I long for the days of old when the Survivor Series followed along with the theme of the entire show and was simply about surviving. One may argue that it’s still all about surviving no matter what type of match the wrestlers are in because they want to come out as the winner – and survive. Nope, sorry, don’t agree with that at all. If that is the point you’re arguing then the WWE might as well call every single Pay Per View (PPV) the Survivor Series because that’s what you’re implying. Sorry people but I like the old school elimination matches that end up with members of a team or an entire team standing tall, lasting strong…surviving.
On November 22, 2008, the superstars of RAW, SmackDown, and ECW got together at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts for the twenty-second annual Survivor Series. It was due to be a night of big-time matches and one of the most anticipated returns in a long time. At least it was the most anticipated returns by the Boston crowd because it would be their hometown boy John Cena coming back from injury. The cynical and evil Chris Jericho had recently won the World Heavyweight Title back from Batista in a grueling steel cage match and would now go up against the returning hero in what could be looked at as a serious road game for the champion.
The rest of the night would see a host of other matches showcasing grudges and witness another big time return that would shake up the WWE Title scene on SmackDown. What did make me happy about this year’s event is that half the card was made up of the old style elimination tag matches that made the Survivor Series famous. I do wish that we could see the cool brand vs. brand vs. brand match like a few years ago, but I’ll settle for what we were given. Even if one of the elimination matches was a divas match that lasted all of ten minutes. Oh, and I’d also like to see team names again like The Million Dollar Team or The Natural Disasters instead of Team Orton or Team HBK. Ok, I’m complaining way too much when the event really wasn’t all that bad.
~ Team HBK (Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio, The Great Khali, & Cryme Tyme) Vs. Team JBL (JBL, Kane, MVP, The Miz, & John Morrison) – Poor MVP, I hate the losing streak the guy is on after such an awesome run he had going over most of the last year. At least he got one elimination in before being embarrassed by Khali. Speaking of Khali, the dude just dwarfs Kane for an insane visual and he is also getting mad pops since becoming a babyface. This is a really fun opening match that got the crowd into it big time and provided some fun history for me. Seeing one team get the early advantage only to get caught in the emotion of it all and end up in a serious lopsided disadvantage makes me think back to old times of the ten man teams. Great stuff.
~ Eve Interviews Triple H
~ Team RAW (Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Candice Michelle, & Jillian) Vs. Team SmackDown (Michelle McCool, Maria, Maryse, Natalya, & Victoria) – Well if this wasn’t just dull as all hell and sucked the life out of the crowd quickly after that hot opener. Even with Victoria and Natalya on their side, it is obvious that the SmackDown divas can’t hold a candle to those from RAW. And Heaven forbid we get one team with an advantage because if you pay close attention, you’ll notice that one diva gets eliminated from one team, then one from the other, then one from the first, then one from the other, rinse and repeat.
~ Todd Grisham Interviews Matt Hardy
~ Casket Match: Undertaker Vs. Big Show – That is a huge casket. Not Yokozuna huge, but still big. See, now even this I wouldn’t mind being on the PPV every year along with the elimination tag matches because it’s like a tradition that this is Taker’s show. A casket match or buried alive match would be well in place every year if thrown in because it just makes traditional sense. Now the problem is that those matches will have to be a lot better then this one. Both men manhandle one another throughout the match, but it’s very plodding and slow moving.
~ Carlito, Primo, Brie & Nikki Bella Meet the Gobbeldy Gooker
~ Randy Orton Confronts His Team Before Their Match
~ Team Batista (Batista, CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, & Matt Hardy) Vs. Team Orton (Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, William Regal, Shelton Benjamin, & Mark Henry) – Not a bad elimination tag match but nowhere near as good as the opening bout. Eliminations here went way too quickly and it seemed as if one was happening every minute after the first half of the match went by. It is cool seeing some of the match-ups here you wouldn’t normally see such as Punk and Kingston versus Benjamin. I’d like to see a bit more of that. Batista being shown as a beast again didn’t please me any, but the result of the match made me happy as Orton and Rhodes survived.
~ Eve Interviews Vladimir Kozlov
~ Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship: Triple H (c) Vs. Vladimir Kozlov Vs. Edge – Jeff Hardy was due to be in this match but had some sort of “accident” in his hotel earlier in the day knocking him out of contention for the title. Kozlov and Trips end up going at it one-on-one for a while and put on a pretty decent, albeit slow, wrestling match. Good moves by both men which impresses me a lot because you don’t usually see a lot of that from Triple H in the past four or ten years. After what then is known to be pointless wrestling, Vickie Guerrero comes out and announces that Edge is taking Hardy’s place in the match to keep it a triple threat. Hardy still makes an appearance making the finish even more contrived and annoying.
I am happy to see Edge back though even if he does have a crazy Haystacks Calhoun beard.
~ World Heavyweight Championship Match: Chris Jericho (c) Vs. John Cena – The pop for Cena is insane in Boston and I think the first and only time I’ve ever heard his reception not be met with half cheers and half boos. That is one damn impressive scar on Cena’s throat from his surgery too. I liked this match as a closer to the show because it brought a lot of energy from both men and they put on a good showing keeping it back and forth and leaving us guessing. I honestly had no idea who would walk out with the title since Jericho had just won it back and Cena was having his first match in months. He certainly showed very little ring rust and let the crowd go home happy.
The event is shown in 1.33:1 Full Screen format and I see no problems with anything, but that has become the norm for all WWE releases in the past two or so years.
The event is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and the same holds true as everything comes through fine.
Great Khali (w/ Ranjin) talk with Shawn Michaels about their Survivor Series Win – This is about just as worthless as you’d expect it to be.
SmackDown, November 14, 2008: Extreme Rules Match: Undertaker Vs. Jeff Hardy – This is not a bad special feature to have because it was a hell of a match to get on free TV and it’s good having it to watch any time now. Both Hardy and Taker deliver some serious shots and each take some damn good bumps in what is now a “rare” appearance of the extreme rules match.
Trailers – Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia, Edge: A Decade Of Decadence, and The History Of The Intercontinental Championship
Well then, that could have been a hell of a lot better. The opening match was fantastic and a good way to get the crowd going, but then the event kind of fades a lot after that until the main event. Ok, the Team Batista/Team Orton match picked things up again, but the rest was very “miss it by accident and you did yourself a favor” type of thing. All you have to do is listen to the crowd when a “traditional Survivor Series match” is announced and it’s obvious that they should return this PPV back to that format. With a PPV every single month, what would it hurt to make just the one into all elimination tag matches? Nothing, that’s what. And it would have helped make this particular event better because things drag a lot in the middle making for a dull and boring time until oddly enough, John Cena saves the show with his match against Jericho. Don’t bother with picking this one up even though you get the rare match in the special features as opposed to the short interview segments we usually get.
Oh, and the WWE has been doing a great job of producing their DVDs. The video and audio quality has been top notch and also included a lot of great video packages. The DVD cover art is usually pretty good to fit in with the theme of the PPV and also keep some fans, who haven’t yet seen the event, guessing as to the results just in case they hadn’t heard anything. Well here we have a DVD with cover art that automatically lets you know Cena won the World Heavyweight Title and that Edge made his return to take Hardy’s spot in the WWE Title match. What the hell man? How generic can you be?
WWE Home Video presents Survivor Series 2008. Featuring: John Cena, Edge, Chris Jericho, Big Show, Undertaker, Triple H, Vladimir Kozlov, and more. Running time: 180 minutes. Rating: PG. Released on DVD: December 23, 2008. Available at Amazon.com