Mike Reviews Every WWF/E Survivor Series Main Event – Part Three (1999 to 2004)

Hello You!

Well here we are its back to Reviewing Main Events, starting with one of WWE’s traditional “Big Four” pay per view events of the year in the form of Survivor Series.

The original Survivor Series was created in 1987 as a way for WWE to mess with Jim Crockett Promotions, as they were holding Starrcade on the same day. JCP’s plan was to switch their show to a different timeslot so that fans could buy both events, but Vince McMahon then threatened to withhold WrestleMania IV from the pay per view companies if they showed JCP’s show, which led to a lot them refusing to carry Starrcade as a result.

Despite only existing as a way to mess with another company, WWE decided to keep the event going and it’s still around to this day. The early events started out with just Elimination Tag Team bouts, but as the years wore on they started adding normal match types as well, with the show eventually becoming more of a regular pay per view that had a token Survival match here or there.

This week we’ll be looking at the Main Events from 1999 to 2004

I haven’t done one of these for a while, so I’ll make it clear than I class the “Main Event” as the match that went on last. People get annoyed at that definition sometimes, but my opinion is that the match that closes the show is the most important one due to it being the lasting memory of the event, which makes it a Main Event in my book. If you disagree then fair enough, but I’m afraid that that’s how I’m going to do it.

WWF Survivor Series 1999

Main Event
WWF Title
Champ: Triple H Vs The Rock Vs Big Show

This one was originally going to be Triple H defending against Rock and Stone Cold, but Austin’s neck injury had flared up again so he wasn’t going to be able to take part. They did a storyline where a mystery assailant knocked Austin down in a car, which we’ll come back to for the next match. However, with Austin out of action they needed a replacement, with Big Show getting the nod because they’d been trying to push him recently by presenting a storyline where his Dad was very ill. Eventually the storyline progressed to Big Show’s father passing away, which led to Big Boss Man showing up and wrecking the funeral. This succeeded in giving Show some sympathy with the fans, but it wasn’t clear yet whether that sympathy could be used to make him into a Main Event babyface act.

Show runs wild to start, bumping the other two around, with both Rock and Triple H taking some nice bumps for him. We of course get the mandatory brawling outside the ring, because it was 1999 and every Main Event required some brawling outside the ring, in the crowd or both. It’s entertaining enough, but I’m not sure the match really needed it to be honest. It feels a lot like a box ticking exercise almost, like they have a list of all the clichéd spots that constitute a Main Event and they’re working their way through them.

Eventually Rock and Triple H realise they should probably work together if they want to take Show out of the running, which leads to them giving him a double vertical suplex through the Spanish Announce Table, thus giving us Rock Vs Triple H in a singles match for a bit. I doubt it’ll really shock any of you to hear that Rock Vs Triple H is good. The crowd heat is a bit disappointing though, as this was in that transitional period between Russo’s run and the peak of 2000, where they still had to train the jaded Attitude Era fans to actually like wrestling again.

We get some McMahon involvement, with Shane coming down as the referee at one stage when Earl Hebner gets bumped. This was back when all of Los McMahonos were babyfaces, so he basically refs it fairly, although he stops Triple H from using the Title belt as a weapon and eats a Pedigree as a result. Big Show rises from the wreckage of the table, at which point Triple H’s pals in D-X run down to attack Show and Rock. That’s Vince McMahon’s cue to run down and he clocks Triple H with the belt as revenge for Shane, and a Big Show choke slam follows to give him the belt via Vince count.

WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: BIG SHOW
RATING: ***

This was good, but it never really threatened to be better than that. I think the crowd were happy that Triple H lost, rather than happy that Show won if that’s make sense? I think they would have been much happier with a Rock win, but a Show victory didn’t hurt their feelings that much. Big Show does the big emotional celebration following the win in a nice touch, but he would drop the belt in early 2000 and wouldn’t win it again until 2002, by which point he was back as a heel. You could say that maybe Rock could have “endorsed” Show with the babyface handshake following the match, but that’s pretty out of character for Rock during this era and I think the fans might have rejected it rather fiercely to be honest.

WWF Survivor Series 2000

Main Event
No Disqualification
Triple H Vs Stone Cold Steve Austin

So, regarding Austin getting run over. Unfortunately the driver was revealed to be Rikishi 11 months later, which pretty much torpedoed any chance the guy had at being a Main Eventer ever again, especially as he’d been enjoying great success as a babyface prior to the rather nonsensical turn. Realising that Stone Cold Vs Heel Headshrinker Fatu probably wasn’t the best feud to be presenting at the top of the card, the WWF decided to go back to Austin Vs Triple H, with them using the storyline reason of Triple H being the one who had talked Rikishi into it. Personally I always thought Big Show made the most sense as the driver, because it literally led to him winning the Title, but he was in the doghouse at the time and wasn’t even on TV, which kind of ruled him out.

Triple H was in between themes here, as he no longer had “My Time” but hadn’t moved on to “The Game” yet. It’s kind of a mix of My Time and his heel theme from 1999 that he has on WrestleMania 2000 for the N64. Austin of course goes 100mph in the opening section, doing his usual array of punches and kicks, targeting Triple H’s back which was supposedly injured at the time. We quickly head outside for the usual Main Event brawl, with Austin controlling most of it and Triple H selling it well. The action for the most part here is fine, but it’s not a patch on their excellent Three Stages of Heck match from No Way Out 2001. It’s entertaining for the most part though, although I think it’s a bit too formula for what’s supposed to be this big hate filled grudge match.

Triple H had recently formed an alliance with The Radicalz Faction of Dean Malenko, Chris Benoit, Perry Saturn and Eddie Guerrero, so his main tactic is to survive Austin’s vicious attacks and lure him out of the arena where they can attack him (Commissioner Foley banned them from ringside but I guess fighting backstage gets around that particular loophole?). Triple H does one of his customary blade jobs (I bet he was gutted when WWE went PG and he wasn’t allowed to bleed anymore) which leads to Austin stopping for a beer break, which pops the crowd but also kind of makes this feel like a normal Austin brawl rather than his chance to get back at a man who quite literally could have led to him dying due to whole hit and run situation.

Triple H does eventually get to work some heat, countering the Stunner into a neck breaker in a cool spot, and he targets the surgically repaired neck of Austin like The Cerebral Assassin he is. Triple H tries to Pedigree Austin on the ring steps outside the ring, but Austin counters with a back body drop to put Triple H through the English Announce Table, in a spot that was pretty heavily telegraphed to be honest. Triple H took a fantastic bump there though, I’ll give him that. Stunner follows back inside following that, but Austin doesn’t cover and instead grabs a chair so he can Pillmanise him. In a great spot he teases that he’s changed his mind, only to then move the chair from the leg to the neck instead, which gets a great reaction from the crowd.

Triple H manages to flee before Austin can come off the ropes though and that leads to them brawling again, which finally allows Triple H to lure Austin into the ambush from The Radicalz. Austin survives that, but whilst that is going on Triple H gets into a car in the car park, with the goal to hit Austin again. Austin is smart enough to know that is coming though, and ends up lifting Triple H’s car up in a crane forklift, in a moment Maffew has since immortalised in Botchamania by comparing it to an eerily similar scene in Heavy Rain. Just like in that, Austin drops the car off the crane down to the floor, seemingly to kill Triple H off once and for all. With Triple H now being dead, the match just kind of ends, along with the show.

NO CONTEST
RATING: **1/2

Meh, this didn’t do it for me for whatever reason. Some of the brawling was good, but it just felt like any other Attitude Era Main Event brawl for the most part, and the silly ending didn’t really work either, especially as Triple H just survived it with the explanation that he was really lucky. Yeah, that was what they went with. Next time I’m in a life threatening situation just remind me to be really lucky and maybe I’ll walk away unscathed as well! I mean, they couldn’t say he escaped the car at the very last moment or something? Watch No Way Out 2001 if you want the definitive Austin Vs Triple H match.

WWF Survivor Series 2001

Main Event
Team Alliance: WWF Champ Stone Cold Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Booker T, WWF Hardcore Champ Rob Van Dam and WCW Owner Shane McMahon
Vs
Team WWF: WCW Champ The Rock, Chris Jericho, Big Show, Undertaker and Kane

This was the end to the outrageously disappointing “Invasion” angle of 2001, where the combined forces of WCW and ECW took on the WWF for control of the Sports Entertainment world. The storyline was pretty much a disaster from beginning to end, with most people being relieved at this stage that they were finally going to cut their losses and move on from it. Basically this is a typical Survivor Series Elimination match, with the winning team winning the war also. Thus, if The Alliance win then the WWF dies. Of course there was little to no chance that this was going to happen, so they inexplicably turned Kurt Angle pro-WCW to try and convince people that The Alliance might win. It didn’t work.

In the build-up they pushed that Vince McMahon had managed to get Austin to jump to Team WWF, but they also presented it like Vince could have been playing mind games and that no one had actually jumped ship. It was something I guess, and fit the Vince character of being a dodgy sod who always had something up his sleeve. Vince was also originally supposed to be in the match itself, but he ended up subbing himself out for Big Show. I’m not sure if that was just to show Vince as being a conniving guy in kayfabe or if in real life he felt the match wouldn’t be as good with him it so he decided to put an actual wrestler in there instead. The highlight of the build was a great Paul Heyman promo on the go-home Smackdown, where he unloaded five years’ worth of pent up anger on Vince due to him stealing all of ECW’s concepts for the Attitude Era (Ignoring that Heyman himself stole them from Onita, who himself stole them from his time in Memphis).

It still amazes me that they turned Undertaker heel not too soon after this, as he’s hugely over here and the fans love him. At least his heel turned spared us from the horror of having to watch Kane and him teaming up against The Outsiders I guess. Rock and Austin start out with a segment, and it’s great as always, which leads to things settling into everyone coming in to do a bit, with guys like Jericho, Booker, RVD and Angle doing some nice stuff. RVD would appear to be the most popular guy on The Alliance side, with the fans actually cheering for him when he gets in. Eventually everything breaks down and that leads to Big Show destroying the whole Alliance side until they all gang up on him with their finishers, with Shane of all people being the guy who gets the pin at the end of it all.

Big Show Eliminated by Shane McMahon (1) – Flying Elbow Drop

I should mention that Jim Ross and Paul Heyman are handling the call here and they spend a large chunk of the match sniping at one another, which is funny at first but then starts getting a bit tiresome as the match wears on. Shane has been doing a good job as an annoying heel actually, where he keeps coming in to break up pins before scampering away. This finally leads to him “getting his” though, as the faces go to the finisher medley on him just like the heels did to Show, which leads to Jericho eliminating him. Shane would actually get some heat with the guys backstage for this as he didn’t sell the effects of the beat down enough on the following episode of Raw for their liking.

Shane McMahon Eliminated by Chris Jericho (1) – Lionsault

You know, the heat has been quite disappointing here actually, especially considering what’s on the line and the fact the work has mostly been good. I actually think the booking hasn’t been bad either, as they had The Alliance take out Show in a collective effort to take out the WWF’s “tank” but then had the WWF guys take out The Alliance’s most hated guy with a crowd pleasing beat down segment that mirrored Show’s elimination. Despite that though the crowd doesn’t really seem that invested by it all. Things break down again, which perks up the crowd a bit, and in the confusion they give RVD a pin by letting him eliminate Kane.

Kane Eliminated by Rob Van Dam (1) – Flying Karate Kick

Taker goes on a rally where he beats up the entire Alliance side all by himself (because of course he does) but eventually Austin is able to sneak in with a Stunner and that allows Angle to eliminate him.

Undertaker Eliminated by Kurt Angle (1) – Pin from a Stone Cold Stunner

So Rock and Jericho, who had been having serious issues with one another in the build-up, are now forced to work together against four Alliance members. Again, that’s a really good bit of storytelling, but the crowd still aren’t really biting for whatever reason. Rock manages to get yet another pin over Booker T with a desperation roll up though, to thin out The Alliance numbers.

Booker T Eliminated by The Rock (1) – School Boy

RVD and Jericho do a very nice segment together, probably the best in the match so far actually, and the crowd does respond to it a bit, with Jericho catching RVD with a Skull Crushing Finale to eliminate him.

Rob Van Dam Eliminated by Chris Jericho (2) – Full Nelson Facebuster

So we’re now down to Austin and Angle against Jericho and Rock, with things settling into a tag match where Angle and Austin work some heat on Jericho. Jericho sells it well and the heels’ offence looks good too, but the crowd still refuses to really bite. The lack of noise is starting to border on being kind of terrifying, especially when you consider we’re heading into the closing stretch with arguably the top four active singles guys in the whole company going at it. Rock eventually gets the tag and does a nice hot tag segment with Angle into The Sharpshooter, which leads to Angle surprisingly tapping out without much of a fight.

Kurt Angle Eliminated by The Rock (2) – Sharpshooter

So Team WWF now has the advantage, with Austin bleeding for good measure, but he bravely fights on to tease his eventual babyface turn. That is highlighted even further when Austin manages to counter a Jericho pin attempt into one of his own to eliminate him cleanly and leave it with him Vs Rock.

Chris Jericho Eliminated by Stone Cold (1) – Pin counter

Jericho had been teasing a heel turn in the weeks leading up to this show and finally pulls the trigger on it by laying out Rock before leaving, which gives Austin two in a good near fall. Wow, it took 8 people being eliminated to finally get the crowd to bite, but they managed it. Maybe they shouldn’t have bothered with the elimination match and just done Austin Vs Rock with a shedload of run-in’s instead? Taker makes sure that Jericho leaves following that kick out and we now get a Rock Vs Austin finishing sequence, which is good because it’s Rock Vs Austin and the crowd actually somewhat give a darn about the match now too. The action is really good actually, with some really well done submission teases and plenty of classic Austin/Rock counter sequences. Rock looks to have it won, but evil WCW ref Nick Patrick runs down and attacks Earl Hebner, allowing Austin to reply with a Rock Bottom for two. Austin clocks Patrick in anger and brings Hebner back in, only for Hebner to get bumped once again. This is Kurt Angle’s cue to come down to ostensibly help Austin, but he reveals himself to be the guy who jumped teams as he clocks Austin with the WWF Title belt, which gives Rock the win with the Rock Bottom.

Stone Cold Steve Austin Eliminated by The Rock (3) – Rock Bottom

SOLE SURVIVOR: THE ROCK
MOST ELIMINATIONS: THE ROCK (3)
RATING: ***1/4

That match had a lot of really good moments in it, such as Angle tapping out suspiciously easy due to being the guy who had jumped teams and Rock finally getting revenge on Austin for WrestleMania X-Seven, but a super flat crowd really hurt it. The actual work was pretty much good from start to finish, but the match just felt like it was meandering until the Rock Vs Austin bits at the end due to the crowd sitting on their hands. It’s a testament to how much they blew the angle by the fact that the crowd were that uninterested for the big climactic battle to end it all.

WWE Survivor Series 2002

Main Event
Raw Title
Elimination Chamber
Champ: Triple H Vs Chris Jericho Vs Booker T Vs Kane Vs Rob Van Dam Vs Shawn Michaels

This was actually an occasion where having Triple H screw a bunch of babyfaces actually made sense, as he now had to face the music against them all in the first ever Chamber match. Shawn was the main babyface coming for vengeance as Triple H had destroyed him with a sledgehammer at Summer Slam. Jericho was the only other heel in the match, but he had good reason to hate Triple H too due to The H’ster ending his WWF Title run earlier in the year. Of course it probably would have been better to have one Booker or RVD be the main babyface threat so as to elevate them rather than going with Shawn, but beggars couldn’t be choosers I guess.

Jericho was one of the Raw Tag Champs at the time at Christian, and he gets sung down to the ring by Saliva at WWF New York. He gets in the Chamber a bit too quickly though, which means he has to hang around in his pod whilst Saliva keep singing. For those of you who have never seen one of these, The Chamber is a big cage like thing with four pods made of “bullet proof” plexi-glass. Four guys start off in the Chambers, with one randomly opening every 3 or 5 minutes depending on which interpretation of the rules we’re going with. It’s kind of like if some mad Eastern European scientist tried combining War Games and Hell in a Cell. Michaels has a truly memorable pair of poo coloured tights here, combined with a truly horrible haircut. He’d adapt his look much better as the 00’s rolled on.

RVD and Triple H start us out, and they do a good segment together, with Triple H bumping and selling for RVD, including some nasty looking bumps onto the steel grating around the ringside. Apparently landing on those was absolutely horrible and they’ve made them nicer to bump on in years since. Triple H does his customary big pay per view blade job, with RVD getting to use the Chamber to do some inventive spots, such as getting the Rolling Thunder from the ring to the outside, as well as landing on the Chamber wall like Spiderman at one stage.

Jericho is the first guy out of his Chamber, which leads to him and Triple H doubling up on RVD at one point. Jericho and Triple H had a strange relationship at the time where they clearly hated one another, but they were both heels and would still team up now and then when it was beneficial for them to do so. It’s like Scott used to say, heels have allies and babyfaces have friends. RVD sells it all well, and Triple H clearly appreciates the chance for a breather as this was during the period of his career where he got ludicrously overly muscular from about 2002 up to 2007, and it hampered his working ability quite a bit. Thankfully when he trimmed down in 2007 he ended up getting most of his mojo back and had possibly his best year as a worker in 2008.

Booker is in next and he runs wild on everyone, looking good in the process. 2002 was the year I came closest to giving up on wrestling actually, but the emergence of Brock Lesnar and the greatness of the Smackdown Six kept me around, with Booker being one of the few reasons I continued to care about Raw at the time also. We get an infamous spot following Booker’s rally where RVD heads up to the top of a Chamber to Frogsplash Triple H. However, Triple H is too near to the corner and the lack of space between the Chamber and the roof means RVD can’t jump properly either, which combines to lead to RVD landing knee first on Triple H’s throat. This was such a rough landing that Triple H legit needed some time off to recover from it, and it’s ugly just to look at. It proves to be the last thing RVD does in the match too, as Booker comes off the ropes with a missile dropkick and that ends RVD’s night.

Rob Van Dam Eliminated by Booker T (1) – Missile Dropkick

I have to question eliminating the most over guy in the match like that, as the crowd hated it and it wasn’t even like Booker beat a lot of people with that move in WWE either. Triple H shows his usual guts by refusing to get eliminated early and soldiering on for the rest of the match. Say what you want about Triple H (And there’s a lot you can say) but he’s always gutted it out when needed in situations like this. Kane is next out, and he quickly flings Jericho through one of the Chambers to pop the crowd, as I have to say that (RVD elimination aside) they’ve done a great job of pacing this and spacing out all the big spots and bumps so that every section of the match has had something going on and a story beat to hit. Kane choke slams Booker and then stops to brawl with Triple H, which allows Jericho to sneak back in from his Chambering in order to steal the pin.

Booker T Eliminated by Chris Jericho (1) – Lionsault

The timing and pacing is spot on again, with all three guys doing a triple down just in time for Shawn to come in and run wild to pop the crowd. Kane fights back and destroys everyone, which leads to them all deciding to attack him together and hit him with finishers, with Jericho getting the last shot to send him to the showers. That was another great example of how well they’ve put this together, as we got the Shawn flurry followed by a sensible way of eliminating Kane that keeps him looking strong, and now we get a segment with Shawn, Jericho and Triple H where the heels can double up on Shawn to give him a mountain to climb.

Kane Eliminated by Chris Jericho (2) – Lionsault

Unlike in 1996, the MSG crowd is into Shawn this time, which was probably always going to happen but they made sure that it would happen by having two of the best heels on the roster batter him first, so that he could sell and get sympathy. Seriously, whoever agented this match deserves a sturdy pat on the back because it’s been structured pretty much perfectly. Shawn does the big Main Event blade job and makes sporadic comebacks in his usual fighting from underneath babyface style. In some ways I prefer Shawn post-back injury because he had to slow down a little bit and focus more on selling and timing his comebacks, which he was extraordinarily good at, and I think it actually made him a better worker as a result.

Jericho and Triple H’s loose alliance finally crumbles and they do their usual good match with one another whilst Shawn gets a chance to catch a breather. Jericho gets Triple H in THE DREADED YOUNG LION BOSTON CRAB, but Shawn plays him some Sweet Chin Music before Triple H can uncle and that’s it for Jericho.

Chris Jericho Eliminated by Shawn Michaels – Kick of Super (1)

So we now get the big Triple H Vs Shawn collision the match has been building to, and it’s really good. I remember actually that when Smackdown: Here Comes The Pain came out they sold the fact the Chamber would be in the game by actually animating some of this Shawn Vs Triple H stuff and putting it into the trailer. Triple H catapults Shawn through one of the Chambers and things look bleak for ol’ HBK, which makes me think we’ve reached…

Yes, we’ve reached that.

Anyway, Shawn manages to kick out back inside and the match continues, with Shawn making the odd sporadic attempt to fight back, only to get mowed down each time. One good thing about the Shawn Vs Triple H matches not taking place until the early to mid-00’s is that they could present them as the bigger Triple H bullying the smaller Michaels, which is a story they really couldn’t have done if they’d split up and feuded in 1998 as Triple H wasn’t fully jacked yet. Shawn manages to get the elbow off the top of a Chamber and TUNES UP THE BAND, only to get caught with a Pedigree in a great counter for two. That near fall was excellent and the crowd really bit on it. Triple H tries the Pedigree again, but Shawn back body drops to counter and this time Triple H is forced to listen to the Chin Music to give Shawn another improbable World Title and blow the roof off the joint!

Triple H Eliminated by Shawn Michaels (2) – Sweet Chin Music

WINNER AND NEW CHAMPION: SHAWN MICHAELS
MOST ELIMINATIONS: SHAWN MICHAELS & CHRIS JERICHO (2)
RATING: ****

I was worried how this one would come across after 18 years, but it’s aged extraordinarily well. The work was really good for the most part, Triple H’s injury aside, but what I liked most about it was the pacing and match structure. You can make an argument that 5 minutes was too long a gap between Chambers opening, but they always made sure to have something happen in every section, be it an elimination or a big spot, so it always felt like something important was on the horizon, and the match didn’t drag for me at all despite how long it was. Really I don’t think they could have structured it any better than they did, and it certainly worked as the crowd were super into the closing section with Shawn and Triple H. I’m pleased to say that I still liked it after all these years!

WWE Survivor Series 2003

Main Event
Raw Title
Champ: Goldberg Vs Triple H w/ Ric Flair

Goldberg had defeated Triple H for the belt in September, at which point Triple H had gone away to film a movie/get married. He did the whole “Heel puts a Bounty on the babyface” promo before leaving though, which led to a bunch of heels trying to cash in. Eventually it was Batista who did it, Pillmanising Goldberg in the process. Thus we have the main storyline for this match, with Goldberg hobbled due to his bad wheel. Because what’s more fun than watching Bill Goldberg sell for long periods of time eh? I sure don’t know!

They once again dub out the WWE version of Goldberg’s theme for the WCW one, and I’m still mystified as to why. Surely they own that theme? They made it so that they didn’t have to use the WCW one anymore. Goldberg gets a big shine on Triple H to start, with Triple H selling it well, but he stupidly goes for a press slam and his ankle buckles, which leads to Triple H targeting the appendage. Hey, Flair is at ringside, maybe he just suggested that do a version of one of his matches with Sting or Luger? Flair distracts the referee and that allows Triple H to clock Goldberg’s ankle with a chair. Well, as cut offs go that’s a pretty effective one to go with I guess.

The match kind of dies now, because Goldberg lying around a selling his leg is just not what people watch a Goldberg match to see, even though Goldberg actually does a good job of selling all of Triple H’s leg based offence. The ref ends up getting bumped when Goldberg counters the figure four, which leads to a Triple H attack with an international object for two. Triple H drops an elbow on the ref out of frustration and then brings in the sledgehammer. Goldberg manages to fight that off and then makes a pretty decent one legged comeback actually, destroying Flair, Batista and Orton with the hammer. In a nice touch, Goldberg thinks about hitting Triple H with the hammer, but then decides he doesn’t need it and throws it away for the Spear and Jackhammer to pick up the win.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: GOLDBERG
RATING: **

Pretty boring in the middle, but the finishing sequence was done well and they gave Goldberg the battling clean win. Of course he’d lose the belt a month later anyway, but he got to stand tall on this night at least

WWE Survivor Series 2004

Main Event
Winning Team gets to run Raw for a month
Raw Champ Triple H, Batista, Edge and Snitsky w/ Ric Flair
Vs
Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho and Maven

Orton had been kicked out of Evolution to go face earlier in the year, and Raw had been getting constantly more chaotic in the months preceding this. Raw GM Eric Bischoff was already in a bad mood due to losing a hair match with Eugene and decided that he was going to take a month off and let the lunatics run the asylum, hence this match. Each member of the winning team will get a week to run Raw, with basically all of them wanting to use it to try and beat Triple H for his belt. Even his teammates Snitsky and Edge have said they’ll challenge for the belt too, with Batista having a longing look at the Title also at one stage to tease something there.

They did an angle earlier in the night where Snitsky laid a brutal beat down on Maven, so he isn’t here to start. Man, pandering babyface Randy Orton was such a horrible fit for him as a character. Turning him back heel in 2005 was the best decision they could have made. Everyone comes in for a bit during the opening sections, and the work is alright actually. The heat is a bit lacking, but the actual wrestling is entertaining enough, with there being a lot of strikes and quick-fire moves. Benoit looks by far the best of everyone in this section, with his work having the usual crispness and all of the heels selling and bumping around for him to make his stuff look good. Benoit manages to get Triple H in a Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring, but Snitsky breaks that up, which leads to Triple H sticking Benoit with a Pedigree and Edge stealing the pin.

Chris Benoit Eliminated by Edge (1) – Pin following Pedigree

The faces are now at a 2 on 4 disadvantage, but the heels choose that moment to have an argument over who is legal, which leads to Snitsky and Batista going nose to nose whilst Jericho gets Triple H in THE DREADED YOUNG LION BOSTON CRAB in a funny submission tease. Flair stops the Lionsault though, so the ref sends him to the back, which leads to Lawler aping Bobby Heenan with the “Fair to Flair” line. Flair won’t leave though, which leads to Mike Chioda arguing with him, and in the confusion Orton clocks Batista with the Raw belt and that allows Jericho to eliminate him.

Batista Eliminated by Chris Jericho (1) – Enziguri

Batista lariats Jericho before leaving, which leads to the remaining heels getting some heat on him as a result. I’ve got to say, Snitsky hasn’t really looked out of place amongst this company to be honest, possibly because everyone in this match is good and it means they’ve been able to hide his deficiencies. That being said, he’s been everywhere he’s needed to be when it comes to catching people on dives and taking bumps, so he’s holding up his end of things. Jericho sells the heat well, with Orton even getting beaten up outside for good measure. That is the cue for a bloody Maven to run down and get the hot tag, showing some good fire and pin-balling the heels around. Snitsky hits him with a chair though, getting himself DQ’ed and leaving Maven prone for an easy pin.

Snitsky Eliminated by DQ

Maven Eliminated by Triple H (1) – Pin following chair attack

Normally I’d be annoyed at a lame DQ elimination like that, but it helped protect Snitsky’s monster image and actually leads to him taking out all of the other faces with the chair also, which adds to the story of the match by giving them an even bigger mountain to climb. And indeed, Jericho gives it the old college try but an Edge Spear sends him to the showers leaving Orton all by his lonesome against the heels.

Chris Jericho Eliminated by Edge (2) – Spear

Orton doesn’t back down and tells the heels to bring it, and they promptly do by stomping him down in a funny bit. To be honest, Orton was pretty much already done as a babyface once he failed in his first match with Triple H, but they were at least trying here by having him bravely fight against the odds, and he sells the heat from Edge and Triple H well. Heel miscommunication sees Edge Spear Triple H though, and Orton snaps off an RKO to send Edge back to Toronto.

Edge Eliminated by Randy Orton (1) – RKO

This leaves us with Triple H and Orton, with Orton countering the Pedigree into an RKO OUTTA NOWHERE, and that’s enough for the pin and a decent pop.

Triple H Eliminated by Randy Orton (2) – RKO

SOLE SURVIVOR: RANDY ORTON
MOST ELIMINATIONS: RANDY ORTON & EDGE (2)
RATING: ***

Good match, but it also lacked the punch of some of the classic Survivor Series matches from back in the day. I actually thought the booking was pretty good, with Maven’s appearance being executed well and Snitsky looking strong to protect his monster heel aura. Orton beating the two heels at the end felt like an obvious attempt at rehabbing him, but also kind of wasted his first proper pin fall victory over Triple H, as despite the stips this didn’t really feel like a big time Main Event match

In Conclusion

Nothing particularly bad this time out, but only one great match and a few middling ones. From memory there should be a couple of really good ones once we enter the Cena/Batista Era

Hopefully I’ll see you all next week when we cover 2005 to 2010!