Survivor Series is the one pay-per-view of the famous ‘Big Four’ shows that WWE stage every year that is given the least attention. In fact, its relevance has faded away massively. Wrestlemania, Summerslam and Royal Rumble get as much attention as ever, but the novelty of Survivor Series is eclipsed by Tables, Ladders and Chairs, Extreme Rules, Night of Champions and especially Money in the Bank.
However, did Survivor Series help itself with a big tournament for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship, and two of the titular SS matches?
Bo Dallas, The Miz, The Ascension and Stardust vs The Dudley Boyz, Neville, Titus O’Neil and Goldust (Survivor Series 5 vs 5)
This was a very strange match, and it is difficult to really know how to feel about its booking. First of all, it was great to see the return of Goldust, and as a result, one seriously hacked off Stardust. While their feud will never get the closure it deserved (remember how once upon a time this looked to end at Wrestlemania 31 with Dusty Rhodes at ringside?), it was nice for that friction to still be there. On the converse, it was extremely irritating to see Neville to disappear so quickly – the only person in the winning team, to be eliminated. Just last week Neville was a combatant against Owens in one of, if not the best match in the WHC tournament, and has plummeted to the first man out of a ten-man (almost gimmick) elimination match.
It was a bit of fun, but as a whole, a big disappointment. But then, not a lot is expected of pre-show matches.
Roman Reigns vs Alberto Del Rio (WHC Tournament Semi-Final)
Besides the fact that Roman Reigns was in this match, Del Rio was never going to win this match, due to how been too preoccupied with MexAmerican rubbish to be involved with the WHC. After all, someone has to be there for Cena to save Murica from when he returns. Reigns was greeted by boos to begin with, and Del Rio with virtual silence, which is never a good sign. The benefit (or not) of having a two-syllable name saw a very loud “Let’s go Roman”-“Roman sucks”. Whichever was the loudest team, the argument at least meant that everyone was paying attention.
And rightly so. Reigns did convincingly look like the powerhouse that WWE are after, especially when lifting Del Rio during a couple of holds, one into a power bomb, and another clearly butting some convincing strain on him, as Del Rio refused to let go of his armbreaker as Reigns attempted to throw him out of the ring. This was one of the best matches of the night, as it was energetic and Reigns did not resort too much to ‘moves of doom’ – something especially important in the longest WHC match of the night.
Dean Ambrose vs Kevin Owens (WHC Tournament Semi-Final)
This was definitely a match that viewers had the most faith in to be the match of the night, it being between a deserving IC champion and a fan favourite – two very entertaining wrestlers. It was also the match most likely to have a realistic surprise result. After all, it will be a long time until the return of Rollins, so a feud independent of Reigns would have been superb, to keep Ambrose in a title picture, and the IC belt in decent view. However, it wasn’t to be.
The match itself was far too rushed, but was still very entertaining, helped along by Owens’ antics (“Chinlock City, baby!” and “That’s real cute, Dean!” being some standout groans) and a few great spots. For example, a couple of pop-up powerbomb counters, a horrifying throw by Owens from the top turnbuckle and tonight’s first headfirst visit to the announcer’s table. Even Ambrose’s rebound clothesline looked decent, as a genuine surprise spot on Owens, rather than unconvincingly giving him extra momentum.
But if there is one more thing to groan about. Cole? Stop calling Owens ‘KO’.
Ryback, The Usos, and the Lucha Dragons vs The New Day, Sheamus and King Barrett (Survivor Series 5 vs 5)
Here for the sake of there being a Survivor Series match at, you know, Survivor Series were the array of the remaining wrestlers that fans must remember are still here. And King Barrett, who unsurprisingly was eliminated first. One team was Mr Money in the Bank, King of the Ring (or “Kang of the Rang” as Kingston put it) and the tag team champions. From the moment that the wrestlers themselves made a point of their credentials, it was obvious that tonight’s ‘surprise’ winners were going to be their opponents.
There’s something mighty upsetting about the best part of the match being Xavier Woods’ hilarious new hairstyle. One can only assume that with Sheamus as champion, WWE wanted the “you look stupid” chants to be aimed at somebody else. The match was entertaining, but nothing special. While Sheamus was the penultimate man standing, it only drew attention to his loss earlier that night. While it might be clever booking for this to be the moment at which he snapped and thought that it was tonight or never with regards to cashing in his contract, it wasn’t much fun.
Score: 5/10 (10/10 for Team Sheamus’ entrance)
Charlotte vs Paige
This match actually had everything going for it. In spite of the controversial and disgusting way that it came to be, it certainly had its heel, and subsequently a massive boost for Charlotte as an adored face, after fears that she was fading into the background. On top of this, we had a sportswoman and a woman once billed as the ‘anti-Diva’. If anybody knew that this match would happen a few months ago, they would have been ecstatic, two people who were not billed as ‘Divas’ topping the division. It’s just a shame that Paige is now the biggest bitchy diva not to end her conversations with “girlbye”.
It didn’t take long for this fight (with emphasis of ‘fight’. It was furious.) to leak out of the ring. Bear in mind that what ‘Divas match’ once meant was three minutes of hair tugging and slaps. This was fourteen minutes long and far more brutal, but not the technical wrestling that everyone knows that they are both capable of. It was angry, but by no means as spectacular as it could have been, however the near constant grapple of Paige and Charlotte (they were once the ‘Submission Sorority’ after all, and there were some really nasty tangles that no one would want to be on the receiving end of) meant that this really should function well as closure of this feud as it was Charlotte at her angriest, though bad loser Paige will presumably keep scratching away tediously until TLC 2015.
It is heartbreaking that this wasn’t all that it could have been (and certainly not helped by the perpetual mentions of Charlotte’s father. WOOOOO!), and as if viewers didn’t need confirmation, what one would consider the closure of any hope that there was a continuing Diva Revolution.
Tyler Breeze vs Dolph Ziggler
It was a match that needed to happen, but damn did it need to be longer. This was always doomed to be the shortest match of the night, and when writing my predictions feature, I even wrote that this would be “six minutes or something”. That was meant to be a hyperbole… but it was a reality. This was made an even bigger insult by how Michael Cole discussed where Dolph Ziggler was this time last year – the winning ‘one’ in ‘three-vs-one’ in the Survivor Series main event against The Authority. Now, he is bickering with the also brilliant Tyler Breeze over Summer Rae.
There were a few good spots, such as a nasty dropkick by Ziggler as Breeze went for a crossbody from the top rope, and a few botches – most notably a roll-up attempt too close to the turnbuckle, which in spite (or maybe because) of a second attempt, stuck out like a sore thumb.
These two have a brilliant, really high energy match at least twice the length to be had in the future. Tonight was never going to be the night, as the first match between Ziggler and… the Ziggler of NXT. I wouldn’t be at all surprised were this the spark for a rematch at TLC. However, this kind of match belonged on Raw. Still, being his PPV debut, the right man won.
Score: 4/10 (10/10 for Summer Rae’s facial expressions)
The Brothers of Destruction vs Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper
Once upon a time, the suspicion was that #CENAWINSLOL would be replaced (or assisted) by #REIGNSWINSLOL, and be the most irritating booking ever. However, the rise of #WYATTLOSESLOL is even more annoying. This result was the most disappointing of the whole night, and it was obvious that there would be a booking disappointment the moment that it was revealed that Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper, the most accomplished and important members of The Wyatt Family, would be the two chosen to represent them. The closest to being defeated that The Brothers were ever going to get would have been a disqualification. However, unless Wyatt wins a high profile singles match soon against The Undertaker, this could be seriously damaging, and the final nail in him having an imposing future. After all, this match was 4-vs-2. Of the two Wyatts not in the match, Erick Rowan left the arena after one choke slam, and Braun Strowman went through a table.
This was more a crowd pleaser spectacle than a sufficient ‘match’, and hopefully that is made clear enough not to be damaging to The Wyatts, or perhaps the win out of the way before The Wyatts get the last win against The Undertaker. Even the onscreen text was unique for them all. There were chants of “Undertaker” during Kane’s entrance, and Kane sat out for a while by the announcers table so to give The Undertaker time to shine ceremoniously. For once, Michael Cole’s “VINTAGE…” prefix was relevant as Taker gave a nasty, apron leg drop to Luke Harper. It was fun, but worrying.
Roman Reigns vs Dean Ambrose (WHC Tournament Final)
“It’s me and you fightin’ for the championship. Just like it’s ‘sposed to be.” At least, so said Reigns said to Ambrose before he took on Owens. And he was right. It’s such a pity that they were so happy about it. Sure, The Shield were the ‘Hounds of Justice’, and so long as their group claimed the belts, it wouldn’t matter whom was champion, the stable has ended, and while the leader of The Shield might be happy about this as he stuck by his morals, for this match to be of any relevance, Ambrose really needed to disagree. Sadly not.
For what it was, especially considering the lack of a heel turn (the only unpredictable happening of the night, was that that didn’t actually happen. How boring.), this was poor booking. Beyond the absence of Kevin Owens, Reigns vs Ambrose should have been billed as a huge deal. To the point that Reigns should have been made champion at Royal Rumble, and there was a big “OH MY GOD!” moment when Ambrose won the Rumble. Yet this was just ten minutes, and they had a hug at the end.
The match itself had a lot of energy, but as with everything else tonight, had very little remarkable about it.
Roman Reigns vs Sheamus
I may as well. Whoever Dean Ambrose is affiliated with, this was always going to be the case. Sheamus cashed in his Money in the Bank contract triumphantly. In spite of the match between Ambrose and Reigns not feeling especially climactic, producers went all out to at least make the post-match events look as though it was the most important win ever. Outrageous amounts of confetti and fireworks, as though no one had ever won that belt before. If this (and a spear to HHH) wasn’t confirmation of the push for Reigns, it was confirmation that someone would rain on this parade.
Outta nowhere (or so it seemed, considering the clouds of confetti) Sheamus delivered two Brogue Kicks, and within thirty seconds, pinned Reigns for the title. As far as I’m concerned, this isn’t too bad an idea, as The Authority has a new affiliate, and Ambrose remains face.
Score: Erm… do I have to?
Survivor Series 2015 had one of the most intriguing, but ultimately infuriating cards in recent memory. There was so much potential for surprises and growth that despite not being remotely outlandish were never going to be realized.
The show was incredibly disappointing, and I don’t think that it would be over the top to call this the worst WWE PPV of 2015. It was predictable, and felt pointless. It was highly damaging to The Wyatt Family, rushed, and about as anti-climactic as a show with so much confetti in could be.
As for Roman Reigns, so long as he is booked well, he was the right person to be on the receiving end for what WWE presumably have in mind for his future. While Ambrose should be treated as having a ‘path to greatness’ throughout the Shield saga and be the last WHC winner of the trio at a ‘Big Four’ event (a big celebratory “FINALLY he wins!”), the primary plot is clearly now going to be based around ‘justice’ for Reigns, as though he hasn’t just Speared the owner of the company, and defeated fairly by somebody else. After all, Reigns is already ‘great’, and apparently always will be, requiring a third match to finally be defeated.
Reigns faced heel (Del Rio), after heel (HHH), after heel (Sheamus) tonight. Was he popular by the end of the night? Comments below.