With Seth Rollins on the shelf, WWE was lacking a strong villain to fill the void he left on that front. So instead of using the WWE World Heavyweight Championship tournament, which culminated at tonight’s Survivor Series pay-per-view event, to mix things up a bit – say, with a heel turn by Roman Reigns or Dean Ambrose, or the elevation of Alberto Del Rio or Kevin Owens, the other two tournament semi-finalists – they went back into the archives and pulled out an old creative chestnut of having the Money in the Bank challenger cash in and win the big one after blindsiding the new champ. With a tired character like Sheamus, that’s a bit of a disappointment. But at least the show itself was pretty good.
The first tournament semi-final saw Reigns take on Del Rio, who was accompanied by Zeb Colter. The Atlanta crowd gave Reigns the John Cena dueling chant treatment early on, but for the most part they were behind him. ADR took control of the match by throwing Reigns against the ringside barrier, and softening up Reigns for his armbreaker finishing move. Reigns fought back, though, and sent ADR to the floor, buying some time with the Drive-By Dropkick, and then smashing ADR’s head off the announce table. Back in the ring, the two exchanged near-falls and exchanged the advantage a few times, getting the first “This is awesome!” chant of the night. Del Rio finally locked on the armbreaker, but Reigns powered out of it. ADR scaled the ropes for an aerial assault, but Reigns ducked it, then hit the Spear to win the match.
The second semi-final match between Ambrose and Owens started off pretty hard hitting, with Ambrose surprising Owens with some traditional wrestling moves alongside his more unorthodox assaults. Owens was able to slow down Ambrose’s momentum when he knocked him off the top rope, and then hit him with his rolling somersault dive in the corner. He continued to waylay Ambrose with a number of big moves, like a spinning F-5 like neckbreaker. A big mid-ring collision bought Ambrose some time, and so did rolling out of the way of a moonsault attempt by the big man. Ambrose tried for a superplex, but Owens reversed it and hit a Fisherman Buster off the top. Owens trash-talked Ambrose who defiantly fought back, hitting a flying dive to the floor. A second one was thwarted, though, when Owens caught him and threw him on the announce table. A great sequence followed with Ambrose avoiding a few Pop-Up Powerbomb attempts. On the last one, sidestepped it, and hit Dirty Deeds to get the pin.
This set up the finals between former teammates Reigns and Ambrose, who started off by slugging it out toe to toe, with Reigns using his power to slow down the frenzied attack by Ambrose. The two exchanged power moves, including a big discus clothesline on the floor by Ambrose and a huge Powerbomb in the ring by Reigns. A great looking spot saw Reigns catch Ambrose with a Superman Punch when Ambrose was coming off the top. He followed that up with a Spear, but only got the two-count, leading to speculation by the announcers that perhaps Reigns didn’t have what it takes to get the win for the big one. Another Spear attempt got stopped with a kick, and another saw Reigns run into the corner when Ambrose played matador. That one saw Ambrose nearly get the win with a Dirty Deeds, but Reigns kicked out. A cool moment saw the two friends sitting on the ground, punching the heck out of each other, and they kept swinging all the way back up to their feet. Ambrose tried for another running attack, but out of nowhere, Reigns caught him with the Spear and got the pinfall to capture the championship. After the match, Ambrose congratulated his friend on the title win, while fireworks, pyro, and confetti filled the building in celebration.
After the match, Triple H’s music hit, and the leader of the Authority headed to the ring. He raised Reigns’ arm, suggesting the bad blood between the two was over. Trips extended his hand to Reigns, but the new champ walked turned his back on him. Out of nowhere, he hit HHH with a Spear to the delight of the crowd. After that, Reigns turned around to walk right into a Brogue Kick out of nowhere by Sheamus. With Reigns down, Sheamus cashed in his Money in the Bank title shot. Reigns kicked out of the pin attempt, and tried to fight back, but got caught with another Brogue Kick and that put him down for good. A three-count later, and Sheamus is your new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. The new champ gladly accepted his congratulations from Triple H, and the two of them celebrated while a stunned Reigns came to grips with what happened and sadly walked to the back to end the show.
Pre-show Match: The Miz, Bo Dallas, Stardust, and the Ascension vs. Neville, the Dudley Boyz, Titus O’Neil, and Goldust – Elimination Match
The backdrop story of this one was the return of Goldust to continue his battle to save his brother Cody from his alternative persona Stardust. The Ascension got the jobber treatment here, with Konnor getting eliminated within seconds, and Victor being the second one gone from the match. Neville impressed with a huge somersault dive on all four opponents on the floor, but later was triple-teamed and hit with three finishing moves before getting pinned. Miz had an easy night, getting surprised by Goldust for a pin after only being in there for a few seconds. Bo Dallas lasted a bit longer than that, but eventually fell to Clash of the Titus, leaving Stardust all by himself on the other side of the ring. He tried to bail, but got caught by the Dudleyz who gave him a 3-D to end the match.
Survivors: Goldust, Titus O’Neal, and the Dudley Boyz
Match Rating: 6/10
Fittingly, given the reported terrorist threats against the show, they started off with Lillian Garcia signing a rousing version of the US National Anthem. Screw you, terrorists.
Match One: Roman Reigns vs. Albert Del Rio w/ Zeb Colter – Semi-Final Match in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament
Winner, and heading to the Finals: Roman Reigns
Match Rating: 7/10
Backstage, Dean Ambrose congratulated Reigns on his win. Reigns told backstage interviewer JoJo that the two of them would square off in the finals. But Kevin Owens came in to spoil the party, saying that he’d beat Ambrose and then Reigns in the finals.
Match Two: Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens – Semi-Final Match in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament
Winner, and heading to the Finals: Dean Ambrose
Match Rating: 8/10
Match Three: Ryback, the Lucha Dragons, and the Usos vs. The New Day, Sheamus, and King Barrett – Elimination Match
This was a fun one, from the New Day’s entrance – which got comically hijacked by Sheamus – to the in-ring action. Highlights included the Usos and Dragons with simultaneous dives onto their opponents, and a dive from the top turnbuckle to the floor by Ryback which took everybody out. Later, Xavier Woods decided to break out the trombone to cheer on his team. King Barrett got crowned after a superkick by Jimmy Uso and a springboard swanton by Sin Cara to become the first man eliminated. Jimmy then got pinned after a Demolition-like stomp by the New Day. It looked like Big E was going to eliminate Sin Cara, but Sheamus tagged himself in and finished him off with a Brogue Kick, leading to an exchange of words with Sheamus. The good guys took advantage of this dissension, and Big E wasa soon eliminated. To show support for their comrade, Kofi and Woods left the match to take him to the back, leaving Mr. Money in the Bank Sheamus by himself in a 3-on-1 situation. He made a good showing, but the numbers caught up to him, and he fell to Shell-Shock by Ryback.
Survivors: Ryback, Kalisto, and Jey Uso
Match Rating: 7/10
Match Four: Paige vs. Charlotte (c) – Divas Championship Match
Despite the explosiveness of Monday’s segment with the two, this one started off pretty tame, with Charlotte out-wrestling Paige. Things heated up a bit when the match went to the floor, with Paige smashing the champ’s head on the announce table. But then things went technical again, with Paige locking up Charlotte in an abdominal stretch and a modified standing rear bearhug. Charlotte got out of that, though, and then took over. She locked on a Figure-Four Leglock for an extended period, then smashed Paige’s face against the ring apron, when the two spilled out to the floor. Charlotte then grapevined Paige’s head and used her leg strength to pummel Paige and throw her around by the head. Her aggression cost her when she charged Paige and ended up hitting the ring post and falling hard to the floor. Paige capitalized and went for some painful leglocks of her own. Charlotte kept coming back, though, but Paige always had an answer. But her cockiness cost her – she was standing on the ringside barrier grandstanding, but got caught with a Spear by Charlotte, sending her hard to the floor. Right after that, Charlotte rolled her into the ring, locked on the Figure-Eight Leglock, and got the submission win when Paige tapped out. This one wasn’t as smooth as most of the recent Divas match, but told a good story.
Winner and still Divas Champion: Charlotte
Match Rating: 8/10
Backstage, Dean Ambrose said that despite the bromance between him and Reigns, tonight’s match for the WWE Heavyweight Championship will be a throw-down fight. Reigns came by and agreed with him.
Match Five: Tyler Breeze w/ Summer Rae vs. Dolph Ziggler
Nice start to this one with Ziggler, after chasing Breeze around for a bit, getting thrown face-first into the bottom rope – that looked nasty, but also really nifty. Breeze tried to end it early with a Half Crab, but Ziggler escaped. Then Dolph crashed Air Breeze with a perfectly-timed superkick, catching Breeze in mid-flight. After a nice sequence with multiple pin attempts, and a tie-up in the ropes, Breeze caught Ziggler with a kick to the knee, then hit an Unprettier to get the big win.
Winner: Tyler Breeze
Match Rating: 7/10
Match Six: Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper w/ Erick Rowan and Braun Strowman vs. The Undertaker and Kane
The Wyatts were all waiting ringside for the entrance of the Brothers of Destruction to finish. Before the bell, Erick Rowan ran into the ring, but got dispatched with a Double Chokeslam. The actual participants for the Wyatts were Wyatt and Luke Harper. Harper started off for his team, but took early punishment from both opponents. This one, the 25th anniversary of Undertaker’s debut, could easily serve as Taker’s retirement match if he so decides, as the crowd treated it as such, going crazy for every classic move they saw, including his Old School ropewalk. Braun Strowman interfered at one point, dumping Kane hard over the announcer’s table and into their chairs. A neat moment saw Wyatt set up Kane for Sister Abigail, give the throat slash taunt to Taker, only to have Kane grab him by the throat to break up the move. Later, the Brothers, having had enough of Strowman’s interference, double-chokeslammed the mountainous monster through the announce table. Another nice spot saw simultaneous zombie sit-ups, stopping Bray’s crabwalk in its tracks, and then hitting stereo Chokeslams on Wyatt and Harper. Shortly thereafter, Taker hit the Tombstone on Harper to get the win.
Winners: Kane and the Undertaker
Match Rating: 8/10 (really, 7, but an extra point for this being the “feel-good” moment of the show)
Match Seven: Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns – Final Match in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament
Winner and new WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Roman Reigns
Match Rating: 8/10
Winner, and new WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Sheamus
Match Rating: 8/10 (match was too short to be rated, but this was a fun way to end the show)
Overall Show Rating: 8/10
- ob Kapur broke several traffic laws to get home in time to watch the PPV tonight. E-mail him your lawyer’s contact info at [email protected].