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The Next Big Thing

Classic Pay Per View : Summerslam 2002

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Summerslam 2002 is without a doubt one of the greatest PPV's that has ever graced our screens. 8 matches, built superbly and delivered what they had to.

Around 2001/2002 WWF(E) PPV underwent some subtle yet noticeable changes in their presentation. Standard signs with the names of the event were replaced by Interactive and frantic screens that displayed show names and served as extra titantrons for wrestler entrances made an appearance, as well as what is now the obligatory theme song on every PPV.

Summerslam 2002 was no different but had a tinge of extra effort. The video below was absolutely immense in terms of promoting an event, and in contrast to other promo's you will see, promoted the ENTIRE event. Have a look.

That sexy female robotic voice, the graphics for the matchups with the S logo's swirling in the background and truly the most kick ass song that has been associated with a PPV, I was excited as well as every fan I would imagine. The best hype vid I've ever seen and I am very surprised this has not been used more often (they did something similar for the next year, but whether it be a weaker card or a sub par Metallica song for that it just wasn't as fantastic).

And now that the hype is over with let me review the card from top to bottom.

Kurt Angle v Rey Mysterio

At this time, Angle quite possibly had claim as the greatest wrestler in the world, and you would be hard pushed to argue against him being in his peak. The next year would see his health (and neck) deteriorate dramatically. Still to this day he is immense in that ring but by Summerslam 2002 he was a true superstar who had not been dealing with the problems he suffers from today.
Mysterio was brand spanking new in this period. He could not have been a SmackDown wrestler any more than a month but he was definitely worthy of a place on the card.

This was a short match but was perfect for an opener. Mysterio was anything but bland and Angle's mix of ferocity and comedic chops were always entertaining as he was embarassed by the small Rey often. Angle won this after about 8/9 minutes in a thoroughly entertaining bout by virtue of ankle lock.

Chris Jericho v Ric Flair

Like the match that preceeded it, this match had also brilliant build. Jericho had mocked Flair for losing his stake in the WWE and for being a washed up has been, while he was the AYATOLLAH-OF-ROCK-N-ROLLA, and a massive star in his band Fozzy. Jericho was on such an upward trajectory of arrogance that he would treat the Raw audience to a live performance of his band. The highlight was Flair being brilliantly batshit crazy and runing Jericho's set and naturally of course taking his shirt off while flinging around several amplifiers. Flair at this time was still definitely not full time though verging on it, and had a damn entertaining match with Jericho and shocking his ego with a figure four leg lock and submission.

Edge v Eddie Guerrero

When Eddie Guerrero re-debuted in 2002, he received the serious kind of push he had not had earlier in his tenure. Sure he was pushed earlier, but that was mostly on his charisma and entertaining ways. This time around, while of course still being entertaining, he was pushed as a proper athlete. His return to action in 2002 and freedom from his demons saw a real rise in fortune.

Edge had been one of the hottest commodities in the E since his King of the Ring victory and his subsequent steps away from tag team competition (well kind of) and into singles competition. Hugely over due to his past accolades, rock star look, fine in ring ability and suitable Rob Zombie entrance music, he was a bona fide fan favourite, even if his gimmick was bland he was always a draw in the mid/lower card.

The two had a great match, a steady feud based solely on a rivalry that although good, was far from the peak (check out the blow off no dq smackdown match on youtube if it is there, definitely recommended).

The Un-Americans v Booker T & Goldust

Booker T & Goldust were the odd couple in wwe, once heels though some hilarious chemistry saw them quickly become loved faces through the oddly funny pursuit of Booker T by Goldust.

Christian & Lance Storm (along with Test) had a real hot program going as the trio of Un-Americans. Disenfeanchised at being held down and treated with disdain from crowds and the organisation (and mostly, the country) they wrestled in, they had MASSIVE heat, beating Mr America Hulk Hogan and generic good guy Edge for the tag belts previously. The fact that they carried an upside down American flag was pushed hard by JR and Cole in particular.
The heels won this match in typical heel fashion to keep their heat.

Considering how over the stable was it was surprising that the angle ended so soon, though I'm sure there were credible reasons, but thats for another day.

Chris Benoit v Rob Van Dam

Ah, the days the intercontinental title really meant something. In 2002, RVD was heavily involved in the IC title scene and was solid here. Benoit made a welcome return in the Summer of 2002. When his return program with Austin went pear shaped when the bionic redneck scarpered back to Texas, once again heel Benoit had a space. Why not move him to Smackdown and take the IC title with him. It was an interesting little feud between the two that although it played second fiddle to the Raw Bischoff v Smackdown Stephanie storyline, really put the IC title on its deserved place in the mid card. Extremely entertaining match, and the top one of the night so far. RVD won with a five star frog splash to bring the IC belt to Raw permanently leaving Benoit free to enter part 2 of his feud with Angle.

Undertaker v Test

This felt almost thrown together and though it did have decent build up, was probably the least built on the card, which is testament to WWE's promotion of the event. Taker had been great in his Big Evil persona and was a superb heel. So good that he became so over with the fans that his heel run didn't last that long at all, and he was changed in the blink of an eye. It felt rushed, for the Un American storyline (which they were really pushing) to continue in the limelight, Test needed an opponent. The return of the American Bad Ass character was ideal. A very good big man match, I have always felt that Test was criminally underrated , great performer for his size and a real miss as a world champion, over as a face but a vicious bastard as a heel. Anyway, a very good big man match that in all truth was only filler before the two big matches on the card. Taker saw of the Canadian heel group and waved a really big american flag and keep the crowd happy.

Triple H v Shawn Michaels

Words cannot really do this justice. I had taken a break from WWE during 1995-1998, only sporadically seeing matches, and missing most of HBK's legendary performances as the main man, which I have seen since. The hype videos for this match were excellent for a man in my position though, they really sold that HBK was an amazing performer in his time. Triple H made an unexpected heel turn against his former cohort that set the stage for this. As I've said, words cannot do the match justice, except it was the official rebirth of HBK and pushed Triple H into a bigger heel than he had ever been (which is surprising considering the monumental hatred crowds had for him before).

Three words. WATCH. THE. MATCH

Shameless plug coming up for my Triple H career review if you haven't read it before, there are four parts




and here


A really well built feud I had thought, I recently read a piece on this site today about transitional champions by some new hotshot called THE_CRIPPLER and I fell The Rock was the very definition of that as foil for Brock Lesnar here. This wasn't your typical Rock feud though, as the world and their grandmother knew that Lesnar would be picking up the strap.

There were promo videos hyping up the match that concentrated on their build up/training regimes to the match that were a viewpoint you would not see often these days or around the era of this match. Rock had only been back a short while until he picked up the belt at Vengeance in a triple threat with Undertaker and Kurt Angle, while Lesnar had the biggest breakthrough year there has ever been in wrestling. debuting in April and winning the belt just four months later as an undefeated monster.

This match was the crowning of Lesnar and the huge investment that had been put into the man. The match was highly entertaining with Rock booed out of the building and the crowd cheering on heel Lesnar all the way, winning cleanly with a thunderous F-5.

I know the timing of this blog may seem a bit off, it would have been more aptly suited for a month ago, but that's how I roll folks.

In my opinion Summerslam 2002 was a perfect PPV, fan feedback would suggest likewise and if you haven't seen it get your hands on a copy or scour Youtube, it really was brilliant and sucked you in if you were watching regularly like I was at the time. Not a single dud on the card, a neat figure of 8 matches, a hot crowd, a lot of memorable moments and a real story behind every match. Just watch the youtube link again I posted above, that's promotion on a high scale.

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  1. The Next Big Thing's Avatar
    That'll be done in the future alright, for now I've got another one waiting approval and I reckon you will see it in a few hours or so
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