Twenty-six years ago the WWF decided to create their own thanksgiving tradition by holding a special pay per view event called the Survivor Series, where teams of wrestlers would compete in elimination style matches. Today, the WWE realizes that people won’t watch wrestling on thanksgiving and that they don’t have a deep enough roster to have more than one big tag match, so let’s see how CM Punk holds on to the title this time in the Survivor Series (and also Sheamus vs Big Show 2).
The show starts off with a bonus five on five survivor series match. Ready to hear how right I am about the roster only being deep enough for one of these? This match puts the team of Brodus Clay (with top hat and gold coattail vest), Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd (who I admit I’m warming up to), Rey Mysterio (because they have to) and Sin Cara (did you know he is big in Mexico?) against Tensai (oof!), Epico and Primo (meh) and the Prime Time Players (best of the squad). Not exactly putting their best foot forward here. The heel team does at least give away that none of these men will be replacing Cody Rhodes on Team Ziggler (it is David Otunga). JBL already had the line of the night during the introductions when he described Brodus’ team as having three high flyers and an aircraft carrier. He’s outstanding.
Kidd and Epico start off with a nice extended sequence of moves but it’s so quiet you can hear Lawler’s heart beating (thank god!). Mysterio is the only one the crowd gives a damn about so far. Tensai gets the opposite of that. They can’t help but yell Albert at him. Eventually Brodus gets in and starts cleaning house. Then the rest of the face team hurls themselves outside the ring at the heels and it’s Brodus versus Tensai alone in the ring. Crowd cares a bit about this. Two former monsters turned jobbers. Something has to give! This quickly leads to the botch of the night so far (somehow not involving Sin Cara) as Brodus tries to pull off a belly to belly suplex but instead just pulls Tensai down onto his face. Tensai then ducks away from a corner splash, hits a running shoulder and back body splash to eliminate Clay by pinfall. I think getting pinned by Tensai is grounds for termination. Gabriel later kicks out of the same move and rolls up Tensai to get him eliminated as well (that’s more like it). Tyson Kidd slingshots into a nice roll up to take out Titus O’Neil, then applies the sharpshooter on Epico for the submission. This is Kidd’s match. He hot tags Mysterio who then takes out Primo and Darren Young is all alone. The remaining four faces all hit Young with a finisher, with Mysterio finishing the match with a headbutt off the top rope for the win. What does it say for Brodus that he was the only face to be eliminated. Time for a makeover I think. Overly average opening match. Could have been a mid card on Raw.
WWE might plan on getting all the crap out of the way early because next is the Divas Championship match. Backstage Kaitlyn was on her way to the ring when she got jumped again by a woman in a blond wig. Only this time Kaitlyn fights back and reveals that it was Aksana. Eve runs in to make sure she’s okay and they get all catty. Then they go to the ring and Eve wins anyway. Can we get on to the major matches now?
Kinda. United States Championship on the line as Antonio Cesario defends against R-Truth. This is kind of an important match for both men as they are being trusted with one of only two one on one men’s match. Cesaro draws good heat and Truth has a little more pop than I’d expect. So far Truth’s offense has mostly been quick roll up attempts while Cesaro has mostly been throwing him around. Truth finally gets going and hits that suplex stunner move that I think should be his finisher, but Cesaro dodges the heel kick, hits the neutralizer and retains the United States Championship. Fair match.
The TLC promo is a David Otunga attorney at law commercial. This is my favorite part of the show so far.
Putting off the major matches even further, AJ is in the ring to try to prove that she isn’t hooking up with John Cena. Did we really need to cool the crowd? We haven’t had a major match yet. I could have skipped the first hour of this show and not missed a thing. AJ calls Vickie a bitch, AJ comes out and yells a lot, the AJ shows photoshop jobs insinuating that Vickie is hooking up with Ricardo, JR and Brodus Clay. Vickie then threatens to slap AJ, who then informs her that the board will have Vickie fired if she lays a hand on her. Tamina Snuka then comes out of nowhere and attacks AJ (heel turn!) as Vickie watches. So I guess that will be a thing for the next month.
Finally we get into the meat of this show. The Big Show defending his World Heavyweight Championship against Sheamus, the man he took it from at He’ll in a Cell. After they stole the show last month, they need something special to top it. Remember the guy who went nuts when Brock Lesnar returned? Well he has a front row seat in the corner. Could there be a Brock siting? It’s doubtful but it would make for a way to have Punk retain. I think that dude is wearing the same shirt by the way. Show punishes Sheamus early but then Sheamus takes out Show’s leg and goes to work. He hits a flying shoulder to the outside of the ring but when he goes for it in the ring Big Show hits him in mid-air with a spear. Awesome. Show slows things down and starts smacking Sheamus around. This is shaping up for a surprise Sheamus win only for Ziggler to cash in on the beat up new champion. This match is a lot like those Punk/Mark Henry matches that never turned into anything. Sheamus keeps trying to mount offense only to be tossed aside. Eventually Show goes to the second rope and Sheamus runs up to deliver an electric chair (which you don’t see enough). That woke the crowd up. Now it’s a slugfest (dare I say slobber knocker?). Sheamus takes control and starts knocking down Show. Big Show then catches the Brogue Kick and tries for a choke slam, but Sheamus counters and hits White Noise for a near fall. Big Show is staggering and Sheamus is calling for the Brogue Kick again, only this time Show throws the ref in the way and Sheamus knocks him out (uh oh). So for the first time I can remember a team of refs come out to tend to their fallen friend, with Sheamus among them. With the match still going on, Big Show hits Sheamus with a knock out punch, and on of the other referees makes the three count and Big Show holds on to the title. They later disqualify Big Show for throwing the referee in the way (which has never been called before) and Show goes nuts on the ref and Sheamus beats the snot out of Show. Show is acting like he just got shot in the leg. Sheamus makes Big Show beg for him to stop and then lands a Brogue Kick on the champion. Good match, paced well, just didn’t have the extra kick they had last time. Sadly this locks in a another rematch at TLC. Ziggler must wait again.
Time for the Team Ziggler versus Team Foley match. I’m happy to say that the crowd got into Sandow when he was announced. The story for both teams is that none of them like or trust each other. Even money says Kane and Daniel Bryan get each other eliminated. Daniel Bryan was beating up on Sandow when he said enough was enough, wish good luck to his team and left the ring. Kane wouldn’t let him get counted out though and threw him back in to get kicked again by Bryan. Kane then tags himself in and chokeslams Sandow and pins him. Bryan then starts arguing with Kane. Kane throws Bryan out of the ring, but Ziggler takes advantage and hits Kane with a Zig Zag, and now he is eliminated (pay up). Ziggler then did a complete flip on a Kofi monkey flip. Dolph is so good. Lawler says he’s never seen that but he must have forgotten when he did it at WrestleMania this year. David Otunga tried to pose while pinning Bryan but the ref had to make him put Daniel’s shoulders down. Bryan then applied the NO Lock to eliminate Otunga (he sucks). After Lawler said Mexico’s greatest import was tacos, Bryan almost botches flipping Del Rio out of the ring. Wade Barrett hits Kofi with a Bull Hammer to pin him even the odds again a three on three. Miz refuses to get tagged in by Orton so Bryan goes in instead. Del Rio then hits the enziguri and makes Bryan tap out to the cross arm breaker. Miz now enters the ring for the first time in the match, then quickly tags in Orton. In the middle of it all Michael Cole can’t stop laughing at Lawler’s crack about Ricardo’s brothers Jose and Jos-B (get it?). Miz gets a hot tag, then redheads out of a Barrett pump handle slam into a skull crushing finale and Wade is out. Del Rio then hits Miz in the back of the head with an enziguri and pins Miz. So now it’s Randy Orton against Del Rio and Ziggler. Only one way this can end. Del Rio goes to the top rope for an axe handle smash but Randy meets him with a dropkick instead. Ricardo distracts Orton so Alberto can hit another enziguri but only gets a two count. Mick Foley then uses Mr Socko on Rodriguez. Back in the ring Orton throws Dolph into the ring post and spins out of the cross arm breaker to land an RKO and eliminate Del Rio. With Ziggler not moving Orton coils for another RKO but Dolph pushes him away. He then hits the Zig Zag but Orton kicks out (of course he does). Orton hits the second rope DDT with his mouth busted open. Instead of hitting the RKO, Orton lines up for a punt, which was outlawed but imagine the reaction if he hit it? He doesn’t. Ziggler jumps up and pulls a super kick out of his ass and pins Orton to win the match! Outstanding! I think the roof would have come off if Dolph won on the last Zig Zag but this worked too. That Orton heel turn is looming as Mick Foley, who Orton told he hated before the match, watched on disapprovingly. Ziggler needs to start putting big wins together and this has him closer to being primed for that title run. I enjoyed this match more than I thought I would.
On to the main event. I’ve been fearing this whole time that it could underwhelm. Somehow they have to keep Ryback indestructible without winning again, which means Punk will likely pin Cena again. Turns out Cena has ditched the green gear for some black and yellow garb. CM Punk comes out after Cena but Ryback comes out last. No respect. At least he’s in the main event. Crowd did not pop at all for Ryback. Certainly did for Punk and Cena. WWE should take note of that. After an exaggerated stare down Punk tries to run out of the ring as both of his opponents chase. Finally they catch him and trade taking shots at the champion. Finally Punk rolls out of the ring and it’s just Cena and Ryback. This is the main curiosity I have in this match. They go back and forth with Ryback taking the edge and throwing Cena out of the ring as Punk jumps in. Punk gets Ryback out of the ring in time for Cena to come in. Standard stuff for a triple threat match. Cena slams down Ryback and taunts for the five knuckle shuffle but Ryback no sells and Cena can’t believe it. Crowd still prefers Ryback to Cena. Ryback hits Punk with the meat hook but Cena slaps the STF on Ryback before he can finish Punk. Punk breaks it up with a flying elbow on both of them. Ryback then throws both men out of the ring (huh?) and tries to hit shell shock on both of them. Punk and Cena then team up to take out Ryback. They double suplex him through the announce table. Spot of the night! With Ryback down it’s Cena versus Punk. Punk reverses the Attitude Adjustment and hits a GTS for a two count. Cena then lands an AA but only gets two himself. Cena then applies the STF on Punk, but Ryback wakes up on pulls Cena out to hit him with a meat hook clothesline. He does the same to Punk and hits shell-shocked but Cena breaks up the pin. Ryback then hits Cena with shell-shocked as well. Then out of nowhere Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns from NXT jump Ryback and throw him through the other announce table (I didn’t know it was that easy). Punk then pins Cena to continue the streak. Cena just walks up the ramp. Good match. Not great, but good.
Probably the best way to handle the finish. It’s just hard to book matches when you know the champion is going to drop the belt at the Royal Rumble. Overall it was a slightly below average PPV. At no point did it ever feel big enough. I was mostly underwhelmed. The Team Ziggler/Team Foley match was the best of the night. Ziggler and Tyson Kidd are the big winners, with Ryback perhaps being the biggest loser (over Clay). The match ended up at its most entertaining when Ryback was out of commission. Can’t have a champion than can’t compel the crowd. I only wonder what this means going forward. Is the Nexus coming back? Is Punk going to play dumb again? Having him face Foleu at TLC in Brooklyn makes a lot of sense. Title isn’t on the line so you can have Punk lose. What about Cena? Does he jump right into facing Ziggler at TLC? I can already picture Ryback going back into local athlete mode by knocking out each NXT member. The road to a minor PPV starts Monday night!