Tybo Talks… 15 Years Ago – Judgment Day 2002

Welcome to the fifth instalment of Tybo Talks… Fifteen Years Ago –  Judgement Day 2002 With the ease of access to pretty much all of WWE’s back catalogue on the […]

Welcome to the fifth instalment of Tybo Talks… Fifteen Years Ago –  Judgement Day 2002

With the ease of access to pretty much all of WWE’s back catalogue on the WWE Network I thought it would be cool to change it up a bit and do some classic reviews (with a twist). So, where better to start than 15 years ago. The plan is to review every PPV of 2002, while watching all Raw and Smackdown episodes in between.

Let’s get the stats out the way first, Judgement Day 2002 was held on May 19th at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. In front of 14,521 fans. This was the first PPV after Vince was told to ‘Get the F Out’ and change the company name to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)

Now before I go any further, I’m not really going to explain the matches move for move. No one needs that, the PPV is on the WWE Network. This is going to be my thoughts on the booking and general thoughts about the matches and the event as a whole.

The opening vignette of Judgement Day is I believe the first time you see the children skipping in the garden and the gallows that they used for Undertaker promos for years after this event. The early 2000 vignettes where always the best work WWE ever did.

Intercontinental Championship – Eddie Guerrero (c) Rob Van Dam – This is a continuing feud from Backlash when Eddie won the championship from RVD, in many ways this match is pretty much the same as last months, it’s just as hard hitting and fast paced as their previous PPV encounter was. At this point, Eddie was really coming into his own with the ‘lie, cheat and steal’ gimmick that made him so popular, and of course this match was no different as Guerrero cheated to win. Classic Eddie. Winner and still Champion – Eddie Guerrero

Backstage – Vince McMahon, Stacy Keibler, ‘Reverend’ D-Von and Deacon Batista are all ‘praying’ for Stacey to win the Women’s Championship, while Vince is checking out her ass… only in the WWE.

Women’s Championship – Trish Stratus (c) (with Bubba Ray) vs Stacey Keibler (with D-Von/Batista) – I love Stacey as much as the next man, but man, she can’t wrestle. The match is very slow, very clunky, which is a shame as the last few PPV matches with Trish and Jazz have been solid. Obviously, Trish retains.

The match seems to be centred more around a rivalry that can’t happen between Bubba Ray and D-Von as they are on separate shows. After a beat down from Batista, Bubba goes through a table. This seems to only get D-Von over as more of a heel. Not really needed in my opinion.

Backstage – As Flair turned heel at Backlash, clearly the dynamic of Vince and Flair has changed. When McMahon walks into Flair’s office they shake hands and hug. They still hate each other.

The Hardy Boyz vs Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman – Even back in 2002 Lesnar was an absolute monster, and even back in 2002 Heyman was a (in the words of JR) ‘human urinal’. Interesting fact, it was around this time that the crowd started chanting ‘Goldberg’ at Lesnar, who knew 15 years later Lesnar and Goldberg would wrestle at Wrestlemania for a championship this didn’t even exist.

This match is exactly what you would expect, there are points where the Hardy’s get the best of and double team Lesnar, but in the end Lesnar completely dominates, and Heyman (who did nothing the whole match) crawls in the ring for the pin on Jeff Hardy. Heyman falling in the ring and his celebration after it is worth a watch on its own. Winner – Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman

Backstage – Booker T stops an interview to chat up some random woman, and uses every urban stereotype imaginable. The walk, talk, accent, even down to the ‘Yeahh Boyy!’ when she walks off.

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Ric Flair & Big Show – Fifteen years after this match happened, I am still unsure why this was a handicap match, all I can think is that Austin may not of thought Flair could keep up with him. Even worse is that Austin and Flair had a match about two weeks later on Raw. Unfortunately, Big Show is not needed at all in this match. It’s a very stop-start match, a lot of filler. In the ring, out the ring, chairs, beer, press ups, and everything in between except wrestling. I understand that it’s all about the mind games, but I’m personally not a fan of this style of match, especially when it comes to Austin matches as it does not fit the character. Don’t get me wrong it started strong, then lost momentum. As you would assume, Austin spends the bulk of this on the defence and basically getting a beating from both Flair and Show. That being said if you know anything about Austin in the early 2000’s he was always going to win. Winner – Stone Cold Steve Austin

Hair vs. Hair Match – Edge vs Kurt Angle (Loser Gets Shaved Bald) – 2002 was without a doubt the year that Edge stepped his game up and shows why he became a main event player. Great rivalries, great matches and great promos, showing he is ‘future world champion’ material.

Now, I’m sure we all know what happens at the end of this one, as to this day one of the guys in this match never grew his hair again.  This match is a continuation of a rivalry that started at last months Backlash PPV, in a match that in my review I named it match of the night. Once again Edge and Angle don’t disappoint, their match is a hard hitting, solid wrestling match and for the second month in a row they have a match of the night worthy bout. I must say, even though all the way through the match you are aware of who gets shaved, it really does add some excitement to the rivalry.  Winner – Edge

Backstage – Strangely, the PPV cuts to the hotel room with the girl and Booker T instead of going into Angle getting his head shaved.  This is a weird segment where Booker is half naked and Goldust ends up in bed with him.  This is a long drawn out way of creating a new team.

Hell in a Cell – Triple H vs Chris Jericho – If someone was to ask me to list all the Hell in a Cell matches, I have no doubt I would of missed this one. That is not me saying this is not a good cell match, it’s actually one of the better ones (especially since WWE went PG) I think it’s just that Triple H had so many I completely forgot about this, so I was really looking forward to watching it again.

I would say Triple H is a Hell in a Cell specialist and Jericho knows how to be innovative and extreme. The rivalry between these two goes back to the beginning of the year, and ran right through Wrestlemania and the Undisputed Championship, so it’s fitting to add a match stipulation as extreme as this one. After watching this match, it does not disappoint, it’s that hardcore that Tim White never referees again after this match because of the bump he takes into the cage.  I know I have said this before but its brutal matches like this that make you realise just how different WWE is these days.

It’s not long before both guys are bleeding, the cut on Jericho’s arm look particularly deep. This one gets rough, so after both Triple H and Jericho go through the announce table, both bleeding from numerous places, cages shots, chairs, stairs, ladders, sledge hammers and barbwire bats and half of it happening on the top of the cell, shit even the second referee ends up on top of it, the game shows why this match is his speciality. Winner – Triple H

Backstage – Angle is hiding from Edge, prolonging the inevitable head shaving.

Tag Team Championship – Billy and Chuck (c) vs Rikishi and Rico – I know what you’re thinking, isn’t Rico Billy and Chuck’s manager… sorry stylist? Yeah, Rikishi’s partner was picked by Mr McMahon in an effort to give Rikishi no chance of winning this match. This is basically just another handicap match. The swerve comes when Rikishi gets the win and him and Rico become Tag Team Champions. I understand that this is some ‘comedy booking’ but it’s not the best, if nothing else Raw will be interesting. Winners and New Champions – Rikishi and Rico

After a bit of back and forth between the two Edge finally gets Angle in the barber’s chair and shaves his head bald, well as bald as you can get someone when you don’t know what you’re doing. As someone who shaves their head, I know how painful it can be when someone shaves your head with the clippers the wrong war round. Props to Angle for that one.

Universal Championship Match – Hulk Hogan (c) vs The Undertaker – I’ll be honest, I didn’t have high hopes for this match. When JR opens with ‘it’s been over a decade since these two wrestled each other’ you know it’s going to have a slow pace to the match. At this point The Undertaker is pretty much the main heel in the company, and Hogan is obviously the main face. It’s still strange seeing Taker as a heel, and cutting real heel promos. I was never a huge fan of his ‘American Badass’ phase, but it’s hard not to be impressed with someone who can completely change his gimmick and it still work.

The match was solid, and had a real old school feel to it, but if you think anyone (even The Undertaker) is going to beat Hulk Hogan clean for a WWE Championship, you don’t know WWE. Unsurprisingly, Vince interferes to help Undertaker get the victory.  Winner and new Champion – The Undertaker  

Overall – This was a pretty standard PPV, would have probably been on par with last month’s Backlash, if not for the Hell in a Cell match. The brutality and intensity of the Cell match really saved the whole thing. The strange booking of the Austin handicap, and pairing Rikishi and Rico really made this a questionable event. Match of the night would have to go to either Triple H and Jericho’s Hell in a Cell match, or Edge and Angle’s Hair vs Hair match, depending on what sort of wrestling you are looking for.

2002 PPV Ranking

  1. Wrestlemania X8 – 4.5
  2. Royal Rumble – 3.5
  3. No Way Out – 3
  4. Judgement Day – 3
  5. Backlash – 2.5