What follows is my rundown on all the matches of the 2002 SummerSlam (the 15th SS for those counting), SPOILERS ahead, by the way. And ranting. Each match is rated out of 10.
Match 1: KURT ANGLE vs REY MYSTERIO (9). I was a little apprehensive about RM being booked against a non-Cruiserweight, but Kurt Angle proved me wrong selling the high-flying moves flawlessly. There's some fantastic fast-paced action in this and great spots from Mysterio's 619, West Coast Pop and Tumbing Senton, to Angle's amazng German suplex reversal of Mysterio's jumping bodyscissors. Great action and, for me, the match of the evening. ANGLE WINS w/ the Ankle lock, making Mysterio tap out.
Match 2: RIC FLAIR vs CHRIS JERICHO (2) Awful finish to an abysmal match. [What are the WWE bookers doing with Jericho- he has lost 5 of his 7 PPVs this year and only won the other 2 cheaply]. I don't know one person who considers Ric Flair a good wrestler- how can a quote, unquote legend get away with using only 2 moves for 30+ years? This is an atrocious match and further adds to Jericho's decline (through no fault of his own). I didn't think he could sink any lower than jobbing to John Cena, but here's proof: FLAIR WINS (which is, to be honest, a goddamn disgrace) as Jericho taps to the Figure Four. The first-ever Undisputed champion is plummeting due to pathetic match booking.
Match 3: EDGE vs EDDY GUERRERO (8.5) Scientific wrestling at its very best here courtesy of Guerrero, who uses an innovative series of moves to methodically wear down Edge's shoulder (even Frog Splashing the damn thing!) EDGE WINS w/ the way too over-used Spear. (The constant use of it in run-ins have made me sick of it). Good work from both guys- Edge for his selling and Guerrero for his scientific wrestling.
Match 4: THE UN-AMERICANS (LANCE STORM & CHRISTIAN) vs BOOKER T & GOLDUST (6) Good Tag team psychology from the Un-Americans in this decent match. STORM & CHRISTIAN WIN when Test does a run-in, flattening Booker T w/ the Big boot. (Anyone else miss Storm's Canadian Maple Leaf single-leg crab? He hasn't used it in ages)
Match 5: ROB VAN DAM vs CHRIS BENOIT (7.5) Not as good as their recent RAW match, but pretty damn good nevertheless. Very stiff contest. Benoit's series of Northern Lights suplexes to break down RVD's arm are memorable, but VAN DAM WINS THE IC TITLE in the end w/ the Five Star Frog Splash.
Match 6: TEST vs THE UNDERTAKER (6) While big men matches aren't my thing, this is one of the better types of those matches. 'TAKER WIN w/ his seldom-used Tombstone piledriver.
Match 7: SHAWN MCHAELS vs TRIPLE H (7.5) Impressive return for HBK who delivers an Elbowdrop from the top of the ladder and a Splash through a table to Triple H. JR and 'The King' do a great job of hyping HBK's back injury which really helps sell Triple H's offense. His backbreaker on a chair is quite cringe-worthy. SHAWN WINS w/ a double leg pick-up and roll through reversal of the Pedigree. (HHH's shoulders aren't even down by the way). The post-match action is the real shocker, though, as HHH works over Michaels' back w/ his trusty sledghammer.
Match 8: BROCK LESNAR vs THE ROCK (7). Lesnar is OK, but I'm still waiting for him to live up to his CONSIDERABLE hype. The real shock of this match is the Nassau Colisseum fans' booing of The Rock! BROCK WINS THE UNDISPUTED TITLE w/ the F-5. I was hoping he'd pull out a 450 Splash (which I've heard he can do quite well). Big cheer for Lesnar as he captures the gold.
THE VERDICT: Apart from Flair's match there were no VERY bad matches at this year's SummerSlam. Mysterio & Angle's match was outstanding, and Edge & Guerrero's was also pretty good. The only bad thing was seeing Jericho slipping further down the WWE ladder. A 'face turn might be a good remedy, but he can't go on losing to rookies and pensioners (!)
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