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ONLINE ONSLAUGHT
TEAM COVERAGE:
WWE Survivor Series PPV Preview
November 25, 2005

Compiled by Rick Scaia
Featuring All Your Favorite OnlineOnslaught.com Semi-Stars

 

Apologies to you Fine Readers for this document being about 18 hour late in getting to you. Even bigger apologies to my Finer Staff Members, to whom I ended up lying about a Friday afternoon deadline for PPV picks.
 
It's just that I started trying to throw this thing together on Friday, and even though a big part of my brain thought I was pretty curious to see how Survivor Series played out, the part of me that was trying to write about it couldn't come up with the compelling storytelling of WHY I was caring about it.

Maybe I'm just a 

slut for any brand-versus-brand story? Or maybe the week of regular angle-advancement that WWE lost when Eddie died hurt them? And I can't dismiss the possibility that the reason I don't care is just because this is some half-assed idea that WWE had a few weeks ago that not even THEY know how to sell to the public...

But I figured that my odd simultaneously sensations of malaise and anticipation meant SOMEthing. What I decided was that I should actually watch SmackDown! before completing this document. Give WWE the final 2 hours of TV time before deciding whether to (a) savage their latest PPV as an exercise in ass-hattery, or (b) try to muster a sense of genuine excitement and interest.

It turned out not to matter so much... I mean, getting to see a good Benoit/Booker match that ended in a double-pin helped to clarify the US Title situation heading into the PPV, but it wasn't setting the world on fire. And the show closing brawl with everybody from RAW and SD! (not just the five guys on each team, but EVERYbody from both rosters) was a cool visual, but it still was ultimately nothing but background noise for Big Show and Kane chokeslamming the already-injured Batista through a table.

And the Dicks? Don't even get me started on the Dicks. Believe it or not, WWE is billing a new tag team as Chad and James Dick. And as if the all the relatively predictable dick jokes weren't enough, you know what their finishing hold was was they beat Heidenreich/Animal in their debut? Baby oil into the eyes. I shit you not. On top of everything else wrong with this gimmick, WWE has a pair of tiny, midget-sized Dicks spurting big ol' streamers of a viscous fluid into the faces of other men. I can't be the only one who thinks that will only appeal to a very tiny niche audience, can I?

So nah, not a super-strong show. I probably would have been just fine going with whatever I would have written yesterday, since all SD! did was sort of reinforce my interest in the matches that I was already interested in seeing. But it didn't add to it, nor did it add any new things in which to be interested beyond the pre-existing 2 or 3.

So I'm still not exactly fired up over this PPV, and yet, in the back of my head, I just can't shake this notion that Survivor Series could still be something really eventful and unique. That comes, of course, with the caveat that WWE has to nut up and realize that if they are dealing with tough times (which they are) that also means it's appropriate to make some tough and unusual decisions. They've announced six matches, and done an adequate job building up maybe half of them... but the simple fact is that I look at this card, and I look at the chaos surrounding WWE's creative plans (whether caused by Sheer Intellectual Failure -- as in the case of John Cena's title reign -- or by death or injury -- in the cases of Batista and Eddie), and what I see are (as your mentor Mr. Spock likes to say) POSSIBILITIES....

Possibilities for a show that'll get fans talking (about BOTH brands) again, possibilities for a show that does things that aren't the sort of flaccidly predictable tripe that has permeated almost every WWE PPV this year except for the ECW one, possibilities that would not only result in an entertaining 3 hour PPV but get us on the path to start delivering entertaining 2 hour TV shows on a weekly basis, possibilities that will only be realized if WWE takes the kind of creative risks that they really haven't done in a while.

And also: possibilities that some (but not all) of our trOOps have entertained and explored, depending on their level of effort. If their comments are lacking, I at least partially blame me, cuz I made them submit their picks before SD! aired, and maybe that had some effect. Well, except for Erin: her picks suck because I wasn't around on Friday evening to half-write them for her again this month. Lazy Broad; I'd blame the turkey and the tryptophan, but I think we all know who really is to blame.... Stephanie McMahon and Her Hack Writer Monkeys! Yeah, that's the ticket. Plus, she wouldn't have watched SD! anyway.... but everybody else? They're watching the show, and it might have given them a bit more food for thought about the PPV, and thus, I'm sorry for rushing them before I realized that I'd be adjusting the timetable to 18 hours later.

So here's what we think about the as-announced Survivor Series PPV card... laziness, half-assing, and writing-before-seeing-SD! aside, the ultimate joke is that this is STILL about as good a PPV Preview as you'll find. With half our ass tied behind our backs, OO still out-performs every other website out there.... and on top of that, we make it our mission to do WWE's job of storytelling better than they fricking do. Here goes.... 
 

TEAM RAW vs. TEAM SMACKDOWN
Very Special "Huh, It Sure Feels Like There Should Be a Stipulation Attached To This, But There Isn't" Match

Yep, this is RAW vs. SmackDown! in the biggest brand showdown since the two shows split 3 years ago. And this is also the match that pretty much encapsulates all the reasons why Survivor Series is just a few degrees off target from hitting the bullseye.

For as big and cataclysmic as this should be, there's still just this huge sense that there's absolutely nothing on the line. There's no stipulation attached, nothing that the teams are really fighting over. The only thing on the line is "Brand Pride," but that's pretty wimpy; in two draft lotteries, guys have bounced between brands without really acting like they care where they end up (except for HHH in 2004), but now all of a sudden, they're willing to go to the mat to defend the honor of a brand that some of them have only been a part of for 5 months?

That's a bit hokey, and a bit less compelling than it ought to be. It's hard to say WHY there isn't more sizzle here, but I ran the likely possibilities above... maybe it's the lost week of storytelling because of Eddie, or maybe it's just that WWE did not -- when they came up with his harebrained scheme about 2 months ago -- really think out what they wanted to accomplish and what would take place at the climax of RAW vs. SD!.

And yet: for all that underwhelment, why is it that I still have a very strong interest in seeing how this turns out? I think it's because I believe that if this match is the START of RAW vs. SD!, rather than the end of it, we have a lot of coolness ahead of us. If this is the end, it's the anticlimactic end to a storyline that had nothing on the line and accomplished absolutely zero. But we already know that after Survivor Series, there's going to be a Big Show vs. Rey Mysterio cross-brand match... and that gets me thinking about what other cross-brand stuff might be in the offing as we close out the year and then hit that always-exciting Rumble-to-Mania corridor.

Anyway, insofar as there's established friction or a reason for this match existing, it goes back to the General Managers. Seven weeks ago, at RAW's USA Network "Homecoming," Vince McMahon ordered that SD! could have a special match as part of the RAW telecast. Teddy Long and his SD! wrestlers showed up, but Eric Bischoff cancelled their match before it even began. So the SD! wrestlers responded by running in at the end of the show and attacking Eric Bischoff.

That set off a series of back-and-forth sniper attacks, as Bischoff challenged any two SD! stars to show up at his Taboo Tuesday PPV and face RAW's best. Fans voted in SD!'s Rey Mysterio and Matt Hardy, who were able to beat RAW's Snitsky and Chris F. Masters on RAW's own home turf. This further enraged Bischoff, who showed up in the ring at the following SD! to make another challenge: this time, it would be a 5-on-5 Elimination Match at the joint-brand Survivor Series PPV. Teddy Long was happy to accept.

With the match made, it was time to establish teams. Team RAW was simply plucked out of thin air by GM Bischoff. He made Shawn Michaels his captain, assigned Big Show and Kane as his top lieutenants, randomly selected Chris F. Masters to join the squad, and when Carlito Cool beat Shelton Benjamin, Carlito won the final spot on the team. Team SD! was determined the opposite way: only Batista was assigned to the team by GM Long. The other four spots were all determined via wrestling matches. Eddie Guerrero beat Ken Kennedy for one spot, JBL beat Chris Benoit for another, Rey Mysterio topped Randy Orton for the fourth, and Bobby Lashley squashed Orlando Jordan to round out the team.

Obviously, Eddie Guerrero's death meant plans had to change on the SD! side. Randy Orton was taken out of a scheduled match against the Undertaker to join Team SD!, instead.

Once the teams were set, hostilities escalated. Edge was sent to SD! to face Batista in a Street Fight; though presented as "punishment" for Edge abandoning RAW at Taboo Tuesday, it was actually an Eric-Bischoff-conceived set-up. Before Edge vs. Batista could even start, other RAW stars swarmed onto the SD! Team Captain. During the attack, Batista actually suffered a legitimately serious back injury, though he toughed it out and completed the brawl, which ended with him getting destroyed by Kane and Big Show.

After a weeklong cessation of storytelling (so that both brands could remember Eddie Guerrero), things picked up again this week with a parking lot brawl on RAW. Kane and Show again got the better of Batista, allegedly chokeslamming him through a car windshield (but doing so off-screen). This had the effect of writing Batista's real-life injury into storylines. Even with the injury, Batista still returned by the end of the show to help his comrades beat the crap out of Team RAW.

The tables were turned on SD!, as it was RAW's turn to invade and stand tall on the other brand's turf. Arriving in waves and managing to keep security distracted, the entire RAW roster showed up to interrupt a Batista/Orton World Title Match. The SD! roster confronted the RAW roster in the aisle way... but that only opened the door for RAW's biggest stars (and members of the Survivor Series team) to sneak in from the other side. They eventually isolated on Batista, and while the SD! crew was occupied with RAW's roster, Big Show and Kane chokeslammed Batista through the announce table.

Obviously, Batista's injury will be a psychological plot point of the match. Though I must admit: WWE has had their chances, and have NOT yet taken the World Title of Batista, so I'm a bit off balance in terms of just HOW BIG a plot point it will be. Is Batista so hurt he's a non-factor in the match, and he does end up dropping the title sooner rather than later? Or is the story going to be that, regardless of injury, Batista's so tough that he makes it through the 5-on-5 match and continues to appear weekly on SD! as he tries the non-surgical rehab of his torn muscle? I have no idea which way WWE will go with this...

With 10 men involved, there are definitely more than a few pairings that I'm excited to see... in fact, if you take out Chris F. Masters and Randy Orton, I think any mix-and-match of the other eight guys should be reasonably exciting and should get the crowd into it. Masters and Orton are just black holes of personality, and when they come into contact with each other, there is a risk that the universe as we know it will be destroyed as it's dragged into an all-powerful Vortex of Suck... but the other eight guys all have some kind of "it" factor. Anytime when you've had JBL cheered and Big Show/Kane booed in the last couple weeks means that you've captured the crowd's interest.

Here's hoping that those guys deliver the goods, maybe find a way for this match to be ABOUT SOMETHING, and that this is just the start of a meaningful and eventually-climactic RAW vs. SD! feud.
  

The OOutlOOk
SD! wins: 4 votes   --|-- RAW wins: 4 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Team SmackDown! wins.
Honestly, I have no fucking clue as to how any of this show is going to go. I've barely watched RAW recently, and Smackdown!? Forget it. These picks won't even be half-assed, more like one-eighth assed, because if WWE can't make me care, why should I spend time dissecting it? I'd be putting more thought into it than they have.

Anyway, I'm going with Team SD!, for one reason: the Undertaker. If he's going to show up and make a big impact, this is the place for him to do it. As a bonus, he can beat the crap out of Randy Orton.

Canadian Bulldog Says... Team RAW wins.
I have to think that with a (relatively) stacked deck, Raw would have far fewer excuses than SmackDown would for losing. After all, you've got Batista's injury, the potential Batista-Orton feud, the possible attack by Undertaker of Orton, and the fact that Lashley is a relative newcomer. While I wouldn't classify anyone on Team Raw as being adverse to doing a job, they're definitely bigger names than the SmackDown guys, again, on an overall basis.

Plus, you had Raw doing the job to SmackDown at Taboo Tuesday, which kind of signals to me that they may want their win back. What I would *like* to see is Orton and Batista eliminating each other; JBL losing to Michaels; Rey Rey getting destroyed by Show and Kane, and then you have Lashley plow through everyone en route to a loss to Michaels. They need to give this kid the Diesel/Goldberg push, and I figure now's as good a time as any.

The Cubs Fan Says... Team SD! wins.
When Taboo Tuesday was being written, I believe the plan was for SmackDown! to get the win there, and give it back at Survivor Series. With how things have gone since that moment, I don't think they can still do that, because SmackDown! badly needs a moment of happiness. It's going to be a tight match and it should be a very good one. I'll pick Rey Mysterio to be the sole survivor, going over RAW captain HBK to win it. SmackDown takes the show, 2 to 1.
Matt Hocking Says... Team SD! wins.
For giggles, here's a potential order of elimination:  Lashley, Carlito, Masters, JBL, Misterio, Show, Orton, Kane, Michaels.  Sole Survivor: Batista.

My original imagineering of this match had Batista having to go 1-on-3 with Kane, Show and Michaels, somehow pulling off an upset, but his injury doesn't make that likely.  However, I think Vince knows that everybody
expects Smackdown to lose, and stubbornly, I think he BELIEVES that Smackdown should lose.  However, the loss of Eddie Guerrero, and the elimination of most of the starpower on Smackdown over the last few years, leads me to believe that they're going to want, at least for one night, to make a strong showing for Smackdown.

To that end, it makes sense for Orton/Batista (argueably the two biggest "names" on Smackdown's face/heel sides) to have to put aside their personal differences to fight the big three members of RAW.  If the WWE was feeling as clever as I am, Orton would eliminate himself after Undertaker appears
mid-ring during a sequence between Orton and Kane.  Then, when Kane is celebrating with his much-abused brother, have Taker turn on him too to allow Batista to pick up the pin.

Also, depending on how far Edge is along in his rehab, an exhausted and injured Batista would make an excellent opportunity for a quick Money in the Bank win, playing off of Edge's not caring for either brand.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Team SD! wins.
This is a real appealing match...3 years ago!  Why should we care about brand warfare now when the split happened back in 2002.  I've been proposing this type of match at Survivor Series since the split. (Actually in my fantasy booking, I would style Survivor Series after the 1990 version.  Have 2 RAW Survivor Series style matches and 2 SD ones.  Then the winners of those matches fight each other in a grand finale match of survival for show pride.)  Now that it's finally a reality, I feel they've done a suitable job building it up.  It's just hard to believe that these guys have brand loyalty when some of them just joined their show back in June.
 
As for picking a winner, it's really a toss up.  They've given us no reason to care about having one brand win over the other.  Since RAW has an additional premiere match, I picked SD to get their moment in the sun.  I envision they'll play SD as the scrappy underdog.  I see Taker coming back at the beginning of the match and chasing Orton away to put SD down 5-4.  Then advantage will go back and forth.  I'm sure Big Show will pin Rey to set up that rematch on that SD special.  I figure the finish will come down to Big Show and Kane vs. Batista since that's been a central story in the build.  Then Dave will make a heroic comeback and win for the SD brand.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Team RAW wins.
I'm not buying into this cross-brand animosity. I nearly bust a gut laughing when Shawn Michaels had his interview about how SD! shouldn't poke its nose in RAW business and so forth. The ridiculousness of it all kind of hit me at that point. Like I'm supposed to believe that Rey Rey and JBL are on the
same page because they both hate RAW that much. Pfffffft.

I used to mark for Survivor Series matches. When the Ultimate Warrior had Kerry von Erich and the Legion of Doom on his team, I marked out because they had the Ultimate Warrior, the Modern-Day Warrior and the Road Warriors
together. God is in the details. But God has apparently forsaken WWE.

I give RAW the nod here because I actually believe WWE cares more about that program than SD!. And because of Batista's injury.
PyroFalkon Says...  Team RAW wins.
I think RAW will win this for two reasons. One, any massive damage done to Batista can help write him out for his rehab. And two, I think Teddy Long will (against all odds) win his retarded match, but more on that in a second. I think if Teddy wins his match, RAW wins this one, just so both brands score a W, or something.
Rick Scaia Says... Team RAW wins.
OK, so most of this card is gonna be pretty much impossible to pick, logically. And not for the good reason. More just for the reason outlined above: that it was never really established exactly what's on the line or what everybody's fighting over. So without knowing what's connecting the wrestlers to this particular fight, how in the hell are we supposed to connect with who we want to/think should win?

It's impossible.

My attempt to sort things out starts with realizing that RAW's team is "babyface heavy" with not a single main-event-caliber heel on the team. SD!'s is more mixed (with relatively top-level heels and babyfaces). So to keep the maximum amount of crowd interest, RAW's heels get eliminated early, and SD! suffers their losses on the babyface side.

Suggested order: Carlito goes bye-bye first, and should be an early DOminant Elimination by Batista to let him look good in a fairly effortless way before letting his teammates shoulder the load. Lashley gets to break the Shitty Full Nelson, and then follows up by eliminating Chris F. Masters. Then it will take the full force of both Big SHow and Kane to somehow cause physical damage to Lashley and keep him down for three. Rey will come in and get a lengthy sequence with HBK, and when he begins a fire-up, Big Show will tag in and eliminate Rey in some sort of monstrous fashion (to set up their match at the Tuesday night UPN special).

Then we're down the 3-on-3: Michaels/Show/Kane vs. Batista/JBL/Orton.

Orton gets eliminated when some kind of Gay Spookieness strikes. Instead of staying in the ring and fighting, Young Randall will wuss out, and skeddaddle. He's counted out. JBL, cocky bastard that he is, will try to take the fight to Team RAW. He will be eliminated next. Batista's alone against three men. You can pick whether Batista manages to eliminate anybody (or anybodies) as he fights the good fight, but I think what the end has to come down to is Team RAW winning, with Shawn Michaels as one of the survivors.

RAW just has the greater star power, and also needs to get a win back after losing at Taboo Tuesday. Losing TWICE at Taboo Tuesday. Plus, Batista's wounded status gives you an easy way to "protect" both Batista and SD!, since you can claim RAW didn't beat a Full Strength squad (also, stuff like Randy getting counted out and abandoning his team, or Batista compromising his brand by insisting on wrestling hurt could lead to viable storylines on SD! after the PPV). 

I could probably come up with just as comepellingly-logical a scenario for SD! winning, but this is the way my Big Brain took me first, so let's go with a RAW win making the most sense...

 

JOHN CENA vs. KURT ANGLE
WWE Title Match; with Guest Referee, Khosrow Daivari

These two have plenty of history, even dating back to ancient times on SmackDown!... but here and now, they are battling for the RAW Title. Even in this current incarnation, though, there is back-story.

After coming over from SD!, Angle spun his wheels for a while on RAW, including pointless mini-feuds with luminaries such as Eugene and Matt Striker. But since roughly August, Angle has quit messing around with 3-Minute Gold Medal Challenges, and has become nearly unstoppable. For his newfound focus, Angle was rewarded with a WWE Title match against Cena back at September's RAW PPV. Angle was victorious in that contest, but via DQ, when Cena got his Big Gay Title Belt and whapped Angle in the head with it in front of the ref. 'Twas one of the dumbest PPV climaxes of the year, but it started a trend.

From that point on, Cena was unable to ever defeat Angle. In tag matches, in non-title matches, via pinfall, via tap-out, it didn't matter. Somehow, Kurt would always get the better of Cena, but still never got his hands on the WWE Title. At Taboo Tuesday, Kurt appeared to have things in hand during a 3-way match involving Cena and Shawn Michaels. But on the cusp of defeating Michaels to win the strap, Cena swooped in, dispatched Angle, and took the pinfall over HBK. Once again, Angle was not defeated by Cena, and still had no title to show for it.

Luckily, Angle is buddies with GM Bischoff, and so he was granted yet another title shot. This time, it would be one-on-one at Survivor Series. And as we've found in recent weeks, Angle's relationship with Bischoff goes even beyond that: Bischoff has allowed Angle to retain his own Personal Referee. Khosrow Daivari returned to TV to assist Angle in piling on yet another non-title win over Cena a few weeks ago when Angle and Masters beat Michaels and Cena in a tag match.

Since then has come the explanation that Kurt likes the cut of Daivari's jib, because Daivari's just like Angle: a persecuted, unloved American Patriot who gets a bum rap from the people. And since then has also come the revelation that Daivari's refereeing gig wasn't just a one-time deal: he's Kurt's FULL-TIME referee for all Kurt's matches. Including against Cena at Survivor Series.

Despite working together lots, even going back years on SD!, I don't think Angle and Cena have ever really clicked in terms of in-ring action. Though Angle's amazing and Cena is carriable, there has been no observable improvement, action-wise, from the first times they faced off years ago. But that's where, on the PPV Semi-Main Event Stage, they're getting some big time help this month. I think that subplot with Daivari will lend a dramatic and psychological underpinning to this match that maybe's never existed in past Angle/Cena showdowns. It doesn't hurt that Daivari has been absolutely outstanding at playing the crooked ref so far. And with those shady under-handed dealings, this is a match where it's more likely for Angle to come more towards Cena's brawling style than it is that Cena will bother trying to inch towards Angle's technical style. That should be for the best.

Look for the action here to range anywhere from "merely adequate" to "very good," but more importantly: look for the drama and extracurriculars to add a ton of sizzle to the match. Hell, I know I rip on Cena for his inability to get (and stay) over as a babyface with anybody other than clueless teenage girls, but WWE's given him everything he needs here to succeed. Angle and Daivari's evil plotting should be more than enough to get plenty of heat on this match, heat that should probably (unless Cena's problems are worse than even I suspect) be directed the way WWE wants it to be.
  

The OOutlOOk
Angle wins: 6 votes   --|--  Cena wins: 2 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Kurt Angle d. John Cena.
Why? Because Kurt rules, and I think he's struck gold with having Daivari as his own personal referee. Should be a really good match, if it's anything like what we've seen from these two before.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Kurt Angle d. John Cena.
Frankly, I can't believe they've waited as long as they have to get this far. But the deck is stacked against Cena: you have Bischoff who wants rid of him, Daivari as the crooked referee, and Angle who is just an all-around better performer.

I won't knock Cena like some others here may, and I'll tell you why, I truly, sincerely believe that 2006 is going to be his year... as a heel. Indulge me in a bit of fantasy booking here, and see what you think.

(1) Survivor Series -- Cena loses title to Angle.

(2) Raw -- Cena begins snapping and being less "fan friendly" in the coming weeks, borrowing a little on his short-lived "legend" gimmick from SmackDown. Meanwhile, I-C champion Flair challenges WWE Champion Angle to a title vs. title match at Royal Rumble.

(3) Raw -- Cena somehow gets himself involved in the Rumble match, making it a triple threat for all the gold.

(4) Royal Rumble -- Cena wins the triple threat by cheating; HHH wins the Rumble.

(5) Raw -- Cena attacks Flair during their one-on-one match; HHH makes the save, turning him into a bad-ass face, with a hint of loyalty to his ex-mentor.

(6) WrestleMania 22 -- HHH vs. Cena.

Of course, now that I've outlined it like that scenario, it'll never happen. But regardless, he just has to drop the strap here.

The Cubs Fan Says... John Cena d. Kurt Angle.
The smart thing to do would to have Kurt win the title here. Cena has an excuse - Daivari's the evil referee, and after a billion "John Cena defends the title with an evil ref" angles, he's bound to lose the title one time - and taking the title off him might get rid of some of the bad heat. There's a major problem when you can't and you won't put your champion in front of the crowd more than once and only after you've tried to hard sell them on cheering (and yet he still get booed.) It's not working, and they need to move. However, WWE is nothing if not stubborn, and they believe Cena's gotta hold the title till he faces Triple H, so that's indeed what he'll do. It'll probably just make the situation worse, but whatever.
Matt Hocking Says... Kurt Angle d. John Cena.
I know, I know.  NEVER pick against John Cena.  Not when the odds are stacked against him.  However, I've got a feeling, deep inside of me, that Kurt Angle is the guy they want going into WrestleMania as the champion.  Maybe I'm right, or maybe I had some bad stuffing, but IF that were the case, the right time to move the belt is now.

Cena's obviously losing steam, the Angle/Daivari angle is just starting, and WWE needs a fresh coat of paint on Monday nights.  Whether or not WWE decides to do anything about that is another matter altogether, but for all intents and purposes, Kurt Angle is as good a choice as any for the title.  I know there is some concern that Angle's condition is rapidly deteriorating, and that giving him a title run right now might not be the best decision for him right now, and that's definately a concern, but hopefully everything will allign for Kurt to have another success before he retires.

If I had to hazard a guess as to the finish, I'd say that Survivor Series, Evil Refs, Spiteful Authorities, and a guy with a submission hold for a finisher, are a recipe for a screwjob.  I know they're all bestest friends with Bret right now, but now that his DVD is out, I don't think they'll particularily care.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Kurt Angle d. John Cena.
The time has finally come...I think.  Given that regardless of which brand wins, it will probably be a face win.  So to counteract that, they'll have the heel win here.  I wish I could be happier about this, but why do I fear that Angle's win will come through the cheap means of Davari.  I mean, I like Davari and he's doing great in this role...it's just that Angle should be defeating Cena cleanly.  It's clear that more and more fans are not being drawn to Cena and there's no sense in trying to create sympathy for him when the fans won't care.  Ideally, they would have Davari try to cheat, but then get bumped.  Then Angle slaps on the ankle lock, a legit ref comes out and Cena taps then.  However, I've given up hope that they know how to do the right thing.  Hell, they writer are so skilled at doing the wrong thing these days, I wouldn't be surprised if they had Angle win cheaply and then have Cena win the rematch the next night on RAW.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Kurt Angle d. John Cena.
I think this is the time. Cena's album is no longer pushable and he's getting booed too often, Angle has Daivari as his personal referee - the story just falls apart if Angle doesn't win here. It's time for Cena to undergo a bit of character refreshment and for WWE to start building for a big Wrestlemania payoff.
PyroFalkon Says...  Kurt Angle d. John Cena.
Believe it or not, Cena still has not irritated me. Annoyed, yes, but not irritated. Or pissed off. But, I believe it’s in WWE’s and its fans’ best interests for him to drop it. With Daivari in his corner too, I think Kurt will pull it off. (And I’m so glad I can hear that music again!)
Rick Scaia Says... John Cena d. Kurt Angle.
In "Rick Think," this is the perfect chance to move the title onto somebody who'll carry it more effectively and who can have better matches with a wider variety of opponents, while also giving the creative team a chance to tinker with John Cena to try to put right all that they've been doing wrong with the character the last 15 months or so. Maybe try a heel turn. Who knows?

But in "WWE Think," I'm convinced that this whole thing has been booked so that Sunday is Cena's Triumphant Final Smiting of that pesky jerk, Kurt Angle. Face it: Cena's never beaten Angle. EVER. Feuds don't end with the good guy NEVER getting one over on the bad guy. Well, unless Triple H is involved, but that's another story.

We must brace ourselves for the likelihood that WWE made Cena out to be such an ineffectual loser against Angle all these months -- and then stacked the deck against him further with the unveiling of Referee Daivari -- so that they could give Homey the Clown his one glorious victory on a PPV stage over his hated rival, much to the glee of all his fans.

If it feels like Cena can't or shouldn't win, that's what WWE WANTS fans to feel. Most fans aren't internet-reading jack-offs, and so the thinking is that when Cena does win against all odds, they'll be that much more surprised and delighted. I don't know if it'll quite work out that way, but you can just smell the "WWE Think" wafting off this scenario, and I think it's what we oughta be expecting.

Of course, then, it's full speed ahead to HHH vs. Cena at WM22. And like I've said before: if WWE really wants to do that, they better get ready for the fact that HHH will probably have more fan support than Cena. It won't even take a storyline like what Bulldog proposed above: fans will simply react the way they would naturally, and you'll have a natural heel/face inversion.

All the more reason to go with "Rick Think" and take the title off of Cena to re-tool him and get things fixed, says I. But just because I says it doesn't mean it's what I think is gonna happen.

 

TRIPLE H vs. RIC FLAIR
Last Man Standing Match

Nothing much has changed since the last time we had to discuss why these two were fighting on a PPV. And that's fine, because Triple H and Ric Flair have been rock solid in keeping the intensity level up as they head into another pay-per-view showdown.

The basic story: HHH returned from a hiatus to find Flair as the InterContinental Champ, and in their first tag match together, Hunter viciously turned on Flair, and accused him of being a hollow shell of his former self who was embarrassing himself by holding a "mediocre" title. Trips claimed that this made him sad and angry to see his idol aspiring to such mediocrity, and that the only thing he could do about it was to put Flair out of his misery so that he and the fans are only left with memories of Flair's Greatness, instead of his decline into Mediocrity.

It didn't quite work out, though. In a cage match at Taboo Tuesday, Flair used every dirty trick in his rather extensive playbook (much of it ball-sac-related) to escape the cage and claim a victory over HHH. The student did not overcome the mentor on that night, and it only made him angrier.

For reasons not deemed worth exploring by the Creative Team, a rematch was instantly signed and announced out-of-the-blue by Eric Bischoff a couple of weeks ago. In a feud that has been defined by absolutely grotesque levels of blood loss (by both men), Bischoff decided to go ahead and make the rematch a Last Man Standing Match. No rules, anything goes, and the match does not end until one man can keep his opponent down for a full 10-count.

Since that announcement there's been a run-in/brawl or two, but nothing fancy. Flair has continued to defend his IC Title successfully, sufficiently indicating that he's still "got it" and isn't as used-up as HHH suggests. And HHH has been more than happy to cut promos warning Flair that he might have gotten his one win over HHH, but that he shouldn't expect it to happen again. In fact, after using Val Venis' skull as an object lesson in Noggin vs. Steel Chair, HHH said that Flair shouldn't even expect to survive their Last Man Standing Match.

Don't know what to say about this that you shouldn't all already know for yourselves. No, Flair isn't what he used to be, but in matches like this, it simply doesn't matter. Flair can still brawl and bleed, and with myriad foreign objects and props available for use, he'll be more than capable of holding up his end of what should be a very intense and compelling fight.

My only complaint: the IC Title has been maligned and abused as part of this feud already. Now it also stands to be forgotten as this is currently scheduled to be a non-title match. C'mon, how hard would it have fricking been to get the title off Flair and onto somebody who could actually use it at some point these last 2 months?
  

The OOutlOOk
HHH wins: 7 votes   --|-- Flair wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Triple H d. Ric Flair.
Oh, come on, you knew this was going to happen. And I don't have any problems with that, honestly. Flair shouldn't win a match like this against a guy like Triple H. I almost called this one as a draw, though, seeing as the only really satisfying ending that wouldn't allow Trips to get outright beaten would be one in which neither man could get up. I still think it's a very likely possibility.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Triple H d. Ric Flair.
Under the scenario I described in the Cena-Angle match, I don't know exactly how this would pan out for Flair's I-C title. Is it even on the line here?

Nonetheless, it certainly makes sense for Triple H to even up the feud. I see this as potentially the match of the night; a gory, old-school grudge match with HHH simply outlasting the older Flair. And I don't think there's any shame in Flair doing the job here, either; he has redeemed himself in recent months, particularly at Taboo Tuesday, which is why this is a no-brainer for me.

The Cubs Fan Says... Triple H d. Ric Flair.
I guess Triple H wins here, but I don't know, they could have Flair win again if they want to stretch it out for another month. Since it doesn't appear to be a title match this time around, I feel pretty safe with Triple H hitting Flair with a sledgehammer again. The build here is weird - Triple H has been laying out people, Flair has been squeaking out victories, and they haven't really interacted all that much. I think it's a causality of the lost week of build, but doing the rematch after Flair got his big victory is a bit anticlimactic as well. HHH should beat Flair, so it's not much of a deal when he actually does. I figure Flair loses the IC title Monday night, being forced into a match while still hurt.
Matt Hocking Says... Triple H d. Ric Flair.
Seems like WWE wants to do a series of these matches before coming to any sort of definiative resolution, which is fine with me.  If nothing else, it's nice to see both guys doing an extended program.  The stipulation makes for an interesting decision, because it doesn't automatically favor either one of them, and just points to it being a violent match.

That said, I can't see Flair taking two in a row off of Hunter.  I could see him winning the feud, ultimately, but I think they're going to require a rubber match at the very least, at Royal Rumble.  This will give Hunter an opportunity to gloat, as well as giving Flair significant motivation to prove himself still the better wrestler over Hunter.

I think they'll find some way to keep both guys looking very strong, perhaps repeating the finish from Jericho/HHH where Hunter just barely beat the count himself en route to victory.  It really all depends, however, on how much Flair is willing to do, because while he's great for his age, his
grueling match ceiling is only getting lower.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Triple H d. Ric Flair.
HHH has not won a PPV match since the Rumble.  Somehow, I just don't see that streak extending.  The cage match these two had a few weeks ago instilled confidence in me that Flair can still go.  It also showed me that they can do a good job of building match drama (having Styles on commentary also helped that).  What they need to do in this match is come up with a couple interesting spots that will make the match last in people's memory for more than a week.  I figure that HHH's old friend Sledge will make an appearance, but I hope it's not the finish because that scenario is played out.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Ric Flair d. Triple H.
HHH gains nothing with a victory here. I have no clue what (if any) plans they may have for Flair, but I'm going to assume that the stipulation for this match is designed for him to showcase his Dirtiest Player repertoire.
PyroFalkon Says...  Triple H d. Ric Flair.
Triple H doesn’t lose matches like this. Besides, this is his first PPV back from his hiatus, and no way he’s losing. 
Rick Scaia Says... Triple H d. Ric Flair.
Bottom line: I suspect this feud ends with HHH and Flair back to being friends. To get there, you can't really do the storyline where Flair keeps eeking out wins over HHH. That type of progression would have the effect of making HHH madder and madder, less and less likely to ever re-friend Flair, and more and more likely to go to extreme measures to get his one precious win. As evidence, see Guerrero/Mysterio, Summer 2005.

So we gotta go a bit more back and forth, with a process of each man winning the mutual respect of the other. Thus, I figure this round goes to HHH. Also, the smark in me can't help but note that this is not for the IC Title, which just might telegraph that Flair will be losing.

Sweet Lady Sledge and Triple H will have what it takes to keep Flair down for a 10 count. But not until after both men are bloody messes.

 

CHRIS BENOIT vs. BOOKER T
Match 1 in a Best of Seven Series to Determine 
the new Undisputed United States Champion

The mission to rehabilitate the United States Title after the damage done to it by Orlando Jordan (and the creative team who directed him) earlier this year is still on-going.

Three months ago, Benoit (finally, about a month late) humiliated Jordan to take the US Title. People started to have visions of a killer Benoit vs. Christian US Title feud that would put the strap back on the map. No dice: instead, Christian was planning his exit strategy from WWE and jobbing to anybody with a pulse, and Benoit never really had a single meaningful US Title Match. Just a never-ending series of cutesy bits where he'd find new ways to squash the hell out of Orlando.

Finally, Booker T started stepping up as a potential challenger. The only thing was: Booker's sudden winning streak was only coming thanks to the interference of his wife. Booker seemed not to realize what Sharmell was doing to assist him, but Benoit was watching the cheating from the get-go. Benoit finally gave Booker a US Title shot, and was fully aware of Sharmell's tactics... but it didn't matter. Aware or not, Benoit lost the US Title in his first serious defense of it, thanks to the interference of Booker's wife.

Booker continued to plead ignorance of his wife's cheating, including to Benoit's face. When confronted with evidence of his wife's wrong-doing, Booker seemed to have a change of heart: he called Benoit to the ring to apologize and promise him a future US Title rematch. Then Booker told his wife to apologize, too. Sharmell acted like her husband had suddenly gone soft, and started lacing into him with a verbal tirade. Even Benoit got suckered in by all the awful things that were being said about his once and future friend, Booker T. But as Benoit paid attention to Sharmell, Booker T clubbered him from behind.

'Twas all a set-up, you see? Booker knew about Sharmell's cheating all along, and had no problems winning the US Title thanks to her assistance.

Benoit got his title rematch just last night on SD!. The match ended with a convoluted double-pin... the original ref saw Booker pin Benoit, but a second ref who came in when the first ref was temporarily incapacitated saw Benoit pin Booker. What to do about it? Teddy Long finally came out, declared that he was vacating the US Title, and that Booker and Benoit could do what they did in a similar situation lo those many years ago: have a Best of Seven Series to determine an Undisputed United States Champion.

Not exactly original or inspired booking, but I guess it'll work. These two are capable of good things together in the ring, and I'm a big fan of how effective Sharmell has become in terms of her personality and presence around ringside. That adds a secondary level of drama to what Benoit and Booker can do, wrestling-wise. Absent from the story/psychology-side of things is any mention of Eddie Guerrero. That's actually something I was wondering about and wanted to wait till after SD! before addressing, but it appears that the decision has been made that "dedicating" things to Eddie isn't really gonna happen, at least not in terms of Benoit's US Title chase. That's probably wise; it'll feel a lot more respectful if things like that are done sparringly.
  

The OOutlOOk
Benoit wins: 5 votes   --|--  Booker wins: 3 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Chris Benoit d. Booker T.
It doesn't really matter who wins the first one, does it? This is the hardest match to call, but I'm putting Benoit over in this one, because I've got heels winning the two one-on-one matches higher on the card. It should be interesting to see if these guys can come up with something fresh, given how many times they've wrestled each other. I wouldn't put it past them to be able to pull it off.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Chris Benoit d. Booker T.
True story: if you check out this week's Inside The Ropes  (and if you haven't yet, what the hell are you waiting for?), you'll notice that I have "Chris Benwah-Bookie T" listed as a Best of 7 Series. Well, I actually drew that image up a good week ago, well before the series was even announced.

The only logical conclusion I can draw from this is, someone at WWE has been hacking into my yahoo photos page!

Anyways, it would probably make sense for Benoit to get a leg up on the series here, given (a) the lack of big face wins on this show and (b) it might create more interest in the overall feud. Either way, I like the new Booker character, I like where they're going with Sharmell, and how can you not like Benoit? Should be a great little series...

The Cubs Fan Says... Booker T d. Chris Benoit.
This is going to take them quite some time to finish, unless they start doing matches which count on House Shows. And it's really too soon to do it with Booker T, since he just did the same gig with Cena last year. And (again), I don't like doing this matchup again now, because it's going to be hard to be as memorable as the initial one. When this was in WCW, it was a chance for both of them to improve their prestige by working off each other. Here, it's time killing, and rather obvious - I rather see Benoit versus someone decent who's got some thing to prove. Anyway, Benoit won the first match last time, but I'll take Booker this time.
Matt Hocking Says... Booker T d. Chris Benoit.
With any of these "best of..." serieses I think the best idea is to give the heel the first win, and put the face immediately in a hole he must climb out of.  In this case, it makes good sense, because Benoit needs to struggle, at least initially, to give Booker's heel turn some legitimacy.  Benoit, on the
other hand, doesn't particularily need to win, because he can afford to lose a few matches and still maintain the same level of respect from the crowd.

Copious interference is the order of the day.  Sharmell can provide some outside help, but I also think it wouldn't hurt to get Mr. Kennedy (Kennedy) to stay involved in this feud, and help Booker out with an attack on Benoit.  This loads up Booker's side, and allows WWE to start a sidefeud for
Kennedy (Kennedy) if they'd like, by having somebody come to Benoit's aid.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Chris Benoit d. Booker T.
There's no real reason for one man to win over the other since this will likely go to 7.  Booker and Benoit's first Best-of-7 provided some classic matches.  However, the Cena/Booker series was bland and forgettable.  I've liked the build for this feud as Sharmell has made Booker a strong heel.  I'm picking Benoit here as Booker has had the advantage the past few weeks and it would be good catharsis for Benoit to get the win.  I'd imagine this will be opener and it should be a good one.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Chris Benoit d. Booker T.
This is how far things have fallen: reruns. Benoit almost certainly gets the first fall. The only other scenario I can see WWE having in mind is to replay the Yanks-BoSox with "Evil Empire" Booker T winning the first three falls and Benoit coming back to win the next four.
PyroFalkon Says...  Chris Benoit d. Booker T.
We might be back to normal for all intents and purposes, but I hope they give Benoit the win here to honor Eddie.
Rick Scaia Says... Booker T d. Chris Benoit.
Unless you're trying to create a monster and put him over in 4-straight matches, the way to best create interest and tension is to have a babyface battling from behind. So even though it's ultimately meaningless and yet another impossible-to-determine-logically match, I'm going with Booker T here.

Plus, I figure that if you establish Booker early on, you're also going to be establishing Sharmell's interference, which can lead to the logical progression of Sharmell being banned from ringside by Match 5 or so in the series, as we ramp up the intensity and make it more about the wrestling and counter-wrestling as both men become more and more familiar with each other's moves. Or something like that.

 

TRISH STRATUS vs. MELINA
WWE Women's Title Match

This one ain't brain surgery.

During a cross-brand Battle Royale, Melina scored the surprisingly win last eliminating Trish. This had the effect of convincing Melina that she could also beat Trish in a match where Trish's title is on the line.

A week later, Melina's errand boys (and SD! tag champs) M and N abducted Trish from ringside and brought her to a secret lair where nobody could see them. Except for the camera guy and everybody watching at home. Melina threatened and cajoled and made it clear she would have a Women's Title Match at Survivor Series, or else. 

Apparently, Melina forgot that Trish is very awesome, and would not only accept the challenge, but accept it with a Rather Witty Rejoinder in the three seconds that the duct tape was removed from her mouth. Game on.

I'm expecting good things here. Trish is.... well, you know. And Melina? She had a very solid match against Spaz last night on SD!... now, a lot of that is Spaz finding her comfort level in the ring (which doesn't surprise me given what we hear of her work ethic, and only makes me all the more frustrated that WWE probably set her credibility with fans back a year or so by rushing her into that WM match in March when she was demonstrably unready for that stage). But no doubt a big part of why the match clicked is because Melina is also well-prepped for ring work, which should make her a more-than-adequate dance partner for Trish.
  

The OOutlOOk
Trish wins: 7 votes   --|-- Melina wins: 1 vote

Erin Anderson Says... Trish Stratus d. Melina.
Because really, who better to hang on to the title? Actually, if I were booking this, Trish would find herself in a bit of trouble, and Mickie James would make the save, allowing Trish to hang on to the belt. But, of course, Mickie would get the crap beaten out of her again while Trish walks away scot-free. That's where the real feud is, and this thing with Melina has got to be just a two-week distraction until Mickie finally snaps.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Trish Stratus d. Melina.
I'm assuming that with the decent women's title situation they've got going on Raw, they're not about to move the belt to SmackDown (as compelling as Melina vs. Christy Hemme on PPV sounds). Now whether they move Melina to Raw... well, I guess that remains to be seen.

I'm just not looking forward to that, even though it is somewhat of a change from the usual women's title crap. They didn't do enough of a job building this up, and especially with the silly kidnapping angle, it just seems thrown together. Yes part of it is that they essentially lost a week of "storytelling" type television, but you can't even use that as a valid excuse, because they actually faced each other.

My advice: get this one over with quickly, and start building towards a WrestleMania type feud between Trish and Lita, assuming she's healthy enough to go by then. 

The Cubs Fan Says... Trish Stratus d. Melina.
What's Melina going to do with the Women's championship? Not much. So, Trish wins. Maybe Mickie James gets involved to keep that plot ticking (and attack Melina so announcers can make comments 5% of the audience gets), and probably some RAW guys show up to counteract Mercury and Nitro. We'll get some sort of an idea of what Melina can actually do here, and I think it'll be a decent match.
Matt Hocking Says... Trish Stratus d. Melina.
Now, I think one could probalby make a case for Melina winning this match.  However, WWE's poured a suprising ammount of resources into suddenly rebuilding something of a women's division on RAW, and without the title (and they wouldn't move Melina away from MNM), it makes it kind of
pointless.

Trish will win with a little help from the RAW women's division (if for no other reason than to build the RAW/Smackown tension).  Mostly because it makes no sense to give Melina the title, especially given the lack of anything resembling a women's "division" on Smackdown, and also because it
doesn't make any sense for anybody but Victoria or Boobsie to take the title off her at this point.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Trish Stratus d. Melina.
This match is odd for a number of reasons.  First, the set-up has come out of nowhere.  It's unclear why one battle royal makes Melina think she is worthy of a title shot, but whatever.  Despite the odd build, it's at least a fresh matchup.  The other problem though is that they are seemingly ignoring the Mickie James storyline which has been brewing.  Perhaps they aren't ignoring it though.  I'll say that Mickie, in "trying to help" Trish almost causes her to lose.  However, Trish in all her awesomeness will overcome Mickie's "helpfulness" and still get the win.  Then that feud will continue as Trish finally decide she doesn't need a friend like Mickie.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Melina d. Trish Stratus.
I really hate to call it like this after that hella lame kidnapping skit. But I'm assuming they think Melina is ready for a wrestling push, which in WWE-think often starts with an instant title win. Mickie James can cause Trish's downfall and the two can finally give us some wrestling. What a frickin' mess.
PyroFalkon Says...  Trish Stratus d. Melina.
Okay, I haven’t been watching SmackDown!, but what’s the deal here? Would Melina stay on SD even if she won the belt? Who would she feud with for it? Well, it doesn’t matter either way… I’m calling for Trish’s win here. Although, she’s held the belt for awhile herself, like Cena… maybe she’ll drop it?

Nah, I’ll stick with Trish. It makes the whole feud up to this point dumb and pointless, but it’s not like WWE is against dumb and pointless things.

Rick Scaia Says... Trish Stratus d. Melina.
Nothing but Occam's Razor here. Yes, I could envision very cool scenarios with Melina winning the title. But they all get very complicated and messy, and require moving entire rosters of women over to SD! or bringing Melina and the SD! tag champs to RAW.... 

But if Trish wins, everything is simple: she and the women's title stay on RAW, where there is an established storyline waiting to happen once Mickie James finally decides to go all Annie Wilkes on Trish.

In fact, I'm assuming the reason they did what the did with Melina's SD! match is to establish that M and N will be banned from ringside at the PPV... which means that if Mickie appears on behalf of Trish, she could easily be the difference maker. Trish once again scoring a win due, at least in part, to Mickie, and then not being grateful enough for the assist, is the kind of thing that would advance a storyline.

 

ERIC BISCHOFF vs. TEDDY LONG
Very Special "Why The Hell Should I Care?" Match

You know what? For this, I'm just gonna tell you to scroll up and re-read the summary for the Team RAW vs. Team SD! match. Cuz basically, it's the same story.

In fact, in the very same confrontation when Bischoff challenged Teddy to a 5-on-5 match is the confrontation where the two also agreed to a one-on-one match between the two GMs.

I don't think anybody has yet determined WHY they agreed or why anybody things we will care. Again: there is no stipulation and nothing on the line. Just two guys who are not wrestlers and who have never displayed the ability to approximate being a wrestler.

The only hope: WWE has some secret climactic "out" for this match that they haven't even hinted at in the non-existent storytelling leading up to the PPV. There's zero chance of this being a good match, but if there's some wacky, surprising over-booking planned, you never bet against a good Sports Entertainment Segment materializing when you least expect it.
  

The OOutlOOk
Teddy Long wins: 5 votes  --|--  Bischoff wins: 3 votes

Erin Anderson Says... Eric Bischoff d. Teddy Long.
Christ, I don't know why. I flipped a coin.
Canadian Bulldog Says... Teddy  Long d. Eric Bischoff.
Just a few years ago, these two were chums on the WCW Power Hour (or at least the lame Canadian-ized version I used to watch on weekday afternoons).... and now it's come to THIS? What happened? Is there no justice?

Ugh.

You know, I don't mind short, harmless non-wrestler matches, ESPECIALLY because this one doesn't have any real stipulation, per se. That said, WWE has tons of backstory to use between Long and Bischoff; I believe it goes back exactly a year now when Long was first named GM. Why didn't they play that up leading up to their match?

I pick Long just because SmackDown needs some saving grace, and it's just not a WWE pay-per-view without Eric Bischoff being humiliated somehow.

The Cubs Fan Says... Teddy Long d. Eric Bischoff.
I was pretty sure, somewhere in the last couple weeks, the writers forget this match was even going to happen, because they never really built it up after the initial angle. It doesn't matter, no one cares, no one's really been given a reason to care, and they probably would've pulled it if they had other options. I'll pick Long because he's the face, and because I think SmackDown! gets a win here to balance the Women's Championship match.
Matt Hocking Says... Eric Bischoff d. Teddy Long.
Let me holla at ya, playa.  I almost made this decision solely on the fact that, of the two, Eric Bischoff has a more established fighting record.  And then I laughed.  Really, I think this "match" will be about saving face for RAW, given that I think they will lose the big match at the end, it makes a little sense for them to pick up the other two cross-brand matches.

Of course this won't be straight.  Eric will tease some kung-fu and then they'll roll around for a while until finally the locker rooms clear, and Bischoff is able to sneak a win.  If nothing else, it gives the more established CHARACTER the win, and also serves to help continue the whiny Eric Bischoff storyline, by having him hold up his end of the bargain while
his team could not.
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Eric Bischoff d. Teddy Long.
Can someone explain the reason for this match?  They could easily make it more tolerable by putting a useful stipulation on this match.  Like the winner gets to take a superstar from the loser's brand.  If that was the case, they could have Teddy win and help bolster Smackdown's depleted roster.  But they're not, and as a result we have to suffer through to non-wrestlers fumble around the ring for 5 minutes until they come to a lame conclusion.  Best case scenario is having one of them have a new wrester come out and help his boss get the win.  I won't hold my breath though.  Bischoff gets the win to counteract Smackdown winning the Survivor Series style match.
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Teddy Long d. Eric Bischoff.
At least it's not a tuxedo match.
PyroFalkon Says...  Teddy Long d. Eric Bischoff.
Everything in my gut is telling me that Bischoff should win this. The match is so ludicrous that the “proper” play is a giant match-ending schmozz that results in a double DQ or count out or something. But, Eric keeps losing, and probably will as long as he’s under WWE’s colors, so I think Long will win. As I said for the main event, it’ll make a good RAW/SD thing for the show, so both brands take a win.
Rick Scaia Says... Teddy Long d. Eric Bischoff.
The smark in me once again rears his head and reminds everybody that there is a by-law that prevents WWE from EVER passing up on an opportunity to humiliate Eric Bischoff on PPV.

But more pragmatically: Teddy and Team SD! are pretty well united, while there have been hints of dissension among Bischoff's team... or at least, Bischoff's team is doing what they are doing for themselves, and NOT for Bischoff. What better way to drive that home than to have Team RAW go out and take care of business, but have their GM lose in his one-on-one match against the other GM. The same mutinous vibe that existed between Michaels/Show/Kane and Bischoff on Monday could be amplified after the PPV if Bischoff started going around acting like he was somehow responsible for Team RAW's win (despite being a clear loser in the only match that he directly influenced).

Also: doesn't Bischoff always take a month-long vacation from TV around this time of year? If he's going away, he's not going away a winner. 

 

EXTRAS/CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

Only six announced matches... that's probably not a full PPV. At the very least, SD! is also promoting Sunday's show as the Return of the Undertaker. So here's what the trOOps had to say about that and about any other possible matches/angles they think might sneak their way onto the Survivor Series pay-per-view.
  

The OOutlOOk

Erin Anderson Says... Screw your extras, Rick. You already got half a RAW Recap and one-eighth-assed PPV picks out of me this week. That's more Broad than you deserve. 
Canadian Bulldog Says... The Rick's idea about Edge is pretty cool, so I'll vote for it.
I know I'm not the first one to suggest this, but I agree it's a great idea. After the Raw vs SmackDown Survivor Series match, Edge comes down and demands his Money In The Bank title shot, right there, right then, against Batista. And of course, he wins, moving him to SmackDown in the process, uh, somehow. Is this a likely outcome? As a wise man once said: "Bank on it!!!"

Your cross-promotional showdown of the quarter comes between Ken Kennedy and a returning Rob Van Dam. Can you imagine the exchange? "Dude, everyone knows that I'm Rob-Van-Dam." "And I'm... Mister Kennedy." "R-V-D" "KEN-NE-DY!" Either that, or you get The Dicks and The Hearthrobs together in some sort of romantic liason.

Sunday Night Heat, if they have a SNH match at all, will be Juventud vs. Gregory Helms.

What will The Undertaker do in his grand return to the business? WHO THE FUCK CARES???

Finally, I do hope they dedicate the show to Eddie Guerrero. Even though they did already spend last week doing much of the same, I think it would be an appropriate, and classy, touch.

The Cubs Fan Says... I can't play the blame game this month.
They've promised Undertaker, except there's not much for Undertaker to actually do. Time to make something up, and while it probably should be something with Orton, since that's where the ads have pushed it, I think they'll put that aside to further the show RAW/SmackDown theme. I figure, late in the match, some sort of chaos will break out - someone being cheated to be eliminated, some people who shouldn't be at ringside running out to help their team, whatever, and the lights turn out and there's the Undertaker's music. He'll clear the decks, and everyone not involved will be written out of picture for the endgame. Simple, gives people a nice Undertaker moment of him chokeslamming people and hitting 'em with soupbones, and gives the participants in a match a little breather.

Other Stuff:

I'm not going to blame the missing matches or the lacking builds on WWE this time around. Between Batista's injury and Eddie's death, they had to replan everything multiple times, lost of week of TV and probably correctly gave up trying to flesh out the openers to make sure they built at least one match strong enough that people would buy the PPV for it. I think they've done a good job of that; I'm not going to buy the PPV, but I'm interested in the main event.

I'll guess they add two more matches to the show (although a seven match card to give lots of room to the top three matches and one of these on Heat wouldn't be a bad move either.) Something building off the Cruiserweight Title change (Mexicools vs Nunzio, Vito and Kid Kash?) and maybe a easy way to get on Shelton on PPV (versus Rob Conway?) Then again, I could be all wrong and they could put LOD on there, which would suck. Matt Hardy's very deserving of a PPV slot, but I think he'll be relegated to a cameo.
Matt Hocking Says... What they've announced so far looks top-to-bottom good.
-There will probably be some sort of Cruiserweight match.  Call it Juvi/Nunzio III:  The Reckoning, and let the Mexicools and Vito fight.  I think the title will probably be on Juvi's waist at the end of the night one way or another anyway.

-I fully exepect Tazz and Cole to harp on Taker's return ALL NIGHT before he finally comes out and they're Shocked to see him there!

-Bischoff and Long will lead emotional speeches telling their teams about how much RAW and Smackdown mean to each of them, and that they should go out there and fight for all the boys in the back that are counting on them.  Hahahahaha...or maybe not.

-There will be awkward hype for BOTH the HBK book and the Bret Hart book.

-If they're feeling fresh, they might as well add another match on Heat.  Something like Hardy/Jordan or Chavo/Helms.

It should be an interesting card, the RAW v. Smackdown storyline has obviously (and for good reason) been overshadowed by Eddie's death, but before that and since then, it's actually been one of WWE's best storylines
in a while.  If absolutely nothing else, the main event and HHH/Flair will be worth the price of admission, and (with the exception of Long/Bischoff) this is the best card top to bottom that WWE has presented in months.

I think it's probably worth a look for just that reason.  There will probably be a little arguement about some of decisions made here after the fact, but that's part of the fun of Monday Morning booking.  But in terms of stories being told and whether or not the matches will be good, I think this
is as solid a card as WWE can present at this point and I'd definately recommend it for that reason.

But don't take my word for it!
Adam Gutschmidt Says... Insert [surprise/groan] Here.
I already mentioned Taker's invovlement.  I'm hoping it's just something simple involving Orton and not something over-the-top and lame.  There's no other way to have him be re-introduced other than getting involved with Young Randall. 
 
Aside from that, we should probably get some additional interpromotional interactions.  I'd try to guess who bumps into who, but since we have no clue as to what this company plans to do for Wrestlemania, it would be pointless to speculate here.  I guess we'll just have to enjoy the surprise/groan over the lameness.
 
Finally, there are a lot of big names currently not being involved with this show: Edge, Shelton, Matt Hardy, Ken Kennedy, etc.  It would be nice to get them invovled somehow.  But I think the best we can expect is some of them being included in the HeAT match.   
"The Immolator" Calum Macbeth Says... Wrestlers: Good. Writers: Bad.
These same wrestlers (well, most of them) could be delivering us some kick-ass wrestling. How hard would it be to write some good stories for them? THESE STORIES ARE THE PRETZELS! I can't believe I'm pining for the days when Outback Jack was teaming with Hillbilly Jim. Where's Virgil when you need him? How about Four Doinks? I know, bring back the team of T.L. Hopper and Who? (!) "Weighing in at Who? knows what, and hailing from Who? knows where..." Seriously. At least they had stories. Any of that would be
better than this pantload, and everyone knows it.
PyroFalkon Says...  Bite me, Byte This.
Due to the Thanksgivingness of this week, I didn’t do a Byte This! recap. But I’ll do it now to appease my four fans.

Show: They played clips of Survivor Series, and some dumbass won a Bret Hart DVD.

See ya next week, everybody!!!

  …Or Monday, in this case, for my stat report.

Rick Scaia Says... Possibilities, Possibilities, Possibilities.
With only six announced matches, and with so many PPV-caliber talents still sitting on the sideline, there are LOTS of potential extras and add-ons to this PPV.

Obviously, how the Undertaker returns will be a big thing, and could eat up a lot of time if WWE wants it to. My hope is that they actually have Taker do something impactful, like show up for a brief (and non-gay) interlude in the main event to take care of Orton. But it's just as likely that they have some retarded light/pyro-show that'll re-introduce Taker that'll take too long and have no real satisfying climax.

In terms of additional matches, SD! should definitely add at least one. After SD!, I could definitely see them doing a Ken Kennedy vs. Matt hardy rematch to determine a real winner (instead of going to a cheap DQ).... the other option, some kind of Cruiserweight goodness.

And you know who's conspicuously absent? Not just from this PPV, but also from TV the past several weeks? Edge.

Everybody knows the theory I floated back several columns ago, and let's just say that if Edge is healthy enough, and if SD! needs a new champion, NOTHING would be more surprising or interesting than Edge cashing in his Money In The Bank against a badly-wounded Batista. That would be an instant spark for SD! (Edge vs. Rey, Edge vs. Benoit, Edge vs. Batista Once Batista's Healthy), and it would definitely get people buzzing and talking about Survivor Series.

If nothing else, WWE's transient hard-on for having "screwjobs" at Survivor Series could be well served by Edge stealing the SD! Title in this fashion. I am a huge fan of this idea. But of course, it was my idea, so OBVIOUSLY I'm madly in love with it.

And just as obviously, if I think it's a good idea, WWE won't do it. Jerks.

 

There you have it: six matches and then a whole bunch of other possibilities. Depending on which of those possibilities WWE explores, Survivor Series could either be Just Another Comma in this long run-on sentence to nowhere that they seem to be in the middle of.... or it could be an exclamation point and a paragraph break as we hit a big climax and embark in exciting new directions.

Only one way to find out: check out the PPV on Sunday night.

OK: two ways, since you can also come on back here to OO Sunday around midnight when I'll have the full recap of the show available for you. See you then, peoples.....


  
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Rick Scaia is a wrestling fan from Dayton, OH.  He's been doing this since 1995, but enjoyed it best when the suckers from SportsLine were actually PAYING him to be a fan.

 

 

 


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