By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Over the last month, I've been watching every installment of Survivor Series on the WWE Network. Yes, it's been as difficult of a task as it sounds, but it's been a blast reliving the history of one of WWE's most prestigious pay-per-views. This weekend, I watched Survivor Series 2009. Before last year, I had never seen it before, despite being a fan at that time (this was shortly before I began watching the pay-per-views live). It was a relatively good show on the whole, but by far the best bout of the night (and among's the year's greatest matches) was the Triple Threat main event between John Cena, Triple H and Shawn Michaels for the WWE Championship. I don't often do retrospective pieces on past matches, but while watching this instant classic from exactly six years ago today, I felt it was only fitting if I offer my analysis of it.
To me, 2009 will go down as one of the most unspectacular years in recent WWE history. Other than a few fresh feuds on the SmackDown brand (i.e. CM Punk vs. Jeff Hardy), Raw was largely dominated by the three faces: John Cena, Randy Orton and Triple H. While there was nothing technically wrong with the matches they were having, they weren't allowing the younger stars to break through to the title picture. D-Generation X reunion run was fun while it lasted, but it was time to focus to hungry up-and-comers.
Despite all that, the main event of that year's Survivor Series featured Cena defended his newly won WWE Championship against both members of D-Generation X in a Triple Threat match. Although they were three of WWE's biggest names on Raw at the time, the build was absolutely awful. No tension was teased between HHH and Michaels. Cena never talked about how much the match meant to him. In fact, the whole build didn't even center around the title; it was about whether Hornswoggle would be named an honorary member of DX.
This was among the many reasons why the buyrate of that year's Survivor Series event bombed. Not at any point in the build to that show did WWE treat it like a big deal, which is why the quality of the Triple Threat match was so surprising. As Cena, HHH and HBK stood across the ring from each other, Michaels nailed Triple H with a Sweet Chin Music within seconds of the bell ringing. A priceless shot of Cena with his jaw on the ground was basically the reaction of everyone in the arena and watching around the world. It was the perfect and most shocking way to kick off such a match.
With The Game temporarily out of the equation, Cena and HBK locked up, bringing back memories of their unforgettable series of matches from two years prior. It wasn't long before HHH reemerged and helped his partner take out Cena before laying him out with a scintillating spinebuster on the commentary table. From there, the three future Hall of Famers took turns hitting their signature spots, and although that can be formulaic after a while, there never seemed to be a dull moment throughout the entire bout.
What made the match even more special was the commentators acknowledging the fact how Michaels won two of his world titles at that same event in 1997 and in 2002, respectively. He came close on several occasions in this match to regaining the gold, but to no avail. Even HHH, who had the match won at one point, fell short of victory. Even though Cena retaining the title was never in doubt, DX had fans buying into the possibility of either one of them winning the strap.
Michaels hitting both Cena and HBK with Sweet Chin Music only to have HHH fall on top of Cena for a pin was a thing of beauty, yet not enough to put The Champ away. The finish saw Michaels attempt a piledriver on Triple H only for The Game to reverse, putting Michaels on Cena's shoulders for an Attitude Adjustment. When Michaels reversed, Triple H looked to hit Cena with a Pedigree only for Michaels to blast his buddy with a Sweet Chin Music out of nowhere. Cena capitalized with an AA on HBK, toppling him on HHH to score the three count and maintain the possession of his prestigious prize.
The show wasn't nearly as bad as the build made it out to be. The traditional elimination tag team matches were fun, the Triple Threat World Heavyweight Championship match exceeded expectations, but this WWE Championship spectacular was above and beyond the highlight of the night. It will unquestionably get you in the Survivor Series mood as the November classic draws near.