WWE – Survivor Series 2015 (Cert 15)
1 Disc Blu-ray / DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 161 minutes approx.
WWE found themselves in a bit of a pickle heading into this show when WWE Champion Seth Rollins suffered a knee injury during a house show in Dublin, Ireland and was immediately sidelined for nine months. Rollins was due to face (and drop the title to) the anointed one Roman Reigns here but obviously this match had to be scrapped and the title vacated. The hastily concocted solution was to hold a quick 16-man tournament with the semi-finals and final taking place on this PPV.
Elsewhere at the end of Hell In A Cell, the Wyatt Family came out after the Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker match and attacked Taker, carrying him away to who knows where. The next night on RAW Kane sought retribution for his on/off brother and suffered the same fate, before the Brothers Of Destruction returned as a team and beat the Wyatts up. They then challenged any two of the Wyatts to a match for this PPV which is a bit backwards since we already saw the Brothers destroy all four Wyatts.
This show was held on November 22nd 2015 at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, before 11,836 fans. Your commentators are as always the trio of Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and JBL.
Onto the matches and as always no results spoilers but plenty of opinion.
Lillian Garcia opens the show with the singing of the US National Anthem to stick two fingers up at the alleged terrorist threat made towards the arena and WWE (possibly someone who didn’t want Roman Reigns to win the title?). Somehow I can’t see God Save The Queen having the same effect for us Brits…
WWE World Title Tournament Semi-Final Match – Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio was the surprise opponent at Hell In A Cell who defeated John Cena for the US title. Equalling surprising (and baffling) was his alignment with Zeb Coulter to form a ludicrous partnership called MexAmerica which of course bombed and was canned soon after. Good match and Del Rio’s best outing since his return. He came to work and it showed while Reigns – who received a mixed reaction – applied himself to holding up his end in a solid effort.
WWE World Title Tournament Semi-Final Match – Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens
Logic would dictate that the heel vs. face dynamic would be honoured for the final but the storyline for Reigns and Ambrose since The Shield split was how they were “brothers”. This then shed a different light on the outcome of this match, since Reigns was getting all the title attention and Ambrose was his running buddy. Two heavy hitters just going at it with a thrilling final few minutes of counters and close near falls which could have gone either way. Great stuff!
Survivor Series Elimination Match – Ryback, The Usos & Lucha Dragons vs. The New Day, Sheamus & King Barrett
These multi-star elimination matches used to be the main draw for this PPV and where what made them so much fun, but over the years they have been reduced to an afterthought, as this unannounced match demonstrates. The big news is the sweet pompadour hairstyle Xavier Woods sports while Sheamus and Barrett embarrass themselves in trying to get jiggy with the New Day. Solid work in this match, with the high flyers doing their big spots (and Ryback too!) and the muscle guys did their thing. The final few minutes dragged a bit with the match psychology being messed up which in WWE logic (bear in mind what that means) was supposed to be significant in the near future.
WWE Divas Title Match – Charlotte (c) vs. Paige
What should have been a good feud was ruined at the start. Paige had turned on her PCB teammates then earned this title shot against Charlotte. During a contract signing Charlotte mentioned her late brother Reid and Paige responded with a tasteless cheap shot. Of course it appalled everyone rather than drew any heat and the WWE cowardly blamed Charlotte for supposedly approving it and not the writers.
Considering this supposed animosity engendered here, Charlotte came out smiling and Paige got a face reaction while the match was largely wrestling but it got physical quickly. Both ladies worked hard and had a good match but the WWE crowd are still not used to them going for 15 minutes; had this been in NXT it would been near the top of the card and the crowd would have been electric.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Tyler Breeze
Tyler Breeze was one of the brightest stars in NXT but quickly became just another face in the crowd on the main roster thanks to the ineptitude of Vince McSenile’s booking and his pairing with career killer Summer Rae. Breeze even lost his first match on RAW against Ambrose! Therefore the result of this match was largely without debate since Breeze HAD to win or else he was DOA. With just six minutes given to them this was a RAW/SD filler match at best which did nothing for either man but they worked hard nonetheless.
Undertaker & Kane vs. Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper
This could have been a fun four-on-two handicap match or maybe two credible partners could have rounded the numbers up, but this show marked the 25th anniversary of the Undertaker’s debut at Survivor Series 1990 so you can figure out the rest. After a two hour ring entrance from Taker, he and Kane chokeslam and impatient Erick Rowan leaving Bray to choose Harper as his partner cos lets’ face it, Braun Strowman is awful in the ring, even if this was a ten minute squash/showcase for Taker.
WWE World Title Tournament Finals
A short match given its importance but and hard worked one of non-stop action but it is what happened after the match which is where the story really begins. Since I don’t deal in spoilers (I know this show is three months old but someone might be reading/watching this for the first time) it’s difficult to discuss it further but anyone who remembers the Daniel Bryan fiasco over the WWE Championship from the Summer of 2013 will experience some déjà vu here.
Obviously this would have been a different show had Rollins not been injured, leaving Ambrose, Del Rio and Owens to fulfil others roles but Vince and his writers had a few weeks to work on an alternative and while this wasn’t the worst idea it was a fairly safe one.
To spice things up a little, they could have announced Reigns as still being the No 1 contender and held either a battle royale or the tournament to determine his opponent for this PPV, which would have given them time to hype that match instead. Having Reigns be part of the tournament made it all the more predictable as far the outcome was concerned.
Where the problem lies is the fans not reacting to Reigns as the next top babyface and with only Cena – and to a lesser extent Randy Orton – getting that treatment over the past decade, Vince won’t even consider anyone else for that role even if they do get better reactions (Daniel Bryan, Ambrose, Cesaro, Ziggler, even Kevin Owens who is a heel!) putting them in a ”like it or lump it” situation, which the TV ratings and buyrates/network views show they are lumping it.
Poor, aimless status quo booking and lacklustre matches do not a good show make.
Best match – Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens
Survivor Series Kickoff Elimination Match – Neville, The Dudley Boyz, Goldust & Titus O’Neil vs. Stardust, The Ascension, The Miz & Bo Dallas
Monday Night RAW – 16th November 2015
The Brothers Of Destruction Turn The Tables On The Wyatt Family
WWE Diva Title Contract Signing
Smackdown – 19th November 2015
The Final Four On MIZ TV
Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens & Alberto Del Rio
Rating – **
Man In Black