Judgment Day 2002 was the fourth annual Judgment Day professional wrestling pay-per-view event produced by the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It took place on May 19, 2002, at the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, Tennessee. This event was the first pay-per-view to use the WWE name after the change from WWF, even though the promotional poster had the WWF logo. It featured talent from the Raw and SmackDown! brands.
The main event on the card was a Singles match for the WWE Undisputed Championship featuring The Undertaker defeating Hollywood Hulk Hogan to win the championship. Featured matches on the undercard included a Hell in a Cell match between Triple H and Chris Jericho, which Triple H won by pinfall following a Pedigree on the top of the cell. The other primary match on the undercard was a Hair vs. Hair match featuring Edge defeating Kurt Angle by using a Small Package.
The event featured nine professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds and storylines. Wrestlers were portrayed as either villains or fan favorites as they followed a series of events which built tension, culminating in a wrestling match or series of matches.
The main feud leading into Judgment Day 2002 on the Raw brand was between the Undisputed Champion "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker. At Backlash The Undertaker defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin and became the #1 contender to the WWE Undisputed Title, which Hogan won the same night. On the April 25th Smackdown! Undertaker (A Raw wrestler) came to Smackdown in order to attack Triple H, prompting Hogan to run and save Triple H. On the next Raw, Hogan and Undertaker confronted as Hogan tried to attack Undertaker. However, later that night, during Hogan's match with William Regal, Undertaker attacked Hogan with Hogan's weight belt, busting him open. The next week, Hogan stole Undertaker's motorcycle and rode into the ring on it, and then tried to chase Undertaker with the motorcycle (Which didn't start). Later that night, Hogan destroyed the motorcycle with a truck. The next week, Undertaker attacked Hogan in the backstage, tied him into Hogan's motorcycle and dragged him all over the backstage. On that week's Smackdown, Hogan talked in front of the Montreal crowd, as Vince McMahon confronted him and Hogan attacked him.
The main feud on the Smackdown! brand was between Chris Jericho and Triple H. On the April 25, Smackdown, Jericho defeated Triple H with Undertaker's help in order to get a title shot at Hulk Hogan the next week. The next week, Jericho managed to convince McMahon making the match at No DQ match and to pervent Triple H from hitting Jericho. Jericho taunted Triple H later that ring, but during the title match, the Undertaker's music hit. Undertaker didn't come to the ring and Hogan defeated Jericho. The next week, Vince made Jericho and five other wrestlers beat on Triple H, while booking Jericho and Triple H in a Hell in a Cell match. Jericho cost Triple H a match against Reverend D-Von later that night, making Triple H attack Jericho as he teamed up with Kurt Angle against Edge and Hulk Hogan. Vince McMahon then came to the ring and taunted Triple H, allowing Jericho to hit Triple H with the chair again. The next week, Jericho and Angle attacked Triple H and Edge, and defeated them in the main event.
Another main feud from the Raw brand was Steve Austin against the Big Show and Ric Flair. At Backlash, Flair refereed the Austin-Undertaker #1 contenders match, and counted Austin without seeing he had his foot on the bottom rope. The next night, Flair told Austin that he made a mistake and booked Austin and Bradshaw against the nWo of Scott Hall and X-Pac, however, Bradshaw was attacked in the backstage. Flair put Big Show in the match as a replacement, but Big Show turned on Austin and joined the nWo, blaming Austin for him being left off Wrestlemania. The next week, while the Big Show was in India (And was revealed as the man who attacked Bradshaw), Flair refereed a tag team match between Hall and X-Pac and the team of Austin and Bradshaw. Austin won even though X-Pac's foot was on the bottom rope. Flair then booked himself in a six men tag match the next week, with Bradshaw and Austin against the nWo. The next week, however, Flair turned on Austin and booked himself and Big Show against Austin at Judgment Day. The next week, Austin cost Flair a title match against Hogan, making Flair booking Bradshaw against Big Show and X-Pac (Scott Hall was fired the week before) and booking Austin in a lumberjack match against a new nWo member. After the nWo defeated Bradshaw, Flair revealed Booker T as the new nWo member. Despite the entire lumberjack being heels, Austin defeated Booker but was attacked by the nWo and Flair after the match.
Another main feud on the SmackDown brand was between Kurt Angle and Edge. At Backlash, Angle defeated Edge in their first encounter. On April 25, Angle attempted to unveil his new t-shirt that he designed when Edge came out and said that despite their differences, they had a good match at Backlash, he congratulated him and said he wanted to see his new t-shirt. When Angle unveiled the t-shirt it was vandalized as instead of Angle's accomplishments on the front of his shirt it instead said "YOU SUCK" which is what the fans chant when Angle's music plays. (Edge had secretly sneaked backstage and changed Angle's shirt) When Angle saw that his shirt had the wrong words he got angry at being outsmarted by Edge again. Edge as he left the ring said that the shirt definitely was Angle. The following week, Angle unveiled the real t-shirt and had Lance Storm model it. When he asked the fans if they want to buy his t-shirt, Edge came out and said that he wanted to buy a t-shirt but he thinks there is a better one out there and he brought out The Big Valbowski wearing the "YOU SUCK" t-shirt from last week. Infuriated, Angle challenged Edge to another match at Judgment Day and when Storm whispered in his ear, Angle suggested that if he defeats Edge his long hair would have to be shaved bald. Edge accepted the challenge but adds that if he defeats Angle his hair would have to be shaved bald too. On the final week before Judgment Day, Angle and Chris Jericho defeated Edge and Triple H when Angle pinned Edge. After the match, he held up a lock of Edge's hair which he used scissors to cut off with earlier.
With his feud with Triple H now over, Chris Jericho decided to enter the King of the Ring tournament, with the winner to receive an Undisputed Championship shot on August 25 at SummerSlam. Jericho was scheduled to compete against Edge in the First-Round tournament. But Edge forfeited his match to Jericho due to a shoulder injury. Jericho advanced as far as the Semi-finals, losing to Rob Van Dam. On the May 30 episode of SmackDown!, The Undertaker defeated Randy Orton to retain the WWE Undisputed Championship. Afterwards, Triple H assaulted Taker, claiming that if Undertaker gives him a title shot, he won't retain the Undisputed title. During Triple H's match with Test, Taker interfered, enabling Test to nail Triple H with a Big Boot for the pin. Afterwards, Taker nailed Triple H with multiple steel chair shots esp.to his elbow. On the June 6 episode of SmackDown, Triple H became the number one contender to the championship by defeating Hollywood Hulk Hogan. Triple H faced The Undertaker for the Undisputed title at King of the Ring, only to lose despite interference on his behalf from a returning The Rock.
Kurt Angle and Edge continued to feud for a few weeks after Judgment Day, and Edge was later joined by Hulk Hogan on the May 30 episode of SmackDown!. On that episode, while Hogan had a stare down with the WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, Angle nailed Hogan in the back of the head with a steel pipe. Later that night, Hogan interfered in a Steel Cage match between Angle and Edge by assaulting Angle. Moments later, Edge speared Kurt Angle from the top rope and won the Cage match. In the process, Edge injured his arm and would be forced out of action for a month. The centerpiece of this feud was a hairpiece Angle was wearing after being shaven bald, which he held to his head with a piece of amateur wrestling headgear. On the June 13 episode of SmackDown!, Angle and The Undertaker were scheduled to wrestle Hogan and Triple H but Taker and Angle assaulted Hogan before the tag match started. After Angle and Taker defeated Triple H by disqualification, Hogan went after Angle and eventually stripped Angle's wig from his head, which led to a match between the two at King of the Ring. At the event, Angle won by submission.
Brock Lesnar ended his feud with the Hardy Boyz and entered the King of the Ring tournament. On Raw, Lesnar defeated Bubba Ray Dudley in the First round tournament then the following week, he defeated Booker T in the Quarter-Final round. At the King of the Ring event, he defeated Test in the Semi-Final round then went on to defeat Rob Van Dam in the King of the Ring tournament, which earned him the SummerSlam title shot against the champion.
After Judgment Day Stone Cold Steve Austin continued his feud with Ric Flair, which added both Eddie Guerrero and a returning-from-injury Chris Benoit (who was last seen in June 2001 at King of the Ring due to neck injury). 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.
Guerrero's feud with Van Dam ended on the May 27 edition of Raw, when he lost his WWE Intercontinental Championship in a Ladder match. Two weeks later, he lost to Van Dam again in the King of the Ring First round tournament. He went on to face Flair at King of the Ring in place of Austin and lost the match after interference from Bubba Ray dudley. The following night on Raw, Guerrero entered a feud with Bubba Ray dudley. After pinning Bubba Ray, Guerrero had the table set up, only for Bubba Ray put him through it. Chris Benoit then applied the Crippler Crossface on Bubba Ray. The following week on Raw, Benoit and Guerrero fought Bubba Ray and Spike Dudley in a tag match, which Bubba Ray and Spike won. Afterwards, as Spike tried to execute the Dudley Dog on Benoit, Benoit countered it and tossed him through a table. Benoit then applied the Crippler Crossface on Bubba Ray while Guerrero frog splashed Bubba from behind. The following two weeks on Raw, Benoit and Guerrero had defeated Bubba and Spike in two different tag matches. Then on July 21 at Vengeance, Spike and Bubba Ray defeated Benoit and Guerrero in a tag team Elimination Tables Match when Bubba last eliminated Benoit following a Bubba Bomb. On the July 29 episode of Raw, after Benoit defeated RVD for the Intercontinental title, he and Guerrero would then defect to the SmackDown! brand during a storyline "open season" on wrestler contracts, with Benoit taking his newly won Intercontinental championship with him. Rob Van Dam defeated Benoit for the title on August 25 at SummerSlam and returned the title to the Raw brand.
Trish Stratus concluded her feud with Stacy Keibler after defeating Keibler in the Bra and Panties match on the May 25 episode of Velocity. She was challenged by a returning Molly Holly, who returned with a drastic attitude change and new look. Holly's return took place on the April 1 episode of Raw when she nailed Stratus in the head with a paddle, breaking the paddle into two. On the June 3 episode of Raw, Stratus successfully defended the Women's title over Terri Runnels in a Lingerie match. Holly then appeared to the ring with Brass Knuckles only for Stratus to nail her in the head with the title belt then took her undergarments off and threw them in Holly's face. The following week, after Holly defeated Stratus in a non-title match, she took Stratus's undergarments and choked her out with it. At King of the Ring, Stratus lost the match and her Women's title to Holly after Holly executed the Belly-to-belly suplex and pinned her with a handful of tights for leverage.
- Sunday Night Heat: William Regal (c) defeated D'Lo Brown to retain the WWE European Championship (6:22)
- Eddie Guerrero (c) defeated Rob Van Dam to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship (10:17)
- Trish Stratus (c) (w/ Bubba Ray Dudley) defeated Stacy Keibler (w/ Reverend Devon and Deacon Batista) to retain the WWE Women's Championship (2:54)
- Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman defeated The Hardy Boyz (Matt and Jeff) (4:46)
- Steve Austin defeated The Big Show and Ric Flair in a Handicap match (15:36)
- Edge defeated Kurt Angle in a Hair vs. Hair match (15:30)
- Triple H defeated Chris Jericho in a Hell in a Cell match (24:31)
- Rikishi and Rico defeated Billy and Chuck (c) to win the WWE Tag Team Championship (03:51)
- The Undertaker defeated Hollywood Hulk Hogan (c) to win the WWE Undisputed Championship (11:17)
Other on-screen talent
- Judgment Day 2002 Offical Website
- Judgment Day 2002 at CAGEMATCH.net
- Judgment Day 2002 at Online World of Wrestling
- Judgment Day 2002 on WWE Network
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