OSR: WWE Royal Rumble 2002 Review
In November 2001, the Invasion angle of WCW and ECW versus WWE was drawn to a close. But this this happening, there was a huge surplus of superstars on the roster. So which of these would enter the Royal Rumble match as everyone started to get jobs? The company was very different to that two months earlier. Two titles had become one in various aspects and Ric Flair was back. Returning to WCW’s former ceremonial home of Atlanta, will the WWE let 2002 begin in style? The OSR intends to find out with the WWE Royal Rumble 2002 Review…
The opening promo looks at the history of the Royal Rumble match, with the moments it has created since its conception. It then showcases the various superstars and returnees who will be involved in the match, with only notable superstars being given prominence. We then go inside the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia for the event. Our commentators for the event are JR and The King, as we go to the ring for the first match of the evening.
1. WWE Tag Team Championship: Tazz and Spike Dudley (c) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley) (w/ Stacy Keibler)
All of the participants make their way to the ring, with no history alluded to from the duos. The Dudley’s are brutally dominant from the opening moments, taking out Tazz on the outside before focusing on Spike.
After a couple of minutes with Spike taking a pounding, Tazz gets the hot tag and takes down The Dudley before locking in the Tazzmission on Stacy. He then locks in the Tazzmission on D-Von for the victory in an average opening match which was also a little bit dull.
Winner: Tazz and Spike Dudley, to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship
Match Rating: 1.5 out of 5.0 Stars
2. WWE Intercontinental Championship: Edge (c) vs. William Regal
The history package for the match is shown, based on Regal having his nose broken by Edge but also the increased use of brass knuckles by Regal. The participants make their way out for the match to begin as the referee searches the ring for any brass knuckles.
The match is very back and forth between the pair, but takes a slightly brutal approach from Regal. Edge tries to mount comebacks, but is out-wrestled by Regal. With the referee down, Regal nails Edge with the brass knuckles to get the win in a dull match.
Winner: William Regal, to capture the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Match Rating: 1.0 out of 5.0 Stars
3. WWE Women’s Championship: Trish Stratus (c) vs. Jazz with Special Guest Referee Jacqueline
Both Trish and Jazz make their way to the ring, with no explanation being made for Jacqueline being the referee. Jazz is brutally dominant over Trish in the early moments, and even gets into dispute with Jacqueline. Nonetheless, Trish wins this uninteresting match with a bulldog.
Winner: Trish Stratus, to retain the WWE Women’s Championship
Match Rating: 0.5 out of 5.0 Stars
4. Street Fight: Ric Flair vs. Mr McMahon
The history package shown focuses upon Ric Flair’s return to the WWE, which has built a great deal of tension between him and McMahon. Cracking promo which shows the viciousness of McMahon. Both men make their way to the ring for the match to begin.
The opening moments sees McMahon uses a series of power moves to bring down Flair, who is ultimately able to out-wrestle McMahon. The match soon goes to the outside with Flair being busted open, leading to McMahon being the dominant force.
McMahon is later busted open following a shot with a TV monitor. Ultimately though, Flair is victorious after nailing McMahon with a lead pipe and making him submit to the Figure Four. This match, not a wrestling classic, but story telling was really enjoyable to watch.
Winner: Ric Flair
Match Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0 Stars
5. WWE Undisputed Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs. The Rock
The history package looks at the rise of Chris Jericho as the inaugural WWE Undisputed Champion, along with his ongoing feud with The Rock (since No Mercy 2001). But it is essentially a battle of who is a better talker in some respects. Both men then make their way to the ring for the match.
The match gets started, with Jericho trash talking something to The Rock followed by a period of dominance. The action spills outside of the ring, with Jericho being sent crashing through the announce table with a Rock Bottom.
However, when The Rock becomes distracted by replacement referee Nick Patrick. This allows Jericho to get him from behind to pick up the win in an enjoyable match to retain the championship. Much better match than what I remember.
Winner: Chris Jericho, to retain the WWE Undisputed Championship
Match Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars
6. The 2002 30-Man Royal Rumble Match
The history package is shown highlighting where the outcome for the winner is highlighted, but only select superstars are given prominence going into the match. We return to the arena, with the first entrants being Rikishi and the returning Goldust.
The first elimination of the match is the Boss Man by Rikishi, as the Rumble seemingly takes a while to start off. The entrants continue, as the ring now begins to fill up. The next entrant is The Undertaker, who quickly takes down those in the ring.
Soon enough, it is The Undertaker by himself. He takes out the next two entrants, the returning Matt and Jeff Hardy. After quickly dismissing the next entrant Maven as a joke, he is shockingly eliminated by Maven. He then proceeds to beat him into a pulp around the area for his trouble.
The match is continuing with various superstars making their entrances and various eliminations occurring. At this point, Stone Cold makes his entrance at number 19 and quickly enters the ring, whilst showing great personality. But he is then faced with Triple H, entry number 22.
As Austin and Triple H go at it, The Hurricane enters amusingly mimicking a chokeslam attempt on both men only to be quickly eliminated. But the caliber of the participants picks up with Kurt Angle, Mr Perfect and Kane.
The final four in the match are Stone Cold, Triple H, Mr Perfect and Kurt Angle. Unfortunately, the exchanges between Kurt Angle and Perfect are minimal, as these would have being superb. The final elimination order is Stone Cold, Mr Perfect then Kurt Angle.
This makes Triple H the winner in an acceptable match, but not one that would standout in memory. It could have possibly be booked better to allow it to flow better. There were points where you were completely uninterested in the match.
Winner: Triple H
Match Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0 Stars
The under card on the Royal Rumble 2002 event was certainly interesting event. The opening match was ultimately quite lackluster. The Dudley’s were quite lost at this point, but the combination of Tazz and Spike were actually quite dull with one another. As a tag team, they just did not click and unfortunately it came across in this match. On paper, William Regal and Edge should have being able to have a good match. It was a perfectly acceptable match, but nothing to make it standout in your memory. The style of wrestling Regal was doing at this time with the wrong opponent came across very badly. Unfortunately, this is what happened here. The women’s match was painful to watch, because Trish was still relatively inexperienced at this point and Jazz just seemed to exploit that.
The first really enjoyable match on the card was that between Ric Flair and Mr McMahon. Had this being a straight wrestling match, then it would have being a complete washout. But, having the Street Fight stipulation enabled them to protect themselves. This ultimately allowed them to have something have decent. Nonetheless, the slight sadistic side of this editor would have liked a little bit more brutality. From memory, the championship match between Chris Jericho and The Rock was a little bit of a drag. But it was actually a good match. It wasn’t an outright classic, but it was not horrendous. Could it have being better, yes it probably could have being but it was still enjoyable.
This Rumble match in all honesty, featured very much a mismatch of WWE Superstars. There were points in the match where you were either completely uninterested or confused as to what was happening. The match did not see a consistent flow. Some of the returnees, like Goldust and Mr Perfect would have being better off unannounced as this would have added to the element of surprise for the show. Perfect shown in the match he still had it, and could have achieved so much in his return had he not being wasted. There were a couple of nice spots in the Rumble, but nothing to shout out at you. It is still worth watching though as part of your 9.99 Subscription Fee to the WWE Network, Maven eliminating Taker fulfills the worthiness category.
What do you think of our Royal Rumble 2002 Review? We’d love to know what you think!
Image Credit: TJR Wrestling.net