PPVs are practically indistinguishable from Raw
My first annoyance is simple. The opening Segment with Vince and the Authority. I’ll never understand why a Pay-Per-View feels the need to have these talky, story segments, when that’s what the weekly shows are for. PPVs should be all about getting straight down to business, and this is a prime of example of my long-running complaint about how their monthly events lose their pageantry and just feel like glorified Monday Night Raws. At least Vince’s talk with Stephanie and Triple H cleared up some questions fans were asking. If they lose, they aren’t still just running things from out of sight (even though they really are). They’d be demoted to ‘desk jobs’, and only John Cena himself could allow for their reinstatement. What a hilarious twist!
Not Using What You’ve Got
For the opening 4-on-4 traditional Survivor Series match, Damien “Miz”dow was clearly the draw amongst a series of teams who’s interest is lukewarm at best. (The Usos, Los Luchadores, Gold and StarDust) And, as usual it was fun watching Sandow bounce around while the Miz takes his bumps. All the teams had solid showings, including a somewhat clunky top rope triple suplex/powerbomb. Everybody got a spot. Except Damien. It’s actually a good idea to tease his tag-in for the audience. They were salivating to see him get in the ring. What wasn’t such a good idea, was dragging the match out and then not letting him fight at all- even though he gets the pin, it’s a poor choice. And speaking of poor choices, whatever Cody Rhodes is doing, starting to lose me with this weird take on his Stardust.
Getting everybody from the locker room on the card…just for a paycheck
It started with a toy-promoting skit. Then they did the whole “we’re making a match on the spot!” thing. On the ppv. As if for some reason this is an event that goes to air not completely booked. I never like when WWE pulls this, and I like it even less that it’s a bunch of guys I don’t give damn about. Titus O Niel? Heath Slater? Did we need to see this? What happened to the honor and exclusivity of making a Pay-per-View? Furthermore, it’s just more examples of a PPV feeling like a Raw show and not like a PPV. So we got Adam Rose and his Bunny vs. Two Guys Who Left Their Tag Teams To Go Solo And Find Themselves Back In A Tag Team. The good news is it was mercifully short. And the this stupid party crew thing as actually working into an amusing story. The Bunny is stealing Rose’s thunder!
Divas with undefined or unclear roles
Now I will confess that I am a big Diva fan, and I always want what’s best for the division. But it has been mismanaged to the point of absurdity. I actually liked this match okay. Cameron actually got some decent work in before being the first eliminated. Pretty good for someone still just starting. But it’s a little confusing being able to tell which is the “face” team and which are the “heels.” Last I checked, Alicia Fox was a wailing banshee and Natalya was a vindictive bitch. Layla was besties with whoever was popular, and Paige was an up and commer gaining a following while she feuded with nutso AJ. I guess things have changed, but it’s my own fault for blinking. But again, I won’t fault the match itself. Summer Rae has become pretty entertaining to watch. Especially when she gets scared. I liked leaving Paige for last. Naomi continues to impress with her athletic moves. In fact her whole team put in good work with their clean sweep. Alicia, Emma and Natalya all looked great.
Matches that go nowhere
The Lunatic Fringe against the Eater of Worlds. These two are supposed future stars, and they can have good matches. But as I watch this, I can’t help but notice the lack of slams that used to be common place in wrestling matches. Perhaps that’s to be expected since that isn’t either of these guys’ styles, but it got me thinking about something that’s been bothering me in the WWE for a while now: It’s a slower system (Especially notable after watching the fast-paced talent on Lucha Underground). Perhaps a response to the injuries and painkiller addictions that have plagued superstars of the past, but WWE fights are more about slugfests. At least it suits Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt. So why wasn’t this match better? All I remember is a lot of them both laying around exhausted as if they’d been in an Iron man Match. (And this is actually common of many only-average WWE bouts) Ambrose snaps, gets himself DQ’ed and throws a bunch of tables and chairs on Bray. That’s about it. He doesn’t even jump off the giant ladder he pulled out. Obviously just standing there posing is a sneak preview for the next show. Which brings me to my next annoyance:
A Snake eating it’s own tail.
The advertising. On a PPV. It’s like paying for a movie and getting interrupted with commercials through it. Again, this isn’t one of their advertiser-dependent cable shows. But we are bombarded anyway. TLC is already in 3 weeks! This shit is exhausting, the way WWE functions. They can be ironic, redundant, and counter-productive all at the same time. Promoting the next PPV at this PPV. When you’re watching the thing were things are supposed to be settled, and they are already telling you to go watch this other thing. Prime example of how unimportant these have gotten.
When Diva titles don’t matter
AJ get’s kissed by Brie = Boom. Match over. There has to be an explanation for this. I’ll preface this by saying I’m not big on AJ Lee. To me she’s the ultimate definition of a paper champion, and she has no true in-ring ability besides wrapping around her opponent’s body. She’s a glorified fan that they let step into the ring, so I am always more than happy to see her drop that belt. I didn’t expect much of a match to begin with, and yes, there is an element to her not even competing that you can trace back to her time with Tamina Snuka. So I expected something short or a bunch of rest holds. But to have a basically non-match? What the hell happened here? Was somebody injured? Did time run long on one of the others? At least the Bellas are holding gold (I like them), but compared to the Divas who actually competed in the 4-on-4, once again I’m left scratching my head as to why Natalya, Alicia Fox or even Naomi isn’t holding the current champion. They are far more deserving than anyone else right now.
A Masterful Main Event
One of the biggest differences between the old days and what they do now, is that the teams don’t feel like teams. When they come out, they come out one by one, and not together. They are a group of individuals, and they don’t feel like a unit. It pads out the night already filled with too much padding to fill its 3 hours. While the Mark Henry quick elemination was funny, it’s also another depressing example of what has become of his long-tenured career (and the continued burying of African American superstars, but that’s a conversation for another day). Ryback was eliminated first which I should have seen coming. Just like Cameron, he doesn’t have the stamina or skill yet to last long. But after this, the 5-on-5 main event quickly starts to turn into something special. There were some legitimate surprises, like Rusev’s count out, and Big Show’s swerve, and Dolph Ziggler being the last man left for Team Cena (after I had predicted he’d be the first one gone, how about that?) He did kind of take the worst beating, which we all should have assumed considering his work-horse role in the company. The near-falls and finish of the match basically plead a hard case for why Dolph and Seth Rollins need to run a main event program together. They match up perfectly.
But above all of that, came the legend, Sting!
Finally, after 13 years of wondering if it would ever happen (since the acquisition of WCW by WWE), the Stinger stepped foot in a WWE ring. And once the at idiot commentary stopped talking over each other and shut up, it was a hell of a sight to behold…
This was without a doubt the best move the company could make right now, and I think they handled his debut pretty well, despite some internet fan assumptions. He’s got the draw power, which they need big time right now. As a fan of the Authority- especially Stephanie, who was incredibly entertaining- I will miss them (if they really do step down as the top heels running the show). But I think all wrestling fans are in favor of something new to freshen things up. There were some things set up at this PPV that could definitely be it.