Pruett's Pause: WWE Survivor Series 2013: Roman Reigns begins what will be a breakout year, everything else fails to capture my imagination as the staleness of WWE's creative effort wins the night
By Will Pruett
Exactly one interesting thing happened on this show. This is not an exaggeration. There were some other relatively good moments. There were a few bright spots. There was only one interesting development on this show. Said development happened in the opening match and will surely be recapped to death on Raw/Smackdown/Main Event/Superstars/Wrestling Challenge/Coliseum Video/Tuesday Night Titans/Thunder/ECW on SciFi.
Roman Reigns pinned four out of the five members of the babyface team opposing him. He did so by using his rather lethal looking Spear (the wrestling maneuver, pervs). This qualifies as interesting because Reigns is a heel who will soon be openly admitting to wanting the crowd to cheer him. He will be set against his Shield brethren in an interesting manner. He will also be striking out on his own, which is a dangerous place for him.
Aside from the one move Reigns did to four different people, he doesn't do a whole lot of wrestling moves. Reigns doesn't have a deep move set. If he were to attempt to compile five moves of doom, he would come up a couple short. Reigns is limited. He has a ton of charisma, but is limited in the bell-to-bell section of his work. Will this hurt him the way it seems to now be hurting Ryback?
Reigns' future is more interesting than almost anything in WWE right now, because he has the charisma to be the next major star, but he also has the potential to burn bright and fade quickly. Roman Reigns next year will be the most important of his career. He will define himself with it. This was the beginning of the Roman Reigns experiment in WWE. The rest of this show had no real implications on the future of WWE and how characters will interact (yes, this includes the tease of unifying the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships).
This show would have been a pretty decent Raw episode, with Reigns as the show's major take-away point. For $60, I found myself alternating between fast forwarding and falling asleep. WWE should be doing much better work.
And now for some random thoughts...
- Speaking of the aforementioned title unification tease, remember how around Survivor Series in 2009 Undertaker Tombstoned John Cena in Madison Square Garden. Not everything teased now happens.
- What if someone told WWE creative they weren't allowed to book opening promo segments anymore? I'm talking Raw, Smackdown, and pay-per-views. Would they all just wail and cry and believe they were in hell?
- The Uso's seem to be relishing the opportunity to bring some unique ideas and athleticism to multi-man tag team matches. They're performing really well in their currently elevated position. I'm happy to see it.
- Rey Mysterio did not look like Rey. He can't be healthy right now. Who knows if he ever will be?
- I wonder why WWE didn't go all the way with Reigns eliminating all five men? He just settled for four, which seemed slightly underwhelming.
- Why, during Survivor Series elimination tag matches, does an entire team just stand there and watch a partner get pinned? Breaking up pin falls is a major part of WWE's tag team formula, but no one does it in the larger tags. Weird.
- Did the Board of Directors just not watch WWE during the entire Daniel Bryan push?
- Big E Langston could make a career out of finding unique ways to pander. His match with Curtis Axel was average. His interview was decent. I'm hesitant to get behind Big E as Intercontinental Champion until WWE shows what they intend to do with him.
- I'm adding "prestigious" to the list of words Michael Cole overuses.
- Towards the middle of the A.J. Lee backstage promo segment, I was honestly amazed she was still talking. I appreciate the effort to fix some logical flaws in the match making, but A.J. talked forever.
- Poor Nikki Bella survived the Survivor Series match, but didn't even get credit for doing so. I guess being John Cena's cohabitation agreement signee has it's benefits.
- Why are the girls from Total Divas partners on standard WWE television? Nothing makes sense about it.
- Mark Henry was a nice surprise, but I still can't buy into him coming back until we see him string together a few healthy months of competition. The bald look is certainly more pleasant than his combover.
- Ryback losing in open challenges on a weekly basis could be kind of fun. It essentially turns him into Heath Slater from last year, but that was fun too. Any chance for Sid to appear on WWE television works for me.
- I am not a hater of John Cena or the matches he has, but his match with Alberto Del Rio was hellaciously boring. I'm pretty sure the biggest spot in the match was a repeat from last month. More than anything on this show, Cena vs. Del Rio put me to sleep.
- Fast forwarding through legends panel discussions, conversations at the commentary table, and replays makes WWE far more watchable.
- The Wyatt Family vs. C.M. Punk and Daniel Bryan was a very good tag team match with a very disappointing conclusion. WWE has an obsession with the good guys winning in round one, which makes rounds two through five much less exciting. Why not let heels actually get over, then show how babyfaces have to change tactics to win. The more compelling way to tell these stories is actually akin to WWE's tag team match formula. Beat down the babyfaces for a long period of time, then have them change tactics, come back, and win it all.
- Big Show vs. Randy Orton was as unexciting as I believed Big Show vs. Randy Orton would be. They tried to spice it up with a referee bump and a brawl through the crowd, but there is no way this should have been a main event match in 2013.
- Randy Orton and John Cena's stare down almost has me believing WWE will catch a little December panic (much like they did in 2001) and put Cena vs. Orton in a title unification TLC match. I hope this does not happen. Seeing Cena and Orton in the same ring again reminded me of 2009's endless series. It still feels too soon.
Roman Reigns stole this show in the first 30 minutes. The other 150 minutes failed to deliver on multiple levels. WWE has some serious problems creatively and they seem to be taking every opportunity to show how things can get worse. There is no easy fix for them and I don't even know if Royal Rumble and WrestleMania season can dig them out. Reigns isn't ready to suddenly catapult into the sky. It looks like Cena vs. Orton is WWE's next plan to engage their audience.
After Hell in a Cell I wrote about getting in a time machine to right before Money in the Bank 2011. Could the spark of creativity WWE occasionally stumbled on over the past few years finally be dying? Are we going back to the doldrums of 2009 and 2010? I'm sure Michael Strahan will let us know on Raw.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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