The countdown of the greatest WWE Survivor Series pay-per-views continues with #1: Survivor Series 2002. The top five ended up being from 1995, 2001, 1998, 1996 and now 2002. That shows it was a hot period for the company. Once again I’m adding 2020 thoughts in blue font. This was written in 2016, I believe. Let’s get to it.
The 16th Survivor Series event took place in a year where major changes took place for the company that officially renamed itself World Wrestling Entertainment in May 2002. Along with the name change, they also did their first ever brand extension that saw them split their loaded roster into two with Monday Night Raw getting half the talent and Smackdown getting the other half. By Survivor Series 2002, Eric Bischoff was the General Manager of Raw and Stephanie McMahon was the General Manager of Smackdown.
There were also changes on the roster. Steve Austin was at home due to a dispute with management. He came back in early 2003 and wrestled his last match at WrestleMania 19 shortly after. The Rock was gone to Hollywood although he was around in early 2003 as well. Brock Lesnar was a main roster rookie that was holding the WWE Title on the Smackdown brand after he won it from The Rock at SummerSlam 2002. Other main roster rookies in 2002 included future multi-time World Champions John Cena, Randy Orton and Batista.
The main event of the show is the first ever Elimination Chamber match. A lot of us went into it not knowing what to expect, so there was a lot of curiosity about what it would be like.
I believe this was written in 2016.
WWE Survivor Series
Madison Square Garden in New York, New York
November 17, 2002
The opening video package focused on Lesnar vs. Big Show from the Smackdown brand and the first ever Elimination Chamber match featuring Raw talent.
It was a packed house at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, which bills itself as the World’s Most Famous Arena. The crowd was ready to go as they showed us the Elimination Chamber above the ring.
The Raw announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show.
Elimination Tables Match: Jeff Hardy, Bubba Ray Dudley & Spike Dudley vs. Three Minute Warning (Rosey & Jamal) & Rico
Pre-match notes: This is from the Raw brand. Jeff and the Dudleys were the faces while 3MW are the heels. Jamal later became known as Umaga.
The faces sent the heels out of the ring, the heels caught Spike when he tried an attack, so Jeff went over the top and took them all out on the floor. Spike with a hurricanrana on Jamal and did the Whassup Drop with Bubba on Jamal. Jeff jumped off the top with a leg drop onto the crotch of Rico. Bubba told his partners to get the tables, which were all around the ring. Rosey clothesline on Bubba. Rosey with a back body drop on Jeff that sent him over the top to the floor. Spike was against a table, Rosey charged in and Spike moved, so Rosey went through the table, but that didn’t count as an elimination. Jeff off the top, Rosey was supposed to catch him, dropped him and a splash by Rosey on Jeff. Spike nearly put Rico through a table, but 3MW saved Rico and slammed Spike through the table face first. That looked nasty.
Spike Dudley eliminated by 3MW
Jamal and Rosey were both knocked off the top rope by the faces. Spin kick by Rico on Bubba. Rosey brawled with Jeff into the crowd. They set up a table by one of the exits. Rico and Jamal worked on Bubba in the ring, but Bubba pulled Rico in front of him so Jamal splashed Rico in the corner. Bubba Bomb on Jamal. Bubba into the crowd and he attacked Rosey in the back with some metal object. Bubba put Rosey on the table, Jeff climbed up and hit the Swanton Bomb to eliminate Rosey.
Rosey eliminated by Jeff Hardy
Analysis: Great move by Jeff. He did the same spot at Royal Rumble 2000 when the Hardys had a table match against the Dudleys in the same building.
Jamal brought Bubba back into the ringside area. He set him up on a table in the ring. Rico went up top for a moonsault and this is where I noticed an edit on the WWE Network broadcast. He was on there for about 10 seconds, yelled “Come on Jeff, Goddamn it” and he kept waiting for it. Eventually, Jeff popped back up to shake the ropes and knock him down. If you watch on WWE Network you won’t notice any kind of error. Jamal knocked Jeff down. Bubba went for a back suplex off the top through a table, but Jamal moved the table out of the way. Jeff with a dropkick on Jamal. Hardy threw a table at the head of Jamal. Hardy went to run across the guard rail, Jamal had a table in his hands and he shoved it forward so that Jeff went crashing headfirst into the table. Ouch. That didn’t count as an elimination. Jamal set up a table on the floor. He climbed the top rope and hit a splash through the table. That was impressive.
Jeff Hardy eliminated by Jamal
Bubba worked on Rico in the ring. He set him up on a table, but Jamal showed up to save Rico from an attack. The two big men battled on the top and Bubba dropped Jamal with a Powerbomb through the table.
Jamal eliminated by Bubba Ray Dudley
Analysis: That spot was pretty obvious. It’s not like Jamal was going to do a top rope hurricanrana like he was setting up to do.
It’s down to Bubba vs. Rico, but Jamal showed up to help Rico. Belly to belly suplex on Jamal. Rosey went back into the ring. D-Von Dudley ran down to make the save to a huge ovation. He was on Smackdown after the split six months earlier, so the crowd was going wild for this. D-Von tossed 3MW guys out of the ring. D-Von hoisted Rico up and Bubba drove him through the table for the 3D for the win at 14:22
Rico eliminated by Bubba Ray Dudley
Survivor: Bubba Ray Dudley
Post match, Bubba stared at him and they celebrated their reunion.
Analysis: *** That was a good match with a fun ending. I remember the Dudleys reunion well because neither guy was doing great as a singles wrestler, so it made sense to put them back together at a PPV featuring both brands and in front of the NYC crowd that loved the Dudleys. I was really impressed by some of the eliminations in the match with Jeff’s Swanton off a balcony and Jamal hitting that top rope splash to drive Jeff through a table. The crowd was into the match and the result was a win for the faces, so it was a good choice for an opening match.
(I loved the Dudley reunion moment. They never should have been split apart and I think WWE realized that by this point. The pop for D-Von helping Bubba was a classic moment. The MSG crowd loved it, which was no surprise.)
They went to “The World” in NYC, which was the name of WWF New York after they changed it. I assume they changed the name to get the “WWF” name off it and try to attract people that aren’t wrestling fans. The restaurant/bar experiment failed. Stacy Keibler was there to introduce us to a performance from the band Saliva singing “Always.” They showed videos featuring highlights of the matches still to come.
Rob Van Dam was shown stretching backstage.
The Smackdown announce team of Michael Cole and Tazz were on the call for the Smackdown match.
Cruiserweight Championship: Jamie Noble (w/Nidia) vs. Billy Kidman
Pre-match notes: Noble was the heel with Nidia as the on-screen girlfriend. He was champion for about six months going into this match. Kidman was the face here. Both guys work for WWE behind the scenes these days.
Noble gave him a neckbreaker early on to take control. Noble sent Kidman out of the ring and nailed a suicide dive. Kidman came back with a dropkick after Noble jumped off the top rope for an attack. Kidman nailed a fireman’s carry into a knee to the back. Noble with a Falcon Arrow. Kidman with a slam that drove Noble stomach first into the mat. Nidia pulled Noble out of the ring to avoid a Shooting Star Press, so Kidman hit a cross body block onto the floor to take out Noble. Back in the ring, Kidman with a slingshot legdrop for two. Kidman into the ropes, but Nidia grabbed his leg. She slapped him and Kidman sent Noble crashing into her. Kidman hit the BK Bomb for a two count. Backslide for Kidman, Noble fought out of it and hit a Tiger Bomb for a two count. They battled on the top rope with a Kidman slamming him off the top face first DDT style for a two count. Great nearfall. Noble set up Kidman so that his feet were on the top rope and he nailed a DDT for two. Think of the Orton DDT off the ropes he does all the time and it’s like that, but it was off the top. Kidman with an enziguri kick. Kidman went up top, Nidia distracted, Kidman kicked her off, Kidman kicked Noble down and Kidman hit the Shooting Star Press for the win at the 7:29 mark.
Winner and new Cruiserweight Champion: Billy Kidman
Analysis: *** Good match for the time given. The cruiserweights rarely got more than ten minutes on pay-per-view, so they made up for it by working at a quicker pace. The crowd wasn’t into the match that much, but the action was good especially in the last three minutes with a lot of highspots. They didn’t sell that much because they were doing these nasty moves and just popping up right away to do something else right after. It was still an above average match.
(They worked hard. The cruiserweight division never became that popular overall, but there was a lot of talent and Kidman/Noble worked did well in this match that was done in under minutes. Kidman’s SSP was a spectacular finish…whenever he hit it well.)
The great Kurt Angle was watching on a television backstage. His tag team partner Chris Benoit was there. Angle told Benoit to stay out of the way and they can win the Tag Team Titles. Angle said that when they work together there is nobody that can beat them. Benoit offered a handshake, so Angle hugged him while saying “let’s get tough.”
Analysis: I loved them as a team and loved their matches against eachother even more.
Chris Jericho was backstage getting ready for the Elimination Chamber match.
There was some “F-View” camera of crazy Victoria getting ready for her match and freaking out because of her mirror on the wall.
Analysis: I don’t remember the F-View thing that much. I don’t think it lasted that long.
A video package aired to set up Trish Stratus vs. Victoria. Their history went back to their fitness modeling days with Victoria blaming Trish for preventing her to get a WWE job earlier. They brawled all around the arena and there was even a nasty chair shot that was rare for women’s wrestlers.
Women’s Championship Hardcore Rules: Trish Stratus vs. Victoria
Pre-match notes: Trish was the face champion that won her first Women’s Title at the Survivor Series one year before this. Victoria was the crazy heel that started on the main roster a few months before this. A hardcore match for women in WWE was rare.
Victoria choked Stratus with her ring jacket as soon as she got into the ring. Victoria choked her with a broomstick handle. Trish slammed her down to break free. Victoria rammed Trish’s head into a trash can lid. They went outside the ring with Victoria whipping Trish into a trash can. Back in the ring, slingshot leg drop by Victoria got a two count. A trash can was set up against the turnbuckle, so Trish sent her into it slingshot style. Trish set up an ironing board in the corner and whipped Victoria into it for a two count. Trish nailed Victoria with a Singapore cane. Victoria nailed her in the face with a trash can lid. Victoria had a bloody nose. Trish nailed her with two trash can lid shots to knock her out of the ring. Trish sent Victoria into the steel steps at ringside. Back in the ring, Victoria nailed a Powerbomb. Victoria grabbed a mirror from under the ring, but Trish kicked her and a Chick Kick got a two count. There was some mirror spot that they messed up that was edited out. They did a spot out of the corner with Trish hitting a bulldog, but it looked sloppy for a two count. Victoria with a drop toe hold as Trish charged with a cane. Victoria tried to spray her with a fire extinguisher, it didn’t work and she did it again to stun Trish. Snap suplex by Victoria was enough to pin Trish at the 7:01 mark.
Winner and New Women’s Champion: Victoria
Analysis: ** Good effort by both women although there were some sloppy moments at the end. I thought the finish was weak as well because they were using all these weapons for big spots in the match, yet it was just a snap suplex that won. Victoria should have pinned her after one of the weapons. A snap suplex winning a title is pretty weak. They went on to feud for several more years with Trish winning the title back several more times. This was Victoria’s first time holding the Women’s Title.
(The match was a little off at times, but I think they got through it fine. Having a match with weapons was new for women in WWE, so it was something that the talent likely struggled with a bit. I checked to see that Dave Meltzer gave this a DUD, which is way too harsh, but I can see why somebody may have hated this match. I was happy for Victoria winning her first title. She would have many more matches with Trish in her career.)
Booker T was shown getting ready for the main event.
Raw GM Eric Bischoff was interviewed by Jonathan Coachman. Bischoff says that he has outdone Stephanie McMahon by coming up with the Elimination Chamber. Big Show walked up to him saying that Bischoff made a mistake trading him and to watch tonight as Show walks out as the WWE Champion.
The WWE Champion Brock Lesnar was backstage with manager Paul Heyman holding the WWE Title. Heyman said he was nervous and noted that Lesnar has been coughing up blood since he has a broken rib. Lesnar’s ribs were taped. Heyman hyped up Lesnar. Heyman said he’ll do everything in his power to make sure that “my client leaves here tonight as the WWE Champion.” Ominous words there if you know what happens.
Analysis: Heyman was one of the main writers on the Smackdown brand during the second half of 2002 when the show was at its best.
A video package aired to set up Lesnar defending the WWE Title against Big Show. Lesnar was a heel when he won the WWE Title at SummerSlam and for his two-month feud with Undertaker, but the crowd cheered him a lot. Show was pushed as a dominant heel that took out Undertaker by slamming him off the stage on Smackdown. Show also tossed Lesnar off the stage.
There was barely a reaction for Show. Lesnar received a big ovation after his music hit and he made his entrance.
WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Big Show
Pre-match notes: Show was the clear heel. Lesnar was a bit of a tweener although he was leaning towards being a face. Lesnar was only 25 years old and was the youngest WWE Champion ever at this point. Fans saw him as a huge star that WWE could build around for the future. Lesnar had taped ribs.
The crowd was strongly behind Lesnar with “Let’s go Lesnar” chants. Show tossed Lesnar across the ring and splashed him in the corner. Lesnar took him down and they went out of the ring with Show driving Lesnar rib first into the steel post. Back in the ring, Lesnar hit a back suplex. Show missed a corner attack and Lesnar came back with an impressive German Suplex. Crowd was chanting for Lesnar again. They ran the ropes, Lesnar ducked a clothesline and bumped into the referee. He knocked him to the ground. Lesnar hit a belly to belly suplex. Heyman tossed a chair into the ring since the referee was down. Show punched the chair, but Lesnar hit him in the head with a stiff chair shot. Lesnar picked up Show and hit the F5 to a thunderous ovation. Wow that drew a massive pop. It was an impressive move back then and still is today. A second referee ran into the ring, counted the pinfall one…two…and Heyman pulled him out of the ring. Heyman punched the ref down. Lesnar realized what Heyman did and Heyman was freaking out. Lesnar chased after him, Show back up with a chair to the ribs and the back. Show nailed a Chokeslam onto the steel chair. Original referee Mike Chioda was back in the ring and he counted the pinfall as Big Show won the WWE Championship at the 4:18 mark.
Winner by pinfall and New WWE Champion: Big Show
Heyman jumped into Show’s arms as they celebrated the title win.
Analysis: * A short match that got a lot of people talking because of Heyman turning on his client. The match result was a huge shock to a lot of people because Lesnar was seen as a long term champion. Why move the title off him to put it on Big Show? I think it was because fans were getting behind Lesnar as a face even though the company pushed him as a heel. The title went from Lesnar to Show to Angle, who ended up dropping it to Lesnar at WrestleMania 19 after Lesnar won the 2003 Royal Rumble. I think WWE made the call that they wanted to go in that direction, so they felt like they had to get the title off Lesnar going into the Royal Rumble. I’m not sure if they booked such a short match because Lesnar’s ribs were legit hurt (I think they were) or if it was simply because management knew the match would be poor considering Show was not exactly the best in-ring performer. Either way, it was memorable for the Heyman turn more than anything.
(It was more about the angle than the match. I say that because the heel turn by Heyman on Show was done to solidify Lesnar as a face, which would lead to Lesnar winning the Royal Rumble two months later. Lesnar was legitimately hurting with his ribs injury, so that’s why it was also a short match. It pissed off the crowd, but it also made them rally behind Lesnar more. I think it was very well booked.)
There was a shot backstage of Heyman and Show running away. They jumped into a limo and took off.
A video package aired to set up the triple threat match for Smackdown’s WWE Tag Team Titles. It featured the six guys that were known as the “Smackdown Six” among online fans: The teams were Chris Benoit & Kurt Angle, Edge & Rey Mysterio and Eddie & Chavo Guerrero. Benoit & Angle won the Tag Team Titles at No Mercy in my 2002 Match of the Year, Edge & Mysterio won the titles from them in a 2/3 Falls match on Smackdown and that brought us to this show.
WWE Tag Team Championships Elimination Match: Edge & Rey Mysterio vs. Los Guerreros (Eddie & Chavo) vs. Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit
Pre-match notes: Edge and Rey were the face champions. Los Guerreros were heels. Benoit was a face while Angle was more of a heel. It was elimination rules so if one guy in a team gets pinned or submits then his partner is gone too.
Mysterio with a headscissors on Benoit followed by a flapjack. Edge tagged in against Angle with Edge hitting a forearm smash, so Angle tagged Chavo into the match. Dropkick by Edge to Chavo. Tazz mocked Cole for explaining the rules so much. Arm drag by Mysterio on Chavo led to Chavo getting the advantage on Rey and Chavo tagged in Eddie, who took a headscissors from Rey. Angle faced off with Mysterio with Rey hitting a headscissors. Angle missed a corner charge that sent him into the steel post. Angle tossed Mysterio into the air and it led to a nasty bump by Rey landing on the back of his head. Clothesline by Angle on Rey as his team controlled the action with Benoit dropping Mysterio with suplexes onto the neck. Back suplex by Angle on Mysterio gets two. Angle crushed Mysterio with a clothesline to prevent a comeback. Benoit back in with a snap suplex on Rey for two. Angle had Mysterio grounded with a front facelock. Angle went for German Suplex, Mysterio countered by landing on his feet and Mysterio hit a spin kick to take down Angle. The Guerreros dropped off the apron to avoid a tag from Angle, so Angle tagged Benoit in there against Edge, who got the hot tag. Edge cleaned house with a face first slam on Benoit and a belly to belly suplex. Edge tossed Chavo over the top rope and Mysterio took out Rey with a hurricanrana over the top. Angle with a drop toe hold on Edge leading to a Crossface/Ankle Lock combination on Edge. Wow great spot. Rey saved Edge from danger. Mysterio hit a corkscrew dive over the top to take out Angle and Chavo on the floor. Benoit with a German Suplex on Edge, Eddie did a sunset flip into a German Suplex sequence. Benoit dumped Eddie over the top to the floor. Benoit with three rolling German suplexes on Edge. Eddie climbed up and hit a Frog Splash on Edge. Benoit hit a flying headbutt off the top onto Eddie, who was trying to cover Edge even though Benoit and Edge are the legal men. Angle with an Angle Slam on Eddie. Benoit with a Crossface on Edge and Angle with an Ankle Lock on Eddie. Chavo nailed Benoit in the back of the neck with the title. Chavo tossed the title to Angle, so when Benoit got up, he got mad at Angle thinking he hit him with the title. Mysterio missile dropkick on Benoit sent Angle out of the ring. Rey took out Chavo on the floor. Back to Edge and Benoit in the ring with Edge hitting a Spear to pin Benoit.
Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle eliminated by Edge
After the fall, Angle hit a German Suplex on Edge and Benoit hit a German Suplex on Mysterio. Benoit with a back suplex on Chavo. Angle hit an Angle Slam on Edge. Benoit and Angle bickered with eachother as they left the ring.
Analysis: Their team didn’t last much longer after this. Angle won the WWE Title from Big Show and it led to an outstanding Angle vs. Benoit match for the WWE Title at Royal Rumble 2003. It’s one of my favorite matches ever and one of the best WWE Title matches ever even though it’s hard to enjoy Benoit matches as much these days.
Eddie went for a pin on Edge that got a two count. Sleeper by Eddie wore down Edge for a bit as the Guerreros isolated Edge in their corner. Chavo tagged in with a dropkick. Back suplex by Eddie. Edge avoided a double clothesline and hit a flapjack on both guys at the same time. Mysterio got the hot tag with a headscissors on Chavo and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Eddie. Edge with a Spear on both Guerreros in the corner. Running dropkick by Rey on Eddie in the corner. Eddie was seated on the top, so Edge launched Rey into a top rope hurricanrana, but Chavo was there to save Eddie from being pinned. Rey hit the 619 on Eddie. The ref was telling Edge to get out of the ring, so Chavo hit Rey in the back with a title belt shot to the back. Eddie applied the Lasso from El Paso submission move on Rey leading to the tapout. That’s it at the 19:25 mark.
Edge & Rey Mysterio eliminated by Eddie Guerrero
Winners and New Tag Team Champions: Los Guerreros
Analysis: **** A very good match featuring six guys that were very familiar with eachother. The regular tags between the teams were better than this match, but this was still very good. I think when you have a triple threat elimination tag match it’s hard to build up the spots the way you can in a regular tag. There were hot tag sequences and things like that, but the match was lacking some of the greatness that existed in other matches with these teams. Angle and Benoit were incredible when they were on offense. Edge and Rey did a good job as the faces that came back whenever they were down. Eddie and Chavo worked well together as crafty heels at this point in their careers.
(I bumped the rating up by 1/4* after watching it again today. The work was incredible here. The “Smackdown Six” had awesome chemistry together and it was really easy to get into everything in this match. I loved it. I remember being a bit surprised that Los Guerreros won as well. It was a nice surprise.)
Kane was shown getting ready for the main event.
Chris Nowinski walked out to the ring in his Harvard jacket. He insulted the New York crowd for being stupid. Matt Hardy Version 1.0 made his entrance to join the festivities. Matt said New Yorkers aren’t stupid, they would be classified as losers. He said he thought he’d see the building full of Mattitude, but they are sucking the Mattitude out of him and he’s choking more than the Knicks. He said New York is like any other city full of losers. Nowinski said they aren’t losers – they are just too stupid to know any better. They agreed that New Yorkers are losers and stupid.
The sirens started followed by “Holla If Ya Hear Me” and here comes Scott Steiner. This was his debut or at least WWE return since he was there in the early 1990s as well. It was his first appearance since WWE bought WCW in March 2001. The crowd went wild for him.
Steiner with a clothesline on Nowinski and a belly to belly suplex on Hardy. Overhead suplex on Nowinski. Belly to belly by Steiner on Hardy as the crowd chanted “Steiner” for him. Steiner dumped Nowinski over the top to the floor. Steiner launched Hardy over the top to the floor with a Gorilla Press slam onto Nowinski. Steiner did his push ups. Steiner uttered his catchphrase: “This goes to all my freaks in New York City. Big Poppa Pump is your hookup…holla if ya hear me.”
Analysis: That was a big moment because Steiner was a huge name that added a lot to the WWE roster. At least that’s what most of us thought. His WWE run didn’t go that well because of poor matches with Triple H and things went downhill from there. I thought it was a mistake to book him as a face upon his WWE debut because he was much better as a heel. The only face thing about him was that he had catchphrases for his promos. He was a more natural heel.
(This was so great. Steiner’s run in WWE wasn’t that interesting overall, but the reaction to him was fantastic, his words were simple and the way he kicked ass was loved by the fans. The problem with Scott’s run is he was a natural heel and wasn’t much of a face, so that’s why a lot of stuff that followed this was awkward. At least this segment worked with Nowinski and Hardy as the annoying heels that Steiner got to beat up.)
The Elimination Chamber structure lowered on top of the ring.
There was a shot of Shawn Michaels getting ready for the main event. Terri was there to interview Shawn. Before Shawn could say anything, Randy Orton showed up to do a “RNN Breaking News” update to let us know rehab for his injured shoulder was going well.
Analysis: The RNN thing was a way to get over Orton’s gimmick as an arrogant heel even when he wasn’t in the ring.
The video package aired to set up the Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Title held by Triple H. The main storyline was that Shawn Michaels was in his second match since he returned from a back injury. His previous match was a SummerSlam 2002 win over Triple H, who attacked him after the match. Triple H was handed the World Title by Eric Bischoff about two months before this. He had that awful Katie Vick feud with Kane and then it built up to this match.
Triple H was interviewed by Jonathon Coachman backstage with Ric Flair standing at Hunter’s side. Triple H talked about how he’s going to go up against five of the best wrestlers ever in this business and he’s going to walk out of MSG still the best, still The Game and still the World Heavyweight Champion because he’s that damn good. For right now, he’s got a first-class ticket to hell and he wants to know who is coming with him.
Analysis: Hunter was the true top guy by this point in time. He married Stephanie McMahon 11 months after this.
The Raw GM Eric Bischoff went inside the Chamber to put over the brutality of the structure and he went over the rules. This took a few minutes.
Analysis: The storyline was that Bischoff created the Chamber, but it was really Triple H and others on the creative team.
The order of entrants: Chris Jericho, who was a heel that was one half of the Tag Team Champions along with Christian. Saliva sang his “King of the World” song from The World. Booker T was up next as a face. Kane was a masked face. The unmasking happened in 2003. Shawn Michaels received a huge ovation as the crowd went wild for him. He had a weird look with his hair not really that long and he wrestled in brown pants because his regular pants weren’t ready. JR noted HBK was 5-5 at the Survivor Series prior to this and his last Survivor Series was 1997.
Analysis: I was excited about Michaels being in this match. He’s my favorite wrestler ever and I was amazed by his performance at SummerSlam three months earlier. We had no idea how much longer he would wrestle or how often.
Rob Van Dam was next up. He received the second biggest ovation after Michaels. Last man up was the World Heavyweight Champion Triple H, which put him at a disadvantage. JR noted that Triple H was winless at Survivor Series with a 0-6 record.
Elimination Chamber Match for the World Heavyweight Championship: Triple H (w/Ric Flair) vs. Chris Jericho vs. Booker T vs. Kane vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Rob Van Dam
Pre-match notes: Triple H was the heel World Champion with Jericho as the other heel in the match. Michaels was the biggest face followed by RVD, Kane and Booker.
RVD started with Triple H with a spinning heel kick early on. Knee smash by Hunter. Van Dam with a back body drop over the ropes that sent Triple H onto the steel outside the ring. RVD whipped Hunter face first into the steel wall of the chamber. Hunter was bleeding already. It took him about two minutes to blade. Van Dam hit Rolling Thunder from the ring over the top onto Hunter on the steel grating outside the ring. Van Dam tried to climb the pod above Jericho, but Jericho grabbed his leg to stop him. Van Dam jumped off the top rope onto Hunter on the steel grate. Nasty fall for RVD doing that move. Hunter staggered back in the ring with RVD right on him. The five minute interval was up for the next man in the match.
The #3 entrant was Jericho, who walked right into a spin kick by RVD. Standing moonsault by RVD gets two on Jericho. RVD jumped off the top with a standing side kick and a clothesline sent Jericho over the top. RVD jumped at Jericho, who moved and RVD hung onto the side of the chamber as if he was Spiderman. RVD jumped back onto Jericho to take him down. Hunter hit a clothesline on RVD to knock him down. Back suplex by Jericho on RVD. The heels worked together on RVD for a few minutes. They whipped RVD back first into the steel chamber several times. RVD tried a comeback, but Hunter dropped him with a DDT.
The #4 man was Booker T. He had punches and kicks for Hunter and Jericho as he knocked them out of the ring. Spinarooni time by Booker. Spin kick by Booker on RVD gets two. RVD game back with a step over heel kick for a two count on Booker. Jumping side kick by Booker on RVD gets two. Hunter got back and was dropped with an axe kick by Booker. RVD dropkick on Jericho. Van Dam went up top, but then he saw an empty pod. He jumped to the top of the pod. Van Dam jumped off the top and it was an awkward landing with his knee crushing the throat of Triple H.
Analysis: That was a nasty looking move. He wasn’t able to extend his legs out like he normally would on a Frog Splash or just a regular splash because of the chamber above his head. As a result of that, his knee hit the throat of Triple H, who suffered a crushed larynx, yet was able to work another 20 minutes in this match. Good thing is Triple H didn’t miss much in-ring time.
Triple H was down in the ring grabbing his throat and kicking his feet into the mat. Referee Earl Hebner held up the “X” sign for an injury. Booker hit a missile dropkick on RVD and pinned him to eliminate him as JR wondered if RVD had a knee injury.
Rob Van Dam eliminated by Booker T
Jericho with a bulldog on Booker, he missed a Lionsault and Booker nailed a huge spinebuster on Jericho for a two count. Triple H was trying to get his wind back after his throat injury.
Kane is the #5 entrant in the match. He had clotheslines and punches for Jericho and Booker. Kane worked on Jericho on the grate outside the ring as he sent Jericho face first into the cage. Kane whipped Jericho through the plexiglass that was used as a cover in a chamber. That’s a huge bump. It sounded nasty.
Booker was in the ring working against Kane. He bounced off the ropes, Jericho hit a low blow and Kane hit a Chokeslam on Booker. Jericho hit a Lionsault on Booker to eliminate him.
Booker T eliminated by Chris Jericho
Kane tossed Jericho out of the ring. Jericho was bleeding from the forehead. He didn’t do too many blade jobs, but in order to put over the severity of this match it made sense for him to do it. They were outside the ring and then Kane slammed Jericho into the ring. A Kane punch knocked down Triple H. Suplex by Kane on Jericho gets two. Triple H climbed the top rope for some reason, so Kane slammed him off the top as if he was Ric Flair. Jericho with a missile dropkick on Kane as fans chanted for HBK.
Shawn Michaels entered as the #6 and last entrant in this match. Michaels was on fire as he nailed a flying forearm smash to knock Kane down. Kane whipped Michaels into the corner as HBK did an upside down bump. Kane double choke into a slam on Jericho. Kane with a Chokeslam on Michaels and a Chokeslam on Triple H. Kane hit a Chokeslam on Jericho as well, so that’s three in a row. Triple H avoided a Tombstone from Kane, shoved Kane and Michaels hit a superkick. Triple H hit a Pedigree and Jericho hit a Lionsault to eliminate Kane.
Kane eliminated by Chris Jericho
Analysis: Kane hit three Chokeslams in a row and it took three straight finishers to eliminate him.
Jericho sent Michaels over the top rope with a clothesline and whipped him into the cage a few times. The heels worked over Michaels a bit with Jericho hitting a running splash to the back of Michaels. The heels kept working over Michaels by sending him into the cage and punching him repeatedly. Michaels was busted open. Michaels came back with a clothesline on Triple H that sent him over the top back into the ring. Jericho with a back body drop that sent Michaels back first onto the steel. Back in the ring, Michaels hit a flying forearm smash on Hunter and did a kip up to a big pop. Jericho with a bulldog on Michaels followed by a Lionsault for a two count. Nice nearfall there. Michaels got his foot up to prevent a corner attack and he hit a moonsault off the top leading to a two count on Jericho. Michaels with a Boston Crab on Jericho, but Hunter showed up with a DDT on Michaels leading to a two count as Hunter pulled Jericho off. Jericho and Hunter started brawling with Hunter nailing a clothesline and a facebuster for two. Hunter set up Jericho for a Pedigree, but Jericho fought out of it and applied the Walls of Jericho submission. Michaels back to his feet and he nailed Jericho with the Sweet Chin Music superkick to eliminate Jericho.
Chris Jericho eliminated by Shawn Michaels
Analysis: The story of that elimination was Jericho and Hunter worked great as heels against Michaels, but ego got in the way and Michaels took advantage of it to get rid of Jericho.
It’s down to Michaels vs. Triple H as most people expected. Spinebuster for Triple H followed by a back body drop over the top rope that sent Michaels crashing onto the steel outside the ring. Triple H gave Michaels a slingshot into one of the plexiglass pods that shattered. On the replay of the spot you could see Shawn used his hands to really crash into the pod. Both guys were a bloody mess. Back in the ring, Hunter got a two count. Hunter nailed a facebuster followed by a clothesline that sent Michaels over the top to the floor. Michaels hit a slingshot that sent Triple H into the cage and a clothesline sent Hunter back into the ring. Michaels climbed to the top rope, then went up more and stood on top of a pod. He jumped off the top with a Flying Elbow drop to the chest of Hunter. Michaels set up for Sweet Chin Music. Hebner kept walking over to him to give him some cue. Hunter caught the boot and he hit a Pedigree. The crowd was booing a lot. Hunter was too tired to cover. He slowly crawled over with a one arm cover for the one…two…and Michaels got his shoulder up. Michaels with a back body drop out of a Pedigree. Michaels back into the corner, Hunter up and Michaels hit the Sweet Chin Music superkick for the one…two…and three. Wow! What an ovation! MSG was going crazy. The match is over at the 39:20 mark.
Winner by pinfall and new World Heavyweight Champion: Shawn Michaels
Analysis: ****1/2 Great match. It was a violent, physical match with some huge spots and a legit injury that Triple H fought through. The story of Michaels coming back to win the World Title in his second match back in over four years is awesome. Plus, doing it in MSG in the first Elimination Chamber match made it seem that much more special. It was no surprise that the four other guys were eliminated in order to leave it to Shawn and Hunter at the end. Triple H showed a lot of toughness by working with a crushed larynx for over twenty minutes. There were several times in the match where you could tell he had trouble catching his breath, yet he kept on going. Three guys bled in the match, which is something we will never see again in a match in WWE today.
(I love this match. SummerSlam 2002 Shawn vs. Hunter is more emotional for sure, but this still is great to me and I’ll never get sick of watching it or remembering how happy I was to see Shawn as a World Champion again. Kudos to Triple H working most of the match with a throat injury that made it difficult to breathe. Huge respect for that. Great crowd at MSG loved this as you would expect.)
The arena was full of confetti as Michaels celebrated with the World Heavyweight Title.
Replays aired of the finish. Michaels posed with the World Title more as JR freaked out about Michaels making the big comeback to win the World Heavyweight Championship. The show went off the air that way.
Analysis: I’m glad it was treated as a big celebration. Shawn deserved it. He lost the title one month later to Triple H, but it doesn’t tarnish how cool this moment was.
The show had a run time of 2 hours and 43 minutes.
FIVE RANDOM THOUGHTS
– There were five title matches with five title changes. That was the main running theme with this show. With such a big roster at the time and things changing so often, it meant a lot of different directions for the various titles in WWE.
– I remember marking out with my buddies as we watched Michaels walking around with the title. It wasn’t the WWE Title that he won before, but it was still a recognized World Title and that was good enough for us. When Michaels retired from a legit back injury in 1998 most of us thought he was done for good. To see him come back four years later and win a World Title again was amazing. We didn’t know it at the time, but this was the last World Title win of his career even though he worked another eight years with numerous title shots.
– Triple H earned a lot of respect in May 2001 when he finished a match with a torn quad. That respect grew with his performance in this match because he had a crushed larynx that gave him trouble breathing, yet he still worked 20+ minutes more without missing a beat. He’s a tough dude.
– I thought it was a mistake to have no Survivor Series elimination matches on the show. The table elimination match was elimination rules, but not a traditional match. I think it’s important to have at least one traditional Survivor Series elimination match and they didn’t do it in 2002.
– I had forgotten the pop that Lesnar received at this show. When hearing it again now, it’s easy to see why WWE made the call to turn him. The crowd at SummerSlam 2002 cheered him a lot and even though he was booked as a heel after that, it was obvious that fans were in awe of him as a superstar. Some people hated the decision to put the title on Big Show, but I didn’t mind it because WWE had to get the title off Lesnar so he can win the Rumble match to set up the dream match against Angle at WrestleMania.
Here’s a cool video from WWE Confidential talking about the first Chamber match.
Best Match: Elimination Chamber for the World Heavyweight Championship
Worst Match: Big Show vs. Brock Lesnar
Most Memorable Moment: Shawn Michaels wins the World Heavyweight Championship. Other cool moments included Lesnar’s F5 on Big Show, D-Von reuniting with Bubba and Jeff’s Swanton Bomb through a table.
1. Shawn Michaels
2. Triple H
3. Chris Jericho
4. Eddie Guerrero
5. Kurt Angle
Show rating (out of 10): 9
Excellent show. I remember SummerSlam 2002 as the best PPV of that year, but Survivor Series delivered as well. The highlight was the Michaels win in the very good main event match and the other matches were either good or great. The only bad match was Show vs. Lesnar, but it was more of an angle than a match because it cemented the Lesnar face turn with Heyman turning on Lesnar. I thought it was well done as a storyline.
(It’s a great show, but I wonder if I overrate it a bit with a 9 out of 10. I just think the matches were strong for the most part and even the non-wrestling moments like Scott Steiner’s debut and the Dudleys reunion were so well done. It just felt like a special show to me.)
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. My contact info is below.