May 23, 2010
Alexander Settee

Armageddon 2002, December 15, 2002, Office Depot Center, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Announcers: The Teams of Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler and Michael Cole & Tazz

With Over The Limit rumoured to be the end of the line in the WWE career of Dave Batista, here’s a look back at the show where he made his PPV debut.

Opening Match, World Tag Team Championship: Chris Jericho & Christian vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. William Regal & Lance Storm vs. Booker T & Goldust
The story here was that Booker and Goldust had been chasing the belts, but coming up short causing Goldust to start believing that he was the weak link of the team and that Booker would be better off with another partner. Booker showed faith in him though and convinced him to return for another Title shot here tonight. This is an elimination match by the way, which is always preferable to one fall in my opinion. Storm and Bubba start things off, apparently as a result of a coin toss earlier on. Regal distracts Bubba, which allows Storm to attack. Bubba comes back with a splash in the corner, but Storm tags Christian. Bubba tags D-Von and they get Christian with a double flapjack for 2. Christian nails him and tags Regal, who takes a clothesline and elbow for 2. D-Von then tags Goldust, who takes a suplex and a clothesline from behind. Christian takes a blind tag from Regal and comes in to continue the beating on Goldust. Tag to Jericho and the Champs keep him isolated. Christian gets tagged back in, but Goldust comes off with a shoulderblock, an inverted atomic drop, and a clothesline for 2. Goldust tags Bubba and with Jericho coming in as well, they do a stereo Flip Flop ‘n’ Fly, followed by bionic elbows on Regal and Storm. Christian then takes the Whazzup Drop and Bubba wants the tables, but before that can happen, it breaks down into an eight way brawl. In the melee, Christian takes 3D, but Storm nails Bubba with a legdrop off the top. Regal got a tag somewhere in here and he cradles Bubba for the 3 count at 5:17. Moments later, Goldust powerslams Regal and pins him at 5:33. By the way, JR was making a big deal here about how Storm and Regal were on a seven match winning streak, so what a way to make that meaningless. So we’re left with Jericho and Christian against Booker T and Goldust, which is probably the match they just should have gone with in the first place. Goldust works over Jericho and tags Booker who nails a kick for 2. Tag back to Goldust who holds Jericho up for another kick which gets another 2. Jericho nails a dropkick and makes the tag with Goldust then missing a bodypress on Christian and going to the floor. Jericho sends him to the steps and rolls him in where Christian nails a gutbuster for 2. Tag to Jericho who showboats and pays for it by taking a clothesline, but Christian cuts Goldust off from the tag. The Champs double team him until a slap from Christian infuriates him. He nails a side slam and crawls to his corner with Christian holding on, but Goldust kicks him off and makes the hot tag to Booker T. Booker comes in as the house afire, beating up both guys. He sunset flips Jericho for 2, but finally ends up getting double teamed down. Jericho goes for the Walls, but Booker cradles him for 2. Scissors kick misses and now Jericho does hook the Walls. Booker struggles for a bit, but Goldust comes in to make the save. Christian has one of the belts and goes up top with it, but Goldust crotches him. Booker runs Jericho into Christian and gets 2 off of it. Booker goes up, but now he gets crotched. Jericho goes for a superplex, but Booker drops him and then nails a missile dropkick for 2. Corner whip is reversed and Jericho nails the bulldog, but misses the Lionsault. Booker hits a flapjack and does the Spinarooni, followed by a scissors kick for 2. It breaks down into a four way in which Jericho nails Booker with the belt, but that only gets 2. He goes for another shot, but misses and takes the Book End for the 3 count and the Titles at 16:45. That gets a good reaction from the crowd and they celebrate like they’ve accomplished something important. After the match Booker cuts a promo saying Goldust is no weak link. A minor nitpick would be that if that’s the story they’re going for, Goldust should have been the one to get the winning pin, but it was still a pretty good match. Although like I said earlier, I don’t understand why they did a four way as opposed to a straight tag with these two teams. **1/2

Earlier tonight on Heat, Brock Lesnar arrived at the building fresh off of having a suspension for running too wild on Smackdown lifted, and was interviewed by Josh Matthews. He promises that he going to make an impact in the WWE Title match later on.

Edge vs. A-Train
A-Train recently put Edge’s buddy Rey Mysterio out of action with a brutal beating on Smackdown, so Edge is out for revenge here. Train establishes the power advantage right off the bat, but Edge uses speed to counter that and nails a dropkick. He drags Train to the post from the floor, but gets kicked off. Train then misses a charge and hits the post. Back in the ring, Edge goes to work on the leg, and then drops a leg for 2. Rollup gets another 2, but then he charges and gets powerslammed giving Train a 2 count. Train works him over for a bit with boring stuff. Edge jawjacks out of a rear chinlock and comes back with a clothesline, spin kick, and faceplant for 2. He goes up, but leaps right into a bicycle kick for 2. Train goes for a chair, but Edge hits a baseball slide. He goes up and gets a crossbody for 2. Edgecution is countered to the Derailer, but that only gets 2. He goes for the chair again, but the ref gets it away which allows Edge to nail a spear. Train gets the chair anyways, and he nails Edge with it in the knee for the DQ at 7:13. Edge recovers and gets the chair away, and then beats Train down with it to leave triumphantly. This was basically a Smackdown match that they happened to put on PPV and was therefore a waste of time. ½*

Next we go to Big Show and Paul Heyman backstage where Show is pissed off at the lack of respect he’s been getting lately, specifically from Brock Lesnar. Heyman tells him to worry about the match with Kurt Angle later on and he’ll talk to GM Stephanie McMahon about Lesnar.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Benoit
Eddie comes in here as half of the WWE Tag Team Champions along with Chavo Guerrero. A few weeks back on Smackdown, these two were involved in a number one contenders match along with Kurt Angle and Edge. Benoit eliminated Eddie, who then came back and took Benoit out causing him to be eliminated as well. The announcers therefore play this up as being a sort of unofficial number one contenders match with the winner likely being in line for a Title shot at the Show/Angle winner. They start out with some mat wrestling with each guy taking his turn being in control. Eddie won’t break clean on the ropes and gets in a few chops. He hits a shoulderblock coming off the ropes, and then comes off again but gets backdropped. They trade holds again with Eddie hooking a short arm scissors and they work around that until Benoit picks him up and drops him with an electric chair for 2. They trade chops, but Eddie regains the advantage and hooks a headscissors. Benoit breaks and gets him with a flapjack, but then charges and gets dropped to the floor. Eddie goes up and nails him with a crossbody to the outside. Back in, he goes to work on the leg, holding a kneebar for a bit. He whips Benoit to the buckle, but Benoit gets the boot up and nails a German suplex. Four more follow that one and then he goes up for the headbutt, but he sees Eddie stirring and decides to climb back down. He hits two more Germans, but Eddie hooks the ropes to avoid more. Benoit sets up a powerbomb, but Eddie escapes and hits three German suplexes of his own, followed by a vertical suplex. He goes up and nails the frog splash, but Benoit kicks out at 2. Eddie then tackles him to the floor and while the ref holds him back, Chavo runs out and nails Benoit with a Tag belt. Eddie rolls him in, but only gets 2. Benoit escapes a suplex, but gets tripped up and hooked in the Lasso From El Paso, but he makes the ropes. Benoit then hits a powerbomb and goes up, but Chavo nails him again. Benoit knocks him down, but now Eddie is there. Benoit shoves him off and nails the diving headbutt, but as he moves in for the cover, Eddie hooks the Lasso again. Benoit breaks it on his own this time and maneuvers for the Crossface with Eddie fighting it hard, so Benoit slips over and hooks it on the opposite arm. Eddie fights it, but ends up with nowhere to go and taps out at 16:48. Really good match here with Benoit coming out as decisively the better man. With this they say Benoit is in line for a Title shot which he will end up getting at Royal Rumble. ***1/2

So now Paul Heyman has made his way to Stephanie McMahon’s office and plenty of ass kissing ensues. She lets him know though that Brock Lesnar can do whatever he wants and there’s nothing he can do about it. He then promises that if Lesnar does get involved, Big Show will break his neck.

Then we get a recap of the Dawn Marie/Torrie Wilson/Al Wilson saga. Basically Dawn had seduced Torrie’s father Al, and they were going to get married against Torrie’s wishes. But Dawn then told Torrie what she really wanted and that she would call off the wedding if Torrie joined her for a little HLA in her hotel room. Torrie showed up, and some of the footage was shown on Smackdown with Torrie then charging out and attacking her before it got too far. Dawn then promised to show the entire thing here tonight. So out she comes with Al and the footage rolls. Just as it’s getting good though, Dawn stops it to talk more. Once she asks for it to roll again, Al demands that it be stopped. She really wants to show it, but he insists, and she finally gives in, suggesting they go back to the hotel and make some footage of their own. This was kind of a waste of time and an obvious bait and switch to boot.

Kane vs. Dave Batista (w/Ric Flair)
Ironically the match that inspired this review here today was probably the least hyped thing on the show at this point. So Batista had debuted earlier in the year as Deacon Batista, lackey to Reverend D-Von. That was obviously a go nowhere gimmick that didn’t last long, and he was soon moved to Raw for something with a lot more potential, which was a spot as a protégé of Ric Flair. The seeds were being planted for the Evolution group, but it hasn’t quite gotten to that point yet. They start with a shoulderblock showdown and then on a second try Batista clotheslines him. Kane blocks a hiptoss and hits a neckbreaker, followed by a clothesline to the floor. Back in, Batista tries a slam, but Kane reverses and gets his own, then drops an elbow for 2. Whip is reversed but Batista puts his head down and gets kicked. Kane then charges and gets dropped to the floor. He gets in and takes a spear for 2 followed by a suplex for another 2. Kane gets a boot up and hits a clothesline, but ends up tossed to the floor again. Kane drops him on the ropes, so now Flair gets involved, but the chops are no sold. Kane stalks him, but Batista saves with a clothesline. Back in, Kane regains control, nailing a big boot and a side slam. He goes up, but misses a clothesline. Batista sets up the Batista Bomb, but can’t hold him up, so Kane nails him with a low blow. Now he gets the flying clothesline, but the ref is with Flair so there’s no count. He goes for the chokeslam, but Batista elbows out and hits the spinebuster for 2. Now Kane gets the chokeslam, but Flair has the ref again. This time Kane drags him in and beats him up, but turns around into a Batista Bomb for the 3 count at 6:39. This was certainly not a spectacular debut or anything, but it’s still notable as he manages to go on and become one of the biggest stars of the next eight years. ½*

Speaking of guys who became the biggest stars of the next eight years, John Cena, accompanied by Bling Bling Buchannon, joins us for a rap. Just a quick little deal to remind us about his new gimmick as it doesn’t actually set anything up.

Women’s Championship Match: Victoria vs. Trish Stratus vs. Jacqueline
Victoria won the Title from Trish back at Survivor Series and the Jackie beat he in a non Title match on Raw, so now we have a three way here. Victoria charges in and gets tossed. Trish tosses Jackie, but gets dropped on the ropes by Victoria and hit with a flipping legdrop for 1. Jackie kicks Victoria for 2 and then hits a clothesline. Trish goes for Stratusfaction on Jackie, but Victoria grabs him and they hit a double back suplex. Jackie covers for 2 and then Victoria works Trish in the corner. She hits a superplex with Jackie covering for 2. Trish then rolls her up for 2. Jackie gets Victoria with a headscissors and Victoria is briefly double teamed before Jackie tosses Trish and covers for 1. Trish goes up and hits a crossbody on Jackie for 2, with Jackie then rolling over and getting a 2 of her own. Trish works over both for a bit. Victoria gets shoved to the floor, and then Jackie takes a Chick Kick for 2. Trish splashes Jackie in the corner, but Victoria nails her with the belt from the floor and then covers Jackie for the pin to retain at 4:29. They kept up a good pace and it was all action, but it was pretty much just a collection of moves and nothing special overall. *

Kurt Angle finds Brock Lesnar backstage and asks him to be in his corner for his match. Lesnar won’t commit to anything, but says that if Angle had anything to do with getting the suspension lifted, he won’t regret it.

WWE Championship Match: The Big Show (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Kurt Angle
Show won the Title from Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series after Heyman turned on Lesnar, while Angle won a number one contender four way over Edge, Guerrero and Benoit to get the shot here. The show long storyline has telegraphed interference from Lesnar in this match, but he’s not out yet. They start off with Show using his size advantage to thwart Angle’s wrestling ability. Show then dumps him to the floor right on top of Heyman. As Show looks on in concern, Angle sneaks back in and dumps him. They go on the floor with Show dropping him on the barrier. Angle gets in, only to be tossed right back out. Show drags him back in and hits a clothesline followed by suplex for 2. Angle fires back but takes a side slam for 2. Angle then jawjacks out of a chinlock, but gets caught with the Final Cut for 2. Show goes to a bearhug with Angle biting him to escape. Angle leaps on to Show’s back to apply a chinlock, but Show ends up breaking it. Angle hits a tornado DDT, but can’t immediately capitalize. He follows with a missile dropkick, which gets 2, and then a standing moonsault that saw him almost land on his head as it didn’t connect properly for another 2. Show gets him with a short clothesline to take over again. He goes for a powerbomb, but Angle gets out and hits the Angle Slam. He covers, but Show kicks out at 2. The straps are down and he hooks the ankle lock. They fight over it for a bit and Show ends up kicking him off into the ref. Heyman throws a chair in the ring, but Angle gets it first and nails Show with it. The ref recovers, but Show kicks out at 2. Then the ref just dies again for no apparent reason so A-Train can run in and hit Angle with the overhead backbreaker. Show then hits the chokeslam, but now Here Comes The Pain. Lesnar hits Show with the F5 and then chases Heyman to the back. Angle crawls for the cover as the ref comes to and he gets the 3 count to win the WWE Title at 12:38. They did alright here, but the match was handicapped by the fact that you knew the finish couldn’t come until Lesnar made an appearance. But that aside, the long term planning was good as they obviously knew by this point they were building to Angle/Lesnar at Wrestlemania so there were some seeds planted here. *1/2

Main Event, World Heavyweight Championship Three Stages of Hell Match: Shawn Michaels vs. Triple H (w/Ric Flair)
Shawn won the Title in the Elimination Chamber last month at Survivor Series and since then HHH has become obsessed with getting it back. To settle things once and for all, Eric Bischoff booked this match, which is 2/3 falls with each fall having a different stipulation. The first fall will be a street fight, the second a cage match, and the final one a ladder match.

First Fall, Street Fight: Shawn immediately taunts Flair who wants a piece of him, but the ref decides to eject Flair before it can go anywhere leaving things one on one. They go in the ring for a bit until Shawn clotheslines HHH to the floor and nails a baseball slide. He follows with a pescado, but HHH avoids it and Shawn crashes to the floor. HHH nails a clothesline and then sends Shawn to the barrier. Shawn kicks a garbage can away, but when he then goes for a crossbody HHH gets the can up in the way. Shawn still recovers first and sets up a table which he tries to suplex HHH through, but it’s blocked. Shawn sends him to the steps instead and then gets him back in the ring. He grabs the can now and comes off the top with it, but HHH kicks it back in his face. Shawn gets the boot up on a corner whip, and then does a crossbody which HHH rolls through for 2. HHH then sets another table up on the floor next to the first on, but his suplex from the ring is reversed for 2. HHH comes back with a high knee and then grabs a chair and starts working on the back. He sets up a backbreaker on the chair, but Shawn counters and HHH takes it. They go to the floor again where Shawn runs him to the apron and then nails him with a trash can lid. Back in, Sweet Chin Music is caught and HHH drives the knee to the mat. That becomes the new target for HHH as he drives it into a can and then posts it. He hooks a figure four now. Shawn struggles for quite awhile, but finally does turn it over and gets it broken. HHH then nails him with a can lid for 2. Back to the floor where HHH beats him up the aisle. He runs Shawn into the set and then finds a hidden barbed wire 2X4. He looks to hit Shawn with it, but it’s not quite sadistic enough for his liking. So he goes over and lights it on fire (there were flames burning throughout the show as part of the set). But Shawn has had enough time to recover and he kicks it away. He then gets it himself and nails HHH with it (very gingerly I must add). HHH blades from it anyways. They go back to ringside where Shawn hits him with a lid. In the ring, Shawn sets up a chair, but his whip is then reversed and he gets drop toed into it. HHH follows with a DDT and sets up the Pedigree, but Shawn nails a low blow to block. Shawn then hits the flying forearm and kips up, but HHH is right up with him and clips the knee again. Pedigree follows and that gets the 3 count to win the first fall at 20:34.

Second Fall, Cage Match: It’s announced as pinfall or escape to win this part of the match. HHH gathers as many weapons as he can and gets them in the ring before the cage comes down. Once they get going, he nails Shawn with a can and then sets a table up in the corner. It goes unused though as Shawn reverses a whip, but gets caught and ends up catapulted to the cage instead. Shawn is now busted open as well. HHH works him over, grating him on the cage. Shawn fires back and runs HHH to the cage a couple of times, and then steals Steve Austin’s Thesz press/punches spot. HHH throws him off and climbs, but Shawn saves. HHH kicks him down, but Shawn gets up again and hey fight to the top of the cage. Flair returns to ringside and stacks two more tables on top of the two that are already there, teasing that someone’s going off the top of the cage to the floor, but nothing comes of it and they go back down in the ring with Shawn dropping an elbow off the top. Flair opens the door and walks in, defeating the idea of a cage match, but it ends up not mattering as Shawn beats him up ad hits him with a chair. HHH goes for the door, but Shawn stops him with a chairshot and goes back to Flair who gets run to the cage. He’s busted open now as well, bleeding even more than the two guys in the match. Shawn hits SCM on both guys, but instead of covering or escaping, he sets HHH on the table and splashes him from the top of the cage. That gets the 3 count at 31:09 to even things up.

Third Fall, Ladder Match: Flair is carried to the back, so he’s no longer a factor. Shawn drags the ladder in the ring right away and sets it in the corner where he whips HHH to it. He then runs the ladder into HHH and drops it on him. Suplex on the ladder is sort of countered in that HHH takes it on the mat instead. Shawn then sets the ladder up in the corner and goes for a splash, but HHH moves and Shawn crashes and burns. HHH hits the Pedigree and climbs, but Shawn recovers fast enough to hold on to him and pull him down. SCM then knocks Shawn to the floor and he climbs for the belt. But HHH gets back and tips it over, sending Shawn over the top and through all the stacked up tables on the floor. They had a great live shot of that by the way as Shawn was high on the ladder with HHH nowhere in sight and Shawn apparently about to win, but then all of a sudden you could just see him going over. So, Shawn is dead on the floor, so HHH climbs up and grabs the belt to win it back at 38:33. That one month period, by the way, was the only World Title run of Shawn’s entire comeback. This was really good stuff overall, although I think they should have done the shorter falls in the first two and gave the majority of time to the last one if they had really wanted to make it an all time classic. That ending was just too quick and the earlier part, especially the Street Fight just felt too long. In any case, I’ll still call it **** and it’s definitely a good one.

Well, Batista was completely unimpressive in his PPV debut, so hopefully he’ll go out with more of a bang then he came in with. There is definitely some good on this show though as the main event is certainly worth checking out while Benoit and Guerrero had a really good match here as well. Throw in the good opener and you’ve got yourself a pretty good little show here. Thumbs Up for Armageddon 2002.

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