Tuesday, 25 November 2014

WWE Survivor Series on Sky Box Office - TV Review

It's time to head into WWE territory once again as we take a look at their latest pay per view offering, Survivor Series, shown live in the early hours of this past Monday morning on Sky Sports here in Britain.

After an opening segment in which Mr. McMahon dropped a bombshell and added another shocking stipulation to the main event (more on that later) it was on to the first title match of the evening, a fatal four way match with the Usos, the Miz and Damien Mizdow and Los Matadores challenged Goldust and Stardust for the Tag Team titles.

Well, this certainly proved to be an interesting one. It was pretty good as far as show openers go, with all eight combatants putting in good stints. The Rhodes boys looked the best of the bunch once more, and while the other two brother teams weren't that far behind them Mizdow spent most of the match mimicking his employer, and that's one act I still can't quite get my head around.

There was the obligatory all hell breaking loose moment, including the let's all fly over the ropes spot, before a decent tree of woe move involving the Dusts and the masked guys. Jimmy Uso then tried to capitalize with a superfly splash off the top rope, only for the Miz to get the blind tag and break up the pin. But before he could go for the pin Mizdow tagged himself in so he could cover Goldust for the title winning pin. Needless to say that Miz took all the credit.

Then it was on to the first elimination match, an all-Divas affair with Paige, Camera, Layla and Summer Rae taking on Alicia Fox, Emma, Naomi and Natalya. Moving on.....

The big grudge match followed as Dean Ambrose went up against Bray Wyatt.

The formula for this one was simple, it was two crazy guys beating the hell out of each other, and you know what? It was worth the price of admission alone.

These two were the perfect combination. There was no fancy dan stuff here, just two guys who hated each other and wanted to tear each other apart, with a little bit of mind games thrown in for good measure. And that's basically how this match played out. It was simple and highly effective, and the ending made sure that the people would want more from these two.

After Wyatt had goaded Ambrose on the microphone he went out to ringside and tossed a couple of chairs into the ring, and while the referee was taking care of one of the offending items Ambrose managed to get a hold of one of the weapons. The referee urged him not to use it while Wyatt urged him to do the opposite, and when Ambrose did the opposite and clobbered the bearded one the referee called for the bell, disqualifying Ambrose and giving Wyatt the win.

That wasn't the end of things though. Ambrose had nothing to lose, and it wasn't long before he put his man through a table with a top rope elbow. He then buried Wyatt under a table and a pile of chairs before celebrating atop a ladder.

It was back to tag team action for the next match as Adam Rose and the Bunny took on the Slater Gator team of Heath Slater and Titus O'Neil.

So where do I begin with this one? It felt like this one should have been on the pre-show. Rose took a bit of a pasting from the two jobbers until he got the hot tag to the guy in the bunny suit, who ended things with a missile dropkick before rolling up Slater for the three count, much to the annoyance of Mr. Rose.

The penultimate match of the evening saw Nikki Bella, accompanied by her sister Brie, challenging A.J. Lee for the Divas title.

Looks like the Divas title was back to being filler material this month. This rather short affair began with Brie jumping up onto the ring apron with the title belt on her shoulder. A surprised A.J. then found herself on the receiving end of a lip lock from Brie, and when she turned around Nikki took her down with an forearm smash, following up with the rack attack for the title winning pin. Brie then celebrated with her supposedly hated rival in the ring.

The main event was the big five-on-five elimination match, with Team Authority, Kane, Mark Henry, Intercontinental Champion Luke Harper, United States Champion Rusev and Seth Rollins facing Team Cena, Dolph Ziggler, the Big Show, Erick Rowan, Ryback and John Cena.

This one had quite a few stipulations: If Team Cena beat Team Authority then Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley would lose their power, and, as Mr. McMahon announced at the beginning of the show, only one man could give them back that power - John Cena. If Team Authority won then Triple H would fire all of Team Cena except their captain.

This one certainly lived up to expectations. I haven’t felt this kind of drama surrounding a Survivor Series match since the end of the Invasion thirteen years ago. As the old saying goes you could just feel the tension in the air, and it lasted the entire duration of the match. Everything was just spot on from start to finish.

As for the eliminations.....

The first elimination came in the very first minute. After Trips and Steph fired up Henry he rain straight into a knockout punch from the Big Show. A three count later and the world's strongest man was history.

Ryback was the next one to go. Having cleaned house, the big man looked to take Rusev down with the shell-shock until Kane connected with a big boot. All hell then broke loose, and after Rollins took him down with the curb stomp Rusev connected with a running kick to end Ryback's feeding frenzy, evening the sides.

It was quite a while until the next elimination, and after Ziggler had taken the punching bag treatment we had another all hell breaking loose moment as the bodies began to fly, culminating in Rusev powerbombing Ziggler over the top rope onto everyone else at ringside. He then cleared the announcers' tables, intending to put Ziggler through the furniture with a big splash. But it was the transplanted Bulgarian who crashed through the wood when Ziggler moved out of the way, and although Ziggler managed to beat the referee's count big Rusev failed, eliminating him from the proceedings.

The battle of the former Wyatt Family comrades resulted in the next elimination. Harper and Rowan finally faced each other, and although Rowan managed to knock a few heads the numbers were soon against him, and a drive-by from Rollins set up Harper for a discus clothesline, meaning that we wouldn't getting any more shots of men in overalls in this match.

Then came the big double cross. With Ziggler laid out at ringside Show and Cena looked to square off against Rollins, Kane and Harper, until Show turned his back on his team when he knocked Cena out with that big right mitt of his. Rollins quickly seized the opportunity and covered Cena for the pin. Show then shook Triple H's hand before being counted out, leaving Ziggler alone against three men.

Against the odds Ziggler began to fight back, with Kane the first to go after a superkick and the zig zag. He then took a pasting from Harper, but having survived the powerbomb he soon rolled the big man up for the pin.

This left Ziggler and Rollins as the last two men, and although Rollins came close to getting the win after a little help from the new Stooges Ziggler got even closer, until Trips pulled the referee out of the ring when he made his count. A second official couldn't get the job done either, leaving Trips to get into the ring to take care of Ziggler himself before he called crooked referee Scott Armstrong into action.

Then it happened. Just as Armstrong was making his count he arrived. Sting, the man who had never set foot in a WWE ring during his long and illustrious career was finally in front of the WWE fans, and after he made his way down the aisle a right hand soon sent Armstrong packing.

Time seemed to then stand still for a while as the Game and the Stinger stared at each other from across the ring, that was until Trips thought stuff it and went on the attack. But a boot from the face-painted one and a scorpion death drop soon took care of the cerebral assassin. He then took the still prone Rollins off the fallen Ziggler, reversing the positions before one of the formerly stunned referees came into the ring and made the three count, ending the Authority's reign of terror.

Needless to say that the now-former Authority weren't too pleased with what had happened, especially when the fans in attendance reminded them of their predicament, the show ending with Mrs. Helmsley throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of the ring.

In conclusion - building an entire show around just one match can be a risky thing to do, and the gamble paid off big time Vince McMahon and his gang here.

This year's Survivor Series proved to be a quality show. Okay, there were a couple of things that left me scratching my head a little, most notably a giant bunny throwing a missile dropkick, but at the end of the day this show will be remembered for it's dramatic main event, and the debut of a certain former WCW World Champion.

As for my prestigious match of the night no-prize there were only really two contenders for this crown, and although I considered giving it to the Wyatt/Ambrose brawl it goes to the Team Authority/Team Cena main event, one of the most tense Survivor Series matches I've ever seen.

So with all of that out of the way there's just one more thing left to do, and that's to give this show the thumbs up.