Five-Star Match of the Week: The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar ━ Undisputed WWE Championship Match, SummerSlam 2002

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May 08, 2013

WWE Classics and Greatest Matches bring you the Five-Star Match of the Week, presented by Wrangler. We’ve asked Superstars in the WWE locker room to select one of the greatest wrestling matches of all time, and brings you that full-length match, uncut.

Two men seem to dominate the modern-day landscape of WWE: The Rock and Brock Lesnar. The current WWE Champion shocked fans when he re-emerged as the WrestleMania host in 2011, and Lesnar elicited a similar reaction upon his return 10 months ago. Over the past year, they have both clashed with John Cena in equally epic encounters. But it was more than 10 years ago that Lesnar and The Brahma Bull first faced off with each other. 

SummerSlam 2002 marked the final step in Brock’s stunning ascent to the top of the squared circle’s ranks. But when attempted to speak with Paul Heyman about the classic main event, he was none too pleased with how we phrased our question.

“First of all, I disagree with the designation that it’s The Rock vs. Brock,” Lesnar’s longtime agent asserted. “It is Brock Lesnar vs. The Rock. Brock deserves top billing. And he deserves top billing because he won the match.”

Indeed he did. And not by virtue of cheating, Heyman was quick to remind us.

“[Brock] did not win the match with outside interference,” the mad scientist of sports-entertainment said. “In fact, The Rock hit me with a Rock Bottom through a table. I was not an equation.” 

Step inside Brock Lesnar's "world of hurt" | Relive The Rock's epic WWE career

After debuting in WWE on the night after WrestleMania X8, Lesnar ran roughshod over the entire roster, annihilating the competition and cementing his status as a legitimate threat to any competitor. Three months later, the massive rookie won the King of the Ring Tournament to earn an opportunity to challenge for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam. 

The People’s Champion defeated Hulk Hogan on the night prior to Lesnar’s debut, but did not compete much over the next several months. One month before SummerSlam, at Vengeance, however, The Rock won his seventh WWE Championship, setting up the inevitable confrontation with the newly minted King Lesnar.

“Brock Lesnar defeated The Rock cleanly to become the Undisputed WWE Champion,” Heyman reminded us. “And in doing so, he put his boot on the neck of The Attitude Era and anointed himself the new reigning monarch of the WWE Universe.”

Today, the landscape is much different, but Brock and Rock have maintained their dominance. Each warrior can lay claim to being revered by foes and friends alike, but only one scenario can determine who the better man is: a rematch.

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