How about that? Day Four and I haven’t broken stride yet. This is promising. So far I’ve neither JMS’d this series nor Billy Gunn’d it. Let’s celebrate with the Gobbledy Gooker.
Now onto the list.
17) SURVIVOR SERIES 1989
Date: November 23, 1989
Era: Hogan Era
Location: Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois
Known as: That one where the Ultimate Warrior takes out Andre the Giant in under half a minute
Elimination Matches: 5 out of 5
It’s simple math, really. If you have 40 wrestlers at your disposal, you can make four huge matches with ten men each in teams of five. That’s great, but doing a PPV of only four matches does seem pretty unimpressive. Scramble the numbers around and you can do teams of four and fit it into five matches. That’s more like it! The stories going on for this show are mostly about the feuds between the Warrior and Bobby Heenan’s stable of wrestlers as well as Hogan/Beefcake and Savage/Zeus. Ah, yes. The days when No Holds Barred was turned into a wrestling angle. Funny how Zeus never did win a single match.
Things begin with a montage of work being put into the arena with the ring being put together and everything else being set up. Then we get the perfect intro to any Thanksgiving-based wrestling show, followed by Vince McMahon being so damn excited that you can’t help but being taken in.
Also a good use of the Thanksgiving gimmick is Ted Dibiase talking about what his opponents will have to be thankful for. Demolition will be thankful that they might be able to walk after the match is over. Jake Roberts will be thankful that he can drive home a loser without and bad traffic. Hogan will be thankful that Zeus will destroy him fast. The Genius even gets in on things by coming out and reading a poem about how people should be thankful for how smart and talented he is.
There’s a lot of goings on with the upcoming Hogan/Beefcake vs. Savage/Zeus match to blow off their feud. This includes backstage promos from both sides, but when Hogan is ranting and raving in the locker room, Sherri appears and screams while throwing powder in their faces. Savage and Zeus run in to attack them as the other wrestlers try to pull them apart. There are other zany interviews, like the pure insanity that is Ultimate Warrior yanking down on Anvil’s goatee and playing with his sunglasses while Anvil tries to talk to the camera. Or one where Mr. Perfect and Rick Rude look to each other out of outright confusion over whatever it is the Rougeaus are trying to convey in their speech (ie. saying “Snuka” sounds like a chocolate bar). But in terms of insanity, my favorite part has to be Roddy’s Rowdies, where Piper is somehow the sanest man in the room.
Our opening contest is The Dream Team (“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, Tito Santana and the Red Rooster) vs. the Enforcers (Big Boss Man, Bad News Brown, “The Model” Rick Martel and Honky Tonk Man). Akeem was supposed to be one of the Enforcers, but Bad News had to replace him due to injury. It starts with Tito taking it to Honky Tonk Man until Honky Tonk sneaks in a kick and tags Martel. The match has a really strong beginning as Tito vs. Martel and later Boss Man vs. Dusty are total blasts to watch. Also, I just want to mention how naturally awesome it is to name a team with Dusty and Beefcake on it “The Dream Team”.
The Red Rooster is in peril, gets a hot tag and we’re back to Tito going after his former tag partner Rick Martel. Tito rolls him up for a pin, Martel pushes the momentum so he’s the one holding Tito down, grabs the tights and sneaks in a pin. Rooster gets back in there and becomes a punching bag yet again. Boss Man bearhugs him while Bad News stands on the apron, yelling at specific members of the crowd, even pointing them out to Martel as he refuses to pay attention. Rooster escapes the hold and sends Boss Man into the corner, where he accidentally tags Bad News. Rooster pulls Bad News into the ring, which only pisses him off and causes Bad News to kick the crap out of Rooster. Ventura points out that for a guy who hates everybody, Bad News is doing pretty good in a team situation. Then Boss Man comes in, Bad News holds up the Rooster, Rooster moves out of the way and Boss Man accidentally punches Bad News right in the face. Bad News gets pissed off and storms off to the back, allowing himself to get counted out.
Normally, I’d love that. It’s great characterization for the heel among heels to walk away so easily. The problem is that they just did this a year ago! Survivor Series 88 has the EXACT SAME SPOT and the commentators pretend not to even notice!
Beefcake gets hurt a bit by Honky Tonk Man, but makes a comeback and takes him out with a jumping knee to the face. Still a silly way to lose a match, in my opinion. A few minutes later, Martel tries to sit down onto Beefcake and pin him while holding the ropes, but the ref sees it and calls him out on it. Martel puts his hands up, Beefcake hooks his arms, pulls him down and pins Martel. Red Rooster is tagged in, Boss Man realizes it’s way too late for Rooster to still be active in this match and puts him down with a Boss Man Slam. A minute later, Dusty beats Boss Man with a crossbody of all moves. Boss Man gets his nightstick and beats on Dusty post-match until Brutus makes the save.
Other than the annoying Bad News repeat spot, it’s a well-booked match, but there are lots of parts where it feels like nothing’s happening and makes it feel kind of boring.
Next we have the 4x4s (“Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, “Rugged” Ronnie Garvin, Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Hercules) vs. the King’s Court (“Macho King” Randy Savage, Canadian Earthquake, Dino Bravo and Greg “The Hammer” Valentine). It’s worth noting that Earthquake is a replacement for “The Widow Maker” Barry Windham. It’s still weird to me how they split up the Hart Foundation at this PPV to put each member on a different face team. Anyway, the 4x4s run in with their 2x4s and clear the ring. Hacksaw finds Savage on the outside, beats on him a bit and throws him into the ring. The faces have their fun working over Savage until Hercules makes the mistake of throwing Savage into the corner where his partners await. There are a lot of tags and a lot of back and forth and something gives when Hercules throws Dino Bravo around, sets him up in the corner, runs right at him and misses. Dino tags Earthquake, who performs the Earthquake Splash and gives his team the 4-on-3 advantage.
Hacksaw decides to fight Earthquake with brute force and starts delivering multiple shoulderblocks. It does wobble Earthquake, but it isn’t until Bret comes in and kneels behind Earthquake that he finally trips and falls down. Rivals Garvin and Valentine go at it and Valentine tries to procure the Figure Four. Garvin kicks Valentine off of him, gets the tag to Hacksaw without Valentine noticing and Valentine runs right into one of Hacksaw’s running clotheslines. He’s pinned and the score evens up. Garvin is brought in and sets his sights on Dino Bravo. The place goes completely nuts when Garvin delivers the Garvin Stomp all around Dino’s body. Unfortunately, Garvin then runs into a Side Suplex and is pinned, though he does show enough struggle that it looks like he almost kicks out.
Hey, you know what’s totally rad? Randy Savage wrestling against Bret Hart. That era needed more of that. Bret ends up on the receiving end of a lot of punishment, especially after Earthquake is brought in. Savage accidentally hits Dino instead of Bret, allowing the Hitman to get the hot tag to Hacksaw. The faces mount a comeback, but it ends when Bret returns to the ring. He misses a running shoulder and nails the corner instead of Dino. Dino follows with a shoulder breaker, tags in Savage, Savage does a top-rope elbow and Bret is done. Hacksaw is somehow able to outsmart every one of the heels, holds his own and even clears the ring. Then Sherri pulls down the top rope, Hacksaw runs over it, falls hard onto the outside and finds himself counted out. He gets his post-match revenge by grabbing his 2×4 and clobbering the survivors with it.
It doesn’t come off in my writing, but this is another example where the match went on a little too long for the talent involved. I think that’s a good microcosm of the show itself. The booking is completely sound on paper, but there aren’t enough skilled and exciting guys who can keep up the adrenaline.
Next up and surprisingly not the main event is the Hulkamaniacs (Hulk Hogan, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Ax and Smash) vs. the Million Dollar Team (“Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase, Zeus, Warlord and Barbarian). You would think Zeus would have been on Savage’s team, but I guess Dibiase’s money is the reasoning for the switch. Then again, why is it Hogan vs. Dibiase to begin with? Their feud has been over for over a year and they no longer have anything to do with each other. I guess they want a safe captain to job to Hogan rather than blow their all-so-important cage match with Savage and Zeus.
The heels initially won’t let the faces even enter the ring… until Jake sends them packing by throwing Damien in there. At first it looks like it’s going to be Jake vs. Zeus, but Zeus demands Hogan. Jake tags him in and Hogan can’t do anything against Zeus. Punches, jumping knees, eye rakes, bodyslams and more do nothing. Zeus simply stands back up. Hogan bounces off the ropes and takes a kick to the back from the Barbarian. Zeus then strangles Hogan. When the ref tries to stop it, Zeus shoves him. Zeus is disqualified.
The faces each take it to Dibiase, including a fun bit where Hogan joins in on the spot where Demolition punch down on their opponent in unison. There’s a very sloppy moment where Ax fights back against the Warlord, runs across the ropes, is tripped by Mr. Fuji, gets elbow dropped by Warlord and is pinned. Great to see that the super-strong tag champs can be taken out by an elbow drop. The circumstances for his partner’s elimination is far better, at least. While Smash takes it to Dibiase, Barbarian blind tags the team captain. Smash catches Dibiase and Stun Guns him into the top rope. He tries the pin, but the ref won’t count. He gets up and the Barbarian nails him with a top-rope clothesline. He’s pinned and we’re down 3-to-2.
Jake comes in and quickly tries a DDT on Barbarian, but he’s backdropped. Roberts spends a lengthy stay in the ring, being teamed up on by the three heels. It isn’t until Barbarian misses a top-rope headbutt that Jake is able to tag out to Hogan. Hogan’s fire doesn’t last too long and the Powers of Pain double-team him, culminating in a spiked piledriver. The ref doesn’t approve of all this double-teaming and has them disqualified. So just as a reminder, three of the four heels in this match have been disqualified for beating up Hogan too much. Dibiase doesn’t waste time and puts Hogan in the Million Dollar Dream. Hogan always seems to be nice enough to sell this move, probably out of personal respect for Dibiase, so it’s Jake who makes the save from Hogan’s arm dropping the third time.
A moment later, Dibiase tries the Dream one more time, but Hogan backs him into the corner out of desperation. He makes a hot tag to Jake, who is still hurt, but is in better shape than Hogan at this point. Jake beats on Dibiase until Virgil appears on the apron. Jake pulls him in and DDTs him. When Jake lands the move, Dibiase performs a falling punch, puts his feet on the ropes and pins him. Rather than go for his super-powerful finisher, Dibiase goes for a regular, old fashioned chinlock on Hogan. Hogan fights his way out and the two clothesline each other. Dibiase gets up and hits Hogan with a belly-to-back suplex, but it’s about time for Hogan to Hulk Out, hit the boot, the legdrop and pin him. After that, I hope you like Hogan posing for far too long because that’s all you’re going to get.
We have Roddy’s Rowdies (“Rowdy” Roddy Piper, “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka, Butch and Luke) vs. Rude’s Brood (“Ravishing” Rick Rude, Mr. Perfect, Jacques Rougeau and Raymond Rougeau). Heenan doesn’t accompany Rude, probably based on having to compete later in the night, though Ventura suggests some kind of argument. Perfect jumps Luke at the beginning and ends up being bitten by each member of the Rowdies. Moments later, Jacques is in there getting bounced around by Snuka, who does his Superfly Splash and pins the destined Mountie. Perfect is again cursed with bad luck when Rude accidentally holds down the top rope and causes Perfect to fall out of the ring. The faces bring him back in and take turns making him oversell everything they do. Perfect is able to get a moment’s rest by tagging Raymond, but Raymond’s attempt to backdrop Piper is met with a piledriver and an elimination. Welp, back to Perfect being a punching bag.
Butch is brought in, bites Perfect on the butt, taunts the crowd and then gets rolled up for a pin. Whoops. Piper runs in and tries to take advantage with a quick rollup, but no dice. Perfect tags out and Rude faces Luke. Their exchanges lead to a surprise Rude Awakening on Luke and he’s pinned. Now it’s down to 2-on-2. Snuka is the face in peril with Perfect as the one in the ring when Superfly is able to briefly fight back. The two tag their partners at the same time, causing the place to explode. Piper vs. Rude is fun while it lasts, but before it can be truly great, they tumble out of the ring and end up being counted out. That leaves us with Perfect and Snuka.
Perfect works circles around Snuka, but it’s still enjoyable to watch. There are a lot of nearfalls, including Perfect trying to use the tights for leverage, but even that won’t do it. He finally gets the opening he’s been looking for when Snuka ducks down for a backdrop and Perfect delivers the Perfect Plex for the pin. Snuka attacks him after the match and tries for a Superfly Splash on the Genius, but Perfect drags his manager out of the ring and they make a run for it. Easily the best match of the night, not only because of the guys involved, but because Perfect’s survival makes him a more compelling underdog than Hogan and has a heel factor of, “Why won’t this man just lose?!”
Our main event is the Ultimate Warriors (Ultimate Warrior, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty) up against the Heenan Family (Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, Andre the Giant, Haku and Arn Anderson). Yeah, Tully Blanchard was supposed to have Heenan’s spot, but he took a powder. This is a sad match to watch for Andre, as he’s too broken down to do anything by this point and his appearances only get by through his name. Kind of like how the current WWE would try to pretend that Bret Hart can compete in a real match, Andre experienced the same kind of weak smoke and mirrors. After all, the following Wrestlemania would feature him losing a tag match without even tagging in.
Heenan’s team doesn’t even get an entrance. They’re just in the ring as the faces come out. Anvil and the Rockers come in before Warrior and go on the attack before the match is officially started. Andre kills all three of them until the Warrior finally makes his entrance to no music, hits Andre with three running clotheslines and knocks him out of the ring, where Andre is out cold and gets counted out. This does more or less take the drama out of the match, as we now have Ultimate Warrior and his three partners vs. a lone tag team wrestler, a midcarder and a manager. About a minute later, Andre staggers to his feet and gets mad when he’s told he has to leave. Lot of unintelligible yelling.
Anvil has to juggle fighting Anderson and Haku again and again. When in the ring with Haku, he runs across the ropes and hops over Haku, just as Anderson comes into the ring. Anvil hits him and sends him tumbling out, but while he’s focused on that, Haku gets up and delivers a thrust kick to the back of Anvil’s head. Anvil is pinned. Haku and Anderson try a double suplex on Jannetty, but Michaels is there to catch his partner and bring him to safety. The heels turn around and get superkicked by both Rockers. Humorously, when Haku is back to beating up Jannetty, he tags in Heenan, Jannetty punches him in the gut and Heenan tags back out. Then we have an elimination that is weird to me. Jannetty runs into Anderson’s knee on the apron, gets a Haku superkick to the face and kicks out. Then Heenan is tagged in, stomps on him, gives him a kneedrop and… pins him? Really? I guess they really needed to make this match look even.
Haku misses a second-rope crossbody on Michaels. Michaels climbs to the top and hits his own crossbody, which eliminates Haku. Now we’re down to the Ultimate Warrior and Shawn Michaels vs. Arn Anderson and Bobby Heenan. Just… just take a second and reflect on how fucking weird that is. Anderson is pissed that Heenan won’t tag in, so it’s up to him to carry the workload. Anderson and Michaels end up colliding into each other and both go down. They get to their knees and start brawling. There’s a fantastic series of exchanges with good counters until Anderson crushes him with a spinebuster and pins him. The next couple minutes are dedicated to Anderson working over Warrior, as he countered one of Warrior’s clotheslines by throwing him out of the ring and has been able to hold the advantage ever since. Every time Warrior gets his adrenaline going, Anderson is able to beat him back down. Finally, Warrior is able to send Anderson right into Heenan, gives him a Gorilla Press, follows with a splash and pins him.
The final moments of the match have Warrior sneaking around to scare the hell out of Heenan. Heenan bounces around like a rubber ball as Warrior gives him his comeuppance. He tries to leave, but he can’t escape. Warrior hits a shouldertackle, a splash and pins him. As Warrior celebrates being the sole survivor, Heenan slowly staggers his way back to the entrance. Warrior runs to the back and clotheslines Heenan from behind just because. After the PPV highlights are shown, it goes back to a shot of Heenan’s broken body lying on the floor.
The show gives us one really good match and four matches that are simply average at best and slightly below average at worst. If anything, this is probably the least memorable of all the Survivor Series shows.
16) SURVIVOR SERIES 2005
Date: November 27, 2005
Era: Cena Era
Location: Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan
Known as: That one that was the prototype for Bragging Rights
Elimination Matches: 1 out of 6
In a time where Smackdown and Raw would get their own separate PPVs, the company decided to use Survivor Series as an excuse to bring them together and battle it out. On one hand, it is, like mentioned above, a prototype for Bragging Rights. On the other hand, the show is a subtle ten year anniversary reference to the 95 Series where they had the Wild Card match where faces and heels would team up to wrestle faces and heels. It’s fitting in other ways, like how Michaels is there, there’s a guy aping Razor Ramon’s style and Bobby Lashley has the exact same role as Ahmed Johnson.
It’s pretty in the middle in terms of quality. The video packages are top notch, especially with the setup for Triple H vs. Ric Flair and the neat intro video that keeps talking about, “Why we survive.” There’s a good moment backstage where Randy Orton (who is a replacement for the late Eddie Guerrero) goes into why he should be the captain of Team Smackdown, getting him in trouble with the somewhat injured Batista. Edge comes out to announce his new in-ring talk show “The Cutting Edge” and wastes a lot of time by making fun of baseball player Dmitri Young in the stands. One of the cooler moments is the pre-match footage before the main event, where both teams walk around backstage and have their respective locker rooms cheering them on.
The stupidest backstage segment, and the one this show is a bit infamous for, is when Vince McMahon talks to Eric Bischoff. Bischoff is excited about his impending victory over Teddy Long, Angle’s impending victory over Cena and how Raw will beat Smackdown. Cena appears and makes fun of him to the point that Bischoff leaves in a huff. Vince then greets Cena and with a big smile calls him his ni… Well, he calls him a word that starts with N that he shouldn’t have used. The big punchline is Booker T walking nearby and saying, “Tell me he didn’t just say that!” Come on, Booker. Tell me YOU didn’t just say that to Hogan!
Our opener is a promising one with Booker T vs. Chris Benoit. It’s the first round in their Best of Seven Series for the United States Championship. Their series of matches in WCW were so fun that it was only natural to redo it for the more modern crowd. I’m sad to say that this may be the worst Benoit match I’ve ever seen. It begins with Benoit and Booker having a lot of slow, raw grappling with a lot of modified moves. They can’t get any real rhythm down and it’s hard to get into.
Booker maintains control for most of the match. His attempt at a vertical suplex is turned into two consecutive German Suplexes from Benoit, but Booker then fights his way out and punishes Benoit with a sidekick. Benoit mounts a comeback shortly after and this time hits all three Germans. Benoit goes to the top and Sharmell distracts him. Booker hits Benoit and tries for a superplex, but Benoit headbutts him off and goes for a diving headbutt. He misses, Booker rolls him up, puts his legs on the rope in a way that gives him no real leverage and he gets the win. Maybe it’s just me, but that was surprisingly hard to watch for a Benoit match. And not in the usual reason why it’s hard to watch a Benoit match.
With her biggest fan Mickie James in her corner, Trish Stratus defends the WWE Women’s Championship against Melina, who has Nitro and Mercury in her corner. Pretty good match here. Trish runs in and delivers an immediate Lou Thesz Press, then performs a splash off the top rope to the outside onto Nitro and Mercury. Fittingly, Melina takes over thanks to a botched move. Melina hits a pretty sweet kick on Trish and then exits the ring to fight with Mickie on the outside. This is to distract the ref so that Nitro and Mercury can knock out Trish with the Snapshot, but the ref catches them before it’s too late and sends them to the back. Outside, Mickie catches Melina by surprise with a Spear.
Trish grabs Melina and tries to take her out with Stratusfaction, but she’s shoved off, grabbed by the hair and given an X-Factor. Melina climbs to the top rope, but Trish springs up and delivers a hurricanrana. Melina appears to have things scouted beyond that, able to both dodge a Chick Kick and block another attempt at Stratusfaction. Trish is placed onto the apron and Mickie pulls her to the side to save her from one of Melina’s rushing attacks. Trish performs a botched bulldog off the top rope and pins her. One of the things that really makes the match fun to watch outside of the (mostly) quality performances is how the commentators Joey Styles and Tazz are completely at each other’s throats.
One of the better matches of the night is Triple H vs. Ric Flair in a Last Man Standing Match. From the start, Triple H attacks Flair on the ramp and discards Flair’s Intercontinental Championship belt. He grabs a chair and begins to stalk Flair, only to find Flair ready with a kendo stick in hand. They brawl into the crowd and Triple H starts to win out with a vertical suplex on the outside. It gets back into the ring and we get one of the grossest spots I’ve seen in any no-DQ match. Triple H pulls out a screwdriver and keeps scraping it deep into Flair’s skull. It’s fucking disgusting and hard to watch, especially when Flair starts flooding the ring with his blood.
The fight goes back to the outside where Flair gets a brief moment of reprieve by whipping Triple H into the steps. Triple H gets back in control with a spinebuster. Then he grabs a microphone and verbally taunts Flair until Flair grabs him by the nuts. Triple H escapes by hitting Flair in the head with the mic. He sets up a Pedigree on one of the announce tables, but Flair backdrops him through a neighboring table. Triple H is counted by the ref, only to stand back up at the count of 9. Triple H punishes Flair some more in the ring and prepares to hit him with a chair, but thinks better of it. He instead sets up for a Pedigree on that chair. Again, Flair fights back by punching him in the crotch and smashes him with the chair. He goes to town on Triple H for the first time in the match, biting his head, punching him in the crotch repeatedly, slamming his groin into the corner post, clipping his knee and even hitting Triple H’s knee with the chair. He puts him in the Figure Four while grabbing the ropes for leverage and succeeds in making Triple H tap, but that’s not how winning the match works.
Triple H gets his second wind and throws the steps into the ring. He runs at Flair with the steps in hand, but gets tripped with a drop toehold and almost gets counted down yet again. He gets up and has Flair chopping his chest. Triple H decides he’s had enough of this bullshit and delivers a Pedigree. Flair get up before the 10-count. He gets a second Pedigree. Flair gets up before the 10-count again! A third Pedigree! Flair still won’t stay down! It takes a sledgehammer shot to the head and finally Flair has nothing left in him. This is notable for being Triple H’s first Survivor Series victory despite being around for over ten years.
John Cena defends the WWE Championship against Kurt Angle with Daivari as the special referee. This is probably one of the better uses of the heel referee. During this feud, they push the annoyance level with Kurt Angle because a lot of the crowd cheers him over Cena. Even bleeping out the, “YOU SUCK!” chants at the entrance does little to prevent the rabid hatred of Cena at this show. Cena and Angle have a lot of great chemistry and bring out the best in each other. They do some mat wrestling to start it off and when Angle escapes the ring, Daivari gets in Cena’s way to stop him from pursuit. Cena has a big spurt of offense, but Daivari refuses to go for the pin. Angle puts Cena in the Angle Lock and even though he gets out, it still looks pretty dire. I mean, if Daivari won’t even make a count for Cena, how is he going to win?
Cena slaps the taste out of Daivari’s mouth. Daivari is shocked and his anger is only met with repeated slaps. Angle frantically has to stop him from making the disqualification, since that won’t net him the title. Cena shoves the two out of the ring, knocking Daivari out. The match continues without the crooked ref and it’s pretty damn good. Despite the hate from the crowd, Cena taunts and hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle. He prepares for the FU, but Angle clotheslines the newer referee. He delivers a nutshot to Cena, calls out a new ref, does the Angle Slam and goes for the pin. Cena kicks out. Angle does a superplex. Kickout. He misses a moonsault from the top. Cena sets up the FU, but when on Cena’s shoulders, Angle grabs onto the third ref, gets himself back on his feet and uppercuts the poor guy.
Angle revives Daivari and tries to stop referee Charles Robinson from entering the battle. Cena uses the distraction to grab Daivari and put him out again with a DDT. Angle grabs at Cena, it’s reversed into an FU and he’s pinned.
And now for something really hard to watch. To promote the Raw vs. Smackdown feel of the PPV, we have Eric Bischoff vs. Teddy Long. Long is accompanied by his associate Palmer Cannon. Heh. Remember that guy? Long dances circles around Bischoff and taunts him with the Karate Kid crane kick stance. Cannon backs him up on the apron by applauding him and doing the same stance, causing the ref to walk over and yell at him. Bischoff uses the diversion to strangle Long with his belt. The crowd is already chanting, “BORING!” and I can’t blame them, especially when Bischoff already breaks out the sleeper hold. When the ref isn’t looking, Long breaks free by hitting Bischoff with a shoe. Although it’s only five minutes, it feels like fifteen, but finally we drive towards the end. The lights go red in the arena and the Boogeyman comes out. Bischoff backs into him, gets strangled and endures a Pumphandle Slam. Long gets the pin and it’s a win for Smackdown. The ref didn’t see that whole Boogeyman thing because… oh, who cares.
The main event is Team Raw (“The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels, Kane, the Big Show, Carlito and “The Masterpiece” Chris Masters) vs. Team Smackdown (Randy Orton, Batista, Rey Mysterio, John Bradshaw Layfield and Bobby Lashley). Another great match. Michaels and Orton begin things by shoving and slapping each other around, but it gets pretty cool once Masters and Lashley have a strong-man showdown. Masters keeps running into Lashley, who won’t budge, and then runs right into a powerslam. Masters goes for the Masterlock, but he can’t lock it on correctly and can’t put him away. Lashley proceeds to hold both Carlito and Michaels under his thumb when they make runs at him. He hits the Dominator on each of them, but Kane sneaks in a chokeslam from the apron and Michaels makes the pin. Still a strong debut.
Masters and Kane dominate Rey while the commentators get extra aggressive and loud against each other. Batista is the weakest part of this match as he has zero mobility. He somehow clears the ring while Rey delivers the 619 on Kane. Batista gives Kane a spinebuster and pins him. He turns around and receives a chokeslam courtesy of Big Show. Batista kicks out. The angry Kane and Big Show do a double chokeslam on Batista and mercifully put him away. Glad they got rid of him early, since he’s seen better days.
Big Show goes to town on the Smackdown team until Randy pulls down the top rope and Big Show tumbles to the outside. Big Show is fed a Clothesline from Hell, 619, RKO a second Clothesline from Hell and a West Coast Pop to make sure he stays down for the pin. Carlito attacks Rey and keeps him down with a chinlock. Rey tags to JBL unbeknownst to Carlito, so that while Carlito sets up the Overdrive on Rey, JBL annihilates him with the Clothesline from Hell. Carlito’s eliminated. A couple minutes after, Rey gives Masters a 619 and a springboard legdrop to send him packing as well. He hits yet another 619, this time on Michaels, who oversells the hell out of it. Rey’s West Coast Pop is intercepted with Sweet Chin Music and Rey is pinned. Mere seconds later, Michaels ducks a Clothesline from Hell and knocks out JBL with Sweet Chin Music. One pin later and we’re down to Michaels vs. Orton as our final two.
The fans are chanting, “WE WANT TAKER!” but that doesn’t take away from the great exchanges between these two wrestlers. They each try their respective finishers and fail to complete them, eventually bringing each other to the outside to brawl. Michaels comes out the winner of this exchange and brings Orton back to the ring, where he gives him an elbow off the top. He tunes up the band and JBL runs in with a chair in hand. Michaels dodges it, gives him another dose of Sweet Chin Music and walks right into an RKO. Orton wins and the Smackdown wrestlers come out to hold him up over their shoulders.
Suddenly, there’s a gong and druids bring out a casket, setting it up vertically. Lightning appears and sets it on fire. Orton’s facial reaction is outright hilarious. Undertaker walks out of the burning casket and unleashes Hell on the ring. The ring is cleared and William Regal is Tombstoned. What did Regal ever do to you, man?!
It’s a fairly good PPV, filled with really good matches and weighed down by a couple stinkers. If there are fifteen shows that I think are better than this, then it really says something about the quality of Survivor Series overall.
On another note, through this update, it’s crazy to note that Shawn Michaels had been main eventing PPVs so many years apart.