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WWE SUMMERSLAM FLASHBACK SERIES - 2002 REPORT: A loaded PPV headlined by Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock

Aug 11, 2010 - 2:05:23 PM
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WWE SUMMERSLAM FLASHBACK REPORT
AUGUST 25, 2002
LONG ISLAND, N.Y.
REPORT BY WADE KELLER, PWTORCH EDITOR


(1) Kurt Angle pinned Rey Mysterio Jr. at 9:25. Michael Cole and Tazz did commentary. There was no shame in being in the opening match on this loaded card. They set the tone with a furious opening minute of action. Rey hit a lot of nice spots, but Angle played the role of the favorite, dominating most of the offense. It worked, as fans popped for any Rey Jr. comeback. In the end, they did the right finish—which was the much larger, credible, and proven Angle scoring the clean win. The finish saw Rey attempt to give Angle a hurancanrana off the top rope, but Angle escaped and applied his ankle lock for a quick tapout. (***)

Stephanie entered her office backstage and Eric Bischoff was waiting for her on a leather couch. She asked what he was doing there. He said since they're at a PPV, it's neutral ground and they should share an office. Steph said since both Raw and Smackdown are represented, she wanted to see the look on his face as he watches Smackdown reign supreme.

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, from their announcing position near the entry stage, talked about the rivalry between Raw and Smackdown. They handled commentary for the following Raw brand match.

(2) Ric Flair pinned Chris Jericho at 10:25. The second good match of the show. Flair continued to show signs of age slowing him down, including a failed attempt at his signature Flair flip in the corner. He did, though, work his ass off in an attempt to prove he still belonged in the ring. It seemed as if Jericho was trying to emulate the subtle things that Flair does so well, such as trying to sell Flair's figure-four leglock as well as Flair sold for his figure-four attempt earlier in the match. In the end, Flair gave Jericho a low-blow then applied the figure-four leading to a quick tapout. The finish was certainly a surprise, going against conventional wisdom, but it wasn't a finish that should be upsetting to Jericho fans since this was the night of surprising finishes. (**3/4)

Paul Heyman gave Brock Lesnar a pep talk in his locker room. Brock grunted and smiled... Back to Cole & Tazz on commentary.

(3) Edge pinned Eddie Guerrero at 11:44. The best match of the opening hour, and in some ways the best match of the night. Guerrero kicked out of Edge's Edgecution finisher during the match, an apparent consolation to Guerrero since he was ultimately doing the clean job. Cole said he didn't know if anyone had ever kicked out of that before. They did some nice moves at ringside, but it was the in-ring exchanges that carried the match. In the end, Guerrero climbed to the top rope, but Edge yanked him off, then followed up with a spear and a pin. Very good match with a strong internal storyline that made sense as it played out. (***3/4)

Johnathan Coachman interviewed Christian, Lance Storm, and Test backstage. Christian said they can't wait to expose Goldust and Booker T as the shams they are. Storm said the Long Island crowd typifies American audiences—they are lazy, unappreciative, and spoiled.

(4) Lance Storm & Christian beat Booker T & Goldust at 9:40 to retain WWE Tag Team Titles. The match settled into Goldust selling for the UnAmericans. At 7:00 Storm and Christian attempted to bash Goldust from two sides with chairs, but Goldust ducked and the chairs clashed with each other instead. Goldust then hit a clothesline and hot-tagged Booker at 7:30 for a decent pop. Booker ended up dominating the heels, then doing the Spinarooni to a huge pop. When Booker had Christian down for an apparent pin, the ref had been bumped. Test then gave Booker the Big Boot, the ref recovered, and the match ended. (***)

They went live to The World where two men had been picked out for a make-out session with Nidia. She chose one of them and then leaped onto him on the couch and aggressively made out with him.

Bischoff said Nidia would make a fine addition to Raw because "she knows her place in this business." Steph said the place for women in the business is "on top." Not their best segment.

(5) Ron Van Dam beat Chris Benoit at 16:30 to capture the Intercontinental Title. This could be called the disappointment of the night because it wasn't the balls-out show-stealer that many may have expected. Instead, it was a methodical match with mat wrestling and a slow build. Good, but not necessarily always exciting. They exchanged Crippler Crossfaces during the match. At 16:00 Benoit went for a top rope suplex, but RVD reversed it in mid-air. Then he went to the top rope and hit his Five Star Splash for the pin at 16:30. Good submission-hold-centered match with some good, strategically placed highspots in the mix. (***)

Bischoff gloated to Steph that she can watch the IC Title defenses from now on on Raw. Steph laughed in his face, perhaps signalling that RVD is jumping. Bischoff looked puzzled.

(6) Undertaker pinned Test at 8:10. Ross said Test has been stuck with the label of having "potential" for a very long time and is looking to move beyond it. Okay match, but even the little things such as intensity during mat holds didn't measure up to the previous matches. The UnAmericans eventually interfered, but Taker fought them off. When Test attempted to hit Taker with a chair, Taker kicked it into his face and hit the Tombstone for the win. Taker got an American flag from a fan in the crowd and held it in the air while standing on the ropes. Nothing memorable at all. (*3/4)

(7) Shawn Michaels pinned Triple H at 27:50. Michaels wore jeans and cowboy boots, but no shirt. He looked in shape, but thinner than during his peak years in the ring. Michaels attacked Triple H at the start. The match was really soundly booked, down to little details such as Michaels foreshadowing use of a trash can lid early in the match, and then successfully bashing Triple H with it much later. When Triple H got in his first sustained offense early, Ross played up that Michaels might end up in a wheelchair. The times Michaels took over there was usually a built in excuse, such as Triple H being preoccupied with the ref. They brawled at ringside a lot, and got in some good spots with chairs, tables, and even ladders. When it seemed Triple H had Michaels defeated, out of nowhere Michaels superkicked a chair into Triple H's face, but it seemed more a "last gasp" than a "comeback." The fans were buying into every hope spot and comeback. Triple H bled heavily after the chairshot. At 25:00 Michaels nailed Triple H with a fire extinguisher, then set him on the table, then climbed to the top rope, signalled by wagging his finger by his ear that he must be crazy, and then dove onto him, crashing through the table. The crowd chanted "Holy Sh--!" Michaels then dove off the top of the ladder with an elbow. Triple H kicked Michaels in the gut and set up the Pedigree, but Michaels quickly flipped onto Triple H and bridged into a pin attempt and he scored the three count upset. Michaels celebrated as the crowd stood and cheered. Triple H rammed Michaels from behind with a sledge hammer to cut the celebration short. He hit him a second time as the crowd booed. Michaels was out cold. The match surpassed everyone's expectations. (****1/2)

Howard Finkle did a brief skit in the ring with Trish that ended with Lillian Garcia attacking him. It was just padding to give the crowd a breather.

RockArt_130WK_21.jpg
(8) Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) beat Rock to capture the WWE Title at 15:58. Cole and Tazz did commentary. Lesnar began with aggressive offense which may have been enough to make him "the man" in the eyes of the fans, as a sizable percentage began cheering him early on, although there were also "Rocky, Rocky" chants. Rock's first comeback was booed by many fans. Heyman interfered several times, but that wasn't enough to turn fans against Lesnar. When Rock gave Brock an early Sharpshooter, the boos became too loud to ignore. Then a "Let's go Lesnar" chant began. Tazz acknowledged the split crowd for the first time, saying, "Some like Rock, some like Brock Lesnar, the crowd has a choice." Rock put Heyman through a table at ringside. At 15:00 Rock hit the Spinebuster, but as he set up the People's Elbow, Brock got up and nailed him with a clothesline. Brock set up his finisher, but Rock escaped and went for a Rock Bottom. Brock elbowed out of that, and then set up his finisher again. He gave Rock his finisher and went for the cover and scored the clean three count. The crowd popped huge as if the babyface won. Cole proclaimed that Brock was now the youngest WWE Champion in history. Brock came through well in his first true big test as a headliner, and a lot of the credit goes to Rock. (***3/4)

[Torch art credit Grant Gould (c) PWTorch.com]


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