Survivor Series Count-Up – 2015 (2016 Redo): The Survival Show
Survivor Series 2015
Date: November 22, 2015
Location: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators: Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield
Now this is an interesting one as I barely remember anything about it from just a year ago. The big story here is the World Title having to be decided in a tournament as Seth Rollins destroyed his knee and is out for a LONG time. Other than that, the big match is the Undertaker teaming with Kane against the Wyatt Family to celebrate 25 years since his debut with the company. Let’s get to it.
Oh and before we get going: ISIS was allegedly targeting this show for a terrorist attack. Nothing would come of the rumors but it got quite a bit of attention.
Pre-Show: Dudley Boyz/Goldust/Neville/Titus O’Neil vs. Cosmic Wasteland/Miz/Bo Dallas
The Cosmic Wasteland was a short lived mini stable comprised of Stardust and the Ascension. Goldust is a mystery partner, making his return after several months off due to a shoulder injury, to freak Stardust out. The brothers start things off but a right hand means it’s off to Viktor, who is powerslammed and pinned in about thirty seconds. I’d bet on that being an injury.
Titus and Konnor come in for the big power showdown, meaning a bunch of whips and slams which are supposed to mean more because they’re being done by bigger guys. D-Von gets a chant (for some reason) and a tag (because Titus wanted to come out), which means it’s time for What’s Up. The rest of the heels are sent outside for a big flip dive from Neville in a big crash.
Back from a break with Bubba Rock Bottoming Konnor for an elimination to make it 5-3. D-Von comes back in but gets beaten down to give the heels a little breather. A spinebuster drops Miz and that’s enough for the tag off to Neville for the quick kicks to the face. Dallas grabs a Bodog and a Skull Crushing Finale gives Miz the pin on Neville to get us down to 4-3, only to have Goldust roll Miz up to get the fall back.
We come back from a second break with Dallas holding Goldust in a chinlock before it’s off to Stardust for some brotherly stomping. The chinlocks continue and the remaining bad guys charge at the three remaining on the apron in a rare good shot for the villains. Goldust shows he’s really back with a Code Red of all things, allowing the tag off to Titus. The Clash of the Titus gets rid of Bo and a 3D finishes Stardust at 18:10. I have no idea why the announcers were talking about Gilligan’s Island for the last two falls but I’d bet on some form of subtext.
Rating: D+. This came and went but it’s fine for a way to warm the crowd up. At the end of the day you have a lot of people on the roster and it makes sense to throw people together like this in a nothing match. It’s almost like part of the point of the series in the first place. There’s not much to the match but Goldust returning was a nice little surprise.
Lillian Garcia sings the National Anthem as a big middle finger to the terrorism charges. I actually liked this and she can sing the heck out of that song.
The opening video looks at the Undertaker because that’s really what this show is all about. The slow piano version of his theme is really cool. These recaps are actually really helpful because I had NO idea how we got to the Wyatts vs. the Brothers of Destruction. It turns out that they kidnapped Undertaker and Kane and now they’re fighting them because Bray and company are up there with Scooby-Doo villains when it comes to effectiveness. We also look at the tournament as an afterthought before going back to Undertaker and Kane.
WWE World Title Tournament Semifinals: Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio
Del Rio’s US Title isn’t on the line of course. What should be on the line is Roman’s career after the fans just erupt with boos during his entrance. Unfortunately this is also during the Zeb Colter period for Del Rio, which was just horrible on every level. They never clicked and there’s no way around that.
The booing turns into LET’S GO ROMAN/ROMAN SUCKS as Reigns hits a shoulder for the first offense. Alberto takes over outside but Roman hammers away back inside because he doesn’t have the strongest offense. The corner enziguri knocks Roman silly (that always looks great) and it’s time for the arm to go into the steps. We see HHH watching with a smile on his face after Reigns turned down a chance to be the Authority’s new protege because they’re still trying to redo Austin vs. McMahon.
A chinlock slows things down and Roman goes shoulder first into the post to make the arm even worse. The running clothesline drops Del Rio and Reigns’ good arm fires off the corner clotheslines. Del Rio gets in a Backstabber to take over again as this is going back and forth. They head to the corner so Del Rio can miss that still horribly stupid top rope double stomp and bang up his knee.
Not that it matters as it’s cross armbreaker into the rollup into the powerbomb but Roman can’t cover. Now the armbreaker goes on for a few seconds before Roman easily escapes (likely because it wasn’t on the arm Del Rio had worn down) and spears his way to the finals at 14:05.
Rating: B-. Standard Raw main event here and I don’t think anyone bought Del Rio was going to go to the finals. At the end of the day his main event run is LONG over at this point and there’s no reason to believe Reigns is going to be the first top level face in forever to submit to the armbreaker. The match was entertaining but really more of a way to kill time until the inevitable spear. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Ambrose praises Reigns for his win and Roman is happy to fight Dean for the title. That was pretty much the only possible ending to the tournament and everyone knew it when the brackets were revealed. Kevin Owens comes in after Ambrose leaves and thinks Reigns will screw up at the finish line all over again because Kevin himself will stop him.
WWE World Title Tournament Semifinals: Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose
Owens’ Intercontinental Title isn’t on the line. Kevin grabs a headlock as JBL goes into his ridiculous rant about how Ambrose can’t be the face of the company because he wouldn’t look good on the Tonight Show and on billboards as that’s pretty much just John Cena and John Cena alone.
Ambrose rakes Owens’ eyes across the top rope and slingshots out to the floor as the fans seem to be paying more attention to this one because there’s an actual chance either guy could win. It’s funny how that works. Dean gets crotched on the top and hit with the Cannonball (insert your Otto Wanz reference here because JBL has to use the same references every single time someone does a move), followed by a chinlock.
That goes nowhere so it’s the torture rack neckbreaker for another near fall. The two count means it’s time for some trash talking as only Owens can do. The fans are split again and I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. We’re right back to the chinlock (Owens: “CHINLOCK CITY BABY!”) before a double clothesline puts both guys down. Kevin misses his moonsault (good looking one too) and the standing elbow gets two.
They head up top with Owens countering a superplex into that sweet swinging fisherman’s superplex. Owens: “COLE TELL HIM TO STAY DOWN!” That’s one thing I love about Owens: he does stuff that feels out of nowhere because he’s a bit off. A trip to the floor means something like a gutbuster onto the announcers’ table but the Pop Up Powerbomb is countered into a hurricanrana and Dirty Deeds sends Dean to the finals at 11:20.
Rating: B. I liked the energy here as it felt like a back and forth match with Owens not being able to keep Dean down and Dean just trying to sneak in anything he could at any time. It also helps that you could see Owens getting the win instead of waiting around until he got speared. That can do wonders and it made for a better match here.
TLC 2015 ad. I still love that video game theme.
We look at Undertaker’s debut and the rest of his career. Of note in that debut match: Roddy Piper said if anyone can figure out Undertaker, Bret Hart could do it. Over their careers, Undertaker never pinned Bret Hart (save for one house show) in a singles match.
Team Ryback vs. Team Sheamus
Ryback, Usos, Lucha Dragons
Sheamus, King Barrett, New Day
There’s no real rhyme or reason to these teams so I picked two singles guys for the captains. Also I’m pretty sure this was a bonus match for the sake of filling in some time and, you know, it’s Survivor Series. Sheamus is Mr. Money in the Bank here. It’s also REALLY weird to see New Day as heels, though they’re definitely getting over as faces in a hurry. Atlanta native Xavier Woods has a rather impressive new hair style and Kofi brags about all the gold on their team. Sheamus: “And tonight, WE’RE GONNA GET JIGGY ON THESE POSERS!!! AM I RIGHT???” The silence is hilarious but Kofi turns it into NEW DAY ROCKS!
Jey and Woods get things going and Xavier’s wishes for untouched hair are quickly ignored. Kofi comes in and gets splashed by Cara (with an assist from the twins) before Sheamus comes in and gets sent outside. Actually all of the heels are sent outside for a quadruple dive, followed by Ryback diving onto all of them. I’m sure WWE stifled the creativity he really wanted to display with that dive though and his idea was shot down.
We reset to Barrett working on Jey’s ribs and the heels take over. Xavier busts out the trombone and dancing ensues with Barrett joining in for the GIF of the night. An enziguri is enough to set up the hot tag off to Jimmy for the house cleaning. The superkick sets up Cara’s Swanton Bomb to get rid of Barrett and make it 5-4.
It’s Kofi’s turn to get beaten up but he grabs Jimmy in a backbreaker, combined with a top rope double stomp from Woods to tie things up. Big E. spears Cara through the ropes and there’s the Brogue Kick for the elimination. That’s not cool with Big E. as he thinks Sheamus stole his pin (true) so Ryback jumps E. from behind, setting up the Superfly Splash to tie things up again. Actually let’s make that 3-1 as Kofi and Woods walk out, leaving Sheamus all by himself.
Sheamus slowly stomps on Kalisto and does the ten forearms. JBL: “It’s like a pub in Dublin!” Cole: “They have masked luchadors over there?” Jimmy comes back in for the running Umaga attack as Lawler talks about Doink. A few shots slow Ryback down but Jimmy kicks Sheamus into the Shell Shock for the pin at 17:33.
Rating: D+. So Sheamus just lost to an Uso, a Lucha Dragon and Ryback and we’re supposed to buy him as a future World Champion? I mean, I know they need to have him established as being in the building but can they really do nothing other than having him get pinned here? The match was fine but the energy died after New Day was gone. It’s almost like the whole “Sheamus isn’t interesting” thing is absolutely right.
We recap Team PCB (Remember them? Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch) splitting up with Paige turning on Charlotte, partially out of jealousy for Charlotte’s Divas Title.
Divas Title: Paige vs. Charlotte
Charlotte is defending and isn’t the most interesting face because heroines who are bigger, stronger and more athletic than most of their opponents aren’t really the best choices for the top of a division. Except Roman Reigns of course. He’s just that cool. We actually get Big Match Intros and Paige has blue highlights for a nice look.
Charlotte easily wrestles her down to the mat and the frustration is setting in. Some knees to the chest have Charlotte in trouble and Paige’s shouts get NOTHING from the crowd. Back in and we hit an abdominal stretch so she can shout about being the Divas Champion. A backpack Stunner gets the champ out of trouble and brings the match one step closer to a coma.
They trade kicks to the face and Paige escapes the Figure Four because it’s WAY too early for a submission. The hold wasn’t the right way to go so Charlotte puts her in an electric chair to drop Paige onto the apron. Back in and we hit the figure four neck lock so Charlotte can use those legs to torture her a bit. Charlotte goes shoulder first into the post, which Lawler thinks could be a game changer.
Paige grabs a crossface while bending Charlotte’s leg forward at the same time as this continues to go from spot to spot because there’s no real story. Like, they’re both doing fine and the match is entertaining but I have no reason to care about either one of them. It’s very TNA of them.
A neckbreaker out of the corner gets Charlotte out of trouble and the bad looking spear sets up Natural Selection. There’s no cover though as it heads outside with Paige sending her into the barricade. Paige then poses on that said barricade and gets tackled off for a big crash, followed by the Figure Eight back inside to retain the title at 14:10.
Rating: B-. The match was fine but like I said, there was just nothing to get excited over. The story here was a team splitting up to set up the title match but that story doesn’t work because when no one cared about the team in the first place because they were thrown together for the sake of a lame story. Good wrestling, horrible storytelling.
Earlier tonight, Ambrose said everyone knew this was coming and he’ll fight his brother with no regrets. Reigns comes in to say he’ll bring it and they’re cool no matter what.
Tyler Breeze vs. Dolph Ziggler
Breeze debuted a few weeks ago (and lost his first match) and hooked up with Summer Rae, who had recently split with Ziggler, thereby setting up the mini feud. They trade laying on the top rope before Ziggler snaps off a dropkick. Breeze is knocked outside for the spot that would normally take us to a break in a TV match. I mean, this is a TV match but it’s on pay per view because it got bumped from the pre-show for the sake of time.
Back in and Breeze slowly hammers away before grabbing a weak half crab. Ziggler dropkicks him out of the air and hits some running clotheslines into the neckbreaker. To be fair, he does touch his knee before doing the big jumping elbow for two. We hit the pinfall reversal sequence before Tyler kicks him in the knee and hits an Unprettier for the pin at 6:31.
Rating: D. Cole tried to make this out to be a huge win but at the end of the day, it’s a win in a TV match disguised as a pay per view match against the guy that everyone beats. Breeze was dead in the water when he debuted on Smackdown and lost his first match because it was in the tournament against Ambrose. Hence why Breeze is where he is today. Ziggler is basically in the same spot he’s been in for years: hovering in the midcard and being the exact same thing, save for an occasional bump up thanks to an actual interesting character in the Miz.
We recap the Brothers of Destruction vs. the Wyatts. Undertaker: “I’m creepy!” Bray: “I’m creepier than you!” Undertaker: “These young boys never learn.” Bray also kidnapped both of them….and then let them go because he’s weird that way.
Undertaker/Kane vs. Bray Wyatt/Luke Harper
The entrances take FOREVER with Undertaker’s going even longer than usual, though it’s a pretty special occasion. Before the bell rings, Undertaker and Kane have to beat up Rowan to fulfill a contractual requirement of any Wyatt match. Kane and Harper start, basically missing the purpose of the entire feud. A basement dropkick floors Luke and it’s off to Undertaker for a nice reaction.
Cole declares Undertaker the greatest of all time as Luke’s arm is cranked. Old School is broken up as JBL does his stat/history reading designed to sound like casual conversation and, as usual, it’s horrible. Bray gets beaten up a little bit and NOW Old School connects. This time it’s JBL talking about Undertaker doing Old School for 25 years straight because we need to ignore shows he wasn’t at and times when he didn’t do the move. It’s off to Kane, who Strowman throws through the announcers’ table.
Somehow that’s not a DQ so it’s Bray taking over on Kane as we wait on the inevitable Undertaker hot tag. Sister Abigail is countered and the running DDT allows the aforementioned tag. Undertaker gets clotheslined to the floor where Strowman takes the double chokeslam through the other announcers’ table. Sister Abigail gets two on Undertaker, we get the double situp to break Bray’s spider walk and it’s the chokeslam into a Tombstone to finish Harper at 10:41.
Rating: D. They would have been better off having Undertaker just fight Harper on his own here as there was no doubt on the win and the Wyatts lost any credibility they might have had. I’m cool with Undertaker getting the big moment on the big stage and all that jazz because twenty five years to the day is an impressive day but this was really just a way to waste about twenty minutes and talk about how great Undertaker is.
WWE World Title: Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose
The title is vacant coming in. Dean wins the early slugout but is taken outside and whipped into the barricade. The fans are all over Reigns as Dean hits the suicide dive, followed by an armbar to follow up on the earlier match. Some powerbombs get two on Dean and the Superman Punch is good for the same. Dean’s rebound lariat doesn’t do much good as Reigns spears him down for two. It’s really not a good sign that we’re at the first kickout of a finisher five minutes into a pay per view main event.
Another spear is blocked by a boot before the shirt spear is sent shoulder first into the post. Dirty Deeds gets two more and most of the crowd doesn’t seem to care, mainly because they’re hip to the trading finishers concept. They start slugging it out while sitting on the mat with Dean getting the better of it and hammering away in the corner….before he gets speared for the pin and the title at 9:02.
Rating: D+. What in the world was that? Reigns just pins him in nine minutes to win the title? There’s little drama, no surprise as everyone knew he was going to get the title here and barely any time for the match because all these other things needed to go so much longer. Reigns is a legitimate champion after beating four people to get the title but my goodness this was disappointing.
They take their sweet time celebrating as confetti falls….and here’s HHH. The boss offers a handshake and gets speared down, which Cole calls the most important moment in Reigns’ career. Cue Sheamus and the title match is on.
WWE World Title: Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns
Brogue Kick gets two, second Brogue Kick makes Sheamus champion at 34 seconds. Where did Dean go while this was happening?
The heels celebrate and Reigns looks like he’s about to cry to end the show.
Overall Rating: D. I remember liking this at first but sweet goodness this does not hold up. So there’s a tournament with the most obvious final ever and the most obvious winner ever and then “oh wait never mind because Sheamus cashes in because Money in the Bank ruins everything). The semifinal matches were fine for big time Raw main events but that’s not what people remember and/or care about. This show was about Reigns winning the title and then they screw that over for the “surprise” ending.
What’s even worse is where this would go. Reigns would go into Superman mode and win the title twenty two days later when he beat Sheamus on Raw, making this a huge waste of time and two cheap title reigns in a row. Sheamus is not a main event talent and this does more harm to Reigns than good. Just have Reigns fend off the cash-in attempt and hold the title until the HHH win in the Royal Rumble. Everything winds up the same and you don’t have the lame story and lame ending to this show.
Other than the World Title scene, we have the mess that is the rest of the card. The only other thing that matters here is the Undertaker match, which was a cool moment with the setup but a really bad match and another moment with the Wyatts losing for the sake of giving Undertaker another big win. The women’s match was fine albeit ice cold, the Survivor Series match had no story and was just a way to have New Day be funny and Breeze vs. Ziggler was advertised and therefore had to take place.
Now to be fair, they had to change A TON of stuff for the sake of the tournament and that’s not on them. What is on them is going with the “surprise” factor over logical storytelling. Sheamus is a multiple time World Champion and a Money in the Bank winner but that doesn’t mean he’s someone people want to see on top of the card at this point. If they want Reigns to be a top star, they need to let him be a top star. A five minute title reign after a bad match isn’t the way to go about that.
Dudley Boyz/Goldust/Neville/Titus O’Neil vs. Cosmic Wasteland/Miz/Bo Dallas
Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio
Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose
Team Ryback vs. Team Sheamus
Paige vs. Charlotte
Dolph Ziggler vs. Tyler Breeze
Brothers of Destruction vs. Wyatt Family
Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose
Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns
I was WAY too kind to this one the first time around. The last hour and a half is dreadful.
Here’s the original review if you’re interested.
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