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Place to Be Podcast Episode 311: King of the Ring 2002

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In this episode of the Place to Be Podcast, Justin and Scott head into the Vintage Vault for King of the Ring 2002. They talk about Rob Van Dam, Chris Jericho, Brock Lesnar, Hulk Hogan, Triple H, Shawn Michaels and much more!






Question for the PWO readers - Is Hulk Hogan your first half 2002 MVP?

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To me, it kind of depends on what you're grading. Star power? Absolutely. He practically picks up where he left off, and damn if he doesn't RUN the field with that ball in 2002. He works a WIDE range of opponents with various styles in this time frame, and it makes for exciting & entertaining matches - even if they aren't exactly lighting up everyone's "star rating" system. I know I greatly enjoyed the miniature program with Angle, who would honestly probably be my top pick for MVP of these first six months.


Kurt put Edge on the map as a singles guy during this time. Their stuff was the best thing going on the SmackDown brand for awhile there. It contained plenty of comedy, but they kept it serious enough in the ring to produce some really strong, stellar matches together. I'd venture to say these were Edge's best matches that didn't hinge on gimmick work or specialty stipulations at every turn. Sure. They had the Cage Match - which was tremendous, by the way - but a lot of their stuff was strictly standard pro wrestling.


Angle was still on fire as a character AND an in-ring talent throughout this period. He could ham it up, like we saw in the head-shaving sequence. Or he could do straight ahead intensity, which we got with the thrown-together Kane feud. And look there. Still came up with a solid match in the end.


There's a reason Kurt was entrusted with making Rey Mysterio look like a star at SummerSlam. You couldn't ask for a better PPV intro. Plus, that Triple Threat with Taker and Rock pretty much set the stage & created a new template for how the next DECADE of Triple Threats would be worked.


I do feel sort of bad that a spot as HUGE as making Hulk Hogan (in the red and yellow, at that!) submit cleanly and freaking TAP OUT to the Ankle Lock is kind of a forgotten moment in time. It SHOULD be a much bigger deal. Even back then, I remember feeling like it was quickly swept aside and forgotten about. Angle got to mention it for a few weeks on television, and that was about it.

And that kind of brings me to the one thing that takes away from Hogan's run during this time. I feel like he was jobbed out entirely too often, too regularly towards the tail end of his run there. Don't get me wrong. I understand why it was done. I'm not even disagreeing with the concept or idea, actually. Just the approach they took with it and how he never really seemed to be presented the same during or afterwards. It's a fine line with superstars of his stature. Yes. They should give back. They should lose on their way out or even down. But once you start having them do it TOO much, it loses luster and value. It loses meaning and effectiveness.


I know everyone talks about Hulk losing to Brock and what a star-making deal that was. In my mind, Hulk had already been beaten down so much by that point, that it only mattered half as much. To me, the VISUAL of Lesnar leaving with a handprint of Hulk's smeared blood across his chest is what made that moment. The loss was almost a moot point. An afterthought. Hogan had already lost to half the SmackDown roster by that Fall. Hell, didn't the UnAmericans beat him in a few tags? It just became too much, too regularly.


But yeah. I'd give the MVP award to Angle over Hulk. Maybe that's just me. Maybe I'm overlooking someone else, as this comes completely off the top of my head and strictly off memory anyhow. :P


I'd like to hear other takes on it though.

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