That’s more or less the review right there, really
Emanating from Toronto, Ontario Canada
Announcers: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, Corey Graves, Mauro Ranallo, David Otunga, John “Bradshaw” Layfield
SURVIVOR SERIES MATCH: TEAM RAW (BAYLEY, NIA JAX, SASHA BANKS, ALICIA FOX, CHARLOTTE) vs. TEAM SMACKDOWN (ALEXA BLISS, BECKY LYNCH, NATALYA, NAMOI, CARMELLA
INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP: THE MIZ (C) vs. SAMI ZAYN
SURVIVOR SERIES MATCH: TEAM RAW (ENZO & CASS, GALLOWS & ANDERSON, THE NEW DAY, THE SHINING STARS, CESARO & SHEAMUS) vs. TEAM SMACKDOWN (AMERICAN ALPHA, THE USOS, BREEZANGO, HEATH SLATER & RHYNO, THE HYPE BROS)
WWE CRUSIERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP- THE BRIAN KENDRICK (c) vs. KALLISTO
SURVIVOR SERIES MATCH: TEAM RAW (SETH ROLLINS, ROMAN REIGNS, KEVIN OWENS, CHRIS JERICHO, BRAUN STROWMAN) vs. TEAM SMACKDOWN (RANDY ORTON, DEAD AMBROSE, AJ STYLES, SHANE MACMAHON, BRAY WYATT)
GOLDBREG VS. BROCK LESNAR
WARNING: MATCH SPOILERS TO FOLLOW
Once one of the biggest shows on the WWE calendar, its sad to think that the once monumental Survivor Series has fallen to the wayside a great deal these past few years. 2016’s edition however aimed to change all that by being built upon two varieties of warfare, as WWE’s incessant, teeth-grinding marketing repeatedly told us: Brand Warfare, and Fantasy Warfare (except it’s REEEEEEAL now!!!!!!) But was all the warfare enough to make this year’s Survivor Series a return to form?
Well, let’s start with the “Brand Warfare” aspect of this show. The whole “Brand Warfare” concept is rather enticing on paper: for many older fans it harkens back to the by-gone era of wrestling’s boom period, where WWE and WCW would go head to head in an all-out ratings war, so why not try to recapture that magic by pitting RAW against Smackdown? Well, part of the problem is that is difficult to sell the idea of the shows being enemies when we all know they’re all under the same grand WWE umbrella. The other part of the problem is that, knowing the previous fact, it makes it difficult to invest in matches where the only thing at stake is “brand pride”, which we all realise is basically bullshit. Now, to WWE’s credit, they did try to inject some of the various brand-on-brand matches with stakes and consequences, although strangely the actual Survivor Series matches had nothing whatsoever on the line, leaving the weight of consequences to be carried entirely on the backs of the show’s two title matches. The end result of this was a series of matches that kind of just came and went without leaving much of a feeling of anything being truly accomplished.
That said, this wasn’t to say that the matches themselves weren’t entertaining, which for the most part, they were. The Survivor Series matches, while they had their share of moments, suffered a bit for the nature of the format: all these matches felt overlong and at times unevenly paced. The touch-and-go nature of the in-ring action as a whole in these matches as buoyed on the strength of the matches’ various great moments, although this was mainly focused in the Men’s 5 v 5 match: whether it was Kevin Owens using the List of Jericho as a weapon, The Shield having a surprising (and only mildly stupid) surprise reunion, the New Wyatt Family’s welcome and refreshing show of dominance, Braun Strowman killing James Ellsworth, or Shane McMahon almost killing himself, this particular match had enough highlights to be highly entertaining. that said however, despite the complaint the past few years that Survivor Series hasn’t featured enough Survivor Series tag matches, it kinda felt like this show might have had too many.
The two title matches were both fine matches in their own right. While his reclaiming of the Intercontinental Championship might have been abrupt and only mildly frustrating, The Miz proved once again in his match with Sami Zayn that he is the consummate heel that WWE direly needs more of, and the two delivered a great match with a nice finish that protected Sami and continued to contribute to Miz’s radioactive levels of heat. The Cruiserweight Championship match was also great, with both Kendrick and Kallisto working hard to deliver a strong showing. But this was lost on the crowd, and the Crusierweights’ continued inability to connect with the audience dragged the match down, with the crowd rarely firing up at any point no matter what Kendrick or Kallisto did. Baron Corbin interfering and ending the match in a DQ didn’t help matters, and unfortunately marked the Cruiserweight Title match as the frustrating low light of the show. I am getting seriously tired of having to say that, but its hard to deny that the Cruiserweights just haven’t gotten off the ground on the main roster.
Of course, there’s still the matter of the show’s main event, Brock vs. Goldberg. This will undoubtedly be the most controversial match of the night, mainly because it ended in less than two minutes, with Goldberg absolutely dominating The Beast Incarnate. I’m somewhat torn on what to make of this: on the one hand, it was a wonderful moment seeing Goldberg do Goldberg things, and the crowd absolutely ate it up; on the other hand, its always a jip when a main event ends in such short order, especially since this felt all too similar to the ridiculous non-finish of the same variety that happened at SummerSlam this year. Ultimately, where you’ll fall on this match depends largely on what you wanted to get out of it, and if wanted you wanted was Goldberg being Goldberg, well you’ll get that…so yay? For me, I more or less ended up being fine with this, since I honestly had no interest in the match in the first place, so the quicker the better I suppose
While it wasn’t always firing on all cylinders, this year’s Survivor Series was the first one in a long time to have actually felt worthwhile watching. Goldberg’s domination of Brock was a great moment that provided the unique novelty of seeing the Beast humbled, and the Survivor Series matches in spite of their issues still managed to entertain, even if the whole “Brand Warfare” thing turned out to more or less be hot nonsense. If you’re at all a Goldberg fan, this show’s worth it for that moment alone, but for everyone else, its solid block of entertaining wrestling.