Monday, November 21, 2016
It seems like all of the “Big Four” WWE Pay-Per-Views will now be about four hours with a two hour Kickoff show. It’s too much. The card only had six announced matches so two new ones were added to the pre-show. First, Noam Dar, Rich Swann and TJ Perkins defeated Ariya Daivari, Drew Gulak and Tony Nese in 11:50. It was the standard stuff we’ve seen from these guys. Relatively fun stuff, but the crowd didn’t care and it was kind of just there . Next up, Kane defeated Luke Harper in 9:11. I didn’t really care for this but again, it was mostly fine. No need for Kane to go over either .
Before the match, Nikki Bella was found backstage after being attacked. Natalya replaced her and it kind of seemed like it was Nattie who hurt her. I understand it getting Natalya in a match in Canada, but I wish they would have replaced Naomi instead. Anyway, this match followed a trend that would continue throughout the night. It was an enjoyable match but had some questionable moments. For example, the number two heel on Smackdown, Carmella, got eliminated first by irrelevant Alicia Fox. Natalya became the second woman to pin Sasha Banks, which I would have given to Alexa. Alexa pinned Alicia, which does nothing. Nattie could have done that to get a pin in Canada and then Alexa could get the rub from eliminating Sasha. Nia Jax was arguably the MVP, playing her dominant role very well. They teased a countout elimination for her only for her to turn it around and get rid of Naomi like that. Surprisingly, she tapped out cleanly to Becky’s armbar. I would have saved her first loss for an actual match. It came down to Bayley and Charlotte against Becky. There was no drama or anything here as Bayley just hit her with the Bayley to Belly and won. Some strange moments for sure, but a fun match overall. They worked hard and kept the crowd invested for the entire thing.
After the match, Charlotte attacked Bayley to set up their feud. I’ve completely given up on caring about the women’s division Raw. At least with me, Charlotte doesn’t have the type of heel heat that someone like the Miz does. I want to see the Miz get his ass kicked. I don’t want to see Charlotte at all by this point.
I was one of the few people that much prefers to watch Miz vs. Zayn over Ziggler vs. Zayn. The clear heel/face dynamic added to this and the crowd was way into it. Zayn is the perfect underdog face and Miz is the perfect arrogant heel. It made this match click. Miz worked the leg and set up the figure four. He made sure to taunt Daniel Bryan throughout, garnering more heat. Sami survived the figure four and slapped on his own. Maryse went over and rang the bell, causing Sami to let go of the hold thinking he had won. That allowed Miz to roll him up and retain. I thought the finish was fine since it wasn’t the straight up typical screw job the WWE pulls in Canada or at Survivor Series. It kept Sami strong and kept the IC Title on Smackdown. Sami should scratch and claw his way to the title. I think that Sami should get traded to Smackdown so we can get follow up to this.
Some of the most fun on the early Survivor Series Pay-Per-Views came in the giant tag matches involving all of the tag teams. This was a nice throwback to those and though the quality of the tag division isn’t what it was in the late 80’s, this was still awesome. Breezango got to do a comedy bit before getting eliminated in the first minute or so. That wasn’t really surprising but then a real shocker came when the Raw Tag Team Champions of over 400 days, New Day, got eliminated instantly after. That left a wide open field. As the match dwindled down, things got better. American Alpha had an especially great stretch that saw Chad Gable hit a Chaos Theory German suplex on Cesaro and a dive outside. Despite not lasting until the end, AA shined. It eventually came down to the Usos vs. Cesaro and Sheamus. They had a great little finishing stretch that honestly could have gotten a bit more time. Cesaro and Sheamus earned the win for Team Raw when Cesaro used a sharpshooter and Sheamus prevented it from being broken up with a Brogue Kick. A rare show of teamwork from the unlikely partners to cap off a great match. Chaotic at times but that finishing stretch was killer. Again, I question the decision of not having a team like AA make it to the end.
Since they’ve come to the main roster, I’ve been waiting for the cruiserweights to steal the show. They still didn’t, but this was good. I feel like I saw more chemistry between these two than I ever did from Perkins and Kendrick. They went back and forth and we got to see an awesome spot when Kalisto hit a Spanish fly off of the apron. Then the finish came and pretty much killed any hope of this really getting going. Baron Corbin interfered and beat up both guys (he hit Kendrick first). I get that Corbin only cares about himself, but if he had to get involved, why not have him beat up Kalisto and allow Kendrick to steal a pin off of it? It killed what was going to be a pretty good match.
Daniel Bryan scolded Baron Corbin backstage for costing Smackdown the cruiserweights. Corbin didn’t care because he didn’t want more little pests around. I say Bryan should trade Corbin for Zayn.
This match seemed to go on forever, but it honestly never felt too long to me. That’s a testament to how well they handled it considering it lasted nearly an hour. There were no eliminations for the first fifteen or so minutes if I recall. They gave us plenty of good callbacks, like interactions between the former Y2AJ and some Seth/Dean stuff. Finally, AJ and Dean came to blows, allowing Strowman to eliminate Dean. I like the idea of Dean and AJ’s rivalry leading to him getting pinned, but I would have had Shane go out before him. There were great moments like Shane’s elbow through the table and Owens somersaulting onto everyone. Braun was cleverly eliminated (after nearly being convinced to turn on Raw by his former leader Bray) when he nearly beat the count after Shane’s elbow, only to be held by a hiding James Ellsworth and getting counted out. It kept Braun strong and made good use of James. Braun then murdered James up the ramp. Owens saved his best friend from AJ by hitting him with the list, getting DQed. Jericho was then eliminated, leaving Seth and Roman against four. A lot of people, myself included, expected them to make the big comeback and I’m glad they went a different route. Shane died when Roman countered the coast to coast into a Spear. He looked really shaken up. Dean showed back up to attack AJ. Roman and Seth stopped security from taking him away and busted out the Shield triple powerbomb on AJ through an announce table, which led to him getting eliminated. The new Wyatts against the Shield was cool, especially when Luke Harper showed up. Orton caught Seth mid-frog splash in one of his best RKOs to get rid of him. Orton then sacrificed himself for Bray, taking a Roman spear and allowing Bray to defeat Roman to win it all. A huge win for Bray and I really enjoy the new Wyatts. I hope Orton doesn’t turn on them. This had a ton of moving parts but a lot of exciting moments and hit on all of the angles it needed to. Most guys were protected by either insane spots (Seth on the frog splash or AJ via the Shield) or not getting pinned (Owens and Braun) and it was a lot of fun.
Lesnar attacked instantly but got shoved on his ass. Goldberg then hit two spears and a Jackhammer to win. At first, I wasn’t happy with the decision but I honestly don’t care much. I stopped caring for Brock a while back thanks to minimal effort and I’ve never given a shit about Goldberg. It makes the full time roster members that Brock squash look like chumps though. With the news that Goldberg signed on for more dates, there will be a rematch or two that Goldberg can actually have time to train for.
Overall: Like a lot of WWE PPVs in recent memory, this had some good matches but strange booking at points. Some of the finishes fell flat or were straight up lazy. Though the main event wasn’t even a match, two of the Raw vs. Smackdown tags were excellent, especially the men’s five on five. The women did well and I really dug the IC Title match as well.