SPOILERS: WWE RAW 07/11/16 Results – RAW Survivor Series Teams Announced

WARNING: The following post contains spoilers for the November 7th edition of Monday Night RAW, held in Glasgow.

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The show opened with Stephanie McMahon coming out to reveal the fifth member of Team RAW. The team so far had been United States Champion Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Chris Jericho and Universal Champion Kevin Owens. These all came out for a segment (Roman got a lot of boos) when Stephanie revealed that the fifth man was Seth Rollins.

Now, Seth does add to the match quality of Survivor Series and he is a big star added as part of this “big” match. However, please keep in mind that this match probably isn’t going to be the main event. Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg will likely be closing the show, meaning this match can be your experiment match. SmackDown! threw in Baron Corbin as part of their team to try and get him over as a top guy, as did RAW with Braun Strowman. So why not continue the pattern by having a rising star like Sami Zayn come into the team while Seth feuds with a heel like Rusev? Seth vs. Rusev is different and you’d be building up more people in the long run. Why does Seth Rollins need to be in this match?

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Also, from a storyline perspective, why is Stephanie going with Seth Rollins to be apart of this big match for brand supremacy? Owens, Strowman and Reigns are all winners, which is why Stephanie picked them. Jericho came as a package deal for Owens, which explains him being in the match. SETH ROLLINS has lost in every major match he’s been in on pay-per-view since Dean Ambrose cashed in on him at Money In The Bank. He lost in the triple threat match at Battleground, he lost against Finn Balor at SummerSlam, he’s lost twice against Owens at Clash of Champions and Hell in a Cell. Not to mention, he’s lost a number of high-profile matches on RAW as well. WHO could possibly take Seth seriously as a top guy on RAW and a threat to Team SmackDown!?

Not to mention, this is the guy that is supposedly going to fight Triple H at WrestleMania. If they continue to go down this road with him, Seth’s got hardly any chance of getting over to the level that he should be going into one of the biggest matches for the big show.

What followed on from this announcement was another announcement that in the main event, THESE FIVE MEN that are representing Team RAW would all face EACH OTHER in the fatal five way main event on RAW.

THESE FIVE MEN, who are supposed to team together for Team RAW, are beating the hell out of each other in the main event of the show in a match with nothing on the line. It’s not like this was a Universal Title match, which actually would have been an interesting stipulation for this match. They’re all just fighting each other for no reason, which actually risks Stephanie’s chances of winning as one of these men could get injured. THIS was a stupid idea.

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Rich Swann and Sin Cara defeated Cruiserweight Champion Brian Kendrick and Noam Dar. Noam apparently got a huge reaction from the crowd, leading to ICW chants from this crowd on an episode of RAW. I’d be VERY shocked if they didn’t edit this out. I do also find it funny that Sin Cara was on the winning team on the same day that news broke out about Sin Cara reportedly in a actual fight with Chris Jericho. It’s funny because when Bo Dallas got arrested in the airport incident from a few months ago, they also put him on the next RAW and had him squash a guy. It’s funny how that works.

They announced Sami Zayn vs. Rusev with the winner facing Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship at Survivor Series. So to recap, RAW gave Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson dozens of tag team title shots at the New Day for no reason, Roman Reigns was given United States title shots for no reason, Seth gets a thousand title shots despite losing all time BUT FOR THE SMACKDOWN! MID-CARD TITLE, they get the idea of having two men actually FIGHT for the right to EARN a title shot and try to build up Ziggler’s opponent properly? RAW is better at hyping up SmackDown! title matches than their own title matches! They also showed a video package for Brock vs Goldberg at Survivor Series.

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The New Day did a Scottish comedy segment featuring bagpipes. For the RAW vs SmackDown! TAG TEAM SURVIVOR SERIES match, Team RAW was confirmed to be the New Day, Enzo Amore and Big Cass, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Golden Truth and Cesaro and Sheamus. A pretty solid collection of tag teams. It’s amazing to me that Golden Truth is considered among the top five RAW tag teams at the moment, and yet the Shining Stars, who actually win their fair share of matches on RAW, are nowhere to be seen. They put in Gallows and Anderson as well as Enzo and Cass, despite the fact that all these tag teams are doing are trading wins back and forth. Taking away all of that logic, this was actually a pretty good team even though I’m not a fan of the concept of a ten on ten elimination Survivor Series match.

FOLLOWING this match was a match between tag team match team-mates with THE NEW DAY facing LUKE GALLOWS AND KARL ANDERSON. I don’t even.. WHO COULD POSSIBLY CARE ABOUT THIS MATCH? We saw this match over and over and over and over and over again during the summer and going into September. WHY ARE WE WATCHING THEM AGAIN? WHY are the tag teams, that are supposed to be getting along, fighting each other? Not to mention that they had Gallows and Anderson BEAT The New Day in this match, meaning that the most dominant tag team on RAW were beaten by the team that were beaten by Enzo and Cass LAST WEEK. If this insanely baffling tag team booking is tearing apart your mind, there’s more to come.

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THE SHINING STARS, who were NOT on Team RAW for Survivor Series, beat the Golden Truth. If you’ll recall, GOLDEN TRUTH ARE ON THE SURVIVOR SERIES TEAM. Why aren’t they winning this match, if the aim is to convince the fans that this will be a good tag team for Team RAW? Are the Shinning Stars going to replace them? I hope so, so at least there’s SOME sense to this booking.

I’ve been told that it doesn’t matter who wins or who loses, which is an irritating analogy. If I’m going into this big RAW vs SmackDown! pay-per-view and wanting to know which brand is better, I would expect these brands to pitch their best stars for the biggest matches. I don’t want to see losers put into important matches. I want teams to get along for the Survivor Series elimination matches and I DON’T WANT TO SEE TAG TEAM DYSFUNCTION STORYLINES THIS OFTEN. WE’VE GOT THE SAME STORYLINE GOING ON RIGHT NOW WITH CESARO AND SHEAMUS? WHY ARE WE SEEING IT AGAIN?

Man, this is… infuriating.

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We had the women’s segment, with Charlotte leading Team RAW. They were bringing these girls out, with Charlotte on the mic. They introduced Nia Jax, Bayley and ALICIA FOX as well. Alicia Fox somehow made this Team RAW team. I’m STUNNED. Bayley comes out and this crowd loves Bayley. Charlotte is trying to cut this promo and the fans for a solid few minutes are singing  “I WANNA KNOW IF YOU’LL BE MY GIRL” to Bayley. Charlotte tries to get on with the promo but she is completely derailed by these fans and Bayley is just laughing along with Alicia Fox. I don’t think Charlotte was expecting this as when she kept trying to get this promo on track, the fans steam-rolled her every time and she had no idea what to do. There was a video of this on Twitter, that’s how I know about this. They introduce Sasha Banks as the fifth member for this team.

THEN, we had Bayley, Sasha Banks and Alicia Fox vs Charlotte, Nia Jax and Dana Brooke. WHY CAN’T THESE TEAMS GET ALONG? Why are they all fighting each other? Why did Stephanie BOOK THIS if she wanted her team to win? Bayley pinned Charlotte AGAIN, which probably means that its Bayley vs Charlotte at Roadblock for the title. If nothing else, it’s someone different in the women’s division. I am still angry at Sasha Banks not being the champion but at least its not Sasha vs Charlotte once again. I’ve seen enough of that for a while. Bayley’s somebody new so… fine.

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Sami Zayn BEAT Rusev and will be going on to fight Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental title at Survivor Series. I would not beat Rusev again like this, especially against Sami who is NOT a strong superstar at the moment in terms of his booking. HOWEVER, I would prefer Sami Zayn than seeing the return of the worst rivalry in 2015 with Rusev fighting Dolph Ziggler. Sami vs Dolph actually sounds like it will be a killer match, which is why I’m ALMOST all for it. I’d still wouldn’t beat Rusev like this, especially if there’s a big opponent for him going into Roadblock.

Kevin Owens won the fatal five way after Roman hit him with the Superman Punch, which saw Owens land on Jericho and pin him.

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Maybe it is unfair to review this RAW by simply going off the spoilers. Actually, this isn’t really a review of the show. I’m reviewing the direction of the booking of the show and the build towards Survivor Series. I’m sure the fatal five way was awesome and I’m sure Sami Zayn vs Rusev was awesome. HOWEVER, the idea that they’re promoting this pay-per-view by having each brand’s teams fight one another is incredibly ridiculous. AT LEAST when they did this for Survivor Series 2005, the teams were united all in the name of their brands. ALL THESE TEAMS are not united. They are tearing each other apart in regular matches BOOKED by the authority figure, who apparently wants to win this match so bad.

THIS SURVIVOR SERIES BUILD… SUCKS. WHERE’S GOLDBERG AND BROCK LESNAR? That, at least, will be a build-up and a match to look forward to…

…at least this crowd actually had fun tonight it seems.

 

 

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How I Would Book… The Rock vs Dean Ambrose

The Rock has encountered some strange characters over the years in WWE. From throwing Shawn Stasiak over the top rope over and over again to losing to the Hurricane on Raw, a lot has happened in the career of the Great One. Wacky and unique characters bring out the best out of The Rock, so how about a lunatic fringe for a future program for the Brahma Bull? How about The Rock… vs Dean Ambrose?

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This is actually a very unique clash of styles. We’ve got the big hollywood movie star with an incredible physique against a lunatic with a hardcore mindset. There’s quite a difference in the two styles, although you could argue that Dean Ambrose would be very similar to Rock’s former tag team partner Mick Foley. However, Dean is much leaner than Mick but not as well built as The Rock.

In past How I Would Books, I’ve usually put Rock up against big men like John Cena and Roman Reigns. Dean Ambrose is not like them. Much like The Rock however, he is charismatic and talented in the ring. If The Rock wanted to throw down verbally and physically, Dean would be more than up for the challenge.

How to get to Dean Ambrose vs The Rock from this point on is very tricky. How do you give The Rock or Dean a reason to want to beat the tar out of each other? Do you have The Rock challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship that Dean currently holds as of August 2016? Do you have Dean call out The Rock, feeling the need to face a megastar of the past to see if he’s as good as he thinks he is? No. What’s the one factor that could draw both these two into battle? Family.

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The one person that connects both Dean Ambrose and The Rock is Roman Reigns. Roman Reigns is related by blood to The Rock, with the People’s Champion saving the Big Dog on WWE television before. However, according to the storyline, Dean is probably closer to Roman than anyone else on the roster. They both refer to each other as brothers. It’s the connection between both men which could draw these two charismatic superstars together.

The bigger issue at the moment, when it comes to these two and Roman Reigns, is the WWE Draft. Roman Reigns is on RAW, Dean Ambrose is on SmackDown! and The Rock is currently undrafted. How are we going to develop a storyline involving all three men, while trying to preserve the idea of separate brands? I always preferred the idea of keeping RAW and SmackDown! as distant as possible. Therefore, with this in mind, let’s see if we can write a storyline without breaking those barriers TOO MUCH.

With that being said, we need to plant the seeds for a confrontation between Dean and Rock with Roman. Where’s the best place to start? The one pay-per-view coming up that will see the integration of the rosters… Survivor Series 2016.

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The whole idea behind this pay-per-view is to allow these rosters to interact after months away from each other. The whole idea behind the brand split is for these brands to compete with one another. My idea is after several months of taking shots at each other and the rise in competition, Stephanie and Foley would flat out call out Shane and Bryan for a inter-promotional five-on-five elimination match for Survivor Series. Team RAW would be consisted of Roman Reigns, Rusev, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Team SmackDown! would be consisted of Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Chad Gable and Jason Jordan. These teams are interchangeable so it’s up to you who you want in the match. The two essentials for this storyline though are Dean and Roman.

Due to the competitive nature of the brand split, it would be difficult for the commissioners and general managers to agree on a referee to call it down the middle. Remember what happened when RAW and SmackDown! feuded in 2005. In a couple of matches (notably at Taboo Tuesday and Survivor Series), the RAW and SmackDown! referees would officiate the same match and prevent each other from making decisions. If WWE want to acknowledge the previous brand split, then this could make way for a special referee that would supposedly be impartial. Enter The Rock.

While I’m currently unaware of what The Rock’s filming schedule will be like in November, surely it’s possible for The Rock to appear as a referee. Not to mention that his inclusion will give the WWE the mainstream boost they need for one of the biggest pay-per-views involving both brands.

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The match comes down to Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins for RAW and Dean Ambrose for SmackDown!. Seth and Dean are the legal men. Roman accidentally clocks Seth with a spear when going for Dean. Dean hits Dirty Deeds on Roman as Seth comes to. Seth gets frustrated at his point, grabbing a chair. Seth goes to hit Roman but Rock stops him. He pushes Seth into Dean, who hits Dirty Deeds and eliminates him. Dean and Roman battle until Dean hits Dirty Deeds once again. As this happens, Seth gets to his feet on the outside and re-arms himself with the chair. The Rock sees this and goes after Seth, with Dean waiting in the ring for Rock to count Roman down. Rock eventually makes his way back into the ring but Roman kicks out at the last minute. Believing that Rock screwed him, Dean gets in his face. Rock hits a Rock Bottom on Dean, with Roman still out and oblivious to this. Roman gets to his feet, hits one more spear on Dean and pins him. Team RAW wins.

Now the seeds are starting to be planted. Rock screwed Dean but Dean can’t do anything about it… at least contractually. The Rock does make one more appearance on the night after Survivor Series, congratulating Roman and giving him his endorsement. This obviously gets boos as the fans didn’t like Roman and Rock screwing Dean. The Rock and Roman are cut off by Byron Saxton, who is told to go backstage as there are reports of wrestlers being taken out. He goes to the back but is launched right back onto the entrance ramp. Dean comes out and stares right at Rock. Dean comes down to the ring but Roman steps in between his “brother” and his blood. Roman tries to push Dean away but Dean retaliates with Dirty Deeds. Dean and Rock come to blows, drawing the attention of the security. Stephanie and Foley can’t afford for one of SmackDown!’s stars to cause havoc on RAW. Dean and Rock are pulled apart by security but Dean gets out. As he’s about to charge The Rock, Roman spears Dean out of his boots. This isn’t exactly a heel turn, but this does get negative reactions from the crowd.

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On SmackDown!, Dean makes weekly challenges to The Rock to fight him on Dean’s home turf in the blue brand. He says that he’ll forgive Roman for the spear from RAW, provided that he gets to fight Rock. Nothing happens up until the week before SmackDown!’s PPV in December. Let’s just say for now that this pay-per-view is TLC. Dean gets no word but Foley confronts him. Foley tells Dean that The Rock is a lot more dangerous than he lets on. He tells him to drop it but Dean is unwilling to listen. Dean tells Foley that HE has no idea how dangerous DEAN is, claiming to be just as extreme as any of your “ECW boys” from back in the day. Mick tells Dean to prove it and makes a challenge. While Foley can’t force The Rock to come out of hiding, he can organise a match with Dean and Roman for Royal Rumble. He will only do this if Dean defeats a free agent that is willing to make a one-off appearance in a tables match on SmackDown!’s pay-per-view. Dean agrees when the lights go out. The lights come back on and it’s Rob Van Dam. He takes out Dean with a chair and hits the frog splash. It’s ON now.

The reason I went with the lights out for RVD’s appearance is that it’s a callback to Jerry Lawler’s invasion of ECW at Wrestleaplooza 1997, when the lights went out and Jerry appeared with an alliance INVOLVING Rob Van Dam of all people. RVD might seem a random choice for an opponent for Dean, but he works with the hardcore style of the lunatic fringe. Dean wins the match, allowing him to fight Roman at the next inter-promotional pay-per-view in the Royal Rumble.

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What’s in it for Roman Reigns to  wrestle this match? How can Foley bargain with Roman? Simple. The promise of a Universal Championship match at FAST LANE if he wins. Him winning the title at Fast Lane means that Roman can main-event WrestleMania for a third year in a row… assuming a RAW wrestler wins the Royal Rumble that is. Dean is hungry for revenge but Roman is not exactly blood-thirsty himself. He only speared Dean on RAW as Dean attacked him first. He’s interested in winning the title and that’s that. Dean and Roman have choice words, with Roman having very LIMITED choice words. Dean’s deal is telling Roman that he should want to stop living in the Rock’s show. Rock bailed him out at Survivor Series, but he won’t be able to do it at Royal Rumble. Roman simply states that Dean is in his way for a title shot and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to beat his brother and main event WrestleMania again, something Dean’s never done.

At the Royal Rumble, it’s a close encounter. As Dean has Roman beat with Dirty Deeds, the lights go out. Trust me, there’s a purpose behind this one too! The lights come back on and there’s a jacked man in all-black, wearing a black mask. He lights up Dean with a huge clothesline. He takes the mask off and reveals himself to be… The Rock. He hits Dean with a Rock Bottom and People’s Elbow. Roman comes to and hits a spear to beat Dean again. The Rock officially accepts Dean Ambrose’s challenge and tells him to meet him at WrestleMania.

The finish can be what you desire, although a victory for Dean over The Rock would definitely get him super stardom.

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Roman could have some confrontation with The Rock, getting involved in his matches twice now but ultimately, there’s some sort of idea about how The Rock and Dean could come together. This was a very difficult one to write and maybe it seems like a simple storyline. However, on Rock’s side, not a lot is needed and not a lot can be done. His scheduling does provide issues but Dean can surely help spice things up on television for SmackDown! every week.

Have any suggestions for a How I Would Book? Simply tweet me at either @ArmbarExpress or @TomRobinson5199 on Twitter with your suggestions. Do also check out the rest of the content on my blog. I do a lot of other cool fantasy booking blog posts with my playthroughs of fantasy booking game Extreme Warfare Revenge. And there’s all sorts of other wrestling content as well. You never know, you might just like what you see!

 

 

How I Would Book… Who Ran Over Stone Cold?

SPOILER ALERT from fifteen years ago, but I think it’s a safe bet to assume that nearly every wrestling fan on earth knows that Rikishi ran over Stone Cold with a car. Even if you were not watching wrestling during the attitude era, the WWE have referenced the storyline several times on WWE YouTube videos, the WWE Network and even on episodes of RAW and SmackDown! Many fans and wrestling experts over the years have criticised the WWF’s decision to have Rikishi be behind the attempted murder of the top wrestler in the company. With that said, are there many other solutions that would have been better than Rikishi? Could I have booked the “Who Ran Over Stone Cold” storyline better than WWE? Well, let’s find out!

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Before we dive into the analysis of Rikishi as the culprit, let’s run down the storyline itself from Survivor Series 1999 to Survivor Series 2000.

Stone Cold Steve Austin had been embroiled in a triple threat WWF Championship feud with the champion Triple H and The Rock. A triple threat match was promoted for Survivor Series 1999 and a triple threat match was ended up what we got. Unfortunately, it did not include the Texas Rattlesnake. Triple H provoked Austin during a backstage interview before the match. This led Austin towards the parking lot, where he was ran down by an unidentified assailant.

Austin was sidelined for nearly a year, to take care of actually injuries that he was working with at the time. He returned at Backlash 2000 for a one-off appearance to help The Rock against Triple H and made his full return to the WWF at Unforgiven 2000. He was on a quest to track down the man who had ran him over, even not pressing charges as a means to lure the man out. Austin’s methods of tracking down the attempted killer included interfering in several matches, getting on the bad side of Commissioner Mick Foley. Foley suspended Austin, conducting his own investigation into the crime.

After major suspects like Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Kurt Angle and The Rock were called out, Foley eventually got to the bottom of the case. Stone Cold Steve Austin was actually ran over… by Rikishi.

Rikishi, who had not appeared on WWF television yet when Austin was ran down, admitted to the crime. He claimed that he did it for The Rock, as the WWF had been keeping down Samoans like himself and The Rock for years. Austin was getting in the way of The Rock’s success, leading to Rikishi doing what he did. This led to Austin getting his revenge on Rikishi, destroying the big man in a No Holds Barred match and then trying to hit RIKISHI with a truck.

The plot thickened for the Austin mystery, as it would later be revealed that Triple H was secretly the one that had orchestrated the hit-and-run and put Rikishi up to do it.

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The biggest problem with the official solution is that it almost seemed like the culprit was too random to be a legitimate suspect. Mick Foley even mentioned it during the reveal that Rikishi wasn’t even in the WWF at the time of the hit-and-run. Therefore, it’s likely to assume that the WWF had no idea who the suspect would end up being when they shot the angle. Rikishi’s initial reasoning  for running down Austin seemed very out-of-place, as it didn’t seem enough of a justification to explain Rikishi going after Austin. Rikishi wanting to help out The Rock could be viable but the whole Samoans being held down story had nothing to do with Austin. Yeah, Austin is one of the most successful wrestlers of all time and is a 100% American. However, it’d still seem odd that Rikishi would resort to murder because of this.

Now obviously, Triple H being thrown in as the mastermind behind of the whole thing did sort of write out this explanation a little. Rikishi still could have theoretically felt how he did about The Rock and the Samoan lineage, but Triple H does give Rikishi more of a valid reason for running down Austin. After all, Triple H was the one that led Austin out into the parking lot and hated his guts. Him getting Rikishi to run down Austin makes a lot more sense than Rikishi doing it for his Samoan lineage.

While Triple H being the mastermind does involve someone that was a big part of the story at the time of the attack, Rikishi played no part in the story at all. Rikishi was a joyful babyface that got over with his dance moves more than his ruthless aggression. There seemed to be no hint of Rikishi possibly having a dark side to him, so him all of a sudden being an attempted murder does seem a bit unfathomable. It’s actually funny when watching back Rikishi’s run ins with Triple H and the McMahon-Helmsley regime in 2000. Rikishi feuded with Triple H, and even faced him for the WWF Championship one time, while secretly having conspired with him to commit attempted murder! Then again, Rikishi running down Austin would explain why Triple H would give Rikishi a title shot in the first place. I guess that was Rikishi’s grand reward.

In a way, Rikishi being the culprit was good for attempting to get over the next big star in WWE. Rikishi did get elevated as a main-event heel but ultimately ended up flopping in that role. Sticking your backside in people’s faces doesn’t exactly come off as an evil thing to do. Considering it’s Rikishi’s rear end though, I guess it kind of is! Rikishi really didn’t work as a badass, monster heel and quickly turned back into a babyface just before the Invasion angle kicked off.

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When coming up with an alternative solution, we need to think of people that not only were relevant to the story but were also strong enough to be able to work as a top heel. As much as someone like Kurt Angle being the culprit would make sense, as he would have been someone that would gain from Austin being out of the picture, he would have no real motivation other than that. It’s not like he would have met Austin at the time, as he made his in-ring debut at Survivor Series 1999 itself. As much as fans would believe this to be a fitting irony-pleasing solution, Angle doesn’t work in this role for me.

Then you’ve got to think about the other big culprits that were highlighted as the two prime suspects by Mick Foley. Triple H would have been too obvious of a culprit, even though he wounded up being written into the official solution anyway. Right after Austin was ran down, Vince McMahon immediately accused Triple H and D-Generation X of committing the crime. Him being the culprit would be rather anti-climatic.

The Rock, on the other hand, became the top babyface when Austin wasn’t around. As outlined by Mick Foley, The Rock (as well as Triple H) had the most to gain from Austin being out of the picture. At the time of Austin’s return, The Rock was the WWF Champion. Being the top babyface, his popularity rose to new heights. With The Rock being suspected so heavily leading into the official solution, him also being the suspect would be another anti-climatic reveal. Another reason for the Brahma Bull not being culprit is that the WWF would be passing up on some serious merch sales with The Rock now being viewed as a villain.

Really, we’re looking for someone that you’d least suspect. Someone that had been shown to be sinister enough to pull off devious acts like this in the past. We’re looking for someone that would do something as a means to fulfil a much grander master plan. Who would fill this role? Why it is someone that did feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin in 1999. It is someone that wasn’t actually there at Survivor Series 1999 and was unaccounted for. It was someone that has a history for making his foes rest in peace. The man that should have been the culprit was… the Undertaker.

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This may be a tough pill to swallow. The Undertaker did only come back as a babyface American Badass in May 2000. It would be somewhat of a letdown to see this new babyface run down our beloved Stone Cold. Then again, considering Undertaker would turn heel just a year later anyway, I think we can work a turn into this angle without hurting the Undertaker.

If you think about it, Undertaker is one of the rare people in the Attitude Era that would actually resort to murder so casually. He’s set his brother on fire repeatedly and even hanged Big Boss Man following their WrestleMania 15 Hell in a Cell match. Heck, he’s even faced Steve Austin in a Buried Alive match. I think it’s safe to say that he’d be willing to run over Austin with a corner.

The biggest issue with this is simple, and it’s actually what Kurt Angle mentioned on an edition of SmackDown! when HE was accused of running over Austin. One of the biggest parts of a murder mystery is motive. What’s the Undertaker’s motive? Why would he turn his attentions to Steve Austin? Well I have a question for you in response… why does the culprit’s motivation have to necessarily be focused at the victim? Obviously, some sort of disdain has to be present in order to consider attempting murder and Taker did feud with Austin that same year. However, what if Undertaker’s motivation was not to solely eliminate AUSTIN from the equation. While taking out Steve Austin was an added bonus, Undertaker’s real end-game was to mess with the man that had forced him to leave the WWF. Undertaker’s real end-game was in fact to remove Mr McMahon from power.

In September 1999, Undertaker “left” the WWF after refusing to take part in a Casket match with Triple H. Mr McMahon threatened to take away Undertaker’s spot in the WWF title match at Unforgiven, leading to the Undertaker walking out of the company. Jim Ross specifically stated when Undertaker made his return at Judgement Day 2000 that he was “going after McMahon” when challenging the Faction. Clearly, some hostility still exists between the two men. After all, McMahon losing power in the WWF in 1999 led to the Undertaker losing the WWF Championship and never gaining an opportunity to get it back. This could have been Undertaker’s ultimate revenge, especially after blindly following Vince’s orders when he was the “higher power” of the Corporate Ministry.

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Picture it like this. Mr McMahon was the first one shown to be outraged after Austin was run over… other than Jim Ross I guess. McMahon lashes out at DX following the incident. Knowing how much McMahon hated Triple H at the time and with Triple H’s title match with two other men coming up later that night, obviously Vince would come to the conclusion that DX was behind it. This is the Undertaker being the puppet-master, pulling McMahon’s strings by taking out one of the competitors in the running to dethrone Triple H as WWF Champion. In response, McMahon inserts the Big Show into the WWF Championship match and Big Show wins the title because of Vince. Just prior to his departure from the WWF, Undertaker had been teaming with the Big Show as part of an unholy alliance. It makes perfect sense that Taker would reward Big Show by manipulating events in order to get the title on the big man.

From behind the scenes, Undertaker is causing dysfunction within the McMahon family. Let’s start of with Stephanie, who turned on her dad and aligned with Triple H at Armageddon. Undertaker was the one that had abducted Stephanie, following the orders of Mr McMahon. Little work needed to be done on Taker’s end, with Mr McMahon having pushed Triple H’s buttons by costing him the championship at Survivor Series. McMahon made things personal with Triple H, so Triple H retaliated. Of course, Triple H hatches a master plan with Stephanie. Stephanie wanted to get revenge at her father for the abduction plan from before so she went with the man that Mr McMahon hated the most. Vince is being torn apart as daddy’s little girl has been taken away from him by the enemy.

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Shane and Linda would also get involved, leading to the WrestleMania 2000 fatal four way match with the McMahons in every corner. McMahon would be emotionally torn by having to compete with three members of his family. Not a lot can be said about the Undertaker during this period as he really can’t do much else to mess with McMahon until he comes back. Why not have McMahon regain control with Triple H and Stephanie? If he’s in charge by the time Undertaker comes back, Undertaker can be there to personally remove him from power again. At Judgement Day, his crusade with McMahon begins. He attacks him and the McMahon-Helmsley regime during the big Triple H/Rock Iron Man match. His main intentions when he comes back is to fight the regime, oust McMahon from power and win the WWF Championship. At King Of The Ring, The Rock wins the WWF Championship instead of him during a big six man tag team match but it’s not too much of a loss as at least the regime didn’t win. Undertaker will get back at The Rock, which I will get to later.

Following King Of The Ring, Vince left to become a “genetic jackhammer” while Mick Foley took over. It would have been better to say that the beatings from Undertaker, Rock etc. would force him to leave but as long as McMahon is gone. Now Undertaker can try to win back some gold. He does this initially by going after the tag team titles with Kane and then feuding with his brother. Not a lot happens for the Undertaker at this point, but he does get involved in the WWF title picture at Unforgiven 2000. How ironic, considering that he was initially barred by Mr McMahon from getting a title shot at Unforgiven last year. Here’s where I would change things up. Instead of Undertaker failing to win the championship, he wins the title in a fatal four way match also involving the champion Rock, Kane and Chris Benoit. On the very same night that Taker wins the title, Austin makes his return to WWF.

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Austin coming back is an unexpected and unwanted situation for the Undertaker. With his title reign only just getting started, Mick Foley and Austin beginning their investigations, and The Rock getting his rematch at No Mercy, how does the Undertaker turn the attention and suspicion away from himself? Why simple. Turn The Rock and Austin against each other. It is suddenly played up by Undertaker and a number of other wrestlers about how The Rock had to most to gain from Austin being ran over. This builds up all the way to No Mercy, where The Rock challenges Undertaker for the WWF Championship. Austin was initially suspended by Mick Foley, but Foley reinstates Austin after getting an anonymous tip that the culprit would reveal himself at the pay-per-view.

Up until the main event, we get no word from the culprit. Nobody comes clean. Ausitn doesn’t hear anything. Then the main-event comes around, with Austin coming down and going crazy. He pulls the referee out of the ring and grabs a chair. He sees and targets Taker, going for a chair shot but accidentally nailing The Rock. Undertaker then hits Austin with a chokeslam. Undertaker takes advantages and retains the title when the referee awakes. Undertaker then picks up a chair and unleashes hell on Austin and The Rock. Undertaker grabs the mic and laughs. He then asks the question of who had the most to gain from Austin being run over. He simply replies by saying “me” and that Austin’s search was over. Undertaker was the one that ran over Austin.

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Austin initially challenges Taker for the title at Survivor Series 2000, with it ending in a no contest after Austin takes out Taker in a similar fashion to Triple H in real life. Undertaker retains the title at Armageddon 2000. Then Mick Foley resigns as Commissioner which changes everything. Undertaker would have mentioned in an explanation that he did what he did to remove Austin and McMahon out of the equation and win the WWF title. Now Vince is back and in charge. Therefore, McMahon is going to make Undertaker pay. Undertaker vs The Rock is booked for Royal Rumble, with Vince’s reasoning being to make amends with The Rock after Vince turned on him at WrestleMania 2000. Sure. Whatever works. Undertaker loses the championship following interference from Stone Cold. Stone Cold wins the Royal Rumble itself, leading to No Way Out. Instead of Triple H, Undertaker is the one that faces and beats Stone Cold in a three stages of hell match.

That effectively is when the storyline ends. However, with Steve Austin and Mr McMahon’s alliance after WrestleMania 17, there is a lot more potential with the dynamic of Undertaker, McMahon and Austin. Imagine Stone Cold Steve Austin working with the boss to take out the man that tried to kill him. You could do the Power Trip angle if you’d like, having Undertaker and Kane battle Austin and Triple H. This could also add a lot to the Invasion angle, especially when it comes to Austin and Taker. You could have Austin and Taker initially not trust each and then eventually bury the hatchet (well bury the hatchet as much as you could, considering Taker tried to kill the man). Alternatively, you could have Austin join the Alliance and led the group against the WWF led by the Undertaker. The possibilities are endless.

Or if you’d prefer for the storyline to finish at WrestleMania 17, simply have Undertaker hold the championship all the way to WrestleMania. Austin wins the Rumble and Undertaker is the WWF Champion. This leads to the ultimate showdown in Texas between Austin and the man that ran him over more than a year ago. In the ultimate act of revenge for Undertaker running him over, Austin makes a deal with the devil himself Vince McMahon. McMahon was manipulated by Undertaker for so long, so Vince helped Austin DEFEAT the Undertaker at WrestleMania. The streak and Undertaker’s title reign is ended by Stone Cold Steve Austin.

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That about wraps up this edition of How I Would Book. I have to admit, this one was rather fun to write. I’d seen many different solutions but after thinking of a number of different options, Undertaker being the mastermind actually fits in with the storyline well. I’d love to hear of any other alternative solutions from fans so feel free to leave a comment or tweet me @TomRobinson5199. Don’t just do it for me. Do it… for The Rock. Thanks for reading everyone.

Have any suggestions for a How I Would Book? Simply tweet me at either @ArmbarExpress or @TomRobinson5199 on Twitter with your suggestions. Do also check out the rest of the content on my blog. I do a lot of other cool fantasy booking blog posts with my playthroughs of fantasy booking game Extreme Warfare Revenge. And there’s all sorts of other wrestling content as well. You never know, you might just like what you see!

 

WWE 2K16 FaM Survival Review

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One of the many great things about WWE games is that it allows gamers the opportunity to get as creative as they want. I’ve personally enjoyed the universe mode side of recent games, creating your own rivalries and having fun with a huge cast of wrestlers. Many gamers enjoy the community creation side of things or simply playing through the WWE 2K showcase modes. In either case, there’s something for everyone. While it provides you with the tools to put together decent content, FaM decided to take its WWE Games content to a new level.

The storyline aspect and the quality of the production has always been something that impresses me. There’s a huge gap between major shows at times, but the end product for each show is well worth the wait. The amount of time and effort spent on the littlest of details must be admired. For Survival, it was FaM’s first crack at a major event with the most recent WWE game – WWE 2K16.

With the new game at their disposal, FaM gave us a new chapter in the ever-intensifying struggle for power in the storyline. Rom Buster would take a team of five into battle with the team of the anonymous general manager. The captain of the winning team would be in charge of the show as the general manager’s identity would finally be revealed. Did FaM deliver with the show and with the reveal of the new authority figure?

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The show opened with the Diamonds Debut match with Elle taking on Eve, who I believe is a member of Betrayal and BlackHeron’s girlfriend. There are two things I want to talk about before I dig into the match itself. One, thank you @RevELLEution for the follow on Twitter! Two, I had no idea that Elle was actually from MIDDLESBROUGH! As a Boro lad myself, that was actually an awesome revelation for me. There’s an FaM member that is living in the same town as me!

The match was actually very good. There was a surprising use of the announce table in the opening match. Elle did the Shane McMahon elbow drop spot through the announce table, which was actually very well sold by the commentators. It then led to a very funny running gag in the show, where the announce table or something would break in every match of the show! They actually had angles with Rom setting up the ring or the announce table, in a clever way to explain how the broken announce tables were suddenly fixed in time for the next match! That was pretty innovative!

I thought the finish was very good and simple. Eve went for the pop-up powerbomb which Elle reversed into the hurricanrana roll-up for the pin. A great match that got things up and running for FaM Survival…

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TubbyEmu wrestled Grim’s Toy Show in a grudge match. This had followed an attack by Tubby to Grim from Cyber FaMday. I was not really as invested in this one as I’m really not someone that is a fan of all the YouTuber vs YouTuber matches on FaM. In a perfect world, I’d much rather keep my CAW league as original as possible with its characters. I understand why they do it in order to get exposure but it’s just not something that really interests me about FaM. With that said, I like the FaM vs YouTuber match later and I did like this match as well…

It was a nice big man match. It started off exciting as Tubby attempted a cheap shot, but Grim reversed which led to a big dive to the outside. There was a nice back-and-forth battle, with a big finish… literally. Grim gave Tubby a superplex which caused the ring to implode much like the legendary Brock Lesnar/Big Show spot from 2003. The OMG moment of having two super heavyweights break the ring has been a feature on the game since WWE 13 I believe. I’m surprised that the clan has not used this spot for a FaM match up until this point! If I’m forgetting a time when they did it, please leave a comment below.

The ending was fitting considering the men involved. The match ended in a no contest. My only complaint about the finish is that with the way it went down, it became apparent that this feud was not over between the two men since there was no winner. This would all but confirm a rematch of some sort for FaM Pandora. The issue with this though is that there’s a lot of time in between FaM mega events. I’d seen this match once and personally, I would prefer that these two did something different if they were to appear at Pandora. Unless the next match is compelling enough for me to want to watch a rematch, I’d not want to wait six months or so for the next show just to see the same match. I complain all the time about getting the same matches on RAW and SmackDown! every week. If I give WWE a hard time, then I have point out similar flaws with FaM. It’s not a major issue for me and a lot of people in the WWE games community probably do want to see the rematch. I personally would just prefer that the two men moved onto different projects as opposed to dragging out this feud for another six months or something.

With that said, it was a fun match. It kept the momentum rolling for Survival which was fine.

Then they showed a video which talked about the upcoming FaM Review Competition. For those of you that are unaware, this competition allows YouTubers to send FaM video reviews or live reactions of FaM shows. You can send FaM these reactions/reviews via YouTube Inbox, Twitter or Facebook. If you go on their YouTube page, they’ll have links to all of those social media accounts. The winner will get an opportunity to have themselves involved in a FaM show as an active wrestler and possibly as a permanent member of the roster.

I had not seen this video before FaM Survival actually happened, so when I watched the video during the show it was for the first time. They ran down the people that had sent video reviews and live reactions. Then, history was made….

…as the Armbar Express made an appearance on one of the biggest events in the WWE Games Community history! They did give this blog a cheeky shout out with this competition video for my review of Cyber FaMday, which is very much appreciated. I got to say that this was a surprise to see the shout out. Even though my review was not a part of the review competition and was never really designed to do so, I am glad that the dudes at FaM were able to give it a read and feature it on the video. It does make my day to get people commentating about these posts and when it is featured on a video which has already got 100,000+ views as of me writing this, it does put me in high spirits.

Thanks again for the shout out FaM and thanks again for the content for me to write about, as well as making my decision of whether to do THIS review that much simpler.

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As mentioned, Rom fixed the ring after what Tubby and Grim did. D.N.A. ordered Rom to put his back into it as Rom was annoyed at having to rebuild the whole thing himself. Some good comedy with the commentators. They did this scene with WWE 2K14 by the way.

Devil cut a pre-match promo, just before his Cyber FaM Championship match with Cameron Bash. He berated Maslingster for not helping him at Cyber FaMday. He revealed that he had used the pink slip he’d won at FaMniversary III, to fire Maslingster.

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Devil faced Cameron Bash for the Cyber FaM Championship, with the stipulation being decided by the fans. They chose for it to be an extreme rules match. Devil tried an attack on the entrance ramp before the match started, but Bash was ready for it. Devil hit Bash in the gut with a chair, which Rom reacted to as if he’d witnessed a murder! Out of all the spots, this was one of the biggest reactions from the play-by-play commentator!

I’m actually going to tie this into Dragon Ball Super, believe it or not. If you don’t want to be spoiled for Dragon Ball Super, I’d advise you read on. In a recent episode of Dragon Ball Super, the villain “Black Goku” was feeling his chest after being punched in the stomach by Goku. A lot of fans theorised that this character was suffering from a heart virus as he was in a body resembling Goku, who had died in a past timeline from a heart virus. Complicated theory, but the point is that these fans were throwing around all of these crazy ideas about why this villain was feeling his stomach after the punch. They were over-thinking this one punch when the answer to why the villain reacted like he did was because he was just PUNCHED IN THE STOMACH. If any person punches you in the gut, you are going to have the wind knocked out of you. When a MMA fighter delivers these punches to the gut of his opponent, he’s trying to take the wind out of this fighter and slow him down. When Devil hit Bash with the chair and Rom made it seem like it was the most painful thing he ever saw, it actually makes sense as a chair driven into your gut would probably be the most painful thing anyone can endure if it digs right into the rib cage!

It was a pretty extreme match. We got another awesome announce table spot. Devil tried a dive to the outside onto Bash, who was next to the announce table. Bash caught him, lifted him up on his shoulders and hit an Attitude Adjustment on Devil through the announce table. Assisted with some cheeky editing, a very well put together spot. Devil got a near-fall after a low blow and a tombstone piledriver. The finish saw Devil going for Old School, with Bash countering into the Bash Bottom for the victory via pin fall. Three matches with three great finishes in a row. FaM really do a great job with the finishes of their matches! Very innovative and well-thought out.

The general manager’s right hand man Darin buzzed in, who berated Devil for not getting the job done. In an ironic twist of fate, Devil was then fired fifteen minutes after firing somebody else.

Seeing two former world title contenders (in Devil’s case, a former world champion) being fired on the same show is very interesting to me. It’s easily possible that this could merely just be an angle that will see them both rehired somehow at Pandora or something, but it is thought-provoking. There’s a lot of new FaM wrestlers on the scene at the moment, so it is possible that Devil and Maslingster may actually be done in FaM for the time being. As FaM demonstrated several times on this show, it’s possible for wrestlers to be brought back after many years. While Devil and Dude may both be gone for now, the chances are that it’s not going to be for good.

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BlackHeron confronted Darin backstage, being unhappy about the general manager firing one of BlackHeron’s Betrayal members in Devil. Darin said that he makes these decisions for a reason and called Devil expendable. He questioned BH’s judgement and basically told BH to fall in line. He said that BH had every reason to fear the general manager as BH apparently did something to the general manager on “that day”, which was referred to during the hype promos for Survival.

Haroon from the Skilled Foundation tried to make a deal with the Don, looking to gain his assistance during the Skilled Foundation’s tag title match against the Resurgence.

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The Skilled Foundation were scheduled to fight the Resurgence for the FaM Tag Team Championship. The tag champions came out but then Mr Siko’s music hit. Bhaccilo did his ring introduction for Mr Siko but it was actually Bhaccilo that appeared on the entrance ramp. As this happened, Mr Siko attacked both members of the Resurgence with a chair. He laid out the Resurgence’s Maxi on the table as the Mafia came out. Big Tony planned to have Tiny Tony jump off the top and put Maxi through the table. However, Tiny Tony revealed that he was actually afraid of heights. Big Tony still demanded that Tiny jump off the top. Tiny jumped and missed the table completely, landing on the apron instead. If someone actually did this spot in real life, it would actually hurt like hell!

Maxi got up and beat up Big Tony in the ring. The Skilled Foundation then jumped Maxi in the ring. One of the Skilled Foundation members put Maxi through a table with a 450 splash. Darin buzzed in and demanded that the match take place anyway. The Skilled Foundation hit the Hart Attack to win the tag team titles.

This was not really intended to be a proper match but it did do a great job in conveying the message about how evil this dictatorship is being. It got the general manager’s team heat for the main event, which is very important to try and get people to root for Rom Buster’s team.

I get that you’d like to get the Mafia and Mr Siko involved in the show somehow, as they are both entertaining acts. However, they could have easily done this entire angle much more smoothly if they had just cut out the Mafia and Mr Siko. In hindsight, the two of them didn’t really add much to the segment as Maxi eventually ended up fighting back anyway. It was funny to see Tiny Tony miss the splash but you could have just done the Skilled Foundation attacking the Resurgence before the match, putting Maxi through a table and then have Darin start the match. I didn’t get why the Mafia and Siko needed to be there, other than for the sole purpose of having them involved.

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Next up was Team FaM vs Team YouTubers in a seven-on-seven elimination match. Representing FaM as their first entrant was the “legendary sheriff” Sledder  while the YouTubers started off with their captain Tom Cushnie. Cushnie was eliminated right away after Sledder hit him with a big boot. Delzinski was next for Team YouTubers. There was a brief back-and-forth between the two men. Delzinski went for a curb stomp, which was somehow countered into a Samoan drop. It was pretty amazing how they were able to pull off that transition. Sledder hit the big boot to eliminate Delzinski. The third entrant for Team YouTuber was ItsMyYard. Two dummies came out instead, mimicking the New Day entrance. The one in light blue was the one scheduled to be in the match but a third dummy appeared at ringside to distract the referee. As this was going on, the real ItsMyYard low blowed Sledder. Assisted with the dummy he originally came out with, ItsMyYard hit a splash onto Sledder to eliminate him. Quite difficult to put all of this into writing! Long story short… many dummies.

“The Kangaroo Killer” Luke Monet came out but he was jumped by a fourth dummy. Monet was thrown into the ring and the real ItsMyYard hit a shining wizard, pinning Monet to eliminate him. Think about this for a minute. In order to eliminate Sledder, one of the dummies distracted the referee so Yard could low blow Sledder. When Monet came out, one of the dummies just attacked him as he was coming down to the ring. The referee saw the attack, so shouldn’t have Yard been disqualified as ONE OF HIS OWN DUMMIES attacked Monet? There was a bit of inconsistency with the rules of the match but the pace of the match was all smooth. Yard cheats and pins Sledder right away. Yard cheats and pins Monet right away. No need to do near falls or anything like that. Simply eliminating the FaM wrestlers right after the injustices from Yard adds to the belief that this all unfair for Team FaM. Simple wrestling psychology!

Rafazo was the third man for Team FaM. He won Cyber FaMday review competition mentioned earlier. He took out one of the dummies right away by diving to the outside and hitting a DDT. The two other dummies apparently ran away as ItsMyYard was on his own with Rafazo. Rafazo hit the Sister Abigail to pin Yard. A great way to debut Rafazo by having him eliminate Yard right away and in an impressive fashion. Up next for Team YouTuber was SmackTalks.

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Rafazo and Smack Talks easily had the best mini-match within this seven-on-seven match. There was some tremendous athletic lucha-libre style wrestling between the two. Rafazo took control early on with arm drags and a dropkick to the outside. SmackTalks hit a red arrow for a near fall. Rafazo caught SmackTalks jumping off the top rope and hit him with the Sister Abigail for a near fall. Rafazo went for a coup de grace but SmackTalks moved out of the way. SmackTalks hit a reverse frankensteiner and a second red arrow to eliminate Rafazo. An exceptional few minutes with Rafazo and SmackTalks. They did a hell of a job in putting Rafazo over and it was all great. This was probably the best sequence in the entire show! Kudos to FaM for that little match-up.

“The Australian Brawler” William Kingdom was up next for Team FaM. They brawled for a little bit when SmackTalks went for a Red Arrow to Kingdom on the outside. Kingdom countered with a cutter on the outside in an insane spot. SmackTalks kicked out which angered Kingdom. Kingdom grabbed a chair from underneath the ring and hit SmackTalks with it, causing a disqualification. He beat up SmackTalks with the chair some more. Kingdom then cut a promo to call out Cyber FaM Champion Cameron Bash and left.

Muffy E was next for Team FaM. Muffy E did push ups in front of SmackTalks, with the announcers playing up how Muffy E couldn’t possibly screw this up for Team FaM after Kingdom’s attack. Somehow, Muffy E doing push ups got a slow motion replay! That was awesome! Muffy E was flexing  and turned his back to SmackTalks. As he was flexing, SmackTalks rolled him up with a crucifix and pinned him.

At this point, it was four vs two in favour of Team YouTubers. The returning Lance Frisco was the 6th entrant for Team FaM. He had been in FaM in 2011 under a different name. Lance and SmackTalks wrestled for a while until Lance pinned him with the Truth Or Consequences that R-Truth uses. 101Gaming was the 5th entrant for Team YouTubers. They traded comebacks until 101Gaming pinned him with the World’s Strongest Slam. Anarchymus was the final entrant for Team FaM and he was on the receiving end of a three-on-one disadvantage.

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101 jumped Anarchymus during his entrance. 101 worked on his arm for a while and even locked on a kimura lock. 101 went for the clothesline but Anarchymus ducked and hit the double under-hook piledriver for the pin fall. Gore was the sixth entrant for Team YouTubers. They battled for a while, which included a spot where an attempted spear through the ropes was evaded by Anarchymus. Gore went for the Gore, which was countered into an Emerald Fusion for the pin fall. Perkins was the last man for Team YouTubers, as it came down to Anarchymus and Perkins from each team. There was a very nice back-and-forth between both men. Anarchymus locked Perkins in the calf crusher when Gore came back out. This distracted Anarchymus, which allowed Perkins to hit the 619. Perkins then hit a springboard 450 splash and a brainbuster onto Anarchymus for the victory. Team YouTubers won.

Having booked Anarchymus the way they did, I truly felt that he should have at least won the match. I thought Anarchymus looked really good and a victory at the end would have really made him out to be a true star for FaM. With that said, Perkins did hit a lot of big moves to eliminate Anarchymus in the end. In that sense, at least FaM did everything they could to protect Anarchymus before they beat him. I’m a little disappointed that the YouTubers won, as I think that FaM should spend more time in putting their own original talent over. With that said, I thought this was a really good elimination match. I thought the match ran smoothly. There was not a lot of instances where I thought things were being dragged on, as they clearly achieved their goal for each elimination. Each mini-match told the story. I thought a few FaM dudes looked really good in this, including Sledder, Rafazo and Anarchymus. I personally thought the FaM vs YouTubers match was better than the main event match, which I’ll get onto later. A big thumbs up from me!

By the way, Gore and Perkins took out Tom Cushnie in the end after Tom tried to take all the glory.

Rom Buster and Ben MacKenzie were talking backstage. MacKenzie told Rom that he had his back. Rom cut a passionate promo about tearing the general manager apart piece by piece. MacKenzie pointed out that this was all deja vu, as Rom cut a similar promo at Survivor Series 2013 when he was battling Betrayal. Rom responded that tonight, he would be fighting for everyone at FaM this time around.

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2TM defended the FaM World Championship against Death’s Angel The match was fine but the finish was kinda complex. Death’s Angel. initially won the match with a catapult super kick. Death’s Angel. made the cover but 2TM got his hand on the rope. They showed a replay of this and Rom, who is supposed to be the babyface and the voice of reason, is trying to look past the replay and proclaiming that it’s done. His justification of two wrongs making a right, from a neutral standpoint, should not justify the title changing hands when 2TM wasn’t actually beaten. 2TM got the ropes so the match should continue.

The ring announcer Luis had declared that the referee informed him that 2TM grabbed the bottom rope. He said that the referee decided to wait for the decision of the FaM general manager. Right after this, Rom then bashes the general manager for being biased towards 2TM!

So the FaM general manager restarts the match and makes it no disqualification. From a babyface standpoint, it’s clear that the FaM general manager is making it no disqualification so Betrayal can make a run in and help 2TM. However, if this were real, the general manager restarting the match is the morally right move to make!  The match kept going and obviously Betrayal made an interference. The Skilled Foundation came out and they hit their finisher. 2TM hits the uranage, which led to the pin fall as he retained the title. A decent match with more Betrayal shenanigans.

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CMPuLs3 defended the FaM Global Championship against Element in a tables match. CMPuLs3 was with TonyPizzaGuy and Element was with Big Red. Big Red immediately did a dive to Tony on the outside, to make sure that he wasn’t a factor. PuLs3 and Element did their match. I did love the trolling spot from CMPuLs3 when Element was on the table and PuLs3 looked to do a dive. Instead, he ran to the turnbuckle and decided to do a shooting star press from there instead! That was pretty clever! He missed with the shooting star press and the match continued. PuLs3 went for the knee of justice, which was countered into a catapult shellshocked. Tony came out as Element was about to jump through the table and beat PuLs3. Big Red came out to take out Tony. The finish was really awesome in my eyes. Pulse got up and was able to hit a Falcon Arrow from the top rope and through the table. I thought that was a pretty great spot! The one thing I really have to give FaM credit for is that they are able to write good finishes to their matches, and this was another beauty. I know I said that earlier, but this was another good one to help my point of view. Element put PuLs3 through the announce table after the match.

BrendenPlayz dropped a bombshell as the general manager allowed him to decide who would wrestle for the Global Championship. He decided that there would be a six man battle royal at FaM’s next mega event Pandora, with the winner facing CMPuLs3 later that night. He backed the general manager and claimed that he saw who the general manager was. He predicted that the general manager’s team was going to win.

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Then it was time for the main event. Team Rom Buster vs Team General Manager for control of FaM. This one was a five-on-five elimination match, structured just like the FaM/YouTuber one.

The first man out for Team General Manager was BlackHeron and the first man out for Team Rom Buster was Nic Virtue. To be honest, I had no idea who this dude was when I first saw him come out. Following the show, with FaM uploading a video about him and having been on his YouTube page, it looks like this fellow was going to fit right in. It was just funny that he’s already been booked to be at least on par, if not superior, to BlackHeron. Maybe he’s the FaM equivalent to AJ Styles, as Rom did talk about Nic being the hottest free agent in the WWE games community or something like that. He did have Light Em Up by Fall Out Boy as his theme song, so he gets a thumbs up for that! Nic looked good in there with BH.

BlackHeron got disqualified for kicking too much arse. I know that if Vinny from the Bryan and Vinny show had seen this disqualification, he probably would have had a fit! I’m not too great a fan of the idea of someone being disqualified because he didn’t break on five. Surely BH should have known what the rules were, unless he did it just to try and screw over the general manager. He did have a stare down with Darin after he was eliminated.

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Technically, BH continuing to attack Nic should lead into the disqualification of the next legal man on his team. If this was a normal Survivor Series match, the ref would have DQ’d the next legal man on BH’s team. I will defend this rule-breaking though as the company is ran by the heels so OF COURSE they are going to give themselves the advantage. Then again, going by this logic, the referee probably shouldn’t have DQ’d BH in the first place!

Here’s where the problems began with this match. So BH got DQ’d and then attacked Nic after he was disqualified. He hits his powerbomb finisher and then Darin was #2 for Team General Manager. Surely, to make it seem as if Rom’s team got screwed, Darin would have either hit a move or just got a pin fall on Nic to eliminate him. Instead, he misses a running knee and the match just continued as normal. What was the point of BH attacking Nic after he was disqualified, if it wasn’t even going to tie into Nic’s elimination? If you were going to have Darin simply beat him, just let him beat him.

Darin smashed Nic’s head into the exposed turnbuckle. There was an awesome spot where Nic’s dive was countered into a belly-to-belly on the outside. So Nic and Darin had a back-and-forth match, even after a beat down where the heel had hit his finisher. Darin hit the running knee and pinned Nic after putting his feet on the rope. Gunnz was #2 for Team Rom Buster.

Gunnz hit the spear right away but Darin kicked out. These two had a regular match from that point on, until Gunnz hit Darin with the spear to the outside. Darin got in the ring just before the ten count and then Gunnz just rolled him up to eliminate him. Again, I don’t understand why Darin couldn’t have just been counted out as opposed to getting back in the ring just to be pinned.

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Roberto was number #3 for Team GM. Gunnz did a dive to the outside and was caught by Roberto, who hit a chokeslam on the outside. Roberto rolls him back into the ring, covers Gunnz and Gunnz kicks out. Once again, couldn’t it have been much simpler to have Roberto simply pin him off of this awesome spot. Is it that difficult to simply put a FINISHER over by having someone BEAT SOMESONE ELSE with their finisher? If someone kicks out every time that it is hit, then it’s not a good finisher! Roberto ended up eliminating Gunnz anyway with a double-handed chokeslam, so you might as well have just finished it with Roberto pinning him off the chokeslam from earlier.

Cameron Bash was entrant #3 for Team Rom Buster. Bash and Roberto had a nice big man back-and-forth. Bash hit the Bash Bottom to eliminate Roberto. A tired Darin then cut a promo backstage, talking about Team GM’s mystery partner. This was not the GM that he was referring to. This was a mystery partner that Team GM had, with the GM also happening to be unknown at this point. He said that this partner believed in the GM’s philosophy and had a bone to pick with Rom Buster. Shockingly, the partner was revealed to be Killswitch!

I was actually psyched about this reveal, as I was expecting Killswitch to either be the general manager or Rom’s mystery partner (as opposed to Nic Virtue). Him being a part of the heel’s team going up against his former tag team partner Rom is a nice little twist.

Roberto jumped Bash and hit a double-handed chokeslam before Killswitch even got in the ring. Killswitch jumped in the ring, made a cover and BASH KICKED OUT. This was where I really started getting annoyed about this match. I get wanting to build suspense by having many kick-outs but come on. It’s not like anyone watching was seriously thinking that Bash was going to eliminate Killswitch and face the GM. Why not just have Killswitch beat him quickly? All of these attacks and shenanigans against the babyfaces were undone by the fact that they still continued the matches as normal by kicking out. Where’s the heat for the heels? When the match goes on as normal, the sense of injustice against the good guys dissipates. Killswitch did pin Bash shortly after the kick out though, so I guess it wasn’t as bad as the incident with Roberto earlier on for example.

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Andy Badwool was entrant #4 for Team Rom Buster. Andy and Killswitch battled. It was a nice exchange with Andy looking like he was going to finish Killswitch when Darin buzzed in. The GM and Darin announced that the rest of the match was going to be no disqualification. Right after this announcement, Killswitch hits Andy in the face with a chair. Killswitch goes for the cover but Andy kicks out. I didn’t have as much of a problem with this near fall as much as I did with the others mentioned earlier. At least Andy’s kick out only led to Killswitch further beating him up with the chair. It’s not like Andy ran wild or anything. Killswitch beat him up and hit the Switchback on the chair, which saw the back of Andy’s head hit the chair. That was actually a cool spot as Killswitch pinned Andy.

Rom Buster was obviously the last member of his team. This did feel like a really big battle between the two former S.E.S. members. Rom hit the Maltese elbow and the Sleeping Pill to beat Killswitch. Then the general manager came out as the final member of his team.

Remember all of my complaints earlier about all the near falls and the almost no-selling of all the finishers. Suffice to say that this final battle between Rom and the General Manager was NOT like any of those mini-matches. This was where things got insanely awesome.

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The General Manager came out with a Darth Vader-like mask on. Both men sized each other up. Rom tried to attack him and the GM started just beating on Rom. I could not believe how one-sided this was. He lifted Rom up by his FACE (or his sunglasses!) and just threw him across the ring! The GM was chilling on the ropes as Rom got to his feet. Rom got up and ran right into a spinebuster from the GM. As pointed out by Rom at commentary, this was Andy’s signature spinebuster. He then hit Rom with the stunner, which is obviously from Rom Buster’s arsenal. He hit BH’s meat-hook clothesline. Rom Buster did a comeback and went for a GTS, which the GM countered into a GTS of his own. Rom fired back with kicks and punches and then hit an X-Ray (which was actually Chris Jericho’s codebreaker), which barely phased the GM. Rom ran at the GM but the GM catapulted him and hit a sleeping pill.

The GM then did a Tongan Death Grip to Rom Buster and hit the End Of Days, simply standing on Rom in order to pin him. This final segment of the match was so perfectly booked. The GM SQUASHED Rom and had him beat in every turn. He had an answer for everything Rom threw at him and this all makes sense, especially considering the reveal of who he was. SPEAKING OF WHICH…

The General Manager grabbed a microphone and called out Andy Badwool. He asked him to come out and tell everyone what happened on “that day” and to tell the truth, threatening to hurt Rom even more. He then unmasked and initially, the camera just cut to the crowd and shots of the GM’s body. As this was going on, Rom at commentary was freaking out while D.N.A. was confused. Rom at commentary then revealed that this man was FaM’s dark secret, the forgotten fourth founder and the original sin.

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Andy ran out and the original sin took him out with a pedigree. Then the camera cut to black and a video started playing and THANK GOD that they showed this video right after the ending. It was explained that this man was called Ranik and that he was Rom Buster’s older brother. He explained that seven years ago, he founded FaM alongside BlackHeron, Gunnz and Andy Badwool. They showed a clip of FaM Episode 0, which revealed that Andy was actually Ranik’s disciple. Ranik revealed that he was the creator of S.E.S. and had taught Andy all he knew, which explained why he was able to dominate Andy and Rom at the end of the show.

On Episode 0, Ranik attacked BlackHeron and talked about everyone at FaM being weak at the time. He explained that the other founders considered him a threat to FaM, and the other three voted to have Ranik removed from history. He accepted their terms as long as Andy took care of his brother Rom. This lead to Rom showing up with Andy at Episode 1 of FaM RAW. Ranik said that everything he saw from that point tore him apart, including when Andy broke his vow about Rom and attacked him. Ranik then made his move, storming into BH’s office at Famniversay III and taking his leadership from him. BH gave his power to Ranik with “no questions asked” as Ranik explained that he respected BH’s business attitude and willingness to follow his orders. Ranik was on good terms with Betrayal, as long as they recognised that Ranik ran FaM.

He said that he was here to take what was rightfully his. He said that he was going to take everything away from everyone at FaM and that nobody could stop him.

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That was that. It was an incredible ending to a great show from FaM. Any fans of hidden lore should have been thrilled with this ending and the reveal of a forgotten fourth member. With the reveal being of the fourth founder of FaM, then perhaps Gunnz and BlackHeron should have had more of a role in this particular match. Andy did come back out to challenge Ranik at the end, but it’s almost like Gunnz and BlackHeron were completely under-utilised in this match. BH did get himself disqualified, which could lead to some kind of confrontation in the future. However, what about Gunnz? Where does he stand in all of this? Perhaps, he may play a bigger role in the future as the “three founders of FaM” being in the match was hyped up quite a bit.

I thought this was a very good show and although it was four and a half hours long, there was a lot of content there to keep me invested throughout. The women’s match was good. TubbyEmu vs Grim’s Toy Show was good. The Cyber FaM title match was good. FaM vs YouTubers was the best match on the night and a really well structured match. The World title match was fine. The Global Title match was good. The main event was good, despite the annoying almost no-sells of every finisher in the match. The reveal and the ending was really worth all of the hype and the build and it brought a great finish and a lot of intrigue going forward. The direction of FaM  from a writing aspect will be very interesting.

 

See also…

Cyber FaMday 2015 Review

Retro Express – Survivor Series 2006

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Survivor Series 2006 was the 20th anniversary of the annual Thanksgiving event. This was the first of its kind that featured the RAW, SmackDown! and ECW brands. The emphasis was on the Survivor Series elimination matches and WWE had to put on a show for a Philly crowd that was difficult to please. Could they give us a Survivor Series to remember?

 

WWE Survivor Series

Date: November 26th 2005

Brand: RAW and SmackDown!

City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Attendance: 15,400

Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, Dusty Rhodes and Ron Simmons w/Arn Anderson vs Kenny, Johnny, Mitch, Nicky and Mikey in a Survivor Series elimination match
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Flair and Simmons both got big pops when they were coming out. Arn Anderson was in the legends’ corner wearing one of his vintage golf shirts. Ron “cleared house” until he was tripped by one of the members of the Spirit Squad. This lead to a very strange “spot” which gives us the first two eliminations. Ron Simmons followed Mitch around the ring which led to Ron and Arn trapping him. Arn threw Mitch into the ringpost which led me to believe that Ron would be disqualified for what Arn did to Mitch. Instead, Ron was actually eliminated because he was COUNTED OUT alongside Mitch. I thought this was an absurd ruling because surely Arn did the illegal move before the referee finished his count. Also, I don’t even remember the referee finishing his count while the Ron/Mitch/Arn spot was going on. I may have to go back and watch the match again but I SWEAR that I never heard the referee finish his count. I guess he could have whispered it to himself!
Jim Ross was trying to explain all of this on commentary but I think even he was baffled by all of this. To add to the confusion, Arn Anderson was thrown out as the Legends’ manager. Arn sold this ruling tremendously by the way! This led to the fans chanting “bullshit” as this took up a good two minutes of the match to sort all of this out. Not a great start.
Every member of the Spirit Squad was wearing their overalls except, if I recall, Nicky. As mentioned in past editions of the Retro Express, Nicky ended up becoming Dolph Ziggler. In this match though, Nicky was in full Ziggler-mode with his selling! After a spot with Sgt Slaughter, where the veteran fooled the youngster with a handshake, Slaughter began body-slamming Nicky over and over. Slaughter locked on the Cobra Clutch but Johnny ended up dropping him from behind with a kick. This lead to Nicky PINNING Sgt Slaughter.
Dusty Rhodes then pinned Nicky with an elbow drop. When watching this now in 2016, it seems a bit funny to see someone lose to a simple elbow drop. I know The Rock’s finisher is the People’s Elbow but surely one standard elbow drop shouldn’t beat people right? However, Dusty beat people all the time with this in his prime! It’s just also funny that Nicky lost to an elbow drop when as Dolph Ziggler, he hits wrestlers with ten repeated elbows as signature moves and can only get a two count!
Kenny pinned Dusty when he ducked the Bionic Elbow and rolled him up for the pin. This left Ric Flair alone to face Johnny, Mikey and Kenny. Flair pinned Mikey with an Atomic Drop and a pin which saw him with his feet on the ropes. Ric then pinned Kenny with the Small Package and made Johnny submit with the Figure Four Leg Lock and won the match for his team. The Spirit Squad beat up Ric Flair after the match. My biggest question was WHERE WERE THE LEGENDS when this happened? Not a fan of this match. I guess when you combine bad booking with five old wrestlers that could barely move and the Spirit Squad, you shouldn’t get your expectations up.
Match Rating: *1/2
Chris Benoit (c) vs Chavo Guerrero w/Vickie Guerrero for the United States Championship
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This was a fine match. Benoit worked very hard and Chavo looked really good as the heel getting the heat on him. Vickie Guerrero kept getting involved. Benoit made the comeback with the triple German suplexes. Chavo got some serious height on these suplexes. JBL began giving us a analogy on cheating in matches which he was able to somehow relate to picking up women in a bar. Chris Benoit kicked out of Chavo’s Frog Splash to a surprisingly big reaction. Vickie got knocked off the apron and the key to the finish was that Benoit was showing care for Vickie on the outside. While he was doing this, Chavo rolled him up. Benoit countered this into a Crossface and made Chavo tap out.
Match Rating: **3/4
I have to really give JBL some credit for being so great in 2006 as a commentator. You wouldn’t think it by hearing him in 2016, but he was fantastic during this pay-per-view. He would go on some of the greatest rants while on commentary and was allowed to just go completely nuts. It was tremendous to hear him when he could just unload like this.
Edge and Lita were backstage being interview by Todd Grisham. Lita was wrestling her last match that night, defending her Women’s title against Mickie James. Lita told Todd that she wasn’t going to change her mind about retiring. She said she was going to beat Mickie James and gave some spiel about wanting respect from the fans. Edge cut a promo about Team Rated RKO’s match against Team DX. He talked about beating up the Hardy Boyz for years and called CM Punk an ECW reject. As this was going on, Cryme Tyme went into Lita’s locker room. When Edge was done, they came out with a box. JTG told Todd that he never saw anything and left.
Lita (c) vs Mickie James for the Women’s Championship
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Having watched this match back again, I think it’s safe to say that this will be one of my most memorable women’s matches of all time. The sad thing is, I will not be remembering this match in a positive way. The match itself was pretty decent and there were some good aspects to this match which really made it stand out. However, I will never forget just how badly Lita was treated by the WWE and the WWE fans on this night.
Now a lot of people will say that this was fitting considering the characters of everyone involved. I understand all of that. However, this was still Lita’s last night with the company. WWE’s idea was to have the fans get as much abuse in as they can on Lita before she left and she was a trooper for putting up with this. Jerry Lawler actually said on commentary that he was going “to get in all that he could” about Lita and he was making jokes throughout the match about her. My biggest issue is that not every fan in the company remembered Lita for the gimmick she had during the last few years of her career. There were fans who were generally going to miss Lita and there was even a big “Thank You Lita” sign which I saw. I saw one at least but there were probally more.
As it turned out though, the WWE had been CONFISCATING signs which gave Lita praise that night. The idea that WWE wanted Lita to be remembered in such a fashion and was willing to get rid of any signs which gave her some credit for the many years of blood, sweat and tears that she gave for them is one of the most disgraceful things WWE has ever done. Jerry Lawler made a point later on in the show about how the fans should chant and cheer for whoever they wanted. In reality, it honestly looked liked they were punishing the fans for thinking in ways that they didn’t want them to think. I think that is just wrong, especially considering that you saddled Lita with this gimmick for well over a year.
Anyway, there were some awful chants from the crowd. Lita and Mickie actually had a decent match, which I don’t think many fans would remember. They had a decent little women’s match. There was an interesting spot when Lita locked on the sleeper hold and jumped on Mickie’s back for a while. Lita’s pretty tall compared to Mickie, so this looked unique. Mickie pulled off a nice barrage of kicks including a sweet-looking roundhouse. Mickie went for an hurricanrana but Lita dropped her on her face. Mickie kicked out of Lita’s moonsault to a big reaction. Lita went for an Impaler DDT but Mickie countered, which saw Lita land pretty hard. Considering her previously neck problems, that was worrying. Mickie hit the Mickie-DT to win the title. Good match considering everything that happened.
Match Rating: **1/4
Lita told Lilian Garcia to give it up for the “greatest women’s champion of all time.” Nobody did which upset Lita. Lita called the fans disrespectful. This lead to Cryme Tyme coming out. They were selling all of Lita’s stuff. They were selling things like dildos, bras and vaginal yeast infection medication. I’m not making this up. They were actually selling all of this on WWE pay-per-views ten years ago. Then we got a pretty disgusting moment when JBL wanted to buy a pair of Lita’s panties RIGHT AFTER Cryme Tyme just sold yeast infection medication. JBL paid $100 but didn’t get any change, with Cryme Tyme throwing her panties into the crowd. JBL was angry and wanted his money back.
That was the end of that. It’s so astonishing when looking back on this in hindsight. Obviously all the stuff with Lita and Cryme Tyme was all horrible and disgusting. The funny thing is that if you showed these fans in 2006 a segment from the “divas revolution” ten years later, they’d be begging for Lita to not retire.  Thankfully for Lita, she would be given a much better send off years later. She did wrestle again at RAW 1000 and she was even inducted into the Hall of Fame. Thank you Lita indeed.
They showed a clip of Michael Cole interviewing Batista backstage. Batista was scheduled to wrestle King Booker in a title match. Cole asked Batista about having to relinquish his World Heavyweight Championship at the start of the year but Batista didn’t reply. Cole asked a bunch of other questions and got no response. They showed a replay of Booker hitting Batista with the “Royal Scepter.” Batista eventually broke his silence, simply saying “I am leaving tonight World Heavyweight Champion.” A few minutes with questions by Cole and a clip from SmackDown! lead to seven words from Batista to build up the main-event of the show. Lovely.
Team DX (Triple H, Shawn Michaels, CM Punk, Jeff Hardy and Matt Hardy) vs Team Rated RKO (Edge, Randy Orton, Johnny Nitro, Mike Knox and Gregory Helms) in a Survivor Series elimination match
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CM Punk got a really big reaction when he came out, as did DX. I made the point earlier about all the Lita signs that were taken down. Keeping that in mind, there were some signs which I couldn’t believe were allowed to stay up. The first I noticed was not a bad one or anything. However, it simply read “Nitro = Ratings.” Apparently, there were some big Johnny Nitro fans in the crowd or some old WCW Nitro fans! Whether he was a ratings grabber will be left up for debate.
Team DX were having fun with the crowd before the match started. The Philly crowd was great for this match which really did help. There were some BIG chants for CM Punk. CM Punk even asked the crowd if they were ready. DX did their spiel and told everybody to suck it. Then the heels came out. I couldn’t stop laughing during Gregory Helms’ entrance and it was for his entrance theme. This version of his theme saw Gregory Helms say his name first in such a great way, putting a lot of emphasis on the “Helms” part of his name! I don’t know why I found this to be so funny!
Rated RKO came out with a really cool sounding mash-up theme, as Orton did his pose on the apron. Triple H tried to get Kelly Kelly to show her breasts but Mike Knox got all mad. Shawn super-kicked Knox and quickly eliminated him. This lead to Shawn asking “Who was that?” Triple H simply replied by saying that “He was in the match.”  This was a tremendous burial of poor Mike Knox!
There was an awesome spot with Shawn Michaels and Johnny Nitro, with leapfrogs and stuff. Shawn then slid out of the ring and cuddled Melina, who was not aware that he was cuddling him and thought it was Nitro. They both turned around, with Melina shrieking and Shawn yelling “aaaah.” Shawn’s reaction was magnificent!
It was pointed out that Nitro and Jeff had been in a ladder match on RAW a few days before. Despite this, both men were wrestling in this match and were apparently fine. They weren’t selling that previous ladder match one bit. On the same night that Lita retired, they apparently had to get in a spot with Matt Hardy fighting Edge. Matt Hardy got busted open early. Punk got the hot tag to a big reaction. Punk tapped out Nitro. This saw Team DX have a two man advantage at this point. Jim Ross referred to the Chicago-born Punk as “Young Mr CM Punk.” This made me laugh.
Randy Orton hit the RKO on someone but Shawn Michaels broke up the pin. Triple H got the hot tag. Shawn Michaels and Jeff Hardy did a double dive to the outside with JR referring to the both of them as “Team Extreme.” Matt Hardy eliminated Helms with the Twist of Fate/Swanton combination from the Hardyz. Rated RKO tried to walk out but the Hardyz brought them back into the ring. Shawn superkicked Edge and pinned him. Orton tried to escape through the crowd but they brought him back to the ring. DX hit the Superkick and Pedigree to eliminate him. It was a clean sweep for Team DX.
This was a squash match but it was a pretty entertaining squash match. I think the only man that was really buried following this was Mike Knox. Nitro and Helms at least put up a fight of some sort. Rated RKO were main-eventers anyway, so it wasn’t like it killed any careers or anything. Thumbs up from me. I enjoyed this match.
Match Rating: ***
In case anyone was wondering, this was not the first time where there was a complete clean sweep in a five-on-five Survivor Series elimination match. There were a few in the 1990s. In 2014, there was actually a clean sweep when Team Alicia Fox defeated Team Paige.
Mr Kennedy did an interview with Kristal. Kennedy was scheduled to face the Undertaker in a first blood match. Kennedy said that this was the biggest match of his career. His interview was cut off by MVP. MVP noticed that Kennedy had vaseline all over his face. MVP bragged about beating Kane in a steel cage match. MVP said that he had Kennedy’s back.
Mr Kennedy vs Undertaker in a First Blood match
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Kennedy undid three of the turnbuckles during the entrances. Taker beat up Kennedy and they brawled for a while. There was a lot of head-based offence at the start of the match, which made sense with the stipulation of the match. I remember watching a number of first blood matches were the two wrestlers would just do move after move during the match until the last few moments of the match where they would start target the head! Undertaker and Kennedy were trying to bust each other open early.
With that being said, there was one spot where Kennedy was dropped groin-first onto one of the exposed turnbuckles. One of my major complaints about Kennedy was the fact that he took this move and Kennedy sold by yelling “ooooooh” with a low-pitched voice. I was not a fan of his selling.
Kennedy was busted open in the mouth but MVP came out and wiped his mouth with a towel before the referee noticed. Despite doing this, MVP threw Kennedy back into the ring. Kennedy yelled “oooh” again and he yelled this as if he were Tarzan. MVP came back in and went to hit Kennedy with the chair but he hit Undertaker and busted him open. The referee noticed and called for the bell.
Think about this for a moment. MVP wanted to screw over Kennedy (which was apparently revenge from SmackDown!, when Kennedy screwed over MVP) by initially throwing Kennedy into the ring and then trying to bust him open with a chair. So if MVP’s goal in this match was for Kennedy to lose, why didn’t he simply rat him out for bleeding from the mouth when he came out with the towel? Why did he wipe away the blood when he could have just told the ref that Kennedy was bleeding?
So the fans were booing. MVP ran away as Kennedy beat up Undertaker after the match. Kennedy’s winning announcement was cut off by the Dead Man. Undertaker smacked Kennedy with a chair and “wrapped the chair around the skull” of Kennedy. Taker hit the Tombstone Piledriver and took off his glove to beat him up some more. JBL, being as awesome as ever, then began to berate Teddy Long for what Undertaker was doing!
There were some really bad portions of the match but I can’t hate it or anything as they at least gave us a good post-match beatdown from Undertaker.
Match Rating: **
King Booker was backstage with Queen Sharmell. He vowed to beat Batista and acted all kingly.
Team Cena (John Cena, Sabu, Rob Van Dam, Kane and Bobby Lashley) vs Team Big Show (Big Show, Umaga, Finlay, MVP and Test)
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What’s funny about this show was that despite the ECW announcers not being there, the ECW referee was there and officiating this match! Test looked jacked in this match. There were a few beauties in terms of signs that I noticed. There was a sign which said “Umaga ate my turkey” which was followed up with a “RVD and Sabu are innocent” sign. I guess they were referring to the DUI incident that the two of them had in July 2006. I don’t know how much impact that sign could have several months after the incident!
The SmackDown! referee took Finlay’s shillelagh. There were big pops for Cena and RVD. Kane’s pyro scared Sabu. Cena took it to Umaga early on. This upset Umaga who went crazy and attacked all of Team Cena with a television monitor. This caused Umaga to be DQd. The heels took over and Rob Van Dam was busted open in the mouth. RVD and MVP seemed to mess up an enziguiri. Kane chokeslammed MVP as Cena was arguing with the referee. RVD hit the Frog Splash and pinned MVP. Test pinned RVD with the big boot to eliminate him.
Lashley speared Test on the outside and Sabu pinned Test with a springboard DDT in the ring. Big Show pinned Sabu with a chokeslam. The crowd popped for a showdown between Kane and the Big Show. The chokeslam struggle between the two of them was interrupted by Hornswoggle, who I believe was going by “Little Bastard” at this time. Finlay hit Kane with the shillelagh and Show capitalised to pin Kane. Big Show got a pop for powerslamming Cena. Jim Ross mentioned that Finlay had a “PhD in cheating.” Having studied and worked at a university, I’m curious to see if such a course exists!
Lashley got the hot tag while Cena got boos. Hornswoggle was thrown into Cena, with Lashley spearing Finlay. Lashley pinned Finlay which meant it was down to Cena and Lashley taking on the Big Show. There was an awkward looking double DDT on Show by Cena and Lashley. They followed it up with a much better looking double suplex. Lashley shoulder barged Show which led to Cena FUing Show for the win. Lashley and Cena were the sole survivors.
This was slightly better than what I was expecting. One of the commentary highlights from this show was Jim Ross saying that “We will see a lot more of Lashley at Survivor Series down the road.” It was funny because this was the last time that Lashley ever appeared at Survivor Series! Lashley had left the company by the time that Survivor Series 2007 rolled around! Sorry JR. You were wrong this time!
There was one more sign I noticed before the World Heavyweight title match which said “Discharge the Marine!” I wonder who that is directed to!
Match Rating: **1/2
King Booker (c) w/Queen Sharmell vs Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship. If Batista lost, he would not get another world title match as long as Booker was the champion.
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There was actually a really good video package for this match, with the exception of the fact that they didn’t mention the “last chance” stipulation in it at all. Fortunately, Teddy Long explained it before the match started. He also ruled that if Booker got himself DQ’d
or counted out, Batista would win the championship. Why this was announced on the pay-per-view and not on SmackDown! beforehand is a mystery. I guess it’s for the best, as they probably wouldn’t have mentioned that on the video package either!
There were some more great crowd signs, with a big “BOB” sign being hard to miss. There was also a sign which I noticed that said “Santa isn’t real.” I could only imagine what’d happen if you tried to get this sign into the arena if this was in 2016! You’d be ruffling some serious feathers!
King Booker made his entrance, to which JBL told Michael to “look at the pinkie.” During this long intro, JBL compared King Booker to William Wallace. Batista finally cut off the entrance by attacking him on the entrance ramp. There were “let’s go Booker” chants. Batista went for an early Batista Bomb but Booker rolled out of the way. Booker tried to leave but Sharmell reminded him that he couldn’t get counted out. Booker then took over.
I felt that there were some weird pacing issues between Batista and Booker. Batista was very slow and it seemed that Booker was too quick for him at times. Not the smoothest of matches.
King Booker gave Batista a side-kick which knocked him off the apron. Batista did the comeback to some boos. There was a “We Want Lesnar” sign. Batista did a top rope shoulder barge. Batista hit the Batista Bomb but Booker got the bottom rope. Sharmell threw the belt to Booker. Batista went for a Batista Bomb on Sharmell. As the referee was distracted, Booker tried to hit Batista with the belt but Batista ducked. Batista hit Booker with the belt and won.
It was a very boring match but Batista had a hell of a celebration! It’s hard to believe that this match was picked as the main-event and the fans really weren’t invested into the match until Batista won. This gets a thumbs down for me.
Match Rating: *3/4
This show was pretty darn boring at times. Even with a world title change, it seemed like nothing special really happened on this show. The crowd was great for the majority of this show but the show itself just didn’t live up to their expectations. The World title match was underwhelming and there was not one match that I would consider to be really good. The most entertaining match of the night was essentially a squash match! I would not want to watch this pay-per-view again. Not one of the stronger Survivor Series events in the now 30-year history of the pay-per-view.

Retro Express – Survivor Series 2005

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with a look back at Survivor Series 2005. I bought the DVD for this recently and I decided to give it a review. For me, this was an exciting time for the WWE because I was hugely invested into the SmackDown! vs RAW storylinem which was a big part of this pay-per-view. At the same time, the WWE was still saddened by the recent death of beloved wrestler Eddie Guerrero. Eddie was scheduled to be in the main event but was replaced by Randy Orton. The Survivor Series match was the main focus but there were other things to look out for as well. There was the Last Man Standing match between Triple H and Ric Flair and there was also a WWE Championship match between John Cena and Kurt Angle, with Angle’s new manager Davari as the special referee. I watched it in full and here’s my FULL review of how good I thought the show was.

 

WWE Survivor Series

Date: November 27th 2005

Brand: RAW and SmackDown!

City: Detroit, Michigan

Attendance: 15,000

Pay-Per-View buys: 400,000

 

Booker T vs Chris Benoit in Match One of the Best Of Seven Series for the Undisputed United States Championship

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This match was basically your average Booker T/Benoit match and it really was nothing special. Maybe that’s a bit harsh as this was not a bad match but Benoit and Booker were wrestling each other OVER AND OVER again at this time. Hell the two wrestled on the SmackDown! before this, to set up this match. The announcers even plugged Match Two, which would take place two days later!

Because of that and the fact that this was the first of seven matches, it really wasn’t supposed to be that big of a match. The matches would intensify as they’d go further into the series. This was kind of treated like your average TV match. There was not a lot of heat from the crowd, which is understandable as there wasn’t a lot on the line as this point in the series.

It was slow-paced which I was fine with, as it fit the purpose of the match. This match featured a lot of submissions which makes sense with the story of the series. They spent ages working on parts of the body in order to weaken their opponent for the next match in the series, which is fine.

It’s amazing how differently the matches are put together in WWE nowadays, when you watch this match back. It’s the small things like Chris Benoit fighting to avoid a simple move like a neckbreaker which added to the match. Another aspect of the match that I liked was the use of continuity, when it comes to the storyline. This series was put together after Benoit and Booker pinned each other at the same time with a roll-up. This match featured a lot of roll-ups and small packages, and even had one in the finish.

Benoit went for the three German suplexes but Booker countered after the first one. Benoit went for it again and was able to hit three, which got the crowd buzzing. Sharmell got involved to initially stop Benoit from hitting the diving headbutt. Booker won with a Oklahoma roll-up, with Sharmell holding his feet on the ropes. It was an OK match with little crowd reaction until the finish. Out of everything they could have went with as the opener, this one made the most sense.

Match Rating: **3/4

Eric Bischoff was throwing punches backstage, ahead of his match against Teddy Long. Vince McMahon showed up to wish him luck. Eric vowed that he would beat Teddy Long, RAW would beat SmackDown! in the Survivor Series match and Kurt Angle would beat John Cena to win the WWE Title. Eric said that he was going to screw Cena, which lead to John Cena showing up to make a joke about Eric screwing guys. Vince then proceeded to ask Cena the following question… “What’s good in the hood?” Amazingly, that WASN’T Vince McMahon’s most shocking line from this segment. I won’t repeat what he said next but I will say that it’s astonishing what Vince McMahon can get away with saying on pay-per-view. All I’ll say is that after Vince said this, Booker T appeared saying “Tell me he didn’t just say that.”

Trish Stratus (c) vs Melina for the Women’s Championship

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This was RAW’s Trish against SmackDown!’s Melina. SmackDown!’s Tazz and RAW’s Joey Styles were doing commentary. It was so great to see a shot of Tazz and Joey on commentary with both of them laughing. It’s funny because they had so much fun burying each other and their shows on commentary!

This storyline started after MNM abducted Trish and Melina challenged her to a match. In the match, Trish did a big dive to all of MNM and it looked like she hit her head on the barricade. Trish went for the hurricanrana but Melina forgot to catch her for it. Melina did a kick where it looked like she kicked her arm. MNM went for the Snapshot on Trish but the referee saw it and threw them out. Melina hit an awful spear on Trish. Melina was supposed to go for the clothesline while Trish arched her back but Melina was too late to do it. There was a botchy finish where Trish went for the top rope bulldog and got the pin. Either Trish jumped too far or Melina was just in the wrong position. It could have been both their faults but it did not come off well.

This was a below average women’s match, to put it nicely. Melina wasn’t really that good around this time as she was just starting up as a wrestler. With SmackDown! not having a women’s division, Melina didn’t have a lot of experience under her belt going into this. Trish tried her hardest to get a good match out of her. I can’t criticise this match too much as Trish did try hard and there wasn’t a lot you were going to be able to do with this. The match itself was an interesting concept, as SmackDown! didn’t have a women’s division and this was an inter-promotional title match. However, in execution, it wasn’t too great.

Match Rating: *1/2

 

Triple H vs Ric Flair in a Last Man Standing match

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Triple H attacked Flair during his entrance. It’s weird seeing Flair get beat up while he was still in his robe! Always styling and profiling!

Flair turned things around with a kendo stick. They went into the crowd. Flair took a lot of bumps on the floor which looked pretty nasty. This also included a spinebuster onto the floor which Flair should not have been taking on the outside!

Triple H used the screwdriver on Flair’s head as Flair was bleeding like crazy. Whatever you think about Triple H, he was a tremendous heel. They showed a shot of Triple H with a sinister smile on his face and it just suited his role in the match. Triple H got on the mic and told Flair to stay down before he put him down. Flair responded by grabbing Triple H in the “family jewels.” Triple H went for a pedigree but Flair countered and put Triple H through the Spanish announce table.

Flair bit Triple H in the face and on the leg. There was a bit of clever in-ring psychology where Flair worked on Triple H’s legs which would obviously prevent Triple H for being able to stand on his feet. This may seem very small but there’s so many last man standing matches nowadays where the men involved would just hit big move after another big move until someone wins. This match saw Ric cleverly working on one of Triple H’s weak points, which meant something with regards to the stipulation of the match. Not to mention that it plays into the storyline of Triple H and Flair, as Flair obviously knew about Triple H’s quadriceps injury from before and how badly it effected “The Game.”

Flair locked on the figure four leg lock and grabbed the ropes. My feeling during this was that the referee should have started the count as Triple H’s shoulders were on the mat. Triple H made a comeback and hit THREE PEDIGREES but Flair got up each time. This infuriated Triple H who hit Flair with the sledgehammer to win the match. This gets a thumbs up. A really good last man standing match which was different in its layout. There was a genuine feeling that Triple H was going to really hurt Flair with a lot of the stuff that he did, which added to the match. I liked it. I’ve seen better Last Man Standing matches but this was great in its own way.

Match Rating: ***3/4

 

Randy Orton tried to do a team meeting with Team SmackDown!, with Batista not there. Batista had been chokeslammed through the announce table by Kane and the Big Show. Batista interrupted and there was a whole deal about who should be a leader. JBL was very loud and very awesome during this segment when coming to the support of both these men!

Edge and Lita came out. They were not booked for the show. Edge was the Money In The Bank briefcase holder at this time. Edge announced that he would be introducing the “Cutting Edge” talk show. Edge said he was going to ask the questions that nobody else would. Interestingly, there was a sign in the crowd which said “CM Punk is the next Shawn Michaels.” I actually think Punk had just been signed to the company at the time as part of its developmental territory. It’s interesting when looking back in hindsight, because Punk actually teamed with Michaels at the next year’s Survivor Series. As noted by Punk, Punk got much bigger reactions than Shawn or Triple H at that Survivor Series!

Edge ripped Detroit and ripped the Detroit Lions. Dmitri Young was in the crowd, who was playing baseball for the Detroit Tigers I believe. Edge ripped on Young. He called him fat and NFL players “over-paid” and “steroid-users.” He made me laugh when he called him “Young Mark Henry.” Also funny in hindsight as Mark Henry soon returned on SmackDown! shortly after this. Dmitri responded by calling out Edge on never winning the WWE title. Another ironic moment as shortly after this, Edge won the WWE title at New Years Revolution.

 

John Cena (c) vs Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship with Davari as the special guest referee

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The fans’ “You Suck” chants were censored. This came after a segment on RAW where Kurt got annoyed at the fans for the chant. It was an incredible segment where Kurt just completely snapped over these chants he had endured for years.

The match saw Davari constantly fast-counting John Cena. At least this made it very clear early on that Davari was attempting to screw John Cena. Motivation established right off the bat. Perfect.

Kurt worked on the legs. Davari kept Cena off of Angle. This was a very split crowd, with the fans being 50/50. This was probably not great to hear considering that Cena was the one that had the disadvantage. The crowds were approving of Davari attempting to screw Cena! This proved to be true when Cena went for a suplex and the cover, but Davari didn’t make the count and he was mostly cheered!

Angle locked on the Ankle lock and Cena got the ropes. Davari kicked Cena off the ropes to more cheers. Cena slapped Davari to try and get Davari to disqualify him but Kurt stopped him from doing so as Kurt wouldn’t have won the title if he DQd him. Davari was knocked to the outside.

A new referee came out but Angle’s cover on Cena was kicked out. There were some big “Cena Sucks” chants at this point. Cena’s comeback at this time was a shoulder barge, two clotheslines THEN a sit-out powerbomb. Cena hit the five knuckle shuffle which Coach referred to as the “Five Knuckle Waffle.”

The new referee was taken out. Angle hit the low blow and the Angle Slam but Cena kicked out. My question at this point was why didn’t the referee DQ Angle as he was coming down to the ring? I see this all the time but the new referees that come out during these matches always seem to ignore everything else that previously happened in the match. It was amazing.

Angle missed the moonsault which saw Cena roll towards the turnbuckle, so Angle wouldn’t hit him. Angle took out another referee. Angle tried to revive Davari but SmackDown! referee Charles Robinson came out. Cena took out Davari and then hit the FU on Angle for the win. This was a very TNA-like main event finish which got to the finish in an incredibly complicating way. Did we need to see Kurt taking out all those referees during this match? I was not a fan of the finish. The match was fine but the wrong man won this one. I always thought that Kurt should have won the title during this period as he was tremendous.

Match Rating: **3/4

 

Eric Bischoff vs Teddy Long

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When Jonathan Coachman and Michael Cole on commentary were one of the better aspects of the match, you knew you were in for something special!

There was two referees, one from RAW and one from SmackDown! This was a repeat from Taboo Tuesday, where there was RAW and SmackDown! referees for the tag team match that started the show.

I’m truly amazed that this match made it on a pay-per-view. This match was so bad. This wasn’t even a match. I guarantee you that if I went up to two people on the street and told them to re-enact what happened this match, they would have been able to do it much better than Eric and Teddy Long. The match got “boring” chants. Eric kept trying to attack Teddy but Teddy got out of the way of these attacks and started dancing. This went on for about a few minutes. Eric then got the advantage and did one of the worst looking sleeperholds I’ve ever seen. Teddy took his shoe out and hit Eric. The Boogeyman came out and attacked Eric with the pump-handle slam. Teddy Long pinned Bischoff.

This was SO awful that it’s not even funny. The funny thing is that Eric was supposed to be the heel in this match but to me, he came off as the babyface. Teddy kept trying to run away from Eric. Teddy had somebody in his corner that did distractions. Teddy used a weapon. Someone interfered on behalf of Teddy. What logic is this for a wrestling match?

Someone looked at Teddy Long and Eric Bischoff and thought that they needed to be in a pay-per-view match for SURVIVOR SERIES!

Match Rating: 1/4*

 

By the way, the man in Teddy’s corner was in fact Palmer Cannon. He was the representative of the “network” for SmackDown! that introduced the minis division. I did a bit of research and it turns out that Palmer was trained by Killer Kowalski! He got his first “big break” with Chaotic Wrestling, where he was called “Big League” Brian Black! He in fact won a 28-man royal rumble to win the New England Championship. He won the world title before vacating the championship when he signed with WWE.

It actually gets better as he debuted a German character for “All-Star Wrestling Association” called Otto Von Schwartz. Apparently, this was his idea. He actually had some kind of German heritage and used this for his character. With this character, he feuded with Greg “The Hammer” Valentine!

He was with WWE for about a year or so until he asked for his release. He was actually supposed to feud with the debuting Miz! He never wrestled a match while on SmackDown! He actually went into MMA a few years later and also wrestled Larry Zbyskzo in 2010!

An eventful career for Palmer Cannon. The man trained by Killer Kowalski that never wrestled on SmackDown! but wrestled Greg Valentine and Larry Zbyskzo on the independent scene and even took part in MMA. Quite a career!

 

Batista, Bobby Lashley, Rey Mysterio, JBL and Randy Orton vs Shawn Michaels, Chris Masters, Carlito, Big Show and Kane in a SmackDown! vs RAW Survivor Series elimination match

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This was a pretty great Survivor Series match. In an article for SLTD Wrestling, I actually put this as #3 in my top five Survivor Series matches of all time. I rate this one highly as I really loved the SmackDown! vs RAW storyline. When watching it back, I don’t think it was as great as I thought it was when I last watched it. However, it was still a great match which was definitely a worthy main event.

Randy Orton and Shawn Michaels started off the match. I forgot how well Michaels and Orton used to work together. There was great chemistry between the two of them. The first elimination came when Carlito ran in to get dominated by Bobby Lashley. I couldn’t help but smirk when writing that last sentence! The referee attended to Carlito when Kane chokeslammed Lashley. Shawn Michaels made the cover and got the pin. I remember listening to Michael Cole on the next few episodes of SmackDown! raving about how great a performance Lashley put on during this match! HE WAS THE FIRST MAN ELIMINATED!

Kane and Rey Mysterio had a strange exchange afterwards. Batista got the hot tag and ran wild. Batista pinned Kane with the Spinebuster. Big Show hit the chokeslam but Batista kicked out. It took a double chokeslam from Big Show and Kane to eliminate Batista. Big Show was then put over to an insane degree when he was eliminated. It took two Clotheslines from Hell, a 619, a RKO and a senton to pin the Big Show. They made it so that each move barely effected the big man!

Michaels took a hard fallaway slam on the outside which took him out of the match for a while. There was a cool spot where Rey tried a springboard moonsault but Carlito caught him. JBL made a blind tag to Mysterio and after Carlito dropped Rey for his finisher, JBL blasted Carlito with the Clothesline From Hell for the pin. That was very well executed. Thumbs up for that one.

Rey Mysterio pinned Chris Masters with the 619 which lead to a three-on-one advantage for SmackDown! It was Mysterio, JBL and Orton against Michaels, who had just been taken out with a fallaway slam. There was an awesome spot where Rey hit the 619 on Shawn. Rey went to “drop the dime” when Shawn super-kicked Rey in mid-air! It was not as great as when Shawn did it to Shelton Benjamin on RAW in 2005 but this was a great spot!

Michaels then eliminated JBL which resulted in the final two being Michaels and Orton, which is exactly how the match started. JBL went to hit Michaels with the chair but Shawn took him out with the Sweet Chin Music. Randy took advantage and hit the RKO to win the match for SmackDown!

The SmackDown! roster came out to celebrate with Randy. Undertaker’s gong went off and we saw a flaming casket on the stage. Undertaker came out of it and headed to the ring. Undertaker took out all of the roster and Randy headed to the back.

This was a really good main event to the show. I thought there was a great dynamic between RAW and SmackDown! When it was down to Shawn on his own against three members of SmackDown!, you wanted to root for Shawn. It was funny because RAW was led by a heel general manager which made RAW seem like the heels!

Match Rating: ***1/2

 

Overall, I think it was an OK show that was mostly saved by the main event and the Last Man Standing match. There was Benoit/Booker and Cena/Angle, which were both fine I guess. There was a number of questionable booking decisions like having Eric Bischoff vs Teddy Long on the show at all. However, there was a satisfying end to the biggest storyline in the company which did help. Even though there wasn’t much to the PPV other than the Survivor Series match and Triple H vs Ric Flair, I don’t really think it mattered at the end of the day. This gets a thumbs up.

WWE Survivor Series 2015 Predictions

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How’s it going everybody? Thomas Robinson here with a very brief prediction piece on the Survivor Series show where a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion will be crowned. It seems that the event will go on as planned, despite the ISIS terror threat. That’s good to hear as cowardly threats from ISIS really shouldn’t get in the way of a great WWE product.

Let’s get cracking. This won’t be like the huge prediction pieces from the past but I’ll just throw my predictions out there for all the matches. We’ll start with the traditional Survivor Series match between an unannounced team and another unannounced team and I believe it’s a safe bet that an unannounced team will win! Very upset that they didn’t come up with an advertised elimination match for this year’s show. It would be nice to know who will actually compete in it! However, this is a great opportunity for somebody to make a name for themselves. Do check out my top five Survivor Series elimination matches piece for SLTD Wrestling at this link as part of a lot of great content in time for Survivor Series.

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Charlotte vs Paige. I personally don’t think either of these women should be the Divas Champion right now, especially not Charlotte. I have a piece lined up for SLTD about Charlotte, where I talk about why Charlotte’s Divas Title Reign has not worked. I don’t think she should retain the title and I really feel that they have to take the belt off her at this point. I think I’m going to stand by my pick of Paige to win but I can totally see Charlotte also winning as well.

Dolph Ziggler vs Tyler Breeze. Tyler Breeze has to win in this match surely? I wouldn’t put it past them to beat Breeze in his first WWE PPV match but surely Breeze has to get the win as they’ve just brought him up to the main roster unless they’re purposely setting him up to fail. There’s no real evidence that they’re planning on doing that YET and to have Ziggler beat him here would be absurd. It’s not going to be a huge win for Breeze but it does get him on the right tracks.

Undertaker and Kane vs The Wyatts. I believe it’s Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman that’ll be representing the family. I highly doubt that WWE will have the Wyatts beat Taker and Kane. They have the Wyatts’ biggest guns out there but it’d be odd to hype Undertaker’s 25th anniversary this intensely to just beat him. I’ve seen a lot of people talking about Braun making the Undertaker pass out which I think would be one of the smarter ways to go but I’m not sure. I mentioned this for SLTD. The Wyatts should be the one that goes over if they want to promote new stars. However, this whole pay-per-view’s promotion beforehand was to promote one of their older stars. It seems very unlikely that Taker and Kane are losing.

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Finally the WWE Title Tournament. I think it’s safe to say that the final is going to be Roman Reigns vs Dean Ambrose. I don’t see Alberto Del Rio beating Roman Reigns. I don’t think they’ll take a chance on Kevin Owens, although I think he’s got more of a chance of winning than Del Rio. Reports are suggesting that Reigns and Ambrose were the two most lobbied names backstage. I would be surprised if one of them didn’t turn heel. All signs from RAW indicate that it’s going to be Ambrose but I’d prefer Reigns. It’s a toss-up really about who is going over. I see Roman as being more likely to win the WWE World title but I see Dean more likely to turn heel. It would be a pretty lame for them to turn him heel after losing to Roman. It’d make sense but it’d make more sense for him to win the title by selling out to the Authority. I’m going to stand with Roman Reigns but it’s very hard to guess which of the two will win the belt.