By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Goldust, Neville, Titus O'Neil and The Dudley Boyz def. The Miz, Bo Dallas and The Cosmic Wasteland in a Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match (Kickoff Match)
Well, this was a pleasant surprise. Granted, it was mostly Superstars fodder, but it was nice to get a bonus traditional elimination tag team match on the Kickoff Show in addition to one on the actual pay-per-view. I don't think it would have enticed any more viewers to tune in, but why not bother announcing it in advance? Nevertheless, it was cool to see Goldust back and seemingly rekindle his rivalry with brother Stardust. I would love for it to culminate in a match at WrestleMania, but that's a pipe dream, I know. Titus O'Neil being showcased was a nice treat and The Dudley Boyz kept the crowd engaged in the action, so this was a great way of opening the event.
Roman Reigns def. United States Champion Alberto Del Rio in a Semifinals Match in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament (Non-title)
Although the ending outcome was never in doubt, there was some concern among fans whether the match would deliver given the difference in styles between Reigns and Del Rio. However, as I said in a recent article for Bleacher Report, their match would exceed expectations and ultimately it did. They put together several solid spots and Del Rio's reversal of the spear into the superkick was stellar. The crowd was behind Reigns for the most part, which only added to the atmosphere of the match.
Dean Ambrose def. Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens in a Semifinals Match in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament (Non-title)
Similar to Reigns and Del Rio, this was another match we hadn't seen before with the exception of their outing on SmackDown a few weeks back, so I was interested in seeing how they'd fare against each other. Unsurprisingly, they delivered a great matchup. There was more uncertainty surrounding the finish of this contest than there was in its predecessor, so there were a few points where fans bought into Owens' near-falls. Ambrose winning was the right call as it set up the match we all expected to see in the finals between himself and Reigns, making it known to viewers early in the evening what they'd be getting in the main event.
Ryback, The Usos and The Lucha Dragons def. King Barrett, Sheamus and WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day in a Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match
Again, why didn't WWE bother to advertise this matchup beforehand? It was essentially throwaway given who was involved and what subsequently transpired, but it boggles my mind that the traditional tag team match was a huge part of last year's installment (much less the event's near three decade-long history) yet it was hardly a part of this show. The in-ring action wasn't all that exciting, either, and The New Day walking out when they did was disappointing. Sure, it protected them in a way, but the three babyfaces vs. one heel dynamic was odd and had the crowd sitting on their hands. I'm glad Ryback and Kalisto scored a pay-per-view win, but there aren't any obvious programs coming out of this contest.
Divas Champion Charlotte def. Paige
I can't say I was shocked the crowd was as quiet as they were for the match, but don't think for a second it was because the bout was bad; in fact, it had more to do with the lackluster build than the match itself. To their credit, they delivered a quality matchup with a solid story. They were given an ample amount of time to have the match they were capable of, but it's a shame WWE didn't book this program better in the weeks leading up to the show.
Tyler Breeze def. Dolph Ziggler
This was another match where the build was so inconsistent over the last month that I wasn't at all surprised the crowd wasn't red-hot for it. Had it been positioned in the opening slot, maybe that would have been different. They produced the type of match I figured they would in that they worked well together and they kept the pace consistent throughout. Breeze was the right guy to go over considering he's new on the scene, but it's all about the aftermath with him and how he's handled going forward.
The Brothers of Destruction def. The Wyatt Family
After that amazing entrance of Undertaker's (can we give him the award for Entrance of the Year right now?), you had to know this would be a complete showcase for The Deadman more so than a match where The Wyatt Family would look like their equals. Yes, the "smark" in me wanted The Wyatt Family to look strong in defeat, but this isn't the first time Bray Wyatt lost when he should have won and it won't be the last. I can't blame WWE for giving The Brothers of Destruction the victory since it was Undertaker's 25th anniversary and it was fun for what it was.
Roman Reigns def. Dean Ambrose to Win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship; Sheamus Cashed in His Money in the Bank Contract on Reigns to Win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Reigns and Ambrose contested a good match, but was I the only one who felt like it was rushed? It started out okay, but they skipped a few gears before going straight to their signature spots. I don't know if they were pressed for time, but they shouldn't have been since the pay-per-view was far from ending on time. Reigns' win felt anticlimactic, perhaps because it was so predictable and the match wasn't epic enough for it to feel special, hence why the crowd reacted like he won a Raw match. To make matters worse, Sheamus' Money in the Bank cash-in could be seen coming a mile away. I can't believe they went the route everyone thought they would. Just awful. Don't get me wrong, I like Sheamus and I was among the few that defended him when he won the Money in the Bank briefcase back in June, but he's been booked so badly since then that I don't anyone will care about a potential program between him and Reigns. It certainly won't be the answer to their recent low Raw ratings, but I think Vince McMahon is so high on Sheamus that he couldn't care less.
I might be in the minority on this, but I honestly enjoyed this show up until the ending. The first hour with the great semifinals matches was awesome, but the next two hours left a lot to be desired. The women's match and Breeze vs. Ziggler were good, but the crowd sat on their hands for both bouts. The elimination tag team match was forgettable, but the Brothers of Destruction vs. Wyatt Family match was enjoyable. The main event, however, was unspectacular and Sheamus winning the belt surely ended the evening on a sour note. I just don't care to see Sheamus as champion right now and I'm not excited to see what happens next on Raw. Hopefully WWE can throw us a curve ball before the end of the year so the start of the road to WrestleMania isn't underwhelming.
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