You Know The WWE’s In Trouble When…Example 29193: All of your die-hard wrestling fan friends would rather watch the CFL’s Grey Cup or even regular season NFL games than take in a FREE WWE pay-per-view. Who can blame them though? The WWE monopoly over the pro-wrestling business is similar to there being just one radio station in North America and it playing Abba 24 hours a day. My, how times have changed.
Battling dwindling interest in their product, the WWE staged their annual ‘Survivor Series’ pay-per-view from the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, last night with the setting itself playing a key role in the show. Hometown favourites Shawn Michaels and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin didn’t disappoint. They snared the spotlight delivering superb performances in the best in-ring storyline the WWE has told all year.
The Survivor Series rules match pitting Austin’s team (Michaels, The Dudley Boyz, Rob Van Dam and Booker T.) against Eric Bischoff’s team (Randy Orton, Chris Jericho, Mark Henry, Scott Steiner and Christian) had all the drama and high-powered heroism the WWE has been lacking in their plotlines for some time. It is likely that wrestling fans won’t soon forget the image of a battered and bloodied Shawn Michaels fighting to save Austin’s job as the last man standing on his team. The match itself and the events afterwards contained many unforgettable, perfect television moments. Moments that draw viewers into the product and keep them hooked. If the WWE were serious about reclaiming their lost glory, they had best review the match and learn from it.
With Austin’s career hanging in the balance, the bout began with Chris Jericho mocking him outside the ring. Scott Steiner was the first to be sent to the showers at just over seven minutes when Stacy Keibler distracted him allowing the Dudleys to hit the 3-D and Booker T to send Steiner crashing to the mat with a Bookend. Seconds later, the almost-useless Mark Henry slammed a stunned Booker right out of the match. Ironically, Henry was next out. The Dudleys again used their tag team prowess to 3D Henry and RVD capped off Henry’s exit with a Five Star Frog Splash. Keeping up the trend, RVD got the last pin and was the next to be eliminated. Jericho shoved RVD off the top rope so Orton could cork him with an RKO.
A minute later, the Dudleys’ domination of the match came to an end. Christian distracted D’Von so that Jericho could bushwhack him with a neckbreaker. Christian’s Unprettier (the worst name for a finishing move…ever) poleaxed Bubba expelling the Dudleys as a team to be reckoned with from the Survivor Series match.
With Randy Orton, Chris Jericho and Christian opposing him, things looked quite bleak for Shawn Micheals in the ring and Steve Austin outside of it. Things went from bad to worse as Christian slingshot HBK into the steel ring post. HBK came up with his face and chest plastered with blood. Despite this, HBK fought back to clobber Christian with Sweet Chin Music. One down. Two to go. Playing up his “injury”, a dazed and confused Michaels rolled-up Jericho. Enraged at being outsmarted, Jericho clocked HBK with a steel chair in the face.
“Screw you, Austin,” spat Jericho as he left the ring.
HBK struck up the band for Sweet Chin Music on Orton. Raw co-manager, Eric Bischoff attacked HBK from behind. Austin had seen enough. Charging into the ring, the Texas Rattlesnake beat on Bischoff and Stone Cold Stunnered Orton into oblivion. Dragging Bischoff out of the ring, Austin throttled him back to the entrance way hurling Bischoff into a wall. Out of nowhere, Batista entered the ring and laid out HBK with a powerbomb. Orton crawled over and pinned Michaels dropping the hammer on Austin’s career…or so the storyline goes.
A shocked Austin made his way slowly back to the ring and helped a wobbly, blood-splattered Michaels to his feet. Michaels apologized to Austin. Following an awkward moment of silence, Austin shook HBK’s hand. Austin aided Michaels to the back only to return to the ring and thank his fans for their loyalty throughout the years. His career as a wrestler began in Texas. It should end in Texas.
“I have to say, I love the s–t out of you guys,” said Austin.
To rub salt in Austin’s wounds, everyone’s favourite announcer – Jonathan Cochman – came out with a handful of security guards to escort Austin from the building so he can take some time off, promote his book and prepare for his return at WrestleMania XX. Austin greeted Coachman’s ridicule with a Stunner. Austin departed after guzzling a few beers in the ring and giving his infamous hand signal to the crowd. The last shot before the broadcast cut to a promo was of two crumpled beer cans sitting on the bloodied mat. Classic that.
What wasn’t so classic (besides the utterly cruddy “matches” the McMahons were involved in) was the main event of Goldberg defending the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Vince McMahon’s new son-in-law, Triple H. The bumbling contest between the two predictable grapplers had Goldberg fighting HHH and the interfering Ric Flair as they pounded on his “broken” ankle. Wearing his trunks over a pair of spandex bike pants, HHH even resorted to using a pair of brass knuckles and his trusty sledgehammer. Both failed miserably. With fairly foreseen happenings, the match came to a thankful close as soon as Goldberg gained possession of the sledgehammer. Flair, Orton and Batista got pummeled with it as they tried a run-in to save their leader. HHH latched on a Pedigree but Goldberg backdropped out of it. Tossing the sledgehammer aside, Goldberg Speared and Jackhammered HHH to retain the title. One wonders if Flair and HHH will part ways and prepare for an encounter at WrestleMania.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Armageddon on December 14th.
Team Angle versus Team Lesnar
- Yo! Yo! Yo! It is all about John Cena’s push, baby. A VERY smart decision on the WWE’s part. Cena kicks off the show with a rap against his opponents. He also infers that he really doesn’t need the back-up. He can take out the lumbering hulks himself.
- Even before the bell rings, Hardcore Holly lays a beating on Lesnar throwing him into the steel ring steps. Angle and Benoit try to pull Holly off of Lesnar. Hardcore is disqualified for his actions. Good. I don’t think I could put up with any more screen time for Holly. Get a new gimmick or at least dress like a hardcore wrestler, Holly.
- Someone must be hearing our prayers. A-Train gets booted at 28 seconds in. Bradshaw cracked him with a Clothesline From Hell. About 20 seconds later, Big Show chokeslams Bradshaw and he is done.
- We are told that Tajiri won his match against Noble on Sunday Night Heat. You know, the match that was supposed to be part of Survivor Series but was mysteriously axed. The WWE is doing too much of crap when it comes to pay-per-views.
- An Angle Slam takes out Matt Morgan at 9:03. Nathan Jones taps out to the Ankle Lock at 9:36. Angle is sent out with an F5 from Brock Lesnar at 9:43.
- At 11:52 something amazing happens. Lesnar submits to the Crippler Crossface. “You tapped out!” chants fly. Cena strikes driving his chain into Big Show’s fat head and then…unbelievably…Cena picks up Big Show and plants him with an FU. Wow! Benoit and Cena shake hands.
- Winners: Team Angle at 13 minutes and 16 seconds.
- Survivors: Chris Benoit and John Cena.
- Match Rating: 6 / 10.
- Shane McMahon is doing that annoying foot work he does as if he was a real boxer in his dressing room. Vince McMahon interrupts. He thinks it is ironic that a father and son (he and Shane) are facing two brothers (Kane and The Undertaker) tonight. It is fate. Like a “higher power” is overseeing the whole thing. Vince asks Shane what he thinks. Shane says he feels sorry for his old man. McMahon runs into Austin in the hallway. Each just laughs at the other. Jim Ross and Lawler explain that Austin and McMahon found each other’s misfortune funny. Yeah. Okay.
Lita (challenger) versus Molly Holly (champion) (WWE Women’s Heavyweight Title Match)
- Unlike most of the outstanding women’s matches this year, not much to be said here. Nothing terribly good or terribly bad. Just kinda bland. If Molly wants to be a bad ass, she needs to wear street clothes and not that prima wrestling attire she wears. Charles Robinson does some great work here cringing as the women punish each other. Good stuff. Lita kicks out of the…ummmm…Molly Go Round. Who the heck is naming these moves in the WWE? Geeze. How lame. A frustrated Molly removes one of the turnbuckle pads and drop toe holds Lita into it for the win.
- Winner: …and still WWE Women’s Champion…Molly Holly at 6 minutes and 45 seconds.
- Match Rating: 4 / 10.
Kane versus Shane McMahon (Ambulance Match)
- Completely crappy production here…and what a snorefest after all the hype. Hitting Kane with some television monitors, Shane flees to the back. Kane stupidly follows. Unfortunately, the cameras don’t. The picture goes dead and our screens go black as a camera pacing the action totally cuts out. Fans express their disapproval by booing loudly. Shane suckers Kane beating him with a Kendo stick. Shane then revs up a vehicle and backs it up on Kane sending him through the glass window of a security booth. Shane shouts over a walkie-talkie “Send it!”. More bad production here. Out comes a second ambulance but there are trucks in the way so it can’t turn a corner and get to where Shane needs it to be. Shane maneuvers Kane onto a stretcher and starts pushing it towards the ambulance. Kane sits up and bounces Shane off some walls. The cameras cut out again. More booing. When a picture of the live action is restored, Kane is chasing Shane back to the entrance way. We can hear a cameraman saying that he has run out of cable and can’t pursue them. Kane and Shane slam each other into the ambulance parked near the entrance way. Propping up a trash can onto Kane and an air bag disguised as a equipment box, Shane does a Coast To Coast off the roof of the ambulance. Though the fans in attendance shout “Holy s–t!”, it is no big deal. Shane slams the ambulance door into Kane’s head a couple of times. He tries to put Kane inside but The Big Red Machine prevents the doors from closing. Kane gives Shane a sloppy (we can see Shane’s head didn’t head the ground) Tombstone Piledriver on the concrete floor, tosses him into the ambulance and slams the doors shut.
- Winner: Kane at 13 minutes and 34 seconds .
- Match Rating: 2 / 10.
- Lesnar is interviewed in the back. He denies he ever tapped out and that he didn’t lose the match…his team did. Goldberg bumps into Lesnar. Goldberg infers that he is the REAL WWE World Champion. “Nice to meet you. Wish me luck,” says Goldberg as he lumbers away. Lesnar is speechless. Can you say Goldberg versus Lesnar at WrestleMania XX?
- In a bizarre spot, Coachman comes out to soothe any fears his fans might have. He is recovering from Monday’s 3D. He is going to be fine. Coachman spots Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban in the audience and begins harassing him. Bischoff appears demanding that Cuban face him in the ring like a man. Cuban does and shoves Bischoff out. Randy Orton attacks Cuban from behind and leaves him laying. Orton and Bischoff yuck it up. Whatever.
- Evolution is partying. There are plenty of scantily-clad women and champagne. HHH. Would Stephanie think? Orton arrives to deliver the good news. He just punked out Mark Cuban. Everyone toasts the future champion….HHH. Triple H says the match itself is just a formality.
Los Guerreros (challengers) versus Basham Brothers (champions) (WWE Tag Team Titles Match)
- Shaniqua interferes quite a bit. The Guerreros strike back. They clothesline, Frog Splash and spank her. Chavo’s swinging DDT hits Eddie and knocks him out of the ring. Danny Basham rolls up Chavo to retain the titles. Eddie and Chavo argue.
- Winners: …and still WWE Tag Team Champions…The Basham Brothers at 7 minutes and 17 seconds.
- Match Rating: 5 / 10.
Austiin’s Team versus Bischoff’s Team
- Winners: Bischoff’s Team at 27 minutes and 25 seconds.
- Survivor: Randy Orton.
- Match Rating: 8.5 / 10.
Undertaker versus Vince McMahon (Buried Alive Match)
- Vince is destroyed and bleeding from the first few punches. Undertaker chokes him with a camera cord, hits him with a shovel in the head and beans him with TV monitors. Taker places one of McMahon’s ankles on the steel stairs and bashes it. Being the veteran he is, McMahon fails to sell the injury later on. Taker picks up McMahon and carries him to the grave site. McMahon throws sand in Taker’s eyes and then nails him with a shovel to the head. Taker falls into the grave but pulls McMahon into it as well. Taker climbs up to a huge front loader to empty a ton of dirt on the grave but an explosion knocks him silly. Kane appears out of nowhere, beats on Taker and throws him into the grave. McMahon operates the front loader and dumps all the dirt burying Taker. Kane lives it up laughing at what he did to his own brother. News flash: Taker returns in his old persona to fight Kane at WrestleMania XX. You better believe it.
- Winner: Vince McMahon at 11 minutes and 37 seconds.
- Match Rating: 1 / 10.
Goldberg (champion) versus Triple H (challenger) (WWE World Heavyweight Title Match)
- Winner: …and still WWE World. Heavyweight Champion…Goldberg at 11 minutes and 36 seconds.
- Match Rating: 4 / 10.
- Total Event Time: Two hours and 45 minutes.
- Overall Event Rating: 6 / 10.