Monday, November 26, 2007

For Lack of a More Creative Title: My Thoughts on Survivor Series

I went to a local sports bar last Sunday to check out Survivor Series. This was the first Pay Per View I had actually watched since Wrestlemania, not counting a couple of post-WM PPVs that they showed on WWE 24/7. My expectations going into the show were pretty low and there wasn't really one match that I felt that I was really watching the PPV for (the last time that happened was the advertised Punk/Benoit match, and we all know how THAT turned out.) Regardless, I was looking forward to it because it was Survivor Series, and because it was one of the "Big Four" Events of the year.

Three hours later, I would be very surprised at how much I enjoyed it, considering how disappointed I was with some of the previous PPVs I saw. As the show opened, I groaned at the fact that the ECW Title match was starting off the show… again. However, by the time it had ended I was more appreciative of the match that just took place, and even more appreciative of the decision to have it start the show. I was reminded at that time of a booking philosophy that a good friend of mine had... put the best match on paper (with the babyface going over) as the opener, regardless of its importance, to get the crowd hot and set the tone for the rest of the show. It certainly worked here, especially since a lot of people were expecting Punk to drop the belt back to Morrison. On a side note, with Punk surviving this match, the ECW/SD merger, and Morrison/Miz now Smackdown's Tag Champs, this should be a great opportunity for Punk to start a fresh new title program with someone from the Smackdown brand. My initial thought of a perfect candidate for this was Finlay, but later in the night those thoughts would seem to be fizzled out…

Next up was the Womens tag match. I won't complain because this was actually one match I had on my Survivor Series wishlist. Not because I was interested in seeing eye candy or because I thought it would be a blockbuster match, but because it made more sense booking-wise at this event than a Singles Match for the Womens Title. I don't think they could have done a better job with this (again, booking-wise) as each girl got to do their thing, it helped put over Mickie on her way to challenging Beth Phoenix for the Womens Title, and it didn't hurt Phoenix's credibility as Champion. It didn't drag out too long and it wasn't too short to lose it's meaning. I should mention, however, that Melina falling off of the ring apron during her entrance caused the bar to explode for their 2nd biggest pop of the night.

*Note* Apparently there was a nip slip courtesy of Michelle McCool in this match that I totally missed. Damnit...

The Tag Team Title Match was what it was. I would have rather seen Cade and Murdoch vs London and Kendrick, but this was something fresh that they hadn't put on a PPV already. The match was fine, but I don't Trevor Murdoch's version of the Code Red should be done by someone the size of Trevor Murdoch. I'm sorry, but it just doesn't look right. Trevor, either please go back to your trusty old Bulldog or just let Cade do his sweet sitout spinebuster (Note: I'm totally stealling that move.)

If anything, this is what I was anticipating the most… the Traditional Survivor Series Match. Why they couldn't give some other deserving babyface a PPV Payday by subbing them in place of Matt Hardy was beyond me. The match was pretty entertaining overall and I was actually quite surprised by the outcome. Perhaps this is the first step towards pushing Jeff Hardy as a legitimate Main Eventer and World Title Contender. Triple H's save for Hardy the next night on Raw helped solidify the fact that they're taking a step in the right direction by having one of the top stars giving a younger guy the rub.

I wasn't expecting much with Hornswoggle/The Great Khali, as I knew it was going to be a throwaway match. I actually found it pretty entertaining, and was rather surprised by the Finlay run in/save. I must admit, I think Finlay would make a pretty badass babyface. If anyone can carry Khali to a good match, it just might be him. I'm interested to see how this one develops.

Orton/Michaels was terrific. They told a great story with the stipulations, and the bar I was in ERUPTED when Michaels locked on that Crippler Crossface. I'm not sure if enough time has passed in the WWE's eyes, but maybe this will be the start of not trying to rewrite history by not mentioning He Who Shall Not Be Named.

Undertaker/Batista was good, but by that time I was burned out from sitting through a 3 hour Football game and 3 hour Wrestling show, and I just didn't care. The booking of the finish was pretty nice, with Edge getting involved, although I found it kind of odd that he singled out the Undertaker and NOT Batista. Perhaps laying them both out and letting the match go to a non-finish would have been the best thing to do given the match that's booked for Smackdown this week, but then again, what MORE could he have done to Batista at that point?

Now a week out of the PPV, there are several interesting storylines developed to carry us over until the Royal Rumble when the push for Wrestlemania really begins. On Raw there's the Hardy/HHH relationship and Y2J/Orton to look forward to. On Smackdown, there's the continued push of Jaime Noble and an interesting Main Event scene involving Batista, Edge, and The Undertaker. In the land of Extreme, you have the newly drafted Shelton Benjamin and repackaged Kevin Thorn as possible feuds for CM Punk. Things are starting to look positive for WWE, as they're freshening up their product a bit and making things appealing again.


Anonymous said...

I thought Finlay would make a perfect candidate for Punk to defend the ECW title against as well. I am a fan of his recent face turn though. It will be interesting to see if the WWE puts him over Khali at Armageddon. Back to the subject of contenders for Punk's ECW title. I guess with the drafting of Benjamin to ECW they are going to build him up as a top contender for Punk. Didn't they square off at the most recent WWE tribute to the troops event? I also have to express my disappointment over the lack of title opportunities for Tommy Dreamer. The guy wins the Elimination chase only to get slobberknocked by Viscera and lose his opportunity. I still would like to see him vs Punk somewhere down the line.

Tim Haught said...

The Big Daddy V run-in on the Elimination Chase was really stupid. I was just thinking about that last night.

I am happy to see my boy Shelton finally getting a leg up though. Maybe if Booker wins the TNA title and Shelton wins the ECW title, that graphic at the top of this page won't look so stupid.