Ciao! I am returned from my Cornish sojourn and, in the words of Dale Doback, ?I?m here to . shit up!? I feel rejuvenated after five days on the English South Coast and gladly welcome you all with open arms back into the Casa.
Now, since I returned from my travels, it dawned upon me that the Survivor Series is only a few short weeks away. However, I didn?t feel the slightest twinge of excitement that I assumed I should have done. In fact, I almost felt indifferent in the knowledge that Survivor Series was on the horizon. Almost as if it was just another PPV akin to Judgement Day or Armageddon. Yet this is a PPV that has traditionally been considered one of the ?Big Four? in the WWE. A staple of the PPV calendar for over two decades. So what happened to the Survivor Series?
When you take into account the other three of the ?Big Four?, none of them have fallen by the wayside in this manner. The Royal Rumble generates massive interest because of the unpredictability of the Rumble match itself and also because the Rumble effectively signifies the beginning of the road to Wrestlemania. So those in themselves are Unique Selling Points. ?Mania of course is self explanatory and then Summerslam is traditionally the second most stacked card of the year behind ?Mania and often serves up marquee, can?t miss matches (see the Punk/Hardy TLC from this year, Batista/Cena from last year or Cena/Orton from the year before for proof). Yet Survivor Series just falls short of feeling epic or important.
Take last year’s edition for example. The entire event was built around John Cena’s return to the ring to face Jericho for the World Title. Ok, a simple and effective premise, which worked effectively, but it effectively meant the rest of the card fell by the wayside. However Summerslam gave us Batista vs Cena for the first time as well as the Edge vs Undertaker feud ending HIAC. The Rumble gave us the Rumble match itself as well as a much anticipated Randy Orton/Jeff Hardy WWE Title match and an exciting grudge match between a newly returned Chris Jericho and JBL. Then of course ?Mania was ?Mania.
I?d argue that since the phenomenal ?Deadly Games? tournament of ?98, the only Survivor Series that was worth watching or of any importance was 2002’s which saw the Elimination Chamber make it’s debut and from top to bottom gave us one of the best Survivor Series cards in history.
In this writer’s opinion, the Series needs to return to what brought it to the dance in the first place. Entire cards of elimination matches. Sure we still get a couple of traditional 5 on 5 matches every year, but they should still be the USP of the show. In the age of gimmicked shows the WWE seems to be indulging in left, right and centre, it’s shocking to me how the original gimmick match PPV has almost been defrocked.
The 5 on 5 matches have long been a way of engaging several feuds into one match, giving rookies and mid carders a rub with the main event pack and maybe developing some new feuds along the way. There’s potential for heel and face turns and the odd surprising breakthrough performance which could just be the making of a bona fide superstar. So what’s to lose?
By regressing to the regular match formula of other PPV’s, Survivor Series has managed to get lost in the shuffle. With 14 PPV’s a year (down to 13 next year) it can no longer be considered a ?Big Four? event if it’s easily disregarded as just another show, which it long has been now. However, for the 5 on 5 formula to make a successful full time return to the event from top to bottom, the likes of the Hell In A Cell, Breaking Point and Extreme Rules need to be scrapped.
This overload of themed shows was a subject I covered in the recent past where I claimed they were a bad idea, but it never occurred to me how they could indirectly affect an institution like the Survivor Series. The new breed of fans won?t remember the Survivor Series days of yore when not only would we see 5 on 5 matches but even 10 on 10 matches involving 5 tag teams a side. So now by returning to the 80’s layout, the WWE would effectively be overloading it’s new fans with gimmick shows to the point where they become exhausted by them. And to me, and many others I?m sure, Survivor Series is far more deserving of that gimmick slot than any of this newfound HIAC and TLC PPV nonsense.
So following this year’s event, let’s welcome in the next decade with ye olde Survivor Series 2010, where no number of participants on a team is too high, and the Gobbeldy Gooker is allowed to roam free, only to be promptly squashed by any of; Mark Henry, Koslov, Khali, Big Show or Kane. It?ll be just like old times.
So until next time, I advise you to watch any Survivor Series that took place in the 80’s or early 90’s and I implore you to try and find a fault in the system. It’s impossible. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org if you agree/disagree or just plain love the traditional Survivor Series of yesteryear.
Until next time, arrivederci.