|Survivor Series 2008 - TD Garden - 11/23/08|
The 2008 edition was uneven at best. The good matches were worth watching and the bad matches are to be avoided like a three-week-old pastrami sandwich. On the plus side there were three traditional elimination matches, and on the minus side there were three mediocre-or-worse singles bouts.
The show opened with a 5-on-5 match, as Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio, The Great Khali, and Cryme Tyme (yet another one of those classy "ethnic" WWE gimmicks) faced JBL, Kane, MVP, John Morrison, and The Miz. Once past the idiotic, overly-quick eliminations this settled into some okay, watchable Survivor Series fare. Nothing big was at stake, but it was just a solid, old-school elimination match. Shawn, Mysterio, and for some reason The Great Khali were the survivors (shortly after this the company finally figured out that Khali probably shouldn't be beating anyone given his physical condition).
A Divas elimination match was next, featuring RAW's Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Candice Michelle, and Jillian Hall against Smackdown's Michelle McCool, Victoria, Maria, Maryse, and Natalya. Once again we the audience were expected to believe that brand loyalty was more important to these wrestlers than moral alignment. The match featured a series of rapid-fire eliminations spread over nine-and-a-half minutes. Quite forgettable. Beth Phoenix won the whole thing.
In slot 3 was the first singles match of the night, as The Undertaker and The Big Show plodded through a Casket Match. I've never felt much chemistry between these two, and this was no different. Tedious. Very tedious.
The best 2008 elimination match was next, as Randy Orton led Shelton Benjamin, William Regal, Cody Rhodes, and Mark Henry against Batista, CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, Matt Hardy, and R-Truth. This match came about because two months earlier at Unforgiven, Orton attacked and punted World Champion Punk backstage, resulting in Punk being taken out of his title defense that night, costing him the Championship by forfeit. I'm not sure in what universe it's believable that a Champion can be sneak-attacked backstage minutes before his scheduled defense, and the company penalizes him by immediately stripping him of the belt, thus allowing his last-minute replacement (Chris Jericho) to capture said Title. The whole point of this was to start a major feud between Orton and Punk, but only weeks later Batista returned to WWE TV and usurped Punk's spot in the feud. Punk became a total afterthought and never got a return Title match, instead having to win another Money in the Bank briefcase to get near the strap again. Anyway, the match was quite good, despite yet another first-minute elimination and Punk being taken out unceremoniously midway through. Orton and Cody survived.