November 15, 2003
Average stuffWWE\'s Survivor Series lacks mind-blowing bout
By TJ MADIGAN -- Calgary Sun
It\'s been a long time since WWE produced a must-see pay-per-view and this weekend\'s Survivor Series isn\'t doing a whole lot to change that perception. Don\'t get me wrong, the show\'s going to be a cut above some of the other PPV offerings this year (HHH vs. Kevin Nash, anyone?) but like most recent supercards, it\'s missing a vital ingredient -- a match people wanted to see, even before the battle lines were drawn. You know, the kind of match fans have a real emotional investment in and actually care about.
Instead, WWE is headlining with the elderly company owner taking on its longest-serving star. While they\'ve done an awesome job of building the match and creating interest, it just doesn\'t have that must-see appeal.
Frankly, I don\'t think too many viewers spent their childhood dreaming about the day Undertaker and Vince McMahon would finally lock horns. I know I didn\'t.
Still, the Buried Alive stipulation gives them plenty of leverage to have a good outing and while I think it was wrong to make this the marquee match, I have to admit I\'m intrigued to see how things unfold tomorrow.
The TV spots have been centred around Undertaker ending McMahon\'s reign of terror but leaked storylines indicate it\'ll most likely be the other way around.
\'Taker is set to take a few months of vacation time (amidst rumours he\'ll be resurrecting his dead man persona when he returns at Wrestlemania), so expect Undi to be the one eating dirt (literally).
This will leave Vinnie Mac on a storyline high, with plenty of time to shamelessly push himself as the centrepiece of the show and book more angles where he gets to make out with beautiful women half his age.
Of course, Vince isn\'t the only McMahon with a spot in the top half of the card. His son, Shane, will be wrapping up the feud with Kane in an Ambulance match (expect Shane to take a sick bump, lose, then vanish from TV for a while) and new son-in-law Triple H will be challenging Goldberg for the world title (and also losing, since he\'s headed back to Hollywood next month).
Outside of the McMahon family circus, the featured collisions are a pair of Survivor-style elimination matches.
The Smackdown crew are leading with Brock Lesnar (captain), Big Show, Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones and A-Train against Kurt Angle (captain), Chris Benoit, Bob Holly, Bradshaw and the man of the hour, John Cena.
Forget about the nine other guys. Benoit may be the next in line for a title shot but if WWE has any sense, the match will be all about Cena. Fan reaction for the 26-year old has been off the charts -- his face turn was forced by the audience rather than a management decision -- and this is the best (and possibly only) chance to strike while the iron is hot.
Of course, don\'t count on it. Even with a ready-made superstar handed to them on a platter, WWE messed things up by having Cena attack fellow babyface Benoit on Smackdown. It was supposedly an attempt (conceived by road agent Michael Hayes) to emulate Steve Austin\'s \'tweener character but all it did was confuse fans who desperately wanted to cheer for the rap wannabe.
Hindsight is 20/20 and luckily Smackdown is pre-taped, so WWE edited the sequence off the show and pretended it never happened. They won\'t have that kind of safety net on a live pay-per-view, so if they want Cena\'s character to catch fire like Austin did, they have to bypass the politics and just let him shine.
Much like Mr. Perfect\'s face turn at the \'92 Survivor Series, getting Cena over as a mega-star is the key factor in whether this match will go down as a success or failure.
Survivor Series is tomorrow night from the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Tex., at 6 p.m. Check out the pre-game show at 5 p.m. on Spike TV (Ch. 25), then catch the Series itself on pay-per-view at Bottoms Up Sports Pub on 17 Ave S.W., or at any Famous Players theatre in the city.