A Great Event,
This review is from: WWE - Survivor Series 2005 [DVD] (DVD)
Survivor series is one of the WWE's 'big four' events, where the two brands - Raw and Smackdown - come together to put on the best show the WWE has to offer. And going by this outing, Survivor Series certainly is deserving of its place as one of wrestling's premier events. Made unique by it's traditional 10-man elimination match, 2005's offering is no exception, with a high-octane showdown to close the show. Announcing for the evening are King, Styles and Coach for Raw and Taz and Cole for Smackdown - Coach is completely unnecessary, but the other four make a great team that gets mixed around for the interpromotional matches.
BEST OF SEVEN SERIES FOR THE US TITLE MATCH ONE:
Booker T vs Chris Benoit
I've never enjoyed Booker as much as most fans, but he is a solid worker with some unconventional, entertaining offence. Back in WCW these two put on a classic best of seven series, and WWE are attempting to recreate that, starting with this match. In order to keep the fans interested in a seven match series, this one had to be seriously good, showing both of the wrestlers at their best and as credible opponents to one another. Unfortunately, for me this falls a little short, with a few pacing issues. There isn't really anything wrong with the action, just that it seems a bit slow and dragged out; as a result, the match never seems to really get going and drag the audience in. A good outing, but could have been better from these two. ***1/2
Trish Stratus vs Melina
The first interbrand match of the evening brings Taz and Styles together to call the action, in an ECW reunion that is good to see. They call the match well, playing off of one another with some quick wit and playing up the brand rivalry nicely in anticipation of the main event, but at the same time managing to call the match at hand very well. The match itself is great, being something that could have been replicated by the male wrestlers and still have been well received (and you can't say that for to many women's matches). Trish has always been great, but this is really the first indication that Melina is also an accomplished wrestler (which she went on to do once MNM split). There're a couple of good stories colliding here, and it's nice to see a Divas match with a little atmosphere. It's also nice to see one that takes longer than five minutes - and uses that time to put on a very exciting bout. ***3/4
LAST MAN STANDING:
Triple H vs Ric Flair
Closing out their rivalry, Triple H and Ric Flair engage in an encounter a bloody as their steel cage match at Taboo Tuesday. The match follows a very similar pacing - Triple H dominates in the early going, with Flair attempting to mount a comeback unsuccesfully several times before a big game changer puts him back in the game. However, the varied matches (this one allowing for more weapons than just a cage) and a different end story (which really is very impressive storytelling) mean the rivalry stays fresh. Occasionally predictable spots are made up for by strong pacing, a great in-ring story and solid performances by both men. The WWE were really pushing Triple H's cerebral assassin image at this time, and it shows in the weapons usage in this match - how often in the WWE do you see a screwdriver? Match of the night. ****1/4
Here we have an interlude for Edge, currently injured, to introduce his new talkshow 'The Cutting Edge'. He cuts a great promo, reinventing cheap heat as Mick Foley calls it, and exchanging words with a local sports hero. The segment is genuinely enjoyable, and well put together, a very strong development for Edge.
WWE TITLE (SPECIAL GUEST REFEREE: DAIVARI):
John Cena vs Kurt Angle
The crowd seem largely in Angle's favour here, which is of course completely justified. The special referee angle is played to a lot in the match, in a clever and unpredictable way on the whole. However, the in-ring action itself lets it down, with very few high-impact moves and a disappointing finish. Although Cena pulls a few rarely used moves out of the bag, there's a lack of energy and excitement here on the whole. A shame. ***1/2
Eric Bischoff vs Theodore Long
It's a crime that this match is so high up the card. Actually, no, it's a crime that this match is on the card. The only dud of the night, but what a dud. Teddy Long very clearly has no training of any sort and Bischoff is alright at taking bumps but nothing else. An incredibly embarrassing affair, not helped by the Boogeyman making an appearance, although that does lead to the only proper move of the match. How this was given as long as it was towards the top of the card is beyond me. Sapped all of the energy going into the main event. No rating - it was just too bad.
Team Raw (Carlito, Shawn Michaels, Big Show, Chris Masters & Kane) vs Team Smackdown (Batista, Randy Orton, Bobby Lashley, JBL & Rey Mysterio)
Randy Orton was a replacement for Eddie Guerrero in this match, which necessitated a rewrite for the match. However, it doesn't show, with a very believable development over the course of the match and a solid finish. The announce teams join forces here, so you have five guys trying to call the match. Initially, this doesn't work, with Taz seeming to have been given a fairly whiney gimmick that really grates and for the first few minutes of the match the announcing is if anything a distraction from the match. This settles down quickly, however, and after that there isn't an issue. The match itself is fairly fast paced, with some good showings by both teams. Particular highlights include attempts to incapacitate Big Show, which are very well executed, and JBL's surprisingly strong performance. The match is slightly marred by being a little too short (why not just cut the genera mangers match to give this some space?) leading to some rushed eliminations. It's also a shame that not everyone gets a good airing, with Carlito unable to show off very much at all and Masters faring only a little better. Overall, a very enjoyable match. ****
Following the match, Undetaker makes his return in a very clever burning coffin scene serving as one of the most impactful returns for 'Taker. A very solid conclusion to a great night.
In terms of extras, you have a couple of throwaway interviews, and a highlights package of past Survivor Series', which is worth a watch.