With the recent announcement of Clash at the Castle (which is a canonical, genuine “Premium Live Event”) it’s interesting to look back twenty years to when a UK PPV meant just that. A PPV that only aired in the UK. Insurrextion 2002 though holds a special place in wrestling history. And no, it’s not because it was the show that preceded the “Plane Ride From Hell”. It’s because it was the last “major event” the WWF ever put on before coming to the WWE.
Could it live up to that (in hindsight) billing? Well, no… It was a UK only PPV at a time when they were distinctly B shows. But with an intriguing lineup on paper let’s take a look.
After a generic video opening up Insurrextion 2002 and Jerry Lawler promising to show us tonight why it is called the “Queen’s English” we got one of those matches that looks good on paper but is mildly disappointing. Intercontinental Champion Eddie Guerrero and Rob Van Dam would have better matches back in the US on either side of this encounter so this does feel a little like a “by the numbers” match. But then again it’s Eddy & RVD so even their “by the numbers” is quite good. A cheap DQ finish doesn’t help matters mind you.
After Molly Holly has trashed the UK and its obsession with topless Page 3 Girls, backstage interviewer Terri Runnels fights back on our behalf by saying Molly is only jealous because she doesn’t have good boobs. No, seriously. And then Terri, I suppose, proves she has good boobs by taking her top off and standing there in her bra. Ok then.
The tag team match between Jazz & Molly Holly and Trish Stratus & Jacqueline is perhaps par for the course in the time frame… They work hard, are given a decent amount of time and put on a fair wrestling match. But as we’ve seen it’s been preceded by the “bra angle” and the crowd spend half the time chanting for puppies.
Bradshaw against X-Pac is next and whilst that sounds like an almighty clash of styles it’s not at all bad. It’s far from great of course, but it’s decent enough and plays into ongoing storylines (Bradshaw had been jumped by the nWo on Raw and was at war with the faction). Scott Hall’s outside interference helps X-Pac to the win.
We can’t say the same about the Hardcore Title match between champion Stevie Richards and Booker T on this here Insurrextion 2002 sure. Booker has fallen to a low here. It’s a strange one on many levels as it is given nearly ten minutes and keeps the usual hardcore nonsense (it’s a long way past being passé even here as a division) to a minimum. It benefits from that, as well as the crowd deciding that they are going to cheer for heel Booker T. Which means that his win is warmly received. It is then followed by Crash Holly running out to pin Booker for the title, Booker-winning it back, Tommy Dreamer & Justin Credible failing to win it and then Stevie Richards getting it back with help from Jazz.
Brock Lesnar finds himself teaming with Shawn Stasiak in a match with the Hardy Boys but Paul Heyman tells Double S to take it easy, stay on the apron and let Brock do all the work. So of course Stasiak doesn’t do that and in the end, is the fall guy for the Hardy’s win which makes this, if you are that way inclined, Brock’s first televised loss, Apart from him not being pinned and this being the UK only show so who cares anyway right? At least he smashes everyone in sight afterwards… Was Insurrextion 2002 ever canonical?…
William Regal challenges Spike Dudley for the European Title next in a match highlighted by a well-presented injury angle for Spike. You could believe it was true and the fans certainly seemed to do so. Regal tries to take advantage but is too cocky and gets caught in a small package for the 1-2-3.
We end with a couple of matches from the big boys that might sound good on paper but you kind of guess won’t be. Of course, this is 2002 Steve Austin and Big Show so with one man unhappy and the other bloated we pretty much get a standard kick and punch WWF brawl of the time that not even the presence of guest referee Ric Flair can save. That’s followed up by the main event of The Undertaker against Triple H. It certainly fits into the ongoing storylines but it’s another pretty dull fifteen minutes where not much happens. Watch it with your eyes closed though and Jim Ross’ commentary could almost make you believe you are watching a WrestleMania main event worthy clash.
You never expect much from the old fashioned UK only events and this certainly didn’t give much. That said, nothing is offensive and generally, it’s a fairly entertaining show that remains an easy watch to this day.