WWE Survivor Series 2015
Atlanta, Georgia 11/22/15
So this particular edition of WWE’s annual November tradition was a very interesting one. On one hand, the show was honoring the 25th Anniversary of The Undertaker’s career in WWE (as he made his debut at the 1990 edition of Survivor Series). On the other hand, WWE suffered a big blow weeks before this show, as WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins suffered a serious knee injury during WWE’s tour of Europe. This meant that the title had to be vacated, and in a bit of flashback to Survivor Series 1998, a tournament was held (though not in one night) to crown a new champion. What did we end up getting from this show? Well, let’s take a look….
1.) Survivor Series Elimination Match - The Dudley Boyz, Goldust, Neville, & Titus O’Neil vs. The Cosmic Wasteland (Stardust & The Ascension), The Miz, & Bo Dallas: **½
Weird that we got a Survivor Series Elimination Match on the Kickoff Show, but whatever. It was challenging to get into this match, just because it was filled (for the most part) with a bunch of guys that nobody really cares about, but at the same time, it was ok. For the pre-show, it was fine. Neville was the only person on the babyface team to be eliminated, as The Dudley Boyz, Goldust, & Titus O’Neil ultimately outlasted all of the heels on the opposing side to win the match. Very odd that Goldust & Titus O’Neil (of all people) were survivors, and really sad that Neville was eliminated. It’s just so backwards.
1.) WWE World Heavyweight Title Tournament - Semi-Finals - Roman Reigns vs. WWE United States Champion Alberto Del Rio (with Zeb Colter): ***1/4
This was the first of two Semi-Finals matches. Alberto Del Rio made his return to WWE the month prior at Hell In A Cell, aligning himself with Zeb Colter (in a very odd pairing) and defeated John Cena to win the WWE United States Title. Meanwhile, Roman Reigns has seemingly been somewhere close to the WWE World Heavyweight Title picture since the breakup of The Shield. I feel like some might be a little down on this match, but I thought it was a solid opener. It started a little slow, but it picked up by the end, and it turned out to be mostly good. The crowd reaction acted in a similar manner, as they weren’t into it initially, but got into it by the end of the match. Reigns eventually won (as you might have guessed), to advance to the Finals.
2.) WWE World Heavyweight Title Tournament - Semi-Finals - Dean Ambrose vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens: ***1/2
This was the second Semi-Final match, and on paper, it was certain the more appealing of the two. Owens is coming off a feud with Ryback over the WWE Intercontinental Title, while Ambrose really hadn’t been doing much in the months prior (at least on PPV). I thought this was a very good match, and as it turned out, it was ultimately the best match on the show. Both guys are just so awesome, so it was no surprise that this was pretty good. It wasn’t their best match (and I really didn’t expect it to be great match, since the winner had to wrestle again later in the show), but for the time they were given, they both worked very hard. In the end, Ambrose won (which might have been a shock, to some) to advance to the Finals, meaning that two former members of The Shield would battle it out to determine the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
3.) Survivor Series Elimination Match - Ryback, The Lucha Dragons, & The Usos vs. King Barrett, Sheamus, & WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day: **1/2
Here we have the only Survivor Series Elimination Match that we saw on the main card. The New Day cut their usual heelish promo (they were still heels at this point) as they made their way out. These matches are always one of the big parts of Survivor Series, but honestly, this match was very disappointing, especially considering who was involved. That’s not to say I was expecting a spectacular match, but I thought this would be better than it ended up being, especially considering some of the people involved. The match had absolutely no build (If I recall correctly, the match was thrown together), and it was very average. It was also weirdly booked, particularly when it came to The New Day, as after Big E was eliminated, Kofi Kingson & Xavier Woods just left. This left Sheamus alone with the remaining babyfaces, and ultimately, the sole survivors were Ryback, Kalisto, & Jey Uso (a very odd bunch). This wasn’t a bad match, but it was pretty average.
4.) WWE Diva’s Title - Charlotte vs. Paige: **1/2
This whole feud started with Paige’s odd breakaway from Team PCB, where she seemed to repeatedly turn on Charlotte & Becky Lynch, only to team with them again the next week, and the cycle repeated itself several times. Once the feud became more about Charlotte vs. Paige, it got a lot more personal, with Paige bringing up Reid Flair, one of Charlotte’s brothers who passed away over two years prior due to (I believe) a drug overdose. Here we had another match that, going in, I thought could have been good, but ultimately proved to be disappointing. Again, I wasn’t expecting this to be great, and it was by no means a bad match, but it was…..average. Part of that had to do with the fact that the match wasn’t worked in a manner that reflected the hatred these two had for each other in the buildup. The crowd didn’t care either, which certainly didn’t help matters. Charlotte got the win to retain her title, but it was a controversial win, as (I believe) Paige would later argue that she had an arm (I think) under the ropes.
5.) Tyler Breeze (with Summer Rae) vs. Dolph Ziggler: **1/2
After being a standout in NXT for a good eighteen months or so, Tyler Breeze finally made his debut on the main roster. He partnered up with Summer Rae (giving us all the right to call them “Summer Breeze”), who had been having issues with Dolph Ziggler dating back to his feud with Rusev (which also involved herself and Lana). Again, here we had another match that could have been good, but ended up being average. Granted, for the time they were given (about six or seven minutes), they did the best job they could. The good news is that Breeze got the win here. The bad news is that, as I type this review, this victory is probably the most significant accomplishment of Tyler Breeze on the main roster thus far.
6.) The Brothers of Destruction (Kane & The Undertaker) vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper with Braun Strowman): ***
Following his loss to Brock Lesnar inside Hell In A Cell, on the PPV of the same name, The Undertaker was seemingly about to give a farewell before he was attacked by all four members of The Wyatt Family. Despite being defeated by The Undertaker at WrestleMania 31, Wyatt seemed to still have unresolved issues with “The Deadman”, and looked to take him out for good with the full force of The Wyatt Family flanking him. The question of which members of The Wyatt Family would take on The Brothers of Destruction was left as a mystery heading into this match. Erick Rowan tried to attack Kane & The Undertaker before the bell, but was quickly disposed of, taking him out of the entire match. The pairing representing The Wyatt Family ended up being Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper, which was definitely the best option. Honestly, for what this was, I liked it. Sure, it was basically an extended squash match with The Undertaker hitting all of his trademark moves, but I thought it was fun. Yeah, it wasn’t the best match in the world, but the moments in here (from the entrance to some of the stuff in the match itself) were cool. In the end, The Undertaker got the win following a tombstone piledriver on Luke Harper, and celebrated with Kane. I probably liked this a bit more than most (since I’m a fan of The Undertaker), but it was fine for what it was.
7.) WWE World Heavyweight Title Tournament - Finals - Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns: ***¼
It’s fitting that, after one former member of The Shield had to vacate the WWE World Heavyweight Title due to injury, the other two members of The Shield are fighting to determine the new champion. I thought this was going to be good, and it was, but at the same time (once again), this was also disappointing. The action was solid throughout, but the big issue was that the match was just too short. I don’t think anyone was expecting the last match in a tournament to crown the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion would last nine to ten minutes. It just didn’t feel like a big tournament final, and really didn’t have any drama. Again, both guys did a fine job here, and the match was good as a whole, but given all of the buildup, it was certainly an anticlimactic conclusion. Roman Reigns eventually scored the victory to win the WWE World Heavyweight Title for the first time.
After the match, Dean Ambrose (before leaving) congratulating Reigns, as confetti started to fall throughout the arena. Triple H then made his way out. Before the tournament began, Triple H offered Reigns a bye to the Finals (in an attempt to get Reigns to join The Authority), but Reigns turned him down. Triple H raised Reigns’ arm, and then wanted a handshake. Instead, Reigns gave him a spear. Then, from out of nowhere, Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Reigns, and cashed in his Money In The Bank Briefcase….
8.) WWE World Heavyweight Title - Roman Reigns vs. Sheamus: N/R
Sheamus went for an immediate cover, but Reigns kicked out. Reigns tried to fight back, but got him with another Brogue Kick, and was pinned by Sheamus, meaning that “The Celtic Warrior” is the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. We all knew that Sheamus was going to cash in at some point, but this was just a deflating finish to this PPV, because Sheamus (who was made out to be a loser and somewhat of a joke since winning the briefcase) was now the top dog in a company (from a kayfabe standpoint). Sheamus celebrated with Triple H on the entrance ramp, while a sad and despondent Roman Reigns was left alone in the ring with the confetti that fell in celebration of his initial victory.
I think it’s fair to say that this was one of the worst WWE PPV’s in quite some time. There really wasn’t one match that I would since out as being “bad” but the whole show was incredibly average. It felt more like a decent episode of RAW than a PPV (particularly one of the “Big Four” PPV’s), and that’s not good. The Semi-Finals of the WWE World Heavyweight Title Tournament were fine, but the Finals and the Money In The Bank cash-in by Sheamus were disappointing and deflating. The Undertaker’s appearance was a nice highlight, though his match really wasn’t much. The rest of the undercard was largely forgettable. As a whole, WWE tried to build up this show as a big deal, but it didn’t even come close to delivering.