History of Survivor Series Count-Up – 2003 – Austin vs. Bischoff

Survivor Series 2003
Date: November 16, 2003
Location: American Airlines Arena, Dallas, Texas
Attendance: 13,487
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Jim Ross, Michael Cole, Tazz

What a difference a year makes. Austin is back as the co-GM of Raw along with Bischoff which is one of your main matches. The winner of the Survivor Series match becomes the full GM of the show. The Raw main event is Goldberg who debuted the night after Mania 19 against HHH (I’m as shocked as you are), who had lost the world title to Goldberg at Unforgiven two months earlier.

The twist this time is that Goldberg has a shattered ankle thanks to the returning Batista. Over on Smackdown, we have Angle’s team against Brock’s team in the feud that wouldn’t die. Their world title match is nonexistent here, which is kind of a throwback to the original shows.

The other main match is Vince vs. the Undertaker in a Buried Alive match which we’ll cover in more detail when we get to it. Other than that, this looks like a run of the mill TV show instead of a PPV. A handful of matches can carry a show to being good, so let’s see if this one does just that.

The opening video is very generic with a voiceover asking if people have what it takes to survive. Oh come on I could have been more creative in high school.

Kurt Angle’s Team vs. Brock Lesnar’s Team

Kurt Angle, John Cena, Chris Benoit, Hardcore Holly, Bradshaw
Brock Lesnar, Big Show, Matt Morgan, Nathan Jones, A-Train

Again, no recap, and yes that’s the same Matt Morgan from TNA. This really is just a way to push Brock vs. Angle, Benoit and Cena. All three were trying to become number one contender to his WWE Title around this time and it led to some absolutely great matches. Cena grew up during this feud as he showed that he could work with the best of them in someone like Benoit and work well.

As for the other guys, I think Heyman or whoever the GM was brought them in to help Brock fight here. This might have been Jones’ last appearance and I’m pretty sure Morgan’s debut was on Smackdown when he was added to this tem. Holly is there because Lesnar broke his neck and Bradshaw…uh…well he would be world champion in about nine months so apparently they knew something was coming with him.

Cena is still a rapper who wears throwbacks here. He doesn’t know why he’s on first. I thought who was on first. As always Cena gets a reaction. You could see the star on its way out in him and in just a year and a half’s time he would be winning world titles. Bradshaw has his more familiar look now and apparently he’s the replacement for Farrooq who was injured by Big Show. No clue why Farrooq was supposed to be in there in the first place but whatever.

Holly in a major PPV match just looks weird. Angle gets a solid pop. Show is US Champion here and it looks like a freaking toy. Jones had been around for awhile hanging out with Undertaker but then left for the summer and came back even more horrible. Morgan is a complete stranger here, with the first things Cole says being “we don’t know a heck of a lot about Matt Morgan”. You have to love commentators being on top of things like that.

He still looks like a freak though, but given that he’s followed in by Brock Lesnar, he’s kind of overshadowed. Holly jumps him before the bell and beats on him for awhile before shoving a referee and being eliminated before the match starts. I’m glad for that because Holly is the name of my best friend’s sister so I always picture her (she’s 12) when I talk about Hardcore Holly and it’s just aggravating.

Somehow Holly (the wrestler, not the 7th grader) would get a world title shot at the Rumble and naturally would get destroyed. He was obsessed with breaking Lesnar’s very thick neck, so instead of using a weapon or something he kept trying to beat him with a full nelson. It was just idiotic and nothing but filler until Eddie got into the main event. Bradshaw eliminates A-Train in about thirty seconds as we see how stupid the Clothesline From JBL is as a finisher.

Once someone has been beaten down it’s ok, but with this A-Train missed a splash and Bradshaw hit a single clothesline for a pin. That just doesn’t roll for me. Since 30 seconds was too long, Show comes in and eliminates Bradshaw with a chokeslam in about 20 seconds. That’s stupid also, but far less so. Show finally has gone back to the singlet and shorts so he looks far less idiotic at this point than he did last year.

It’s 4-3 in case you were wondering. Cena is in there with Lesnar now and while he’s in over his head, he’s trying. Like I said you can see the star in him. We move on to the wet dream of the IWC that is Matt Morgan vs. John Cena. This might have been Morgan’s WWE debut unless he had a match on Smackdown that I don’t remember, but he’s light years ahead of Nathan Jones who had been on Wrestlemania already. Jones clearly can barely do anything at all.

Morgan is limited here, but he at least looks comfortable. Jones looks like he’s walking through every single step in his mind which is just not good for a major show like this. Ah good they covered that. Earlier on they mentioned that the heel team here is the heaviest of all time which I wasn’t sure of. They mention the first Survivor Series and the heel team in the main event. I had forgotten Rick Rude was on that team which brought the average weight down a lot.

Cena has been in there a long time now, which makes little sense as he has Angle and Benoit (rocking the black tights tonight) on the apron. As I say that, old black tights comes in and hammers on Lesnar. In an odd stat that Tazz points out, three members of Team Angle have had broken necks and now you can add Cena to that list I think. I don’t remember if it was broken or not but he was out with a neck injury. Show’s power is just scary.

It’s a weird thing to see Matt Morgan be the weakest guy on his team but I think he is here. I will never get tired of watching Benoit and all those ways he has of getting the Crossface on people. It’s ridiculous how many ways he can get that on people. Angle finally gets the tag and cleans house, beating down all four heels. He ducks a boot from Jones that hits Morgan, leading to the Angle Slam to tie it at three.

Now that’s the Kurt Angle that gets the insane praise around here. Jones taps out maybe twenty seconds later. Angle stands up from the ankle lock and turns around to get F5ed and pinned. We lost three people in thirty two seconds after losing three in 48 seconds earlier. Thanks for that epic storytelling there Vince. Now we get to the good stuff as it’s Benoit vs. Lesnar. It’s 2-2 here by the way, with Benoit and Cena against Show and Lesnar.

Now this is very interesting as Benoit and Brock are in there together for about two minutes and Lesnar gets his head handed to him. Benoit gets the Crossface on him three times and Brock gets out on his own once (the other time Benoit put it on when Lesnar was in the ropes). On the third one Brock taps, which was huge as Benoit gets a clean win over him. Cena gets the tag and gets kicked square in the hands.

Following this he does something that’s either very smart or very stupid: he doesn’t sell the kick. Now you can look at this one of two ways. The kick clearly missed by at least eight inches and he got his hands up. Now if you’re Cena here you have a very big problem here: do you look stupid and sell, or do you acknowledge that it didn’t connect and keep going? I could certainly see both sides but Cena just gets the chain from the corner and pops Show, leading to the FU and the pin.

Rating: B-. Well that was shall we say different. The two big bursts of eliminations seemed stupid to me but that’s whatever I suppose. The big things that were supposed to be done were done as Cena pins Show to further their feud and Benoit gets a clean win over Lesnar. That worked fine with the rest of the people there just being window dressing for the most part.

This really should have been Benoit’s team other than Angle’s but that’s fine as Angle was the bigger star at this time. The good parts were good and the bad parts were bad here, and that’s the best I can say it. Benoit would get his title shot on Smackdown but would lose. Eventually he would win the Rumble and go to Raw and beat HHH for the belt at Mania.

Vince comes to see Shane about his match with Kane tonight. He says that we have a father and son against two brothers which is kind of a cool thing when you think about it. He asks Shane how he feels. Shane says the only thing he feels is sorry for Vince tonight. I love how they can coexist despite that whole Shane trying to put Vince out of business two years ago ordeal but whatever. Vince leaves and runs into Austin and they stare at each other.

Austin starts laughing as does Vince. Austin laughs harder and harder before stopping dead and walking past Vince. That’s one of those really weird moments that works despite making absolutely zero sense in context. It’s just odd seeing them together given their history, but those two played such a major role in the company’s survival that it just wouldn’t work if they didn’t interact somehow.

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Women’s Title: Lita vs. Molly Holly

There’s a great sign in the crowd: Take Me To Your Lita. This is Lita’s comeback after being out about a year and a half with a broken neck. Was there something in the water in catering that caused broken necks or something? More or less this is her complimentary title shot, which makes me wonder how weak the division is when a woman returning from a year and a half off is considered the top challenger. That can’t be a good sign.

She’s rocking the shorts if nothing else so that’s a perk. Molly is as generic as you can possibly imagine here. The story leading into this match was that Molly was jealous of all the attention that Lita was getting, which makes sense at least. Molly actually has a great looking chest that often get overlooked. I know it’s not the best thing to focus on their looks here, but seriously, there’s no story here and if you really believe that the wrestling is what’s supposed to be on display here, you’re sadly mistaken.

We get a Great Muta reference and Lawler doesn’t know who that is. That’s just amusing. The wrestling being relatively boring here isn’t helping things either. It’s ok, but that’s all it is: ok. Molly hits her top rope flip move, which of course makes her awesome but Lita gets up. Molly rams her into an exposed buckle to end it. Yep, that’s it.

Rating: D+. Egads this just wasn’t very interesting or even good. It suffers from the main issue that women’s matches tend to have which is that there’s just no real reason at all to care about it. The match is ok but there’s nothing at all to set it apart from any of the other various combinations of Divas that could have been come up with given the current batch of talent in the company.

We recap Shane vs. Kane. Kane recently had his mask taken off, leading to him going nuts (no really Kane went nuts) and actually tombstoning Linda on the stage. Shane started going after Kane but nothing would work. During this feud there was the testicle electrocution bit which I think was the one that killed any chance this feud had of working. There was a laundry list of problems with this feud though, so the testicle thing wouldn’t have saved it.

The biggest of all was simple though. No one actually cared because we didn’t know what Kane was talking about. He kept going on and on about pain etc, so just like now no one understands what the feud is about. Also, these guys feuded forever and I don’t think Shane had won a single time coming up to this.

There are other things but I’ll cut it off here. The last big thing was that a lot of the roster apparently didn’t like this because Shane is just coming in and taking a major spot away from others that are full time workers. Why should Shane, a guy that’s only an occasional wrestler be taking up a match with a guy that’s very high up on the card?

Shane McMahon vs. Kane

This is an ambulance match which is what you would think it is: get the other guy in the ambulance to win. JR says that Kane is crazier than an inbred hound dog. Does anyone ever wonder what his childhood was like? It certainly must have been quite the strange life. Before the bell rings Shane goes after Kane and knocks him over the ropes. The camera guy gets knocked too and the last thing we see is Kane upside down with his head about to slam into the concrete. It looked kind of scary.

JR calls this match barbaric. Odd, as I didn’t know that in barbaric societies they had baseball jerseys, audio commentary, wrestling rings, theme music, ambulances or pants. We immediately hit the weapons because Shane is rather limited to things that he can do with weapons, which makes sense because again, HE ISN’T A WRESTLER. Granted he’s a heck of an athlete though and I don’t think anyone would question that.

About a minute and a half in and Shane puts him through the table with the big elbow. That’s his signature move I’d think and he does it very, very well. Somehow though it’s lost a bit of its luster. McMahon gets Kane to chase him into the crowd as he’s clearly leading him on. I hate cock teases like that. Why lead someone into a bunch of other people? I have no idea what the point of that joke was so ignore it. It stopped being funny about two seconds after it.

They head into the back and Shane gets some shots in with a kendo stick which is his weapon of choice. Shane does something with a car but I’m not sure what it was. I think he put Kane in a security booth and rammed it but it’s hard to say. Well if nothing else it’s a cool idea. Oh yeah that was another problem: Shane kept coming up with more and more elaborate ways to try to hurt Kane, typically involving attempted vehicular homicide. Oh look Shane has his own ambulance.

They knock out another camera so the fans boo loudly since we can’t see anything. Ah there we are. Back in the arena they’re fighting near the ambulance because that’s the point of the match. I love matches like this that are chock full of psychology. In essence this is a casket match on wheels. In a cool spot, Kane is running Shane at the ambulance but Shane walks up the ambulance and spins off to the side before hooking a sick sounding DDT on the concrete. That was awesome.

Shane climbs up on top of the ambulance and launches the Coast To Coast dropkick at him. That was awesome. They fight inside the ambulance because that’s just so easy for the audience to see. Those big spots that I’ve mentioned are all that’s keeping this from being completely awful. The problem is that the ambulance is just a weird choice for a gimmick and in essence this is a hardcore match/street fight but with a different way to win.

It’s an ok fight, but it feels forced to me if that makes sense. Shane gets rammed into the ambulance about ten times before a tombstone on the concrete ends this. The tombstone was done really well done as Kane drops him as fast as he can and with the camera where it is you can’t tell if his head even comes close to hitting or not.

That’s the perfect way to do one of those and it worked really well at least for me. Of course we have to watch every single second of the ambulance leaving because the two minutes that it takes certainly can’t be used for anything else at all.

Rating: D+. There were some good bumps in there but this was really just a mess. No one wanted to see this and the gimmick was just ridiculous. They were in the ring literally zero seconds as they started fighting before the bell rang. And really, an ambulance? That’s the best they can come up with?

A last man standing match or something like that would have worked about 10x better here, but hey, we have flashy lights in this one! This was pretty bad with some cool bumps from Shane being the only bright spots.

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Lesnar says he didn’t lose tonight. We get the you tapped out chance and Brock blames his partners. How in the world did we never get Benoit vs. Lesnar but instead we got Lesnar Goldberg? Those two have a dumb moment of foreshadowing.

Coach comes out in a neck brace and I have a bad feeling about this. The Dudleys gave him the 3D to give him that, but he’ll be fine. My goodness this guy was annoying. He’s leaving but he sees Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks in the front row. For those of you unfamiliar with him, Cuban is almost Vince McMahon in a legit sport. He’s loud, he’s defiant and he’ll do whatever it takes to win.

That being said, he’s a great thing for the NBA because he is so into games. Instead of sitting in some box somewhere sipping scotch, he’s in the fourth row behind the cheerleaders wearing a Mavs jersey. I like that. Anyway, Bischoff comes out and challenges Cuban to a fight. They talk about how tonight this is Bischoff’s building which given the whole deal with the Nuggets earlier this summer, this is a lot funnier. Anyway, he shoves Bischoff but takes an RKO.

We go to the back where Evolution is having a big party with champagne and women. Orton comes in to announce what he did but stops midsentence to hit on a girl and then finishes what he said. Apparently beating up Mark Cuban is the same as beating Goldberg, at least according to Flair. This was odd indeed.

Smackdown Tag Titles: Bashams vs. Los Guerreros

The Bashams were about as generic of a tag team as you could ever find. The only reason I liked them was they had the same names (Doug and Danny) as my uncles that I used to wrestle with as a kid. They have Linda from Tough Enough as a dominatrix type manager which is dumber than it sounds. This led to Eddie vs. Chavo at the Rumble which was pretty good. Other than that, nothing came of this.

Chavo is ticked at Eddie over buying some lie the Bashams made so there’s your basic heel idea here. Eddie gets the Three Amigos for two. Chavo comes in and there are no visible problems for the Latin dudes. Back to Eddie with them completely dominating. Eddie takes them both out and so much for that as they take him out.

Wow I forgot to mention this but the Bashams are defending here. This is just not interesting at all here as it’s in fast pace and you can feel that even four minutes into this we’re over halfway done. Eddie saves Chavo and hits a top rope rana so Chavo can get two. After Eddie is sent to the floor both Chavo almost falls victim to twin magic but they beat up Shaniqua instead. And then Chavo gets rolled up with tights for the pin.

Rating: D. This was just another match of the month for these belts. After last year’s mind blowing few months of title feuds, the belts yet again mean nothing with the Bashams being the token champions at the time. These belts got zero respect and no one cared at all, which is rather sad in my eyes.

We recap Austin vs. Bischoff, which there isn’t much to say about it. If Austin’s team wins then he can beat up anyone whenever he wants. If Bischoff’s team wins, Austin is fired. Austin doesn’t trust anyone but he has to trust his team here which is the main point of the story. Eric had fired Austin again but Linda had brought him back as a Co-Gm which lasted for a few months and surprised no one at all. It was still cool though to have Austin back on a regular basis.

Austin’s Team vs. Bischoff’s Team

Ross nearly makes me roll my eyes by starting a line about how this is the biggest match Austin has, but then instead of saying ever had, he says Never been in. That was a nice little save there and makes things sound much better. It got dangerously close to being clever. I’d like to try something here.

Mark Henry, Randy Orton, Christian, Chris Jericho, Scott Steiner
Booker T, Bubba Ray, D-Von, Shawn Michaels, RVD

Other than HBK and Orton, would you be able to tell which team is face and which is heel? That kind of goes to show you what’s happened to faces and heels in this generation. They change so often that it’s hard to tell who is on which side. Anyway, in case you can’t tell the first team of those two is Bischoff’s. They both come out as groups, and this seems a bit one sided. RVD is the IC Champion and the Dudleys are the tag champions on Raw.

Booker and Shaw are former world champions in their own right, and they’re against Christian who was nothing back then, Steiner who had a cup of coffee in the main event and is now in the midcard, Henry who is in another monster push that would fail, Orton was a midcard guy on his way up and Jericho was just a fairly high level jerk. Actually this is fairly even upon second glance. The heels hide for awhile because they’re heels and that’s what they do.

Austin and Jericho talk trash to each other before we get going. I wish there had been a show or two where it was nothing but Jericho, Rock and Foley insulting each other. That would have had me riveted. We finally get going. Jericho and Christian are in the middle of the double date with Trish and Lita story which culminated in Jericho turning face.

Somehow the first date with Trish prompts JR and Lawler to discuss Fabio of all people and get into a bizarre discussion/insulting segment where they talk about how stupid modern terms are. This was just out of left field and meant nothing at all to the match. I think JR forgot where he was for a moment, which doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Someone get him a shot of barbecue sauce before he can’t holler at the top of his lungs incoherently anymore!

D-Von and Christian start us off. That’s just an odd pairing to open a match for some reason. Half of these guys have been in ECW. That’s rather impressive for a company that never did anything allegedly. We shift over to Van Dam and Jericho who had traded the IC Title recently with Jericho having one of the shortest reigns of all time, winning and losing it on the same Raw. Steiner comes in and we have some Michigan vs. Michigan violence.

There’s number one on the Steiner F Bomb count. Van Dam counters with the worst stepover kick that I’ve ever seen. It was just awful. Granted Scott Steiner is in there so it’s likely his fault. Steiner is completely dominating here as Bubba is screaming like a crazy man on the apron at Van Dam to get out of there. I mean he’s clearly audible several times in this thing and I keep thinking he’s on a mic somewhere. That’s impressive.

Booker comes in to shake things up a bit but Scott manages to suck the life out of the match again in under 20 seconds. That might be a personal record for him. Booker gets a Scissors Kick and the Spinerooni. That sounds like nothing but Bischoff’s reaction to it of holding his head is ridiculously funny as you can see him thinking to himself what in the heck was I on when I told him that was a cool looking move?

Ross calls a very non Arn Anderson style spinebuster an Arn Anderson spinebuster because there’s clearly only one way to ever do that move. After a big brawl, Steiner gets the Steiner Recliner on Booker. I have to pause for a moment here. I don’t usually do this, but that might be the funniest looking thing in the history of professional wrestling. Steiner is standing over Booker, not sitting down at all with Booker on his knees without his arms over Steiner’s legs.

I truly and honestly feel sorry for Ross, Lawler and Booker here as they have to actually try and make that move seem painful. This is a great example of why Steiner is considered awful in the ring. That was just flat out embarrassing.

Anyway, Stacy gets up to try to get people cheering for Booker. She’s under contract to Steiner but hates it so there’s your explanation. Also, does anyone else besides me hate the one shoulder tops that Divas often wear? I’m talking about the ones where it looks like what Andre used to wear. I don’t know why but I can’t stand those things. The Dudleys save her from Scott with the belly to back into a neckbreaker move they do.

Ross calls it a reverse 3D. That’s so far from correct I don’t even know where to start. The Book End gets rid of Scott. Mark Henry who had been feuding with Booker runs in and the world’s dumbest finisher ends Booker to tie us up at four. We get Bubba vs. Henry now and I can feel wrestling devolving right in front of my eyes. Teddy Long is Henry’s manager at this point. The Dudleys hit the 3D from out of nowhere on Henry and a 5 Star ends him.

Not sure if I get the point of the double finisher but whatever gets him out of there makes me happy. We’re back to Jericho and RVD again which is fine by me. I don’t think Shawn has been in yet. RVD goes for the 5 Star or Orton but after a Jericho shove he gets hooked in an RKO. This is kind of dragging. Bubba is yelling again. He’s quite annoying. D-Von is beating up Orton.

That was odd to type. Jericho beats on D-Von for awhile and hits one of his about 8,000 finishers to beat him, and in this case it was a sleeper drop. Bubba is in now and is yelling even more. What in the world is his problem? Michaels is finally in and gets ZERO reaction. That’s just weird to hear. He gets Orton, which is one of those feuds that has been about a million times yet has never had a definitive match.

I don’t know why that’s the case but it’s very odd indeed. Bubba gets tagged in and cleans house. It always seemed like they wanted to make him into a big deal but it just never happened for him. He was by far a better choice than D-Von, but that’s not really saying a lot. It never worked and it doesn’t here as for some reason he’s fighting all three guys but Christian makes him Unpretty to set up Christian, Jericho and Orton against Shawn.

Austin isn’t sure what to think. You can tell Shawn is nervous here as he’s already on the flying forearm. This is reminding me of a match in a video game, which I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. Shawn hits the post and goes to the ground to blade a bit. Christian does HBK’s pose as Becca wants to murder him and I’ve never been more proud of her. After a missed Unprettier, Christian charges into the boot for the pin.

Shawn just lays on him which is cool and odd looking at the same time. Both guys beat the living heck out of Shawn as we have Lawler playing cheerleader. He keeps screaming about how he almost believe Shawn can pull this off. That would be redone in two years but this one is FAR better.. Jericho beats on Shawn for a good while and eventually tries to get the Walls but Shawn rolls him up to get us down to Orton (who is coming to the ring on Raw as I write this) against HBK.

Lawler immediately screams I BELIEVE I BELIEVE I BELIEVE! The commentators are so stupidly biased that it’s ridiculous. Jericho pops Shawn with a chair before leaving. He’s bleeding insanely now. Orton goes up but misses a cross body and hits the referee. That used to be his finishing move. I think he made the right move with the change. For some reason Orton is down also despite having the referee to break his fall.

Bischoff comes in to break up the Sweet Chin Music which brings in Austin to beat him up and stun Orton. The two GMs go off for a, shall we say beating, allowing Batista to run in and hit the self named Bomb to put Austin out of the company. In a stunning (oh I slay myself) turn of events, Austin would be back in less than a month and a half. In an odd moment, Austin comes into the ring and checks on Shawn. He pulls HBK up and HBK says I’m sorry.

I guess he doesn’t love Austin though. Austin shakes his hand and they leave together. That was actually a cool moment. I like that they show Shawn respect there as they should and they humanize Austin a bit here. It’s something you don’t often see but it’s very nice. Austin comes back out to his original music and salutes the fans, which again is awesome. They really did try to make this a big deal, but naturally he would be back. I don’t think anyone ever really doubted that.

This really is a cool moment here as Austin looks legitimately upset. I don’t know if he knew he would be back or not, but if he did he deserves a low level acting award. He even says he loves the fans. Since this is a nice moment, Coach comes out singing the goodbye song accompanied by a team of security guards.

Naturally he beats up all five just for old time’s sake. We follow that with a massive beer bash to end this segment that went just long enough. He leaves two beers in the ring, maybe for Owen and Pillman as we fade out.

Rating: A-. I’m just grading the match here. It really was solid with the guys that needed to be gone first being gone first to leave us with the fop four guys in the match (arguably) to end it. That’s how good matches tend to go and they nailed it here. HBK looked great in this all match long and the story was there for him. It worked very well and was an excellent match. I’m not wild on the ending, but at least it fit the match, so I can’t really complain there.

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Cole and Tazz talk about the irony that both McMahon and Austin could have their careers ended tonight. We’ll ignore that Austin hadn’t wrestled in seven months and Vince never was a real wrestler. It is cool to hear Vince referred to as Austin’s arch nemesis. Tazz has to keep up kayfabe here though by saying that he’s a Smackdown guy and not a Raw guy but he is going to miss Austin anyway. That was just pointless.

Recap of Vince vs. Taker, which could have been done much better. Taker is at the very tail end of being the American with this being his last night in the character. Vince, as Brock’s ally, had helped him keep the title from Taker at No Mercy as for some reason he was afraid of Taker being champion. Taker had won a match on Smackdown where he could pick any match he wanted for Survivor Series.

Taker picked Buried Alive which had Vince very happy because he thought Taker meant against Brock for the belt, but Taker meant Vince, which was WAY cooler than I described. Taker, living up to his moniker of the conscious of the company, says that the day comes where you have to pay for your sins, even if your name is Vince McMahon. That’s actually a cool line. Tazz actually has key points to the match and a graphic to display them.

I’ve never seen that on a WWE show before. His keys are submissions, home field advantage and match experience, which make sense, or you could just say the most simple one: he’s the freaking Undertaker so he’s going to kill Vince. Oh those were just Taker’s keys. Vince’s are be mentally stable, be confident, and the third one which made me laugh: AVOID THE HOLE! You know I’ve been told that many times but people just keep coming back. I’ve never gotten that.

If Tazz did these for every big match his value would go WAY up. They were clichés, but they’re what an analyst is supposed to do. He offered his insights as an expert in the field (expert as in he’s a former wrestler and therefore likely knows a lot more than 99% of the viewers which is true) and while they were really self explanatory, they made him seem far more professional. I like that as it’s something no one ever does.

Vince McMahon vs. Undertaker

As I said, this is a Buried Alive match which Taker has been in all of I believe. The announcer goes through the rules of the match and once the bell rings announces again that it’s a Buried Alive match. Good to know that they’re covering us in case we forgot in the past 3 seconds or so. Apparently Vince has been talking about a higher power. Wasn’t he the higher power? So does that mean there’s a higher power to the higher power?

Would that make him the really higher power? Cole complains that it’s stupid to think there’s a higher power protecting Vince. Well that’s a little stupid to say. After about two punches Vince is gushing blood. That’s insanely fast time for a blade. Oh man there’s blood just dripping all over the place. That’s awesome. Or maybe it’s sick. I’m not sure but it looks great. Vince has had zero offense as you would expect.

With Vince bleeding all over, Taker beats on his knee. I don’t know how to make fun of that because it just makes zero sense here. The knee is something you work on when you need to keep them down. It’s just so out of place here that it makes no sense at all. We hit the table for awhile because we’re on PPV. Vince threatened to have Taker’s wife Sara raped and his home torched, because you know, that’s perfectly normal.

They also mentioned that Taker had kids, which is an odd choice indeed. Does Kane come babysit and teach them how to start fires using just your hands and a production assistant? Vince gets killed by a monitor shot to the head. That looked painful. This is just a beating by Taker as Vince has had zero offense and we’re about five minutes in. The fans are liking it somewhat though.

Perhaps in an effort to give Vince a chance to breathe, Taker goes to the grave and gets a shovel which naturally slams into Vince’s head. Cole says he’s a bloody mess formerly known as Vince McMahon. Did he get a name change that I missed? I’m fairly certain that’s still Vince McMahon.

With Vince dead, Taker tries to hurt his leg again. I really just don’t get this. What’s the point to working over a limb now? I know I complain about a lack of psychology a lot of the time but this is too much psychology.

Taker takes (oh shut up) him to the grave where Vince gets a three move combination of throwing dirt in Taker’s eyes, a low blow and a shovel shot somewhere near the chest/shoulder which naturally is called the skull. As I’m writing this I looked up at the review and realized it’s rather short, but there’s just nothing to really say here. It’s a beating of epic proportions with Vince literally having no offense or even defense until those three things.

Anyway, the shovel shot actually knocks Taker into the grave as only in wrestling can you get your face beaten for seven and a half minutes to hit one shot to tie things up and then take the lead. Taker of course pops out of the hole and casually pulls Vince in. He’s favoring his right arm which I think might be legit. Anyway he goes to open the door to the dump truck or whatever it’s called and an explosion goes off.

Looking at Taker’s elbow, he’s either cut REALLY bad on it from something or it’s from Vince’s head. Not sure which, but Kane comes out of the machine and knocks Taker into the hole and pulls Vince out. That’s a teaming that other than a short run in 98 never has been together that I recall. Vince gets in the machine as Cole says Taker is unconscious, despite being clearly awake after the explosion and when he was getting punched by Kane but why am I trying to make sense of this?

Tazz of course brings up that it makes no sense as Kane is a Raw guy. Ok, give me a break already. Are we really supposed to believe that Kane is just a random guy that has no history with Taker at all? It was one of the biggest and best feuds of the Attitude Era but it means nothing at all now because of the Brand Split? Yeah Tazz, keep trying to convince me of that. Vince buries him and for some reason this is STUNNING.

You know, since he’s only been buried what, three times now? Come on Cole give us a tiny bit of credit here. I love how just after it Cole recaps the match in about four seconds. This was the end of the American character as Taker would return at Mania as the Deadman to fight Kane in a glorified squash.

Rating: D. This is going to go one of two ways for a lot of people. About 90% of this is literally just Taker beating up Vince. If you like that, this is the greatest match of all time. The problem is it just gets boring after awhile, and the leg stuff makes less than zero sense.

I don’t think the plot about Kane was ever actually explained as it really was just kind of assumed that it made sense. Now to be fair it did, but a little explanation would be nice. Granted it’s Kane so the explanation wouldn’t have made sense anyway.

Following what should have closed the show, we recap HHH vs. Goldberg. HHH had ducked him for a few months, more or less cheating to keep the belt and when they finally had their match Goldberg took the title. HHH stole another storyline from Harley Race by offering a bounty to anyone that took him out. Batista cashed in as he returned from an injury and rejoined Evolution. He shattered Goldberg’s ankle which didn’t actually take him out because he’s still fighting tonight.

HHH asks Goldberg if Goldberg is getting nervous being champion yet. I love how WCW is forgotten more and more every day. We of course get a video of this set to the awful theme song for this show: Build a Bridge by Limp Bizkit. Where do they pick these songs from? Rarely do they make any sense in connection to the show.

Raw World Title: HHH vs. Goldberg

In a stat that blows my mind still, as of this show HHH has never won at Survivor Series. Hey, while we’re not talking about anything like the main event or something important, I’d like to take the time to say BUY ARMAGEDDON! Ross continues doing a good job by pointing out how often the title changes hands. I don’t get why they tried to change Goldberg. His music and tights are different.

Why? He was as simple of a concept as you could have and Vince messed it up. That’s just hard to do, but naturally since he’s from WCW he had to be changed. HHH is wearing shorts here because of a groin injury. Goldberg hits a spear on HHH before the bell and is walking around more or less fine despite having his ankle taped up.

In one of the dumbest spots I’ve ever seen, Goldberg takes him up in a gorilla press and after holding a 260lb man in the air for a few seconds only hurts his ankle when he turns him over. Come on now people, give us some credit for intelligence. They go to the floor with HHH working the ankle by putting it on the steps and slamming a chair onto it. Somehow the referee misses the sound that reverberates through the arena, but whatever.

I’m just trying to get to the end of this as so many HHH matches from this era were just flat out awful that there’s really no point in trying to make them work. Flair is drenched in sweat for some reason. I think that reason might be the fact that he’s Ric Flair.

He chokes Goldberg in that way that looks like he’s having a seizure and looks ridiculous, but to be fair most of what Flair did at this point look ridiculous. To say this match is boring is an insult to boring matches. There’s just nothing of note here. It’s HHH working on Goldberg’s leg and nothing more.

He hit one spear and a slam and other than that it’s been all HHH. We saw more or less a squash in the previous match. Why repeat the same formula in back to back matches? Oh look a half crab because what we really need here is an homage to Lance Storm. Actually that sounds far better than this. Oh wait Goldberg pulled HHH into the post. This could get…HHH no sold it of course.

Back in the ring, Goldberg does something that’s supposed to be a shoulder block I think, showing that true mastery of the finer points of wrestling that he possesses. The referee goes down because it’s a main event match and HHH gets some brass knucks from Flair. There’s no referee though, which seems to be way too big of a tradition at these shows. The kickout got ZERO reaction. I was surprised at that.

I would have thought they would have gotten at least something but there was nothing at all there. Sledgehammer is brought in of course and Goldberg gets the advantage. Flair is slammed off the top to continue a tradition and here comes Batista and Orton. Naturally the champion fights them all off and counters a Pedigree. We need tougher referees. These guys are out for hours off of a single shot. Get Crash Holly or someone like that.

He has the hammer but throws it away because his spear is more effective apparently. The standard two move combination ends this mess as my head is shaking. So let me get this straight. We have the best stable in about five years out there with more world titles between them than I can count, yet GOLDBERG GOLDBERG GOLDBERG (I had to do it once) is able to hold them all off.

Ok, you know what, I can actually believe that. Flair is washed up, HHH is in the match and Orton and Batista tried to fight him when he had a sledgehammer. I can go with that I suppose. But wait, Goldberg HAS A FREAKING BROKEN ANKLE! Just how ridiculous does that sound to you? He shouldn’t be able to walk yet he can fight off all four of them? Give me a break. On top of that, the referee didn’t notice them in the ring in that whole time? And people wonder why this era is considered horrible.

Rating: D-. This was just bad. Goldberg did all of five moves (therefore he’s still better than Cena) and keeps the belt with a broken ankle and fighting off Evolution. How in the world am I supposed to buy any of them, especially HHH, as credible ever again? He would win the title the next month in a triple threat involving Kane, which is just stupid as well. Whatever, at least this show is over.

Overall Rating: C-. I’m being very generous with that grade. This show just wasn’t all that great. It’s more or less just there. I mean the Austin and Bischoff match is by far and away the best on the show and the other Survivor Series match wasn’t that bad, but the rest of the show just doesn’t work that well. Taker’s gimmick change is of course huge, but the match wasn’t interesting at all. The main event was HORRIBLE.

I just wanted to end the show and that’s never good. You have some decent stuff here, but this show is the epitome of forgettable. Taker losing was big but the real impact wouldn’t be seen for about six months. This is like a preview for the upcoming year, which makes me wonder why this is considered a big show. Watch Austin and Bischoff’s match, but other than that this isn’t worth your time.

 

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