The Spotlight On The Survivor Series- Pt. 5-2011

I’m going to jump ahead a bit here on the survivor series retrospective and look back at Survivor Series 2011, a show I attended live at Madison Square Garden.  2011 was one of the more interesting times to be a WWE fan.  CM Punk was going through a period of time in which he was the most popular man on the roster following the summer of punk, Daniel Bryan had become world champion for the first time, the Rock had returned to the company and Zack Ryder had an absolute breakout year.  This was also the year that I attended the Royal Rumble, Wrestlemania and the Survivor Series so it was a pretty big year for me as a fan, you could say.

The 2011 Survivor Series was held live from Madison Square Garden and my buddy from work and I were planning on attending the event since the day tickets went on sale which was a first for me as I’m naturally a last minute planner.  I remember on the Friday leading up the Survivor Series there was a huge WWE party in the city, I believe it was in Penn Station.  CM Punk was there for a meet and greet and there was contest running that you could go to the event and win a private bus tour around New York City with Zack Ryder and Jimmy Hart.  My buddy and I were huge Ryder fans as we watched every Z True Long Island Story the day it came out while at work.  Being that our job only had so many employees, however, it was difficult for us both to get the day off together so we agreed to skip the party, though we did spend the day wishing we were there and scouring twitter for updates and photos from the event.

On survivor series Sunday, I remember my girlfriend at the time, begged me not to go.  There was a big time NY Giants game that night and she made up her mind that despite me dropping about $100 on tickets to the event with my friend, she didn’t want me to go to the show.  Though it was a hard decision,  I went to the show and we ended up breaking up two weeks later.

As for the show itself, this was also, to the best of my knowledge the last pay per view to be held at the Garden, to this date and it was a really big deal for us.  There’s something about going a show at MSG that is like none other.  I remember my buddy and I getting there at Penn Station early enough to grab a bite at Roy Rogers and then went down to wait online with the thousands of fans in attendance.  From the second we got there this crowd was all about Zack Ryder.  There were “We Want Ryder” chants in the lobby as many were frustrated that Ryder was not given a US title match against Dolph Ziggler on this show despite both men petitioning for the match on youtube and twitter, and instead John Morrison was given the match on his last night with the company.

In many ways it’s odd the crowd was so into Ryder as this was also the Rock’s first time back in New York and first match back since his return to the company in early 2011.  That said, When Ryder finally did make an appearance to run off Ziggler, this wasn’t only the biggest pop of the nght but the biggest pop I’ve heard in MSG with the exception of John Cena’s Royal Rumble 2008 return.  In fact, after the show when the Rock was making his speech to the live crowd, the Ryder Revolution, was still out in full force as the crowd chanted over the Rock’s speech until the Rock himself had to say “ Hell Yeah love Zack Ryder Woo Woo Woo and all that stuff!” It was probably the pinnacle of Zack Ryder’s career in many ways and it’s a shame he never really took off to the extent, at least that the New York crowd wanted him to on this night.

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Me and my buddy following the Survivor Series 

Follow the show, I remember my buddy and I racing out of the arena, past the idiot fans who were almost arrested for having a hardcore match taking unprotected chair shots to the head with the chair they got from the floor seats of the show, and down the street to a small theater.  We had tickets to a Mick Foley comedy show that were on sale for only $5 the week before.  This was still during the period of time where Mick just wanted to show people what he can do as he was still pretty early into his comedy run.

Mick was really good that night, he’s gotten better since, but with a bunch of diehard WWE fans in attendance following the Surivor Series, he was on fire. I remember there was a small VIP area that had a few Superstars there to watch like Dolph Ziggler and John Morrison.  Unfortunately, in New York City when you’re taking the long island railroad at least on the Port Washington line the trains leaving Penn station run on a schedule of 11:15, 12:15, 1:15 and then 3:15.  Thus, with work the next day, my friend and I agreed that we had to catch the 1:15 train.  What we didn’t think was that Mick would still be on the stage come 1AM.  This led to an embarrassing moment where my buddy and I had to run out of a small theater in an attempt not to be noticed only to have Mick say “Ladies and Gentleman, I’m so bad people are actually running out of the theater. “

When I was getting ready for bed that night, I checked the twitter feeds of some friends I knew were in attendance at the Foley show and at 2:30AM one of my friends tweeted that he was on line waiting to meet Mick.  Two thoughts crossed my mind, 1) Damn I missed a free Mick Foley meet and greet and 2) We probably wouldn’t have gotten out of there in time to catch the 3:14AM train!

All in all though another really fun experience that actually is probably most remembered not only for Ryder’s huge night but also for the first night of CM Punk’s 400+ day title reign.  I’ll end by saying that by reminiscing about this show, above all else, it makes me hope WWE runs the Garden for a pay per view again someday because there really is nothing like it. New York City is a great WWE crowd.

The Spotlight On The Survivor Series- Pt. 1- The Early Years 1987-1995

It’s hard to believe it but we are just a little over two weeks away from the WWE Survivor Series.  It was announced yesterday that this year’s Survivor Series will feature a tournament to crown a brand new WWE World Heavyweight champion following Seth Rollins’ injury this past week.  However, before we get to this year’s event, I thought that with Survivor Series coming up I thought it might be fun to take a look back at some of my more memorable Survivor Series moments throughout the years.  Now, I’m not going to break down every Survivor Series in full detail, but I will touch on each event and I will spend a bit more time on the events that took place nearby in my neck of the woods (New York) or that I attended live.  I’m going to do one of these each day of the week and I’m also going to thrown in some different types of Survivor Series history countdowns throughout the next two weeks.  Hopefully, these will get you guys prepared for the big shows.  Without further ado, let me kick off this series with a look back at some of my memories from the early survivor series events.

The first Survivor Series I remember ordering live was actually the Survivor Series 1991.    This kicked off a four year tradition in which WWE did the Survivor Series live on Thanksgiving Eve.  Prior to this, Survivor Series was actually held on Thanksgiving Day.  Let me tell you, the idea of spending the day with the family, watching the parade in the morning and football during the day all the while eating a great feast and then ending off the day with the Survivor Series sounds incredible.  Unfortunately, i was too young to remember that and my family didn’t have cable until 1991 so I only remember having the Survivor Series on Thanksgiving Eve. That being said, being able to prepare for Thanksgiving with some wrestling was still pretty cool and was a reason why I still equate Survivor Series with one of my favorite holidays to this day.  I fondly remember my family gathering around the television set watching two teams of five strive to survive and then waking up to watch Santa Claus come into town at the main event of the Macy’s Day Parade the next morning.  I suppose WWE moved the event away from Thanksgiving because of how busy people are during the holidays.  That being said, having the event centered around Thanksgiving added to the Survivor Series identity.  To this day, my father and I will reminisce about those first batch of Survivor Series shows and remember the days when the only turkey that meant something to our family was…the Gobbledy Gooker!

Memories

1987-1989: The thing about these shows is that I actually didn’t see them until the early 2000s.  There was a local wrestling store that rented out wrestling tapes (like a wrestling blockbuster) and I rented each one from there and loved each one of them.   I remember the uniqueness of the two teams made up of five random superstars battling in the ultimate match for survival taking up the entire card and that gimmick match remains one of my favorites to this day.  A good survivor series elimination match rivals only the royal rumble as my favorite match to go back and watch if ever I’m bored or have 20 minutes to kill.  I just loved all of the unique pairings and the different team names like Rude’s Brood or the Roddy’s Rowdies.  The matches that really stood out to me during the first two events, in particular, had to be the tag team survivor series matches.  These matches were so cool in that instead of it being five superstars on each team, there were five tag teams on each team (20 men and 10 teams in the match total) .  When one guy would be eliminated his entire team would be eliminated and the match would continue until only one team was left standing.  It’s incredible to think that there were ten viable teams on the roster and being a fan of tag team wrestling, it’s something I hope to see once again in WWE.

1990- The thing I really liked about this survivor series and for some reason was only done one time was the Ultimate Survival match.  Throughout the night there was a series of traditional survivor series matches and then at the end of the night all of winners who were good guys squared off against all of the winners who were bad guys.  A really fun idea, that  to this day I think this would be a cool concept to bring back for any event.  Of course the 1990 show is also remembered most fondly for two debuts, the Undertaker and the Gobbledy Gooker.  I remember being petrified of the Undertaker as a child, it was just something I was prepared for at all.  As for the Gooker, yes he was silly, but as a four year old, i loved him.  I would often hope for the Gooker to make a return and even used my Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat hasbro higure as the gooker from time to time.  The Gobbledy Gooker was the only turkey that mattered to my family.  In all serious though, as a fan at the time, it had to be a let down.

1991- This was the first Survivor Series to feature a non traditional survivor series match in the form of the World Title Match between Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker. While, in the beginning, I always felt like standard matches had no place on the Survivor Series card, I understood why the change was made.  Prior to 1991, the Survivor Series never had any titles on the line.  Thus, if you measured shows based on title changes for their level of importance, Survivor Series never really had anything you had to see from that perspective.  If you didn’t dig the Survivor Series elimination match concept, chances are you’d skip the show.  Thus, adding a good mix was necessary for the long haul and I’m glad WWE has kept the traditional survivor series matches at least to some extent.  If there was one other thing I remember about this show was how much as a 5 year old I was excited that they were adding in another show “This Tuesday In Texas” and how annoyed my poor dad was who knew he was about to be suckered out of more money by Vince McMahon.  Looking back, I could see where my dad was coming from.  The hottest storyline at the time was between Randy Savage and Jake Roberts (remember the snake bite) but they were taken off their teams and the main event here was a throwaway 6 man with the LOD and Bossman against IRS and the Natural Disasters.  Savage and Roberts ( a focal point of the build to this show), were held off until This Tuesday In Texas.  Even the title change on Survivor Series was done to build up the rematch at This Tuesday In Texas.  Of course, five year old me just thought more wrestling and we had to order it but it really leaves a bad taste in my mouth in regards to Survivor Series 1991

1992– Survivor Series 1992 was the year in which they really moved away from the traditional Survivor Series Tag matches to the fact there was only one.  In a way it made sense as WWE only had four pay per views a year and so it was as if  they were looking for a way to try and put on a third standard supershow like Summerslam and Wrestlemania.  The thing that stood out to me here, even at six years old, was how random it was that Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels main evented this show just because it seemed it a little early for Michaels.  One other thing I remember at the end was when it randomly started snowing in the arena and Santa came down to celebrate with Bret.  Maybe a little hokey but for it’s time it was great.  It solidified that Bret was a main eventer for the company because that was stuff you would only see Hogan do in the late 80s, early 90s.

1993– This one is almost certainly just me but go back and start the 1993 survivor series.  Although it’s a little hokey, I really liked the Happy Thanksgiving message from the Luger family.  Going back to what I said about always thinking about the survivor series as part of a Thanksgiving tradition, I thought this was a nice touch.  I would have loved to see some more of the superstars saying what they were thankful for and sending wishes all the while, similar to the start of the Survivor Series 1989.  It would have added to the events in a similar way that that the messages from the troops do to those Tribute to the Troops specials that WWE does so well with.

1994- King’s Court Vs. Clowns R Us! Ah, the good old days!  Other than that, Owen Hart did the best job ever in being believable during his crying routine during the title match.  I remember thinking that the Backlund was actually crazy and really hurting Bret so much that even Owen had a change of heart.  Of course in the end it was all an act and I bought it hook line and sinker!

1995- The thing I remember most about this show was just how afraid of the Undertaker I was when he returned at this show with the Phantom of the Opera like mask.  I mean look at him above.  If you’re telling me you weren’t scared then I’m calling you a liar.  Seriously though, I had my father turn off the TV and I listened to the feed over the stereo over the speakers while my dad and (6 year old) sister ran upstairs to watch the match on another television.  How embarrassing.

That’s going to do it for the first part of my  WWE Survivor Series retrospective, check back here later today when I’ll take you guys back for a trip through the WWE Survivor 1996 which took place right here in New York City.  Until then, I’d love to hear some of your early Survivor Series memories.

The Spotlight On Seth Rollins’ Injury and The WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Just about 30 minutes ago via his official twitter page, ESPN’s own Johnathan Coachman released the tweet above, confirming that last night at a WWE live event in Dublin, Ireland, World Heavyweight Champion, Seth Rollins suffered a bad knee injury while wrestling Kane. The reports on what happened seem to indicate that Rollins suffered the injury on a sunset flip gone awry, as what is being described as something of a freak accident.  This obviously couldn’t come at a worse time for Rollins who was in the midst of the biggest push of his career, coming up on 7 months to his reign as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

From a WWE standpoint, this confirms that Rollins will miss Wrestlemania 32, news that comes just weeks after it was announced that Randy Orton will also miss Wrestlemania due to requiring shoulder surgery.  Furthermore, WWE will be without John Cena for all events until, at least, December 26th as he takes some time off due to personal reasons.  As for what this means for the WWE World Title, WWE announced that, obviously the match between Seth Rollins and number one contender Roman Reigns is off, and instead a tournament will take place at the Survivor Series on November 22nd to crown a new champion.

While one would assume that Reigns would be one of the superstars to compete in the tournament, WWE.com has not confirmed any of the superstars in the tournament, nor how many superstars will compete in the tournament altogether.  This will be the first time in which a tournament takes place for the World Title at the Survivor Series since 1998 when the Rock won his first World Heavyweight Championship.  With so many of the top superstars in WWE now on the shelf (along with Orton, Cena and Rollins, Daniel Bryan has still not been cleared to return to action and it seems as though Brock Lesnar is on a bit of a hiatus following Hell In A Cell), this really does open up the opportunity for somebody to step up and make a name for themselves on the WWE roster.  Aside from Reigns, I would look for the recently returning Alberto Del Rio, Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens, Reign’s best friend Dean Ambrose,  and long time fan favorite, Cesaro as possibilities to take this opportunity to step up.  I’d also look for some of the superstars down in NXT, namely NXT Champion, Finn Balor to potentially get an opportunity on the main WWE roster.

This again is really an unfortunate situation for Rollins, who was one of my favorite Superstars to watch each week on Raw, and we wish him a speedy recovery.  Be sure to continue to check for any updates on this situation right here on thedailyspotlight.com.  We will update you as soon as we know anything.