Written by: Hayden Stojkovic
The main things getting hyped up by the commentary team tonight (Cole and Lawler) is Booker T vs. The Rock in a number one contender’s match as well as The Undertaker defending the Hardcore Title against The Big Show.
WWF Tag Team Championship Match:
The Dudley Boyz (c) w/Stacy Keibler vs. Spike Dudley and Tazz
Can you believe it? We’re kicking off the new year with a wrestling match on a wrestling show, that’s different. Anyway, this one has come about because last week Spike Dudley and Tazz managed to defeat the current champions on last week’s episode of Smackdown. A tick to me for my research, I think so. They obviously play on the size differential between the two teams and Tazz is supposed to a bad ass which means Spike spends a fair bit of the match being thrown around the ring by The Dudleyz. Luckily, Spike, Bubba and D’Von all have fairly good chemistry together and work the brothers angle quite well. Eventually, Tazz gets the hot tag and kicks ass nicely, even managing to lock the Tazzmission on Bubba. At the same time, Spike is preparing to land the Dudley Dog on D’Von, when the amazing Stacy Keibler gets onto the apron to provide a distraction. Spike pulls her skirt down, but Stacy’s amazing ass (sorry, it’s true) distracts Spike long enough for D’Von to hand him over to Bubba, who had gotten rid of Tazz, to land a Superbomb for the victory. A solid start to in ring action for the year 2002. **3/4
Backstage, Lilian Garcia gets stuck with the unenviable task of interviewing Jazz. She made it pretty clear that she didn’t want to be interviewed, but she did say that she won’t sleep her way to the top, instead she’ll fight her way to the top of the division. She’s going to make an example out of Molly tonight and none of these blonde sluts can stop her. She’s never going to be cutting amazing promos, but she certainly made it believable that she’s looking to make a statement tonight.
Now we are reminded that last week on Smackdown, Ric Flair vs. Vince McMahon was announced for the Royal Rumble. If my memory serves me correct, I’m looking forward to that one.
I guess that reminder was just a segue as now it’s Vinnie Mac promo time. McMahon comes to the ring and talks about New Years Resolutions and how his are to annihilate and embarrass Ric Flair at the Royal Rumble. In typical egomaniac fashion, he then switches gears and shows off the TIME magazine Man of the Year cover that went to Rudy Guliani. He makes it clear that he’s not a fan of Rudy winning the award and that he should have been considered for it. Because at this point in time, Stone Cold had broken fans, the “WHAT” chants are frequent here, and they make McMahon angry. He dares them to chant what one more time, stating that he’s so powerful that he’ll shut down the whole show. Obviously, the fans oblige, and Vince gets all the lights shut off in what is just a really cool visual. Suddenly, Austin’s music hits and McMahon screams for the lights to come back on, and when they switch on, Stone Cold is behind Vince. Austin talks about his own New Years resolutions which epically go a little something like this…
“Drink more beer… WHAT? Drink more whiskey… WHAT? Drink more tequila… WHAT? More vodka… WHAT? More red wine… WHAT? And kick Vince McMahon’s ass”.
I know the “WHAT” stuff wasn’t for everybody, but I loved the way Austin played off of it. Anyway, Austin now looks to corner Vince but Vince’s henchmen Booker T and Big Bossman run out and attack Austin. They beat him down and Bossman busts Austin open with some microphone shots to the skull. A pretty fun segment overall in my book.
Jazz vs. Mighty Molly
No star rating for this one because it’s a squash which completely serves its purpose of making Jazz look dominant. I can’t wait until they start using Molly better later on in the year. Jazz finishes this off with a Fisherman Suplex which is turned into a Brainbuster. SQUASH.
Stephanie McMahon Helmsley is trying to get into the arena, but she’s stopped by a security guard. He tells her she’s not on the list but and she flips out, telling the guard that her husband Triple H is back in 4 days and then she’ll have power again. When she has her power back, she will fire the guard. I don’t mind this as some simple Triple H return hype.
Backstage, the WWF Undisputed Champion Chris Jericho hands out gifts to his friends, Christian, Lance Storm and Test. He tells them it’s for all the great things they have done in their careers. Christian sees right through the bullshit and asks if this act of kindness has anything to do with Triple H returning on Raw. Jericho laughs off Christian’s question, just stating that it’s great to have the kind of friends who watch each other’s backs.
Short and sharp backstage interview from The Coach with The Undertaker. He says he isn’t afraid of Big Show and tonight he will teach him about respect.
Backstage, Test still hasn’t opened his gift from Jericho and he’s trying to figure out what it could be, when the epic Torrie Wilson walks into the scene. Test tries to lay it on thick, giving Torrie the gift, saying it’s from him, and when Torrie opens it, it’s a Jericho t-shirt (which is awesome). Wilson doesn’t seem overly impressed and that angers Test, who tells her it’s the thought that counts. Test then says they should go out sometime, which Torrie declines because she’s taken. The lady killer that he is, Test says he’s not looking for a relationship, which doesn’t go down well. After being rejected, a furious Test demands to wrestle Tajiri later on tonight, because that’s who Torrie is dating.
WWF Hardcore Championship Match:
The Undertaker (c) vs. The Big Show
I think the Hardcore stipulation definitely helped this one. Big Show ran to catch ‘Taker riding his bike up the ramp which made for a pretty fun/unique start to the match. They do some work with a trash can and trash can lid early on, with Show getting the advantage, until he misses a Big Boot and kicks the ring post. This allows ‘Taker to take the advantage, which he does by ramming the steps into Show’s now compromised right knee. Eventually they get back into the ring and trade off some moves, before Show attempts a Last Ride, but ‘Taker slips out and locks in the Dragon Sleeper for the submission victory. Very fun match, much better than I thought it would be. **3/4
This time Stephanie McMahon Helmsley tries to get herself into the arena by accompanying Mr. Dudley, but the security guard is onto it and doesn’t let her through. She then reverts to flirting her way in, but the guard tells her that he’s gay. On cue, Billy and Chuck then roll through and they hug and high five the guard, much to the dismay of Stephanie. The guard then tells her that Billy and Chuck should do a calendar. WHAT AWESOME FORESHADOWING~!
Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle vs. Edge and Rob Van Dam
This one goes for approximately six minutes and considering the guys involved, it’s probably no surprise that it’s good. RVD has a pretty awesome run in the early stages, landing a few moves on both opponents, until after a Rolling Thunder, he goes up top for a Five Star Frog Splash on Angle. Unfortunately for him, Jericho pushes him off the top rope. This allows Jericho and Angle to isolate RVD, which is probably a good thing because I don’t think Edge was much of a good seller during this period of time. His facial expressions were terrible at times, imo, although not as bad as his psychotic 2004/2005 run. He admittedly had a really good run off the hot tag here, and I thought the finishing sequence was quite good as well. Edge tries to lock Kurt in the Ankle Lock, but Jericho makes the save, only to miss a Lionsault and get Speared by Edge. RVD misses a Split Legged Moonsault on Angle, but at the same time, Edge levels Jericho with the Edgecution. Angle sneaks from behind with an Angle Slam on Edge, only for Van Dam to Cactus Clothesline Kurt over the top rope and to the outside. This allows our Undisputed Champion (Jericho) to crawl on top of Edge and get the three count. Good match and best on the show as far as I’m concerned. ***
In the back, Ric Flair arrives because he’s a responsible co-owner who shows up late to his own shit. I mark for the Arn Anderson appearance though as he explains what happened earlier with Vince McMahon and Stone Cold. Naitch says he’s going to take care of Vinnie Mac tonight.
It’s Ric Flair promo time now which is never really a bad thing. As expected, he’s out to talk quite a bit about his match with Vince McMahon at the upcoming Royal Rumble. Flair gets intense as only he can, talking about how he’s going to gouge Vince’s eyes, kick him in the balls and make him bleed. Suddenly, there’s a commotion at ringside as Stephanie McMahon Helmsley tries to jump the crowd barricade. Security apprehends her but Flair tells them to let her go. Stephanie tries to suck up to Flair, saying when she was younger, she had a crush on him, before talking about how much she enjoyed watching him. I’m stealing this train of thought from something I read online but it’s hilarious to think of Vince allowing his kids to watch the NWA on TV. Doubtful lol. Anyway, after buttering him up, Steph says in the ring he’s the man, but in the business world she’s the man, and he needs her help. Flair goes into epic Flair mode and starts elbow dropping his jacket and going nuts. Steph cracks it and yells at Ric for thinking this is a joke, before slapping him across the face. That stops Flair’s fun as McMahon states that Flair has four days to decide if he wants her help, before The Game begins.
Tajiri w/Torrie Wilson vs. Test
This all just stems from the segment earlier in the night where Test demanded to face Tajiri because he couldn’t steal his girlfriend. For the most part this is a squash, but Tajiri gets his moments with some of his epic kicks, and he bumps around really well like a small man should against the bigger guy. In the end, Test runs through Tajiri with his epic Big Boot to get the win. Take that, Torrie. Solid enough despite the almost squash status. **1/2
A promo similar to this one airs for Triple H’s return next week on Raw, but obviously it says next week, not Triple H returning tonight.
Before the main event, The Coach decides to have an interview with The Rock. The Rock asks Coach what he did for New Years, before making fun of him for liking Barry Manilow, including making him sing Copa Cabana. Eventually Rocky kicks coach out of camera shot, before running down Booker T and stating his desires to win the WWF Undisputed Title. I’d recommend for people to youtube this promo as well, one of The Rock’s best making fun of Coach ones, imo.
Number One Contender’s Match
Booker T vs. The Rock
This was solid enough for the opening few minutes with Booker having the advantage, until they go to the outside and Rock sends Booker into the steel steps. Only after about four minutes, Vince McMahon comes down to attack The Rock and help Booker T, only for Ric Flair to intervene. Flair tosses McMahon into the crowd, and they brawl through the audience, allowing the match to back to a one-on-one contest. The Rock gets on top again and looks for The People’s Elbow after landing a Spinebuster, but Bossman intervenes. The Rock manages to overcome Bossman’s interference and land a Rock Bottom on booker to get the win, and pencil himself in to face Chris Jericho for the Undisputed Title at the Rumble. Solidish main event. **1/2
After the match, Bossman and Booker gang up on The Rock, until Stone Cold Steve Austin comes out to make the save and get revenge for earlier. Austin doesn’t get very far though as Booker drops him with a chair shot and Bossman/Booker stand tall over the iconic Rock and Austin to end the show.
I thought this show was solid at best. Nothing amazing but it wasn’t offensive and definitely watchable. The 3-star tag match was easily the match of the night, but there was still plenty of other matches that were passable. On top of that, the Flair/McMahon hype was good, Jericho/Triple H foreshadowing for now is okay, even though I know I’ll hate it eventually. Finally, a lot of Triple H hype on this show but that’s a good thing considering his return is on the next episode of Raw.
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