World Wrestling Entertainment did its best to push Sundayís Survivor Series show in Boston as a must-see event by hyping up the return of hometown boy John Cena from injury. The promotion even tried to manufacture some last minute interest by floating a story about the hospitalization of Jeff Hardy, perhaps hoping the intrigue over whether or not it was legit would add a little extra excitement.
Instead, what unfolded at the TD Banknorth Garden is likely to go down as one of the dullest Survivor Series cards in recent memory. After a spirited opening match, not too much seemed to click the rest of the way. From an overly long Diva showcase to a plodding Casket Match, the fans seemed content to sit on their hands for most of the night.
The WWE took great pride in getting some non-wrestling media outlets to bite on the Hardy situation, repeatedly mentioning that sites like AOL.com and TMZ.com had reported the story. It became clear that it was indeed a work, as Hardy ran down to intervene in the WWE Championship match between Triple H and Vladimir Kozlov -- which was in need of a jolt, since "boring" chants popped up several times.
In the end, Hardy only ended up gift wrapping the title for surprise participant Edge, returning from his own absence wearing a lumberjack-style beard. He took advantage of some errant chair shots and wound up leaving with the gold.
Canadaís other high profile participant, World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho, wasnít as fortunate as he headlined against Cena. He even had to enter first, watching from the ring as the challenger enjoyed the most unanimously positive fan reaction heís received in quite some time.
Both men seemed wary and ducked outside early to gather themselves. Cena tried for both of his finishers very early on but to no avail.
The challenger did connect with a Throwback, but Jericho responded with a double underhook DDT that got a two count. He booted Cena in the head from the floor and bounced that same head off the steel stairs on the outside.
Cena found himself in several holds back in the ring but managed to power out for a bulldog. A spinning slam set up the Five Knuckle Shuffle, which the champ countered with the Walls of Jericho.
A second dose of the Walls forced Cena to crawl to the ropes for relief. Both men ended up on the top turnbuckle, but Jericho was pushed down and had to scramble away from an F-U attempt.
After a Codebreaker almost had the match won for Jericho, he kept up his assault with several clotheslines. Cena rallied with a drop toehold into the STF-U.
Jericho rolled up his foe with a small package only to see Cena power off the ground. Bostonís favorite son planted Jericho with an F-U and covered for the win, marking the second straight time he was able to capture a title in his first match following an extended absence.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Armageddon on December 16th.
If you've been with us for the past few years, you know the drill by now. Nickís comments will be in plain type with Daleís remarks in italics.
Team HBK (Shawn Michaels, Cryme Tyme, The Great Khali, and Rey Mysterio) vs. Team JBL (John Bradshaw Layfield, MVP, The Miz, John Morrison, and Kane) -- Survivor Series Match
Shawn Michaels as curtain jerker? Say it ainít so! This is actually a nice, fast-paced traditional Survivor Series match that gets the show off to a good start. Khali and Kane get into an early face-off, but itís Rey who eliminates Kane when he jumps off Khaliís shoulders to splash him. Morrison does a little mocking of Michaelsí signature moves but canít land Shawnís patented top rope elbow. Once JBL is counted out, Morrison finds himself alone against three faces, and pretty soon a dose of Sweet Chin Music wraps up a victory for the fan favorites.
Winner ... Team HBK -- Survivors -- HBK, The Great Khali, Rey Mysterio at 18 and 15 seconds
Match Rating: 6.5/10
Eve interviews Triple H, who says if Jeff Hardy doesnít wrestle tonight, he will scratch and claw his way back to a title shot. Hunter then cites Vladimir Kozlovís lack of experience in title matches.
I canít believe Hunter forgot to mention that heís been keeping abreast of the Hardy situation on TMZ.com!
Team Smackdown -- (Michelle McCool, Maryse, Natalya, Victoria, and Maria) vs. Team RAW (Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, Jillian Hall, Candice Michelle, Kelly Kelly)
So all feuds are set aside for brand loyalty? Okaaaay. Phoenix and McCool lock up, but Maryse quickly tags herself and the other Divas must separate the two. Maria then tags herself in. Kelly Kelly tags in and flips over the top rope and gets a near fall. Victoria tags herself in, but Kelly counters a hurricanrana and gets the pin. Maryse enters the ring and quickly eliminates Kelly Kelly. Michelle McCool and Mickie James trade near falls. James finally gets the pin with a DDT on McCool. Maryse flies in and gets a quick pin on James. Candice Michelle and Natalya face off, and Candice is on the business end of a Sharpshooter. Candice responds with a spear and rolls up Natalya for the pin. Jillian tags in to face Maria, hitting a back elbow. Maria scores a pin with the victory roll. Candice takes Jillianís place and pins Maria. Candice taps out to a modified figure four from Maryse. Phoenix catches Maryse come off the top rope, and then counters a DDT into the Glam Slam and the RAW Divas win.
I have to say that I was rooting for Maryse to win this one somehow. She was one of the people made available to the Canadian media during interview sessions leading up to WrestleMania 24 and all I could do is stare at... um, I mean, listen to her beautiful accent. Yeah, Iíll go with that.
Winner ... Team RAW -- Survivor -- Beth Phoenix at nine minutes and 53 seconds
Match Rating: 2/10
A sullen Matt Hardy gives Todd Grisham an update on his brotherís condition. After spending all day in the hospital with him, Matt states that Jeff was the victim of blunt force trauma to the head. Who did it? Matt doesnít know.
The Undertaker vs. The Big Show -- Casket Match
The Undertaker calls for the casket to be lifted as soon as the match starts. Show disassembles the ECW table only to have Taker deck him with a monitor. Undertaker leg drops Show through the announce table. Back in the ring, Undertaker looks for Old School, but instead Show slams the Dead Man to the mat. Show rolls Undertaker into the casket, but he is fuzzy on the rules and doesnít want to close the lid. Undertaker gets a leg out to block the lid. Undertaker cuts off Big Show on the turnbuckle and chokeslams him to the mat. Show is rolled into the casket, but Taker canít get the lid closed. Show slides from the ring, and knocks over the casket. Show then walks back up the ramp. Taker chases down Show, who is cut off from the back by a wall of fire. Show dispatches Taker, but is then cut off by the druids, who bring out a XXXL casket. Show runs Taker into the set, then sets the coffin up on end. Undertaker is run into the casket. Show sets the casket up on end again and opens it. Undertaker fights back, whipping show into the casket, knocking it to the ground. The lid slams shut and Undertaker gets the win.
WHAT YOU THINK
What did you think of WWE Survivor Series?
It was great - 10%
It was okay - 21%
It sucked - 29%
Didn't see it - 40%
Winner... The Undertaker at 12 minutes and 45 seconds.
Match Rating: 4/10
Carlito and Primo want to spend a little quality time with the Bella twins. Their game-spitting attempts are interrupted by the arrival of The Gobbledy Gooker. Fitting, I suppose, since Gooker was "born" at Survivor Series in 1990, making it now old enough to vote and bet on the horses in the U.S.! In any case, Carlito and Primo are convinced that the costume is the most recent Charlie Haas foolishness. Imagine their surprise, then, when Haas shows up. Then whoís in the costume? Itís the Boogey Man, and heís coming to get you. Pay-per-view bonuses for everyone!
Randy Orton rallies his team of heels for their traditional Survivor Series match, but thereís still one person who doesnít seem to be on the same page: Cody Rhodes. Iím not sure where WWE is going with this storyline between Orton and Priceless, but Iíll give them credit for sticking with it and allowing it to build.
Team Batista (Batista, R-Truth, CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, and Matt Hardy vs. Team Orton (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Shelton Benjamin, William Regal, Mark Henry)
There are two things going on in this match. Along with the aforementioned tension between Orton and Rhodes, the WWE continues to build up Batistaís "one man alone against the world" deal by eliminating all of his partners while all of the heels except for Regal are still alive. Naturally, Batista runs right through Henry and Benjamin to make the odds a little more palatable. Heís not home free though, and while heís occupied with Rhodes, Orton is waiting to hit him with the RKO. The Legend Killer covers and scores the final pinfall.
Winner: Team Orton -- Survivors -- Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes at 16 minutes and 14 seconds.
Match Rating: 6/10
Eve asks Vladimir Kozlov his thoughts on Jeff Hardy. Kozlov says it doesnít matter if he competes or not. J.R. gives us an update on Jeff Hardy and he will not compete tonight.
Vladimir Kozlov (challenger) vs. Triple H (champion) -- WWE Title Match
Kozlov tosses Hunter out of the ring after a series of holds. Vladimir slams HHH into the security barrier and then the ring apron. A "boring" chant breaks out as Kozlov locks in a gut wrench. The Game breaks free but runs right into a scoop slam. Hunter hits a Pedigree out of nowhere, but Vicki Guerrero appears on stage to announce that this will be a Triple Threat Match after all. Itís not Jeff Hardy, but Edge, sporting a scary beard. Edge spears Hunter and covers, but Jeff Hardy hits the ring. Hardy grabs a chair, swinging for Edge but connecting with HHH. Hardy nails Kozlov, but is in turn speared by Edge. The Rated R Superstar covers Triple H and wins the WWE Title.
Winner... and new WWE Champion ...Edge ... at 14 minutes and 23 seconds.
Match Rating: 6/10
John Cena (challenger) vs. Chris Jericho (champion) -- World Heavyweight Title Match
Winner... and new World Heavyweight champion ... John Cena at 21 minutes and 10 seconds.
Match Rating: 5/10
Total Event Time: 2 hours and 44 minutes
Event Rating: 4/10
Survivor Series photo gallery
With a four-man crew assembled in SLAM! Wrestlingís Southern stronghold of Central Pennsylvania, Dale Plummer and unofficial historians Brian Whorl and Jason Neidig were forced to tap out to disinterest during Sundayís show. That left current Raw reporter Nick Tylwalk as the sole survivor. Commend Nick for his bravery at firstname.lastname@example.org or chide Dale for his lack of staying power at email@example.com.
SURVIVOR SERIES HISTORY
From the SLAM! Wrestling archives:
Nov. 19, 2007: Survivor Series ends with an Edge
Nov 27, 2006: WWE kills 'Survivor Series'
Nov 28, 2005: Smackdown wins, but Undertaker the real Survivor
Nov 15, 2004: Orton survives at Survivor Series
Nov 17, 2003: Goldberg survives, Austin doesn't at Survivor Series
Nov. 19, 2001: WWF pulls out Survivor Series win
Nov. 20, 2000: Weak stunt ruins Survivor Series
Nov. 15, 1999: Booking blows Survivor Series
Nov. 16, 1998: The Rock wins Survivor Series tourney
Nov. 10, 1997: Survivor Series screws the fans