Wednesday, January 23, 2019

4014 - Royal Ramble: 2002



For most fans, 2002 is the year where WWF began to lose its allure, so to speak. The Monday Night Wars are over, the Invasion was a bust, and suddenly, people were longing for an alternative. At this point in time, however, it's the Royal Rumble season featuring the return of Triple H, after being on the shelf for months due to a quad tear. And this would be the year that he would go from HHH to McSon-In-Law and be the focus of some truly horrendous television.

But I'm jumping ahead here. Let's get on with the show.



WWF Tag-Team Champions Spike Dudley and Tazzzzzzzzzzz defeated the Dudley Boyz (with Stacy Kiebler) to retain the titles. I had forgotten that Spike and Tazzzzzzzzzzzz were a thing, let alone tag champions. Short, pointless, and possibly done to give Tazzzzzzzzzzzzzz one last PPV payday before he'd retire and settling to the announce booth.

William Regal defeated Intercontinental Champion Edge via brass knux (a.k.a. POWER OF DA PUNCH) to win the title. Wasn't feeling this one, to be honest with you. They tried, but it was just missing a spark that would've made this worth investing in. At the time, Regal was just the English bloke who punched people with knux and that didn't make for an appealing villain. It's his trademark now and I'd get a kick out of it today, but back then... not so much.

WWF Women's Champion Trish Stratus defeated Jazz to retain the title. This was a thing that happened and sadly, it didn't click. Sure, Trish was getting better as a "worker" or whatever the term you prefer to use, but I had a hard time believing that she could beat Jazz, who looked like she could kick your ass. Maybe nowadays in 2019 where Trish is a much more polished wrestler person, but back in 2002... it'd be like Chyna losing to Sable after a competitive contest. It's not believable in the slightest.

Ric Flair defeated Vince McMahon in an Old Codgers match. This was Flair's first match since the final Nitro and man, did he look old. I guess in hindsight, it was probably a good idea to give Flair a match with Vince since Vince can take a beating as well as anyone and the story of Flair For The Old is a thing here. Fortunately, Flair would eventually find his mojo and put on some good stuff before eventually retiring in 2008, where he never wrestled again afterwards.

Ever.

Undisputed WWF Champion Chris Jericho defeated The Rock to retain the title. God Bless Rocky for giving ol' Y2J at least one clean win in this title reign. And it was a good match with cameo appearances by fellow Canadians Christian (Cage) and Lance (G Raffe) Storm.

Triple H won the 2002 Royal Rumble, earning himself a title bout at Wrestlemania X8. This was a pretty good Rumble with some noteworthy moments; among them being the Undertaker getting eliminated by Tough Enough winner Maven, the Hurricane attempting to chokeslam both Trips and Stone Cold and getting tossed for his troubles, the return of Godfather, Goldust, and even Mr. Perfect. I don't know if I'd rank this high among the greatest Rumbles since the end result was never in doubt, but it was still pretty entertaining.

After the previous year's stellar show, 2002 was bound to be a disappointment merely in terms of not being as good as the previous years. However, you got a semi-decent Rumble match, a World title match that was also pretty good... and not much else. This was a fine show, but not great. If nothing else, it would be a precursor to the WWF's and later WWE's downward spiral in quality and numbers. However, on its own, it's merely okay.

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