Before I start, I yet again have some things to address. I will keep this short though; I promise!
First off, I would like to inform all you about the 2005 Triad Top 50 Columnists contest or interactive session (whichever you would like to call it) again. Basically, we are rating the best columnists of 2005. How hard is that? You like a columnist, you vote them high; you don’t like a columnist, you vote them low. We need some more participation, people, and to be honest, I would really like it if we got them from readers. You are the ones we columnists (yes, I am one though this is a review…my head hurts too) write for, so really, why not voice your opinion and show who you truly think the best columnist of the year is? Linda Robin, The Butcher, David Long, Mike Steele, Jonathan Brown, et cetera. They are all being voted on so get off your hump and do something constructive.
Second and finally, I’d like to just say that this is the 50th edition of “Squared Circle Reviews.” I’ve been reviewing since 2003 (wrestling that is), but I really only picked up this year. I honestly hope to reach 100 in way less time than it took me to hit 50 so we will see how that turns out. I don’t really want to go into this long spiel about how I got into reviewing, what it means to me, and all that crap that is normally saved for this occasion. What do I want to do? I want to review Survivor Series and do what you came here to read. Hopefully you will enjoy it, but knowing how much my hope means these days, let’s just hope you don’t vomit at my words. Here goes nothing:
The “Power Is Back” video plays and I find myself wondering about this PPV and how it is really WWE’s chance to prove that new mantra they have adopted. Then again, with the passing of Eddie Guerrero and the loss of television for a week (not complaining, just stating), I really question the quality of tonight’s PPV. Anyway, after that video, we get treated to another video talking about survival while showing clips of the Raw/SmackDown! feud over the past month or whatever. From there, they talk about survival in the Cena/Angle and Triple H/Flair feud as well and also make mention of Undertaker’s return, which should have been in a damn match. Anyway, the video ends, the fireworks go off, the announcers do their normal hype, and the 19th annual Survivor Series is underway.
WWE United States Championship
Best Of Seven Series: Match One
Booker T Vs. Chris Benoit
This series is one of those things that I am virtually split on. On one hand, it’s nice for WWE to finally do something more with Chris Benoit and Booker T besides giving them pointless reigns and filler matches. On the other hand, WWE should have taken this opportunity to push Benoit to the top and maybe give him a title reign in tribute to his best friend. I don’t even think I need to remind you of the cliche nature of the series: we saw one last year with Cena and Booker T as well as the two current wrestlers doing it back in WCW. Then again, wrestling is probably 75% cliche, so is it really something to nitpick? This was just a lackluster match with very few good things in it and definitely not on par with the past two these two have had in recent memory. I have a bad feeling that that’s what I’m going to be saying about each and every match in this series: “not on par with the past matches.” Even more, I don’t think anyone has realized that by the end of the series, these two will have wrestled nine times since November. With Booker T’s predictability and the way WWE books things, I suspect by the end of the series, I will be dying of boredom.
Back onto the match, it started well with some nice stand-offs followed by a good mat wrestling spot which I didn’t really expect to see from Booker T. Say what you want about Booker T, but he’s no Bret Hart in terms of technical wrestling. From there, the match just got worse and really just kind of dragged. Benoit was super-over, but even the crowd was losing interest in him and the match by half-way. I think it was really the fact they were doing so many holds, but not really focusing on the body parts. Also, they were just generally working a very slow style which should not be done in PPV opening matches. As the match progressed, I felt a little more disgusted with the three sloppy German Suplexes that Benoit gave Booker and cringed at the last one which is the first time I think I’ve cringed at a Benoit German since 2001. From there, it got predictable, it got stale, and it finished. Thank God. There were some things I liked though like the opening as well as the tease of the double shoulders pinning attempts. It was good to keep people on their toes with Friday’s match in mind, but I really don’t think people cared enough to pay attention. In the end, Benoit missed the Diving Headbutt which Booker T capitalized on. He covered Benoit with his legs on the rope and Sharmell holding on for the win. With that, the first match of the series was over leaving a lot of fans with bad tastes in their mouths and bad feeling about the direction these two are going in.
Winner: Booker T
Star Wrestler: Chris Benoit
Benoit wasn’t that great in this match, but I really am going to place the brunt of the blame onto Booker T. When the match was getting bad and losing steam, Booker was in control. Yes, he was just controlling Benoit with basic holds, but he was the one in control. All Benoit could really do was sell and gyrate his hips like he was in pain but ready to pounce (and not in that way, you pervect [if you get the joke right there, e-mail me and I’ll give you a prize]). What more could you really ask from Benoit in that situation? Had Booker T handled Benoit better during the middle of the match, the finish might have gotten more meaning and he wouldn’t have lost the support from the crowd that was so heavily Benoit. If you can’t get the crowd booing at you against Chris Benoit, there is obviously something wrong. For that reason alone, Benoit will get this nod.
After a drawn-out Benoit-Booker stare-off and recap, we see Bischoff practicing his karate backstage before Vince McMahon strolls in. Vince says he just wished Teddy some good luck and he is wishing him some good luck too. Vince then asks Eric how he feels to which Eric replies by saying he feels great. Eric then starts to act like a desperate crack addict who hit the mother lode as he describes how he will be victorious on all three counts tonight: screwing over Cena, beating Long, and beating SmackDown! He then says that Vince knows better than anyone that Survivor Series is the place to make history because of Bret Hart. He then says it was so 90s, but he will bring them up to date as he will screw Cena out of the title tonight. Bischoff then starts chanting, “You screwed Cena,” which I’m sure he must mutter in his sleep, and John Cena pops up. At this point, the segment has already gone on long enough, but why not tack on another five minutes and let me steal away to the bathroom?
Cena then makes a joke about Bischoff screwing guys and saying that’s cool for Bischoff, and naturally, Bischoff leaves in a huff. Cena and McMahon then share a very rare ghetto moment which is surprising because Vince McMahon is probably as ghetto as I am Asian. He ends it by uttering one of the dumbest words a white person can say these days. You know which word it is; I don’t need to repeat it. All I have to say is that the strut that accompanied the word should quell all racist questions because that just confirms it was a joke. Was it a bad joke? Hell, yes; it’s Vince McMahon! But it’s still a joke and get over it. If you’re offended by it, maybe you should write a letter to record companies telling their artists to cut it out too. It’s a two-way street; not one. After that comment and nice little birthday strut, McMahon passes Booker T who looks like someone told him he’s never touching main event gold again as he simply asks someone to tell him that McMahon didn’t say that. Reasonable request? Of course, but in reality, it’s not going to happen, Book. With that, the segment ends with only 2 hours to spare. Wow; McMahon must be in a good mood tonight!
It’s official, people. Trish Stratus sucks. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Trish is one of the few women in WWE who can work a good match.” If you had said that this time last year, I would have agreed. Since she came back though? Hell, no. Trish Stratus solidified her place last year as one of the best female American workers ever (I’m not even about to touch Joshi), but since she came back this year, she has been off. Her matches with Victoria have all been the same as well as her exchanges with the psycho worker in tag matches and battle royals. She’s doing the same spots over and over and what she doesn’t do repeatedly, she botches. A friend of mine called this one of the most botched matches of the year, and I’d have to be inclined to agree. It’s not really that they botched every move too, more that the way they connected or hit was horribly awkward. For instance, the first move of the match was Stratus flying onto MNM on the outside, but from my point of view, it didn’t even look like Melina was hit and Mercury looked embarrassingly unprotected. Sadly, that pattern continued. I had such high expectations going into this match considering how good the Christy-Melina match was on Friday, and to be honest, Melina played her part well. I didn’t really appreciate the screaming she gave us (neither did my eardrums), but her workrate spoke for itself and really, what can you do to make a woman look better when most of her spots call her to dispel reality for five seconds as she bends down in the most scripted fashion? Considering some of the stinkers we have gotten this year from the Women’s division, this wasn’t that bad, but for the quality of each involved (or quality Trish used to be), it was horrible and a definitive let-down by my standards. I truly have a bad taste in mouth after this match and I can’t wait for Melina to come over to Raw, injure Trish, take the title, and feud with Victoria and Mickie and have some decent matches. To finish off this let-down, Trish Stratus hit a bull-dog off the top rope that barely connected for the win.
Winner: Trish Stratus
Star Wrestler: Melina
As I said, Trish isn’t what she was in 2004 or earlier this year. The Trish earlier this year could carry Christy, who at the time was hardly trained, to a better match than this. Now, Trish needs to be carried. Maybe Trish needs to spend more time in OVW, maybe she didn’t get a chance to work off the ring-rust, maybe she’s developing what I call “Triple H circa 2002 disease;” whatever it is, Trish is horrible right now and I’ve been giving her the benefit of the doubt for about two months now. Not anymore; she is not the female worker I went out of my way to watch in 2004 and I hope she gets back to that level soon. Meanwhile, if Melina starts having some more matches and works with some good workers, I feel she could get to that level and surpass it. I’ve already heard good things about Melina’s stint in OVW and her work recently has only confirmed. Please, WWE. Trade Trish and Melina and give Melina the strap. When Trish is through with the H disease, you can bring her back, but until then, give us fans some good matches.