Sunday, 22 September 2002

WWE Unforgiven 2002 - TV Review

A little later than the rest of the Internet, for the first time in ages, I will review a WWE pay-per-view. So here's my thoughts on "Unforgiven"

THE UN-AMERICANS v BOOKER T, GOLDUST, KANE & BUBBA RAY DUDLEY
Apart from a few blown segments, this match was highly enjoyable, even if it did include the overrated William Regal, who in my opinion is starting to give British wrestlers a bad name overseas. Regal's work really doesn't impress me anymore.

Back to the match. Even though this sort of anti-American gimmick has been done to death, it still works in this kind of match. Enjoyable spots included Booker's impression of D-Von Dudley, and a few others as well. It was fast paced and hard to keep a track of at times, but it worked as the Yanks beat the anti-Yanks, thanks to the big red machine.

CHRIS JERICHO v RIC FLAIR
Last month, Total Wrestling magazine ran an article saying Ric Flair should retire, because by continuing to wrestle he is destroying his legacy. I couldn't agree more. Watching Flair is becoming embarrassing. Sure, for his age, he's in great shape, but this dog has really had his day, and is it me, or is Flair's poor in-ring work dragging Jericho down as
well?

There was really nothing exceptional about this match, and the ending, in which Jericho reigned injury, luring Flair into a false sense of security so he could get him in the Walls of Jericho, well, you could see this coming a mile off. Not an enjoyable match, and at the end, I got the feeling that this feud would go on. Thankfully, events later in the evening would save my sanity a little.

EDDIE GUERRERO v EDGE
Whenever I see Latino Heat, I always wonder what might have been. If he hadn't returned to the WWE, he could have been facing the Zebra Kid for the WAW Cruiserweight title last April. I wonder if he regrets his decision.

Eddie's work always impresses me. I would rate him in the same bracket as Lance Storm as one of the most underrated stars in the WWE today. His work always seems so smooth, so seamless, as does that of his opponent.

After something of a quiet time in the previous match, the crowd seemed a bit more animated as Eddie unleashed his arsenal against the concussed Canadian, controlling him for the majority of the early parts of the match. Edge was sluggish at times until he hit a desperation blow, knocking the mullet man into the middle of next week. Latino Heat though, was soon back on the attack.

Edge fought back well, but the night belonged to Eddie, thanks to some help from a removed turnbuckle pad, and the exposed bolt underneath, and a great looking sunset flip-cum-powerbomb from the top rope.

In this writer's opinion, these two should be working up to main event level. The only thing stopping them could be the backstage politics we hear so much of. A shame, because I don't think I can hack too many more Undertaker main event matches.

ROSEY AND JAMAL v BILLY AND CHUCK
Billy and Chuck good guys? A few weeks ago, who would have thunk it?

I had heard much about the former Island Boys, so was eager to see them in their first actual televised match. Also, for the first time in, well, ever, Chuck Palumbo impressed me. He has come on leaps and bounds in the past few months.

While this wasn't a classic example of tag-team wrestling, it was good nonetheless, and thankfully Rosey and Jamal haven't been lumbered with a Headshrinkers-like gimmick. No cannibalism for them, thank god.

To the chagrin of the fans, their new blue eye boys didn't get the job done. Despite Billy Gunns's parade of finishers, he went down. Vinny's little princess would have to perform HLA.

TRIPLE H v ROB VAN DAM
It always bothers me when someone is given a title, rather than winning it in the ring. Okay, I know wrestling is a work, but you know what I mean.

RVD surprised me early on, by actually mat wrestling Triple H early on. Then he showed why he is the number one contender  - for the world water spitting championship, followed by more mat wrestling, very un-RVD-like. Thankfully he returned to form with some footwork shortly after.

Although I have been an RVD fan for years, my esteemed wrestling employer Lord Patrick of Fraryville always tells me his work is somewhat sloppy. Careful inspection of said work made me to agree with him. Some work was good, but others, well, you know what I mean.

The crowd were really up for this, probably because of who was in this match. Triple H, as always, played the perfect heel, even introducing us to his regular tag-team partner, Mr. Sledge H. Ammer, who tried to intervene, but failed. It was only when the man who is rapidly losing his legacy appeared, and turned heel in the process, did Mr. Ammer make any sort of impact, helping Mr. Game attain the win.

So is Mr Flair now hanging up his boots? I would advise him to seek a career in management, perhaps of one Mr. Helmsley. Let's hope he heeds my advice. Let's also hope that the aforementioned backstage politics don't stop Jean-Claude's namesake from staying at the main event level.

MOLLY HOLLY v TRISH STRATUS
Rumour has it that this match replaced the original Jamie Knoble v Rey Mysterio idea. While I am an fan of women's wrestling, and I do emphasise the word wrestling here, I would have loved to see everyone's favourite hick defend his Cruiserweight title, because it seems this title is hardly defended these days.

So as a replacement we were given Molly v Trish, part god-knows-what. Molly Holly is perhaps the most underrated women's champ in recent WWF/E history. It's a shame that this gimmick surrounding certain parts of her anatomy overshadow her in-ring work. Trish, meanwhile, has progressed well, from ringside eye candy to in-ring warrior.

Molly dominated the majority of the contest, showing how what a good wrestler she is. Trish pulled it off by executing a bulldog. Me think we'll see these two together again. A shame there's not many more good female grapplers in the WWE right now. Maybe Uncle Vinny should look towards good old Blighty for some more talent.

KURT ANGLE v CHRIS BENOIT
The match I was really looking forward to. As a fan of wrestling, and I again emphasise the word wrestling, I always look forward to a bout between two good technical wrestlers. Everyone knows I am a Benoit mark, and Angle always impresses. Thankfully, he didn't wear those tights with the "A" on the front. They just make him look like a bargain basement superhero.

Youngsters wanting to break into the business would do well to watch a tape of this match. Instead of jumping into that ring, wanting to learn swantons followed by moonsaults, they should try to follow the example of the Benoits and the Angles of this world, and learn how to wrestler. From the very beginning of this match, we saw something we very rarely see in a WWE ring these days - an actual wrestling match, and it made for a refreshing change. It was also refreshing to hear the fans cheer wrestling move countered by wrestling move, and cheer when a submission move was used. For me this was a definite match of the year candidate, even if the ending was a bit tame. But what the hell, this brought back good memories of Saturday afternoons in years gone by as Benoit secured the victory.

Next came the HLA/Stephanie segment. Well, seeing as I am reviewing the wrestling content of this show, and also by now, you should know what happened in this segment, I'll leave it at that.

BROCK LESNAR v THE UNDERTAKER
There was probably more hype surrounding this title match than the other title match, and perhaps this was justified, after all, this champion actually won the title. The next big thing has been impressive, even if his victims since we won the title a month ago haven't been so-called top notch contenders.

If truth be known, I've never really been a fan of big man v big man encounters, so it was with some trepidation that I approached this match, although I must say that the early exchanges, with the master showing the rookie a thing or two were entertaining, as we Lesnar's wrestling holds, showing that he is a lot more than just raging fury.

A slow, methodical match ensued, which I suppose was expected given the combatants. The high-flying component was supplied by Matt Hardy, even if his part in the proceedings didn't amount to much.

Overall, the match was okay, but the ending kind of sucked. Having taken three bumps, and having lost control of both monsters, we saw something we don't seem to see much of these days, a disqualification. The Internet smarks would have us believe the Dead Man was responsible for this, playing the game of backstage politics again.

So overall, Unforgiven was okay, but a bit of a letdown after the success of Summerslam. While Angle & Benoit provided the entertainment, the ending of the Lesnar/Take match spoiled things for more. An enjoyable show nonetheless.