Survivor Series: Through The Years (Part 4)
by Scrooge McSuck
- Last time we covered the 1999-2004 Survivor Series, featuring one of the worst in the history of the event (1999), one of the best (2002), and a whole lot of average shows that I'm sure most people couldn't remember if there was a gun pointed at their head. We pick things up in 2005, and carry out way through the tunnel that leads us to the "PG-Era."
Survivor Series '05 – November 27th, 2005 (Joe Louis Arena; Detroit, MI)
Highs: I remember starting to lose interest in the week-to-week programming at this point, but was trying to keep tabs on the storylines. Eddie Guerrero's death definitely hindered any memories of watching this show live. The 1st ever Raw vs. Smackdown Elimination Match was well booked and played to the strengths of all involved. Flair vs. Hunter was solid underneath, although I would've shaved a few minutes from the near half-hour it lasted. Booker and Benoit began a new "Best of 7 Series" that was as far from organic as possible, but Booker at least looked motivated to have a good match to open the show.
- A. Juventud def. Simon Dean
- Booker T def. Chris Benoit in Match #1 in a Best of 7 Series ***1/4
- Trish Stratus def. Melina to retain the Women's Title *1/2
- Triple H def. Ric Flair in a Last Man Standing Match ***1/2
- John Cena def. Kurt Angle to retain the WWE Title **1/2
- Theodore Long def. Eric Bischoff -**
- Team Smackdown (Batista, Randy Orton, JBL, Rey Mysterio, and Bobby Lashley) def. Team Raw (Shawn Michaels, Kane, Big Show, Carlito, and Chris Masters) [Survivor: Randy Orton] ****
Lows: It may have been less than 10-minutes with entrances and everything, but there's no need for garbage like Long vs. Bischoff filling time on a PPV, especially a Big Four PPV where both brands are jockeying for spots on the card. Other than that, the only below-average match was the Women's Title, and trust me, 2005 (and beyond) gave us far worse than Trish having to carry Melina. I guess Cena and Angle was a disappointment, but it wasn't a bad match. I feel like Cena was a little ways off from finding his groove at the top of the card.
Random Notes and Tidbits: Three years and three moments where Randy Orton is the Sole Survivor of his Elimination Tag Team Match, and in this case, was part of a match he originally wasn't scheduled to be part of... Triple H finally picks up a victory at Survivor Series. It only took him eight attempts to achieve that milestone... Vince McMahon did a questionable backstage segment, dropping the "N" word for comedy that really fell flat... Eddie Guerrero was originally penciled in for a spot on Team Smackdown... If you were to take a guess who the Tag Team Champions of both brands were, would you have guessed "Kane and Big Show" for Raw, and "MNM" for Smackdown?... Kurt Angle's last Survivor Series appearance until 2017... Does anyone remember Palmer Cannon, and what his role in WWE was? I'll wait...
Overall Rating: B+
I forgot all about this show, and I'm kind of annoyed at myself for it, as it delivers above average wrestling throughout, capped off by a great Main Event (ignoring the Undertaker bit at the end where he thrashes the Smackdown undercard geeks, but we won't get into that). We're in a forgettable era, but this isn't a show to sleep on, and one I'd recommend giving a look if you haven't seen it before, or haven't seen it since the original broadcast date.
Survivor Series '06 – November 26th, 2006 (Wachovia Center; Philadelphia, PA)
Highs: There's very little to get excited about, especially when a run-of-the-mill match between Benoit and Chavo takes home Match of the Night Honors. Even though the spot completely buried him, Shawn Michaels KO'ing Mike Knox with Sweet Chin Music and acting as if he had no idea who the guy was came across as hilarious. I also liked the idea of mixing all three brands (yes, we're in ECW era territory) for the Elimination Matches, with men from each brand represented.
- Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, and Ron Simmons def. The Spirit Squad (Johnny, Kenny, Nicky, and Mikey) [Survivor: Ric Flair] ½*
- Chris Benoit def. Chavo Guerrero to retain the US Title **1/2
- Mickie James def. Lita for the Women's Title *
- Triple H, Shawn Michaels, CM Punk, Matt and Jeff Hardy def. Edge, Randy Orton, Mike Knox, Johnny Nitro, and Gregory Helms [Survivors: Team DX] *
- Mr. Kennedy def. The Undertaker in a 1st Blood Match ½*
- John Cena, Bobby Lashley, Kane, Rob Van Dam, and Sabu def. Big Show, Finlay, Umaga, Test, and Montel Vontavious Porter [Survivors: Cena and Lashley] *1/2
- Batista def. King Booker for the World Heavyweight Title *1/2
Lows: From top to bottom, the weakest lineup, from a match quality perspective, since the abysmal 1999 edition. One good match and a whole lot of stuff that seemed like a waste of time (don't worry, December to Dismember wiped this from everyone's memory by being a much worse show only 2 weeks later). Lita's farewell was immortalized with the "social commentary" of Cryme Tyme selling her underwear to fans in attendance. The Legends vs. Spirit Squad match felt more like it should be in a Middle School Gym in front of 50 people rather than a big PPV match. The Main Event had little heat, and the crowd was leaving in droves before the final bell.
Random Notes and Tidbits: Roddy Piper was originally scheduled to be on the Legends Team with Flair and company, but was hospitalized shortly before the PPV with Hodgkin's lymphoma, and replaced by Ron Simmons... Ric Flair's victory came 15 years after the last time he was a surviving member of a Survivor Series Team... Lita's match with Mickie James would be her last as a full-time performer with WWE... The two 5-on-5 matches were the first time they had mixed brands for a Survivor Series Match... Randy Orton finally loses at Survivor Series, ending an impressive streak of three consecutive years of being the sole survivor... Team DX is the first team of 5 to completely survive an Elimination Match.
Overall Rating: D
The only thing saving this from an F is because while most of the matches are completely forgettable, especially the rushed Elimination Matches, everything is reasonably short, and there's no instance (like in 1999) where something is so ridiculous (bait-and-switch for the Main Event) that it deserves to get the lowest rating possible. Do I recommend checking the show out on the WWE Network? Hell no, unless you're absolutely in love with the Mike Knox joke, and even that's only 30-seconds of a 2 hour, 45 minute show.
Survivor Series '07 – November 18th, 2007 (American Airlines Arena; Miami, FL)
Highs: Undertaker and Batista have yet another great match, showing the randomness of a winning formula, although at this point the program should've already been over. Shawn Michaels and Randy Orton delivered a great semi-Main Event, with a good storyline with Shawn's Sweet Chin Music banned, and Orton risking losing the title if he were to be Disqualified. HHH and Jeff Hardy having to fight from underneath to survive their match is classic booking that's almost impossible to screw-up. The opening triple threat was non-stop action, half-worked as a handicap match until Miz and Morrison turned on each other (and yes, MIZ has been around a decade and doing the same signature spots).
- CM Punk def. The Miz and John Morrison to retain the ECW Title ***
- Torrie Wilson, Michelle McCool, Kelly Kelly, Maria, and Mickie James def. Beth Phoenix, Layla, Jillian, Victoria, and Melina ¾*
- Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch def. Hardcore Holly & Cody Rhodes to retain the World Tag Team Titles *1/2
- Triple H, Rey Mysterio, Jeff Hardy, and Kane def. Mr. Kennedy, Finlay, Big Daddy V, Montel Vontaveous Porter, and Umaga [Survivors: Triple H and Hardy] ***1/4
- The Great Khali def. Hornswoggle by DQ DUD
- Randy Orton def. Shawn Michaels to retain the WWE Championship ****
- Batista def. The Undertaker in Hell in a Cell to retain the World Heavyweight Title ***1/2
Lows: We've officially entered one of the lowest eras of the "Diva's Division, with the roster loaded with underwear models hired by John Laurinaitis. When the highlight of the women's elimination is Melina botching her entrance and repeating the spot, we're in trouble. The Tag Titles are so important, the top contenders were decided on the WWE.com exclusive Heat. The intelligence insulting angle between Hornswoggle and Mr. McMahon continues with an even worse "match" pitting Hornswoggle against the 7'6" Great Khali. In a world where you need to suspend disbelief, that's too much.
Random Notes and Tidbits: The only time the ECW Title is defended at the Survivor Series in the 4+ years of the "ECW" revival, all other times the ECW Champion participated in Elimination Matches... Miz and Morrison were the reigning Tag Team Champions of whatever brand owned those particular belts (look up the lineage, it's a f*cking mess)... Matt Hardy had to be written out of storylines with a burst appendix... Torrie Wilson's final PPV appearance for WWE... Don't feel sorry for Cody and Holly, they won the titles at the 15th Anniversary Raw Special three weeks later, and Cody somehow jobbed the titles to himself 6-months later... Kane casually bringing up the Necrophilia angle with Triple H in a backstage segment with Hunter calmly apologizing is worth watching... After 8 consecutive losses, Triple H now has a 3 year winning streak at Survivor Series... Shawn Michaels was the first man to use the Crippler Crossface since, you know.
Overall Rating: B
Another low-key card that succeeds, which might be attributed to the Survivor Series losing luster and being treated with less specialness than the surviving "Big Events" (WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, and SummerSlam). Two Championship Main Events delivered above-average quality, and the "traditional" Survivor Series Elimination Match told a good story. There's some stinkers, like the Hornswoggle garbage, but there's very little negative to say, and at least all the bad stuff was kept reasonably short and was featured underneath, leaving the important matches to leave the lasting impression.
Survivor Series '08 – November 23rd, 2008 (TD Banknorth Garden; Boston, MA)
Highs: The Main Event featuring Jericho and Cena is one of the better Championship matches we've seen on Survivor Series over the years, and helps make up for an EXTREMELY disappointing secondary Main Event that we'll cover in just a moment. The traditional Survivor Series Elimination matches were nothing spectacular, but both men's matches delivered an entertaining performance, even if most of the elimination matches at this point were completely forgettable. Edge being randomly inserted into the WWE Championship Match, mid-way through the match, is the only redeeming quality of that particular part of the card.
- Shawn Michaels, The Great Khali, Rey Mysterio, JTG, and Shad Gaspard def. John Morrison, The Miz, Kane, Montel Vontavious Porter, and John "Bradshaw" Layfield [Survivors: Michaels, Khali, and Mysterio] ***1/4
- Beth Phoenix, Candice Michelle, Jillian Hall, Mickie James, and Kelly Kelly def. Maria, Maryse, Michelle McCool, Natalya, and Victoria) [Survivor: Beth Phoenix] *
- The Undertaker def. Big Show in a Casket Match *
- Randy Orton, William Regal, Mark Henry, Cody Rhodes, and Shelton Benjamin def. Batista, CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, Matt Hardy, and R-Truth ***
- Edge def. Triple H and Vladimir Kozlov for the WWE Championship ¾*
- John Cena def. Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Title ****
Lows: The entire booking of the WWE Championship Match. Originally booked as Triple H vs. Vladimir Kozlov, Jeff Hardy was inserted into it, only to be taken out the day of the show with a worked injury that was presented as a real life situation. On top of the false advertisement, Hardy ended up appearing in the match, doing a failed run-in, and to top it off, the match was GARBAGE, something that came out of 1982 WWF, not the modern era expected quality. The Women's Elimination Match was poor, The Undertaker and Big Show sleepwalked through a Casket Match, and we got a random appearance of "The Gobbledy Gooker".
Random Notes and Tidbits: Not much to report here, since we've reached an era where there's not a whole lot of interesting tidbits. This was the third time there was a traditional Women's Elimination Match, and Phoenix was the first American to be victorious (previous Survivors were the Jumping Bomb Angels in '87 and Aja Kong in '95)... Vladimir Kozlov was the first Superstar since The Patriot (IYH: Ground Zero) to challenge for the WWE Title in his Pay-Per-View Debut... Randy Orton became the first man in WWE history to survive Elimination Matches at four different PPV's (Hogan and Warrior survived twice in 1990 for 4 victories on three shows)... Cody Rhodes (2008) and Dusty Rhodes (1989) are the first set of father/son winners.
Overall Rating: C
This is one of those middle ground shows that will likely not be remembered for anything positive, but will be for the negative surrounding the garbage involving the WWE Championship. Elimination matches set as undercard filler aren't going to be strong enough to make a positive difference, but being fun at least keeps them from being a chore to sit through. Three of the six matches produced weak results, and it's always inexcusable for a WWE Championship Match to be booked so poorly. I can't recommend this one either for or against.
Survivor Series '09 – November 22nd, 2009 (Verizon Center; Washington, D.C.)
Highs: Another strong Main Event helps elevate an otherwise average card, with Cena surviving the collective opposition of D-X, and would signal the end for Shawn Michaels and Triple H as Championship threats (until Hunter's questionable reign in 2016). Once again, the traditional (men's) Elimination Matches were far from memorable, but were given enough time to be an enjoyable waste of undercard time. I didn't give too good of a rating for the World Heavyweight Title Match, but it was far better than I expected, especially following last year's poor match between Undertaker and Big Show.
- The Miz, Sheamus, Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler, and Jack Swagger def. John Morrison, Matt Hardy, Finlay, Shelton Benjamin, and Evan Bourne [Survivors: Miz, McIntyre, and Sheamus] **1/2
- Batista def. Rey Mysterio **
- Kofi Kingston, Christian, Mark Henry, Montel Vontavious Porter, and R-Truth def. Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Ted Dibiase Jr., CM Punk, and William Regal [Survivor: Kofi Kingston] ***1/4
- The Undertaker def. Big Show and Chris Jericho to retain the World Heavyweight Title **1/4
- Mickie James, Melina, Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim, and Eve Torres def. Michelle McCool, Layla, Beth Phoenix, Jillian Hall, and Alicia Fox [Survivors: Mickie and Melina] *1/2
- John Cena def. Triple H and Shawn Michaels to retain the WWE Title ***1/2
Lows: When you've got a card featuring only six matches, there's not a whole lot to put under the good or the bad. I guess a 5-minute match between Batista and Rey Mysterio qualifies as a lowlight of the show, but the match itself wasn't bad, just a disappointment. I'm not going out of my way to knock the DIVAS, but man, these Women's Elimination Matches are something to behold, and here we are, EIGHT YEARS LATER, and Alicia Fox is still being shuffled around the roster, trying to plug her into any role that they can find for her.
Random Notes and Tidbits: In six Survivor Series Elimination Matches, Randy Orton has either survived (four times) or was the last man eliminated on his team (twice)... Every Survivor Series moving forward, except for 2016, wouldn't feature any more than two elimination matches... This would mark the last time Shawn Michaels challenged for the WWE Championship... Triple H continues to set Survivor Series' record for most losses, reaching nine in twelve matches... the last Survivor Series to feature ECW as a separate brand, with Matt Hardy representing as their "World" Champion...
Overall Rating: B-
Nothing that really blows you away, but when only one match falls under the two-star rating, you can hardly call it a bad show. On the other hand, the WWE Championship Match isn't a legendary must-see, the better of the two men's Elimination Matches is just a tick over three-stars, and the rest is average, but having low expectations in most places definitely helps bring the score up. Not a personal favorite, but a good show from beginning to end, and a decent way to kill 2 ½ hours.
Survivor Series '10 – November 21st, 2010 (American Airlines Arena; Miami, FL)
Highs: We've reached a point in time where I was starting to look into the results again, and this one show turned me away once again. Wait, this was supposed to be listing the highs! This era is the perfect example of perfectly acceptable wrestling that nobody would remember. The opener was good, but who's going to remember it? Ziggler vs. Kaval (formerly Low-Ki) was good, but nobody remembers it for any good reasons. Another decent Survivor Series Elimination Match that is going to be forgotten 30-minutes after watching it.
- Daniel Bryan def. Ted Dibiase Jr. to retain the US Title ***
- John Morrison def. Sheamus **1/2
- Dolph Ziggler def. Kaval to retain the Intercontinental Title **1/2
- Rey Mysterio, Big Show, Kofi Kingston, Chris Masters, and Montel Vontavious Porter def. Alberto del Rio, Cody Rhodes, Drew McIntyre, Jack Swagger, and Tyler Reks [Survivors: Mysterio and Show] ***
- Natalya def. Layla and Michelle McCool for the Women's Title *1/2
- Kane and Edge fought to a No Contest DUD
- Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel def. Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov to retain the Tag Team Titles *1/2
- Randy Orton def. Wade Barrett to retain the WWE Title **
Lows: Plenty to talk about here. We've mentioned good matches that won't be memorable, but what of Kaval? He wins NXT Season 2 (back when it was a mock reality show) and uses his win to challenge for the secondary title, then loses (in what ended up being his exit from WWE). Kane's reign as World Heavyweight Champion was a dumpster fire at the top of the cards, and the feud with Edge was no exception. John Cena being a forced member of Nexus, ordered to screw Randy Orton of his WWE Title, would be interesting had Cena actually done a heel turn, but here it was just a pointless two week angle that didn't mean anything and the stipulations were completely ignored.
Random Notes and Tidbits: John Cena joins the long list of wrestlers under masks. Mr. America, The Midnight Rider, and Stagger Lee all ranged from awful to entertaining. John Cena coming out as JUAN Cena is the laziest thing I've ever seen out of the entire history of the gimmick... The Survivor Series was almost repackaged as a different show, according to reports earlier in 2010... David Arquette appeared at ringside and apparently made an ass out of himself (off camera)... Daniel Bryan's next 1-on-1 match on PPV wouldn't be until Summerslam the following year... MVP wrapped up his five-year run with WWE the following week.
Overall Rating: D+
This might seem harsh, especially with a handful of decent matches, but there's nothing here. There's no meat or substance to make this a card worth checking out, with a flat Main Event and ignored stipulation, match after match of fine, but unremarkable action, and a return to treating Survivor Series as just another show, limiting the Elimination Matches to just one match. Can you tell I'm not really in love with this era of WWE?
We pick things up in our final installment, covering the 2011 through 2016 Survivor Series, and thankfully, this would be around the time of my return to actively following WWE and watching on a regular basis (by 2013, I became a full-fledged fan again, so something must've clicked in my brain).
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