Home > General Wrestling, wwe > Thursday Notes: Survivor Series Ends, PPV Names, HBK, WM, Serena & More…

Thursday Notes: Survivor Series Ends, PPV Names, HBK, WM, Serena & More…

There are a few different things to cover here, so let’s get right to it:

– First item up for discussion is the end of Survivor Series as a PPV for WWE. Crazy Vince McMahon had a conference call today with investors to share the news:

Vince McMahon: “We think Survivor Series is obsolete. It worked many, many years ago. It was one of the original four, but it’s outlasted its usage. It’s one of the PPVs we will be looking at in terms of re-branding. We will no longer have that title anymore.”

I hate to pull a SNL/Miz here, but I have to ask REALLY Vince? REALLY?

On this very blog back on January 8th when the numbers initially came in I wrote this:

“Survivor Series 2009 in November drew only 225,000 buys, down a sharp 29.5% from Survivor Series 2008, which did 319,000 buys. Compared to 2007 (when the event drew 341,000 buys), this year’s show is down 34%.” – 225K is TERRIBLE for a big four PPV. Remember how bad the Cena/HHH/HBK hype was? I’m sure they’ll blame one of the midcarders for it. “It’s Kofi’s fault, Vince. Not me.” Thanks for the input HHH. That was the PPV where Kofi’s team beat Orton’s team. Two months later Kofi’s lost to Orton clean a couple of times and is back to where he was before. I’m sure this was part of the reason. Maybe you shouldn’t base a WWE title feud around a midget. You think? Typically PPV numbers for the big four are into the 300K’s and higher. Not in this case. Triple threat matches don’t sell as well as singles feuds, not to mention when they are based around Hornswoggle.

I’m something of a numbers guy. I could go into detail, but let’s keep it simple. Look at the numbers:
2007 Survivor Series: 341,000 – Very good.
2008 Survivor Series: 319,000 – Still good. Anything over 300K is solid.
2009 Survivor Series: 225,000 – 30% drop. Very significant.

Now, let’s make this point again. The reason this PPV bombed was because THE WRITING SUCKED. Say it loud, say it proud. Look, I’ll be the first to trumpet what WWE is doing right now. I am loving Raw, Smackdown and the Rumble. You read my stuff, you know that. However, the period from September through December was absolutely awful. The booking of this year’s Survivor Series was terrible. That’s why the buyrate sucked. The concept is fine. The numbers of past year’s show that. They should instead look at the writing, realize that booking HHH vs. Cena vs. Michaels was terrible because it was all about how they treated Hornswoggle. None of the challengers invested any time into wanting the belt. All they did was try to be funny. Why should people spend their money to watch a match where the wrestlers themselves don’t seem to care? Also, to those that think PPV streams are the cause I highly doubt it. They’ve existed for years. It’s not a significant impact in PPV buys.

My advice to you, WWE viewer? Don’t listen to Vince McMahon. He’s wrong on this one. The name is fine. The PPV concept is fine. Survivor Series is dead because the writing prior to Survivor Series 2009 was as bad as anything WWE has done in years. That’s why Survivor Series is dead. It was the writing that killed it. End of story.

Do I expect Vince McMahon to admit that? Of course not. You should never blame yourselves for doing a poor job creatively. That’s how it is, though.

– Moving on, WWE sent out a survey for their fans to fill out regarding new PPV names. Here are the choices copied from the survey. I will put my thoughts under each one:

* Legends Event (Match participants would include WWE Legends from the past.)

No thanks. Not really interested in watching old guys wrestle. It’s rarely a good thing.

* WWE Draft Event (WWE’s annual Draft where Superstars and Divas learn which brand they’ll be a part of for the next year. The Draft is often the beginning of new conflicts and matchups.)

I think it would generate a good amount of interest. However, they’ve done this on Raw in the past and I think they should keep it there.

* Tournament Event (Single elimination “bracket style” tournament where Superstars would compete in multiple matches during the night to become the tournament winner.)

This would be like King of the Ring. Some want it back. Not me. Why? Because they have never seemed to book King of the Ring the right way.

* Battle Bowl Event (Random tag-teams compete together – sometimes arch rivals – with the winning teams being put in a 2-ring Battle Royal. The winner could potentially receive a championship title match.)

I remember it in WCW. The concept is okay. I don’t think it would work today. Maybe try it as a concept one week on Raw.

* War Games Event (Teams of 5 collide in 2 cages. 2 participants begin the match with a new participant added every 5 minutes. This process is alternated between teams until all members from both teams are present.)

Yes please! I love War Games. I’m a huge mark for it and would love to see WWE do it. It would be even better if they allowed blood, but we all know that’s not going to happen. It’s a very good concept that has led to some great matches in the past. I highly recommend watching the 1991 and 1992 War Games as good examples. This is my first choice. No question.

* Street Fight Event (Main events would include “street fight” matches where there are no disqualifications and pin-falls count anywhere. Superstars often compete in normal street clothes.)

Ha, normal street clothes. So appealing. Why include that? Whatever. I don’t mind Street Fights. I think the HIAC and TLC PPVs were good ideas, so doing Street Fights could work in that sense. I’d rather have War Games, but this would be in second.

* Money in the Bank Event (The main event “Money in the Bank” match requires Superstars to climb a ladder and retrieve a briefcase hung high above the ring. The winner can “cash in” the briefcase for a championship title shot throughout the year. Qualifying matches earlier in the event will determine participants for the “Money in the Bank” match.)

Not a bad idea although what about the MITB match at Mania? It would be weird having two briefcase holders. They’d have to go some other way of doing the stipulation. I wouldn’t be opposed to the concept because the MITB matches are always good and having qualifying matches earlier in the show could lead to good things.

* Roulette Event (Main event match stipulations would be determined by the spin of a roulette-type wheel.)

Like Raw Roulette from Vegas. Nah, it never interested me that much.

If you want to vote in the survey you can click RIGHT HERE. Go for War Games. Not for you, but for me. Trust me, it’s the best.

– According to the Wrestling Observer, the top five matches at WrestleMania are expected to be: Hart vs. McMahon, Michaels vs. Undertaker, Jericho vs. Edge, Cena vs. Batista and Sheamus vs. HHH. This is what it’s been for months now, so what we thought then looks to hold true today. The rumor is that the titles will likely be on Sheamus and Jericho although those plans can always change. They could easily move the WWE title to Cena while the World Title could stay on Undertaker. Who really knows? Vince likes to change his mind a lot. Those matches, though, are pretty much set in stone. It looks like Punk vs. Mysterio (hair vs. mask) and Money in the Bank will happen also. Don’t expect any major celebrity involvement either. There will probably be some at the show, but I doubt it’s as big as Mayweather or Trump was.

– The Wrestling Observer is reporting that Shawn Michaels is likely going to take April to August off again. I’m not sure if he’ll go back to being a chef that superkicks little girls, but we won’t be seeing him over the summer. Enjoy these two months while they last, I guess. He’s got two young kids and wants to spend time with them. At 45 years old this year, his time in the ring is winding down. I’m fine with conserving his energy. He’s earned that.

– Also from WO, they say that Serena got the role as CM Punk’s Straight Edge disciple because she was willing to have her head shaved. Some of the other women in developmental that were asked refused to have their head shaved. They have been pleased with Serena’s performance. We can expect her to start working matches soon because she’s a trained wrestler rather than one of those “model” types that WWE likes to hire that aren’t as ready to perform in the ring. I’m a fan of hers, definitely.

– There’s a rumor that they may turn John Morrison heel. I hope not. I think his offense is more conducive to being a babyface and he sells moves so well that he’s better in the face role. Plus, he’s a likable guy. Keep him where he’s at. Put him in feuds against top heels like Punk & Jericho, then watch him grow. I have a lot of faith in Morrison as a babyface IF they give him the right push up the ladder.

– Lastly, I know I haven’t really written about NXT replacing ECW. It’s still in the development stages, so there’s not much to say. It could be something where the FCW guys get national TV time or they could do a Tough Enough type show similar to how Ultimate Fighter is run on Spike. I think until we know for sure there’s no point in speculating what might happen with that show. Hopefully it leads to Bryan Danielson being on TV because he’s somebody the world needs to see. What an awesome performer he s.

That’s all for today.

John Canton

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  1. Dave K.
    February 11, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    You can enjoy Serena … as long as it’s from a distance. She’s mine Canton, and don’t forget it!

    • Andrew Johnson
      February 11, 2010 at 6:22 PM

      I’ll fight you for her.

      • Jack
        March 1, 2010 at 3:29 AM

        i’ll fight both of u 4 her

  2. Daniel
    February 11, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    I’ve never been that high on War Games and with TNA already doing Lethal Lockdown, as well as two cage-based PPVs in WWE already, I don’t think War Games is the route to take. If they get rid of the HIAC PPV…maybe.

    I think Battlebowl would be sweet, but they’d book it really shittily, and with so much various annual accomplshment-based stuff, (Rumble, MITB, Bragging Rights [*vomits*]) Lord Of The Ring just doesn’t seem necessary.

    The street fight concept works, I guess. It’s certainly far better than the submission match concept.

    Although taking Money In The Bank away from ‘Mania kind of hurts a big sell for the event, it doesn’t really need it, and I actually REALLY like the idea of focusing an entire PPV around it. But they’d need to shift the order around a bit, because if it was in November with TLC following in December, that’s a lttle overkill on the ladder matches that are already used too much as is.

    The best option would be to take Survivor Series back to what it originally was, where ALL the matches were the 4-on-4’s or 5-on-5’s. But evidently that won’t be happening. I feel like there’s definitely something they could do that would be interesting that we’re all forgetting, but I can’t put my finger on what it is…

  3. Anonymous
    February 11, 2010 at 5:44 PM

    Bryan Danielson PLEASE! NOW! ME WANT!
    Any ways, I totally agree with you on War Games. It would be so awesome to have it back. I always liked it. Even the ones with lesser quality – I still marked out. Love th econcept. Do that WWE! That’ll leave at least two persons happy!

  4. esfjellin
    February 11, 2010 at 6:06 PM

    War Games would be a great way to transition out of Survivor Series because the are similar to begin with but with a few big differences. Heck, they could even change the name to Survivor Series 2.0.

    Hopefully they won’t get rid of the name of the PPV altogether. Losing one of the big 4 will hurt in the long run.

  5. kiefer
    February 11, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    Nice colum JC.

  6. danny
    February 11, 2010 at 6:16 PM

    MITB sounds like the best to me, a good way to showcase younger more athletic talent on a PPV that i think would sell. never been a fan of street fights, i wanna see guys in the ring not a shaky camera in the backstage- shit for the fans at the PPV.

    legends would scrape the barrel for guys from the 90’s, tournaments are only good if they elevate people, roulette should stay on raw and go back to 5 trades,Battle Bowl and wargames sound fun, but the first ones will be won by HHH, guaranteed!

    i like morrison too, but think his starship pain is a weak finisher- it hardly ever connects with a winning the match kind of force. picky i know but i want realism in my wrestling god dammit.

    i heard NXT will be a reality tv based show, maybe something like the UFC do. a good idea to build support for new talent but who knows how the new show will play out- very interested in seeing it.

  7. Vince
    February 11, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    Nonsense!

  8. tysto
    February 11, 2010 at 7:06 PM

    The problem with having the Money in the Bank PPV is that who’s to say it will showcase the young guys? at WrestleMania, the top guys are normally busy, but in some regular ol’ PPV you might see HHH booked to win. I know we dont want that.

    • Aaron
      February 12, 2010 at 3:44 PM

      This was my first though as well.. You book MITB as a PPV headlining event, it’s not going to give a deserving guy a push (the briefcase).. it’ll go to Shawn Michaels, HHH, John Cena, Edge… these guys (Edgw a former winner, I know) don’t need this match to elevate their status.

      I like War Games,and mroe so, I LOVE the KOTR concept. I may be in the minority, but KOTR ’92 (and I’ve said this before) is one of my all time favoire PPV’s.. Bret’s performance at that PPV was one of the best of his career.. and ’93, with Owen winning, was nearly as remerable. THe KOTR winner got a big push, ala the MITB does now.. Bring it back!

  9. February 11, 2010 at 7:16 PM

    The WWE is so interested in seeing what your thoughts on new PPV concepts are that they closed the survey already.

    • Oxide
      February 11, 2010 at 8:23 PM

      I bet it’s because they heard that John Canton wants War Games.

  10. jay
    February 11, 2010 at 10:02 PM

    Having seen my first War Games live during the Great American Bash Summer Tour, it is a really cool way to spend an hour.

    The legend thing would be nice if they did it for free or incorporated a legends match into their PPVs. The nostalgia stuff is great, but I don’t think there is enough interest for it. They could use it to hype other stuff. If done properly for free on the internet, they could attract people with money who may buy future PPV.

    The draft is a waste of time when it is free. Just read the changes on the internet. Anyone who watches it is a mark.

    I like raw roulette, but in the PG world, how can you have a decent gimmick match?
    An old time Lights Out Cage Match to settle the feud was great. No blood? I guess that leaves events like the Chavo Horny feud…. No thanks.

    More than one MIB in a night? Doesn’t make sense. How many X on a pole matches can you have in one night?

    Face it, a Gimmick PPV is only necessary because the writers are too lazy to create compelling matches. If you had good writing, the matches would sell themselves.

    Please do not bring back scafold matches or blind folded matches. I would rather not see anything like a Tuxedo match either unless it includes divas.

  11. jcmoney311
    February 12, 2010 at 12:06 AM

    I wonder if they’ll still release the complete anthology of the Survivor Series still?

  12. Ryan Rahim
    February 12, 2010 at 4:13 AM

    Survivor Series screwed Survivor Series! (Thanks for posting Vince McMahon)

  13. Luke
    February 12, 2010 at 4:44 AM

    I wonder if they have realised that Hornswoggle being on tv alot less has been one of the reasons RAW has improved because we havn’t had to sit through his pathetic segments and stupid storylines.

  14. Dave in Providence
    February 12, 2010 at 8:14 AM

    I think a single 1 on 1 legends match once every few mths would be nice,but seriously what legends are we talking about I don’t think anyone wants to watch KoKo B Ware vs.Rick Martel,I like the tournement PPV I.E. King of the Ring but for the love of god don’t book the guy to act like he is a freakin real King or British…I’m lookin at you Booker T.use it to elevate people like Austin,HHH and so forth,What would a MITB PPV be? a normal PPV w/a MITB main event it seems rather silly to make a big deal about it if it’s just the 1 match why would you have 2 or 3 MITB matches it seems like it would take out the luster to me I say have 1 maybe 2 MITB matches a year and just add them to a PPV like w/WM there is no need for a PPV booked around it,I’m 33 and I remember WarGames was a pretty big deal and a exciting concept,I say give us a King of the Ring and a WarGames PPV and leave the other stuff for once in a while what kind of legends PPV are we lookin at it would suck and would’nt the bulid up for the event take away from todays current stars?

  15. JCITY617
    February 12, 2010 at 9:19 AM

    IVE READ THAT WWE HAS BEEN INTERESTED IN BRINGING BACK THE WARGAMES CONCEPT FOR SOME TIME NOW(I THINK IT WAS ON THE JIM ROSS BLOG) SO SURVEY OR NOT IM PRETTY SURE THATS THE DIRECTION THEY ARE GOING IN………..IM JUST HOPING THE ROYAL RUMBLE AND WRESTLEMANIA NAMES STAY INTACT EVEN THOUGH I WOULD FULLY ENDORSE HAVING THE SUMMERSLAM NAME OFFICIALLY CHANGED TO SUMMERFEST LOL

  16. Tabitha
    February 12, 2010 at 9:34 AM

    You know what I’d like to see again? Help now, I’m getting old and can’t remember stuff (35’s creeping up fast)…what was that thing NWA did where they had the three cages stacked on each other? Tower of Doom? Tower of Terror…no that’s Disney…I remember the Freebirds and the Garvins fighting in one. (Damn does this date me…)

    • Yaz
      February 12, 2010 at 10:26 AM

      WCW did something like this in 2000 I think as well… The Triple Cage or something… I remember Kanyon (‘Who betta than Kanyon!?!’) taking a pretty sick bump off the top. I always thought it looked kind of cheesey… I think TNA does their Lethal Lockdown which is somewhat similar as well… Or at least they have done matches like this.

    • Oxide
      February 12, 2010 at 11:57 AM

      I loved that match back then, in WCW anyways. I’m pretty sure it was called Triple Cage (although I didn’t check). I recently watched that last Triple Cage match, and it actually wasn’t really that good though. I guess it could be better depending on how it’s booked.

  17. Darrell
    February 12, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    Survivor Series’ original concept lends itself to so many possibilities, IMO. They could use it as a vehicle to shake up rosters or switch titles between brands. The line is pretty blurry anyway, and with a PPV every month – special stipulation matches could restore the status quo rather quickly.

  18. Scoot
    February 12, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    I like the idea of changing the format of Survivor Series and keeping the name. When I think of WWE, I think of Wrestlemania, Royal Rumble, Summerslam, and SURVIVOR SERIES! Even those that don’t keep up with wrestling anymore can quote the big four, so why would you want to get rid of any of them? I don’t see any other PPV becoming as big as those . . . but I’ve been wrong before ;-)

    As November creeps up, I think it would be cool to strip EVERYONE of their titles and make all the superstars particpate in a variety of matches (tournament) style with the sole survivor (per brand) winning the title (have something for the tag-teams as well). I would also use it as a vehicle of pushing younger talent (surviving the entire WWE roster to become champion) and bring credibility to the title. (Honestly, I’d like to see that angle regardless of the PPV.)

  19. Tyson
    February 12, 2010 at 1:50 PM

    I wonder how many buys the PPV would have gotten without the Survivor Series name attached. Based strictly on the booking leading up to it, I’m willing to bet the buyrate would have been even more dismal without the name to help garner some residual interest.

    McMahon is in kind of a tough spot. The few “speciality PPVs” like Hell in a Cell, Bragging Rights, and TLC all saw significant increases in terms of buyrates. However, I think these PPVs are detrimental long-term to the WWE because you are not selling viewers on your superstars; you’re selling them on a concept. This does a great disservice to the superstars and is, in my humble opinion, one of the reasons UFC is currently dominating WWE among males 18-30. UFC have placed the focus squarely on the competitors and not the carnage inside the ring. People want to see their favorite competitors and will pay to do so because they want to see them achieve their goals. WWE didn’t try to sell HiaC on Cena finally vanquishing Orton and putting the feud to bed. They didn’t try to sell it on D-X putting the brash upstarts of Legacy back in their place. They sold it on the fact that there would be 3 matches inside the Cell! Buy our PPV to watch people (it’s not important who) fight in this demonic structure! The cell overwhelmed the individual narratives.

    Also, in PG era WWE, it is hard to have those kind of gimmicks when you can’t push them as far as they need to go (no bloodshed, etc.). I understand perfectly well why they are switching to more “gimmick PPVs” because they have to pay attention to the financial bottom line. Yet, I can see the novelty wearing off very quickly for these type of PPVs.

    • jay
      February 12, 2010 at 3:35 PM

      I agree with all of your points. The WWE should look at your comment.

      A feud with a good story can last for months. The WWE has basically forgotten how to tell a story with real characters that lasts longer then a month or two. This is not enough time to become emotionally invested.

      A Gimmick PPV is laziness. Besides there is nothing original that you can do that hasn’t already been done in Japan. I have always thought HIAC is stupid. X and Y in the demonic structure??? Please??? A cage match should be used to either step up or conclude a feud that has gone on for a while. You can see a cage match on free TV every week on Spike with the UFC. A cage match should be in a chain link fence and not some stupid structure. The chain link fence highlights the dangerous and barbaric message you are trying to get across.

      If you want good names for PPVs, look at the Original ECW. “Guilty as Charged” = Perfect. All of there names were edgy and made you excited for the product you were about to watch. They didn’t need to rely on a Demonic Structure,

      Vince has never understood that if you put lipstick on a pig, it is still a pig. He thinks it is the sideshow that sells the carnival. This may work for a short time, but people keep coming back to be amazed by the flying trapeze, the knife thrower, and the lion tamer. Your staples grow the loyal fandom. The Great Khali gets old very quickly. Jericho and CM Punk don’t.

  20. Dave in Providence
    February 12, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    I’d like to comment on something Tyson mentions,UFC after reading what you wrote about the fans wanting to see the actual fighters it made think about UFC PPv’s,basically in a nutshell it’s not the same 15 people every PPV it’s always different fighters so you don’t get sick of say LesnerVSCouture every month I think WWE should incorperate something so it’s not the same I laugh at my frends who waste their money on a WWE PPV when next month it’s gonna be the same as the last PPV w/a few different stipulations,basically UFC fans want more of their favorite fighters where in WWE I and am sure others want a bit less of these guys who have been at the top for 4/5 yrs and some even longer.

    • Tyson
      February 12, 2010 at 5:36 PM

      Yep. Actually, if you look from the time that they discontinued the “brand exclusive” PPVs in 2007, they have really ceased to make new stars. I’m in the camp that thinks that the brand-exclusive PPVs really aided John Cena, Randy Orton, and Batista in being considered top guys. It would be unfair to say that they wouldn’t have made it to the top anyway but, I don’t think it would have happened as quickly if WWE had to worry about getting Hunter, Taker, Shawn, and Angle on every single PPV.

      Actually, I wouldn’t be opposed to WWE embracing predominantly brand-exclusive PPVs in the future. For example, out of the seven matches on a PPV at least five should be from one brand. The next PPV would see the other brand get its turn. The other two matches should be main-event level matches from the opposing brand to help sell the PPV (I hope this makes sense). I think this would really help the guys on the cusp of the main event like Morrison, Christian, etc. become better established. I remember reading an interview with Jericho a few months ago where he talked about how Smackdown was elevating so many superstars and he name-dropped Morrison, in particular. Sure, the guy was having four-star matches on television regularly but, he wasn’t on a single PPV from May until October. That would seem to contradict how much he has supposedly been elevated. I know I’d love to see him get the opportunity to tear the house down on PPV.

  21. Causticsarky
    February 13, 2010 at 3:48 AM

    I’d like the MITB PPV. Maybe we can have 6 qualifying matches on the show, and then the winners meet in the Main Event- which will be the MITB match, with the MITB winner getting what he gets now- a Championship match…

  22. bob
    February 15, 2010 at 12:53 PM

    Someone please start a petitition to keep Survivor Series. It’s my favourite WWF/ WWE ppv :( I love the format of the Survivor Series elimination matches. Blame Hornswoggle and the build up to the main event for the low buyrate; not the format of the show or the name of the ppv.

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