WWE Survivor Series 2016
Watch: WWE Network
Air Canada Centre – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Meet The Reviewers:
Trask (@TraskWWW): Trask is the founder of Wrestling With Words. He bounces around everywhere within the realm of WWW, contributing over 200 posts so far this year.
Trevor (@das_trevor): Trevor is the reviewer of Raw for Wrestling With Words. Having just joined the team, this is his first PPV review contribution, but the young boy of WWW is fired up to get more involved in the site game.
Corwo (@The_Corwo): Corwo is the reviewer of SmackDown Live for Wrestling With Words. He’s the brainchild behind so many projects and things associated with WWW. He loves Michinoku Pro.
Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Raw (Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Nia Jax & Alicia Fox) def. Team SmackDown (Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Nikki Bella, Naomi & Carmella)
Trask: Natalya attacked Nikki before the match, leading to her as the replacement fifth member of the team. They played it up in a clueless element that came off terribly overacted. The match ended up being quite a mess, not clinging onto the stories that have been making the women divisions as good as they have been. Sasha was eliminated much too early. Beyond the other girls, three out of the four horsewomen came first. We had a few clunky botches such as Nia and her group not knowing what was going on, flailing around, and Bayley missing pace to breakup a near fall. They completely dropped the ball on Jax, with the highlight of the match being her dominating–hitting a double suplex. But nope, she just HAD to tap out. Becky Lynch became face in peril in a 2 vs. 1 situation leading to her being pinned after a Bayley to Belly. When you add up the Sasha and Nia eliminations, as well as the other portions of the match, plus the nonsensical ideology of having the SmackDown champ being pinned, no comeback at all, the match was rough. They redeemed the booking slightly post-match by having Charlotte destroy Bayley. But SmackDown look like a bunch of geeks as the end result. (eh)
Corwo: Early on, Team SmackDown quickly found out that they’d have to get rid of Nia Jax if they wanted any chance to succeed. Jax ran through everyone, but after several rapid-fire eliminations, she taps out to Sasha Banks. Once Jax and Banks are eliminated, the structuring of the match falls apart entirely. Bayley finds herself out of her element, reluctantly breaking up a pin attempt late in the match, but she eventually gains her composure and pins Lynch. I also had issues with the booking of this match, namely because the title contenders were simply disregarded and treated as transitional eliminations. While there were things I enjoyed about this match, such as the chop battle between Charlotte and Natalya, it also had a lot of glaring issues.
Trevor: This match was mostly pretty weak. I missed this match and ended up having to re-watch it because I didn’t know Survivor Series was going to be 4 hours so seeing this match took even more out of it for me. Natalya looked really great in this match and even took out Sasha Banks which was a good move being in her home country, but other then that I mostly was out of this one.
WWE Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (c) def. Sami Zayn
Trask: To no one’s surprise, this stole the show. It was worked so brilliantly that touched on so many reoccurring subjects, such as Maryse being the best of trolls, Zayn’s ongoing saga with his leg, as well as Miz proving that he’s a “fighting” (cowardly) champ, that puts on these meta workhorse matches, only to come out of it with a cheap win. The match was built with Zayn overcoming work over and hitting massive hope spot combo near falls. Only that, when he went for the helluva kick, the leg was so bad that it totally gave out on him. Zayn added to the element even more-so, continually grasping onto the one bodypart that typically wins him matches. The match kicked into another level after that. It was a show-stealing IC Title match–matches like this I adore on any card. The finish was pro wrestling at its finest. Troll Maryse rang the bell as Zayn had Miz in a figure four, only for the camera to pan to Maryse; standing there knowing she had turned the tide. Miz executed a roll-up for the pinfall victory to retain. Between the work, selling, booking and smarts oozing from the psychology and work, I couldn’t ask for much more. (great)
Corwo: This felt like a much more polished version of their TV matches, in the sense that they did the usual spots, but with an added twist of Zayn using them to fight back from Miz’s leg work. Zayn is at his best fighting from underneath and his selling was extremely consistent throughout. There was also some nice psychology, as Zayn tried to use the figure four leg lock against Miz at one point. Maryse ringing the bell and Miz rolling up Zayn to end the match was excellent, especially in the context of Miz doing anything and everything to retain the title. A very good match.
Trevor: A solid match here. Sami Zayn did the best selling of a hurt leg I’ve seen in some time. The Miz is a polarizing wrestler, but personally I love him and I thought everything he did in this match was great from mocking Daniel Bryan and working Sami’s leg. The finish for me worked well. At first I thought they were doing the Montreal screwjob, but when I saw Maryse was the one that rang the bell I was relieved and thought it was pretty clever.
Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Raw (New Day, Sheamus & Cesaro, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, Enzo & Big Cass & The Shining Stars) def. Team SmackDown (Heath Slater & Rhyno, The Hype Bros, American Alpha, The Usos & Breezango)
Trask: The tag team elimination match was split down the line. There was the first bit, which was passable, but seemed like a total eye roll. Quick eliminations (albeit smart for The Usos to takeout Raw Champs so quickly to keep things unpredictable) soiled the match, but served as a blessing when we got to the final two of Sheamus/Cesaro vs. The Usos. These two teams tore it up like they were working the hottest tag of the year. The one segment made the match entirely worth it. Cesaro was on the comeback, doing 20 insane things a minute, as both teams traded submissions and near falls. Yoshi-stomps, Sharpshooters, superkicks, uppercuts, fired up grapplers and Cesaro being Cesaro just made my heart so wholesome. In the end Sheamus saved Cesaro with a Brogue Kick as Cesaro locked in the sharpshooter for the tap out victory for Team Raw. If it wasn’t for the final minutes with both these teams, the match would be a total pushover on a card, with another bad match added, would make the elimination matches look abysmal; the worst matches on the show. Luckily this helped the show. (very good)
Corwo: The first half of this match was rather unmemorable. But, once Team SmackDown began to come back, things picked up quickly. There were some fantastic spots, including one where Chad Gable hit a tope con giro on the other competitors. Cesaro and Sheamus and The Usos provided several convincing near-falls, and that was all she wrote. While I was down on this match early on, it ended up being quite enjoyable.
Trevor: The match got really good when it came down to Cesaro/Sheamus and the Usos. I felt like they were building off of the NXT Tag Team championship match from last night. Many moments were I thought it was gonna over and it just kept going which was great. I didn’t see it coming down to the Usos at all for Team SmackDown, but they did great in their role. For me this was the best match of the night in terms of execution and technicality.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship & Cruiserweight Division: Brian Kendrick/Raw (c) DQ Kalisto/SmackDown Live
Trask: Now this. This was something. In a match that was hardly reacted to in the first place, the two pulled out absurd spots in order to get the match more hype. A Spanish fly to the floor and a top rope captain’s hook near fall which ended up being the spot of the match where Kalisto held on for dear life. The division and title meant that much to him. I can’t call this a great match by any means. Even before the tone death decision happened, it was built off insane spots and odd work over that didn’t translate well–in front of a crowd that didn’t care. Then the awful happened. Baron Corbin ran in for the DQ finish to extend the feud with Kalisto and to Kevin Nash the Cruiserweights. Reminder that the DIVISION was in the balance of this match. The title was second-rate in a primetime battle. Yet they used it as enhancement for someone three times the size of the division. As part of its biggest match yet, the Cruiserweight division was murdered in cold blood by the hypocritical nature of the product. The CWC was still going on two months ago. TWO. I digress, the Cruiserweights never meant as much as me thought, or were lead to believe, regarding the main product. The division and matches will go on. At least that’s something. While I’m still looking forward to Kalisto and Corbin’s future storyline, that defeats the purpose of something that was billed as such a big deal. Wrestling life goes on. (ok)
Corwo: Kalisto’s working with a sense of urgency here, and Kendrick came off as someone who was willing to go to great lengths to retain his title, but the crowd had no reason to care. As far as the action is concerned, it was fine, maybe even good. There was an absurd Spanish Fly from the apron, and they told a nice story of Kendrick bringing out a new side of aggressiveness in Kalisto. The finish encapsulates everything wrong with how the cruiserweight division has been handled. Baron Corbin interferes and attacks both men, so the match is thrown out and Kendrick retains. Due to these circumstances, I can’t justify re-watching this match, but aside from the finish and crowd involvement, or lack thereof, I don’t think it was bad.
Trevor: There wasn’t really anything wrong with this match, but nothing memorable either. For some reason the cruiserweight matches leave the crowds completely dead which I don’t understand and that affects the feel of the match tremendously. Brian Kendrick always bring in some creative spots such as wedging Kalisto’s head between the apron and the steel steps and the Captain’s Hook off the top rope was brutal. Baron Corbin had no business messing this match up though. I figured that the cruiserweight division would be free of this kind of stuff and just try to put on good matches, but I guess I was wrong.
Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team SmackDown (AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton & Shane McMahon) def. Team Raw (Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman & Seth Rollins)
Trask: This wasn’t one of the better traditional elimination matches as part of the PPV, but it was the definition of sports entertainment. This whole night ended up being such, as topped off with a main event that made everything else seem realist cosplay. The match was all about moments, going extremely long for WWE standards. I’m going to list some amazing moments from the match that reminded me not to take WWE so seriously and just enjoy what was being placed in front of me (mostly): The Shield reuniting, which made me scream louder at a rapid pace more since the AJ Styles Royal Rumble debut; the Braun Strowman moments seeing him dominate everyone only to be held down by James Ellsworth for a countout loss, only for Ellsworth to be thrown into oblivion aka the tables on the side of the stage; all the rivals clashing and callbacks being made (Styles/Reigns, Orton/Rollins, Bray/Ambrose, Ambrose/Owens, the list goes on); and a WHOLE lot more that made this match what it was. It was a goofy spectacle pitting the brands against each other, going long to the point where it helped the match more than hurt it. It elevated the people surviving. Shane McMahon was someone not even brought up yet. His shitty comeback punches combined with multiple bumps including an announce table jump and caught in mid-air Spear loss was awe-inspiring typical him. The eliminations flowed fairly well, I never found myself complaining about any of the booking. I dumbed myself down slightly for a match that totally over-delivered from a spectacle and storytelling perspective. Sports entertainment at its finest, that saw the Toronto-hated Reigns be the last one standing for Raw, only to spear Randy Orton who took a bullet for Bray Wyatt. In the biggest shock of the match, Bray picked up the win for Team SmackDown. Please continue with this momentum. For everything I’ve missed, I’m sure other things will be brought up during the other two reviews. I had a hoot of the time and thought it all came together, sloppily, to create the silly traditional tag art-form that always has my heart. (great)
Corwo: This started off as a gritty war for brand supremacy, but it quickly dove off a cliff. With all of the chaos, chicanery, nostalgia and awe-inspiring spots, this was sports entertainment personified. You had Shane McMahon doing a top-rope elbow drop through a table, all team members brawling on the outside, The Shield reuniting and tensions finally boiling over between Jericho and Owens. While I don’t think this was a great match in the conventional sense of the word, it was unique. If you enjoy spectacles, this one is definitely worth a watch.
Trevor: I straight up highly enjoyed this one. Was it flawed? Yes. Was it messy? Yes. But there were many memorable moments and lots of action that made this bout just plain entertainment. From Shane McMahon completely destroying his body to Rollins taking an insane RKO out of the air. Plus the Shield spot on AJ Styles melted my heart as a Shield fan. Didn’t see Bray Wyatt getting the win for Team Blue at all, but honestly good for Bray Wyatt. There were too many great spots and moments to talk about here, but to some it up I loved the whole thing. A great match.
Goldberg def. Brock Lesnar
Trask: It was a sequence I’d never thought would happen. Push. Spear. Spear. Jackhammer. Win. Shock booking. One of the most stupid matches I’ve ever seen, yet I can’t stop buzzing over it. I love the shock booking, like a stupid MMA fight. So many people were sacrificed for Brock, and Goldberg beats him in seconds. I love pro wrestling because it’s so dumb. I can’t help but laugh to the bank seeing all the reactions and then somehow being so happy after this result. I completely get the other side of the fence. But to me this was so awfully great, showcasing the very worst of wrestling; while completely knocking me over the head with a minute match I’d never guess would happen. So fucking stupid. The match itself was amazing for the biggest shock in wrestling since WrestleMania 30, the atmosphere, and Brock’s selling of just getting ran over by someone he thought he was washed up. The bully got his comeuppance in the most late-era WCW way possible. (excellent)
Corwo: Speaking of spectacles, Goldberg just pinned Brock Lesnar in under two minutes and perhaps more importantly, Brock didn’t get any offense whatsoever. Way to kill Lesnar’s momentum. On the other hand, this was a Goldberg match by all accounts, so the people likely got their money’s worth.
Trevor: I mean what is there to even say about this? I’m not really sure what I expected out of this match. I guess the pure shock was better than an awful 20 minute match. But honestly if Goldberg wanted to come back for his family to see him in the ring did it have to be against Brock and completely destroy him? I’m sure they could’ve got someone else for Goldberg to squash. I just hope this isn’t over between the two, because a part of me makes me want to see Goldberg actually wrestle again.
WWE SURVIVOR SERIES 2016
Average - 5/10
Factoring in our overall thoughts, we've come to agreement that the show falls fairly in the middle of PPVs. While Baron Corbin did kill the Cruiserweight division with a run-in, and Goldberg squashed Brock Lesnar, who ran through the entire company for 2 years plus, Trask took it as something hilariously dumb in enjoyment. We all agree that the Cruiserweight booking was arguably even the worst of the night. Goldberg is to appear in the Royal Rumble match and we're going to get a new side of Brock Lesnar never before seen. The booking overall is inexcusable, but when you look at it from different sides, it becomes more crystal clear that we weren't ever to get the 'Lesnar rub' after Reigns lost the WrestleMania match. The IC Title match was something to look back on as a full-on positive. The women's tag was the biggest letdown of the night, being mildly abysmal. The traditional tag team tag picked up into something we all loved. We all agreed that on this night, when thinking about the brand war men's match combined with the main event--this was sports entertainment personified. Many ups and downs. Many negatives and positives. But it remained an enjoyable watch that scrapes by as something that's at least not the worst. That's why there are the WCW comparisons. Speaking of which, it is kind of funny seeing how everything compares. Is WCW...back?!