From the slipshod, bumbling interview segments to the Network streaming issues to the feeble and questionable booking, last night’s Survivor Series was indeed one of, if not THE, worst WWE pay-per-view of 2015.
It exposed all of the WWE’s weaknesses as a company. Serious flaws which have been apparent for quite some time yet remain unaddressed as interest and ratings continue to decline.
Before the show even began, Twitter was overwhelmed with complaints from Network subscribers who couldn’t connect or were experiencing serious lag time making the show virtually unwatchable. The issues and grumbling continued throughout the show with many threatening to cancel their subscriptions or throwing in the towel completely like Arnold Skaaland saving Bob Backlund.
All the while, there were no comments or updates from the WWE’s official Twitter account. Leaving your fans in the dark about serious technical issues is not what’s “best for business,” WWE.
Who’s running WWE customer service department any way? Doink the Clown?
Maybe all the Network issues were a blessing in disguise for troubled subscribers as Survivor Series itself was an utter train wreck. After investing so much time and effort into a tournament for the vacant WWE World Heavyweight Title, the final match between besties Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns lasted only nine minutes. What should have been an epic showdown like Owen battling Bret, or Kane versus The Undertaker, was a mediocre rush job, definitely not the way to conclude such an important tournament.
Meanwhile, the bookers devoted almost 20 minutes to one of the poorest traditional Survivor Series matches ever produced. The WWE cared so little about the bout they didn’t even bother to announce the participants beforehand nor did they do anything to hype it during the show.
Worst of all, Sheamus, who would later predictably cash in his Money in the Bank reward to beat Reigns and become World Heavyweight Champion, was portrayed as an out-of-step idiot, easily pinned and losing the match for his team after being abandoned by The New Day.
The matches leading up to the finale weren’t too shabby with Alberto Del Rio and Kevin Owens elevating Reigns and Ambrose but things broke down during a backstage interview segment between the two former Shield members. Missed cues, stilted and awkward dialogue and reactions exposed their frail microphone skills and inability to think on their feet.
Particularly embarrassing was a flustered Reigns morphing into Sid Vicious right before our eyes, losing his train of thought and then rambling on.
“That’s right,” said a robotic Reigns before huffing and puffing through an awkward pause as JoJo stood looking confused as what to say or do. “Once he (Ambrose) is done with Owens … it is best friends … fighting for … the very top of the WWE … WWE Championship, JoJo,” sputtered Reigns before Kevin Owens saved the day by interrupting and cutting a promo on him.
Reigns wasn’t the only one blundering through the night though. Everyone seemed genuinely uncertain and unsteady with far too much in-ring chatter (instructions being given, moves being called out loud) and many uncomfortable moments. Except for the main event and The Brothers of Destruction versus The Wyatt Family, the crowd in Atlanta was hushed and indifferent. Who can blame them with everything being so disjointed, unoriginal and uneventful?
Charlotte versus Paige, the nameless Survivor Series match, Reigns versus Ambrose were the low points of a totally dull, absolutely forgettable evening. Even The Brothers of Destruction versus The Wyatt Family was unexceptional with Taker and Kane hitting all their highspots and the match ruled mostly by sentimental feelings and not brilliant spots, except for when they teamed up to slam Braun Strowman through an announce table. That was cool.
Speaking of The Undertaker, based on all the promos asking us to join the WWE in paying tribute to the Phenom at Survivor Series in particular, you would think he would have been a big deal. You know, maybe the theme of the night with lots homage video segments, special guest appearances, maybe? His match booked with lots of energy, creativity and surprises? Nope. Not much of that at all. Such a letdown in many respects which is a shame because Mark Callaway surely deserves better.
Aside from Reigns and Ambrose not being complete packages yet and having the weight of the show unfairly placed on their shoulders, the bookers continued to show how absolutely disconnected they are from their audience. Putting the belt on Sheamus? That surely will boost those dismal Raw, Smackdown numbers, eh? Claiming to have a “Divas Revolution” then pushing nobody but Paige, The Bellas and Charlotte? Considering the female stable is one of the most talented and diverse in WWE history, that decision is counterproductive and foolish. Promoting out-of-date talent while others remain stalled in the mid-card ranks or NXT is ridiculous when the current talent pool is so frail and stale.
Survivor Series epitomized the existing WWE product. It is musty, tedious and worst of all, predictable. What will it take for the WWE to awake from its haze and start turning things around? Maybe Alexandra York’s super computer has the answers, somewhere.
- One of the founding managing editors of SLAM! Wrestling, John Powell is a veteran entertainment journalist currently covering Big Brother, Survivor, the video game industry for G4. Check out his comic book Cover 2 Cover blog. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @POW2112 on Twitter.