Thursday, September 25, 2014

Through the Years Reviews: Survivor Series 2002

Survivor Series 2002
November 17th, 2002 – Madison Square Garden in New York, New York – Attendance: 17,930

SummerSlam 2002 is widely considered one of the best Pay-Per-Views of all time, but the other 2002 Pay-Per-View that seemingly gets universal acclaim is Survivor Series. Now, first of all, it's held in my favorite arena ever, Madison Square Garden. Second, it features the first ever Elimination Chamber match which is still such a cool concept. The other things I remember from this show include the WWE Title match between Big Show and Brock Lesnar, as well as the debut of Scott Steiner, a Hardcore Women's Title match and the Smackdown Six being featured. I won't lie, I'm very excited for this and can't wait to get started.

The intro video focuses on Paul Heyman being nervous when it comes to the Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show match. He feels that Brock may have bitten off more than he could chew with the Big Show. It then cuts to Eric Bischoff talking about his invention that is the Elimination Chamber. Ooh, the theme is “Always” by Saliva and I happen to love that song. I love that they're using the MSG side entrance too.

Six Man Elimination Tables Match
Bubba Ray Dudley, Jeff Hardy and Spike Dudley vs. 3 Minute Warning and Rico

We start with a big brawl that the faces win and Bubba press slams Pike into 3 Minute Warning. They catch him though, so Jeff leaps off of Bubba onto them in a cool spot. The Hardys and the Dudleys met in this building over two years ago in the first tables match so cool to have Jeff and Bubba together. Jeff and Bubba do a “WASSUP” variation where Jeff hits a leg drop and Bubba is all like “GETS THE TABLES!” The future S.H.I.T. Throws Spike and Jeff around before missing a spear and putting himself through the table. It has to be an offensive move so it doesn't count and he no sells the table by beating everyone up. 3 Minute Warning counter a Dudley Dog and alley oop Spike through the table. That looked like it hurt a lot. 3 Minute Warning both climb up top but get crotched leading to Poetry in Motion on one of them. Bubba gets the Bubba Bomb on the future Umaga, and goes outside to save Jeff Hardy from going through a table. Because it's MSG, Jeff Hardy climbs the crowd and, just like Royal Rumble 2000, hits a Swanton Bomb off of one of the exits and through the table to eliminate Rosey! Rico attempts to put Bubba through the table but gets crotched. Jeff hits Whisper in the Winds on Jamal before running the guardrail and falling. He ends up eating a table to the face. Jamal hits a splash off the top and to the outside to eliminate Jeff. Back inside, Jamal actually attempts to hit a top rope hurricanrana on Bubba, but it's countered into a powerbomb through it. We're down to Rico and Bubba Ray and I think I know how this one ends. 3 Minute Warning doesn't leave and keep it 3 on 1 until D-Von Dudley runs out to a huge pop! HES NOT THE REVEREND ANYMORE! He cleans house and it's time for a 3D through the table on Rico!

Winners: Bubba Ray Dudley, Jeff Hardy and Spike Dudley in 14:22
Really fun opener. The Tables were used well, there was never a dull moment and the crowd popped hard for the Dudley Boyz reunion. I enjoyed this a lot but it had some sloppy spots.***

We go to The World where Stacy Keibler is looking perfect. She talks about her PR work for Test and his Testicles. Yes, if you don't remember, Test's “fans” were known as his testicles thanks to Stacy. She introduces Saliva who perform “Always” at the World. This is the second 2002 Pay-Per-View to have them perform after WrestleMania X8. Oh, this performance is done while a video package shows promoting the show. We see highlights of the Trish/Victoria buildup as well as the ridiculous Smackdown Tag Team Title Triple Threat match. Then it focuses on the two World Title matches. So yea, this card is stacked.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Jamie Noble (c) w/ Nidia vs. Billy Kidman

Can I just say that I LOVE the shine that the Cruiserweight Title got in 2002? It's been on nearly every Pay-Per-View, especially since Jamie Noble won it at King of the Ring. Side note, this was the debut of Kidman's “You Can Run” theme music. Quick start involves Kidman picking up numerous near falls. Noble hits a sweet neckbreaker as Michael Cole notes that he's the longest reigning Champion in the WWE. Noble pulls out a suicide dive, which he doesn't do that often. He goes to the top again for a cross body but Kidman meets him with a pretty dropkick. Kidman gets another round of “oohs” from the crowd with a TKO/Go to Sleep combo if you will. Noble fires back with the falcon arrow, so these guys are trying to bring it for sure. Kidman hits another big facebuster and goes up for the SSP, but Nidia pulls Noble out of harm's way. Kidman decides to hit a splash anyway onto him outside. Slingshot leg drop back in from Kidman earns him two and Nidia gets involved by grabbing his leg. Noble accidentally runs into her and Kidman hits the Sky High, I THINK YOU BETTER RECOGNIZE, for a near fall. A series of counters finishes when Noble counters a backslide into the Tiger Bomb, but only gets two. They fight to the top and Kidman hits a top rope sitout DDT but only gets two! Are you serious? Noble DDTs Kidman from the top and again can only get two. My goodness. Again he tries the SSP but Nidia distracts him. The two guys fight up top again and Kidman knocks him off before hitting the Shooting Star Press to win.

Winner and New WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Billy Kidman in 7:29
Well that was something. I didn't expect to see all of those big moves and near falls. They went out and tried to steal the show as this show is off to a very strong start. Fun spotfest.***1/4

Kurt Angle is watching backstage and says that if BILLY FREAKIN KIDMAN can win a title tonight, then they should have no problem if they don't get in each other's way. They argue a bit but make up and it ends with a hug. Chris Jericho is shown preparing for the main event. Then Victoria is shown talking to a mirror and asking who the prettiest Diva is. Apparently, the mirror said Trish Stratus so Victoria freaks out and tears up a Trish cardboard cutout that's in her locker room for some reason.

WWE Women's Championship Hardcore Match
Trish Stratus (c) vs. Victoria

They have built a great feud on Victoria's jealously from their time as fitness models because Trish got all the chances and she didn't. Victoria attacks at the start and grabs the first weapon, which is a broom. THAT WITCH! Trish ducks and leaps over the first two shots but gets choked by it anyway. Trish fires back with a trash can lid, but Victoria shrugs it off and connects with a front flip leg drop. Impressive stuff. She sets up a trash can in the corner, but it backfires when Trish slingshots her into it. Trish starts whipping Victoria like A GOVERNMENT MULE with a kendo stick. Victoria has a bloody nose as he blocks Trish's handstand hurricanrana, only to get hit with a trash can lid twice more. These two are not holding back at all. Victoria gets a mirror from outside and has to spit out blood. Chick Kick from out of nowhere gets a near fall. They botch a bulldog in the corner which sucks because they've been doing so well. Victoria gets a fire extinguisher that she struggles to get to work and sprays Trish. Once inside, a snap suplex earns her the surprising win.

Winner and New WWE Women's Champion: Victoria in 7:01
Despite the botch near the end, these two went out and got brutal with each other. It helped to solidify Trish as a badass chick and made Victoria legit with the title win. ***

Jonathan Coachman, future stooge of Eric Bischoff, interviews him about the Elimination Chamber. He brags about how he continues to outdo Stephanie McMahon. Big Show interrupts to tell him that trading him was a mistake because he's going to win the WWE Title. Brock's back, which is bigger than most people is shown. Paul Heyman clutches the WWE Championship because he's worried about the Big Show. I guess it's time for the Brock face turn.

WWE Championship
Brock Lesnar (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Big Show

WELP. HERE COMES THE PAIN. God, the Undisputed Title looks so perfect on Brock Lesnar. He gets right in the face of Big Show to start and pushes him. Brock was becoming very popular, very quickly. Loud “Let's Go Lesnar” chants. The crowd is HOT as he tackles Show to the mat and they brawl outside. Show targets the injured ribs and throws Brock into the post. Back inside, Brock fights back with a weak looking back suplex but he makes up for it with a big German suplex. Show counters the F5 with some knees and the referee ends up getting hit. Brock hits an overhead belly to belly and my god that man is strong. Heyman tosses in a steel chair and Lesnar whacks Show with it. Brock hits the F5 and holds Show up for a good amount of time. That was one of the most impressive shows of strength ever. A new referee runs out and counts but Heyman pulls him out of the ring. Brock is pissed. He chases Heyman, which leads to Show hitting him with the chair a few times before Chokeslamming him on it to become the Champion.

Winner and New WWE Champion: Big Show in 4:19
The best five minutes that we were going to get with these two. Show didn't do bad, Brock looked like a total badass and the match made sense. Except for the Heyman turn, which was dumb. **3/4

Big Show and Paul Heyman run into a limo and escape the arena. Seriously, the only reason I see this happening was to have Brock Lesnar run as a face. However, Champion Big Show doesn't excite me.

WWE Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match
Edge and Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle vs. Los Guerreros

DIS GUN BE GUD! I would like to point out that there's an hour and a half left on this show and only two matches. Benoit and Mysterio kick things off and Benoit tears into him with some hard ass chops. A few tags happen and the Guerreros are enjoying just standing on the apron, so Angle tags in Chavo. Edge and Mysterio work him over and get a near fall with a splash. Chavo flapjacks Rey into another stratosphere before Eddie gets the tag. Rey and him do some good old late 90's WCW cruiserweight stuff. Because Rey is practically a midget, he hurts his head on the top rope when running them. Angle tosses Rey up and I think he was supposed to land on the top, but he slips and falls hard. Angle and Benoit now isolate Rey and beat him up for a while. Los Guerreros are genius because they are getting as little involved as possible. Both Angle and Rey need tags, and they go for the Guerreros but Eddie and Chavo back off the apron. Edge hits Angle with a belly to belly that, while impressive, can't top Brock's to Show earlier. Edge goes to Spear Angle, who counters with a drop toe hold. He locks on the Ankle Lock while Benoit has the Crossface in. SWEET JESUS HOW DIDN'T HE TAP? Rey breaks it up. As Benoit does rolling Germans to Edge, Eddie hits him with a sunset flip and it's like a double near fall. Business has picked up for sure. Eddie hits a Frog Splash on Edge but his counter is broken up by a headbutt from Benoit. Eddie is in the Ankle Lock, while Edge is in the Crossface, so Chavo hits Benoit with the belt. Angle takes it from him and Benoit sees him with the belt and they get into a shoving match. Benoit ends up eating a Spear and they're eliminated! Angle and Benoit are both machines and they're upset so they beat up everyone in the match except Eddie, who is outside. Los Guerreros, being the fresh team, isolate Edge for a while. He hits a double flapjack and I have to commend how good Edge was at playing the underdog babyface. Hot tag to Rey who does stuff too fast for me to type out in full. Just know it's fun. Edge Spears Chavo into Eddie, who then gets dropkicked. Eddie perched up top as Edge catapults Rey onto his shoulder and he hits a hurricanrana for two. 619 connects but the referee is telling Edge to leave, opening the door for Chavo. He LIES he CHEATS he STEALS and he hits Rey with a tag title. Eddie applies the El Paso Lasso and Rey taps.

Winners and New WWE Tag Team Champions: Los Guerreros in 19:25
As has been the case since the inception of those belts, the WWE Tag Team Titles are put up in yet another great match. The Smackdown Six are on a roll and it continues here. A good showing of how tag team wrestling should be done. ****1/4

Christopher Nowinski comes out instead of the start of the Elimination Chamber. I swear, this dude had the most potential of any of the early Tough Enough participants. He disses New Yorkers and their sports team before Matt Hardy VERSION 1 joins us. Matt keeps the room at a toasty 75 degrees and he only drinks low fat milk. He teases being a face by saying New Yorkers aren't stupid, but then classifies them as losers because the arena isn't overflowing with Mattitude. The Version 1 character was golden in my eyes. They continue to debate if New York is full of losers or stupid people until a familiar siren is heard. The place absolute goes NUTS for the debut of SCOTT STEINER. This pop doesn't get talked about as much as it should, probably because his WWE run was terrible, but this was the right place to debut him. He suplexes both guys around the ring and the place continues to go nuts. Jim Ross pisses me off throughout this by calling him the “Big Booty Daddy”, it's the “Big Bad Booty Daddy.” 

Shawn Michaels and his stupid haircut are interviewed by Terri Runnels but it's interrupted by RNN BREAKING NEWS! I totally loved this. Randy Orton and his own goofy haircut informs us of where to e-mail his get well cards to and he gives us a dumb smile. We then get the video package for the Elimination Chamber to the tune of “Always” by Saliva. It's awesome. Triple H gets interviewed and puts over the match.

This show seems to be stalling as now Eric Bischoff comes out and enters the Elimination Chamber. I do have to admit the Chamber is a badass looking structure. His promo goes over the rules and puts over the match. 

World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber
Triple H (c) vs. Booker T vs. Chris Jericho vs. Kane vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Shawn Michaels

Jericho's “King of my World” theme is performed at The World by Saliva and he's one half of the World Tag Team Champions here. Speaking of themes, Kane's “Slow Chemical” is still one of my all time favorite entrance songs. RVD and Triple H start things off and RVD counters a backdrop that sends HHH onto the steel outside. You would think that HHH would figure out that he shouldn't try to Pedigree someone who is right next to the ropes. RVD throws the Champion into the steel so many times that the door comes unlatched. It's been like three minutes and the Game is bleeding. RVD hits a monkey flip and rolling thunder onto the steel. RVD climbs on top of Jericho's chamber, so Jericho decides to be a douche and he pulls his leg from inside. This doesn't help Hunter, who is still getting worked over by RVD when five minutes hits and Jericho enters. He ducks a cross body from RVD, who latches onto the cage in a Spider-Man like move, before turning and hitting a cross body anyway. Fun spot. Shortly after, Jericho and HHH begin to double team RVD. Van Dam eventually stops this by front flipping over Jericho and he's been the MVP of the match so far.

Booker T comes in next, cleans house and it's SPINAROONIE time. He gets into it for a bit with his future tag team partner, RVD. RVD calls for the Five Star on Triple H, but climbs atop a chamber. He nails it and, if memory serves me right, nearly kills Triple H because he injures his throat badly. Earl Hebner throws up the “x” while Booker eliminates RVD with a missile dropkick at 13:40. Kane comes in at the fifteen minute mark and, being the fresh monster, feeds on his opposition. Kane throws Jericho through the bulletproof glass in a spot that gets a big reaction from the crowd. At the 17:43 mark, Booker T is eliminated after a chokeslam, followed by a Lionsault. Jericho is busted open as Kane pounds away. Kane misses a big elbow drop and now the bloodied pairing of Jericho and HHH try to eliminate him. Shawn Michaels enters to a big pop for his second match in four years. He comes in hot and is the only real fan favorite left. I mean, Kane is popular, but the crowd was more into Booker and RVD than him. Kane chokeslams all three guys and signals that it's over. His Tombstone to HHH is countered and he's pushed into Sweet Chin Music from HBK. Kane sits up like a beast though, but is put down with a Pedigree and Lionsault at 22:53.

Jericho throws Shawn into the cage a bit and the heels are working together against him. Michaels ends up bleeding as well but he's fighting back hard. He goes to piledriver Jericho but it's reversed into a back drop. Back inside, Shawn hits HHH with a flying forearm and nips up, only to be bulldogged down by Jericho. He hits the Lionsault but Shawn kicks out! Shawn whips out a moonsault of his own on Jericho for two. Talk about being ready to be back in the ring. Jericho and HHH end up fighting and HHH winds up in the Walls of Jericho. DX lives because Shawn saves HHH with Sweet Chin Music and pins Jericho to get rid of him at 30:43. I feel that Triple H and HBK being the last two was way too telegraphed. It makes sense from a story perspective though and it's worth it after their SummerSlam classic. They fight outside and HHH slingshots Shawn through the glass of another Chamber. He honestly looks like he might be dead. They take a while to get in the ring so Shawn is able to kick out. Shawn's comeback is stopped by the DEADED knee from HHH. He comes back anyway and climbs to the top of a Chamber. He hits en elbow off of it and the crowd can sense the end is near. Shawn starts to tune up the band, and I have to do a side bar here because I always wondered why nobody ever heard this coming. Anyway, HHH catches the foot and nails the Pedigree. He covers and only gets two, so he tries another Pedigree but gets back body dropped. Shawn hits Sweet Chin Music and covers to win for an enormous pop!

Winner and New World Heavyweight Champion: Shawn Michaels in 39:21
The first Elimination Chamber would not be the best but it was damn good. Great even. Everybody got to do their part. RVD had cool spots, Booker did his Spinaroonie and got an elimination, Kane looked like a beast, Jericho was his usual self, HHH was the iron man and Shawn had the special moment. Really good. ****

Shawn gets the confetti filled celebration and it's well earned.

Overall: 9/10; Incredible. I remembered how great SummerSlam was but forgot how good Survivor Series was. The worst rating I gave out was just under three stars. Every single match was at the very least fun and we got all new Champions which is always intriguing. Seriously, one of the better shows I've reviewed and one of the best Survivor Series Pay-Per-Views.