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SK RANT     
PPV Rant: WWE Armageddon 2002    
December 17, 2002

by Scott Keith     


- Live from Fort Lauderdale, FL

- Your hosts are JR, King, Cole & Tazz

- Opening match, RAW Tag titles:  Christian & Chris Jericho v. The Dudley Boyz v. JR's Favorite Tag Team v. Booker T & Goldust.  Storm starts with Bubba, and hammers on him off an attack.  He comes back and nails him with a corner splash (after a warcry of "Die, Canadian scum!"  Now there's no need for THAT.) The Dudleyz hit Christian with a flapjack for two. Regal comes in and gets clotheslined by D-Von for two.  Goldust slugs away , but gets suplexed and hit with an Outback Jack clothesline, allowing Christian to tag himself in and work Goldust over.  Jericho does his contrived "Try a dropkick and get catapulted out of the ring" spot to end up on the floor, and Goldust pulls him back in with a suplex that gets two. Jericho comes back with a forearm and Christian works the arm, but walks into an atomic drop and a lariat that gets two for Goldust.  Bubba & Goldust join forces for the inevitable double Flip Flop & Fly to fight off the heels, and suddenly it's a Whazzup Drop for Christian and it's BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA.  Rather soon for that, I'd say.  We're left with D-Von and Christian, and no idea who's legal, but Regal tags himself in and Storm hits Bubba with a Calgary Jam that gives Regal the pin at 5:16.  Goldust powerslams Regal for the pin at 5:32.  What is this, the Survivor Series?  Is Ted Dibiase gonna run in and pin Scott Casey with a clothesline or something?   So what the hell was the point of those teams even being in the match?  So we're left with the match that should have been from the start: Christian & Jericho v. Booker & Goldust.  Goldust works on Jericho in the corner, and Booker comes in with chops, but Jericho goes to the eyes. Charge hits elbow and Goldust comes in for the double-team sidekick, for two.  Christian uses the lethal chokehold, but puts his head down and gets popped.  Goldust does his usual "try a crossbody and land outside spot", and then makes up for that by taking a sick upside-down bump into the steps. This guy is seriously on the roll of a lifetime in the ring.  Back in, Christian gets a gutbuster that Goldust chooses to take on his side for some reason, for two.  Abdominal stretch (which then makes more sense given Goldust's selling of the gutbuster), but Goldust elbows out.  Jericho comes in and slugs away, but walks into a lariat.  Goldust opts to pound the mat instead of tagging.  Have to question his strategy there.  And indeed, the heels cut off any potential tag and work him over in the corner.  Goldust fights them off and chokeslams Christian (which JR calls a "sidewalk slam", getting closer to Tony Territory as the days go by), and makes the hot tag to Booker. Forearm for Jericho, superkick for Christian (don't tell Shawn!), and a rollup on Jericho gets two.  Booker goes nuts on Jericho with chops in the corner, but gets caught with the Flashback for two.  Jericho returns the chops in fine Canadian fashion, and tries the Walls, but Booker reverses for two.  Booker's axe kick is ducked, and Jericho rolls through a spinebuster and gets the Walls.  Goldust makes the save and Christian comes in with a belt, but gets crotched on the top rope and introduced to Jericho.  That gives Booker two.  Booker heads up and takes forever, but fights off both heels and hits Jericho with a missile dropkick for two.  Hot near fall there.  Jericho comes back with the bulldog and Lionsault, but it misses and Booker flapjacks him awkwardly to set up the Spinarooni.  Axe kick gets two. Christian gets dumped, but Jericho nails Booker with the belt and gets a Lionsault for two.  Thought they might have done the finish there.  Jericho argues the point, grabs the belt, but walks into the Bookend and we have NEW champions at 16:44.  About damn time.  Good formula tag match, but the first 5 minutes were a total waste of time.  ***1/4  I was worried they'd do the buildup and then swerve us by having Goldust turn, but in the end they did the right thing.

- Edge v. A-Train.  I'm guessing Edge gets exposed here.  A-Train overpowers him to start and catches his bodypress, but Edge dropkicks him into the corner, and they brawl out.  Edge works on the arm via the post, and they head back in, where Edge suddenly goes to the knee instead, and then legdrops him for two.  Rollup gets two.  A-Train comes back with a powerslam and hammers away in the corner.  This guy is death for the crowd heat.  A-Train catapults him under the ropes for two, and we hit the chinlock.  Oh yeah, this guy is so ready for the main event.  Edge chops away and tries to make a comeback, but A-Train no-sells it for the most part.  Edge tries a faceplant, and it gets two.  They do an awkward irish whip reversal and Edge gets a bad-looking Edge-O-Matic for two.  Edge heads up and gets hit with a big boot for two.  A-Train grabs a chair, but gets baseball slid and Edge comes in with a bodypress for two.  Cole still can't get over the athleticism of A-Train for that kick.  Yeah, putting your foot in the air takes a lot of it.  Meshugganator gets two for A-Train.  Edge spears him for two.  A-Train uses the chair for the DQ at 7:11.  LAAAAAAME.  Crowd totally turns on the finish, too, rightfully so.  A-Train is terrible and Edge isn't the worker to carry him to anything decent.  *

- Eddie Guerrero v. Chris Benoit.  This being built up as a match to determine a #1 contender, more or less.  Eddie tries a takedown to start, but Benoit grabs the arm and brings it to the mat.  Eddie reverses to a legbar. Into the corner, and Eddy chops away as Cole talks about one of his favorite meaningless topics, "personal issues".   Eddie overpowers him, but walks into a backdrop and Benoit chinlocks him.  Guerrero uses a sweet judo throw to escape, and goes to a short-arm scissors.  There is of course only one acceptable counter to that move in the WWE - the Bob Backlund "lift the guy onto your shoulders and drop him to the mat" counter - and this match is no exception to that rule.  Even Tazz notes that.  Benoit gets two and starts unloading the Canadian Physical Intensity, but so does Eddie.  He quickly goes to a headscissors, but Benoit reverses him into a leglock and stomps away.  Faceplant  and Benoit charges, but gets dumped as a result. Eddie follows him out with a bodypress, looking to have hurt his knee on the fall.  Back in, Eddie works on the knee, but Benoit kicks him in the head, which backfires as Eddie rolls him through into a kneebar.  That's some pretty sweet matwork.  Eddie goes for the Lasso, but Benoit makes the ropes.  Eddie stomps him down again, and goes into an inverted Indian Deathlock to keep working the leg in preparation for the Lasso.  That gets two.  He keeps kicking the leg to keep Benoit down, and then gets into a war of chops before opting to elbow him down instead.  Wise choice.  Corner splash, but Benoit goes for the crossface to fake Eddie out, and then hits the rolling germans instead.  It's a FIVE-suplexer, so you know Chris is pissed off.  Benoit unloads the SNOT ROCKET OF DEATH and heads up, but Eddie foils his plan by getting up, so Benoit is like "Fuck this" and heads down to deliver another pair of suplexes instead of trying a dive.  Eddie reverses a powerbomb and gets his OWN rolling germans, because Eddie indeed rules almost as much as Benoit.  Vertical suplex and Eddie goes up for the frog splash, which gets two.  They tumble out, and Eddie heads back in first and distracts the ref, allowing Chavo to make an appearance and put Benoit down with a beltshot.  And why is there no Chavo match on this show, while I'm thinking of it?  Back in, Eddie gets two.  Benoit escapes a suplex, but Eddie slickly takes him down with a toehold, into the Lasso  From El Paso.  Benoit makes the ropes.  Eddie goes back to the leg again, but Benoit chops him down with MUSTARD on it.  He then gives him a powerbomb so awesome that anyone else in the promotion should be ashamed of using the move after him.  Chavo tries to interfere, but gets dumped to the floor again, and Eddie chases Benoit up the ropes, only to get dumped off and hit with the flying headbutt.  He takes advantage of Benoit's shaken state, however, and rolls through into the Lasso instead.  Benoit then reverses that into the crossface, but Eddie tries for the ropes.  Benoit , being awesome, then switches sides to cut off the arm Eddie is using to reach. Eddie tries to roll through, but Benoit holds onto the move and gets the submission at 16:48.  Now that is some Quality Professional Wrestling. ****1/4  Crowd wasn't really into it, but fuck them.

- And now we get into the grand time-wasting segment of the show, as we recap the Torrie-Dawn "feud" and then Dawn & Kermit head into the ring. Dawn shows the footage, which is basically just Dawn undressing Torrie and them making out for a bit, before Al stops the footage and everyone leaves.  That pretty much defines "crappy payoff".

- Kane v. Batista.  This isn't gonna help get the show going, I don't think. Kane grabs a headlock to start, but gets stomped down.  He blocks a hiptoss with a neckbreaker and slugs away on Batista to send him out, and Batista stalls.  Back in, Batista's slam is reversed to one by Kane, and an elbowdrop gets two.  Batista catches Kane with something that was either supposed to be a hotshot or a slam to the outside, and ended up being neither.  Spear gets two.  Suplex gets two.  Man, if it was Victoria, the match would be OVER. Batista charges and hits boot, and Kane slugs him down, but gets tossed. Flair intervenes, and Kane won't sell any of it.  Poor Flair.  Batista saves Flair from further humiliation by bringing Kane back in, and we get more punchy goodness.  Big boot and sideslam and Kane goes up, but misses the flying clothesline.  Batista tries a powerbomb and can't get Kane up, which looks god-awful and the crowd completely turns on them.  Kane goes back up again and gets the clothesline this time, but the ref stops to yell at Flair for absolutely no reason (maybe the WWE is enforcing the "It's not polite to point" rule REALLY strenuously) and there's no count.  Chokeslam is blocked and reversed to a god-awful MAIN EVENT SPINEBUSTER for two.  Ugh ugh ugh.  Second chokeslam works, and now Flair interferes again and gets manhandled by Kane.  Batista hits him with the SITOUT POWERBOMB OF DISMEMBERMENT, however, and gets the merciful pinfall at 6:37.  Remember kids, if you're doing backyard wrestling, don't EVER sitout on any move, because you could kill someone.  And don't ever imitate this match, because your friends will laugh at you.  DUD   An indignant Batista fan e-mailed me to note that I should wait until Batista actually had a match on PPV before complaining how bad he is.  Well, there's the match, and here's my complaints.

- John Cena and "Bling Bling" Buchanan come out and waste yet more time in a pointless rap segment.

- Women's title:  Victoria v. Trish Stratus v. Jackie.  Trish dumps both Jackie and Victoria to start, but gets necksnapped by Victoria for two. Jackie legsweeps Victoria for two.  She gets a lariat, and Trish tries a bulldog, but gets reversed into a suplex by the other girls.  Victoria works her over in the corner and they head up for a superplex, and Jackie sneaks in for two.  Trish rolls up Jackie for two.  Jackie hits Victoria with a sloppy headscissors and Trish works with Jackie to double-team Victoria before getting tossed by Jackie.  Trish goes up and gets a crossbody on Jackie, reversed for two.  Not as badly as the Jeff Hardy-D-Lo finish on Heat, but pretty bad.  Jackie goes up but gets taken down with the handstand rana by Trish, and a pair of Kawada Kicks put Victoria down.  Victoria shrugs them off and goes up, but Jackie sends her out and then walks into another kick from Trish for two.  They can't even do a cover properly, stalling around until Jackie got into position to make the save.  Trish hammers on Jackie and they do another bad cover, and Victoria hits Jackie with the clichéd beltshot and gets the pin at 4:29.  That was only 4 minutes?   Yikes.  Total mess, with tons of blown spots and no real reason for it to even be a three- way.  1/2*

- Smackdown World title:  The Big Show v. Kurt Angle.  Crowd doesn't seem to know who to cheer here, so they opt for no one.  Angle goes for the leg, but gets tossed around.  Angle grabs a facelock, but Show dumps him to escape.  Angle sneaks in and dumps Show in turn.  He dives after Show, but gets caught and dropped on the railing.  Show tosses him from the apron to the floor, buying some time.  Back in, Show hammers Angle down and gets a suplex for two.  Cole & Tazz go back to the same tired hard sell of Show by noting how TV doesn't do justice to how BIG he is.  Great, I've seen him live several times, and he still sucks.  Sideslam gets two.  Angle comes back with a jawbreaker and slugs away, but has a bodyblock reversed to the Eye of the Hurricane or the Final Cut or whatever for two.  Show goes to the HOGAN-KILING BEARHUG OF DEATH, but since Angle isn't 60 years old, he escapes without too much trouble.  He tries the MAIN EVENT SLEEPER, but since he's not HHH, Show escapes without too much trouble.  Angle uses a tornado DDT, which Show can barely bump for, and it's a double-KO.  TV can't do justice to how bad Big Show is.  Angle finally gets smart and goes to the knee, and kicks him in the face.  To the top, and Angle gets a missile dropkick (and a nice one) for two.  Angle springs out of the corner with a moonsault press, which Big Show is completely out of position for, and that gets two.  They should give all of Show's salary to Kurt Angle.  Show tries a powerbomb, which Angle escapes, and the Angle Slam gets two.  Show reverses the Anklelock to a chokeslam, which Angle rolls through back into the Anklelock.  See, that makes no sense, since Angle hasn't so much as worked on the leg all match. Ref is bumped, always the sign of a poorly-booked match these days, and the crowd knows that Brock is due.  Chair gets involved, and Angle puts Show down with it, but only gets two, and the ref is bumped again.  A-Train makes his appearance, guaranteeing another two months of bad main events, and takes out Angle before disappearing again.  Show chokeslams Angle, but Brock makes his appearance, does his weekly F5 on Show (and draws the biggest pop of the show by far), and Angle wins the title at 12:36. Match was about four minutes too long, but thank god they came to their senses on the Big Show situation and gave the belt to someone who deserves it.  This was, however, 100% the Kurt Angle Show and Big Show only hurt things by being in the ring.  I can only imagine how bad this would have been with pretty much anyone else.   **

- RAW World title:  Shawn Michaels v. HHH.  HHH has his GOOD quad taped up, which is an ominous sign of what the quality is gonna be like. Shawn attacks HHH to start, but gets tossed and comes back in.  They slug it out and HHH gets dumped and baseball slid.  HHH grabs a trash can, and Shawn follows him out and ostensibly lands on the can, but in fact completely misses and looks stupid doing so.  HHH drops him on the railing and they start brawling down the aisle immediately, before heading back in. Shawn dives onto HHH and hits the trash can on the way down.  I'm not sure who's supposed to be selling, so I'll assume no one.  Shawn finds a table and has trouble setting it up.  Man, those things should come with instructions!  Shawn tries a suplex onto the table, but then remembers who he's wrestling and gives it up.  HHH meets the stairs instead and they head back in, where Shawn comes in with a garbage can that only meets HHH's foot.  HHH is limping really noticeably out there.  Shawn gets a crossbody, which HHH rolls through for two.  What is WITH that spot tonight? Everyone is screwing it up.  HHH heads out and adds another table to Shawn's previously set-up table, but can't suplex Shawn through them. Shawn reverses the move for two.  HHH USES THE KNEE but hurts himself, and hobbles out for a chair.  These weapons are leaving something to be desired so far.  HHH starts working on the back, but Shawn gets a sideslam on a chair as the psychology starts going all over the place.  Shawn whips him around and HHH bails.  You'd think that wearing a huge bandage on your quad muscle would be a sign of where it would be a good place to attack, and even Jerry Lawler picks up on that.  Shawn doggedly sticks to the back, however, and tries the superkick, but HHH reverses to a single-arm DDT on the leg.  He starts working on the knee now.  Okay, so the guy with a bad leg is working on the leg of the guy with the bad back, and the guy with the bad back is working on the back of the guy with the bad leg.  I guess you could call that reverse psychology.  HHH stays on the leg.  You wish you were Flair, buddy.  Actually, I think he DOES wish he was Flair.  He does, however, do the figure-four on the STRAIGHT leg, so kudos to HHH for that at least, because after 25 years Flair still can't figure that out.  Shawn can't make the ropes, so he reverses instead.  I appreciate the thought here, but when you hype it as a street fight and then spend 10 minutes building to a figure-four, you're kinda straying from the intended point.  HHH uses the TRASHCAN LID OF DEATH to put Shawn down for two.  He tosses Shawn and they head down the aisle, as Shawn sells the knee injury off and on and then basically forgets about it for the rest of the match.  HHH sends Shawn into the set, and then heads to the back and finds his weapon of choice - the barbed wire 2x4.  How do you carry THAT through the airport security?  He seems to have one in every street fight, so he must keep it in his overnight bag or something.  He sets it on fire for added dramatic effect, but Shawn steals it and swipes at HHH with it, which busts him open.

Now hang on a second here.  If my years of watching Rambo movies have taught me anything, it's that hitting someone with flaming metal will instantly cauterize the wound, not open it.  If they can't have a GOOD match, they can at least have a medically accurate one!   And what's the Bible's stance on the use of barbed-wire 2x4s, for that matter?

Back to the match, as they head back to ringside and into the ring, which allows Shawn to grab another chair and then use a can lid instead.  He sets up the chair, but as is often the case, the hand of irony interjects herself and Shawn lands on the chair and gets DDT'd.  KICK WHAM PEDIGREE is reversed with a lowblow, and Shawn kips up, but HHH clips him and finishes with the KICK WHAM PEDIGREE at 20:34.  That would have quite enough as it is, but we've still got another two falls to go.  HHH sets up another table as the cage lowers, and they announce that it's the ultra- lame "escape or pinfall" rule variation.  They fight over the table and Shawn gets catapulted into the cage and bleeds.  HHH works him over with a garbage can and sends him into the cage, but Shawn responds in kind and gets a clothesline.  Thesz Press and Shawn pounds away, but HHH climbs and they fight on the top for a bit, looking completely lost.  Flair joins us again after getting sent to the back to start.  That's never explained.  Flair sets up another table for the ever-expanding pile of them, as HHH & Shawn slowly climb back in.  HHH ends up on the mat again and Shawn follows him down with the elbow and this thing is just completely falling apart. Flair comes in to try to save it, and Shawn fights him off with a chair and pounds away in the corner while HHH lays around in the other corner. KICK WHAM PEDIGREE is reversed by Shawn, and a superkick puts HHH down.  Shawn for whatever reason stops to set up another table, puts HHH on it, and splashes him through it in a weak spot for the second fall at 31:09.  These guys should not have been out there past 20 minutes, as most of the cage match was too boring to be worth anything.  Third fall is a ladder match with about 10 minutes of TV time left, so it'll be the fastest ladder match in PPV history.  The ladder is brought into the ring with no fanfare, and Shawn knocks HHH down with it and drops the ladder on him.  Shawn suplexes him "onto" the ladder, missing by a foot.  These guys should not be in this match.  JR speculates whether it's Shawn or the Showstopper who showed up tonight.  I hope it's the Showstopper, so he can stop this show. He goes up the ladder and belly-flops off it, landing right on his face in most ungraceful manner.  Not exactly a spot for the highlight reel.  HHH gets another Pedigree while the fans are most excited about a fight in the stands. HHH does the SLOOOOOW climb, but gets shoved down by Shawn. Shawn does an equally slow climb, but gets shoved off through the huge pile of tables, and HHH limps up the ladder to gets his vanity belt back at 38:33.  First half was as good as two crippled guys were gonna do, but once they had to start doing serious bumps in the cage and ladder portions, it became apparent how bad both guys have become.  The "ladder match" portion in particular, all 4 minutes of it, was a total joke and ill-advised from the start.  I suppose I'm gonna have to endure more e-mail now from HHH fans about how gutsy he was for wrestling through that injury.  Yup, nothing like seeing a guy putting himself over when he's too injured to wrestle. Bring on HHH-Nash!  **1/2

The Bottom Line:

It was a decent show for the first half and Benoit-Guerrero was great, but not as great as they were hyping, but once we got to the "lesbian" video it just went crashing down and HHH-Shawn couldn't save it.  The fact that A- Train stunk up the joint in his match and then still got to interfere in the main event shows that they're not gonna learn anything from this show, either.

Thumbs in the middle for the first half, leaning down for the rest.


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