King of the Ring (2002)
|King of the Ring (2002)|
|"Ride Of Your Life" by Neurotica|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Entertainment|
|Date||June 23, 2002|
|King of the Ring chronology|
King of the Ring (2002) was the tenth annual King of the Ring professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It was presented by Snickers and took place on June 23, 2002 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. It was the final King of the Ring pay-per-view event and the only King of the Ring pay-per-view to feature Raw and SmackDown brands.
The main match from SmackDown was a standard wrestling match for the WWE Undisputed Championship which Undisputed Champion The Undertaker defeated Triple H to retain the title. The main match from Raw was a standard wrestling match which Brock Lesnar defeated Rob Van Dam in the finals to win 2002 King of the Ring tournament. The predominant match on the undercard was Kurt Angle versus Hulk Hogan, and the other matches on the undercard were Ric Flair versus Eddie Guerrero, a WWE Women's Championship match between champion Trish Stratus and challenger Molly Holly and a WWE Cruiserweight Championship match between champion The Hurricane and challenger Jamie Noble.
King of the Ring featured professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing feuds, plots, and storylines that were played out on Raw and SmackDown—World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) television programs. Wrestlers portrayed a villain or a hero as they followed a series of events that built tension, and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches. All wrestlers were from WWE's Raw and SmackDown brands—a storyline division in which WWE employees are assigned to a television program of the same name.
The pay-per-view event featured the annual King of the Ring single elimination bracket tournament. The winner would earn a WWE Undisputed Championship match at SummerSlam on August 25. Qualifying matches for the tournament started on the June 3, 2002 episode of Raw, with X-Pac and Booker T defeating Goldust and the WWE European Champion William Regal respectively. On the June 6 episode of SmackDown, two qualifying matches were held. The first match saw Val Venis defeat Christian. The other scheduled match was between Chris Jericho and Edge. Edge forfeited the match due to his shoulder injury that he suffered the previous week in a Steel Cage match. Jericho attacked Edge and worsened his injury. On the June 10 episode of Raw, the qualification continued as the WWE Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam defeated Eddie Guerrero and Brock Lesnar defeated Bubba Ray Dudley. On the June 13 episode of SmackDown, the final qualification matches occurred with Test and Hardcore Holly defeating the WWE Cruiserweight Champion The Hurricane and Tajiri respectively. On the June 17 episode of Raw, the quarterfinal matches occurred with Rob Van Dam defeating X-Pac and Brock Lesnar defeating Booker T. On the June 20 episode of SmackDown, Test defeated Hardcore Holly and Chris Jericho defeated Val Venis in the quarterfinal matches.
The main rivalry heading into the event was between The Undertaker and Triple H for the WWE Undisputed Championship. At WrestleMania X-Seven the previous year, Undertaker and Triple H first fought each other with The Undertaker extending his WrestleMania record 9-0 by defeating Triple H. On the May 30, 2002 episode of SmackDown, the storyline restarted when Undertaker defeated Randy Orton to retain the Undisputed Championship. Afterwards, Triple H assaulted Taker, claiming that if Taker gives him a title shot, he won't retain the Undisputed title. Later that night, Undertaker distracted Triple H and cost him a match against Test. After the match, Undertaker nailed Triple H with multiple chair shots esp.targeting his arm with it. On the June 6 episode of SmackDown, Triple H and Hulk Hogan co-won a battle royal, an over-the-top-rope elimination match. The match was to determine the number one contender for the Undisputed Championship at King of the Ring. The SmackDown Owner Vince McMahon booked Triple H and Hogan for a standard wrestling match, which was also a rematch from Backlash between the two. In that match, Triple H defeated Hogan to become the number one contender for the Undisputed Championship at King of the Ring.
The predominant feud from the SmackDown brand was between Kurt Angle and Hulk Hogan. At Judgment Day, Angle got his head shaved bald following his loss to Edge in a Hair vs. Hair match then during the latter event, Hogan dropped the WWE Undisputed title to The Undertaker due to interference from SmackDown Owner Vince McMahon. On the May 23 episode of SmackDown, Angle started wearing a hairpiece with a piece of amateur wrestling headgear after being shaven bald. On the May 30 episode of SmackDown, Angle interrupted a staredown between Hogan and Vince McMahon when he nailed Hogan with a steel pipe to the back of the head. Later that night, Hogan cost Angle a Steel Cage match against Edge. On the June 13 episode of SmackDown, Hogan challenged Angle to a match at King of the Ring, which saw Angle accepted. Later that night, Angle and The Undertaker attacked Hogan before a tag team match pitting Hogan and Triple H against Angle and Taker. After Angle and Taker defeated Triple H by disqualification, Hogan went after Angle and eventually stripped Angle's wig from his head.
The predominant feud from the Raw brand was between Ric Flair and Eddie Guerrero. For the previous two months, Ric Flair had feuded with Steve Austin eversince the start of the brand extension where Austin was a free agent and signed with the Raw brand on the April 1 episode of Raw, following advice from Vince McMahon and Ric Flair. On the May 27 episode of Raw, Chris Benoit returned to the WWE in his hometown of Edmonton, Alberta from a neck injury that he suffered the previous year at the King of the Ring event. Later that night, after Eddie Guerrero lost the WWE Intercontinental Championship to Rob Van Dam in a Ladder match, Guerrero knocked Van Dam over the top rope with the ladder. Moments later, Austin charged to the ring and attacked Guerrero along with Flair and Arn Anderson until Chris Benoit got to the ring and assaulted Austin, enabling Guerrero to perform a frog splash on him. On the June 3 episode of Raw, Steve Austin defeated Flair in a match where Flair became Austin's servant. If Flair would've won, Austin would forever be on the bench. However, the feud ended abruptly with Austin's unexpected departure from the company on June 3 for his refusal to lose a hotshotted match to Brock Lesnar. That same night, Flair lost his half of the WWE ownership to Vince McMahon and returned to active wrestling. On the June 17 episode of Raw, Flair gave a speech over losing the position of Raw Owner to Vince McMahon. The speech was interrupted by Guerrero and Benoit. Flair challenged Guerrero to a match at King of the Ring, which Guerrero accepted. Afterword, both Guerrero and Benoit assaulted Flair, ending with Guerrero straping Flair in Flair's own Figure four leglock submission hold.
A secondary feud from the SmackDown brand was between The Hurricane and Jamie Noble for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. On the June 6 episode of SmackDown, Noble and his valet Nidia made their WWE debut by attacking Hurricane in his locker room. The following week on SmackDown, after Hurricane lost to Test in a King of the Ring Qualifying match, Noble and Nidia made their way to the ring and took turns finishing the Hurricane off with a series of slaps before taking his mask. On the June 20 episode of SmackDown, Noble defeated Billy Kidman to become the number one contender for Hurricane's Cruiserweight Championship at King of the Ring. After the match, the Hurricane got his mask back after nailing Noble with the chokeslam.
A secondary feud from the Raw brand was between Trish Stratus and Molly Holly for the WWE Women's Championship. On the April 1 episode of Raw, after Stratus defeated Terri Runnels in a Paddle on a Pole match, Holly returned in a drastic attitude change and new look by nailing Stratus in the head with a paddle, breaking it into two. On the May 27, 2002 episode of Raw, Stratus and Spike Dudley defeated Holly and William Regal in a mixed tag team match. After the match, Holly attacked Stratus with Regal's brass knuckles. Holly would sneak attack Stratus on many occasions, leading to a title match between the two for Stratus' Women's Championship at King of the Ring.
Before the event aired live on pay-per-view, the Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff) wrestled Raven and Steven Richards in a match that aired live on Sunday Night Heat. Hardy Boyz won when Jeff pinned Richards after Raven turned on his partner.
Preliminary matches 
As the event concluded, the semi-final round of the King of the Ring tournament started that pitted Rob Van Dam against Chris Jericho. The match went back and forth and both men earned momentum against each other. In the final moments of the match, Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho on Van Dam but caught hold of the ropes and knocked out Jericho with his kicks. Van Dam proceeded by hitting a Five Star Frog Splash and pinned Jericho to advance to the finals. The second match of the semi-final was between Brock Lesnar and Test. Lesnar dominated most of the match until Test got control and attempted a Pumphandle Slam on Lesnar but Lesnar ducked the move. Test attempted a Big Boot, but Lesnar caught him and hit him his finisher, a F-5 for the victory.
In the third match of the event, The Hurricane defended the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Jamie Noble. Hurricane dominated earlier part of the match until Noble got control. Hurricane regained momentum and finished Noble and went for the pinfall but Noble's valet Nidia distracted the referee. Noble took advantage and hit Hurricane with a Powerbomb and attempted a pinfall. Hurricane put his feet on the ropes but Nidia knocked his feet and Noble won the match and became the new Cruiserweight Champion.
The fourth match of the event pitted Eddie Guerrero against Ric Flair. Flair dominated earlier part of the match until Guerrero attacked Flair's knee and injured it. Guerrero took control of the match and worked on Flair's leg. During one point in the match, Guerrero applied Flair's own submission maneuver, a Figure Four Leglock on Flair. Guerrero continued to damage Flair's knee until Flair applied a Figure Four Leglock on Guerrero. Chris Benoit interfered in the match on Guerrero's behalf and distracted the referee. Guerrero began distracting the referee and Benoit applied a Crippler Crossface on Flair outside the ring. The referee noticed Benoit and ejected him from ringside. Bubba Ray Dudley interfered in the match and hit Guerrero with a Bubba Bomb. Flair pinned Guerrero to win the match.
In the fifth match of the event, Trish Stratus defended the WWE Women's Championship against Molly Holly. Holly dominated most of the match. Stratus got control and began using some of her signature moves on Holly. Holly regained the momentum and hit Stratus with a Belly To Belly Suplex. Holly went on to pin Stratus with leverage from a handful of Stratus' tights and became the new Women's Champion.
Main event matches 
The sixth match of the event pitted Kurt Angle against Hulk Hogan. Angle dominated most of the match by using his amateur wrestling style. Hogan used his power moves on Angle but Angle recovered by a series of suplexes. Angle hit an Angle Slam on Hogan but only got a near-fall. Hogan began dominating Angle and took off his wig to reveal Angle's bald head. Angle applied an Ankle Lock on Hogan and forced Hogan to tap out. As a result, Angle won the match by submission.
The sixth match was the final round match of the 2002 King of the Ring tournament between Brock Lesnar and Rob Van Dam. Lesnar dominated Van Dam for most of the match and destroyed him with his power moves. Van Dam got control of Lesnar and used a series of kicks and a Rolling Thunder on Lesnar. Van Dam flew off the ropes but Lesnar caught him on his shoulders and hit him an F-5 to win the 2002 King of the Ring tournament and earned an WWE Undisputed Championship match at SummerSlam.
The main event match was for the WWE Undisputed Championship. The Undertaker defended the title against Triple H. The match went back and forth until Triple H dominated Undertaker. Undertaker earned the momentum over Triple H until Triple H tried to hit a Pedigree. However, Undertaker countered the move and pushed Triple H into the referee. The referee was knocked out. Undertaker and Triple H knocked out each other. The Rock entered the arena and replaced Paul Heyman for commentary. Undertaker eventually attacked Rock causing Rock to interfere in the match and attack Undertaker. Rock tried to hit Undertaker with a chair but Undertaker ducked and Triple H was hit with the chair. Undertaker took advantage and hit Triple H with a Last Ride. Undertaker tried to pin Triple H but Triple H kicked out at 2. Rock interfered and hit Undertaker with a Rock Bottom. Triple H hit Undertaker a Pedigree and tried to pin Undertaker but the referee was still groggy. Undertaker took advantage and hit Triple H with a Low Blow and followed by pinning Triple H with a roll-up retaining the Undisputed Championship.
The Rock's involvement in the WWE Undisputed Championship match at King of the Ring made him the number one contender for the Undisputed Championship at Vengeance. On the July 4 episode of SmackDown!, Undertaker retained the title against Kurt Angle in a controversial fashion as Undertaker pinned Angle and Angle made Undertaker tap out at the same time. As a result, Angle was added to the title match, making it a Triple Threat match. At Vengeance, Rock defeated Undertaker and Angle in a Triple Threat match for his seventh WWE Undisputed Championship.
Due to defeating the WWE Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam in the finals of the King of the Ring tournament, Brock Lesnar feuded with Van Dam over the WWE Intercontinental Championship. At Vengeance, Van Dam defeated Lesnar by disqualification to retain the Intercontinental Championship. After the event, Lesnar joined the SmackDown brand and began feuding with the Undisputed Champion The Rock as he had won the King of the Ring tournament and earned the right to challenge for the Undisputed Championship at SummerSlam becoming the first winner of the KOTR tournament to have done so since Mabel in 1995. At SummerSlam, Lesnar defeated Rock for the WWE Undisputed Championship.
|Sunday Night Heat||The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff) defeated Raven and Steven Richards||Tag team match||06:02|
|1||Rob Van Dam defeated Chris Jericho||King of the Ring semi-final match||14:32|
|2||Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) defeated Test||King of the Ring semi-final match||08:18|
|3||Jamie Noble (with Nidia) defeated The Hurricane (c)||Singles match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship||11:38|
|4||Ric Flair defeated Eddie Guerrero||Singles match||16:50|
|5||Molly Holly defeated Trish Stratus (c)||Singles match for the WWE Women's Championship||05:41|
|6||Kurt Angle defeated Hulk Hogan||Singles match||12:08|
|7||Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) defeated Rob Van Dam||King of the Ring final match to determine the number one contender for the WWE Undisputed Championship at SummerSlam||05:43|
|8||The Undertaker (c) defeated Triple H||Singles match for the WWE Undisputed Championship||23:44|
(c) – refers to the champion(s) heading into the match
Tournament brackets 
The tournament took place between June 3 and June 23, 2002. The tournament brackets were as follows:
|RAW||Bubba Ray Dudley||4:49|
|Rob Van Dam||5:42|
|Rob Van Dam||Pin|
|Rob Van Dam||6:00|
|RAW||Rob Van Dam||9:38|
1. ^ Edge forfeited his match to Chris Jericho due to a shoulder injury.
- "King of the Ring 2002 Tournament Brackets". Wrestling Supercards and Tournaments. June 3–23, 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- "King of the Ring 2002 results". Online World of Wrestling. June 23, 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
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- "WWE Raw Results". Online World of Wrestling. June 3, 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- "WWE SmackDown Results". Online World of Wrestling. June 6, 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- "WWE Raw Results". Online World of Wrestling. June 10, 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- "WWE SmackDown Results". Online World of Wrestling. June 13, 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- "WWE Raw Results". Online World of Wrestling. June 17, 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- "WWE SmackDown Results". Online World of Wrestling. June 20, 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- "WWE SmackDown Results". Online World of Wrestling. May 30, 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- "WWE Raw Results". Online World of Wrestling. May 27, 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- "King of the Ring 2002 Report". Gerweck.net. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- "WWE SmackDown Results". Online World of Wrestling. July 4, 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- "The Rock defeats Undertaker and Kurt Angle in a Triple Threat Match to become WWE Champion". World Wrestling Entertainment. July 18, 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- "Vengeance 2002 official results". World Wrestling Entertainment. July 18, 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- "Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock for the WWE Undisputed Championship". World Wrestling Entertainment. August 25, 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-19.
- "King of the Ring 2002 results". Wrestling Supercards and Tournaments. June 23, 2002. Retrieved 2010-08-19.