Monday, November 13, 2023

The History of WWE Survivor Series (2009)

I daresay this was the best Survivor Series of the aughts...

Survivor Series 2009 - Verizon Center - 11/22/09

A quantum leap over the 2008 edition, this Survivor Series moved along with purpose and was a streamlined, entertaining show.  I wasn't too excited about any of it initially but it ended up being a damn fine show.  Interestingly, Vince McMahon told investors in 2009 that he was getting rid of the Survivor Series concept and PPV, saying it had become "obsolete," (as I recall he considered replacing it with WarGames, an even older idea) and I was highly pissed, being that SS has always been one of my favorite gimmicks.  Fortunately cooler head prevailed and the Series stuck around, and is still going strong.

The opening match featured WWE's "youth movement", as Team Miz - Miz, Sheamus, Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger took on Team Morrison - John Morrison, Matt Hardy, Evan Bourne, Shelton Benjamin, and Finlay (ok, Fit wasn't exactly part of the "youth movement").  This was a very well-worked elimination match and showcased much of the company's young talent, at a time when the roster desperately needed a shakeup.  For months every WWE PPV was being headlined by the same five guys, and this was the first concerted effort to push some new faces.  Sheamus was dominant and survived along with Miz and McIntyre.  It was clear from this match that the Celtic Warrior was being groomed for big things.

Next up was the newly-turned-heel Batista (Big Dave's work during this run was great) out to destroy his former friend Rey Mysterio for costing him the World Title at Bragging Rights.  Little more than a seven-minute flogging, this match was nonetheless well-executed and conveyed how dangerous Evil Batista could be.

Evil Dave is pretty boss.

The highlight of the night for me was the second elimination match, between Team Orton (Randy Orton, CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Ted Dibiase, and William Regal) and Team Kingston (Kofi Kingston, MVP, Mark Henry, R-Truth and Christian).  After they once again eliminated someone in the first minute (Henry), the match settled into a strong back-and-forth affair, with Kofi managing to survive both Punk and Orton to win the whole thing.  Kofi seemed poised for a major push, which inexplicably vanished the following month and he never got a big singles push again until a decade later.  But for one night he was booked like a star.

The first of two Triple Threat Title matches was next, as World Champion The Undertaker faced JeriShow.  Nothing amazing here but this was very watchable.  The Tag Champs did a lot of double teaming but Taker overcame all of it, countering a Big Show chokeslam attempt with Hell's Gate to get the tapout.

The Divas elimination match was stuck in the death spot as Mickie James led Kelly Kelly, Melina, Gail Kim and Eve Torres against Michelle McCool, Layla, Jillian Hall, Beth Phoenix, and Alicia Fox.  This was typically short and featured overly quick eliminations but was still pretty decent.  Mickie and Melina were the survivors.

The main event was a match in which I had zero interest going in.  John Cena vs. Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels was yet another in the long line of PPV main events where no new talent was featured.  But I'll be damned if this didn't nearly steal the show.  Shawn superkicked Triple H right at the outset in an attempt to take him out of the match, which led to some nice trust issues and infighting between DX partners.  After 21 minutes of first-rate action, Hunter went for the Pedigree but Shawn superkicked him, then Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment on Shawn, on top of Hunter, and pinned Hunter to retain in a very entertaining main event.

New, DX Stackers!  Pop open a can!

Survivor Series 2009 contained little in the way of far-reaching consequences or historical importance, but what it did have was three solid hours of entertaining wrestling.  There isn't a bad match on this card and in that respect it reminded me of the Series PPVs of old.

Best Match: Team Orton vs. Team Kingston - Wow, Randy Orton has really become Mr. Survivor Series.
Worst Match: Team Mickie vs. Team LayCool, by default
What I'd Change: Not much about this show specifically, but I would've started building up new stars long before this.
Most Disappointing Match: Nothing really.
Most Pleasant Surprise: The whole show, but especially the main event.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
Better than WrestleMania 25 and/or SummerSlam '09? - Yeah just by a hair.

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