Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Survivor Series 2005
Date: November 27, 2005
Location: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Commentators: Joey Styles, Jerry Lawler, Jonathan Coachman, Michael Cole, Tazz
This show is all about brand vs. brand, which really isn’t an interesting story because they would interact pretty regularly but of course WWE doesn’t get this. Therefore, the main event is a five on five Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown Survivor Series elimination tag for pure bragging rights. At least they didn’t have a full pay per view about it yet. Let’s get to it.
As you would expect, the opening video is about fighting to survive. The theme is still mostly about Raw vs. Smackdown, which really only matters in WWE’s eyes. Still though, a well built feud for bragging rights is better than building up a match for a lame story so I’ll take what I can get.
Booker T. vs. Chris Benoit
Here’s an idea they blatantly copied from WCW as this is the first match in a best of seven series for the US Title. Booker had been defending and we had a double pin in a match against Benoit, meaning we need to have seven matches instead of one. At least both guys are good. Benoit glares out at Sharmell and goes right at Booker in the corner to start. Feeling out process in the early going as Booker gets in a quick slam for two. Booker gets sent to the floor and it sounds like something falls near the entrance.
As Benoit takes Booker to the mat, Cole unintentionally buries the WCW TV Title (the first series was for a shot) by saying this series is actually important. Either Cole doesn’t know what the original was for or Vince fed him that line and then cackled a bit. Back up and Booker kicks him in the face, followed by an elbow to the same general area for two.
A raised boot in the corner and a side slam breaks it up and we hit an armbar. Yeah after the shots to the head and a slam where Benoit lands on his back, it’s a hold on the arm. Come on Booker you’re smarter than this. Thankfully Booker wakes up and goes to an abdominal stretch instead. Benoit fights out again so Booker knocks his block off with a spinwheel kick. Tazz starts talking about Cole looking mints and having a funny face as a result.
WHAT IS WITH HIM??? Every single show he goes on these insane tangents that make NO sense and barely talks about the match. Why did he keep doing commentary for the better part of ten years? Occasionally he’ll say something insightful (like AVOID THE HOLE in the Buried Alive match in 2003) but most of the time it’s just random babbling. Anyway, there’s a neckbreaker for two from Booker and we hit the chinlock.
Benoit fights up and starts the Germans, only to eat another kick to the face. A quick dragon screw leg whip looks to set up the Sharpshooter but Booker rolls him up for two. More rolling Germans look to set up the Swan Dive but Sharmell offers a distraction, only to have Benoit headbutt Booker down. The Swan Dive misses anyway and Booker grabs a rollup with his feet on the ropes (and Sharmell holding them there) to win the first match in the series.
Rating: B+. This is a heck of a match and a really good opener. They’re a case of two people who work really well together and this is what they can do with time. After Booker realized that the armbar was stupid (which it was) and he started cutting Benoit off every time, the match fell into a good story that ended with Sharmell’s interferences playing in to the finish. Really good stuff. Booker would win the series in January.
Eric Bischoff is warming up for his match with Teddy Long. Oh geez it’s this show. Vince comes up to wish him luck and Bischoff brings up Montreal. Bischoff promises to bring him up to date though because the fix is in with Kurt Angle vs. John Cena for the Raw World Title. Cena pops up and oh geez it’s THIS show. After a quick gay joke from Cena, Vince says “keep it up my nigga” and then does his strut past Booker and Sharmell. If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go sing Real American for no reason in particular.
Women’s Title: Melina vs. Trish Stratus
Joey Styles of Raw and Tazz of Smackdown are on commentary as this is interpromotional. Trish is defending after Melina had MNM kidnap her on Raw and demand a title shot. Melina has MNM with her and the ticked off Trish has the recently debuted psycho Mickie James in her corner. Trish attacks to start and sends Melina to the floor for a big dive off the top. I could really get used to this psycho and angry Trish. It’s shall we say, rather attractive in a purely innocent way of course.
The headstand into a headscissors puts Melina down but she forearms Trish in the back to get a breather. Joey talks about Melina being inexperienced on paper, sending Tazz into an actually funny rant about “WHAT PAPER ARE YOU COMMENTATORS ALWAYS TALKING ABOUT???” Melina kicks her square in the face but has to deal with Mickie, leaving MNM to load up a Snapshot on Trish, only to get caught just in time. Instead of that being the logical DQ, it’s just an ejection. So you can come in, pick someone up and throw them down and not get disqualified? Good to know.
Melina puts on a surfboard as the announcers debate which of Trish’s laces are more valuable at the moment. A hair takedown gets two on Melina and we hit the screeching. Tazz: “I’m kind of cool with that.” The Stratusphere (that headstand headscissors out of the corner) sets up a spinebuster of all things for two. After Mickie pulls Trish away from a charge, some kicks to the face set up a top rope bulldog to retain Trish’s title.
Rating: D+. This wasn’t much but it’s amazing how good Trish got in just a few years. She looked like she knew more about what she was doing out there than almost any Diva going today, which is probably why she’s considered the best ever. Melina would get way better when she became a wrestler instead of mainly being a valet. Not a great match but good lord Trish knew how to dress.
Detroit Tiger Dmitri Young is here.
We recap HHH vs. Ric Flair. HHH returned from some time off and turned on Flair, making Ric a face in the process. This led to a great match inside a cage at Taboo Tuesday where Flair turned on the magic one more time and won. You know HHH isn’t letting it end that way though so we’re having a last man standing match.
Ric Flair vs. HHH
Last man standing. HHH jumps him in the aisle before Flair can even get his robe off. They get inside with Flair in big trouble, made even worse by HHH grabbing a chair. Flair comes back with a kendo stick, which really looks weird in his hands. They brawl to the hockey boards with HHH taking over again and bringing it back to ringside. Flair is up at seven after a backdrop on the floor and an elbow to the back makes Flair swear a lot.
Ric’s strikes have little effect (WAY too early for that) and they head outside again. You can tell they have a long time to go here and I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. Flair goes into the post so HHH pulls out a toolbox and picks a screwdriver to bust Ric open BAD. If it wasn’t opened up enough, Ric makes sure to blade (on camera by mistake) to make it even worse.
Back in and we get more screwdriving (I would have pictured Flair being a big fan of screwdrivers), followed by two knee drops that clearly miss by a good eight inches each. I know they almost never hit but get it together production guys. They go back outside to load up the announcers’ table but first of all HHH grabs a spinebuster on the floor. HHH yells a bunch of trash on the mic so Flair grabs him by the crotch.
That’s not cool with HHH because Stephanie is the ball ripper in this company so it’s a Pedigree through the announcers’ table, only to have Flair backdrop HHH through the other table. It’s only good for nine though because HHH isn’t losing to a backdrop, even if it’s from Flair. A bunch of chops get a six for Flair but HHH can’t bring himself to use a chair. Instead HHH pounds on him even more, only to take a low blow. A chair off the head drops HHH for eight more so Flair bites the forehead.
HHH gets crotched against the post FOUR TIMES IN A ROW before Flair bites him on the back of the leg. There’s a Garvin Stomp of all things followed by a chop block but the Figure Four is broken up. Well, says, Flair, if that doesn’t work, why not a chair to crush the leg against the post? Now the Figure Four goes on and he can grab the ropes all he pleases.
HHH taps for no meaning so Flair lets go, only to have HHH beat the count at nine. He’s still able to drop Flair with a clothesline and bring in some steps. As so many people have done, HHH makes the mistake of holding them over his head, allowing Flair to score with a drop toehold to send HHH face first into the steps. HHH is up again and two Pedigrees get eight each so HHH gives him a third. Flair is STILL getting up so it’s a sledgehammer to the general area a few inches above Flair’s back to give HHH the win.
Rating: B. Long but good here with a ridiculous amount of blood to really make this feel like an old school brawl. HHH was always good at being especially evil and look how evil he was here as he beat up a guy in his late 50s. I’m not sure how bright it was to give Flair this kind of a rub when you could build up someone new, but you know HHH wasn’t going to sell like this for anyone but Flair or Shawn. Still though, good, violent brawl.
Flair goes out on a stretcher.
Trish and Mickie are online.
Orton is giving Team Smackdown a pep talk about why he should be the leader since Batista is injured. Cue Batista who thinks he’s in charge. JBL disagrees and gets stared down in a funny bit.
Here are Edge and Lita (good lord) with something to say. Edge has an announcement to make…..and it’s not him cashing in his Money in the Bank contract. No actually he and Lita are going to have their own talk show soon, called the Cutting Edge. That’s enough of that now though so let’s go annoy Dmitri Young. Edge goes with the basic jabs at the Tigers and Young looks stunned that a heel would insult him.
After some steroids jokes, Edge runs down the Detroit sports teams (ignoring the LET’S GO REDWINGS chants). Young lists off the sports championships Detroit has won but can’t see one on Edge (who would wind up with as many World Championships as the Redwings as of 2015).
We recap the Raw World Title match which is built around trying to make Cena vs. Bischoff into Austin vs. McMahon again. Bischoff doesn’t like Cena as champion so he’s gotten Kurt Angle: Wrestling Machine to take the title. Angle has beaten him before but Kurt now has his own personal referee in Daivari to really stack the deck.
Raw World Title: Kurt Angle vs. John Cena
Cena is defending, Daivari is referee and Angle’s YOU SUCKS are censored due to Bischoff thinking it’s unfair. Kurt takes him down by the leg to start and drops elbows on the knee, followed by an early leg crank. Back up and the threat of a right hand sends Angle to the floor but Daivari keeps Cena in the ring. So much like Bill Alfonso in ECW, Daivari is a heel for doing his job.
The fans are red hot for this one as Lawler talks about all the countries watching this show live. Apparently Coach thinks the Gaza Strip is a topless bar. The release fisherman’s suplex drops Angle for no count. That earns Cena the ankle lock for way longer than anyone should be able to survive the hold. Cena gets the rope but Daivari kicks his hand away. The hold is reversed and Cena’s ankle is FINE, allowing him to slam Angle and slap Daivari. Kurt makes sure Daivari doesn’t call for the DQ so Cena rams them together to get a breather.
Cena gets sent into the steps and a second referee comes in to count two. Well you knew there was going to be a way around Daivari. Kurt grabs a waistlock before throwing Cena hard into the corner to keep him in trouble. The fans are ALL OVER Cena and another suplex gives Kurt two. Off to something like an STF on Cena but Kurt goes to a regular chinlock instead. Cena fights up and grab a DDT without selling the ankle injury one bit. The champ wins a slugout and initiates his finishing sequence, including pumping up the shoes.
Kurt clotheslines the referee down and there’s a low blow for Cena. Here’s a third referee as you would think Daivari would have risen from the dead by now. The Angle Slam gets two, followed by a superplex for the same. The moonsault misses because of course it does so Kurt uppercuts the third referee. Daivari is finally up so Cena DDTs him back down, only to have a Smackdown referee come out to take over. He’s got a quick night though as Cena hits the FU to retain.
Rating: B-. WAY too overbooked here but they had to protect Cena here, even if he wouldn’t sell being in the ankle lock for thirty seconds. You could see Cena’s inexperience in matches at this level coming through, which is so bizarre when you know what he would become. Angle was so hot at this point that they had to do something with him but what can you do when you don’t want to give him the Raw World Title? Well in this case you wait for Batista to get hurt and give him the Smackdown World Title until he leaves for TNA in less than a year.
Eric Bischoff vs. Teddy Long
Let’s get this over with because neither is a wrestler and this is happening because EVERYONE LOVES BRAND WARFARE! Teddy has network adviser Palmer Cannon in his corner and we have two referees to make sure this is fair. Eric throws some kicks and Teddy does his bouncy dancing. Bischoff finally chokes him down as we’re waiting on a match to break out.
The fans think this is boring and that’s being too kind. A sleeper takes Teddy down but a shoe to the head breaks it up. Bischoff’s karate shot to the throat….and here’s the Boogeyman. Eric looks to the entrance but Boogeyman is behind him with a choke and a pumphandle powerslam. Teddy wins and it’s time for more dancing.
Rating: I. I’ve had infections that were more pleasant than this. Moving on.
The Raw and Smackdown teams are cheered on by their respective rosters.
We recap the main event. Back in October at Raw Homecoming, Bischoff turned the lights out on a Smackdown six man tag. This triggered a war between the shows as they kept invading each other to try one more time to get this brand warfare thing to matter, even though no one outside of WWE cared. You over there. You say you cared? Stop lying, because you know you didn’t. Why? Because no one cared.
Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown
Raw: Big Show, Kane, Shawn Michaels, Carlito, Chris Masters
Smackdown: Rey Mysterio, Bobby Lashley, Batista, Randy Orton, John Bradshaw Layfield
Batista is Smackdown World Champion but has a bad upper body due to an attack by Kane and Big Show. JBL has his publicist Jillian Hall, who still has a mole on her face. Lashley is still pretty new here but considered a can’t miss prospect. Orton (with his dad) is replacing Eddie Guerrero who passed away just a few weeks before this show. Kane and Big Show are Raw Tag Team Champions. The announcers bicker throughout the nearly ten minutes of entrances which makes me think we’re in for a long match. This really is one sided on paper.
Shawn and Orton get things going after Batista wasn’t allowed to start due to his injuries. Randy backs him into the corner and slaps the taste out of Shawn’s mouth, only to have Shawn slap him down to one knee. Three times in a row Shawn headlocks him to the mat but gets caught in a headscissors. With that not working, Shawn slaps him even harder but Orton grabs a slam.
The announcers talk even more than they do now with Tazz being a jerk. Like, moreso than usual. Masters comes in but takes a dropkick from Orton. It’s off to Lashley for the big power showdown. Lashley tells him to try his luck and Masters charges into a powerslam for two. A cheap shot from the apron lets Masters try the Masterlock but you know that’s not working. Lashley sends him flying with a belly to belly and it’s off to Carlito who has to be dragged in.
Some clotheslines set up a running powerslam for two (on Carlito in case you’re a bit slow today) and it’s off to Michaels. That’s fine with Lashley who slams him off the top, followed by an overhead belly to belly. I told you Lashley was a can’t miss prospect. I wonder how he wound up missing so badly in WWE. The Dominator plants Carlito but Kane chokeslams Lashley from the apron to give Shawn the pin for the first advantage.
Mysterio comes in for some kicks to Shawn’s legs but Kane interferes again with a knee to the back. It’s back to Masters who might be able to do something with Rey this banged up. A gorilla press drop sets up the tag to Kane (Tazz: “This isn’t good.”) who is quickly chopped down by some kicks to the head and a standing moonsault for two.
Rey charges right into a boot to the face though as the announcers are now talking about qualifying matches and Coach not being funny. A bearhug puts Rey in trouble as the argument turns to ratings. Tazz: “Joey I beg of you shut up.” Mysterio finally escapes and it’s off to Batista to really get Smackdown going. Kane gets in a shot to the bad ribs but Batista spears him down with ease. The rest of the Raw guys are dispatched and it’s a 619 to Kane, followed by a spinebuster for the elimination.
Batista walks into a Big Show chokeslam for two, followed by a double chokeslam from Kane and Show behind the two referees’ back. They didn’t notice that three of the nine people still at ringside weren’t around? We settle down to JBL vs. Big Show but the giant throws Rey around a bit first. Orton snaps Show’s throat across the top and the Clothesline From JBL, the 619, the RKO, another Clothesline From JBL and a springboard seated senton from Rey finally ties it up.
We’re down to Mysterio/JBL/Orton vs. Shawn/Carlito/Masters, which again is pretty one sided. Everything breaks down again and JBL throws Shawn on the floor with a fall away slam. Masters plants Rey down and it’s off to Carlito for a chinlock as Shawn is still down. Rey fights up and JBL gets in a blind tag, setting up another Clothesline From JBL to get rid of Carlito, who has to be helped from the ring. Masters suplexes JBL for two as Shawn STILL hasn’t moved.
Back to Mysterio who avoids a charge in the corner and hits the 619, followed by Dropping the Dime (Springboard legdrop. Tazz: “HE DROPPED THE WHOLE DOLLAR ON HIM!”) to make it 3-1. JBL throws Shawn back inside and it’s off to Rey for another 619. As Joey Styles points out that Smackdown could have won on a countout, Shawn superkicks Rey and JBL for back to back pins in 15 seconds to get it down to Orton vs. Michaels.
Orton is quickly sent to the floor for a big dive as things speed up. Back in and some clotheslines set up the top rope elbow as the fans want Undertaker (who was advertised for the show). JBL tries to come in with a chair but eats a superkick, setting up the RKO to give Smackdown the pin.
Rating: B+. That’s how you do an elimination tag. This was great stuff (save for the commentary, though it was actually entertaining at times) with the eliminations coming fast enough that they didn’t get ridiculous and Shawn doing his best to make you believe he was dead before his comeback. They kept people looking strong too and the whole thing worked well. Good match and a really good main event to make the Survivor Series match feel important again.
The Smackdown roster hits the ring and here’s Undertaker. Well scratch that as first we have the druids bringing a casket. After a lot of chanting, the casket lights on fire (as Orton had done to Undertaker about a month and a half back) and Undertaker walks out. Undertaker stalks to the ring to clean house and a throat slit has Orton terrified to end the show.
Overall Rating: A-. For a show that almost no one remembers, this is a heck of a good card. The main event is good, there’s a lot of other solid stuff around, Trish looks about as good as she ever has……..and dang it Teddy Long’s dancing makes me smile. I don’t think I can call this a classic but there’s a lot of really good stuff on it to carry it a lot higher than I thought it was going to be. They’re in a transitional period here but this was a great show.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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