WWE: Retro Smackdown | Hogan Appreciation Night – February 28th 2002

Fleet Center – Boston, Massachusetts, TV Rating: 3.7

The Good: As ever it’s far from an all-time classic that’s been unfairly forgotten but the opening “intergender” match pitting the Dudley Boyz and Jazz against the Hardy Boys & Lita isn’t too bad at all. They get six minutes and although at this point in 2002 you never need to see the Dudley’s and the Hardy’s in the same ring as each other ever again for a least a decade this match does seem to exist to try and get Jazz over as someone who could be the standard-bearer for the women’s division.  Now, whilst I like her, she’s not and never was THAT good.  But it’s nice to see something different being tried. Whilst it doesn’t seem to have much point in terms of storylines, but the video package that takes us through the “Hulk Hogan Appreciation Night” career is a nice bit of nostalgia. Even if it does end with clips of the nWo trying to murder The Rock again…

Again it’s hardly a classic but by WWE TV standards the main event pitting Triple H & Kane against Chris Jericho and Kurt Angle is decent enough even if it does nothing for either match the quartet are involved in at Mania.

The Bad: So The Big Show loses in the number one contenders match on Raw so doesn’t get a title shot against William Regal at WrestleMania.  He does however get a non-title match here a few days later, no-sells most of Regal’s offence and then gets the win through a ridiculous “Regal hits the brass knuckles punch but this causes Show to fall on top of him and he can’t escape the pin” spot.

Chris Jericho, the WORLD CHAMPION, is being reduced to the lackey of Stephanie McMahon as he has brought her the wrong lotion and need to go and get the correct one.  Ok…

The match itself is your normal squash match, but Booker T and Scotty 2 Hotty exists so that Edge can interrupt Booker’s post-match celebrations with the news that he has stolen Booker T’s Japanese Shampoo commercial. Yes, THIS is a reason for two grown men to have a match on the biggest show of the year…

And again, the Hogan Appreciation Night video was fine, but it’s a shame it was full of them trying to brutally murder The Rock just last week

The Indifferent: The ending could place it in the “bad” category given that it’s Stone Cold Steve Austin pulling a “gun” out on Kevin Nash and shooting him to reveal that it’s merely a fishing net or something that’s blasted out and entraps Big Sexy.  (This is worthy of a number of slow-motion replays too).  But overall it’s just another Austin Vs the nWo skit that’s a bit of fun but not all that memorable. 

The Hardcore Title match between Maven and Goldust is something and nothing and the post-match angle where Undertaker comes in and beats up Maven only for Al Snow to make the save and have an impromptu match with the Dead Man only for Ric Flair to make that a no-contest when he runs out and waffles Taker with a lead pipe fills up some air-time I guess. 

Billy & Chuck defending the Tag Belts against the APA is as mediocre as you’d expect.  Still, it avoids the “Bad” section because getting this match here means that we’re not getting it (in this two-on-two form anyway) at Mania.  And for that, we can all be thankful. 

Overall: It’s far from a great show but it at least starts and ends with decent in-ring action.  It’s also got a fair pace to it so you never really get the chance to be too bored by it all.  Whether or not anything that happens here whips up the excitement levels for WrestleMania is another matter entirely. The Hogan Appreciation Night video was fine.

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