WWE Survivor Series 2002: The first-ever Elimination Chamber

With Crown Jewel now in the books, attention turns to Survivor Series and Wargames’ main roster debut. Fittingly, 20 years ago another WWE match was unveiled at the event, Elimination Chamber.

Formation of elimination chamber

Eric Bischoff was credited for the “genius creative” in the storyline, which was actually WWE’s current head of creative, Triple H, who built the Elimination Chamber idea, which he later admitted was half the size of the structure.

Elimination Chamber

It combined elements of Hell in a Cell, Royal Rumble, and Wargames (which were only seen in WCW at the time) with an enclosed cage, countdown timer, and Superstars’ entrances.

There were also elements of the traditional Survivor Series match, which would have been more fitting to debut at the titular event in November 2002.

Why was the Elimination Chamber match set up in the storyline?

At the time, Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff was engaged in a storyline battle for brand supremacy with his SmackDown counterpart Stephanie McMahon, which saw the pair constantly try and one-up each other.

After SmackDown delivered a Hell in a Cell match between WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker at No Mercy months earlier, the main-event of the show, Bischoff knew he had to respond with something spectacular.

Eric Bischoff and Stephanie McMahon were feuding
Eric Bischoff and Stephanie McMahon were feuding

He announced that the inaugural Elimination Chamber match was for the Survivor Series title and the World Heavyweight Championship.

As a result of this and other booking decisions, 2002 was the second Survivor Series event to have no classic elimination matchups to that point.

Who will be in the first Elimination Chamber match?

The match pitted six of Raw’s top superstars against each other. Triple H was the World Champion, gifted the Big Gold Belt by Bischoff in early September, and was the No.1 contender to the WWE Championship, which was held as a SmackDown-exclusive.

His five challengers came in the shape of Rob Van Dam, Chris Jericho, Kane, Booker T and Shawn Michaels. The latter had not appeared since a non-sanctioned return match with The Game at SummerSlam in late August, where, despite winning, he left on a stretcher after a brutal sledgehammer attack.

Van Dam and Kane battled for the World Title at the previous two PPVs, which became customary after Triple H’s heel turn and subsequent alliance with Ric Flair.

The first Elimination Chamber match was stacked
The first Elimination Chamber match was stacked

Booker T wanted to capture the belt for a sixth time, he was a 5-time WCW Champion (which he never failed to mention) and Jericho was referring to himself as “King of the World” at the time, so his confidence was high.

Oddly enough, Jericho and Triple H teamed up quite a bit in the weeks leading up to the event, both of whom were now bad guys. They were previously embroiled in a fierce rivalry, which saw them defeat Triple H at WrestleMania and Y2J at Hell in a Cell over the summer. Wrestling logic.

What happened in the match?

The match began with Triple H squaring off against RVD while the other four men were locked in their holding pods. After Booker T and Jericho entered the fold, the match really heated up and the fans watched the Elimination Chamber.

The highlight of the match was when RVD climbed to the top of the pod and delivered an intense Five Star Frog Splash to the prone champion. The pod didn’t allow for a full jump, resulting in Van Dam legitimately damaging The Game’s throat.

RVD was soon eliminated by Booker T, who was then eliminated from proceedings by Jericho and the Lionsault. His departure coincided with the arrival of the final two fighters, Kane and HBK, with the former quickly gaining control and dropping the latter with a chokeslam.

Shawn Michaels won the first Elimination Chamber match
Shawn Michaels won the first Elimination Chamber match

As the big man in the match, Kane soon followed suit. He was eliminated following Sweet Chin Music, Pedigree and another Lionsault by Jericho. Jericho followed up with another superkick from Michaels.

It just gave way to Triple H and Michaels and another chapter in their storied history and budding rivalry. In just his second match in four years, HBK finally bested The Game once again, providing fans with a fairytale finish as Michaels won the world title five years after winning his previous title at the same event. It was a Montreal screwjob, but it was liberating.

Elimination Chamber was a major success but has since weakened

The success of the debut Elimination Chamber made it one of WWE’s exclusive matches and was produced exclusively by the Raw brand for the next few years when the storyline dictated it.

Later, like Hell in a Cell and SmackDown vs. Raw at Survivor Series, the match became an annual event to settle major feuds and angles. In 2010, Elimination Chamber became a PPV event and the match announcement lost its luster.

Triple H is making big changes
Triple H is making big changes

With Triple H doing away with tired brand dominance battles and moving to more storyline focused wargames matches and creating the idea of ​​Elimination Chamber, there is hope that he can revolutionize this match and bring it back to its former glory.

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