Wrestling Review: WWE Survivor Series (2016)

It will be fantasy warfare made real when the WWE takes over the Air Canada Centre in Toronto for the thirtieth anniversary of Survivor Series. On a card stacked full of mega matches, one stands out above the rest; a rematch 12 years in the making, Brock Lesnar will go one on one with Goldberg. When these two last met at Wrestlemania XX, Goldberg managed to get the win, but after the destruction tear Lesnar has been on over the past months, will the result be the same this time? And Survivor Series just wouldn’t be the same without some brand supremacy, and there will be three chances for either Raw or SmackDown to gain the bragging rights when the five best men, women and tag teams on Raw go up against the five best men, women and tag teams of SmackDown. With any combination of one-on-one, three-on-two or even a five-on-one clean sweep possible, there is no telling what might happen when Raw battles SmackDown. But that’s not all – there are also two separate chances for a superstar to poach a title from one brand and take it to another when SmackDown’s The Miz defends the Intercontinal Championship against Raw’s Sami Zayn, and Raw’s Brian Kendrick defends the Cruiserweight Championship against SmackDown’s Kalisto – and if Kalisto wins, the entire Cruiserweight Division will come over to SmackDownLive. For one night only in WWE, fantasy warfare just got real!

+ Team Raw (The New Day, Enzo & Cass, Cesaro & Sheamus, The Club & The Shining Stars) vs Team SmackDown (Slater & Rhyno, The Usos, The Hype Bros, American Alpha and Breezango (Elimination Tag Match): although somewhat clustered, once the first few weaker teams had been eliminated (despite being personal favourite of mine…) this turned into a very good match. It was fantastic to see some teams go against each other, even in small bursts, but the real story will be the winners and how it all came about
+ Team Raw (Charlotte, Nia Jax, Bayley, Alicia Fox & Sasha Banks) (w/ Dana Brooke) vs Team SmackDown (Nikki Bella, Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Carmella & Naomi) (w/ Natalya) (Elimination Tag Match): a line-up change to this before the match was underway was welcome, but frustrating in terms of the story being told. The biggest question was how they would handle Nia Jax as far and away the biggest woman in the match, and that question was answered nicely. A few twists and turns added to what was already a good match to start the show
+ The Miz (c) (w/ Maryse) vs Sami Zayn (Intercontinental Championship) (Raw vs SmackDown): the miz has been having one of (if not the) best years of his career, and it was always going to be huge going against Canada’s own Sami Zayn. This match was probably not quite as good as the two Ziggler matches, but some shenanigans make for a very interesting story
+ Brian Kendrick (c) vs Kalisto (Cruiserweight Championship) (Raw vs SmackDownLive: winner gets the cruiserweight division): Kendrick winning the title was an absolute godsend, since Perkins was floundering so hard. With the only other cruiserweights who people care about being stuck in pre-show tag matches, this was never truly a huge deal as the WWE would make you think. But the match was good, including a handful of phemonenal moves befitting of the high-flying superstars. A predictable ending did somewhat mar the contest, but ending aside this was a good match
+ TJ Perkins, Rich Swann & Noam Dar vs Tony Nese, Drew Gulak & Ariya Daivari (Kickoff Show): as individuals, I doubt you’ll find many any better than Gulak, Nese, Swann, Perkins or Dar. However, putting them into throwaway six-man-tag matches every event is not doing any of them any favours. This was a solid match, but devoid of any real reason behind it I can’t help but hope and pray that the new show 205 Live can breathe some life into this division
+ Kane vs Luke Harper (Kickoff Show): on such a full card it was bound to leave some of the more talented superstars off, and unfortunately Luke Harper is one of them. This was a surprisingly technical match between two who are more known for the brawling, which did manage to get the (still growing) crowd hyped at least momentarily

– Team Raw (Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns & Braun Strowman) vs Team SmackDown (AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton & Shane McMahon) (w/ James Ellsworth) (Elimination Tag Match): this match started well, but an overly-long brawl after the first five or ten minutes slowed the match to a complete crawl. From there, eliminations ocurred sparingly, but in an order which destroyed the crowd’s interest in the match. A very bad landing near the end against caused the match to grind to a halt. The in-ring action itself felt like a clash of styles, with no real flow to anything that happened. This was easily the worst match of the night
– Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs Goldberg: it doesn’t take a genius to say that someone who has not wrestled in a dozen years is not going to be amazing in the ring. But none of that even mattered becasue… god damn. Just god damn. What a waste of time

> throughout the whole event the crowd was chanting ‘ten’ for any of the referee’s counts, in homage to hometown competitor Tye Dillinger of NXT. They did it all yesterday, too. It is sometimes quite annoying.
> as always, the production team deserves such huge props for the incredible pre-match vignettes they produce. The men’s 5-on-5 video was incredible.

Should you watch this event: As above, the majority of the matches were good, but it is still difficult to suggest watching a 6 hour show when you could just as easily read the results or catch the high-spots in gif format later. The two most heavily promoted matches were the two worst, so take of that what you will.

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