WWE Survivor Series 2010: The Hangover
During an investor’s conference call last February, after being asked about Survivor Series being the only fourth quarter pay-per-view to show a decrease in buys from the previous year, Vince McMahon said the following:
“We think that Survivor Series is obsolete, as far as that title is concerned. It was something that worked many, many years ago in terms of a creative standpoint, various teams competing. That really is not advantageous as the consumer now looks at what actually they are buying. And it’s such a broad … Survivor Series yes, many years ago, was one of the original four pay-per-views, but it’s outlasted its usage and it is one of the things in terms of rebranding, this year and going forward, that will be rebranded. No longer will we have that title, Survivor Series.” (Credit: PWInsider.com)
Isn’t it amazing how opinions and branding strategies change over time?
Throughout last Sunday’s ‘Survivor Series’, we were reminded of its history. We were constantly harkened back to how this was the 24th edition of the event, second only to Wrestlemania when it comes to its history within WWE.
If you purchased the pay-per-view hours before its live broadcasting time, you were treated to ‘Survivor Series: All Access Pass”, a half-hour production laying out the history and grandeur of the Survivor Series itself.
Josh Matthews interviewed Santino Marella & The Miz, asking them for their favorite Survivor Series moments. What were they? The Miz took us to the very first Survivor Series in 1990 and the debut of the Undertaker. Santino, however, mentioned the 1997 Survivor Series WWE Title match between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart but no mention of a ‘screwjob’, Vince McMahon, or Montreal. However, as we returned to the studio, host Jack Korpela would use all three of those terms causing us to suffer a complete late-1990s relapse.
The Gobbledygooker (1990). The Royal Family (Jerry Lawler plus 3 midgets) vs. Clowns R’ Us (Doink the Clown plus 3 midgets) (1994). Undertaker vs. Yokozuna in a casket match with Chuck Norris as special enforcer (1994). Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (1996). All of these historical references were made during the half-hour special, attempting to recreate a feeling of importance with the Survivor Series brand.
What Vince McMahon had seen as archaic and outdated in February, he has now seen as memorable and timeless. All questions about this pay-per-view’s namesake should be vanquished, seeing as how next year will mark its silver (25th) edition. I can only hope that the main event for next year’s Survivor Series will not be as much of a disappointment as ‘The Silver Buzzkill’ of Wrestlemania 25 (Randy Orton vs. Triple H).
As the Survivor Series brand remains hooked up to the respirator, now is the time to look back at last night and piece together what remains.
Does the ‘Sole Survivor Prophecy’ still remain true after last night’s Survivor Series Elimination Match?
Survivor Series 2003: Chris Benoit, John Cena, and Randy Orton were the sole survivors in their respective elimination-style matches.
Wrestlemania XX: Orton would get the pin on Mick Foley in his 3-on-2 handicap match involving Evolution and The Rock. Cena would open the program in Madison Square Garden winning the United States title over Big Show. Benoit would headline the card winning the triple threat match over Triple H and Shawn Michaels receiving the World Heavyweight title.
Survivor Series 2007: Triple H and Jeff Hardy were the sole survivors of their elimination-style match.
No Way Out 2008: Randy Orton would successfully defend his WWE Title against Jeff Hardy.
Wrestlemania XXIV: Triple H would participate in a triple threat WWE title match involving Cena and Orton; he would be pinned by then-champion Orton.
Survivor Series 2009: Kofi Kingston, The Miz, Drew McIntyre, and Sheamus were the sole survivors in their respective elimination-style matches.
Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2009: Sheamus defeats John Cena, winning his first WWE Title. Kingston is defeated by Randy Orton in what many consider Kingston’s first major program. McIntyre would win his first singles title (Intercontinental) defeating John Morrison and remain champion until…
Over the Limit, May 2010: Kingston defeats McIntyre for his second Intercontinental Title.
Fatal 4-Way, June 2010: Sheamus defeats John Cena, Randy Orton, and Edge in a fatal four-way to win his second WWE Title.
Money in the Bank PPV, July 2010: The Miz captures the ‘Raw’ Money in the Bank briefcase, guaranteeing him a WWE Title match at his choosing for the next twelve months.
Since their Survivor Series victories, The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Drew McIntyre, and Sheamus have taken part in 6 title changes. Out of the collective 23 title changes that have occurred since Survivor Series 2009 (excluding Women’s & Diva’s), these four sole survivors constitute for over a quarter of them.
All of these examples I have given prove what has been termed ‘The Sole Survivor Prophecy’. So what does this mean for Rey Mysterio and The Big Show? Does this mean that a similar fate lies in store for them in the grand WWE landscape?
I don’t see why not. How does a Mysterio-Kane, World Title program sound to you? Sure you can complain about the number of times we have seen them feud off and on for the past 3 years, but what is so wrong with these two going at it again?
Just because Big Show doesn’t have a major opponent lined up right now does not mean that he is going to suddenly fall off the face of the planet. Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre would make for a very entertaining handicapped match feud. Feel a need to give Tyler Reks a slight nudge? Feed him to Big Show for a small feud.
Sometime down the line you might see these two team up and make a run for the WWE Tag Team Titles. I honestly hope that is not the case, however, as that leads us to our next question…
What is the purpose of the WWE Tag Team Titles?
This is probably the first metaphorical question I’ve ever posed in my PPV hangovers.
If you are seriously going to reply to this question, begin to analyze former tag teams and scold the WWE for having a weak ‘division’, then you need to look in a mirror, understand your place in this world, and try to rationalize what occurs outside of your living quarters.
Take a look at these terms and phrases. These are words you would normally find on any professional wrestling forum or message board: ‘division’, ‘competition’, ‘tandem’, ‘cohesive unit’. These keywords and axioms can also be found in other forms of literature… like sports columns.
This may seem very difficult to believe at times, and I can definitely understand the frustration it gives to many with professional wrestling’s displays of athleticism and physical strife… but professional wrestling is not a sport. There are no divisions. There is no ‘competitive edge through cohesion as a unit’. The WWE Tag Team titles are meant to serve as a focus of a storyline, not as a goal for a team to achieve through hard work and determination. The latter is used as a fulcrum for the teetering and tottering of the plot structure and character development.
The WWE Tag Team Titles serve a more important purpose than just a mere plot-point; it is a reason to showcase four talents on television. If it were not for the straps, imagine the deafening shrills of those believing that The Nexus program is over. That’s right, you would be hearing for the collective release of six young talents at a time when the need for young talent is more apparent than ever.
The sign that makes the border between athletic competition and athletic theater is not hard to miss at all; it is dependent on the literacy and cognition of the individual. It takes longer for some to take notice… all in due time.
Was “Orton-Barrett II: Cena’s Fate” the greatest WWE PPV Main Event of 2010?
Before I answer, understand that there is only ONE main event in every WWE pay-per-view and it is the final match. I will not argue that there have been much better matches than this one throughout the entire year, but when it comes to main events, this was definitely the best. I say this without equivocation or hindrance of next month’s pay-per-view. There is no way that any match at ‘Tables, Ladders and Chairs’ could compete with this amalgamation of emotion, tension, and stress.
If you were expecting a tremendous amount of high-impact spots, then you have never experienced a televised drama in your lifetime. If you were expecting the action to be so fast-paced that you would need to call a chiropractor for whiplash, then you are not familiar with the strategy involved in program-building.
Did you honestly think that the result of Cena’s fate within WWE was going to happen so quickly? The lumbering Orton and Barrett trading blows at a snail-like pace just made the tension and stress that much dense. The periodic arguing of the two with their morally-torn referee made the drama thick with enthusiasm.
How can you possibly argue with the ending of this match? Cena lightly shoves Barrett away into the death-clutch of Orton’s RKO. Orton covers Barrett for the pin. Cena rushes down to count… one… two… quite possibly the longest pause to a match-ending count ever felt with a facial expression combining the release of two month’s worth of tension with the torment of the inevitable… THREE.
I dare anyone to argue that this was a lackluster main event or even a dull ending to what has been the most talked about feud this year. Before you do so, try hard not to use the tried and true excuses of how the ending did not go the way you planned it or wanted it to. Sometimes the greatest things that happen in life are the things we never planned on happening.
Take my Wrestleview hiring for example…
Until next time, mouth-breathers!
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