Arnold Furious: We’re in Los Angeles, California at the Staples Center. Hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler. This PPV is one I take issue with. During 2002, Triple H began this run of title defences of the Big Gold Belt. He’d basically been given the strap earlier in the month and there was a feeling he didn’t deserve it. What better way to correct this flaw than to have him lose the title to his first major challenger; Rob Van Dam? It would have solidified Van Dam as the top card face they needed him to be and made him legitimate after months of treading water in the midcard, while still being beloved by the fan base. The time was absolutely right to pull the trigger on this push. What actually occurred was belt-hoggery and lots of it. The other title, the WWE Title, was held by Brock Lesnar after his crushing victory over The Rock at SummerSlam. Brock’s now embroiled in a feud with The Undertaker, a program which pretty much marks the return of Taker as a legitimate superstar, after three years of poor performances. Sadly tonight’s match is merely to set up their No Mercy rematch, which is why it shouldn’t have gone on last. Instead RVD-Hunter could have gone on last but they couldn’t do that because the Tripper was retaining. Sometimes you have to make booking sacrifices or you’ll piss the fans off. I’m not sure they get that.
Interesting to note during the opening they try to justify the ‘World Championship’ actually meaning something by showing footage from the 70s and 80s. Which might even have worked… if they’d not simply handed the title to Triple H. The whole thing is just so stupid. If they wanted the belt to mean something they should have held a tournament and had the finals on this PPV. Easy win, even if Hunter goes over by cheating or whatever (Hunter vs. Ric Flair in the semi? So Flair’s heel turn makes more sense. “If I can’t win it, I want Hunter to.”) Or they hand the belt to Hunter so he can be the high profile job guy to make a genuine star for RAW… like Rob Van Dam. Or they could give Hunter the title and have him win here and achieve nothing whatsoever. You don’t need to guess how they went with the booking and how crushingly disappointing it all was.