Brett Mix’s- WWE Unforgiven 2002 Review:
“Benoit and Angle, it doesen’t get any better then this!”
-WWE Unforgiven 2002 took place on Sunday, September the 22nd 2002 in front of 16,002 fans at the Staples Center in Los Angelas, California.
-This was the fifth Annual Unforgiven PPV and the first under the WWE name.
-Jim Ross and Jerrry Lawler did commentary for Raw, Tazz and Michael Cole did commentary for Smackdown!
-Stephanie McMahon performed some HLA and then got back at Bischoff as Rikishi helped her out in the segment.
-The event’s theme song was “Adrenaline” (Gavin Rossdale).
1) Sunday Night Heat: Rey Mysterio vs Chavo Guerrero
-Prior to the show airing live on pay per view, on Sunday Night Heat Rey Mysterio defeated Chavo Guerrero. Cruiseerweights were home to Smackdown! and Cole and Tazz call this match as Mysterio is his home-state.
Normally I don’t review a Pre-PPV match like this but since it’s an extra on the Unforgiven 2002 DVD, why not?
Rey Mysterio and Chavo get set to hook up in what would be a sold out Staple’s Center and they lock up, Chavito thrown to the outside.
A couple of go-behind waist-locks and Chavo with an arm-ringer and now a side headlock. Chavo with a a shoulder breaker, Mysterio hits an arm-drag of his own sendng Chavo out to the floor reversing a move.
A gut-wrench by Rey Mysterio to Chavo, so quick sending him to the floor. A baseball slide and a head-scissors by Rey Mysterio to Chavo.
Mysterio leaped off the to with a missle dropkick and Chavo caught Rey with a dropkick in the mid-section. Chavo working on the abdominal section of Rey Mysterio.
Chavo using the top rope for additional leverage in the Wilber Snydor Abdominal stretch. Chavo kicked at the core of Rey Mysterio taking out his air.
Rey Mysterio lands on his feet then drop- kicking Chavo in the leg buyng himself some time. Rey Mysterio is scooped up and dropped upside down face-first into the turnbuckle. Chavito poses and the fans boo him taunting Rey Mysterio.
Chavo waits and gets a two count and then hits a snapmoare before a chinloc to Rey Mysterio. Chavo wth a powerslam, Rey countered with a quick nearfall and a two.
Chavo on the top rope tried top rip the mask off and Rey elbowed Chavo off the the to and a moonsault but he couldn’t put away Chavo. Rey Mysterio lands over the top ojn the apron and Chavo swung away and knocked Chavo to the floor.
A springboard from the top as Rey then launched himse onto Chavo on the floor. Mysterio then sent into the corner. Chavo picks up Rey and hit a back-breaker.
I can’t believe this is a Heat match, this deserved to be on the show!
Rey with a spin-kick.
Rey Mysterio hits a 619 and a West Coast Pop to win the match at 8:57 of tv time with no commercials.
Such a great match!!!
-Now onto the PPV……………
1) Opening Contest- Kane, Goldust, Booker T and Bubba Ray Dudley vs The Un-Americans (Lance Storm, Christian, William Regal and Test) in an Eight Man tag team match
Anti-Americans going against Team America …F*** Yeah, (Film-reference) so a lot of USA chants here to begin this one, sort of picking up where Unforgiven 01 left off in that respect.
Kane had recently retuned and before the Un-American’s could burn the American flag Kane stopped them. They had the British Regal to the team, I love it.
Tag matches always make the crowd worked up, especially if there’s 8 guys.
The Un-American’s music hits first and out walks Regal and Christian the tag Champs. Test carries the upside down USA flag and all four of them sporting shirts with the USA flag upside down.
Booker’s music then hits and he gets a good pop as does his partner Goldust, just don’t tell Booker they’re partners.
A very patriotic Bubba Ray Dudley comes out to a loud roar, then the Big Red Machine comes out, mask and all!
Goldust starts in the ring with Christian.
They both hook up and Christian irish-whpped into the ropes and Goldust with a nearfall. Storm tagged in quickly and Goldust double clotheslines both.
Bubba Ray Dudley tagged in and him and Goldust tell them to suck on this before giving them a shoot. Storm giving Bubba Ray Dudley a taling too, talking smack but iit’s a only a matter of time before Bubba dominated Storm upside down on the buckle.
Shades of the old Might Night Express with a one man flapjack. Test and Goldust are both tagged in and Test roughs up Goldust and then caught a clothesline off the ropes.
Booker T the youngest of 7 kids growin up without a Daddy says Ross takes Strm to the floor then Test down.
Regal taged in and then Bubb comes in behind hte official and Bubba Ray Dudley holds Regal’s legs sideways and Booker headbutts that region of Regal.
Bubba Ray Dudley told Booker to get the table’s. Why must the guy always be black who get’s the table? Maybe I’m just over-thinking it.
Fans in LA want table’s…and fame. But table’s is wht they are actually chanting for.
Test gets Booker down and another nearfall. Regal tags in from Test and takes Booker down with many hard shots.
Kane still the only guy who hasn’t been tagged in. Regal slams Booker down.
It sounds like a We Want Kane chant.
Booker isolated in their corner and now Booker T fights back and rolls up Christian with shades of Hall of Famer Jack Brisco say Ross and will Booker make the hot tag.
Yes he does! Kne tags in and then he slas Regal, then Storm and Regal makes sure the count doesen’t go down.
All eight men go at it. Regal ht with a boot from Kane, Test with a big boot, Kane ducks. Test hits a Pummp-handle slam to Kane.
Booker T hits a scissors kick to Test and then the huge pop for a Spinnerooni then Christian with an impaler to the very over Booker T as the fans “Ohhhhh” and boo.
No time to celebrate and Kane the legal man blocks Storm’s kick, Christian with a low-blow, Storm with a thrust kick and Kane kicks out.
A roller-coaster ride of offense tugh to keep up with, but a ton of fun.
Christan drops Booker to the outside, turns around and Bubba Ray Dudley wth a Bubba Bommb.
From behind Regal tosses him outside. Goldust hit shattered dreams to Christian. Test wth a big boot to Goldust, Kane flies off the top hitting Test with a clothesline out of no where.
Stor went for a kick on Kane. Kane hit a chokeslam on Storm, Regal reached for something but knocked him down. Kane covered Storm after his chokeslam, the other 6 men were down and beaten up.
This allowed Kane to get the three and Bubba Ray Dudley sported Old Glory around the ring and waved it proud.
WOW what a tag team opener, crowd was white hot.
So perfectly booked and entertaining.
In the end at 8:58 the Babyfaces won, the perfect opener.
2) Y2J Chris Jericho (c) vs “Nature Boy” Ric Flair for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Jericho was six when Flair won his first NWA World title.
These two met at Summerslam and like most Unforgiven or Backlash PPV’s they feature a re-match of that previous PPV encounter.
The difference here is that Jericho is now the IC Champion and is defending it against Naitch a guy who up until this point had NEVER won that title.
Ric Flair slaps Jericho in the face and then Woo’s, King says it’s very un-sportsman like and Jercho leaped over Flair then Flair looked for a figue four eary.
Y2J hits a missile dropkick to Flar.
It’s funny listening to Ross and Lawler talking about how Flair is decades past his prime and here we are ten years later (another decade) in a small, low-budget wrestlng company.
Y2J with an abdominal stetch to the core to Ric Flair. Flair then counters with a hip-lock take-over and Jericho is thrown to the floor after chops. Jericho sent into the steps and another chop on the floor.
Flair inside the ring hit a snapmare and then dropped a knee to Y2J, then Chris Jericho countered with an inside cradle and goes for a Lionsault and missed Naitch.
Jericho then goes for the ropes and tells Flar he’s hurt.
He mght be acting. Flair stepped back as the fans boo.
Who knows but this is funny.
Charles Robinson asks for a trainer and now Jericho grabbed Flair from behind and retains the title with the Walls. The offical is shocked, and Flair’s face has the fool me once look on him.
In the end at 6:16 Chris Jericho defeated Ric Flair for the WWE Intercontinental Championship to retain his title after he out-smarted Naitch.
This match gains extra points for its classic heel Chris Jericho finish as well as his dance after-wards.
3) Eddie Guerrero vs Edge
They show Shaq at ring-side.
A tremendous rivalry kept up.
Eddie Guerrero and Edge both had a great match at Summerslam. They had some great ones on Smackdown! as well…a NO DQ Classic came after this bout in paticular.
Here they are at it again on Unforgiven in September of 2002.
Eddie Guerrero with a quick roll-up on Edge and his gameplan was clear, to end the match quickly. Eddie Guerrero was chased around the ring and once inside Edge hit a backdrop to Eddie Guerrero and then a front faceplant.
Edge with shots to the head of Eddie and in the corner landed a hard righthand, a kick to the abdomen and a chop to the chest of Eddie Guerrero. Fans obviously behind Edge, he was very over as a babyface here. Edge reversed an irishwhip and hit a powerslam on Eddie Guerrero. Edge with a front facelock to Eddie and then hit a standing vertical suplex in mid-ring, the cover and Eddie Guerrero kicked out.
Edge stomped on the back of Eddie. Eddie from the corner got kicked in the chest and Edge sent Eddie Guerrero into the opposite corner but he got an elbow up to the face of Edge and then hit a tornado DDT from the second rope, nice move.
Eddie then dangerous when on the offense kicked at Edge ruthlessly and then with a unique submission hold, ground Edge to the mat, a reverse chinlock while he planted his entire body on top of him.
Eddie Guerrero back into a front facelock on Edge. Eddie Guerrero sent Edge into the corner and he leaped around keeping his cool and he kept levelling Edge with a boot. Eddie Guerrero kept measuring his opponent.
Eddie Guerrero asked for a shot Edge tried from his knees on the canvas and Eddie Guerrero hilariously backed off.
Edge then continued to fight back and this time he hit a desperation righthand from out of no where, and Eddie flops backwards.
Both men are down now.
Both had to reach there feet before the ten count.
Edge charged towards Eddie in the corner but he moved, the intensity level of Eddie Guerrero was scary here, Eddie landed hard shots on the neck of Edge.
Eddie Guerrero choked out Edge in the corner with his boot.
Edge fought back, both men from there knees landing shots in a slugfest. Edge then gained momentum as he knocked Eddie down with forearm shots, and then a faceplant, Eddie kicked out.
Eddie Guerrero sent to the corner by Edge but he leaped behind him, Eddie kicked at Edge’s leg, but Edge from behind drops Eddie Guerrero down on the mat back first dropping him by holding onto his neck and this time he only got a two count once again.
Eddie Guerrero with a hard uppercut to the jaw of Edge. A small “lets go Eddie” chant breaks out.
Eddie Guerrero from the top holding onto Edge’s wrist from the top rope, Edge countered the move in mid-air and hit a powerbomb but Eddie Guerrero kicked out.
Edge sent Eddie to the ropes but he caught him above his shoulders and sent him into the corner, Edge went for the spear Eddie ducked out of the way, but Edge hit the Edge-a-cution, and just a two since Eddie Guerrero got his foot on the bottom rope.
Edge then from the top hit a leaping missile dropkick to Eddie. Edge then loosened the turnbuckle pad, sent Eddie into the corner, then hit a spear.
Edge from the top rope grabbed Eddie but Eddie Guerrero slammed him head first, and then hit a beautiful sunset flip from the top rope, grabbing the tights in the process!
In the end Eddie defeated Edge at 11:55.
It was a great match, but I would of liked more storytelling, and it also had a slow middle section.
Not as good as the Summerslam match, but it had a nice ending.
4) 3-Minute Warning (Rosey and Jamal) (with Rico) vs Billy and Chuck -If 3 Minute Warning win SD! GM Stephanie McMahon must engage in HLA ; If Billy and Chuck win Raw GM Eric Bischoff must kiss Stephanie McMahon’s Ass
Doesen’t Eric get a decent deal either way here?
Anyway the fans were way more into the result of this match rather then the match itself, that was clear from the opening bell.
Jamal you’d recognize as Umaga later on in his WWE career and he is now deceased.
This is also before Rosey became S.H.I.T, Super Hero in Training.
So funny when Rico said he knew Billy and Chuck in and OUT so to speak.
Rosey and Chuck in the ring and Palumbo dropped on his head.
Crowd pretty dead for this match. Rosey with a brutal clubbing blow to the throat of Chuck.
Jaman and Rosey double-teamed Chuck in the corner. Billy Gunn could only watch from the other corner. Jammal kicked at Chuck and is being isolated int he corner.
Rosey with a neck-vice and therefore Billy and Chuck are ebing dominated.
Rosey worked hm over and Jamal works over Chuck some more.
LA Chants “Rico’s Gay”….ok, tell us smething we didn’t know.
Rosey climbs to the top and missed a moonsault.
Could Chuck get to Billy in time for the hot-tag.
Jamal and Billy both fresh come in and Gunn hits a dropkick knocking Rico off the apron and now both members of 3 Minute Warnng have their heads mashed together, then they both headbutt Billy together.
Now Jamal goes to the top but Chuck grabs him an tossed him. Tossed him off the top that is…if you’re paying attenton.
Chuck with a thrust kick to Rosey.
Jamal with one to Chuck and now Jamal scooped up Billy he hit the fame-asser with a counter in md-air then dropped Rosey and threw him out of the ring.
Rosey and Jamal then hit a Samoan drop to Gunn and win.
In the end 3 Minute Warning won at 6:38 and Stephanie now had to perform HLA.
5) Triple H (c) vs Rob Van Dam for the World Heavyweight Championship Match
Rob Van Dam is seriously gaining big babyface steam in the fall of 02.
Hunter had the opposite, as Easy E the GM at the time gave him the belt just for being Triple H.
Fans thought a Van Dam victory could be nice considering everything going on with Hunter.
Rob Van Dam and Hunter begin the match with some of my favourite counter move.
Very fundamental, very basic, yet effective. Side headlock takedown’s into leg-scissorsthena kickup.
A cool and confident Game changed his ways as soon as Rob pointed to his shoulders.
Hunter had Van Dam backed to the ropes and he slapped him which furiated the game, after a pause he struck back until running into a clothesline. A leapfrog was blocked by HHH but he ran into an armdrag takeover then another side headlock takedown.
Van Dam tried to weardown the Game on the mat but once out of the side headlock he took a walk. Triple H then got mocked as RVD did his water pose.
More side headlock’s by RVD and armdrag’s to the Champion. Triple H elbowed out and drove his knee deep into the abdomen of RVD. Out of the corner a modified crucifix by Van Dam gets him a two, the two bridge out and get up impressively.
RVD’s spinnng heel kick is blocked then he amazingly still hits an offensive move. RVD with a drop toe-hold back into a side headlock takedown. RVD flips over HHH and hits a spinning heel kick to the Game and it takes him to the outside.
A suicide dive by RVD and he takes himself out flipping onto the mat over the top rope as HHH had it scouted and waited back in the ring for RVD to just break the ten count.
Hunter back on the offense begins more heel tactics. Hunter flips Van Dam back from the middle of the ring and RVD’s throat smacked the middle rope.
A “You screwed Chyna” chant started out on Hunter. Again, hilarious.
RVD’s unorthadox style helped him battle back with roll-up’s out of no where but Hunter countered with a swinging neckbreaker. HHH throws RVD out of the ring and tried to slam his head into the announcer’s table but it backfired and RVD levelled him. Back in the ring RVD tried to build some momentum but Hunter scored with a high knee off the ropes.
Triple H up top mocked Van Dam and RVD sprung up and took HHH over until finding himself into a sleeper hold. HHH runs into a spinning heel kick match. Back and forth encounter.
Both men down and once up engage in a soon climatic slugfest, RVD does his flash and a rolling thunder got him a two. RVD rolls into the Game scoring with another monkey flip and rolling thunder. RVD going all out hit a suicide dive to HHH.
RVD looking like he will become the new Champ! RVD caught Hunter off the top rope with a spinning kick until running into a facebuster. HHH took out Hebner. Van Dam hit a spinning heel kick but Hebner was hit to the outside.
HHH went for a Pedigree but RVD countered by catapolting HHH to the corner and RVD comes off witha 5 star frogsplash in what has been a four star match. Excitement galore.
HHH with a predictable lowblow from a desperate champ and the ref down. Hunter looking for his Sledgehammer and grabbed it. RVD fought back with a spinning heel kick into the hammer back into the Game.
Flair runs out with the Hammer in hand.
Flair and HHH seemed to be on the same page as Flair struck RVD!
A nice swerve.
So in the end at 18:17 Hunter retained the gold after defeating Van Dam by a Pedigree.
This match was booked perfectly.
I liked the fact it went out of its way to show off Van Dam’s skill, him and Trips have good chemistry as demonstrated in this borderline classic here.
Underrated. Four stars.
6) Trish Stratus vs Molly Holly (c) for the WWE Women’s Championship
Molly with a bunch of wear down submission holds to begin and try and end this one.
Trish Stratus’s offense was few and far between as she held Trish in a number of holds.
Whether Molly layed flat on her back ot behind Trish sitting down crossing her arms over, she made Trish Stratus in a very vulnerable spot.
Fans were crazy for Trish and hated on a Pure Champion who was CLEAN and full of Class, characcter-wise in Molly.
Molly tried a roll-up but Trisk kicekd out.
Trish sent to the buckle and a side walk slam is countered by Trish Stratus but just a two.
The challenger is reverse irishwhipped and a running bulldog. Stratusfaction.
In the end at 5:46 Trish Stratus defeated Molly Holly for the Women’s title to become the NEW Champion.
Trish gives her Sally Field impresson from the Oscar’s, they like Me!!! I love this moment, and I love this!!!!!
7) Chris Benoit vs Kurt Angle
Nothing but workrate, workrate and more workrate here.
Both these guys are notorious for having great matches together.
This one was on another level and is their best ever outing together outside Royal Rumble 2003.
Kurt Angle and Benoit always excited to see this whenever they tangle up.
Here we go.
Kurt Angle with a nice go-behind take-down and then Benoit and Angle both roll in and out of moves as the fans roar.
Kurt Angle grabs the ropes as Benoit went for a crossface early.
Now through a ton of tummbling Angle grabs an Ankloe lock on Benoit, a top wrist-look by Benoit, turned into a hammerlock by Angle.
Both men looking to put on a clinic.
Angle then with an arm-ringer into a side headlock and a shoulder block and then a series of inside cradles follow and then a bridge up by Benoit into a crossface.
Good god what a match so far.
A tremendous show of respect.
This is just absolutely incredible, the chain wrestlng together.
Tazz points ut what amazing endurance it takes to anythng like that.
Angle then lifts up Benoit and drops him chin-first on barricade. Angle now with a back-breaker.
The reason this match is so much better then their Mania X7 match and others is it tells a better story, quicker and to the point.
The wrestling here is absolutely unbelebablle and the fans know it. The grapevine submission Angle held is finally let-go.
Angle then pointing out the mid-section of Benoit being worked over. Kurt drove shouder to pot.
Benoit now works over the arm of Angle and he had a game-plan.The left shoulder is chopped at by CHris Benoit and then he drives his knee into the gut of Angle then Kurt Angle switches to a German after Benoit blocked a belly to belly.
Angle and Benoit rotate between German Suplexes as both men give one to each other as Angle has now done it countless number of times.
Angle takes off his straps.
The show of respect from the crowd off the chart’s.
Angle then with a German attempt, Benoit then turned the tables and hit a Germn of his own but Angle flipped all the way over on his face.
Benoit looks to fly off the top but Angle ran up there and suplexed him off.
Benoit hooked with bridge then Kurt Angle gets him n an Ankle Lock, Benoit went to piledrive Angle, then Angle to Benoit, then Benoit with great agilty lands on his feet and then hits a shoulder breaker.
Benoit signals for the headbutt.
Benoit with a diving headbutt of the top to Angle!
Angle then counters the Crossface with an Ankle Lock.
Both men had a submission hold on the other.
Angle with the Ankle Lock and then Benoit reversed it into a Crossface, Kurt counters into sn Ankle Lock.
Kurt Angle with a crossface to Benoit and then Benoit rolls Angle over nd despite his feet on the ropes he wins.
In the end at 13:55 Benoit beats Angle by cheating.
This match is beyond epic. Chemistry to perfection.
8 ) Main Event- Brock Lesnar (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs The Undertaker for the WWE Championship
Before “Ya wanna do it!?”
There was this match.
Even before the classic between both men for the gold for the title would be the next month inside a Cell at No Mercy.
This one however was still solid.
Taker challenging Brock here.
Brock’s first PPV title defense here.
Guys go toe to toe befofore the match. the two beasts always intimidating against one another.
Lesnar with a key grip which put away Hulkamania. A bear-hug.
The bear-hug was meant to slow down the fast striking Undertaer who actually had the leverage advantage but not the width of overall size of Brock.
That’s what made these two facing off so unique here is their contrast in styles and size.
Undertaker who they call the fastest pure striker in the game was laying out shots left and right to Lesnar until he fought back and Brock went to the legs of the Dedman like so many do to try and take him off his vertical base.
Smart strategic wrestling by the man beast.
Lesnar then re-gripped a waist-lock on the old Deadman.
Whle on the mat Lesnar laying down on the canvas with a bearhug holding it until he gets off forced by Undertaker who really did bring it harder in thd match match then Brock.
Lesnar just played second-fiddle in the toughness part in this bout.
They’d have to wait until their No Mercy war in the Cell the next month to see how they can really conect. A match I hold in my top 30 ever and I can’t wait to review it.
At Unforgiven 2002 though In the end at 20:27 Brock Lesnar fought The Undertaker to a double disqualification.
LA booed and Brock retained the title as the ref’s controversial decision to end the match abruptly made him pretty un-popular.
DQ endings don’t end on PPV past the 90’s or the fans will near riot.
Anyway the show still had a cool ending (they made sure of that) as Undertaker sent Lesnr through the stage.
The fans popped for that.
Undertaker got some revenge on Brock.
A decent outing overall.
Final Rating for WWE Unforgiven 2002 = 7.5/10
This show definitely had a lot going for it, the only problem is that the attitude era was clearly over and not many fans were ready to make that transition. It’d be kind of like turning 30, or 40, 0r 50…you’d sigh, but it is what it is. The RVD-Hunter match left a bitter taste in many’s mouths with how and who went over despite the fact the match was a classic. (I’m thinking of HHH-Booker WM X9 when something like this goes down, familiar territory) also the fact Benoit and Angle put in a clinic and Taker-Lesnar, Eddie-Edge were also on the card were other great aspects. Not everything was top notch but it was still a very good event that isn’t talked about very often. Thumbs up here.