Monday, November 23, 2015

WWE Survivor Series 2015

Last Sunday night was the celebration of a milestone in WWE, as it marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the debut of WWE's most enduring and iconic superstar. Unfortunately, the Gobbledy Gooker was unavailable, so they settled with 25 Years Of Undertaker instead... so there's that, I suppose. There's also that WWE World Title tournament to fill the vacancy left by former champion Seth Rollins, who hurt his knee at a overseas event and is supposed to be out for six to nine months. Get well soon, Seth.

Anyway, on with the show, which opens up with Lillian Garcia singing the National Anthem to show terrorists that we won't be threatened by them. Well, I guess it's better than moving to a smaller venue due to poor ticket sales... er, I mean, a bomb threat. Right.

SEMI-FINAL MATCH: Roman Reigns defeated U.S. Champion Alberto Del Rio to advance to the finals. This was alright, both guys certainly tried, but given the end result was foretold way ahead of time, I didn't care much.

SEMI-FINAL MATCH: Dean Ambrose defeated I.C. Champion Kevin Owens to advance to the finals. I liked the finish where Owens is going for a Power Bomb and Ambrose counters that into a DDT; that was pretty sweet. Sucks that we have two matches in a row where a secondary champ does the favors, but at least they didn't go down like chumps.

So because we needed one, it's a "traditional 5-on-5 elimination match" featuring Ryback, The Lucha Dragons, and The Usos facing off against The New Day, Sheamus & King Bad News Barrett. Long story short, Barrett gets eliminated, New Day bails (good move on their part - they need something better to do than this), and poor Sheamus is left to fend for himself before he is eventually shellshocked by Ryback. This was worthless. Sorry, it was.

Divas champion Charlotte defeated Paige to retain the title in a match so gripping and so interesting that people were chanting for AWOL Boss Sasha Banks. I didn't see the go-home segment on Raw where Charlotte's late brother, Reid, was brought up that caused a ruckus among people, but I didn't have much of a problem with it since I didn't see it. After all, I lived through Eddie-splotation. And honestly, the Reid factor had no baring on my enjoyment (or lack thereof) of this match, which was so entertaining and captivating that I was actually sad that there was no Sasha Banks.

Tyler Breeze defeated Dolph Ziggler. I didn't care. Honestly, the whole Tyler Breeze thing with the selfie stick is the one NXT gimmick that I roll my eyes at and wonder how anyone could think this could be a good idea. I'd see it being another failed project like an Adam Rose or a Bo Dallas or something.

Undertaker and Kane defeated Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper in a tag-match that saw Undertaker tombstone Harper for the win. On the one hand, a nice moment for Taker fans and a nice way of capping off twenty-five years in WWE. On the other hand... the match sucked. It sucked about as much as any Undertaker match that has taken place in the past couple years. It's one thing to give a guy props and respect for the enduring career and legacy that he has, but it's another thing to use that as an excuse to overlook mediocrity. I'm not going to apologize for shitting on an Undertaker match and offending some idiot fanboy (or fangirl) who thinks I'm not showing proper respect.

It just confounds me that the best way WWE could think of to celebrate 25 years of Undertaker is to have him and his equally over-the-hill "brother" dominate an act that desperately needed a big win in order to keep their mystique alive. I mean, seriously, when was the last time the Wyatts did anything of significance that didn't make them look like chumps at the end of the day? You have the elaborate entrance and it's a cool visual, but there's no meat in them bones.

Undertaker had meat and substance even before the five hour entrances came into play; he had a presence and a mystique about him that emanated even when he had cheesy, goofy heel Brother Love as a manager. Part of the reason was because he had big wins that mattered. When was the last time Bray Wyatt had a win that mattered? Can you even think of one? Because I sure can't.

Man, if only the Gobbledy Gooker was more accepted by fans in 1990... oh well.

Roman Reigns defeated Dean Ambrose with a spear to win the vacant WWE World Title. Roman gets the confetti and fireworks treatment as Dean gives his buddy a hug and fades away into the sunset. McSon-In-Law shows up and offers a hand for Roman to shake, but Roman decides to spear the guy instead. Then Sheamus shows up to cash in and two Brogue Kicks later, the Roman Empire falls to the Irish and we got a new champion... and nobody cared. Cue the Fail Horn.

So the Reigns/Ambrose match lasted about ten minutes - perhaps even less than that. Honestly, both semi-final matches felt longer than the main event. It felt like they were just rushing through the match instead of trying to have a nice, satisfying conclusion to this whole tournament, especially considering the prize. A tournament final to crown a new World Heavyweight wrestling champion should be satisfying, it should be intense, it should be two guys beating the ever-loving crap out of each other to see who truly deserves to be champion. There should be big moments to create drama, there should be a real, raw intensity to create excitement, and there should be the feeling that this match is a big deal and it should feel like a big deal, especially for someone who's about to win their first World championship... because it IS supposed to be a big deal.

We didn't get that. We got a match that would barely qualify as a main event for the defunct Saturday Morning Slam show. There were no big moments, there was no emotion, there was no heart, there was no soul in the match. And this is not a criticism on Reigns or Ambrose because they bust their asses night in, night out and I'd like to think they give a damn about putting on the best show possible. I just wish they were able to do that instead of butt-rushing through the motions to get to the anti-climatic ending that just came out of nowhere and I don't mean that in a good way. It felt like there was more match coming and they just went "Fuck it. We'll end it here."

Roman Reigns winning the tournament and the title was not a surprise. I know some folks were hoping that maybe Ambrose would get the title, but Reigns was the chosen one and I didn't have a problem with it to be honest with you. It was going to happen sooner or later; it was inevitable. My problem with Reigns winning has little to do with the end result, but rather with how he got there... not so much the actual tournament, but the finals. I really felt that he needed a good strong finish and a good strong showing to really cement him as the guy and to really make this whole thing feel like his big moment... and he didn't get that. They didn't make Roman look strong. They didn't give Roman overwhelming odds to overcome. He just had a match with his buddy that felt half-hearted, ended abruptly, and nobody gave a shit. It was like, "That's it? That's the match?"

Now as far as Sheamus cashing in and winning the title, thus cutting Roman's moment short, it was either that or turn one of the guys heel. And as much as people have been clamoring for Reigns to make the turn, I wouldn't want him to fill the role that Seth Rollins occupied during his entire heel run. And look; I get that Sheamus was probably not the best choice for most people (especially given how much of a joke he was portrayed as earlier that night), but honestly, it was that or turn Ambrose heel and give people a reason to tune out. This was probably the lesser of the worst evils they could pull off and all things considered, I'm fine with this. Mind you; I'd probably be less so if I had actually watched Raw or Smackdown and had a vested interest in the tournament, but since I really didn't, I'm like, "Whatever. Sheamus is champ. Fine. Next."

Besides, I suspect that Reigns will get his title back down the line and who knows? Maybe he'll eventually turn and it'll be up to John Cena to save the day or something. I don't know. But I'll tell you what; this made me interested in where they're going with Roman Reigns for the first time in a long while. Let's just hope that interest holds.

So if you missed out on last night's Survivor Series PPV, you didn't miss much. I can honestly say that the entire PPV had been a complete waste of time and some would surmise the same could apply to the two weeks worth of tournament matches that took place before, given what ultimately happened at the end. But even as its own entity, this was just worthless.

Cue the fail horn.

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