Icon Vs Icon. Flair Vs Undertaker! Oh and Hogan Vs Rock too, but eh, FLAIR VS UNDERTAKER BABY!!!
Match 1 – Rob Van Dam Vs William Regal – Second year in a row where Regal is involved in the opening match with the IC title on the line! Regal is more gritty and nasty in his matches now compared to where he was last year at WM. His series with Edge over the IC title is pretty much where he started being his old self again (everyone check out the Edge PPV matches, Vengeance 01, RR 02 and NWO 02 btw because they are great), and with a guy like RVD he can really get some nice shots in because RVD isn’t exactly a light worker with those kicks of his (he’s known for busting people open with them because he’s not as careful as he should be… ha, just noticed Regal is bleeding from the mouth as I type this out). KNEE TREMBLER makers an appearance, but it isn’t his finisher so it’s not seen as a major move, which is odd because he just ran full speed and smashed his knee into the side of RVD’s head lol. Match is back and forth all the way with both guys hitting some nice stiff shots and getting their signature moves in. Regal countering that unique kick that RVD does when he catches someone’s foot into the awesome half nelson suplex that Regal is known for makes me giddy as fuck. At the start of the match Regal goes for brass knucks, but RVD kicks them out of his hands. After the suplex Regal picks them up off the floor, the ref catches him and takes them away, so he pulls out another pair and… gets kicked in the face. 5 Star Frog Splash and RVD wins the IC title. Bah. Shitty result, good match. ***.
Match 2 – Christian Vs DDP – European title match time! Match was only made on Raw the week before WM lol, but they had a backstory so it’s all good. Basically, Christian was on a losing streak and would have tantrums in the ring. DDP, being the positive person he is, helped Christian to overcome his tantrums and losing streak! Christian won a match on Raw, DDP was happy for him, then Christian turned on him because he didn’t need him anymore! Even in 2002 DDP was helping people! This match is so much fun. Great back and forth match, with some fun spots. Loved when DDP went to punch Christian, do Christian ducked, only for DDP to get him in the powerbomb position and hit the spinning sit out powerbomb! DIAMOND CUTTER! DDP retains the title, then gets on the mic and makes Christian feel so bad he has another tantrum. LOL. I like this a lot. ***.
Match 3 – Goldust Vs Maven – Hardcore title match! Maven is the champion after beating THE UNDERTAKER (with help from The Rock during the build to their NWO match). Starts off good, with Goldust really laying it in to Maven, and Maven taking a few nice bumps. Then they get into the ring and have a couple of hilariously botched spots with the trash cans. GOLD SHOVEL! Remember folks, before HHH was burying everyone in sight, Goldust was doing it in style! The 24/7 rule is of course in full effect, and Spike Dudley shows up and steals the title! Crash chases him to the back, and throughout the night we get a bunch of mini-matches for the title, with Maven winning it back at the end of the night. Fun while it lasted. *.
Match 4 – Kurt Angle Vs Kane – This match is happening because… uhhh… I can’t for the life of me remember. And there isn’t a video package to help me lol. I actually remember not knowing why it was happening back in 2002 as well lol. Something about Kane having a head injury is mentioned so that’s… about the only backstory I got lol. Angle takes advantage of it by nailing Kane with the ring bell before the match can start (because hey, the bell can’t be rung haha!). Kane being the monster that he is, manages to shake off the effects of the ring bell, but Angle is relentless and won’t give Kane a moment to rest. Cool to see someone like Kane get overhead belly to belly suplexed. Some good stuff in this match no doubt, and it’s far from bad, but damn, it’s such a throwaway match, which is a shame because Angle had probably his career year in 2001 in terms of character, popularity and matches. Finish is absolutely shit as well lol. Could have been so much more tbh. **3/4.
Match 5 – The Undertaker Vs Ric Flair – Fuck yes. THIS is the match that needs to be seen at WM 18. Hogan/Rock was built up as the big important “Icon Vs Icon” match, but this match to me was easily the bigger match. Screw Icon Vs Icon, this is LEGEND VS LEGEND. Two of the greatest of all time. Build up for this match was awesome as well. Rock/Hogan’s was… well shit, but this was tremendous. We’ve got ARN ANDERSON, David Flair getting his arse kicked, Flair punching a fan and getting arrested, Flair giving up his 50% ownership (temporarily) just so the board will grant his request for the match. Just awesome stuff. Not only that, but this whole thing all really began the brand split too (which was a great idea at the time, when they actually gave a shit about the brand split). This match is just an all out brawl. Normally I would get bored with long brawls, but these 2 kept me interested all the way. I don’t get why they made such a huge thing about Hogan/Rock finally wrestling at this event, when The Undertaker/Flair is just as big. Flair is one of, if not the biggest legend in wrestling, and The Undertaker had been a HUGE star in WWF for just over 11 years at this point. To me, this match was way bigger than Hogan/Rock, but of course WWF don’t think so, which is why it was build up completely different to Hogan/Rock. Most of the match is just The Undertaker beating the living hell out of Flair, with punches, kicks, and a huge superplex. It wasn’t like a normal superplex, where they are only on the second rope, but it was a top rope superplex, which is impressive on its own, but even more impressive when it’s done by a near 7 footer and a 50 year old man with back problems. Flair eventually makes a comeback, and starts to beat the hell out of ‘Taker with a led pipe. The Undertaker doesn’t really sell the Led Pipe shots too well, as he pretty much recovers straight away, but Flair still manages to stay in control. Figure Four applied by Flair, and The Undertaker falls back down and is pinned for a 2 count. He then sits up, and Flair is shocked. The Undertaker grabs Flair by the throat, stands up and Chokeslams Flair for a 2 count only! Great stuff! For some reason The Undertaker attacks the ref (in a no DQ match…), but before he can hit Flair with the led pipe, Arn Anderson appears and hits his trademark Spinebuster! Huge pop for that, which only gets Flair a 2 count. The Undertaker then proceeds to beat down Arn, until Flair makes the save with a chair. The Undertaker takes the chair shots, then knocks down Flair, and sets him up for the Last Ride. He doesn’t seem to be able to get Flair up, so he hits a Tombstone instead. 1..2..3. The Undertaker is now 10-0 at WrestleMania! This is just one of the many amazing matches The Undertaker would have in 2002. This is also up there as one of his absolute best WrestleMania matches as well! This was also Flair’s best match in probably 5 years, and for The Undertaker to be able to do that is quite an achievement considering that Flair had confidence issues with his abilities thanks to WCW. ‘Taker’s WrestleMania match the year before might have been a perfect example of an Attitude Era brawl, but this was a perfect example of a brawl, period! ****1/4.
Match 6 – Edge Vs Booker T – The feud that started over a shampoo commercial in Japan. And it resulted in a match at WRESTLEMANIA. My head hurts just typing that. It’s amazing how little interest I have in watching this. So fuck it, I ain’t gonna. NO.
Match 7 – Steve Austin Vs Scott Hall – Whole build up to this was weird and stupid as hell. Austin gets attacked by the NWO a couple of times… so they he kidnaps Hall and beats the shit out of him and whatnot… and somehow this leads to a match. Uhhh… why? Austin got his revenge, right? Made Hall look like a bitch too. Not good. Austin was just coming off his incredible 2001 run, but was really burnt out from it now and unfortunately he isn’t on the same level any more. Hall unfortunately was never the same after he left the WWF in 1996. He was making more money and having to work less, giving him more time to give in to his demons (hopefully his time with DDP can help him out, it’s doing wonders for Jake Roberts so far!!!). So 2002 Hall Vs 2002 Austin really isn’t the “dream” match it could be. 1997 (pre-neck injury) or 2001 Austin Vs 1995 Scott Hall (Razor Gimmick) would certainly have been a match I’d have paid to see. This isn’t AWFUL or anything though, don’t get me wrong. They do the best they can given their own personal situations at the time, it’s just really hard to look past the fact that it could have been so much better. Hell, even if Hall came in 2001 for the Invasion and worked Austin it probably would have been 10x better. Anyway, enough of thinking about how much better it could have been lol, I should just concentrate and enjoy what they ARE doing. Hall is a favourite of mine, going back to his Razor days, and while I was never a big fan of Austin, his 96/97/01 stuff is enough to sway me to like him. Nash is on the outside, and keeps getting involved. Strange that they didn’t place Nash in this match tbh, because he looked to have been in better shape (though he might have torn his quad sooner this way lol). Best thing this match has going for it in all honesty is the punches. Both guys throw some great right hands, and love to throw them often. Oh and Hall bumps off the Stunner awesomely. Screw that fake bouncy shit Rock does, Hall is the man when it comes to Stunner sells. Oh and Angle too, always liked how he did it. Ref gets taken out, and Hall ends up getting multiple stunners, Nash gets ones too, but then the second ref gets taken out. They tease the Outsiders/Razors Edge, and the place fucking comes unglued. But it was near the ropes, and dammit, I have whenever anyone goes for a move that is set up in the powerbomb position near the ropes, because 100% of the time someone is going over the damn ropes. Fucking hate that spot. Especially because it means we don’t get the move, and dammit, I want a Razors Edge at WM! Stunner by Hall! 2 Stunners to Hall! Second one was awesome. Austin wins. Match is… well not good really. Which is a shame because I so wanted it to be. Even taking out of consideration what they could have done at different times etc, it isn’t good. *.
Match 8 – The Dudley Boys Vs The Hardy Boys Vs APA Vs Billy & Chuck – 4 corners elimination tag team titles match! People complain about the recent musical performances at WM… fuck, this needs to be bitched about at the same time too lol. A bunch of shitty bands who have done about 4 songs up to this point. APA tear shit up at the start of this match. Man, I don’t think any of these teams aside from Billy and Chuck are even together by the next PPV thanks to the draft. So yeah, APA are just beating the fuck out of anyone and everyone in the beginning of this match. Billy and Chuck, Dudley Boys (Hardy Boys are too scared). Fucking sweet Clothesline from Hell to Billy who turns inside out and then some, but he isn’t the legal man. 3-D to Bradshaw and fuck, APA are gone. Bah. Hardy Boys and Dudley Boys have their long history so it’s cool to see them go at at. Oh fuck, Stacy shows her ass, gets spanked and kissed, allong Bubba to recover and with the help of Billy, hits a doomsday device on Jeff! Match essentially turns into a Hardy’s Vs Dudley’s match, so it’s pretty good. Weird, disjointed counter sequence into a reverse DDT that allows Jeff to tag out. Dudley’s got for the WAAASSSUP headbutt, but Billy shoves D-Von off the ropes and he lands through a table that was set up earlier! Dudley’s are gone! Billy & Chuck Vs Hardy Boys part if pretty much just one big finishing stretch rather than slowing down and going into a normal tag match, and it’s a lot of fun. Billy & Chuck retain the belts. I really like this match, never hear anything about it so I’m assuming it’s also underrated too lol. ***.
Remember how I said the hardcore title gets changed a bunch of times throughout the night? Well, the highlight happens here when Molly Holly who decked Hurricane Helms with a frying pan and won the title, gets smacked in the face with a door… by CHRISTIAN. Awesome. Creepy little bastard that he is! Shame he doesn’t keep it.
Match 9 – Hulk Hogan Vs The Rock – Man, on paper, this looked absolutely utter SHITE to me lol. But I was extremely surprised with just how good this turned out. Expecting it to hold up all the way. Besides, how can I NOT love a match where Rock is a babyface and gets BOOED out of the building?! Another bad build up involving the NWO and WM 18. The whole truck being smashed into the ambulance with Rock inside was fucking retarded. Like I already said, Flair/Undertaker build up blows this out of the water. Sure, that match wasn’t build up to be as BIG as this match, but it ended up looking bigger and better through the build lol. Fuck me this crowd is awesome. Hogan does nothing more than shove Rock into the corner and pose, and they absolutely EXPLODE. YOU AIN’T NUFFIN, MEATBALL. Oh man, Hogan with the THUNDERLIPS trash talk. Great to see The Rock slowly getting pissed off at the people for booing the hell out of him, while cheering like crazy for Hogan despite all the heel stuff he’s doing. Raking his back, low blow, using the belt to whip him… yet when Rock returns the favour they absolutely shit on him! Rock Bottom and a Leg Drop from Hogan isn’t enough to keep Rock down, but 3 Rock Bottoms and a People’s Elbow end the match and give Rock the win. Fun finishing stretch for sure. Rest of the match is ok, made better by an incredible crowd. Honestly though… I didn’t think as much of the match as I used to lol. Still really good for what it is, but I wasn’t quite feeling it like I used to. ***.
Match 10 – Jazz Vs Trish Stratus Vs Lita – Well 2 out of 3 ain’t bad lol! LITA and TRISH! Yey! Fast pace or this match with plenty of moves being thrown about, and a lot of stiff sounding shots too lol. Oh and some usual awkward spots that we get in diva matches when they try things that, well, only the guys should be doing in all honestly. Lita teases taking off her top but then doesn’t, so -***** for that. Not really sure what to make of this one. It’s weird. *.
Match 11 – Chris Jericho Vs Triple H – Wanna talk about shit builds for matches at this event? Look no further than this. HHH Vs Stephanie is pretty much the build up. Jericho is Stephanie’s bitch, cleaning up dog shit and whatnot. But Jericho is the champion so he has to be the one to wrestling HHH lol. Instead of leaving Stephanie out of it (though her tits do fall out of her top later in this match…) and having HHH Vs Jericho for the title, building on the fact HHH injured his quad in that tag match involving Jericho, and Jericho still locked in the Walls after he tore it and whatnot… they do the whole Stephanie Vs HHH with them breaking up bullshit. Urgh. At least during the match they use the story of the leg injury and shit, with Jericho going after the leg. It’s smart and shit, but fuck is it DULL. When it comes to HHH Vs Jericho, HHH should always be the heel and Jericho the face. Really doesn’t work the other way around imo. PEDIGREE TO STEPH. And her tits can’t stay in her top too well. LOL. Pedigree to Jericho, new champ. Yawn. **.