I have to admit. I'm pretty excited for tonight's (Nov. 20) Survivor Series card. My esteemed colleague Geno Mrosko will be running the live play-by-play which leaves me free to enjoy the show without a intense critical eye and also chat with other fans on Twitter (shameless plug: @cagesideseats).
Most of that excitement stems from the involvement of The Rock. Throughout the past seven years, "involvement" would entail a guest host spot or a taped promo that would air on the TitanTron but not tonight. Tonight, "The Great One" actually steps inside the squared circle to apprehensively team up with John Cena against the team of The Miz and R-Truth.
Both world title matches also have piqued my interest. Mark Henry is currently the best thing going on the full-time WWE roster and both he and The Big Show know who to work a "big man" style of match. On the other side, Alberto Del Rio and CM Punk are both excellent wrestlers in their own right and should have a great match.
And as far as I'm concerned, any time Dolph Ziggler shows up on my TV screen should be considered a win. He has become such a solid midcard talent that it's only a matter of time before he gets called up to the main event playground. The only match that doesn't exactly rev my engine is the traditional elimination tag team match between Randy Orton's team and that of Wade Barrett's.
Oh, I forgot to mention I don't recognize the Diva's title match as a part of this Survivor Series card. If the WWE is going to treat their women's division like garbage, I'm going to reciprocate in my attitude towards it.
But back to the match that is synonymous with the event itself. I was never a fan of these growing up and as a result Survivor Series as a whole. It wasn't until the event began to move away from the elimination style match that I began to embrace the November tradition.
So what's my beef? Well, I'm glad you asked.
The first four years of the event was comprised entirely of what is now known as the traditional Survivor Series elimination tag team match. It wasn't until 1991 that a singles match managed to get itself in the lineup -- The Undertaker defeating Hulk Hogan which was awesome, by the way -- and that trend continued for years.
The bulk of the card would be the elimination tag matches with one or two singles matches -- usually a title match or a huge grudge match -- being the odd man out. 1992 was the only anomaly in the bunch as it resembled a modern Survivor Series card with singles matches taking the forefront and only one four-on-four match. Chalk it up to experimentation, I suppose.
It wasn't until 1998's world title tournament that the elimination match's stranglehold on the event was broken. The following year saw greater emphasis on singles and two-on-two matches and the event was better for it. The past few years have seen a resurgence of the elimination style match with two or three appearing. Thankully, only one is scheduled for tonight.
The reason I dislike these matches so much is because they completely shatter my suspension of belief. Back when the entire card was comprised of them, you would see wrestlers get eliminated from maneuvers like cross body blocks, moves that would never get a pinfall in a singles match.
Even as a kid, I thought, "Okay, there's no way Marty Jannetty would have won with a sunset flip in a regular match." It seemed fake to me. That was my first inkling that perhaps pro wrestling wasn't completely on the up and up.
Logistically, I can understand the reasoning behind it. When you've got 30 or 40 guys on a card, you need to manage time a little bit more briskly. So now that they've moved away from having multiple elimination matches on the card, what few they do have are allowed to play out more organically and realistically.
Traditional Survivor Series elimination tag team matches helped ruin kayfabe for me. Can I ever forgive it? I'll consider it if -- and only if -- The Rock nails Cena with a Rock Bottom tonight.
I mean, who wouldn't love to see that?