If you came to The Lady J Says blog looking to find out who was victorious at last night’s Survivor Series, you have come to the right place. Because the victor was me.
Was Survivor Series the knock-down drag out PPV of our dreams? No. In fact, going into the show, I wasn’t that excited. I wanted to know who ended up with the WWE World Heavyweight championship, sure, but that was about it. So how did a sullen emo kid like me end up so joyous?
I originally missed the pre-show as it was airing. But to tune is just as Survivor Series was starting and hear that Goldust is back to face his brother, that was a treat in itself! I have always loved Goldust. He is a true character – one who lends himself to variety and the unexpected. That is a great character for WWE to have in their arsenal. I am very much looking forward to a real brother vs brother feud between Goldust and Stardust. If they are given the opportunity to tell a really emotional story, I can’t imagine Dusty’s boys will leave a dry eye in the house. And, in light of recent distasteful storytelling, I hope WWE doesn’t shy away from using the real life aspects of these brothers’ relationship to make it powerful.
Lets move on to the first two matches of the main card. Both semi-final matches were back to back right at the beginning, I imagine to give the winners enough time to regroup before having their final match for the title. Strictly in terms of actual matches, I think I liked these two better than any of the other matches we saw last night. The finishes didn’t seem quite so rushed the way they did in some of the other matches, and there was still a sense of excitement because the title picture was still unfolding before us. Well done to all four men involved (particularly Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens for saving Roman Reigns from his own backstage promo.)
The traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series match ended up being The Usos, The Lucha Dragons, and Ryback vs. The New Day, King Barrett, and Sheamus. This match was fun, of course, with New Day being out there to inject a little hellish humor into the PPV. I have to admit, once New Day carried Big E off, I was no longer interested in the match. It never eve occurred to me that Sheamus might pull out a win (spoiler alert: he didn’t) so I ended up distracting myself with other things until I heard the bell ring. It was still definitely a fun match to watch, and it was light and funny before getting back into more serious stuff with the Diva’s championship match. You know, everything that happened in the ring last night served a purpose, even if it was to break up the more serious storylines with a few light moments. And I’m not worried about what happens to anyone in this match moving forward – except maybe Barrett, who I am always worried about. I really enjoy his heel characters and want to see him in the ring more, not less.
The Diva’s Championship match is really hard for me to comment on. If you were to take away all of the context of this match, it was actually very good – something people definitely would have been into seeing on NXT. But, this is not NXT. And the context that surrounds this match ended up choking it. I still stand by my predictions for this match and would have preferred it be a squash match to go with the type of story they were trying to tell. But now I don’t know what you do with either of these women and to be honest, I don’t care. WWE’s need to blur the lines between reality and fiction basically killed this whole story and not even a solid in-ring performance could save it. Can we please have someone else in a women’s match for TLC so I don’t have to think about this whole thing ever again? Oh, and someone tell Charlotte that when she puts the figure four leg lock on someone to let THEM do the screaming.
Tyler Breeze vs Dolph Ziggler was fine. I still don’t understand why I am supposed to care about this feud, but the match itself was fun and over pretty quickly – maybe too quickly for them to really tell a story. I’m not really sure where either of these characters are supposed to go from here. I would have imagined putting Breeze with one of his old NXT opponents first would have been better and then building to what seems like a clearly brilliant pairing between him and Ziggler. But instead they blew the whole thing off in Breeze’s first PPV match and now what? I hope WWE doesn’t do to Prince Pretty what they did with some of the other NXT call-ups and figure out where this supermodel’s place is on the roster before the audience forgets why they liked him so much in the first place.
As for the Brothers of Destruction vs. The Wyatts match – I did not go into this match invested in it whatsoever. WWE could not seem to figure out how to tell this story, with week after week of contradictions and massive plot holes, which really pissed me off. If there is ONE PERSON on the roster who deserves to have solid stories, it’s the Undertaker. If that mad is given respect from literally every person on the roster, why can’t the people running creative offer him the same respect and give the man a story worth watching? That being said – I really liked his entrance. I really liked how the match was built so that everyone got something in. Bray sending Rowan in before the bell gets rid of him, Bray and Harper work a really fun program with Undertaker and Kane which could basically be called a Greatest Hits match of all the stuff you could ever want to see these two dudes pull off, and they even manage to choke slam Braun Strowman through the Spanish announce table for good measure. Was it the best match of the night? No. Was it the best story ever told? No. But it was fun and it was everything anyone could want from Undertaker at this point in his career. He’s doing a farewell tour and maybe the fans and creative should get together and make a deal: elevate creative’s level of storytelling to something that doesn’t look like the lunatics are running the asylum, and we promise to applaud and thank Taker like we’re supposed to. Okay? Deal?
Speaking of lunatics – let me just drag this soapbox over here for these last two matches, hang on a second. Okay. To everyone out there complaining about the last two matches – please pay attention. I am speaking to you.
Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Heavyweight title was set up properly. In my opinion, the match wasn’t long enough and the finish seemed a little wonky, but the basic storytelling was all there. Please go back and re-watch this match if you need to. (I’ll wait. Are you done yet?) I really like that there was no question about getting into this match, they just went for it. This is what we in the literary world call being in canon – canon being the literary version of kayfabe. It sticks with the story. These two guys, these best friends, made it clear they love each other, but they’re not going to hold back when it comes to the title. We see this play out when the bell rings because there was no lock up, they just come in swinging. Now, do I wish the match had been longer? Sure. As someone who doesn’t know nearly as much about the physical side of wrestling as I like to think I do about the story side, it looked like these two were having fun, and I believe I would have enjoyed a longer match.
Now here is the thing. When Reigns pins Ambrose and is given the belt, what happens next is the greatest thing to happen to us, the audience, in a very, very long time. After months and months of us booing Roman Reigns and hating on him up one side of the internet and down the other, we all were proven right: WWE doesn’t care what the fans want, they’re doing to do whatever WWE wants. And they put the title on Reigns. No, they don’t just give him the title, they basically mock all of us by giving him this ridiculous showing with confetti and pyro and it looks like a ticker-tape parade after the Super Bowl. It’s just silly, it looks so mocking, like Vince just stuck up both of his middle fingers at us.
It goes on forever, too. Which, if anyone remembers the finish to Summer Slam, you know sometimes WWE ends things early and just lets you sit in your misery and wallow. And just when we all start to wonder if this is really how the night ends, Triple H comes out to congratulate Roman the Champ, extending his hand to Reigns who ends up spearing the COO. Not cool, Reigns. You messed with the wrong guy. Don’t you remember who that is? That’s the guy that you and your brothers beat at Extreme Rules and Payback last year, before he managed to turn that weasel Seth Rollins against you. That’s Mr. Plan B. And he’s got one for you, right now.
Reigns manages to kick out on from the first Brogue Kick after Sheamus cashes in his Money in the Bank briefcase, but he can’t kick out of a second. And there it is – Sheamus is the new WWE World Heavyweight champion. The last image we get of Roman Reigns is his puffy-eyed face rolling staring up at the lights in disbelief before climbing out of the ring, thwarted again.
I. LOVE. THIS. There are no better words to describe my elation. This is brilliant storytelling, and we all fell for it. What’s really sad is that WWE has actually done this already. For everyone out there who’s been crying over WWE turning Roman Reigns into John Cena – do you not remember who was the first person to be cashed in on in history? Do you not remember that Cena got cashed in on successfully twice in six months? Reigns has had his dreams dashed thanks to that briefcase TWICE now since Wrestlemania 31. We all should have seen this coming! But instead, you all got angry. And this is where you lose me.
What are you so angry about? You didn’t want Roman to win. He lost! You’re still mad! “Well, we didn’t want Sheamus to win, either.” Wow. That sounds kind of bratty don’t you think? Sounds sort of like a little kid who doesn’t want to share his toys. “Now they’re going to try to force an underdog Reigns on us, but he’s no Daniel Bryan!” You’re right, he’s NOT Daniel Bryan. Daniel Bryan got cashed in on by Randy Orton in 2013, yes. But when his second chance, he beat not only Triple H, but Orton AND Batista and ended up holding the belt during a big party at Wrestlemania XXX – saw it on my TV and everything. Roman Reigns almost had Brock Lesnar – which is a feat in itself – and it got taken away by his ex-teammate. Now Roman Reigns didn’t just get close, he was HOLDING THE BELT IN HIS HANDS and got kicked in the face. Twice. He’s an underdog! It doesn’t matter if you don’t like him, he is, by definition, now an underdog. There are so many things WWE can do with him now because of this. (Note: I’m not ruling out that they ruin everything tonight on RAW somehow, but for the next seven hours there’s still potential.)
As for Sheamus – no, I don’t like him. But he’s not the same kind of heel as Seth Rollins. And regardless of his character or his wrestling ability, if you’re going to have babyfaces like Ambrose and Reigns in the title picture, the title has to be held by a heel! It’s as simple as that! Plus, I bet if they had left the title on Reigns, most of you would be praying for a Sheamus cash in before TLC. So in reality WWE is giving you what you want without your even knowing it. You can still boo Sheamus until you turn purple, and the guy you didn’t want to win did not win! There, art thou happy!
WWE is not a perfect landscape. There was plenty happening last night that was just bad or botched storytelling. But the title picture was not one of them. It’s Monday now, everyone’s had a chance to sleep. So let’s all have a good stretch and try to remember that the happier, or angrier we get as fans, the better the job WWE is doing.