Jamie Noble vs. Funaki – 4
Kurt Angle vs. Hardcore Holly – 6
Summer of 2002, I was 20 years old, living in my parents’ basement, and having an absolute blast. A few months later the FoxBox Saturday morning line-up would premiere giving us Ultraman Tiga, Fighting Foodons, Ultimate Muscle, and Kirby: Right Back at Ya! I was staying up late hanging with friends almost nightly, blowing what meager money I earned on stuff at Toys ‘R Us and fast food, and taking in an unhealthy amount of wrestling. Even on WWE’s C-level shows we were getting some quality in-ring action.
Opener was good stuff. Chuck and Henry started. All of Mark’s cutoff spots were real blunt and meaty. Just shoving Chuck down like a hockey check. Billy and Orton mixed it up next and really emphasized Billy’s veteran savvy. Randy threw a few sweet dropkicks. Chuck did these big ‘70’s era wind-up elbow drops that I just loved. Was far too short to get anything approaching a proper story told but I was still into it. Henry ate a Chuck savate kick followed by a Famouser for the loss.
Two beefy boys going at it. “You ever have a chick lick your face, Cole?” says Taz on commentary. At first I wasn’t exactly jibbing with it as it was pretty simple meat and potatoes stuff. But then I had to tip my hat as these big lugs were laying it in. Couple nice big splashes by Albert where he got nice air time. Rikishi dropped that ass on Albert and got the win with a Bonzai Drop. Nice clean definitive finish gets it an extra point.
Ah yes, my favorite ROH champ (just kidding) James Gibson in action. Nice aggression on display by Jamie with a focused attack throughout. Funaki’s blue and white striped trunks looked like coastal mariner décor. Not enough depth to rate higher but solid. Main event sees Angle still wearing that goofy wig under his headgear. They reference this is a week away from Kurt getting a shot at Hulk Hogan at King of the Ring and I attended that show live. Never will I forget the look on my friend Steve’s face when his hero Hulk tapped out to Angle. Holly dishing out some stiff chops and a compact powerslam for the scrapbook. Some real nice throws and suplexes by Angle. What a treat to watch him at this time. Holly busts out a massive powerbomb like it’s no big deal. Some nifty counters on display. Holly survives an Ankle Lock and even rallies back but Kurt uses a hefty handful of the ropes for the tainted win. Really dug the hell out of this. Angle made Holly look good and gave a damn fine performance. Just aces.