That's not to say that this was a bad show, by any means. It's pretty hard to dismissively brush off an Undertaker/Batista Hell in a Cell match, a Shawn Michaels/Randy Orton WWE title match, and an elimination bout that tells an enjoyable story before building to a joyful finish. Sure, Khali/Hornswoggle was an oddity without much satisfaction, but the show was still pretty good overall.
But as we get deeper into these Survivor Series lists, there does seem to be a tight-lipped sense of "I guess we have to do this..." from WWE, for whom it seems November traditions disrupt whatever they'd prefer to be doing, story-wise. Recent years have shown more love for the Survivor Series of old, but in this period, the event feels secondary. 2007, while a solid watch, is one of those examples.
10. Crime Scene Revisited?
The 2007 Survivor Series emanated from the American Airlines Arena in Miami, FL, marking the second time (after the 2000 show) that the event would take place in The Sunshine State. However, Miami was actually the second pick for the location. If WWE had initially had their way, the 2007 show would've celebrated a rather controversial anniversary.
A WWE corporate filing from late in 2006 had some of the 2007 calendar laid out, and Survivor Series was set to take place in Montreal. For those of you who know basic math, as well as wrestling history, you know that the event would've commemorated the 10-year anniversary of Bret Hart getting screwed over by Vince McMahon. And naturally, there probably would've been some incident or mention on the show designed to rile up the Canadian crowd. But plans actually changed earlier in 2007, with Miami subbing in as the locale. WWE Canada President Carl DeMarco cited "routing issues" for the change.
9. Extreme Survival
It was a good choice for a hot opener when ECW Champion CM Punk needed inside of eight minutes to retain his gold against both John Morrison and The Miz in a triple threat match. The fast-paced spot-heavy battle came off well, and would've been a fine choice of opener on many pay-per-views events, even if it was for the top belt of a supposedly important brand.
Somewhat interestingly, this would mark the only time that the ECW Championship was defended at any Survivor Series. In the other years of the brand's existence, champions Big Show (2006), Matt Hardy (2008), and Christian (2009) would all compete in traditional elimination bouts. But look on the bright side - it's a much more enriching use of the belt, as opposed to the only WrestleMania ECW title match (see Guerrero, Chavo).
8. Quiet Exit
They couldn't make it an elimination bout for whatever reason, but WWE did give us a 10-woman tag that ran about five minutes, and concluded with the ageless Mickie James polishing off Melina. The match was essentially a throwaway deal, a way to involve the "Divas" on the show, even in minimal form. It would, however, mark one of the last high-profile appearances for a recognizable star.
The match was the final PPV bout as a full-time performer for Torrie Wilson, who had been with the company since the summer of 2001. Torrie worked a couple more matches that week before taking time away to undergo therapy for a back injury. Torrie did not resurface with the company, and was subsequently released in May of 2008.
7. Tagging Out
On the card, Lance Cade and Trevor Murdoch successfully defended the World Tag Team titles against the duo of Hardcore Holly and Cody Rhodes. Cade and Murdoch were something of a go-to duo on the Raw brand for a few years there, a nice throwback to southern-fried rasslin' duos. A few weeks after Survivor Series, however, they dropped the gold to Holly and Rhodes. And then, strangely, it fell apart.
Cade and Murdoch split in the spring of 2008, Murdoch would be released that summer, and Cade (despite landing a plum spot as the Diesel to Chris Jericho's Michaels) was released that fall after an incident on board an aeroplane. The Tag Team title match win at Survivor Series was the last main-card PPV match that either man would wrestle in WWE.
6. Almost Broken For Real
The elimination match turned into a five-on-four affair after Matt Hardy was written out of the pay-per-view with a kayfabe knee injury suffered at the hands of MVP on the go-home SmackDown. Hardy would've gained revenge on MVP in an angle soon enough, but would actually be sidelined until around WrestleMania XXIV. And his absence had nothing to do with selling a knee injury.
While some sometimes think that the on-camera angle was the catalyst for Hardy needing time off, in actuality, Hardy was rushed to the hospital three days after Survivor Series with a burst appendix. The future "Woken One" would have emergency surgery for the life-threatening occurrence, and would miss a substantial amount of time. The injury angle was simply a case of coincidental timing.
5. It Don't Run In Our Blood
The on-hand participants in the elimination match made for quite a motley crew, with demons, masked marvels, island beasts, and 500-pound behemoths roaming about. In the end, Triple H and Jeff Hardy stood tall, coming back from down five-on-two to wipe out the opposition. While the match was meant to boost Hardy, I'm more focused on the bizarre coincidence that was in play.
If you can believe it, all four members of the 1995 Survivor Series team known as The Royals were involved in said match. Helmsley teamed with 1995 partner Kane (then Isaac Yankem), while Big Daddy V (then King Mabel) was part of the heel squad. The fourth member of the Royals squad, Jerry Lawler, was at ringside doing commentary. What are the odds?
4. Change Of Pace
Randy Orton had reigned as WWE Champion for about six weeks when he was matched up with Shawn Michaels, 10 years after Michaels last won said belt. The match was notable for Orton being able to lose the belt on a DQ, while Michaels would be DQed if he used Sweet Chin Music. Another somewhat odd fact centres around Orton's involvement in this match.
The event was Orton's fifth Survivor Series overall, and it was the first time he'd wrestled in something other than an elimination bout. Given how scarce "traditional" survivor matches can be in the later years, his involvement in so many is a bit surprising. It also marked the fourth time that Orton and Michaels were in the same Survivor Series match, facing off on opposing sides every year from 2003-07, sans 2004.
3. The Forbidden Move
Since Michaels couldn't use his Superkick to vanquish Orton, he had to dig deeper into his repertoire to try and slay The Viper. It was scandalous enough for him to use the Sharpshooter (Happy anniversary, Bret!), but another selection of his drew audible gasps and incredulity from the crowd: The Crippler Crossface, just five months after the incident.
Michaels basically indicated in an interview with WWE Magazine sometime after that he didn't necessarily have the authorization to do the move, especially as the whitewashing of Chris Benoit was still in full swing. "I'll just say that I am the guy who has got to be the first one to do stuff, to let people know it's OK. Did I worry about taking heat? I've never been afraid of the heat," said Shawn.
2. Seems Really Important
Putting Undertaker against Batista proved to be a winning formula, as the two beasts churned out one classic "mean guy match" after another, demonstrating a fine chemistry with each other. A Hell in a Cell match pitting the two against each other, for Batista's World Heavyweight title, seemed to be a great way to end a major pay-per-view.
And yet, the match felt kinda secondary. Perhaps that's because it wasn't announced until the SmackDown 16 days before the pay-per-view that the match would take place inside the Cell. Even worse was *when* the match was announced - Michael Cole casually noted during a match between Cliff "Domino" Compton and Luke "Festus" Gallows that the match would take place inside the end all/be all of gimmick matches. How's that for priorities?
1. We're All Opportunists
The hard-hitting Undertaker/Batista brawl would see chicanery reign in the final moments, as Edge (disguised as a cameraman inside the cage) brutalized Undertaker, and aided a weary Batista in securing the pinfall. It was Edge's return from a torn pectoral muscle that he sustained the previous July, and would set up a triple threat between the three at Armageddon the next month.
Edge apparently wasn't originally planned to return at Survivor Series, as WWE wanted to hold off a bit longer before executing his return. There was a change of plans, as WWE apparently wanted to use a high-profile comeback at a major pay-per-view to set Armageddon up, figuring that more people would know of his comeback at Survivor Series than at some otherwise-forgettable episode of SmackDown.