WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 2008 COVERAGE
Welcome to PWInsider.com's coverage of WWE Survivor Series. We will be updating this page throughout the evening with results from the show, so check back often.
Survivor Series opened with a video package of the "tradition" of the event, which lasted less than thirty seconds, after that it was all about John Cena's return and his match with Chris Jericho.
Jim Ross and Tazz opened the show, explaining that Jeff Hardy was found unconscious in his hotel stairwell, and that he was hospitalized and later released. They said his status for later in the show was not known. Ross mentioned the various new sites that were suckers and reported on the storyline. Okay, he didn't use the word "suckers". We have full coverage of what is real and what is storyline regarding Jeff Hardy here on the site.
Shawn Michaels (captain), Rey Mysterio, Great Khali & Cryme Tyme vs. JBL (captain), MVP, Kane, Miz & John Morrison in a Survivor Series elimination match.
Everyone had their own entrance prior to the match, starting with the babyfaces. I can't remember the last time Shawn Michaels was the first wrestler introduced at a PPV. All three announce teams called the match.
Rey Mysterio and MVP started off the match. MVP hit two knees in the gut and worked over Rey in a corner. MVP blocked a Rey kick and hit a short clothesline in the corner. Rey caught MVP with a rana, then hit a dropkick for a two count. JTG tagged and and he and Rey worked over MVP with kicks to the body and a sandwich dropkick to the head. JTG hit MVP with some right hands, but MVP dropkicked his leg out, then hit a Shining Wizard for a three count at the one minute mark.
JTG is eliminated.
Great Khali came in, hit MVP with a chop and stood on his chest for the pin.
MVP is eliminated.
Kane got in and went after Khali, hitting a kick to the gut. Khali kicked Kane down to the mat, then worked him over in a corner with kicks and elbows. There was a "Khali" chant. Seriously. Khali hit some back elbows, but Kane hit an uppercut. Kane went for a chokeslam, but Khali blocked it and hit Kane with the big chop. Rey Mysterio tagged in and got on Khali's shoulders. Rey hit Kane with a splash off the shoulders for a pin at the three minute mark.
Kane is eliminated.
John Morrison attacked Mysterio, but missed a charge in the corner. Rey hit a forearm, booted away a Morrison charge, and hit a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Shad tagged in and threw Rey into a shoulderblock on Morrison. Shad gave Morrison a gorilla press slam, but Morrison kicked his legs out on a charge. Morrison hit some forearms, then tagged in Miz. Miz and Morrison tagged in and out, working over Shad, who came back with a double clothesline on both men. Shad hit a back elbow on Miz, then powerslammed him. Shad hit an elbowdrop, then went for the uranage, but Morrison ran in. It distracted Shad, and Miz hit Shad with the Reality Check for the pin at the six minute mark.
Shad is eliminated.
Shawn Michaels stepped into the ring for the first time and locked up with Miz. Michaels chopped Miz repeatedly, but Miz came back with his jumping through the ropes clothesline. Miz catapulted Michaels into a Morrison forearm, then Morrison hit a slingshot elbowdrop while Michaels was stretched on Miz' knees. JBL tagged in and punched Michaels to the mat. JBL hit a swinging neckbreaker and an elbowdrop for a two count. Michaels battled back, but JBL got him into his corner and tagged Miz, who decked Shawn and hit a legdrop. Miz delivered a series of right hands, and Michaels had some blood coming from above his eye. Morrison tagged in and continued the assault, as they were targeting his eye. Morrison applied a chinlock, and Michaels fought up, but Morrison tossed him from the ring. Michaels skinned the cat, and kicked Miz to boot. Morrison hit a forearm and did a kip up, ala Michaels, and then slammed him. Morrison then went to the top rope for an elbowsmash, but Shawn moved out of the way and Morrison crashed to the mat. Morrison tagged Miz as Michaels tagged Mysterio. Mysterio went to town on Miz, hitting a springboard rana and a springboard dropkick to the back. Rey hit Miz with 619, then hit a top rope splash for the pin at the 11 minute mark.
The Miz is eliminated.
Morrison ran in, but Rey hit him with a reverse rana. JBL tagged himself in and clipped Rey with a shoulderblock. JBL hit a forearm to the back and a boot to the face, then a series of elbowdrops. Fans chanted "You can't wrestle" at JBL. JBL hit a forearm to Rey's lower back, and Morrison tagged in to stomp Rey and step on his throat. Morrison hit Rey with a backbreaker, and stretched him out over his knee. Rey came back with a kick to the chest, but Morrison countered a bulldog attempt with a backbreaker. JBL tagged in and landed another forearm to the back. JBL put Mysterio in an abdominal stretch with a trapped leg. Mysterio broke out, but JBL stomped him down. JBL hit Rey with a boot to the back of the head. JBL set up Rey for a back superplex off the ropes, but Rey blocked it. Rey elbowed JBL to the mat, then hit a standing JBL with a moonsault. JBL was bleeding from the lip. Mysterio tagged Michaels, who hit JBL with some chops, then a flying forearm. Michaels did the kip up, gave Morrison a DX crotch chop, then gave JBL two reverse atomic drops and a slam. Michaels went to the apron, decked Morrison, then went to the top rope, but JBL rolled to the floor. Michaels dove out of the ring onto JBL, and the fought outside as the referee counted. Michaels went for a superkick, JBL ducked and Michaels dove back into the ring at the nine count. JBL was counted out at the 18 minute mark.
JBL is eliminated.
John Morrison tried to kick Michaels from behind, but Michaels ducked and hit Morrison with a superkick for the pin.
Survivors: Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio and Great Khali.
Khali put Mysterio on his shoulder in celebration. Then they did a bit where Khali raised Rey and Shawn's arms, but they were so short, he was yanking their arms. They stood on the ropes so Khali could hold them up.
Eve Torres interviewed Triple H. Triple H said he wouldn't comment much on Jeff Hardy, other than to say that Hardy "scratched and clawed" his way to the top before, and he would do it again. Triple H then said we'd see the match we should have seen all along, HHH vs. Kozlov, one-on-one. Triple H talked about Kozlov having butterflies over his first big PPV match, and that tonight the undefeated Kozlov would have his first loss.
Beth Phoenix (captain), Mickie James, Jillian Hall, Candice Michelle & Kelly Kelly vs. Michelle McCool (captain), Victoria, Maria, Natalya Neidhart & Maryse in a Raw vs. Smackdown Survivor Series elimination match.
Everyone had their own entrance, with the Divas brandishing T-shirts for their respective brand. The Raw and Smackdown announce teams handled this match together.
Phoenix started out with McCool, with Phoenix taking McCool down with a wrislock. Michelle kipped up out of it twice, then took Phoenix down with a headscissors. Michelle hit a forearm, tried a whip, then dropkicked her when the whip didn't work. Maryse tagged herself in, and shoved McCool off the apron. McCool and Maryse started fighting, and their teammates had to break it up. Maryse never locked up with the Glamazon, as Maria tagged herself in. Phoenix picked up Maria by the throat and tossed her in a corner. Maria came back with forearms and a headscissors. Kelly Kelly tagged herself in and hit a sunset flip for two. Maria and Kelly exchanged pinfall attempts on legsweeps and Kelly got one with a backslide. Victoria tagged herself in, told Maria to watch her, and Kelly Kelly grabbed Victoria with a rana for the pin at the four minute mark.
Victoria is eliminated.
Maryse came in and Kelly Kelly caught her with a rana, but Maryse kicked out and pinned Kelly with a backbreaker.
Kelly Kelly is eliminated.
Mickie James came in and worked over Maryse, who tagged out to McCool. Mickie James and McCool traded two counts on bridge attempts, then McCool blocked a crucifix attempt and hit a legsweep for a two count. Mickie came back with a neckbreaker. Maria went in to break up the pin, Mickie moved and Maria accidentally hit McCool. Maria apologized, McCool yelled at her, and Mickie hit McCool with a swinging DDT for the pin.
Michelle McCool is eliminated.
Phoenix made fun of McCool, and Mickie told her to get back in the corner. This distraction allowed Maryse to roll up Mickie from behind for the pin.
Mickie James is eliminated.
Natalya went at it with Candice, and took her down and applied the Sharpshooter, to a pop. Jillian ran in the break it up. This allowed Candice to his a spear on Natalya and roll her up for the pin.
Natalya is eliminated.
Maryse came in and hit Phoenix, then ran out of the ring. Maria and Jillian went at it, with Jillian hitting Maria with a Samoan Drop, then hitting Maryse off the apron, then covering Maria who kicked out. Maria then caught Jillian with a Victory Roll for a pin.
Jillian Hall is eliminated.
Candice Michelle, ran in, stopped short, then hit when Maria grabbed her, Candice delivered a Northern Lights suplex for a pin.
Maria is eliminated.
Maryse knocked Phoenix off the apron, then gave Candice a leglace and Candice tapped out.
Candice Michelle is eliminated.
Maryse and Phoenix exchanged slaps, then Maryse hit a kick to the back of the head for a two count. Maryse went to the ropes and jumped, but Phoenix caught her. Maryse escaped, and grabbed Phoenix but Phoenix reversed it and hit the GlamSlam for the pin at the ten minute mark.
Survivor: Beth Phoenix.
Matt Hardy was interviewed about Jeff Hardy by Todd Grisham. Matt said that Jeff had been hit in the head last night with a "blunt object" at the hotel, which caused his hospitalization. Matt didn't know any more about what happened.
The history leading to the Casket match was shown.
The Undertaker vs. Big Show in a Casket Match.
Druids brought out the casket, then Big Show made his entrance, alone. Undertaker then made his entrance. Jim Ross and Tazz called this match, as you would expect.
Undertaker called for the casket to be opened at the bell, angering Big Show. Big Show went after Undertaker with body shots, but Undertaker dodged a right hook and pushed Show over the top rope. Show narrowly avoided the casket. Undertaker and Show traded shots on the floor, with Show getting the better of it and flinging Undertaker into the security wall. Show hit bodyshots on the floor, then rammed him into the Smackdown announce table. Big Show hit Undertaker with kidney punches and cleared off the ECW table. Show hit Undertaker with a headbutt, but Taker scooped up a TV monitor and hit Show twice in the head with it. Undertaker decked Show, who slumped on the ECW table. Undertaker stood on the Raw table, then jumped off and legdropped Show face first through the ECW table.
Undertaker picked up Big Show and hit some knees to the gut. They made their way back into the ring, and Undertaker grabbed an armwringer. Undertaker hit and headbutted the arm, then went to the ropes for Old School, but Show hit him in the gut and delivered a vertical suplex. Show threw Undertaker in a corner, then delivered a side slam. Show rolled Undertaker into the casket, then called for them to close the lid. The referee told Show that the rules stated he had to close the lid. Show argued, not wanting to touch the lid. When he finally did, Undertaker stuck his leg out to keep the lid from being closed. Undertaker popped up and hit some shots to the gut. He got back into the ring and hit a flying clothesline, then a splash in the corner. Undertaker went for a second, but Big Show caught him with an elbow. Big Show went to the second rope for a V-Bomb, but Undertaker got up, grabbed Show by the throat, and chokeslammed him off the second rope.
Undertaker called for the casket to be opened, then kicked Show into it. Undertaker went to shut the lid, but Show pushed to keep the lid open. Show hit Taker with a jab to knock him away. Show got back in the ring and hit Undertaker with a chokeslam. Big Show got out of the ring and toppled over the casket. Big Show then gestured that he was done and started to walk out of the ring. Show smiled, then Undertaker sat up and headed up the aisle. Show tried to leave, but a wall of flames appeared in his path. The flames apparently caught part of the runaway carpet, as a stagehand ran out to stomp out the flames. Undertaker attacked Show, but Show knocked him down. Show started to walk out, but a group of Druids walked out, with a new casket, and placed it on the stage. Show and Taker fought on the stage, with Show throwing Undertaker into a giant metal "V" that was part of the Survivor Series set. Show stood up the new casket, and rammed Undertaker headfirst into it. Show stood up the casket again, and went after Undertaker. Undertaker hit a series of punches, knocking Big Show to the edge of the stage, where he teetered like he would fall off. Undertaker grabbed Show and whipped him in the opposite direction, into the open, stood up casket. Show fell into the casket, which went down with Show in it, and the lid closed shut at the twelve minute mark.
Winner: The Undertaker.
Carlito & Primo Colon flirted with the Bella Twins, mixing them up. The Gobbledy Gooker showed up. They assumed it was Charlie Haas. Charlie Haas walked in. This left the question, "Who's in the Gooker outfit?" The Gooker, unmasked, and it was the Boogeyman, complete with a mouthful of worms.
Backstage, Randy Orton made it known to his team that he would rather be challenging for the World Title tonight, and that he didn't pick the members of this team, making it a point to look at Cody Rhodes. Rhodes responded by saying if Orton was eliminated first, it would be "addition by subtraction". Orton and Rhodes got nose-to-nose, but the other members broke them apart.
Batista (captain), CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, Matt Hardy & R-Truth vs. Randy Orton (captain), Cody Rhodes, Shelton Benjamin, William Regal & Mark Henry in a Survivor Series elimination match.
Everyone had a separate entrance, with the babyfaces coming out first, like the opening match. Also like the opener, all three announce teams called the match. Manu accompanied Cody Rhodes for the match, Layla accompanied William Regal, and Tony Atlas accompanied Mark Henry.
Punk started out with William Regal, hitting a jumping knee and the GTS to pin Regal almost instantly.
William Regal is eliminated.
Layla jumped on the ring apron and threw a shoe a Punk, hitting him in the head. Shelton Benjamin ran in and cradled CM Punk for a two count, then pounded him, but Punk came back with a spin kick. Punk tagged in Kofi, who went at it with Shelton, giving Benjamin a monkey flip. Benjamin landed on his feet, but Kofi hit him with a dropkick. Shelton went to the eyes and dragged Kofi to his corner, where he tagged in Mark Henry. Henry pounded Kofi into the mat, then tagged in Rhodes. Kofi turned a Rhodes hiptoss into a monkeyflip, then pulled Rhodes into his corner, where he tagged Matt Hardy, who hit an elbowsmash for a two count. R-Truth tagged in, and he and Hardy gave Rhodes a double hiptoss for a two count. Truth tagged Batista, and Rhodes ducked to the floor for a breather. Rhodes got back into the ring, and tagged Benjamin. Shelton hit Batista with some knees to the body, but Batista returned fire with a back elbow, a vertical suplex and a series of shoulderblocks to the corner. Matt Hardy tagged in, but Shelton caught him with a back elbow and tagged in Randy Orton. Hardy gave Orton a bulldog, and a body slam, but missed a moonsault. Mark Henry tagged in and went to work stomping Hardy, then catapulting him into the middle rope. Henry tossed Hardy in his corner and tagged Rhodes, who continued the assault. Rhodes leapfrogged Hardy after Hardy reversed a whip, and both men clotheslined each other. Benjamin and Truth tagged in and Truth took him down with right hands. Benjamin tried to reverse a hiptoss, and Truth rolled him up with a Victory Roll for two. Truth gave Benjamin a side kick for a two count, ducked a clothesine and hit a spinning forearm. Truth missed an ax kick and Benjamin nailed him with Paydirt for the pin at the eight minute mark.
R-Truth is eliminated.
Kofi Kingston game off the top rope with a bodypress on Benjamin for two, and scored another two with a double legdrop. Henry hit Kofi from the apron, then was tagged in and he stood on Kofi's throat. Henry pounded Kofi, then tagged in Orton, who stomped Kofi, but missed a kneedrop. Kofi tried a whip, but Orton pick up Kofi and put him gut first over the top rope. From the apron, Kofi tried to fight, but Orton kneed him in the head, pulled him into the ring so he was hanging off the middle rope by his feet, and Orton delivered a DDT for the pin at the nine minute mark.
Kofi Kingston is eliminated.
Punk worked over Orton, who tagged in Rhodes, who hit Punk with a dropkick, then put him in a hammerlock and drove a knee into his arm. Punk got to his feet, but Rhodes nailed him with a forearm. Punk ducked a Rhodes punch and hit a second rope bodypress, then a neckbreaker for two. Punk hit a jumping knee in the corner and then a bulldog for a two count. Punk kicked Rhodes from the apron, then went to the top rope. Manu distracted Punk, and Rhodes shoved him off the top rope. Rhodes hit Punk with a DDT for the pin at the fourteen minute mark.
CM Punk is eliminated.
Matt Hardy came in and gave Rhodes a Side Effect for a two count. Hardy went for a second, but Rhodes escaped and tagged Mark Henry. Hardy took it to Henry, hitting a second rope elbow smash, then a Side Effect for a two count. Hardy went to the second rope again, but jumped into a Mark Henry powerslam to be pinned.
Matt Hardy is eliminated.
Batista speared Mark Henry to pin him.
Mark Henry is eliminated.
Batista gave Shelton Benjamin a spinebuster and a Batista Bomb for the pin.
Shelton Benjamin is eliminated.
Cody Rhodes ran in, mounted a brief bit of offense, then jumped off the second rope into a clothesline. Batista hit a powerslam and yelled at Orton that he would be next. Manu got on the apron, but Batista knocked him off. Batista lifted Rhodes for a Batista Bomb, and Orton tagged himself in, unseen by Batista. Batista hit the powerbomb, and yelled at the referee to count. Orton was waiting behind Batista. As Batista got up, Orton hit Batista with the RKO for the pin at the seventeen minute mark.
Survivors: Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes.
Orton and Rhodes exchanged glares, and Orton left the ring. After the replays, they showed Orton on the ramp, staring at Batista, who was getting up.
Eve Torres asked Vladimir Kozlov if Jeff Hardy not being in the match tonight changes his strategy. Kozlov said it made no difference, and he would be the champion.
Jim Ross and Tazz pointed out the video package for the WWE Title match was mostly centered on Jeff Hardy, but showed it anyway.
WWE Champion Triple H vs. Vladimir Kozlov.
They did the "big match introductions" for this bout.
There was a "USA" chant at the start. Kozlov grabbed a waistlock takedown, but Triple H worked out of it and took Kozlov down with a side mare. Triple H applied a side headlock, and Kozlov had difficulty pushing it off. There was a "boring" chant by some. Triple H took down Kozlov with a reverse armdrag. There was a loud "We want Hardy" chant. Kozlov grabbed an armdrag and applied a front facelock. Triple H turned it into a hammerlock, took Kozlov down and drove a knee into his arm. Triple H worked the hammerlock, until Kozlov used a fireman's carry takedown to escape, but Triple H reversed right back into the hammerlock. Kozlov broke out, but missed a weak charge into the corner. Triple H went back to work on the arm, applying an armbar. Koz hit some shoulderblocks in the corner to break out, then hit some forearms. Lots of "boring" chants now. Triple H hit a jumping knee after ducking a clothesline, then hot a clothesline in the corner, then a facebuster on a knee. Triple H hit a DDT, then delivered some punches, decking him. I think I heard a slight "TNA" chant from somewhere.
Triple H ran into a Kozlov boot, then Koz ran into a Triple H spinebuster, which woke up some of the crowd. Triple H set up for a Pedigree, but Kozlov shoved Triple H into the ropes and rammed his sternum with his head. Both men were down, then both men got up. Triple H hit some shots, then Kozlov reversed a whip and Triple H oversold it, bumping over the top rope and to the floor. Kozlov rammed Triple H into the security wall, then rammed him into the ring apron. Kozlov threw Triple H back into the ring, and hit a fallaway slam for a two count. Kozlov trapped Triple H's arms and hit some headbutts to the body. Kozlov then hit a powerslam for a two count.
Kozlov applied a reverse bear hug on the mat. The New York Giants went 10-1 today. I'm pretty happy about that. Speaking of the Sport Of Kings, I understand there's a pretty close football game going on right now. Unfortunately, I'm waiting for this match to end.
Kozlov with two backbreaker, then back to the reverse bear hug. More "boring" chants. Triple H punched out of the bear hug, but ran into a Kozlov powerslam for a two count. Kozlov complained to the referee, then went back to the reverse bearhug. Taz and Jim Ross deserve raises for trying to make this match entertaining.
Triple H got to his feet, still in the bearhug, and broke free from it. Kozlov headbutted him in the back, then hit a belly to belly suplex. Kozlov then stared at Triple H. Kozlov charged as Triple H got up, and Triple H moved and Kozlov went headfirst into the top turnbuckle. Kozlov went for a punch, Triple H ducked, and Triple H hit the Pedigree. Triple H collapsed to mat after hitting his move. Maybe out of boredom.
At the thirteen minute mark, Smackdown General Manager Vickie Guerrero ran out and said "He's here! This is now a Triple Threat match!". Edge's music hit, and a bearded Edge came out to a combination of cheers and boos. Edge hit Triple H with a spear. Jeff Hardy, in street clothes and with a bandage on his head, hit the ring to a monster pop. Hardy tackled Edge and hit him with punches. Hardy went to the floor and got a chair. Hardy went to hit Edge with it, but he moved and Triple H ended up getting hit with the chair. Kozlov then went for Hardy, but Hardy ducked and hit Kozlov with the chair. Edge then speared Hardy, then covered Triple H for the three count at the fourteen minute mark.
Winner and new WWE Champion: Edge.
Edge and Vickie Guerrero embraced on the stage. Maybe Koz-HHH was boring on purpose to make the finish more exciting?
A video package on the World Title match was shown. Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler will call the main event.
World Champion Chris Jericho vs. John Cena.
Chris Jericho entered the ring first. John Cena then entered, wearing his new AWA-like merchandise. Big reaction for Cena, although you can tell there were some boos mixed in with the cheers. Definitely a loud reaction though, and mostly positive. They did the "big match introductions" again. Comparatively, Jericho is getting almost all boos. The focused on the scar on Cena's neck a lot.
Cena circled Jericho at the start, then went right in for an FU. Jericho jumped off and went to the apron for a breather. There was a "Cena" chant. Jericho grabbed a side headlock, then took Cena down to the mat. Cena got to his feet, tossed Jericho into the ropes, but Jericho hit a shoulderblock. Cena went to the floor to regroup, holding the back of his neck. Cena got back in, then tackled Jericho and hit some right hands. Cena hit a vertical suplex for a one count, then a drop toe hold. Cena went for the STFU, but Jericho kicked it away. Cena smiled at Jericho. Jericho kicked Cena in the gut, then delivered a right hand. Jericho rammed Cena into the top turnbuckle, then kicked him in the back of the neck. Jericho went for a whip, but Cena reversed it and hit a clothesline of his own. Cena slammed Jericho, then hit an elbowdrop for a two count. Cena missed a charge in the corner, then Jericho stomped Cena's head. Jericho went for a whip, Cena kicked Jericho in the gut, then hit the Throwback.
Cena went to climb the ropes, but then stopped, and got back in the ring. Jericho kicked Cena as he stepped through the ropes, and hit a double arm DDT for a two count. Cena was on the mat with his head hanging off the apron. Jericho got on the floor and kicked Cena's head into the ringpost. Cena slumped to the floor. Cena got back into the ring right before the ten count. Jericho went for a punch, but Cena hit two of his own. Jericho then sidestepped a charging Cena and threw him over the top rope and to the floor. Jericho got outside and gave Cena a baseball slide kick to the head. Jericho then threw Cena head first into the ring steps. Jericho tossed Cena back into the ring, then hit a slingshot splash for a two count. Jericho applied a head vice in the ring.
Cena powered up and broke out of the hold, but missed a flying shoulderblock as Jericho ducked. Jericho scored a two count, then choked Cena against the middle rope. Jericho applied a full nelson, but Cena broke out of it by ramming Jericho backwards into a corner. Jericho immediately reapplied the hold though, and Cena sagged to the mat before powering up again. Cena broke free, then shoved Jericho into a corner as he went for a bulldog. Cena hit a shoulderblock, then a second, then went for a back suplex, but Jericho flipped over him and hit a bulldog. Jericho went for the Lionsault, but Cena rolled away, so Jericho landed on his feet, only to be given a back suplex. Cena did the "You Can't See Me", but Jericho tripped Cena and put him in the Walls of Jericho, driving his knee into Cena's neck, similar to the old "Liontamer" version. Cena powered out of it, but got up grabbing his neck. Jericho decked him with a clothesline.
Jericho took Cena down and applied the traditional Walls Of Jericho. Cena struggled to get to the ropes, and finally made it to force the break. Cena got to his feet, and Jericho charged him. Cena scooped up Jericho and hit the FU, then slumped to the mat. Cena crawled onto Jericho for a two count. The got to their feet, and Cena charged Jericho, only to be caught with a back elbow. Jericho and Cena fought onto the middle rope, exchanging right hands. Cena flipped Jericho into the ring, went to the top rope and hit the top rope Rocker Dropper. Cena went for the FU, but Jericho hit a back elbow and delivered the Codebreaker. Jericho crawled onto Cena for a two count. Huge pop for the kickout.
Jericho had a trickle of blood coming from his forehead. Jericho hit a clothesline, and screamed at Cena to get up again. Cena slowly got up, and Jericho blasted him with another clothesline. Jericho then went for a third clothesline, but Cena hit a drop toe hold and applied the STFU. Jericho inched towards the ropes, but Cena rolled off and pulled Jericho back towards the middle of the ring. Jericho kicked Cena in the head and grabbed a small package. Cena rolled through it, got to his feet scooping Jericho up off the mat, put him in FU position and hit the FU for the pin at the 22 minute mark.
Winner and new World Champion: John Cena.
Unfortunately, the first two-plus hours leading up to the above were pretty lame, and overall the PPV was a big step down from WWE's last two efforts. While Cyber Sunday last month was good, and No Mercy two months ago was very good, Survivor Series, one of the "Big 4" shows, was just average (and I'm probably being kind, since I'm in a good mood due to my Giants winning again). There were no great (or even very good) matches prior to Cena-Jericho, and nothing that has changed the WWE landscape other than the two title changes. It seems weird to write off a PPV with two major title changes as being missable, but really, unless you're a diehard John Cena fan, it was. I'm sure Edge's title win will be recapped on Smackdown, as will Cena's victory on Raw. So, if you didn't order the show, you saved $40, and if you did, well, at least you got to see two title changes and one good bout.
Before going over the PPV, I guess we should look at WWE's Jeff Hardy angle. Hardy, easily the hottest act in the company the last few weeks, was "officially" added to the PPV on Friday. Then WWE posted the "Jeff was unconscious in a stairwell" bit on their website, but never actually said "Jeff won't wrestle on the PPV". So, the devoted Hardy fans who ordered the PPV (and make no mistake about it, there are fans that base their PPV ordering on the Hardys) expecting to see Jeff on the show, got hit with a bait-and-switch. While I liked the angle that came out of it, and the possibilities it sets up for Smackdown going forward, the whole "He's on the PPV, He's off the PPV" aspect was cheap, and took advantage of the fans. I'm not even going to get into the fact that WWE played off Jeff's real life issues with their initial announcement (and don't think for a second that WWE didn't know people would be thinking in that direction when they did it) in this column.
Let's review the show.
After the Cena-heavy opening video package, we had WWE patting themselves on the back for tricking some news outlets with their Jeff Hardy angle. I wonder if WWE realizes that all they've done is make those same outlets a lot less likely to give WWE any press in the future for fear of being made to look like fools again.
I had written in the Elite Tip Sheet prior to this PPV that I had a feeling the opening elimination match was done so WWE could get some cute photo-ops of Rey Mysterio on Great Khali's shoulders, and I was right. The match itself was relatively meaningless. After six minutes, MVP, Kane and Cryme Tyme were all eliminated, pretty much showing what WWE thinks of them these days. I guess the big surprise of the bunch was Kane being taken out so quickly. From there, we actually got a few minutes of solid wrestling, with Michaels and Mysterio working against their three remaining foes while Khali watched from the apron. Unfortunately, neither Miz or Morrison was given a rub here by taking out one of their superstar opponents. Miz was taken out, then JBL was counted out, maintaining his feud with Shawn Michaels. With only John Morrison left, I briefly wondered if they would let Morrison have some offense against Michaels and Mysterio, elevating his status in defeat. Like I said, I "briefly wondered", as one superkick later, it was over. Then we had the Rey-Khali photo opt, and the joke of Khali raising the arms of his partners and practically ripping them out of their sockets. As an opener, I guess it was okay, but on a six-match show, I was hoping for a lot more.
Triple H's interview was surprisingly disappointing. As I wrote in Smackdown Thoughts this weekend, he's done a great job balancing his DX-style humor with his seriousness over retaining the championship. I guess the Jeff Hardy situation didn't lend itself to a humorous promo, but this was just weak. Then again, he was trying to convince us that Vladimir Kozlov is worthy of being in a main event, so it wasn't going to work anyway.
The Divas elimination match was doomed from the start, as they booked nine pinfalls in a ten minute bout. There was no way this was going to look good, since too many participants were going to be doing quick jobs without being weakened at all. They did manage to sneak a bit of storyline into the bout with Michelle McCool and Maria, but otherwise the match was a blur of pinfalls while getting Maryse over with her slaps so fans would want to see Phoenix destroy her at the end.
We then had the Matt Hardy interview, with the revelation that Jeff Hardy was "hit with a blunt object". I have to admit, I was a little happy to hear that. It meant, while they were pulling a bait-and-switch, at least they weren't doing a Road Warrior Hawk-style storyline about Jeff losing his battle with his demons or something along those lines. This doesn't excuse the way WWE presented it on WWE.com, but at least they aren't really going down that path.
Undertaker vs. Big Show was a major disappointment. For the last two months, Show and Undertaker have delivered fantastic matches, arguably two of the best of Show's career. The casket match last night was a ridiculously distant third to those two bouts. It almost felt like Show and Undertaker had a twenty minute match planned, and someone cut them to 12 minutes. So, rather than having the initial slugfest to build up the drama as in their past matches, Show and Taker went straight to the table spot early in the bout and then went to the back and forth casket spots. Then Show's attempt to rip the lid off the casket failed, and by this point the match had little chance to save itself. Teasing a big fall, but instead having Show get whipped into the box, which tipped over and closed cartoon-like, wasn't much of an ending. Undertaker and Big Show did such a great job the last two shows, it is a shame that this feud ended with such a weak performance.
The backstage bit with the Colons, Bella Twins, Charlie Haas and the Boogeyman/Gooker was good for a chuckle, I guess. I'd rather watch the Colons wrestle, but if they were on the show, they probably would have been eliminated in 30 seconds, so they are better off flirting with the twins.
I liked the backstage promo and confrontation with Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes. The way these teams were slapped together with no explanation, it made sense to have some tension here, with the other three members of the team just wanting to win the match. The match itself actually started with eight minutes of action and no eliminations. Oh, that's right, William Regal was eliminated. He was gone so quick, I had forgotten. At least Layla made her mark by showing how precisely she can fling her shoe. They continued the yo-yo push of R-Truth, with him being pinned be Shelton Benjamin two days after we saw Truth pin him in a tag match. I guess that's WWE's way of maintaining the feud. Kofi Kingston and CM Punk were used to make Rhodes and Orton look strong, which isn't much of a surprise, given where tag champs usually stand on the WWE ladder. Mark Henry pinned Matt Hardy, which made storyline sense for Henry's continued quest to get his belt back. This set up the big ending, with Batista scoring two quick eliminations and apparently on the road to a third when Randy Orton made the blind tag and got an RKO pin on Batista. I liked that Cody Rhodes got to survive the match, despite getting beat up a bit, since it helps further his issue with Orton. Unlike the opening bout, this one at least kept storylines in mind, which is a good thing. Up until this point, it was the best thing on the show, which isn't saying much at all, as this was a very average bout.
Orton and Rhodes exchanged glares, and Orton left the ring. After the replays, they showed Orton on the ramp, staring at Batista, who was getting up.
Vladimir Kozlov's interview was indicative of what his match would be. Dull. This was easily the worst Triple H PPV match I can remember in years. Kozlov was definitely protected in all those quick squash matches, because he ran through his whole arsenal here, with no real selling, and a lot of slow passages between moves. The reverse bear hug spots were positively sleep inducing. At one point, Triple H did a flip bump over the corner to the floor after a weak Kozlov whip, and all I could think was "Kozlov isn't worth the effort, Trips". I guess WWE could claim that the match was dull on purpose to make the finish look more exciting, but I doubt any company really wants an arena chanting "Boring" during a match with one of their top stars. Bottom line is Kozlov has no business in the main event picture.
Now, as bad as the match was, and as much as I didn't like the way WWE screwed around with Jeff Hardy fans, the finish to the match was pretty exciting, in that it opens the doors to a ton of possibilities for Smackdown going forward. Edge, the ultimate opportunist, is once again the champion, and has apparently made amends with his wife Vickie, so he's standing atop the brand again. Triple H just got blasted with a chair by Jeff Hardy (who pinned him on Smackdown), and had Edge steal his title. Psycho Jeff, in addition to his obsession with the WWE Title, most likely was attacked by Edge in his hotel. Kozlov saw his big title opportunity ruined by Hardy and Edge, but still has yet to be pinned in a match. On top of that, there's the Undertaker, who has been feuding with Vickie for months, has his past issues with Edge, and lost to Jeff Hardy two weeks ago on Smackdown. WWE has set the stage for a really interesting main event picture on Smackdown. This finish, coming on the heels of a crappy match, was easily the highlight of the show for me, in what it has set up going forward.
At this point in the show, all this PPV had going for it was one interesting finish. John Cena and Chris Jericho could have a great match, and it still wouldn't have been enough to save the overall show in my eyes. That said, Cena and Jericho did deliver a PPV main event worthy bout, with Chris Jericho, once again, putting in a great effort despite knowing he was being given another short title reign. Cena looked fantastic, and didn't show any signs of ring rust (well, other than the storyline "rust" that was part of the story of the bout). They put together a really good bout with both men pulling out all their trademark moves, resulting in some great near falls at the end. I guess if you're going to have a one match show, that one match should be excellent, and this was. I'm not in favor of Cena having the belt this quick, but for this show, it was a bout that was desperately needed after a pretty dull Survivor Series.