- Unlike with Hell in a Cell (2014), I did NOT read any Spoilers coming into this, despite strong rumors surrounding who may or may not be showing up. However, I do feel like I should mention how important it is for this show to blow everyone away.
First: The WWE Network subscription numbers aren't what WWE or its stock holders hoped for. It's even lower than I figured would be the bottom number, with the addition of "170 countries" (including Canada, which has what is essential a crappier version of the old 24/7On Demand service rather than the "over the top" service we have in the States). Second: In the WWE's panic (that's my way of seeing it), the whole month of November is free. Including the Survivor Series. Formerly one of the biggest PPV's of the year, that in recent years has become "just another show" through incompetent and boring booking decisions. Third: I don't know about anyone else, but my viewing interests are at a low, even worse than last year's Survivor Series. I honestly haven't watched a first-run episode of Raw, Smackdown, Main Event, or Superstars since before Hell in a Cell. I've barely kept up with Raw results, that's how little I have when it comes to interest in the product. With that out of the way...
- Presented LIVE! on November 23rd, 2014 from St. Louis, MO, courtesy of the WWE Network. Michael Cole, Jerry "The King" Lawler, and John "Bradshaw" Layfield are at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted.
- Mr. McMahon shows up to promise change! Change that will alter the WWE FOREVER. He GUARAN-DAMN-TE'S it will be a Survivor Series we will never forget. That can be either a good thing or a bad thing. He brings out The Authority, who proceed to suck up to him as hard as possible. John Cena comes out, because all WWE Specials need to open with a 15 minute promo. Am I watching an EPIC PPV or an episode of Monday Night Raw? In case you missed it, if Team Cena loses, everyone with the exception of Cena, is fired. If The Authority loses, then Triple H and Stephanie are no longer in power. Vince with an added bonus to the stipulations: If John Cena wins, the only person who can ever bring Triple H and Stephanie back to power... is John Cena. CENA HEEL TURN... Ha ha, just kidding. Was just making sure you were paying attention.
- Adam Rose and the Stupid Bunny shill WWE action figure merchandise. Is this seriously an undercard program? Titus O'Neil and Heath Slater (Slater-Gator!) interrupt, setting up a Tag Team Match... TONIGHT! Wow, Survivor Series sure is epic with The Bunny on the card.
Summer Rae tries her luck, doing very little other than making funny faces. She misses a splash and over-sells it. She sucker punches the face team and takes it to the floor. Alicia tags in as the crowd chants "Nattie's husband" at Tyson. She hits a cross body on all three remaining opponents. She goes for a high spot, but they all back down. Layla tags in and gets worked over. Fox with a modified Northern Lights for two. Tilt-o-whirl back breaker on Layla gets three at 9:58. I just noticed Tyson Kidd is wearing headphones at ringside, but he's yet to be mentioned. Nattie with a basement dropkick and tornado clothesline on Summer Rae. Paige and Summer Rae work over Nattie, but then Summer pisses off Paige by imitating her howl. Emma works Summer Rae over with the Tarantula and finishes her with the Emmamite Sandwich and STF at 12:25, leaving Paige down 4-on-1.
The crowd is surprisingly into it as Paige tries to take a walk, but Emma throws her back in. Paige with a Superkick and headbutts. Emma fights out of the corner and tags out to Nattie. Paige slips out of a slam and knocks her head off with a superkick. Nattie ducks under a clothesline and throws Paige over with a release German suplex. Naomi meets knees on a split-leg moonsault, but walks into the Rear View. Naomi with a head-scissors smash, and Paige is done at 14:44, meaning the entire team of Natalya, Alicia Fox, Emma, and Naomi survived. Tyson Kidd celebrates in spite of doing absolutely nothing but standing at ringside. **1/2 Sloppy at times, but I'm surprised that they didn't rush through this with rapid eliminations like they've done in previous years. The stuff between Naomi/Cameron and anything with Summer Rae was a bit hard to watch, but everyone else brought a solid effort.
- The NEW-AND-IMPROVED Fernando re-debuted with his new dance partner, Rosa (Mendes, a.k.a the worst wrestler on the roster), and easily squashed Justin Gabriel. Also on the Kickoff Show, Bad News Barrett has some BAD NEWS... The WWE will florish in the era of Bad News Barrett.
Back in the ring for a bizarre face-to-face (yes, I use the term bizarre a lot). They trade blows with Ambrose taking control. Running forearm into the corner, followed by a bulldog... and now Ambrose mocks Wyatt's unusual "upside down" pose in the corner. Wyatt goes for Sister Abigal, but it's countered with a roll up for two. Ambrose traps Wyatt in the ropes and connects with a running dropkick, followed by a leg drop across the back of the head for two. Wyatt and Ambrose battle on the top rope, with Ambrose getting the better of the exchange. Wyatt goes for the urange', but Ambrose escapes and goes for his deep-rope-lunge clothesline, but Wyatt counters with the urange', but it only gets two! Wyatt to the second turnbuckle, only to meet canvas. Ambrose with a crucifix for two! Ambrose hits the big clothesline on his second attempt. He heads to the top rope and connects with an awkward elbow drop to a STANDING Wyatt for two! Ambrose fights out of a Powerbomb, but runs into a stiff clothesline, knocking him to the floor. Wyatt follows, slamming Ambrose across the ring steps. Wyatt gets on the microphone to tell Ambrose they could've been something special together. Oh-kay? He tosses a chair into the ring, intercepted by Ambrose, and unlike John Cena, clobbers Wyatt with it for the Disqualification at 14:22, then lays him out with Dirty Deeds on the chair (Dirty Deeds is now a Double-Arm DDT, not a Bulldog Driver).
He pulls out a table and comes crashing through Wyatt with an elbow drop. He pulls out a second table, lays it across Wyatt, and bashes it with a chair. Ambrose throws a pile of chairs onto the prone body of Wyatt and the tables. Just because under the ring is a magical closet, he pulls out a Ladder, just to celebrate with. ***1/2 I'm not going to lie: Bray Wyatt is usually a very hard performer to get into when it comes to the actual matches. We've seen him succeed and fail horribly (most recently every match he had with Jericho). Ambrose's unsual style and personality is a perfect match for Wyatt, and while the cheap finish was expected, it fits the character: He's not a goody-goody John Cena, he doesn't care, and a babyface giving a post-match beatdown to a heel for his mind-fucking antics is always welcome.
- Triple H and Stephanie with a pep-talk for Team Authority: Seth Rollins, Corporate Kane, Intercontinental Champion Luke Harper (yep), United States Champion Rusev (finally), and Mark Henry. Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble are laughable standing behind them, out-sized by Lana. I'm honestly surprised they didn't shoe-horn Triple H into the match, since it would logically make more sense than him putting his faith into other people's hands. Feels too much like Austin in 2003, except Austin was beloved. Triple H? He's a heel looking to get any added advantage he can.
- Jingle All the Way 2 commercial, starring Larry The Cable Guy. It's a WWE Production. I guess Vince McMahon thought the original starring Arnold Schwarzenegger just came out and figured it was worth investing money in for a sequel. With Larry The Cable Guy. Shoot me.
- Roman Reigns is coming back. I honestly don't care.
- Announced for TLC: Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt in a Tables, Ladders, and Chairs Match!
Big Show and Mark Henry start. Curiously, Hunter and Stephanie are still standing on the apron along with the official team. Hunter hypes up Henry, who walks into the KO Punch, and Big Show pins him at the 51-second mark. Well, didn't see that one coming. Hunter burying his face into his hand is a priceless image to sell the elimination. Rollins uses Harper to sneak attack, but Show turns the tables. Kane tags in, because GOD KNOWS, Kane vs. Big Show hasn't been done to death since 1999. Cena tags in, and if they booked things outside the box, they would just let Cena fight until he's eliminated. Harper tags in, as does Rowan. So much for that idea. They tease an epic encounter... but Rollins tags himself in to settle things down. Rowan pounds away and rams Rollins face-first in a bulldog position to the buckle. Ryback slams him from corner to corner. He slips out of a press slam and tags in Harper. Ryback takes him over with a delay vertical suplex. Kane tries his luck and gets taken down with a Thesz Press. Ryback with a Stupid Splash™ for two, and now it's Rusev's turn. They exchange blows until Ryback plants him with a spinebuster. Meat-Hook Clothesline connects! He goes for the Shell Shock, but Rusev slips free and Kane levels him with a boot. Heck breaks loose around the ring area. Rollins with the Curb Stomp on Ryback, and Rusev adds a running savat kick for the three count at 8:25!
Big Show comes in for his try with Rusev. Another fantasy booking: Have Rusev gradually take out Big Show and Rowan, leaving Cena and Ziggler 2-on-4. Show knocks Rusev silly with a boot and signals for the Chokeslam, but Rusev escapes and tags out to Harper. Show sends him from corner to corner, but Harper quickly comes back with a dropkick. Rollins puts the boots to him for a two count. Kane with a basement dropkick for two. Harper with the Gator Roll front facelock. Show fights free and tags out to Ziggler. He explodes with clotheslines and a swinging neck breaker. He takes the time to cheap shot Rollins and gets planted with a twirling boss-man slam. Rollins puts the boots to him, as does Rusev. Kane with a clothesline to the corner and a side slam for two. Ziggler blocks a suplex from Harper, but runs into an uppercut. Rusev with some trash talk, sparking Ziggler for a quick flurry of offense. Rusev catches a body press, drives a series of knees to the midsection, and throws him overhead for a near fall. Rollins continues to punish Ziggler with forearms across the eyes. Ziggler teases another comeback, only to get slammed hard into the turnbuckle. Rollins covers, but it only gets two! Ziggler escapes a chinlock and plants Rusev with a DDT for two! Cena runs in and gives Harper an AA. Kane chokeslams Cena. Show chokeslams Kane. Rollins with the Super-Knee to Show. Rowan tosses Rollins over the top rope onto a pile of bodies. Ziggler goes for the Fame-Asser, but Rusev launches him over the top rope onto everyone else! Rusev takes apart the Spanish and English Announcers Tables (dum-dum-dum!) and ends up putting himself through it on a splash! Ziggler makes it back in the ring, Rusev doesn't, and Rusev is gone at 21:30!!! I can't lie, that was an awesome spot and a great way to eliminate Rusev without a pinfall/tap out.
Ziggler is dead in the ring. Kane goes for the Chokeslam, but Ziggler escapes and tags in Cena! He comes off the ropes with shoulder tackles, followed by a twisting back suplex. Five-Knuckle Shuffle connects! Cena with the AA, and Rollins comes in and hits the Curb Stomp on Cena! Rowan and Harper tag in and slug it out. Rowan throws Harper into the corner and charges in with an avalanche. He unloads with headbutts until Harper hops on his back. Rowan with a spinning heel kick on Harper! Kane goes for the Chokeslam, but Rowan blocks. Rollins sneaks in with the Flying Knee, and Harper puts him down with the twisting clothesline at 24:52, making it 3-on-3 (but Ziggler is dead on the floor to sell the beating he sustained). Rollins, Harper, and Kane stand tall to face Show and Cena... and then Show KO PUNCHES CENA! ROLLINS COVERS CENA FOR THREE AT 25:52! CENA LOSES! CENA LOSES! CENA LOSES! Show shakes Triple H's hand and takes a walk at the 27:00 mark, leaving Ziggler by himself.
Kane throws Ziggler back in the ring to pick at the remains. They dick at Ziggler for a few minutes, taking things lightly. Kane sets up for a Super-Plex, but Ziggler fights out of it, shoves Kane down, and connects with a body press for two. Ziggler with a Superkick and Zig-Zag for the three count at 30:20, leaving Ziggler to face Harper and Rollins. Harper rushes in with a big boot, knocking Ziggler to the floor. Harper follows with a sucide dive. Back in the ring, Haprer with a Superkick of his own... for two! Harper with a Ligerbomb for another two count! Ziggler with a surprise roll up on Harper for three at 32:22, leaving it one-on-one with Seth Rollins! He quickly rushes in to put the boots to Ziggler before tossing him to the floor. Back in the ring, another surprise roll up gets two! DDT for another two count! Rollins with the running Powerbomb throw into the turnbuckle for a two count! Rollins to the top rope, but Ziggler meets him. Rollins shoves him down, only to miss a Super Curb Stomp! FAMEASSER CONNECTS! ONLY GETS TWO! Meanwhile, Triple H is having a panic attack at ringside. Ziggler goes for the Zig Zag, but chooses to take out the Security. ZIG ZAG ON ROLLINS! 1... 2... Triple H pulls the referee out of the ring! Mercury and Noble run in to put a beating on Ziggler, but he fights them off, including bumping Stephanie off the apron. Rollins with another running powerbomb spot, but the Curb Stomp misses! ZIG ZAG CONNECTS AGAIN! Another referee runs in, but Hunter knocks him out, too!!!! He takes the jacket off and starts assaulting Ziggler. He takes Dolph's head off with a running clothesline. The Pedigree connects, and pulls Rollins lifeless body on top. Crooked Referee Scott Armstrong runs in and... OH MY GOD IT'S STING! STING IS AT A WWE PAY PER VIEW! After what feels like forever (and some awful music, sorry) Triple H makes a move, only for Sting to boot him in the midsection and plant him with the Scorpion Death Drop! He pulls Rollins off Ziggler and rolls Ziggler on top, because both are dead, apparently. The referee revives and counts three at 44:13, awarding it to Team Cena, and Sole Survivor Dolph Ziggler!
****1/2 As far as match quality goes, this was well booked, exciting, and gave everyone the right ending: Someone NOT named John Cena winning, especially a someone like Dolph Ziggler who remained popular despite inconsistant and, more often than not, lackluster creative direction. Nothing felt rushed, those with limitations were in-and-out of the ring quickly to keep the pace, and did I mention John Cena jobbed and his team still won? Finally, You can nitpick things all you want about him, but the fact that Sting finally, FINALLY, shows up on a WWE Pay-Per-View... it's an iconic moment. After so many teases, so many years, so many rumors and so much speculation, the improbable moment finally happened.
Final Thoughts: Until the Main Event, this was just another WWE PPV/Network Special. Solid work, nothing memorable. Then we got the Traditional Elimination Match between the Authority and Team Cena. Smart booking, fast paced action, a great underdog story with an unlikely hero, AND THE WWE DEBUT OF STING makes for one hell of a satisfying conclussion. Is Triple H and Stephanie McMahon's reign as figures heads truely over? Who cares. I was on the edge of my seat watching the match unfold and marked out like crazy when Sting finally came out, and marked out even harder when he planted Triple H with the Scorpion Death Drop. God, outside of fantasy booking, when did we think that sentence would be possible for as real WWE PPV? Solid Thumbs Up, worth giving a look... holy crap, Sting showed up.
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