2002 saw a change in the landscape of WWE, with both Raw and Smackdown splitting into different rosters. Stephanie McMahon became the General Manager of Smackdown while Eric Bischoff became the General Manager for Raw. With individual rosters and a battle for television ratings at stake, both shows needed to stand out and produce interesting and engaging matches with fresh talent. Stephanie McMahon put Brock Lesnar and Undertaker inside Hell In A Cell for the WWE title in October of that year.
Not wanting to be upstaged and outdone by Stephanie McMahon, Eric Bischoff introduced a new concept for Survivor Series, which he called the Elimination Chamber. The match would take place inside a structure that weighed ten tons. Six men would be involved in the match. Two men would start the match, while the other four would be placed in pods, which would be opened every five minutes.
In the first chamber match, Triple H would defend his championship against RVD, Booker T, Kane, Chris Jericho and a returning Shawn Michaels. Unfortunately, for the reigning champion, Triple H started the match with RVD. As the match progressed, blood was spilled and injuries occurred. In fact, as a result of a frog splash from one of the pods, Triple H sustained a trachea injury. Eventually after each man was eliminated, the match came down to Triple H and Shawn Michaels. It’s somewhat fitting that the contest came down to the two of them as they had an intense rivalry coming into the match.
Despite being put through one of the pods and bleeding profusely, Shawn connected with his patented Sweet Chin Music and pinned Triple H to become a four time world champion. With tears streaming down and confetti falling, Michaels proudly held his newly won championship over his shoulder. Shawn’s championship victory marked the final time he would win a singles world title in his career, which came to an end at WrestleMania 26 in 2010.
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