Survivor Series 2008 was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), took place on November 23, 2008 at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. The Survivor Series was in Boston 15 years prior in 1993 in the now-demolished Boston Garden. The event, the 22nd Survivor Series, featured talent from WWE's all three brands, Raw, SmackDown and ECW. Six professional wrestling matches were featured on the event's card. The event received 319,000 pay-per-view buys, less than the previous year's event.
The main event was for the World Heavyweight Championship between John Cena, and the champion, Chris Jericho, which Cena won by pinfall after executing an FU. Another match on the event was the SmackDown main event, which saw Edge return and defeat Vladimir Kozlov, and the champion Triple H, in a Triple Threat match to win the WWE Championship. The undercard matches included The Undertaker versus The Big Show in a Casket Match and three 5-on-5 elimination tag team matches.
The event featured professional wrestling matches that involved different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots and storylines. Wrestlers portrayed a villain or a fan favorite character as they followed a series of events that built tension, and culminated into a wrestling match or series of matches. All wrestlers came from the ECW, Raw, and SmackDown brands — a storyline division in which WWE assigns its employees to different programs.
Advertising on WWE programming and on the Survivor Series promotional poster had foreshadowed the return of John Cena, whom a herniated disk injury (that he suffered during his match with Batista at SummerSlam) had sidelined, at the event. On the November 3, 2008 episode of Raw, Shane McMahon announced that Cena would challenge for the World Heavyweight Championship at Survivor Series. Cena would face the champion resulting from a Steel cage match between World Heavyweight Champion Batista and Chris Jericho, which Jericho won. This event marks the first time that Jericho and Cena would wrestle for a major championship since August 2005. During that summer, Cena defeated Jericho on two different occasions for the WWE Championship (the title that Cena held at the time). First at the SummerSlam event and on the following night's episode of Raw in a "You're Fired" match, a match that ended the career of Jericho, until his return on the November 19, 2007 episode of Raw.
The main feud on the SmackDown brand involved Triple H, Vladimir Kozlov and Jeff Hardy, who were competing for Triple H's WWE Championship. At No Mercy in October, Hardy came close to winning the WWE title from Triple H but failed to do so when Triple H pinned him with the roll up. Kozlov was one of the choices for Triple H's challengers at Cyber Sunday for the fans to vote, but Hardy won the poll and faced Triple H for the title, a match in which Hardy lost again. Then, after Kozlov demanded a WWE title match against Triple H on SmackDown, General Manager Vickie Guerrero put Kozlov in a match against The Undertaker on the November 7 episode of SmackDown, adding that if Kozlov won, he would challenge Triple H at Survivor Series for the WWE Championship. Kozlov won the match, albeit via disqualification after Hardy interfered and hit Kozlov with a steel chair. However, after seeing Hardy defeat The Undertaker in an Extreme Rules match the following week, Guerrero scheduled Hardy in a non-title match against Triple H on the November 21 episode of SmackDown, stating that should Hardy win, she would add him to the WWE Championship match at Survivor Series, making it a Triple Threat match. Hardy won the match and earned the title opportunity. However it was announced during the event that Hardy was found unconscious in a hotel stairwell in Boston, casting doubt over whether he would be able to compete in the match.
Another feud from SmackDown heading into Survivor Series took place between The Undertaker and The Big Show. At Unforgiven, Big Show betrayed The Undertaker and attacked him, punching him in the head on several occasions. At No Mercy, in a match between the two, Big Show knocked The Undertaker out with 2 punches to the face and 1 to the back of the head, prompting the referee to rule the match a knockout in Big Show's favour. However, at Cyber Sunday, in a fans-voted Last Man Standing match, Undertaker defeated Big Show by choking him out with the gogoplata or Hells Gate. On an episode of SmackDown, The Undertaker defeated Chavo Guerrero in a casket match despite of the Big Show's interference. On the November 7 episode, Big Show challenged Undertaker to a casket match at Survivor Series.
Keeping to the Survivor Series tradition, three inter-promotional traditional Survivor Series Elimination matches were announced for the event. In one match, Shawn Michaels captained the team of Rey Mysterio, The Great Khali, and Cryme Tyme (JTG and Shad Gaspard) against John "Bradshaw" Layfield (JBL) and his team of Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP), Kane, John Morrison and The Miz. The feud that led to the Team HBK vs. Team JBL match began between Rey Mysterio and Kane over the summer then a couple of months later, the Team of Cryme Tyme (from the Raw brand) started their own feud against John Morrison and The Miz (from the ECW brand). From the SmackDown brand, MVP and The Great Khali have had their own issues in the few weeks leading up to Survivor Series. The main rivalry between the captains, Michaels and JBL, began on the October 27 episode of Raw, when JBL attacked Michaels before a tag team match between the latter and Batista, taking on JBL and Chris Jericho. Despite of the assault, Michaels and Batista defeated JBL and Jericho. The following week, a match between JBL and The Undertaker took place, with Undertaker winning, after JBL was counted out. Moments after the match, Michaels threw JBL back into the ring, allowing Undertaker to perform a Tombstone Piledriver on JBL. On the November 10 episode, JBL retaliated when he helped Chris Jericho defeat Michaels in a Last Man Standing match.
Another match featured Batista captaining the team of Matt Hardy, R-Truth, CM Punk and Kofi Kingston, and facing off against the team captained by Randy Orton, consisting of Shelton Benjamin, William Regal, Cody Rhodes and Mark Henry. The rivalry between Team Batista and Team Orton originally started between Matt Hardy and Shelton Benjamin. On the June 23 episode of Raw, Hardy was drafted from SmackDown to ECW when he was the WWE United States Champion at the time. Then at The Great American Bash, he lost the U.S. title to Benjamin. Afterwards, Hardy went for the ECW World Championship held by Mark Henry on a few occasions. At Unforgiven, Hardy won the ECW title from Henry in the Championship Scramble match after he pinned The Miz. Henry challenged Hardy for the title at No Mercy but lost by pinfall. From SmackDown, Benjamin had successfully defended the U.S. title against the likes of Jimmy Wang Yang, and Jeff Hardy but has yet to defeat R-Truth in a non-title match. At Cyber Sunday, Benjamin defeated R-Truth in a WWE.com match to retain the U.S. title. Then on the November 7 episode, Benjamin defeated R-Truth again to retain the title but on the next two weeks on SmackDown, he and Henry lost to R-Truth and Hardy in a tag match. From the Raw brand, then World Tag Team Champions, Kofi Kingston and CM Punk would have their own issues with Cody Rhodes and Manu for two months. It began on the September 1 episode of Raw, when Randy Orton appeared to belittle Raw’s champions, drawing then World Champion, CM Punk out to the ring to confront Orton. At Unforgiven, Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, and Manu attacked Punk, as well as Kingston who tried to help Punk. After they had attacked both Punk and Kingston, Orton made use of this opportunity to perform a running punt on Punk. In result of this, Punk was stripped of the World title and was replaced by Chris Jericho before the third Championship Scramble began on that event. The main rivalry between the captains, Batista and Orton began on the November 10 episode of Raw, when Batista invoked his rematch clause against Chris Jericho, whom he lost the World title the week before in a Steel cage match. Stephanie McMahon, however, appeared in the titantron to address Batista, alerting him that due to her brother, Shane's promise that whoever won the Steel cage match would go on to face John Cena for the title at Survivor Series, she was unable to grant Batista his rematch request until after the pay-per-view event. Following this, Orton made his way to the ring, dredging up bad history from he and Batista's days in Evolution several years earlier. Orton then said that after Cena, it was his turn for a title opportunity, not Batista's. On the November 17 episode of Raw, Orton defeated Punk in a Lumberjack match with the help of then WWE Intercontinental Champion, William Regal. After the match, Batista entered the ring and attacked Orton, leading all of the superstars present to get involved in what became an out-of-control brawl that ended the show.
The third match announced was a Divas Elimination match, in which Beth Phoenix led Team Raw comprising of Mickie James, Candice Michelle, Kelly Kelly and Jillian Hall, against Team SmackDown, which featured Michelle McCool as captain, Victoria, Maria, Maryse and Natalya. On the October 3 episode of SmackDown, Women's Champion, Beth Phoenix defeated the Diva's Champion, Michelle McCool in a Lumberjill match due to interference from Maryse. The feud between Phoenix and McCool restated on the November 17 episode of Raw, when Raw's diva, Kelly Kelly fought SmackDown diva Victoria and was victorious. As a result of this, Victoria attacked her opponent after the bell before Kelly’s fellow Raw divas ran to her rescue.
After Edge returned and captured the WWE Championship, Triple H, Jeff Hardy, and Vladimir Kozlov participated in a Beat The Clock challenge for the #1 Contender's spot. Kozlov lost his match to Matt Hardy, while Jeff Hardy and Triple H each won their matches in exactly the same time. Due to the results, a reluctant Vickie Guerrero announced that Edge would defend his WWE Championship against both Hardy and Triple H in a triple threat match at Armageddon. At the PPV, Hardy defeated Edge and Triple H to win his first WWE Championship.
The feud between John Cena and Chris Jericho continued on into Armageddon, where Cena defeated Jericho to retain the World Heavyweight Championship.
The day after Survivor Series, Melina returned from injury and resumed her feud with Beth Phoenix that began back in June 2008. On the December 29 edition of Raw, Melina won a battle royal to become the #1 Contender to Phoenix's WWE Women's Championship. At the Royal Rumble, Melina defeated Phoenix to win her third Women's Championship.
After Survivor Series, Michelle McCool began displaying a heel persona when she attacked Maria after losing a non-title match to her on the December 5 episode of SmackDown. Two weeks later, Maryse defeated Maria in a #1 Contender's match to earn a shot at McCool's WWE Divas Championship. On the December 26 edition of SmackDown, Maryse defeated McCool to capture the Divas Championship in a match where Maria was the guest referee. After the match ended, McCool attacked Maria and blamed her for the loss, completing McCool's heel turn.
The event was generally well received by critics. The Sun praised the shock return of Edge and his and Cena's subsequent World Championship victories. However they highly criticized the poor quality of the casket match and the Jeff Hardy storyline, which they regarded as "tasteless". The Team Orton vs Team Batista match was viewed as the best wrestling match of the night. Overall they gave the event a rating of 7 out of 10.
PWI named the PPV Worst Event of 2008 and heavily criticized Vladimir Kozlov for his poor acting and lackluster wrestling ability.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- Dark Match: The Brian Kendrick defeated Kung Fu Naki
- Team HBK (Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio, Cryme Tyme (JTG and Shad), and The Great Khali) defeated Team JBL (John Bradshaw Layfield, John Morrison, The Miz, Montel Vontavious Porter, and Kane) in a 5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match (18:13)
- Team Raw (Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Candice Michelle, and Jillian Hall) (with Santino Marella) defeated Team SmackDown (Michelle McCool, Victoria, Maria, Maryse, and Natalya) in a 5-on-5 Divas Survivor Series Elimination match (09:39)
- The Undertaker defeated Big Show in a Casket Match (12:45)
- Team Orton (Randy Orton, Shelton Benjamin, William Regal, Cody Rhodes, and Mark Henry) (w/ Layla, Manu and Tony Atlas) defeated Team Batista (Batista, CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, Matt Hardy, and R-Truth) in a 5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match (16:13)
- Edge defeated Triple H (c) and Vladimir Kozlov in a Triple Threat Match to win the WWE Championship (14:21)
- John Cena defeated Chris Jericho (c) to win the World Heavyweight Championship (21:19)
Survivor Series Elimination Matches
- Team HBK vs. Team JBL
|Elimination||Wrestler||Team||Eliminated by||Elimination move|
|1||JTG||Team HBK||MVP||Pinfall after a running big boot|
|2||MVP||Team JBL||The Great Khali||Pinfall after a Chop.|
|3||Kane||Team JBL||Mysterio||Pinfall after a splash on Khali's shoulders|
|4||Shad||Team HBK||The Miz||Pinfall after a Reality Check.|
|5||The Miz||Team JBL||Mysterio||Pinfall after a 619 and a splash|
|6||JBL||Team JBL||no one||Counted out|
|7||John Morrison||Team JBL||Michaels||Pinfall after Sweet Chin Music.|
|Survivors:||Shawn Michaels, The Great Khali and Rey Mysterio (Team HBK)|
- Raw Divas vs. Smackdown Divas
|Elimination||Wrestler||Team||Eliminated by||Elimination move|
|1||Victoria||Team Smackdown||Kelly Kelly||Pinfall with a roll up|
|2||Kelly Kelly||Team Raw||Maryse||Pinfall|
|3||Michelle McCool||Team Smackdown||Mickie James||Pinfall after a Mickie-DT|
|4||Mickie James||Team Raw||Maryse||Pinfall with a roll-up|
|5||Natalya||Team Smackdown||Candice Michelle||Pinfall with a jacknife cover|
|6||Jillian||Team Raw||Maria||Pinfall with a victory roll|
|7||Maria||Team Smackdown||Candice Michelle||Pinfall with a Bridging Northern Lights Suplex|
|8||Candice Michelle||Team Raw||Maryse||Submission with Inverted Figure Four Leglock|
|9||Maryse||Team Smackdown||Beth Phoenix||Pinfall after a Glam Slam|
|Survivors:||Beth Phoenix (Team Raw)|
- Team Orton vs. Team Batista
|Elimination||Wrestler||Team||Eliminated by||Elimination move|
|1||William Regal||Team Orton||CM Punk||Pinfall after a G.T.S.|
|2||R-Truth||Team Batista||Shelton Benjamin||Pinfall after a Paydirt|
|3||Kofi Kingston||Team Batista||Randy Orton||Pinfall after a DDT from the second rope|
|4||CM Punk||Team Batista||Cody Rhodes||Pinfall after a flowing DDT|
|5||Matt Hardy||Team Batista||Mark Henry||Pinfall after a World's Strongest Slam|
|6||Mark Henry||Team Orton||Batista||Pinfall after a Spear|
|7||Shelton Benjamin||Team Orton||Batista||Pinfall after a Batista Bomb|
|8||Batista||Team Batista||Randy Orton||Pinfall after an RKO|
|Survivors:||Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes (Team Orton)|
Other on-screen talent
- Survivor Series 2008 website at WWE.Com
- Survivor Series 2008 on WWE Network
- Survivor Series 2008 at CAGEMATCH.net
- Survivor Series 2008 at Online World of Wrestling
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