PPV REPORTS CALDWELL'S WWE SURVIVOR SERIES REPORT 11/23: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of John Cena vs. Chris Jericho (w/PICS on-site)
Nov 23, 2008 - 9:45:49 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist
WWE Survivor Series PPV Report
November 23, 2008
By James Caldwell, PWTorch columnist
Sean Radican checked in with the dark match of Brian Kendrick beating Kung Fu Naki with a roll-up. Funaki attacked Kendrick after the match, but Ezekiel made the save with a chokeslam.
Also, before the PPV started, Radican says Lillian got on the house mic and said that "according to ABC and TMZ," Jeff Hardy probably won't be on the PPV.
After the usual WWE intro, the PPV started with a look back at old school Survivor Series PPVs. Tonight, the tradition continues. Cue up a video package on John Cena standing in front of the TD Banknorth Garden Arena before transitioning into footage of Cena's severe neck injury at Summerslam. Tonight, he's back. They played footage of Chris Jericho playing the counter to Cena with the vow to hold the World Title over his head by the end of the night.
Ringside: They showed Jim Ross and Tazz to start the show. Tazz was sans sunglasses to make this look serious. Ross said various news sources including ABC, CNN, and TMZ have reported on Jeff Hardy's situation. He said Jeff Hardy was hospitalized earlier this morning, but he has been released. Ross said it's questionable whether Hardy will compete here tonight at the Survivor Series.
In-ring: Shawn Michaels came out first representing Team Michaels for the first traditional Survivor Series match. When was the last time Michaels opened a PPV? Crack research team assemble. Cryme Tyme came out, then Great Khali with Singh, followed by Rey Mysterio. Here we are nine minutes into the show with JBL coming out first for the heel team. He stepped out of the limo and an abrasive fan had the nerve to touch him on the shoulder. MVP, then Miz and Morrison, then Kane came out. All of the announcers got some airtime here to comment on the wrestlers from their brand.
1 -- TEAM MICHAELS - SHAWN MICHAELS & CRYME TYME (SHAD GASPAR & JTG) & REY MYSTERIO & GREAT KHALI (w/Singh) vs. TEAM JBL - JBL & THE MIZ & JOHN MORRISON & KANE & MVP
MVP was dominated forever, then he suddenly nailed JTG with the Chono boot to the head. MVP made the cover and JTG was done. Apparently MVP collects the bonus and we move on from the storyline? MVP celebrated a little early, then he turned around and took a big chop to the head from Khali. Khali with the boot on MVP's chest for the easy pin. Kane then stepped in and the two big men went after it. Kane accepted a chop to the head, then Rey tagged in, climbed Khali's shoulders, and Rey hit a splash on Kane for the not-believable three count on Kane three minutes into this deal.
Announcers have been relatively orderly so far - other than dated 1980s references - compared to previous six-man booths. Michael Cole proceeded to sound annoying while Miz & Morrison battled Shad, who eventually cleaned house until giving Miz a running powerslam for a nearfall. Miz then came right back with the Reality Check on Shad to score a pin for another elimination. So it's three-on-three now. Shawn Michaels decided to enter, setting up a Michaels vs. Miz battle. Michaels eventually found himself isolated from his corner, then Morrison nailed a flying forearm on Michaels before kipping up.
At 10:00, Morrison wanted a top rope elbow on Michaels, but Michaels moved in time. Rey then took a hot tag and cleaned house on Miz, who also tagged in. Rey snapped off a twisting huracanrana, then he dropkicked Miz clear across the ring to set up the 619. Rey went up top and nailed the leaping splash on Miz for the pin to grab another elimination. JBL then blind-tagged himself into the ring after Rey set up Morrison for the 619, and JBL knocked down Rey to begin working him over. Suddenly, there was a "You can't wrestle" chant. Not sure who it was directed at. JBL? Khali? Maybe it was like Kurt Angle playing babyface and the fans still chanting "You Suck" during his ring entrance.
We're at 15:00 now with JBL & Morrison vs. Rey & Khali & HBK. Michaels finally took a hot tag from Rey and he went after JBL after kipping up and giving Morrison a crotch chop gesture. Michaels then went up top for the top rope elbow, but JBL smartly rolled out of the way and went to the floor. Michaels simply readjusted and walked to the other side of the ring for a plancha onto JBL. Michaels and JBL started brawling, then Michaels teased Sweet Chin Music. JBL ran away, then Michaels ran back into the ring to beat the ten count back into the ring. JBL eliminated.
Morrison snuck into the ring and Michaels gave JBL a few crotch chops before turning around to duck a superkick from Morrison. Michaels then smashed Morrison with Sweet Chin Music and he covered Morrison for the pin to win for Team Michaels. Afterward, Khali, Rey, and Michaels had an awkward celebration with Singh leading the party. Oh Khali.
WINNERS: Team Michaels in 18:00. Basic opening match to get the babyfaces off on the right foot tonight. Not a whole lot going on here. (**1/4)
Announcers: Ross provided another recap of Jeff Hardy. Backstage, Eve brought in Triple H for his reaction to the Jeff Hardy situation. Hunter said everyone has their own opinion on this situation, so he doesn't need to touch on that. He said Jeff Hardy has scratched and clawed his way to get where he is, so even if he's not here tonight, Hardy will find a way to get back in the mix. So, even if Hardy isn't here tonight, they're back to what should have been the match of him vs. Vladimir Koslov. Hunter said Koslov has the nerves going on in his stomach right now. Tonight is a big night for Koslov and one that he won't soon forget. Hunter said there are a lot of firsts for Koslov tonight, including his first defeat.
In-ring: Time for the divas match. Smackdown came out first, represented by Divas champion Michelle McCool, Maryse, Maria, Victoria, and Natalya. Cole then excitedly introduced Beth Phoenix first to represent the Raw divas. Beth had Santino with her. Mickie James, Jillian Hall, Candice Michelle, and Kelly Kelly then rounded out the rest of the field.
2 -- SMACKDOWN DIVAS - Divas champion MICHELLE MCCOOL & MARYSE & VICTORIA & NATALYA & MARIA vs. RAW DIVAS - Women's champion BETH PHOENIX (w/Santino Marella) & MICKIE JAMES & CANDICE MICHELLE & JILLIAN HALL & KELLY KELLY
Here we go with Jerry Lawler back in form with his diva humor, followed by Michael Cole asking him about his own Survivor Series experience with Sleazy and Wheezy. A little 1994 Series reference against Doink's team. Smackdown divas had a little trouble communicating early on here. Not quite on the same page. Kelly Kelly then grappled Victoria and gave her a huracanrana for a three count to earn the first elimination. Maryse then entered the ring and gave Kelly a kinda spinning backbreaker for a "chest press" pin. Rough going here.
Crowd was quiet as Michelle and Mickie tried to pick up the pace in the ring. Mickie then finished off Michelle with a swinging DDT, eliminating Smackdown's captain. Suddenly, Mickie and Beth entered into a discussion and Maryse took advantage with a roll-up on Mickie for an elimination. Natalya and Candice battled, then Natalya busted out the Sharpshooter to get a reaction out of the crowd. Candice wanted the ropes, but Jillian ended up breaking up the hold. Natalya complained, then Candice speared Natalya and pinned her with a bridge.
At 7:00, Jillian gave Maria a fallaway slam, which fortunately only resulted in a two count. Otherwise, that would have just been far too many illogical pins in one match. Maria then came back on Jillian with a victory roll for a pin. Suddenly, Candice grappled Maria and scored a Northern Lights Suplex for the pin. So, it's Maryse left for Smackdown. She then applied a modified figure four, but Candice escaped. Tazz: "It was like a figure four leglock...but different."
Maryse then busted out a back heel kick on Beth, but it was good for a two count only. Maryse went for a top rope splash, but Beth caught her in mid-air. Maryse slipped out, but Beth grappled her for the chicken wing Glam Slam for the pin and the win. Naturally, Santino slipped into the ring to celebrate with Beth. He did the giant trumpet celebration, which led to commentary on probably what Jim Ross did after OU's victory over Tech last night.
WINNER: Team Beth in 10:00. That was pretty rough. Like an old school throwaway WWE cruiserweight battle royale of doom match with 18 pins in eight minutes. Just unrealistic pinfalls coupled with not-well-choreographed sequences. Beth was clearly the top diva in the ring tonight. (1/2*)
Backstage: Todd Grisham brought in ECW champion Matt Hardy to discuss Jeff's situation. Matt said he was with Jeff at the hospital all night. Not a lot of sleep. He said Jeff was hit in the back of the head with a blunt object, and his status is unknown for tonight. Matt said he wishes he could explain more, but he just doesn't know.
Video package: They aired a video on the Big Show vs. Undertaker build-up to their casket match. Ross then referenced Taker's WWE debut right here at the Survivor Series way back in 1990. Roddy Piper: "Holy caaaw! Check out the size of that!"
In-ring: Big Show came out first for the casket match. Cue up Undertaker's entrance just before the end of the first hour. It's been a long hour.
3 -- THE UNDERTAKER vs. BIG SHOW -- Casket match
Bell sounded and Taker nearly dumped Show into the casket like 20 seconds into this. Show managed to avoid the casket, then he tried to "run" away from Taker on the floor. Show managed to reverse a whip into the guardrail and Taker ate the padded wall. Show then cleared the ECW announce table to inflict some heavy damage, but Taker came back with a monitor shot to the head. He then placed Show on the ECW table and delivered a big momma leg drop that took Show through the table. Back in the ring, Show regained control to the point of putting Taker inside the casket. Taker was KO'ed, but the refs refused to close the casket. Show demanded they close it, but he was denied. Show then tried to slam the casket, but Taker stuck his leg out to block.
Back in the ring, Taker landed a leaping clothesline before warming up the train on the tracks for a big running clothesline in the corner. Taker then chokeslammed Show off the middle rope before calling for the casket to be opened. Taker then booted Show into the casket, but he wasn't in position to shut the lid. He then tried to close it, but Show blocked and pushed his way out of the casket. Show KO'ed Taker in the ring, then he walked over to the casket and tipped it over. He wanted nothing to do with it anymore, then Taker sat up in the ring and went down the entrance ramp.
Suddenly, pyro exploded on the entrance stage. Show went back to fighting Taker, then he started to leave again, but the druids music hit. The druids walked out on stage and dropped another casket down on the entrance stage. Apparently the back-up casket is legal. Who knows. Taker and Show battled on stage, then Taker whipped Show into the casket. Show fell down with the casket and the lid closed upon falling on the floor. Taker wins. Ross called it a "unique" casket match.
WINNER: Taker in 13:00. My goodness, that was rough. But, as always in life, remember to have a back-up casket just in case. (3/4*)
Video package: Triple H as Conan the Barbarian to promote the Armageddon PPV. This has been the least-exciting three-match start to a WWE PPV I can remember in some time.
Backstage: Bella Twins were getting dressed, then Carlito and Primo walked in. Carlito didn't know which one was which, then he approached Nikki. Oh no. Gobbledygooker back on the scene. Carlito and Primo assumed it was Charlie Haas. Suddenly, the real Charlie Haas stepped in. If he's there, then who's behind the gooker mask? The Boogeyman's music hit, then Boogeyman took off the gooker head to reveal a new facepaint look, but the same worms.
Backstage: Team Orton stood with Regal, Shelton, Cody, and Mark Henry for a pep talk. He's their captain. Oh captain. They have strengths (Henry) and weaknesses (Cody), and they are not losing to Batista's team. Just follow his lead. Cody then chimed in that if Orton is eliminated first, then it's addition by subtraction. Orton snapped on Cody and said if he loses this match, it will be the least of his worries.
In-ring: Batista came out first for Team Batista. R-Truth then rapped his way into the ring before giving a shout-out to Boston. Batista opted to do some stretching to play it cool. C.M. Punk, Kofi Kingston, and Matt Hardy then rounded out the field. The heels then came out, led by Randy Orton. We can end the speculation on Layla's job security since she accompanied Regal to the ring tonight.
4 -- TEAM BATISTA - BATISTA & K-TRUTH & ECW champion MATT HARDY & World tag team champions KOFI KINGSTON & C.M. PUNK vs. TEAM ORTON - RANDY ORTON & CODY RHODES (w/Manu) & MARK HENRY (w/Tony Atlas) & U.S. champion SHELTON BENJAMIN & IC champion WILLIAM REGAL (w/Layla)
Um... Punk grabbed Regal when the bell sounded and gave him the G2S for a pin. Punk barely connected with the G2S, but we'll ignore that. Layla didn't like that, so she chucked her shoe at Punk and nearly took his eye out. With Regal out of the picture, they settled into an exchange of offensive control between the two teams. R-Truth and Shelton battled, then Shelton nailed the Paydirt at 8:00 for a pin. Kofi tried to follow by getting high...with a top rope kick...but Shelton kicked out of a pin attempt. Kofi then came back with a boom-boom leg drop, but Shelton kicked out again.
Randy Orton made his entrance tonight, then he meticulously took apart Kofi before nailing the horizontal DDT off the middle rope for a pin on Kofi. Punk tagged in to work on Orton, but Cody tagged in. Punk tried to attack him from the top rope, but Manu provided a distraction allowing Cody to toss Punk off the top rope before nailing a DDT. Cody with the pin on Punk for an elimination. Hardy then tried to work on Henry, but Henry caught Hardy in mid-air for the World's Strongest Slam. Henry pinned Hardy at 15:00, leaving Batista by himself.
Batista stormed the ring and speared Henry for a pin. Shelton then accepted a spinebuster before taking a Batistabomb for the pin. So, it's Orton and Cody vs. Batista. Cody ran right into a big boot, then took a clothesline to the throat. Batista followed with a powerslam before talking trash to Orton. Cody tried a DDT, but then he took a Batistatbomb. Orton blind-tagged Cody, though, then Orton snuck into the ring from behind and stalked Batista. Orton waited and waited, then Batista turned around and took the RKO. Crowd popped for the first time all match. Orton then pinned Batista for the win.
WINNERS: Team Orton in 17:00. Another hit-or-miss match before getting down to business at the end. Orton has a certain quality to him right now where fans are gravitating toward him. His character is fresh after being away from the ring for a while and fans are seeing something new to invest in. Good finish. (**1/2)
Backstage: Eve brought in Vladimir Koslov for some words on Jeff Hardy not in the ring tonight. Koslov began speaking in his language before saying I love Double Double W. Okay, he didn't say that. Koslov said it makes no difference. He will be WWE champion.
Announcers: Ross and Tazz were shown to talk about Hardy some more. Ross said that they found out Hardy will not be able to compete tonight, making it Hunter vs. Koslov one-on-one match tonight. Ross then rolled footage of the WWE Title video package after prefacing it that the video focuses mainly on Hardy.
In-ring: Koslov came out first for the WWE Title match. Ross did a fine job setting the stage of what's at stake for Koslov in his PPV debut in a title match no less. After a lengthy pause, Triple H's music hit and out walked the WWE champion. Ross was just short of labeling this undefeated, yet inexperienced Texas Tech going up against the experienced Oklahoma.
5 -- WWE champion TRIPLE H vs. VLADIMIR KOSLOV -- WWE Title match
Justin Roberts handled the formal ring intros, then Koslov pointed at the belt and said it's coming home. Nice pre-match build to this. The bell sounded and they went into a slow progression with mat-based wrestling. Fans, meanwhile, chanted for Jeff Hardy. Fans were not in the mood for a slow-developing match, but Hunter kept trying to establish a deliberate pace in the early going. Hunter then landed a DDT at 4:00 before teeing off with straight right hand blows. Hunter wanted to end it with the Pedigree, but Koslov escaped and hit the battering ram headbutt.
Koslov then went on the offensive attack with a mat-based attack that generated a second or third round of "boring" chants from the crowd. Koslov snapped off a few backbreakers before landing a powerslam for a two count. Koslov's pin attempts look so light with no aggression involved. At 11:00, the fans tried to muster a chance for Hardy, but they were too far taken out of the match. Tazz then "went on record" that Koslov will win the title tonight. Kiss of death there. Hunter finally escaped Koslov's grip and hit the Pedigree at 12:00, but he was too worn out to make a cover.
Suddenly, the fans came to life as Vickie Guerrero walked out on stage. She said this will be a triple threat match. "Triple threat!" She said he's here. He's here! Fans popped huge, thinking it was Hardy, but then Edge came out. He was all bearded out looking like Bruiser Brody. I love the new Edge look. Of course, this whole thing is low IQ booking because the match could have ended anytime in the last 12 minutes. Then again, anything to save this. Edge stormed the ring, then he waited and waited before dropping Hunter with a spear. Suddenly, Jeff Hardy stormed the ring in street clothes and the crowd went nuts. Hardy assaulted Edge, then he grabbed a chair to crack Edge, but Edge ducked and Hunter ate the chair. Koslov ate the chair, then Edge speared Hardy. Edge found the scraps and covered Hunter for the pin and the win to re-capture the WWE Title. Edge then stood on stage with Vickie after the match while medics tended to Hardy and Hunter in the ring.
WINNER: Edge in 14:00 to capture the WWE Title. Crowd popped huge for Edge's title victory because they just wanted to see anything but what was happening in the ring. Crazy finish featuring low IQ mid-match stipulation changes, but the advertised Jeff Hardy appearance and an unexpected bombshell appearance from Edge. Wash it out. Edge, with a great new look, is new champ. Hunter back on the chase. (**)
Video package: They re-aired the summary video on the build-up to Cena vs. Jericho to be played out tonight. ... In-ring: Chris Jericho came out first for his World Title defense in the PPV main event. After a pause, John Cena came out to a huge reaction sporting his new AWA-looking merchandise with HLT - Hustle, Loyalty Respect. Cena was introduced first to about 90 percent cheers. Jericho was booed heavily in the formal intros. Radican confirms: "Wow, 90 percent face reaction for Cena." Here we go.
6 -- World Hvt. champion CHRIS JERICHO vs. JOHN CENA -- World Title match
After a quick feeling-out process, Cena teased the FU, but Jericho slipped out. Cena then took his first bump on the back of his head, then he dropped out of the ring selling a touch of panic after taking a blow on the neck. Cena regrouped then went back into the ring where he teased an STFU. Jericho easily slipped out, then Cena smiled in Jericho's direction. The action moved to the floor where Jericho KO'ed Cena on the floor. Ref Kiota checked on Cena, who sold a neck injury without moving. Cena was still out cold at seven. Not even moving. Eight, he was up. Nine, he was at his knees. Just before ten, he jumped into the ring.
Jericho then quickly dumped Cena to the floor again to inflict more damage. Back in the ring, Jericho worked and worked on Cena's surgically-repaired neck with a mat-based attack focused on the upper neck. Cena tried to come back at 12:00, but Jericho countered with a bulldog. Jericho then teased the Lionsault, but Cena came back with a sit-out slam. He then did his customary stare into the audience before calling for the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Jericho blocked, however, and slapped on the Walls of Jericho with his knee bent right into Cena's neck. Such a smart move. Cena escaped.
At 15:00, Jericho went back to the Walls of Jericho, this time sitting down in Boston Crab fashion. Lawler started to play up doubt that maybe Cena came back to the ring too fast, but then Cena reached out and grabbed the ropes for a break. Jericho then chatted with ref allowing Cena to suddenly bust out the FU in center ring. He was too out of it to capitalize, though, so both men recovered on the mat. Cena finally made a cover, but it was only good for a two count. He then nailed a guillotine leg drop from the second rope before pumping up the crowd.
Cena wanted the FU, but Jericho slipped out. He then smashed Cena with the codebreaker. Jericho crawled over for a pin, but Cena kicked out just in time. Big crowd reaction for that. Jericho then taunted and prodded Cena to do something. Lawler drew attention to the surgical scarring on Cena's neck where Jericho was targeting with clotheslines. Jericho wanted another clothesline, but Cena suddenly side-stepped him and slapped on the STFU. Jericho scratched and crawled to the bottom rope, but Cena pulled him back to center ring. Jericho kicked him in the face, though, to break the hold. Jericho almost got a roll-up, but Cena did a great deadlift from a squatting position to hoist Jericho on his shoulders. Jericho tried to slip out, but Cena nailed the FU in center ring. He made the cover and cored the three count for the win. "Oh man, bedlam here," Radican said.
After Cena soaked in the moment, they showed Cena, Sr. on the front row. Cena then jumped out of the ring and walked over to the front row to hug it up with his dad and family/friends. With time to kill, they replayed the highlights of the match. Cena then returned to the ring to celebrate and pose one more time. Cena was shown leaving the ringside area and walking up on the entrance ramp to pose with the World Title belt one more time.
WINNER: Cena in 21:00 to capture the WWE Title. When ratings are dipping below 3.0, you pull the trigger on doing something new with Cena running the Raw brand. We'll see if they can bolster ratings over the long-haul, more than just tomorrow night to pop a quick rating with people tuning in to see how Survivor Series played out. Cena back on TV to set up a re-match with Jericho could deliver the quality TV that WWE needs on a weekly basis Monday nights. Match itself was good, but not great. Memorable, but for the title change, not necessarily the match. (***1/2)
Pics credit: Sean Radican, PWTorch.com
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