Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Through the Years: Survivor Series 2001 Review

Survivor Series 2001
November 18th, 2001 – Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina

The infamous ending to the incredibly underwhelming Invasion storyline. I do however have a soft spot for Survivor Series Pay-Per-Views and matches so I hope that this show still turns out to be solid even though the outcome of the main event is very telegraphed. 

European Championship
Christian (c) d. Al Snow
 in 6:32 to retain the title
Oh, how I absolutely love the European Championship. Christian says hello to his fans in South Carolina, which draws him some cheap heat. Al Snow had the Maven theme here as Tough Enough had just ended. Referee Teddy Long is surely disappointed that he's not officiating a tag team match, playa. Christian starts in control as the fans chant “We want Edge.” A headlock of DOOM is followed by a fist fight and suplex from the future Captain Charisma. The crowd is not really feeling Al Snow, surely there were others on the roster that were more over but that damn Tough Enough needed to be promoted. Christian runs into a poor looking powerbomb by Snow, but then hits the Unprettier. He trash talks and gets pulled into a small package but kicks out. Snowplow gets hit but Christian gets his foot on the ropes. Honestly, too much offense for Snow as Christian is looking weak. A second Unprettier, which beats the Killswitch name, ends it. Decent opener, and the false finishes help. **1/4

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin and Debra arrive and the Alliance cry like babies that Austin wouldn't call them back. Stephanie McMahon looks very hot as usual. They're worried that Austin is turning back to the WWF but he assures them that he's not. Austin's watch tells him that the Alliance is being paranoid. 

Vince McMahon tells Linda McMahon that the WWF is in good shape and will win because he's a risk taker. He curses to get a pop from the crowd too. Nerdy Michael Cole arrives for comments and Vince is confident. William Regal arrives and badmouths the McMahons, but Vince would have the last laugh when Regal kissed his ass. Literally. 

William Regal d. Tajiri in 2:58
Somehow, just because Tajiri and Regal were friends, Tajiri was his protege. Stiff kicks in the beginning bust Regal's nose open quickly. They botch the Tarantula so Regal sends him into the opposite corner so they get it right the second time. Tajiri hits the handspring elbow, much better than how Torrie Wilson does it, but only gets two. Regal ties Tajiri up in the ropes by the neck in a pretty sick visual. An enziguri puts both men down, but when they get up, Regal connects with a Butterfly suplex to win. Good for what it was, but why they only got three minutes is strange. This was a good Raw match but if it's that short, it shouldn't have been on Pay-Per-View. **

Torrie Wilson runs out to a big pop, so William Regal turns around and plants her with the butterfly suplex. William Regal, all about equality in men and women since 1968.

In the back, Test tells makeup lady Janet that she needs to be better when applying oil on him because he needs to shine out there. She looks thrilled at this. In a bit of foreshadowing, Stacy Keibler comes up and flirts with him before caressing Test's booty. Jonathan Coachman interviews Edge, who talks about their similarities including their odd first names. Pretty funny and short. 

Intercontinental and United States Championship Unification Match
Edge (c) d. Test (c) in 11:18
 to unify the titles
Test and Edge went through the Hardcore, Intercontinental and United States Titles in a span of weeks to get here. I mean, at the last Pay-Per-View, Edge was IC Champion. I truly miss the WCW United States Title design. It was simple and sweet. Off to a solid start as Test uses his power to hold serve on Edge. Baseball slide from Edge and a swinging neckbreaker back inside put him in control. EDDIE GILBERT hot shot from Test which is a spot I always dig. He follows that with some shots in the corner and the tortuous rear chinlock. He uses a power slam and dodges a cross body before sitting Edge in the corner. Edge stops the superplex and tries a sunset bomb, but Test stops it. Test leaps off and eats a mid-air dropkick. Slug fest follows that Edge wins even though he's about half a foot smaller. Edge reverses the Pump Handle Slam into the Edge-O-Matic for two and Test Spears Edge for two. Test misses a big boot, Edge misses a Spear and Test hits the pump handle but Edge gets his shoulder up. Powerbomb reversed into a hurricanrana followed by a Spear gets Edge a near fall. A fancy series of reversals allows Edge to win with a victory roll. Started slow and a bit awkward but got really good at the end. ***

Stephanie McMahon, in her infinite hotness, whines to Kurt Angle about the possibility of losing tonight because she'll have to become a regular person. Kurt gives her a pep talk. Meanwhile, Lita talks to Jeff Hardy about how weird Matt has been acting. He shows up and says he's fine. When they leave, Trish Stratus comes out of the room that Matt was just in. I honestly have no clue where this storyline went, though it is just the Team WWF locker room and both Trish and Matt fit that bill. 

Tag Team Championship Unification Steel Cage Match
The Dudley Boyz (c) w/ Stacy Keibler d. The Hardy Boyz (c)
 in 15:50 to unify the titles
Oh Stacy Dudley. Damn. It's interesting that there is still a match type that these two hadn't met in up to this point so maybe this will feel fresh. Matt and Bubba Ray start off as this oddly is using tags. I would expect and hope a cage match to be tornado style. Pretty basic boring stuff for the early goings as it's routine with these four by now. Poetry in Motion is hit twice as it looks like things are about to get tornado style. Bubba Bomb and a Russian leg sweep off the top as the Hardys tried to escape pick things up. The Dudleys flapjack Matt into the cage, before they try to throw Jeff there too, but he tries to climb out. They foil that attempt and he takes a Dudleyville Device. The Dudleys beat the hell out of both Hardys now until they both miss high risk maneuvers. I guess that's why they call them high risk right JR? Hardys now in control and they connect with dueling high risk maneuvers for a near fall. Matt tries to escape but gets caught and hung up in the tree of woe at the top of the cage, which has to suck. Stacy gets yelled at to get the table and she flashes Nick Patrick to steal the keys and put the table in the ring. Hardys block 3D and Matt manages to escape. Crowd pops but this leaves Jeff alone. Even so, Jeff makes it to the top of the cage but must already be on drugs because he tries a super Swanton off the cage, but crashes and burns through the table. Bubba drapes an arm over Jeff and the Dudleys unify the belts. Just like Edge/Test, this started slow but really picked up after. All around enjoyable contest and match of the night so far. ***1/2

Mick Foley is Commissioner again somehow, but was told to be at WWF New York instead of at the “most important show in WWF history.” He does comically say that he will ring up a high bill in Vince McMahon's name. Cutting away, Test beats the hell out of Scotty 2 Hotty and takes his spot in the Immunity Battle Royal.

Test wins the Immunity Battle Royal in 7:41
Apparently, the Alliance's theme song is SummerSlam's “Bodies”. I feel that the outcome out of this match would spoil the main event outcome. Interestingly, nearly everyone in this match would keep their job. DDP's smile makes me laugh every single time. With the exception of a few, this could be the “jobber rumble.” Of course, the former Meat is instantly eliminated. Tazz enters after the match starts and, since Austin kicked him out of the Alliance, they aren't sure what side he's on. Ross and Heyman are very sarcastic and at each other's throats. As with most battle royals, nothing of not really happens until things thin out. Faarooq gets eliminated and is all like “DAMN”. Chavo Guerrero and Hugh Morris, who have also been booted from the Alliance, arrive and join the match but don't last long. The final four are Billy Gunn, Bradshaw, Lance Storm and Test. Test throws Storm and Bradshaw over together before hitting Gunn with the big boot to save his job. Nothing special, your basic battle royal. **

Booker T and Shane McMahon are warming up backstage and Booker states that he doesn't trust Steve Austin. Shane pep talks him about Austin being trustworthy. 

Women's Championship Six Pack Challenge
Trish Stratus d. Lita, Jacqueline, Ivory, Mighty Molly and Jazz
 in 4:20 to win the title
The title is vacant after Chyna left. There's a dude with a Jacqueline sign, I kid you not. Lita and Trish are the hottest two here, with Molly trailing them. But I'm no chauvinist pig so I don't care about that stuff. Molly's superhero walk was pretty perfect. Jazz is a surprise entrant and she slams Lita once the bell rings. Molly asks for a test of strength with Jackie because of her superpowers but Jackie wins. Both Molly and Helms had their characters down to a tee. Trish gets tagged and gets a big pop. Screw tags as we get a pier 6 brawl and Lita and Jackie pull off poetry in motion once but before they do it again, Jackie nails Lita. Now the girls all hit their finishers, capped by Lita's moonsault. Trish takes Lita over and out and dodges Jazz, knocking her outside. Stratusfaction on Ivory gives Trish the first of seven Women's Title reigns. There you go folks, the first big moment of arguably the best all around female performer's career. What you'd expect from a six diva match. *1/2

Pep talks are the theme of the night as Vince McMahon is giving one to Team WWF right now. I miss what he says because I'm in awe of Kane's badass attire. My goodness, it's a thing of beauty. I finally get to hear “Control” by Puddle of Mudd during the buildup video. 

Team WWF (The Rock, Chris Jericho, Kane, Big Show and The Undertaker) d. Team Alliance (Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Booker T, Rob Van Dam and Shane McMahon) in 44:57
Everyone gets their own entrance, which I'm all for, but it does take a while. Austin gets the second biggest pop of the Alliance behind RVD. Rock and Austin get into a fist fight before the bell even hits and the crowd is stoked. We get some rehashed one on one battles like RVD/Jericho and Rock/Booker in the early goings. Shane saves RVD from the Walls of Jericho and Booker from being pinned by the Undertaker. Some Old School gets a pop from the crowd. Later on, Big Show gets a hot tag and chops the hell out of Kirk Angel. Angle Slam on Show, followed by the Scissors Kick, Five Star Frog Splash and Shane O Mac elbow is enough to bump Show at 12:43. 

Showing the locker rooms in the back is a nice touch. Shane dances until he sees The Rock, who proceeds to lay the smackdown on him. Shane is forced to eat as many finishers as Show to eliminate the owner at 14:33. 

Heyman hypes up Booker T even though he hasn't won a big match since arriving in the WWF. Kane and RVD, both with awesome attire, go at it in a bout of future Tag Team Champions. A beautiful kick from RVD knocks off Kane at 18:22 and I will miss that attire.

Undertaker gets the remaining Alliance guys in each corner and hits them all. He continues to dominate with snake eyes, a Last Ride and a big boot. Austin hits him with the Stunner though and Austin puts Angle's arm over Big Evil and the three biggest WWF guys are all gone at 20:00.

Booker kicks the absolute crap out of The Rock and I can completely see the former five time WCW Champion being eliminated next. Rock hits a DDT but the pin is broken up and the same happens after a Samoan Drop. Can Booker really not kick out on his own? Well I guess not as he falls victim to a school boy at 22:33.

Rob Van Dam enters and I would've liked a Pay-Per-View match with him and The Rock. RVD, unlike another one of his future tag partners, Booker T, kicks out on his own. Rock tags Jericho as he and RVD have a very nice exchange. Jericho misses the Lionsault and gets kicked in the mouth. Jericho barely gets his knees up on the split legged moonsault and puts RVD away with a weak looking/sounding Breakdown at 24:52.

Of course the final four are going to be four established WWF guys who were never a part of the Alliance when they started during the summer. Kirk Angel and Steve Austin work some good old fashioned tag formula on Jericho. Austin and Jericho miscommunicate in the middle of the ring but salvage it. Jericho gets the Ankle Lock on Angel but it gets countered. Jericho makes the hot tag to The Rock who slaps his lame looking Sharpshooter on Angel and gets him to quickly submit at 31:55.

Jericho and Austin now go at it with some near falls and near submissions. Austin blocks the Lionsault and gets a near fall. He is bleeding from the mouth in a way that reminds me of King of the Ring 1996. Missile dropkick from Jericho gets him a near fall. He tries a roll up but Austin reverses into his own sloppy roll up to get rid of Jericho at 34:33.

Rock comes in and hits Austin with a spinebuster but before he can do the People's Elbow, Jericho hits him with Breakdown. Austin covers and only gets two. Jericho goes to attack again but Undertaker stops him. Jim Ross calls Jericho dumb and I'd have to agree with him. Austin stomps a mud hold in the Rock but doesn't quite walk it dry before tossing him outside. Rock and Austin brawl over the announce table. Back in the ring, Austin puts Rock in his own Sharpshooter and I nearly expect a screwjob after 1997 and 1998. Rock reaches the rope so nothing screwy happens. Austin grabs his title and goes to use it right in front of the referee, which would've disqualified him so that's dumb. Rock blocks it and puts Austin in the Sharpshooter but it's broken by the ropes. Rock busts out a Stunner on Austin as Nick Patrick arrives and levels Earl Hebner. Austin now hits Rock with a Rock Bottom and Rock kicks out because Patrick doesn't at least try a fast count. Where did he learn how to heel ref? Austin knocks him out for his stupidity. Stunner attempt is blocked and Hebner is taken out again. Austin hits the Stunner this time but Hebner is out. Angle comes out to hit Austin with the WWF Title and after a Rock Bottom, Team WWF wins. A very fun match that didn't feel like it went 45 minutes. Great job. ****

Overall: 7/10; Despite the lackluster Alliance angle, this was a satisfying conclusion as the main event was great. That, combined with two really good unification matches and some decent filler matches and you've got an enjoyable way to spend three hours.

Main Event Recap and Stuff

Ever since becoming a live show on the WWE Network, Main Event has become must watch television. It has become my second favorite weekly WWE show (behind NXT) and has not only featured good to great matches, but it also develops storylines and has big announcements. Last night was fun for a WWE Network subscriber with Main Event, a CM Punk themed WrestleMania Rewind and the usual fun that the Countdown brings.

Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus met in a Last Man Standing match for the United States Championship. Obviously, we all knew that Del Rio wouldn't walk away as Champion, but these two have great chemistry and put on another very good match. No clue why the stipulation was added, but it made for a new dynamic between the two that we had never seen before.

The WWE is trying very hard to make the Bella Twins into rebels as Nikki Bella was placed in a ridiculous six on one handicap match against the rest of the Total Divas. Yes, including Rosa Mendes. I know a lot of people hate Total Divas, but I watch it with my girlfriend and adding Mendes brings nothing to the table. Jojo was replaced by Summer Rae and Summer they barely had time to feature the existing girls. Adding one that nobody cares about won't help. Also, I have no idea what the WWE is doing with Summer Rae. On one show she's a face, on one she's a heel. Cameron never showed up for the match as she is still having issues with her former Funkadactyl partner Naomi. Not to continue to pick on her, but Mendes did a really weird thing as she walked to the ring. No clue what it was.

Damien Sandow interrupted the Highlight Reel with Bret Hart, by showing up as Shawn Michaels. Sandow was a bit impressive as HBK but this impersonator thing is still not something I want to see from him. I miss when he first debuted in 2012. Jericho insults Sandow, who responded with "I'm sorry that you forgot to pay the light bill on your jacket" which was a hoot. Bret busted out a Sharpshooter and Chris Jericho marked like he was a kid again.

Sting took to Twitter to post an image saying 7-14-14. People believe that it will lead to his first ever appearance on Monday Night Raw. I think it would be cool to see, but I only ever wanted to see Sting vs. The Undertaker, and after seeing Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX, this has lost its appeal. People aren't getting their hopes up too high after the tweet as it might just be something related to WWE 2K15.

WrestleMania Rewind, which has been hit or miss as a program on the WWE Network, hit last night. It focused on CM Punk and his two Money in the Bank victories but it was so strange to see a focus on Punk. Just the other day, the WWE did a "By the Numbers" video for Money in the Bank and conveniently left off the only two time winner. Yet last night, an entire hour was dedicated to people talking up CM Punk and having nothing but good things to say. I wish there was more actual documentary to this though, as having to put two matches on took up most of the time.

Overall, Tuesday is always a fun night for the WWE Network and last night was no different. To any readers, you'll be seeing a new review up later tonight and tomorrow is "Top Ten Thursday" still. Any requests would be greatly appreciated.