WWE's Survivor Series recap: We knew what was coming, and we loved it anyway
Miz & Mizdow Winning the Tag-Team Championships Would’ve Been So Much More Exciting a Month Ago
Just admit it. The truth will set you free.
Your Requisite Reminder That the Diva’s Division is Secretly Full of Talent
This “heel divas” vs. “Paige and friends” was thrown together at the last minute, but everyone gets their licks in, and it’s actually kind of wonderful! Natalya, Summer Rae, Naomi - now just imagine what would happen if they actually gave them a storyline too...
It Took Literally Two Hours For Them to Announce a Rematch at the Next Pay-Per-View
Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose were coming off the hottest finish a month ago, which involved Wyatt swerving in to stop Dean getting his revenge on his archenemy/former best friend Seth Rollins.
Then they were given pre-taped promos for a month, adding up to about 15 minutes at Survivor Series. It was a pretty great 15 minutes, mind you, but about what you’d expect from Raw. I just don’t get how you take two of the best talkers you have in the company and let them work stuff out on the fringes. This should’ve been a BARNBURNER. Wyatt and Dean are absolutely capable of capturing some real magic with poetic, deranged dueling dialogue. This match should’ve started with a rapturous ‘THIS IS AWESOME’ chant before either guy did anything. But nope. Left to be-totally-fine in the mid-card.
I did dig Wyatt’s mid-match mic time, essentially telling Dean that if they united they could take on the world. Which, yeah, that’s probably true, and that’d be really cool. Wyatt throws Dean a chair and begs him to unleash his darkness. Which he does, a lot, burying him in broken tables, chairs, ladders, whatever he could find. Wyatt will certainly come back tonight with some suitable amazing spiel about how he’s already started unleashing Ambrose’s darkness, and the TLC match will probably be fantastic. I just wish it wasn’t all so telegraphed.
Heel Brie Makes Total Sense
Look, am I happy that the Diva’s Championship is changing hands after one girl force-kiss-distracts another girl leading to a 30 second match? Not at all. Does this seem like a big middle finger to CM Punk? Absolutely. Am I happy that Brie has finally joined her sister in heelishness? Oh my god you have no idea.
Brie’s wavering, lily-white attitude forced through clipped scripts is the worst thing in the world. If she’s back to being mean with her sister, at least I won’t be expected to root for her, and who knows? Maybe she can be funny like she is on Total Divas! Hopefully in ways that doesn’t involve kissing other girls or anything else exploitative.
The Best Survivor Series Main Event in Recent Memory
The card was looking a little light, which is usually what happens when you’ve got 10 of your top guys booked in one, all-encompassing match. This can be easily bungled when treated like slightly-notable Raw filler, but it can also be really, really good. When I realized we were heading into the main event with 50 minutes still left in the show, well, it was clear that the WWE was getting out of their way.
Survivor Series matches are all about two guys getting tagged in who make the whole audience go “oooooh.” It’s the best wrestling stuff ever, and we got that in spades. Big Show cold-clocking Mark Henry, former Wyatt members Rowan and Harper squaring off, Ryback and Rusev pathing out semi-circles. It was great! The crowd was hot from the start (which perhaps makes that Vinny Mac opening promo a little more understandable).
The highlight, of course, was Dolph Ziggler. If it weren’t for a certain thing that happened at the end of the show, this would’ve been the marquee moment of his entire career. In case you missed last night’s show, Ziggler is left for dead as the only fighting member of Team Cena, with Kane, Rollins, Luke Harper (and eventually Triple H) picking through his bones. If you’re familiar with this column you’ll know that Ziggler’s awesome ability to ragdoll around the ring is one of my favorite things about the show every week, and it was so, so good to see it finally put to good use. Yes, in his bleached-blonde hair molly-dream theme music, Dolph Ziggler looked completely, organically heroic. He ate finishers, willed his shoulder up, and squeaked out victories on everyone. Seriously, he was personally responsible for KOing four of the five members of Team Authority. Turns out it was just as easy to root for a main-event Ziggler as we thought it was.
And let’s take a moment to commend Stephanie McMahon, who was incredible at ringside. Just squawking and screaming and talking so much garbage, like what every mom’s vision of what evil looks like. She personally willed a fairly mediocre build into something that felt worthy of its stakes. Hats off.
Oh Yeah, That Guy
So Dolph Ziggler beats Seth Rollins a couple times fair and square, only for the referee to get distracted/destroyed through increasingly violent Trips incursions. Eventually the COO takes matters into his own hands and Pedigrees Dolph, throwing his lifeless body on top of Rollins for the cover. But then the lights go down and a fifty-something cosplayer creeps down to the ring.
If you were reading the internet these last couple of days, you knew this was happening. Still, it was a cool moment seeing our resurrected, post-TNA Sting saunter to the squared circle for the first time in WWE. That guy is so freaking cool. It doesn’t matter what the dirt sheets prognosticate, it barely matters if he can wrestle anymore: you put him in full Crow regalia and let him look legendary? 10/10. Every time.
He stands silently in the ring for what feels like ages, before Death Dropping Hunter with trademark violence. Ziggler gets pulled over for the cover, and Sting fades into the mists. Incredible. I know it’s just an old guy we love, but man I’m glad I’m not cynical enough to disrespect that.