push suggested he should be. They were all in on Edge as their next big babyface from 2001-early 2003 but he never became as popular as they wanted him to
    I disagree to some extent. I don't think it's so much that he wasn't as over as they'd like, but rather shit always happened. Primarily, injuries happening at the worst possible moments. Case in point, his Judgment Day 2002 victory. In some ways, I think you can argue that it's his biggest victory of his career, bigger than the KOTR victory and the IC Title victories due to where Angle was at the time. Two weeks later, Edge fucks up his shoulder in a cage match against Angle and is forced to miss a month and a half TV, completely missing the KOTR PPV. It wasn't a huge deal, but it was a nice teaser for a far bigger injury that would happen at the start of 2003, causing him to miss a year and a half with a broken neck. This was right after a couple really strong months where Edge was put in big matches including challenging Lesnar for the title in England. When he returned in 2004, the WWE still tried to push him, but the crowd had moved on from him. Even in 2005, after finally getting over again due to the legitimate heat he had thanks to cheating with Lita, he again got injured and nearly fucked up the early 2006 plans for him. Instead, the WWE smartly decided to just keep him on TV in non-wrestling roles to not allow the injury to affect his overness. Who knows how much more success he could have had in wrestling had an injury again not randomly affected him, forcing him to retire.

    Edge is the anti-Mr. Kennedy. A guy who managed to still succeed despite poor timing injuries whereas Kennedy never found a way to bounce back fully.

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    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2002 Review

    I agree that timing was unfortunate for Edge's face runs but given he bombed as a face later in his career too in 2010, I don't think he'd have ever made it as one.

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    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2002 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Shock View Post
    I agree that timing was unfortunate for Edge's face runs but given he bombed as a face later in his career too in 2010, I don't think he'd have ever made it as one.
    I suppose, but in fairness A. Edge had been the WWE's #1 heel for years so by that point, no one is going to want to cheer him on, especially for the simple reason that he was coming back from an injury and B. They booked him to fail at Wrestlemania 26, why would people cheer for him when the WWE wasn't fully going with him? I can't imagine it helped that he was brought back as a face, but everyone obviously knew that he'd never be the #1 face as long as Cena's around.

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    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2002 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim View Post
    I suppose, but in fairness A. Edge had been the WWE's #1 heel for years so by that point, no one is going to want to cheer him on, especially for the simple reason that he was coming back from an injury and B. They booked him to fail at Wrestlemania 26, why would people cheer for him when the WWE wasn't fully going with him? I can't imagine it helped that he was brought back as a face, but everyone obviously knew that he'd never be the #1 face as long as Cena's around.
    All very true. But he also sucked as a babyface in general I think. In a weird way though he was probably a better wrestler as a face in 2002 than at any other point (though who he was wrestling every week would have helped).

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    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2002 Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Shock View Post
    All very true. But he also sucked as a babyface in general I think. In a weird way though he was probably a better wrestler as a face in 2002 than at any other point (though who he was wrestling every week would have helped).
    I can't really disagree with this post. Part of the problem may just be that Edge is really charismatic. It's great for a heel character, but as a babyface, such comedy is more of a midcard gimmick than a main event character.

    He probably was a better worker in 2002, not just because of who he was wrestling, but having a broken neck and other injuries is going to affect a guy's workrate.

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    Re: WWE Judgment Day 2002 Review

    That Undertaker/Hogan chokeslam was worst than the DVD/Network release




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