Thursday, July 29, 2021

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Survivor Series 2009 in Review: Melina Leads Team Mickie to Victory


Last night’s Survivor Series match was billed as Team Mickie vs Team Michelle but it was Divas Champion, Melina that scored the final pinfall and took the win for her team. When originally announced, it seemed odd that the Divas Champ would be playing second fiddle to someone else as team captain, which it makes it all the more surprising that last night we saw a ‘switcheroo’ of sorts with her gaining the win.

What that says about each Diva and their current favourability with management could be looked into; Melina’s omission from captaincy and the fact that even though it was her team, Mickie wasn’t the one to win the match. I’m sure it’s not by mistake given the reports we’ve heard in the past week about both. But despite where they might stand with WWE higher ups, there is no doubt that they are still the two top Divas in the company and would still have to be booked as such — despite backstage politics.

Overall, the match was as expected: we saw a lot of quick eliminations before a few Divas were left standing. Anyone who expected anymore than this would be foolish. Even with an elimination match like this which requires more time, the Divas aren’t going to be a priority compared to the men and if we think about it — they did get more time than they’re usually afforded. What should be considered more highly then, is not the timing, but what the Divas did with it. And if we’re looking at the layout of the match, I think all ten women did a great job with the time they were given.

Watch the match below:

As with last year, we got to see some new combinations. The tease of Gail Kim & Michelle McCool was interesting and harkens back to their good work together on SmackDown in April. Meanwhile, Jillian vs Eve is a WWE Superstars match waiting to happen. Though in comparison to last year, the excitement level for these mini-matches just wasn’t there. It was a year ago at this event that we were initially teased with Michelle vs Mickie, something I still remember to this day, so it’s interesting that now a year later — we’re in the midst of building to that match. Meanwhile other matches such as Melina vs Michelle have already been done. It really drums the point home: there are very few fresh matches left between this group of Divas. Even with the rising Diva, Alicia Fox, we’ve already seen her versus Mickie and Melina. Perhaps the injection of Natalya could have lead to some interesting combinations with Melina, Mickie and/or Gail.

That said, I can’t help but feel this year’s match was more cohesive than last year’s. The supposed ‘weak links’ weren’t so weak; Alicia, Eve, Kelly and Layla all played their parts well. The initial exchange between Kelly and Layla was far from what we’ve seen from them in the past, both came across as more confident and knowledgable in the ring than ever before. Layla, though she didn’t connect it, hit a beautiful spinning kick in the corner on Kelly, while Kelly’s step-up legdrop is easily one of the most silently effective moves. Eve held her own against Michelle, though I have to say, her exchange with Jillian was sloppy at times. Meanwhile Alicia Fox, who is without a doubt the standout of 2009, had a good showing with Mickie James including a beautiful northern lights suplex. Just breathtaking to watch her arch.

Some had expected the Glamazon to be booked more strongly in this match and to them I say, she was. Despite being eliminated third in her team, she took out two Divas in quick succession and WWE did their bit to keep her strong in that sense. Arguably, Alicia and Michelle are the top heels on their brands right now as they’re involved in the title picture, so it wouldn’t have served as well for Beth to survive till the end. I think WWE did a good job in making her look dominant and powerful and that’s all we can ask for.

Nearing the end of the match then, we got two exchanges: an exchange between Mickie & Michelle which will likely be a full blown match in the near future, and an exchange between Melina and Michelle which has proven to be a winning formula this year. I don’t know what it says about Mickie, but I thought the difference between the two exchanges was vast. On the one hand, the work between Mickie & Michelle was more slow and at times, boring while the work between the two champions was as it has always been: fast, hard hitting and a spectacle. If we are to watch Michelle vs Mickie for a full length match then I would hope it’s a step up from this encounter. Technically sound though it was, there wasn’t an entertainment factor. It’s the same situation with Mickie/Beth and Melina/Beth.

The hot tag to Melina at the end of the match was superbly done, the crowd got into it as the favourite, Mickie struggled to tag in the fresh Melina and when she did, the crowd got behind it. The pops for Melina’s signature moveset added an excitement to the end of the match and I guess, if we must end this match on a high why not go with a proven formula — Melina vs Michelle? These two Divas have insane chemistry and as in the past, worked great together. A satisyfing conclusion.

In an ideal situation, the Divas would get as much time as the men and the eliminations would be more sporadic. However given the way the match went, I think they used their time well — cut the fat and then have a few Divas go at it till the end. The formula worked. We were able to invest more in the three Divas at the end of the match because we weren’t distracted by multiple tags and eliminations too close to the end.

In comparison to last year’s match, which is a favourite, I think this isn’t better nor worse — but on par. A great effort by all involved.

Rating: 3.5/5

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