Torch Flashbacks WWE PPV FLASHBACK: Brock Lesnar wins King of the Ring 13 yrs. ago today, plus Taker vs. Triple H main event, Angle vs. Hogan, more
Jun 23, 2015 - 3:20:00 AM
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WWE King of the Ring PPV Report
June 26, 2002
Live from Columbus, Ohio
Originally Published: PWTorch Newsletter #711
Report by Wade Keller, Torch editor
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Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the event.
(1) Rob Van Dam pinned Chris Jericho at 14:33 to advance to the King of the Ring finals. They began with tests of strength and armdrags that built anticipation well. At 1:30 they both threw dropkicks at each other at the same time, which Ross said indicated they were both on the same page offensively. The crowd ate up everything early. RVD nailed Jericho with a flip over the top rope to the floor at 3:00. They continued with some great exchanges and near falls. Jericho continued to establish his heel role by removing a pad from the top turnbuckle, then choking RVD over the middle rope. They paced themselves well, peaking the action just after the 10:00 mark with some innovative near falls including an RVD nearfall after a split-legged moonsault. At 12:00 Jericho went for a pin with his feet on the second rope for leverage. Jericho went for a Lionsault, but RVD moved, so Jericho landed on his feet. RVD hit Jericho with a spin wheel kick then went for his Five-Star Frog Splash, but Jericho moved. Jericho then hit the Lionsault. Ross declared, "This is going to be it," so we knew it wouldn't be it. At 14:30 RVD hit the Five-Star Splash for the clean pin. Very good match that had the crowd into it from start to finish. After the match, Jericho attacked RVD with a Walls of Jericho to "get his heat back." (***1/2)
(2) Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) pinned Test at 8:12 to advance to the King of the Ring finals. Brock aggressively rammed his shoulders into Test in the corner to start the match, but Test came back quickly with a big boot, the same one that KO'd Hardcore Holly in his quarter finals victory. Brock, though, ducked out of the way and bailed to ringside for a conference with Paul Heyman. When Brock re-entered the ring, Test kicked away at him in the corner. Brock fought back with some stomps and elbow drops. They had a miscommunication in the ring that led to a brief moment of panicked nothingness. They regrouped and Brock put on a sleeper. Test got in enough offense that it seemed clear Brock was going to win; in other words, they wanted Test to be able to look "credible" in the process of losing. Test hit his pump handle slam, but Brock kicked out "barely, barely" in Ross's words. The crowd wasn't nearly as into this match as they were RVD vs. Jericho. Brock went for a powerbomb, but Test escaped and hit his big boot for a very near fall. Brock kicked out of Test's finisher that has been built up as a "killer finisher" in recent weeks. In an awkward looking sequence, Heyman tapped Test on the shoulder to distract him, and Brock surprised Test with his finisher for the win. (*)
Backstage Lance Storm and Christian complained that two Americans were in the KOTR finals and both Canadians had been eliminated.
(3) Jamie Noble (w/Nidia) beat Hurricane Helms to capture the Cruiserweight Title at 11:58. This was the biggest disappointment of the night. Hurricane got almost no pop coming to the ring, which had to be disappointing considering the hype he's received in recent weeks. Hurricane got in some early offense and two counts early. The crowd chanted, "She's a crack whore!" at Nidia in the early minutes (ECW lives). Lawler lusted after Nidia during the match. The match slowed to a total crawl with abdominal stretches, headlocks, sleepers, and chinlocks, which totally killed the crowd. At 8:40 Hurricane hit a back suplex and a pin attempt, but the crowd didn't buy into it as a believable near fall at all. Hurricane went to grab his cape (a la Lawler pulled down his strap, thus the Mid-South Coliseum analogy continues), but Nidia snatched it away. When Hurricane went to the top rope a minute later, Noble surprised him with a powerbomb and a pin. Hurricane draped his leg over the bottom rope during the pin, but Nidia knocked it off. Nidia tackled Noble center-ring in a post-victory celebration that seemed genuine. This match didn't do anything to help this division. (*3/4)
Terri interviewed Eddie Guerrero backstage. Guerrero thanked dozens of family members by name for their support. He said Flair is past his prime and the only run he has left is the one to the retirement home.
(4) Ric Flair pinned Eddie Guerrero at 17:00. Another letdown. A slow-paced chopfest in which Flair for the first time really looked to be slowing down. Still, Guerrero gets blame, too, because he seemed to be walking through this match. Late in the match Benoit walked to ringside. Guerrero and Flair attempted to do the spot where Guerrero bridged out of Flair's pin attempt (a classic Flair-Steamboat spot), but they didn't have the strength to pull it off. Kind of sad to watch, actually. The crowd fell silent after that. Guerrero hit a top rope DDT at 15:05. Benoit dragged Flair out of the ring and applied the Crippler Crossface at ringside. Meanwhile, Guerrero distracted the ref. When the ref finally turned to ordering Benoit out of the ring, Bubba Ray Dudley ran in from the crowd, gave Guerrero the Bubba Bomb, and then Flair crawled into the ring and scored the tainted win. (**)
(5) Molly Holly pinned Trish Stratus at 5:05 to capture the WWE Women's Title. Just a solid women's match that you'd see on Raw. Nothing particularly wrong with it, but pretty forgettable. The finish was supposed to have Molly yank on Trish's tights to score a tainted win, but Trish didn't have any waistband to grab, so it was technically a clean win. Who thought of that finish? (*3/4)
(6) Kurt Angle beat Hulk Hogan via tapout at 12:05. The match had a "big match" feel to it at the start. They began with some tests of strength. When they spilled to ringside, the crowd chanted "Hogan, Hogan" as he punched away at Angle at ringside. Angle came back with a mulekick and a sleeper, followed with an Angle Slam for a near fall. Hogan began a superman comeback and hit the big boot, then ripped off the hairpiece for a pop. A bald Angle went berserk and bailed to ringside. Hogan put on the wig and posed. Angle swung a chair at Hogan, but Hogan ducked and the chair bounced off the top rope and back onto Angle's head. Hogan went for the legdrop, but Angle moved. Angle then applied the Ankle lock. Hogan came close to escaping, but when he reached the ropes, Angle yanked him back to center ring where Hogan tapped out. Very good finishing sequence and good overall match. (**3/4)
Backstage Booker T and Goldust had a great skit with Rock. Goldust was hilarious in his imitations of Rock, and Rock was just as good in telling him to stop. Booker was elevated through his interaction with Rock, too. Good stuff.
(7) Brock Lesnar pinned Rob Van Dam at 5:36 to win King of the Ring. RVD got in some early offense, but then Brock dominated from there. Van Dam snuck in his Five-Star Splash late, but Heyman interfered. RVD still fell onto Brock, who kicked out. Heyman distracted RVD again, and Brock surprised a distracted RVD with his finisher for the win. Solid for a five minute match. (**)
Backstage Triple H hugged Kevin Nash, X-Pac, and Shawn Michaels, and exchanged an uncomfortable greeting with Big Show. Nash offered to help him in his match.
(8) Undertaker pinned Triple H to retain the WWE Hvt. Title at 23:00. Heyman joined in on commentary and was really grating. He claimed Brock attacked Rock backstage. Ross eventually said Heyman has a reputation for telling lies. Heyman's comeback was that he isn't lying about Brock being wrestling's "next big thing." Later Lawler told Heyman to respect the wrestlers in the ring and talk about the match. Seven minutes into the match, Ross said it all: "A deliberate, methodical pace established by the Undertaker." Rock came to ringside and stopped Taker from hitting Triple H with a chair. He then swung a chair at Taker, but hit Triple H by mistake. Taker then rammed Rock into the ringpost and threw Triple H into the ring. A minute later Rock entered the ring and gave Taker a Rock Bottom. Rock walked back to the entry stage. Triple H and Taker were very slow to get back to their feet. Taker eventually low-blowed Triple H and rolled him with a yank of his tights for a win. Really boring match other than Rock's role, which woke up the crowd. (*)
Afterward, Taker yelled at Rock and challenged him. Rock charged the ring and gave Taker a spinebuster and a People's Elbow. His music began to play. Triple H got up and gave Rock a Pedigree, then his music played. Taker then grabbed Triple H and gave him a chokeslam and his music played. The event ended at 10:41 p.m.
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