Tybo Talks… 15 Years Ago – Unforgiven 2002

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

Welcome to the ninth instalment of Tybo Talks… Fifteen Years Ago – Unforgiven 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, Unforgiven 2002 was held on September 22nd at the at Staples Centre in Los Angeles, California. In front of 16,000 fans. This was the fifth annual Unforgiven PPV in history.

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.

The opening vignette focuses on the returning Would Heavyweight Champion, and its history (since Lesnar took the Undisputed Championship to Smackdown), then another vignette focusing on Undertaker and Lesnar’s rivalry.

Eight Man Tag Match – The Un-Americans (Test, Christian, Lance Storm & Regal) vs Booker T, Goldust, Kane & Bubba Ray Dudley – William Regal is the newest member of Un-Americans, they were a great heel faction before but they are better with the addition of Regal. They are all young, hungry former Intercontinental Champions. Kane has recently returned, this is when he had his first half mask, I was a huge fan of this version of Kane. Although eight man tags are usually really hard to keep the momentum going, they don’t do too bad in this match. I not a big fan of multi man matches, but this one makes sense to show the team work of Un-Americans and they do get more guys on the card. Winners – Booker T, Goldust, Kane & Bubba Ray Dudley

Backstage – Steph McMahon is telling Billy & Chuck they better win their match tonight for Smackdown, because she wants Bischoff to ‘kiss her ass’.

Intercontinental Championship – Chris Jericho (C) vs Ric Flair – At this point Jericho is already a four-time Intercontinental Champion, but of all the title’s Flair has held he has never been Intercontinental Champion. Jericho and Flair have been feuding for a while now, attacking each other every week but it was only on last week’s Raw that Jericho won the Championship when RVD dropped it. This match just shows how good Flair is in the ring, even in his fifties, he is better than most. An interesting fact, Jericho was only six years-old when Flair won his first World Championship. Both Flair and Jericho make each other look great, a lot of dirty tricks from both, but Jericho plays a little dirtier. Winner – Chris Jericho

Backstage – Bischoff is telling ‘3 Minute Warning’ the same as Steph told Billy & Chuck, and that their new manager is Raw’s newest signing from Smackdown, Rico.

Eddie Gurrereo vs Edge –  This is a rematch from Summer Slam, Eddie is still jealous of Edge, he doesn’t like that the crowd cheer Edge and boo him. Edge always seems to have one up on Eddie, some funny antics between the two leading up to this match, including Eddie getting ‘Stink Faced’ and even Chavo ‘Stink Facing’ Eddie, thinking it was Edge. These are two future world champions, showing just why they eventually win the gold. They tell a great story in this match, they really play on Edge not being 100% after being busted open (the hard way) on Smackdown. Edge once again shows how good he is by having another stand out PPV match. Winner – Eddie Gurrereo

I must say, Eddie Gurrereo and Edge had a No Disqualification match on the Smackdown after Unforgiven. This was a far better match and should have been the PPV match.

Backstage – Triple H walks into the boy’s locker room to berate RVD, there is really no point to this except to drill in that Triple H thinks Flair is a shadow of his former self.

Inter-Promotional Match (Raw vs Smackdown) – Billy & Chuck (SD) vs 3 Minute Warning (Raw) (Smackdown wins, Bischoff has to ‘Kiss Steph’s Ass, Raw wins, Steph has to partake in live (HLA) ‘Hot Lesbian Action’) – Yes you read all that right, that is one crazy stipulation, but is it guy me who thinks Bischoff can’t really lose? This match came about after recently on Smackdown Billy & Chuck had a ‘commitment ceremony’ because they are a little closer than most tag team partners. So, at the ceremony, Bischoff posed as the Justice of the Peace, Rosie & Jamal invaded and ended up Samoan Dropping Steph and trashing the whole thing. Steph retaliated by disguising herself as an activist and kicking Bischoff in the balls.

Rosie & Jamal, are slowly becoming an absolute force on Raw, attacking everyone (legends, superstars, announcers and even lesbians). This may be their first official match in WWE, but Rosie and Jamal dominate this match. Except for the odd move and small flurry towards the end of the match, Rosie & Jamal perform an absolute mugging on the former Tag Champions. Winners – 3 Minute Warning (This means Steph must partake in HLA tonight)

World Heavyweight Championship – Triple H (C) vs Rob Van Dam – With Lesner deciding to wrestle exclusively for Smackdown, and taking the Undisputed Championship with him this left Raw without a main championship. Bischoff decided to give Triple H the World Heavyweight Championship. I remember being so pissed off about this, but it did add a lot to Triple H’s heel gimmick. I also like that Bischoff brought back basically the WCW Championship, this is great touch.

RVD won a Fatal Four Way match recently on Raw, then dropped the Intercontinental Championship the week after, this added to the idea that RVD could become World Champion. This is a classic speed vs strength match, and although this is RVD’s first shot at a world title in WWE, there is no one more over with the fans in Raw than RVD. This really helps Triple H get over as the main heel on Raw. This match is great, the story is what you would expect with Triple H grounding RVD, and there being zero quit in him. There was even a few times to think RVD was going to win the big one.

It would be Flair who would be the deciding factor in this match, when he comes out and hits RVD with a sledge hammer. This is clearly the beginning of Triple H and Flair’s… Evolution. Winner – Triple H

Women’s Championship – Molly Holly (C) vs Trish Stratus – This feud has been going on for a while now, both divas have been competing in mixed tag matches, Trish usually with Bubba Ray Dudley and Molly with Chris Harvard (who really wants to ‘deflower’ Molly). I have said this before but there is no doubt that Molly Holly is the best diva in the ring on the roster, and her working with Trish is making Trish a lot better in the ring. Trish proves this once again in this match. Winner – Trish Stratus

Kurt Angle vs Chris Benoit – This match is happening because of a tag team match with both guys, and Rikishi, Angle got hit with a ‘Stink Face’ and Benoit thought it was hilarious. There seems to be a lot of times that Rikishi’s ass has caused rivalries doesn’t there? The weak reason for the match shouldn’t take away from just how good this match is. It’s tough watching Benoit under the circumstances but no one can deny his in-ring abilities, and Angle is possibly the best wrestler ever.

As you would expect this match is mainly ground based with solid, intense, hard hitting wrestling moves. Its rare either will go high risk, but the technical prowess of both guys is nothing short of amazing. Both Benoit and Angle could win the match at any time, but the end is all about the submissions. Benoit gets the Crossface, Angle rolls into the Ankle Lock, back to the Crossface, and back to the Ankle Lock. It’s amazing to watch. Winner – Chris Benoit

As with Eddie Gurerrero and Edge, there is a match on the Smackdown after this PPV. Kurt Angle vs Chris Benoit vs Ray Mysterio, I highly recommend watching this.

Backstage – Paul Heyman is cutting a promo saying that Lesnar vs Undertaker is personal. Who knew that nearly 15 years-later, it was still personal.

Steph McMahon Must Partake in HLA – Eric Bischoff comes to the ring with ‘the lesbians’, Howard Finkel the man who has announced every Wrestlemania for 30 years announces them as ‘the lesbians’, Crazy! This is possibly the second strangest segment in 2002 (after Katie Vick). It all goes on a little too long, but I will say that if this was done with anyone except Steph it would be far more awkward. The whole thing ends with Bischoff bringing out ‘Hilde, the big fat lesbo’ (Bischoff’s words) Steph ends up kissing her, she turns out to be Rikishi in prosthetics and Bischoff gets a ‘Stink Face’. I do love Steph but, that woman can’t dance.

WWE Championship – Brock Lesnar (C) vs The Undertaker – Who knew this rivalry would last as long as it did? Although Undertaker won a tournament to be the number one contender, this rivalry has already become personal. Lesnar and Undertaker had a sit-down interview, and Heyman mentioned ‘Taker’s pregnant wife Sara (now ex-wife), then Lesnar put his hand on Sara’s pregnant stomach and Undertaker lost it!

This match is pure power vs pure power, Undertaker even out powers Lesnar twice pushing him out the ring. Not only are they both strong, the speed from both is shocking considering their size, this makes them both so evenly matched. The only real difference between the two is one is a veteran and one is a rookie. No one gives it to Lesnar as hard as Undertaker does, but it’s because of this that Lesnar starts to look legit during this rivalry. As for the match, the end is a bit of a cluster, with Matt Hardy’s involvement and the referee going down, getting up, going down. Hardy takes a monstrous Last Ride, and Undertaker literally wraps a chair around Lesnar’s head, this makes Lesnar bleed for the first time. All control is clearly lost, and this become a brawl outside the ring. Winner – No Contest (Lesnar remains WWE Champion)

The fight continues, and Undertaker launches Lesnar through the ‘Unforgiven’ staging. It’s such a cool way to end the PPV.

Overall – This is a solid PPV overall, there are some great matches, but some are lacking. Depending on what sort of match you like to watch, the Match of the Night would either should be Kurt Angle vs Chris Benoit or Brock Lesnar vs The Undertaker. I know most fans don’t like a ‘no contest’ finish, but the finish adds something to the growing rivalry between the two. Right now, Smackdown is becoming far more interesting than Raw.

2002 PPV Ranking

  1. Wrestlemania X8 – 4.5
  2. Vengeance – 4.5
  3. Royal Rumble – 3.5
  4. King of the Ring 2002 – 3.5
  5. Summer Slam – 3
  6. Unforgiven – 3
  7. No Way Out – 3
  8. Judgement Day – 3
  9. Backlash – 2.5