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Survivor Series over the last few years has been very up and down. The show in 2013 was very bad and the show in 2014 was pretty good. I thought on paper this show had a lot of potential. Overall I don't think it was very good, and I have a feeling that we may look back on this show as a point of disaster for the company. That being said, it wasn't nearly as boring as the 2013 show and at least something of note happened.
Dean Ambrose vs Roman Reigns-**3/4
I wasn't very impressed with this match. The finishing moves, particularly the first spear and then the double-arm DDT came extremely quickly and without a lot of build-up. The finish, with Reigns unceremoniously spearing Ambrose and getting the three count also came out of nowhere. I did like the intensity both performers displayed in the match, and they sold the idea they were friends very well.
Ultimately, the quality of the match doesn't matter because nobody will really remember it. That is because Sheamus cashed in his MITB contract and defeated Reigns to steal the championship that he just won. We will get to Sheamus in a minute, but overall I thought the execution of the angle was decent. Obviously Sheamus and The Authority are in cahoots now and it gives Reigns something to strive for.
I tweeted earlier that it seems like WWE never planned out what they were going to do with Sheamus once he won the MITB contract. Since he won it, he has been drifting aimlessly. Even on this very show he was on an unannounced undercard match, where he was beaten up for five minutes and then promptly disposed of by Ryback. Now he is champion? The fans haven shown any interest in Sheamus, and outside of the "You look stupid" chants he hasn't gotten any heat as a heel. Like Roman Reigns or not, he was getting a reaction from the audience, Sheamus has gotten nothing.
Of course, The Authority had to be involved in the angle. The Authority haven't been interesting in a while and since they stopped feuding with John Cena they haven't even really been heels, mostly coming out for PR purposes and cutting borderline babyface promos. Now I guess they are reassuming the role of resident heels, backing the heel champion. This is the third heel champion The Authority has been behind, it's a total repeat of a storyline after The Authority already backed Randy Orton and Seth Rollins. Is WWE so out of ideas that they are going to repeat the same storyline for the third time in two years? And say whatever you want about Orton or Rollins as top guys, at least they were relevant in the main event scene before they were the champion. Sheamus has been wandering in the Abyss and has gotten zero reaction from the audience.
I'm not really sure how much the match accomplished other than it being just one big nostalgia blast for The Undertaker. In that sense, the match was extremely successful, it was entertaining as they pulled off all of their old moves (well) and the double chokeslam of Strowman was a really cool moment. The Wyatt's lose every feud they are in anyways, so losing to an icon like The Undertaker and Kane is not that big of a deal for them. The match only existed as a way for fans to appreciate The Undertaker, and I don't think there is anything really wrong with that. Too often WWE doesn't give us the opportunity to appreciate the wrestlers that the fans really care about.
Roman Reigns vs Alberto Del Rio-***1/4
In a vacuum not a bad match at all. Del Rio is a good worker that can get the most out of Reigns, and Reigns did a good job stringing together his signature moves and the crowd got behind him some. I thought this match was very predictable, it would have been a tremendous upset, but to their credit the crowd got pretty into it and actually may have believed that Reigns was going to tap out to Del Rio.
Del Rio's victory over John Cena at Hell in a Cell, which was clean and in under 15 minutes, was inexplicable when it originally happened and now a month later it looks just as insane as the day it happened. Del Rio has come back to WWE and continued to be the milk toast heel that he was when he left the company. The United States Championship has gone back to not even registering on most fans radar and he isn't coming out to any heat, despite Zeb Colter being at his size. I don't really understand why they brought Del Rio back for a lot of money, only to treat him the exact same way that they did before.
Dean Ambrose vs Kevin Owens-***
This match didn't get as much time as the first one, which is disappointing because I thought there was some real excitement during the match. Unlike the first semi-final match, this one was really up in the air, as I felt both talents had an equal chance to advance to the final. Owens is just a tremendous heel, controlling the live audience and getting a lot of heat on Ambrose for Ambrose's comeback. There was a lot of old-school in-ring psychology going on in the match, and the result was a fun encounter that made Ambrose look good going into the final.
The New Day, Sheamus and King Barrett vs Ryback, The Usos and The Lucha Dragons-**1/2
In the traditional Survivor Series match that WWE thought was so important that participants in the match were a complete surprise, the babyfaces won in an okay match that was really only there to fill time. The most revelent thing in the match is that Sheamus was beaten up and tersely defeated for the final five minutes of the match, which makes the decision to make him champion later in the night even more puzzling. I will say that The New Day was tremendous tonight, and their interactions with Sheamus and Barrett were the high point of the match,
Paige vs Charlotte-**
Really disappointed by the booking here. I think this feud has/had a lot of potential and to have the first match between the two be a submission victory for Charlotte, clean and in the middle of the ring that kind of takes the wind out of Paige's sails, right? If WWE wants Charlotte to retain the championship that is fine, but at least have the first match between the two end in a countout or a Charlotte roll-up. Making it so decisive seems like a way to end a feud, not build it up. The only explanation is that their segment on Raw was so horrible with the Reid Flair comments that WWE felt they had to end the feud prematurely to wash their hands of the incident.
Tyler Breeze vs Dolph Ziggler-**1/2
Not a bad match by any means, but the crowd was completely dead for Breeze's victory. I think the big fault in the feud so far is that so much of it, including Breeze's debut, has taken place on Smackdown. Nobody watches Smackdown, and if you do watch it, you understand that nothing of real storyline consequence ever happens on it. Breeze and Ziggler need more time on Raw to show fans what they can do as performers together.