Each and every Thursday I will look back at a different pay-per-view event from the past via the WWE Network. Want to see a certain event covered? Send your suggestions to @VaughnMJohnson on Twitter.
Last time, I covered the WWE Survivor Series 1990.
WWE Survivor Series 2002
Date: Nov. 17, 2002
Venue: Madison Square Garden, New York
Some random notes
This was the 16th annual Survivor Series and the second time the event emanated from Madison Square Garden in New York. The first time was back in 1996.
Survivor Series took place at the world's most famous arena again in 2011, which was also the last time WWE presented a pay-per-view from the venue.
This was also the second Survivor Series to not feature a traditional Survivor Series match.
The first Survivor Series to not feature a traditional Survivor Series match was in 1998 when WWE presented the Deadly Games tournament for the then vacant WWE championship. All but two matches on the card that night were part of the Deadly Games tournament.
This event may not have featured a traditional Survivor Series match, but it did feature the debut of the Elimination Chamber. Since it was an elimination match, the Elimination Chamber still kept up the event's theme in some respects as the match was about survival. The main difference was that it wasn't in a tag team format. The same could be said for the Deadly Games tournament.
There other matches on the show that had elimination stipulations as well, including the six-man tables match and the WWE Tag Team championship match.
Saliva performed their song Always at The World in Times Square after the first match. It served as the theme song to Survivor Series. The band also performed Chris Jericho's entrance.
Raw's Christopher Nowinski appeared on the show after the WWE Tag Team championship match. Since he was a heel that graduated from Harvard, he ripped on the New York fans by calling them stupid.
Smackdown's Matt Hardy joined in and ripped on the fans by calling them losers.
After debating on whether New Yorkers are either stupid or losers, they came to the conclusion that New Yorkers are stupid and losers.
Their fun didn't last much longer, as Scott Steiner made his return to WWE after en eventful stint with World Championship Wrestling.
The New York fans roared, as Steiner walked to the ring and tossed around Hardy and Nowinski.
When Steiner grabbed a microphone, the fans cheered even louder because they knew how ridiculous his promos could get. Steiner said his catchphrase, but did not say which brand he was going to belong to. That was determined at a later date.
Steiner came in with a lot of hype and hoopla, but didn't come close to matching those expectations. He had a couple of world title matches with Triple H and didn't even make it on to the card at WrestleMania.
Right before the main event, Randy Orton, who was sidelined nursing one of his many shoulder injuries, broke in with a news update. He talked about nothing. Thankfully, he did nothing of the sort when he finally healed up.
Jim Ross and Jerry "The King Lawler were on hand to provide commentary.
With that said, let's get to the matches:
Elimination tables match – The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & Spike) & Jeff Hardy def. 3-Minute Warning & Rico
As expected, this match was chaotic.
Early on in the match, Rosey put himself through a table when he tried to spear Spike through it, but he was not eliminated. In order for him to have been eliminated, someone had to put him through a table.
The first victim of that was Spike Dudley, as he was put through a table after attempting the Dudley dog to Rico. However, he was caught out of the air by Rosey and Jamal, who then slammed him face-first through a table.
Rosey was the next to go, but went in spectacular fashion after Hardy jumped off one of the tunnels in the Garden and crashed through him and a table.
Back at ringside, Hardy jumped through a table thanks to Jamal throwing it into him, but since he wasn't put through it, he wasn't eliminated.
However, Hardy was eliminated moments later after Jamal jumped off the top rope to the outside of the ring and crashed through Hardy and a table, leaving Bubba Ray Dudley to fight on his own.
Jamal didn't last much longer after he was power bombed from the top rope and through a table by Bubba Ray — this left only Bubba Ray and Rico.
Although they were eliminated, both Rosey and Jamal jumped back into the ring to help Rico.
Just when it looked like all hope was lost for Bubba Ray, his longtime tag team partner D-Von Dudley came to the rescue, Before this, Bubba Ray and D-Von had been a part on different brands due to the brand split.
Bubba Ray was on Raw still living out his Dudley Boyz character. Meanwhile, D-Von was drafted to Smackdown where he became Reverend D-Von, a villainous preacher.
Needless to say, they were much better off together than they were away from each other. Since the fans hadn't seen Bubba Ray and D-Von together in months, they erupted once D-Von came out. It didn't hurt that both men are from New York.
D-Von helped Bubba Ray clear the ring of Rosey and Jamal and put Rico through a table courtesy of the 3-D to end the match.
WWE Cruiserweight championship – Billy Kidman def. Jamie Noble
Kidman's rap theme song that never really fit him debuted on this night.
Kidman's theme music may not have fit him like a glove, but Noble did, as the two had a handful of fun matches back in 2002 and this was another one of them.
After a very good match, Kidman hit the shooting star press to clinch the victory and the Cruiserweight championship.
WWE Women's championship (Hardcore match) – Victoria def. Trish Stratus
In storyline, Victoria and Stratus were once fitness models together. While Stratus succeeded, Victoria did not and became very jealous as a result.
Victoria's jealousy made her a bit psychotic, which lent the match its hardcore element. This story was told brilliantly in a very good video package that aired before the match.
Victoria didn't even let Stratus take her jacket off before attacking her at the beginning of this match.
The first weapon to come into play was a broom thanks to Victoria. Stratus got a hold of a trash can lid, but had it knocked back into her face by Victoria's broom.
Victoria then lodged a trash can into the corner, but it was used against her by Stratus. Stratus then got an ironing board and kendo stick and used it against Victoria.
Victoria, bloody nose and all, grabbed another trash can lid and used it on her opponent. The match got a little discombobulated for a second, but Stratus and Victoria managed to keep things together.
The match was good, but ended in a rather anti-climactic manner after Victoria used a fire extinguisher on Stratus and followed it up with a snap suplex to pick up the victory and the WWE Women's title.
WWE championship – Big Show def. Brock Lesnar
The story of this match began, in earnest, at No Mercy the month before when Lesnar finally vanquished The Undertaker inside Hell in a Cell.
Lesnar suffered a number of injuries during that match, but that didn't stop him from wanting to fight, even if it was against Paul Heyman's orders.
Lesnar's next challenger for the WWE championship turned out to be Big Show, who was revitalized as a monster again. By doing this, it put Lesnar in the position of babyface for the very first time.
Heyman did not want his banged-up client picking a fight with Big Show and implored for him to allow himself time to heal. Lesnar was hearing none of it and wanted Big Show in the ring.
Heyman's fear was the Big Show would hurt Lesnar, which he did, as Lesnar entered the match in a broken rib. Even that didn't faze Lesnar.
Before the match, Heyman promised Lesnar that he would do everything in his power to make sure his client would leave with the WWE championship. There was a bit of foreshadowing there.
I must say that Big Show looked so silly wrestling in a pair of jeans. Did he by a year's supply of Levi's?
During the course of the match, the referee was knocked down, which allowed Lesnar to get a steel chair.
Lesnar pounded Big Show in the head with a steel chair. Lesnar eventually got Big Show up for the F-5, which the crowd went nuts for. To that point, no one had ever seen anyone just carry Big Show on their shoulders like that.
Now, you get to see it every time John Cena faces the Big Show.
A second referee ran to the ring, as Lesnar attempted to pin Big Show, but Heyman pulled the official out of the ring and punched him in the face.
After realizing what just happened, Lesnar chased Heyman around the ring. However, Lesnar ran right into Big Show, who hit with a couple of steel chairs and a choke slam to win the match and the WWE championship.
Heyman and Big Show immediately left the arena in a car after the match.
This match was very short but shocking, as Heyman was Lesnar's right hand since the day he debuted in WWE. Fortunately, the pair is back together today.
WWE Tag Team championship (Triple threat elimination match) – Los Guerreros def. Kurt Angle/Chris Benoit & Rey Mysterio/Edge
This match was essentially the culmination of one of the best periods in the history of Smackdown when Paul Heyman utilized these six men to make the blue brand a must-see show on a weekly basis.
And to think all of this was done over the WWE Tag Team titles, which were introduced only a month earlier at No Mercy.
Benoit and Mysterio started things off. They eventually tagged in their respective partners before Angle tagged in Chavo Guerrero, who was reluctant to join the match.
Once Chavo was in the ring, he had to deal with Mysterio who got a head of steam. Chavo, looking for a bit of respite, turned to his uncle Eddie Guerrero, who went right to work on Mysterio.
However, Mysterio got another head of steam, which prompted Eddie to tag in Angle. Mysterio looked to continue his run of momentum by jumping to the top turnbuckle, but slipped on the middle rope and and fell right on the back of his head.
This allowed Angle and Benoit to isolate Mysterio.
Mysterio eventually fended off Angle and crawled to his corner. Angle crawled to Eddie and Chavo's corner, but they both jumped off the apron. Angle then crawled to his own corner and tagged in Benoit right as Mysterio tagged in Edge.
Edge came in hot, as the Guerreros tried to intervene, but were swatted aside by the other teams.
Angle and Benoit then trapped Edge in an ankle lock-cross face combo, but Mysterio broke it up.
Thing then turned chaotic, but slowed down when Benoit had Edge in the cross face again. This time, Chavo broke it up by hitting Benoit in the back with one of the title belts. Chavo attempted to hit Angle with it, but Angle ducked it and was about to attack when Chavo tossed the belt to him.
Once Benoit got up off the mat, he saw Angle holding the title belt and thought that he was the one that hit him.
While Benoit and Angle bickered with each other, Edge and Mysterio took advantage. Edge eventually hit a spear on Benoit to eliminate he and Angle.
Angle and Benoit were not happy about being eliminated and started suplexing everyone in sight before leaving.
Since Chavo and Eddie were fresh from not taking part in the match all that much, they got the chance to isolate Edge.
Edge finally fought off Chavo and Eddie and tagged in Mysterio. Mysterio hit the 619 and looked to be going for the West Coast pop, but Chavo knocked him off the ropes.
Edge went after Chavo, but that left Eddie to put Mysterio in the cloverleaf, which forced him to submit.
World Heavyweight championship (Elimination Chamber) – Shawn Michaels def. Triple H, Booker T, Rob Van Dam, Chris Jericho & Kane
This was the brainchild of Raw general manager Eric Bischoff, who saw Smackdown put on a very memorable Hell in a Cell match at No Mercy and figured that he should try to up the ante.
His idea was the Elimination Chamber, which put six men in a cage that had never been seen before.
After all of the entrances, it was determined Van Dam and World Heavyweight champion Triple H would start the madness.
Triple H was the first to be back dropped onto the steel grates surrounding the ring. It showed people that it had no give whatsoever.
Van Dam then rammed Triple H's face into the chain walls, which busted the champion open. Van Dam then monkey flipped Triple H on the floor and followed it up with rolling thunder from the inside the ring to the outside.
Van Dam then climbed to the top of Jericho's pod, but Jericho reached up and grabbed his leg. Van Dam fended Jericho and Triple H off and climbed back down.
After the five minutes was up, Jericho's pod opened and he ran into the match. Van Dam and Jericho went at it while Triple H recovered.
Triple H slithered in and knocked down Van Dam, which gave the advantage to the heels.
Triple H and Jericho double-teamed Van Dam. They slung back and forth into the chain wall multiple times. Van Dam found his second wind and fought off the bad guys. His run of offense didn't last long, as Triple H hit him with a DDT.
As that was happening, the next pod opened up and it was Booker T's. The five-time World Championship Wrestling champion ran and cleaned house and even hit a spinarooni.
Booker T's momentum was eventually halted by Van Dam, as all four men began battling.
Van Dam went to the top rope, but wanted to go even higher and climbed to the top of one of the pods. He jumped off for a five-star frog splash and landed right on Triple H.
In the process of the move, Van Dam's knee landed right across Triple H's neck, causing a very real and potentially serious injury. Triple H was clearly hurt. I'll have more on that later.
Booker T then hit a missile drop kick on Van Dam and eliminated him in a very lame way. Ross tried to explain it away by saying Van Dam took himself out of the match with the five-star frog splash, but it was still lame that he was eliminated before everyone was even in the match.
While Van Dam limped away and Triple H attempted to gather himself on the mat, it was time for the fifth person to enter the match and that was Kane. As expected, Kane beat the crap out of everyone in sight.
He even threw Jericho through one of the pods. The pods were said to be bulletproof, but they weren't people proof apparently.
Booker T was the next to go after a choke slam from Kane that was followed up by a lionsault from Jericho.
There was only man left to enter and that man was Michaels, who entered only his second match since 1998. Michaels came in with a run of momentum that was cut short by Kane.
Kane then choke slammed the other three men in the match in succession. He then got Triple H up for a tombstone, but walked right into a super kick.
Triple H then hit him with a pedigree, which was followed up by a lionsault. Jericho pinned Kane to earn his second elimination of the match.
Triple H and Jericho then ganged up Michaels and busted him open. After working together, Triple H and Jericho turned on each other and started fighting.
Jericho eventually locked Triple H in the walls of Jericho, but Michaels hit him with a super kicked him and pinned him.
The match was now down to Triple H and Michaels, who had engaged in a heated rivalry since Michaels had returned earlier that year.
As for Michaels, it was his final world title victory to date.
As for Triple H, he later said in an interview with WWE.com (via Pro Wrestling Torch) that the injury could have been very severe and could have even killed him, but said that he was mostly lucky that none of that happened.
His neck swelled up and Triple H eventually stayed in a local hospital overnight. He said in the interview that he sat in the hospital in his wrestling gear with blood all over him and confetti on his back until about noon the next day.
The injury took place pretty early in the match, meaning that Triple H wrestled most of it with a potentially severe injury. It is a testament to Triple H's toughness.