Written by: The Kevstaaa
WWE Rebellion 2002
October 26th, 2002 – Manchester Arena in Manchester, England – Attendance: 13,416
So here is the one of the last WWE UK only Pay-Per-Views and it happens to be the very first Smackdown exclusive show. Their Insurrextion show earlier in the year was Raw only and it was pretty bad, so hopefully this does better. As we know from my previous reviews, Brock Lesnar is in the midst of his first run as WWE Champion. Hot off the heels of a huge win over The Undertaker in Hell in a Cell, he is scheduled to defend the belt in a handicap match on this show, with Paul Heyman as his partner and Edge as his opponent. I don’t know why. Anyway, No Mercy, the previous Pay-Per-View, was a mixed bag. Raw provided some mediocre matches, while Smackdown was awesome. Maybe this show will be awesome.
The opening video package is awesome and shows some of Brock Lesnar’s dominance before cutting to highlights of the Smackdown brand. Good stuff. Your announce team for the evening is Smackdown’s Tazz and Michael Cole. Ugh, a promo to open a show. But, it’s Stephanie McMahon so I can’t fully complain because she’s hot. She welcomes the fans and announces that The Undertaker’s wife is in labor so he didn’t make the trip with the rest of the brand. Then she says that as part of a trade with Eric Bischoff, a Raw superstar has flown in to replace him and it’s the FIVE TIME FIVE TIME FIVE TIME FIVE TIME FIVE TIME WCW Champion, Booker T.
Booker T vs. Matt Hardy
Matt Hardy loves English muffins. That’s right, it’s Matt Hardy Version 1! Matt calls for a test of strength in the beginning but pulls back, so Booker does it back to him. Booker wins the early exchanges with a dropkick that sends Version 1 to the outside. Back inside, Booker again is in control so Matt retreats again but Booker wails away on him at ringside. Matt Hardy retaliates with the EDDIE GILBERT hot shot because that spot has to happen at least once a show. He sends Booker into the corner but gets caught in a rollup for two. Matt hits the Side Effect, which I always liked and gets two of his own. We get a good old fashioned rest hold from Matt and Booker rallies behind the hot crowd. He hits a big spinebuster and both men are down until the count of eight. Booker busts out a spinning heel kick but only earns a near fall. Matt does his weird ass scream and misses his second rope leg drop. Booker climbs up and hits a weak looking missile dropkick. SPINAROONIE, oh no, Matt interrupts but eats a Book End, only to get his foot on the rope. Matt uses this to get close to a win but falls victim to the Scissors Kick.
Winner: Booker T in 12:01
Good opener. The crowd was hot for Booker T, you get the Raw guy out of the way, the face won and it was a fun bout. Just what it needed to be. **3/4
Booker T grabs a microphone and tells the fans that it’s not over because he didn’t get to do a SPINAROONIE! He does one to the crowd’s liking. Cutting to the back, Paul Heyman is walking through the halls and he looks pissed. He barges into Stephanie McMahon’s office to complain about the WWE Title match tonight. Stephanie shuts him down and the match is still going down.
Billy Kidman and Torrie Wilson vs. John Cena and Dawn Marie
I’m confused here. John Cena is clearly still in RUTHLESS AGGRESSION mode, but I always thought he was a face for that and he’s teaming with the heel here? Also, I’ll never understand why Billy Kidman moved on from his WCW theme. The Divas have toe separated before the bell and I guess Cena is a heel as he attacks Kidman from behind. He shows that he is indeed the prototype with a stalling vertical suplex while doing squats. That’s impressive and he should use it now. Dawn blind tags in and kicks Torrie’s real life husband at the time in the ribs. Kidman is unfazed, holds Dawn over his knee and Torrie spanks her. Torrie actually does a leap frog and dropkick which is more than I usually see from her. As the girls get into a catfight, Kidman wisely gets in the ring and pulls them onto him to roll with them. He celebrates after it which is awesome. Cena comes in behind the referee’s back and slams Torrie. He gets the tag and threatens to do more damage to Torrie, but she low blows him. Kidman comes in and lights him up for a bit. Kidman hits the BoDog for a near fall as Torrie tackles Dawn to the mat. Cena eats a vicious enziguri, followed by the Shooting Star Press and this one is over.
Winners: Billy Kidman and Torrie Wilson in 5:24
I didn’t expect to, but I enjoyed the hell out of that. A fun five minutes with Cena enjoying the heel tactics while Kidman showed personality with the catfight big. Fun stuff. **1/2
After the match, Torrie Wilson plants a big kiss on Billy Kidman and he’s totally getting some after this show. They interview Edge about his first ever WWE Title shot and they’re doing a decent job of building his shot throughout the night.
Crash Holly vs. Funaki
What the h-e-double hockey sticks is this doing on Pay-Per-View? This isn’t even Smackdown worthy, it belongs on Velocity. Crash stops mid match to bring out a headband because he knows karate or something. Funaki will have none of this because, being Asian, of course he must know karate himself. Crash gets near falls with a cross body and side slam. He must be serious because he tosses away the headband and applies a headlock. It’s strange that Crash is the more powerful guy in any match and he hits a big clothesline. He misses a move in the corner, allowing Funaki to hit a bulldog. Tazz decides it’s time to do a Gordon Solie impersonation for some reason. They go into a series of rollups that Funaki wins and gets gets the three.
Winner: Funaki in 5:37
I don’t know why this was on the Pay-Per-View, though Funaki was at least a bit over as SMACKDOWN NUMBA ONE ANNOUNCA. This wasn’t awful. *3/4
Nidia is walking backstage when she finds a smelly security guard and she complains about it to Jamie Noble. Nidia was pretty damn good in this role, though she was never the most attractive Diva. We see Rey Mysterio getting ready in a weird ass segment where he looks at the camera and breathes heavily.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Elimination Triple Threat Match
Jamie Noble (c) w/ Nidia vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Tajiri
Elimination rules? Hell yes! The match starts with Rey getting attacked at the bell, but he comes back with a corkscrew plancha onto both of his opponents outside. Mysterio kicks Noble in the midst of a bulldog on Tajiri. Nice spots early on. Tajiri dropkicks the Champion while he’s in the tree of woe and then puts Rey into the Tarantula. Noble dropkicks him to break the hold though. Tajiri kicks the hell out of Rey but turns right into a Tiger Bomb from Noble, who eliminates him early on. I wish we got the the three person dynamic for a bit longer. Nidia gets in cheap shots as he pulls Rey’s shoulder across the turnbuckle because HEELS. Jamie Noble shouts “what’s my name” and the fans needed to respond with “JAMIE NOBLE BOY” but they don’t and I’m disappointed. Noble works over Rey for a while and earns a kiss from Nidia. Rey counters an electric chair drop into a badass tornado DDT. He gets a near fall with a springboard leg drop and a top rope crotch drop or something. He hits a sweet sunset flip bomb but Nidia distracts the referee. He still gets ready for a 619 but Nidia trips him hard. That allows for the Tiger Bomb but Rey kicks out! I didn’t expect that. He goes for an electric chair drop again, but Rey counters into a pin. Noble counters that into his own pin and uses Nidia for leverage to retain.
Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: Jamie Noble in 12:47
Very fun Triple Threat match and I wish that we got more elimination style ones. ***1/4
After the match, Rey hits a 619 on both Noble and Nidia. A 12 2 18! In the back, Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit are arguing about who the captain of their team is. They are a funny pair who can get very serious quickly and that’s beautiful.
Chuck Palumbo and Val Venis vs. D-Von Dudley and Ron Simmons
So Palumbo went from teaming with his gay lover to teaming with a porn star? Also, D-Von and Simmons come out to the Reverend D-Von theme but he’s not in reverend attire. For some reason, the action starts even before the bell as if this is some hotly contested rivalry. Venis dominates the early stages but eats a big spinebuster that stops him in his tracks. Palumbo eventually gets the hot tag and comes in on fire. Palumbo and Venis use the most vanilla double team moves, like a double hip toss before Chuck hits Simmons with an impressive belly to belly. That doesn’t matter as D-Von and Simmons win with a rollup and a handful of tights.
Winners: D-Von Dudley and Ron Simmons in 4:09
Well that was boring. It had no heat because nobody cares about these four guys. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t very good either. *1/2
Los Guerreros cut a promo about bringing their Grandma down to Germany with them. Chavo says they’re in Ireland and regardless of where they are, it’s not better than Mexico.
Kiss My Ass Match
Albert vs. Rikishi
Before the match starts, Alberto cuts a promo about how sexy he is. Yup. They trade big blows to start and Alberto runs away at the sight of Rikishi’s ass. They got for a test of strength but Rikishi goes for a headbutt. In an absolute reversal of normal wrestling rules, the Samoan’s headbutt has no effect on the white guy. Albert headbutts him down because he has a huge dome. Albert applies a headlock for a while but Rikishi rallies before his arm drops three times. He hits a Samoan drop because every Samoan has that move in their repertoire. Albert exposed a turnbuckle earlier, and it backfires as he gets sent into it. A superkick and Banzai Drop follows, meaning he will join the Rikishi “Kiss my Ass Club”
Winner: Rikishi in 7:17
Not a terrible big man match, but it’s one of three matches on the card that didn’t have good heat. Not many people really cared for Albert. *1/2
Albert tries to leave without kissing ass, so the referee gets on the microphone and tells him that if he doesn’t get back in the ring, he’ll be suspended without pay. Referees have more authority than I thought. Albert gets down on his knees and instead of kissing, he attacks Rikishi. He goes for a stinkface but gets hit with a low blow, allowing Rikishi to give him the stinkface. He calls in Tazz, Tony Chimel and Michael Cole to dance with him and it’s awkward.
WWE Tag Team Championship
Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle (c) vs. Los Guerreros
Because they’re who they are, Angle and Benoit go back and forth on who should star the match, even polling the fans. Angle starts with Chavo and clearly has the strength advantage. Benoit ends up getting tagged in but the fans are loudly chanting “We want Angle!” He has a sweet exchange with Eddie that includes a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Angle ends up hitting a German on Chavo that the crowd pops for, so Eddie nails him. Benoit enters and hits him with a German before arguing with Kurt. As the Guerreros get up, the Champions hit stereo Germans for another pop. It’s pretty badass that a tag team is built off of two guys trying to one up each other. Los Guerreros end up isolating Benoit with quick tags and some solid tag team wrestling. Benoit gets tired of that and tries the Crossface but can’t get it. GORY SPECIAL on Benoit, because Eddie is a Guerrero and this move is in their DNA. Benoit nails a flapjack and an absolutely vicious powerbomb but Chavo gets in a cheap shot to prevent the hot tag. Because he’s a G, Benoit ends up getting Chavo in the Crossface anyway but Eddie stops it. Angle gets the hot tag and starts suplexes everyone in sight. Benoit is jealous so he starts hitting Germans all over the place as well. He connects with the flying headbutt on Eddie but the pin is broken by Chavo. Eddie gets a near fall that’s stopped by Benoit with a Crossface but he’s not the legal man. Eddie counters the Angle Slam by shoving Angle into Benoit. They get into a shoving match, allowing Eddie to put Kurt in the El Paso Lasso. Angle is a MACHINE though and turns that into the Ankle Lock! Eddie taps but there’s no referee. Chavo nails Eddie weakly with one of the belts and puts the ref back in the ring. Angle kicks out though. He comes back with the Angle Slam and wins it for his team.
Winners and still WWE Tag Team Champions: Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle in 16:36
These four guys pretty much can’t have a bad match. While they’ve had better encounters this is still the match of the night and a very enjoyable contest. ***3/4
Paul Heyman is struggling to do any sort of calisthenics and Brock warns him that he better not lose him the WWE Title tonight.
WWE Championship Handicap Match
Brock Lesnar (c) and Paul Heyman vs. Edge
I would’ve totally preferred just Brock vs. Edge but I’m intrigued by Heyman being part of this. Edge is overwhelmed by Brock’s power in the early stages, but shows how resilient he is by using his quickness. Edge was a very good underdog face and he doesn’t get enough credit for that. He gets some early falls with surprise rollups that just end up pissing off Brock. Heyman uses his dastardly tactics to get in some cheap shots but Edge rallies with a spinning heel kick on Brock and a Spear that knocks Heyman off the apron. Brock gets a moment to breath and starts back on the assault. Each time that Edge seems like he’s going to turn things around, Brock proves to be just too much for him. This is exactly how a Brock Lesnar match should go. Brock, being the monster heel that he is, applies a bearhug on Edge that they call the Brock Lock. I remember the Brock Lock being that submission where he would put your leg over his neck and wrench. I could be wrong though. Edge fights out and hits a big dropkick in the corner before hitting Heyman with a baseball slide. That was dumb because he walks right into a spinebuster. Edge is fighting back again and plants Brock face first before hitting the Edge-o-Matic for two. He knocks Brock out of the ring and brings in Heyman. Top rope spinning heel kick allows him to pin Heyman but Brock saves his belt. Edge manages to pick up a close near fall and the crowd believes in him. He leaps off the top and takes out the referee by mistake. He counters the F5 into the Edgecution and no ref is there to make the count. Brock takes a sick swing with a chair and misses, allowing Edge to hit the Spear! He gets a ridiculously close two count and then is put down for good by an F5.
Winner and Still WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman in 18:50
That was enjoyable. Brock dominated the majority as he should and then Edge made the furious run in the end and actually had the fans thinking he might win. That’s impressive. ***3/4
After the match, Paul Heyman yells at Edge for Spearing him and he has a steel chair. Edge kicks the chair into his face and plants him with the Edgecution to send the fans home with a smile.
Overall: 5.5/10; Decent. The last two matches are really good and damn near great. There’s a bit too much filler here as Smackdown might not have been ready to do it’s own Pay-Per-View yet, just like Raw earlier in the year. The Cruiserweight Title match is another one to watch for, while the first two matches were both rather enjoyable. That’s not enough to fully recommend this show.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.