Sunday, 16 September 2007

WWE Survivor Series 2006 on Sky Box Office - TV Review

Continuing with the busy season of pay-per-view reviews, Raw, Smackdown and Extreme Championship Wrestling combine forces topresent the twentieth annual WWE Survivor Series, broadcast live in Britain on Sky Box Office, with our hosts for the evening, Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler.

We begin the show with the legends team of Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Sgt. Slaughter and Ron Simmons facing the Spirit Squad. Even though
they’ve been around for a while now, I still have trouble telling the various members of the Spirit Squad apart, except for Kenny that is.

The first elimination came very quickly. After Ron Simmons looked great in the ring, he was counted out while stalking Mitch around the ring. At the same time, Mitch was thrown out from ringside for tripping Simmons as he came off the ropes, and mere seconds later, Arn Anderson was ejected from ringside for his part in the while sequence of events. The Spirit Squad then had a one man advantage.

The cheerleaders soon had a two man advantage. After the legends took out Nicky, and Slaughter looked like he was about to get the elimination with the Cobra Clutch, Slaughter was attacked from behind as Rhodes came into the ring, with Nicky being draped over Slaughter as he lay on the canvas. Rhodes soon got the first pin for his team though, pinning Nicky after a bionic elbow.

It was soon three against one. After Rhodes took a few team moves, he came back, only to miss an elbow in the corner, with Kenny scoring with the roll-up, leaving Flair on his own against three men. Flair soon scored a pinfall on Mikey after an inverted atomic drop in the corner and a pin with his feet on the ropes. Seconds later he caught Kenny with an inside cradle off the ropes, leaving him alone in the ring with Johnny. It wasn’t long before Flair synched in his trademark figure four to get the win for his team.
Afterwards, the rest of the Spirit Squad returned to the ring to attack the Nature Boy, leaving him lying in the middle of the ring. It was great to see the legends in the ring again, although it was a little disappointing that this match didn’t last a little bit longer.

Over on the Smackdown side of things, Chris Benoit defends the United States title against Chavo Guerrero, as the exploitation of Eddie Guerrero continues, just over a year after his death. An enjoyable match this one, if somewhat short, which saw two guys put on a good bout, working extremely well together. The ending came when Benoit locked in the crossface on Guerrero, after the champion had accidentally locked Vickie Guerrero off the apron. Let’s hope that we’ll see more of these two against each other sometime soon.

Backstage, Todd Grisham catches up with Edge and Lita. Grisham asks Lita if she’s reconsidered her decision to retire - basically she hasn’t. Edge then proceed to slag off the fans, while in the background, Cryme Time sneak into Lita’s dressing room, getting caught by Grisham as they emerge with a rather large box.

Then it’s time for the second title match of the evening, as Mickie James challenges Lita for the Woman’s title in Lita’s last match. This was certainly better than their Woman’s title tournament final a few weeks back. Both girls put in a great effort in a match which started off slowly, building to several false finishes, until Mickie got the final pin after a DDT. Afterwards, the beaten Lita grabbed the microphone and insulted the fans about their treatment of her. It was then that Cryme Time emerged from the back, carrying the big box they’d taken from Lita’s dressing room, and began selling her underway and personal belongings for as little as a dollar, even selling a pair of knickers to JBL and the box after they emptied it. No matter what you say about Cryme Time, they can be an entertaining couple of blokes!

In an interview from earlier in the day, Michael Cole chats with World title challenger Batista. The big guy just sits there, before we see footage of the contract signing with King Booker. As is usual with contract signings in WWE there’s a fight between the two of them. Back with the interview, Batista promises to win the title.

We return to the arena as the D-Generation X team of Triple H, Shawn Michaels, C.M. Punk and Matt and Jeff Hardy face the Rated RKO team of Randy Orton, Edge, Gregory Helms, Johnny Nitro and Mike Knox. Am I the only one who thinks it’s ironic that Punk is teaming with DX, considering their comments about the former ROH Champion a few months back? It’s literally a complete shut out for Team DX here. Knox barely lasts a minute as he’s pinned after a Michaels super-kick. Nitro then taps to Punk’s Anaconda Vice. After Punk gets beaten up by three guys for a while, Matt Hardy pinned Helms after some classic Hardy Boyz double team work. Michaels then pins Edge following a super-kick after the tag champs tried to leave the arena. Orton then ran for cover, and soon gets pinned after a Pedigree. A complete shut-out here, and although entertaining in it’s own way, I couldn’t help but think that this made Team Rated RKO look a little weak.

Backstage, Kristal chats with Mr. Kennedy, before MVP interrupts. Something about Vaseline and helping each other out, but then again I’ve not really paid attention to MVP since that awful debut against the no-name jobber a few weeks ago.

Then it’s on to the first blood match between the Undertaker and the aforementioned Mr. Kennedy. This is a fight, plain and simple. The dead man focuses his attack early on on Kennedy’s ribs, which causes internal bleeding, something that the referee misses after MVP comes out and wipes the blood from his mouth. MVP then turns on Kennedy and throws him back to the wolves, or the big wolf that should be. MVP then tried to interfere again, but ends up clobbering the Undertaker, busting him open, which gives the victory to Kennedy. As fights go, this was okay, but the action after the final bell seemed more intense than the match itself.

Backstage, Queen Sharmell reminds King Booker that Batista won’t get another title shot if the challenger loses tonight. The King then begins to brag about what he’s done to the former champion. But once again Booker fails miserably in his attempt to do a credible English accent. Give it up, Texan boy, please!

Back to traditional Survivor Series action, as MVP, Test, Umaga, Fit Finlay and the Big Show face Rob Van Dam, Sabu, Bobby Lashley, Kane and John Cena. As with the previous elimination match, we get an early departure as Umaga goes ape, grabs a television monitor and clobbers RVD with it, earning himself a disqualification. MVP was the second man to go, after a frog splash from RVD after Kane had already done the dirty work. Mere seconds later, Test scored the first fall on his team by eliminating Van Dam. Sabu then entered the ring to show what he could do with a quick DDT on Test for the pin. But Sabu himself was then eliminated after a Big Show choke slam, with a second choke slam taking care of Kane a few seconds later, after the Little Bastard distracted the referee and Finlay clobbered Kane from behind, leaving the teams now two apiece. After Finlay brought the Little Bastard back into the ring, he got a Lashley spear for his troubles, knocking him out of the contest. Cena and Lashley then doubled-up on the Big Show to good effect, with the end result being Cena FU-ing Show to get the pin and the final victory for his team. Certainly better than the last elimination match, especially as the match-ups seemed a lot more even, with Lashley again impressing.

Main event time, as King Booker defends his World Heavyweight title against former champion Batista. Before the match begins, Smackdown General Manager Teddy Long comes down the to the ring and announces that the title can change hands via count-out and disqualification. As far as main event title matches go, I’d like to say that this one was great, and fully deserved it’s main event status. Sadly, I can’t. This one was a very hit-and-miss affair which garnered very little attention from the crowd and lack the intensity that a feud that has had the build-up this one has had really needs, especially considering that one of the stipulations was that Batista would never get another title shot if he lost this match. Indeed, the crowd heat only increased after Sharmell tried to introduce the World title belt into the equation. As she distracted the referee, Booker missed with his belt shot, only for Batista to hit with his, earning him the winning pinfall and the title victory. A very disappointing match here.

In conclusion - While the elimination matches were entertaining in their own right, and some of the singles matches were great, particularly the Benoit/Guerrero match, sadly the twentieth annual Survivor Series will probably be remembered for it’s poor main event. King Booker has looked great in his previous title matches, but sadly, his losing effort to Batista left a lot to be desired. But in the end, I can only really describe this show as enjoyable, but flawed.