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9/22 WWE Unforgiven: Keller's Virtual Time PPV Analysis

Sep 22, 2002 - 9:50:00 PM

By Wade Keller, Torch editor

WWE Unforgiven PPV
September 22, 2002
Los Angeles, Calif. at Staples Center

A video montage previewed the main events of the PPV.

Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler previewed the event from ringside. Lawler said the preview montage sent chills up and down his spine.

(1) The UnAmericans (Lance Storm & Christian & William Regal & Test) vs. Goldust & Booker T & Kane & Bubba Ray Dudley.

Bubba got in some early offense and then danced while grabbing at his crotch. Bubba attempted to lift Storm onto the top turnbuckle and Storm fell backward landing awkwardly almost onto his head. That wasn't supposed to happen. Bubba then put Storm back on the top rope successfully. At 3:00 Booker hot-tagged in. AT 7:30 the match broke into an eight-way brawl and spilled to the floor. Test and Kane were left in the ring. At 8:45 Storm scored a near fall on Kane after a double-team move. Booker ran in and took over for his team. Good chaotic non-stop yet smooth action. Bubba gave Christian a sit down slam, Goldust then set Christian in the corner with legs spread and kicked him in the crotch. Test then gave Goldust a big boot. Kane then chokeslammed Test followed by Storm. Regal entered the ring with brass knuckles, but Kane hit him first. Kane then turned and scored the pin on Storm. Slow, steady start and a red hot final couple of minutes executed smoothly by eight pros. The winners celebrated with an American flag in the ring as the heels made faces in the aisle. Winners: Goldust & Booker & Kane & Bubba at 9:58.

Backstage Stephanie gave Billy & Chuck a pep talk. She said the match was about pride, but Billy interrupted and said it's all about keeping her from kissing a lesbian. Chuck said they'd win so Eric Bischoff had to kiss her ass. She said she liked the sound of that.

(2) Chris Jericho (champ) vs. Ric Flair for the Intercontinental Championship.

Flair has looked shaky lately, finally really showing his age. This will be a test to see if he still has title match quality performances left in him. Ross said Flair believes he can mount one last spectacular run in his great career. After some early back and forth exchanges (of course, including chops), Jericho put Flair in an abdominal stretch. Flair hiptossed Jericho to escape at 3:00. Flair did the Flair flip in the corner turnbuckle successfully and landed on his feet, then threw some chops and sent Jericho over the top turnbuckle head-first into the ringpost. Ross pointed out Jericho was six years old when Flair won his first world title. Flair whipped Jericho into the ring stairs, chopped him, and threw him back into the ring. Lawler dug himself into a hole trying to explain how even though Flair isn't as good as he was 20 years ago, it's not like he's on a football team where he dragging down the entire team by being a step slower. He said Flair might not win as often now, then just stopped and decided it might be a good idea to move on to another subject. Jericho feigned a knee injury. The ref and Flair called for a trainer to come out. Jericho then snuck up behind Flair, put him in the Lion Tamer, and Flair quickly tapped out at 6:16. Jericho laughed as Flair sat in the ring, getting beaten by a tactic he might have used 15 years ago in his prime. Flair looked fine for the limited amount of time the match lasted. Why Jericho couldn't get a cleaner win on Flair is bizarre since Jericho is the one with a money-drawing future and shouldn't have to cheat to sneak past Flair at this point in Flair's career.

Eric Bischoff gave Rosie & Jamal a pep talk. He said this is their first match as a team officially. He said they are representing not just Raw, but also himself. He said Ric would be in their corner to help coach them. Rico said he knows Billy & Chuck "inside and out, so to speak." Rico told Bischoff to kick back some popcorn and Vaseline and enjoy seeing Steph do some HLA.

They showed Shaquille O'Neill at ringside with his young son who punched him in the face twice.

(3) Edge vs. Eddie Guerrero.

Michael Cole and Tazz took over on commentary for this match. After an energetic start, Guerrero planted Edge with a top rope DDT at 2:00. Guerrero then began twisting Edge's head between his legs on the mat and even scored a two count in the process. Guerrero moved to a front facelock. Edge finally made a full fledged comeback at 8:00. Edge hit a top rope powerbomb for a near fall at 9:30. At 10:00 Edge went for his Spear, but Guerrero moved. Edge then hit the Edgecution for a near fall at 10:25. Fans chanted, "Edge, Edge." Edge missed a top rope dropkick. A minute later he went for a top rope move, but Guerrero punched Edge and gave Edge a hard top rope sunset flip and with a yank of the tights, he scored the pin. Very good match. Winner: Guerrero at 11:48.

Backstage Triple H said Rob Van Dam doesn't have drive because he's too laid back. He took a shot at Flair saying that he once had drive, but he's lost it.

(4) Jamal & Rosie (w/Rico) vs. Billy & Chuck.

At least they realize this doesn't below any higher on the card than the end of the first hour. The crowd chanted "Rico sucks," and he covered his ears as if that upset him. Shouldn't be nonplussed, or even egg on that chant? Rosie went for a moonsault on Chuck, but Chuck moved out of the path. Rosie didn't get much elevation, but for someone of his size it was impressive. Gunn and Jamal got hot-tags at 4:30. Jamal took a nice flip bump off a Billy clothesline. Billy rammed their heads together, which of course they no-sold. They then headbutted Billy to the ground. Billy gave Jamal the Famasser at 56:00 and then beat up Rico when he entered the ring. Billy threw Rico over the top rope. Rosie hit Billy from behind and then threw him into the arms of Jamal who Samoan dropped him with a thud and scored the pin. Good action, although too short to develop into much of a match Winners: Jamal & Rosie at 6:30.

Bischoff gloated backstage to Johnathan Coachman about the win. Three lesbians chanted "HLA" and begged to be sent to the ring to have HLA with Steph later. Lawler could barely contain his excitement.

(5) Triple H (champ) vs. Rob Van Dam.

Good crowd heat for the opening antics between the two. At 2:00 RVD slapped Hunter, and Hunter acted as if that was some violation of an honor code. RVD continued to out wrestle Hunter in the early minutes settling into a headlock after a hiptoss. Hunter went to ringside to catch his breath. RVD then had a water bottle thrown to him and he mocked Triple H's water spouting routine. Hunter got even more upset and charged RVD, who again gave him an armdrag followed by a hiptoss and a side headlock. Ross pointed out how RVD was winning with basics rather than dazzling kicks and flips. Hunter slowed RVD with a knee to the gut in the corner at 4:30. Hunter moved out of the path of an RVD somersault plancha. RVD landed on the ringside mat with a thud. RVD barely made it back to the ring before the ten count. Hunter took over offense for several minutes. Hunter gave RVD a running knee to the chest at 10;30 for a near fall. At 11:00 Hunter went to the top rope, but RVD kicked him off, but Hunter snuck on a sleeper. At 13:00 RVD hit a series of offensive flying moves including Rolling Thunder for a two count. RVD dove onto Hunter at ringside and then came off the top rope with a sidekick for another near fall. Ross withstood the temptation during these near falls of saying the tired phrase "this should be it" or "he got him, no he didn't!" The ref went down at 15:00 at which point RVD scored a visual pinfall on Hunter after a wheel kick. RVD turned to try to get the ref's attention. Hunter then kneed RVD and setup the Pedigree. Hunter countered and catapulted Hunter into the corner turnbuckle. RVD then signalled for the Five Star Frog Splash. He scored another visual three count on Hunter. RVD jumped to ringside to try to get the ref's attention. Hunter gave RVD a low blow from behind at 16:25. Hunter grabbed his sledge hammer from under the ring. RVD leaped up and kicked the hammer out of Hunter's hands. Flair ran to the ring, grabbed the sledge hammer, and whoo'd behind Hunter. He then turned and nailed RVD in the gut with the hammer. Hunter looked shocked, but nevertheless gave RVD the Pedigree and covered RVD. Flair threw the ref into the ring who then counted the pin. Flair looked at Hunter, told him "you're the man," and then handed him the gold belt and raised his arm in victory. Hunter smiled and hugged Flair. Winner: Hunter at 18:17.

[Time Check: 9:30 p.m.]

(6) Molly Holly (champ) vs. Trish Stratus for the Women's Title.

At 2:00 the action spilled to ringside where Molly whipped Trish right into a ringside photographer. Ross talked about being glad that the Raw team won the Jamal & Rosie vs. Billy & Chuck battle, but said he "can't imagine" what the HLA will be like later. Molly hung Trish upside down in the corner and then hit her with a springboard moonsault elbow at 5:00. Trish surprised Molly with a bulldog out of nowhere for the win. Winner: Trish at 5:43 to become new champion.

Coachman interviewed Trish at ringside after her title win. She was nearly in tears as she talked about how much she loves moments like this. Nice touch to make the title win seem important.

Backstage Jamal, Rosie, and even Rico were enjoying the company of the women Bischoff brought to the show. Bischoff said when in L.A. just his name to get anything they wanted. He made a comment that even Rico was enjoying the mixed company. Rico left with them with a smile on his face. Not sure what that means for his character's sexuality.

(7) Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit.

This is a battle between the no.1 finisher (Angle) and the no. 3 finisher (Benoit) in the Torch Readers' Fantasy Draft held a few weeks ago (RVD was no. 2, by the way). The first three minutes of this match were the best three minutes on the card so far. Good back and forth offense with rapid-fire counter moves including a near fall by Angle that Benoit bridged out of (although it appeared Benoit bridged after the ref should have counted to three. Angle bailed out to ringside to catch is breath. Angle took over offense in the ring and scored a two count after a backbreaker at 4:45. The crowd was buzzing for the early minutes of the match. Benoit hit his series of German suplexes at 8:30. He escaped an Angle suplex attempt and hit a nice overhead suplex on him instead a minute later that sent Angle onto the mat face-first. When Benoit mounted the top rope, Angle charged at him and threw him to the mat with a suplex then scored a near fall. At 11:00 Angle applied the Anklelock. Benoit kicked out of it by stomping Angle in the face. Benoit went for a slam, but Angle flipped into tombstone position, but then Benoit reversed it and gave Angle a shoulderbreaker. Benoit followed with a top rope headbutt. Benoit applied the Crippler Crossface at 12:00. Angle reversed it into an Anklelock. Benoit reversed it back into a Crossface. Angle then reversed it back into the Ankle lock. All reversals took place within 60 seconds and the crowd was going nuts. Benoit reached the ropes at 12:10. Angle yanked Benoit off the ropes and applied a Crossface himself. Benoit escaped and slipped on top of Angle and put his feet on the ropes for leverage and scored a quick surprise three count. Angle threw a tantrum in the ring at the loss. Best match of the night thus far. These two really clicked together. Great pacing, great internal storyline, great execution, great realism, great crowd heat. Winner: Benoit at 13:58.

In a backstage interview, Brock Lesnar deferred to Paul Heyman to explain his feelings. Heyman said things have gotten personal not because of the pregnant wife situation but because Taker is attempting to take his belt from him, "so we'll get personal with him." Brock said he isn't sorry about what he did to Taker's wife.

Bischoff came to the ring with two women named Peaches and Cream. Steph then came out. Bischoff said it would be three-way action. Peaches and Cream took off their shirts revealing their bras. They began massaging Steph from head to toe. Bischoff called for foreplay to end and for the women to get serious. He led the crowd in an "HLA" chant. Just as they began to kiss, Bischoff stopped them and said he changed his mind. He said the ladies are excused and they left the ring. Bischoff then said he didn't want Steph to enjoy it, so he searched high and low to find the most repulsive "lesbo" as he possibly could. A hideous looking woman walked out. Steph went ahead and made out with her, and grabbed at "her" ass. Bischoff didn't understand Steph enjoying it. The women unmasked and revealed herself to be Rikishi in drag. Rikishi gave Bischoff a big dose of stink face, dubbed the longest, most sustained Stink Face in history. Cole and Tazz were laughing and said the fans just got a real treat. It's a bit of a stretch of one's self-importance to book this silly segment on as the second-to-last segment on the entire show, but it did serve as a "buffer" segment to give the fans a breather between the great Angle-Benoit match and the Taker-Brock main event.

Video montages aired on Brock Lesnar and Undertaker.

(8) Brock Lesnar (champ) vs. Undertaker.

We'll see what Taker has left in him and how far Brock is progressing. This will be a huge challenge for Taker, whose in-ring work has slid considerably over the past couple of years. Brock will have to show he can carry his end of a PPV main event against a non-surefire opponent. Cole repeated his style summary of Brock being a "grappler" and Taker a "striker" - an long-running UFC phrase. When the bell rang to start the match, Brock went right to Taker's corner and had a staredown with him. Taker shoved Brock several fee backwards. They circled each other in the ring. When Taker threatened to punch Brock, Brock backed into the corner and complained to the ref about Taker's closed fists. Good intensity on Taker's facial expressions and good invincible confidence on the facial expressions of Brock. When Brock outpowered Taker, Taker looked a bit shaken as Brock gloated. Great gamefaces early in the match, which is an underrated touch that helps build a match early. Taker shoved Brock and Brock bumped out of the ring. Brock lost his cool and reentered the ring quickly and went to a side headlock Taker whipped him off, but Brock shoulder-tackled him to the mat. Taker hiptossed Brock and then clotheslined him over the top rope to the floor. Brock kicked over the ringside stairs. At 4:45 with a Heyman distraction Brock speared Taker in the corner and then gave him a vertical suplex for a two count. Brock yanked Taker ribs-first into the ringpost. At 6:30 Taker fought back and looked to the crowd for cheers. He got some. Brock powerslammed Taker off the ropes for another two count. Taker fought out of a bearhug on the mat with some punches, but Brock retained control with a knee to Taker's gut. Brock went back to a bearhug. Taker tried to rise, but Brock slammed him back to the mat, retaining his bearhug grip. At 9:10 Taker finally swung Brock through the ropes to break the bearhug. Taker sold injured ribs as he bent over in the ring. Brock returned to the ring. Taker threw some bodyblows. They fought at ringside at 10:00. Taker rammed Brock into the barricade. Brock returned fire with a shot to Taker's forehead with the title belt. Taker came up bleeding from the forehead. Brock punched away at his forehead in the ring at 11:30. At 12:00 Taker came back with some punches. He charged Brock with a running clothesline in the corner, showing good fire. He splashed him again in the corner, then signalled for the chokeslam. He grabbed Brock's neck, but Brock elbowed out. Taker took Brock down with a big boot. Cole didn't resist the temptation to "call the match" before the ref counted, shouting, "We have a new champion." He loses a point for that tired premature claim. Taker hit another boot and scored another two count. The ref went down again (two in one show is one too many). At 14:00 Taker got a chokeslam in, but the ref was down. Matt Hardy ran to the ring and Taker gave him a Last Ride for a big pop. Brock then surprised Taker with a spinebuster and scored a near fall. The crowd popped when Taker kicked out. Taker gave Brock a face-first DDT for a near fall at 15:33. Taker set up the Tombstone, but Brock shoved Taker off and once again into the ref Brian Hebner. Heyman tossed a chair to Lesnar. Taker blocked the chairshot with another boot to Lesnar's face. Taker then grabbed the chair and nailed Brock in the head with the chair, denting it badly. He followed with another chairshot, sending Brock to ringside at 17:10. Taker could barely stand in the ring as Heyman tended to Brock at ringside. Taker pursued Brock as Heyman begged him to back off. Taker punched Heyman, who bumped over the barrier into the front row. Brock came up bleeding (barely). Taker hit Brock with a boot and a legdrop for a near fall which popped the crowd. Taker set up Brock for his Last Ride, but Brock backdropped out. Brock set up the F5, but Taker escaped and punched Brock. Brock rammed Taker into the corner and punched away at him. Taker fought back. The ref stepped between them since they were in the ropes. Brock shoved the ref into the corner. Taker put Brock in the corner against the ref and punched away at him. The ref, down on the mat, called for the bell at 20:25. The crowd erupted in boos. Two other refs ran out to try to regain control. Taker and Brock continued to fight. Taker gave Brock a chokeslam, then collapsed over the top rope just to keep on his feet. Brock bailed out to ringside as the crowd booed some more. They brawled in the aisle and Taker threw Brock through the "Unforgiven" set as the show went off the air. Their intent was to create the impression that these two were in the midst of such an intense fight that they couldn't be controlled, but it was not in line with how other matches are called when such a minor infraction against the ref is committed. No official decision.

* * *

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PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.

He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.

He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).

He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)


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