|Tagline(s)||Quick & Merciless|
|"Downfall" by Trust Company|
|Promotion||World Wrestling Entertainment|
|Date||July 21, 2002|
|Venue||Joe Louis Arena|
Vengeance (2002) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), which took place on July 21, 2002, at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. It was the second annual Vengeance produced by WWE. Professional wrestling is a type of sports entertainment in which theatrical events are combined with a competitive sport. The buildup to the matches and the scenarios that took place before, during, and after the event, were planned by WWE's script writers. The event starred wrestlers from the Raw and SmackDown! brands: storyline expansions of the promotion where employees are assigned to wrestling brands under the WWE banner.
The main event from SmackDown! saw The Rock win the WWE Undisputed Championship in a Triple Threat match also involving Kurt Angle and the defending champion The Undertaker. The main event from Raw was between the champion Rob Van Dam and challenger Brock Lesnar for the WWE Intercontinental Championship which Van Dam retain his championship by disqualification. The undercard featured The Un-Americans (Lance Storm and Christian) versus Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Edge for the WWE Tag Team Championship.
The main feud from SmackDown! heading into Vengeance was between The Rock, Kurt Angle and The Undertaker fighting for the WWE Undisputed Championship. At King of the Ring (2002), Undertaker defeated Triple H to retain the WWE Undisputed Championship. During the match The Rock interfered hitting Undertaker with a Rock Bottom. Undertaker, angry because of The Rock's interference, asked Mr. McMahon for a match with The Rock. Vince booked the match for Vengeance and told Undertaker that it was for the Undisputed Championship. On the July 4 episode SmackDown!, however, Undertaker wrestled Kurt Angle to a draw in a WWE Undisputed title match, when Undertaker won by pinfall and tapped out to Angle's submission hold. On the following Raw McMahon announced that Angle would be added to the match. The next week, the Rock made his return to confront Kurt Angle, who challenged him to a match the next week, only for Undertaker to attack both. Later that night, as Angle teamed up with Chris Jericho against John Cena and Undertaker, Rock hit the Rock Bottom on both. On the final episode of SmackDown!, The Rock defeated Angle by Disqualification due to interference from The Undertaker. Angle then nailed Undertaker with a chair.
The biggest feud from Raw heading into Vengenace was between Rob Van Dam and Brock Lesnar for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. The previous month at King of the Ring, RVD defeated Chris Jericho in the first Semi-Final round while Lesnar defeated Test in the second Semi-Final round. During the latter event, Lesnar defeated Rob Van Dam in the King of the Ring tournament to earn the right to face the WWE Undisputed Champion at SummerSlam. RVD had held the Intercontinental championship since the May 27 episode of Raw when he defeated Eddie Guerrero (who he lost the title to at Backlash on April 21) in a ladder match. On the June 24 episode of Raw, I.C. Champion RVD interrupted Lesnar's KOTR coronation by attacking him from behind and knocking him down with the Van Daminator and the Diving superkick. Later that night, Lesnar challenged RVD for the Intercontinental title, which Lesnar lost by Disqualification when Lesnar's agent, Paul Heyman interfered. Afterward, Lesnar nailed Van Dam with two powerbombs including one through the announce table. On the July 1 episode of Raw, Lesnar and Heyman issued a challenge to Van Dam at Vengeance for the I.C. title, which Van Dam accepted. The next week, Van Dam brawled with Lesnar and Heyman, ending with Van Dam nailing Heyman in the face with a Van Terminator along with the steel chair in hand. Later that night, during the 10 Man tag team match, RVD chased Shawn Michaels to the back while being distracted, allowing Lesnar to perform an F-5 on Van Dam onto the steel ramp. On the final episode of Raw, Lesnar and Undisputed Champion The Undertaker defeated RVD and Ric Flair in a tag match. Afterwords, Lesnar nailed Undertaker from behind and performed an F-5 on him.
Another storyline heading into Vengeance was Triple H determining what brand he would permanently join. He could either stay on SmackDown! with then-new General Manager Stephanie McMahon or move back to Raw with General Manager Eric Bischoff. Originally the New World Order (nWo) was planning to threaten Triple H to join the nWo on his return to Raw, but due to backstage circumstances, the nWo was written off television a week before Vengeance. Shawn Michaels, however, would still promise to bring Triple H back to Raw.
John Cena had made his WWE debut a month before Vengeance on the June 27 episode of SmackDown! and had entered a minor feud with Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho. Jericho and Edge were also feuding at that time. Their feud began on the June 6 episode of SmackDown! when Edge and Jericho were scheduled to compete in the King of the Ring First-Round tournament. But Edge forfeited his match to Jericho due to a shoulder injury that he suffered the previous week on SmackDown! in a Steel Cage match after spearing Kurt Angle. Jericho then forced Edge to raise his hand in victory but Edge refused and tried to assault Jericho but Jericho retaliated by targeting Edge's shoulder including nailing his shoulder onto the steel ring steps with the steel chair. Edge and Jericho were booked to fight each other at Vengeance, until Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Edge defeated Billy and Chuck for the WWE Tag Team Championship on the July 4 episode of SmackDown!. Later that night, Jericho went one-on-one with Cena, which Jericho won after he pinned Cena, with his own feet on the ropes. The following week on SmackDown!, Cena teamed with The Undertaker to take on Angle and Jericho in a tag match, which Cena and Undertaker won after Cena pinned Jericho.
On the July 8 episode of Raw, Jeff Hardy had defeated William Regal to win the WWE European Championship. Regal, upset after his loss, used his rematch clause at Vengeance. On the July 15 episode of Raw, WWE European Champion Jeff Hardy teamed with Bubba Ray and Spike Dudley to take on William Regal, Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero in a Six man tag team Elimination match. Benoit last eliminated Hardy by forcing Hardy to submit to the Crippler Crossface following a Brass Knuckles shot by Regal (who had already been eliminated).
Booker T had been feuding with the nWo at the time of their demise after being literally kicked out of it on the June 10 episode of Raw. The following week on Raw, Booker T competed in the King of the Ring Quarter-Final round against Brock Lesnar which Lesnar won following the interference from the nWo. On the July 15 episode of Raw Booker T defeated former nWo member The Big Show by disqualification after Big Show hit Booker with a chair. After the match, Big Show asked Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff if he could fight Booker in a No Disqualification match at Vengeance, which Bischoff granted.
On the June 6 episode of SmackDown!, Jamie Noble debuted by attacking the Hurricane and was joined by Nidia. On the June 20 episode of SmackDown!, Noble defeated Billy Kidman after he nailed him with the DDT off the top rope. Afterwords, The Hurricane got his mask back (that Noble and Nidia had taken from him the previous week) after nailing Noble with the chokeslam. Then at King of the Ring, he defeated The Hurricane for the Cruiserweight Championship. The following three weeks on SmackDown!, Kidman and The Hurricane defeated Noble and Tajiri in two tag team matches. Billy Kidman then challenged Jamie Noble to a Cruiserweight Championship match at Vengeance.
|Commentator||Michael Cole ( First half)|
|Tazz (First Half)|
|Jim Ross (Second Half)|
|Jerry Lawler (Second Half)|
|Carlos Cabrera (Spanish)|
|Hugo Savinovich (Spanish)|
|Ring announcer||Howard Finkel|
|General Manager||Stephanie McMahon (SmackDown!)|
|Eric Bischoff (Raw)|
Before the event went live on pay-per-view, Goldust defeated Stevie Richards in a standard wrestling match taped for Sunday Night Heat. The show began with Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler until Tazz and Michael Cole said they deserved to call WWE Vengeance just as much as Ross and Lawler should. Ross agreed and let Tazz and Cole call the first half of the show.
After winning the WWE Undisputed Championship, The Rock then entered a feud with the number one contender Brock Lesnar for the upcoming PPV SummerSlam. Lesnar went on to win the match and become the youngest WWE Champion in history. It was also the last match for The Rock as an active WWE superstar, and his final reign as WWE Champion until Royal Rumble 2013, prior to being a full-time actor in Hollywood.
Triple H and Shawn Michaels came out the night after Vengeance and what appeared to be a reunion for D-Generation X was instead Triple H nailing a Pedigree on Michaels. This caused Michaels to retaliate and challenge Triple H to a street fight at SummerSlam, marking his first official match since WrestleMania XIV. Michaels won the match, and Triple H attacked him after the match.
A night after Vengeance, Eric Bischoff decided to merge the WWE Intercontinental Championship and the WWE European Championship into one, putting Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy against each other in a ladder match. RVD won the match, and the European Championship was retired. A week later, Van Dam lost the Intercontinental Championship to Chris Benoit, who would then jump to SmackDown!. Van Dam used his rematch clause for Summerslam and brought the Intercontinental title back to Raw.
After losing to John Cena, Chris Jericho had to face Edge in a steel cage match on the July 25 episode of SmackDown!. Edge won the match, and Jericho, along with The Un-Americans, moved to the Raw brand. Jericho went on to feud with Ric Flair. Lance Storm and Christian began to feud with Booker T and Goldust, while Test had a one-month feud with The Undertaker. After his cage match win over Chris Jericho, Edge began a two-month long feud with Eddie Guerrero.
After losing the triple threat match to The Rock, Kurt Angle was pinned by Rey Mysterio in a six man tag team match on the August 8 episode of SmackDown!. As a result, on the following episode of SmackDown, he challenged Mysterio to a match at SummerSlam to which Mysterio agreed.
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