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WWE Armageddon
December 15, 2002

by Rick Scaia
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com


For the second straight month, a WWE pay-per-view was centered on a string of title changes.  At least months Survivor Series, every title contested changed hands; on tonight's Armageddon, only one champion was able to successfully defend her title.

But while Victoria held on to the Women's Title, three other straps were swapped on the night, including both the RAW and SD! versions of the world heavyweight championship.  Kurt Angle got an assist from Brock Lesnar to defeat the Big Show (in what has to go down as a bit of an unexpected upset) for the WWE Title, while Triple H regained the World Title by beating Shawn Michaels in a three falls match.

Full results of the just-completed WWE Armageddon PPV:

  • On Heat, preceding the PPV, Jeff Hardy beat D'Lo Brown, using a roll-up and a handful of tights to gain the pinfall win.
  • The PPV proper kicked off with the RAW brand's tag titles on the line in a four-way match.  Champs Chris Jericho and Christian started the match against the Dudleys, though both Booker T/Goldust and Lance Storm/William Regal were involved early and often.  After a few minutes of typical action (lots of "blind tags" and stuff as members of the four teams jockeyed for position), we got a pair of quick eliminations.  First, Bubba Dudley was pinned by Lance Storm in a really sloppy exchange that left both fans and announcers confused as to what happened (it was originally called a two-count, but Bubba was actually eliminated).  Less than 30 seconds later, Goldust pinned Storm to even the match at two-on-two.  The two teams did an extended sequence which was the best part of the match.  Finally, with Goldust and Jericho otherwise occupied, Booker was able to hit the Book End on Christian for the three count.  Booker and Goldust celebrated and even did a brief promo...  the opening part of the match was tepid, with a bit of sloppiness, but the second half of the match was quite good.
  • Edge had to take a disqualification win over A-Train...  the former Albert grew frustrated when he started hitting all the big moves he could on Edge, but Edge kept kicking out.  So at about the 8 minute mark, he grabbed a steel chair and whacked Edge in the knee, forcing the ref to call for the DQ.  After the match, Edge got the chair, and absolutely pasted Albert about a dozen times before refs pulled him off.  This would have been right at home on a Thursday night, rather than getting the PPV treatment: the only time the crowd seemed to take an interest was during a brief "Shave Your Back" chant directed at Albert, and the DQ finish is not how you blow off a feud on PPV.
  • Chris Benoit got a submission win over Eddie Guerrero in their grudge match.  This featured a lot of mat wrestling, especially early on, when some fans -- unappreciative of the style -- actually chanted "Boring."  Things picked up soon enough, though, and the live crowd was pretty well into the match by the 7 minute mark.  Lots more crisp, hard-hitting action filled up the match till about 15 minutes in, when Chavo Guerrero came out to try to help out his uncle.  Benoit was just barely able to kick out after Chavo hit him with a tag title belt, and then dispatched Chavo by pushing him off the top rope a few minutes later.  Benoit then hit a swandive headbutt on Eddie, and followed up by trying to lock on the Crippler Crossface.  Eddie had the move scouted, but after a few reversals -- and after a cool spot where Eddie was blocking Benoit from putting the move on his left arm, forcing Benoit to make a quick adjustment to lock it onto his right, instead -- Benoit finally got the move applied.  Eddie tapped out quickly, and announcers were quick to suggest that Benoit's win would make his a top contender to the WWE Title.  Definitely a good match; no complaints here.
  • Dawn Marie and Al Wilson got in the ring; Dawn said she was going to expose Torrie Wilson as a "sexual predator" (which I decided was the TV-PG'ed secret code for "lesbian"), and that Torrie wasn't even in the building to defend herself because she was embarassed.  With that, the footage from Room 357 rolled; after the portion that aired on SD! two weeks ago, things kept on going for about 9 hours or so.  Dawn kept talking and talking, and finally when the fondling began, the crowd perked up.  When Dawn kissed Torrie and Torrie kissed her back, Dawn asked that they freeze the tape.  "BOO!" says the same crowd that chanted "Boring" at Benoit and Eddie (boggles the mind, doesn't it?).  But Dawn will restart the tape, she just wanted pause and gloat for a bit...  but no!  Now, Al Wilson decides HE wants to stop the tape, that this has gone far enough.  And Dawn finally agrees and says she and Al should go back to their hotel and make some new footage of their own.  The segment just kind of peters out...  for a C-level storyline to get this much time on a PPV would be unforgivable under the best circumstances.  And I'm not sure these were ideal circumstances.  Things dragged on and on and on, and with a pay-off that was either Dawn and Torrie's kiss (which has its appeal, but which is pretty tame by the standards of anyone over the age of 11) or Al Wilson's decision to sort-of defend his daughter's honor by cutting the footage short (which is pointless, since Al Wilson as the biggest heel on the roster has not practical value).
  • Batista, once again lacking a first name, beat Kane.  These two got about 5 minutes, but never quite got on the same page.  There were a couple of sloppy spots, and by the time Ric Flair got involved (distracting Kane and the ref so that Batista could recover and attack from behind), everybody was more than ready for things to end.  Batista took advantage of his opening to hit his sit-out powerbomb for the win.  
  • Victoria retained the Women's Title, beating Jacqueline and Trish Stratus in a three-way match.  In a lot of ways, just a re-hash of matches we've seen in the past month or two, just with some attempts at three-way psychology heaped on.  Some worked, some didn't.  The finish had Trish ready to pin Jackie to win, but Victoria smacked Trish in the head with her women's title belt (out of view of the ref); Trish fell by the wayside, and Victoria took the pinfall on Jackie, instead.  OK match, I guess.
  • Kurt Angle upset the Big Show to win the WWE Title.  With the expectation that Angle would be taking time off for minor knee surgery, this outcome probably shocked a lot of smarks.  Well, except the ones who read my preview on Friday. [HA!]  Show tried to step up his pace a bit, and for his part, Angle did everything in his power to make Show's offense look damn good. Angle also busted out some new (or old-but-not-used-recently) stuff to play into his role as babyface, including some moves off the ropes.  Paul Heyman got KO'ed early, and was a non-factor until about the 10 minute mark, when ref Mike Chioda was bumped.  Heyman got involved, and also introduced a chair into the match.  Angle was actually able to get control of the chair, though, and hit Show with it, but with the ref still out, A-Train made a return, and took Angle down with his backbreaker finisher.  Show was getting ready to seal the deal with a chokeslam, but that's when Brock Lesnar decided to make his appearance.  He ran in, nailed Show with an F-5, and then chased Heyman away from the ring.  Angle, thanks to Lesnar, was able to get the three count when the ref revived.  Credit where it's due:  this is the best Show has performed in the last few months, and he was assisted by a well-booked closing few minutes.  Just "OK" from the workrate perspective, but I was digging the very busy and dramatic finale to the match.
  • In the main event, Triple H defeated Shawn Michaels to regain the World Title.  The first fall was a Street Fight, which seemed to be over-long and dragged a bit.  A lot of the early brawling seemed a set-up for the big high-spot of the fall:  HBK used HHH's own flaming barbed-wire 2"x4" against him.  Cool visual there.  Even with a few other objects (including chairs and trash cans), this seemed a bit uninspired as it spread out over 20 minutes.  HHH won the fall with a Pedigree.
  • Fall #2 was a cage match, and lasted closer to 10 minutes, which I perceived as being a lot more action-packed.  As the cage was descending, HHH made sure to fill the ring up with tables and chairs and stuff like that.  Within a minute or two of the fall starting, HBK joined HHH in wearing a crimson mask.  At about 6 minutes into the fall, Shawn and HHH were on top of the cage, teasing escapes, when Ric Flair (who had been banished from ringside) returned and started setting up tables underneath HHH and Michaels.  But alas, the double stack of tables went unused, and the two men returned to the middle of the ring.  So Flair decided to get into the ring, too, but was savaged by Michaels.  In fact, Flair wore the best Crimson Mask of the night after getting his ass soundly kicked.  With Flair out, and with HHH running on fumes, Michaels set up for the big highspot of the fall:  he splashed HHH through a table from the top of the cage.  He got the pinfall to even the match at 1-to-1.
  • Fall #3 was a ladder match.  Michaels almost immediately grabbed a giant 12 foot ladder and started using it as a weapon.  Not nearly as creative as more recent ladder matches, we still got a few ladder-centric moves while the fall lasted (all of about 5 minutes, actually).  The final spot had Michaels going up the ladder, within reach of the gold, when HHH recovered enough to push the ladder over... and in the Holy Shit moment of the night, Michaels crash-landed into the double stack of tables set up during the previous fall.  They played it like Michaels was dead, and HHH was able to re-set the ladder and go up to get the title.  A good and exciting main event, but one that's probably gotta rate as a bit disappointing, considering this was supposed to be the big coup de grace for the HHH/HBK feud and that it was coming in a gimmick match that blew us away back when HHH and Austin did it in 2001.  They seemed to orchestrate the match to build up to one high-spot per fall, and especially with the overly long opening fall, that seemed to result in a lot of down time.  I have no idea whether it was a factor or not, but HHH appeared to be legit hobbled by a thigh injury that was never quite explained by the announce crew (that I could hear, anyway).  Still, even if this is only the second-most-exciting HHH/HBK match of 2002, I'm never complain too hard about this kind of 40 minute effort...

Armageddon didn't quite deliver any blow away matches or segments, and did feature two of the biggest wastes of time on PPV all year (in Kane/Batista and the Dawn Marie thing).  But between the latter half of the opening tag match, the Benoit/Eddie match, the drama and excitement of Angle's title win, and the "Holy Shit" factor of the main event match, I'm not too upset.

Check back to OO tomorrow for more Armageddon opinion from Scott Keith and other fall-out in my regular Monday column....


Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

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