WWE PPV Flashbacks: Judgment Day (5/19/02) - "Get the F Out"

Judgment Day
May 19, 2002
Gaylord Entertainment Center, Nashville, TN

Well another month has passed, and we continue the trend of major happenings in the company throughout 2002. This time, the change would be to the company as a whole, as on May 5, the company was renamed the WWE - standing for World Wrestling Entertainment. The change from the old WWF was the result of a trademark lawsuit lodged by the World Wildlife Fund, which obviously had the same initials. In the weeks and that followed, the company would air a series of memorable "Get the F" out vignettes. It was a weird change at the time, but obviously we all say WWE naturally these days. Anyway, here we are a few weeks later, and our main event was set up at Backlash, with the Undertaker challenging Undisputed Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan, much as he did all the way back at the 1990 Survivor Series. Also tonight, Triple H and Chris Jericho settle their heated rivalry inside Hell in a Cell, whilst Stone Cold continues to get on the nerves of Raw owner Ric Flair. Lets take a look back at Judgment Day. As always, please send your feedback to me on Twitter at @Mpmcc91 and spread the word about these reviews.

In true Judgment Day fashion we kick off the show with a creepy video package hyping the big matches of the evening. After the pyro in the arena we are welcomed by our announce team which is comprised of Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler like usual.

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

After kicking off the UK exclusive Insurrextion a few weeks ago, these two men open the show yet again here as their battle for the Intercontinental title wages on. Of course, Guerrero defeated RVD at Backlash to win the title fresh off his return to the company, and in the weeks since Van Dam has been attempting to get another shot at Latino Heat. It was a simple feud based around RVD wanting back his title, whilst Eddie would resort to cheating tactics to keep it around his waist. Its also the clash of the two men in the company who use a frog splash as their finisher. Anyway, after delivering a pretty good match at Backlash (and a decent enough one at Insurrextion, but who counts those shows anyway?), these two men deliver once again. RVD starts out building momentum for the early part of the match, providing us with some fast paced action with the crowd heavily behind Mr Monday Night. The tide would eventually turn though, as Eddie would seize the opening to cut the challenger off. He ends up going for a Frog Splash, but unlike at Backlash, RVD gets out of the way, much to the chagrin of the Intercontinental Champion. RVD doesn't have much greater luck himself though, as he misses a Five Star shortly afterwards. The match continues as both men recover and the crowd stay with them the whole way. In the end however it is Eddie Guerrero who walks out victorious as he counters Van Dam into a backslide and puts his feet on the ropes for the subsequent pin to score the cheap victory at 10:17. It was another very good showing by two of the studs in the Raw midcard at the time. Overall the match was more competitive that their Backlash affair, but in the end Eddie Guerrero emerged with the title yet again. This would lead to an awesome ladder match on Raw a few weeks later however, that was even better than their PPV matches and would see RVD finally win back the title. This was a really good feud that made both guys look better coming out of it, which is always the best possible outcome. With both men to go their separate ways by our next PPV, the question remains as to what is next for these two great competitors on the red show.
Grade: ***1/2

In the back, Smackdown owner Mr McMahon is joined by his assistant Stacy Keibler, spiritual minister Reverend D-Von, and Deacon Batista. Reverend D-Von is obviously the former D-Von Dudley who took on a preacher gimmick after being drafted to Smackdown and separated from Bubba. The Deacon is indeed the Batista we know today, fresh from his OVW call up. D-Von prays for Stacy in her upcoming match, as he and Batista will be in her corner.

WWE Women's Championship:
Trish Stratus (c) w/Bubba Ray Dudley vs Stacy Keibler w/Reverend D-Von & Deacon Batista

Alright, there's a fair bit to talk about here. First of all, we have a new Women's Champion, as Trish had regained the title from Jazz in a unique match on the Raw before this PPV that saw Trish team with Bubba Ray Dudley against Jazz and Steven Richards with the title being on the line. Bubba had started up a friendship with Stratus in the recent weeks as he had turned face after being drafted to Raw. With Trish being Women's Champion, she was able to appear on both shows. She would interrupt a swimsuit contest on Smackdown to the ire of Stacy to set this one up. Stacy had meanwhile become Mr McMahon's personal assistant after being powerbombed by Bubba Ray the night after WrestleMania. Due to her affiliation with McMahon, he's got his religious team out at ringside with Stacy (although D-Von does not yet have his awesome Reverend theme - its just a generic organ here). Bubba Ray comes out unannounced to even up the odds though. Now Trish has been slowly improving month by month since her push as the face of the division began late in 2001, but this match is quite the mess. A lot of that comes down to Stacy not really being known as an in-ring performer though, and Trish wasn't ready to carry anyone just yet. The focus is more on the Dudleys outside the ring anyway. Bubba gets into it verbally with Stacy at ringside during the match, but the ref gets worked up about this and tells him off. That allows Batista to come in and slam the Women's Champion, but by the time Stacy covers, Trish manages to kick out. Moments later the champion comes back and takes her opponent down for the three with a bulldog at a quick 2:54. It was kept short.
Grade: 1/4*

As the girls leave, Bubba wants to put any issues with D-Von to rest and offers him a handshake. Batista decks Bubba from behind though, which leads to the Deacon and the Reverend putting Bubba through a table and leaving ringside. Nothing would really come of this with the Dudleys being on separate brands, so it was more about establishing that they had gone their separate ways and D-Von was the ass.

We now go to the Raw office, where the now heel Ric Flair (more on that later) is chatting with Arn Anderson. Mr McMahon comes in and acts all nice whilst still conveying his dislike for Flair as they hug after trading words about Stone Cold. All of this would be for moot in a few weeks time.

Hardy Boyz vs Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman
The establishing of the Next Big Thing continues here as does his rivalry with the Hardy Boyz. Brock's rampage on Raw had continued in the weeks since our last review, however he would lose by disqualification to the Hardy Boyz in a handicap match the week before this PPV. That led to Paul Heyman issuing a challenge to the brothers from North Carolina to face Lesnar in a match at Judgment Day, with himself as his client's tag partner. Eager to get their hands on Heyman, the Hardyz accepted the challenge and the match was set. Brock still doesn't have his well known theme music yet as its just a generic tune. The Hardy Boyz get a good pop here, but their days as a team were numbered by now. Anyway, Brock does all the work for his team whilst Heyman stands on the apron as expected. Lesnar pretty much decimates his opponents until the popular team fight back briefly and go after Heyman. With Heyman taking a beating at the hands of the Hardy Boyz however, Brock comes back and catches Jeff with the F-5. Rather than go for the pin himself though, he tags in Heyman who scores the humiliating pinfall for he and Lesnar at 4:46. This was really just another showcase to establish Lesnar as an unstoppable force. His elevation would really kick into high gear over the summer. The Hardy Boyz on the other hand would team together for another month or so before setting out on their own.
Grade: *1/2

New backstage interviewer Mark Lloyd is now standing by with the newest member of the nWo, Booker T. His stint with the group would not last long. Lloyd asks why Flair named Booker as the new nWo member, but a random girl interrupts and starts flirting with Booker. She invites him to her hotel room. More on this later.

Up next we get a video package highlighting the issues between Ric Flair and Steve Austin since Flair became the boss on Raw back in March.

Steve Austin vs Ric Flair & Big Show
After weeks of animosity going back to the night Austin signed with Raw after stunning Ric Flair, the Nature Boy finally snapped a few weeks before this show. As I mentioned at Insurrextion, the Big Show had double crossed the Rattlesnake by joining up with the nWo during a tag match made by Flair. Show would explain his actions by blaming Austin for his lack of success, stating that when Austin had been on the shelf in 2000 he main evented Mania, whilst this year he was sitting around in WWF New York. Austin wanted payback and the following week Flair made a six man tag which saw Austin, Bradshaw and himself taking on the nWo. It was during that match that Austin would be the victim of another double cross, as Flair turned heel by smacking the Rattlesnake with a chair and making this handicap match for the PPV. Flair would not a member of the nWo but he would become loosely affiliated with them in the weeks that followed as he settled into the evil owner role. A week after his heel turn, Flair would let his power go to his head by challenging Hollywood Hulk Hogan for the Undisputed title but Austin would cost Flair the match. The next week Flair put Austin in a lumberjack match against the newest member of the nWo, which turned out to be Booker T as we just saw. Austin defeated his old rival, but the nWo would beat the Rattlesnake down to allow Flair to get the last laugh heading into the PPV. Now Austin is still majorly over but this would end up being his last PPV appearance for a number of months. We saw his frustration earlier in the year when he no-showed Raw following Mania, but shortly after this PPV he would walk out yet again, only this time he would not be seen for the remainder of the year. As far as this match goes, I didn't really see the need for Flair to go heel at this point, and its almost as though they just did it to rehash the Austin vs the boss storyline from the Attitude era. You already had a heel boss on Smackdown, and Flair was still fairly fresh in the face role. Nonetheless, he spends most of this match in the ring with Austin, tagging Show in for stints to do some damage with his power offence. The crowd rallied behind Austin as he fought back against the odds however. To continue to stick the numbers disadvantage to Stone Cold, X-Pac runs out only to cop a Stunner. Show suffers the same fate and Austin makes it a hat trick by pinning Flair after another Stunner at 15:36. The match was actually fine and fairly enjoyable. Flair and Show made a good team while Stone Cold still got the crowd behind him like nobody else. His absence would leave a huge void on Raw and in the company in general, but frustrations behind the scenes caused him to take the proverbial ball and go home. Obviously we'd see him back down the line, but it would be a while off. As a result of Austin's departure, this feud would abruptly end with Flair back to the face role in a manner of weeks. Meanwhile the nWo would get an unexpected change in leadership that we'll get into next time.
Grade: **3/4

Before the next match, we go to Michael Cole & Tazz up in the rafters. They are the Smackdown announce team at this point, but on PPVs they essentially hype up the big matches in the way the panels do today. They talk about the hair vs hair stipulation in the next match and throw to a video package about the Edge/Angle rivalry.

Hair vs Hair Match:
Edge vs Kurt Angle

The rivalry between these two men on Thursday nights continued following Kurt's victory over Edge at Backlash. In order to celebrate his victory, Kurt held a ceremony on Smackdown to debut his new T-shirt. Before he could unveil the shirt he was interrupted by Edge who basically said he was very excited about the new shirt. Angle went on to reveal it, but it was replaced by a shirt saying "I suck" in reference to the chants that followed Kurt around. Edge had switched the shirts before the ceremony and Kurt was furious. The two men would continue to go at it in the weeks that followed which led to the rematch being signed for Judgment Day. There was a catch however - with this feud based on one man humiliating another, the loser at Judgment Day would suffer the ultimate humiliation - he would have his head shaved. Of course, Kurt was going bald by this point so the result was fairly obvious, but it was an interesting stipulation heading in regardless. Once again we get a really good match between these guys on PPV, and its clear that Edge really benefited from this rivalry with Kurt. Kurt was already excellent but Edge really came into his own in 2002 as a singles performer and it would only continue from there. I don't think this match is quite as good as the excellent match these two had at Backlash, but its still right up there as far as quality in concerned. The action started out back and forth but we got a cool spot from Kurt as he delivered a belly to belly on Edge to the floor, which allowed the Olympic Gold Medallist to pick up the advantage. Angle unleashed his offence on his popular opponent, with Edge hanging in there and fighting back when he had the chance. As Edge regains momentum he goes for a Spear, but Kurt gets out of the way and the ref goes down instead. That led to Angle going for a chair only to get speared as well. With no ref, the match continued and the two guys subsequently countered out of each others finishers. Angle eventually connects with the Angle Slam but Edge kicks out, so he subsequently locks the young man from Toronto in the Ankle Lock. Rather than giving in though, Edge digs deep and counters out, kicking Kurt into the ropes and rolling him up to score the big win at 15:30. A really fun match between two of Smackdown's best performers at the time. And that says a lot considering how loaded the blue brand was in the early days. The antics do not end there however as Angle realises what the loss means. Edge subdues him with the Edgecution and takes him up to the barber chair. Before any shaving can commence though, Kurt comes to and runs off to the back. Moments later Edge gives chase. Good move to get further heat on Angle to build to later in the night.
Grade: ***3/4

We now cross to the local Marriott hotel where Booker T is with the girl from earlier. They get in bed but the girl says she likes to do it with the lights off. Booker obliges and the lights are turned off, only for a familiar voice to say he wants Booker to leave the nWo and come back to...Goldust". The lights are turned back on and Goldust is in the bed with the two which leads to Booker freaking out and running off with a shot of his ass as he leaves. This would start up a very successful odd couple duo which would subsequently cause Booker to turn face in the weeks that followed.

Back in the arena, Cole & Tazz give a rundown on the upcoming Hell in a Cell match before throwing us to a video package hyping it up.

Hell in a Cell Match:
Triple H vs Chris Jericho

With Triple H's Undisputed title reign coming to an abrupt end at Backlash, he now faces off against the man who he beat in the Mania main event, the first ever Undisputed Champion, Chris Jericho. This all started on the Smackdown after Backlash where Triple H demanded Mr McMahon give him a rematch against Hogan. Vince said that Jericho had never gotten his singles rematch though, so the two would face off for a future title match. Jericho would be victorious in that match as Triple H was distracted by the Undertaker's music. As a result, Jericho received his shot at Hogan the following week on Smackdown, but the Game would cost him the match. Mr McMahon was furious with Triple H and the following week placed him in a five on one handicap match that night. Triple H was beat down in that match and Vince subsequently announced that he would face Jericho inside Hell in a Cell at Judgment Day. Tensions would escalate heading into this show between the two superstars and later that night Triple H would go after Jericho with a sledgehammer only for Vince to intervene. Triple H instead went after Vince, but that allowed Jericho to nail the Game with a chair to take the momentum heading into this clash inside the devil's playground. Now I feel like this match is often forgotten about when it comes to Hell in a Cell matches, especially with another to take place later in the year. Its not quite at the level of some of the previous epics, but its still a very good match filled with blood and brutality, and in my opinion its the match of the night. These two men had an underwhelming match at WrestleMania (which to be fair had a lot to do with the way that card was structured) but this match more than makes up for what we got there. Also Jericho looked a lot better in the build heading into this match than he had at Mania now that he was out on his own rather than just Stephanie's bitch. The Triple H face run was still working as well despite the short title reign, and he gets a big pop from the crowd for his entrance. I think a lot of the reason this Cell match is overlooked is that it doesn't have a big bump like the Foley cell matches gone by. Instead of that though we get tons of brutality and weapons use which really puts over the hatred between these two men. They even bring out a ladder as they go back and forth trading offence. Now despite the lack of a big bump, we unfortunately do see a real injury as during a ref bump spot, Tim White is sent right into the cell wall from the apron and as a result completely messes up his shoulder. This would end the full time career as a referee for the Friendly Tap owner. Jericho beats on him some more which leads to officials coming down to take him out of the cell for medical attention. That gives Jericho the chance to lure Triple H outside of the cell and the action continues over by the announce area. Triple H DDT's Jericho through the Spanish table and gets out a barbed wire 2x4 to inflict more damage from there. Jericho retreats to the top of the cell and the two guys trade blows up there now. Jericho eventually locks in the Walls on the top of the cell as another ref climbs up. The Game doesn't submit though, as he fights out of the move and goes for an unsuccessful Pedigree attempt. Moments later he nails Jericho with the 2x4 though, and then follows with the Pedigree for the pin above the ring at 24:31. Triple H puts his rivalry with Y2J to bed with a decisive victory here and looks to get back into the title scene whilst Jericho will fall down the card a little over the next few months. A very good match though that is much better than its forgotten reputation would have you expecting. This blew Mania out of the water.
Grade: ****

Backstage Kurt Angle is attempting to get away from Edge so that he doesn't get his head shaved. He hides in the makeup area but Edge spots him and gives chase once again.

From there we cross to the World restaurant (formerly WWF New York) where Maven is on a date with Torrie Wilson. They share a cocktail as Torrie catches the rookie off guard with a sexual innuendo.

WWE Tag Team Championship:
Billy & Chuck (c) vs Rikishi & Rico

For the second month in a row, the tag title match serves as the filler to spell over the crowd before the main event. With Rico by their side as their fashion consultant, Billy & Chuck had continued their reign on Smackdown as the tag champs heading into this show. On the Smackdown before this event however, Rikishi defeated Rico in singles action which led to the champs complaining to Mr McMahon. Vince said he was disappointed in them for the loss, so he made them defend their titles at the PPV against Rikishi and a mystery partner. Of course, its announced just as the match is about to get under way that Rikishi's partner as chosen by McMahon is Rico himself, making this essentially a handicap match. Anyway, quick match here as Billy & Chuck start out double teaming Rikishi only for the big man to fight back and build momentum on his own. Rico attempts to interfere on the behalf of his champions despite being Rikishi's partner, but he accidentally kicks Chuck instead. Rikishi thrust kicks his partner moments later then drops the ass on Chuck for the pin at 3:50. Rikishi and Rico are the unlikely new WWE Tag Team Champions! Nothing special as far as the match is concerned, but the booking was pretty strange considering Billy & Chuck were essentially the only legit team around at the moment. Anyway, Rikishi celebrates with a dance, whilst Rico is angry that his team had lost the straps, only to take the other belt to the back with him behind their backs. The whole storyline would be dropped as Billy & Chuck would win back the titles in an elimination match thanks to Rico's assistance on Smackdown a week later, so I don't really see the point of the title change here. Rikishi wouldn't do much for the rest of the year.
Grade: *

Backstage Edge's pursuit of Kurt Angle continues. Kurt suckers him in and jumps him from behind though and brings him back out to the chair in the arena. He puts Edge in and it looks like Edge is going to get his head shaved instead. Edge fights back though and puts Kurt out in the chair with a sleeper hold. The shaving commences and the Kurt Angle look that we know today is born. Edge leads the crowd in a "Your Bald" chant to Kurt's theme. Fun stuff to blow the feud off.

We then go to some hype for the main event by Cole & Tazz in the rafters before going to a video package. Its up next.

Undisputed WWE Championship:
Hollywood Hulk Hogan (c) vs Undertaker

Our main event of the evening is a renewal of a rivalry from over a decade ago. The Undertaker and Hogan each hold one PPV victory over the other, but those were back in 1991. Now some will say that its ridiculous you'd have this main eventing a show in 2002 as a result, but the Hulkamania nostalgia had literally forced the company to put Hogan in the title scene, and Taker was doing some great heel work in this run. That doesn't mean the match is any good - just that the booking was logical. Of course, the Undertaker earned this title shot by defeating Austin in the controversial number one contender match against Austin at Backlash. He would have his first altercation with Hogan later that week on Smackdown, when the champion ran Big Evil off as he was assaulting Triple H. Taker was out for revenge though, and he would get that on the following episode of Raw. As Hogan was in action against William Regal, Taker made his way to the ring and busted Hogan open to deliver a message. The following week, Hogan showed that he wasn't intimidated by stealing the Undertaker's motorcycle, chasing Taker with it and ultimately destroying it with a truck. Taker would get some retribution on the last Raw heading into this PPV though as he laid Hogan out in the back and hog tied him to his new bike, dragging the champion all over the arena which brings us to our main event tonight. Taker no longer has "Rollin" as his entrance theme, as he comes out to the precursor of what would later be his great "Your gonna pay" theme. Big pop for Hogan as always. I liked the role he was in during this run - despite being champion here he wasn't being portrayed as the best guy in the business that easily fought off anyone - he was the old legend who just so happened to win the title to the delight of the fans. As I've said before and will probably say again in these reviews, 2002 is one of my favourite Hogan years just for how refreshing it was. This match is a bit of a low point though as its fairly slow and plodding. Taker has come a long way since dropping off in 2000/2001, but this was not one of his finer matches since the heel turn. Before the match begins, they whip each other with their belts (the actual ones - not the championship), but as referee Earl Hebner gets control we kick things off properly. The action goes to the outside fairly early on and its more brawling for the most part. Taker ends up on offence and he works over the champion's leg after taking a pretty impressive superplex from the Hulkster. Things really slow down here and the crowd lose their interest, and this is only amplified by a terrible chokeslam from Taker. Nonetheless, Hogan kicks out and starts Hulking up with the crowd getting back behind their hero from there. Hogan hits the legdrop but Taker shockingly kicks out! Not many people do that. Regardless, the match continues when out comes Mr McMahon, whom Hogan had laid out a few days prior on Smackdown. He distracts the ref as Hogan hits another legdrop, so Hogan goes after the boss and delivers a legdrop to him as well. Taker capitalises on the distraction though, whacking Hogan with a chair from behind and following up with a chokeslam for the win at 16:43. The nostalgia reign is over and the Undertaker is the new Undisputed Champion. As I said, it was a fairly slow match, especially when Taker was working on the leg, although it did pick up towards the end. It was also interesting to see Hogan/McMahon already being teased at this point. Undertaker would bring some stability to the title scene over the next few months after a few quick title reigns.
Grade: *3/4

This is a show I've always considered an enjoyable watch even if it is a bit of a mixed bag from a quality standpoint. A lot of that is due to this era being the period that I really became a die hard fan after watching through the Attitude era as a kid, but there's some pretty good stuff on this show despite the relatively dull main event (which at least was important in the sense of the title changing hands). The match of the night was that between Triple H and Jericho in the cell as they delivered a match that showed what they could really do, as opposed to their overshadowed main event at WrestleMania a few months prior. Likewise the Angle/Edge and Eddie/RVD matches were pretty good rematches from Backlash. 2002 was a very strange year as almost every month there seems to be a major change affecting the company. Going into next month's show it would be the loss of Stone Cold. Whilst he wasn't in the title scene he was still very much a key part of Raw, and the brand would suffer a little over the next month or so which would lead to some more interesting changes ahead. Overall Judgment Day is a mixed bag of a show, but its still a fun one to throw in.

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Triple H - match of the night performance as the Cerebral Assassin puts his rivalry with Jericho to bed in a bloody cell match.
2. Chris Jericho - like Triple H, he delivered his A game tonight and outperformed their Mania match which was considered a disappointment. Jericho would drop down the card a little from here but he did a good job on this show.
3. Edge - it was either going to be him or Kurt for another very good match, even if not quite as good as Backlash. Angle sold the haircut great as well, but I'm giving it to Edge as this feud really established him as he moved up the Smackdown ranks. Angle was already a big deal.

FINAL GRADE: 6.5 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 = 60
Mick Foley = 38
Kurt Angle = 30
Undertaker = 29
Chris Jericho = 29
Randy Savage = 28
Hulk Hogan = 24
Owen Hart = 21
X-Pac = 18
Chris Benoit = 16
Jeff Hardy = 16
Diesel = 15
Edge = 15
Matt Hardy = 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

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: @Mpmcc91. Thanks for reading!