PPV REVIEW: WWE Survivor Series 2002

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Event poster

November 17, 2002
Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

At first, I was going to begin this Survivor Series 2002 review by saying that, for all intents and purposes, this could have just been any other show. 

Indeed, the days of stacking a Survivor Series card from top-to-bottom with teams of four or five facing each other in a series of elimination matches were long gone.

And while World Wrestling Entertainment had continued to use the traditional Survivor Series elimination match sparingly throughout the 90s, they had still been a popular part of the show.

Tonight, there were no such matches outside of an opening six-man which, again, could have been on any other show.

But that doesn't mean that the company has abandoned the survival concept altogether. 

They'd simply refreshed and revitalized it for the new millennium, giving us not your usual tag team affair, but instead, a deadly new concept called Elimination Chamber. 

Far from the played-out, over-polished non-spectacle that today gets its very own pay per view, the Elimination Chamber was a genuinely cool and exciting gimmick back in 2002, but don't just take my word for it.

Here's what went down when Survivor Series 2002 came to Madison Square Garden.

Welcome to The World’s Most Famous Arena

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler called all the action

Tonight’s opening video wasn’t one of WWE’s greatest but it still did a solid job of making tonight’s event seem huge.

On the Smackdown side of things, the video focused on Brock Lesnar defending his WWE title against The Big Show while Raw’s focus was on Eric Bischoff creating the monstrous Elimination Chamber in which the World Heavyweight Championship would be up for grabs.

With that, it was onto pyro and crowd shots galore as Saliva’s Always played and Jim Ross welcomed us to The World’s Most Famous Arena.

JR and his broadcast colleague Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler hyped up the Elimination Chamber before we got onto our first contest of the evening.

Six-Man Tables Match
Jeff Hardy, Bubba Ray Dudley & Spike Dudley vs. Rico & Three Minute Warning (Rosey & Jamal)

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Rico teamed with 3 Minute Warning

You know, I’m watching this after being completely burned out on wrestling for months and coming nowhere near this blog.

Sitting down to watch this incredibly enjoyable six-man match reminds me why the hell I love wrestling in the first place.

If you ignore a weird spot at the beginning where Rosey & Jamal held Spike Dudley in place outside the ring for half an hour waiting for Jeff Hardy to dive over the ropes onto them, and if you ignore the spot where Rosey failed to catch Jeff coming off the ropes and the crowd all chanted “you f**ked up!” at him, everything about this match was fantastic.

Spike Dudley got taken out early on before Hardy took Rosey out into the crowd and hit the exact same Swanton-off-the-stands spot he’d done back at Royal Rumble 2000.

The Charismatic Enigma then got taken out himself, leaving Bubba Ray Dudley against Jamal and Rico.

The former got planted with a top rope powerbomb through the table, but before Bubba could win the match, both members of Three Minute Warning returned and helped Rico beat him down.

At that point, Bubba’s former tag team partner and then-current Smackdown star D-Von Dudley rushed out wearing full Dudley Boyz regalia and helped his old pal win the match.
Your Winner and Sole Survivor: Bubba Ray Dudley

That match was superb, and the Dudleyz reunion led to such a huge pop from the MSG faithful that you couldn’t help but enjoy it.

Saliva Perform

Over at The World, Stacy Kiebler introduced us to Saliva who performed the show's theme song, while we got a look at the remaining matches on this card.

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

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Billy Kidman faced Jamie Noble

Although very different from the last match, this was still nonetheless highly enjoyable.

The two former WCW stars battled back and forth in a high-octane Cruiserweight battle with as many near-falls and high spots as you could ask for.

After a top quality battle, Kidman hit the SSP on Jamie Noble to capture the gold.
Your Winner and New Cruiserweight Champion: Billy Kidman

Backstage, Kurt Angle expressed his conviction that if Billy “Freakin’” Kidman could win the Cruiserweight title then he and Chris Benoit should have no problems winning the tag team titles tonight.

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Chris Benoit & Kurt Angle

The estranged partners once again bickered about who the team captain was before agreeing to put their differences aside tonight.

Across the way, Chris Jericho psyched himself up for tonight’s elimination match.

Victoria Is Crazy

Over in the women’s locker room, we saw CCTV footage of Victoria courtesy of the short-lived “F-View,” a rehash of the I’ll-fated GTV which, in the storyline, had been implemented by Eric Bischoff to spice up Raw.

The footage showed us Victoria talking to herself in a mirror about how much she hated Trish Stratus before finally deciding to trash both the mirror and a Trish cut out.

This was followed by a video package recapping the rivalry between the two women.

If you need a refresher, the basic story involved Victoria being mad that despite WWE previously being interested in both women, she had been robbed of her opportunities by the women’s champion.

Their match was next

Hardcore Match for the WWE Women’s Championship
WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus vs. Victoria

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Trish Stratus vs. Victoria

I’m going to be honest, this was much better than I expected it to be.

That’s not taking anything away from the talent of Trish and Victoria, just that most hardcore matches were usually anything but the highlight of the show.

This wasn’t the highlight either, but it was still a fun match in which the two women used the hardcore gimmick to its full advantage and came up with some unique, entertaining spots.

After a good battle, Victoria captured her first WWE women’s title by blasting her rival with a fire extinguisher then drilling her with a float-over snap suplex.
Your Winner and New WWE Women’s Champion: Victoria

Out in the back, Booker T warmed up for the Elimination Chamber.

Elsewhere in the arena, Jonathan Coachman asked Eric Bischoff what we could expect from tonight’s main event.

Bischoff answered by bigging himself up before he was interrupted by The Big Show.

Show warned the Raw GM that he had made a big mistake by trading him to Smackdown, all of which led us nicely to Show’s upcoming opponent, Brock Lesnar.

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Paul Heyman & Brock Lesnar

As the WWE Champion pounced, his manager Paul Heyman expressed how nervous he was that Lesnar wouldn’t be able to get the job done tonight.

Alas, Heyman vowed that his “client” would leave with the title tonight.

Ooh, ominous

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

Before the bell sounded, we got a video package that showed Big Show dominating the hell out of everyone while Heyman constantly reminded Lesnar that there was no way he could beat his opponent.
Like the previous match, this one delivered beyond expectations.

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show

Both champ and challenger then went at it in a short but explosive match which saw them demonstrate their brute power to full effect.

Show manhandled his opponent multiple times, but The Next Big Thing would always mount a comeback, even taking his larger adversary to Suplex City on a number of occasions, all to the jaw-dropping admiration of the MSG faithful.

Speaking of jaw-dropping, Heyman’s chin nearly hit the floor when Brock leveled the challenger with an F5, but then the cowardly former ECW manager revealed his true colors by preventing the referee from making the three count.

Realising he’d been betrayed, Lesnar gave chase but got walloped by a chair courtesy of Big Show.
One pinfall later and Big Show won the WWE championship for the second time at the very same event where he won his first one.
Your Winner and New WWE Champion: The Big Show

Afterwards, the new champ and his new manager fled in a waiting limo.

A video package for the upcoming tag team title match followed, as did a shot of Al Wilson his new fiancé Dawn Marie hanging out in the crowd.

Triple Threat Elimination Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
WWE Tag Team Champions Edge & Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie & Chavo Guerrero vs. Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit

This was, as you might expect, a mighty fine match.

The action never stopped and barely slowed down from start to finish, giving us a compelling contest delivered by four stellar performers at the top of their game.

Angle and Benoit went out first and argued all the way to the back, leaving Los Guerreros to duke it out with the champions.

The action then continued to enthrall and entertain until, eventually, Eddie Guerrero made Rey Mysterio tap.

Everything up to and including that finish was great.
Your Winners and New WWE Tag Team Champions: Los Guerreros

Prior to the main event, Chris Nowinski and Matt Hardy V1 hit the ring to argue about whether New Yorkers were stupid or losers.

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Scott Steiner made his debut as a singles star to WWE

It was an entertaining little segment that only got more entertaining when sirens rang and none other than Scott Steiner made his official WWE debut.

Receiving a thunderous ovation from the live crowd, The Big Bad Booty Daddy made light work of Nowinski and Hardy before making it clear that yes, Big Poppa Pump was indeed our hook up..holla, if ya hear me!

That was cool.

What wasn’t so cool was Shawn Michaels’ pre-match promo being interrupted by a video from Randy Orton.

Now playing a smarmy heel, Orton disingenuously thanked fans for their get-well cards and well-wishing emails as he recuperated from injury.

Rather than going back to the HBK interview (in which we were just about to learn why he believed he could be the champion tonight), we instead got an impressive package about tonight’s main event.

Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
World Heavyweight Champion Triple H (w/ Ric Flair) World Tag Team Champion Chris Jericho vs. Booker T vs. Kane vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Rob Van Dam

Before the match started, Eric Bischoff came to the chamber, partly to gloat about inventing the whole thing, partly to explain the rules to us all.

From there, Chris Jericho came out while, simultaneously, Saliva played his ‘King of my World’ theme live from The World.

Kane also had a new theme, the always-popular Slow Chemical one, while Shawn Michaels did have his old theme music but also had a weird haircut and those terrible poop-colored tights.

All that aside, this was a compelling match that had the novelty of being the first Elimination Chamber match and a whole bunch of talented performers going for it.

WWE Survivor Series 2002 Review - Ric Flair watches on as Jonathan Coachman interviews Triple H

The World Heavyweight Champion and Rob Van Dam kicked things off in fine fashion, and continued to look impressive as Chris Jericho and Booker T both entered the fray.

Then, RVD lept off one of the pods with a frog splash right onto The Game’s throat, prompting Earl Hebner to throw up the dreaded X sign.

Van Dam was eliminated shortly after and thus the match continued until only the champion and his former friend turned bitter rival, Shawn Michaels remained.

More good wrestling followed, culminating in Shawn Michaels hitting Hunter with a little sweet chin music to lift a major title for the fist time since Survivor Series 1997 on that fateful night in Montreal.
Your Winner and New World Heavyweight Champion: Shawn Michaels

Man, that was good stuff.

In fact, the whole show was good stuff!

It’s interesting that a title changed hands in all five championship matches tonight, and it’s even more interesting that both major titles were won by guys who won their last big titles at previous Survivor Series events.

What’s most interesting, however, is that this was a mighty fine show with every match grading somewhere on the Good - Great scale.

The tag title match and Elimination Chamber were the standouts here, but really, Survivor Series 2002 was a success from start to finish.

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  1. I still can't believe it was Big Show who ended Lesnar's first title reign. lol

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