Roman Reigns vs Alberto Del Rio
Survivor Series got off to a very good start with the hard-fought match. Both Reigns and Del Rio worked their butts off. At first, it seemed like they wouldn’t gel. But after the five minute mark, the match had a great leap in quality. From Del Rio’s reversal of the Superman Punch into the Backstabber, to Reign’s sheer strength in lifting Del Rio with one arm into a Sit-Out Powerbomb, the last ten minutes of the match made me doubt that Reigns would win. Of course, anyone could have predicted a Roman victory, but for the two wrestlers to make me doubt it was a testament to the match. Five more minutes and this match could have been great. Unfortunately, with the time constraints, it was merely very good.
WINNER: Roman Reigns
VERDICT: 8/10. In keeping with Reigns’ hard work, and Del Rio’s best match since he returned (not difficult to achieve, admittedly! But it’s one of the best WWE Del Rio matches ever), a very good match to begin Survivor Series.
Dean Ambrose vs Kevin Owens
On a par with the quality of the first match, and also needed another five minutes to make it great. For me, Ambrose is a wrestler of inconsistent quality; he tries some things that don’t work, and some things that do. Owens is a great wrestler. The two put together a very good match. Like the first match, it was predictable who would win, but the fact that the two wrestlers put the finish in doubt is surely a big positive. It started off quickly, with Ambrose clotheslining Owens out of the ring and leaping over the ropes onto him. Owens brought out the big guns, like his moonsault (which Ambrose dodged), and the hanging fishmerman suplex from the top rope (a devastating move that will never lose its impact!). Owens even executed an F-5-esque move on Ambrose onto an announce table! The finish was thrilling, and I could almost see Owens’ hand being raised in victory. However, it was not to be: Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds for the victory.
WINNER: Dean Ambrose
VERDICT: 8/10. Another five minutes and this would have been a great clash, but from the evidence of this match, Owens and Ambrose could have a brilliant in-ring feud. A very good match (and sadly the last very good match of the evening…)
The Usos, Lucha Dragons, and Ryback vs The New Day, Sheamus and King Barret
Who cared about this match? Shoved together just to get a traditional Survivor Series match on the show, there was little promotion and little reason to care about it. It was decent, but more fitting for a Raw than a Sunday Special. Of course, Sheamus loses, adding to his losing streak. Why not build Sheamus up with a victory over Ryback in a singles match at the Special? Why not have the Tag Team titles on the line? The only memorable moment of the match was The Usos and the Lucha Dragons diving to the outside on the opposing team. Nothing else stood out at all…
WINNERS: Team Ryback
VERDICT: 4/10. Pointless and devoid of entertainment.
Charlotte (c) vs Paige (Diva’s Championship)
After the unnecessary reference to Reid Flair’s death on Raw, no one cared for this match. Why resort to such cheap heat? It never works! It didn’t work for Punk when he messed around with Paul Bearer’s ashes, for example. Is it that hard to build a feud without cheap heat? No! Paige’s grievances were well-understood before the cheap heat segment. It left a bitter taste in my mouth, and thus depleted my reserve of small enthusiasm for this match. The two wrestlers worked hard, but nothing clicked in the match. If Charlotte would have rushed to attack Paige, and the two had had a heated brawl, the cheap heat would have reaped some rewards. However, Charlotte got her revenge by starting the match with…simple takedowns? She should have been battering Paige! I was lost at that point. The spear off the barricade towards the end sticks out in my mind, but even that failed to rouse my attention. They may have worked hard, but it was all for nought. Turn Charlotte heel!
VERDICT: 6/10. What should have been a brawl was instead a decent wrestling match, featuring hard work from both wrestlers but little that left an impression. A waste.
Tyler Breeze vs Dolph Ziggler
Another match that felt like a Raw match rather than a Special match. I haven’t got that much to say about the match, apart from commiserations for Ziggler. At last year’s Survivor Series, he was the single survivor in the match that put The Authority out of business…for a couple of weeks. A year later, he lost to the latest wrestler to be promoted from NXT (and in quite decisive fashion). It’s a crying shame.
WINNER: Tyler Breeze
VERDICT: 4/10. Dull and by-the-numbers. Like an NXT squash match…
The Undertaker and Kane vs Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper
Why wasn’t this a 4 on 4 match? Taker and Kane could have put over a tag team that desperately needed a boost by teaming with them against the Wyatts. Because, let’s face it, they were never going to put over the Wyatts. The match was celebrating 25 years of The Undertaker…of course he wasn’t going to lose! It’s some consolation that Bray Wyatt wasn’t the one pinned, I guess. As for the match itself, it was decent enough. Taker got in all of his usual spots, even if he couldn’t quite lift Harper up for Snake Eyes and resorted to a DDT instead. He also had great difficulty lifting Harper up for the Tombstone. Time to retire, Undertaker? I think so! It’s alright for the crowd to chant ‘You Still Got It,’ but we are watching a 50 year old wrestle. Time to let others take the spotlight, maybe? A match that achieved very little.
WINNERS: The Undertaker and Kane
VERDICT: 6/10. Decent enough, and I understand that it was celebrating Taker’s 25th anniversary. But the match didn’t matter that much at all.
Roman Reigns vs Dean Ambrose (For the Vacant WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
How rushed was this match? It’s the main event, it is supposed to be meaty and fairly long! When both wrestlers hit their finishers around the ten minutes mark, I feared the worst. Would this match be cut short to allow Sheamus to cash in his MITB case? Due to the time constraints, Reigns and Ambrose sped through their moves in no time. There wasn’t any time for the match to develop, it was just big move after big move from the one minute mark when Reigns Powerbombed Ambrose. It was exciting and entertaining, but just like fast food, it left me feeling dizzy and hungry for more. When Reigns’ hit the second Spear, I expected Ambrose to kick out. Surely the match couldn’t be over that quickly? I was wrong. It was as if I was watching the match in fast-forward! Given more time to develop, rather than rushing through big moves, this could have been a great match (that’s the third time I’ve said that…).
WINNER: (And New WWE Champion) Roman Reigns
VERDICT: 7/10. The time constraints meant that the two wrestlers rushed through the moves and spots without any transitions or psychology. They worked hard, of course, but they just needed more time!
POST-MATCH: HHH came down to congratulate Reigns. Reigns Speared him, but turned around into a Sheamus Brogue Kick. Sheamus cashed in and won the WWE Title. Hang on, haven’t I seen this before? Oh yes, at Summerslam 2013 with Daniel Bryan! The problem is that I can see this is all part of the plan to increase the cheers for Reigns. It won’t work, of course. Even Reigns’ tears did little to affect me. Bryan was the ultimate underdog, and it’s ironic that at Summerslam 2013, his lost to Randy Orton wasn’t part of a plan to boost Bryan’s character. The higher-ups simply didn’t want Bryan near the title. It took massive crowd participation to force Creative into putting Bryan into the main event of WrestleMania 30.
The audience can see through this transparent attempt to garner sympathy for Reigns. They should have at least had Ambrose turn heel on Reigns to win the title. Or even better, have Reigns turn heel! The crowd will never be 100% behind him, so why bother trying? Turn him heel, and in a year or so, turn him babyface. It worked with The Rock. It was a frustratingly inevitable ending to Survivor Series. Who cares about Sheamus, or even sees him as worthy of the WWE Title? WWE’s plan will backfire on them, undoubtedly…
OVERALL VERDICT: 5/10. A thoroughly average show. Two very good matches at the beginning were all that we deserved, apparently. No other match reached that quality, and the main event was rushed just to allow time for Sheamus to cash in his MITB briefcase. That was a poor booking decision from the WWE…
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(Click here for my review of WWE Hell In A Cell 2015)