Let’s make something clear, I love Survivor Series 2002. Whenever I was 7 or 8-years-old I bought this PPV on DVD at my local video store and over the years I watched it over and over and over. I didn’t really know anything about the event before I bought it, but I was so intrigued by the fact that the main event was the first Elimination Chamber match and so I decided to take it home with me. That match did not end up being my favorite match on the card though. What match did end up becoming my favorite, won my heart over and made me love tag team wrestling for a lifetime. This was when the incredible group of wrestlers known as the SmackDown Six competed in an elimination triple threat tag team match for the WWE Tag Team Championship in Madison Square Garden.
The pre-match vignette plays and show us that Benoit and Angle won the tournament to become the first WWE Tag Team Champions in history but they absolutely can’t stand each other. It’s an ego issue, Benoit thinks he’s the reason they won the tournament but Angle thinks he’s the reason they won and so forth. They tried to settle it in the ring but Los Guerreros interfered to help Benoit pick up the victory. This is a great strategy, egging on the tag champs dysfunctionality. Benoit and Angle later go on to lose those tag titles to the team of Edge and Rey Mysterio in what looks to be a great 2/3 falls on SmackDown. SmackDown GM Stephanie McMahon announces the triple threat match for Survivor Series and here we are.
After the vignette they cut to Dawn Marie and Al Wilson, or I should say, Al Marie, in the crowd. My god. As if I needed to be reminded of this angle. She’s just all over him too. It’s gross. I’m always excited to hear the words “Latinoooo Heaaat” come through my speakers but this time I was thanking Los Guerreros for putting an end to that. I love how Benoit and Angle enter separately. Their storyline of being a team that can’t function is great. The champs also enter separate but Mysterio’s entrance puts him over as a big deal. He does his once signature pop up to the entrance ramp but this time he’s on the other side of the arena.
There’s a sense of competitiveness in the ring when all six men are trying to decide who’s going to start the match. Benoit sets the tone for this match perfectly with a vicious chop on Mysterio. I say perfectly because this match was pretty brutal. Everyone in this match worked super hard and bumped crazy for everybody. Mysterio ends up taking a NASTY fall when Angle launches him over his head towards the top rope and he slips and lands right on his neck. Ouch. There’s lots of great sequences in this match, every combination of these guys is a hoot to watch. The first fall of this match is all over the place. At one point Rey sends Eddie out of the ring with a frankensteiner and then Edge goes for a spear on Angle, only for Angle to counter it into the Ankle Lock. Benoit was right there to lock in the Crossface and Edge is in them both at the same time. Rey hops back up on the apron and takes Angle out with a springboard seated senton and then hits Benoit with a dropkick. Badass stuff. Eventually Benoit has Edge ready for one of his signature German suplexes before Eddie leaps over both of them from the top rope into a sunset flip into a double pin, but they kick out.
Our first elimination comes after Chavo hits Benoit with the title belt and then tosses it to Angle in typical Guerrero fashion. Benoit thinks Angle hit him with the belt which leads to those two arguing and Benoit eats a spear from Edge for the three count. Benoit and Angle proceed to destroy everybody in sight while arguing and then they just argue their way back to the locker room. Sore losers if I’ve ever seen any. The second fall isn’t as fast-paced as the first. Los Guerreros slow down the pace, cut the ring in half and use quick tags to take control. Los Guerreros are great in this match at heeling it up. In the first fall they avoid getting in the ring as much as they can, and when they do get in they do what they do best: cheat. Chavo ends up doing just that to win when he hits Mysterio with the title belt causing Edge to ambush Chavo on the outside, meanwhile in the ring Eddie submits Mysterio with the Lasso in El Passo.
This match is some damn fine tag team wrestling. It, and this whole event for that matter, will always hold a special place in my heart. It was a big part of my childhood and it still holds up extremely well today.