WWE Retro Review: Unforgiven 2002
Welcome to our latest WWE Retro Review.
Hope everyone enjoyed my look back at SummerSlam 2005 last month.
With WWE Night of Champions right around the corner, I thought I'd look back at one September pay-per-view that's part of my vast (and I mean vast) pro wrestling VHS/DVD collection--Unforgiven 2002.
Unforgiven 2002 may seem like just another "B" PPV in WWE's long history, but it's actually pretty significant when you look at the card.
This was the first PPV since Brock Lesnar beat The Rock for the WWE Championship the previous month at SummerSlam.
It was the site of Lesnar's first title defense. It was the first PPV appearance of the new-look Kane--and just a year shy of his eventual unmasking.
It was Umaga's (then known as Jamal) WWE PPV debut.
It was also the first PPV to feature two World Champions in the brand extension era (Lesnar defected to Smackdown and Triple H, well...we'll get to that).
Furthermore, this event was infamous for several head-scratching booking decisions that are still puzzling to this day.
Without further ado, let's look back at the forgotten, yet historic WWE PPV--Unforgiven 2002.
World Wrestling Entertainment: Unforgiven
September 22, 2002
Staples Center, Los Angeles, Calif.
Estimated attendance: 16,000
RAW commentators: WWE Hall of Famers Jim "J.R." Ross and Jerry "The King" Lawler
Smackdown commentators: Michael Cole and Taz(z). (Cole was actually a pretty good announcer at one point. One point.)
For whatever reason, Rey Mysterio vs. Chavo Guerrero aired on the pre-show Sunday Night Heat (broadcast on MTV at the time), instead of the PPV. Mind-boggling. Mysterio won at 8:58 in an exciting cruiserweight affair. Yes, WWE used to have a cruiserweight division. And I sure as hell miss it.
1. RAW brand match: Kane, Booker T, Goldust, and Bubba Ray Dudley def. The Un-Americans (Test, William Regal, and WWE Tag Team Champions Lance Storm/Christian) at 6:16 via pinfall.
This was Kane's return to PPV after disappearing for some reason I don't remember. It was probably injury-related. Anyway, this match isn't a classic by any means, but a very solid opener for the hot LA crowd.
The Un-Americans featured a dream team of underrated wrestlers--Lance Storm, Christian, William Regal, and yes, even the late Andrew "Test" Martin. Bubba Ray Dudley (now known as Bully Ray in TNA Impact Wrestling) was already showing signs that he could be a solid singles star with the right booking. He'd later reunite with Brother Devon in later that year.
Booker T should have been in main events, but he had the WCW stigma aka WWE being stupid and thinking guys they acquired from their competition can't work a match. STUPID STUPID STUPID mentality, especially since WWE OWNED THEIR COMPETITION AND COULD MAKE MONEY OFF OF IT.
Booker T would eventually main event Survivor Series in Nov. in the first ever Elimination Chamber match.Of course, like most angles he was involved in back then, he was treated as an afterthought. I'll say this though--Booker T and Goldust made a lot work with very little.
Yes, Goldust is also underrated and was probably in the best shape of his career in 2002--until he got to TNA in the mid-2000s. Read his book for more info on that.
Christian was still stuck in the midcard, but like BookDust, made the most out of any situation (case and point: his recently wrapped-up feud with Randy Orton). Storm and Regal would starting teaming together shortly after the Un-Americans disbanded. Storm and Christian would lose the WWE Tag Team Titles to Kane and get this--Shane "Hurricane" Helms. That wacky duo was fun while they lasted. Christian would end up teaming with Chris Jericho and winning the tag titles from HurriKane (Get it?). They would lost the belts to BookDust in December at Armageddon.