WWE went rolling right on through the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia last night (Sun., Nov. 22, 2015) with Survivor Series, a pay-per-view (PPV) that a tournament to crown a new WWE world heavyweight champion. It did just that, but it was only to transition the title immediately to a new champ.
Let's not waste time with pleasantries and get right to reactions to the show (click here for the live blog with full match coverage).
This system... it shorted out
WWE had a few options with its world heavyweight title tournament, and I'm actually 100-percent on board with nearly everything they did.
Until the finish.
Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio: A fun match they booked well, all things considered. They teased Roman winning easy, then made him work for it. Del Rio is still off since his return to WWE but he was relatively crisp here and did well to put Reigns over on his way to the final.
Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens: This baffled me early on, as the two worked holds and sold like they were in an epic back-and-forth. It was out of place for where they were in the match. Thankfully, they picked it up and had a fun sequence or two leading to the right finish.
Reigns vs. Ambrose: Hugely disappointed in the match itself. They were quite obviously compensating for the time they had to use to fit in both the confetti celebration and the ensuing Money in the Bank cash-in from Sheamus. That meant rushing through what they were doing, which really just meant everyone getting their stuff in. That doesn't work for a match between two guys who are supposedly brothers in arms. I don't care if this is picking nits, Ambrose shouldn't be hitting the recovery clothesline on a guy who knows him as well as Reigns knows him.
Then, the disaster.
Sheamus vs. Reigns: Credit where it's due here, they actually bothered to build some suspense by having Reigns kick out of the first Brogue Kick. I also like that Triple H was clearly there leading Reigns into spearing him, setting him up for the surprise shot from behind. That was a nice touch. All told, this was executed really well.
It's a disaster because I have no single cell within me that cares about the Sheamus character. He's been poorly booked for months, the ultimate 50-50 guy, and he hasn't been given any time to develop his heel character. He'll get that time now, but the interest simply isn't there, despite his being WWE world heavyweight champion and, apparently, the new chosen one in The Authority.
This comes after a really strange piece of business earlier in the night when New Day abandoned him and he was battered and beaten by Ryback, Kalisto, and Jey Uso of all people. In hindsight, I'm not sure what the point of doing this was, other than maybe making us think he wouldn't cash-in later.
Either way, he did and now he's champion.
There's a part of me that loves this. All the fans who have been so very against Reigns winning the title had to deal with it for a few minutes before getting a hard kick to the face, just like Reigns did, that, hey, there are actually far worse options out there. Also, Sheamus vs. Reigns is going to deliver in the ring.
But there's another much bigger part of me that hates this. Sheamus is a character who is damn near impossible to get into and while I'll definitely be hoping he loses the title as soon as possible, I just don't know how long I'll be able to hold out waiting for it to happen. The thought must be that he'll be dropping it sooner rather than later because they have to know he doesn't have the heat to be the top heel in the company right now.
Right? They do know that, right?
If nothing else, I'm finally at a point where I feel bad for Roman Reigns. It may just be pity, though.
All the best to all the rest
Brothers of Destruction vs. The Wyatt Family: I was misguided in my analysis of this entire feud. I only realized this after all was said and done, when Undertaker and Kane so easily dismissed of Erick Rowan, Luke Harper, Bray Wyatt, and Braun Strowman. It was never about presenting The Wyatt Family as a credible threat. It was never about soul eating, or transfering powers, or any assault on the legacy of "The Phenom" and his brother in destruction. It was exactly what they have been telling us all along: a celebration of Undertaker and the time he's spent in WWE. He was going to come in, do his moves, look cool, hit a Tombstone, pin a guy, do a pose, and get out. They delivered exactly what they advertised. That we were ever looking for something more is on us. There never was anything more. That doesn't mean you have to settle for it. In fact, I'd argue there isn't much value in the Undertaker brand anymore and this made that evident. It will all be over soon enough either way.
Charlotte vs. Paige: They were given a lot of time to work what I can only assume they hoped would be a classic match. It wasn't a complete disaster but it wasn't anywhere near any of the work you've seen from the ladies who have taken over NXT. They also completely ignored the Reid Flair angle, which isn't the worst idea considering the backlash, but made an already awful story even worse because the only thing that actually got heat for it was taken out. The match was laid out in such a way that Charlotte was never made to look as strong as she should have after all that. But, again, they just washed it away. Whatever. Best to just move on from all this.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Tyler Breeze: They had to rush through the match but they put Breeze over, which was the right call. The big money was made earlier in the night during Tom Phillips' interview with Breeze and Summer Rae. It didn't make him for a wide audience, certainly, but it made him for this writer. I haven't hated a wrestling character any more than Breeze saying "googs it" and "that's an abbrev, Tom." I wanted Brock Lesnar to show up and F-5 him into a tornado. I'm really going to enjoy hating this character.
Survive: There were two traditional 5-on-5 elimination tag team matches, one of which was that strange match that featured Sheamus getting beaten down. That match also featured The New Day and Xavier Woods as Gaston, or James Brown, or whoever the hell, with the most glorious hair in pro wrestling history. The other featured the return of Goldust, which was cool for what it was but I'm not sure how many miles are left in that tank. Otherwise, nothing stood out.
By the end, this wasn't a very good show. The tournament semifinals were good but the final was a disappointment and WWE may have just turned off a lot of its already luke warm fan base.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comment section below with all your thoughts on last night's show. How did you like it, if you liked it at all?
(Photos via WWE.com)