Watching the pre-show, I was rather underwhelmed by the promo videos for once. And that’s supposed to be WWE’s strong side. One of the most telling things was that they left out the Reid Flair thing during the Diva match promo. That alone says it all.
The pre-show match was kinda there, Goldust returned to a modest pop, the heels were treated like jobbers, faces won an entirely meaningless match and Neville was the only one on his team eliminated. Yep, the guy with more talent than the others put together is the guy that gets eliminated. WWE in a nutshell. One other thing, THAT’s what replaced Natalya vs Sasha Banks? Mind-boggling.
I will admit I was much more entertained by the opening match than I thought I would be. They even managed to get the crowd in, eventually, which is something I never thought would happen. Hey, you can dislike them, you can say there were some problems with the match here and there, you can say there was zero suspense since there was no way Del Rio would win here, but those guys worked their ass off to make something happen which is something I always appreciate. So kudos to them for that.
Crowd was, predictably, into the Ambrose/Owens match from the start, and those two definitely delivered with an hard hitting, intense match that entertained me from start to finish. I’ll come back to this later, but watch Owens during this match. THIS is how a heel is supposed to behave. It’s that in-ring psychology Owens has. It’s in the little details Owens does. In short, when it comes to play the dickish heel, Owens might very well be one of the very best in the world right now. Ambrose, of course effortlessly played off that and both had great chemistry. Unless things change, it is said that Ambrose and Reigns might have a lengthy feud over the Intercontinental title and that might be just the thing that particular scene needs. I hope it happens.
The second meaningless 5 on 5 match of the evening can be very easily summarized. New Day appeared, crowd popped. New Day got eliminated/counted out, crowd went dead. This was followed by a completely transparent attempt to show everyone how though Sheamus was, an attempt that came off as laughable when The Celtic Warrior ended up bei eliminated anyway.
And then it was time for the Divas match and, unfortunately, all my predictions turned out to be spot on. Well except for the winner, but that’s irrelevant at this point. The simple fact is that while the RAW segment was THE talk of internet this week, the crowd was completely uninterested by the match itself. The fact is that, while both needed to put out a great match, they just couldn’t do it. The fact is that both Paige and Charlotte need someone outstanding to really shine in that ring, they are unable to do it on their own. The fact is that they were given 15 minutes, but were unable to utilize that time to give us that one intense, emotional and gripping battle the so-called Diva Revolution so desperately needs. Yes they worked hard but, ultimately, they were fighting a losing battle and neither one of them had the talent to turn the tide. Harsh, but there it is. One last thing, can anyone explain to me what the sense is in going for shocking on RAW and then booking a rather normal match on PPV? Anyone?
Last year at the Survivor Series, Dolph Ziggler was the sole survivor of the Main Event match. This year Dolph Ziggler was allowed 7 minutes against that other very talented individual, Tyler Breeze. And WWE wonders why people struggle to get over. If this was supposed to be the blow off to their feud, and chances are it was, the WWE is even more clueless than I had imagined. This could have highlighted the mid-card ranks for weeks if given a little more time. This could have been a great mid-card match on any PPV if given more time. But no, lets’ give those guys just under 7 minutes so we can wheel out Vinnie Mac again and he can tell us how wrestlers nowadays are missing something. I’ll tell you what they’re missing, Vince, a booking team that freaking knows what’s its doing.
Any regular IP reader will be totally unsurprised by the fact that this match didn’t really inspire me. OK, I guess it was Undertaker’s 25th anniversary and the crowd seemed to enjoy the brothers of Destruction do what they do on The Wyatts, but I have troubles getting enthusiastic at the sight of two old guys no-selling moves left and right. As for The Wyatts, well, they’ve been losing all their feuds recently, and the more of them there are, the more they are losing. Get people invested in wrestlers or a group? Why bother at this point…
The big final of the “historic event” got just 9 minutes. Need I say more? While Reigns and, especially, Ambrose did try, the whole thing felt unnecessarily rushed and the ending came out of nowhere. But the worst was yet to come. Out came Sheamus, the guy who loses more than he wins, the guy who just got his ass kicked by three other wrestlers, the guy no-one wants to see in that role and he easily defeats Reigns to become the new Champion. Oh dear…
To be fair, I sort of get what WWE is trying to do here. Since they’re still dead-bent on making Reigns their top babyface, whether we want to or not, and that brother vs brother in the final was apparently written in stone for some reason, they must have thought that having him just pin Ambrose cleanly wouldn’t really work that well, so they went with the heel that “steals away” the victory so Reigns can vanquish him a bit later and get the desired crowd reaction. The idea is obviously that people will cheer anybody who proposes to kick Sheamus’ ass. Problem is, no-one really wants Reigns to do that. So we basically had an uninteresting tournament, followed by an uninteresting and rushed final, followed by a completely uninteresting twist which in turn will be followed by a feud that might give new meaning to the word uninteresting. Great…
I spoke of Owens earlier, and this is why. If they absolutely wanted an heel to disrupt the start of the Roman Reign, which is something I can understand, why not go with Owens? Owens beating the shit out of Ambrose and leaving him laying on the floor would have added intensity and drama to the final, with Reigns now only intent on winning the title but also on avenging his “brother”. Having Owens the defeat reigns, with the help of Triple H for example, would have completely changed the usual Autorithy dynamic and given us some intriguing segments between Owens, Triple H and Steph. Finally, Owens might very be the only one who could achieve something WWE has failed to do until now, and that is get the majority of fans behind Reigns. Because, we don’t boo Owens for th e same reason we boo Sheamus. We don’t boo Owens because he looks stupid, is boring or sucks in that ring. We boo Owens because Owens wants us to boo him. Look at his matches, watch his demeanor, watch how he plays the crowd. Every-time a part of the audience starts cheering him, Owens will do something heinous to his opponent, or he will talk trash or he will do all those little things he does so well. Owens is a true heel, in the best, most positive sense of the word. He’s probably the only true heel WWE has right now. And, in my opinion he was Reigns’ best shot at finally getting over with the crowds, because Owens is one of those rare guys who could MAKE us cheer Reigns. But no. Let’s go with Sheamus, ’cause that has never worked before so why not try again? Did I say clueless already?
Conclusion: Totally uninteresting PPV which makes you wonder why you ended up watching it.
Tags: Alberto Del Rio, charlotte, dean ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Kane, Kevin Owens, Paige, Roman Reigns, Survivor Series 2015, Tyler Breeze, undertaker, Wyatts