WWE – Survivor Series 2021 (Cert 15)

1 Disc Blu-ray /2 discs DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 191 minutes approx.

We’ve reached the point in the WWE calendar when they tell the most egregious lie of all regarding the exclusivity of RAW and SD facing off against each other. That they ran an ad for this show with said proclamation during the Crown Jewel show a month before which featured at least four cross brand matches says it all.

This year’s show had possibly the worst build of any major PPV of any year let alone 2021, with the card sloppily slung together, and team personnel changing on a whim, but without creating any tension between the brands only between themselves! In other words, this was all about the favoured – and by now hackneyed – partners who can’t get along trope.

But there is more. 2021, and Survivor Series in particular, marked the 25th anniversary of the debut of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who just happened to have a new film out on Netflix when this show aired. So, we not only get clips from the film here as well as running subplot featuring Vince McSenile and a prop from the film, but also highlight clips of The Rock’s career, designed to fool people into thinking he would show up at the arena.

Of course, WWE knew this wouldn’t be possible as Mr. Johnson was in Australia filming the second season of his show Young Rock, so we end up with is a tribute evening where the guest of honour fails to show up. Simply put, why bother? Quite frankly, as much as he tries to distance himself from old school rasslin’, Vine is still as carnie as they get.

Held on November 21st 2021 at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn, New York in front of approximately 12,600 fans. Commentary is provided by various iterations of Michael Cole, Pat MacAfee, Jimmy Smith, Byron Saxton, and Corey Graves.

Onto the matches and as always no results spoilers but plenty of opinion.

WWE RAW Women’s Champion vs. SD Women’s Champion – Becky Lynch (RAW) vs. Charlotte Flair (SD)

Yes, I know we’ve seen this match 1,000 times before but this time, it’s personal! No, actually it is. Apparently these two former friends have drifted apart in real life whilst it had been rumoured that Charlotte has been difficult and insular backstage of late. It came to a public head when the two champs were due to swap belts on SD as each was drafted to the other show whilst holding the respective opposite titles.

Charlotte, to her credit, felt she should have dropped the RAW title to Bianca Belair first rather than do a straight swap, which she felt cheapened her new SD title reign (!) but Vince said no. Becky didn’t like the idea either but went with it. Come SD, instead of handing her belt over to Becky, Charlotte dropped it on the mat instead which infuriated Becky and Sonya Deville (who was presiding over the exchange), and Becky tore into Charlotte backstage, in a very public scenario which saw most people side with Lynch.

What followed was a series of barbs across social media between the two, with Becky saying she doesn’t know who Charlotte is anymore and Charlotte claiming she was being vilified for being a woman, and nobody would bat an eyelid if she were male. This made the match more interesting in everybody’s eyes, therefore baffling it opened the show when it should have main evented and brought the house down.

They worked hard and stiff, in a part-work, part shoot style, not helped by Charlotte laughing every time Becky kicked out or hit a big move, in an act of tone deafness usually reserved for Vince or Cody Rhodes. Despite both being heels, Becky was cheered more which helped the dynamic of the match, and frankly ended up the best match on the card.

Men’s Survivor Series Elimination Match – Team RAW (Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, Finn Bálor, Bobby Lashley & Austin Theory) vs. Team Smackdown (Drew McIntyre, Jeff Hardy, Sheamus, King Woods & Happy Corbin)

Without a real feud to drive this match and the so-called “Brand Supremacy” so woefully passé, the tension came from within, as each team consisted of people who hate each other! Quite how this is meant to make us care who wins I don’t know.

On RAW, they announced the team of Owens, Rollins & Bálor but with Rey and Dominick Mysterio. Adam Pearce turned heel by saying a Dominick wasn’t a former champ like the rest of the team, he had to earn his spot against former champ Lashley, and subsequently lost. Rey then sought revenge by facing Lashley the next week and also lost, replaced on the team by Austin Theory.

Meanwhile on SD, the announced team originally had Sami Zayn in it, but Hardy beat him to vanquish him from the spot, replaced by Sheamus after winning a four way match. Not that it made the match any better or any worse, which was the booking’s job as usual, starting with Owens walking out on his team at the very beginning. Why did he wait so long to remove himself if he was that disinterested in working with these people (specifically Rollins)?

And if this was all about brand loyalty, why did Owens put the team at an immediate disadvantage and potentially risk the ire of the entire brand if it is indeed as important as we are asked to believe? Such ill-conceived and maladroit nonsense does nothing but present a compelling argument to drop this inter-brad premise and return to heel vs. faces featuring wrestlers from both shows.

Plus it was odd to see guys supposedly on the ascension like Woods be treated like a jobber whilst veteran Hardy stayed until the end. Match was okay and the guys worked hard, but the confused narrative and askew logic made it hard to enjoy on a level of credibility.

 

Backstage, Vince arrives with a $100,000 golden egg prop from The Rock’s new film, greeted by all the schmucks not on the card, who give him a hero’s welcome, presumably because they don’t want to lose their jobs.

Then Roman Reigns shows up in Vince’s office and tells him his new contract should be worth $100,000. Vince is mumbling so bad now they should have subtitles on screen whenever he speaks because it really is unintelligible.

The Rock’s 25th Anniversary 25-Man Battle Royale

This is sponsored by Pizza Hut which has no significance other than to have their Xmas product on-screen which includes tables of pizzas on the entrance ramp and another table at ringside. Most of the line-up are the usual mid-card jabronis, with the exception of AJ Styles. Yes, THAT AJ Styles. How the mighty have fallen.

Pretty much a total waste of time and talent, it was designed to put Omos over whilst its relevance to The Rock was all but ignored. R-Truth tired some contrived pizza based comedy which died a death because the only real comedy from WWE comes from the hilarious and earnestly delivered answers they give during press conferences which make Boris Johnson seem honest.

RAW Tag Champions vs. SD Tag Champions Match – RK-Bro (RAW) vs. The Usos (SD)

I bet the police were watching this one with interest, given the number of DUI’s accused by the Usos, Riddle’s sexual assault law suit, and Orton famously going AWOL from the military. Criminal records aside, Orton broke another record with this match, putting him in the Guinness Book of Records for the most WWE PPV matches at 177! Twenty-years of Orton, with 75% of that time being chinlocks.

Match was okay but needed to be more back and forth rather than the traditional format of the heels getting heat on Riddle and Orton doing the hot tag clean up. That would have reinforced the fight for supremacy remit and made for a more enjoyable match in my opinion. Perfectly fine but nothing memorable or high stakes about it either, save for the big finish which actually woke the crowd up.

Shocking news from backstage – someone has stolen Vince’s egg! He puts Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville on the case who promised to interview everyone on RAW the next night, instead of questioning everyone there and then. The rationale is that the mystery will have viewers tune into RAW to find out who the culprit is – except only a fraction of the WWE audience actually watch the PPVs while the rest will tune in out of habit and not have a clue what is going on.

Spoiler: it was Austin Theory who is now Vince’s pet project for some reason. What a pay off…

 

Women’s Survivor Series Elimination Match – Team RAW (Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, Liv Morgan, Carmella & Queen Zelina) vs. Team SD (Sasha Banks, Shotzi Blackheart, Toni Storm, Shayna Baszler, & Natalya)

Oh boy… So, on SD the team originally had Aliyah included, who had been brought up from NXT after 100 years being a jobber there. She won her first TV match (a 6 woman tag) only to be removed by Deville ten minutes later for no reason. She was replaced by Toni Storm, another NXT alumnus except she had a big build up, only to work one short match then disappear for a month!

Elsewhere, Shotzi came in an got over as a babyface against Charlotte so of course they turned her heel on Sasha Banks, who is now a face despite returning as a heel to feud with Bianca Belair who is now on RAW. This meant Shotzi and Sasha would argue during the match, then work together, then start arguing again.

This was the theme of Team SD as they ended up getting Sasha counted out to spite her which also meant their team was down one member, which made no sense as they were meant to be fighting for their brand, remember? Nobody on the creative team clearly does… Meanwhile on the RAW team, Liv Morgan is next in line for a shot at Becky Lynch  so they make Bianca the star instead. Can’t fault the ladies but this was a mess when it should have been a showcase for the newest incarnation of the women’s division.

WWE Universal Champion vs. WWE Champion –  Roman Reigns (SD) vs. Big E (RAW)

And we end on the foregone conclusion match of the show. For such a big showdown of the respective brand champs, there wasn’t much to the build up, probably because big E had only recently won the WWE Title and wasn’t established (or even booked) to be a major player, whilst Roman has been the anointed one for the past 6 years. The nearest thing to a story is Brock Lesnar planting seeds in Roman’s mind that Paul Heyman is still working for him and not Reigns.

Usual big hoss match that the crowd wasn’t really into for most of it, which again demonstrates how ineffective the brand battle is and how counterproductive the WWE’s hierarchy system is regarding it champions and wrestlers in general. Plus it went over 20 minute which isn’t Big E’s forte, as he was clearly spent less than 10 minutes in.

 

Bottom Line:

Well, I think I have already vented my spleen about the problems I had with this show in the main body of this review, and I don’t believe I have much to add to it. The work by the wrestlers was fine, but as ever the creative end is abysmal; this is the sporting equivalent of a RADA trained actor delivering lines written by a five year old.

The other aspect is the whole schmooze fest for The Rock who clearly wasn’t going to be there and whist WWE didn’t make any such specific claims despite knowing this wouldn’t be true, the inference he might be was there for many fans. Perhaps they took last year’s tribute to The Undertaker as a precedent, but really, the word was out ahead of time that The Rock was not in the country.

Even a video message from The Rock would have been something, but we didn’t get that which makes the folly of running tributes throughout the show rather pointless for both the fans and WWE themselves.

Not the greatest Survivor Series and not the worst, but good luck trying to make sense of the booking because I have nothing. Sadly, nor does Vince.

 

Best match – Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair

 

Extras:

German Language

Blu-ray Only:

Survivor Series Kickoff Show Match – IC Champion vs. US Champion Match – Shinsuke Nakamura (SD) vs. Damian Priest (RAW)

 

Rating – ** ½

Man In Black 

11 thoughts on “Wrestling Review – WWE – Survivor Series 2021

  1. I heard this wasn’t a good PPV. Pizza Hut got more over than most of the other wrestlers and they should’ve done more with The Rock’s milestone. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled with what Progress has done in 2021 with a lot of their shows and even my friend/co-worker who is a hardcore wrestling fan has been enjoying the BritWres stuff (as well as Japanese and Mexican wrestling) more than WWE and AEW.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AEW is far from perfect but is starting to hit a stride for me lately so much so I look forward to it more, because I know they’ll seldom short change us on matches.

      WWE’s booking/creative is so infuriating these days I can’t believe nobody has questioned how such illogical, repetitive nonsense is allowed to go to air. They’ve even ruined NXT now Vince has taken over that too. >.<

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I see. They’ve had good matches, but I haven’t been following them as much. The Big Swole/Tony Khan issue really made me facepalm which is sad since that Swole/Diamante match on Dark was amazing and should’ve been on a PPV or at the very least main eventing a Dynamite.

        Yeah, I hear you right there. Even my aforementioned friend vented those frustrations to me. I heard NXT was getting lame after Vince had control. NXT UK might be the last good bastion of that company right? Haha!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, that was not Khan’s finest moment. If only he had hit “send” before typing the line about her wrestling being bad. Not a god optic or a good move.

        Hopefully he learns from it, but if wrestling fans can forgive the litany of crass, insensitive, tone deaf, stupid, ignorant, bad taste things WWE have done, I doubt AEW will lose any discernible support over this and it will be forgotten.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah, that was so cringe and I was definitely offended by the response. I know Big Swole isn’t the biggest technical wizard, but she is actually good in the ring. If I really wanted to go there using his logic, then why didn’t he fire Penelope Ford or Kris Statlander who botch way more than Swole does in AEW? Either way that was definitely not a good look.

        You do bring up an interesting point. I know AEW has a hardcore fan and stan-base, and some of them really didn’t take that criticism against Tony Khan well, but I do people people actually learn from this. No, just because Jade Cargill won the TBS Championship isn’t going to be a fix-all solution.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I believe Jade winning was the plan all along and not a statement to Swole, as TK and others are very high on her, but also know she is not ready for the main belt.

        I personally don’t think Jade is ready for the TBS belt either but I’m not the booker. She needed another good year of training and working DARK before even getting the big push she’s had but again, I’m not the booker.

        The problem is as a secondary belt Jade will be paired with people who – like Ruby Soho – aren’t able to carry her to a good match, meaning she either stays with the same faces like Thunder Rosa or Shida, or they get the belt off her soon, which I don’t see happening.

        Hence Rosa should have won but I knew from the start it would be Jade, although personally I think they should have given it to Emi Sakura! 😉 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      5. That was a possibility with her being unbeatable since she debuted with her winning the TBS title. The plan certainly happened before the tweet about Swole, but the optics do hurt her win like TK saying “See? We DO care about Black wrestlers” after the fact about that tweet if that makes sense.

        I agree that she should’ve had a mix of Dark matches in addition to the televised stuff.

        Exactly. personally, I would’ve preferred a women’s tag team title instead of a secondary women’s championship and they could’ve used it for TayJay (the most obvious choice if they did that) or sign some real female tag teams like The Sea Stars, Pretty Little Killers, Tropikawild, or the She Wolves for example. I don’t know how well the title will be treated compared to the TNT championship which at least is taken seriously more or less compared to WWE’s US or IC championships from a relevancy standpoint.

        Thunder Rosa is someone I would like to see win the main women’s championship. Emi Sakura could be a good choice for either, but it’s a shame that she’s rarely there given how she still lives in Japan and busy with her Gatoh Move federation. Interestingly enough, I got to see a match where she wrestled against Kanji who was in the BritWres documentary list I showed you and even wrestled against Nor “Phoenix” Diana in her home country of Malaysia. Diana is also the first hijab-wearing wrestler in the world as well as the first Malaysian female wrestler to win a championship.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Sorry to be a pedant but Emi Sakura is currently in the US based in Florida. She booked a one way ticket to the US to work AEW and promote ChocoPro worldwide. If you follow her on Twitter she posts her adventures out and about in the US, as well as her learning English. She is so grounded and unaffected for a 25+ year legend! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Okay. Sorry about that. I didn’t know she moved all the way to Florida but it does make sense given how big the wrestling industry is in that state and how AEW is headquartered in Jacksonville (Florida’s biggest city in case you didn’t know). Good on her for doing stuff in America more often and for making ChocoPro a worldwide thing. I’ve seen matches at that federation and they are quirky and fun. It’s interesting seeing Emi Sakura, Lulupencil, and British wrestler Chris Brookes doing stuff there. My favorite match I’ve seen from that company was the UFO death match. That was hilarious!

        Liked by 1 person

      8. No worries, I wasn’t having a go! 😉

        Not a fan of Chris Brookes but then again I’m not a fan of intergender matches making some of their stuff hard to watch, like the 30-minute Iron Man match between Lulu and Brookes.

        The Janken tournaments are funny though, especially the way they take a big bump whenever the lose! 😛

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I didn’t think you were. I do appreciate you informing me about that and you didn’t come off as a jerk.

        That’s fine about intergender matches. Have you seen his regular wrestling work either in singles action or with his old tag team CCK?

        I’ve heard great things about those tournaments. It’s been a while since I’ve seen Gatoh Move.

        Like

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