Hey there tatfans and welcome to the very special 4 of 8 Grand Slam Series of The Announce Table; the articles that preview and review the WWE “Big Four”, Summerslam, Survivor Series, The Royal Rumble and finally Wrestlemania.
So the Survivor Series arrived with a bang and left with a bit of a whimper if I’m being honest. This wasn’t what I was expecting at all, and I must admit I was left feeling a little disappointed. There were no complaints about the slickness, the designs or the anticipation going into the show, the theme music was a decent effort and generally there were no slow areas. But it was just that this show left me with a feeling that it was a bit unfinished, a bit rushed. I wanted more from a major pay per view.
Over the last three years or so, it has become a sort-of tradition to sow the seeds of some inter-promotional matches for Wrestlemania. Last year Brock Lesnar and Goldberg clashed in what became the most hotly anticipated match of 2004, and now it seems two other matches are being put on a low heat, ready to boil over come late March 2005.
First off, Raw supreme heel Gene Snitsky went worryingly nose-to-nose with Smackdown headcase John Heidenreich in what turned out to be a scene reminiscant of Dylan Jones going face to face with Marilyn Manson to talk shop. No folks, they ain’t clashing, they’re teaming up…probably. But who will they face? Well, seeing that Heidenreich hasn’t gotten over losing to The Undertaker and Kane has some unfinished business with Snitsky leaves old Boyo with a satisfied smile on his face. No-one in the WWE is as effortlessly a truly despicable a heel as Snitsky, and Heidenreich is settling into his role slowly, so those two, managed by Paul Heyman will be a great concoction. Adding to that the almost symbolic tag-team of Undertaker and Kane, both getting face pushes at present, and this could be a match that the fans can really get into.
It also appears that Kurt Angle believe that he can make “anyone” tap to the Ankle-Lock. Even Shawn Michaels. Watch this space.
So Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, Maven and Chris Jericho beat Triple H, Batista, Edge and Gene Snitsky to get control of Raw. Big whoop! Who gives a ding-dong? I certainly don’t. I know a lot of fans were worried that the heel team winning this would lead to even more air-time and decision-making for Triple H but as I stated last week – the popular faces need to be down-trodden by the megalomaniac champ and his crew leading up to a Wrestlemania. I’ve no complaints about the action, the match was well performed and was executed to a high standard, but I am just left wondering what happens with the prize?
Moving to Raw the following Monday it was revealed that Maven had control of Raw, so the first thing he did was give himself a title-shot; a title-shot that he promptly lost. Is that it? Is that Maven’s part of the prize over? You just get one shot? If that is the case then expect Benoit, Jericho and Orton to also give themselves title-shots in one way or another and also lose. Prize over. Four weeks of taking a pop at Triple H for his belt and he beats you all.
But what if the prize is control of Raw indefinitely? Could Maven, in three week’s time just given himself another title-shot against whoever he wants? I’m really not sure. What I want to see is Triple H antagonise absolutely everyone in sight and do some truly awful things to make everyone want to buy Wrestlemania 21.
Smackdown!’s match saw Team Angle made to look very weak against Team Guerrero. Well, everyone except Kurt Angle that is. Cool Cool Cool just couldn’t wrestle with that injury of his and did a runner! My man Mark Jindrak and Luther Reigns were eliminated pretty quickly, too quickly and effortlessly. Rob Van Dam did a nice gesture and had himself eliminated to stop a whitewash happening and that left Kurt Angle against Guerrero, Big Show and the returning John Cena. I don’t care how much of a hero you can make someone look like, Angle was never to win from here and the match was a foregone conclusion. Shame really.
I like the stance that Angle is taking right now; he is portraying himself as a cocky-yet-supreme heel. He is still the main title contender but he is selectively distancing himself from actually fighting for it, because he doesn’t want to be the man who loses to JBL. He is also helping get the Tough Enough talent over. We saw how Dan Puder put himself in the winner’s circle, and now Angle is doing his “Angle Invitational”. It’s only a matter of time before a Tough Enough competitor takes the challenge again. What this does is make Angle look supremely good, yet gives the Tough Enough challengers credibility.
If it’s anything like Diva Search then they’ll all be on Smackdown! soon enough anyway!
Moving away from the classic matches, John Bradshaw Layfield successfully defended his title against Booker T in what turned out to be a rather sullied ending – what with Orlando Jordan poking his nose in and allowing JBL to pick up the win via a belt shot.
JBL must be the weakest champion of all time. I enjoy the guy, always have, and I believe in the Fall Away Slam and the Clothesline From Hell he has two super-over moves to build on. It’s just a shame that against Booker T and the Undertaker he has been practically buried while still retaining. He gave a good account of himself in those two matches vs Guererro in June but no-one’s ever been happy with his reign as champ and the strain is beginning to show.
At Armageddon, he will defend against The Undertaker, Eddie Guerrero and Booker T in what will surely be the match where he loses his belt? He has three people to fight; all of whom he cheated out of gold. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Shelton Benjamin defended his Intercontinental Belt against perennial runner-up Christian in what was a really enjoyable, Federation Years style match-up. At time it was pretty slow, at times it was pretty fast, there was some interference but not a lot, and it was won with some believable wrestling moves, nothing over the top. Benjamin needs to hold on to the belt for a while now in order to add that aloofness that the Intercontinental belt is arguably losing.
In what was a really clinically delivered match, Spike Dudley retained the Cruiserweight Title. In what was a waste of potentially gripping storylines and careful build-up over the last 10 weeks or so, neither Billy Kidman or Chavo Guerrero got given the nod to breathe a bit of fresh air into the Cruiserweight division. For me, Spike just isn’t a convincing heel or champion. Rather in the same fashion as JBL, he is a weak-looking champion.
The Undertaker took out the trash as he made surprisingly long work of disposing John Heidenreich. A lot of the fans were not looking forward to this match, and definitely wanted this match to be short, but they didn’t get it.
Since then, Heidenreich has had a mental breakdown on Smackdown! because of this loss. However the length of this match has given Heidenreich something to grasp onto. It has shown that he can convincingly last in the ring with The Undertaker, and so this gives some credence to a tag team match at Wrestlemania, as mentioned previously.
Finally, Trish Stratus barely managed to contain her enormous chest as she made short work of Lita to retain her Women’s Championship. I am feeling pretty worried for the Women’s division now; Trish is a very decent champ who has strived to improve every week, and has developed an enjoyable character on Raw. However a week of roster-cuts to Gail Kim, Shaniqua, Nidia and Jazz, whilst at the same time drafting in the Diva rejects, cannot be a comforting sight.
Trish and Lita may be ok as they can operate as valets, but ladies like Victoria and Molly who carry too much muscle to be considered the stereotypical damsel must be quaking in their Jimmy Choo’s right now.
Thanks for reading,