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Making SummerSlam and Survivor Series Relevant

Whaddup, Scott,
I was perusing the comments in the recent post regarding the question of whether SummerSlam or Royal Rumble is the #2 Pay-Per-View, and I thought I'd engage in some tiresome fanwank:
WrestleMania XXVIII's Team Teddy versus Team Johnny match was a flaccid (at best) substitute for the Money in the Bank match, and yet some fans have suggested that there are limits to the extent to which MitB can or should carry the burden of a PPV of its own. So why not move the MitB match to SummerSlam?
The chief problem with all the PPVs between 'Mania and Royal Rumble is a lack of momentum; everyone has figured out that you can mostly tune out for three-fourths of the year and not miss much, Summer of Punk notwithstanding.
Hosting MitB at SummerSlam would add some intrigue to the event, and the WWE could also add some sort of SummerSlam-only match (gimmick or otherwise) that will determine the main event of Survivor Series, adding some much needed momentum to what is quickly being perceived as an accidental "off-season".
From there, Survivor Series could also host a recurring match (again, gimmick or otherwise) or matches, the result of which determines the #1 and #2 spot in the Rumble.

This way, the smaller PPVs can be utilized in the traditional fashion (whatever that is these days), but The Big Four will remain "big" because of something other than nostalgia, and they'll all be interconnected. (And if SummerSlam's results only impact Survivor Series and the Survivor Series results only impact the Rumble, we won't be adding undue strain to the delicate creatures on the creative staff by asking them to plan longer than a couple months in advance).
I also happen to miss the traditional Survivor Series tag matches (although I recognize that the thrill of those matches in the late '80s and early '90s stemmed from the fact that we never got to see Superstars compete in such combinations elsewhere, whereas now they all fight one another every week, so there is no mystique anymore) and I even maintain that the old King of the Ring/WrestleMania IV tournament format is a viable storytelling opportunity, but I will choose my battles. I think my suggestions above have merit.
I'd be curious to see what others think.

Yeah, they desperately need SOMETHING going on in summer.  The Nexus actually gave them some summer momentum in 2010, leading up to Barrett v. Orton actually generating intrigue for Survivor Series, but that of course was all for nothing.  I think the problem, as others have mentioned, is that all the important stuff is bunched up from January - April and then nothing.  The Elimination Chamber, which is a gimmick match that actually still means something, has basically become a nothing concept because you have the Rumble determining one WM participant and then they're spinning their wheels for two months so the Chamber can't mean anything.  I think they should move it to Survivor Series, which would reduce the "dead zone" down to April - August.  Revive King of the Ring with 8 top guys, and the winner getting the title shot at Summerslam, and then as noted MITB can be at Summerslam to elevate the NEXT guy.   


  1. I'd actually move MiTB to Survivor Series, go back to the old team format, then have the winning team members, who just fought side by side, compete against each other for the MiTB slot.  The dynamics and opportunities for turns would be awesome.

  2. I'm shocked WWE hasn't done a World Cup ppv yet. Put on in July, the winner gets a fancy trophy to be smashed later and a title shot at Summerslam. Run qualifying matches on Raw between guys from the same country to see who gets to represent their country. 


    Del Rio-Mexico





    Yoshi Tatsu-Japan

    Justin Gabriel-South Africa

    Something like that. They could even bring in guys from other countries on one off deals if they want to expand the bracket.

  3. Really like this idea. My favorite Survivor Series is 1990 when they did the grand finale match with the surviving wrestlers. Always wanted them to bring it back.

  4.  And they can call it: Battle Bowl...:-D

    I think the elimination Chamber fits perfect for the "Survivor Series", because the goal for the match is to survive.

    And I think there should be no special match for Summer Slam, because the special thing at Wrestlemania is, that there is no special match needed, because the event itself is special.

    To push the Slam they just have to find a great location and find a main event, what the fans want to see. If they make Cena vs Rock II at Summer Slam, it would be as big as Wrestlemania. Besides from the location.

  5. The problem with this is that all of the theories that are put forth to ratchet up interest revolve around titles and title shots/matches.  WWE has made all of their championships too meaningless for this to create real interest.  Just look at how the main titles have been treated the last few years. 

    The WHC has opened WrestleMania the last few years and both of those matches included the Royal Rumble winner.  The Royal Rumble is only successful these days as a concept and as an avenue for surprise one-off returns and comedy.  Has anyone been truly interested in who's going to win the match in recent years?

    Punk/Jericho was for the WWE Championship and it was billed third from the top at WM.  Hell, even last year the title was a prop to plant the seeds for Rock/Cena.  "Special Attraction" guys like Rock, Taker, HHH, HBK, Lesnar, etc. will now be the goal and focus of WWE, especially since this WM buyrate came down.  World titles are now mid-card fodder.

    So if any ideas to revive the remainder of the year revolve around titles, it won't work.  They will have to build and have Rock/Cena-type matches more than once a year to make other events meaningful.

  6. Probably because it was a failure, if I recall, but I always though the Iron Man round robin tournament that WCW did many moons ago (Flair, Luger, Sting, and Muta all wrestling one another) was a cool concept.

    otherwise, yes, please bring back king of the ring!

  7. That's a pretty cool idea!

  8. How about making the Survivor Series matches actually mean something? It's such a classic concept and everyone loves the elimination matches. They used to tinker with it, like with the awesome Wild Card match and even in 1990, with the face and heel survivors going against each other in a final.

  9. And for shits and giggles, Michael Hayes will have Mark Henry be billed from Niger.

  10. Ugh, the last thing they need is to move gimmick arounds to prop up events.

    How can they make SummerSlam relevant again? Make the main event guys relevant. They keep relying on gimmick matches that they don't build fueds anymore.

    You can do MITB at SummerSlam & Elimination Chamber at Survivor Series but if the product sucks, it doesn't matter. They have to fix the PROBLEM. The problem with SummerSlam is not the lack of a gimmick match. It's the general lack of interest the fans have in any feud from April to Decemeber.

  11. The Love-Matic Grandpa!April 20, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Yeah, aside from the Rumble, I think the last few years have proven that gimmicks don't draw anymore because they've been overused, misused and abused. HiAC used to be a money-maker, now it's just another match. Same deal with TLC, the Chamber and even MiTB (especially since being "World" champion means diddly in the WWE Universe these days if your name isn't Cena, Lesnar or Rock). Until you get more people to actually care enough about the likes of Punk, Del Rio, Sheamus, Show, etc. to the point where they will actually spend money every month to see them in action, all the gimmicks in the world aren't going to raise those PPV numbers when the "real" stars aren't around.

  12. I like this idea.  Who else remembers the Raw Bowl way back when?  It was totally gimmicky and meaningless, but basically everybody sported a jersey that alluded in some way to their gimmick/character.  Even an Olympics type thing, using the same idea above but numerous competitions with a number of people representing a region/country could be fun.

  13. Survivor Series to me is one of the easiest things to book, yet they insist on drifting from their own concept.  There are 12 PPVs a year, do we REALLY need another that has thrown together singles matches?  Just do a card full of Elimination matches and maybe one specialty match.

    I'd have each match be a mix up of Raw and Smackdown guys, with heels vs. babyfaces.  Then at the end of the night, put all of the Raw survivors against all of the Smackdown survivors.  It would at least be a unique show.

  14. I'm with most people here in that the main problem for WWE's April-December PPV's is the overall lack of long-term booking.  While I agree with the poster that something needs to be done to make Summerslam and Survivor Series "special" using MITB and the Chamber are, at the end, just gimmicks.  Back when the WWE booked Wrestlemania  basically a year ahead of time, I actually looked forward to the first two or three months after WM.  That was because WM blew off feuds that had been running for the last 6 months or so and it was time for the big stars to move onto something else.  And usually it was something totally different and therefore fresh.  Classic example is Ultimate Warrior after WM VII.  You had an epic blowoff to his long-simmering feud with Savage and he transitioned directly into a feud with Undertaker.  Taker was a rising talent at the time and this feud "made" him as a star.  Presto, the top of the card instantly changes and you have something to look forward to all summer.

  15. People already care about them.  It's just that WWE shows that they don't.  It's hard to have Lucy (Vince) pull the football away (bury them) every time they get the stones up to try to take another kick (get over with the fans).

  16. Survivor Series should never go back to traditional 4 Vs. 4. You can get away with that stuff 20 years ago but now that's a Smackdown main event and certainly not worth paying money for. 

  17. For pay-per-view matches to be relevant, we can't have the top stars facing each other on free TV weekly.

  18.  That's right. Today the feuds begin some times after the rumble and after WM they have 100000000 rematches.

  19. I'll go one further on the Survivor Series/MitB idea:  Not only do two 4v4 elimination matches set the field for MitB, but make it so that only the SURVIVORS advance to MitB.  It would add a lot of intrigue as you'd have people making a choice between saving a teammate or letting him get eliminated in the hopes of keeping him out of the finale.  If it's less than an ideal number, you can fill it in with other people who have won their matches on the card via lottery or something else like that.

    It would provide a reason for the match ups to take place and you could scramble the teams instead of having clear heel/face sides.  It'd do away with that silly "I'm mad at you, so I'm suddenly going to assemble a rag tag team of misfits to take you on!" crap we have to put up with.

    The Elimination Chamber at Survivor Series works pretty well too.

    Most of all though, I just want KotR back.  It's such a cool concept and you can stack the tournament with guys who otherwise wouldn't get any ring time on PPV and give them a chance to get over with the hardcore audience in an environment where it makes sense.

  20. That's a great idea about the 4v4... It'd be a good way to initiate some undercard programs as well. ***FANTASY BOOKING ALERT*** Ex. What if one match is down to Swagger/Ziggler vs. Big Show. Big Show is dominating Ziggler, with DZ doing his wicked bumps all over the ring. Out of nowhere he hits a dropkick or whatever to knock Show back. DZ then slowly crawls to the corner to tag Jack. Only to have Swagger refuse the tag. DZ looks shocked and betrayed. Show chokeslams the crap out of him and covers. Swagger comes in, teases that he's going to break up the pin, but does not. Once the ref hits the mat a third time to eliminate Ziggler, Swagger locks in the ankle lock and Big Show taps.
    That sets up an issue between Swagger and Ziggler. Swagger looks strong after a big win vs Big Show (and a good showing in the MitB match) and gets heat for screwing DZ out of his MitB chance by betraying them. It also turns Dolph face, which I think they really need to do anyway. That match could be a decent undercard draw for the Dec. PPV and the Rumble.

  21. Sorry to threadjack, but I finally finished reading "The Black Mirror." Comics fans, go buy this book and read it. Dick Grayson is my favorite character, and this might be my new favorite story with him in it. Phenomenal stuff.

  22. Headline Survivor Series with War Games.

    Done and done.

  23. As a black man, I can't say I'm having shits and giggles reading that.

  24. War Games get's my vote automatically for anything it's mentioned in relation to.

    Survivor Series main event? War Games.

    WrestleMania special attraction? War Games.

    Family Reunion? War Games.

  25. I like the idea of bringing the King of the Ring back for the SummerSlam title shot but I like it better as a yearly 3-hour Raw episode.

    And if I was the WWE - i'd save the gimmick matches for when I need them, like they used to do with the Ladder Match. We saw how much Hell in a Cell meant when brought out for a reason at WrestleMania. Would love to see MitB and Elimination Chamber be used the same way.

    The setting of gimmick matches in advance of PPVs (even the Extreme Rules PPV is so forced) just takes the fun out of it.

  26. Do you follow Seth Mates on Twitter. He said War Games was brought up as a possibility for Survivor Series 2002 but the name hit too close to home with a real war about to start.

    At this point with its family-friendly push and military ties, I think that shipped has sailed. Unless they rebrand the name....but that would kind of kill the cachet of it.

  27. Royal Rumble is obviously WWE's #2 PPV, not Summerslam. The buy rate sure does agree every year. 

    I'm personally sick of both MITB and Elimination Chamber matches. But I think the EC should be moved to Survivor Series, since it's elimination concept fits in with the traditions of the PPV name at least. MITB being moved to Summerslam is fine with me, I guess.

  28. The chamber usually (not this year, but usually) produces guaranteed great matches.

  29. Sadly, I agree. I also heard H was pushing hard in 2004 to use War Games to blow off the Evolution angle at Survivor Series. Before Orton's turn, he was pushing for Benoit, Edge, Foley and Jericho or Shelton vs. Evolution, and it certainly seemed they were building that way during the summer of '04.

  30. The past few years have made it abundantly clear that other than the Rumble, gimmick matches don't draw unless they're properly built up and there's an actual reason for them to be happening. Moving MITB to Summerslam and the Elimination Chamber to Survivor Series (and honestly, Survivor Series isn't a major PPV anymore except from a nostalgia standpoint) isn't going to change that. And MITB should really be done away with entirely. I don't think turning the world championships into the Hardcore title is a good thing.

  31. I agree they shouldn't bother with it until blood is allowed. As for the military stuff, I think you can do overseas USO tours _and_ call it "War Games." I doubt service people are offended by such usage. It's the PG/PC/Senate combination that's derailing it.

  32. The King of the Ring winner getting a title shot at Summerslam was great.  So easy to push someone and so hard to fuck up.  They really only used this in 2000 (Angle) and 2002 (Lesnar) since '01 was the Invasion angle.  No idea why they got rid of this vehicle.  Great chance to ellevate midcarders.

  33.  I'm guessing nobody remembers the heat between Hayes and Henry over Hayes blatant racism, where he straight up said to Henry, "I'm more of a n-word than you!"?

  34. Paul Heyman said it on a radio interview, and while it sounds simple, it's true - wrestling isn't difficult. Build up bad guys, build up good guys, then have them fight. 

    If they want pay per views to mean something, have the matches on them mean something. They've gone way too far with this "wins and loses don't matter" theory. A guy can lose a match and come out a bigger star then he was before it, but the way it is now, guys win matches and nobody cares. How often does a pay per view happen and the next night things are significantly different? Not often.

    I don't know if it's possible to do with today's television environment, but keeping top guys away from one another would be a good start. The top guys interact in one way or another every week. Why pay to see the same thing you see every week? You'd pay to see Steve Austin fight the Undertaker over and over because there were stakes that seemed important each time. Would you go out of your way to see John Cena face the Miz for the WWE Championship again? When neither result will matter the next night?

    They can use gimmicks all they want and it'll probably increase the buy rate of the particular show that has 2 MITB matches, but if they want to increase pay per view interest as a whole, go back to basics.

  35. They kind of used it with Booker T, but the tournament was held on television (the finals may've been on pay per view, I think) and he got his title shot at Great American Bash or something like that. That's the last they've used it, I think, and doing it the way you mentioned it makes more sense - it makes the KOTR show important, and starts to set up the Summerslam main event two months in advance.

  36. I've said it at a lot of places, and I guess here'd be another chance to.

    The Nexus was, far and away, one of the biggest abortions of all of pro wrestling. I say that only because I marveled at how simple and beautiful the payoff was to the original NXT program. I think that it was fascinating to see the development of these individuals, many of them were very talented at the time. Sure, there were some bums, but overall the idea was very good.

    Watching these guys would turn against the system and turn a season of Reality TV into a stable based on all-for-one, one-for-all was a brilliant idea. The best part is that these guys were made to look dangerous, and they really had some steam going into Summerslam. The Raw before SS 2010 was out of this world good as a story within a story, and the opening promo of that PPV made it seem like there was going to be an earth-shattering moment.

    I was convinced they'd have an eighth member of the Nexus, and that it would be their bigger picture. I have always said that The Miz was the most logical choice to be the man behind everything. His backstory with Ryan Reeves back on Tough Enough 2004, as well as Daniel Bryan's immediate departure from the group would explain Miz's imminent ascent as the bigger picture. Just like The Real World, The Miz masterminds a rookie group to support his quest for the WWE Championship. Ironically, he does it using a Reality TV show, signing on to be the Mentor of the most talented wrestler on that roster. From there, Miz embarrasses Bryan, even when fans support him and he is at the top of the rankings. After the show ends, and the original beatdown ends, one could explain that Bryan was fired by Miz for showing remorse. With Summerslam on the horizon, Miz could attempt to inject himself into the bigger picture by getting in the 10 Man Tag Team Match. When he is refused the opportunity, he takes out Daniel Bryan (just like it happened), but then he screams for Barrett and Gabriel to eliminate Cena. The show ends with The Miz raising the hands of Barrett and Gabriel, but not before putting a Nexus Armband on his arm.

    From there, Miz and Barrett could have a falling out, and you could progress this through Wrestlemania 27. Having the Nexus back Miz would have made him a much more credible threat than coming out with the "Varsity Villain" Alex Riley. Just my two cents.

  37. I like the tie-in of Miz's reality show past making him the 'higher power' behind Nexus, that's very clever.  Nexus really needed something to help give it some in-ring credibility since Bryan's temporary firing cost this group of green rookies the one guy that could work with anyone.  Without Bryan, you just had Barrett/Gabriel as decent workers, Sheffield as an interesting power guy, Slater as an okay worker and three stiffs in Young, Otunga and Tarver.

  38. A lot of the problem dates to back to the decision to pop the PPV buy rates for a year by theming the PPVs around gimics (HitC, Elimination Chamber, MitB).

    This had three massively destructive side-effects:
    - it over exposed the gimics (TNA did the same thing with Lockdown)
    - the undermined the story progression in fueds, since it screwed up the idea that you could have a fued which got increasingly violent (ordinary match, re-match, street fight rules match, HitC with loser retiring) before being blown off in a big-money match.
    - the PPVs themselves work less well since (for example) you have two HitC matches on the same PPV which burns out the live audience.

    What they need to do is get back to basics and make everything mean something in keyfabe. Ideally this should be reinforced by making things which are important in keyfabe important in "real life" (King of the Ring was a good example; keyfabe it gave you a title shot, real world it was a sign the company was behind that wrestler and was going to push them). That is important as it gives the fans a sign its OK to emotionally invest in a wrestler.

    If the fans are given a reason to care why a wrestler wins (because they care about the wrester, or because the belt / stipulation means something) then the match sells. In most cases the gimics then fall into place as part a logical story line. In particular gimics / stipulations are away to allow multiple re-matches during a fued offering a new scenario and new reason for fans to pay each time. This allows a feud to span multiple PPVs and make more money.

    They need to rebuild the belts so they all mean something - or scrap the ones that don't. You just have to look at UFC where they have multiple belts several of which are big enough to headline PPVs in their own right. That in turn means you don't have to defend every belt at every PPV which means that when a belt is defended (a few times a year on PPV) its a really big deal.

    Finally you then have a few gimics (Rumble, King of the Ring, MitB) which you
    build because in keyfabe they are important - they give the
    winner a title shot, a push etc. These should be linked between PPVs. Royal Rumble gives you WM title shot, King of Ring gives you Summer Slam title shot etc.)

    Truely its not that hard if you think long term.

  39. at this point I am not even sure that they (= Vince :p) want SummerSlam and the Series to be THAT relevant again. the company seems to be so insecure in protecting WrestleMania (and maybe even rightfully so) that I can easily picture them not wanting to "risk" their #1 cash cow by making SummerSlam look like even remotely the same kind of big deal.

  40.  Could tie it into the Royal Rumble. Everyone who survives faces each other on TV in a mini tournament and the finalists fight at the next PPV and they get the no.30 slot.

  41. People always say that tournaments don't do well, but honestly, if you have the right people in it, it can be intriguing as hell to watch.

  42. Why does everybody hate on Young?

    Sure, he wasn't the most charismatic guy, but he was one of the better workers in the group; during "NXT", he often helped the greener guys keep things running smoothly.

  43. Kids fighting over a toy? War Games.

  44. I also don't understand why they can't just run "War Games" with one ring and the HIAC. I mean, sure, it wouldn't be EXACTLY the same, and some would cry that it "disrespects history" or whatever, but the match would still work exactly the same way.

  45. That, right there, is the biggest issue. I don't think anybody can argue that. Well, except Vince McMahon.

    I also think that Brock's return gives the company a chance to go back to that formula: have him win the title in a month or two, and only have him compete on PPV. Hell, maybe even have him refuse certain "smaller" PPVs, like "No Way Out"; come up with a kayfabe reason, like Brock only has to compete once every sixty days or whatever.

  46. See, I don't see the logic of that. They've held "Royal Rumble" matches on free TV before, so why not this?

    Last year's "Survivor Series" would have been PERFECT for an elimination match: Trips, Cena, Punk, and Rock against Nash, Delrio, Miz, and Truth. Just have Ace go on a power-trip, reveal that Delrio paid-off Nash at "Summerslam", and that the four heels are basically Ace's hired goons; Trips, Cena, and Punk are the only faces willing to fight them, with all the other faces afraid of being fired if they go against Ace, prompting Rock to come back and make the save.

    Or 2010, with the final blow-off to the "Nexus" storyline? The top eight faces in the company against "Nexus" (lead by Trips, who would be revealed to be the "higher power"). Makes a lot more sense than headlining with Orton/Barrett and Cena as the special ref.

  47. It's obvious to everybody but WWE employees that gimmick matches are over-exposed, but I can understand why they'd want to keep the themed PPVs. Fine, but there is a way to have the matches over-exposed to a lesser degree: don't use the same gimmick multiple times in one night.

    For instance, the yearly "HIAC" PPV - why do we have two or three HIAC matches in one night? If they want to keep the PPV, fine, but why not just hold one on that night? It doesn't even have to be arbitrarily used for a title, it could be used for whichever feud is hottest at the time: for instance, the 2010 installment featured Sheamus/Orton and Kane/Taker in the Cell, but Cena/Barrett without it. Umm, does that make any sense? Cena/Nexus was the biggest feud going on at the time, why wouldn't THAT be in the Cell? Sheamus/Orton didn't need much of a gimmick, and Kane/Taker easily could have been a basic "No DQ" match.

    I also think that some of their attempts at themed PPVs are really half-assed: Take "Bragging Rights" for instance - broadly speaking, a PPV of nothing but Raw-vs.-Smackdown matches is a pretty good idea that could easily pop a buy-rate. The problem is that they took a very broad idea that could have been used in a variety of ways, and picked probably the LEAST interesting format possible. Not only that, but they used the EXACT SAME GIMMICK as the following month's PPV!  Instead of a 7-on-7 elimination match, you have the two World champions fight? Or maybe the two World champions have to face the opposite brands' #1-contendor (meaning that, using current feuds as an example, it would be Punk/Bryan and Sheamus/Jericho)? And maybe give the winners something better than a trophy, like title-shots or monetary bonuses? Plus, the whole "brand loyalty" idea should easily fuel storylines, such as the losers being ridiculed, or heels not caring about loyalty to their show/GM.

    It's just amazing to me that they not only could somehow handcuff their own creativity by insisting on holding certain gimmicks on certain days, but then somehow manage to screw-up their ideas even FURTHER by holding these gimmicks in the least interesting ways possible.

  48. Definitely - a tournament with, say, Cena, Orton, Punk, Sheamus, Bryan, Jericho, Brock, and Taker would be pretty interesting.

  49. I've always stated that the Nexus could have actually become Eric Bischoff's Vision of the "New World Order". Eric always believed that the nWo could've spawned into its own federation (his would've tanked). The Nexus, however, could have created their own storyline about who they would and would not enter into their group from future seasons. For example, the Nexus could be lumberjacks during the Final 3 Episode. When Husky, McGillicutty, and Riley are having their triple threat, Nexus makes a move and takes out Riley and invites the other two members to join. The brilliance of this is that some NXT rookies can pull a DDP, and fake joining the Nexus before laying one of their guys out. This instantly creates a star, it keeps the stable fresh, and the NXT program could actually be worth watching.

  50. Gotta disagree with Scott wanting to move Elimination Chamber.  It really helps make the Rumble a lot less predictable.  Before you could basically predict the Rumble each year according to who the champion was.  With the EC matches, you know that the champions can be switched around almost anyone before Mania.

    As for Summerslam, I like the idea of making it the home of MITB. 

    I've always thought that Survivor Series should have become the home of WarGames when they purchased WCW.  It is a hot match, fits with the tradition team vs team dynamic (you could even cut it down to 4 vs 4 to put a WWE stamp on it)


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