WWE Survivor Series 2016 Reaction
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
If WWE in 2016 has taught us anything, it’s that content outweighs logic.
After an hour and 51 minute pre-show came a three hour and 26-minute Pay-Per-View for a total of five hours and 27 minutes of air time.
Nothing screamed “filler” like interbranded 10-man elimination tag matches, with little consequences. Three of them, to be exact.
It’s like watching the World Series between two teams you don’t like. There’s no emotional investment besides the ones who’re directly involved.
Luckily, the best build ironically went to Goldberg-Brock Lesnar, the personification of the overhyped “Fantasy Warfare Just Got Real” catchphrase.
In this case, some things should stay fantasy.
The Pre-Show Breakdown
– The Pre-Show Six-Man Tag between Ariya Daivari/Tony Nese/Drew Gulak and TJ Perkins/Rich Swann/Noam Dar was a platform for the Cruiserweight Division to showcase more fancy flips and spots, with little character development. Nese/Gulak are inseparable at this point, aren’t they? Swann continues to be “The Dancing Guy” and Perkins is the “Video Game Guy That Dabs.” At least Perkins had a nice pop upon his entrance. It was also a good time to plug the soon-to-debut WWE 205 Live show on Nov. 29. Yup, the Cruiserweights will be “Raw-exclusive” and even have their own show with storylines. Guess we’ll have to get used to these pointless Six-Man Tags. Dar stood out in a good way as a performer, as we almost likened him to Roderick Strong. Those two should battle one day. Swann got a big pop when he was hit with the “Hot Tag” and executed a flawless frankensteiner. They also did the classic “Referee stops the plancha, but the guy does it anyway over his back” spot with Perkins. Swann was set up to get the pinfall as he hit the heel kick/standing 450 splash. Nothing bad and well-wrestled, but it was hard to care.
– The Pre-Show match between Luke Harper and Kane was designed to be the Big Red Machine’s chance for retribution against The Wyatt Family. This wasn’t a bout that lit up on paper though. There were some big man spots that the crowd ate up, like Harper’s tope suicida and Kane’s superplex, but beyond that, this was mediocre. Kane won with a Chokeslam before Harper could hit his discus clothesline. Kane wins on his 18th Survivor Series appearance. Woot woot.
– The opening video blended WWE 2K17 gameplay footage with real life, as the voiceover guy emphasized that “impossible dreams became reality.” At the forefront of the package understandably was the Goldberg-Lesnar match, but it eventually bled its way down to the “Team Raw Vs. Team SmackDown Live” matches. The “Us Versus Them” mentality was evident, yet again, we couldn’t find ourselves intrigued enough to care. Cool visuals, but meh.
– The “Team Raw Vs. Team SmackDown Live” Five-On-Five Elimination Tag between Team Raw (Bayley/Nia Jax/Sasha Banks/WWE Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte/Alicia Fox) and Team SmackDown Live (WWE SmackDown Live Women’s Champion Becky Lynch/Alexa Bliss/Carmella/Natalya/Naomi) had mild interest thanks to the prominence of the SmackDown women since the draft (Carmella’s heel turn, Bliss shining brightly, Lynch being a Champion, Naomi’s cool-yet-blinding entrance) and the overlap of the Banks-Charlotte feud on the Raw side. Early on, we learned that Nikki Bella, SD’s Captain, was laid out backstage with a head injury. Natalya convinced SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan that she was a good substitute. In any other place, this was just another angle. Luckily, this was Canada and the crowd pops huge for anything Hart Family-related. Fox botched a dropkick and a bridge extension from a Northern Lights suplex early on against Carmella. We got heat from Charlotte when she took away the first-ever main roster duel between Lynch and Bayley. Jax had her time to be established as a powerhouse with big spots and a memorable double suplex on Lynch/Bliss. After some help from Dana Brooke at ringside, Fox eliminated Carmella. Bliss then eliminated Fox with Twisted Bliss. Naomi did a cool diving cross body to the outside on Jax. The beast retaliated as she threw Fox into the post, to eliminate her by countout. The “10” chants were back upon the Referee’s countout counts. Even he couldn’t hold back his laughter. Banks finally got in the match and performed athletic spots. Not long after, Natalya eliminated her, which drew plenty boos. Ouch. Things reversed when the crowd popped for Natalya’s Sharpshooter on Charlotte. It didn’t last long, as Charlotte countered out of it and ended up pinning Natalya to eliminate her and give Raw the 3-2 advantage. Lynch made Jax tap out to the Disarmer, before Jax attacked her afterwards. Charlotte eliminated Bliss. We finally got the exchange between Lynch and Bayley, which wasn’t bad. Eventually, Bayley got the pin over the Champ with the Bayley-To-Belly and Raw emerged victorious. The biggest development was Charlotte’s brute post-match beatdown of Bayley almost instantly after the bell. We’d assume it was because Bayley stole Charlotte’s moment as Team Captain, but at least this will start a new feud. Now, for some important quotes – “At least Raw won, that’s the most important thing.” – Byron Saxton. “The night is far from over.” – JBL. Was he ever right. Ugh.
– The backstage segment with James Ellsworth, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Raw General Manager Mick Foley and Braun Strowman was hit-or-miss, dependent upon where you look. Nothing says, “The fun and games are over” like when Gallows/Anderson make lousy “chin” punchlines on Team SmackDown Live’s mascot. Eventually, Foley made them go away as Ellsworth went all fanboy for the Raw GM, as he was inspired by Foley’s moments where he suffered massive discomfort. This led to Foley offering Ellsworth a spot on Raw (audible boos from the crowd, ha) before Ellsworth turned it down. Strowman went up to Ellsworth and asked if he knew him. Ellsworth scrambled away. That nod to nostalgia made us laugh.
– The WWE Intercontinental Championship match between Champion The Miz and Sami Zayn where if Zayn won, he’d bring the IC Title to Raw, was better than we hoped. However, given that Miz had uncrowned Dolph Ziggler (unfound on the show, ouch) five days earlier, we were hard pressed to believe that he’d lose the belt so quick. Zayn was Canadian, so there was that. They also mentioned that Zayn held a 3-0 record over Miz, which made us wonder when those matches happened. Good action early as Zayn hit his barricade moonsault and then did Maryse’s “Tell It To The Hand” gesture when she got in his face afterwards. The two had some nice chemistry, as they tightened things up towards the end. Miz smartly targeted Zayn’s leg and even took the time to mock Bryan’s in-ring style. Zayn got a two-count with the Blue Thunder Bomb (has he ever won a match with that?) and missed the Helluva Kick before he wound up trapped in the Figure Four. He reversed it and then applied the move himself, which led to the finish. Yup, the bell rang off-camera when we didn’t see Miz submit. Oh god, yes. Another screwjob finish in Canada. Does WWE ever resist the urge? It turned out to be Maryse with the hammer, as Miz took advantage and rolled up Zayn for the three-count to keep the IC Title with the blue show. Da ba dee, da ba die.
– The backstage segment with Dean Ambrose, WWE World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles and SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon was nice hype for the “Best Of The Best” to come later, as the segment revolved around the authority figure trying to ease tensions between Champion and challenger come TLC on Dec. 4. He stressed they needed to be on the same page tonight.
– The “Team Raw Vs. Team SmackDown Live” Tag Team Traditional Five-On-Five Elimination Tag match between Team Raw (Enzo Amore & Big Cass/Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson/Cesaro & Sheamus/The Shining Stars/WWE Raw Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston & Big E) and Team SmackDown Live (American Alpha/The Usos/The Hype Bros./WWE SmackDown Live Tag Team Champions Heath Slater & Rhyno/Breezango) was the least interesting interbrand match with little incentive or consequence of the winners. Since Raw won the first match and the deeper roster was on SmackDown Live, we expected Team Blue to pull things out. Yup, this was a match with trombones, timeshare brochures and fashion police tickets. Before we even took a breath, Kingston eliminated Breezango. In a shocker, The Usos eliminated The New Day. That seemed to take the crowd out of it a little, but the action rolled on. Gallows/Anderson eliminated The Hype Bros. and then American Alpha eliminated The Shining Stars after a sick electric chair bulldog. Slater had his moment as he did a “stage dive” onto everyone below. That led to the biggest highlight, when Jason Jordan launched Chad Gable for a belly-to-belly somersault plancha. Gallows/Anderson then eliminated American Alpha. A Gore eliminated Gallows/Anderson, after Anderson knocked Enzo off the apron with an accidental elbow. It was Raw with a 2-1 advantage, before The Usos eliminated Enzo/Cass. Things came down to Cesaro/Sheamus and The Usos. Some great action between the two teams as we had a lot of false finishes and Cesaro put on a spectacle as he performed a 619, an uppercut at the barricade and then a high cross body off the top rope in rapid succession. Cesaro caught Jey Uso in the Sharpshooter after he countered the Tequila Sunrise and before Jimmy Uso could stop it with a superkick, he was hit with a Brogue Kick, which left Jey no choice but to tap out. Yup, that was the first time that Cesaro/Sheamus won on the same page. Big moment, as we’d get some sportsmanship finally, right? Wrong. Sheamus teased a handshake only to waive it off when Cesaro went in for it. They then competed for cheers. Good action down the stretch and better than the women’s match, but that doesn’t say much.
– The backstage segment with Foley and Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon was all about Team Red’s celebration that they were up 2-0 so far. Steph spoke like she wanted to reward Foley, but was actually talking about Cesaro/Sheamus. They booked a Tag Title shot match for the next night’s Raw for Cesaro/Sheamus. Wonder how that will go.
– The WWE Cruiserweight Championship match between Champion Brian Kendrick and Kalisto had a stipulation where if Kalisto won, then the belt and entire division would go to SmackDown Live. With 205 Live happening right after SmackDown goes off the air and their concept failed on Raw, it actually seemed like a great time to pull the trigger on a Cruiserweight move. The only thing that stopped this was Kendrick’s push as a crazed veteran who established himself as “The” Division. Much of that was covered in the video package that came before the match. The camera effects while Kendrick spoke were well-done. As for the ring work, it was sleek, as the two had nice chemistry. They each countered each other’s finishers early to establish that they “did their homework.” The crowd was tame until Kalisto performed a spanish fly off the apron to the floor. From that point, they had the people somewhat into it. Things got dramatic as we saw Kendrick land a Captain’s Hook as a transition from a move from the top. Kalisto got out of it and hit the Salida Del Sol for a two-count when the Champ put his foot on the ropes. Before things could happen further, we saw Baron Corbin emerge and attack Kendrick before he hit End Of Days on Kalisto, which reignited their feud and kept the Cruiserweight Championship on Raw. Unexpected, but it made sense. Kendrick got to slide away with the Title and Corbin got revenge for what Kalisto did to him.
– The backstage segment with Corbin and Bryan was a fine follow-up, as the GM berated Corbin for his actions as he cost the show a belt. Corbin’s answer that he “didn’t want those pests on Tuesdays” fit his character. Bryan’s promise to “deal with him” on Tuesday was a good hook for the show.
– The “Team Raw Vs. Team SmackDown Live” Traditional Five-On-Five Elimination Tag match between Team Raw (WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho/WWE United States Champion Roman Reigns/Strowman/Seth Rollins) and Team SmackDown Live (Styles/Ambrose/Shane/Randy Orton/Bray Wyatt) actually ate up 52 minutes if you believe it or not. Luckily, this was a thriller that had many elements beyond the interbrand theme to keep us into it, from start to finish. We began with an exchange between the World Champions as the crowd obviously favored the Canadian Owens/Jericho duo. There was a huge pop when KO tagged in Jericho, to reignite the old Jericho-Styles feud. That didn’t last long, because Jericho blindly tagged in Rollins when he was annoyed at how Rollins laughed on the apron. With Rollins and Ambrose in a duel, the crowd actually chanted for Reigns. Ha. It also should be noted that Rollins wore a shirt that was half-Raw logo and half his own. Pretty sick. Jericho-Ambrose then fought again, before things broke into bedlam. Nice spot where Owens did a senton off the top rope onto everyone below. We got some advancement with Ambrose-Styles after Ambrose was eliminated after him and Styles got into a fight. Strowman then got into the match and dominated everyone, most memorably when he countered a Phenomenal Forearm as he caught Styles and tossed him onto and over the ropes. Styles landed hard there, ouch. We then finally got our post-draft Strowman-Wyatt face-off. More highlights as we saw Orton hit an RKO on Strowman that landed onto the announce table. That set up Orton/Wyatt to hold down Strowman so Shane could do his classic announce table elbow drop. Went exactly as planned. Strowman was eliminated by countout as he couldn’t get to the ring despite his attempt, as it as revealed that Ellsworth held his foot down from under the ring. Strowman’s revenge occurred in the form of “I’m going to toss Ellsworth off the stage like a rag doll through a table that conveniently has a ‘Pizza Pizza’ box on it.” Some light advancement with the “Best Friends” as we saw Owens get eliminated by DQ when he hit Styles with Jericho’s list, which garnered boos at the result. After Jericho swooped up all the fallen pages with an angry face, he fell victim to an RKO, which then eliminated him. The next highlight came when Shane tried a Coast-To-Coast on Reigns, but was hit with a spear. An odd choice for the elimination to go down the way it did, as Shane put his shoulder up at two, but the Referee checked him and deemed him unable to further compete. Wonder if that was legit. They teased a Shield announce table spot, but Styles stopped it. Coolest part of the match where they used Ambrose’s beef with Styles as an excuse to temporarily reunite The Shield. It made sense for Reigns/Rollins to use it to their advantage to help eliminate Styles. The trio hit their triple powerbomb on the Champ for a huge pop. Rollins pinned Styles, which left it to another installment of The Shield against The Wyatt Family. Minor pop when Harper appeared out of nowhere to try to help Wyatt. Another “Holy shit!” moment when Rollins attempted a frog splash on Wyatt only to land on an RKO. That allowed Wyatt to eliminate Rollins, which left it down to Reigns against Orton/Wyatt. Oh, we could hear the boos now. Luckily, that didn’t last long, as we saw Orton take a “Superman Punch bullet” for Wyatt, which enabled “The Eater Of Worlds” (still the worst nickname ever) to pin Reigns with Sister Abigail and ensure Team Blue won the biggest head-to-head. Steph’s tease that Team Raw’s jobs were on the line will be a minor hook for the next night’s Raw. What will she do?
– The Goldberg-Lesnar match had its instance of pomp and circumstance, as Goldberg’s entrance was saved for last. This had the “big match” feel, all thanks to the build. We hoped that the two would put on a match that made us forget about the debacle at WrestleMania XX. Unfortunately, for those who dug the video gameplay footage earlier in the show of an all-out match complete with Spears, F5’s, Jackhammers and a backstage brawl to become reality would be disappointed. While we commend the fact that Lesnar never looked so vulnerable before (he looked like he got hit by a truck several times one spear in), we’re not sure it was smart to have Lesnar be manhandled the way he was in a rivalry where he was already down 1-0. That said, the shock value moment where Goldberg shoved Lesnar, hit two spears and a jackhammer to pin Lesnar was good. We’re worried about the long-term booking at hand. This likely sets up a WrestleMania rematch, but now, it’ll need a better story. At least, Goldberg and his son celebrating to close out the show was a cool visual.
- Pre-Show – Six-Man Tag – TJ Perkins/Rich Swann/Noam Dar def. Ariya Daivari/Tony Nese/Drew Gulak via pinfall
- Pre-Show – Kane def. Luke Harper via pinfall
- “Team Raw Vs. Team SmackDown Live” Traditional Five-On-Five Elimination Tag – Team Raw (Sasha Banks/Charlotte (w/Dana Brooke)/Bayley/Nia Jax/Alicia Fox) def. Team SmackDown Live (Becky Lynch/Natalya/Carmella/Alexa Bliss/Naomi)
- If Sami Zayn Wins, The WWE Intercontinental Championship Moves To Raw – WWE Intercontinental Championship – The Miz (w/Maryse) def. Sami Zayn via pinfall to retain
- “Team Raw Vs. Team SmackDown Live” Traditional Five-On-Five Elimination Tag – Team Raw (Big E & Kofi Kingston (w/Xavier Woods)/Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson/The Shining Stars/Cesaro & Sheamus/Enzo Amore & Big Cass) def. Team SmackDown Live (The Hype Bros./American Alpha/The Usos/Heath Slater & Rhyno/Breezango
- If Kalisto Wins, The WWE Cruiserweight Championship And Cruiserweight Division Move To SmackDown Live – WWE Cruiserweight Championship – Brian Kendrick (Champion) def. Kalisto via DQ to retain
- “Team Raw Vs. Team SmackDown Live” Traditional Five-On-Five Elimination Tag – Team SmackDown Live (AJ Styles/Bray Wyatt/Randy Orton/Dean Ambrose (w/James Ellsworth)/Shane McMahon) def. Team Raw (Braun Strowman/Seth Rollins/Roman Reigns/Chris Jericho/Kevin Owens)
- Goldberg def. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) via pinfall
Posted on January 29, 2017, in WWE and tagged AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, Alicia Fox, American Alpha, Ariya Daivari, Baron Corbin, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Big Cass, Big E, Booker T, Brain Kendrick, Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, Breezango, Brock Lesnar, Byron Saxton, Carmella, Cesaro, Charlotte, Chris Jericho, Corey Graves, Dana Brooke, Daniel Bryan, David Otunga, Dean Ambrose, Drew Gulak, Enzo Amore, Goldberg, Heath Slater, James Ellsworth, JBL, Jerry Lawler, Kalisto, Kane, Karl Anderson, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, Lita, Luke Gallows, Luke Harper, Maryse, Mauro Ranallo, Michael Cole, Mick Foley, Naomi, Natalya, Nia Jax, Nikki Bella, Noam Dar, Paul Heyman, Randy Orton, Renee Young, Rhyno, Rich Swann, Roman Reigns, Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks, Seth Rollins, Shane McMahon, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, Survivor Series, The Hype Bros., The Miz, The Shining Stars, The Usos, TJ Perkins, Tom Phillips, Tony Nese, Xavier Woods. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.