The SmarK Rant for WWE Rebellion 2002 – 10.27.02
By Scott Keith on 27th October 2023
The SmarK Retro Rant for WWE Rebellion 2002
(originally written for Inside Pulse sometime in 2005)
– If you’re like me, and who wouldn’t want to be, sometimes you’re scanning through your collection of wrestling DVDs and you suddenly go “When the HELL did I buy that?” Such was the case last night, as I was looking for something totally unrelated and I happened to notice that I bought both editions of the UK-only PPV Rebellion from 2002, which would have been close to three years ago now, and both of them promptly went onto my shelf and never got unwatched. I also have the “Global Warning Tour” from Australia, apparently, and I haven’t watched that one either. Weird how stuff like that works out. Anyway, I’ve been jonesing for Brock Lesnar lately, so I figured this one was as good a place as any to start.
– Live from Manchester, England.
– Your hosts are Michael Cole and Tazz.
– This is taking place just after No Mercy 2002, and is the first-ever Smackdown-only PPV for you trivia buffs out there.
– Opening match: Booker T v. Matt Hardy. Well, it’s “Smackdown only” except for Booker T, who is on loan from RAW for this match. Love how they shoot down their own concept in the first match. Overseas Matt Fact: He loves English muffins. Weak. An extended test of strength comedy spot wastes some time to start before Booker gets a series of clotheslines and Matt bails. Back in, a quick rollup gets two for Matt. Booker teases a kick and Matt bails again, taking over on the way back in with a hotshot. The crowd is certainly fired up tonight, even for filler like this. Matt gets a neckbreaker for two. Mucho choko follows. Booker comes back with the rollup out of the corner for two, but Matt gets the Side Effect for two. Neckbreaker gets two. Chinlocks are liberally sprinkled throughout this before Booker comes back with the spinebuster and they slug it out. Booker gets two off that and then another two count with a leg lariat. Matt tries for the yodelling legdrop, but it misses and Booker gets two off a missile dropkick. Matt tries the Twist of Fate, but the Bookend counters for two. Twist of Fate gets two. Another try is countered to the axe kick, and that finishes for Booker at 11:57. Started goofy, but it built well into a worthwhile opener. **3/4
– Dawn Marie & John Cena v. Torrie Wilson & Billy Kidman. This was more focused on the epic Torrie v. Dawn feud over Al Wilson than anything involving the side-feud with fractured tag team of Kidman and Cena. Cena in fact was little more than a “rookie sensation” at this point, which is of course code for “Jobber until we can figure out what to do with him”. Cena punks out Kidman to start, and hotshots him to take over. Delayed suplex is reversed to a rollup by Kidman for two, however. Dawn Marie comes in, but gets the dreaded spanking from Torrie. Bad wrestling follows and we’ll skip over it. Dawn gets a carpet muncher for two and they do the silly catfight spot, but Cena sneaks in a devastating bodyslam on Torrie, but she goes low and makes the hot tag to Kidman. He makes the mistake of going after Dawn, however, allowing Cena to clothesline him for two. Kidman comes back with a bulldog for two. The girls get lost, thankfully, and Kidman gets the enzuigiri to set up the Shooting Star Press to finish at 5:20. It missed by a mile, but I can overlook that because it was hardly the worst attempted wrestling move of the match. 1/2* Torrie and Kidman make out on-screen to celebrate, which I believe was the one and only time their relationship was acknowledged in any way.
– Crash Holly v. Funaki. Speaking of bad comedy, I don’t forsee much out of this one. Headlock exchange to start, before the cheap comedy starts, as Crash stops to don a Japanese headband. He of course gets beat up for that. Funaki gets a rollup for two, so Crash bails and gets a cheapshot to take over. Cross body gets two, sideslam gets two. We hit the chinlock, but Funaki cradles for two. Crash clotheslines him down again and whips him into the corner, but a blind charge misses and Funaki bulldogs him for two. Seated dropkick gets two. Clothesline gets two. They trade rollups and Funaki blocks La Majastral for the pin at 5:37. Typical house show match. 1/2*
– Cruiserweight title: Jamie Noble v. Rey Mysterio v. Tajiri. This is elimination rules, back from when Jamie Noble was still a significant threat to, well, anyone. Noble attacks both guys, but Rey dumps him and Tajiri and follows with a plancha. That gets two. Rey gets the bulldog on Tajiri for two, but Noble gets a northern lights suplex for two. Tajiri takes over and dropkicks Noble in the Tree of Woe, then gets the Tarantula on Rey. He goes for the big kick, but Noble ducks it and finishes him with the Tiger Bomb at 2:47. Not much point in having Tajiri in there, was there? Rey counters a powerbomb for two, and goes up, only to land in a Noble powerbomb that gets two. Noble sends him into the post, allowing Nidia to add a cheapshot. Noble goes to work on the arm, adding a hammerlock and rolling through a snapmare to hang on. It turns into a wristlock, and a clothesline gets two. Hammerlocked northern lights suplex gets two, and Noble goes back to the armbar. Rey fights back and reverses an electric chair into a tornado DDT, and it’s comeback time. Drop the Dime gets two. Bombs Away gets two. Noble comes back with a Falcon Arrow for two. Rey gets a sunset flip bomb, but Nidia is distracting the ref, perhaps by telling him conspiracy theories about how all the Tough Enough winners would get fired one by one. When the ref dismisses that as crazy talk, she gets more direct and trips Rey up, allowing Noble to get the Tiger Bomb for two. Rey tries a victory roll, but Noble blocks for the pin to retain at 12:30. Boy, Noble v. Mysterio was really hinting at some great stuff before Noble and Nidia both got canned. ***1/4
– Chuck Palumbo & Val Venis v. D-Von & Ron Simmons. Once again, my theory about WWE and black wrestlers rears its ugly head, as all black wrestlers must either feud or team up at some point in their tenure. This was the last-ditch attempt to push D-Von as something other than a Dudley Boy before giving up and making him a Dudley Boy again, as we all knew they would. The heels attack to start and Simmons powerslams Chuck for two. Val quickly tags in and gets what looks like a comeback, hitting D-Von with a butterfly suplex until Simmons catches him with a MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER. So Val is pornstar in peril. Simmons pounds him down and hits the chinlock, but Val makes the lukewarm tag to Chuckie P. It’s BONZO GONZO and Chuck hits Ron with a belly to belly and superkicks D-Von for two. D-Von cradles him for the pin at 4:03, an anticlimactic finish if ever there was one. 1/2*
– Kiss My Ass match: Rikishi v. Albert. Albert lets us know that he’s “wicked sexy” in his pre-match promo. So for those wondering why he never got mic time, wonder no more. Power match to start, but Albert runs away from Rikishi’s deadly ass. When you have to type that sentence, it’s not going to be a good match. Test of strength and they trade headbutts, but Albert actually wins that one. He undoes the turnbuckle and whips Rikishi into it, then follows with an avalanche for two. And we hit the chinlock, although Albert uses the ropes to redeem it somewhat. Double clothesline and they slug it out, as Rikishi comes back with a samoan drop and DDT for two. Albert boots him down for two. Albert misses a blind charge, right into his own exposed turnbuckle (with the irony helpfully pointed out by Michael Cole — oh, see, now I’m being ironic, too, just like Albert’s turnbuckle) and it’s Big Fat Butt Splash time at 7:13 to finish. Albert actually seemed, god help us, motivated here, but Rikishi hasn’t been since 2000. *
– Smackdown tag team titles: Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit v. Eddie Guerrero & Chavo Guerrero. To say that the crowd is rabidly behind the champs is an understatement. The promo a few matches ago cut by Los Guerreros pretty much ensured that no one would cheer for them anyway, although it was so over-the-top hilarious that I was thinking it might have turned them face by accident. Angle starts with Eddie, who quickly tags out. Angle takes Chavo down with a headlock and cleans house, then tags Benoit in with malice. So we get Benoit v. Eddie, as they exchange headlocks, but Benoit gets the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and whips Eddie into the corner. Eddie tries milking the injury, but Benoit’s in no mood for that, and brings Angle right back in to put the boots to Eddie. They really dropped the ball with the Benoit-Angle feud, as they did a strong build to the breakup of the team, totally forgot about them while Angle won the World title from Big Show without Benoit’s involvement, and then dragged Benoit back into the mix for the Royal Rumble MOTY. If they had kept some internal consistency with the feud by stretching it out until the Rumble and making their classic into a blowoff match, it would have drawn even more and probably make Benoit into a bigger star. Los Guerreros try some double-teaming, but Angle gets a german suplex on Chavo, and Benoit gets his own on Eddie. Then they do it in stereo as the game continues. The champs work Chavo over until he fights back on Benoit, and some cheating by the Guerreros results. Eddie gets a backdrop suplex and Chavo comes in for the double-team. Benoit grabs the crossface literally out of nowhere, but Chavo dumps him to break and Eddie adds a suplex on the floor. Back in, Eddie springboards in for two. Gory Special follows, but Benoit takes him down into a sunset flip for two. Chavo stomps Benoit down, but he comes back from that with a backslide for two. Chavo gets a backdrop suplex for two to take over again and they cut off the ring. Benoit, however, showing that he can elevate anything with a hot crowd, comes up with a jaw-dropping sequence where he presses Eddie into a facefirst drop to the mat, and then catches him when he bounces up off the mat and powerbombs him in one smooth motion, actually using the momentum from bouncing Eddie on the mat. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again — Chris Benoit needs to powerbomb people more often, because he’s the best in the world at doing it, and he never gets to show it. Chavo dives in and eats a crossface as a result, so Eddie pops up with a frog splash to break, but Benoit moves and Chavo takes that, too. Hot tag Angle, and the crowd goes bonkers. He throws suplexes all over the place, getting two off a belly-to-belly suplex on Eddie. Benoit comes in and tries the rolling germans on Chavo, but Eddie grabs him to break it up, so Benoit switches behind Eddie in another smooth move, hitting the move on him instead. Diving headbutt gets two for Angle, as he steals the pinfall attempt. Chavo and Benoit end up tumbling out and it looks like Eddie will finish Angle with the frog splash, but Angle of course pops up with the superplex attempt. Eddie blocks that and gets his frog splash, but Benoit dives in with a crossface to break that up. Chavo saves that, so Benoit suplexes him out of the ring. This triggers an argument between the champs, as Eddie shoves Angle into the Benoit and gets the Lasso From El Paso on Angle as a result, but Kurt reverses to the Anklelock with no ref present. I didn’t even catch where he got to, that’s how hot this match has been. Chavo breaks that up with a belt to the head, but Eddie only gets two off that. Chavo goes up, but Benoit pushes him to the mat and necksnaps him on the top rope to get rid of him for good, leaving Angle to finish Eddie with the Angle Slam at 16:33 to retain. Hot DAMN that was a great match. ****1/4
– Smackdown World title: Brock Lesnar & Paul Heyman v. Edge. Edge is subbing for Undertaker, who was written out of the storyline by a Big Show attack on Smackdown, although Stephanie managed to screw even that simple plan up by breaking kayfabe in her opening statement to the crowd by noting that Undertaker was home tending to his new baby. This is a handicap match, with Edge able to pin either Brock or Heyman to win, although Heyman doesn’t really figure into things, for obvious reasons. Brock overpowers Edge to start, but Edge dodges him until Brock takes him into the corner and pounds away. Edge dropkicks him into the corner and pounds away. Edge dropkicks him out. Back in, Brock’s double-leg attempt is reversed to a rollup for two, and ditto his press-slam attempt. Edge dodges a charge and Brock hits the floor and regroups. They brawl on the floor and Brock hits the post, but Heyman clings to Edge’s leg until Brock clobbers him to take over. Heyman’s celebration on the apron for this minuscule bit of offense is hilarious, until Edge spears him off the apron and he disappears for the next five minutes. Brock hits him with an overhead belly-to-belly with the Heyman silliness out of the way, and takes over. They head out and Edge gets rammed into the post and back in that gets two. Edge tries a shoulderblock, but Brock is the proverbial immovable object and that goes much worse for Edge than Brock. Brock gets two off that to really rub the salt in, and then clobbers him down again. Boston Crab, but Edge makes the ropes. Chinlock time, but Edge breaks free and rolls him up for two. Brock casually clotheslines him down again and goes to a bearhug on the mat. Edge fights out and dropkicks him in the corner, but walks into a MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER for two. Brock chokes him out in the corner, but misses the charge and Edge rolls him up for two. Edge still can’t knock him down, so he opts for a bulldog instead and the Edge-O-Matic gets two. Edge tosses Brock and brings Heyman in instead, wisely seeing how dead Paul has been for the entire match. A double axehandle on him gets two, but Brock saves. Edge hits Brock with a high cross to the floor, and back into the ring for a missile dropkick that gets two. Back up, but the ref gets wiped out. Edge reverses the F-5 into the Edgecution DDT, but there’s no ref. Heyman tries giving Brock a chair, but Edge spears it out of Brock’s hands and gets two. Crowd was totally buying that two count. Edge goes back up, but it’s the old “once too often to the well” thing and he eats a chairshot coming down, and the F-5 is academic at 18:33. I miss Brock. Good building main event, with Brock playing the bully and Edge making small comebacks for big pops. ***3/4
The DVD even has another **** match thrown on there, with British Bulldog v. Shawn Michaels from the One Night Only PPV in 1997, plus some fluff clips from the tour.
A surprisingly big finish to a middling throwaway British PPV, as the Smackdown Six get to show their stuff in the prime of their push, and the result is a DVD you should definitely pick up if you can find it cheap, like I’ve seen it at Wal-Mart numerous times. Recommended.