Friday, December 1, 2017
The fall of 2013 proved to be a brutal period at times. As they headed into the winter, the focus came off of the most popular babyface, Daniel Bryan, and instead, Big Show was thrust into the title picture. The Wyatt Family was fresh, John Ce had just returned and CM Punk was (unbeknownst to fans) on his way out of the company. As usual, this show includes traditional Survivor Series matches, which are almost always fun. This was the 27th edition of the Survivor Series.
So the show opens with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon coming to the entrance to cut a promo. Not something I enjoy on my Pay-Per-Views. They at least keep it short and just basically introduce the show. It leads into the video package, which highlights the main matches on the card but is nothing special.
Zeb Colter cut a pre-match promo that saw him and Cody Rhodes twerk. I’m not making this up. It is the one year anniversary of the Shield’s debut. Dena Ambrose and Rhodes started out with some fine back and forth. Ambrose began arguing with the referee, allowing Rhodes to roll him up and eliminate him at . It was certainly a surprisingly quick elimination for a guy that had been booked well for the past year. As things broke down, WE HAD US SOME FLYING USOS MAGGLE. They calmed again and the Real Americans did their thing for a bit. Despite this, Swagger was next out after a 619, superkick and splash at . The bad news continues for the heels when Cesaro is gone at on a Rhodes rollup but not before he showed off his incredible power. The former Tag Team Champions, Rollins and Reigns, are left alone. They isolated one of the Usos for a while and it leads to Reigns spearing him to send him packing at . Rhodes flew in with some offense, including a near fall after a moonsault on Rollins. He had Cross Rhodes countered, Reigns blind tagged in and ended him with a Spear at . Rollins planted the remaining Uso with the Curb Stomp to even the score at . Mysterio and Rollins had a good back and forth for a bit. We nearly saw a countout when Reigns hilariously slid Mysterio under the ropes and to the outside hard. Mysterio rolled up Rollins to get rid of him at the mark. Reigns, now left alone, had to overcome the odds. Goldust and Rey got some near falls in but couldn’t put down the future megastar. Reigns hit a spear on Goldust and he’s gone at . Mysterio flew in but his 619 was stopped with a spear and Reigns won it for his guys.
The first of many instances where Roman Reigns would overcome the odds. I thought this was a good but just shy of great Survivor Series tag. No real dead spots, some fun eliminations and the first real star making moment for Reigns. A really fun opening contest.
Since everything has to be about the Authority, we see them talking backstage. Randy Orton wants to make sure that things are still good between them after some tension last week.
Six days earlier, Big E Langston dethroned Curtis Axel to become Intercontinental Champion. Axel no longer has Paul Heyman, officially ending the relevant portion of his career. Commentary spent the first minute or so discussing great IC Title matches of the past. They tried to hype up the importance but it made me realize even more how far the title has fallen. Both guys went back and forth, with neither one gaining a clear advantage. Big E brought THE STRAPS DOWN but Axel held the ropes to prevent the Big Ending. Big E kicked out of the PerfectPlex before retaining with the Big Ending.
Technically, they didn’t do anything wrong. However, the crowd or commentators couldn’t have cared less and it showed. It felt more like filler than a title match.
The perfect Renee Young enters the ring after the match to interview Big E Langston. He goes the cheap pop route, mentioning Boston and the Patriots. Promo gets about the same rating as the match.
In the back, Divas Champion AJ Lee tries to hype up her team for the Survivor Series match coming up. Her teammates don’t trust her because of the things she’s done in the past few months. Kaitlyn gets in face but AJ turns it around by pointing out that Total Divas didn’t want any of them. Funny enough, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae and Rosa Mendes would end up on the show.
The Total Divas team came out to the Total Divas theme, which is pretty awful. Everything that happened came at rapid fire. Within the first , Naomi eliminated Fox with a split legged moonsault. The Funkadactyls worked over Rosa who actually kicked out of a move. That might have been the first time she ever did that. She is truly pathetic in the ring. Cameron missed a move and ran into the turnbuckle, getting eliminated by Rosa at . I can’t believe Rosa got a pin in her career. She taunted, allowing Nikki to get rid of her with a Bella Buster at . Summer Rae, who got a great pop, came in and danced. Nikki tried to one up her by doing the WORM. For some reason, her WORM goes backwards. Nikki dropkicked her and she’s gone at . Eva got tagged, got “you can’t wrestle” chants and ate a gutbuster instantly. She was out at and then Kaitlyn did the same to Naomi at . The eliminations kept coming as Brie sent Kaitlyn home with a missile dropkick at . AJ Lee laughed at all of this. Aksana got rid of Brie at , before Nikki ended her with the Rack Attack at the mark. AJ and Tamina were left against Jojo, Nattie and Nikki. Tamina came in and played the powerhouse. The fans chanted “we want Jojo” throughout Tamina working over Nikki. Nikki tagged Jojo, even though she never wrestled in the past. Jojo showed some fire and even rolled up Tamina for two. The crowd ate it up. Tamina put her down with a Samoan drop at but tagged AJ to get the pin. She tagged back out to avoid doing actual work. Tamina gave up to the Sharpshooter, even though AJ broke it up at . Cole said Natalya and AJ were the sole survivors but was wrong. Nattie made AJ tap to the Sharpshooter too.
A massive chunk of that match was sloppy. They threw too many girls in there so things got super rushed. When it slowed down and got to the Jojo stuff and everything after, it clicked. The crowd ate up the entire Jojo part.
Ryback, in his heel “I’m not a bully” run, issued an open challenge that was answered by Mark Henry. Henry defeated Ryback for some incredibly stupid reason at WrestleMania earlier in the year. Ryback was showing off his power but was equally matched in that category here. He dominated the early portions before running shoulder first into the ring post. Henry had a short comeback that featured a surprising cross body before the World’s Strongest Slam.
Did they not book enough for this show? While it worked as a positive return for Henry, it effectively killed heel Ryback. Outside of the cross body, which made me giggle, this was dreadful.
In August, Cena left with an elbow injury. He returned way earlier than expected, getting an instant World Title shot and dethroning Del Rio for it at Hell in a Cell. This was Del Rio’s rematch. They played up Cena’s elbow still having issues and him not wearing the protective sleeve over it for the first time. Del Rio wisely targeted the arm throughout the match. The problem was that, while the crowd started hot and was pretty pro Cena, they sat on their hands for most of Del Rio’s offense. I liked Del Rio making sure his offense was surrounded on the arm. Like when he hit his enziguri, it was right on the injured arm. It picked up towards the end, with some close calls from both men. There was a great spot where Del Rio countered a cross body into the Cross Armbreaker but of course, Cena NEVER GIVES UP! He powered out and retained after the Attitude Adjustment.
These are two very good performers who almost never clicked in the ring. While this went a bit long, I found it to be one of their better matches. Focusing things around the arm was a great idea. Even though the outcome was obvious, I thought they did a good job of building drama. A bit more from the crowd before the climax would have helped the score.
Guys that couldn’t make the card like R-Truth, Los Matadores, Fandango and Santino Marella, did a backstage segment about WWE figures.
Bray Wyatt spent the duration of the match on his rocking chair outside. Bryan was insanely over, so naturally, he wasn’t in the title picture where the fans wanted him. Right from the start, this was a great battle of two smaller technical guys against to powerhouses. Punk and Bryan had to cut down the trees with quick tags and smart strategies. They eventually focused on Punk and worked the hot tag to Bryan. After he did his thing, we got the spot of the match when Harper countered a top rope rana with a super powerbomb, though Punk broke up the count. That led into Bryan taking the next heat for a bit. Punk did his thing with the next tag, even taking out Bray on a dive to the outside. After a bit of a frantic finish that saw Bryan hit the running knee on Rowan, Punk ended Harper after a Go to Sleep.
Really good tag team match here. Harper and Rowan were always severely underutilized as a tandem, while Punk and Bryan just gelled excellently together. This worked very well in most aspects. Outside of their 2014 matches with the Usos and the Shield, this is the best you’ll find from Harper and Rowan.
For the people who said that Daniel Bryan was only over because of the “Yes” chant, I’d point to this program. Show did his own “Yes” chant for a bit and it never quite caught on. Nobody really gave a damn about this feud. The company also didn’t go all in on heel Orton, making him into a little bitch instead of the “Viper.” In the buildup to this, he even said “I don’t think I can beat the Big Show by myself.” Way to build up your champion WWE. Orton stalled and ran a lot early on. Within that time, the fans chant for “Daniel Bryan”. Show began to dominate, but the fans had little to no interest in any of it. They did a ref bump, allowing them to fight in the crowd for about twenty seconds. Show knocked Orton out a ringside but then Triple H, Stephanie and Kane walked out onto the stage. That opened the door for Orton to hit the RKO, which he followed with the punt and retained.
Well that was pretty boring. Both guys are veterans that know what they’re doing, however they’ve never really had any chemistry. Throw in the crowd not wanting this main event and tame “Viper” and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Randy Orton’s celebration is cut short by the arrival of the World Heavyweight Champion, John Cena. Cena poses with his title while Orton does the same, planting the seeds for their unification match a month later.
Overall: I’ve heard some people call this the worst PPV in WWE history. While it isn’t good by any means, that’s overdoing it. Three of the seven matches are good (opener, Punk and Bryan tag and World Title match), which instantly puts it over some other terrible PPVs. I do admit that everything else on the show is rather dreadful and boring. According to my randomizer, next on is !