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November 23, 2009

Survivor Series thoughts

While Sunday night’s Survivor Series pay-per-view – which I watched live at Verizon Center in Washington – may not have been spectacular, almost all of the matches were entertaining and the booking was sound for the most part.

In my opinion, what didn’t happen on the show was as significant – in a positive way – as anything that did. I’m talking about the fact that neither the WWE title nor the world heavyweight title changed hands. That ended a streak of five consecutive WWE pay-per-views in which there was at least one world title change.

Being a fan of both Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho, it would have been nice to see them win their respective triple threat title matches, but it would have been the wrong call. The belts have switched hands so frequently as of late that the changes don’t have as much impact as they should, so successful title defenses by WWE champion John Cena and world heavyweight champion The Undertaker made the most sense from a booking standpoint.

The other noteworthy development on the show was that Kofi Kingston was put over strong and appears to be on the verge of breaking into the top tier. Three other young guys that seem to be on the fast-track to becoming break-out stars – Sheamus, Drew McIntyre and The Miz – also were booked to look good. So while we did see six veteran stars competing in the two main events, it looks as if WWE recognizes the need to get some new faces in the mix.

Here is a match-by-match look at the show:

WWE champion John Cena defeated Triple H and Shawn Michaels in a triple threat match: It literally took just one second for the surprisingly weak buildup for this match to become a non-issue. Immediately after the bell rang, Michaels delivered Sweet Chin Music to fellow DX member Triple H, who was knocked out of the ring by the blow. The shocked crowd popped as Michaels stood there with his game-face on and Cena sold disbelief. The message was clear: Despite all the silly skits with Hornswoggle – who thankfully was nowhere to be found –and the fact that DX came out together rather than making separate entrances, Michaels and Triple H were going to be opponents not partners in this match. For the next 21 minutes, the three superstars put on the most entertaining match on the show. Michaels and Triple H aggressively went after each other, but at no point did it appear that there was major dissension. There was a great spot toward the latter part of the match when Michaels hit Cena with a super-kick and then nailed Triple H with one. A dazed Triple H landed right on top of Cena for a near fall that had a lot of people convinced that it was the finish. A couple minutes later, Michaels and Cena simultaneously covered Triple H for a two-count. The finishing sequence began with Michaels super-kicking Triple H as Triple H was setting up Cena for a Pedigree. Cena then gave Michaels an Attitude Adjustment onto Triple H and covered “The Game” for the victory. Triple H and Michaels hugged after the match, although I think the show was off the air at that point. There was a big sign in the crowd that said “HHH vs. HBK WrestleMania 26” that Triple H pointed out to Michaels. Hmm.

World heavyweight champion The Undertaker defeated The Big Show and Chris Jericho in a triple threat match: This one was pretty much by the numbers. There was nothing wrong with the match itself, but the fact that few people believed that Undertaker would lose the title made for a lack of drama. Undertaker won via tap-out when he reversed Big Show’s attempted chokeslam into Hell’s Gate.

Batista defeated Rey Mysterio: A lot of people in attendance must not have gotten the memo about Batista turning heel, because he got a huge pop when he came out. Perhaps the reaction can be partly attributed to the fact that the show was in Batista’s hometown, but I think it’s more than that. Not only was Batista cheered, but Mysterio was heavily booed (especially when he imitated the late Eddie Guerrero’s mannerisms), and the crowd was very into it when Batista destroyed Mysterio. Batista’s new remorseless, badass heel character is one that a lot of people are going to get behind. It’s not going to be easy to get people to boo him. Mysterio used his quickness early to gain the advantage and frustrate Batista, but once “The Animal” got a hold of him, the match basically became a squash. After Batista hit a powerbomb, the crowd chanted, “One more time!” Batista delivered two more powerbombs, and the crowd to give him a standing ovation after the third one. The referee stopped the match at that point and awarded it to Batista. After the match, Batista hit a spinebuster on a chair for good measure. Mysterio was taken out on a stretcher to a smattering of applause and boos. With Mysterio out of the picture for a while (he reportedly is about to undergo yet another knee surgery), it seems certain that a Batista-Undertaker title program is next.

Kofi Kingston, Christian, Mark Henry, MVP and R-Truth defeated Randy Orton, Ted DiBiase Jr., CM Punk, Wiliam Regal and Cody Rhodes: The main objective of this match – to make Kingston look like a star – was achieved. It came down to Kingston against Orton and Punk. Orton stood outside the ring watching intently as Kingston and Punk went at it. After several minutes of back-and-forth action, Orton distracted Kingston, and Punk tried to roll him up for the pin. Kingston, however, rolled though and pinned Punk. Orton then charged into the ring and was immediately hit with Kingston’s Trouble in Paradise and pinned at the 21-minute mark. So Kingston got a three-count two former world champions in a span of several seconds to become the sole survivor. You can’t ask for any more than that. I was surprised that DiBiase and Rhodes weren’t bigger factors in the match, especially DiBiase, who was eliminated after just five minutes. I’m starting to wonder if the reported plan to turn DiBiase babyface to coincide with the release of his movie, “The Marine 2,” and set him up for a high-profile program with Orton has been scrapped. Christian fared well in this match (and he also was the star of an entertaining backstage skit with his team members), as he pinned DiBiase and Rhodes and got a believable near fall on Orton before Orton eventually pinned him around 14 minutes into the match. As for Henry, remember about five months ago when he pinned then-WWE champion Orton on Raw and it seemed like the start of a big push? Well, Orton hit an RKO on Henry in the first minute here to eliminate him. So much for that.

The Miz, Drew McIntyre, Sheamus, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler defeated John Morrison, Shelton Benjamin, Evan Bourne, Matt Hardy and Finlay: I think the right team won, but I didn’t care for how this match was booked. Ziggler shockingly lasted just three minutes and was the first person eliminated. Not only that, but he was pinned by jobber-to-the-star Bourne. That sure does send a message, and it’s not a good one for “Mr. Ziggles.” Morrison ended up being left at a three-on-one disadvantage against Miz, Sheamus and McIntyre. I thought for sure that Morrison would pin Miz to avenge his loss at the Bragging Rights pay-per-view last month, but then fall victim to Sheamus and McIntyre. Nope. Sheamus pinned Morrison clean and all three heels survived after approximately 21 minutes. It was nice that Morrison lasted to the end and fought valiantly against the odds, but I think it was a mistake not to have him take out at least one of the three remaining heels. McIntyre pinning Morrison would have been better because it would set up an Intercontinental title match between the two. Since Sheamus is on Raw, having him pin the I-C champ just doesn’t make any sense. I’m starting to resent the push that Sheamus is getting.

Mickie James, Eve, Kelly Kelly, Gail Kim and Melina defeated Michelle McCool, Alicia Fox, Jillian Hall, Layla and Beth Phoenix: It was ridiculous how rushed this was. There were eight pinfalls in a match that lasted all of 11 minutes. Then again, it was put on between the two world title matches, so it wasn’t meant to be anything more than an opportunity for a bathroom break. I went into this match thinking this just might be the night that Kim turns heel and gets a push. It turned out that she was the first person eliminated from her team, as McCool pinned her in the opening minutes. OK, I’m finally tapping out when it comes to thinking that Kim will amount to anything in WWE. Phoenix looked strong in eliminating Eve and Kelly Kelly before she was taken out by James. At the end it was James and Melina against McCool. Both babyfaces survived, as Melina scored the pin with the Last Call, which actually looked more like a basic sunset flip than a high-impact move.

Posted by Kevin Eck at 4:15 PM | | Comments (26)
        

Comments

This was only the second pay-per-view that I have ever watched live..the 1st was St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

I thought this was a good show. All of the Elimination matches were great and the Main Event was awesome.

The World Heavyweight Championship was somewhat slow and boring. The Undertaker is still hurting and it looks like the Big Show has a hurt knee. Do you know what is wrong with him? And when 2 guys in a triple threat match are hurt it doesn't matter how well the other guy is feeling

I think WWE really sent out a few big messages last night. Obviously it was a big night for Kingston, but I expected him to win. Great to see them really getting behind an up-and-comer, but I just think he's a little bit bland and don't believe his character. I was more surprised, and very disappointed by the way the opener went down. Ziggler and Swagger, the two best young heels in the company, were completely buried. I mean seriously, what is next for these two? Swaggers heel vs heel thing with Miz isn't going to get over and Ziggler seems destined for a feud with Matt Hardy. Hardly the stuff dreams are made of. John Morrison looked pretty weak all in all, barely putting up a fight against the heels at the end. Like every other WWE fan, I couldn't care less about Drew McIntyre, but I am in the minority of fans who see something in Sheamus (although I think most would agree when I say I think he'd probably fit in better as a face). Notwithstanding, I think its pretty damning for Morrison to have to put him over cleanly on his first PPV. Morrison has gotten over to a good extent, but PPV losses will still hurt him badly.

I think Sheamus' build has been all wrong. I don't see how he is any different at this point from Khali, or Mike Knox, or Snitsky, or Kozlov, or any other of the big "monster" characters that move up the card quickly and are gone just as quickly.

Did anyone else find last night's commentary peculiar, particularly Striker's?

RESPONSE FROM KE: Obviously I missed it since I was at the show. What happened?

Looks like the next opponent for the undertaker is Boretista. *Sigh*. Why can't they just give Matt Hardy the proper title push? I knew Batista coming to smackdown would ruin the chances of John Morrison or Matt in a title program. That's why I hope tna becomes a major company one day and force the wwe to create better programs like the attitude era.

Hey Kevin, I can tell you from section 101 where I was sitting that everyone that wasn't 10 years old was hating on Mysterio. And I'm not talking booing him because Batista was from D.C., I'm talking X-Pac type booing. We were all talking about how much we wish Mysterio would just go away, especially when he did the Eddie "shake." Also, I agree with you on the ending of the women's match. My buddy and I both thought that McCool was overselling a sunset flip, because that's what it looked like it was.

In my opinion, it was PPV of the year. All the matches except for the womens were very solid.

Not really sure why much of the crowd regularly boos Mysterio. I know he's no legend on the mic, but he tore it apart (like he always does when given the time) with Batista before getting destroyed. I gotta say tho, the Eddie Guerro reference didn't appeal to me.

Kofi Kingston Rocks! Next Big thing. Nuf said! Only complaint about that match was the speed in which R-truth was eliminated. The crowd screams for him and Vince still can't see it.... gotta push the Koslovs and the Sheamuses of the world instead...

Like you Kev, I don't feel it with Sheaumus. Morrison definetly should have eliminated him. I also don't see what the fuss is over Drew McIntyre. He's not bad, just nothing special. I guess Vince is planning another Koslov like push before being forced to pull the plug.... Ok well, that's a little harsh, but same principle. Solid match overall tho...

Shawn Micheals did it again. That was awesome.... He's the best because he is so unpredictable. The sudden kick on HHH was the moment of the night. And that match shows that Cena can be in a GREAT match... not just a dull one, even though he still hasn't thought up any new moves.

Very Solid PPV,,, first one in a while that had me enthralled in every match (except the womens... still can't see why they even bother on PPV's)

'Ziggler shockingly lasted just three minutes and was the first person eliminated. Not only that, but he was pinned by jobber-to-the-star Bourne. That sure does send a message, and it’s not a good one for “Mr. Ziggles.”'

After 8 title shots (US included), all of whch ending the exact same way, no backstage screen time, and a much less apparent level of charisma, I think the message for Ziggler has been clear for quite some time.

Can't be surprised that the main titles didnt change hands...if they havent been swapped so many times of course we all would prefer anyone but UT/Cena as champs but at this point its fine.

I'll say again that Batista should be pushed as a 'tweener' like Sid was, they are/were supposed to be heels but get cheers from the crowd.

It'll be interesting to see how they get the belt off of Cena in order to set up a title program between Kingston/Orton as i think thats what is on the horizon.

I can see how the booking for the Miz/Morrison match went.
Writers: "OK so Morrison will pin Miz after Starship pain to win"
Vince: "Well you need to have Drew McIntyre in there I hand picked him to be the champ"
HHH: "Uhh I think it should be Sheamus, we're gym buddies."
Writers: "Ummmmmm, but its the Miz/Morrison match and noone really cares about the other guys yet.
Vince: "I know will have all 3 in there at the end and will draw straws to see who gets the pin....."

"Since Sheamus is on Raw, having him pin the I-C champ just doesn’t make any sense. I’m starting to resent the push that Sheamus is getting"

___________________________

I too have yet to warm up to Sheamus' push, but when a match consists of two interbrand teams, you have to expect that there will be some instances of brand X going over brand Y without a story around it. If no such thing were to happen, the team concept would look pretty pointless.

RESPONSE FROM KE: I have no problem with a guy from one brand beating a guy from another -- but not if the guy getting beaten is a champion. I am of the opinion that a champion should only lose in a team situation if it is to set up a title prrogram with the guy who beat him. That's why I think it would have been better for McIntyre to have pinned Morrison, because they are on the same show.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty decent PPV. I too am puzzled by the huge push Sheamus is getting. He is a very annoying character in my mind.

I was so excited for the Cena, DX match. Well at least I was when Shawn kicked HHH. I was very happy that the match did not have the cliche two on one battle until a near fall. I enjoyed the pay per view as a whole, but the main event was by far the best match of the night.

the WWE (or someone) kept blocking all of the U Stream telecast.

Darn it!

Like Mini-me isn't bad enough, now we have this to look forward to at Baltimore's RAW:
Just as Triple H and Shawn Michaels were reciting a list of things for which they’re grateful, the two were interrupted by a lawyer representing Hornswoggle. The attorney informed DX that, after last week’s Pedigree on Hornswoggle, the leprechaun is suing the duo for intentional infliction of emotional distress and will see them in "little people's court" next week

And what was up with all the SD guys being on RAW tonight? They are supposely on different shows, why would they be at RAW anyways?

Kind of interesting and ironic at the same time that you talk about resenting Sheamus for his push, then he gets to become the #1 contender later on in the day.

I'm not opposed to see Sheamus and Cena wrestle. I'm just opposed that it's happening now.

Best moment of the show: the 1st Sweet Chin Music for HHH (that was when I definitely woke up)
2nd best moment of the show: the 2nd Sweet Chin Music for HHH
3rd best moment of the show: the 3rd Sweet Chin Music for HHH

How I would love to see one more title reign for HBK. Maybe it will happen at the next PPV in his hometown?

As you were attending the show: Was the crowd really that lame because that´s how it came over on TV (except cheering for their hometown hero Batista, of course and the last match).

So, is Ziggler getting punished? He doesn´t win the IC title, he´s the first to be eliminated in the SS match?? And then Sheamus is pinning the IC champion??? Well, they´re doing a heck of a job in trying to put Sheamus over. Too bad the WWE Universe doesn´t care about it.

RESPONSE FROM KE: I've seen hotter crowds for sure, but I never thought the crowd was dead the whole time I was there.

I didn't see the show but I am glad to hear Mickie didn't get pinned. There may be heat on her but at least management isn't TOTALLY burying her. Too bad it was only 11 minutes though, too bad that's all any women's match is given, and dang I'm negitive here but also too bad Gail Kim was eliminated asap ><.

Shelton needs to go to TNA!
And the divas just plain suck. Not just the talent, but the booking. I thought Beth was going to run the gambit. They should be letting her hold the belt for years at a time. And Gail Kim is over, and I'm not referring to the wrestling term.
The Michael's kick made my day. And Super Evil Batista is very likable. I hope UT retires after WM. He's just too hurt to continue.

Yeah Kevin, I was also there live in the Verizon Center sitting in one of the floor seats ringside right smack-dab in the center of the main camera view to watch the 2009 Survivor Series pay-per-view and I have to admit that I was one of the many people who chanted for Batista and shouted "One more time!" mainly because I've met the guy and he signed me an autograph so he's really cool in person, but I have also met Rey Mysterio (unmasked) and he was also really nice in person as he also signed me an autograph and then posed for a picture with me, so I was also cheering for Rey, especially when he went for the multiple 619s in succession and also when he payed homage to the late great Eddie Guerrero by first slapping his own chest, then doing Eddie's trademark shimmy, and then finally attempting to execute the Eddie Guerrero-style frog splash in his honor, but I guess I cheered for Batista moreso because he's originally from D.C. and so am I because, even though I lived in Maryland my entire life, I was born in D.C., so I and I guess a lot of other people were a little pissed off when we noticed that the ring announcer Tony Chimel completely omitted the mentioning of Batista's hometown during the announcement of The Animal's ring entrance!

"Did anyone else find last night's commentary peculiar, particularly Striker's"
yeah, striker seemed to be trying to act heelish and talking up jericho and miz etc. Guess creative are trying to feed off the small amount of tension Striker occasionally creates with both grisham and cole.

Also did many notice how many botched moves there were between Eve and Jillian, I know they aren't great in ring but this was lacking even more than usual.

Well looks like Shamus is the new big heel in the WWE. Really disapointed how the KK and Orton issue is taking a back burner. This should be the main event at TLC, not Cena and Shamus...

dont worry from the pop he gets when he comes out and the rate of his push, it doesnt take an einstein to figure out the guy will be reduced to william regal's lackey on ecw in no time.

Just watched Raw. Best Raw show for me in a long time. Jesse is a god on the mike. Listening to him and McMahon was priceless. I think they pushed Sheamus to fast. Good shocker though, thought Kofi was getting the nod. I didn't know who would be the first to kick his butt, and after the attack, guess it will be Cena. Maryce coming back was another surprise. Diva match was like 10 seconds. And YAY for Santino making a very late, but humerous appearance. Sorry for the early post Kev, just fresh on my mind. And no hornswaggle?? figured that out when Mini-ME was announced as host. He will get miles of time next week.


Could you post this on your RAW post, when you get to it? like TODAY!!! And do you know the whereabouts of my buddy Mike Tenay?

The recent bookings for Gail Kim and the placement of Christian on the third WWE program (ECW) suggest that if you are a big star at TNA who joins the WWE, prepare to be put either on the show with the lowest viewership or repositioned as a jobber to the stars. And be prepared to stay there.

This may appear to be a good strategy by the WWE -- in other words, it sends the message (intentional or not) don't expect to come to the major company in the business and get the same kind of spot you had in the second company.

Or, perhaps the message is don't leave the WWE in the first place. Who knows?

However, on another level it is a shortsighted strategy by the WWE. I can't imagine many TNA stars, as disgruntled as some of them may be, wanting to come to the WWE and risk getting the position that Kim or Christian have been put in. That potential talent will therefore be lost to the WWE.

And that's too bad for WWE fans. It may not be so bad for TNA fans.

Hey Kev,
I am assuming since you were at the show you didn't hear it, but during the triple threat match for the WHC when Jericho was back by the announcers table a fan yelled, "Go back to Toronto!" and Jericho responded, "I'm from Winnepeg you idiot!". I thought it was even funnier that the announcers acknowledged it. That pretty much sums up why Chris Jericho is my favorite wrestler.

Well looks like Shamus is the new big heel in the WWE. Really disapointed how the KK and Orton issue is taking a back burner. This should be the main event at TLC, not Cena and Shamus

LOL, I thought Drew meant "Kelly Kelly" and I was sitting here going, "That was a year ago, and nothing happened except one match with Kane!"

Thankfully, I'm now certain he meant Kofi Kingston. If there are any fans upset that the brief storyline between Randy Orton and Kelly Kelly isn't headlining the December PPV, then I hope they aren't your readers.

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About Kevin Eck
The Baltimore Sun's Kevin Eck blogs about professional wrestling.
E-mail Kevin.
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