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WWE Flashback – King of the Ring 2002 Review – Downtown With Darsie

King of the Ring 2002Sunday, June 23rd, 2002 – Nationwide Arena – Columbus, Ohio – A intro video to highlight some of the past King of the Ring winners and pyro went off and Jim Ross and Jerry “the King” Lawler open the show for us!

Semi-Finals Match: Chris Jericho versus Rob Van Dam (IC Champ)

I jumped off my couch and had my computer drop to the floor when his countdown started, because Chris Jericho is my favorite wrestler! I remember watching this pay-per-view live and I remember wondering why someone who was the first Undisputed WWE Champion would be put into the King of the Ring tournament.

At this time, Rob Van Dam was the Intercontinental Champion. He’d go on and become the TNA World Heavyweight Champion. I guess we’ll see if Vince puts this guy over later tonight.

RVD was the crowd favorite of this match, but my money’s on Y2J’s goatee that he had at this time. No matter how great this match could turn out to be, the superstar of the match has to be Jericho’s goatee.

RVD did a somersault plancha from the ring onto Jericho on the floor.

“I wouldn’t try that in the swimming pool, would you?” asked Lawler.

I spot a sign in the crowd that says “King Jericho!” I wonder if that was me ten years ago. Actually, it wasn’t, but if I were in Columbus, Ohio, on that very night, I totally would have had that sign.

RVD had Jericho in a small package and got a two count because the ref was monkeying around. Then Jericho hit the Breakdown onto Van Dam.

“I will be the King of the Ring!” Jericho yelled at Van Dam!

For an opener match, I believe this was a great match to get the crowd into the event and into the tournament finals.

JR said that the KOR tournament started in 1993. That’s crap! As a PPV, yes, but it was around in the ‘80s! Come on, JR!

I feel like this time WWE was trying to build up RVD and not fully trusting Jericho with the ball. That makes me sad, not because they were building up RVD, but Vince couldn’t trust Jericho with the ball yet.

RVD won with the 5 Star Frog Splash. I remember being upset when this match took place, because I was a huge (and still are) Jericholic.

Jerry “the King” Lawler got in the ring and got a word with RVD. RVD doesn’t care who he faces in the finals. RVD got attacked. By who, you may ask? CHRIS JERICHO!

Superstar of the match: Chris Jericho (a close second—his goatee).

We go backstage in the locker room with Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar, and Heyman built up Lesnar and put him over huge. I miss managers like Heyman.

Semi Finals Match: Test versus Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman)

NICK PATRICK IS THE REF FOR THE MATCH! I LIKE IT! Sorry, there’s only a few ref’s I enjoy seeing, and Nick Patrick is one of them.

In a matter of a few minutes, the crowd was chanting “Goldberg!” I’m sorry Ohio fans, it’s Test and Lesnar, not Goldberg. Wait another ten months or so; you’ll get him, for sure.

This match is a typical big man match. Sadly enough, the crowd wasn’t into this match as they were in the opening match.

Test hit Lesnar with a boot and got a two count when Heyman was freaking out on the outside of the ring. The crowd got into the near fall, which was awesome to see.

Lesnar won with the F5.

Superstar of the match: Paul Heyman, because of his distractions and being the third man at the announcers table, even though he wasn’t at the announcers table.

The Coach interviewed Bubba Ray Dudley on his thoughts and Bubba’s happy that it’s an all Raw final and wished he was in the finals.

Some interviewer interviewed Lance Storm and Christian about their thoughts on the finals, and they were angered that it’s an all American final, and they were upset about it. Here’s a sign about an Un-American group!

WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Jamie Noble versus the Hurricane (champion)

This match is a nice change of pace compared to the first two matches, being a faster paced match. I wish the Cruiserweights were still around, because I always enjoyed seeing their matches. Only if Vince would pull an Eric Bischoff and let the Cruiserweights come back and build that division up.

There were a couple of obvious slip ups in this match. Hopefully Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer overlooked those spots (if you listen to the Wrestling Observer podcasts, you’d understand).

Hurricane hit a Buff Blockbuster onto Noble and only got a two count! Really? Why wouldn’t that be a finish? Oh yeah, Vince never liked Buff Bagwell. Makes sense.

Hurricane hit a cross body from the top rope onto the mats below onto Noble.

Hurricane hit a swinging neck breaker off the top rope. An interesting way to hit that move from the top rope. Nidia distracted the ref when the Hurricane had the match won. Hurricane hit a chokeslam and got a two count (with the crowd into the near fall).

Noble hit a powerbomb and Nidia pushed the Hurricane’s hands off the bottom rope. Winner and new Cruiserweight Champion, Jamie Noble!

Superstar of the match: Eric Bischoff, for inspiring the Cruiserweight division in WCW.

Terri interviewed Eddie Guerrero about his match against the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. One, Eddie has an awesome mullet. Two, Eddie said “hi” to his brothers and cousins. Vintage stereo type (the hair). Eddie did some things that was hard to understand, then said he’s in the best shape of his life. Eddie then said Flair will be running to the nursing home because of Latino Heat!

Ric Flair versus Eddie Guerrero

Wooooooooooo! Flair came out in his red and gold robe. Flair equals babyface in the WWE. Eddie’s theme song for this match is awesome, the “Latino Heat” theme! I loved that theme! I always jammed to that song when WWE the Music Volume 5 came out! I jammed to that song when I mowed the lawn at the place I lived.

Two legends of this sport.

Eddie was out wrestling Flair for a while. Flair rolled out of the ring to slow the pace for a while. When Flair got back in the ring and chopped Eddie, Eddie rolled out of the ring and got upset because of the chop.

Eddie put Flair into the Figure Four Leg Lock and Flair did an awesome job selling for the submission hold! I guess doing for the many decades Flair had, he should know how to sell the Figure Four.

Chris Benoit came out and Eddie distracted the ref and Benoit slapped on the Crippler Crossface onto Flair on the floor and the ref kicked Benoit out of the arena. Bubba Ray Dudley came out and hit the Bubba Bomb onto Eddie and Flair covered and got the three count.

Superstar of the match: Bubba Ray Dudley and his Bubba Bomb.

WWE Women’s Championship Match: Molly Holly versus Trish Stratus (champion)

I miss Trish and Molly, two awesome lady wrestlers. I’m happy to see this match because the women’s division is a joke now days compared to how things were back then.

“Do you want kids to run to their room? JR in a thong?” Jim Ross said to the King. I miss interactions like this between the two. Hint to Vince McMahon…kick Michael Cole out of the booth!

Molly won by a roll up and pulling the tights of Trish, and you’re new Women’s Champion…Molly!

Superstar of the match: JR with his awesome one-liners!

Kurt Angle got interviewed with his horrid wig on. Angle is upset because the match with Hogan got billed as “the match of the real American heros.” Angle said Hogan isn’t a real American hero because Mr. McMahon told him to be one, yet he won an Olympic gold medal for the country.

“Hollywood” Hulk Hogan versus Kurt Angle

The match was built on Hogan wanting to retire. How many times will Hogan try to retire but swerve us and come back and wrestle? Come on Hogan brother dude Jack! Just retire!

But along with the Eddie Guerrero versus Ric Flair match on this card, I feel like this is another legend versus legend match-up. If one guy could carry the Hulkster at any period, it’s the only Olympic Gold Medalist in professional wrestling history, and that’s Kurt Angle, brother!

For this match, it’s the battle of the bright red and yellow attire against the bright red attire. The colors are hurting my eyes! Ouch!

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JR listed off a good portion of the countries that are watching the PPV live, and then the King said that there are Hulkamanics in every country that JR listed. Really Lawler, did you poll everyone in those countries?

Like the Flair/Guerrero match, this match between Angle and Hogan is very slow pace.

ANGLE SLAM! Two count because the Hulkster kicks out! Guess what? The Hulkster Hulks up, brother! The BIG BOOT and the wig comes off! Angle leaves the ring and teases he’s gonna leave. Hogan puts the wig on and Angle comes back. Angle tries to hit with a chair and Hogan moves and drops the LEG DROP. Angle does what he does best and slaps on the Ankle Lock. HOGAN TAPS! HOGAN TAPS! HOGAN TAPS! ANGLE WINS!

Superstar of the match: the Wig. Oh it’s true, it’s darn true!

Booker T and Goldust are backstage and Goldie tries to be like the Rock. The Rock comes by and sees Goldie trying to be like him. Goldust likes to touch himself a lot and that’s really disturbing. Booker T said that he’s down with the Rock when the Rock said that if you aren’t with the WWE, you can get the “F” out.

Tournament Finals: Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) versus Rob Van Dam (IC Champ)

Interesting fact: the former UFC Heavyweight Champion is facing the former TNA World Heavyweight Champion. I’m sure you guys don’t care about that, but it’s something I find interesting now looking back at it.

If I were ever a pro wrestler, I’d want Paul Heyman as my manager. If I ever get into the business, I’d love to be a manager like Heyman. I’m told I’m loud enough to be so.

Lesnar tries to slow RVD down and slapped on a bear hug.

Later in the match, RVD hit the 5 Star Frog Splash and Heyman distracts him for he couldn’t get the victory. Within a minute, Lesnar hit the F5 and became the King of the Ring winner!

Superstar of the match: Paul Heyman, because he almost cost his man the King of the Ring crown.

Triple H had an encounter with the New World Order backstage, and HBK, Nash, and X-Pac gave him a hug. Nash said if he needed help, just throw up the wolfpac hand gustier.

Undisputed WWE Championship match: the Undertaker (WWE Champion) versus Triple H

This match is about respect. The Undisputed Champion wants respect and the challenger wants his “religion” back. We’ll see who’ll walk out with what they want. Out of all the transitions that the Undertaker went over the years, I enjoyed the Biker Taker the most, because it’s a character that we all can relate to the most compared to the rest of his transitions.

“If you’re not trying to be the Undisputed Champion, then you’re wasting your time!” proclaims Paul Heyman, who is on the announcer’s table, to help build up Brock Lesnar as the number one contender for the Undisputed title at SummerSlam.

This match was a pretty decent match for these two men. Different from their WrestleMania X7 and XXVII matches (which is a good thing). It’s hard to choose which match out of the three was better, due to all three matches are different from one another.

Triple H and the Undertaker take out the ref and each other and the Rock comes out to the ring and scares off Paul Heyman and takes his spot on the announcers table.

Undertaker and Triple H were outside the ring battling it out and the Undertaker hit the Rock with the big boot and took his chair to hit Triple H with it. The Rock saved him and started to punch the Undertaker. The Rock took the chair and aimed it at the Undertaker and hit Triple H with it when the Undertaker ducked. The Undertaker took the Rock out.

The Undertaker hit the Last Ride on Triple H in the ring and Nick Patrick came in and only counted the two due to Triple H kicking out. The Undertaker knocked out Nick Patrick and the Rock came in and hit Taker in the face a few times and hit the Rock Bottom on him.

Triple H hit the pedigree onto the Champion and the ref wasn’t there and the crowd moaned because Triple H had the three count and “should of” became the new champ!

Undertaker hit a low blow and school boyed Triple H (with the help of the tights) and retained the title! Yeah! Not another title reign for Triple H!

Superstar of the match: the low blow that let the Undertaker retain his Undisputed WWE Championship.

All-in-all, I thought this card was boring. I had a tough time keeping interest in watching the King of the Ring 2002. Even in the main event, it was hard for me to pay attention. I feel like the best match of the night was Y2J and RVD because of the crowd reaction. I’m not saying that because I’m a huge Jericholic, but again, the crowd was heavily into the Jericho/Van Dam match and dropped off after that. I’m sure their match is up on YouTube, I suggest checking it out. Other than that, this card is okay to miss if you haven’t watched it yet.

Follow Eric on Twitter @edardar and check out his sites http://www.vintagedarsie.wordpress.com and http://www.writerscafe.org/Darsie/writing/

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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