Summerslam 2002 was the show that signaled the changing of the guard, as it would feature the end of the Rock’s tenure as a regular WWE Superstar and the rise of Brock Lesnar as an unstoppable main event force in WWE… for about a couple years, at least. Not only that, but this was the show that brought Shawn Michaels back in the fold after four years of retirement… yeah, we’ll see how long his second retirement lasts before he gets the itch to jump back in, but he seems to mean it this time… and it was on his terms… somewhat.
I recently got myself an copy of the show from one of my friends and gave it a watch for the first time in years. I enjoyed it for the most part. So yeah, here are my picks from 2002, the end results of the match, and some recent thoughts and reflections on the show.
Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio
2002 Pick: Let’s face it. The prospect of a well-known lucha-style performer taking on an Olympic athlete is somewhat appealing… Kurt Angle will lose to the “12-year-old” as he puts it for the second time.
Winner: Kurt Angle claims the win over the 12-year-old… don’t recall if they ever had a rubber match, but whatever. (0-1)
2012 Update: Amazingly, Rey Mysterio would eventually win the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 22 in a Triple Threat match featuring Randy Orton. The champion at the time? Kurt Angle…
I thought the match was a nice opener… nothing amazing or anything, but they got a good match out of it and both looked good doing it. It actually felt like it could go either way; the same feeling I got when watching this for the first time in nine and a half years.
Ric Flair vs. Chris Jericho
2002 Pick: Jericho may very well prevail in this battle… not because he’s king of the world, but because if he jobs, his match might get more negative reactions… then again, who cares?
Winner: Flair gets the duke… leaving me oh-for-two. (0-2)
2012 Update: I honestly didn’t expect Flair to go over here and thought that they would just have him job to all the up-and-comers. It seemed amazing that at that point in his career, Ric Flair would be posed for a decent run, netting a couple titles along the way before his “first” retirement in 2008. Nowadays, whenever I see Ric Flair in the ring, I shake my head in sadness, wondering how far down his luck he must be to continue this charade. It’s just depressing to watch.
Edge vs. Eddie Guerrero
2002 Pick: Edge will beat the Latino Mullet… who really cares?
Winner: Edge (1-2)
2012 Update: Hmm… funny thing I noticed about this match was that Edge apparently had a bad shoulder… and yet when he did the spear at the end, he did it with the bad shoulder… amazing that I noticed this, since minor details tend to go over my head. I wonder if this made Botchamania.
WWE Tag-Team ChampionshipLance Storm and Christian (c) vs. Booker T and Goldust
2002 Pick: The Book and the “Black-and-Gold Teletubby” take this match and the belts, SUCKA!
Winner: UnAmericans (Storm/Christian) retain the titles. (1-3)
2012 Update: I should probably not have bet against the UnAmericans… but then again, I didn’t expect the team to last as long as they went, considering the supposed controversy surrounding that particular stable… the UnAmericans would eventually disband a month later, with only Lance Storm and William Regal continuing their Anti-American gimmicks while Test and Christian would go their separate ways.
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Benoit (c)
2002 Pick: The Un-Americans… er, Canadians have a point… Canadian talent is underused… Benoit comes back from a fatal injury and all he gets is the IC title… Win, Chris! Win!
Winner: RVD retains… God damn. Not my night. (1-4)
2012 Update: At this point, the IC title meant so little that it was eventually merged with the World title a month later. It would eventually be resurrected mid-2003 where it continues to be defended and mean nothing today. Then again, NONE of the belts seem to have much value these days.
Undertaker vs. Test
2002 Pick: The battle of the big men. One is old and one is dull… I guess I’ll have to go for the old one.
Winner: Undertaker a.k.a. the old one. (2-4)
2012 Update: Originally picked the dull one by mistake when I actually meant the old one. Nice to have that rectified. The only thing that couldn’t be rectified was my pressing of the fast-forward button when re-watching this recently. In total honesty, I drifted off to la-la land when watching this… by the way, JR, it’s nice that you’re cheering Undertaker on in his victory, especially considering he shoved your face up Vinnie Mac’s ass months ago. Boy, that Jim Ross. Such a forgiving guy!
Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels
2002 Pick: HBK will take the win… why do I say HBK? I dunno… by the way, WHAT THE F*** was that on RAW? I thought the guy was crippled! What the f*** was that?!
Winner: Shawn Michaels… obviously. (3-4)
2012 Update: Amazing how perspective works. Back then, I was amazed that HBK could move as well as he did for a one-time match despite a back injury that kept him off the shelf for four years… Little did we know that this would be the start of an incredible comeback for Shawn Michaels that would last several years. Hey, say what you will about the guy, but Shawn hadn’t missed a beat during his comeback and just got better over the years until his eventually retirement in 2010. Absolutely amazing.
Also, it seems highly suspect that HHH would go out of his way to make HBK look good, and yet not do the same for the potential stars that he would have matches with later on. I’m sure that was a shrewd business decision and has no bearing on the fact that Hunter was wrestling one of his best buddies. Nope. Not like that at all.
Undisputed WWE Championship
The Rock (c) vs. Brock Lesnar
2002 Pick: Uh, a no-brainer! Brock wins the match and the belt because Rock is a crock.
Winner: Brock Lesnar wins… and sends the Rock to Hollywood. (4-4)
2012 Pick: Wow, I was being clever there… sarcasm aside, the match itself was surreal. Brock Lesnar was supposed to be the big bad heel in this match… and yet the crowd absolutely pissed all over the Rock because he was leaving. It’s been said that the reaction to The Rock on a video clip was so fierce that he was HELD OFF TV for fears that the crowd would be more rabid. This, along with the match with Hogan at Mania X-8, would serve as the seeds for the Rock’s 2003 heel run, which included a nice little feud with Hurricane and the first WWE match of Bill Goldberg.
But hey, give Rock credit. The guy was the biggest star that WWE had going for them and he was more than willing to let Brock beat the crap out of him in spectacular fashion in order to help build the Next Big Thing (no pun intended) and launch him into the upper echelon of the promotion. The guy did what was asked of him and did what was needed to get guys over… something that very few (if any) “big” superstars do in their later years without bitching, moaning, or politicking. (Hogan and Hunter says “Hi!”)
Finally, credit due to Michael Cole and Taz. I believe this was their first PPV main event and boy, did they step up their game. Michael Cole circa 2002 certainly turned out to be a pretty competent commentator that, I believe, could have rivaled Jim Ross in terms of telling a story. A stretch, you say? Perhaps… but it is a far cry from the sad joke that Michael Cole has become today… all things considered.
2002 Pre-Show Thoughts
To tell you the truth, this is a pretty lousy card. I don’t see anything really appealing to me that I may enjoy. On the other hand, the prospect of Angle losing to Reyrey is somewhat intriguing, but not by much… I’ll still watch the show at my local bar.
2012 Reflections On WWE Summerslam 2002
I don’t ever recall if I addressed this show afterwards, but I need to go back to 2002 and get myself brain surgery. Summerslam 2002 turned out to be a pretty memorable show and even watching today, I enjoyed watching the show tremendously because it was just a well-booked card for the most part. Although it saw the end of the Rock’s regular stint in WWE, it brought Shawn Michaels back into the fold, where he would continue to wrestle top-notch match after top-notch match.
So like I said, I recently got my hands on the show and I gotta say, for the most part, it’s still a pretty good show with a solid array of matches. The wrestling on this show was top-notch and seemed to outshine and even mute out the horribleness of the backstage skits between Stephanie and Uncle Eric. Undertaker/Test aside, I’ve enjoyed the show tremendous, I think it still holds up pretty well, and if you get a chance to get your hands on this, go for it.