Connect with us
2002 Elimination Chamber | Greatest Survivor Series Matches 2002 Elimination Chamber | Greatest Survivor Series Matches

Wrestling

Greatest Survivor Series Matches Of All Time: The First Elimination Chamber

Advertisement

Published

on

Survivor Series 2002

Six-Man Elimination Chamber

Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Kane, Booker T, and Rob Van Dam

As more WCW stars were integrated into the WWF in 2002, WWF changed their name to WWE and expanded their brand by splitting their roster in half and creating Thursday Night SmackDown. It was a year of many firsts for the WWE and on Nov. 17, 2002, six of the biggest names in WWE history stepped into Madison Square Garden for a match at Survivor Series that had never been done before.

That year, the 16th annual Survivor Series took place at Madison Square Garden in New York and for only the second time in its history, the event did not have the traditional Survivor Series match on its card. Instead, the first-ever Elimination Chamber match was presented at the PPV, and it more than lived up to the hype. It wasn’t the best Survivor Series match we’ve seen but it was the first, and being the first Elimination Chamber, it was shrouded in mystery since nobody knew what to expect. It also featured Triple H, Chris Jericho, Kane, Booker T,  Rob Van Dam and Shawn Michaels who had just come out of retirement earlier that year when he made an appearance at Summerslam. After more than five years out of action, Michaels finally stepped back into the ring and he was looking better than ever. All eyes were on the Heartbreak Kid who was in the midst of a long-standing war with his former best friend Triple H.

Greatest Survivor Series Matches 2002 Elimination Chamber

The Elimination Chamber was presented as the brainchild of the then-general manager of Monday Night RAW Eric Bischoff (although it was originally the idea of Triple H) and would throw all six competitors into a massive cage structure made completely of steel with four chambers of plexiglass enclosed in the four corners. It was made of two miles of chain, over ten tons of solid steel and later called the most unforgiving structure in WWE history, something designed to punish the human body. Two wrestlers would start the match with another wrestler allowed to enter the match every 5 minutes.

In 2002, the WWE’s brand extension was in its infancy, and the WWE was looking for a way to maximize its popularity by having both RAW and Smackdown compete. When promoting the match, Bischoff promised that RAW’s main event at Survivor Series would be better than SmackDown’s Hell in a Cell main event at No Mercy and described the Elimination Chamber as a cross between WWE Royal Rumble and Survivor Series’ elimination process, enclosed in a cage format reminiscent of WCW’s War Games. Despite some similarities to the heyday of WCW, the Elimination Chamber match was an original idea that had never been done before, making Survivor Series that year, a must-see event for any wrestling fan.

Greatest Survivor Series Matches 2002 Elimination Chamber

That Sunday night, the six legends would walk into the unknown, and battle for the World Heavyweight Championship in a hellacious match where just about everything went wrong. Nobody knew what to expect, not even the superstars in the ring and it became one of the most famous matches in the career of the great Shawn Michaels. It felt messy, dangerous and improvised and that’s because, for the most part, it was. Legend has it that all six men arrived hours before the Pay Per View would start in order to try and figure out how they were going to choreograph the match and despite plenty of ideas being thrown around, all six men had to improvise since the pods did not open in the right order. It didn’t help that the chamber itself began to fall apart early in the match and couldn’t hold up against the brawl within the chamber. In an interview, Chris Jericho told ESPN, “We didn’t see it until the day of the show in Madison Square Garden. And it’s one of those things that you can tell was made by somebody who’s not a wrestling person. It was very clunky, it was very dangerous. It’s made of real grated steel — you probably could have made it out of rubber and you wouldn’t have known the difference. The walls were very stiff, and they didn’t make any noise when you hit them, so it hurts like hell.”

Survivor Series 2002 Elmination Chamber

Triple H started the match off alongside RVD. Within the first five minutes of the match, Triple H was cut wide open after RVD smashed Hunter’s face into the steel chains of the chamber. In another early memorable moment, Rob Van Dam climbed to the very top of the Chamber and hit a devastating five-star frog splash on Triple H causing ‘The Game’ to wrestle the remainder of the match in a great deal of pain (it was later revealed that this nearly ended Hunter’s career). Chris Jericho entered next and teamed up with the Cerebral Assassin to wear down RVD. Booker T then entered the fray, followed by Kane who hit three consecutive chokeslams on Shawn Michaels, Triple H, and Chris Jericho. Jericho then eliminated Kane with a lionsault while Booker T, who eliminated Van Dam earlier, was eliminated by Jericho.

Shawn Michaels took out Jericho with Sweet Chin Music, leaving the former DX partners the two remaining survivors. Eventually, Triple H threw Michaels through the plexiglass of one of the pods causing him to bust wide open. Nearly 40 minutes in, both men were barely able to stand and it didn’t help that both men were also bleeding profusely. Triple H, who remained in the Chamber all the way through to the end, looked to be the winner when he hit a Pedigree on Shawn Michaels. The match looked to be over, only Michaels kicked out of the pinfall, avoided another Pedigree— and in only his second match since coming out of retirement, ‘The Heartbreak Kid’ hit his famous Sweet Chin Music and beat Triple H to win the World Heavyweight Championship. It was his fourth World Title the last World Title that Michaels would win.

Survivor Series 2002

The 2002 Elimination Chamber is hands-down one of the greatest matches in the history of Survivor Series and the best Elimination Chamber match that I’ve seen. Of course, it helped that it was the first-ever Elimination Chamber since nobody knew what to expect, and even more impressive is how the entire finish was said to be improvised (perhaps explaining why it took Triple H so long to try and pin HBK). Of course, it also helps that Shawn Michaels, arguably one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, was not only a participant but the winner, something he definitely deserved. It’s a truly special moment in the history of the WWE and proved that despite the career-ending injury, HBK was still better than most in the ring.

Editor’s Note: This is part of an ongoing series. You can find all the entries here.

  • Ricky D

Some people take my heart, others take my shoes, and some take me home. I write, I blog, I podcast, I edit, and I design websites. Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Goomba Stomp and the NXpress Nintendo Podcast. Former Editor-In-Chief of Sound On Sight, and host of several podcasts including the Game of Thrones and Walking Dead podcasts, as well as the Sound On Sight and Sordid Cinema shows. There is nothing I like more than basketball, travelling, and animals. You can find me online writing about anime, TV, movies, games and so much more.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Advertisement

Wrestling

Greatest Royal Rumble Matches

One Versus All

Published

on

Greatest Royal Rumble Matches

WrestleMania may be regarded as the Super Bowl of the WWE but of the other three major pay-per-view events, The Royal Rumble has often given us better matches over the years. Yes, the Survivor Series and King of the Ring have had their fair share of moments, but the Royal Rumble is without a doubt the second-biggest wrestling PPV on the planet.

What makes the Royal Rumble so exciting is how it sets up the most prominent storylines on the programming for the remainder of the year. The Royal Rumble is simply put, the start of playoff season and a steppingstone for WWE superstars to prepare for their big moment at WrestleMania. It really is a seminal event on the WWE calendar and has often launched the wrestlers to superstar’s status.

Greatest Royal Rumble Matches

A Brief History of the Royal Rumble

Credit for the Royal Rumble can be given to Pat Patterson who came up with the original idea when brainstorming an event that would be bigger and better than the Battle Royale. The concept was simple really; unlike the Battle Royale which begins with all twenty participants in the ring, the Royal Rumble would instead start with only two superstars and have the remaining participants join the match every two minutes thereafter. And to up the ante, instead of having only twenty wrestlers, the Royal Rumble includes thirty superstars who battle it out for a title shot in the main event of WrestleMania (except for in 1992, when Ric Flair won the WWE Championship by winning the titular match ).

If you had to choose just one reason as to why the Royal Rumble is one of the most anticipated pay-per-view events, it would be because you never really know what to expect. Aside from anticipating who’ll come out next during the main event— and guessing who will eliminate who— we’re also left wondering who’ll make a long-overdue comeback after being away from the WWE for months – sometimes years.

We’ve seen big men like Kane eliminate eleven opponents in a row, and a superstar like Shawn Michaels become the first wrestler to win the Rumble after entering first. We watched Undertaker get locked in a casket and set on fire and we witnessed The Rock and Mankind battle it out in an “I Quit” match that temporarily led to a power failure and left the entire arena in the dark. There’s just no shortage of over the top moments at the Royal Rumble such as Kofi Kingston’s creative ways to avoid elimination or the surprise entrance by AJ Styles. The Royal Rumble is where dreams are made, careers are ended, and over the years, fans have witnessed some of the most intense rivalries take shape at the event.

History of the Royal Rumble

The Royal Rumble is without question, an important PPV and has been a part of a tradition dating all the way back to 1988. We’ve seen many of the most iconic wrestlers win the multi-man brawl, including Hulk Hogan (1990, 1991), Ric Flair (1992), Bret Hart (1994), Shawn Michaels (1995, 1996) Steve Austin (1997, 1998, 2001), The Rock (2000), Triple H (2002), The Undertaker (2007), and John Cena (2008), to name a few. And we’ve seen plenty more superstars come close, but ultimately getting eliminated at the very last minute. Yes, it’s a simple concept but the Royal Rumble is also incredibly exciting to watch.

Apart from the titular main event, WWE’s annual January extravaganza has also given us some incredible matches in the undercard. From surprising sleeper hits to fast-paced tag team action to hardcore matches and strange gimmick matches— the Royal Rumble has time and time again, blessed wrestling fans with the perfect blend of great storytelling and in-ring action. As such, the event has given fans some classic matches over the years and many have stood the test of time.

Whether it’s the rumble itself or a high-tempo singles match, the list of great matches that took place during the Royal Rumble is rather long. Below is a list of the greatest Royal Rumble matches to date, with links to the full review of each match.

Simply click on the links below to read about whichever match interests you most and let us know in the comments, what you think is the greatest Royal Rumble match of all time.

Editor’s Note: This is part of an ongoing series. You can find all the articles here.

  • Ricky D

Greatest Royal Rumble Matches

1) Royal Rumble 2003: Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit

2) Royal Rumble 1992: The Royal Rumble Match

3) Royal Rumble 2000: The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz (Tables Match)

4) Royal Rumble 2000: Triple H and Cactus Jack Street Fight

5) Royal Rumble 2001: Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit (Ladder Match)

6) Royal Rumble 2007: The Royal Rumble Match

7) Royal Rumble 2015: Brock Lesnar Vs. John Cena Vs. Seth Rollins

8) Royal Rumble 1995: Diesel vs. Bret Hart

9) Royal Rumble 1998: Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker (Casket Match)

10) Royal Rumble 1999: The Rock vs.Mankind (“I Quit” Match)

11) Royal Rumble 2009: Jeff Hardy vs. Edge

12) Royal Rumble 2004: Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels

13) Royal Rumble 1994: Yokozuna vs. The Undertaker (Casket Match)

14) Royal Rumble 1991: Sgt. Slaughter vs. the Ultimate Warrior

15) Royal Rumble 1991: The Rockers vs. The Orient Express

Continue Reading

Wrestling

Greatest Royal Rumble Matches: Diesel vs. Bret Hart

Published

on

Royal Rumble Diesel vs. Bret Hart

Royal Rumble 1995

“Big Daddy Cool” Diesel vs. Bret “Hitman” Hart

World Wrestling Federation Championship

The 1995 Royal Rumble was the eighth installment of the annual pay-per-view. It took place on January 22, in the USF Sun Dome located in Tampa, Florida and is remembered most for two things: Pamela Anderson’s one and only appearance in the WWE ring and Shawn Michaels becoming the first wrestler to win the Royal Rumble after entering first. But aside from that the iconic, game-changing ending in which Shawn Michaels dangled on the ropes, barely hanging on, before pulling himself over and eliminating the British Bulldog— there was another great match that is often overlooked.

It was the first WWE Championship defense of Diesel and it came against the face of the company, Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart.

The storyline behind the WWF World Heavyweight Championship match began in 1994, when Bob Backlund with the help of Owen Hart, beat Bret Hart for the championship at Survivor Series. Three days later, Bob Backlund was scheduled to defend the title against Bret Hart at Madison Square Garden only on the eleventh-hour, Hart was replaced by Diesel. Despite spending most of the evening protesting the last-minute change in the card, Backlund was forced to square off against Big Daddy Cool who defeated Backlund in a nine-second match to win the World Title.

With Bret Hart looking to recapture the title, a match with Diesel was then scheduled at the Royal Rumble. It was a rare instance of two babyfaces assigned to compete against each other with the audience having to choose sides.

Unfortunately, the match ended in controversial fashion, but not without its share of drama and plenty of highlights.

Royal Rumble Diesel vs. Bret Hart

Diesel’s match with Bret Hart was a pivotal moment in his career. Not only was it the first time he had to defend the WWE Title on a PPV, but for someone who was often criticized as being over-rated, this match proved that with the right competition, Diesel could put on a great match while also telling a great story.  

It was a face vs. face, but Hart played the de facto heel for much of the match, going so far as slamming a chair on Diesel’s back and taking advantage of his injured knee by applying the figure-four leglock twice. The match itself lasted a good 28 minutes with plenty of finishers including Diesel’s Jackknife powerbomb and of course, Bret Hart’s signature Sharpshooter. It was physical; it was exciting, and it was an example of great storytelling thanks to the ongoing interference.

First, Shawn Michaels came out and attacked Diesel. After being thrown out of the ring, fans anticipated the referee would disqualify Bret Hart and end the match — only instead, the ref ordered it to continue. After a back and forth brawl, Hart hit the Sharpshooter on Diesel’s injured leg but before Big Daddy Cool could tap out, Owen Hart ran in and attacked Bret from behind. And just like before, the referee cleared Owen out of the ring and ordered that the match continue, causing the fans in the arena to explode in cheers.

Royal Rumble Diesel vs. Bret Hart

While the match isn’t as notable as the Survivor Series fight between Diesel and Bret Hart, it’s still a genuine classic and one of the best matches of Kevin Nash’s career. With the help of Bret Hart, Kevin Nash had risen again and delivered a performance for the ages.

The match, however, would end in disappointing fashion. After the referee was knocked unconscious, Shawn Michaels, Jeff Jarrett, The Roadie, Owen Hart and Bob Backlund all came out to attack Bret Hart and Diesel. Realizing he had lost full control of the match and could no longer officiate due to the constant interference; the referee officially ended the match and rang the bell. In the end, it was ruled a draw and Diesel retained his championship.

Royal Rumble Diesel vs. Bret Hart

Despite the interference, the match itself lasted a good half hour and featured two stellar performances by Bret Hart and yes, Kevin Nash. It was just another example of how with the right opponent, Kevin Nash could really work the ring and whatever mistakes and turmoil led Kevin Nash to the WCW, whatever demons that plagued him – you can’t forget that at one point in time, the man was at the top of the WWE.

All in all, the Championship match was well choreographed; perfectly scripted and packed with non-stop action from beginning to end.

  • Ricky D

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series. Click here to see every entry.

Continue Reading

Wrestling

Greatest Royal Rumble Matches: Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker Casket Match

Published

on

Greatest Royal Rumble Matches Casket Match

Royal Rumble 1998

WWF World Heavyweight Championship

The 1998 Royal Rumble was the eleventh entry in the annual pay-per-view event. It took place on January 18, 1998, at the San Jose Arena and is remembered best for two things: Stone Cold Steve Austin winning his second Royal Rumble by eliminating The Rock– and the thrilling Casket Match between Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship.

Unfortunately, it is also remembered as the match that temporarily ended the career of Shawn Michaels.

It was ‘The Last Outlaw’ Undertaker versus Mr. WrestleMania a.k.a. The Main Event a.k.a. The Heartbreak Kid a.k.a. The Showstopper. After costing him the Championship in a match against Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart at Summerslam 1997, The Undertaker was out for revenge.

Shawn Michaels was the champion heading into the match, and he was also the favourite thanks to ample support from his fellow Degeneration X members Triple H and Chyna standing ringside.

Undertaker and Michaels had previously met in an outstanding match at Ground Zero: In Your House before going on to star in the first Hell in a Cell where Undertaker beat the hell out of Shawn, only to lose in the end no thanks to Kane interfering. This time around, however, Kane and Undertaker were now on good terms— or so we thought.

Needless to say, expectations were high for this one!

Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker Casket Match

Despite his age, Shawn Michaels was in the prime of his career, and every one of his matches with The Undertaker during this era became legendary. Unlike many other rivalries in WWE history, every time these two men went toe-to-toe in the center of the squared circle; fans knew they were in for something special.

The match itself isn’t necessarily their best work but it’s arguably the best Casket Match ever and it culminated with a truly unforgettable ending that had many fans glued to their seats.

The Undertaker controlled most of the match despite the constant interference from Triple H and Chyna, which in retrospect makes sense since early in the match, Shawn Michaels herniated two disks in his back and completely crushed another after receiving a back body drop on the side of the casket. Being the champ that he was, Michaels continued to wrestle, and Undertaker eventually began to lose his dominance as things moved outside of the ring with Michaels delivering a piledriver on top of the steel steps. Following a high-flying elbow drop and Sweet Chin Music, Shawn Michaels seemed to have the match finally in his control but as all good heels do, he blew the opportunity to seal the deal and instead chose to taunt his opponent, giving Taker enough time to recuperate.

Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker Casket Match

The rest of the match saw the two men go back and forth, rolling in and out of the casket and delivering their respected finishers. Eventually, the two men made it back to the ring where Undertaker gave Shawn Michaels a chokeslam before dragging him to the edge of the ring and hitting a jumping tombstone piledriver into the casket. The match looked to be over but before Undertaker could close it, the New Age Outlaws and Los Boricuas ran in and collectively pummeled Undertaker until the lights went out in the arena. Kane’s music played and the Big Red Machine made his way to the ring to save the day.

Only he didn’t…

Kane instead turned on Undertaker, and choke slammed his own flesh and blood into the casket thus allowing Triple H and Chyna to shut the lid, and end the match.

Royal Rumble 1998 Casket Match HBK Undertaker

As mentioned above, the match itself isn’t the best match we would see from HBK and The Phenom but in my eyes, they are two of the ten greatest superstars in WWE history and even their worst match is still far better than 90% of the other matches the WWE offers. But what really made the night memorable was the ending!

With the Undertaker trapped inside, Paul Bearer came to the ringside carrying giant padlocks and with the help of Kane, they locked the Undertaker inside the casket and proceeded to roll it to the top of the entrance ramp where Kane took an axe and began to dispatch the coffin before dousing it with gasoline and setting it on fire. And the entire time, Undertaker was supposedly inside.

If you were a young fan watching at the time, the ending of this match might have given you nightmares. It was like something straight out of a horror movie and it was an ending everyone was talking about for months.

As we watched various emergency officials extinguish the fire, Commissioner Slaughter and others desperately tried to break open the casket to free Undertaker. And when the casket was finally wedged opened, Undertaker was nowhere to be seen.

Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker Casket Match

The match itself is historically significant for many reasons. It was the match that forced Michaels to take an extended hiatus due to a legitimate back injury and it also marked the last time Undertaker wrestled Shawn Michaels before their historic WrestleMania XIV match. Meanwhile, Kane’s interference set up an ongoing rivalry between the brothers of destruction. In the end, the 1998 Royal Rumble Championship Match delivered a great story complete with stellar performances from everyone involved.

  • Ricky D

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series. Click here to see every entry.

Continue Reading

Popular