Tybo Talks… 15 Years Ago – Armagedon 2002

Welcome to the twelfth and final instalment from 2002 of Tybo Talks… Fifteen Years Ago – Armageddon 2002 With the ease of access to pretty much all of WWE’s back […]

Welcome to the twelfth and final instalment from 2002 of Tybo Talks… Fifteen Years Ago – Armageddon 2002

With the ease of access to pretty much all of WWE’s back catalogue on the WWE Network I thought it would be cool to change it up a bit and do some classic reviews (with a twist). So, where better to start than 15 years ago. The plan is to review every PPV of 2002 while watching all Raw and Smackdown episodes in between.

Let’s get the stats out the way first, Armageddon 2002 was held on December 15th at the Office Depot Centre, in Florida. In front of 9,000 fans. This was the third annual Armageddon PPV in history. This event would hold the second ever ‘Three Stages of Hell’ match, which is essentially a 2 out of three falls match, with a stipulation for every match.

Now before I go any further, I’m not really going to explain the matches move for move. No one needs that, the PPV is on the WWE Network. This is going to be my thoughts on the booking and general thoughts about the matches and the event.

The opening video is ‘Classy’ Freddie Blassie, talking over ‘The End is Near’ song. The visuals look pretty good, with all bombs going off and city disruption. That is until it all changes to the cheapest looking CGI helicopter and robot war.

The stage also looks great, with all burling metal containers, and fire.

World Tag Team Championship Elimination (Raw) – The Dudley Boys vs Storm & Regal vs Booker T & Goldust vs Jericho & Christian – It’s great to see the Dudley’s back together, it didn’t feel the same with Bubba and Spike. The idea that this is an elimination match, but there can only be two guys in the ring at once means anyone can tag anyone, this adds a good dynamic between the two heel and two face teams. Any of the four teams could walk out of this match with the win, Regal and Storm are currently on a seven-match winning streak and the Dudley’s are newly reformed, but the main story here is that Goldust thinks he is the weak link and is holding Booker T back.

This is a good opening match, although look out for the Regal Bubba pin that is completely botched and no-one knows what’s going on. The match recovers and there is a lot of mention about Goldust being the ‘weak link’, emphasised by Christian and Jericho beating down Goldust. Booker finally gets in and gets the win for the odd couple. Winner – Booker T & Goldust

Backstage – Josh Matthews (now of Impact Wrestling) asks Brock Lesnar what he is going to do tonight (he’s basically being asked if he will get involved with the WWE Championship match) Brock says he is going to make an impact.

Edge vs A-Train – (that’s Edge versus ‘A-Train’, not Edge versus a train) A-Train has basically come out of nowhere, he hasn’t been on TV since he was Albert or T&A. He has recently had one match against Mysterio and injured him. Edge would defend his former tag team partner and here we are. A-Train is a big, hairy dude (always reminded me of George ‘The Animal’ Steel) and the crowd keep chanting ‘shave your back’. This is not Edge’s best match, but he does get the win after a chair is introduced. Edge shows his dark side when he goes crazy with the chair on A-Train. Winner – Edge

Backstage – Big Show and Heyman are talking about Lesnar’s earlier comments, Show is steaming and Heyman is trying to calm the giant.

Eddie Guerrero vs Chris Benoit – This is one for the ages! These two have been friends, enemies, friends and enemies again. This match is happening because of a number one contender Fatal 4 Way elimination match. Guerrero gets eliminated but comes back to hit Benoit with a chair. This match proves that families fight harder, these two are both world class in the ring, and know each other inside out. They are mirror images of each other in the ring and this match shows it. Both have perfect ground-based attacks, both have a submission finisher, (Crossface and El Passo Lasso) both so strong, and both have high flying finishers (Flying Headbutt and Frog Splash).

This could easily be the match of the night, both Guerrero and Benoit give this match everything they have, Eddie even takes seven German Suplex’s, and Benoit takes more than one Frog Splash. It’s almost a shame that Chavo gets involved more than once in this match. After both end up rolling around the ring applying their submission finishers, and reversing, and applying, it’s a Crossface that finally seals the deal. Winner – Chris Benoit

Backstage – The story of Lesnar’s involvement in the main event continues with Heyman in Steph McMahon’s office, demanding that she re-instates Lesnar’s suspension so he can’t be involved. Heyman threatens that Show will break Lesnar’s neck.

Dawn Marie & Torrie Wilson – Hotel Footage – So, Dawn Marie is marrying Al Wilson, Torrie’s father. Always wondered if the guy playing Torrie’s dad was her actual dad? The basics of this segment are that Dawn and Torrie spent the night in a hotel together last week, as you do with the woman you hate and is marrying your pops, but now Dawn is going to show the footage.

This whole segment plays into the over-sexed nature of not only WWE but Smackdown in general at the time. I was about 15 years old when this originally aired, and I’m sure then I loved it, 15 Years later this is beyond awkward. It hits its peak when Dawn tells Torrie to eat a strawberry then seconds later says ‘you smell like strawberries’. Really? As you would expect the crowd goes crazy when Dawn and Torrie kiss, Al Wilson puts a stop to the footage and the crowd call him an ‘Asshole’ for it.

Kane vs Batista (with Ric Flair) – Batista has recently moved from Smackdown to Raw, and Flair has been advising him since the move. This is the second component in ‘Evolution’. Batista had recently beat Kane in a shock win on Raw so this is the return match and Batista’s PPV debut. This match is two big, strong, powerful giants going to war in the ring. The match itself is a lot fasted passed than I thought it would be. There is obvious Flair involvement but as PPV debuts go, Batista looks great being the rookie going against the seasoned veteran in Kane. There is a bit of a botch when Batista can’t get Kane up for the Batista Bomb, but a second try and he hits it perfectly. Winner – Batista

Backstage – The story continues with Kurt Angle looking for Lesnar.

The Doctor of Thuganomics – John Cena comes out with B2 (B-Squared) and drops a ‘freestyle’ rap and walks backstage. Cena has been flirting with this new gimmick since Halloween, but outside of his rap battle with Rikishi on Smackdown, this is the first time he has done this. The rap cements him as a heel and would be the beginnings of the gimmick he would dominate the WWE with.

Triple Threat Women’s Championship – Victoria (C) vs Trish Stratus vs Jaqueline – It’s safe to say that Victoria is one crazy bitch. She has been on a warpath like no diva ever has since she won the Women’s Championship. While Victoria was intimidating every Diva on the Raw brand, she tried to intimidate Jaqueline and took a whooping for it. These are three of the best women wrestlers in WWE at the time, and this match shows it. The match is far more physical than you would expect for this ear, it’s almost ahead of its time. In the end, it’s Victoria who takes the victory after using the title. Winner – Victoria

Backstage – Angle tells Lesnar that he will be ’20 foot away from redemption’, but Lesnar still won’t confirm if he will be in Angle’s corner for his match.

WWE Championship – Big Show (C) vs Kurt Angle – After Paul Heyman screwed Lesnar and helped Big Show win the WWE Championship last month, Lesnar went on a rampage and Steph McMahon had to suspend him. I think this was just to get someone new in the WWE Title picture, In the meantime Angle won a Number One Contender’s Fatal Four Way (versus Guerrero, Benoit and Edge).

Although last month I said that I almost forgot that Big Show won the championship, this is maybe the best version of Big Show in his long career. Show is a huge angry giant that does what he wants and dominates everything and anyone he wants, if this gimmick lasted Show could have been on top for a long time. Big Show’s gimmick plays into Angle being the underdog, and the dominance of Big Show.

This is played on more as every move that Angle does looks to be a desperation move, and never quite gets the impact he wants. After the referee goes down and Heyman throws a chair in the ring, out comes A-Train (no explanation why), then outruns Lesnar and the crowd goes crazy for him. Lesnar hits Show with the F5 and Angle crawls to the victory. Winner – Kurt Angle

World Heavyweight Championship – Three Stages of Hell – Shawn Michaels (C) vs Triple H (First Fall: Street Fight, Second Fall: Cage, Third Fall: Ladder) – Its crazy to think that this feud goes all the way back to SummerSlam and this is only their third match. This rivalry has been amazing, the two previous matches have been brutal, and Michaels as Champion is never bad. Although it’s never said this match is Three Stages of Hell match, as it’s a two-out-of-three-falls with a stipulation for every fall.

Street Fight – This stipulation is a nod to their match at SummerSlam as that was a Street Fight. You would think that the fact that they have two more matches ahead of them, both guys would hold back. This is not the case, they both use a lot of weapons. Even a 2×4 wrapped in barbwire and set on fire is brought out. First Fall Winner – Triple H

Cage Match – This stipulation is a nod to them both being in the first ever Elimination Chamber match, where Michaels won the World Heavyweight Championship. With all the weapons in the ring for the street fight, this looks more like TNA’s ‘Full Metal Mayhem’. You can already see that both guys are tired. This is where Flair comes out to set up two double stacked tables outside the ring, he ends up in the ring and bleeding (a lot). Michaels equalizes after a top of the cage splash through another table. Second Fall Winner – Shawn Michaels

Ladder Match – Although this stipulation isn’t a nod to their feud, both guys have been involved in some of the greatest ladder matches in history (Shawn Michaels vs Razor Ramon, Triple H vs The Rock). The pace of this match has slowed down as you would expect after two brutal matches, but this doesn’t mean they take any fewer shots from the ladder. With both guys beaten and bloody this fall is over quickly, and it ends with a huge bump. Michaels takes a drop from the top of the ladder to the outside through the four tables Flair set up, and it looks painful! Third Fall, and Overall Winner – Triple H

Overall – This was a solid PPV, once again there are a lot of new Champions, which isn’t always a good thing. I think Big Show should have been WWE Champion for a lot longer than one month, but I do understand why they moved the World Heavyweight Championship back to Triple H. As for the undercard, I think the Match of the Night (outside of Triple H vs Shawn Michaels) was Guerrero vs Benoit. The show wasn’t all good, as there were some questionable bookings, Edge vs A-Train for one. The Dawn Marie segment went on far too long considering Torrie wasn’t there and could have been done on a Smackdown. The Three Stages of Hell stole the show, as was a great match to end 2002’s PPVs with and a solid lead into 2003.

 

2002 PPV Ranking

  1. Wrestlemania X8 – 4.5
  2. Survivor Series – 4.5
  3. Vengeance – 4.5
  4. No Mercy – 4
  5. Royal Rumble – 3.5
  6. King of the Ring 2002 – 3.5
  7. Armageddon – 3.5
  8. Summer Slam – 3
  9. Unforgiven – 3
  10. No Way Out – 3
  11. Judgement Day – 3
  12. Backlash – 2.5