Sunday, 27 November 2005

WWE Survivor Series 2005 - TV Review

It’s that time of the month again, as WWE’s Thanksgiving tradition reaches it’s 19th year, with the Survivor Series hailing from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, the third time this show has been held at this great venue. After introductions from the various announce teams (thank God Joey Styles is still there), we move onto our first match.

And what a way to start the show, with Booker T and Chris Benoit beginning their best of seven series over the now vacant United States title. I have to admit, when this series was first announced, I had my doubts that they could top what they did in WCW a few years ago, and that they could string this out to seven matches, but if this match is any indication of what they can do, then we’re going to be in for one hell of a ride. Some good action from both men, with Sharmell encouraging her man from ringside, and once again getting involved in the action, to the point of helping her man get the pin. As Booker went for an Oklahoma Roll to get the pin, Sharmell held Benoit’s leg to stop him from kicking out. A good bout here, and a good way to get the show started.

Backstage, Eric Bischoff chats with Vince McMahon, and boasts about how his Raw guys will destroy their Smackdown counterparts. Bischoff talks about screwing John Cena the way that Bret Hart was screwed a few years back. John Cena makes an appearance, and announces that “Eric Bischoff likes to screw guys!”. We then see that Vinny Mac is down with the homies, to the amazement of Booker T and Sharmell.

The first title match of the evening next, and the first inter-promotional match, as Melina takes on Trish Stratus for the Women’s title. The usual attempted interference from Johnny Nitro and Joey Mercury here, before Trish gets the pin, after some help from Mickey Jay, with a Stratusfaction off the top rope. Not bad, but I have to admit I was more than distracted by the bickering of Tazz and Joey Styles as they did the commentary for this match. Can’t we just all get along here?

Match three is probably the first time Triple H has been this low in the card for years, as he goes up against Ric Flair in a last man standing match. Those of you who keep writing off the Nature Boy’s career continue to do so at their peril, although certain magazine editors (Fin Martin, I’m looking in your direction), will tell you that Flair was simply carried by Triple H here. But getting back on topic here, this was a hell of a bout. After numerous counts by the referee, Flair finally stayed down for the count after Triple H pounded him with the sledgehammer, everything else having failed to keep Flair down. A hell of a bout, with Flair once again bleeding for his art. Afterwards, Flair was carried away on a stretcher. Although this would have been a good way of ending the feud, I don’t think we’ve seen the last of this one. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see them go at it in a Hell in a Cell match.

Backstage, the Smackdown team voice their concerns about Batista’s ability to lead the team, because of his injury. Then, the World Champion suddenly appears, and checked with everyone if it was okay to lead the team. Everyone agreed, although Randy Orton seemed somewhat reluctant.

WWE title time next, as John Cena defends the belt against Kurt Angle, with Angle’s new running buddy Daivari there as special referee. Usual censoring of the “you suck” chants, although they missed a couple of them. Another good bout between these two, and an interesting moment when Cena slapped Daivari, who was about to disqualify him until Angle stopped him. Tons of ref bumps, as first Daivari, then his two replacements take hits, before eventually, a Smackdown referee comes out and makes the count after Cena takes Angle down with an FU. Another good match, even though it lasted less than fifteen minutes.

Then we get the dud of the evening, as Eric Bischoff and Teddy Long go at it. Not even an appearance from the Boogeyman could raise the level of this one, as Long got the easy pin on Bischoff after the weirdo slammed him. Well, I suppose we had to have one bad thing on this one.

Then it’s time for our main event, as Team Smackdown take on Team Raw, for ultimate bragging rights, or so we are told. The interesting thing at the beginning of this one is that all five commentators are active here, and spend a great deal of time hurling insults at each other. It’s a shame that we only seem to get one or two Survivor Series matches on these shows now, because this one really brought back memories of some great matches from years gone by. Tons of great action here.

The first elimination came when Michaels pinned Lashley, Kane having choke slammed him from the ring apron. Kane was the second man eliminated after a Batista spine buster, but the Big Red Machine hung around, and helped his Big Show take the World Champion down with a double-choke slam. The Big show then took a ton of punishment, two clotheslines from hell, an RKO, a 619, before eventually going down to a leg drop from Mysterio. Carlito was next out, after taking another clothesline from hell. Masters was next, another victim of Mysterio as he was taken down with a 619 followed by a Drop a Dime. This left Michaels, who had been knocked out at ringside, against three men. Putting on a great showing, Michaels pinned Mysterio after a Sweet Chin Music as Mysterio came off the top rope, before taking out Bradshaw with the same move. As JBL tried to interfere with a steel chair shot, Orton took Michaels down with an RKO for the win. A good bout, and a shame we don’t see more of this “Thanksgiving tradition”.

As the Smackdown wrestlers who weren’t involved in the match held Orton aloft in celebration, the druids appeared, bringing a casket out. As a bolt of lightning came down from the heavens and the casket burst into flames, the Undertaker emerged. As Orton fled, Taker hit the ring and kicked the crap out of anyone who stood in his way. I guess we haven’t seen the last of this feud now then.

In conclusion, apart from the dud match involving Long and Bischoff, this was one of WWE’s strongest shows of 2005. As I said earlier, it’s a shame that we don’t see more of the elimination matches on these shows. But then again, maybe having just one of these bouts on the show is their way of keeping these encounters special, and the Raw v Smackdown bout certainly lived up to the hype. Great stuff here.

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