There was a point in time when every pay-per-view on the WWE schedule seemed to matter and had a way of getting a “big fight feel” to it, unfortunately that has been even less common as time has moved forward. We had the “big four” at one point with the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series, then they added in all these random shows through the year. While I’m not against a possible once a month PPV schedule, having more than one in a month is a HORRIBLE idea. I know there’s been talk over the years that maybe this would change once The Network came into play, with WWE reserving the Big Four as ACTUAL pay-per-view events during the year. This would be a great idea, except for one rather large problem, the seemingly eminent demise of the Survivor Series event. The traditional team matches were once a staple of the event allowing new workers to debut, new feuds to develop, heel and face changes, and blow off moments to current running feuds, but as time went on, they became less and less important to the event. This is a bit of a shame, but it’s also pretty much expected as tag team wrestling has slowly started dying out in the business.
I remember watching Survivor Series each year, year after year, and enjoying the stories blended into the traditional tag matches. While there are horrible examples of these matches like The Four Doinks, you also have moments like the debut of The Undertaker, Rocky Maivia, and the “Sole Survivor” status of Randy Orton. The most infamous moment in the history of wrestling came at this event, the Montreal Screwjob; it really did deserve inclusion as one of the Big Four back in the day, even in matches that didn’t have anything to do with their tag matches. Such a massive fall for a once great event each year, the last time I felt the event was truly great was with the Elimination Chamber inclusion back in 2002, when Shawn Michaels won the WWE title. Sure, we’ve seen some solid matches since then, but nothing really compared to that massive gimmick introduction, as well as HBK winning the top title in the business after returning from being forced into retirement from a broken back years earlier. The show has been in a gradual decline since that night, from my opinion. It’s not impossible to save the event, but at this point, I have to question if it’s even worth the attempt.
Survivor Series is so uninspired this year that I literally had forgotten that it was taking place tonight until thirty minutes before airtime. Yeah, they had Langston versus Axel, Bryan and Punk as a team against the Wyatt Family, and a newly energized Big Show taking a shot at his first WWE Championship in 11 years, but when there’s no hype, nobody cares. Up until this past Monday, we only had three confirmed matches, those being Orton and Show, Wyatt Family versus Punk/Bryan, and the ever-entertaining matchup of John Cena and the blandest man in recent WWE history, Alberto Del Rio. That left a LOT of space to fill, and not a lot of time to fill it, especially with viable matches that would actually entertain the crowd. If you were looking to eliminate a show from the schedule, especially one of the Big Four, this would be a dead on way to make sure the buy rate is so low that it is easily justified. Having matches added in the final week via the website doesn’t really help push an event; it helps even less when they’re matches nobody really wants to see. You place the United States and Tag Champs in an elimination tag match without defending either, then you do the same with the Divas title, while putting together an Intercontinental title match that’s a month overdue with roles reversed, that’s pretty much a recipe for disaster.
Thinking over all the events on the card, I’m trying to decide which event should get the chance to step up into the last spot of the Big Four events, after a lot of consideration I believe I’ve reached my conclusion. The event I would replace Survivor Series with is an event that was born actually from the Survivor Series show itself, the Elimination Chamber. As it stands the Chamber is currently a stopgap between the Rumble and WrestleMania, but it’s a huge gimmick that would be better suited to a major event. This would allow the match to be used as a build up to the Rumble and an early build until WrestleMania; it would also highlight one of the better gimmicks WWE has right now. Yes, the Cell is great but it should be a floating match, I would even drop the gimmick show for that one. Ladder/TLC matches are great but they sell on their own, so I don’t think that show should take this spot either. Having Elimination Chamber here allows you to have two massive title matches on the card in that hellacious structure without derailing the winner of the Rumble, and it would also allow for a Money in the Bank winner to hold the case and use the event to cash in like Edge. Elimination Chamber would be a fitting replacement to a dying event that once held a great place on the wrestling calendar each year. Especially considering it is rising from the ashes of said event.
It’s a shame to think that something that had such a big place in the business and helped bring us such massive stars has died such a slow miserable death. We’ve heard the rumors that Vince wanted it dead a few years back, stating fans really didn’t care about the traditional tag matches anymore, and honestly, he was right. Tonight you used all but three champions in the company in elimination tag matches that didn’t have any real point to them. I would have considered maybe having a rule where whoever pins a champion in the match takes the title at least that would have added some excitement to the matches. This could have been a great event, but it seemed like they just threw shit against the wall to see if anything stuck. Watching the event, at least the Wyatt’s versus Punk and Bryan was a great match, and the opening was pretty good for a match without a huge point or story to it, but as of this point, those are the matches that actually stand out to me. We’ll see how the main event plays out, but I don’t know how it’s going to follow such an awesome tag match. If The Network debuts next year and the pay-per-view schedule changes to just focus on the Big Four events and use “specials” on The Network for the other events, I hope to see Elimination Chamber in November, starting a new WWE Holiday tradition.