The SmarK Rant for WWE Survivor Series 2007 – 11.18.07

The SmarK Rant for WWE Survivor Series 2007 – 11.18.07

So…that poster there is a bit of a spoiler, innit?

This period is a complete dead zone for me, but it’s that time of year, so I’m game. I know a lot of people were in the same boat at this point, with the whole Benoit deal and fallout putting a pretty significant chunk of the fanbase off the product for a long time.

Live from Miami, FL, complete with a chainsaw theme and annoying “Buzzzzz” sounds with every transition.

Your hosts are Michael Cole, JBL, Joey Styles, Tazz, Jim Ross, and Jerry Lawler.

ECW World title: CM Punk v. The Miz v. John Morrison

Morrison must be thrilled to be back in the same position in 2020 that he was 13 years ago. Or maybe he’s just happy for the payday, in which case good for him. Miz and Morrison were already the Smackdown tag team champions at this point so I can’t imagine the result here being in any kind of doubt. Miz and Morrison attack Punk and try a beatdown in the corner, but Punk rolls up Morrison for two. Bodypress on Miz out of the corner gets two and Punk runs wild for a bit and clears the ring before hitting them with a dive. Poor Punk then yells out “WHAT’S MY NAME!” and the crowd leaves him hanging on that one. Back in, Miz and Morrison double-team him with a suplex and Miz works him over with his, ahem, vicious punches. Morrison gets some as well and at least it doesn’t seem like Punk is getting worked over by a marshmallow. Miz dumps his own partner and goes to a chinlock, and now at least the crowd is chanting for Punk. Miz and Morrison turn on each other and Miz gets dumped, leaving Morrison to hit Punk with the neckbreaker for two. Morrison tosses Punk and we get the long-awaited Miz v. Morrison clash of titans, with Miz hitting the Skull Crushing Finale for two. Corner clothesline gets two. Morrison comes back with the Starship Pain for two, but Punk saves and puts him on top for a rana. This leads to a neat spot as Morrison lands on Miz, who catches him and powerbombs him for two. That was pretty clever. Punk makes the comeback on Miz with WWE Style Clotheslines and the bulldog for two. Punk with a backbreaker on Miz for two. Morrison rolls up Punk with a handful of tights for two, but Punk dumps him and hits the GTS on Miz to finish at 8:09. Good action, but it was REALLY early in the evolution for all three guys so the big moves didn’t mean anything yet and Miz was Miz so they were limited having to work around him. But it was an enjoyable opener. ***1/4

Meanwhile, MVP and Matt Hardy lose the tag team titles to Miz & Morrison, but MVP turns on Matt afterwards for dropping the ball.

Meanwhile, MVP buries Matt Hardy and doesn’t need him on his team tonight.

Beth Phoenix, Layla, Jillian Hall, Victoria and Melina v. Torrie Wilson, Michelle McCool, Kelly Kelly, Maria Kanellis and Mickie James

This has gotta be at or near rock bottom for the women’s division in modern WWE. This is not a Survivor Series match, by the way, because someone was smart enough to just make it one fall. Melina actually blows her entrance, missing the apron while doing the splits and landing on the floor, so she laughs it off and does it again. McCool (“the loving life Diva!”) gets a kick on Victoria for two, but Torrie comes in and Victoria slams her for two. Layla with a suplex on Torrie for two, and then we get the epic Jillian v. Kelly showdown, as Kelly rolls her up for two. Maria tries a headscissors and that goes badly, and Beth comes in and lays her out, and I guess Maria is the face in peril. Melina works her over for a bit, but misses a charge and Mickie gets a hot tag and runs wild while Kelly can be seen assisting Maria with her top to keep her boob from popping out. And then Mickie kisses Melina and pins her with a kick at 4:50 to put this thing to bed early. This was a whole lot of nothing. ½*

Meanwhile, William Regal and Coach anxiously await Hornswoggle McMahon’s upcoming match with Great Khali. Gosh, I don’t know why I wouldn’t have been watching at this point with matches like that.

Meanwhile, Randy Orton is ready to defend the WWE title against Shawn Michaels and beat him, especially since the superkick is banned tonight. Hey, that should be a good match!

RAW tag team titles: Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch v. Hardcore Holly & Cody Rhodes

Hey is there going to be any Survivor Series matches on this Survivor Series show? Asking for a friend. Cade and Murdoch were the best choice of champions during a period where there was NOTHING going on with the tag belts and the entire division was dead. Cody was the young eager babyface trying to earn the veteran’s respect at this point, which of course did go somewhere. Cody works a headlock on Cade, who puts him down with a backbreaker. Cody brings Holly in, who beats on Murdoch with chops in the corner, but Cade comes in and pounds Holly down while the entire arena collectively goes to freshen up their beer and nachos. The champs work Holly over and this is all really dull stuff. Murdoch with the top wristlock and Cade cuts off a tag with a clothesline, but Murdoch misses a legdrop and it’s hot tag Cody. Cody is GENERIC FIRED UP DEVELOPMENTAL BABYFACE and hits Murdoch with a cutter and missile dropkick for two. Bob puts Cade on the floor with a clothesline, but Murdoch hits Cody with a Canadian Destroyer (!?!) and pins him to retain at 7:21. How the fuck is TREVOR MURDOCH pinning people with destroyers? This was OK. *1/2

Meanwhile, HHH’s team is down 5-on-4, but Kane is never an underdog. “This guy once accused me of being a murderer and then had sex with a mannequin who was supposed to be my dead girlfriend!” “Uh, yeah, my bad, sorry about that, man.” Well I’m glad they finally addressed that one.

HHH, Kane, Rey Mysterio & Jeff Hardy v. Mr. Kennedy, MVP, Fit Finlay, Big Daddy V and Umaga

So with 3 brands represented here, we have SIX ANNOUNCERS all calling the match at the same time, which means I have to go to the Naked Gun well again.

I’m not sure what the storyline point of having Matt Hardy missing the match is, or why they didn’t put someone else in there. Kennedy works the arm on Rey to start and gets a shoulderblock for two, but Rey takes him down with a headscissors and hits a Code Red for two. Jeff comes in with the Whisper in the Wind on Kennedy and apparently they were feuding at this point. Lucky us. Over to MVP, and he boots Jeff down for two. Vis comes in and clubs Jeff down with a forearm of some kind as Cole reminisces about that night he’ll never forget, when Big Daddy V came to Smackdown and gave Kane a samoan drop. I don’t think any of us will ever forget that moment! How could we? Kane comes in and runs wild and get his shit in, but Vis hits him with another samoan drop, (just like Michael Cole was remembering!), and pins him at 5:30.

HHH beats on Vis, but it’s over to Umaga, who promptly hits him with a belly to belly and drops a headbutt on him. Umaga goes up and misses a diving headbutt, and Rey comes in and promptly gets stomped down. Umaga misses a butt splash and Rey dropkicks him for two. Rey drops the dime, but Umaga blocks it, so Rey hits a 619 instead for two. Rey tries a bodypress and Umaga hits him with the spinning uranage and finishes him with the SAMOAN SPIKE at 9:18.

So that leaves HHH and Jeff alone against all the heels, but Jeff feels like he’s got this under control. Kennedy slugs away on Jeff to continue the hot feud that I just learned about 10 minutes ago, and MVP trips up Jeff to cut off his comeback. MVP comes in and goes to a sleeper, then hits him with a press slam, but Jeff gets the Twist of Fate for the pin at 12:52. Why isn’t anyone trying to make the save?

Kennedy comes in and beats Jeff down, but HHH runs wild on him with a clothesline for two. Spinebuster gets two, but Vis actually does try to make the save, and splashes his own partner by mistake, and HHH pins Kennedy at 14:35. I guess that’s why no one is trying to make the save.

Jeff charges Vis on the floor and gets caught and sent into the post as a result, leaving HHH alone in the ring with three heels. But he manages to DDT Vis with the help of Jeff, and gets the pin at 15:30 to even things up.

Finlay comes in for the first time and hits HHH with a butt splash for two and stomps him down in the corner for two. But he goes up and lands on Hunter’s boot and it’s back to Jeff, who hits Finlay with a corner splash and mule kick for two. But he goes to the apron and Umaga boots him off. Back in, Finlay with a clothesline for two. Finlay works him over as the announcers gives us some fascinating backstory on Fit. Did you know he loves to fight, for example? Jeff fights off Umaga and makes a hot tag to HHH as the crowd dozes, and HHH hits Fit with a high knee. Spinebuster sets up the Pedigree, but Umaga makes the save and breaks it up. But he regroups and KICK WHAM PEDIGREE finishes at 21:19, leaving Umaga alone.

Umaga beats on HHH in the corner but misses a charge, and KICK WHAM PEDIGREE into the swanton finishes at 22:08. So losing Matt ends up meaning nothing. Just a normal elimination match that felt rushed and then suddenly wrapped up out of nowhere. **1/2

Meanwhile, Vince has a heart-to-heart with his leprechaun son, pondering why he made the match with Khali, and he’s figured it out: Hornswoggle is an underdog, just like Vince himself, as he reminds us that he beat the federal government (and might have to beat them again) and beat Time-Warner, and then there was that time in Pakistan, which he’ll share some other time. I sense a bit of a trainwreck coming.

Hornswoggle McMahon v. Great Khali

Vince and Shane are both at ringside, and Ranjin Singh gets the ref to read the rules so he can translate. Meanwhile the crowd chants for Shaq, who is in the crowd for this show. So Vince stops to cut a promo on Shaq and tells off the fans, and Hornswoggle blows green mist at Ranjin after running away from Khali. He finds a shileghligh…sheleighlah…stick under the ring, but Khali swats him away, and Finlay runs in and attacks Khali for the DQ at 3:23 with basically no contact even made for the entire match. -*** An awful match to continue an awful storyline.

WWE title: Randy Orton v. Shawn Michaels

I got kind of thrown off by Orton’s entrance because I guess he’s not yet hearing voices in 2007. He’s also very under-tatted compared to today. The stips are a bit convoluted here, with Shawn barred from doing the superkick but the DQ rule waived so that Orton loses the title if he’s disqualified. Shawn works a headlock and goes to a cravat, which gets two. Shawn works on that and Orton tries to slam out of it, but Shawn hangs on. Orton slugs out of it in the corner and Shawn teases doing the superkick, but then he chops Orton down instead and goes to a chinlock on the mat. Shawn puts him in a facelock and throws some knees, with Orton finally sliding out to the floor to escape that. Shawn follows him out with the moonsault, but he tries a bodypresss in the ring and Orton rolls through it for two. Shawn trips him up and gets the Sharpshooter, which certainly has a history at Survivor Series, but Orton quickly makes the ropes. As if anyone would buy Shawn winning the World title with a Sharpshooter. Orton pounds him down, but Shawn kips up and makes a comeback until Orton dropkicks him down again for two. Shawn goes up and drops the flying elbow, but he can’t do the superkick, so he tunes up the band and then hits a small package instead for two. Shawn tries a crucifix and Orton blocks with a rollup for two, but Shawn reverses him to a crossface. Whoa, TOO SOON. Unless the feeling was that they wanted to take it back right away and disconnect it from Benoit as soon as possible. Orton makes the ropes and boots him down, then sets up for his new favorite finisher…the PUNT. But Shawn picks the ankle and takes him down with an anklelock, having learned something from Kurt Angle I guess. Shawn locks it in and Orton threatens to tap, but then kicks out of it and makes the ropes for good measure. Shawn tries a figure-four, and Orton kicks him into the corner to escape, but he tries the RKO and Shawn slips out of it, sets up for the superkick, and then remembers that he can’t use it and that allows Orton to finish him with the RKO for real at 18:00. This was pretty good! Shawn seemed game for something different, although Orton was not quite the APEX VIPER yet and was more just in a weird period between the Legend Killer stuff and his real star turn. ***3/4 And after beating him clean, Orton props him up in the corner for more abuse, at which point Shawn pops out and finally hits his superkick to get a little bit of revenge.

Tomorrow night on RAW: Some mysterious hacker wants us to BREAK THE CODE and figure out who might be showing up. Hopefully whoever it is stays off Twitter for a while.

World title, Hell in a Cell: Batista v. Undertaker

Batista puts him down with a clothesline to start and slugs away, but Taker puts him down and retrieves a chair from under the ring. Batista spears him to counter, but charges and gets booted down for two. JBL notes that Undertaker as “gentrified his game” to prepare for Batista. Is that really a proper use for that term? They head to the floor and Taker gives Batista some cheese grater action on the cage, and follows with a guillotine legdrop on the apron, the HARDEST PART OF THE RING. Oh, wait, we’re not doing that bit yet in 2007. Never mind. Back in, we get the old school ropewalk, but Batista catches him with the spinebuster in a nice move and both guys are down. JBL notes that “you can’t coach power”. I’m gonna have to disagree with you there, John, given all the coaches who specifically train people in that. Batista with a powerslam for two and they head to the floor again, where Taker runs him into the stairs and then follows with a trip into the cage like a javelin. Batista take a chair to the face and he’s just busted wide open now and Taker gets two off that. Back in, Taker goes for the ropewalk again, but Batista crotches him and brings him down with a superplex…which Taker reverses into the triangle, and Batista makes the ropes, barely. Why is the ref calling for rope breaks in a Cell match? Is he gonna call for the DQ? They head back to the floor and Taker makes a run with the stairs, but Big Dave kicks them back in his face and runs him into the post before smashing the stairs into his head a few times and now Taker joins the crimson mask club. Back in, Taker comes back with the chokeslam, but it only gets two. Batista escapes the tombstone and counters with the spinebuster, but that gets two. Another one follows and Batista brings a table in this time, delivering a Batista Bomb through that, but it only gets two. Batista nearly lost him on that one. So since that didn’t work, he brings the stairs into the ring and tries another powerbomb, but Undertaker backdrops him onto those for two. Taker with the tombstone, but that only gets two. So Taker goes up the stairs, delivers a second tombstone onto THOSE…and Edge returns from injury, dressed as a cameraman, and pulls out the ref. So he lays out Taker with the camera, then puts Taker’s head on the stairs and smashes a chair on it to put his lights out and puts Batista on top to retain at 21:21. Although Edge ended up winning the belt himself the next month so it didn’t really matter who won here. This had pretty much everything you’d want and expect from a Cell match (for one of the last times as it turned out) with double juice, tables getting broken, chairshots to the head, and a wacky twist ending. ****1/2

The last two matches were really great, although the entire undercard was pretty worthless for the most part, but here in the Network era I’d call this is a thumbs up show.