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No Punches Pulled: WWE Survivor Series 2015 Review

November 23, 2015 | Posted by Eric Presti
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No Punches Pulled: WWE Survivor Series 2015 Review  

No Punches Pulled is a hard-hitting, no B.S., call-it-right-down-the-middle, review column dedicated to delivering unbiased thoughts and criticisms from the world of WWE to readers everywhere. Just because professional wrestlers pull their punches, doesn’t mean we have to pull ours.

WWE Survivor Series takes place from the Philips Arena in Atlanta, GA, in front of a crowd of 14,481

Pre-Show: Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: The Miz, Bo Dallas, Stardust, Konnor and Viktor vs. Neville, Bubba Ray, D-von, Titus O’Neil and Goldust

Order of eliminations:
Viktor eliminated by Goldust via pinfall following a snap powerslam.
Konnor eliminated by Bubba Ray via pinfall following a sambo suplex.
Neville eliminated by Miz via pinfall following the Skull Crushing Finale
Miz eliminated by Goldust via a roll up.
Bo Dallas eliminated by Titus via pinfall following Clash of the Titus
Stardust eliminated by D-von via pinfall following a 3-D

Sole Survivors: Titus O’Neill, Goldust, and the Dudley Boyz

PJ: This is about what you’d expect from a pre-show schmozz. The things that stood out were neither of the teams being announced, the teams making zero sense, and D-Von landing the final pin despite not being tagged in. But let’s not let continuity get in the way of a good time, this is WWE after all. The decision to eliminate Neville so early, or at all was a bit curious. It took away the de facto captain for the babyface side, and left them without their best worker. I’m not a fan of the random eliminations that occurs in really old school style Survivor Series matches like the Ascension getting pinned with arbitrary, random moves. Devalues the product. That being said this was mostly a positive viewing experience. The babyface team was pretty damn over all things considering. The heel team showed how thin the WWE’s bench really is, with Bo Dallas earning a spot despite having essentially zero presence on TV for the past 6 months. Goldust did an admirable job bumping and selling in Neville’s absence and Stardust was pretty on point with his heel antics. Decent way to kick things off, nothing that will wow you in subsequent viewings.

Eric: Really not much to say about this one. It was a random attempt to put a pre show match on the card because, well why not? The clear purpose of this match was to put over the Goldust return, and I assume that is why Neville was eliminated so early as to not outshine Goldust on his return and focus on a potential angle between him and Stardust, rather than potentially have the fans watch for Neville. I’m assuming this will eventually end in Stardust making a return to Cody Rhodes, as a while back he sent out a Tweet saying if we wanted him to go back to Cody, “you know who” has to beat him.

Most Entertaining: The return of Goldust. With news of Cesaro being hurt now, the WWE’s injured reserve is filling up rapidly. To get another guy back who is over with the fans, and can still go, is invaluable at this point in time. For his age he is absolutely remarkable. He is wrestling more fluid sequences than he did nearly 20 years ago. There’s been twitter war being waged between him and Kevin Owens. If that appears to go anywhere, then sign us up.

Something we would Change: Neville’s early exit. It sort of killed the momentum of the match because it forced Goldust into a bumping role, which isn’t exactly the best way to make your return but he did a nice job. It just looks weird when the only person to be eliminated from the winning side, is the most popular and competent worker in the whole match. Not to mention, while he did look good prior to being pinned, he didn’t stand out, or hit a red arrow or anything. Missed opportunity.

Rating: 2 Stars

Roman Reigns vs Alberto Del Rio (WWE World Heavyweight Championship Semi-Final)

Background: Due to Seth Rollins’ injury, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was vacated and a tournament held to crown a new champion. Roman Reigns is coming into this match having defeated Big Show via pinfall and Cesaro via pinfall. Alberto Del Rio is entering having defeated Stardust via pinfall and Kalisto via pinfall.

Pacing: This match started off rather slow with the two feeling each other out, but quickly escalated with Del Rio throwing some stiff leg kicks. It’s not long before the match moves outside and some strong barricade shots leave Reigns selling the shoulder. Unfortunately for this match, the fans wee not feeling Reigns at all and made sure he knew it with boos and “Roman Sucks” chants. They didn’t exactly give any love to Del Rio either as he was met with a pretty neutral reaction. The match stayed fairly fast paced and the brutal offense continued throughout with a very good ending sequence to tie the match together nicely.

Finish: Del Rio attempts a flying axe-handle off the top rope. Reigns ducks and hit Del Rio with the Spear as he turns around. Winner: Roman Reigns

PJ: This match was pretty good for me. Standard Del Rio fare, as he seems to be the master at putting on good but not great matches. I detest his partnership with a scooter bound Zeb Colter thus far. Del Rio hit some pretty stiff offense all throughout, and they tried to hide Reigns shortcomings, doing so pretty well. What this match lacked for me is a solid crowd dynamic. The reaction for Reigns, was mixed at best, and they weren’t exactly in love with Del Rio. It was almost as if the fans didn’t want either man to advance really. Roman’s detractors were vocal when he was on offense, but the second Del Rio took over, the crowd sort of just went dead. The deadlift powerbomb spot never ceases to impress me. Reigns did appear to be gassed at times, but they didn’t go to the obvious rest hold, or table spot to allow him to regain his composure. Instead they opted for several shorter breaks, and it made the match a lot more watchable, and I feel as though the match winded down into a logical conclusion. I saw a few people predicting Del Rio to win this…come on…Reigns winning clean is the obvious choice no matter how you feel about him.

Eric: This match played out exactly as I expected it would. The offense was brutal and the pace was quick. There was really no surprise as to who the winner would be as the day I saw the bracket, it was clear to me that Reigns would be in the finals. The worst part about this match, for me anyway, was the crowd. They were not into either of the two wrestlers and honestly, the constant flip flop between the fans wanting Reigns to win the title and not is just annoying. Last week on Raw he got the biggest pops in the house, where tonight he’s practically booed out of the arena. Make up your mind people. Overall, a pretty good match with a sensible conclusion.

Most Entertaining: The offense was hard-hitting on both sides with brutal clotheslines and most notably, Del Rio’s superkick to counter Reigns’ spear nearly sent his head into the nosebleeds of the Philips Arena.

Something we would Change: Either get Zeb off that scooter or get rid of him period. On the scooter, he adds literally nothing as a manager. Most managers are at the apron, slamming the apron, distracting the refs for their heel clients (as Del Rio is), and just overall making their presence known. In this case, you forget Zeb is even out there until a random cameral shot catches him twirling his mustache.

Rating: 3 Stars

Dean Ambrose vs Kevin Owens (WWE World Heavyweight Championship Semi-Final)

Background: Due to Seth Rollins’ injury, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was vacated and a tournament held to crown a new champion. Dean Ambrose is entering this match having defeated Tyler Breeze via pinfall and Dolph Ziggler via pinfall. Kevin Owens is entering this match having defeated Titus O’Neil via pinfall and Neville via pinfall.

Pacing: These two started off wrestling technically, with a lot of reversals, pins and amateur style wrestling. Before long though, they settled into the brawling nature you would’ve expected going in. Owens on offense was methodical, and his taunting made for a great little touch. It made him look like he was dominating the portions of the match he was on the offensive. Ambrose’s comebacks were frenzied and wild. The dichotomy between Owens slow and methodical offense, and Ambrose’s wild and frenetic offense, was great for us. The crowd seemed to agree because they were very into this. Ambrose was very over, but Kevin Owens had his fair share of support here too. Eventually the pace kicked back up following an absolutely sick clothesline by Ambrose, into a table bump by Owens. The ending was very back and forth, both men going for their signature, and finishing moves. Superbly booked all around.

Finish: After reversing a Pop-up Powerbomb into a hurricanrana, Ambrose nails Owens with Dirty Deeds for the victory! Ambrose wins!

PJ: I liked this match. Both guys got a shine and it had the benefit of being much less one sided than the semi final match. Owens, despite losing, really looked good here. He got a lot of his stuff in here on Ambrose, and his methodical nature makes him really look like he’s dominating his opponent. He sells great too so he made Ambrose look like a million bucks on his comebacks. My only gripe, if you can even call it one, is that these two didn’t have a feud going on to really set this off. I understand Seth Rollins’ injury really sent management into scramble mode, so I’m not going to be too tough on them, but it’s a damn shame to waste potential match-ups and feuds on one-off matches like this. I liked that both mid card champions were in the semi-finals, and I think Owens will have done a lot for that belt when it’s all said and done. This was probably match of the night for me. As decent as this was, that kind of gives you an idea of how the rest of the night is going to go.

Eric: The crowd was very into this match for both sides. The chants were mostly for Ambrose, but at times seemed very divided during the “Lets go Ambrose, Fight Owens Fight” chants. As mentioned previously by my brother, Owens’s heelwork is just astounding. He’s very vocal in the ring and it all makes sense psychologically. You can see the difference if you fast forward a bit and check out Paige’s similar in-ring heel style, only its actually quite terrible compared to Owens. Owens brings you back to an old-school heel with everything he does (who else do you know can get a chinlock over?), while Paige almost makes you want to turn the channel and refund your $9.99. Overall, very good match with Owens bringing back some big moves we haven’t seen since his Cena feud as well as Ambrose laying down a hard fought beating as he does week-in and week-out.

Most Entertaining: Kevin Owens’ heel antics in between moves. He was taunting the ref, the commentators, the crowd, and Ambrose. No one was safe from his verbal barbs. He had some real gems in here too: “Chinlock City, baby”, in particular needs to hit shelves as a t-shirt. Kevin Owens could actually get a chinlock over, is the hilarious part. He definitely has his finger on the pulse as to how to draw ire from the fans, and this was one of his first matches that showed hints of psychology, and logical storytelling. It was a nice departure, from the Cena matches where he just seemed to string together high spots. It’ll be interesting to see what Owens continues to do, with Rollins gone.

Something we would Change: This may seem minor, but we think it might have been the difference between this match being good, and great. During the backstage interview, Kevin Owens doesn’t appear on screen with Ambrose, instead opting for when Ambrose leaves, to mix it up verbally with Roman. It’s silly to waste pay per view time on two guys who aren’t even going to wrestle on the show. They would have been better served to let Ambrose and Owens trade shots at each other, layering a personal element, on top of each man’s desire to be the champ. Something as simple as that would have popped all the brawling spots.

Rating: 3.25 stars

Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: The Lucha Dragons, The Usos, and Ryback vs The New Day, Sheamus, and King Barrett

Order of Eliminations:
King Barrett eliminated by Sin Cara via pinfall following Swanton Bomb
Jimmy Uso eliminated by Woods via pinfall following double team back breaker leg drop
Sin Cara eliminated by Sheamus via pinfall following Brough Kick
Big E eliminated by Jey Uso by pinfall via splash
Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods eliminated by DQ
Sheamus eliminate by Ryback via pinfall following Shellshocked

Sole Survivors: Ryback, Kalisto, and Jey Uso

PJ: Have seen some call this match of the night on various forums and reviews. Why? Once you get past the New Day’s antics, this match was barely better than the pre-show match. And when you consider the ridiculous nature of how Sheamus will be booked later tonight, it TAKES AWAY from this match. It was a spot fest, which frankly, this pay per view did seem to need. The main point of contention seems to be the New Day’s heel exit, taking themselves out of the match. Here’s the thing guys, I loved it. I am a part of the camp of people who enjoy this chickenshit heel stuff. It makes total sense from a kayfabe perspective that heels who have nothing on the line but “pride” to tuck tail and run. It was nice that the faces got a win without having to sacrifice 2 more New Day pinfalls. All that being said though, there is no way you can say that it didn’t take away from the action. Similarly to the pre show match with Neville, it took two good workers out of the match and laid the egg for the ridiculous booking of Sheamus that followed. I’m all for anything to keep the New Day over though, and I was impressed by some of the Lucha Booties double-teaming and Xavier’s antics with his hair go without saying. He borrows so heavily from 80’s WWE it’s awesome.

Eric: I’m never the biggest fan of these modern traditional Survivor Series matches. Most of the time they consist of teams that don’t make sense and they just put one on the card because there’s been one on the card every year since the first Survivor Series. This one was really no exception. The only redeeming parts of the match was the New Day’s opening promo, Xavier Woods’ hair, and King Barrett dancing on the pole while Woods’ played the trombone. My biggest issue with the match, by far, was the way it ended. I’m just essentially repeating what PJ said, but this is a dead horse that still needs a whoopin’. Why on Earth is Sheamus losing to an Uso, a Lucha Dragon, and Rybotch, when he is scheduled to walk out as the WWE Champion later in the night? The least they could do is have him beat two of those guys and get blindsided by the third and take the loss. Give him some sort of build for the end of the show. My beef extend further than that though. Why is our Mr. MITB on the pre-show for HIAC, in the booty Survivor Series match here, and in an official tag team with King Barrett if he’s going to win the title? Jesus take the wheel.

Most Entertaining: The New Day. These guys are comedic gold. From Big E’s tweet before the show about how tight his gear is, to Xavier Woods’ hair, to them just leaving in the middle of the match to “get Big E medical attention” was hilarious.

Something we would Change: Absolutely, 100%, Sheamus’ booking. For a guy who is going to walk out of the PPV as the WWE Champion, you think when being the lone Survivor and facing Kalisto, an Uso, and Ryback, that he could at least beat two of them to make him look somewhat relevant before the main event. Instead he gets squashed by the three of them and takes a humiliating loss.

Rating: 1.5 Stars

Charlotte (c) vs Paige for the WWE Diva’s Championship

Background: After Charlotte picked up her victory over Nikki Bella, and won the butterfly strap, she came out with her PCB team members to celebrate. However, Paige grabbed the mic, dropped a lady pipe bomb, and showed her true colors. She said that it’s patronizing to celebrate the occasion, noting that she is already a two times diva’s champion. The only reason Charlotte is here, according to Paige, is because of her Dad. Things went relatively quiet for the next few weeks, as they tried to mend the fractured PCB before Paige turned once and for all with a beat down, becoming number one contender shortly thereafter. This past Monday during the contract signing, as Paige continued to rail on Charlotte, things got real personal when Paige dragged Charlotte’s deceased brother Reid into it by saying “He didn’t have a lot of fight in him.” That set the table for a nice pull-apart brawl as we went home into the pay-per-view.

Pacing: Going into this, we expected it to be a continuation of the brawl they had on Raw, an absolute melee, and maybe even no finish. Instead the match started well enough, before sequencing into takedowns, and submissions. A curious lack of emotion in a lot of these sequences as well. The crowd was absolutely dead, which for us at No Punches Pulled, always takes away from the match. Paige seems to be fickle, because at first she tries to garner heat from the crowd, but after being met with apathy, she seems to give up. Slow and prodding, in a way that doesn’t really make sense given how the story has been built up. Charlotte is by far at her best in this match when she’s hitting high impact moves, highlighted by a vicious big boot, a subpar spear on the guardrail, and a glorified electric chair drop into the apron. We meander into an awkward sequence of event before Charlotte finally sinks her finishing move in.

Finish: Paige taps out to the figure 8, as Charlotte retains the championship!

PJ: I wanted to like this match so bad. I liked parts of it. When Charlotte was brawling, it was good. The exposed knee drops, were a lesson in brutality while simultaneously paying homage to her pops. I like that. Unfortunately, these two missed the boat as soon as the bell rang. The whole point of bringing Reid Flair’s death into this, was to pop the storyline and make it personal. Eric and I’s biggest beef with the PG era is the lack of personal driven storylines, so needless to say we were salivating at this. A lot of people thought this was insensitive, which caused WWE to recoil and not mention the insult on this broadcast. I’m not sure if this style of match was an attempt to move away from how personal it got, or what, but it was by and large, bad. If someone had just insulted my dead brother merely 6 days ago and I was slated to square off with them, I wouldn’t be trying to win the match; I would be trying to inflict pain. So a lot of these submission sequences, and Charlotte’s insistence on getting Paige back in the ring, are wrong to me. A huge benefit to making things as personal as these ladies did, is you don’t have to do as much during the match to pop a reaction. Unfortunately, this match harkened back to the day’s before the Diva’s Revolution and got nearly none. It was almost awkward to watch. On paper this should have been good. In execution, it wasn’t

Eric: So when did the Diva’s Revolution happen again? This felt like it could have taken place a year ago with how terrible it was. From the spotty offense and the terrible psychology to how annoying Paige’s heelwork is in the ring, I would almost prefer to have Nikki Bella back in there. Also, by terrible psychology, I mean none. The one thing that made this feud personal was omitted from the video package, which is completely ridiculous seeing as WWE didn’t even apologize, they justified it by saying Charlotte pushed for the line to be used. Where is the brawl? Where is the no-finish to drag the feud out? Where is the emotion we saw a week earlier at the contract signing? Paige insulted her dead brother and Charlotte is walking to the ring doing her normal entrance. Sprint down there, take her down, and go to war. Pathetic.

Most Entertaining: Truth be told, nothing in this match stood out as deserving this title. That’s not to say it was all bad, it’s just that there was nothing that stood out overwhelmingly that we were entertained by. It was what it was.

Something we would Change: The entire tone of the match. They should have been at each other’s throats BEFORE the bell. Charlotte shouldn’t have been trying to keep Paige in the ring. It should have been a war, and it didn’t need a clean finish. Hell, the feud would get more mileage if we DIDN’T get a clean finish here. Charlotte should have brought in a chair, or at the very least refused to break the figure 4 on the apron to get a DQ. I guess you could argue that it would give Paige sympathy, but after the vile stuff she said, if you keep her boiling heat, then no one is going to feel bad for her. At the end of the match Charlotte could have even refused to break her hold, causing the ref’s to reverse the decision and give Paige the victory not the belt. There is a million ways they could’ve made this more interesting and given Charlotte some edge. Instead WWE backs away from one of the better storyline points they’ve done in recent months. Some of you out there clamor for a return to attitude era style programming, then the second something like this happens, you cry out. You can’t have it both ways.

Rating: 1.5 Stars

Dolph Ziggler vs Tyler Breeze

Background: Tyler Breeze made his official Main Roster debut on the October 22 edition of Smackdown. Summer Rae and Dolph Ziggler were featured on Miz TV to discuss their issues with one another. Summer Rae says she moved on to a new man and out came Breeze to cut a promo and attack Ziggler. Tyler Breeze also appeared on the following three television episodes, to get involved in Ziggler’s matches. They brawled on October 29 edition of Smackdown until the refs pulled them apart. On the November 2 edition of Raw, Tyler Breeze took it a step further by costing Ziggler his match. After a few weeks of no interaction between the two and their respective WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament matches, Tyler Breeze cuts a promo on Dolph Ziggler on the November 19 Smackdown, to which Ziggler responds by attacking him after his match and landing a Superkick to set the match for Survivor Series.

Pacing: A slow start to this one as Breeze takes his time and scurries away from when he tries to attack. Ziggler mocks Breeze’s rope sitting to some cheers. The pace picks up with some good heelwork from Breeze using Summer as a shield, and some good offense including Ziggler blasting Breeze with a dropkick in mid air. Not too long after, the ending sequence is hit leaving the match feeling like it just started without really getting the chance to kick it into second gear.

Finish: Ziggler called for the Superkick like Shawn Michaels, but Breeze revered into the Unprettier for the pinfall. Tyler Breeze wins.

PJ: At just under 7 minutes, this never had the chance to be much more than a good T.V. match, and that’s sort of how I see it. Ziggler bumped huge (per usual) for Breeze making him look good, and both guys were crisp and full of energy. At times Ziggler was overselling in my opinion. He has a tendency to do that. As a side note, the Motley Crue attire on Ziggler is horrible. It’s irrelevant in pop culture, and it makes him look like an idiot. The only plus to it, is that if Ziggler were in standard attire it would almost look like he was fighting himself because Breeze is so similar to early Ziggler. This made this something of a dream match for Eric and I, unfortunately it was over before it started. The feud is seemingly over with Ziggler counting lights for Tyler. He’s fallen a long way since being the sole survivor last year at this event. Not much further to fall.

Eric: Coming into Survivor Series, I was really excited for this match. I’ve been a big Tyler Breeze fan for a while now and have always wanted to see him and Ziggler go at it, as they are very similar wrestlers with very similar strengths. In my opinion, the match wasn’t too bad quality wise. Some good heel psychology from Breeze and some good offense, it was just the length that left me scratching my head. I really believe that if given the time, these two could bring down the house. I’m hoping that this feud isn’t over as TLC could surely use something to take away from the fact that Sheamus will be in the main event.

Most Entertaining: For us, it is definitely seeing a fresh 1-on-1 match. This is a match we have wanted to see for a while since these guys are so similar.

Something we would Change: 6:40 on the match length. Why? Give these guys the time to get it going. This wasn’t nearly enough time to let them get out of first gear.

Rating: 2 Stars

The Brothers of Destruction vs Luke Harper and Bray Wyatt

Background: You could say this all started at Wrestlemania, when Bray Wyatt lost to the Undertaker at the grandest stage of them all, but this particular installment of their feud started at the climax of Hell in a Cell. As Undertaker was soaking up adulation from the live crowd after a hard fought battle with Brock Lesnar, The Wyatt family made their presence felt and took him out, before carrying his body out of the arena. The same fate would meet his brother Kane the next night on Raw. The Wyatts then cut several promos taunting the brothers. Bray said he absorbed the souls and the powers of the two brothers. It wasn’t long before the brothers struck back proving to be alive and well. Undertaker accepted Bray Wyatts challenge of any 2 Wyatt members versus The Phenom and The Big Red Machine.

Pacing: Two things helped the pacing of this match immensely. First was how insanely over the Undertaker was. Everything he did popped the crowd. He is a true ring general. As he botched snake eyes, he immediately turned it into a DDT, and without thinking went into his leg drop spot. It rendered the botch meaningless with how well he hid, and he was so over, I’m not sure it would have mattered how many times he botched. The second thing that helped this match was Harper’s inclusion. It gave the Wyatts a workhorse to shoulder the load, bump around, and prove he is by far the most mobile Wyatt member. Braun Strowman’s green nature surely wasn’t missed. Really, the match was pretty formulaic, a standard tag team match. It almost came off as a present to Undertaker for 25 amazing years with the company, and we here at NPP are cool with that. Hats off to the man from the dark side.

Finish: Luke Harper is pinned by The Undertaker following a Tombstone Piledriver. The Brothers of Destruction win!

PJ: A lot of people were clamoring for this to be a 4-on-4 match with The Undertaker and Kane taking on two partners, and in retrospect, I think I would have liked to see that. I understand, you would have had to sacrifice a couple of Wyatt members taking pinfalls that you don’t want to (Strowman and Wyatt) But there are ways around that. Truth be told, Strowman doesn’t need to be protected because he is never going to be good enough in the ring for it to matter, and as for Wyatt, they could’ve worked a count out, or a DQ, or he could’ve finally lost after pinning multiple members of Takers team. However, to comment on the match as it were, it was good but not great. The crowd being on fire was fun, and I feel true honor to see The Undertaker don the tights these days. I have grown up watching him and the historian in me knows he’s nearing his end. When you have a run like he has had (virtually unprecedented) you gain the benefit of your last few matches being special for reasons beyond work rate. So in a sense it’s tough to rate. It wasn’t a classic by any means, but it was far from bad.

Eric: Knowing how close the Deadman is to retirement makes every match of his must-see. This one had a bit more to it though. This is most certainly the last time we will see the Brothers of Destruction team up and on top of that, the interesting challenge from the Wyatt’s added some intrigue as well. Going into this match, I figured the two Wyatts would be Strowman and Bray, so when it turned out to be Harper instead, I was a bit shocked. Looking back on it, having Harper in it definitely helped the quality of the match, although took away from the story. As stated previously, Strowman would have been the logical choice as he has been booked as unstoppable, but having him in the match would have killed the quality to play to the story. A double-edged sword. Ultimately, choosing Harper made the ending predicable, but was the best choice; as Undertaker deserved a good match on his 25th Anniversary with a nice clean win.

Most Entertaining: It’s going to sound crazy being that we have seen it a million times, and the length of it has gotten on all of our nerves over the years. But the Undertaker’s entrance was awesome. Kane setting the Taker symbols ablaze, followed by the giant casket display having an Undertaker slideshow, showing all his various personas and looks over the years while being showered with adulation was a very cool moment. You’re not going to see it too many more times I don’t think, so we have to cherish it while we have it. In retrospect, it might prove to be the ONLY thing worth revisiting on this show.

Something we would Change: We would have made it a 4 -n-4 match with Taker and Kane taking a couple of partners of your choosing. Could have been as wild as Finn Balor and Sting or Bryan if they’re up to it, or something as simple as the Dudleyz to make it era specific. They booked themselves into a corner in a sense. Braun Strowman not being in the match makes perfect sense from a workrate perspective, but from a kayfabe point of view is ridiculous. Why would Bray Wyatt not deploy his biggest weapon? Also Erick Rowan rejoining the family only to take a chokeslam and tucking tail is laughable. Instead of trying to book around those two Wyatt members, it would have been better to include them and make the whole match bigger.

Rating: 2.75 stars

Roman Reigns vs Dean Ambrose for the Vacant WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Background: Due to Seth Rollins’ injury, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was vacated and a tournament held to crown a new champion. Roman Reigns is coming into this match having defeated Big Show via pinfall, Cesaro via pinfall, and Alberto Del Rio via pinfall. Dean Ambrose is entering this match having defeated Tyler Breeze via pinfall, Dolph Ziggler via pinfall, and Kevin Owens via pinfall.

Pacing: The opening bell is met with brawling between the two brothers as both Ambrose and Reigns charge at each other without even a handshake, really showing they may have actually set aside their friendship for this battle. The crowd is really feeling this one as its obvious they are pulling for the Lunatic Fringe. The two’s hard-hitting offense seems to have picked up right where it left off from their previous matches in the night with brutal strikes from both sides. The false finishes got the fans popping big time, but the finish felt abrupt and rushed.

Finish: Roman Reigns hits Ambrose with the spear to win the title. Sheamus cashes in MITB and Brough Kicked his way to the WWE Title. Winner and new WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Sheamus.

PJ: This was the terrible for me. To waste an Ambrose Reigns encounter on a sub 9-minute farcical tournament final, only for Sheamus, who was just busy counting lights for an Uso, Kalisto, and Ryback mere hours ago, to walk away with the greatest prize in our industry is ridiculous. I appreciate both wrestlers selling the beatings from the previous match, and Ambrose coming back with the ripped T shirt still on is hilarious, but both their matches were long enough ago where they could have gone a few more minutes. They didn’t create enough divide between the two blood brothers either. 9 minutes is not nearly enough time to adequately tell the story of two friends putting aside their love for one another to take down the brass ring. Sheamus winning is a joke to me. It’s the only true result fans will loathe more than the clean Reigns win. I get trying to make Reigns the underdog, the guy who can’t catch a break. Here’s the thing though; feuding with Sheamus is just going to greet him with more apathy. It’s just a flaw that proves, you should always have the briefcase on someone who is over NOW. If you need to reshuffle the deck due to an injury, it’s best that the title falls onto someone who wasn’t mixing it up on the damn pre-show last month.

Eric: Another match I was excited about coming into Survivor Series. Looking at the Bracket, I could tell, as I’m sure most of you could, that Reigns and Ambrose would meet in the finals. Unfortunately, this did not go the way I felt it should have gone. The match started off very good with brawling and tough offense. They got a little feisty with each other, which was cool, especially the part where they were sitting down shoving one another. The big issue for me was the same as the Breeze match. It was just too short. 9:02 is not a sufficient amount of time to really allow these two to fight it out like two brothers setting aside friendship for the title should. This was essentially a dream match for many people and they just completely threw it away to make time for Sheamus. Really disappointing.

Most Entertaining: It was cool that Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns got to have a babyface match for the title and them not turn Ambrose heel. This made the dynamic of their match different that both Reigns’ and Ambrose’s matches with Rollins.

Something we would Change: Everything from the ending sequence to the end of the PPV. It was very clear from the beginning of the tournament that it would be Ambrose vs Reigns in the final match and it should have been left as such; two brothers setting aside their friendship to go to war over the title. Make the match a little longer, more of a real fight, and give Reigns the clean victory and the night to celebrate.

Rating: 2 Stars

Thanks for reading everyone. We read your criticism on length and readability. Although this is still pretty lengthy, we are hoping the format change helped out. Comments and feedback are more than welcomed and we want to know YOUR thoughts on the show! Let’s have a dialogue here. Where are things going for November? What would YOU have done differently if you were booking? See you back here at 411Mania for TLC!!!

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
This was the worst pay-per-view of the year for WWE. Now that seems bold, but it’s a testament to WWE who have been putting on good shows all year. This show was pretty bad. Not historically bad by any means, but with only 2 matches hitting the 3 star mark, this was weak. We had two survivor series traditional matches that added virtually nothing to the card, while both had curious booking decisions, we had a diva’s match that was booked incorrectly from the start, and we had several matches that looked good on paper but were cut short in terms of time and never given the time to mean anything. This PPV definitely felt the loss of Orton, Cena, and Rollins as matches including those guys would have greatly increased the quality of this show. If the Undertaker does indeed call it quits at Wrestlemania, you may find yourself revisiting this for subsequent viewings to see one of his last matches. Other than that, this one is best left in your WWE Network queue to collect proverbial dust.