It was Draft Day for the WWE as this year’s Draft aired on Smackdown and featured plenty of big news. So for my review this week I decided to look back on the first ever WWE Draft from 2002!
I remember being very excited for this when it happened in 2002. As a young kid, I thought the idea of two separate shows was cool and very much reminded me of WCW vs WWE. Of course, we all know how things turns out but the idea of it at the time had me excited, especially after the botched Invasion angle.
We start with Linda McMahon announcing the terms of the Draft. Only 20 picks are made tonight because of time, so they do not stretch it out to 2 nights like in 2020. Also, there is a triple threat WWE title match between Triple H, Chris Jericho and Stephanie McMahon so they cannot be drafted. And because of a special contractual clause, Stone Cold Steve Austin cannot be drafted. If you remember, Stone Cold had just walked out of the company after Wrestlemania.
Tazz vs Mr. Perfect
At this point Tazz is a shell of his former self. Mr. Perfect had a fun return at the Royal Rumble in 2002 and lasted until the final three but nothing was really done with him. Perfect talks about being the perfect pick while kind of slurring his words then cheap shots Tazz.
It isn’t a good sign for the night when this crowd is dead for this match. We get a Perfect Plex but Tazz gets his arm hooked on the ropes. Perfect tosses Tazz into the corner and Tazz kind of blocks it awkwardly and then applies the Tazmission for the win. That wakes the crowd up a bit and Taz says the perfect pick is now just another victim. Sloppy match.
Arn Anderson is with Ric Flair in his war room while Vince gets up from his desk to go make his pick. Just remember this year we are going to get super fake and lame executive rooms.
Vince comes out and we are at the peak of the awful WHAT chants. Vince drafts The Rock to Smackdown as Rock makes his way from the back room to the stage. Vince says Rock can never put his hands on Vince, never took about shoving his foot up anyone’s candy ass, and can’t use the phrase it doesn’t matter.
The crowd starts chanting asshole and Vince says to stop calling his number one pick that. Vince isn’t happy about Rock’s new friendship with Hulk Hogan and said he made Hogan just like he made The Rock.
Vince goes to leave but The Rock stops him. Rock says since this is last RAW he wants to go out with a bang. Rock runs down Vince and gets the crowd to chant “You are an asshole” at Vince. A bit of a long rambling here from The Rock that really wasn’t his best work and went on a few minutes too long.
Ric Flair comes out and picks The Undertaker. If you remember, Taker and Flair just had a long feud culminating in a bloody match at Wrestlemania.
Kurt Angle comes into Vince’s office and says Vince hurt his feelings by not picking him first. Vince is pissed that Flair took Taker, and Taker comes into Vince’s office pissed that Flair took him. Vince says he will make this right and Taker says he better.
Edge and DDP vs Christian and Booker T
These two teams faced each other in singles matches at Wrestlemania (Edge/Booker and DDP/Christian) so these feuds continue after Mania. See, they were even doing this back in 2002!
This match breaks down really early. Oh and guess who the referee is? NICK PATRICK! So what else would you expect??? Booker T beats DDP with the scissors kick for the win.
Vince is in the back with Kurt as Kurt is running down all his accomplishments. This convinces Vince to pick Angle. Ric Flair comes out and says he will do everything to bring Stone Cold to RAW and then picks the nWo. At this point the nWo is Kevin Nash, Scott Hall and X-Pac. Hall is gone in a few weeks and everything goes to hell.
Back in Vince’s office, he is pissed Flair took the nWo. Kurt says he knows someone coming back soon and Vince should take him. Vince then picks Chris Benoit.
The nWo says they don’t listen to Ric Flair, only Vince since he brought them in. Flair then picks Kane and the nWo isn’t thrilled.
Trish Stratus vs Ivory
We still get the “We Want Puppies” chant in 2002. It would be a few years still until that goes away. The crowd actually gives the top rope hurricarrana from Trish a pop and she wins with the Stratusfaction, which is just an awful looking finisher. Up there with Starship Pain.
The crowd does the “You Are An Asshole” chant to Vince who comes out and picks Hulk Hogan. Smackdown is having a pretty good draft by 2002 standards so far.
We get an ad for the 2002 WWE Divas Swimsuit issue. I definitely had that when I was a kid. Ric Flair comes out and picks RVD. Vince isn’t happy the IC title is on RAW. Kurt tells him to make a match tonight so he can bring the IC title to RAW, which Vince does.
Hogan comes into Rock’s dressing room and says they should go out giving the people a gift on RAW, and team up to face the nWo. Rock agrees to it. Vince then chooses the tag team champions Billy and Chuck.
nWo vs Hulk Hogan and The Rock
We get some generic rock music because there ain’t no way in hell the WWE is paying for the rights to Voodoo Child. Hall looks about a 6 on the wasted scale.
Hogan powers X-Pac out of the ring who takes a pretty good bump. Nash come in and he and Hogan trade blows. Nash even sells for a bit. Hogan and Hall double clothesline each other and Hogan makes the hot tag to Rock. Rock mocks X-Pac’s karate pose then hits the Rock Bottom on Nash.
Hogan comes in and leg drops Nash but X-Pac breaks up the pin. All hell breaks loose but Nick Patrick isn’t the ref. Kane’s pyro goes off and he takes out the nWo. We finally get the Real Diesel vs Fake Diesel showdown everyone always wanted! The faces clean house to give the people a cheer. The nWo wins via DQ.
Vince comes into Flair’s office to confront him. They then start spewing out draft picks. Ric Flair drafts Booker T, Vince McMahon drafts Edge, Ric Flair drafts Big Show, Vince drafts Rikishi. Flair says good, maybe he can sit his big fat ass on Vince’s face again.
Jeff Hardy w/Matt Hardy and Lita vs Billy w/Chuck and Rico
The Hardyz come out with these god awful light up neon jackets. Jeff hits a DDT and Chuck comes on the apron. Matt pulls him off and Jeff still misses the Swanton. Lita hits an awful hurricarrana off the apron on Rico and hits her head on the table. Jeff wins with a victory roll.
Ric Flair picks Bubba Ray Dudley. Vince of course picks D-Von, breaking up the Dudley Boyz. D-Von becomes a reverend and Bubba gets somewhat of a singles push for like a month. They’d be back together as team by the end of the year.
Rikishi comes out for a match with William Regal, but Brock Lesnar comes out and takes out Rikishi. He hits a F5 as William Regal gets nowhere near the ring.
Jazz comes out and cuts an awful promo from WWE New York. Vince tries to pick Brock Lesnar even though it isn’t his pick. Flair comes out and picks Brock Lesnar instead. Vince says he will pick someone with a lot of potential too, and picks Mark Henry. Okay then. Flair picks European Champion William Regal, Vince picks Hardcore Champion Maven, Flair chooses Lita.
Vince makes fun of Flair for picking a woman, and says Flair only did it because Flair is a pig. Vince says Flair will turn RAW into a cesspool and try to get lucky with Lita. JR says to look in the mirror.
WWF Intercontinental Championship: Rob Van Dam (c) vs Kurt Angle
Kurt catches RVD with a quick German suplex for two. Kurt hits a nice over head belly to belly and lays the boots to RVD. Kurt hits two German suplexes but RVD breaks up the third. RVD hits Rolling Thunder but Kurt is way too close to the ropes and RVD hits his feet on them.
RVD hits a few spinning heel kicks. RVD goes to the top. Kurt rolls outside and goes for belt but RVD throws him into the steps. Kurt pulls the ref in front of him in the ring as RVD comes off the top and hits the ref with a kick.
Kurt hits the Angle Slam but the ref calls for the bell as as Kurt has the ankle lock applied. Kurt is DQ’d as Edge comes out and makes the save as officials try to break them up.
WWF Undisputed Championship: Triple H (c) vs Chris Jericho vs Stephanie McMahon
So if Stephanie gets pinned in this match, she has to leave the WWE. We are in March 2002 so we are not in the HHH Reign of Terror yet. Jericho sends HHH to the outside and Steph lays down and lets Jericho pin her but Triple H pulls Jericho off.
HHH throws Jericho into the steps and backs Stephanie into the corner. Jericho comes in for the save but HHH catapults Jericho right into her, despite Steph having plenty of time to move. Steph then lands head first into Jericho’s crotch as HHH sends Steph to the outside.
Jericho attacks HHH from behind as both he and Steph work over the bad knee of HHH. HHH pushes Jericho into Steph. Steph slaps Jericho then Jericho pushes down Steph. Jericho misses a Lionsault and Steph tries to pin him but he kicks out.
Jericho goes to apply the Walls on Steph but HHH breaks it up. Jericho runs into Steph as HHH sends Jericho to the outside. HHH goes for a Pedigree but Jericho hits a missile dropkick off the top to break it up. Jericho tries bringing a chair into the ring but the ref stops him for some reason.
But what Jericho did do is throw both titles into the ring. HHH and Jericho hit each other with them. Steph tries to sneak in some pins on both but they kick out. HHH takes out Steph but Jericho applies the Walls. Steph gets on Jericho’s back to break it up.
Triple H hits a Pedigree on Jericho but Steph breaks it up. Steph tries escaping but HHH grabs her and hits a Spinebuster for the win, sending Stephanie packing (for like 3 months).
Stephanie kicks and screams her way out of the building as security drags her away and the crowd sings Goodbye to her.