Powell's WWE Survivor Series Hit List: John Cena and Randy Orton showdown, Big Show looks like a dope, C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan beat The Wyatt Family again, strong showing for Roman Reigns
By Jason Powell
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WWE Survivor Series Hits
The Shield and The Real Americans vs. Goldust, Cody Rhodes, Rey Mysterio, and The Uso Brothers: A good elimination match with the babyface bunch going on a nice run early to set up the Roman Reigns showcase in the latter portion of the match. The fans died a bit once the babyfaces stopped eliminating heels, but they were responsive to the spears that Reigns used to eliminate four men, and the awesome curb stomp finisher that Seth Rollins used to eliminate another wrestler. I am curious to see whether they push Reigns aggressively coming out of the show or if this is more of a setup for something down the road.
C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan: A good tag match. The "this is awesome" chants were a bit much considering where they were at in the match when that chant started, but it was a solid performance. I'm not crazy about the outcome of the match. In fact, I did not like the buildup because the Wyatt Family were made to look weak and downright inferior in singles matches against Punk and Bryan. This should have felt so much bigger, and it would have if WWE had taken the time to build up the Wyatts in the weeks leading up to the match rather than showing that Punk and Bryan could beat them. Instead of a showdown match, we got a showcase for Punk and Bryan, who seemed way too happy to team with one another considering their WWE history.
Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz: A quality Kickoff match. Granted, I have no idea what they are doing with Miz since he alligator armed Kingston on Raw and then worked like a babyface in this match. Still, the match exceeded my expectations and got the show off to a good start. I like the post match angle with Kingston slapping Miz, as it keeps their mid-card program alive. Are they holding off on going full heel with Miz until after his ABC Family movie airs on Tuesday?
WWE Survivor Series Misses
Overall show: WWE did a piss poor job of setting up this pay-per-view and therefore expectations were extremely low. The show basically was what I expected it to be with two flat title matches, a good elimination match, a solid tag team match, and a bunch of filler. I can't believe how bad the WWE product has become since August. The company had put together a nice string of quality pay-per-views and the future looked bright with so many young wrestlers shining. It's been all downhill since then. The booking has been pathetic and most of the new acts that people were excited about are just spinning their wheels.
Big Show vs. Randy Orton: A match that somehow failed to live up to the low expectations I had going into Survivor Series. WWE tried to manufacture interest by having The Authority say no one would get physically involved. I don't think I'm alone in saying that the words "physically involved" were a giant red flag. I didn't know if it would happen in this match or another match, but I assumed we would see some sort of distraction finish. Honestly, though, I did not think it would be as ridiculous it played out. Big Show looked like a dope for being distracted by entrance music and people standing on the stage when he had the WWE Champion knocked out. And I don't think the average fan looks at Triple H and Stephanie as master manipulators as much as they are rolling their eyes at the latest cheap and unimaginative finish.
John Cena and Randy Orton square off: I have no interest in a unification match and I don't think it's the right move for long term business. As premature as it feels to go with a unification match, I will say that I would be more interested in watching it play out at TLC than the alternative of rematches involving Orton vs. Big Show, and Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio in TLC style gimmick matches. Still, the setup for this was clunky and it won't feel like a showdown between two longtime, strong champions because Orton has been devalued so much over the last few months.
John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio: The match was a Hit in terms of quality. Del Rio worked hard and got plenty of offense here, and Cena also worked hard in front of his hometown fans. However, I can't give the match a Hit when it felt so lifeless because no one bought into Del Rio as a real threat to take the title. I also felt like we saw this match last month at Hell in a Cell. Could someone please explain why the Mexican flags are on the ring posts and at ringside during Del Rio's matches? His character is not patriotic. He's an aristocrat who is out for himself. What purpose do the flags actually serve?
Divas Survivor Series match: The match was better than it looked on paper, but I didn't feel like anything was accomplished other than having Natalya execute the Sharpshooter twice. Was the idea to give her a big boost heading into yet another title match against A.J. Lee or did they have her perform the submission hold simply because Bret Hart was in the house as a panelist? Meanwhile, Nikki Bella survived, which was news to Michael Cole, who had to apologize 30 minutes later for not knowing that she was not eliminated. I criticize Cole quite a bit, but it's hard to get worked up here considering this felt like a throwaway match and Nikki did disappear for a bit.
Mark Henry vs. Ryback: A flat match that left me wondering whether Henry is going to click as a babyface as well as he did as a heel. Ryback showed more charisma during his pre-match promo, but he continues to lose all meaningful matchups. Is he in a transitional period or is he simply a jacked up enhancement guy?
Big E Langston vs. Curtis Axel: A decent showcase match for Langston with ridiculous "you can't wrestle" chants directed at Axel. Curtis may be charismatically challenged, but he's a quality in-ring worker. Whatever Langston gained from getting the highly predictable win was completely lost when he cut the quirky deadpan cheap pop promo. I want to like Langston, but I have yet to hear him deliver even a remotely memorable promo or show more than one or two facial expressions.
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