Wednesday, 26 November 2008

WWE Survivor Series on Sky Box Office - TV Review

It’s multi-man madness again, but this time in a good way as WWE present the fourth of the big pay-per-views of the year, Survivor Series, headlined by Chris Jericho defending his World title against the returning John Cena.

The show begins with the first elimination match, as Shawn Michaels, Cryme Time, the Great Khali and Rey Mysterio face JBL, MVP, John Morrison, the Miz and Kane. So can someone tell me how Khali became a fan favourite? It just doesn’t seem right. Anyway, back to the matter at hand. As an opener, it wasn’t too bad, with the eliminations coming early with MVP taking care of JTG, and Khali eliminating MVP seconds later. After the two big monsters of the match went at it for a while, Khali then helped Mysterio execute a big splash on Kane, eliminating the big red machine, giving Michaels’ team the one man advantage. Morrison and Miz then showed just why they’re considered the best team in WWE at the moment, with Miz soon taking Shad down with his reality check finisher. This brought Michaels into the match for the first time, which saw some very good exchanges with Miz and Morrison. Indeed, it was kind of fun to see Morrison emulate Michaels at times. A short time later, Miz was eliminated after a 619/top rope splash combination after some more great exchanges. It was then the masked man’s turn to take a dose of punishment, but after he countered JBL’s top rope back suplex attempt, he got the hot tag to Michaels, and after brawling with his nemesis at ringside, he managed to get back into the ring before JBL was counted out. Seconds later, HBK countered Morrison’s super kick with sweet chin music, giving the match to himself, Mysterio and Khali. Some good touches in this one, and once again Morrison really impressed me, but Khali as a fan favourite? Well, it certainly hasn’t improved his wrestling ability.

It’s the turn of the Divas next, as Smackdown’s Michelle McCool, Maryse, Victoria, Natalya and Maria take on Raw’s Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, Jillian Hall, Candice Michelle and Kelly Kelly. This one threatened to break down early, as Maryse and McCool began a cat fight after Maryse shoved her off the ring apron after she’d tagged herself into the ring. Again the eliminations came quickly, with Kelly pinning Victoria with a roll-up from a hurricanrana. Kelly herself was then eliminated immediately by Maryse after a back breaker. Some good transitions between McCool and James followed, with James pinning McCool after a DDT, and after Maria had inadvertently hit her captain while trying to break up a pin attempt. Again, the one getting the pin was soon eliminated herself, with Maryse pinning James with a roll-up. This brought Natalya into the ring for the first time, giving us the obligatory sharp shooter, on Candice Michelle, who came back to eliminate Natalya with a spear and a roll-up. Maria then took Jillian out with a victory roll, with Maria getting pinned immediately by Michelle with a bridge suplex. Maryse then came storming into the ring, applying a leg to Michelle which the Playboy cover girl tapped to. This left Maryse against Phoenix, with the Glamazon soon getting the pin with her glam slam finisher. I have to admit that this one didn’t exactly set my pulse racing. Some of the action was good, but there were quite a few sloppy moments here which spoiled things a little.

Then it’s on to the first singles match, with the Undertaker facing the Big Show in his speciality match, the casket match. The battle of the big men proved to be just as good as their previous encounters, and while it may not have been the most technical of matches, the hard-hitting action made up for it. Show’s fear of caskets was apparent from the start. The Spanish announce….I mean the ECW announce table came into play early, with the dead man leg dropping the big guy through it. Show’s fear surfaced soon afterwards when, having put the Undertaker in the casket, he refused to touch it and only did so when the referees told him that he himself had to close the thing to win the match. Of course, Taker was able to escape, and it wasn’t long before Show was in the casket himself. But after the big guy escaped, he turned the casket upside down, claiming that the match couldn’t continue because the casket was no longer in play. This brought some of the Undertaker’s faithful druid friends into play, as they brought a second casket onto the stage. More brawling between the two combatants followed, before the Undertaker was able to put Show into the second casket to win the match. Enjoyable stuff here.

The elimination matches return with Batista, R-Truth, C.M. Punk, Kofi Kingston and Matt Hardy against Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Shelton Benjamin, William Regal and Mark Henry. Oh well, I guess you can’t have everything. More quick eliminations here, with Punk taking Regal out with the GTS within seconds of the start. Lots of quick tags followed as the various superstars showed what they’ve got, before Benjamin took R-Truth out with a jumping DDT. The next man to go was Kingston, taken down by Orton after his DDT. Some good stuff between Punk and Rhodes followed, before Manu’s distraction allowed Rhodes to take Punk out with a DDT, giving the advantage to Team Orton four to two. Sadly, Henry came back into the match, and soon took Hardy down with the world’s strongest slam. But as he celebrated, Batista, the lone man on his team, took Henry out with a spear. Benjamin went next, courtesy of a Batista bomb, but as the animal was about to take Rhodes out with the same move, Orton got the blind tag, and took the big man down with the RKO. So finally the heels got their win in the elimination matches, with Orton and Rhodes as the survivors. Good stuff here, and thankfully Henry didn’t survive!

Main event time #1, the WWE title match. Originally it was meant to be a triple threat match between champion Triple H, Vladimir Koslov and Jeff Hardy. But with the mainstream media reporting that Hardy was found unconscious at his hotel, it became a singles match between Triple H and Koslov. Well, that’s what we thought we were getting. The match began normally, with some good mat wrestling between the Game and Koslov, which the fans, judging by their “boring” chants, didn’t seem to like at all, and although the match wasn’t spectacular, it was good with solid action throughout. But after Triple H had taken Koslov down with a pedigree, Smackdown general manager Vickie Guerrero appeared on the stage and announced that the match was now a triple threat match, introducing her old man, Edge, who quickly speared the champion. Seconds later Jeff Hardy, with a big bandage on his neck, came running down to the ring, taking out Triple H and Koslov with a steel chair before he was speared by Edge. Having taken care of Hardy, Edge then pinned Triple H to become the new champion. To be honest with you, I’m not really sure I like this outcome. The match between Triple H and Koslov was progressing nicely. But then again one of the best heels on the roster is now back, so I suppose we have to be grateful for something.

Main event time #2, with Chris Jericho defending the World title against the returning John Cena. Who would have thought that Cena would have returned this soon. Mind you, his last major injury layoff wasn’t as long as everyone thought it would be either. The storyline for this one was apparent from the beginning. From the opening bell Cena was concerned about his neck injury, with Jericho, the opportunist that he is, putting a bullseye on the injury, as well as taking advantage of Cena’s ring rust. Unlike the other singles matches on this show, you could get an emotional attachment to this match as you wondered if Cena had come back too soon. Jericho dominated, but whenever Cena was able to get any sort of momentum, Jericho quickly got the upper hand again. But having survived two Walls of Jericho, Cena kept mounting comebacks, with Jericho taking him down time and time again. But eventually, having tried to get Jericho to tap with the STFU, Cena finally took the champion down with the FU, getting the three count and title winning win seconds later. Although some might say otherwise, this was a very good match. Well executed from start to finish with a very good storyline.

In conclusion - this year’s version of the Survivor Series was a very enjoyable affair. The two main events, for the most part, were very good matches, as was the casket match, while two out of the three elimination matches really hit the button. However, the Divas match really failed to live up to expectation, although the expectation wasn’t really that high in the first place, and the re-introduction of Edge in the middle of a match really didn’t make any sense, and took away some of the heat that Vladimir Koslov had been building over the past few months. I’m hoping that this won’t be the case, because the big Russian has a hell of a lot of promise.