WWE Survivor Series Review
November 20, 2016
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com
A sampling of WWE’s new business model (starting at WrestleMania 33) was felt tonight. WWE is targeting the “Big Four” PPVs to make a huge long weekend out of them to streamline revenue as much as they can. It’s going to help their quarterlies in the long run because WWE has proven, despite how bad the product is on television, people will still turn out for it because a.) they buy tickets based off the history of the event and b.) WWE is the only show in town anyway. Even with a mediocre product on free television every week, for the most part their PPVs deliver. Survivor Series by and large has been a throwaway show despite being one of their longest running events. Years ago there was even talk of doing away with it all together. This year, there was a renewed interest in making it special, and they accomplished that. The build was well done despite the matches themselves having no real consequence, probably the only mistake they really made.
The weekend kicked off with a really wonderful presentation of NXT Takeover on Saturday night. Survivor Series would have a tough act to follow. Normally the main roster has trouble following a good Takeover event.
How did the main roster fare for the 30th edition of Survivor Series? Let’s find out.
Goldberg defeats Brock Lesnar in one minute and twenty-six seconds
No, that is not an exaggeration. You read it right. One of the most anticipated matches of the year saw a 49-year old Goldberg, who hasn’t wrestled at all since he last defeated Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XX in March 2004 (with yours truly in attendance, thank you very much), triumphantly come back and shockingly defeat Brock Lesnar in 1:26 becoming the first man to pin Lesnar since he ended the Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania XXX. Hell, this is the first time Lesnar has been pinned since Triple H pinned him at WrestleMania 29. There was one submission loss to the Undertaker at last year’s SummerSlam, but that was a wonky finish.
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely loved the finish. Everything they’ve done with Bill Goldberg since his return has been absolutely perfect. If this happened in 2003 when he first came in, they could have made ridiculous money with him. For all the time I’ve criticized WWE for their inability to create stars, they resurrected the career of Goldberg and made him into the force he was way back in WCW before they killed him at Starcade. Imagine if they used Roman Reigns like this when he was first going into singles competition. It may have been a different story for him. Now it’s a bit too late for him if you ask me.
The finish was phenomenal and fresh. It easily sets up a rematch in the future and it got people talking. If they went through a slow, plodding match, this wouldn’t have turned out so well. If they went fifteen minutes with Goldberg taking a lot of abuse before ultimately losing, people would be complaining and there’d be nothing to talk about. Like it or not, you’re talking about this finish. There’s also a really great story coming out of this match that I hope they elaborate more on tomorrow. Brock Lesnar came into this match supremely confident, as evidenced from the video package, and he underestimated his opponent. It has pangs of real life attached to it. Sometimes in boxing or MMA, you’ll get a big match like this and it ends in less than 30 seconds because someone made a mistake and got caught in a submission or something of that nature. This kind of had that feel to it. Like I said, this won’t be the last time these two lock horns. This was a complete and total surprise, which I’m happy about. It was just about perfect in my view.
Team Smackdown Live vanquishes Team RAW
After falling behind 0-2 in the Team RAW matches, Team Smackdown Live picked up the victory in the main offering of the challenge issued by Shane McMahon. Despite not having any consequences attached to the match other than bragging rights, on top of the facts that neither brand has really had a chance to be established and it’s so close to the split that we’ve seen these match-ups before, it turned out to be a really good match. Everyone served a purpose and was smartly used, even James Ellsworth! The match was given over 50 minutes, but it didn’t really drag. There was constant action. Shane McMahon had a few gutsy spots with his Leap of Faith and then being speared out of mid-air during a Coast to Coast attempt, which was damn impressive (and probably saw him get concussed in real life), but the moments when he was going punch for punch with some people were just cringe worthy.
Still there was so much good and so very little bad. There was current rivalries playing into finishes, an awesome RKO from Orton to Rollins while he was trying for a frog splash, a mini-Shield reunion, the List of Jericho being destroyed, Ellsworth getting killed, and so much more. It was a fun match even if it was a throwaway affair that will probably be forgotten about in a month, but we’ll see. Stephanie McMahon did say Team RAW’s jobs depended on winning, so maybe we’ll see a few firings, but they did the same thing in 2014. It’d be kind of redundant.
* I figured the RAW women would pick up the win so they could keep Charlotte’s PPV winning streak intact until probably WrestleMania and that proved to be correct. As for the match, I didn’t particularly care for it. I checked out after they had Nia Jax tap out, which is basically cutting her legs out from under her before she even gets established.
* The Miz and Sami Zayn had an above average match, but for once can we do a PPV in Canada that doesn’t involve some callback to the Screwjob of 1997?
* The 10-on-10 Tag Team match was really well done and better than I expected. I’m a bit disappointed with the usage of American Alpha in the match, but it was overall a very good match.
* Brian Kendrick and Kalisto worked really hard in their match, but I’m still struggling to figure out a reason as to why I should care about the Cruiserweight Division whatsoever. It’s too spotty and no one really has a character. It’s really had to care about. The Spanish Fly off the apron was very impressive, but incredibly dangerous and could have just as easily turned back and ended someone’s career. Moves like that should be the finish, not just another move in the match. Sorry, but when things like that happen and the match just goes on like it never happened, I totally check out.
This was a damn good edition of Survivor Series with a main event that people will be talking about for some time. It’s been a long time since Survivor Series felt special. Tonight it really did. WWE hit a homerun here. It’s nice to see the resurrection of Goldberg and the Survivor Series.
As of 1:20 AM EST, 48% of our readership are giving Survivor Series a thumbs up. I’d have to agree with them. You can view the poll here.
Bump of the Night: The Spanish Fly off the apron!
Match of the Night: Team RAW vs. Team Smackdown Live ****
Final Rating: *** 3/4
Well those are my thoughts. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know by commenting or using one of the other two options to get in contact with me.
Check out my recap of WWE Survivor Series by clicking here.
Please check out my live recap of RAW every Monday at 8 PM EST.
Thanks for reading!
Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Monday Night RAW for Wrestleview.com.