|Tagline(s) Quick & Merciless|
Date July 21, 2002
song(s) "Downfall" by Trust Company|
Promotion World Wrestling Entertainment
Vengeance (2002) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) 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.
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 retained 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 PPV also marked a returning Chris Benoit, who was out of action due to injury since King of the Ring (2001)
Vengeance featured professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing feuds, plots, and storylines that were played out on Raw and SmackDown! – World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) television programs. Wrestlers portrayed a hero or villain as they followed a series of events that built tension, and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches. All wrestlers were from WWE's Raw and SmackDown! brands – a storyline division in which WWE employees are assigned to a television program of the same name.
At King of the Ring, The Undertaker defeated Triple H to retain the WWE Undisputed Championship. During the match, The Rock interfered hitting Undertaker with a Rock Bottom. The Undertaker, angry because of The Rock's interference, asked Mr. McMahon for a match with The Rock. McMahon booked the match for Vengeance and told Undertaker that it was for the championship. On the July 4 episode SmackDown!, however, Undertaker fought Kurt Angle to a draw for the WWE Undisputed Title, when Undertaker won by pinfall and tapped out to Angle's submission hold at the same time. The next week on Raw, McMahon announced that Angle would be added to the match. The next week on SmackDown!, The Rock returned 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 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 last month at King of the Ring, Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam defeated Chris Jericho in the first semifinal round while Brock Lesnar defeated Test in the second semifinal round. During the latter event, Lesnar defeated Van Dam in the King of the Ring tournament to face the WWE Undisputed Champion at SummerSlam. Van Dam has been Intercontinental Champion 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, Van Dam interrupted Lesnar's King of the Ring coronation, attacking him from behind and knocking him down with the Van Daminator and a diving superkick. Later that night, Lesnar faced Van Dam for the Intercontinental Championship. Lesnar was disqualified when his agent, Paul Heyman, interfered. Afterward, Lesnar nailed Van Dam with two powerbombs including one through the announce table. The next week on Raw, Lesnar and Heyman challenged Van Dam at Vengeance for the Intercontinental Championship, which Van Dam accepted. The next week on Raw, Van Dam brawled with Lesnar and Heyman, with Van Dam nailing Heyman in the face with a Van Terminator along with the steel chair in hand. Later that night, Van Dam 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 before Vengeance, Lesnar and The Undertaker defeated Van Dam and Ric Flair in a tag team match. After the match, Lesnar attacked Undertaker.
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 legitimate shoulder injury that he suffered the previous week on SmackDown! in a steel cage match hitting Angle with a spear. Jericho then forced Edge to raise his hand in victory, but Edge refused and tried to assault Jericho, who retaliated by targeting Edge's shoulder, including nailing his shoulder onto the steel ring steps with the steel chair. Edge and Jericho were booked for a match 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 had a match 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.
Chris Jericho then asked Mr. McMahon to let The Un-Americans (Lance Storm and Christian) to wrestle Hogan and Edge for the WWE Tag Team Championship at Vengeance, to which McMahon agreed.
On the July 8 episode of Raw, Jeff Hardy defeated William Regal to win the European Championship. Regal, upset after his loss, used his rematch clause at Vengeance. On the July 15 episode of Raw, 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 kicked out of the group 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, who won following the interference from the nWo. On the July 15 episode of Raw, Booker T defeated former nWo member Big Show by disqualification after Big Show hit Booker with a chair. After the match, 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 a DDT off the top rope. Afterward, The Hurricane got his mask back (that Noble and Nidia had taken from him the previous week) after nailing Noble with a chokeslam. Then at King of the Ring, Noble 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 and Kidman then challenged Noble to a Cruiserweight Championship match at Vengeance.
Before the event went live on pay-per-view, Goldust defeated Stevie Richards in a 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 Vengeance just as much as Ross and Lawler should. Ross agreed and let Tazz and Cole call the first half of the show.
The first match saw The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray Dudley and Spike Dudley) face Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit in an Elimination tag team tables match. Guerrero was eliminated by Spike after a Dudley Dog through a table. Spike was eliminated by Benoit after a Military Press Slam through a table. Benoit was eliminated by Bubba Ray after a Bubba Bomb through a table, meaning The Dudley Boyz won the match.
The second match was for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship between Jamie Noble and Billy Kidman. Noble pinned Kidman after a Gibson Driver to retain the title.
The third match was for the WWE European Championship between Jeff Hardy and William Regal. Hardy pinned Regal with a roll-up to retain the title.
The fourth match was between John Cena and Chris Jericho. Jericho attempted to apply the Walls of Jericho on Cena but Cena countered with a roll-up to win the match.
Main event matches
The fifth match was for the WWE Intercontinental Championship between Rob Van Dam and Brock Lesnar. In the end, Lesnar attempted an F5 on Van Dam but Van Dam countered with a DDT and executed a Five Star Frog Splash on Lesnar. Van Dam pinned Lesnar but Paul Heyman pulled Charles Robinson, meaning Van Dam retained the title by disqualification. After the match, Van Dam performed a Baseball Slide on Heyman and the referee attacked Heyman. Van Dam attempted a Van Terminator on Lesnar but Heyman stopped Van Dam and Lesnar performed an F5 onto a steel chair on Van Dam.
The sixth match was a No Disqualification match between Booker T and Big Show. Booker performed a Scissors Kick on Big Show through a broadcast table, another Scissors Kick and a Houston Hangover to win the match.
A segment occurred involving "Smackdown" GM Stephanie McMahon and "RAW" GM Eric Bischoff trying to sign Triple H to RAW or Smackdown. After Shawn Michaels told Triple H he had an idea (referencing reforming D-Generation X), Triple H decided to sign with RAW.
The seventh match was for the WWE Tag Team Championship between Hollywood Hulk Hogan and Edge and The Un-Americans (Lance Storm and Christian). During the match, Edge attempted a Spear on Storm but Edge accidentally speared the referee. Test interfered, executing a Big Boot on Edge. Storm pinned Edge for a near-fall. Edge performed a Spear on Storm but Christian distracted the referee whilst Chris Jericho interfered, hitting Edge with a title belt. Storm pinned Edge to win the match and the title for The Un-Americans.
The main event was a Triple threat match for the WWE Undisputed Championship between The Undertaker, The Rock and Kurt Angle. During the match, Rock performed a Chokeslam on Undertaker and applied an Ankle Lock on Angle but Angle countered with a Rock Bottom on Rock. Angle attempted an Angle Slam on Undertaker but Undertaker countered with an Angle Slam on Angle. Rock performed a People's Elbow on Undertaker but Angle pulled Rock out of the ring and pinned Undertaker for a near-fall. Angle hit Undertaker with a chair for a near-fall. Undertaker performed a Last Ride on Rock but Angle broke up the pinfall. Angle applied an Ankle Lock on Undertaker but The Undertaker escaped the hold. Undertaker performed a Chokeslam on Angle and Rock performed a Rock Bottom on Undertaker for a near-fall. Angle performed an Angle Slam on Undertaker and Rock performed a Rock Bottom on Angle to win the title for a record seventh time.
After winning the WWE Undisputed Championship, The Rock then entered a feud with the number one contender Brock Lesnar for the upcoming SummerSlam event. Lesnar went on to win the match and become the youngest champion in the title's history. It was also the last match for The Rock as an active WWE wrestler, and his final reign as WWE Champion until winning the title at the Royal Rumble in 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 Unsanctioned Street Fight at SummerSlam, marking his first official match since WrestleMania XIV. Michaels won the match, and Triple H attacked him after the match.
The following night on Raw, Eric Bischoff decided to merge the Intercontinental Championship and the European Championship into one, putting Rob Van Dam and Jeff Hardy against each other in a ladder match. Van Dam won the match, and the European Championship was retired. On the next Raw, Van Dam lost the Intercontinental Championship to Chris Benoit, who would then jump to the SmackDown!. Van Dam used his rematch clause for SummerSlam and brought the Intercontinental Championship 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 then 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 steel 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.