Brett Mix’s- WWE “King of the Ring 2002” Review:
“They still don’t get it do they? You are as real as they come Brock Lesnar because you are the next Big Thing. And tonight you become the King of the Ring” -Paul Heyman
-WWE King of the Ring 2002 took place on Sunday, June 23rd, 2002 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
-This was the 10th Annual King of the Ring event and the last PPV under the King of the Ring name.
-This was the first King of the Ring under the WWE name.
-Stone Cold Steve Austin’s “Walkout” happened a couple of weeks before this event so his match with Eddie Guerrero was changed to Ric Flair vs Eddie Guerrero.
-Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler called the action.
-Now onto the PPV……………
1) Opening Contest- Y2J Chris Jericho vs Rob Van Dam in a King of the Ring Semi-Finals match
This was the infamous match where Jericho ripped on fans online who complained about this match online directly after it had happened live.
Apparently if I got my story straight, Jericho went onto a random wrestling forum the night of this event and saw people complaining about this match, as a result Jericho went off defending this match and labelling all of the IWC as ungrateful pretty much.
Well, Jericho was right about this match. It is pretty incredible.
Chris Jericho and Van Dam both got heat, Van Dam in the positive way. A side headlock by Jericho and he goes all the way around into a hammerlock, RVD countered and then torked the arm of Jericho while stomping on the mat. RVD with a shot to the gut of Jericho and while the two avoid one another both men counter.
Jericho runs into a reverse elbow before an armdrag takedown.
Both men go for a dropkick…..
The crowd show their support. Jericho slaps RVD while the fans chant his name. RVD sends Jericho to the buckle and he rolls into him flipping him over. RVD with a leg drop.
EC Dub is chanted.
Jericho regains control. Jericho lands a heel kick. Jericho flies off the top rope and misses RVD. RVD flies off the side ropes into a summersault onto Jericho on the floor. RVD hits with a top rope move.
RVD went for the frog splash but Jericho shoved the official into the ropes and Rob Van Dam lost his balance. Rob Van Dam hooked up on the top turnbuckle by Jericho who hits a double am suplex. Jericho asks for a three.
Rob Van Dam is thrown into the corner while the crowd get all over Jericho.
RVD gets a boot up and a unique cradle taking down Jericho getting a nearfall. Jericho drops RVD sending him to the buckle.
Chris exposes the buckle padding in this evironment sending Rob Van Dam in. Rob Van Dam is choked out on the middle rope by Jericho who takes apart his wrist tape. RVD launched Jericho to the ropes.
Jericho slaps on a stretch submission hold torking both arms of RVD to the side. Van Dam fought his way bac in but Jericho charged into the ring post shoulder first. Rob Van Dam with more uppercuts before dropping Jericho with a spin kick.
RVD with a springboard kick to Jericho. Now Rob Van Dam connecting with rolling thunder but a kick out from Jericho. Rob Van Dam missed a kick but Jericho connected with an inziguri.
RVD misses a spinning kick and lands a german release suplex but somehow Van Dam kicked out. Rob Van Dam with a split-leg moonsault off the top and he gets a two. Jericho looks for the Walls but Van Dam reverses it.
Both men exchange shots. Jericho goes for a dropkick and is catapolted to the corner but he lands. Coming down Jericho threw Van Dam into the exposed buckle. Using the ropes for leverage he tried to get a two.
Nobody there for the Lionsault and RVD hit a spinning heel kick.
RVD goes for the five star frogsplash. Jericho moves and then hits the Lionsault. RVD just barely kicked out.
Loud RVD chants.
King said both men were killing each other. RVD goes for a hurricanrana but Jericho slaps on the Walls of Jericho on Van Dam.
What a match.
Rob Van Dam reached the ropes in time and now Jericho with hair in hand drive him into the metal post.
Jericho with Rob Van Dam up high but RVD helps Chris lose balance. Rob Van Dam from up high goes for his five star frog splash and he gets him.
In the end at RVD pinned Jericho after a Five-Star Frog Splash at 14:32 to advance to the finals of the King of The Ring tournament to meet the winner of the next match.
This match is very underrated and one of the better opening matches in PPV history.
The best match of the entire night.
2) Test vs “The Next Big Thing” Brock Lesnar (W/Paul Heyman) in a King of the Ring Semi-Finals match
Completely predictable outcome here but Brock needed some tough guys to go through, and the late Andrew Martin was just the right TEST for Brock. That was lame, I know.
Test actually gets a decent ovation.
Test was big in his own right but Lesnar’s physique was frightening. A tie-up goes all over the place.
Brock Lesnar cornered Test and the official Nick Patrick back him off until Lesnar speared Test in the corner several times which took it out of the big man. Lesnar with a high shot.
Goldberg chants I believe are heard.
Test fights back with a smashmouth style and Brock Lesnar avoids the big boot sliding under the bottom rope getting more encouragment from Heyman.
Brock Lesnar with a powerful spinebuster and Heyman loved it looking on.
This match was all about power and leverage. Lesnar drops Test with a right and ff the ropes Test goes for a clothesline and Brock ducks and hits a back suplex scoring a two.
Test is in a tough predicament as Brock Lesnar loved showing his strength holding Test up high. Even when Test fought back with an atomic drop Brock came storming right back with a clothesline to Test.
Brock Lesnar with a knee to the gut and clobbering forearms to the head of Test asking him to get up. Brock Lesnar with a kick to the sternum and off the ropes Test hit a side walk slam out of desperation.
Both to their feet and Brock spears Test in the corner before he is reversed to the other side where Test charged at him with a series of clotheslines in bith corners. Test with a full nelson to Brock into a slam scoring him a nearfall.
Heyman is yelling from the outside.
Test goes for the Pumphandle Slam but Lesnar counters with a waistlock. Test attempts it and is successful dropping Brock to the mat. Brock JUST kicks out.
Test waiting for the big boot but Lesnar avoided it and went for a powerbomb. Test lands on his feet and drops Brock with a running boot and Lesnar kicks out!
Match is getting good now.
Test wants Brock up for another boot to the face but Heyman distracted Test.
Lesnar hits the F5.
In the end at Lesnar pinned Test after an F-5 at 8:18.
This was a great big man match with a ton of power and no slow spots. Great stuff.
3) Jamie Noble (w/Nidia) vs The Hurricane (c) for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
The Hurricane is the reigning Cruisereight Champion and now he had to defend the title against Noble.
Here we get two guys that can work with some time on PPV. Should be good.
Noble is punched down by The Hurricane.
Hurricne with roll-up on Jamie Noble and then a two. Noble behind Hurricane with a hammerlock, Hurricane counters to a leg scissors.
Noble up pushed Hurricane to the corner and off the ropes Hurricane hit a reverse elbow. Hurricane went for a chokeslam on Noble but couldn’t put him away.
Hurricane with a headscissors on Noble while the fans chanted some things shouldn’t repeat at Nidia. Noble with Hurricane sends him hard into the corner. Jamie Noble slams his back hard to the buckle while the fans get on his case.
Snap suplex taking down Huricane and a two count. Jamie Noble locks on an abdominal stretch to Hurricane in mid-ring. Jamie Noble is hit with a crossbody and Noble slams Hurricane to the mat. Noble with a half body scissors wearing down Hurricane.
This wasn’t the fastest paced stuff but it was logical from a story telling standpoint. Hurricane comes back at kicking Noble and he gets off a slam. Noble runs his head into the jaw of Hurricane and now a sleeper by Jamie Noble wears down Huricane some more.
Jamie Noble and Hurricane engage in a slugfest until Hurricane hits a neckbreaker. Hurricane drives Noble into the coner a series of times. Noble hits Hurricane all of the sudden with a fisherman’s suplex but a two is scored. Hurricane drives Jamie Noble to the mat this time and a kickout.
Back and forth material here.
Hurricane grabs his cape but Nidia grabbed it away from him. Hurricane suplexed Jamie Noble from the inside to the outside of the ring. Helms from up high hits a crossbody off the top turnbuckle to the floor.
The Hurricane is up on the top and Noble meets him up there. A front facelock applied by Jamie Noble. Hurricane from up high hits a neckbreaker on Jamie Noble from the very top.
Hurricane goes for the count but Nidia distracted the official. The Hurricance gets up and sends Noble into Nidia off the apron.
Hurricane hits a chokeslam on Noble but he still kicks out. Jamie Noble caught Hurricane on the top rope and then slammed him to the mat.
In the end Jamie Noble pinned Hurricane after a powerbomb at 11:38 to become the NEW Cruiserweight Champion.
This match was lengthy for its nature, but still great.
4) “Nature Boy” Ric Flair vs “Latino Heat” Eddie Guerrero
This match was thrown together after Austin’s walkout.
Ric Flair was saying h could still go.
Here was a test against one of the best in the world.
Eddie Guerrero strutted around after he out-wrestled Flair in the early stage.
The fans and Eddie wanted Stone Cold Steve Austin but this of course was not the case. Eddie Guerrero scored with a dropkick and a Woo of his own.
Ric Flair takes a breather and comes back in.
Flair and Eddie tie up and in the corner Flair chopped Eddie and this lit up Eddie. Latino Heat on the outside got frustrated by Flair’s tactics.
Flair invited Eddie back in.
Ric Flair came back with a series of chops to Eddie. Flair hit a lowblow on Eddie Guerrero with his leg dropping him to the mat. Flair fought back and chopped Eddie some more in the corner.
Eddie Guerrero too some time to recover on the outside. Eddie Guerrero showing his usual great mindgames as he was always up to something. Eddie Guerrero goes for a run again and finally comes in to meet Naitch.
The crowd was dead but Eddie Guerrero took Flair down with a front facelock. A sequence of chain wrestling as Guerrero used his leverage to slow Flair down. Flair showing his strength was able to drop Eddie with a standing vertical suplex. Flair sent Eddie to the ropes but Guerrero dropkicked Flair and stomped away at Flair.
Eddie with a leg lock on Flair softening him up and now when Eddie went for a Figure Four, Flair countered it with a small package and got a two out of it. Eddie Guerrero chopped Flair in the corner and he flopped down. Eddie Guerrero with a halfcrab softening up the legs of Flair.
Flair screamed in agony.
Eddie Guerrero slams Flair’s leg against the steel ringpost. Eddie Guerrero uses the rope to elevate himself over the top onto Flair. Eddie Guerrero now finally set up the Figure Four on Ric Flair.
In the middle of the ring Eddie Guerrero had it slapped on, Ric Flair got to the ropes eventually as the official calls for the break. Eventually the official made him. Eddie Guerrero rings the neck of Flair with a snapmare. Flair chopped back at Eddie but he hit another snapmare and went into a side headlock.
Flair and Eddie got in a chopping war and Eddie was backdropped to the floor. Ric Flair flops to the mat as the damage had been done. Eddie Guerrero hangs up Flair on the top rope. Eddie Guerrero with a vertical suplex to Flair.
Eddie Guerrero instead of going after the legs elected to go for a frogsplash. Flair moved out of the way and and chopped Eddie. Flair now goes for the Figure Four.
Out comes Chris Benoit.
Benoit watched Flair slap a figure four on Eddie. Flair chops Eddie hard in the corner as Eddie Guerrero eventually got out. Eddie rolled up Flair and got a two. Eddie went for a backslide but Flair kicked out. Flair with a side headlock takedown and now he rolled on top of Eddie and the two couldn’t perform a bridge and he got a nearfall.
Flair chops Eddie in the corner and Eddie Guerrero hit a tornado ddt on Flair but got a long two. Eddie Guerrero distracted the official while Benoit had the crossface on Flair outside the ring.
Benoit is thrown out of ringside. Eddie Guerrero leaps around in the ring until Bubba Dudley hit a Bubba Bomb on Eddie Guerrero.
Ric Flair crawls back in the ring covering Eddie and it’s over.
So it went down that Flair pinned Guerrero after Bubba Ray Dudley interfered and hit Guerrero with a Bubba Bomb at exactly 17 minutes.
Random booking once the Brand Split took full force.
Unfortunate for Guerrero as he was in a program with Steve Austin and then had to resort to jobbing to a middle-aged man after his walkout.
Eddie Guerrero was one of the best wrestling talents in the world and for him to be subjected to this was a slap in the face.
This match was solid but could of been about seven minutes shorter.
5) Molly Holly vs Trish Stratus (c) for the WWE Women’s Championship
This feud was over who had a bigger ass I guess.
Trish Stratus is dominated early by Molly.
A little sloppy in the corner but Trish grabs Molly and she takes her down with an armbar takedown.
Molly swings the arm of Trish and wears her down with an armbar submission. Molly is reversed by Trish and she gets a two out of a modified victory roll using her body to flip over Molly’s.
A drop toehold by Molly to Trish Stratus sends her into the bottom rope. Molly chokes her out and kicked Trish Stratus to the floor.
Molly Holly grabs Trish and slams her into the apron.
The two brawl into the crowd now. Molly swings Trish Stratus over the barricade. Molly throws Trish back in the ring and is tossed to the outside by Trish.
Trish Stratus hits a chick kick on Molly off the apron and then another one in th ering. Off the ropes Trish Stratus was looking for a Stratusfaction and Molly hit a belly to belly with a bridge scoring her a two.
Molly goes to the top rope and off misses wit a summersault.
Molly counters Trish Stratus’s offense and grabs the tights, Molly is the new Champion.
In the end Molly pinned Trish with leverage from a handful of tights after a Belly-to-belly suplex at 5:41.
Pretty good tilt between the two.
6) “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan vs Kurt Angle
Who can represent USA the best?
That’s the story here.
Angle had recently had his head shaved bald and the man he was facing knows all about balding.
Hollywood Hulk Hogan got a great pop as did Angle as some fans liked him.
Angle was still wearing his hair piece.
Angle held an overhead armbar on Hogan.
Hulk Hogan was brought to his knees and the pace was very slow to begin. Hogan runs into Angle with a shoulder block.
Angle went for a walk and now took some shots at Hulk in the corner. Off he ropes Hogan runs into a clothesline.
Angle gets a ton of heat.
Angle’s own momentum was used by Hogan to elevate him to the floor. Fans chanted Hogan while he brawled with Angle outside the ring. Hogan shoots him into the barricade.
Angle regains control and slams him to the mat. Angle slams Hogan to the mat with a suplex and Hogan kicks out. Hogan slams Angle to the mat.
Hogan off the ropes runs into a headlock from Angle wearing down Hulkster.
Angle wearing him down on the mat but Hulk fougth back. Here comes the big Hulk Up.
Hogan gets a sleeper of his own on Angle but he reverses it into another suplex. Angle hits an Angle Slam on Hulk and he kicks out, Angle can’t believe it. Hulk Hogan Hulks up and Angle has seen enough.
He runs back with a chair in hand and it ends up hitting him in the process.
Angle somehow manages to slap an Ankle Lock on Hogan!
In the end at Angle made Hogan tapout at 12:08 to Angle’s Ankle Lock.
Hogan’s first appearance at King of the Ring since 1993 and he loses again. Shocking.
The Backstage Segment w/Goldust, The Rock and Booker T
Now obviously I don’t usually review backstage segments but I’ll make mention of this one because it provided a good five minutes of some of the best WWE comedy you’ll likely see, it was a bright spot for this event.
Goldust was dressed as The Rock in his shirt and The Rock came up behind Goldust (No, not that way you Siiick, FREAK!) and the three exchanged catchphrases and such, truely hilarious stuff.
You can likely find this on youtube, Bookdust was GOLDEN.
7) “The Next Big Thing” Brock Lesnar (W/Paul Heyman) vs Rob Van Dam in the 2002 King of the Ring Finals…
Both guys were popular so this was a bit less unpredictable but Lesnar was still the favourite as he was billed as “The Next Big Thing” and the King of the Ring here would recieve a title shot at Summerslam 2002.
That sounded nice, it should of always been the stipulation that goes along with the King of the Ring prize similar to how the Rumble winner goes onto Wrestlemania. Of course this would be the last King of the Ring event anyway so it couldn’t exactly happen again.
Brock Lesnar and RVD began the last official final as the match began.
Heyman was the real X-Factor here knowing Rob Van Dam from his ECW days.
Brock Lesnar was motivated by Heyman and ready to get his title shot at Summerslam and become the quickest and youngest Champion of all time.
The two favourites tie-up and Lesnar misses with a shot in the corner. Rob Van Dam scores with somes shots. Brock wears it off and Van Dam kicks at his legs. Rob Van Dam flips behind Lesnar and delivered another kick to the thigh muscle.
Good strategy to try and take the big man off his feet.
Lesnar though over powered Rob Van Dam from the corner and drove him hard to the mat. Lesnar turns RVD’s offence into a powerslam and a nearfall becomes of it. Rob Van Dam is kicked at by Brock.
Brock Lesnar scoops up Van Dam and while it looked like a fall away slam initially, Van Dam is dropped to the mat with a backbreaker by Lesnar.
Brock Lesnar squeezes the mid-section of Rob Van Dam with a bearhug slowing down the pace in the middle of the ring wearing him down.
Brock Lesnar charged to the ringpost but Rob Van Dam moved out of the way and he struck the steel. RVD drops Lesnar.
A Rolling thunder by Rob Van Dam scores him a two.
Heyman yells “Think of the title shot!” to Brock.
RVD hits the five star frog splash and gets a two. Heyman gets involved and while RVD flipped back on Lesnar he caught him in mid-air.
Lesnar hits the F5 and ptus him away.
It’s over, King Lesnar! Lesnar had it all and was on his way to Summerslam.
In the end at Lesnar pinned RVD after an F-5 at 5:42 to become King of the Ring.
This was a good quick final.
8 ) Main Event- “The Game” Triple H vs The Undertaker (c) for the WWE Championship
Triple H won the Undisputed title at Wrestlemania X8 and then lost it to Hogan at Backlash.
At Judgment Day Undertaker won the title back.
Now at this month’s PPV, Taker put the title back on the line against Triple H.
The Rock played a special role in this match and buyrate but he didn’t show up to the end which is unfortunate since the match was rather lackluster.
The final match in the ten PPV history of the King of the Ring. It’s too bad they didn’t go out with a bang.
This match definitely left a lot to be desired.
Triple H, the challenger was ready as the bell rings.
The Undertaker and Hunter engage in a slugfest to begin. The Undertaker throws Hunter into the corner and unleashed with shot after shot.
Undertaker landed some shots on the Game in the corner.
Triple H is sent into the opposite corner but he falls down on The Undertaker choking him out. Triple H clotheslined The Undertaker over the top to the floor. On the floor The
Undertaker brawled with Triple H. The Undertaker attempted slamming Hunter into the steps but he blocked that contact and went inside the ring.
Hunter took him out and drove him into the steel steps.
The Attitude Era was over and done by now but these two were brawling in the crowd. They knew they had a lot of PPV time to work so they wanted to keep the pace relatively slow in the beginning.
Hunter throws The Undertaker inside. The Undertaker regains control with shots to the back of the head. The Undertaker drops a right on Hunter and elbows him in the face.
The Undertaker drops Hunter and some Tiple H chants break out. The Undertaker is thrown into the corner of the ring.
Triple H drops shots on Taker but he quickly takes Hunter to the apron driving the elbow into the point of Hunter.
Taker and Hunter brawl here.
The crowd is relatively dead while the two brawl.
Hunter kicks out. The Undertaker and Hunter brawl some more in the ring until The Undertaker takes him down.
A back and forth contest as the Game comes out of the corner and gets Snake Eyes. A DDT out of no where and a nearfall.
HHH sets up for the Pedigree and Hebner is layed out. Both men collide.
Rock comes out to a big pop and joins commentary.
The Undertaker grabs a chair and Hunter avoids it with a facebuster. Hunter clotheslined The Undertaker over by the Rock. Triple H brawled with Undertaker on the floor. Undertaker kicked at Rock`s face. The Undertaker held a chair and was abouto to hit Hunter but he hit Taker.
Rock aimed for Taker again but hit HHH. Taker threw Rock into the ringpost. The Undertaker took HHH and slid him back inside. The Undertaker feels a chokeslam attempt but then went into the Last Ride. The Undertaker hits HHH with the move. The Undertaker falling backwards from Rock`s punishment. The Undertaker covered Helmsley and the Game kicked out.
The Undertaker shoved a referee out of the ring. Rock hit a Rock Bottom on Taker.
HHH and Taker were both layed out.
In the end at The 23:44 Undertaker retained the title when he pinned Triple H with a roll-up after a low blow. Even the finish felt anti-climatic.
This match was a pretty big dissapointment considering who the two were and were capable of in the past. (Wrestlemania X7 for instance)
This wasn’t a good match to say the least.
The Rock’s involvment was a major selling point for this event (even including him on the poster) and without him this would of been much worse. The dead crowd didn’t help matters either.
Not the best way to end the show.
Final Rating for WWE King of the Ring 2002 = 6/10
This show was the first King of the Ring since the Brand Split started and didn’t get the best of reviews and it was ultimately the last.
It has a couple of great matches but outside that it’s pretty dissapointing overall. It’s mediocre as far as these events are concerned and certainly not capped off by the best main event given the talent. The company started to fade around this time.
After this PPV, it was definitely time for a major change in the overall product since the post-Invasion performances had been solid and middling, but unspectacular at the top. Lesnar was one new breath of fresh air, but more needed to come.
We would get a big influx of talent over the next few weeks as the stars of the next generation began to sprout up, making 2002 very similar to 1996 in terms of the future development of the company.
I think that personally, the main event deserves a higher rating than 2*. I would have given it at least 3½* personally.