Thursday, November 9, 2023

The History of WWE Survivor Series (2005)

The first Survivor Series to be themed around an idiotic RAW vs. Smackdown rivalry, this was nonetheless a good PPV....

Survivor Series 2005 - Joe Louis Arena - 11/27/05

This right here is a pretty good show.  Shockingly, for the second consecutive year the Survivor Series main event was a traditional elimination match.  While it was built around a completely phony "brand loyalty" premise, it was nice to see a melee between two superteams serve as the top-billed match at this event.

The card opened with a WCW retread - Chris Benoit vs. Booker T in a Best-of-Seven Series match for the US Title.  Their chemistry in 2005 was nowhere near on the level of their 1998 work, but this was still a fine way to open the show.  As with SummerSlam, Benoit went from headlining this PPV in 2004 to curtain-jerking in 2005.

Trish Stratus then took on Melina for the Women's Title in a pretty solid little match.  Trish was usually awesome, and Melina's absurd flexibility always made for some memorable spots.  Not bad.

Third up was a match I wasn't expecting to enjoy at all - Triple H vs. Ric Flair in a Last Man Standing match.  This feud started that October on the "USA Homecoming" episode of RAW, when Triple H turned on Flair for basically no reason.  Seriously, the feud was based on the thinnest of motivations.  Hunter said he realized Flair was no longer a legend and had to be stopped.  Really guys?  That's all you have?  Anyway, this match was definitely longer than it should've been, but still an exceptional, violent brawl with all kindsa flowing crimson.

"You must be stopped, ex-legend!"

The WWE Title match was next as first-time Champion John Cena defended against Kurt Angle.  This was sadly nowhere near their Unforgiven match two months prior, and due in part to special referee Shawn Daivari's biased officiating it devolved into a rather gimmicky affair.  The brief 13-minute running time didn't help either.

In the death spot was the one truly bad match of the night, as RAW GM Eric Bischoff faced Smackdown GM Teddy Long.  The whole RAW vs. Smackdown feud was so utterly forced and devoid of any genuine heat.  Did anyone in the audience truly believe any of these guys was loyal to their own brand, especially when they held Draft Lotteries almost every year to shuffle the roster around?  Idiotic.  Anyway, this was what you'd expect from two non-wrestlers.
The main event featured the Smackdown team of World Champ Batista, Randy Orton, Rey Mysterio, Bobby Lashley and JBL vs. the RAW team of Shawn Michaels, Big Show, Kane, Carlito and Chris Masters.  Again, are we supposed to think Batista and JBL who just feuded all summer are suddenly allies simply because they're on the same show?  But the match was quite good, featured splendid action and drama, and in an echo of the 2003 Survivor Series match, boiled down to HBK vs. Orton and two partners, in this case JBL and Mysterio.  Unfortunately the 3-on-1 drama was diffused after one minute when Shawn superkicked and eliminated JBL and Rey.  Just like in 2003, Orton was able to outlast Shawn to win the whole match, making this the third consecutive year Orton was the sole survivor.  After the match The Undertaker returned to resume his feud with Randall, which would lead to a Hell in a Cell match the following month.

Babyfaces and heels united to stop those evil bastards on the other show!

The 2005 Survivor Series was a solid outing.  While I didn't care much about any of the featured feuds, at least the card itself was well-executed.  As a standalone show this was one of the strongest editions in several years.

Best Match: RAW vs. Smackdown Elimination Match
Worst Match: Eric Bischoff vs. Teddy Long
What I'd Change: I'd have left the GM match off the show because, who cares?  Cena vs. Angle could've gone longer as well.
Most Disappointing Match: John Cena vs. Kurt Angle
Most Pleasant Surprise: Triple H vs. Ric Flair - both this and their previous cage match at Taboo Tuesday were far better than they had any right to be, given the big fat Nothing their feud was about.
Overall Rating: 7/10
Better than WrestleMania 21 and/or SummerSlam '05? - No, but yes.


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