This past week on “Monday Night Raw”, we heard the announcement of the main event for the upcoming “Survivor Series 2014”: Team Cena vs. Team Authority in a showdown between the resident superhero and the big heel stable. This is a major change of pace for the show and something that has the show going back to its original roots, even for a little bit. Let’s look back at a brief history of the show and why this show could get its history back on track. Let’s get to it.
As you may know, Survivor Series debuted in 1987 after a string of elimination tag matches proved to be huge successes on the house show circuit. At the same time, the only pay per view of the year was Wrestlemania, meaning that a year would pass before the WWF could follow up on the monster business that “Wrestlemania III” brought in. There was still a huge feud between Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant and something had to be done to capitalize on it again.
The solution was to combine the feud with this hot new act by creating an elimination tag match between Team Hogan and Team Andre at a new pay per view called Survivor Series. That’s the key idea I want to get to here: the show was built entirely around one feud and that was the entire focus of the show. There were other feuds that had elimination matches of their own, but the big main event was the main focus of the show. It was a major feud and the first time the two captains would be in the ring against each other since “Wrestlemania III.”
In other words, this was the rematch of the biggest match of all time. The show was built around one match and one match only and it was an elimination tag team match. This is different from the last few years where the focus has been on the World Title or a major feud. The tag matches are still there, but they have either been thrown together at the last minute or a combination of some feuds being tied together for one match.
Unfortunately for fans of the original idea, there really isn’t a way around switching to the same model for the rest of the pay per views WWE presents. Back in the original days of the show, the idea started to wear thin because there was no reason to have the matches over and over. If you look back at the main events in the early days, you can see the same pattern taking place over and over again, making it harder to get interested as a fan.
Over the years, the series became a much more traditional pay per view, though the elimination matches have been a staple. However, they were far less important and took a back seat to the World Title matches or other major stories. Other than a few years here and there, such as the winner take all match at “Survivor Series 2001” or the match for control of “Monday Night Raw” at “Survivor Series 2003”, the tag matches haven’t meant much.
This has been the trend for the elimination tag matches for several years now. Assuming Cena vs. the Authority is main eventing the show, this will be the first time an elimination tag match has closed the show since “Survivor Series 2005.” This is quite the change given how many of the elimination tags have meant almost nothing. Considering last year one of the matches was built around the Total Divas and the other was designed to make Roman Reigns look like a machine, the elimination tags didn’t seem to have the biggest focus.
That leaves us with Cena vs. the Authority, which will be the dominant story of the match but can also be used as a way to build any of Cena’s partners as bigger stars than they are now. Look back at the original main event again and you’ll see a group of men getting a rub from simply being involved with the feud. While the Authority’s lineup won’t have much to gain, Cena will be able to bring in a partner and make them look like a bigger deal than they would otherwise.
Survivor Series is a show that could be used to enhance major feuds but the concept has turned into something like a bad side item at dinner: it may be here, but you can’t make a meal out of it. For the first time in nine years, the entire show is going to be built around the namesake match and the major story involved. This is a throwback to the original idea of the show but as usual, the idea could get burned out in a hurry.
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