Sunday, January 20th, 2002 – Philips Arena – Atlanta, Georgia – This is the very first pay-per-view of the year 2002 and the very first pay-per-view Undisputed WWF title defense for the champion Chris Jericho! The event opened with an awesome video package on previous Rumble winners and the current roster saying why they’re gonna win the match and go to WrestleMania X8 to face the Undisputed Champion.
WWF Tag Team Championship match: the Dudley Boyz (with Stacy) versus Tazz and Spike (champs)
Jim Ross suggested for the Dudley Boyz that if they isolate and destroy the tag team champions, they’d easily become the champs this every night. Right away from the opening bell, that’s what the challengers did.
Tazz got the tag but it was behind the ref’s back (which is vintage for the babyface team) and the ref told Tazz that he had to get back outside and on the apron.
After trying to double team Spike, the Dudleys clotheslined each other and gave Spike the opportunity to tag in Tazz legally.
Then a video packed showed from Raw the Monday before and Smackdown the Thursday before the Rumble and to build up the Intercontinental Championship match that’s coming up.
Lillian Garcia interviewed Edge. Edge said that if Regal wants to play dirty, Edge said he can play with the best of them, and brings a chair to equalize Regal’s brass knuckles.
Superstar of the match: Tazz for being short.
WWF Intercontinental Championship match: William Regal versus Edge (champ)
Nick Patrick was looking for a pair of brass knuckles around the ring and Lawler was asking what he was looking for. “Out of all the things the ref has lost, he misses his brain the most.” A line from Lawler that I still remember to this day. Thanks King for the awesome one-liner.
Nick Patrick checked William Regal’s trunks and found a pair of brass knuckles. Regal threw a short fit before Edge attacked him to start the match.
The match is pretty back and forth between these two men. Edge can have a decent match with a lot of people and Regal’s the best technical wrestler that never been crowned World Champion.
Regal pulled a pair of brass knuckles out of his trunks and pulled the ref in front of him when Edge tried to spear him. Regal nailed Edge with the knucks and scored the pin fall and we have a new Intercontinental Champion!
Superstar of the match: William Regal because he outsmarted Nick Patrick!
Michael Cole interviewed William Regal on his way backstage and Regal said he’s been blessed with a gift, and that’s an awesome punch. He looked up to the heavens and thanked Him for the Power of the Punch.
Women’s Championship match: Jazz versus Trish Stratus (champ)
Jacqueline’s the special guest referee for the match.
Jazz was one lady that scared me when I was younger. I believe it was the presence she had. A believable chick that’d beat the crap out of you just because she wanted to. Not a lady, or a person, I would want to run into on a bad day.
To be honest, I wasn’t paying attention during this match. The women’s matches these days totally spoiled any women’s matches for me. Trish won by using the Stratusfaction Bulldog to retain her title.
Superstar of the match: my English Muffin, which I ate, during this match.
Street Fight: Ric Flair (WWF Co-Owner) versus Mr. McMahon (WWF Co-Owner)
For the video package to build up this match, we found out what turns Mr. McMahon on. I guess it’s destroying lives, especially icons like Ric Flair. I’m happy I’m not an icon like Ric Flair and I’m happy that Vince McMahon doesn’t know who I am.
Both men in this match were former World Wrestling Federation Champion. Both men are winners of the Royal Rumble match (Flair won in 1993, entering as number tree and McMahon won in 1999, entering as number two).
This match was great for what these two men could deliver in 2002. Both men were covered in the crimson mask by the end of the match. Flair won by making McMahon tap by the Figure Four Leg Lock.
Superstar of the match: Vince’s facial expressions. Enough said.
Michael Cole tried to interview Nick Patrick about the Regal/Edge finish, but Stephanie came up and said that her husband, Triple H, will do to 29 men in the Rumble match. Stone Cold Steve Austin came up from behind, because he overheard Stephanie talking, and interrupted her by saying “What?” She freaked out and Stone Cold said that he’ll eliminate everyone and will win the Rumble match.
Undisputed WWF Championship match: The Rock versus Chris Jericho (champ)
The video package for the match showed off Jericho and how he unified the World Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Federation Championships at the pay-per-view, a month before the Rumble. No one expected Jericho to win the big one.
To everyone’s surprise, I have to come clean: I remember hating Chris Jericho at this stage of his career. Yes, I said it. I hated Chris Jericho at this time because he seemed to be whinny and spoke in a high pitched voice (which made it seem like he was in constant puberty). At the time, I couldn’t take the World champ as a serious champ if he spoke in a voice where it seemed like he wasn’t serious. John Cena, take note.
If anyone was wondering (and I like knowing my referee’s), Earl Hebner is the ref for this match-up. I miss having Earl in the WWE.
The Rock hit Chris Jericho with a superplex and couldn’t capitalize on it. Good. I would of cried while writing this review if Jericho would of lost his first World title on his first PPV title defense.
I also hear a faint “Y2J” chants. YES!
Jericho hit two Lionsaults and only got a two-count! ONLY A TWO-COUNT! That’s ridiculous!
Christian and Lance Storm came out and such. Storm distracted the ref and Christian got beat up by the Rock. Jericho hit the Rock with a Rock Bottom and only got a two-count.
The Rock gave Jericho a Rock Bottom from the Spanish announcers table through the English announcers table.
Shortly afterwards, Earl Hebner got knocked down and Jericho tried to pin the Rock and Nick Patrick ran down and the Rock kicked out after a two-count. Jericho was freaking out at Patrick, giving the Rock enough time to catch his breath, DDT Jericho, pin him, and Nick Patrick was unwilling to count the pin. The Rock gave Patrick a Rock Bottom, gave Jericho a spine buster, and landed it with the People’s Elbow. Covered Y2J and with no ref, the pin was now in-void.
Jericho hit the Rock with a low blow, smashed his head on a unexposed top turnbuckle, and school boyed the Rock while having his feet on the middle ropes, and retained his Undisputed title.
Superstar of the match: Chris Jericho because he was the longest running Undisputed champion in WWE history.
Royal Rumble match
I enjoyed the video package for the 2002 Rumble match because they used Kid Rock’s “Cocky” and had Stone Cold lined in saying “What?” with the chorus. Here’s the list of everyone’s entry:
(3) Big Boss Man
(5) Lance Storm
(6) Al Snow
(8) the Undertaker
(9) Matt Hardy
(10) Jeff Hardy
(12) Scotty 2 Hotty
(14) Diamond Dallas Page
(16) the Godfather
(18) Perry Saturn
(19) Steve Austin
(20) Val Venis
(22) Triple H
(23) the Hurricane
(25) Mr. Perfect
(26) Kurt Angle
(27) the Big Show
(29) Rob Van Dam
(30) Booker T
Here’s how people were eliminated:
(1) Big Boss Man
(2) Lance Storm
(5) Al Snow
(8) Jeff Hardy
(9) Matt Hardy
(10) the Undertaker
(14) the Godfather
(15) Scotty 2 Hotty
(18) Perry Saturn
(19) Val Venis
(21) the Hurricane
(23) the Big Show
(26) Booker T
(27) Steve Austin
(28) Mr. Perfect
(29) Kurt Angle
Here are some of the highlights:
When the Undertaker’s music hit, a good percentage of the crowd jumped up to their feet and popped. Undertaker did a number on everyone and either punched or chokeslammed people. He eliminated Goldust via chokeslam out of the ring. By a rough estimate, the Undertaker eliminated about four to five wrestlers within two minutes.
Matt and Jeff Hardy had back-to-back numbers, once again. It makes me wonder “how” they always get numbers back-to-back or within one or two of each other. I think it’s unfair for the Undertaker for having to battle both Hardy brothers at the same time. What did the Undertaker do to them? (That’s a joke).
I think it was an awesome spot when Jeff hardy tried to hit the Undertaker with the Poetry in Motion and Undertaker caught him and threw him out. Then hitting Matt Hardy with the Last Ride and tossed him out. Then comes one of the most famous spots in Rumble history….
The Hardy brothers came back in and attacked the Undertaker, giving Maven time to catch his breath and all, getting his attention off of him. Then coming from behind, Maven hit the Undertaker with a dropkick from behind and eliminated the Undertaker. The Undertaker was shocked! He came back into the ring and dominated Maven. The Dead Man eliminated Maven and took him all the way to the concession stand to get his retribution.
DDP eliminated Scotty 2 Hotty after hitting the Worm on Christian. I guess DDP made Scotty feel the BANG! Only in Atlanta would he get away with that.
Stone Cold Steve Austin was huge with the crowd! Everyone jumped to their feet with the glass shattered and Stone Cold came out to open up a can on everyone who’s left in the Royal Rumble!
Just like for the Undertaker and Steve Austin, everyone was on their feet when the first cord hit for Triple H. When the Game came out, the only man left in the ring was his old time rival and former co-Tag Team Champion, Steve Austin!
The Hurricane tried to hit Triple H and Steve Austin with a double chokeslam. Stone Cold’s facial expression was awesome when he tried to hit it, then the former Two Man Power Trip eliminated Hurricane Helms. I guess a hurricane has nothing on a tornado.
The last two men were Kurt Angle and Triple H. At the end Kurt Angle tossed Triple H over but Triple H pulled himself up and got back in and clotheslined Angle over the top rope and sending him to WrestleMania X8 to face the Undisputed World Wrestling Federation Champion.
The Rumble pay-per-view event was a pretty decent card. I think each match got better and better from the start. The only match I really didn’t enjoy was the women’s match, due in part by today’s women’s matches. But every PPV card should have some kind of match/break where people can go to the bathroom and buy some food/drinks, right? I’m not saying that to bash the women, but it’s hard for me to sit down and enjoy a women’s match with how low their standards are in 2011. But all-in-all, I really enjoyed the 2002 Royal Rumble card, and suggest it to anyone to check it out if they haven’t yet. I am Eric Darsie from Minnesota, until next time, keep it cool!
Eric Darsie is known as a ‘common-man’ among his peers, at least he thinks so. He works hard with his hands in the heart of Minnesota and on his free time, he thugs and a bugs with his family and friends. Whenever he doesn’t do that, he’s found to be writing. Now more of a rare thing, he’s gems could be found here. If you would like to see more of Eric’s work outside of the professional world, check him out at http://vintagedarsie.wordpress.com/, http://www.writerscafe.org/Darsie/writing/, and on Twitter @IAmDarsie.
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