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Posted in: Doctor's Orders
Doctor's Orders: The Survivor Series Preview - The Most Interesting Match Won't Happen on Sunday
By The Doc
Nov 14, 2012 - 1:09:02 PM

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What about Survivor Series '12 most interests you?

When WWE Champion, CM Punk, told Mick Foley on Raw that he couldn’t learn anything from him because he had no desire to jump off a roof like a goof, I knew that I wasn’t going to order Survivor Series. I knew that I had no business ordering a show that’s best rivalry wasn’t going to be featured on the card. A few weeks ago, I was a critical of the post-HIAC handling of the original plan to do Team Foley vs. Team Punk, but what was lost in all of that was how engaged I was in the potential for a Foley vs. Punk match down the road. Their verbal interactions have been the one truly interesting piece of television over the last three weeks. This past Raw was further proof, to me, that there’s some good money to be made in the wrestling business by bringing Foley out of retirement for one more match. It’s a role that Mick is all too familiar with and that he’s been all too willing to take on; playing the top star from the era gone by that the current new star either on the rise to stardom or whose star is still rising needs to be put over to solidify their status. He did it for Randy Orton and he did it for Edge and those two track records speak for themselves. There’s twenty World Championships between those two guys. Before that, he did it for Triple H. Add his in and that’s over thirty World Championships combined between the three stars that were taken to another stratosphere by their encounters with the future Hall of Famer, the baby boy born to Mrs. Foley.

I want to see Mick Foley vs. CM Punk and I want to see it for the WWE Championship. How it plays out from there is anyone’s guess. From what I saw on Monday, I see no reason to assume that the WWE Championship will change hands on Sunday. I hope that it doesn’t. CM Punk’s title reign length is the one thing that has made his title reign historically relevant to the masses (it is very relevant to critics who pay attention to things like workrate because you could put his reign up against anyone’s in history and the workrate would meet or exceed it). With him only main-eventing PPVs consistently starting two months ago, he needs to keep winning. He needs to be that champion that only a Rock or Steve Austin or Undertaker or Brock Lesnar caliber guy can defeat, putting him ahead of everyone else on the current roster to distinguish him definitively as the top star in the game today. Only then, in my opinion, will he be on John Cena’s level. So, I want him to line up the Attitude era’s best, starting with Foley. The WWE can take it from there, but I’ll save my money for Foley vs. Punk. You, ladies and gentlemen, can fill me on the Survivor Series results.

I think it is unfortunate to see how far Survivor Series has fallen. A recent news post suggested that the 5-on-5 match cannot draw a strong PPV buy number on its own as the main attraction. I disagree with that, wholeheartedly. It just all comes back to making intelligent, forward-thinking at best, and logical at worst booking decisions to properly hype said elimination match. How they began the Foley-Punk teams was not the way to do it; not by a long shot. Is any further proof of that necessary than the audible that they called a week later? Survivor Series 2001, 2003-2005 all did very well at the box office with traditional matches that were put in motion a few months in advance. It used to be a place where major storylines came together from the post-Summerslam months. That’s no longer the case and the crazy thing is that they don’t even seem to realize that, choosing instead of pass it off as a concept that doesn’t work. That’s ridiculous. You can’t fail to try and then pronounce the failure to be in spite of hard work. It doesn’t work that way. The WWE quit trying to make Survivor Series interesting in 2006 when they just threw a bunch of common feuds into random matches on their website. No, the 1988 way of doing things won’t work with the modern audience conditioned to see tons of wrestling matches per week and 156 television shows per year. But the early-to-mid 2000s method worked and would continue to work if they’d not given up on it.

This year’s classic match is the case in point of all that is wrong with Survivor Series. We get one thrown together blob (maybe two to three, depending on the year) and that’s supposed to live up to the name of the event. If they plan to continue what they did in this and recent years, then they really should just scrap the theme and replace it. Maybe have TLC be the event that they build to for the fall, or better yet, the Elimination Chamber, which maintains the original idea of “survival” and gets that PPV out off the Road to Wrestlemania where, mark my words, it will one day cause a major injury unnecessarily that will force the WWE to call a Wrestlemania-changing switcharoo at the worst possible time. I am a huge Dolph Ziggler fan, but it doesn’t really do much for him to captain a team for a gimmick match that nobody gives a crap about. That match is a turd. Ziggler covers it in rainbow glitter to an extent, giving it some added spice with his continued ascent toward being a larger-than-life persona, but it’s still a turd. Why not have him verbally engage Foley? Their segment from earlier this year was excellent; where was that in the last two weeks?

Of the three top matches, also including the two championship bouts, the classic Survivor Series match is the least interesting because there’s nothing at stake. Foley captains a team where the guy he wanted to captain against is no longer involved. He’s got no beef with anyone on the team that he’s sending his troops to do battle with. There are some secondary feuds in there, but the only one remotely well-hyped in the last two weeks has been Randy Orton vs. Alberto Del Rio…and that’s pretty much over. I’m rather content to watch Jerry Lawler vs. Kerry Von Erich or Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Triple H or The Rock ‘N Roll Express vs. The Andersons in place of spending $55 on arguably the least interesting PPV of the year. This had been a year where I’d ordered more PPVs than I had since 2006. The year isn’t ending well. Two in a row for me.

The match I’d most like to see would be the Sheamus vs. Big Show rematch for the World Heavyweight Championship, but not enough to forgo spending time with the family. I thought their match at HIAC was one of the best of the year, in all honesty. They did an excellent job. I wonder if they can do it again. Last year in Madison Square Garden, Big Show and Mark Henry failed to live up to the standard they set in late October. They had the chance to follow with a memorable second encounter (for the title) that would have put their feud surprisingly on the short list for the year’s best, but they couldn’t handle the increased expectations in a storied venue. Can Show reverse last year’s trend with Sheamus? I’d say that you can count on it, honestly. I think those two will have the best match of the night again and people that do pay to see this PPV will again be happy that they did so that they can say that they saw Sheamus vs. Show. I honestly believe that. If you doubt me, then you didn’t see their HIAC match. Kudos to them both and I’ll be looking forward to finding a way to see their match next month, perhaps.

CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Ryback literally does nothing for me. I think it’s mostly because Ryback’s momentum, to me, is gone. People have disagreed with my post-HIAC sentiments where I questioned the WWE’s booking in his regard at and immediately following the last PPV. I stand by what I wrote. I can see that he’s still getting good reactions, but I think you’d be hard-pressed to convince me that he’s at the level right now that he was three weeks ago leading up to the title match with Punk. Good luck trying, if you desire to give it a go. I think it’s clear as day that he’s a notch or two below. That’s not to say that I don’t think he could eventually get to where he was before or beyond it, but I think the WWE looks at him like the temporary replacement for John Cena that he was; nothing more just yet. We’ll get a good idea for what to expect from him moving forward on Sunday. In one possible scenario, he takes a big move from Cena and gets pinned by Punk by surprise. If that happens, Ryback ain’t goin’ anywhere but down. That line of thinking favors the fact that we’re getting close to Wrestlemania season, and thus neither Punk nor Cena can afford to lose. Of the two, Cena can be rebuilt much more quickly, though. So, combined with what seems to be an obvious future PPV match between Cena and Ziggler, the golden boy can take the “L” and Ryback vs. Punk can continue. I don’t favor that scenario. Perhaps some interference takes place as Punk’s rumored stable comes together?

My predictions? Punk retains the WWE Championship via shenanigans again, Big Show retains the World Heavyweight Championship, and Team Foley gets the big win to keep the balance of face-heel victories in check. In the mid-card matches, the babyface tag team group wins (if they go forward with that other Survivor Series match), Antonio Cesaro (who I’m glad is on the card) gets the decisive win over R-Truth, and Eve continues her reign as Diva’s Champion. Wow. That’s a lot of predicted heel victories. Could the WWE title be changing hands?



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