WWE PPV Flashbacks: Insurrextion (5/4/02) - "Raw is London"

May 4, 2002
Wembley Arena, London, England

With the brand extension in full effect, normal PPVs would be productions of both Raw and Smackdown for the immediate future. With our usual trip to the UK however, we have the first single branded PPV in the history of the company, as this glorified house show only featured stars from the Raw roster. Later in the year, Rebellion would be a Smackdown exclusive event. This event is also notable for being the last ever PPV under the WWF umbrella. Prior to our next show the company would change names to that which we know it today. More on that next time. For now our main event is a match between Triple H and the Undertaker. While the Game was a Smackdown superstar at the time, it was said that this match was already signed back when he was still Undisputed Champion. You know the deal with these shows by now - nothing major going on or anything, but it will be an interesting look at whats going on on the red brand nonetheless. Behind the scenes of course, this tour was responsible for the infamous plane ride from hell that saw numerous inappropriate antics by a whole heap of the roster. Lets dive in. As always, please send your feedback to me on Twitter at @Mpmcc91 and spread the word about these reviews.

We kick things off with a generic video package to open the show, which is essentially just about the WWF being in the UK. Our announce team is the Raw broadcast duo of Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler.

WWF Intercontinental Championship:
Eddie Guerrero (c) vs Rob Van Dam

We kick the show off with a rematch from Backlash where the returning Eddie Guerrero bested Rob Van Dam to win the Intercontinental Championship. The feud would continue over the next few weeks heading into this show with RVD chasing Latino Heat for the gold, but we all know there's no chance he was getting it at this show. There's more chance of it happening on Raw than here. Regardless, the early part of this match sees the popular RVD gain momentum with his fast paced offence. The tide shifts when Eddie delivers a sunset flip however, and from there, in similar fashion to the Backlash match, the champion begins to work over his opponent, in this instance dissecting his leg. Eddie stays on the leg and uses it to cut off subsequent comeback attempts by the former champion, but Van Dam refuses to give in. RVD finally gets back into things with a thrust kick which leads into his usual spots, but Eddie manages to get out of the way of the Five Star. Despite managing to avoid it, Eddie gets pissed and grabs the title belt looking for the cheap way out. The ref takes it from him, but he shoves him anyway to get disqualified at 11:23. RVD wins the match but obviously not the title. For a throwaway show I don't have a problem with the booking here. It was a quick match to start the show with the popular Van Dam. The feud would continue over the I.C title so you had to keep RVD strong whilst keeping the title on Eddie. Fine for what it was, but not nearly as strong as their Backlash match. It wasn't meant to be though. After the match Eddie attacks his adversary, but Van Dam comes back and delivers the Five Star to the nefarious champion to the approval of the crowd. I enjoyed this feud as it gave both guys something important to battle over in the midcard.
Grade: **1/2

Backstage, Terri conducts an interview with Jazz & Molly Holly, who are in action next. Molly is disgusted by the way in which their opponents expose their bodies for the approval of the fans and the two vow to put an end to them.

Trish Stratus & Jacqueline vs Jazz & Molly Holly
Up next we have the divas division in action as the rivalry between Jazz and Trish over the gold spills into tag team action. Jazz is still the champion here and is therefore appearing on both shows, but her reign won't last much longer. Of course, Trish also has issues Molly, who cost her the title at Backlash by beating her down prior to her title match. Since turning heel, Molly had adopted a prudish character where she was offended by the way in which the face divas would flaunt their appearances, as I mentioned in the pre-match interview. Jacqueline is just in there to give Trish a partner, although the two have been on friendly terms since earlier in the year. As far as the match goes, its basically just TV filler. The heel divas jump Trish as the match gets under way and work over Jacqueline from there. Trish gets tagged in but her momentum is also cut off by her opponents leading to her being beaten down. Trish actually comes back and gets a visual pin on Jazz to continue that feud, but the referee is too busy dealing with Jacqueline to make the count. The match goes on but the faces take control with a hot tag to Jacqueline. From there she puts away Molly with a tornado DDT while Trish also disposes of Jazz with the Stratusfaction. Both cover and the faces get the win at 7:40. Just a basic match to continue Trish's chase of the title which she would get back on the next episode of Raw. Jazz had a decent reign as the dominant champion, but she'd take a back seat going forward for a bit.
Grade: *1/2

We now go backstage to X-Pac and Scott Hall of the nWo. X-Pac tells Hall he can stay in the back because he'll win on his own. He also says if he loses he'll never wrestle in England again. After he leaves, Hall wonders why you would ever want to wrestle in England again to begin with. This would basically be the end for Scott Hall's run with the company. His personal demons had caught up to him again and the plane ride from hell was the final strike leading to his release. X-Pac would stick around for a little bit longer.

Bradshaw vs X-Pac
This is just a continuation of Bradshaw's battles against the nWo after defeating Scott Hall at Backlash, but it wouldn't last much longer. With only the Raw brand being under the roof tonight, there's no Faarooq to back him up. X-Pac comes out alone as well, but he's still carrying Kane's mask around after the nWo took the Big Red Machine out shortly after the draft. Bradshaw starts this one out in control taking the fight to his opponent and dominates by virtue of his power advantage. X-Pac uses his brains to come back, unhooking the turnbuckle padding and sending the big Texan into it, busting him open in the process. Despite the setback, Bradshaw fights back into the match, but Scott Hall makes his way out to ringside. He hits Bradshaw with a pair of nunchucks as the referee is distracted, but Bradshaw kicks out of the subsequent pin. Bradshaw fights Hall off moments later with a Clothesline from Hell, but his momentum comes to a halt courtesy of a low blow and X-Factor by X-Pac to get the victory for the nWo at 8:47. This was a fairly basic match similar to the Hall/Bradshaw match at Backlash. The nWo had lost a lot of steam since Mania with Nash getting injured and now Hall's pending release. They'd try to revitalise it going forward, but it will fizzle out in a whimper as we'll see a few months down the line. As for Bradshaw, his big singles push wouldn't last much longer either as he'd move down to the Hardcore division soon enough before getting injured later in the year as well. While we'll see X-Pac again, I think this might actually be his last PPV match.
Grade: *1/2

We now send it to Jonathan Coachman, who is backstage with the Undertaker. He talks about beating down Hogan on Raw and promises to dish out the same kind of beating on Triple H later tonight.

WWF Hardcore Championship:
Steven Richards (c) vs Booker T

Its definitely been a busy time in the Hardcore division as far as champions are concerned since Maven lost and then regained the title back at WrestleMania. As I mentioned in the last review, Raven would defeat Maven on Smackdown shortly after Mania and drafted to Raw bringing the title with him, and since then, due to the operation of the 24/7 rule there's been a countless title changes since. I'm not going to list them all as they were even frequent on house shows at this point. I will say that since Raven lost the title we've seen Bubba Ray Dudley, William Regal, Goldust, Spike Dudley, Tommy Dreamer, Steven Richards, Justin Credible, Crash and Shawn Stasiak all having reigns with the gold - most not even lasting a whole day. Anyway, Steven Richards enters as champion here, who first won the title by pinning Bubba Ray during a title defence against Jazz on Raw before trading it back and forth on the house show circuit since. Booker T was entering tweener territory at this point. His face turn was in the works and he was getting cheered, but it wouldn't happen just yet. Of course, for this match he's basically the face by default. The match actually goes back and forth without interference which was surprising for the division, and they bring weapons such as kendo sticks and trash can lids into play. After some usual Hardcore title shenanigans, Booker gets the win at 11:26, pinning Richard following a Book End to win the Hardcore Championship. Thats only the beginning though as Crash runs out and rolls Booker up seconds later to become the new champion. As he's celebrating, Booker recovers and nails him with a Scissor Kick to win back the title seconds later. This brings out both Tommy Dreamer and Justin Credible who also want a chance to win the gold. Booker gets rid of them and celebrates with a Spinarooni, but all of a sudden Jazz comes back out and attacks him. She and Richards team up on Booker and end up putting him through a table with a Richards fist drop. The former Right to Censor leader covers and despite the shenanigans, Steven Richards leaves as the Hardcore Champion after all. This was standard for what the hardcore division was by 2002. The title would continue on for a few months but this would be the last time it made PPV. In the months that followed we would see future reigns by Bubba Ray Dudley, Raven, Justin Credible, Crash, Trish Stratus, Terri, Bradshaw, Shawn Stasiak, Spike Dudley, Christopher Nowinski, Big Show, Johnny Stamboli, Jeff Hardy and Tommy Dreamer, most of these changes being on house shows, but also on Raw. The title would be retired when future champion Tommy Dreamer lost a title unification match with future I.C champion, Rob Van Dam on Raw at the end of August. It was a title that fit the Attitude era, so it made sense to phase it out. There was only so much that could be done with it by this point.
Grade: **

We now go backstage to Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman. They are joined by Shawn Stasiak who has to team with them to face the Hardy Boyz. Heyman tells Stasiak to stay out of Brock's way and everything will be fine.

Hardy Boyz vs Brock Lesnar & Shawn Stasiak w/Paul Heyman
Since dispatching Jeff in his first actual match last month at Backlash, the Next Big Thing's issues with the Hardy Boyz continue now that they are back in action. As I mentioned at Backlash, Lita suffered a neck injury while filming Dark Angel and she would be out of action for over a year so she's nowhere to be seen. She'd end up commentating on Heat for a brief stint during her recovery, but thats a while off. Anyway, Stasiak was really just thrown into this to give Lesnar a partner. He was doing the Planet Stasiak gimmick and was essentially a delusional madman in the lower card. Despite Heyman's instructions to stay on the apron while Lesnar does the work, Stasiak rushes the ring to start this one and ends up getting his ass kicked by the Hardy Boyz. Anyway, after the Hardy Boyz double team Stasiak, Brock has enough though and attacks both his opponents as they go for Poetry in Motion to Stasiak. He tags himself in moments later and from there its Lesnar in control as it should be. He dissects Matt Hardy but rather than pinning him when he has the chance he wants to continue the punishment. This leads to Matt getting a burst of energy as he avoids a corner charge by the Next Big Thing. As Brock goes into the post, Stasiak decides to tag himself back in. Meanwhile Jeff gets the hot tag and we're back to Stasiak getting his ass handed to him. Jeff puts the delusional one away with a Twist of Fate and Swanton combo for the win at 6:54. It was fairly obvious that Stasiak was getting pinned here, as the Lesnar/Hardyz feud would continue. Stasiak was a glorified jobber by this point, and aside from some very brief Hardcore title reigns ahead he wouldn't do anything before being released later in the year. The match was fine for what it was supposed to do. Lesnar destroys the Hardy Boyz after the match with an F-5 each and then demolishes Stasiak with a powerbomb as well. Heyman told you not to get involved Shawn.
Grade: **

Up next we see footage of a Make a Wish event the company attended. Always good to see. Back in the arena, Jonathan Coachman gets a word with William Regal. He recently lost the European title and intends to get it back in his home country next.

WWF European Championship:
Spike Dudley (c) vs William Regal

What would a UK exclusive PPV be without the European Championship being defended? The last time we saw this belt on PPV was back at Mania, where DDP succesfully retained his championship against Christian. His reign would not last long though, as he would lose it later in the week to William Regal, fresh off his own I.C title loss. Regal was subsequently drafted to Raw making the title exclusive to the red brand. Regal would have a fairly short reign though as he was defeated by Spike Dudley in an upset a few weeks later on Raw, thanks to Spike using Regal's brass knucks to his own advantage. Hence the UK born former champion looks to regain the title tonight. Despite being the heel, the crowd is obviously behind Regal for this one. Its England, its going to happen. The match here was pretty quick, with Spike getting some early offence until he hurts his ankle off a Dudley Dog attempt. A trainer comes out and cuts off the champ's boot, but Regal shoves him aside and goes to work on the injury. Regal foregoes a pin opportunity to continue his assault on the man that embarassed him weeks prior, but out of nowhere Spike rolls him up for a three count to retain the title at 4:56. Spike is still the European Champion but Regal decks him with the brass knucks after the match to the approval of the crowd. I probably would have just had Regal win here for the UK fans, since he'd end up beating Spike on the next episode of Raw anyway. I do understand wanting the title change on a show that everyone watched though. This obviously wasn't much of a match.
Grade: 1/2*

We now get a video package looking at the recent heel turn of the Big Show in the mix of the Austin/Flair issues.

Steve Austin vs Big Show
Special Guest Outside Referee: Ric Flair

With Flair as the outside referee for this one, this goes back to Backlash where he counted Austin's shoulders down in a number one contender match without seeing the Rattlesnake's foot on the ropes. Austin was livid that he felt he had been screwed by Flair, so in an attempt to make peace, the owner of Raw put Austin in a tag match with the Big Show against the nWo to give him a chance to take out his frustrations. During that match however, Big Show double crossed Austin and joined the nWo as their newest member by giving the Rattlesnake a beat down. Flair claimed to have nothing to do with Show's actions, so here its about Austin wanting retribution on Show. Flair wanted to referee this match to keep the rest of the nWo from getting involved, although it was clear where this was eventually going. Despite his issues behind the scenes, Austin remains one of, if not the, most popular guy in the company and gets a big pop from the crowd. Its also nice to see Big Show actually involved in something with a bit of direction after doing a whole lot of nothing for what seems an eternity now, but we'll see if that keeps up. The match starts out with him utilisi his power advantage against Austin, but Stone Cold goes low to turn the tide. From there the match goes back and forth between Show dominating the Rattlesnake and Austin getting his brief comebacks. The proper ref gets taken out eventually and Austin hits a Stunner on Show. Flair comes in to make the count instead, but this is stopped by Hall & X-Pac who pull the boss out of the ring. Flair sends them to the back when Kevin Nash sneaks through the crowd only to take a Sunner from Stone Cold. Austin then hits Show with two consecutive Stunners as Flair returns to count the three at 16:00. Afterwards Flair wants to drink a beer with Austin and let by gones be by gones. Austin accepts the gesture and the two drink some cold ones, but of course, the Rattlesnake strikes and leaves his boss laying with a Stunner. The crowd were into this whole thing with Austin being involved, but the match really dragged on too long for the second month in a row for a Stone Cold match. The Austin/Flair storyline would take a turn in the coming weeks but for now Austin stands tall.
Grade: **

Its now time for our main event and we get a recap of the Triple H/Taker rivalry to set the stage.

Triple H vs Undertaker
Our main event is an interpromotional match as Triple H is a member of the Smackdown roster after losing the Undisputed title to Hogan at Backlash. Meanwhile the Undertaker is the number one contender to Hogan's title and cost Triple H the championship in the aforementioned title match. With both guys being on separate shows thats about all the build there is to this one, but then again this is just your average house show on a bigger stage. It feels like a big match though, as they were basically the top contenders on their respective shows at this point. It starts with some back and forth but the Game cuts off an Old School attempt by Big Evil by yanking him off the ropes. From there we get a brawl on the outside before returning to the ring where Taker targets the surgically repaired leg of the Game. Good continuity there. Triple H comes back and the rope actually breaks but the match continues on with the Game now on offence. Taker attempts a chokeslam but the Game counters into a DDT and sets up for the Pedigree instead, only for Taker to come back with the chokeslam after all. Instead of going for the win though, Taker grabs a chair and wants to beat some respect into Triple H. That proves to be a mistake as Trips knees it into his face and the match continues. The match continues with some back and forth but in the end Triple H catches the American Bad Ass with the Pedigree for the win, sending the crowd home happy at 14:29. Taker recovers after the match and stares down Triple H, but nothing comes of it and the Game poses to end the show. This was a fairly non-descript match, but that can basically be said about this whole show in general. It was a decent match between two big stars which is all you can ask for on these UK exclusives. Both guys were involved in different feuds at this point, as the Undertaker had his sights set on Hogan's Undisputed title, whilst the Game looked to renew a rivalry from earlier in the year going forward.
Grade: **3/4

As expected by this point in the game with these UK specials, there was nothing special about this show. Its a glorified house show which you probably expected me to say before you even read this review. From an in-ring standpoint there wasn't much to get excited about here, with the main event and opener being decent, but the rest not really being very interesting. Post-brand split, Smackdown was the better show in the beginning, and it shows with the roster on display here. The main event wasn't even exclusive to the brand, as basically all Raw had going for it at the moment was Taker as the number one contender and the Austin/Flair/nWo storyline which would abruptly end for reasons to be covered next time. This is fine as a show just to throw in and kill some time with, but don't go in expecting anything.

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Triple H - solid win to end the show on a happy note.
2. Undertaker - best match on the show by default as the number one contender heads for his showdown with the Undisputed champion later in the month.
3. Eddie Guerrero - didn't get the chance to give him an award on the last show, but with less to pick from here its great to see Latino Heat back and better than ever.

FINAL GRADE: 2.5 out of 10


What I do here is add the three stars of the night with each review so as to keep track of who we can say overall is the greatest PPV performer to any given time. First place scores 3 points, second 2 and third 1.

Steve Austin = 111

Bret Hart = 83
Shawn Michaels = 67

The Rock = 64

Triple H = 57
Mick Foley = 38

Kurt Angle = 30

Undertaker = 29
Randy Savage = 28

Chris Jericho = 27

Hulk Hogan = 24
Owen Hart = 21
X-Pac = 18

Chris Benoit = 16

Jeff Hardy = 16
Diesel = 15

Matt Hardy = 14

Edge = 14
Ultimate Warrior = 13
Vader = 13
British Bulldog = 12

Christian = 12
Ted DiBiase = 10
Razor Ramon = 10
Vince McMahon = 10
Ric Flair = 8
Jim Neidhart = 7

Bubba Ray Dudley = 7
D-Von Dudley = 7
Jerry Lawler = 6
Dynamite Kid = 5
Arn Anderson = 5
Roddy Piper = 5
Mr Perfect = 5
Marty Jannetty = 5
Bob Backlund = 5

Shane McMahon = 5

Rob Van Dam = 5
Ricky Steamboat = 4
Ax = 4
Smash = 4
Bobby Heenan = 4
D?Lo Brown = 4

Rikishi = 4

Kane = 4
Greg Valentine = 3
Tully Blanchard = 3
Tanaka = 3
Bam Bam Bigelow = 3
Sato = 3
Jake Roberts = 3
Hakushi = 3
Yokozuna = 3
Savio Vega = 3
Ken Shamrock = 3
Chyna = 3
Brutus Beefcake = 2
Paul Orndorff = 2
Andre the Giant = 2
Rick Rude = 2
Sgt Slaughter = 2
Jeff Jarrett = 2
Jesse Ventura = 1
Texas Tornado = 1
Tito Santana = 1
Virgil = 1
Scott Steiner = 1
Rick Steiner = 1
Lex Luger = 1
The Roadie = 1
Billy Gunn = 1
Bart Gunn = 1
Marc Mero = 1
Flash Funk = 1
Animal = 1
Hawk = 1
Taka Michinoku = 1
Test = 1
Big Show = 1
Dean Malenko = 1
Scotty 2 Hotty = 1

Rhyno = 1

Eddie Guerrero = 1

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