Why WWE Needs to Embrace the Traditional Survivor Series Match
There was a time when the Survivor Series was one of WWE's marquee events. It was an easy way to bring new stars into the main-event mix, while still allowing the top stars to shine in the spotlight.
Boy, are those days long gone. WWE treats the Survivor Series like the evil stepchild of its big shows. It barely gets better treatment than the December to Dismember event back in 2006.
Sure, last year we got the return of The Rock in a match, but even that was built so horribly around Rock and Cena teaming for some reason against the epic duo of The Miz and R-Truth that not even Rock could save the show.
We say this so often with WWE trying to build up a pay-per-view, but it is especially meaningful with the Survivor Series: WWE needs to get back to making this show what it is about. Don't do an event just because the calendar says to have an event. Make it mean something. Make it different.
The biggest reason that the Survivor Series has failed is because the name means nothing anymore, and the name means nothing because of Vince McMahon's hatred of tag teams. The only reason we have more than two running around on Raw and SmackDown now is because of Triple H.
Think back, not that long ago, to 2005. Randy Orton was a star but not at the level he would eventually get to. One of the defining moments of his career came in a traditional Survivor Series match.
Orton was on Team SmackDown, going up against Team Raw. It was the only Survivor Series elimination match on the card, but it turned out to be one of the most memorable.
Orton didn't have one elimination in the match until the very end, when he snuck up on Shawn Michaels, delivered an RKO and scored the pinfall. There were a lot of factors that played into Orton becoming one of the biggest stars of the last decade, but that particular match certainly helped.
The Survivor Series used to be a place for the new blood to meet the old guard and welcome it with open arms. Even The Rock got his first big break in his first match, which was a traditional Survivor Series match in 1996.
Why Has Survivor Series Lost Its Luster In WWE?
It is such an easy way to create new stars, while at the same time allowing the established order to keep the peace. Yet WWE seems to have no interest in trying to build the lower- and mid-card roster up, so we are stuck in the rut we see now.
Two years ago, when Nexus was hot, WWE tried a Survivor Series-style match at SummerSlam between a team captained by John Cena against the seven members of Nexus. There was excitement around that card because no one knew how things would play out.
The one thing everyone agreed on was that Nexus had to go over. Based on storyline that was what made sense.
WWE being WWE, Nexus was beaten clean by Team Cena. The Nexus angle basically lost all steam after that. But it was still proof that a huge group match could resonate with the people if it gets built right.
WWE, specifically Vince McMahon, tends to run from the past. Instead of looking at the way things have worked in wrestling forever, he wants to re-invent the wheel just to prove that he can get people to buy into anything he does.
Sadly, that has brought an end to the Survivor Series as we know it. There has been only one traditional Survivor Series match at each of the last two events. They were built badly, though last year did at least see Wade Barrett defeat Randy Orton, and their effect on storylines was non-existent.
With a roster depleted because of bad booking, now is the time to get back to basics, and to return to a time when the Survivor Series used to resonate with people by bringing back the one match that used to be a sure-fire way to create stars.
It won't solve all the problems WWE has overnight, but it is at least a start for a company that doesn't appear to have a clear direction. Stars in wrestling are made, not born. It is time WWE tried to start making a few new ones.
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