After weeks of the most intense and detailed build-up in wrestling history, it’s time for the big UK blowout. But not really. It’s the 4th May 2002 and we’re in London’s Wembley Arena for WWF Insurrextion! Your main event tonight: Triple H and The Undertaker collide, because Insurrextion is the one night a year Raw and Smackdown go head-to-head.
Video package that says “the strong will survive and the weak will fall to the hands of mercy”. What does that even mean? Lots of random shots of wrestlers hitting each other with moves, with an emphasis on Taker/HHH and all that nWo/Austin/Flair nonsense.
“Burning Tree” theme, pyro and JR/King welcome us to what they make look like a packed Wembley Stadium, but I think the attendance was just four figures. JR insists it’s “sold out” though, and the crowd is loud. Two “huge main events” tonight, but JR doesn’t elaborate: a remainder that no matches were announced on TV beforehand.
Eddie Guerrero (c) vs Rob Van Dam (WWF Intercontinental Championship)
JR uses Guerrero’s entrance to announce that the twin main events are Taker/Haitch and Austin/Big Show, before we jump to a video recap of the IC match at Backlash. Really basic stuff, for WWF anyway, and it is just about the Backlash match because this feud has been basically dead in the weeks since. King mocks RVD’s use of the word “dude”.
Lock-up, Van Dam whiffs a leg sweep enough that Guerrero doesn’t sell it, kip-up chain and the crowd is in a forgiving mood. Jawing back-and-forth, shoving, “Rob Van Dam”, and away we go again. Spinning heel kick sends Latino Heat out as JR tells us we are also live in “the Republic of Ierland”. Springboard moonsault to the outside catches Eddie, back in with a springboard leg-drop and that gets two. Slam, to the top, and a split-legged moonsault gets two. Corner spears, but Guerrero counters into a roll-up for one, revolving flip, then Guerrero dodges a charge to send Van Dam out. Not a patch on their Backlash match as of yet.
Brawling on the outside, Van Dam into the steps, back in, “Eddie Sucks”, stomps, running elbow, two. “The fans here are absolutely loopy, loopy! “Is that good?” “Yes”. Van Dam beaten down in the corner, suplex, two. Faint “RVD” chant that dies surprisingly quickly. Reverse suplex, springboard senton, two, and into a resthold. Rope break, catapult into the bottom rope, choke with the foot, bigger “Eddie Sucks” chants and now Van Dam mounts his comeback. Tries a Sunset Flip, Eddie hangs onto the ropes, ref kicks his hands and it’s a two. Roll-up from Mr Monday Night for two, but Eddie able to come back and now puts on a sort of kneelock? Van Dam to the ropes, trading shots in the corner, until Guerrero gets in a low drop-kick. Another leglock and the momentum of this one has stalled big time.
Big “RVD” chants, Van Dam out of the leglock but then taken down by the knee again. Targeting the leg to prevent the Five Star is fine and all, but it’s weird for it to be introduced as an in-ring story this late in the match. More leglocks, some with the help of rope-based leverage, but Van Dam able to come back with a whip chain and then a big superkick. Dueling shots, corner monkey flip from Van Dam, big suplex, two. Scoop Slam, Rolling Thunder to a big reaction, two. So, that injured leg has healed up then? Looking for a Press Slam maybe, Guerrero tries to counter into a roll-up but Van Dam out of it and hits a quick moonsault for the top for two. Stepover heel kick sends Eddie prone, Van Dam to the top, but nobody home on the Five Star. Guerrero grabs the title belt, the ref takes it off him and Eddie throws the ref back. And that’s actually it as the ref calls for the bell in just under 11-and-a-half.
Winner (by-DQ): Rob Van Dam, but of course Guerrero is still champion.
Verdict: Started well, stalled a fair bit and then a stupid non-finish that deserved more boos than it got. I presume these two will have the proper blow-out at Judgement Day.
Eddie is unhappy, and chases the ref around the ring, then into the ring, where he takes a heel kick. Strikes, elevated drop-kick, a belt shot, then RVD hits a Five Star with a mid-air direction change to JR’s astonishment. Music hits, crowd is happy without a title change, I guess you can’t complain too much. Replays of what we just saw as JR almost flat-out says “These two will meet again”.
Backstage, Terri is with Jazz and Molly Holly in a segment that very much seems like it was filmed in the States. Molly shakes her head at Terri, and says they have a problem with her, Jackie and Trish, since they are Divas exploiting their bodies for money. They choose to not be on the Divas video because they were asked to expose their breasts, and Holly then points out a Page 3 spread from The Sun to back up her point. Everyone in the UK is trash, but tonight Holly and Jazz will win their match for morality. Terri is proud of her body (cheers) and thinks Molly is jealous, and flashes her bra to prove the point. Some slight body-positive thinking to this against Molly’s tired Ivory-schtick, undermined nicely by King audibly jacking off on commentary. Lets get to it.
Trish Stratus & Jacqueline vs Molly Holly & Jazz
“You don’t look at the mantelpiece while you are stoking the fire” says King in the lead-in to this, and Jesus Christ that’s awful. Brawl to start, and Holly and Jackie end up legal. Jacqueline with an Atomic Drop, mounted punches, the two roll over the referee to the mildest of pops, and then a roll-up for two that Jazz breaks up. Double team with Trish distracting the ref, double shoulder-block, two. Jazz in with a slam, leg-drop, hard corner whip but nobody home on another leg-drop. Trish in hot, flooring Jazz a few times before walking into a jawbreaker. Trish back with a headbutt, Molly thrown into the ring, but while Stratus is distracted with her she eats a spinning kick.
“Jazz a woman of few words, which is unique in my life”, JR keeping pace with King on commentary. Jazz with a Chicken Wing into a forward slam, two. Molly in to maintain the beatdown, handspring elbow, two. Jazz back in, hair pull into a slam, two. Hard rights, Trish back with a few of her own but comeback cut off by a cheap shot from Molly. Ref distracted on a backslide pin and Jazz out at two. Roll-up from Jazz gets two, neckbreaker from Trish gets two. Decent pace now.
Hot tag to Jackie, Jazz hung up on the ropes, slow ass roll-up, countered with a handful of tights, two. Jacqueline with a DDT, Molly breaks up the count, and cleared off the apron for her trouble. Jazz able to put in a Half-Boston Crab, and Jackie pulls herself across to a far rope even though the one to the left is closer. “This match is making me feel a little randy” says King ruining everything, and the crowd is onboard with a “We want puppies”. Trish breaks up the submission, things break down and the faces clean house. Cool spot where the heels try corner whips of the faces into each other, the faces counter each others momentum and send each other back into the heels. You never see the women get to do stuff like that usually. Stereo Stratusfaction and Tornado DDT’s to the heels, the ref counts both pins even though Jackie and Jazz were legal and that combination is not one of the pins, and that’s it in just over seven-and-a-half
Winner: “The Puppies”, says JR. JR!
Verdict: A bit uneven in its pacing, but it was actually pretty good. Of course this is all that the womens division is, so it needs new blood.
King mocks Molly for being a virgin as we look at replays for a hot second. Backstage, X-Pac and Scott Hall converse. Pac remains annoyed about what happened at Raw, and promises to do the same to Bradshaw tonight as he did to Kane. He declines Hall’s offer of help, and heads to the ring. “I don’t know why you would come back to this country after you beat him anyway” says Hall to no one. Why does he say that?
Bradshaw vs X-Pac
Pac out with nunchucks and in the Kane mask, but don’t think Mr Mayor will be here tonight. Crowd goes mild for Bradshaw, weirdly enough. As the ref talks to Bradshaw, X-Pac loosens up a turnbuckle pad. Circling, lock-up and Pac flung back. “X-Pac Sucks”. Lock-up, and X-Pac flung down off a shoulder block. Rake to the eyes gets him a bit of room, but only so he can eat a big boot. Beatdown offence, back body-drop, corner clotheslines but the last dodged and X-Pac back with martial arts kicks. Tries a spinning heel kick, but caught and slammed instead. Low drop-kick gives Pac back the advantage, and he starts working the left leg from then on.
Turnbuckle removed, and Bradshaw’s head gets rammed into it. Nick Patrick saw him remove the pad, but no DQ for some reason. Beatdown in the corner, and Bradshaw has actually been posted open, now is that really required? Might have been unintentional. Spinning heel kick to the shoulder gets two. More kicks, a weak-looking chop, running boot to the head and the crowd is pretty dead at this point. Resthold for a bit, more strikes in the corner, a comeback cut off, elevated punches, and it strikes me that we’ve spent nearly three minutes in and around the one corner. Now Bradshaw able to throw X-Pac off to set-up the last act, I hope.
Bradshaw with strikes, a big forearm, spinning elbow, and a botched spot where he whips X-Pac into the corner, pulls out of a charge because he realised he was too close, and then Pac made it worse by belatedly putting the leg up anyway. “Good awareness by Bradshaw there” says Ross to cover. They redo the spot in the opposite corner just to make sure we know it was a botch. Bradshaw with a powerslam gets two, then goes to the top for some reason and hits the flying shoulder block, but Pac gets his foot on the rope. Pac back with another spinning heel kick, but gets thrown off at two. To the top, caught on a crossbody attempt, and Bradshaw hits a Fallaway Slam.
Now Scott Hall appears, presumably furious at seeing the one move he can do done better by someone else. He is looking in bad shape. Bradshaw clears him off the apron, hits a bit boot on Pac, turns back to Hall and gets nailed with the nunchucks while Patrcik is distracted. Slow cover, and Bradshaw out at two, to the surprise of the crowd. Pac looks from the Broncho Buster, nobody home, Bradshaw looking for the Clothesline From Hell but visibly hesitates so an out-of-position Pac can duck, then cleans an out-of-position Hall off the apron again, a real botch train right there. X-Pac hits a sneaky low-blow, X-Factor and that’s it in just under nine.
Winner: X-Pac, who looked a bit “out of sorts” if you will.
Verdict: Pretty standard match, both guys can go but Waltman was a bit “tired and emotional” I suspect. Hall’s presence added nothing. This feud needs to come to a conclusion fast.
Backstage, the Deadman is with the Coach, who calls his main event contest with Triple H “one of the most eagerly anticipated matches in WWF history”. Hard for that to be the case, seeing as how it was never announced on TV. Generic promo follows where Taker says he will show no remorse or passion for the beating he will give HHH tonight. He likes beating the hell out of people, and he is Haitch’s biggest obstacle. Dreams and hopes will be shattered, rest in peace, etc. Very half-assed.
Stevie Richards (c) vs Booker T (WWF Hardcore Championship)
Again with T in the Hardcore Division, whats up with that? Apparently Bubba Ray is at home because of a family emergency, not sure if kayfabe or not. We get a recap of Stevie winning the broken strap on Raw. Big reception for Booker, there’s a good face run in there somewhere.
Circling, lock-up, arm-drag takedown from Richards who is so super-enthusiastic. King less so: “I’m sure these fans are delighted to see a hardcore match start with an arm-drag”, meow. Circling, lock-up, Stevie backed into a corner, stomps, chops, strikes, more stomps. To the outside, and a trash can, trash can lids, obtained, but Richards chucks them out as soon as they are brought in. He misses one and takes a hard head shot then a running shoulder. Savate kick and Stevie sent out. T sends the Champ into the ring-steps, then the barricade, then produces a sweeping brush. Shot to the back, back in, and Richards with a poke to the eye to get back the advantage.
Shots, chops, then eats another Savate kick for two. Suplex, T back to the outside to grab a trash can and Stevie takes a head shot. Superkick through the can, but only two. Richards back with chops, but T responds with a Flapjack. Richards worked over in the corner, until he gets in a low-blow. Beatdown, lid shot, two. T hulks up, back body-drop, but then sent out on a charge. Trash can thrown at the challenger, that gets two. Back in, elbow drop to the back of the head, yeesh, taunting T with his own moves, Booker back with hard rights, but misses a heel kick and gets crotched. Pan shot to the back. Slow pace to this one, and the crowd not super into it.
Resthold from Stevie, the crowd now starts to rally behind T, and Richards sells his horror at Booker getting out of the hold really well. Out of it, Scoop Slam, but then takes a drop-kick through a can for two. Can set-up in the corner, but T reverses the whip into it and the Champ hits the can hard. Dueling shots, T with a flying forearm, big spinebuster, two. Heel kick as King complains about the lack of hardcore wrestling, T to the outside to grab another trash can, it’s set up on Richards head, Booker to the top, and hits an awkward one-legged missile drop-kick to the can for two. Took too long to set-up for the pay-off. Booker, looking a little gassed, calling for the Scissors Kick, but then walks into the Stevie-Kick instead, but T out at two. Way to bury his finisher. T reverses a whip to hit the Book End, and that’ll be all in just under ten.
Winner (and new WWF Hardcore Champion): Booker T, who is too good of a performer to be competing for this belt.
Verdict: More wrestling match than hardcore match, and it was OK, both guys can go but neither was at full tilt.
As Booker celebrates Crash Holly appears, sneaks up behind and rolls him up for three.
New WWF Hardcore Champion: Crash Holly
Crash has just enough time to celebrate with a Spinarooni before he takes a Scissors Kick and gets pinned by Booker.
New WWF Hardcore Champion: Booker T
Man, that was pointless, other than for reminding us Crash exists. Now suddenly Justin Credible and Tommy Dreamer are here to remind us they are still employed, and they beatdown Booker T. Dreamer produces a table, it gets set-up, but then T fights back and floors his new adversaries. Credible with a mistaken superkick to Dreamer, then takes another from T. Booker obliges us with a Spinarooni. Suddenly Jazz is in the ring, low blow and Richards gives T a flapjack onto the edge of the table, which doesn’t break, God damn it maffew. Cover, T kicks out at two while the ref counts three, to the confusion of the crowd. Stevie re-does the Flapjack spot, this time the table breaks, and now he gets the 1, 2, 3.
New WWF Hardcore Champion: Stevie Richards
Richards and Jazz cut a hasty retreat. Booker gets cheered off by the appreciative crowd. Jeez, this was overbooked, and ended confused. Wiki tells me the Hardcore Title changed 15 times in the course of this tour. The lack of reaction to the changes here is an indication of why the Hardcore Title is on its last legs. Three months left.
JR announces that our next match is the Hardy’s taking on Brock Lesnar and…Shawn Stasiak? What? Video package recaps the Lesnar/Jeff match at Backlash and then Brock’s destruction of Matt the next night. Backstage, Stasiak converses with Paul Heyman. He’s excited for Planet Stasiak to team up with Brock Lesnar, and so are the voices in his head. Heyman outlines his strategy: Stasiak stands on the apron, Brock starts the match, Brock ends the match. The only reason this pairing has been made is because Paul figures Stasiak is the most likely guy to stand on the apron for what is mandated to be a 2 on 2. I guess that makes sense? Lesnar says if Stasiak doesn’t obey instructions, he’ll be looking at another beating. If this match doesn’t end with Stasiak laid out I will riot.
The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff) vs Brock Lesnar & Shawn Stasiak w/Paul E. Heyman
JR outlines why Lita isn’t here while plugging Dark Angel, and King is unimpressed, thinking she should just walk the next surgery off. Stasiak charges the ring to start and gets floored off a Jeff forearm. Manages to hit a side slam coming out of the corner, then a big sidewalk slam for two. JR trying to get Stasiak over in fairness, even as Paul Heyman screams abuse at him from ringside. Resthold, Jeff rallies back, jawbreaker, Matt in, dodges a clothesline, Side Effect, Jeff in, trying for the Poetry In Motion, but Lesnar pulls Stasiak out of the way. Lesnar in legally and starts chucking the Hardy’s around. Briefly distracted by Stasiak, Lesnar takes a few rights and a boot from Matt, but then hits a sidebreaker and a powerslam off an attempted second rope crossbody.
Lesnar takes a few moments to soak in the Heyman taunts, then hits a big swinging powerslam. Jeff cleared off the apron, beatdown on Matt continues, and a rope drag adds to it. “I bet that hurt, didn’t it!” screams Heyman, he’s the best. Foot choke for a bit, delay suplex where Matt hits hard. Dumped into the corner hard, again, but then Matt dodges a corner charge. Stasiak tags himself in at the crowds insistence, tries his own corner charge but nobody home. Hot tag to Jeff, Stasiak cleared out, heel drop to the stomach, Whisper In The Wind, two. The Hardy’s clear Lesnar off the apron, Poetry In Motion, Twist Of Fate, Swanton off the top and that’s enough in just over six-and-a-half.
Winners: The Hardy Boyz, and it feels like a while since I have had occasion to say that.
Verdict: Was alright, Hardys were very much in house show mood and not too bothered. Lesnar made to look strong. Stasiak made to look…crazy? Bad at wrestling? If they want this gimmick to work they have to have him win a bit.
Lesnar in to nail Jeff with the F-5, then one for Matt. Spinebuster to Stasiak, then that twisting powerbomb. Heyman raises the hand. As it happened it wouldn’t be Lesnar’s last “match” of the tour…
Footage of a “charity dinner” that the Fed held the previous night, with Linda McMahon present and Coach hosting. Proceeds to Make A Wish. Lots of good news footage. THQ guy pays 14K for a Wrestlemania 19 package, and they haven’t even named the location yet. King is distraught that nobody bought the “glossies” of him that were up for grabs.
Backstage it is what we are all here for as Coach interviews William Regal ahead of his Euro Title match with Spike Dudley. He’s the kind of person who made this country great, with fighting spirit, pride and dignity. But now he looks around at the other people in England, “underachieved dossers”, with “no hope and no future”. No wonder they look to Regal. He’s happy to be facing that “shitehawk” Spike Dudley so he can given the people a ray of sunshine. Sometimes they make him ashamed to be British. Hmm, I’ve heard better from Regal in Britain to be honest. That match is up next.
Spike Dudley (c) vs William Regal (WWF European Championship)
Footage of Spike winning the Euro Title a few weeks previously to remind us that this is sort of a grudge match. Regal, naturally, gets cheered by a large segment of the crowd when he comes out, despite JR’s insistence that they are all booing. Sign of the night: “Regal, Yer Mums A Lizard”. Circling, lock-up, wristlock from Regal and a knee drop to the head. Takedown, stomp to the arm, snapmare and shots in the corner. Spike back with some strikes of his own, running forearm, drop-kick, another, a third, then a headbutt to the gut. Looking for the Dudley Dawg early but Regal shoves him off, and Spike clutches his ankle as Regal fiddles with a turnbuckle pad. The ref’s calling for a trainer, is this legit? No “X” being thrown up so I guess not, strange spot though.
There’s a trainer out and all and they’re cutting Spike out his right boot. I’ll never understand this, there’s a match on, if the ankle is busted he can just tap out, otherwise shouldn’t it just continue? King hilariously wonders if there are any hospitals in the UK. Spike is taken out of the ring and is carried by the ref and the trainer, only for Regal to attack from behind! He rolls Spike back into the ring, and slams the foot into the mat, to cheers. Scoop Slam into the ropes, and the crowd is popping big. Double Underhook Powerbomb, but Regal pulls Spike up at two, more cheers. Suddenly Spike gets an inside cradle and that’s it in just under five.
Winner (and still WWF European Champion): Spike Dudley and his wonky leg.
Verdict: Weird energy to this one. Very throwaway.
A pissed Regal loads up the brass knuckles and Spike takes a hard left. Regal leaves, and doesn’t even look that annoyed, maybe because everyone next to the ramp is cheering. Spike carried out. It was what it was.
Coming up next, the match we’ve all been waiting for, I guess? It’s Stone Cold and the Big Show, and it gets a video package. Flair’s special reffing gets a going over, the ambush on Bradshaw, Big Show’s betrayal, etc, etc. Pretty basic recap. JR outlines that Show is back from his “promotional tour” of India, and suddenly out comes Ric Flair. Horror of horrors, he’s wearing a ref’s shirt. Why. On the mike, he thanks Wembley for their support. He says Stone Cold is “the Man”, and to make sure no one interferes tonight he’s made himself the special ref #2. He’s going to be outside. So, he’s an enforcer then? This is dumb. Also Nick Patrick is the actual ref. You know, Nick Patrick? The guy who first became famous as the nWo’s specially selected ref?
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs The Big Show (Special Guest Referee: Ric Flair)
Flair calls for Austin but instead it’s “Weeeellllll, new, new world order”. Terrible mash-up. JR says that Big Show has been living on “a diet of spicy curry” in India, which explains his foul humour. What? Huge pop for Austin, who takes a moment to stare down Flair at ringside. Nick Patrick trying to keep Austin and Show apart, the big man say’s he’ll break Austin in half, and gets the bird. Didn’t hear a bell but away we go.
Lock-up, Austin forced back as the crowd rallies behind him. Repeat, and Austin does some push-ups to mock Show’s dominance. “What” chants, lock-up again and Austin shoved into the ropes. “You fat bastard”, that’s harsh. Lock-up again, Austin backed into the corner again, but now fights back with right hands before getting floored with an elbow off an Irish Whip. Stone Cold takes a break on the outside for a bit, back in, looking for a Test of Strength, but gives a kick to the mid-section instead. More of those, but floored by a clothesline when he tries a charge. Another break on the outside, and this one just has no momentum at all. The fourth lock-up, Austin backed up for the fourth time, and now Show adds on some open-handed chops. Austin back with kicks to the legs, then a double axe-handle to the head that looked really ugly. Low blow with Nick Patrick looking elsewhere, about the most exciting thing so far.
Stomps from Stone Cold, now working over the left leg. Wraps it around the ringpost, more stomps back inside, but Show gets some room with a headbutt. Austin with a takedown, then puts in a leglock while Show tries to crush his head. A break, Austin with a shot to the back of the injured leg, and Show collapses backwards and nearly lands on Austin, very sloppy. Austin starts running the ropes, ducks a clothesline but then picked up for a delay Scoop Slam. Elbow drop, the straps come down and has to be said that Wight looks in worse condition than he did a few weeks ago. More chops in the corner, a big throw, then just stands on Austin for a bit. Clubbing shots to the back, then a suplex where Austin looked like he landed a bit awkwardly. This is not so good.
To the outside, more chops, back in, Austin tying to mount a comeback with more kicks to the leg, but then takes a big back body-drop. On commentary JR complains that King keeps directing the “You fat bastard” chants towards him. In the ring another back body-drop, a foot choke, more open-hand chops, then a hard clothesline. Falling elbow, two, Austin back with shots, then Show with still more open hand shots in the corner, yawn. The match is just too exciting at the moment, so Show locks on a bear hug. A pin attempt, another bear hug, arm drop spot but Austin out before three. Headbutts to Show then a Lou Thesz from the second rope, neat.
Austin with big rights, but then eats a big boot. Show tries a clothesline, Austin ducks and Nick Patrick goes to sleep. Austin with a Stunner, no ref, and Ric Flair is busy trying to ward off the suddenly appearing X-Pac and Scott Hall. He chases them off with a kendo stick, Austin calling for him, turns and walks into a Showstopper attempt. Out of it with elbows, but another big boot sends him down. A falling elbow, a headbutt and suddenly Kevin Nash is here, coming through the crowd. Show trying to hold Austin but Stone Cold breaks free, Stunner to Nash, Stunner to Big Show, another Stunner to Big Show, and Patrick is suddenly conscious to count the fall in 15 on the dot.
Winner: Austin, who won’t be ranking this among his classics.
Verdict: Slow, tedious stuff, with Show looking out of shape. Finish was overdone too with the phased interferences, and no real reason for Flair to be involved at all.
Flair grabs a chair and chases Nash away, so Austin can drink his beers in peace. But wait, the Raw owner is back in the ring with a mike. He says Austin is the man, and Flair hasn’t let him down. Man, he’s out of breath after a light jog up the ramp and back. Austin grabs the mike. “What, what, what”. He runs down some of Flair’s mistakes over the last few weeks, but says he can let bygones be bygones. Then a kick to the mid-section that is so whiffed Flair doesn’t sell it, Stunner and Flair is laid out. Wow, this was bad.
Straight into a video package for the main event. Undertaker interfered in the Backlash Title match against Triple H, HHH beat him up, Taker interfered in the #1 contenders match on Smackdown. All of this to something that sounds a bit like the Crimson Tide soundtrack? Mostly recycled footage from packages used on TV. I guess they just aren’t going to pull out the “A” material for a show like this.
The Undertaker vs Triple H
First one-on-one between these two since X7, right? That match was great, but I don’t have high expectations for this one, especially when there is only 20 minutes left before entrances. Away we go, dueling strikes, high knee from the Game, back body-drop, then the Undertaker clotheslined out. To the outside, Taker gets the advantage, Triple H hung up on the barricade, but then able to shove the Deadman into the ringpost. Taker beaten down, back in and Triple H takes a stiff-looking clothesline to reverse the momentum. Another gets two, arm-wring with shots and the crowd comes alive for Old School, but HHH ruins it by “jerking Undertaker off”, thanks JR.
Haitch with a big suplex, falling elbow, two. Undertaker suckers him in and pulls him out of the ring, but on the outside he gets his head rammed into the announce desk a few times for his trouble. Crowd a little dead for this one it has to be said. Taker able to hang Triple H on the rope getting back in, big corner clothesline and now apron elbows that look fairly whiffed. Taker follows up with a leg drop to the back. Triple H pulls himself up, gets a shoulder on a corner charge, back with shots but then gets his leg taken out. Undertaker working over the leg because that just hasn’t been done enough tonight, and we get a resthold.
Triple H working his way out of it, hard whip to the Undertaker, and the top rope is dislodged upon the impact. Amateur hour, and Taker could have been pretty hurt. As Hebner tries to fix the rope the two men buy some time with a sneaky Taker low blow. Into another resthold as JR tries to insist it was HHH’s strength that did it. Out of the resthold, and Haitch hits a reverse suplex. Doesn’t look like the rope is going to be fixed, but at least neither of these guys is really known for top-rope work. Double clothesline spot sends them both down.
Taker crotches on a dodged corner charge, though the broken rope shouldn’t really allow that, and then takes a swinging neckbreaker, another, spinebuster, two. Looking for the Pedigree, Undertaker powers out of it, and delivers a big boot. Calling for a chokeslam, but countered into an awkward DDT for two. “What did he hit him with?” wonders King, it looked that messy. Hard whip into the corner for Triple H sends some part of the ring flying, back with a knee drop, then Taker back with a chokeslam for two. They show a replay of the previous chokeslam reversal, and it was less a DDT than some kind of shoulder drop.
A pissed off Taker grabs a chair from ringside, Hebner slows him down, and Triple H hits a high knee through the chair. Only two. Man this went to big kick-outs very quick. Undertaker decides to show HHH what a DDT actually looks like, and this gets two. Calling for something big, might have been a submission but countered into a clothesline for two. Taker hits Snake Eyes, Triple H back with another high knee, Pedigree and that’s it in just over 14-and-a-half.
Winner: Triple H.
Verdict: Fair play to JR, he acts like this is one of the greatest matches he has ever seen. But it was fairly pedestrian, with neither guy looking too bothered. Then the ring started breaking and they looked even less bothered.
Triple H celebrates, Taker walks off looking annoyed, as JR insists this one is not over. And that’s all we have time for.
Before we move on to final thoughts, we have to talk about the aftermath of this show. Taking place on a Saturday night, the roster took a flight back Stateside the following day, which was a private 747 just for wrestlers, ring crew and assorted WWF officials, including Vince and Linda McMahon. As was customary at the time the flight, being at the end of a successful tour, had a bit of a party atmosphere, with a free bar provided. According to Sean Waltman, numerous wrestlers entered the plane at least somewhat inebriated already, with plenty of GHB being slung around. The result was many of the occupants of the plane becoming extremely intoxicated mid-flight, with several nasty incidents occuring.
In no particular order, you had Ric Flair deliberately exposing himself to flight attendants, including accusations that he cornered one at the back of the plane and forced her to touch his genitalia (Flair denies this, WWE would settle a suit out of court two years later); Curt Hennig and Brock Lesnar engaging in a friendly wrestling match in the aisle that soon turned into a shoot fight, with Hennig shoved up against the plane door in the process, seemingly freaking other people on the flight out; Dustin Rhodes somehow getting access to the planes PA, which he used to drunkenly sing to his ex-wife Terri; Scott Hall verbally abusing flight attendants with words of a sexual nature, before passing out so completely that others had to check he was still alive; Michael Hayes having to be pulled away from Linda McMahon with some believing he was close to urinating on her in the mistaken belief he was in a bathroom; Hayes then punching John Bradshaw in the face, opening up the cut he had got during the Insurrextion show; Hayes then having his pony tail cut off when he become unconscious, which led to him nearly getting into a physical altercation with airport staff when he realised at customs.
Now, bear in mind this was only nine or so months after 9/11, so it was the height of a time when airplane security was a huge issue. The behavior of the wrestlers made newspaper headlines and, as stated, led to lawsuits. A response was mandated, and two people involved in the chaos were almost immediately fired, Scott Hall (though he would last long enough to main event the next Raw) and Curt Hennig. In Hall’s case the plane ride was probably just a convenient excuse to enact an inevitable sacking, owing to his terrible condition and awful in-ring performances, while Hennig was probably just in the unlucky position of being the most easily punished of everyone involved: no-one was going to fire Ric Flair, then the kayfabe owner of Raw, or Brock Lesnar, who the Fed would be strapping a rocket to pretty imminently. Hennig’s was a sad case: brought back for January’s Rumble, where he made the final four and looked good in the process, he had won a contract but then just vanished bit-by-bit, reduced to jobbing in three minutes TV matches in the time after Wrestlemania. He would be dead of a cocaine overdose within a year of Insurrextion. The availability of alcohol was reduced on WWF/E flights in the aftermath, and, apart from the lawsuits, the Fed moved on. But it remains a pretty reprehensible moment in wrestling history.
As for Insurrextion…
Best Match: The womens tag was actually the most entertaining, and had the best energy of any contest on the card.
Best Wrestler: Not sure, maybe Lesnar? Made to look quite strong out there, and hopefully now moving onto bigger feuds.
Worst Match: Austin/Show pretty easily. Awful, slow, too long, Austin looks like he doesn’t care and Show isn’t in good shape.
Worst Wrestler: Can’t give it to Hall this time, so will go for X-Pac instead, who had some sloppy moments in his otherwise unexceptional match with Bradshaw.
Overall Verdict: The British PPV’s at this time always had a reputation for being glorified house shows, and that is pretty much what Insurrextion 2002 was. No really stand-out matches, no title changes and lots of sub-par, half-assed performances from the roster involved. It was at the end of a tour in fairness, but it’s still PPV, you’d expect better. The plane ride from hell was the cherry on top.
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