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a jim jividen blog

Here's the thing. I'm watching one of these shows on the Cooking Channel featuring food trucks. There's a Scottish expat making fish and chips; in a thick brogue he somewhat wearily explains his irritation with Americans who habitually order a side of tartar sauce: "tartar sauce is basically gherkins." That's this blog. I claim no particular insight, no revelation. If you enjoy the flavor, great, but this blog is basically gherkins.

Survivor Series 2010 Preview (Plus the Top 10 Survivor Series Matches ever)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My Summer Slam 2010 preview, explaining what the hell is going on, is here.  You could also rewind a year to read my 2009 Survivor Series preview here.


Kirk Hiner and I attended the best Survivor Series ever together in 1996.

It was a helluva atmosphere, 1996 MSG - but, most likely to the consternation of the office, the most constant chants throughout the night were "NWO!  NWO!" and "E-C-Dub.  E-C-Dub."  I don't know that I participated in the former, although I was all about cool heels in '96; but I absolutely was full on board for the latter - historically, Survivor Series '96 is important because it was the PPV debut of The Rock (and for those  of us who like workrate; it included the best match in Survivor Series history - Bret/Austin, which I have at 4 3/4 and think it better than their subsequent Mania match - and in fact, I think it's Austin's best ever match.  Austin was crazy over, and I didn't think they'd be able to wait much longer before turning him; I want to say in the six hour RAW taping in Connecticut we saw the following night they did a brawl between he and Undertaker - in fact, I want to say they did it twice, presumably dissatisfied the first time - and my thought at the time was it was designed to keep positioning Austin as a heel) but in the building that night, it was about Cactus Jack, Furnas and LaFon, and 2 Cold Scorpio.

Right up until the main event - when the crowd completely, completely turned on babyface Shawn Michaels in favor of Sid.  John Cena has occasionally been the subject of dislike among a percentage of the fanbase (me! me!  I am in that percentage!) and some wrestling analysts make a Shawn Michaels comparison - babyface Michaels, as seen most specifically in the '96 Survivor Series, totally lost the younger, male audience who preferred to see even someone as breathtakingly untalented as Sid as WWF Champion (admittedly, I was on that side too; I maybe got caught up in the title change excitement a little bit and abandoned my burgeoning preference for workrate.  I'm an older male now, and whatever gender gap Cena might have is disinteresting to me; I dislike him because of his Madonna Number.

That was the last Survivor Series I attended or really had an opportunity to attend - but this week a friend of mine with tickets (actually a former student of mine from a decade+ ago; that's right, old students want to go to the graps with me; that's 'cause I was the cool teacher, all the time ripping up the poetry textbooks and standing on the desks and reciting O Captain, My Captain) offered one my way as Survivor Series 2010 is in Miami.

I ain't going; my schedule's too tight; my lady type friend has gone to see her parents for the weekend and I'm alone with the 5 animals (5...there are 5 right...Jesus, did I lose one?) and I have reached a point in my life where attending any event for any reason doesn't have as much appeal as staying at home and napping.  I gets sleepy is all.

But they will be putting on the show in my absence - and as I've done for the better part of the past 15 years - here's my preview written for Kirk Hiner.  If you aren't him - do with this as you will.

WWE TITLE MATCH: Randy Orton © vs. Wade Barrett w/John Cena as special referee. 
- The big storyline on RAW, by  multiple factors, has been Nexus - when we last left at Summer Slam, Cena was leading a group of RAW wrestlers to an elimination match (a Survivor Series style elimination match!) win over Team Nexus.  Fast forward three months and now Cena is a member of Nexus, albeit against his will, having lost a "you must join" stip match at..let's say the October PPV.  It's a good story, I did it a couple years ago in the Counterfactual, they're telling it well - the hero Cena forced to do the bidding of the heel stable, Cena subjugated to the will of another man.  


When we last left, Sheamus was the champ - and he kept that belt until September when he dropped to Orton, now the top babyface in the company. It's Orton's 6th run with the lineal WWF title belt.  He's not a good babyface and his match quality, either because of the constraints of WWE style or because he's decided Hogan had the right idea about workrate, has grown...really.......deliberate.  Barrett's just a guy, good talker, as the size they like, real green, not awful, but no reason to think he'll develop into a good worker.


So - the match won't be anything most likely and because of that I don't care about it - but they've got a good stip - if Barrett wins, Cena gets to leave Nexus - if Orton wins, Cena's fired.  They've done a good job at selling that as a real stip, at least as well as could be done when we all understand there's no way Cena gets fired.  I don't hate the program, and really don't hate that Cena's the referee as opposed to working - but don't care even a little bit about the match or the outcome.


They've positioned it so it could go either way - the stronger creative choice would be the Cena heel turn - Cena screws Orton, puts on the Nexus shirt, "go to hell, John Cena, go straight to hell" and then they get a heel Cena run with Orton and a returning HHH as babyfaces (and maybe a heel Cena v. Undertaker's streak at WM).  Or - they could have him stand up to Barrett - knock everybody out - allow Orton to keep - sacrifice his career to do what's right like babyfaces do.  


It doesn't matter much to me - I like good matches, and there's not one coming out of this program. 


WORLD TITLE MATCH: Kane © vs. Edge 
-The Smackdown picture is not good.


You may recall Kane (yes, that Kane, in 2010, not like a new wrestler with the same name - but the big red monster, by God, Kane) took the Smackdown title from Rey at Summer Slam; it was like a dozen years from his last WWF Title run, the longest stretch of time ever.  His push was designed for a feud with a returning Undertaker, who took the summer off like he does ever year now - but the Taker blew out his rotator cuff, shutting him down at least until Mania.  Edge, recall, was a babyface at Mania in the program with Jericho (Jericho's deal expired and he's gone; as is Batista and Michaels and Matt Hardy and Shelton Benjamin- Punk/Christian/Evan Bourne all down with injury) he was a heel when he was on Team WWF at Summer Slam - but turned face again when he moved back to Summer Slam to take the Taker's spot in this Kane program.


And Paul Bearer's back.  True story.


It's unwatchable.  Edge is not a great babyface and Kane has no redeeming qualities.  I don't have any idea where they're going with this or who wins this terrible, terrible match.  


US TITLE MATCH: Daniel Bryan v. Ted DiBiase
-Daniel Bryan is Bryan Danielson, the best wrestler in this hemisphere.


This match hasn't been officially made, but they set it up on RAW and I'm going to decide they do it.  Danielson, recall, returned as the surprise member of Team RAW at Summer Slam, he was an original member of Nexus but got shoot fired after being too intense in their initial angle.  Danielson's had the best match on every show he's been on since, taking the US Title from the Miz (the Miz has the money in the bank briefcase, and theoretically might cash it in to take on the champ at night's end; Money in the Bank is a good idea; I've lifted it for the Counterfactual). He's not in a program and is still being absolutely buried on commentary because Vince hates us for our freedoms, but has consistently won matches.  DiBiase's floundered a bit - he was given the Million Dollar Belt and a valet - was just in a weird feud with Goldust (yes, Goldust in 2010, although to be fair, Dustin can work the hell out of a five minute match).  Monday, he attacked Danielson, and I would guess he's going over here.  They were about to do a Danielson/Punk program, which would be cream cheese frosting.  


This will be good, although short, and it's fair to point the finger at DiBiase for not developing his work the way one would have hoped.  


IC TITLE MATCH: Dolph Ziggler v. Kaval
-Kaval is Low Ki; a few years ago, an elite, world class worker, although it has been a couple/three years now since he routinely turned out 4 star matches.  They're gonna make this match on Smackdown Friday - if they are using both Low Ki and Danielson at Survivor Series, I'm going to have to pick a direction for them in the Counterfactual; I don't know if they're faces or heels or they're tagging together or feuding.  Don't know if they win belts right away or beat people to work their way up the card.  So many choices!


Ziggler's paired with Eddy's widow Vicki - he's a good looking young guy; I'm higher on him than any of the guys who has just come through developmental without establishing an indie presence first.  He's got a bit of a Hennig thing about him - he took from Kingston a couple months ago and probably keeps here.  Kaval won Season 2 of NXT - and while he puts on good matches at every opportunity, he goes under each time - until this Friday when he's going to beat Ziggler in a non title, and then use his "I can challenge for any belt" opportunity to make this match.  He'll lose, I'd guess.  But it'll be good - too short, but good.


Sheamus vs. John Morrison
-  This is a hotshot angle; Sheamus has been in a comedy feud against Santino - Morrison has the role of athletic babyface they plug in when they need a guy now that Benjamin is gone.  It should be good; I would guess Sheamus goes over.  I'm picking a lot of heels.


WWF Tag Titles: The Nexus (Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater) © vs. Santino and Vladimir Kozlov
- When last we left, the Hart kids were tag champs - they dropped (and have now broken up, Tyson Kidd turning heel) to Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre - they dropped (and have now broken up, neither of them turning) to Cena and Jennifer Hudson's husband, and then Nexus forced them to yield the titles to Gabriel (athletic, maybe a good worker, too hard to tell really) and Slater (just a guy).  Santino and Kozlov are a comedy act.  I hate comedy wrestling.  I'm guessing the babyfaces take.


SURVIVOR SERIES MATCH: Team Rey Mysterio (Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, MVP, Chris Masters and The Big Show) vs. Team Alberto Del Rio (Alberto Del Rio, Cody Rhodes, Tyler Reks, Drew McIntyre and Jack Swagger)
-There is an elimination match at this year's Survivor Series - the guy they like here is Del Rio, doing a Latino Bradshaw gimmick that's fine and he's fine in it.  Like much of WWE - it's neither good nor bad - it's as homogenized, corporatized, middle America/kid friendly - you could watch Glenn Beck and 2 And A half Men and Jay Leno and yell that government better stay out of your Medicare and then comfortably watch WWE and have all of your world views gently confirmed as you rock yourself to sleep nestled in the bosom of our plutocracy.  


Rey is Rey, Kofi's good enough athletic babyface, MVP has been buried pretty good in 2010, Chris Masters is maybe the worst member of the active roster and you know the Show.  


I assume Del Rio survives, maybe with Cody, the pushes for McIntrye and Swagger have clearly slowed, and I don't have any idea why Tyler Reks has been chosen for this mini-push in the past couple of months.  


That's the show - the two secondary title singles matches, assuming they do Danielson/DiBiase, is the whole show in terms of match quality, although I'd expect them both to me under 10 minutes long and maybe closer to half that.  I like Nitro and am cool with Sheamus, so that's a good match too - elimination matches are almost never good in terms of quality, but I like having one, both because it's Survivor Series and you should have one - and because it helps the Counterfactual, which is really all I care about.  


I can't imagine anyone cares about either the tag titles or the Smackdown match - in terms of storyline, this is a one match card, and not a very good match at that.


I would not expect any matches Sunday to break this list, although there's certainly room at the bottom.


Oh - there's a women's match of some type.  A tag, I think.  Now to the list.


Top 10 Survivor Series Matches of All Time:
1. Bret Hart d. Steve Austin ('96)
2. Bret Hart d. Shawn Michaels ('92)
3. Bret Hart d. Diesel ('95)
4. Shawn Michaels d. Bret Hart ('97)
5. Eddy/Chavo d. Angle/Benoit and Edge/Rey ('02)
6. Jericho/Christian/Orton/Steiner/Henry d. Michaels/RVD/Booker/Dudleys ('03)
7. Sid d. Shawn Michaels ('96)
8. Strike Force/Young Stallions/Rougeaus/Bees/Bulldogs d. Hart Foundation/Islanders/Demolition/Bolsheviks/New Dream Team ('87)
9. Bob Backlund d. Bret Hart ('94)
10. HHH d. Ric Flair ('05)







I Pick Every NFL Game in 2010 - Week 11

Last week was here.

ATS - 60-63-7
SU - 78-52


Miami -1 Chicago loss/loss
Steelers -7 Oakland win/win
Jets -7 Texans loss/win
Balt -10 Carolina win/win
Tenn -7 Wash loss/loss
Dall -6.5 Det win/win
GB -3 Minnesota win/win
Bills +5.5 Bengals (Bengals win game) win/loss
Browns +1.5 Jags loss/loss
KC -8 Arizona win/win
Seattle +12 Saints (NO wins game) loss/win
Falcons -3 Rams win/win
Niners -3 TB loss/loss
Colts +3.5 NE (NE wins game) win/win
Eagles -3 NYG win/win
Den +10 SD (Chargers win game) loss/win

ATS 9-7    69-70-7
SU  11-5   89-57

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