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WWE Survivor Series
November 17, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


Not a single defending champion was victorious at WWE's Survivor Series pay-per-view, as five titles changed hands in outcomes that ranged from fairly sensible, to shockingly historic, to flat-out logic-defyingly baffling.

Most stunning is that the Fed actually pulled the trigger on their two top titles.  Shawn Michaels, basically retired for the past four and a half years, won the Elimination Chamber match, last eliminating Triple H to win the World Title.  And the WWE Title is now in the hands of the Big Show, as Brock Lesnar was booked for his first loss.

The show did not lack for action at any time, as all six contests presented as part of the PPV, proper, were good at the very least.  And in terms of story development and non-wrestling moments, we got a couple big things, too, including the debut of Scott Steiner (who found a way to beat down both a RAW and a SD! guy to keep his current allegiance a mystery).

Short of questioning the booking of the WWE Title match, I really could find no holes on the Survivor Series show.  See if you agree as I run down the full match-by-match results of the just-completed PPV:

  • Lance Storm and William Regal defeated Goldust and Hurricane in a match that was bumped from the PPV to Heat.  Regal used a pair of brass knucks to the back of Goldust's head to assist Storm in getting the pinfall win.  [Non-offensive, but also non-memorable.]
  • Bubba Dudley won the six-man Tables Match for his partners Jeff Hardy and Spike Dudley.  A super hot start to the show, as it took less than 3 minutes for the first table spots (and first "Holy Shit" chants).  Spike was the first man eliminated by Three Minute Warning and Rico, when Rosie and Jamal did a mind-bending modified double flap-jack type move, planting Spike face first through a table.  Action continued fast and furious as Jeff and Rosie started brawling into the crowd; their showdown ended with Jeff leaping off a balcony to Swanton Rosie through a table to even the sides at 2 apiece.  Jamal next eliminated Jeff, delivering a big splash from the top rope to a table on the floor.  Bubba was able to take advantage of a miscommunicaton between Jamal and Rico to table Jamal, leaving him one on one with Rico.  But Rico is not one to fight mano y mano, and so both Jamal and Rosie joined him in attacking Bubba.  It looked bad for Bubba until... D-Von Dudley ran out for the save!  D-Von and Bubba cleaned house, and teamed up to 3-D Rico through the table to give Bubba's team the win.  D-Von and Bubba celebrated together to a huge pop.  [Super 15 minute brawl to start the show; table spots got the crowd heated up fast, and with the exception of one or two of Jeff's spots, everything here was on and clicking.  Some "Holy Shit" moments and then the very welcome surprise of D-Von ditching the Reverend act to reform a viable tag team on the RAW roster. ]
  • Victoria defeated Trish Stratus to win the Women's Title.  Under hardcore rules, this one saw lots of garbage cans, kendo sticks, and various other implements come into play.  Through there were a few awkward spots, this was mostly a really intense affair that even Lawler only tried to ruin once or twice with counter-productive commentary.  Victoria's nose was bloodied about half-way through the match.  The finish had Victoria "blind" Trish with a fire extinguisher, which allowed her to hit a suplex for the surprise pin.  [Finish was out-of-nowhere -- a suplex?!? -- but other than that, I've got few complaints that would stick.  Six or seven decent minutes here...]
  • A backstage skit saw Paul Heyman confront Brock Lesnar, saying that for all his past difference of opinion with Brock, he wanted to put that aside and promise that his client would leave Survivor Series with the WWE Title.
  • And Heyman's prophecy came true, as Heyman turned on Lesnar and helped Big Show defeat him for the WWE Championship.  Lesnar bumped a ton for Show in the opening minute or so, but then managed to turn things around with suplexes of varying impressiveness due to Show's size and immobility (the belly-to-belly was awesome, though).  After a ref bump, Heyman tossed a chair into the ring, but it did not come into play, as Show blocked Lesnar from using it right away.  But what Lesnar was able to do was to deliver an F-5 on Show (double awesome!); a second ref sprinted to the ring to count the three, but... Paul Heyman yoinked him out of the ring and KO'ed him.  Lesnar realized he'd been screwed, and started chasing after Heyman, but Heyman led him directly into a pair of Big Show chairshots.  Show followed up by chokeslamming Lesnar (with his bad ribs) onto the chair, just as Heyman tossed the original ref into the ring to count three.  [I appreciate the effort to wring some return out of the investment in Show... but this was still just a baffling booking decision, if you ask me.  If Lesnar must lose -- whether to further his babyface split from Heyman or to nurse a legit injury -- then it should have been someone else.  And a case could be made that you could tell the story of Lesnar's turn and/or rest him without having him drop the strap.  Still, for all my confusion over the finish, this had a definite Big Match flavor for the entire 3-4 minutes it lasted, and thanks to some of Lesnar's power moves, did not hurt for a memorable moment or two.]
  • The Guerreros managed to win the WWE Tag Team Titles, last eliminating Edge and Rey Mysterio.  Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit worked the majority of the first "fall" of the match, with the story being that Eddie and Chavo were too cowardly to tag in.  With Edge and Rey facing Benoit and Angle, the crowd was decidedly split between the two teams, but was mostly just hot for all the great moves.  When Benoit and Angle started arguing (Chavo plastered Benoit with a title belt, but then "planted" the evidence on Angle), things quickly degenerated.  Edge was able to pin Benoit following a Spear, and the crowd was audibly pissed that Angle and Benoit were eliminated.  Not that the Guerreros are slouches in the ring themselves, but it was obvious that Angle and Benoit are a big part of the Magic Formula that has had the SD! Tag Division ruling the universe, as the crowd was down for the remainder of the match.  Reversing roles from the first fall, Edge played the babyface in peril and eventually hot tagged Mysterio, leading into the final bits of chaos before the finish.  Chavo again introduced a title belt into the fray, helping to get the win for his uncle Eddie. [At about 20 minutes long and with the closing minutes not seeming nearly as hot as the opening half of the match, you could probably fairly label this as "disappointing."  But that's only because past outings with these guys have been so off-the-charts amazing.  Still a very good match, and one that still rates as Match of the Night.]
  • Chris Nowinski made an unscheduled appearance in the ring, as he had the red hot revelation to make that New Yorkers are lacking in intelligence.  This brought Matt Hardy out to the ring with an opposing viewpoint:  New Yorkers are losers, he opined.  After some banter back and forth, Hardy and Nowinski decided to compromise, and agreed that New Yokers are "Loopid."  Nobody in the building was very pleased with this assertion... but everybody was ecstatic when Scott Steiner made his WWE return to deliver a (physical) counterpoint.  He ran through Nowinski with some suplexes and clotheslines, and then his standard moonman message to all his freaks.  Crowd popped huge.  Attempts to book Steiner as a heel are apt to fail in the short term.  [Fun and effective segment: Nowinski and Hardy both did some cute mic work, and by supplying a lamb from both the RAW and SD! rosters, you had Steiner make an emphatic return without yet declaring his true intentions.  In other words:  tune in tomorrow, suckers!]
  • In the main event Elimination Chamber match, Shawn Michaels emerged victorious, last eliminating Triple H to take HHH's World Heavyweight Championship.  HHH was actually one of the first two men in the ring, starting the match against Rob Van Dam.  Right out of the gate, RVD started showing us what was possible inside the domed steel structure (which also featured a steel floor surrounding the ring, but at ring height, as well as plexiglass mini-chambers for the other four participants).  RVD decimated HHH using all forms of steel-assisted attacks, and even climbed on top of Jericho's mini-chamber (foreshadowing the showdown that would take place when Jericho became the first man unleashed).  RVD carried the second stage of the match, too, working mostly with Jericho as a bloodied HHH was allowed to rest on the outside of the ring.  When Booker T entered the match next, HHH returned to more active duty, as the heel/face sides were even at 2 apiece.  It was during this phase that RVD decided to deliver a Five Star Frog Splash onto HHH from on top of one of the mini chambers.  But the move took a lot out of him, too, and he was pinned when Booker hit him with a missile dropkick.  Kane was released next, and again the sides were at two apiece, as Jericho and HHH made no attempt to disguise their alliance.  Booker was next eliminated, though for the life of me, I don't remember the details right now.  When Michaels was finally released into the match, he quickly cleaned house on the groggy, beaten, and battered opposition, but before long, he took one bump on his bad back, and was selling it like a million bucks.  The advantage of entering last seemed nullified, and Kane began to look the strongest.  However, he was the next eliminated, when he was hit by the Sweet Chin Music, the Pedigree, and the Lionsault in rapid succession.  That left Jericho and HHH to pick over the pieces of HBK.  Michaels was busted open and bled pretty profusely, and was even sent crashing through one of the plexiglass mini-chambers.  He was on the brink of elimination when Jericho and HHH's alliance fell apart: the two could not agree on who should get to make the pinfall on Michaels.  Jericho got HHH in the Walls of Jericho, but before HHH would tap out, Michaels came to and superkicked Jericho to eliminate him.  That left HBK and HHH to resume their rivalry from SummerSlam.  And again, HHH seemed firmly in control for an extended period.  However, a Michaels rally saw him hit a flying elbow drop off the top of a mini-chamber, which allowed him to "tune up the band" in preparation of the Sweet Chin Music.  But of course, the telegraphing of the move allowed HHH to counter it.  He hit the Pedigree, but was too spent to make an immediate cover; when he finally did cover Michaels, Shawn was able to kick out at the last second.  A few reversals later, and Michaels was able to land the Chin Music cleanly to score the pinfall.  Confetti flew all over MSG and the crowd gave the new champ a giant ovation.  [Good match, and more importantly, a good match that build up to a big time finish.  The early work established some of the innovative things that are/will be possible inside the Chamber, and I liked what I saw enough to want to see another Chamber match at some point in the future.  RVD's work was especially cool.  Michaels winning was definitely a surprise, in a weird double-reverse kind of way.  On one hand, you don't expect a semi-crippled retired guy to reign as champ.  But on the other, if you know the Fed wants to deliver a big finish, Michaels is the obvious pick.  Although I made Michaels my official predicted winner, I somehow psyched myself into being sure I had been unrealistic...  it's weird.  But in the end, what matters is mostly just that we got a good, unique match, one aided by a special finish.]

On the whole, a very good show.  The Elimination Chamber wasn't necessarily as special or amazing as the mysterious hype might have led you to believe... and SD!'s most promising entrant -- the tag title match -- may have been a bit of a victim of unfair expectations.  But the in-ring action was strong, and most importantly, this felt like a show where Things Happened.

The "things" may not all have made the most of sense (and again, I hate to harp on it, but Big Show is the champ?!?), but there was no mistaking the outcomes from Survivor Series as rehashed RAW or SmackDown! material.  We had turns, debuts, reunions, swerves, and not a single successful title defense.

So while it might fall short of being a perfectly executed 10 out of 10, even if due to things like unfair expectations, Survivor Series 2002 still had plenty in the tank to earn a Thumbs Up.


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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