- Last time we covered the 1999-2004 Survivor Series, featuring one of the worst in the history of the event (1999), one of the best (2002), and a whole lot of average shows that I'm sure most people couldn't remember if there was a gun pointed at their head. We pick things up in 2005, and carry out way through the tunnel that leads us to the "PG-Era."
Lows: It may have been less than 10-minutes with entrances and everything, but there's no need for garbage like Long vs. Bischoff filling time on a PPV, especially a Big Four PPV where both brands are jockeying for spots on the card. Other than that, the only below-average match was the Women's Title, and trust me, 2005 (and beyond) gave us far worse than Trish having to carry Melina. I guess Cena and Angle was a disappointment, but it wasn't a bad match. I feel like Cena was a little ways off from finding his groove at the top of the card.
Random Notes and Tidbits: Three years and three moments where Randy Orton is the Sole Survivor of his Elimination Tag Team Match, and in this case, was part of a match he originally wasn't scheduled to be part of... Triple H finally picks up a victory at Survivor Series. It only took him eight attempts to achieve that milestone... Vince McMahon did a questionable backstage segment, dropping the "N" word for comedy that really fell flat... Eddie Guerrero was originally penciled in for a spot on Team Smackdown... If you were to take a guess who the Tag Team Champions of both brands were, would you have guessed "Kane and Big Show" for Raw, and "MNM" for Smackdown?... Kurt Angle's last Survivor Series appearance until 2017... Does anyone remember Palmer Cannon, and what his role in WWE was? I'll wait...
Overall Rating: B+
I forgot all about this show, and I'm kind of annoyed at myself for it, as it delivers above average wrestling throughout, capped off by a great Main Event (ignoring the Undertaker bit at the end where he thrashes the Smackdown undercard geeks, but we won't get into that). We're in a forgettable era, but this isn't a show to sleep on, and one I'd recommend giving a look if you haven't seen it before, or haven't seen it since the original broadcast date.
Lows: From top to bottom, the weakest lineup, from a match quality perspective, since the abysmal 1999 edition. One good match and a whole lot of stuff that seemed like a waste of time (don't worry, December to Dismember wiped this from everyone's memory by being a much worse show only 2 weeks later). Lita's farewell was immortalized with the "social commentary" of Cryme Tyme selling her underwear to fans in attendance. The Legends vs. Spirit Squad match felt more like it should be in a Middle School Gym in front of 50 people rather than a big PPV match. The Main Event had little heat, and the crowd was leaving in droves before the final bell.
Random Notes and Tidbits: Roddy Piper was originally scheduled to be on the Legends Team with Flair and company, but was hospitalized shortly before the PPV with Hodgkin's lymphoma, and replaced by Ron Simmons... Ric Flair's victory came 15 years after the last time he was a surviving member of a Survivor Series Team... Lita's match with Mickie James would be her last as a full-time performer with WWE... The two 5-on-5 matches were the first time they had mixed brands for a Survivor Series Match... Randy Orton finally loses at Survivor Series, ending an impressive streak of three consecutive years of being the sole survivor... Team DX is the first team of 5 to completely survive an Elimination Match.
Overall Rating: D
The only thing saving this from an F is because while most of the matches are completely forgettable, especially the rushed Elimination Matches, everything is reasonably short, and there's no instance (like in 1999) where something is so ridiculous (bait-and-switch for the Main Event) that it deserves to get the lowest rating possible. Do I recommend checking the show out on the WWE Network? Hell no, unless you're absolutely in love with the Mike Knox joke, and even that's only 30-seconds of a 2 hour, 45 minute show.
Lows: We've officially entered one of the lowest eras of the "Diva's Division, with the roster loaded with underwear models hired by John Laurinaitis. When the highlight of the women's elimination is Melina botching her entrance and repeating the spot, we're in trouble. The Tag Titles are so important, the top contenders were decided on the WWE.com exclusive Heat. The intelligence insulting angle between Hornswoggle and Mr. McMahon continues with an even worse "match" pitting Hornswoggle against the 7'6" Great Khali. In a world where you need to suspend disbelief, that's too much.
Random Notes and Tidbits: The only time the ECW Title is defended at the Survivor Series in the 4+ years of the "ECW" revival, all other times the ECW Champion participated in Elimination Matches... Miz and Morrison were the reigning Tag Team Champions of whatever brand owned those particular belts (look up the lineage, it's a f*cking mess)... Matt Hardy had to be written out of storylines with a burst appendix... Torrie Wilson's final PPV appearance for WWE... Don't feel sorry for Cody and Holly, they won the titles at the 15th Anniversary Raw Special three weeks later, and Cody somehow jobbed the titles to himself 6-months later... Kane casually bringing up the Necrophilia angle with Triple H in a backstage segment with Hunter calmly apologizing is worth watching... After 8 consecutive losses, Triple H now has a 3 year winning streak at Survivor Series... Shawn Michaels was the first man to use the Crippler Crossface since, you know.
Overall Rating: B
Another low-key card that succeeds, which might be attributed to the Survivor Series losing luster and being treated with less specialness than the surviving "Big Events" (WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, and SummerSlam). Two Championship Main Events delivered above-average quality, and the "traditional" Survivor Series Elimination Match told a good story. There's some stinkers, like the Hornswoggle garbage, but there's very little negative to say, and at least all the bad stuff was kept reasonably short and was featured underneath, leaving the important matches to leave the lasting impression.
Lows: The entire booking of the WWE Championship Match. Originally booked as Triple H vs. Vladimir Kozlov, Jeff Hardy was inserted into it, only to be taken out the day of the show with a worked injury that was presented as a real life situation. On top of the false advertisement, Hardy ended up appearing in the match, doing a failed run-in, and to top it off, the match was GARBAGE, something that came out of 1982 WWF, not the modern era expected quality. The Women's Elimination Match was poor, The Undertaker and Big Show sleepwalked through a Casket Match, and we got a random appearance of "The Gobbledy Gooker".
Random Notes and Tidbits: Not much to report here, since we've reached an era where there's not a whole lot of interesting tidbits. This was the third time there was a traditional Women's Elimination Match, and Phoenix was the first American to be victorious (previous Survivors were the Jumping Bomb Angels in '87 and Aja Kong in '95)... Vladimir Kozlov was the first Superstar since The Patriot (IYH: Ground Zero) to challenge for the WWE Title in his Pay-Per-View Debut... Randy Orton became the first man in WWE history to survive Elimination Matches at four different PPV's (Hogan and Warrior survived twice in 1990 for 4 victories on three shows)... Cody Rhodes (2008) and Dusty Rhodes (1989) are the first set of father/son winners.
Overall Rating: C
This is one of those middle ground shows that will likely not be remembered for anything positive, but will be for the negative surrounding the garbage involving the WWE Championship. Elimination matches set as undercard filler aren't going to be strong enough to make a positive difference, but being fun at least keeps them from being a chore to sit through. Three of the six matches produced weak results, and it's always inexcusable for a WWE Championship Match to be booked so poorly. I can't recommend this one either for or against.
Lows: When you've got a card featuring only six matches, there's not a whole lot to put under the good or the bad. I guess a 5-minute match between Batista and Rey Mysterio qualifies as a lowlight of the show, but the match itself wasn't bad, just a disappointment. I'm not going out of my way to knock the DIVAS, but man, these Women's Elimination Matches are something to behold, and here we are, EIGHT YEARS LATER, and Alicia Fox is still being shuffled around the roster, trying to plug her into any role that they can find for her.
Random Notes and Tidbits: In six Survivor Series Elimination Matches, Randy Orton has either survived (four times) or was the last man eliminated on his team (twice)... Every Survivor Series moving forward, except for 2016, wouldn't feature any more than two elimination matches... This would mark the last time Shawn Michaels challenged for the WWE Championship... Triple H continues to set Survivor Series' record for most losses, reaching nine in twelve matches... the last Survivor Series to feature ECW as a separate brand, with Matt Hardy representing as their "World" Champion...
Overall Rating: B-
Nothing that really blows you away, but when only one match falls under the two-star rating, you can hardly call it a bad show. On the other hand, the WWE Championship Match isn't a legendary must-see, the better of the two men's Elimination Matches is just a tick over three-stars, and the rest is average, but having low expectations in most places definitely helps bring the score up. Not a personal favorite, but a good show from beginning to end, and a decent way to kill 2 ½ hours.
Lows: Plenty to talk about here. We've mentioned good matches that won't be memorable, but what of Kaval? He wins NXT Season 2 (back when it was a mock reality show) and uses his win to challenge for the secondary title, then loses (in what ended up being his exit from WWE). Kane's reign as World Heavyweight Champion was a dumpster fire at the top of the cards, and the feud with Edge was no exception. John Cena being a forced member of Nexus, ordered to screw Randy Orton of his WWE Title, would be interesting had Cena actually done a heel turn, but here it was just a pointless two week angle that didn't mean anything and the stipulations were completely ignored.
Random Notes and Tidbits: John Cena joins the long list of wrestlers under masks. Mr. America, The Midnight Rider, and Stagger Lee all ranged from awful to entertaining. John Cena coming out as JUAN Cena is the laziest thing I've ever seen out of the entire history of the gimmick... The Survivor Series was almost repackaged as a different show, according to reports earlier in 2010... David Arquette appeared at ringside and apparently made an ass out of himself (off camera)... Daniel Bryan's next 1-on-1 match on PPV wouldn't be until Summerslam the following year... MVP wrapped up his five-year run with WWE the following week.
Overall Rating: D+
This might seem harsh, especially with a handful of decent matches, but there's nothing here. There's no meat or substance to make this a card worth checking out, with a flat Main Event and ignored stipulation, match after match of fine, but unremarkable action, and a return to treating Survivor Series as just another show, limiting the Elimination Matches to just one match. Can you tell I'm not really in love with this era of WWE?
We pick things up in our final installment, covering the 2011 through 2016 Survivor Series, and thankfully, this would be around the time of my return to actively following WWE and watching on a regular basis (by 2013, I became a full-fledged fan again, so something must've clicked in my brain).