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KELLER'S WWE PPV REPORT 11/23: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live event including Jeff Hardy update, Triple H vs. Kozlov, John Cena return

Nov 23, 2008 - 10:11:54 PM
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By Wade Keller, Torch editor

KELLER'S WWE SURVIVOR SERIES PPV REPORT
NOVEMBER 23, 2008
LIVE FROM BOSTON, MASS.


-For a detailed report on the first hour of the PPV, please visit James Caldwell's Survivor Series report on the Main Listing right below this report. My report on the first hour will be added later.

-First Hour Highlights: Jim Ross announced at the start that Jeff Hardy was found in a stairwell of his hotel last night and was hospitalized. He said it is questionable whether he'll wrestle tonight... Rey Mysterio & Shawn Michaels & Great Khali were the sole survivors in the first ten-man tag match. All three pairs of announcers called this one... Beth Phoenix was the sole survivor of the women's match... In a backstage interview, Triple H was asked about the Jeff Hardy situation. He talked a circle around the angle and said he's claw his way back to a title shot if he doesn't wrestle tonight. Matt Hardy was also interviewed backstage. He awkwardly addressed the angle, saying that he was up all night worried once he heard about the situation... WWE is claiming that major media outlets covered this story including a number of major broadcast and cable networks. There are some disputing that this story got that kind of coverage...

3 -- UNDERTAKER vs. THE BIG SHOW -- Casket Match

Elaborate ring entrance for Undertaker with the Gregorian Chanting. Taker almost dumped Big Show into the open casket at ringside at the start of the match. Show took control quickly at ringside with headbutts. Show began dismantling a ringside announce table. Taker was able to rest and then hit a flying legdrop off the ringside barrier on Show, collapsing the table at 3:00. Back in the ring Taker attempted to walk the top rope, but Show punched out of it, then hit a superplex. The whole pace of everything was very lumbering, taking the crowd out of it. At 5:00 Show shoved Taker into the casket. Show told the two referees to close it, but they wouldn't. They said he had to. He was scared to touch it. Finally he moved in and tried to close it, but Taker stuck his leg out to block it from closing tight. Taker made a comeback, prompting Tazz to say he suspected that Taker was revitalized inside the casket. They fought back and forth for a while. When Show climbed to the top rope, Taker chokeslammed him to the mat. Ross said that might be enough for a pin, but Taker had to move Show into the casket, not just pin him. An "Un-der-taker" chant broke out. Taker kicked Show into the casket. He staggered over to close the lid, but Show lifted his arms to block the lid from closing. He came back a minute later with a chokeslam in mid-ring. 
With Taker KO'd in the ring, Show tipped over the casket at ringside and then walked toward the back. He broke into a smile. Taker then sat up and the smile turned to worry. Show awaited Taker who pursued him up the aisle. Kane-style pyro blasted on the stage. They exchanged blows on the ramp. Show knocked Taker down and then walked up toward the stage. The Gregorian Chants began again and out came the monks with a new casket. Show lifted the new casket onto it's end and the threw Taker into it, tipping it over at 10:00. Taker nearly knocked Show off of the edge of the stage. Taker then threw Show at the casket. The casket tipped over and the lid closed on him. Ross said that was "the most unique of casket matches."

WINNER: Undertaker in 11:00.

STAR RATING: *1/4 -- It was paced like a dress rehearsal. The spectacle was solid and there were some decent spots, but overall a bit of a letdown.

-A promo aired for the WWE Armageddon PPV.

-Backstage Carlito and Primo Colon chatted up Nikki and Bri Bella, getting them mixed up. A mascot walked in. Primo said it's the Gobbledygooker. Carlito said it must be Charlie Haas. Haas walked in dressed in street clothes. The mascot took off his headpiece, revealing Boogeyman with a mouth full of worms (that must have been in there for a record length of time). He said, "I am the Boogeyman. Ha ha ha ha ha ha."

-Randy Orton gave his team a pep talk. He said they have strengths and weaknesses - looking at Cody Rhodes when he said weaknesses. He told them to follow his lead. Cody said if Randy is eliminated first, they'll call it addition by subtraction.

-They showed the exterior of Boston Garden from an aerial perspective. Michael Cole said the arena is sold out with 15,825.

4 -- BATISTA & R-TRUTH & C.M. PUNK & MATT HARDY & KOFI KINGSTON vs. RANDY ORTON & CODY RHODES & MARK HENRY & SHELTON BENJAMIN & WILLIAM REGAL (w/Manu, Leyla)

Batista came out first followed an abbreviated rap sing-a-long with Truth. Then C.M. Punk with his World Tag Team Title belt around his waist. Has anyone been a champion a higher percentage of his days on the roster as Punk has so far? Kofi Kingston followed. Then Matt Hardy. Tazz said Hardy's had his mind on his brother's situation so it may be tough to concentrate. The heels then came out one at a time. Punk jump-started the match with a flying knee on Regal in the corner for an instant three count. Shelton Benjamin snuck into the ring and scored an early near fall on Punk. Punk kicked out and then wheel kicked Shelton to the floor. Leyla threw her shoe at Punk and hit him in the head. Good throw. They replayed it and she nailed him from 15 feet away. Practice? Cole talked about the issues between Orton and Batista dating back to their days in Evolution, mentioning Ric Flair and Triple H by name. Striker talked about Matt having spent the entire night with his brother when Hardy battled Cody at 3:00. Striker said Cody has a hard exterior and precious insides. He said Cody is everything "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes was not. Ross said, "That's rather abrasive." Striker said that's what Cody told him. Truth scored a near fall on Shelton at 7:00. Orton tagged in against Kofi and finished him with an implant DDT when Kofi's legs were on the second rope. Punk came in and immediately went after Orton with kicks. Orton tagged in Cody who hit a nice high dropkick and then applied a hammerlock. Manu distracted Punk on the ring apron. Cody then finished Punk with a DDT at 13:00.

Hardy went after Cody with a Side Effect. When Henry tagged in, Hardy dove at him, but Henry turned it into a powerslam and a pin. Batista was the last member of his team left and he immediately speared Henry for a three count. He then fended a fast attack from Shelton and gave him a spinebuster followed by a Batista Bomb for the win. Cody ran in and met a big boot immediately. When Cody went for a top rope clothesline seconds later, Batista caught him with a powerslam. Batista fended off a distraction from Manu, then gave Cody a Batista Bomb. When he went for the pin. the ref said he wasn't the legal man. Orton, who blind-tagged himself into the ring, surprised Batista with an RKO for the pin. Manu stood by Cody and leered at Orton afterward. Batista struggled to get up a minute after the heels left the ring.

WINNERS: Orton & Rhodes in 16:00.

-Eve Torres interviewed Vladimir Kozlov backstage, asking if it makes a difference to him whether Hardy is in the match or not. He said no difference, he'll become champion either way.

-Ross and Tazz were shown on camera. Ross said they were just given an update on Hardy's situation. He said Hardy will not be able to compete tonight. He said it will be a one-on-one match-up. Tazz said it's an unfortunate situation. He otherwise didn't have much to say about this. They threw to a video package that was mostly about Hardy and his new extreme attitude.

STAR RATING: **1/4 -- It was fine. Having Rhodes and Orton the sole survivors is good fodder for their volatile relationship going forward as they have co-bragging rights to the victory, although Orton can claim he saved Cody from sure defeat.

5 -- TRIPLE H vs. VLADIMIR KOZLOV -- WWE Title match

Ross said the first time the WWE Title was defended at Survivor Series was 1991 when Undertaker defeated Hulk Hogan. Ross said if Kozlov won there'd be a big celebration in his "homeland." Triple H put Kozlov into a headlock at the start. Early boring chants by fans. A chant of "We Want Hardy" could be heart during a hammerlock by Triple H. Tazz acknowledged the chants. At 3:00 the crowd began to crowd restless with scattered boos as Triple H applied an armbar. They just can't work this style in 2008 and expect it to work. Fans have seen what real fights look like, and this isn't it, so they have to make sure they're both both fake and boring. Fans can live with fake if it's exciting, but not four minutes of time-filling, unrealistic, rudimentary mat holds. Triple H hit a DDT to almost zero reaction from the fans at 4:00. Triple H then hit a spinebuster. He played to the crowd and set up a Pedigree. Kozlov powered out and hit a battering ram to Triple H's chest. Kozlov whipped Triple H into the corner, where he flipped over and to the floor. At 7:00 Kozlov rammed Triple H into the ring apron edge. Back in the ring Kozlov applied a bearhug on the mat. More "boring" chants. Ross said, "A mat wrestling match. Something we don't see often for the WWE Title, but that is Kozlov's style." As Kozlov held him down, Ross, "It's working. Why try anything else?" Well, because fans paid to see action, not two guys lying next to each other on the mat? And because it just encouraged "We Want Hardy" chants (although that may actually be what they wanted). Kozlov went for a headbutt in the corner. Triple H moved and then hit a Pedigree quickly. He was slow, though, to make the cover. The crowd stood as Vickie Guerrero walked out onto the stage wearing a neckbrace. She said, "As promised, this will be a Triple Threat match. He's here! He's here! Here he is!" Edge's mjusic playd and he walked out with a new wild, crazed look including a big beard and bulging eyes. Ross said, "This is like a nightmare coming true." Edge speared Triple H. Jef Hardy then ran to the ring and attacked Edge, drawing a World Class Championship Wrestling Von Erich style cheer. He sure looked healthy enough to wrestle the match. He bashed Triple H and Kozlov with a chair. Edge speared Hardy. Edge then covered Triple H and got a three count. "The ultimate opportunist strikes again!" Ross said, "What in the Lord's name is going on here?!" Edge celebrated with Vickie on the stage.

WINNER: Edge in 14:00 to capture the WWE Championship.

STAR RATING: neg. *** -- One of the saddest efforts in-ring for a PPV title match in ages. The finish was what it was. Another chance to push Edge as being opportunistic and give the fans a "surprise" run-in and return. The fact that Hardy looked good enough to wrestle had to leave some fans scratching their heads and feeling ripped off. After making it a big deal all show, once Hardy's run-in was over, it really wasn't addressed again.

6 -- CHRIS JERICHO vs. JOHN CENA -- World Hvt. Title match

Jericho came out first even though he's the champ. Then there was a pause for drama followed by Cena's ring entrance. He wore a t-shirt that emulated the AWA logo, but said HLR - Hustle, Loyalty, Respect. What percentage of WWE fans will have idea that logo the HLA t-shirt is emulating? He played to the crowd briefly, then charged to the ring and ran the ropes. Cena got in some spirited offense in the early minutes. Jericho got sustained control after a DDT at 6:00. Lawler noted that Cena looked like he was heading to the top rope, but he stopped and changed his mind. Lawler said that showed ring rust and hesitation and a lack of confidence. Cole said the last time Cena went to the top rope was when Batista caught him and injured his neck with the Batista Bomb. Jericho then kicked Cena against the ringpost. Cena was on the floor and Jericho entered the ring and told the ref to begin his count. The ref did. He got to nine and Cena leaped into the ring. That would have been hilarious if Cena got counted out there, perhaps the weaknest, most anti-climactic finish to a PPV event since Lex Luger beat Yokozuna by countout at SummerSlam over 15 years ago.

Jericho got aggressive and picked up the pace at 9:00. It was just 27 minutes into the third hour at this point. If WWE has ever had pressure to deliver a nearly full three hours of action, it's this event after their snide comments about the last UFC PPV event main event ending shortly into the third hour and then bragging about WWE always delivering nearly three hours of entertainment. Jericho settled into a head grasp in mid-ring. Cena stood up and powered out. Jericho applied a full nelson for a couple minutes. Cena powered out. At 13:00 Cena mounted a comeback with two shoulder tackles. Jericho responded with a bulldog. Cena avoided a Lionsault and then dropped Jericho to the mat. He stood there playing up the "You Can't See Me" bit, which was ridiculous since there was no way Jericho was knocked out enough to take all that time to play to the crowd. It made Cena look like a complete buffoon, and sure enough Jericho popped up and put Cena in a Walls of Jericho. When Cena escaped, Jericho nailed a clothesline and then applied another Walls of Jericho. Cena winced and crawled toward the bottom rope. He made his Cena-Faces before grasping the bottom rope to force the break. Then he surprised Jericho with an FU. He was very slow to make the cover. When he did, Jericho kicked out at 17:00. They battled on the top rope. Cena won the battle, knocked Jericho to the mat, and then hit a flying legdrop off the top rope. Lawler said Cena had his confidence back. Jericho surprised Cena with a Code Breaker. Cena, though, kicked out. Not much crowd heat. Jericho bled lightly from his forehead. He waited for Cena to stand. When he did, Jericho charged and hit a clothesline. Cena came back with an STFU. Jericho crawled to the bottom rope. Jericho upkicked Cena in the face. Cena was stunned, but then lifted Jericho and hit an FU for the pin. The crowd reaction really seemed tepid on PPV. The crowd shots didn't indicate any kind of frenzy, either. Cena went into the crowd and hugged his dad, other family members, and friends. After some replays of the finish, the show ended with Cena holding his belt in the air as Lawler noted that for the first time in Survivor Series history, two world championships changed hands.

WINNER: Cena in 22:00 to win the World Hvt. Title.

STAR RATING: **3/4 -- Above-average match in some ways, but pretty flat in others. The crowd just didn't come across as caring pro or con regarding Cena as much as in the past, odd for his hometown. I'll be interested to hear what the energy level was like from those in the arena.

-For our "PPV Reax" feature, if you saw this event, please send your name, hometown, occupation (optional), picks for best and worst matches, a 0-10 score, and a paragraph of thoughts.

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