Tuesday, December 02, 2008

WWE - Survivor Series (23.11.2008)

So when I saw the pseudo-spoiler "Survivor Series 2008, was awesome!" I was excited to see the show. I had a feeling Edge was showing up based on that picture that did the rounds on Sunday and then accidentally saw a picture of John Cena with the World Title belt. Such is not being able to see the show live.

Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio, The Great Khali & Cryme Tyme vs. John Bradshaw Layfield, John Morrison, The Miz, MVP & Kane

I really, really liked the opener. Moreso since they got rid of shitty Cryme Tyme and shitty Kane real quick. I was worried it was going to be a situation where they just had rapid-fire eliminations just to give the singles matches some time but since they went about 20-25 minutes after the deadwood got booted I was pretty happy with it. I loved Shawn getting busted up hardway from JBL's punches, I loved Rey's splash from the top of Khali's shoulders (and Striker's Snuka/Andre reference) and I love, love, loved JBL's elimination. I know a lot of people whinge about count-out finishes but I think there's a place for them or they wouldn't exist and this was perfect with Shawn ducking the Clothesline From Hell, JBL avoiding the superkick and Shawn noticing the referee's count and simply outsmarting JBL into getting counted out. Bliss. JBL's reaction was perfect too. I also really liked the closing shot of Khali in the middle, Shawn on the bottom rope and Rey on the middle rope so they could all be the same height. Cuteness.

Beth Phoenix (WWE Women's Champion), Mickie James, Jillian Hall, Candice Michelle & Kelly Kelly vs. Michelle McCool (WWE Divas Champion), Victoria, Natalya, Maryse & Maria

The Divas match was useless. I'm glad Beth went over because I'm a fan of hers but Santino did largely nothing (apart form the good old air trumpet) and I was suprised they didn't use the set-up (Raw vs. SmackDown!) to set up more issues and give the brand champions some immediate challengers. As a match it was just a mess and with five heels and five babyfaces involved, I'm surprised they didn't just do a straight face-heel match.

The Undertaker vs. The Big Show (Casket Match)

Undertaker vs. Big Show was where I lost interest. I gave the Divas match a chance expecting that like the opener the deadwood would be beaten in a couple of minutes and the workers would carry it but it was just a mess. Coming off that with two guys I've got little interest in outside of about one match every two years or so wasn't going to do much to win favour with me and the first portion was standard big-man slugging and walking. Yawn. Worse was the second period with all the bullshit special effects, dual caskets, druids and a hokey-looking finish. Poor.

Batista, CM Punk (WWE Tag Team Champion), Kofi Kingston (WWE Tag Team Champion), Matt Hardy (ECW Champion), & R-Truth vs. Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Mark Henry, William Regal (WWE Intercontinental Champion), & Shelton Benjamin (WWE United States Champion)

Final elimination match was dull stuff. It's getting a bit more praise than I think I'd give it but I was really turned off after the last two matches. I did like Regal's surprise elimination right at the start and Layla pelting Punk in the face with her shoe but beyond that it just felt entirely predictable and a little bit tired. It was pretty clear to see the gulf between the stars and the jobbers-to-the-stars and that's all it ever felt like, just waiting for the inevitable. That being said, I really liked the finish once it was down to Orton, Batista and Rhodes and it's clear that Cody is being groomed to be a real player a couple of years down the line.

Triple H (WWE Champion) vs. Vladimir Kozlov

HHH vs. Kozlov was really dull. I get the theory behind doing it that way to make the ending more impactful and I also get the theory behind Kozlov just not being at the level to have a particularly exciting pay-per-view semi-final match. And while I'm not saying it's necessarily a bad thing to make a match boring to maximise the payoff, you can't deny it was still tedious to sit through. Still, the ending with Vickie Guerrero coming out and saying the triple-threat match could go ahead (pop), announcing that "He's here!" (BIG pop) and then Edge trotting out (SUPER POP~!) and winning the belt with Jeff Hardy showing up for real and costing HHH the belt was superb and sets up some really interesting scenarios for the next couple of months at least for the Road To WrestleMania~.

Chris Jericho (World Heavyweight Champion) vs. John Cena

Main event wasn't too hot to start with but I liked the psychology with Cena being worried about his neck and overcoming his nerves to come off the top rope, and I really got into the last 15 minutes or so despite the obvious outcome. Cena and Jericho have some pretty good chemistry together as this and previous matches have displayed and I'd like to see more, though I think Cena should have had to 'earn' his title shot. Coming out of a major loss at SummerSlam to Batista, not wrestling for three months then having a main event world title match doesn't put any sympathy on Cena, it just makes him look underserving like he gets special treatment. And yet they wonder why some people hate him.

Overall it started strong and finished strong and had some strong spots in the middle so it was hardly close to being one of the worst shows of the year, but you could have taken somewhere from 90 minutes-2 hours of tedium out of the rest show and you wouldn't have been anywhere quiet as bored for lengthy periods.


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