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Reigns that really hurt or devalued a title

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So obviously Ronnie Garvin springs to mind, I've always thought that that whole angle made the NWA look second rate, Flair look weak, and putting the title on a midcard guy was stupid, but what other reigns have served to diminish the status of a title?


I'd like to present the evidence for the IC title in 1999. Since its inception in 1979, it had always been treated as a fairly big deal and was always held by a credible worker. The list of names is very impressive to read. Then this happens:


Ken Shamrock X-Pac Uniondale, NY 10-12-98

Val Venis Ken Shamrock Memphis, TN 02-14-99

Road Dogg Val Venis San Jose, CA 03-15-99

Goldust Road Dogg East Rutherford, NJ 03-29-99

The Godfather Goldust Detroit, MI 04-12-99

Jeff Jarrett The Godfather Moline, IL 05-31-99

Edge Jeff Jarrett Toronto, Ontario 07-24-99

Jeff Jarrett Edge Buffalo, NY 07-25-99

D-Lo Brown Jeff Jarrett Dayton, OH 07-26-99

Jeff Jarrett D-Lo Brown Minneapolis, MN 08-22-99

Chyna Jeff Jarrett Cleveland, OH 10-17-99

Chris Jericho Chyna Sunrise, FL 12-12-99

Chris Jericho Chyna and Hardcore Holly New York, NY 01-23-00

Kurt Angle Chris Jericho Hartford, CT 02-27-00

Chris Benoit Kurt Angle Anahemin, CA 04-02-00

Chris Jericho Chris Benoit Richmond, VA 05-04-00

Chris Benoit Chris Jericho Uniondale, NY 05-08-00

Rikishi Chris Benoit Memphis, TN 06-22-00

Val Venis Rikishi Ft. Lauderdale, FL 07-06-00

Chyna Val Venis Raleigh, NC 08-27-00

Eddie Guerrero Chyna Knoxville, TN 09-03-00

Billy Gunn Eddie Guerrero Sunrise, FL 11-23-00

Chris Benoit Billy Gunn Birmingham, AL 12-10-00

Chris Jericho Chris Benoit New Orleans, LA 01-21-01

Triple H Chris Jericho Oklahoma City, OK 04-05-01

Jeff Hardy Triple H Philadelphia, PA 04-12-01

Triple H Jeff Hardy Knoxville, Tenn. 04-16-01

Kane Triple H Sacramento, Calif. 05-20-01

Albert Kane New York, N.Y. 06-28-01

Lance Storm Albert Buffalo, N.Y. 07-23-01


This is what you call hotshotting a title.


Does anyone remember Albert's IC title run? How about Road Dogg's or the Godfather's? How come Triple H was IC champ again in 2001? What was the point of Jeff Hardy's two week run there? How about the month long reign of Rikishi?


For me the IC title was borderline meaningless through much of this period, and damaged for ever. Even the long runs of Randy Orton and Shelton Benjamin didn't really rehabilitate it. There were 30 different reigns in just over two years, compared with 30 reigns for the entire period of 1979 to Jeff Jarrett's first title in 1995.

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What was the full story behind that match where Fujita dropped the IWGP title to Kensuke Sasaki in like 90 seconds? I seem to remember it being a really bad period for New Japan. Something like Bob Sapp wins IWGP > Sapp loses shoot to Fujita > Inoki panics and sticks title on Fujita > Fujita makes a fuss about something or other > company drops belt to Sasaki in a major stinker. I've forgotten most of the details though where Fujita basically didn't have to work. The company looked really bad through that whole phase. There was a lot of ill will among the puro community for that whole timeframe.

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Regarding the IC title, all of the WWF's titles at that time frame were being exchanged like high fives down the hallway, man. Russo, and those who allowed him to do so, made the titles into stage props instead of an athletic accomplishment akin to boxing and MMA titles. Thankfully though, only the Hardcore championship had a 24/7 changeability rate.

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I only remember Albert's reign for the decent sized pop that Lance Storm got for winning the title from him. Scott Keith swears up and down that Albert/Kane when Albert won the strap is some really impressive ***3/4 match. Not that I'm putting any stock into what he says, just putting it out there.


HHH as IC Champion in '01 was to help get over his "Two Man Power Trip" team with Austin, by virtue of them being tag champs as well as holding the top two singles titles.


I would guess the point of Jeff Hardy's short first run would be for the Hardys to get one over on Austin/HHH (who they'd been feuding with), since the IC Title didn't really mean squat at that point.


Not sure about Rikishi's cups of coffee with the title, but I'd wager it was a short term reward for him being so over at the time.


Regarding the Road Dogg - Goldust - Godfather runs. It's Russo. Nuff said. Although, like Storm, Dogg retaining at 'Mania got a really nice pop.

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The Albert/Kane series was really good.


Shamrock had a good run as I.C champion. Most of the reigns from the period listed were pretty good. In particular the period in 2000 with Benoit and Jericho exchanging the title. Val Venis, Rikishi and Hardcore Holly were entered into the mix and the belt seemed like a big deal.

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Can I just say I HATED Owen holding the IC and tag titles at the same time in 1997? It's not the only time it's happened, but it's the first time I can recall the WWF doing it. I think anyone holding more than one belt should be required to forfeit one, first of all. But second, Owen and Davey Boy spent most of their time teaming. The IC belt was more of an afterthought until later in summer when Owen started feuding with Austin.


Luger with the TV and tag titles in 1996 was the same way.


A few others coming to mind:


* HHH being awarded the World title in '02 by Bischoff instead of winning it in a match I think created heat for the guy, and not really the right kind of heat. In fact, creating two world titles instead of having one champ on both shows really downgraded both champs instead of either champ really feeling like a world champ.


* The WCW World title obviously fell off the rails toward the end. The Fingerpoke of Doom wasn't great, but I think the Worst Tournament Ever in late 1999 after Russo came in just killed it for good. A tournament of three minute matches with terrible finishes, despite generally doing a good job of laying out the brackets. But the matches should have gone longer because they could have really used that tournament to reposition some guys.


* Any title reign kicked off by a three-way or four-way where you beat someone who wasn't the champ to win the title. Angle doing the job to transition from Undertaker to Rock at Vengeance '02 is the most glaring example I can think of, but I am sure there are others.


Also, there are exceptions to this, but in general, I like the idea of putting belts on people who the belt needs instead of putting belts on people who need belts to get over. WWE philosophy tends to be to job a guy about to win a title so he has challengers, but really, I'd rather see guys go on winning streaks for months leading to a title, so it actually means something to be at the top.

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Shamrock had a good run as I.C champion.

Can I just say I HATED Owen holding the IC and tag titles at the same time in 1997? It's not the only time it's happened, but it's the first time I can recall the WWF doing it. I think anyone holding more than one belt should be required to forfeit one, first of all. But second, Owen and Davey Boy spent most of their time teaming. The IC belt was more of an afterthought until later in summer when Owen started feuding with Austin.

My feelings on Shamrock's IC Title run are similar to Loss' on Owen's. I think that Shamrock was the right guy for the belt. He'd spent around half a year feuding with the IC champion, he won the King of the Ring, and he was one of the three guys (along with Rock and Mankind) who were grouped together as guys the WWF tried to push into the upper card. Then they gave him the belt and had him lose a bunch of non-title singles matches and win the Tag Titles. He rarely defended the IC belt. I don't think that it was enough to devalue the belt - although the subsequent Venis-Road Dogg-Godfather succession of switches did do that - but his reign strikes me as very empty for one that lasted five months.


On an Owen Hart-related note, I wonder if the European Title would have taken longer to become a joke had Bulldog defended it more often. Off the top of my head, I remember that it was on the line in the match in which Bret ran in and reunited the family, and it was on the line at SummerSlam. Did he have any other successful defenses?

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On the IC, I tend to agree generally with Jerry's first post that it was that period where it became something very less. Not sure it was the number of title changes... but it just fell off in meaning too much.


I'd point back to it happening a bit in stages even before that. It fell off a bit in say 1990 with Hennig. Not really the massive fault of Hennig, but it didn't seem to have the level of cha-ching that it did in the Savage/HTM/Warrior period, moreso Savage-Warrior (where they were pretty clearly the #2 or #3 wrestlers in the company at the time) than HTM. Hennig did get the push with Hogan, but didn't really meet that task remotely close to how Savage had.


The Bret-Shawn-Razor era of 8/91 - 1/95 had pretty decent focus on the IC Title, and the bigger wrestlers in it were well pushed... but they weren't at the Savage-Warrior level in the promotion other than a special outlier (Wembley). But that era clearly was higher than the post-1999 era.


Then the title seemed to take a drop with the stuff in 1995. All the screwing around with Double J. The Dean Douglas stuff. The quick toss back to Razor, which at that point felt almost like Shawn earlier in the year: "We don't know what else to do with this belt so we'll go back to the 1992/93 guys. The title that year seemed to be lacking, and by 1996 we had guys holding it that were way down the pecking order: Goldust, Marc Mero and young Trip. Clearly the company wanted the IC to be a launch to stardom for Ahmed Johnson's big push, but that went nowhere. In 1997 Rock won it when he was nowhere near ready for it. Owen seemed to get it in a "we don't know what else to do with it" moment. Austin "dropped" down to the IC Title to feud with Owen more as an extension of his hate for Bret rather than the IC being something major (i.e. like when Savage and Warrior had it).


1998 was kind of lucky: Rock wasn't big when he won it, but really grew while holding it. His eventual feud with Trip wasn't really Savage/Tito, Savage/Steamer or Warrior/Rude level where you could see it main eventing a non-Austin/Hogan house show (which they didn't do in that era anyway), but it did bring some focus there. Maybe some glimer of it moving upward, but that probably was false because WWF Creative really didn't care too much about belts at that point other than the World Title. 1999 saw it go off the cliff.


So staged:


* peak era with Savage and Warrior due to multi-crew house shows

* a drop when Hennig got it that largely was sustained through 1994

* Double J Era 1.0 in 1995 taking it another level down (he just wasn't seen as a Star)

* that sustained sort of through a point in 1997

* a brief moment of it looking to turn with Austin/Rock/Trip that might get back to Bret-Shawn-Razor levels

* 1999 cliff diving


The Tag Title would be interesting to look at. I suspect it took it's dip from the 80s level no later than 1993/94 (Quebecers and Headshrinkers). It's possible that one could point to the long Money Inc. Era, which never really seemed to click with the fans, even with a team like the Steiners as opponents. Nasty Boys winning it sort of ended the Golden Tag Era, but the Warriors were at least a "major" tag team winning it. It became something of a joke by late 1995 into 1996.



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I think that depends largely on where you see DiBiase in the general scheme of things 92-3. To my eyes, he was still a major upper midcard villain and they were still treating those belts as a major deal. He was still big enough in March / April '93 for Hogan to make his Wrestlemania comeback in a feud vs. Money Inc. (billed as co-main event).


You could say having a big star like DiBiase involved in the tag title scene actually helped to elevate the titles in that period. Or you could argue he was just past his peak and winding down, with Flair's arrival in '91 really the end of the road for him as a legit main event level heel.


I can see arguments on both sides.


Thing about Money Inc is that they were consistently booked as chicken shits on the sort of chicken shit level of the Honktonk Man's IC title run. I mean proper cheap, heel chicken shit crap like taking the countout or the DQ. I'm not sure what effect that had on the title.


For me, I'd put the decline of the tag belts a bit later. "Sparky Plugg" Bob Holly springs to mind for some reason. Didn't he have a run with Jannetty or something?

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I'd say the title switch from Road Dogg to Val Venis is where things started getting ridiculous with constant title changes for little to no reason.


- Shamrock was IC Champion and feuding with Billy Gunn as a holdover from the DX/Corporation feud of '98-'99.

- Bill Gunn screws Shamrock out of the title at St Valentines Day Massacre as the ref, giving Venis the title.

- Road Dogg is feuding with Bob Holly for the Hardcore Title, while Billy Gunn still wants the IC Title.

- On an episode of Sunday Night Heat Venis pins Dogg in a tag match (Dogg/Gunn vs. Venis/Holly).

- This leads to Dogg winning the title from Venis, and then Gunn winning the Hardcore Title from Holly, switching their matches at 'Mania, and throwing storyline sense out the window.

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I never saw DiBiase's run with the tag titles as a big star elevating the titles.


I know the show on which DiBiase and IRS won the titles was in Denver, and while I didn't attend the show (I lived near Denver at the time), I do remember the hype for the show was these two matches were to take place:


* LOD vs. Natural Disasters for the tag team titles

* DiBiase/IRS vs. Big Bossman/Tito Santana


In other words, going into the show, there were no plans to put the titles on DiBiase and IRS. They were both in singles feuds and got paired together against their feuding partners for a tag match.


IIRC, that was about the time Hawk was having drug-related issues with WWF, so they needed to get the belts off LOD, and thus they switched the matches around so DiBiase/IRS faced LOD and the Disasters got Bossman and Santana. The Disasters then interfered in the match to help DiBiase/IRS win the titles.


Supposedly they were going to do another LOD/Disasters match for WM XIII that year but it never materialized, likely dealing with Hawk's issues, while DiBiase and IRS were supposed to face Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Sgt. Slaughter... a tag team that seemed to come about because WWF didn't know what else to do with them at that point.


Of course, we instead got DiBiase/IRS vs. Disasters and the Disasters doing a pretty awkward face turn. The match at WM VIII didn't have much heat as a result.


They did have the match in which the Disasters won the titles on a Coliseum Video and the pop for the title switch was legit, but it never really lasted. On top of that, the depth just wasn't there... Money Inc. did the job at SummerSlam that year to LOD but Hawk still had his drug issues and was gone after that, with Animal teaming with Crush for a brief period but that not leading to anything.


Meanwhile, the Disasters beat the Beverly Brothers, who were the JTTS of the tag ranks, then lose the belts back to Money Inc. and then do a program with the Headshrinkers that didn't really go anywhere. The Nasty Boys then turn face and didn't really click that much... they were somewhat over but fans weren't really eager to see them win the titles.


I'm not saying Money Inc. didn't do their job well as a tag team... I'm saying, when I look back on their run and how the tag ranks were at the time, it really wasn't anything special.


And when the Steiner Brothers showed up, the tag ranks became incredibly thin. The Beverlys, the Nastys and the Disasters were all gone, the Headshrinkers were just kind of there, the Quebecers were still new and Jacques Rougeau was carrying the team, the Smoking Gunns were green, ditto for Men on a Mission, and Well Dunn was... well, dull. :)


And when you have to go to Smoky Mountain Wrestling to bring the Heavenly Bodies in to be a PPV challenge for the tag titles, well, you know you've got a problem.


Anyway, the Money Inc. era wasn't really that strong for the tag team ranks or the belts... not because of anything Money Inc. did or didn't do but because the tag ranks simply didn't have a good collection of teams. When the Steiners came along, they ended up on top of a weak overall crop as well, thus they were in a similar situaton to Money Inc.

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I agree that while DiBiase was a big star in years past, when he moved to tag teams, he seemed past his peak. He felt like another guy in a long list of heels who had a run with Hogan that was now over. I was genuinely surprised when he ended up in a match with Hogan at WM 9, because it was DiBiase's biggest program in years (even if it wasn't that huge).

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On Ted, if you go back and look at 1990-91 before that team got slapped together, Ted was pretty much just a midcarder relative to the Major Top Player role he had in 1987-89.


The Virgil feud was quite well done for a WWF feud, but it was more along the lines of a Really Focused Midcard Feud than say Savage-Steamboat going around main eventing non-Hogan cards.


The Dusty feud was also focused, but it was lesser than Virgil. At the tail end of 1989 into 1990 he had one with Jake as well. Again, a focused mid-card feud to move him into after his Player days were over.


He had long stretches of mid-card feuds with guys like Kerry, one with Tito that I don't even remember. He had a feud with Bossman between the Jake and Dusty ones.


They gave him stuff to do, but it was clear that his time on the top had run.


The thing with the Tag Title is that in the Golden Tag Era is that you rarely got Tag Champs that were "slapped together" for the fans like Money Inc:


Windham & Rotundo were pushed as a "team" almost from Barry's debut: second night of a back-to-back taping.


Sheik & Volkoff were slapped together, but to play off the US Express


Valentine & Beefcake were slapped together, but Greg was coming off the IC Title right into it: he was a major player. It's also a bit of a strange change with Barry's issues, and a long run because of holding off the Bulldogs win until Mania II.


Bulldogs and Harts were "tag team specialists"


Santana & Martel were a patch for the Can-Ams push. Rick had been brought in to be part of a "team". Teammate bailed. Tito got slapped into it.


Demolition and Arn & Tully were sold as tag team specialists.


Andre & Haku were slapped together: simply a monster team for Demolition to chase. Andre was Andre, though.


Then back to Demolition, the Harts, the Nasty Boys and the biggest tag team of the era, the LOD.


Pretty much 1985-92 was dominated by duos sold as a "team". Clear exception of the brief turnaround of Sheik & Volkoff, the asterick of Strikeforce taking over for the Can-Ams, the Dream Team continuing Valentine's recent major push and being an extended bridge between top face tag teams, and the short Andre-Haku team to set up Demo for the Mania win.


In contrast, Ted & IRS won the belts out of nowhere on Feb 1992 and dominated it until Jun 1993 when Ted was getting ready to head to All Japan. It just was... different at the time. Then they had their major early feud with another slapped together team in the Disasters, and it felt like a the page had turned.



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jdw - what about Ted's Survivor Series main event programmes with Hogan? I still think they were gearing up for a bit of a push for him in 91 around the time he was with Sherri, but then Flair came in unexpectedly.


Point I wanted to make though is that this was clearly not just any old midcarder stuck in a team. In 91, he was still big enough to single handedly get a guy as limited as Virgil over, and for someone like Piper to feud with. Even if he was past his prime by 92, he was still pretty over, and obviously a bigger star than Rotunda, which remained true even in 94-6 when he came back as a manager.


Also, I accept the point about it being a very thrown together team and some last-minute booking, but the booking team did a pretty good job of packaging them to make them seem like a cohesive unit. I mean it had more logic than just two random guys: you had a rich guy and a crooked taxman teaming up. It does make sense on paper!


They were slapped together, but then the recovery operation to sell them as a team at least partly worked. I mean it would have been a lot more random if it was something like IRS and Papa Shango, or DiBiase and Skinner!


I'd agree with the general trajectory of the WWF tag belts though:


85-91: peak

92-4: declining

95-7: totally shot


I think the New Age Out Laws, Edge and Christian, and the Dudleys restored some legitimacy to them after that, albeit in pure spot fests.

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The Hogan feud at Survivor Series '89 was with Zeus, not Ted. Ted was the nominal captain of the Million Dollar Team, but it's not like he was wrestling Hogan around the horn - the big match they were pushing at that point was more Hogan/Beefcake vs Savage/Zeus in the cage for the No Holds Barred: The Movie, The Match PPV. Ted was feuding with Jake at this point (and Jake was on Hogan's team accordingly).

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jdw - what about Ted's Survivor Series main event programmes with Hogan? I still think they were gearing up for a bit of a push for him in 91 around the time he was with Sherri, but then Flair came in unexpectedly.

In 1991? I don't think so. He was deep into the feud with Virgil. My guess is that if there was no Flair, they would have gone with a long Taker feud. Think about it: despite losing to both Warrior and Sid (and even Piper as a sub) around the horn, they still went with Hogan-Taker to headline a pair of PPVs.


Taker vs Warrior/Sid was done in late September, in time for the tapings prior to the Euro Tour. He worked into a short filler house show feud with Duggan while the Survivor match with Hogan was set. Taker-Duggan went around the horn while Flair vs Hogan/Piper (Roddy on nights Hogan had off) went around the horn. My guess is that it would have been Taker vs Hogan/Piper-or-Duggan, with either Duggan or Piper filling in when Hogan was off. Duggan was one of the wrestlers who often filled that role, and I tend to think Piper was picked for Flair given their history and mic work. My guess is probably Duggan... it's an easy dual feud.


They probably could also have done Hogan & Piper/Duggan vs Sid & Taker matches in the place of Flair being in it, since the draw was Hogan-Sid.


Just don't think there were any Big Plans for Ted at that point. They probably would have entually come up with another Jake/Dusty/Virgil type of focused feud for him, simply because he was a good performer that the company liked. That tends to be proven that they liked him enough to anchor the tag title for over a year. But the tag title was slipping at that point, and in a sense he kind of made a side move from mid-card singles wrestler to slightly higher tag champ/challenger at a time when the belts were meaning a bit less.


I also am not saying that Ted-Mike was the worst put together team. They made "sense" once they were slapped together.



I'd agree with the general trajectory of the WWF tag belts though:


85-91: peak

92-4: declining

95-7: totally shot

I would tend to agree with that... though maybe put 95-97 as "next drop down" as they meant a little something more than it did in say 1998+ (or even now), but it certainly was down from even 1993.



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How about just about every Shawn Michaels title reign out there. He was notorious for vacating the belt instead of losing to another wrestler. I think it hurt the WWF Title greatly until Austin won it in 1998.


HHH also strikes again because the Rock essentially won their feud by pinning Vince McMahon in a six man tag to win the WWF Championship.

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How about just about every Shawn Michaels title reign out there. He was notorious for vacating the belt instead of losing to another wrestler. I think it hurt the WWF Title greatly until Austin won it in 1998.

Michaels' vacated titles:


IC 1993: I don't think this hurt the IC Title at all. It immediately went to a super-over Razor Ramon. You could argue that the IC Title's stature actually increased a little bit after this, as 1994 featured the IC Title in big matches like the ladder match and the SummerSlam match with Walter Payton.


Tag 1994: Not sure about this one. Dropping the belts without jobbing certainly doesn't help anyone, but I don't know that the belts became any less important than they'd been when the Headshrinkers had them.


Tag 1995: At the time, I don't think this was counted as a title reign for Michaels and Diesel, but WWE.com lists it, so maybe it was. Either way, this made this Owen and Yokozuna look weak. I don't know if it had any effect on the championship, though.


IC 1995: This one was pretty bad. At the very least, it would have helped Douglas to beat one of the top wrestlers in the WWF and get a run with the belt. Instead, Douglas was named champion for doing nothing and lost the title on a back suplex. Razor then proceeded to not do much of anything with the title until he lost it to Goldust.


World 1997: This probably hurt a little, but the WWF was hot enough in the upper card at this point that it didn't make that much of a difference. Strangely, the WWF Title match often was not that last match on the show in 1997 (taking a back seat to Austin/Bret matches and Michaels/Undertaker matches), butthat's not necessarily an indication of how valued it was. It might have been worse when Michaels called the belt a "stupid piece of tin" and claimed that champion Bret Hart was in the main event of Survivor Series only because he was against HBK.


Tag 1997: The RAW title match between Michaels/Austin and Owen/Bulldog was super-hot. By September, when the Headbangers won the belts, the crowd was silent until Austin came out to interfere. The belts stayed at that level for the rest of the year, even though LOD was more over than the Headbangers or the Godwinns. It would have been nice for a team to have gotten the rub from Michaels and Austin. What happened instead was that Owen and the Bulldog got pinned for the titles three times in a row.


European 1997: Michaels had already been treating this one as a joke, like when he feigned relief over the belt not being on the line at Badd Blood. This solidified it.


Did I miss any? There are a lot of them, so I can't be too sure.

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We're neglecting to mention the week before. New Champion Lesnar comes out. Taker and Trips get into a brawl and Lesnar fled from them in fear.

Crap... I forgot about that one.


Going between Graham's site and the legendary CRZ recaps...


WWE @ Richmond, VA - Coliseum - August 4, 2002

Smackdown! - 8/8/02:

Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) defeated Hulk Hogan via KO at 10:05 with a bearhug after hitting the F5; late in the bout, Lesnar kicked out of the legdrop; after the match, Brock returned to the ring and hit a bloody Hogan in the head with a steel chair and, moments later, smeared Hogan's blood across his own chest; had Hogan won the match, he would have won Lesnar's WWE World title shot against the Rock at Summer Slam (Brock Lesnar: Here Comes the Pain)


Backstage, Brock Lesnar is WALKING! Heyman catches up and asks where they're goin'. "We're goin' into Hogan's locker room." "Why would we want to do that? That's not a good idea for us, Brock." "I'm goin' into Hogan's locker room to find out if he really, really wants to go through with this or not." "I'm sure he does--" "PAUL - either you're in with this...or you're not. You make the call." "Oh, come on, let's just talk about this, listen to reason, this is not a good idea..."


SummerSlam promo (Rock)


When we come back, Heyman is still trying to convince Lesnar this isn't a good idea - but there he barges. "So - you really wanna go through with this, huh? End your career tonight, lay it all on the line, get in the ring with the Next Big Thing, the guy that's goin' to SummerSlam for the WWE title, huh? Step in the ring, toe to toe with Brock Lesnar? Is that what you want?" "You're so young. Full o' life, you got the world in the palm of your hand. No injuries, man, you got it made. But if *I* was you, I would lay it all on the line. I would put it all up for grabs, I'd prove the point you're tryin' to prove, if *I* was you - I would put my shot at the WWE title at SummerSlam, I'd put it on the line tonight. I would put that on the line, if I was you. But then again, you're not Hulk Hogan, are you?" "That's what you want, huh? That's what you - yeah - let's do it. Tonight!" Laughing, he leaves the dressing room - and meets a livid Heyman. "What the hell did you just do?! Do you realise - do you realise what you just did? Brock, Brock - what the hell - are you out of your mind? Do you know who that man is - that is Hulk Hogan! Twenty years of defying the odds, don't think of this guy as the guy that slammed Andre the Giant, think of him as the legend who beat Triple H for the title just a few months ago. He ALWAYS overcomes adversity - that's his whole M.O. - he PLAYED you! You got SUCKERED!" "What's the matter, Paul? You losin' confidence in me? Huh? What's the matter? You scared?" He shoves him aside and walks off. Heyman, flustered, eventually decides to take off in another direction....while the cameraman goes off in a third...




A distraught Heyman knocks on the general manager's door. "Paul, have you seen Dawn Marie?" "Excuse me?" "I have some papers that are very time-sensitive and you know, I just haven't seen Dawn anywhere. It's urgent." "I haven't seen her but if I do, I'll send her right in to you, but - but while I have you for a moment...I was just thinking, you know, I don't know if you've heard the big news, and um.. Brock Lesnar, the Next Big Thing, walked into Hulk Hogan's locker room and Hogan, you know how Hogan likes to stir everything up, challenged Brock to put the SummerSlam shot on the line, and--" "Oh, I know - Paul, I thought it was a GREAT idea." "Oh SURE I mean for HOGAN it was, I mean just to stir the pot and really get underneath Brock's skin and really get him all aggravated for--" "Well actually I mean I thought it was a stroke of genius on your part and Brock's part, because I mean, if you look at the SummerSlam main event, it's either Brock vs. Rock...OR, Rock vs. Hogan...part 2! I mean, really, it's just, it's a win/win all around for SmackDown! I'm, I'm so happy you came to me, you know, I really wanna make that stipulation legally binding. You're on. Thank you. Now please do send Dawn in here." "Thank YOU, Ms. McMahon. You know...you're getting to be more like your father every day."




UP NEXT: Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Brock!


Loyd stands with Hogan. Does he really have a chance against Brock Lesnar? "Okay, brother - you're right. Maybe Brock Lesnar IS a little bit stronger than me. And let's face it, you know - he's 25 years old and I'm....I'm 29, dude. Okay, so I got a couple years on him. You know in fact, conventional wisdom might say that I shouldn't even be thinking about beating Brock Lesnar, I don't have a chance. But conventional wisdom doesn't take into account that there's fifteen thousand Hulkamaniacs that'll rise to their feet and scream their lungs out for me, little dude. Conventional wisdom doesn't take into account that Hulkamania took a man that was down and out in this business and brought me all the way back to the top, to the WWE title. You know, it's Hulkamania, not Brock Lesnar that's unstoppable. Brock Lesnar has never faced anything as strong as Hulkamania - never, brother! So I'm counting - I'm relying on all my Hulkamaniacs to pull me througuh this one tonight with the Next Big Thing so that I can face Rock and get my WWE title back, brother. And you sit here, and you ask me if I think I've got what it takes to make it out of there alive tonight, brother? Well that's not the question, little dude, that needs to be asked. We all know what the question is, brother. You know it, I know it, and the Next Big Thing knows it. ... What'cha gonna do, Brock. What'cha gonna do, Next Big Thing? What'cha gonna do, Brock Lesnar, when Hulkamania and fifteen thousand Hulkamaniacs run wild on you? What'cha gonna do?"




KING BROCK LESNAR (Minneapolis, Minnesota - 295 pounds - with Paul Heyman - and Foot Locker House of Hoops presents SummerSlam, 25 August!) v. HOLLYWOOD HULK HOGAN (Hollywood, California - 285 pounds

referee: Hebner

Well, he stand up next to a mountain - he chop it down with the edge of his hand. Staredown in the centre...Lesnar elects to leave the ring so Hogan can cup his ear to all four sides of the arena. Or is he showing fear? Or does he anticipate...an ad break?


When we come back, the bell has JUST rung. Crowd is loud as we again move to the staredown in the centre of the ring. Lesnar fails to say "you will die." Hogan takes steps back and thoughtfully strokes his naturally-coloured beard. "Hogan" chant gets bigger as Hogan turns his head to and fro. Finally, they lock up - but that ends with stalemate. Whoa, Cole said "stalemate!" Lockup...Lesnar shoves Hogan away! Lesnar grins and goes back to his happy dance as Hogan collects his own thoughts. We're now two minutes in. Lockup - no, Lesnar shoots under and puts a forearm in the back. Stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp stomp. Scoop...and a slam! Lesnar is confident - but Hogan pops up! Lesnar turns back - Hogan right - right - right - right - right - right, chop, right, chop, right, right, right, into the opposite corner, reversed...nobody home on the charge! Hogan with a lariat! 1, kicked out at 2. Hogan drops the elbow. Another elbowdrop. Hogan eschews a third elbowdrop in favour of raking his boot across Lesnar's face. Off the ropes and a running headstart on the clothesline - and Lesnar is over to the outside! Lesnar makes a funny face while the crowd chants "Hogan" and Hebner fails to count to ten. We're now FOUR minutes in. The pace is deliberate, yes, but a story *is* developing here. Hogan decides to go out after Lesnar when he fails to make a move towards the ring. Heyman on the apron and Hebner turns his attention that way - Lesnar grabs Hogan's legs and makes a wish using the ringpost - twice! Having taken the shortcut, Lesnar's smile returns. Lesnar back in the ring - stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp. Hogan pulled to the centre - off the ropes with an elbowdrop - off the ropes with a second elbowdrop, and there's a third elbowdrop. Lesnar helps Hogan up - Irish whip into the corner - Lesnar puts his shoulder into the gut. Shoulder, shoulder, shoulder. Forearm in the back. Lesnar eggs on the crowd. Stomp, stomp. Again, Lesnar eggs on the crowd, while Heyman tries to keep Lesnar on track to finish the match. Stomp. Lesnar brings up Hogan...then tosses him through the ropes out to the floor. Lesnar out after him - clubbing forearm in the back. Lesnar removes the commentary table top and does a little redecorating...but in the meantime, Hogan is up. Hogan with the rake of the face! Right hand - whip into the ringpost! Lesnar rolls into the ring, Hogan meets him - right hand in the corner, climbs to the second rope - Ten Punch Count Along only gets to five before Lesnar powerbombs him out of the corner! Heyman screams for him to make the cover - too slow - 1, 2, no! We take the Foot Locker Replay but already Hogan is showing signs of the second wind. Right hand no, right hand no, right hand, starting to jackhammer, right hand to his feet, forearm, no, forearm, no, forearm, YOU! Hogan wags his finger quite a bit - block, right, right, right, into the ropes, big boot, calling to the crowd - but Lesnar is up before Hogan can even hit the ropes - Lesnar with a gutshot - up on the shoulders but Hogan is out of the F-5 attempt! Right, right, right, into the ropes, big boot, free shot for Heyman on the apron, off the ropes with the big leg - 1, 2, LESNAR KICKS OUT!!! Hogan can't believe it, but continues to jackhammer and gets right back on him - Lesnar begs off! Right hand, right, right, right, right, into the ropes, big boot! Off the ropes, but Heyman grabs the ankle! Hogan brings Heyman onto the apron...but Lesnar is there, forearm to Hogan in the back. Up on the shoulder - and there's the Key on My Keyboard! Lesnar doesn't cover, though - he looks to the crowd instead. Heyman again screams for Lesnar to make the cover...but instead, Lesnar lifts up Hogan and applies the bearhug. Crowd is loud...ew, Hogan is "bleeding internally" with the red stuff coming out of his mouth. Arm falls once - arm falls twice - holy crap! ARM FALLS THRICE! (10:03) Lesnar doesn't really feel like letting it go. Heyman hits the ring and Lesnar finally *does* let go of the bearhug. Lesnar shoves Hebner out of the ring and surveys the damage. Finally, Heyman and Lesnar leave the ring and head up the ramp...wait. As the crowd chants "Rock E" (but we've already been told he's in Australia), Lesnar heads back down the ramp, around the ring..and picks up a chair. Hebner is easily chased out of the ring...Lesnar dares Hogan to get up, while Heyman yells "Brock! You're gonna KILL 'im!" Hogan up - WHACK! Well he's back down. Heyman shouts "No more - no more!" as Lesnar stands over Hogan with a smile on his face. You can add a bladejob to Hogan's red drool job - well, maybe - maybe they just covered him in syrup through the magic of editing as well. Brock goes down there AGAIN, grabbing Hogan's head and giving him what for. Lesnar rubs Hogan's blood on his chest! Credits are up and I guess we won't get to see if he wrote "DIE" or not, 'cause this show is OVER!


WWE @ Norfolk, VA - Scope - August 19, 2002


WWE World Champion the Rock fought Triple H to a no contest in a non-title match when Shawn Michaels attacked Triple H as Hunter was about to use his sledgehammer, while ringside security held back Brock Lesnar on the floor; as the show came to a close, Michaels and Rock fought off Brock and Triple H


TRIPLE H (Greenwich, Connecticut - 272 pounds - with Foot Locker's House of Hoops presents SummerSlam SUNDAY!) v. THE ROCK (Undisputed Champion - Miami, Florida - 275 pounds) with no disqualifications

referee: EARL HEBNER


Entrances burn off about four minutes. Well, let's see what they got. Staredown. Now some words are being exchanged. Finally, H puts up a hand for Rock to talk to...then steps back and makes the international "just bring it" sign. More words - another beckon from H - so Rock pops him, right, right, right, right, right, right, into the opposite corner, reversed, Rock clothesline out, clothesline, clothesline, right, right, right, right, into the opposite corner, reversal attempted but Rock pulls him back to the original corner, taking H over the top to the outside! Rock out after him...running clothesline. Scooped up - H down, scoops up Rock - and drops HIM on the barricade! H in and out - another drop on the barricade for Rock. H in - Hebner in - H out. Rock rolled back in, now everybody's back in. Rock comes up punching - right, right, off the ropes but H buries the knee and Rock flips. H with a stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp, stomp. Knee. H outside, pulls Rock over the edge of the apron, and throws an elbow. H back in the ring. Rock comes back, right, right, H with a knee, knee, shoulder in the corner, shoulder, shoulder. Into the ropes, elbow in the gut. Into the ropes again...and there's the old abdominal stretch and why not add a little leverage with the pull of the rope? We check outside - lots of security still hanging around where Lesnar and Heyman are seated. H lets go of the rope as Lawler decides THIS will be the time he mentions that it doesn't matter if Hebner sees him or not since this is a no-DQ match - gee, way to go to all that trouble to hide it from him, Triple H. Rock executes the hiptoss after powering up. Rock right, right, right, right, right, NOW KISS THAT no H pokes him in the eye. Running double clothesline and both men are down. Hebner puts on the count. Both men up at eight. Rock with "Iblockyourpunchyoudon'tblockmine" but goes down afterwards. Both men up again - Rock again manages "Iblockyourpunchyoudon'tblockmine." Rock right, right, right, right, right, NOW KISS THAT RIGHT and down he goes. H into the ropes, belly-to-belly throw, 1, 2, H kicks out! H goes back to the eyepoke...but Rock pulls H into the spinebuster! There goes the elbowpad - let's see if we get it - off the ropes, off the ropes, People's Elbow DOES land, Rock clutches his ribs but eventually makes the cover - 1, 2, Hebner does that annoying hitch so you know it's NO! H begging off in the corner...then hits him with an uppernut (Hebner STILL decides to pretend he's not seeing this stuff even though it's a no-DQ match - arrgh). Rock tossed outside. H out - has the steps - BONG. H puts Rock back into the ring, then goes outside to retrieve Ye Olde Sledghammere. For no good reason, Lesnar's over the rail now...well that draws the attention of all the Security folk, anyway. Hebner tries to stop H, but he knees him and tosses him through the ropes to the outside. H awaits Rock getting up...but before he can swing, MR. WHYSPYR is in the ring! Right hand, right hand, right hand, running start - H ducks and LESNAR takes the hit on the apron! Michaels turns back and H levels him with a clothesline. Here comes the Pedigree - no, Rock is back up - right, right, right, right, into the ropes, H counters with the facebuster. H with a choke...now *Lesnar* is back in and trying to get Michaels, but after he spins him around it's Michaels - right, right, right, right, superkick! Commentators are way "WHOOOOOOOA WHAT A KICK" but really it wasn't. Lesnar back over the rail and Security works on escorting him outta here. Back to the ring - Michaels is holding his back (oh puhleeze) and now over to H and Rock - Rock right, right, right, H walks into ROCK BOTTOM! and Rock runs to the corner, climbing up and asking Lesnar AGAIN to Just Bring It...but he's being escorted out. So Rock decides to go out after him. We look back at Triple H with a security guard under each arm - looks like he's trying to direct traffic, guiding them? Sure enough, Michaels decides to try a tope, catches one of his legs on the top rope but STILL manages to land on the pile. Security tries to keep them separated, taking H up the ramp - actually more like he puts a guard in a headlock and backs up the ramp as if he's being pushed except he isn't (ha) - now Michaels runs after and jumps - Michaels right, H, Michaels, Michaels winds up and H rolls down the ramp! Ross is uncharacteristically restrained as he says "FOUR YEARS MY ASS!" Well, I'm kidding about the "restrained" part. HEY RAW Zone credits are up and I guess we're outta here! Umm oh and stop the clock (N[itr]o contest? 10:25)


Hey, God bless Triple H for trying, 'cause it's sure starting to look like it's *not* that Michaels is intentionally dogging it now to lower our expectations but that he really IS rusty/can't bring it. I remain optimistic for Sunday, don't get me wrong, just.....well, not *quite* as much, you know? But boy howdy, how about that biggest main event ever ending in a No Contest, huh? We've never seen THAT one before, eh? Eh? DON'T MISS A MINUTE!

WWE @ Fayetteville, NC - August 20, 2002


WWE World Champion the Rock & Edge defeated WWE IC Champion Chris Benoit & Eddie Guerrero when Edge pinned Guerrero with the spear; after the match, the Rock knocked an interfering Brock Lesnar out of the ring as the show came to a close


KING BROCK LESNAR & IT'S ALL ABOUT PAUL kick things off - call it a CRAZY HUNCH but I believe Heyman will speak, while Lesnar hops up and down from foot to foot! "I - I would like you to consider the fact...because, I assure you my client (the Next Big Thing Brock Lesnar) is aware of these facts - he is the #1 Box Office Attraction in World Wrestling Entertainment. The biggest star in the history of SmackDown! The single most sought-after commodity in Hollywood - the #1 action star in Hollywood today - he's on the cover of People, they feature him on Entertainment Tonight, he is the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the entire World. With a fan following that is without question, second to none." "Rock E!" Even Lesnar picks up the chant. "And while you people may think that I'm talking about The Rock...every single thing that I said used to apply to *Hollywood Hulk Hogan.* A legend, a god, an icon whose career is now...DEAD! Dead, I might add, at the hand of the Next Big Thing Brock Lesnar. And while you boo Brock Lesnar because of your jealousy, and while you jeer Brock Lesnar because no one can do a damn thing about it, the fact is, just like Hulk Hogan's career is now over, the very same thing will happen to The Rock this Sunday on SummerSlam!" Man, Heyman talks NICE and slow - a transcriber's DREAM. Thanks, Paul! "But ladies and gentlemen, my client has a gift for you this evening, because my client wants The Rock to have just a little taste of SummerSlam, so before tonight is over...we personally guarantee you that Brock Lesnar and the People's Champ, the Rock, will collide tonight!" "Paul...you know what I smell? Do you know how I feel? Paul, I feel the same way I felt the night I fought Hulk Hogan! I'm gonna make The Rock cry like a little (BITCH)!" If ya smell and out interrupts THE ROCK. I have a feeling he MAY talk just a *bit* more rapidly, but at least I can guess his first phrase ahead of time: "Finally, The Rock HAS COME BACK to Fayetteville!" Oops, he didn't say it - or they edited it out. Dammit! "Night after night after night, The Rock has come out here and he's told you to bring it. After all your talk, after all your hype, all your talk, all your hype, so far your big jacked up monkey (ass) has brought NOTHING! But you see, tonight - tonight will be a night like no other. Oh no no no, The Rock says you didn't hear - tonight will be a night like no other! Tonight, no Just Bring It, no Stick it up your candy asses, no Smell what the Rock is cookin', and quite frankly, Brock Lesnar, seein' as you flat out REFUSE to bring it to The Rock, well The Rock will just have to bring it to you!" Pause for chant. "You say that before the night is through, The Rock and Brock will collide - well then The Rock says, as far as he's concerned...this night is already through." Belt down, glasses off, mic tossed aside...but he doesn't get very far down the ramp before EDDIE GUERRERO & CHRIS BENOIT punk out Rock from behind...while Lesnar enjoys it. Benoit locks in the crossface while Guerrero continues to stomp away - the cartload of REFEREES is out but not having much luck getting them separated. Lesnar making the internaional Just Bring It sign! FIT FINLAY & JOHN LARIN - LAUR - JOHNNY ACE come out and finally pull Benoit off - Benoit gets in a good shove that puts Finlay on his rump before we fade out...




Stephanie is WALKING! She looks like she's gotten too much sun - or too much "faux tan" - she finds Guerrero & Benoit. "I wanna talk to the two of you right now. What are you thinking? What are you thinking attacking Rock right before SummerSlam? Do you realise you could have jeopardized the entire SmackDown! main event at SummerSlam? Let me make it clear to you, okay? If The Rock can't compete in the main event, then you two will have a dramatic pay cut." "Whoa - last week, you wanted me to make The Rock tap. You wanted me to make The Rock SQUEAL." "Benoit...BACK OFF! And you're right. I did ask you to make The T- The Rock tap. I DID want The Rock to squeal...in a competitive match! I wanted you to send a message to RVD and to Bischoff that you will remain the intercontinental champion. But tonight, the two of you without even asking me, you go and you attack The Rock, you try to intentionally injure The Rock. Now Bischoff screwed up Monday night by havin' The Rock in a match, Triple H almost broke one of his ribs, but tonight - SmackDown! - this is my show. It's on my head, and I *will* protect the SmackDown! main event at SummerSlam. And Eddie, what's with this whole attacking Edge thing? Just because you have a match with Edge at SummerSlam--" "Hey that vato got into my--" "--doesn't give you the right to OHHHHH!" Edge comes in and chairs Benoit in the back...then walks up to Stephanie. "I suggest you make a tag team match tonight - Benoit & Guerrero...against me and The Rock." "Well I suggest...your match is made." Is she showing fear, or...ah hell, she just can't act and let's leave it at that




Rock is with the trainer - checking on that rib again


Here's a Special Video Look at the Brock Lesnar Workout - I'd really be into this if I were gay. But I'm not. My loss. YIKES he's sitting in an ICE BATH - that's COLD! No WONDER his nipples look like that - what, what are you looking it? Did you know SummerSlam was only 3 Days Away


Rock dismisses the trainer with thanks - and now Edge pays him a visit. "Hey, Rock. You all right?" "Yeah! Yeah, yeah, I'm all right. Yeah, I'm all right. Other than Benoit puttin' the crossface on me again, that damn Eddie Guerrero doin' the Macarena all over my ribs. Other than that, I'm cool man, I appreciate it. Thank you." "Yeah well...they jumped me too. Benoit & Guerrero, they're out of control right now." "Outta control? Outta control, they're gonna get their monkey asses whooped tonight! The Rock and--" "Whoa, whoa - whoa whoa - what about SummerSlam? I mean, what about your ribs?" "The Rock's ribs? The Rock's ass! The Rock's got hurt ribs, big deal. It's no big deal at all! There is no quit in The Rock - no quit in me, my friend, no, no, no no, no way. The Rock says this, you go ahead and take out The Rock's ribs, fine, take off one of The Rock's arms, he'll fight you with the other arm, you take off one of The Rock's legs, The Rock will hobble, and hobble, and hobble, and keep hobbling, and whoop their monkey ass with the other leg, eeeeasy, big fella, eeeeasy. Oh yeah. You go ahead and you can take off one of The Rock's testicles, The People's Testicles, oh yeah, The Rock'll take the other one, throw it way up into the air, keep watchin' it, damn! That's a good-ass testicle, The Rock'll take his boot, shine it up real nice - excuse The Rock - (catches the testicle in his mouth, spits it out) - turn that sumbitch sideways, and--" "And stick it straight up, Benoit and Guerrero's cannnnnndy asses!" Then Edge waggles his tongue. They share a grin. "Hey, c'mon man, let's go!"




EDDIE GUERRERO & CHRIS BENOIT v. EDGE & THE ROCK - Edge foolishly decides to rush the ring without waiting for Rock, clothesline for Guerrero, right for Benoit, right, right, right, Guerrero from behind to turn it. Doubleteam stompdown until Rock's music hits - clothesline for Guerrero, right for Benoit, right, right, right, clotheslines him out of the ring, Edge right on Guerrero, right, right, Guerrero right, Edge, Guerrero, Guerrero, gutshot by Edge, right, right, into the ropes is reversed, Guerrero tries an Austin press but Edge blocks and takes him down instead - now dropping down into a WOW Catapult into Benoit! Edge off the ropes with another clothesline on Guerrero - 1, 2, no. Edge right, right, Guerrero pulls Edge into the turnbuckle and starts with the left-right-left-right on his kidneys. Right. Pulling him out with the elbow, elbow to the back of the head, tag to Benoit - Benoit with a kick in the ribs, head to the buckle, chop, elbow, chop, kick, kick. Referee Chioda steps in for a moment and that's all Edge needs to reverse - open-handed slap, chop, into the opposite corner reversed by Benoit, but Edge pops out with a clothesline. Flapjack gets Edge 2. Guerrero tries to taunt Rock, then after bringing him in and distracting Chioda, helps Benoit out on a doubleteam. Benoit stomp, stomp, tag, holds him for the slingshot senton. Stomp. Stomp. Boot to the head. Guerrero has some words for the crowd - right, right, right, elbow to the back of the head, into the ropes, back elbow. He tells Rock to kiss it (he learned that from Hogan!) - Edge into the ropes, reversed, Edge ducks under but Guerrero kicks the knee. Snapmare, spins on his face, tags Benoit. Open shot by Benoit - and a backbreaker gets 2. Lesnar & Heyman still watching, I know *I* was worried! Benoit pulls him up by the hair - Edge tries a shot, but Benoit's got more on his - Edge put on the second rope - kick by Benoit - pulls aside Chioda and Guerrero lays into Edge. Rock tries to come in but Chioda DOES see *that.* Guerrero wants the suplex but Edge lands on his feet - so Guerrero rares back with his elbow instead. Guerrero off the ropes, Edge ducks, collision in the middle and both men are out. Guerrero heads to the wrong corner - but eventually rolls to a tag of Benoit - but Edge makes the HOT TAG to The Rock! Block, right, right, right, right, right, into the ropes is reversed, Rock ducks, gutshot, DDT! Guerrero in, Guerrero out, catches the kick, dragon screw legwhip into the Sharpshooter!! But it isn't in long as Guerrero clocks Rock from behind. Guerrero doing a little bragging - and missing Rock's nip up! Rock bowls him over with the spinebuster...and here's the People's Elbow! Guerrero's not legal but Chioda counts anyway - 1, 2, Benoit breaks it up just in time! Benoit pulls Rock all the way outside - elbow - dropped on the commentators' table - into the ringpost. Rolled back in - cover - 1, 2, Rock shoots the shoulder up. Benoit measures a kick. Kick to the ribs. Another kick, same place. Kick. "Rock E!" Kick, kick, kick. Tag to Guerrero - HE kicks the ribs - shoulder in the ribg, shoudler, shoulder, snapmares him over, cover, 1, 2, kickout. Guerrero has a spring in his step - stomp. Kicks the ribs. Right is blocked - Rock right, right, right, off the ropes, but eats a BEAUTIFUL dropkick! Tag to Benoit who covers - 1, 2, no. Benoit with a right hand. Into the kick in the gut - another kick to the ribs. Into the ropes, buries the knee and Rock flips. Benoit shoves Edge off the canvas - and locks in the crossface on Rock! Rock makes the bug eyes! Rock slowly inches to the side...and grabs the bottom...no, he's out - also, Guerrero is pulling the bottom rope out of reach! Arm falls once - arm falls twice - arm does not fall thrice! Rock gets the second wind and, after Chioda tells Guerrero to get off the rope, DOES grab it. Hold broken (station identification), Benoit stomps the head, pulls him to the centre and AGAIN applies the crossface! But this time, Edge is back up - hits the ring and stomps on Benoit to break it up - Guerrero in and Edge forearms him - Benoit shoves Edge to the outside and he's down again. Stomp. Tag to Guerrero - cover - 1, 2, no. Scoop...and a slam. Guerrero's feelin' froggy - goes up top...but Edge sweeps out the leg and Guerrero crashes and burns on the mat! Now we have two men down and two men wanting to tag...Guerrero grabs Rock's ankle...but Rock dives and makes the tag! Edge with the clothesline! Clothesline! Benoit gets one as well! Guerrero into the ropes, big back body drop! Half nelson faceplant! Benoit gets a gutshot, put into the corner and Edge gives him the shoulder - over to Guerrero but he sidesteps the shoulder - Edge stops himself before the ringpost, gutshot for Guerrero, Edgecution! 1, 2, Benoit saves! Rock is back up and on Benoit - right, right, right, right, right, right, into the ...no, pulled back into Rock Bottom! Edge spears Guerrero - and covers - 1, 2, 3! (11:46) But now KING BROCK LESNAR is in...and here's a big, big staredown. Rock wants Edge to leave the ring ("I got him") ...and he complies. Words are exchanged - Rock asks for what we hope is the final time for him to Just Bring It - and here we go! Lesnar winds up but it's blocked - Rock right, right, right, Lesnar knee! In the corner, shoulder, shoulder, shoulder, shoulder, shoulder, shoulder, shoulder! Rock clutches his ribs. Lesnar wants to get a running start...but Rock suddenly pops up with no problem - right, right, right, right, right, right, right, right, NOW KISS THAT RIGHT and Lesnar goes over the top to the floor! PAUL HEY, MAN is at ringside and pulls Lesnar back - that'll be it for tonight. Play Rock's music! Credits are up and Lesnar wants da belt! COLE CAN'T WAIT FOR SUMMERSLAM! AND NEITHER CAN YOU!!!


Hey, you know what would be neat? Brock wins when the ref has to stop the match.


Summer Slam 02 - Long Island, NY - Nassau Coliseum - August 25, 2002 (sell out)

Pay-per-view bouts

Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) pinned WWE World Champion the Rock to win the title at 15:49 by blocking the Rock Bottom and hitting the F5; at about the 12-minute mark, the champion hit the Rock Bottom on Heyman through the Spanish announce table; Rock was noticably booed in the match (Rock's last appearance for 4 months) (Brock Lesnar: Here Comes the Pain, The History of the WWE Heavyweight Championship)


WWE @ New York City, NY - Madison Square Garden - August 26, 2002


Triple H pinned the Undertaker after Brock Lesnar interfered and hit Taker in the face with the world title belt; due to pre-match stipulations, Triple H became the #1 contender to the world title


TRIPLE H v. THE AWESOME UNDERTAKER (Houston, Texas - 328 pounds - on His Beautiful Bourget Python Bike) in a #1 Contender's match

referee: EARL HEBNER

Taker actually mistimes one of his turns and ends up running into the barricade - oops. No sooner has he parked his bike but H flies in with a forearm - right, right, into the ringpost. Taker rammed into the adjacent ringpost - and clotheslined over the barricade. H brings him back over - then rams him into the barricade again. Right hand, right, right, right, right, rolled in the ring, and ring the bell! Gutshot, wants the Pedigree but Taker is out and clotheslines him down. Taker with a back elbow in the corner, soupbone, soupbone, soupbone, scares off Hebner, whip into the ropes is reversed, Taker ducks, Taker with a flying clothesline. Taker off the ropes with a big legdrop - 1, 2, no. That move NEVER works! Arm wringer - shoulder drive puts H down but Taker holds onto the arm. Another turn on the arm wringer - then goes to the corner for Old School. Pounds the elbow - cover - 2. H put into the ropes, head down, H kicks - but Taker grabs the choke! But H pokes the eye and that's it for that idea...H right, Taker reverses the whip and rings H's bell. Soupbone! Into the opposite corner - scooped up on the shoulder - Snake Eyes! But H is still up and connects with the high knee as Taker tries to follow up. H manages to toss Taker through the ropes to the floor. H out after him - right hand. Whip into the STEEL steps (magically put back into place when we weren't looking). Right, right, right, right, right. H rolls in to break the count (ha) and rolls back out. Taker's head meets the STEEL steps again - and again. Right hand. H rolls in and out. Taker put back in the ring - H with a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Right, right, right, right right right right right. Elbowdrop. Press - 2. Taker manages a soupbone in the gut - left - soupbone left soupbone left, uppercut - soupbone, into the ropes, reversed, H puts on the sleeper. Man, somebody wake this crowd up! Taker drops to a knee. Taker grabs the hair but Hebner stops that. Taker down to a sit. Taker pops H with four of five soupbones until the hold is broken - Taker with "Iblockyourpunchyoudon'tblockmysoupbone," soupbone, soupbone, into the ropes, H comes back with the facebuster - 1, 2, no! H climbs on Taker's back and applies another sleeper. Taker reaches back...but can't do anything. Taker is fading fast - well, maybe not, he's back on his feet and grabs the waistlock - then throws him off with a suplex, breaking the hold. Both men are down - Hebner starts the count but they're both back up at 4. H right, Taker soupbone. H right, Taker soupbone. H right, Taker soupbone, soupbone, aaaaaaand a soupbone. H back with a knee. Off the ropes, but Taker is there with a clothesline. 1, 2, no. Head to the buckle by Taker, into the oppostie corner, elbow up by Triple H. Taker's head meets the buckle - no sale! Taker switches positions, but unfortunately Hebner ends up getting squashed (aw GEEZ). Back elbow to H (and Hebner) - whip out - and back into the corner (and Hebner). Taker with the big boot and start the screwiness. Taker makes the international sign of the chokeslam - grabs the choke - picks him up - and chokeslams him down! Here come KING BROCK LESNAR & IT'S ALL ABOUT PAUL - Taker meets Lesnar on the apron with a soupbone, and down he goes - wow, that was almost TOO easy - of course, when Taker turns back, H gives him an uppernut. Pedigree coming up - no, Taker with a backdrop! Lesnar in the ring again and Taker is brained with the Undisputed championship belt. Lesnar heads back to the aisle as H crawls over to drape an arm on Taker. 1, 2, 3. (8:36) I think I'll go watch WrestleMania 17 again.



WWE @ Uncasville, CT - Moehgan Sun Hotel & Casino - August 27, 2002


WWE World Champion Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) pinned Matt Hardy in a non-title match by blocking the Twist of Fate and hitting the F5

The Undertaker defeated Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle by pinning Benoit with the powerbomb; due to prematch stipulations, the Undertaker became the #1 contender to the world title (Taker's surprise debut on Smackdown!)


WWE @ Milwaukee, WI - Bradley Center - September 2, 2002

Raw - included Eric Bischoff awarding Triple H with the Raw brand-exclusive world heavyweight title since Stephanie McMahon made WWE World Champion Brock Lesnar exclusive to Smackdown!


THE WIFESWAPPER kicks if off, as he so often seems to these days. Maybe *that's* why this show always seems worse than the other one...naaah. "You know...Brock Lesnar likes to refer to himself as the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World, but ever since my competitor persuaded him to become exclusive SmackDown! property, I would say that that title is very, very disputed. And you know what - you fans in this arena who I love SO much...and fans from around the world deserve BETTER than that, dammit! You people deserve your OWN world champion! Exclusive to RAW, the #1 brand in the history, mind you, of sports entertainment...now Stephanie McMahon, she can refer to The Undertaker as the #1 Contender if she chooses, and that's fine, that's her prerogative, and she can have her match with The Undertaker and Brock Lesnar at Unforgiven - that's fine, because the world knows who the REAL #1 Contender is, don't you. That's right - he's the man that proved and convinced The Undertaker, right here on RAW, that it's much better to jump to SmackDown! and be a big fish in a little pond than it is to swim with the sharks on RAW. Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce to you the REAL #1 Contender...TRIPLLLLLLLLLE H!" We are sadly denied the introduction of H's new "no foreplay" T shirt as H comes out in black polo shirt, slacks, nice shoes and belt. "You know, Eric, there's one thing you forgot to mention and that's the fact as to *why* Brock Lesnar left RAW to go to SmackDown! Let's face it - the reason Brock Lesnar LEFT...is me. Brock Lesnar knows that he doesn't belong in the same ring with me. Brock Lesnar knows that he can't hang with me in this ring. As a matter of fact, Brock Lesnar doesn't belong speaking my name. And the fact is, that the second I beat The Undertaker to become the #1 Contender, Brock Lesnar knew that his days as champion were numbered - so he took his belt, and he ran with his tail between his legs. You see, Eric, as it turns out, the Next Big Thing has no (balls)." "You know what, Triple H, you and I definitely are on the same page, man I agree with you a hundred percent. And, that's what I've always said about you, you know what I mean - you say what's on your mind - I mean, that's what I said when I first got here, if I would have been able to sign you to Nitro way back when, hell, I would - I KNOW we would have won the Monday night wars. No doubt in my mind. I mean, you kick ass - man, you- you- you- you just take control of the situation, you've been kickin' ass here in WWE longer than...than almost anybody! Your accolades here in the WWE are, are unbelievable, but you know what? They're about to become even bigger." Bischoff goes for his briefcase, and opens it to reveal...the Big Gold Belt. "Triple H - you may recognise this world championship, because you were the last man to officially wear it. It's been worn by some of the greatest champions in the history of this industry - and now, Triple H, it will be again - because ladies and gentlemen, your NEW WORLD CHAMPION...TRIPLLLLLLLLLLLLLE H!" H takes the belt and scales a corner - or two. Eep. "You know, Eric...a lotta guys have come out here and they'd say 'you know, God, what an honour but I really don't deserve this...' But then again, I'm not a lotta guys, am I. 'cause the fact is, YOU know it, I know it, and every single one of these people know it...that NOBODY deserves to be the World Champion more than me. NOBODY should be THE World's Heavyweight Champion more than The Game. And you know, Eric...I gotta hand it to you - you are a much better judge of talent than my ex-wife it. So let me tell you this, as your NEW World - no, hold on--" But instead, at this point RIC FLAIR makes an entrance. "Hey - like everyone else, if Lesnar refused to wrestle on RAW, the title he's wearing is most definitely disputed. And I think that the biggest wrestling company in the world, I'm talkin' about RAW, your company, deserves to have its own world champion. And you know what, Eric - I'm even inclined to go with - so far as to say as you may BE the man - after all, you wore this, you're the first, you wore it, you defended it, and everybody says now Triple H is the man - I got no problem with that. The problem I have is that you wore it once, I wore it sixteen times. And nobody gift-wrapped it, brought it out here in a gold Haliburton, and gave it to me - I won it right here by bustin' my ass, right in the middle of this ring. Bled, woooo!, sweat, and paid the price of a wrestling lifetime - so what I'm sayin' to you, and to you is, I think you need... not to just put that over your shoulder tonight - you need to earn the right the right to wear it out that door." "Hey you know what? He may be on to something, for the first time in a long time you and I definitely agree. But this isn't like SmackDown!, we don't need some bogus series to determine who gets a shot, we're gonna make that match right here tonight. First time in history, mind you, here on RAW - Triple H, the World Champion faces the Nature Boy Ric Flair. What are you thinkin'?" "I think...that it would be an honour and a privlege." "And I think I'm probably the luckiest man to be in this squared circle to know that I'm gonna wrestle you as the first contender - I'm equally honoured." Flair offers the hand - H starts to stick out HIS hand but shakes Bischoff's hand instead. "Triple H - do that world championship proud - and Nature Boy Ric Flair, seventeen could be right around the corner for you, my friend. Good luck--" But as Flair shakes Bischoff's hand, Triple H decks Flair with a right, dropping him in the middle of the ring. Play his music! I tend to think they script segments like that just to rile up the tOA Crew.

And I didn't add that last sentence. :)



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Supposedly they were going to do another LOD/Disasters match for WM XIII that year but it never materialized, likely dealing with Hawk's issues, while DiBiase and IRS were supposed to face Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Sgt. Slaughter... a tag team that seemed to come about because WWF didn't know what else to do with them at that point.


Of course, we instead got DiBiase/IRS vs. Disasters and the Disasters doing a pretty awkward face turn. The match at WM VIII didn't have much heat as a result.


both of those matches were listed in WWF magazine for the mania 8 card


and I had completely forgot that Dibiase was feuding with Tito during this time. I was a die hard and I don't even think I knew they were programmed then. It sure as hell went nowhere


edit: the LOD/Disasters match was listed as a street fight

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