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Survivor Series PPV Preview
(and Other News)
November 15, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Part One: Survivor Series Preview

After the past couple of months, it's nice to have a WHOLE PPV to be excited about.  You know, not just half a show that sounds good... and I think we know what half I'm talking about, here.

On Sunday, you'll have the RAW brand delivering some bona fide sizzle for the first time in a while.  The enigmatic Elimination Chamber match should provide intrigue, if nothing else; and with the six men involved, it should even provide some quality action, too.

But of course, it's SmackDown! that's delivering the steak:  the three-way Tag Title Match is, on it's own, reason enough to order this PPV.  Without the benefit of a wacky domed cage or dramatic comeback from retirement, this is still gonna be an outstanding wrestling match.

But perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself.  

Let's take a breath, relax, and run down the as-announced seven match card for Survivor Series...  one match at a time:

TRIPLE H vs. SHAWN MICHAELS vs. CHRIS JERICHO vs. BOOKER T vs. ROB VAN DAM vs. KANE (Elimination Chamber Match for the World Title)

HHH was handed the "World Title" about three months ago, and the Fed has tried to prop him up in the role of champ by giving him abbreviated mini-feuds against RVD and Kane.  Never fully developing, and ending predictably (with HHH going over, quashing whatever hopes we might have had for a fresh direction for the new title), the results have been lackluster main event level stories for the RAW brand.

So:  Enter the Chamber.  Over the past several weeks, the focus was less on the men and the title than on the Chamber structure.  Right or wrong, that focus may give this match and this title the sort of sizzle it's been lacking, though.  And in the last week before the PPV, we did get a hot angle that built up the inter-related rivalries and the importance of the title itself, too.

We've already covered why Kane and RVD have reason to be in this match, targeting HHH... but the man with the best, most compelling backstory in this match is Shawn Michaels.  You could take it all the way back to 1997 and the genesis of Degeneration X, if you wanted.  But for our purposes, we'll take the shorter route and just explain that when Michaels was lured back into the ring for one "final" match against Triple H back in August, he shocked everybody by winning.  Cleanly, and via pinfall.  So HHH responded by whacking Michaels in his surgically reconstructed back with a sledge hammer.  Now healthy again, Michaels is looking for retribution.  His role in the match is not so much to win the title, he says, but to stop HHH from walking out with the championship.

And therein lies the rub:  because HHH is, by far, the most viable candidate to leave the match with the title.  The Fed is probably not ready to hook their wagon to RVD's star... and they had ample (and more compelling) chances to put the title on Kane, but decided not to.  Michaels' story is that he is not interested in nor capable of wrestling on a full time basis; if true (though there is reason to suspect he's working the fans on this one), it would eliminate him as a possible champion.  Chris Jericho shocked the world last December when he unexpected became the first Undisputed Champion, but now mired in the midcard (as a tag champ), he doesn't seem like he's in position to take on the big gold just now.

That leaves Booker T, who has actually been the big winner in the last couple weeks of TV.  As recently as a month ago, Booker was languishing in the mostly-comic-relief role of Goldust's tag partner.  But after a couple of intense face-to-face promos with HHH, and thanks to a pinfall win over HHH (in a tag match), Booker may have finally broken through to become Championship Material in the fans' eyes.  An added plus: if Scott Steiner comes to RAW, his built-in first feud should be against Booker (Booker took the WCW Title from Steiner on the last ever edition of Nitro)...  it'd be cool if the resumption of their feud was for the same gold belt they last fought over nearly 2 years ago.

But back to the Chamber for a moment:  though we not been shown exactly what the structure will look like, the quick glimpses at drawings seem to suggest a giant domed cage made of steel.  Within the Chamber will be mini-chambers for all the participants; two men will be selected at random to start, and then every five minutes after that, one of the mini chambers will be opened, releasing another man into the battle.  Eliminations will come via pinfall or submission, and will continue until there is only one man left standing.

The structure suggests some kind of high-drama signature moment or spot (of the kind that launched Ladder Matches and the Hell in the Cell to prestigious status)... ironically, the man who was integral to the launch of both those two matches is present for the inaugural Elimination Chamber match:  Shawn Michaels.  But don't expect Michaels to take the big signature bump on Sunday.  You'd have to think RVD is a likelier candidate for that job...

If the signature moment(s) are enough to make this into a staple match, we'll look back on Survivor Series 2002 as a seminal moment... but for now, all we've got is a load of uncertainty, tempered by the fact that, regardless of the steel dome, we've got six talented athletes signed up for this match.  Color me...  intrigued.

My Prediction:  I think you can eliminate RVD, Kane, and Jericho from consideration...  Michaels could get the "surprise" win (only to have to drop the title in an early defense) if the Fed wants to shock us.  Booker seems like the top challenger right now, and could walk out of the Chamber with the gold and TWO viable feuds (a return match against HHH, and one against a soon-to-arrive Scott Steiner).  Or HHH could reap the benefits of five other guys busting ass, making this a memorable match; he could walk out with a title that finally MEANS something.  If I were in charge, I'd go with Booker T... but since I'm merely trying to deduce what the Fed will do, I think I'll pick Michaels to win.  They want to give us something special in this match, I think, and even if he won't have a long reign in front of him, Michaels winning the title would be a very special way to finish the match.


Show was traded to SmackDown! a month ago, and immediately set about the business of re-inventing himself as the 7-foot-tall, 500-pound ass-kicking monster that he was in his early career.  WWE fans who mostly just remembered Show as the freakishly oversized mid-carder of recent years were treated to Show squashing all opponents.

And they also got the see Show send the Undertaker packing; Taker has not been heard from since Big Show tossed him off the stage three weeks ago.  Show did the same thing to Lesnar last week, and in doing so, has seemingly convinced a lot of fans that he's a legit challenge to Lesnar.

Lesnar comes into Sunday's match with a cracked rib, the result of a house show match against Show last weekend (and not due to the stage dive, as has been purported by storylines).  Already, fans might have been dubious about the prospects of this being a good match, simply because Big Show has not been seen (in recent memory) delivering anything resembling fast-paced, action-packed contests...  and now, Lesnar will probably be a bit limited, too.

In any case, the attraction here will be less about non-stop in-ring action, and more about building the drama.  Lesnar has been splitting further and further away from Paul Heyman in recent weeks, and will be wrestling his first PPV match as an intended babyface.  Heyman's mantra in recent weeks has been that Lesnar cannot beat the Show because Lesnar cannot perform his power moves (including the F-5) on a man the Show's size.  That creates a PERFECT dramatic scenario in which Lesnar eventually does manage to hit one big move to score the "upset" win.  Whether it's an F-5 (which would be an amazing sight) or Lesnar uncorking the Shooting Star Press (which would be doubly so), the finish to this match should definitely make up for whatever deficiencies the rest of it may have.

Another dramatic element: the growing rift between Lesnar and Heyman has some suspecting that Heyman's loyalties may lie elsewhere.  Perhaps even in the corner of the Big Show.  [I'm dead set against that idea, for reasons previously discussed...  better to have Heyman lead a returning Rhyno against an ungrateful Lesnar, I say!]

My Prediction:  they've done a decent job building up the Big Show, but he's still simply not Championship material.  Plus, Lesnar's first defeat should be saved up for something special; and this does not qualify.  Brock goes over, hitting one spectacular finish or the other.  Anything else and it's simple the wrong move.


On a show that also features the Cruiserweight Division, the two-month-old SD! tag team division is, hands down, the highlight of the show, week in and week out.  Even more amazing is that the tag division is such a stand-out while not compromising the singles agendas that these men still have.

Most spectacularly, the storytelling between Angle and Benoit -- bitter rivals forced to work as a team by edict of Stephanie McMahon -- has only enhanced the appeal of their continued partnership.  Against all odds, I am MORE interested in seeing them continue to work together as I am in seeing them face each other in a big PPV blow-off (which seems inevitable... eventually).

The Angle/Benoit duo won the newly-created titles one month ago, following a four week tournament.  They defeated Edge/Rey in the PPV finals in what was (not unreasonably) described by many as a Match of the Year Candidate.  Just one week ago, Edge and Rey got a rematch, and in a Best of Three Falls Match, won the titles from Angle/Benoit in another astoundingly good contest.  Though it all, Eddie and Chavo Guerrero have been muddying the waters: they've feuded with Rey/Edge, they've tried to further the tension between Angle and Benoit (and then tried to make peace with Benoit, who is an old buddy of Eddie's), and have, in general, been pains in everybody's asses.

But they are the types of pains who can also participate at that Match of the Year caliber level... their inclusion here will not do anything but enhance the entertainment value of this match.  If I have to explain in any greater detail, well, then frankly you haven't been watching SmackDown! for the past two months.  These six WILL steal the show.

My Prediction:  I think I'm gonna go with Edge and Rey retaining the titles... there are simply more viable heel challengers (either the Guerreros or Angle/Benoit could get more shots; and I'd love to see a Matt Hardy/Shannon Moore team) than babyface ones, so it's a good play to keep the titles on them.

TRISH STRATUS vs. VICTORIA (Women's Title Match, Hardcore Rules)

Victoria grabbed a piece of the spotlight for herself a couple months ago, asserting that she and Trish had been friends years ago, and swore to break into wrestling together.  But then Trish went out, and slept her way to the top of the WWE years before Victoria could make it.  Such accusations led to a PPV match, which Trish was able to win.

But rather than going away, Victoria ramped up the violence.  Chairs and ladders have been part of her arsenal, and at no time has this feud resembled a titillating catfight...  the physical confrontations have gone a long way to building up the interest in this match (fortunate because Victoria's labored mic work -- overplaying the "psycho" vibe -- has been lacking).

My Prediction:  this should be a capably-fought match, and the hardcore elements will only allow Trish and Victoria to mask whatever limitations they might have with ultra violence.  And Trish should retain the title; a feud against a soon-to-be-returning Jazz is a no brainer, and Trish needs to have the title on her to make it work.


For a plucked-out-of-thin-air match, this one's got plenty to recommend it...  Jeff and Bubba have participated in some of the most memorable Tables (and Ladders and Chairs) Matches ever, so right there, you've got plenty of expertise.

And also, you had a really solid angle last week on RAW, when 3MW put Jeff and Spike through a table following a win over Bubba and Spike.  A solidly effective angle for building to this match.

My prediction:  I'm gonna go with Rosie, Jamal, and Rico here...  3MW are one of only a few full-time tag teams on the RAW roster, so they could use the rub of beating Bubba and Jeff "at their own game."

JAMIE KNOBLE vs. BILLY KIDMAN (Cruiserweight Title)

A week ago, Kidman pinned Knoble in a mixed tag match.  Then, last night, he pinned Knoble in a non-title match.  End result:  he's firmly established as a threat to Knoble's Cruiserweight Title.

Though overshadowed by the tag division, the Cruiserweights always deliver.  The division's been a bit stagnant, though, since the successful creation of Knoble and Nidia's characters...  Kidman and Knoble will put on a good show Sunday, but I wonder if it'll be enough to really electrify the crowd.

My Prediction:  Knoble retains, thanks to some interference from Nidia... perhaps you could have the feud continue, then, with Kidman building up an on-screen relationship with Torrie Wilson to offset Nidia at a rematch next month?


Ummm...  OK, so this is the flip side of the plucked-out-of-thin-air coin.  No backstory to speak of (Goldust and Hurricane teamed up for the first time just this week, and it was against Test/Richards, with Storm/Regal nowhere in sight), and not even a tables gimmick to fire up the fans.

But I guess any excuse to get Storm and Regal on TV is OK by me.  This'll be a solid match, but I'm sure nobody in the crowd will really care.  It'd be best placed as a late-in-the-show palate cleanser (to rest the crowd between, say, the tag title match and the Chamber match).

My Prediction:  Storm and Regal go over.  

At present, there are just these seven announced matches... but with both the tag title match and the Chamber match likely to exceed 30 minutes apiece, seven matches should be more than enough to fill up the card.

The extras you might want to consider aren't additional contests, but things such as the possible arrival of Scott Steiner and the interplay between Eric Bischoff and Stephanie McMahon (thankfully, their kiss from a few weeks back was summarily ignored as a storyline issue this week, so perhaps we won't be going down that road).

Whatever happens on Sunday night, you should be sure to check back here to OO at some point in the 11pm (eastern) hour for a full post-show recap.  And then on Monday, we'll add more in-depth coverage, including Scott's PPV Rant and more.

Part Two: Quick Newsbites

  • Another really strong SmackDown! last night... it's close, but I think Angle/Benoit was my Match of the Night.  The material between Lesnar, Heyman, and Show was all very good, too.
    As good as RAW was this week, SD! just looks like it could be the superior show with the one proverbial arm tied behind its back...
    The overnight rating for SD! was a 4.4, which is down one tenth of a point from last week's overnight.  Of course, that number doesn't mean a whole lot, and we'll have a final rating in Monday's column.
  • By the way, the final rating for the UPN Super Tuesday special was a 2.3.  That's up over UPN's timeslot average, so I guess it was a nominal success.  Still, the WWE special lost about a third of the audience supplied by the lead-in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer."
  • Joanie "Chyna" Laurer and Sean "X-Pac" Waltman are engaged to be married.  There had been rumors that the two had become romantically involved recently, and Laurer made the announcement of their engagement yesterday on her official website.
    I believe this will be Waltman's second marriage, and Laurer's first (though, of course, she was seriously involved with HHH for a couple of years).
    Best of luck to both...
  • Speaking of Waltman, he was absent from Wednesday's TNA PPV, again due to a lingering hip injury.  Unsure of when Waltman could come back, TNA just went ahead and scratched him from his spot in the #1 Contender tournament (which Jeff Jarrett has now won).
  • Chris Jericho will be on Fox SportsNet's "Best Damn Sports Show Period" tonight...  the show usually seems to be on in late night here, but you need to check your local affiliate's schedule, especially now that hockey and basketball are in full swing.
  • I think that should just about do it for this week...  I'll plead one last time for anyone who likes what they see here to consider donating to OO.  The month-long pledge drive is coming to an end, and when you come back here on Monday, we'll have a new over headline that has nothing to do with you giving me money!  I promise!  So this is your last chance to help the cause.
    Remember, Survivor Series coverage here immediately following the PPV on Sunday.  And then resumption of regular business on Monday...  see you then! 


Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

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