Survivor Series is over, and realistically, the road to Wrestlemania begins right now. Survivor Series was not necessarily a disappointment, but it definitely was not the WWE's best effort from the company.
Since the show took place in my hometown of Boston, I was fortunate enough to go to the event live. I will do my usual breakdown, but I will also add in some possibly interesting side notes. Also keep in mind that I probably had a lot more fun at Survivor Series then anybody that watched the show from home, so that is why I might have a sunnier disposition on the show then the average fan would.
The TD Garden looked to be a legit sell-out, with no notable areas tarped off like I have seen in the past at Raw and Smackdown shows. I felt like the crowd was pretty loud, although I have no idea how well it came across on television, but I think Boston did a pretty good job with the PPV.
At the start of the show, HHH and Stephanie McMahon came out and cut a promo, saying that none of the matches would have interferences in them and Triple H did his whole "Are you ready?" bit. This was very strange to me, because these are supposed to be the biggest heels in the company, yet they come out and try and pump up the crowd with a hugely face promo. A very compromising move for the WWE, when you consider that most of their actions over the last few months have been dedicated to getting heat on Stephanie and Triple H.
The Shield and The Real Americans vs The Rhodes Family, The Usos and Rey Mysterio: *** 3/4 (3.75 stars)
The best match of the night, the WWE did a great job executing a match that sets something up down the road, and got the crowd invested in the show. This might be remembered as the breakout night for Roman Reigns. I had heard the rumors about Reigns becoming a future main-event player in the WWE, and while I was a fan of his work so far, I was far from blown away by his performances. Tonight he took a very good step in the right direction, as he really became THE man in a match, outshining all the other competitors. The crowd was very excited to see him excel, and maybe he can make the jump to the main event sooner than expected.
All the members of The Shield were over, as was Antonio Cesaro. Cody Rhodes got a noticeably dull reaction, but Goldust was beloved by the fans in Boston. Rey Mysterio was over, but he looked very stiff and not at all like his usual self in the ring. In a moment where everything was breaking down and guys were flying everywhere, Rey remained noticeably still, sitting on the apron, waiting for things to settle back down. The Rey Mysterio of old would have soared off the turnbuckle into a sea of people, however that Rey Mysterio may be long gone.
Curtis Axel vs Big E Langston: * (1 star)
This match was basically the mid-card equivalent of the John Cena/Alberto Del Rio match. A former champion who was on the decline, against another guy starting to climb the ladder, or in Cena's case, returning from injury. There was very little chance of Axel getting his title back, so it was a matter of not if, but when, Big E Langston would retain. The crowd knew this, and they were mostly quiet for the match, which was a disappointment because of how lively the crowd was during the first match.
Total Divas vs Not-Total Divas: N/A
The Total Divas beat the other Diva's when Natayla put AJ into the sharpshooter and forced her to submit. Natayla got a pretty nice pop for the sharpshooter and the victory, and it will be nice to see AJ work with someone that can really hold her own in the ring.
More important than the match was what happened to me during that time period. Like everyone else in the world, I went to go get food during the match. When I went out to the concourse, I saw that Bob Backlund was doing pictures and autographs. For $20, you could get your picture taken with Backlund and get it autographed. In addition, Backlund would lock you into his patented Cross-Face-Chickenwing submission, while also yelling CRAZY Bob Backlund stuff into your ear. Now, this is the kind of quality entertainment that only the WWE and Bob Backlund can supply, so to me, this was a better deal than the Dutch got for Manhattan. I got the picture taken and signed, and Backlund locked me into the submission and yelled something crazy about me crying for my mother's uncle and never Testing the seas again. That kind of experience is why I keep going to WWE shows, even if the show sucks sometimes.
Ryback vs Mark Henry: * (1 star)
It was nice to see Henry return, and as a face, I think he has great potential. For some reason, over the last few years, Henry has been able to connect really well with the fans. Some good booking with Henry could give him another world title run, and I think the WWE would be better off if they did. The match left a lot to be desired. It takes a special performer to get a good match out of a big guy like Henry, and Ryback is just not that type of guy. After the initial pop for Henry, the crowd was fairly quiet for the match, except for the occasional "Goldberg" chants.
John Cena vs Alberto Del Rio: * 13/4 (1.75 stars)
Another match with a very predictable finish. There was not a snowballs chance in hell that ADR was going to walk away from this match the champion, and Cena ensured that ADR would be dispatched with ease. Cena came out to a classic Cena reaction, with most of the women and children cheering for Cena, while most of the men heartily booed him. Del Rio got mostly nothing from the crowd.
The match was pretty much a bust. Both Cena and ADR can have good matches when they click with their opponent, but they appear to not really have that with each other. ADR worked the arm, Cena fought through it, and finished Del Rio with his strength and perseverance. It is textbook Cena booking, and after so many of those, it has become mind-numbingly repetitive.
CM Punk and Daniel Bryan vs The Wyatt Family: *** (3 stars)
Punk and The Wyatts were very over with the crowd, but Daniel Bryan was just on a completely other level. I have seen Raw when The Rock was in town, and I do not believe that he was as over as Bryan was tonight in Boston. Comparing his pop to the pop The Big Show received tonight, it is hard to see that size really matters when it comes to getting over.
The match itself was a decent effort. Punk and Bryan were so beautifully in tune with the crowd that it would have made any match enjoyable to watch. Rowan did a lot of the work in the ring for the The Wyatts, and although he does not have as much experience as Harper, I thought he did a decent enough job. I would have really liked to have seen Harper and Rowan get a big victory over Punk and Bryan. They will most likely continue the feud at TLC, given the extra-curricular events with Bryan and Bray Wyatt, and I think it would have been better suited if Bray had cost Punk and Bryan the match.
Randy Orton vs The Big Show: DUD
I gave this match a DUD rating, the equivalent of getting zero stars, because the WWE put an incredible minimal amount of effort into the match. For the main event to what is supposed to be one of the biggest PPVs of the year, the WWE trotted out an uncreative match that not a lot of people wanted to see in the first place.
The Big Show came out to a very mediocre reaction for someone who is the face challenging for the WWE Championship. The poor performance continued when the crowd started chanting for Daniel Bryan during the match. Randy Orton did not help matters by botching his exit from the ring (crotching himself on the bottom rope in the process) and missing horribly on a top rope DDT, although I don't know how much of that was on Orton. The mistakes only encouraged the crowd to be more vocal in their frustrations. For the main event of a big PPV, you should never have the crowd cheering for men on the Superstar panel, and you should never, EVER have fans chanting "Boring" during the main event.
I found the finish to the match to be very predictable and uncreative as well. The Authority came out, distracted Show, and cost him the match. That is the typical ending to a match on Raw. For the main event of a PPV, I expect the team to be a little bit more creative than that. The punt from Orton was okay, but everything else was just garbage.
The last bit of fun came at the end, where Cena came out and faced off against Orton, teasing a unification match between the two. I have to think that a unification match would happen at Wrestlemania, and the face-off was probably just a little thing to whet the appetites of fans. Anyways, it was at least a little bit entertaining to on an otherwise bland PPV.
PPV for the WWE has not been a great endeavor for the WWE, and they have failed to put on a really good event since Summerslam. The Authority storyline has not really delivered any quality shows, so it will be interesting to see how much longer the WWE sticks with it.