Going in to this show I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to like it. But I usually try to go in to these shows with an open mind. I figure if I’m going to be spending 3 hours watching something, I may as well at least try to enjoy it. I never understood the folks who went in to these things trying to hate something. Regardless, it was a pretty bad card top-to-bottom with 3 large tag matches, a terrible big man match, a terrible match for the Smackdown title, and a match I was expecting to be 30-seconds long for the Raw title. I knew the show was going to end with a title change that I wasn’t going to like so I was down on the card before it started.
So, full disclosure out of the way, let’s get to it.
Pre-PPV: Jeff Hardy found unconscious in a stairwell at his hotel: Here’s the thing I find baffling about the WWE. Vince constantly complains that he can’t get mainstream media coverage. Then, he works a story that he leaks to mainstream media that one of his wrestlers is found unconscious at his hotel to work the sharks in to thinking they might have another wrestler death to report. He gets mainstream coverage and it turns out the story is fake. The media looks stupid for not checking their facts and being used by a con-man and then continue to ignore wrestling stories. Is it any wonder that people wondered for a significant amount of time whether the Owen Hart, Eddie Guerrero, or Chris Benoit stories were real at first? Regardless, this was really irritating for me. They finally had a “what were we thinking” moment when they realized their title match was Triple H vs. Vladimir Kozlov so they worked Jeff Hardy in to the match. Then, after everyone bought the PPV, they announce that Jeff Hardy’s not in the match. Way to deliver, ass.
Classic Survivor Series Match #1: Team HBK (Shawn Michaels, Khali, Rey Mysterio, and Cryme Tyme) vs. Team JBL (JBL, MVP, MnM, and K): I never really caught the explanation of how Smackdown guys ended up on either of these teams, but decided to ignore it for the sake of enjoying the classic SurSer match. I thought this whole match was pretty good, filled with little things that made a 5-on-5 match enjoyable. I like the simmering issues between Morrison and Michaels and hope they go somewhere with it. I can’t imagine that they’re going to give Morrison a decent feud with Shawn Michaels, but one can hope. JBL continues to be an awesome heel with something so simple as being angry a fan patted him on the back getting out of his limo and staring him down and then asking security to “remove” him. The good thing about these matches is you can take a feud between two guys and use the storyline as the match unfolds to create issues leading through the next six months. I will say that I don’t understand the ongoing burial of MVP but it seems to be the WWE’s M.O. Let a guy get over and then bury him for six months and see if he survives it. It makes no sense to me but, hey, it’s worked I guess. Good match full of decent workers and a great way to start the show.
Classic Survivor Series Match #2: Smackdown Divas (Michelle McCool, Maryse, Natalya, Victoria, and Maria) vs. Raw Divas (Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, Jillian Hall, Candice Michelle, and Kelly Kelly): Brutal. No other real way to put it. Decent visual to start the match seeing the two women’s champions facing off. Maryse is hot enough that one can ignore that her hair is essentially a mullet wig but is not ready to be in any PPV match. This pretty much goes for Kelly Kelly, too, but at least her participation in this match was kept to the couple of things she does well. The Kellycanrana pin and then getting pinned. This was a crowd-killing 20 minutes brightened only by a “Just Get Naked” chant by the Boston crowd. Well done, gents.
Matt Hardy Interview: Quick interview backstage with Matt Hardy regarding Jeff Hardy’s “attack” and hospitalization. It was weird and delivered in such a way that I thought they were actually going to pull the trigger on a Matt vs. Jeff feud.
Casket Match: Undertaker vs. The Big Show: There was no version of this match that was going to be good. The Big Show is an, uh, methodical worker and the Undertaker’s best matches are with smaller guys who can work and bump. There was no way that this wasn’t going to be amongst the worst casket matches ever. The finish was OK, which saw a second casket brought out to be stood up by the Big Show, only for him to find himself Irish whipped in to it by the Undertaker, knocking it over and snapping it shut. I would like a rules clarification on the casket match. Any casket is OK? There is not a designated casket? I was unaware of this and feel it should have been disclosed for gambling purposes.
Classic Survivor Series Match #3: Team Batista (Batista, R-Truth, CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, and Matt Hardy) vs. Team Orton (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Shelton Benjamin, William Regal, and Mark Henry): Odd thing to see William Regal eliminated in 10 seconds by CM Punk. I really don’t understand the whole Regal thing. They take the belt of a super over Santino and put it on Regal and then immediately start screwing with him. It makes no sense. Regardless, this match encompassed many of my favorite scrubs and I’m glad they all got a PPV appearance. The Orton and Priceless stuff really needs to go somewhere relatively soon, though. It’s pointless as it is. Loved the finish to this match with Randy making the blind tag, sneaking up on Batista, and delivering a surprise RKO. Well done finish.
Smackdown World Title: Triple H (c) vs. Vladimir Kozlov: I don’t know what they were thinking. Honestly. No one in the universe thought anyone was putting the world title on Vladimir Kozlov. Look, guys, I know you want to refuse the existence of the Internet, and that’s fine, but you also have to realize that even fans who don’t read internet reports or the Observer know enough about wrestling to know that a guy who’s been around for six months that no one’s ever heard of is winning a World Title. Good job to the Boston crowd for immediately turning on this match like New York turned on Goldberg/Lesnar. “Boring” chant 30 seconds and “We want Hardy” chant 90 seconds in. Even Triple H’s offense got booed. When Vicki Guererro finally interrupted and presented the “surprise” return of Homeless Bearded Edge, he got a pop like she’d just announced the return of Steve Austin. I am SURE that Triple H will tell you that he made sure the match was extra boring so the Edge and Hardy appearances would seem better but we know better. Matches with Triple H are boring simply because a solid portion of the crowd know what’s going on. He’s losing when he wants to. Regardless, I was glad to see Edge take the belt off him but only a little. Why? Because there is no way on Earth that Triple H doesn’t book himself to win the Royal Rumble from the first slot (or near there) and then book himself over Edge at Wrestlemania. Even though almost everyone in the universe would prefer some version of Edge/Jeff Hardy. So long, interesting-heel Jeff Hardy… we hardly knew ya.
WWE Raw Championship: John Cena vs. Chris Jericho (c): In all honesty, I thought there was only two ways in this match was going to end. Version 1 was Chris Jericho winning after Randy Orton interference. Version 2 was 30 seconds, F-U, Cena wins. Version 2 was essentially to hide the fact that Cena had neck surgery 15 minutes ago and probably was full of ring rust and had lackluster cardio. Unfortunately, they decided to go with a slow, plodding match that Chris Jericho was very obviously running at Cena’s pace to not blow him up. A couple of good psychology moments where Cena was afraid to go for a move and risk re-injuring himself. Unsurprisingly, Cena won which further cements his Superman status, considering he just had neck surgery three months ago and just beat the World Champion. A loss here would not have hurt Cena at all in his big “return” match and the next months could have been his “mission” to get back on top and get the belt back. Now, he’s the World Champion, no one on the roster (save Batista) can beat him at the top of his game and now, apparently, no one will be able to beat him fresh off surgery. I can only presume that Randy Orton is next on the list and I have no idea where Jericho goes from here. Stupid, stupid waste of a title change that should have happened at Wrestlemania after Jericho spends four months ducking and screwing with Cena and being a heel.
Verdict: The two men’s tag matches delivered very well. Everything else, not so much. One terrible title change to allow Hunter to continue his fantasy booking extravaganza. The other designed to put the belt back on Cena for….. some reason. Avoid. At all costs.