Tybo Talks… 15 Years Ago – Vengance 2002

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

Welcome to the seventh instalment of Tybo Talks… Fifteen Years Ago –  Vengeance 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, Vengeance 2002 was held on July 21st at the Joe Lewis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. In front of 12,000 fans. This was only the second annual Vengeance PPV in history. It’s strange that Stone Cold Steve Austin is on all the Vengeance posters, but is not at the event.

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 for Vengeance is great, focuses on the main event with Ezekiel 25:17 being read.

The storyline change recently is Vince has named two new General Managers. Eric Bischoff is the Raw GM and Stephanie McMahon is the Smackdown GM. This is where both shows get instantly better, Vince opens everyone’s contract so wrestlers can trade between the shows. This is a great storyline that added something fresh and new to Raw and Smackdown as any wrestler could turn up on any show.

Tables Match – Bubba Ray & Spike Dudley vs Eddie Guerrero & Chris Benoit – This is Benoit’s first PPV back after being out for 13 months, this was a good move to pair him with Guerrero. Eddie and Benoit have slowly stared to become a solid heel tag team, they are two great, intense wrestlers and work great together. I believe that this match would be so much better with Bubba Ray and D-Von, although Spike can take some major bumps. The strangest thing about this match is it’s a tables match, but partners are still tagging in and out? The match ends with some good bumps from Spike, Dudley Dogging Guerrero of the apron through a table, then Benoit throwing him from the ring to the outside though a table. Bubba tables Benoit for the win. Winner – Bubba Ray & Spike Dudley

Backstage – Bischoff is talking about Raw being unmissable and bumps into Triple H who gets to decide if he wants to sign for Raw or Smackdown tonight, Triple H is on the way to Steph’s office.

Cruiserweight Championship – Jamie Noble (C) vs Billy Kidman – The Cruiserweight Championship is so hot right now, the matches are great, and there are some strong storylines that really keep you interested in what’s happening. Jamie Noble and Nidia have been a well needed addition to the division. Noble adds an intensity that you rarely see in the Cruiserweight’s, and his more ground based, hold style of wrestling adds a different feel to the usual high-flying matches. Kidman’s Shooting Star Press is unmatched, even when he misses it still looks beautiful. Winner – Jamie Noble

Talking of the Cruiserweight division, there is a promo showing that maybe the greatest Cruiserweight in WWE history Ray Mysterio is finally debuting on Smackdown.

Backstage – Kurt Angle is getting interviewed about tonight’s main event match, Lesnar comes in to tease a potential Angle vs Lesnar Summer Slam main event. If this wasn’t 2002 their taglines of ‘Summer of Brock’ and ‘All Year Angle’ would no doubt be trending hashtags.

European Championship – Jeff Hardy (C) vs William Regal – Jeff is coming off a great month of singles competition, he has had two matches with the Undisputed Champion The Undertaker. One of them being Undertaker’s first ever Ladder Match. Which still stands up as a great match between a veteran and a rookie earning some respect. The week after that Jeff beats Regal for the European Championship. Hardy seems to be getting a major push with Matt moving to Smackdown. Regal does for Jeff what he does best, makes younger talent look amazing in the ring. Winner – Jeff Hardy

The strange think about this match is the night after on Raw Bischoff unifies the European and Intercontinental Championships, and retires the European. This would have been a great match to have on the PPV.

Backstage – We see Hogan and Flair talking about Raw being screwed with Bischoff at the helm. Clearly a nod to them both being in WCW when it lost the Monday Night Wars.

Chris Jericho vs John Cena – This is Cena’s first PPV match, he has been on Smackdown for a month and he has already had matches with Kurt Angle, Chris Jericho and tagged with Undertaker, no wonder he has become the biggest name in modern wrestling. Cena was pushed to the moon since day one. It’s weird seeing Cena before he was a ‘thug’ or a ‘marine’ in his generic wrestling shorts and shiny boots. This is a good first match for Cena, he has a pretty good move set (I know, right!) Jericho basically does what Regal did for Hardy, Jericho makes Cena look legit. Fifteen years later and Jericho is still doing this. A month on the main roster and Cena beats the first Undisputed Champion. Winner – John Cena

Backstage – The running backstage story is all about where Triple H will sign, Raw or Smackdown. This goes on throughout the night.

Intercontinental Championship – Rob Van Dam (C) vs Brock Lesnar – This is a great first rivalry for Lesnar, it gets him over as a strong heel and RVD plays the part of trying to ‘slay the beast’ really well. With Lesnar being the Number One Contender after tonight there is a tease for the match at Summer Slam could be title vs title. As you would expect Lesnar dominates a lot of the match but after RVD reverses the F5 and hits a Five Star Frogsplash it looks like RVD is winning, until Heyman gets Lesnar Disqualified. This is a clever finish as it makes both guys look strong, and they don’t have to deal with a double title situation at Summer Slam. Winner – Rob Van Dam

Backstage – The Triple H, Steph and Bischoff story continues when Bischoff is pissed of that Steph says Triple H has signed. Only to find out that he has signed his divorce papers.

No Disqualification – Big Show vs Booker T – This match has been building for a while, big guys were a part of the new NWO. Within NWO Big Show and Booker T never seemed to get on, and Kevin Nash and Shawn Michaels didn’t seem to like them either. Both had eaten a Sweet Chin Music in recent weeks. So, with the NWO now debunked for good, these are the only two left wrestling (Nash out with quad THAT injury, and X Pac is on sabbatical, but no more is said) The match is what you would expect, slow but over quick. Booker T does hit a huge Scissor-Kick through the announce table which looks impressive. Winner – Booker T

Triple H Chooses to go to Raw or Smackdown – This is where Raw and Smackdown in 2002 begin to up their game. The idea of having every wrestlers contract open so they can negotiate to switch brands is a genius idea, and adds a whole new dynamic to the brand wars, Raw vs Smackdown and Stephanie McMahon vs Eric Bischoff. This storyline is one of the best throughout the year. Obviously, they drag this segment out far too much, Bischoff and Steph make their case, then Triple H cuts a classic promo. He calls Bischoff a prick, and stays Steph likes to get screwed. Standard. Out comes Shawn Michaels and asks Triple H to consider ‘friendship’ and ‘fun’ and together they could make Bischoff’s life a misery. Triple H signs with Raw

Tag Team Championship – Hulk Hogan & Edge (C) vs Christian & Lance Storm – I had no idea that Hulk Hogan had never won the Tag Team Championship before, but this was his first. This must be so surreal for Edge, its well known that he was a huge Hogan fan when he was a kid, so to be Tag Champions with him must be an amazing feeling. Christian and Storm, or The Un-Americans (with Test) as they are calling themselves are becoming a solid heel faction. Hogan and Edge won the Championships on July 4th. Christian and Storm came out to cut an anti-American promo, personally I think this is cheap heat, but its heat never the less.

This is a standard tag match, really helps everyone to be in the ring with Hogan. Edge gets ‘the rub’, and Christian and Storm get over as far bigger heels than they would. The match ends with interference from Jericho, who was meant to have a match with Edge before he won the Championships, and he is Canadian. Winners and New Champions – Christian & Lance Storm

Backstage – The Raw vs Smackdown story continues with Bischoff telling Angle he wants him on Raw, and Steph says she is going to ‘rip the heart out of Raw’.

Triple Threat Undisputed Championship – Undertaker (C) vs The Rock vs Kurt Angle – The Rock has been off WWE TV since Wrestlemania as he has been filming The Scorpion King. He returned at King of the Ring and interfered with the Undisputed Championship match, so Rock vs Undertaker was made. Undertaker defended his Championship on Smackdown against Angle, the match ended in controversy as Taker tapped as he pinned Angle, so the triple treat match was made for Vengeance.

This is actually the first triple treat Undisputed Championship match of the year, and if The Rock wins he will become the first ever seven time WWE Champion.

This is easily the match of the night, its fast paced and none stop action. This match shows why triple threat matches are so good, there are no rest spots so the wrestling never stops as there is always two guys wrestling. It is fun to watch all three future Hall of Famers stealing each other’s finishers. Rock hits the Chokeslam, and Ankle Lock, Angle hits the Rock Bottom and Undertaker hits the Angle Slam. There are so many near finishes in this match, its literally anyone’s match, it could go anyway. In the end, it’s The Rock that finally gets the pin to make history. Winner and New Champion – The Rock

Overall – This was a solid PPV, the main event was easily match of the night, and would be a match of the year contender (up to this point). The new GM vs GM storyline has added some much-needed excitement to both Raw and Smackdown, knowing that anyone could jump brands at any time makes both shows must watch. You could really feel the lack of Stone Cold lately, but the return of The Rock really helped this PPV. With The Rock now the Undisputed Champion and Brock Lesnar already the Number One Contender the built up for Summer Slam can start on tomorrow night’s Raw.

2002 PPV Ranking

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