5 Best Wrestling Matches of 2002
SmackDown in 2002 was the best place in the world when it came to pure wrestling matches and storylines.
The WWE roster was split in two, and Paul Heyman became the main creative figure for the blue brand. Under his direction, SmackDown flourished as the most must-see show for in-ring action and the stars of tomorrow.
While RAW was focusing on bizarre storylines like 3-minute-warning beating up women and the Katie Vick angle, SmackDown brought us the SmackDown Six. These six wrestlers (Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Eddie & Chavo Guerrero, Edge and Rey Mysterio) put on some of the greatest matches in WWE history together and against each other during this period.
They weren’t the only ones to excel in wrestling, however. 2002 saw the Undertaker start to drastically improve as a performer after having a rough year in 2001.
Then there was Brock Lesnar, who was on such a monstrous tear that people went from booing him to cheering him for his badassery in less than three months. Those two men had an epic clash in 2002, which we’ll get to later.
There were some great wrestling matches outside WWE as well, as newer companies were rising from the ashes of the Monday Night Wars and new dream matches came together in ways we never thought possible before.
So which matches were the best of 2002? Read on to find out.
#5 Edge vs. Kurt Angle – Hair vs. Hair – Judgment Day 2002
Edge more than held his own against the master grappler, which was a big accomplishment at the time. Angle had defeated so many big stars prior to this match, so for Edge to not only survive but also win was an enormous boost to his star power.
This is the match that started the growth of Edge from a ‘certified tag team wrestler’ to standout singles star. He faced Kurt Angle in singles competition, with the added stipulation being that the loser had to be shaved bald.
The crowd clearly agreed as they cheered Edge like crazy in this match. Edge accidentally speared the referee at one point, which led to one of the most dramatic slow/recovery counts ever moments later.
When Edge kicked out, the crowd erupted like a volcano (maybe this is why Vince McMahon made Roman Reigns adopt the spear as his main finisher).
Angle was no slouch, either. He hit some impressive moves of his own, including a belly-to-belly suplex over the rope to the outside, and a lightning-quick jump up the turnbuckle to suplex Edge off of it. He was groggy and in a second was on the top rope. The man truly was a machine.
This is truly one of the best matches of Edge’s career and a must-see match for anyone that considers themselves a fan of his.