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From The Vault: WWE Global Warning Tour 2002 Review

By Mick Robson

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Right. We're a week away from the Elimination Chamber PLE in Perth! Excitement levels are rising, and to mark the occasion, I thought I'd look at the first time WWE came to Australia in the modern era. For that, we go back to 2002, for WWE's Global Warning Tour!

Now, this wasn't a PPV in the traditional sense. It wasn't built up on TV or released as a live PPV, but it did get a home video release. I remember getting this as my last WWE VHS tape before we switched to DVD. Yeah, it's that long ago. I no longer have a VHS player, or that tape, but thankfully, Binge (the WWE Network in Australia) has this event in the Home Video Classics section. Also, it was released as a second disc for the Super Showdown 2018 DVD- which we'll get to later in the week.

Going down right between Vengeance and Summerslam 2002, this was a star-studded card, headlined by The Rock vs. Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar in a triple threat match for the WWE Undisputed Championship! I wasn't lucky enough to attend this show, which went down in Melbourne at Colonial Stadium (known today as Marvel Stadium), but 56,000 strong were in attendance for this one. First time for WWE in Australia since 1986 according to Wikipedia! Wow.

Let's do this!


We kick off the show with a ton of fireworks, and the entrance of the new SmackDown General Manager, Stephanie McMahon! Damn, she looked good. 12 year me crushed on Trish Stratus and GM Steph near equally. She gets a great reception as the first performer on the show.

Stephanie welcomes everyone to the show, and then says, "let's get this party started!" Rikishi makes his entrance, and busts a move with the boss before his opening match.

Match 1: Kiss My Ass Match- Rikishi vs. Rico

Former tag team partners here, reluctant as they were. And yes, you read the match stipulation correctly. Rico uses some of his martial arts moves in the early going, surprising the big man with his speed. Rikishi plants Rico with a belly to belly, and looks for the Banzai Drop, but Rico scurries away. He then low blows Rikishi- as referee Jimmy Korderes looks out of the ring for no apparent reason. RIco goes for a moonsault, gets nothing but canvas, and Kish hits a Samoan Drop for the win!

Winner: Rikishi (at 2:32)

Star Rating: **. Extremely quick, but hey, the crowd was super into it and it was fun while it lasted.

Post-match, Rikishi shoves his ass in Rico's face (giving him the Stinkface), then invites some children into the ring to dance with him. Wow, the Ruthless Aggression Era really was a weird time looking back.

We throw to a video of Cruiserweight Champion Jamie Noble and his girlfriend Nidia learning to surf in Australia. They're essentially out of character and come across as great people, but it does the trick in showing Australia as a beautiful destination.

(A dark match where Mark Henry & Randy Orton def. Reverend D'Von & Batista happens here live. Would have been cool to see Orton and Batista live at this early stage of their careers.)

Match 2: WWE Cruiserweight Championship- Jamie Noble (w/ Nidia) vs. The Hurricane

Cole & Tazz are on commentary, acting like they're ringside, but you can tell it's post-recorded. Cole: "Nidia is a freak." Tazz: "I bet she'd take on every guy in this stadium." Wow. 

Hurricane establishes a fast pace in this one, hitting some clotheslines before putting the champ in the Tree of Woe and stepping on his balls. Ouch. Hurricane superkicks Noble, who bails to ringside, and the superhero launches with a flying cross body to the floor! Nidia distracts Hurricane with a forced kiss, allowing Noble to take control with a big clothesline. After taking some damage, Hurricane pauses momentum with an inside cradle for a near fall.

Noble folds Hurricane up with an electric chair drop. Kick out. Noble wears Hurricane down with a sleeper hold. The challenger fights back and hits a flying headscissors. Jumping neckbreaker gets a 2 count for the Hurricane. Top rope blockbuster for another near fall. Noble fires back with a pumphandle suplex for a near fall of his own. Hurricane blocks the tiger bomb and hits Eye of the Hurricane for a great near fall. 

Hurricane looks for the Vertabreaker, continuing his focused attack on the neck, but Noble counters with a Northern Lights suplex. They fight to the top rope and Hurricane hits a super neckbreaker! He's slow to cover, though, and Noble kicks out. Hurricane looks for the chokeslam, but Nidia distracts him, and Noble gets a backslide with his feet on the ropes for a tainted victory!

Winner: Jamie Noble (at 8:45)

Star Rating: ***1/2. This was a really, really good cruiserweight match. Hurricane was most known in his WWE run for his silly superhero antics, but this was a genuinely great battle which showcased champion and challenger excellently. Major step up in pure wrestling quality from the opener.

Post match, Hurricane confronts Nidia and chokeslams Noble. He poses with the Cruiserweight Championship, but as Tazz says, "he didn't win it!"

We get a video of Christian, Lance Storm & Kurt Angle visiting different places, including the zoo. An Aussie calls them "buggers", which confuses and offends Angle. Funny stuff.

(Kurt Angle isn't on the televised card, but does have a dark match with Test- which would have been a weird heel vs. heel thing thinking about it. Another dark match at this point in the card is Hardcore Holly & Chavo Guerrero beating Billy & Chuck)

Match 3: WWE Tag Team Championship- The Un-Americans (Lance Storm & Christian) (c) vs. Billy Kidman & Rey Mysterio

Rey Mysterio was very new to the WWE roster at this time, so it was a great treat to get him on this show. Mysterio also has a history teaming with Kidman in WCW, so this is a nice fit.

Immediate clear chemistry here as Storm & Kidman begin chain wrestling. Quick tag to Christian but Kidman clotheslines them both down and tags in Rey! Top rope rana on Christian. A wheelbarrow bulldog gets a near fall. Rey looks to fly again, but after Storm causes a distraction, Christian shoves him off the top to the floor. 

The Un-Americans beat down Rey, including a double hotshot which looks WICKED on the 170 pounder! Mysterio creates separation with a springboard dropkick on Christian, but Storm runs in and prevents the hot tag to Kidman. Later, Rey lands on his feet off a German suplex, lands a spin kick, and finally tags in Kidman, who comes in on fire! Bulldog on Storm gets a near fall. 

Christian runs in, dropping a tag title belt in the ring in the process. Things break down with all four men fighting. Rey hits Christian with the 619, then hits an assisted rana on Storm off the top rope! Kidman with the Shooting Star Press- but Christian pulls the ref out of the ring! In the chaos and confusion, Storm cracks Kidman with the title belt- and the champs retain!

Winners: The Un-Americans (at 9:10)

Star Rating: ***3/4. If you can put aside the silliness of a title belt just lying in the ring for a couple of minutes- which even Cole & Tazz mock on commentary- this was awesome action. This show continues to elevate bell to bell. This crowd LOVED Rey Mysterio, despite the fact he'd only been on WWE TV for about 2 weeks at this time.

We get a video of Edge seeing the sights with Billy Kidman and Torrie Wilson. When you look up the definition of "punching" in the dictionary, there's a picture of Billy Kidman and Torrie Wilson.

Match 4: Edge vs. Chris Jericho

Big interpromotional match, as Chris Jericho- along with Storm and Christian in the previous match- had jumped from SmackDown to Raw the previous week. The attire reflects it as well, with Jericho wearing Raw red, and Edge in SmackDown blue.

Jericho stalls and the crowd gets on his case calling him a "wanker". Jericho grabs a mic and reminds everyone that he was the first Undisputed Champion. He doesn't even know what a wanker is! He says Australia sucks and Edge is a "stupid son of a bitch", and the fight is on!

Edge chases Jericho around ringside then drops him with a flapjack in the ring. Jericho comes back with a thumb to the eye and starts choking Edge. Jericho gets caught in the ropes so Edge hits a Spear, followed by a spinning heel kick for a near fall. Jericho begs off and gets the upper hand after hiding behind the referee. Edge briefly comes back with a roll up, but Jericho pops up and hits a "big, stiff clothesline". Cole segues by saying, "speaking of big, stiff clotheslines, Torrie and Stacy up next!" Things you'd never hear him say in a million years today!

Edge dodges a charging Jericho attack and the "King of the World" crotches himself on the middle rope. Tazz: "Jericho got caught right in the wanker!" You know, for someone who claimed he didn't know the word, he's almost using it correctly there! Edge makes a comeback, dropping Jericho with a snake eyes and going up top. Jericho meets him there, but Edge hits a sit-out facebuster off the top! Near fall. Edge goes for a flying forearm, but Jericho moves and the ref goes down. Jericho grabs a steel chair, but Edge strikes first with a Spear! Cover, but the ref's down. Jericho goes for the Lionsault, Edge moves, a second Spear, ref comes to, 1, 2... kick out!

The ref's still groggy, so Jericho uses the chair then hits the Lionsault. We get a slow 2, and Edge kicks out! Edge catches a dropkick and slingshots Jericho into the exposed turnbuckle, followed by the Edge-O-Matic for another near fall. Edge looks for the Edge-acution, Jericho counters and looks for the Walls, but Edge reverses into an inside cradle for the 3!

Winner: Edge (at 12:49)

Star Rating: ***3/4. Another high quality outing, with Jericho at his obnoxious best, and Edge emerging as a top tier face on SmackDown. Unfortunately, this version of Edge would be derailed after his neck injury, but this was a treat in Melbourne.

We get a video of the Fan Frenzy event earlier in the week. Kinda like Axxess. Highlights included fans getting their picture with Stacy Keibler (lucky bastards) and playing video games with Mark Henry.

We have a special ring announcer for the following match, The Big Valbowski! Val Venis is here to be the quintessential ladies man, as always.

Match 5: Bra & Panties- Stacy Keibler vs. Torrie Wilson

If you weren't a WWE fan during the Attitude Era/Ruthless Aggression Era, the object of a Bra & Panties match is to strip your opponent down to their bra and panties. Once both undergarments are exposed, the match is over. Ahem.

Stacy begins this mat classic with a slap and a scoop slam. Torrie does a leapfrog and hits a hip toss, then a clothesline. With that alone, she's done better than Shane O Mac at last year's WrestleMania. Stacy hits a hot shot then rips Torrie's top off. Talk about a hot shot!

Torrie takes Stacy down by the hair and rips her top off. We're even! Well, not quite, but you know what I mean. Torrie hits a snap suplex, and after trading attempts to pull each other's pants off, they roll over the referee. Lucky bast- the girls confront him and pull his pants down, exposing pasty white legs and pink underwear. Okay, maybe not so lucky.

Nidia runs in and I guess the ref is just gonna let it go as her and Stacy double team Torrie. Torrie fights back and pulls Nidia's shorts off. Torrie slingshots Stacy into the corner then hits a schoolboy, while pulling her shorts off, for the win!

Winner: Torrie Wilson (at 4:45)

Star Rating: **. Look, jokes aside, this didn't pack the same punch that it did to 12 year old me, now that we live in a world with high speed internet. But it definitely had some entertainment value, and most of the crowd seemed to enjoy it a lot. So yeah.

Before the main event, highlights from a charity dinner the night before, sponsored by Microsoft. Signed portraits of The Rock, Hulk Hogan, and Triple H go for up to $10,000! Wow. 

Main Event: WWE Undisputed Championship- Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Triple H vs. The Rock (c)

Who would have thought, some 22 years later, Heyman, The Rock and Triple H may possibly be involved in the next WWE event in Australia? Time will tell, but they're certainly still in current WWE storylines.

The Rock & Triple H pinball Brock with right hands to start the match. A double clothesline sends Lesnar flying from the ring. Triple H drops Rock with a clothesline and goes on the attack. Rock drops HHH with a clothesline, and Brock drops Rock with a clothesline as he re-enters the fray. Clothesline City... not quite as catchy but definitely impactful!

Lesnar & HHH team up to beat down Rock. The fight spills to ringside and Rock takes it to Brock. Heyman hits the champ from behind and immediately regrets his decision. Heyman runs, and Triple H capitalises on the distraction with, yep, another clothesline! HHH takes the fight to Brock back in the ring, and Cole & Tazz are quick to point out that no one has really done this to Lesnar yet. Brock reverses a whip and hits the shoulder charge in the corner. Rock comes back in and hits a flurry of punches on Brock, but HHH drops him with a neckbreaker. Near fall.

Brock charges and HHH hits a spinebuster for a near fall. Rock hits a neckbreaker, but Brock breaks up the pin, realising about the triple threat rules. We get some finisher attempts from everyone before Brock knocks Triple H to ringside. Brock launches Rock across the ring with a belly to belly. Brock applies the bearhug- the same way he took out Hulk Hogan last week on SmackDown- on Rock. He eventually breaks the grip and hits a DDT for a 2 count. 

Rock applies the Sharpshooter, but HHH breaks it up. HHH nails the Pedigree on Rock but Brock breaks it up. Brock hits HHH with the F5 but Rock breaks it up. Hard-hitting! With The Game out of the ring, Rock hits Brock with the spinebuster and People's Elbow... but Lesnar kicks out! Heyman jumps up on the apron in celebration, but Rock drops him with a right hand. Lesnar hits the F5 on Rock... but Triple H breaks it up! HHH hits Brock with the Pedigree- and Brock kicks out! Brock looking like a beast here, no pun intended. Triple H argues with the ref, then turns around into the Rock Bottom! It's over!

Winner: The Rock (at 14:35)

Star Rating: ****. That was laid out as an epic between three superstars, and it delivered. From all three dealing massive attacks early, to finisher spam towards the end- Triple H even got busted open! It also speaks to how strongly they were pushing Brock at this time- a couple of weeks before Summerslam, not only did Brock kick out of both The Rock and Triple H's finishers, but The Game was the one to eat the pin here. Top tier main event to close the show, a real hidden gem due to how this event was broadcast.

Post-match- which I'm positive wasn't included on the VHS I had of this event that I watched many times- Brock attacks Rock with a chair, but he and Triple H clear him from the ring. They get Heyman alone in the ring. He begs off hilariously. Rock offers the hand of friendship, but Heyman is no dummy, as he wildly pantomimes getting Rock Bottomed. So Triple H shakes his hand then delivers a Pedigree. Rock hits the People's Elbow, then he encourages HHH to do his own People's Elbow, which he does to end the show for realsies. Fun, light-hearted house show fare in this big stadium setting- which kinda sums up the show as a whole really.

Overall Thoughts

This was 2002 WWE damn near at its best. An absolutely stacked roster- and while it had a bit of silliness with the Kiss My Ass match and Bra & Panties, the championship matches were serious and impactful, as was Edge vs. Jericho. The stadium spectacle elevated this big time- it had been almost 20 years since the WWE had even been to Australia, and the Aussie fans were starved for it. I hope the Elimination Chamber in Perth brings even half that energy!

Overall Score: 8/10

Until next time, take care.


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Image of Mick Robson, founder of The Arena Media

Mick Robson is a freelance writer from Australia. A lifelong fan of pro wrestling and MMA, he endeavours to bring that passion through his coverage in news, reviews and opinion pieces.

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