Looking back on the twenty-third edition of Survivor Series, squandered potential is the theme of the show. On this card, you’ll find missed opportunities practically everywhere you look. Both traditional Survivor Series elimination matches are glaring examples, as all four teams are filled with superstars who could have done so much more.
To be fair, there’s plenty to enjoy here too, as two triple threat title matches deliver several fun spots and compelling stories throughout them both. Plus, Batista’s emotional match with Rey Mysterio is a highlight of the show, though it can also serve as another example of disappointment.
Maybe more than anything else, Team Miz, who defeated Team Morrison in the opening match, best represents the consistent theme of squandered potential. Sure, “The A-Lister” has had quite a successful year, McIntyre finally deemed himself by winning the WWE Championship earlier this year, and Ziggler and Sheamus both remain WWE stalwarts. But looking at this time, it’s easy to think that this group could have, and should have, accomplished so much more.
Jack Swagger would go on to win the World Heavyweight Championship, but his run as a quasi main eventer quickly fizzled out. Though he did some great work with The Real Americans, he never truly realized the potential that was so evident early on in his WWE career. Ziggler remains a complicated case, as he’s still a regular presence on WWE television. But other than his world title run in 2013, he’s typically been relegated to the role of jobber to the stars. (Look no further than his “match” with Goldberg at WWE SummerSlam 2019.)
Similar arguments can be made for Team Morrison. John Morrison went on to have a successful career away from WWE, but the company has severely mishandled him since he returned at the beginning of 2020. Morrison should be a world champion in WWE. He’s got the look of a Hollywood star and the charisma to match. But his Evan Bourne and Shelton Benjamin are two incredibly talented athletes, but WWE never gave them the chance to truly shine as legitimate stars. As for Matt Hardy, he went on to have multiple career renaissances, both in IMPACT and later with All Elite Wrestling. But he’s one of many talents WWE failed to properly utilize.
It wouldn’t be quite right to say that Batista’s heel run is an example of squandered potential. Even with this new persona, “The Animal” remained one of WWE’s top stars, and he held the WWE Championship as “Heel-tista.” Still, seeing his character work in this brief feud with Rey Mysterio is a harsh reminder that this new chapter of Batista’s career should have produced much more success. Hearing “The Animal” tell Mysterio, “I’m gonna rip your head off” should give fans chills. At WWE Survivor Series 2009, he wiped the floor with Mysterio, and the victory kickstarted Batista’s return to the world title scene. His run as a solo heel is quite underrated, and it’s a shame he left the company the following May because he could have been the company’s top bad guy for long time.
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