It is one of the WWE’s grandest nights. Survivor Series, a night where legends are born and stories are made. It is where Bret Hart was screwed, where the Undertaker, the Rock, and Kurt Angle debuted.
Lately though, Survivor Series has become a bit of a secondary night. Its replacement for another pay-per-view has even been discussed. Many have forgotten that it is considered part of the Big Four at all.
Tonight, WWE tried to make everyone reevaluate Survivor Series as a big pay-per-view again. Despite a lack of big matches, they delivered in taking up the max amount of time without too much unnecessary fluff.
They also managed to do something big that could change the WWE for a long time to come, but we’ll get to that in a bit. Let’s get right into the night.
3MB def. Team CoBro
Overview: On the pre-show, thanks to a cast shot by Drew McIntyre, Jinder Mahal was able to hit Zack Ryder with his full nelson slam for three.
Analysis: This was a surprisingly entertaining tag team match for what it was. There weren’t many antics, and those that were involved only helped tell the story. The wrestling was pretty solid for a pre-show.
It wasn’t flashy, but it was a good win for 3MB who remain on the rise and have something going for them that is memorable and effective. They are all talented guys, and I like where they are headed.
Team Clay def. Team Tensai
Overview: In this “bonus” Survivor Series match, Tyson Kidd, Justin Gabriel, Rey Mysterio, and Sin Cara all survived over the Prime Time Players, Primo, Epico, and Tensai with the final elimination coming
Analysis: If there was a question of how far WWE’s tag team division has come, this match proves it. We got to see four great tag teams face off in a cool match even if it was a bit random especially with Clay and Tensai’s additions.
This was high flying excitement from start to finish especially at the end. Tyson Kidd was the star of the show with two eliminations and had the best spots in a great set of spots. I also want to give credit to Sin Cara who looked really good here, better than he ever has.
In fact, the only thing I didn’t enjoy about this match was a really weak botch by Clay before he was the first man eliminated. Brodus is talented, but he really messed up there. Luckily, even Titus O’Neil and Darren Young fit well here.
Eve def. Kaitlyn to Retain the Divas Championship
Overview: In trouble late, Eve crawled to the outside, and, when Kaitlyn followed, Eve used the apron to trip Kaitlyn who landed hard on the outside. After a quick swinging neckbreaker, it was academic.
Analysis: Given decent time, the women can delivered a convincing contest, and that is exactly what they did here. In the best Divas match not involving Beth Phoenix this year, Eve and Kaitlyn put on a solid and well built contest. The story behind this made it all the better.
Both women took some strong bumps on the outside, and they sold the story of their match. I’m not sure whether there is any more tension in this feud now, but the divas delivered tonight.
Antonio Cesaro def. R-Truth to Retain the United States Championship
Overview: Cesaro dodged the scissors kick then hit the Very European Uppercut and the Neutralizer for three.
Analysis: This was a bit slow and plodding. I like both men in the ring; however, they really didn’t get a rhythm going here, mostly attributable to a lack of chemistry. It was strongly one sided in a way that never really sold the match.
Still it was a good way to keep Cesaro strong, and it still showed off what both men can do as in ring competitors even if they didn’t work well together. It helped that the crowd managed to get behind the match especially behind Truth.
AJ Lee Confronts Vickie and is Attacked by Tamina
Overview: AJ Lee used clearly fake photos to make fun of Vickie’s accusations before being assaulted by Tamina who would take out AJ and hit a Superfly Splash.
Analysis: While this story is absolutely ridiculous, I think things have made a turn for the better because they may have just ended more or less. With Tamina attacking AJ, there is a new Divas feud which should deliver some really solid matches.
What I really am starting to enjoy about WWE’s revamping of its approach is their use of talent. Tamina was being completely underused up until now. It looks like WWE has decided to restart the Divas division, and it means multiple, storyline feuds for the first time in a while for the division.
While this could have been done on Raw, it was a solid way to keep the story at the forefront and develop it more even if the story hasn’t been great so far.
Sheamus def. Big Show by Disqualification, Show Remains World Heavyweight Champion
Overview: Sheamus loaded up the Brogue Kick, but Show moved the referee in the way to block the kick. In the commotion of trying to help the injured referee, Show hit the KO punch on a distracted Sheamus for three.
Afterward, the decision was reversed, and Sheamus was given the win by DQ for using a referee as a weapon. Then Sheamus went after Show and brutalized the giant with a steel chair, finishing it up with a Brogue Kick.
Analysis: I didn’t believe that Sheamus and Big Show could improve upon their match at Hell in a Cell. They proved me wrong by doing everything better. The pacing here was perfect with Show pulling out some of the best moves of his career. Plus Sheamus did an electric chair drop to the Big Show, absolutely incredible.
That said, the match itself was not as truly great because of two factors: time and a non-finish. These two could have gone another ten minutes for sure, and they deserved to. The finish also made this feel like a bump in the feud rather than a decisive contest.
I can’t wait to see these two in round three though. In what will most likely be a chairs match (though TLC would be awesome), these two will no longer have restrictions or a faulty finish to hinder them. This will be about Sheamus and Show delivering their absolute best.
Team Ziggler def. Team Foley
Overview: At the end, Orton was left to fight both Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler. After Mick Foley eliminated Ricardo from the equation, Orton RKOed Del Rio, but, as he went to punt Ziggler, he was met by a Ziggler Super Kick for three.
Analysis: This was a classic Survivor Series match. Loaded with talent from start to finish and a lot of individual building stories, there was a lot to love about this elimination match.
There were a lot of well done spots as the better wrestlers shined here. Ziggler’s crazy sell of the monkey flip, Del Rio taking a vicious bump to the outside from Bryan, Barrett’s perfect Winds of Change on Kofi, and several other spots really come up in my mind looking back.
It’s hard to say who really was the star here as so many delivered though the story of Miz who was massively over with the crowd becoming a face one step at a time shined through.
What really made this match great was balance. The power game never got out of hand between either group which made the teams each look strong.
In the end, Ziggler winning was the best thing that could happen for Dolph. It was a huge and decisive victory which have been few and far between for Mr. Money in the Bank. It also hints at things to come as Orton/Ziggler could very well be the future of SmackDown in coming months.
CM Punk def. John Cena and Ryback to Retain the WWE Championship
Overview: After Ryback hit Shell Shocked on John Cena with Punk knocked out, three men in black ran in and assaulted Ryback. They pulled Ryback to the outside and hit an assisted raised powerbomb through the Spanish announce table while Punk covered Cena to retain. The three men were Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns.
Analysis: Bravo, WWE, you did something that truly shocking. You created a story that surpassed most expectations, and you have finally set something in motion. I said in my Raw review that wrestling was getting tiring, a bit too uninvesting. Well, I’m invested now.
I have written about each of the three men who attacked Ryback tonight at least once. I could link multiple articles I’ve written about Ambrose for sure. I like all three men, and I have for at least a year now which makes their arrival in WWE all the more interesting.
Is this a new Horseman or NWO with CM Punk/Paul Heyman at the head? Maybe. No matter what happens and no matter how they are booked, you will not hear me complain because I am overjoyed to see this level of talent rise.
On the match, it was a very fun contest. Littered with some nice near falls and unpredictability at times, it was never unbelievable, but it was well done from the start with all three men delivering.
I want to give recognition to Ryback who was at his best yet despite the crowd not being behind him that much. He looked great and very strong in defeat. That said, the finish raises the match’s rating by a good amount.
Final notes: On the pre-show, R-Truth hilariously threatened to forget Little Jimmy which made me remember just how good he can be when he is given the chance to deliver. We also saw some great backstage segments that put over the possibilities of Team Foley vs. Team Ziggler.
Finally, Paul Heyman was allowed to stand tall on the night and put over CM Punk as a star. He continues to play a role that is very loose and undefinable. Is he a leader or a follower and how much does Heyman have planned? We still don’t know.
Conclusion: Nothing on the card was truly legendary. I will not look back on any of these matches and feel the need to rewatch them desperately. The strongest contests were easily the Survivor Series elimination matches.
That said, there was a lot to like here from a complete show perspective. The matches all range from decent to great, and the stories advanced brought a lot to the table. Finally the finish of the WWE Championship match may have just redefined the direction of WWE, and that has me excited.
It was not at the top level of WWE’s best shows this year, but it will be one we remember down the line for its lasting image. Three young guys reeking havoc on Ryback and possibly creating a new power in the WWE. Hopefully WWE doesn’t screw it up.