With Super Show-Down just around the corner, Matthew Roberts fires up the TWM Time Machine once again to go back to August 2002 to see whether WWE’s last big show in Australia, “Global Warning”, delivered the goods.
In the pre-Network days this was simply a high-profile overseas “house show”, albeit one that played out in front of a crowd of over 56,000 people. Nominally it was a Smackdown show, although it did feature a few Raw performers. The full show never made it to DVD (and indeed even this truncated version is not on the Network) which means that we’re denied the delights of Mark Henry & Randy Orton Vs D-Von & Deacon Batista, Hardcore Holly & Chavo Guerrero Vs Billy & Chuck and Kurt Angle Vs Test.
My heart sinks when Stephanie McMahon comes out to open the show; I’m not a fan of her on-screen character in any guise but at least here she’s merely on hand to hype up the crowd and the show. Thank goodness for small mercies. However when the first bout that follows is Rikishi and Rico in a “Kiss My Ass” match you could forgive me for wishing that Stephanie had stuck around for five minutes longer. This is just what you’d expect a three minute “Kiss My Ass” match featuring Rikishi would be like. That the finish was a stinkface should be no surprise. Still, at least it’s short and there’s no denying it was popular with the fans in attendance.
After a clip of Nidia and Jamie Noble going surfing, it’s time for a Cruiserweight Title match as Noble defends against Hurricane Helms. The division at the time was something of a non-entity, not in terms of talent but of any sustained interest in it from management. Mind you, 2002/03 was far from the nadir for the division in the WWE. This starts off slow, meaning you fear we’re in for yet another “by the numbers” house show effort but it does pick up considerable steam in the second half, even if the finish of Noble winning with a backslide feels very anti-climatic. A fun, but hardly essential match.
At this point it’s another step away from the action as we join Christian, Lance Storm and Kurt Angle at the zoo. It’s made enjoyable by Angle staying in character to the nth degree; if you ever wanted to see Angle play with a dog and tell you how he wants to ride a giraffe this is perhaps the only place you’ll ever get to see it.
Up next is a Tag Team Title defence as Raw’s Christian and Lance Storm defend against Rey Mysterio and Billy Kidman. (As an aside, this was the only set of Tag Team titles at the time; Smackdown would get their own a few months later). The line-up promises excitement and that’s what we get, albeit in a “we know the titles aren’t changing hands” and “this is a glorified house show” way. There’s some cool high spots and some fun double teaming but there’s nothing much to link it together. Again, the ending (Storm smacking Kidman with a title belt) is a little anti-climatic but for what it is it’s good fun.
After seeing Billy Kidman, Torrie Wilson and Edge go, erm, shopping and then eat some cake we then move to the enticing prospect of Chris Jericho Vs Edge (another Raw Vs Smackdown match, as it happens). From the moment Jericho grabs the mic and takes the opportunity to tell the fans he doesn’t appreciate being called a wanker we’re in satisfyingly old-school territory here. It’s yet another match that ends on something of an anti-climatic note as after both men kicking out of each other’s finishers Edge wins with a roll-up but for all that it’s a fun little match.
Highlights from the Fan Frenzy event are followed by the dulcet tones of Val Venis, who is guest ring announcer for the Bra & Panties match between Torrie Wilson and Stacy Kiebler. Even by the low standards of Bra & Panties matches this is awful. They do the “roll around with the ref” spot and he ends up pantless and Torrie strips Nidia to win. Yes, Nidia. That this is followed by clips of a charity dinner only highlights the absurdity.
And so then it’s time for the main event and it’s certainly a unique one as The Rock defends the Undisputed Title against HHH and Brock Lesnar. Hulk Hogan should have been here, but isn’t. The reasons for that depend on who you listen to. The match itself is good (and is available on the Hidden Gems section of the Network). A few weeks shy of him winning the title at SummerSlam, Lesnar is allowed to kick out of a People’s Elbow AND a Pedigree and avoids doing the job as Rock pins HHH to retain.
Based on its own merits, and allowing for the fact that it’s essentially a house show (albeit a super-sized one) Global Warning is a fun two hours that rarely drags and offers a nice little look back at 2002 WWE. One bonus is that the commentary pairing of Michael Cole and Tazz, which is hardly an enticing prospect on paper, seemingly aren’t being micro-managed by Vince and whilst it would be difficlut to argue they make for a brilliant announcing team, there is a carefree, irreverent, feel to their contributions that at least make it something different from the norm. Overall, not perhaps a show worth going out of your way to see but one that will offer up a fun two hours if you catch it.