The Katz Files – Arnie Katz
Survivor Series: Recap & Analysis!
The Kingfish Arnie Katz reports on what happened at Survivor Series and delves into the meaning of what fans saw and heard.
Two major title changes highlighted Survivor Series, which also featured the return of the traditional five-on-five elimination match.
Here’s what happened at Survivor Series — and why:
The return of John Cena got top billing on the “Free-for-All,” again hosted by Jack Korpella.
After hyping the Jericho-Cena World Heavyweight Championship match, the show zeroed in on Undertaker-Big Show. Long videos told the entire story from the time Vickie Guerrero turned to Big Show for help in her war against Undertaker.
The Kingfish Comments: The emphasis on John Cena’s return was expected; the stress on the Casket Match was not. Somehow, it didn’t seem like such a big deal until the pre-show and the in-show build-up made us feel like we should care about it.
A nice job of promotion.
The “Free-for-All” was a very good job with little repetition. An abridged version of the CM Punk match from the 11/17 RAW added interest for fans who hadn’t seen it.
Jim Ross welcomed fans to Boston, MA> for the 22nd Survivor Series. He said that Boston Garden was sold out for the event.
Jim Ross announced that Jeff Hardy had been found unconscious in a stairwell at his hotel. He said that Jeff had been hospitalized and released, but there was no word on whether he could compete.
The Kingfish Comments: They did this so well that I thought it might be another lapse by Jeff. Given his off-show escapades, this was an edgy angle. That’s exactly why it had such impact.
Team HBK (Shawn Michaels, The Great Khali, Rey Mysterio, Shad & JTG d. Team JBL (John Bradshaw Layfield, The Miz, John Morrison, MVP & Kane
The Story: Shawn Michaels has been itching to get at JBL ever since the Cantankerous Cowboy attacked him and cost him a chance at the World Heavyweight Championship. The members of each team also have quite a bit of animosity toward their adversaries, especially Cryme Tyme & Miz/Morrison and Mysterio versus Kane.
My Prediction: The Miz & Miz and John Morrison will cancel out each other after MVP gets the dishonor of being the first man eliminated. JBL and HBK will only have eyes for each other and could well end up eliminating each other.
Just as Kane is about to dismember Rey Mysterio, The Great Khali will rescue him. Mysterio will return the favor by setting up Kane for Khali’s finish.
Predicted Grade: B+
The Actual Match: MVP scored the first pin, eliminating JTG, but he ran into Great Khali, who did the same to him.
Khali faced off against Kane. It looked like a stalemate until Rey Mysterio climbed on Khali’s shoulders and came off with a Suicide Dive that finished Kane.
The Miz got Shad Gaspar with the Reality Check to finish his night.
Thee Miz and John Morrison used their celebrated teamwork to good advantage against Shawn Michaels. They made frequent tags and got in some very effect double teaming.
Mysterio used a West Coast Pop to set up The Miz for a 619. Mystery did a Cross Body Press to complete the pin.
HBK got the hot tag and cranked up the offense against John Bradshaw Layfield. He pulled off two Atomic Drops and a Bodyslam. When the Cowboy Financier went to the outside, HBK blasted him with an out-of-ring Fly! They brawled in the ringside area as the referee counted. Michaels zipped under the bottom rope just before “10,” but JBL didn’t make it and was ruled out of the match on a Count Out.
The Showstoppa stopped this show by creaming John Morrison with Sweet Chin Music.
Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio and The Great Khali celebrated together in the ring.
Actual Grade: A-
The Kingfish Comments: The real point of this match was the celebration at the end, when the two popular babyfaces treated Great Khali like a fellow good guy. It’s hard to believe they’ve made him a hero, but the fans appear to have bought it. The WWE writers might consider booking the “Kiss Cam” a little differently, though.
Eve Torres talked to Triple H. The champion had some kind words for Jeff Hardy, praising his determination. He also said that maybe it was good that the title match had been restored to the original match-up.
Team Smackdown (Michelle McCool, Maria, Maryse, Victoria & Natalya) d. Team Raw (Beth Phoenix, Jillian Hall, Mickie James, Kelly Kelly & Candice Michelle)
Diva Survivor Series Match
The Story: WWE’s two shows always have a natural rivalry. In this match, women from each program will compete against the other show in a Survivor Series elimination tag team contest.
My Prediction</B?: I predict I will be wishing for the power to fast forward this one. There are some good workers, but there are also some of the world’s cutest crowbars in there.Predicted Grade: C
It figures to come down to Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix, Candice Michelle and either Natalya or Victoria. The captains will get eliminated by the number-two survivor on each team. Candice Michelle will then take the match by eliminating whichever Smackdown villainess is left.
The Actual Match: Kelly Kelly employed a Huracanrana to set up Victoria for the pin.
Michelle McCool became distracted by her own team. Mickie James disposed of the Diva Champion with a DDT!
Mickie James stopped for a moment after scoring the pin. That made her a sitting duck for Maryse, who pinned her with a Roll-Up.
Jillian Hall stunned Maria with a Handspring Elbow. Maria jumped on Jillian’s back and executed a Victory Roll to end Hall’s evening on a sour note.
Candice Michelle rushed into the ring and took Maria completely by surprise. The pin followed quickly.
Beth Phoenix trapped Candice Michelle in her version of the Figure-Four Leglock and defeated her by submission.
It all came down to Maryse and Beth Phoenix. Phoenix ended the match with the GlamSlam.
Actual Grade: B-
The Kingfish Comments: OK, this was a bit better than it could’ve been, because the women worked really hard. It showed that Jillian Hall is really wasted in her current role, because she appears to wrestle better than most of the other Divas. That could lead to some good matches against people like Phoenix and Victoria, but it won’t happen as long as her specialty is singing off key.The Kingfish Comments: I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw Matt’s segment. While it advanced the story, it also let any intelligent fan know that this was an angle in the show, not a real-life crisis.
Matt Hardy came to the mic to tell everyone that his brother was hit on the back of the head. Matt also said that he had stayed up all night with Jeff at the hospital.
Two well-edited videos presented the Undertaker-Big Show feud
Undertaker d. Big Show
The Story: When Edge went to the sidelines, mentally shattered by his struggle against the Dead Man, Vickie Guerrero turned to the Big Show to continue the fight against Undertaker. The Big Show has knocked Taker flat with a single punch, but Undertaker has shown he can beat Show with submission holds and fearsome strikes of his own. Jamming either of these huge men into a casket will take a lot of doing. Blood will be spilled.
My Prediction: Undertaker will be about to roll Big Show into the casket when someone will interfere. The sneak attack will sent the Dead Man tumbling into the casket with a reviving Big Show doing the actual heavy lifting.
Predicted Grade: B-
The Actual Match: Bearers brought the casket to ringside before first Big Show and then Undertaker entered.
Jim Ross tried to sell a mysterious disease called “casket phobia,” which ignored the fact that the match was already sold on the basis that Big Show could not be hoodooed by Undertaker’s theatrics.
Undertaker had the edge until the action moved to the outside, where Big Show rammed him into a ring post and a table. The Giant dismantled the announce table, but Undertaker took the initiative and clobbered him with a monitor. Taker Legdropped Show through the announce table, but he didn’t get up too quickly, either.
Back in the ring, Undertaker tried to go Old School, but Big Show cut him off. He brought The Dead Man to the canvas with a Suplex! After Big Show hit a Sideslam, he ordered the referee to raise the casket lid. He rolled Taker inside the box, but he hesitated to close the lid. Undertaker prevented it and the match continued.
Big Show climbed the ropes with the intention of doing a Moonsault, but Undertaker short-circuited that idea! He Chokeslammed Vickie’s representative. Taker rolled Big Show into the casket, but he couldn’t get the lid closed.
Big Show Chokeslammed Undertaker and then went outside and turned over the casket. He acted like he’d had enough and planned to go home. Before Show could exit at the top of the ramp, pyro roared into life, stopping him long enough for Undertaker to catch up to him.
The acolytes brought out another casket. As Big Show watched this spectacle, transfixed, Undertaker had time to recover from the last round of punches and started an assault of his own!
That didn’t last too long, because Big Show stood the casket on end and rammed his foe into it at full speed. Big Show narrowly avoided stumbling off the end of the stage as Taker peppered him with punches. Finally The Dead Man whipped Big Show into the casket, slammed the lid and knocked it back onto its horizontal position.
Actual Grade: B+
The Kingfish Comments: This looks like the final match between Undertaker and Big Show, which isn’t such a terrible thing. They put on a decent match, but the range of what they can do together is a little limited – and we’ve probably seen just about all of what there is to see.The Kingfish Comments: This was a non sequester with no connection to anything else in the show. This was the first PPV exposure for the twins, who have a high marketability factor.
The Colon Brothers tried to get dates with the Bella Twins.
The Gobblety Gooker popped into the scene. Everyone assumed it was Charlie Haas – until Charlie walked into the room! The Gooker unmasked to reveal the Boogey Man!
The presence of the Boogey Man is also hard to explain. Presumably, he does something behind the scenes, too.
“I didn’t choose to be your captain,” Randy Orton told his team, “but we’re not going to lose!”
Cody Rhodes wanted to fight Randy Orton, but Shelton Benjamin kept him from acting on that impulse.
Team Orton (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, Mark Henry, Shelton Benjamin & William Regal d. Team Batista (Batista, C.M. Punk, Kofi Kingston, Matt Hardy & R-Truth
The Story: There are several feuds contained within this match, but the most important is the one between Randy Orton and Batista. The third-generation superstar is angry about Jon Cena getting a title shot and he doesn’t plan to let Batista get ahead of him when it comes to facing the winner. A victory here for either team would give the captain a heavy bargaining chip.
My Prediction: Randy Orton needs a win in this match to set up his challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship, presumably against John Cena. The best finish would be to have Orton and perhaps William Regal end up with a two-on-one advantage versus Batista. The Animal eliminates William Regal, but it leaves him vulnerable to the RKO. This may lead to a showdown between Orton and Batista at the next pay per view before either challenges for the title.
Predicted Grade: B+
The Actual Match: CM Punk jumped on William Regal at the opening bell. He stunned the Intercontinental Champion with the Go to Sleep and scored the pinfall.
When R=Truth missed his finisher, Shelton Benjamin pounced on him and rolled him up for the one-two-three.
Randy Orton draped Kofi Kingston’s ankles over the top rope and executed aversion of the RKO. Kingston couldn’t stop the cover.
Mark Henry kicked out after Matt Hardy’s Side Effect and put him away with the World’s Strongest Slam.
While Henry celebrated his triumph over his hated rival, Batista blasted him with a Spear and eliminated the World’s Strongest Man.
Batista scored with a BatistaBomb on Rhodes, but he didn’t see that Cody tagged Randy Orton. Batista went for the roll-up, but Randy Orton attack him and ended his participation with an RKO!
Randy Orton and his team win the showdown!
Actual Grade: B+
The Kingfish Comments: WWE will undoubtedly play up Orton’s victory, heightening his feud with Batista.
Vladimir Kozlov told Eve Torres that Jeff Hardy’s absence would make no difference in his match against Triple H.
Jim Ross reported that Jeff Hardy wouldn’t be competing on the card.
They ran a video about the WWE Championship picture.
Edge d. Triple H & Vladimir Kozlov
The Story: Triple H must defeat his two most prominent challengers in one match. He o could even lose the title without being pinned or submitting.
My Prediction: WWE had to back away from Kozlov/Triple H due to fan indifference. Throwing Jeff Hardy into the match injects some life in it, . Triple H will pin Jeff Hardy after Kozlov takes out the Charismatic Enigma. Then Kozlov will attack Triple H.
Predicted Grade: B+
The Actual Match: The early portion of the match had a methodical quality that inspired a pretty loud “Boring!” chant. The two men had plenty of power, but they tended to cancel out each other.
Triple H tried a Pedigree, but Kozlov blocked the move. The Moscow Mauler dealt the champion a Fallaway Slam, but that didn’t lead to a pin, either.
Kozlov battered HHH with a series of Headbutts to the sternum and then a Running Powerslam. Kozlov applied a Bearhug and, when The Game broke free, dished out an Across-the-Knee Backbreaker! He added a second Backbreaker, but the cover still fell one count short of victory.
Just when Triple H hit the Pedigree, Vickie Guerrero announced the match would now become a Triple Threat. The arena fans, who’d chanted for Jeff Hardy, may have expected the Rainbow Warrior, but what they got was… Edge!
Edge went to the ring and Speared Triple H. Jeff Hardy materialized out of nowhere and blasted Edge. Hardy missed a chairshot at Edge and instead hit Triple H. Edge scored the pin to claim the WWE Championship!
Actual Grade: B+
Edge and Vickie embraced after the match.
The Kingfish Comments: It’s hard to see why all the weirdness about Jeff Hardy was really necessary. It did get some mainstream press from folks who have not learned to distrust all wrestling-connected stories. Edge joining the match was a solid swerve – and it’s good to have him back on the show.
The Chris Jericho “fairytales end” video ran.
John Cena vs. Chris Jericho
World Heavyweight Championship Match
The Story: John Cena returns to WWE at Survivor Series and heads right into the fire. Can he defeat Chris Jericho after an injury and lay-off?
My Prediction: Sometimes, the simplest story is the most powerful one. That’s the way I believe WWE will figure it, too. John Cena will win a long, hotly contested match and become the new World Heavyweight Champion.
Predicted Grade: A-
Predicted Grade for Survivor Series: B
The Actual Match: Chris Jericho got a decent pop when he came to the ring. John Cena got a thunderous reaction.
The match began after a little stalling. At the bell, Cena hauled Jericho onto his shoulders and almost succeeded in dishing out an FU!
The champion worked on Cena’s neck with a Side Headlock. He fired Cena into the ropes and jolted him with a Shoulder Bock on the rebound. Cena rubbed his neck as if to assure himself that all was well.
When Jericho approached Cena, the challenger bounced up, punching. He forced Jericho into a corner to absorb more blows and then Suplexed the arrogant blond.
Jericho’s punches backed Cena across the ring. When Chris got his opponent down, he turned to stomping with special attention to the neck.
John came back with a Clothesline-Bodyslam-Elbow Drop combo, but it didn’t add up to a three count. Cena started to go to the top, thought better of it and climbed down. Jericho capitalized on this indecision by uncorking a DDT!
Chris draped the hometown hero so that his neck projected beyond the edge of the ring. Then he took a running start for a tremendous boot! John Cena couldn’t raise himself off the arena floor until referee Mike Chioda had counted to “eight.” Fortunately, he was so near the ring that he just managed to slip under the bottom rope in time to prevent a count-out. Jericho bashed Cena against the ring steps, hauled him back inside the ropes and tried for a pin. He came up one count short.
Jericho twice tried to attack Cena’s neck with a Full Nelson. Both times, the challenger’s amazing strength enabled him to break the grip.
After he scored with two Clotheslines, Cena set up his foe for the Atomic Drop. Jericho flipped over Cena’s head and responded immediately with a Bulldog! When Chris missed a Lionsault, Cena planted him, face first, on the mat. He took too much time to do a You Can’t See Me, which allowed Chris to apply the Walls of Jericho. Cena pivoted and kicked free.
When Jericho applied the Walls for a second time, he positioned Cena in the middle of the ring. Showing indomitable fortitude, a pain-wracked Cena somehow made the rope to force the break.
When Jericho rushed at Cena, John calmly dealt him an FU! By the time Cena crawled over to make the cover, Jericho had recovered enough for a kick-out.
The combatants struggled on the top rope until Cena Mared Jericho to the mat. Cena gave his famous “You Can’t See Me” sign and blasted Jericho with a Legdrop! Cena picked him up for an FY, but Jericho raked the rakes and hit the Codebreaker! This time it was Cena who had to kick out in the nick of time!
Jericho flattened Cena with a Clothesline! He dared his foe to stand up and, when he did, flattened him the same way again! When Jericho tried for a third time, Cena was ready and clamped on the ST FU! When it looked like Jericho would reach the rope, Cena tried to drag him back to center-ring. Chris broke free and tried to steal a win with a Small Package.
John Cena ruined that plan, but Jericho had no answer for the FU and cover that gave Cena the win and the World Heavyweight Championship.
Actual Grade: A-
After the match, Cena went into the crowd to embrace his family and friends.
The show ended with John Cena standing in front of the “Survivor Series” sign and throwing everyone a crisp salute.
The Kingfish Comments: And so this fairytale worked out exactly as anticipated. John Cena will likely go on to fight Randy Orton and then, in time for WrestleMania, Batista.
A Special Message from the Kingfish
On behalf of myself and the entire staff of Online World of Wrestling, I would like to extend the sincerest condolences to Jay Shannon on the sudden and trafic death of his beloved wife Linda.
A heart attack struck her down on Saturday. She will be missed by her family and many friends.
That’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with another installment of the Internet’s fastest-rising daily wrestling column. I hope you’ll come back and join me then. Please, bring your friends..
— Arnie Katz