In Boston, Massachusetts on Sunday night, WWE presented their annual Survivor Series pay-per-view. Early feedback from fans online indicate that many did not enjoy the show overall. I think I disagree a bit with that sentiment. The company promised no “physical” interference in the main event, using a vague technicality to swerve fans on the finish to the show. Sure, no one physically helped Randy Orton retain his WWE Championship, yet he picked up the win off of a distraction.
In the following space, we’re going to break down each match on the show and give it a school-letter grade. The following is the scale that will be used:
A – Great
B – Good
C – Average
D – Below Average
F – Awful
Let’s get right into it with the opening match on the show …
Kickoff Show Match
– The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston
Boone’s Breakdown: I actually enjoyed this match. They kicked the show off in an entertaining fashion, and even provided a little swerve at the end. The two started things off by shaking hands. Despite appearing to turn heel on RAW last Monday when he left his tag-team partner Kofi Kingston hanging, The Miz worked this match as a babyface. They utilized a lot of false finishes at the end of the bout, with Miz ultimately scoring the pinfall and securing the victory. After the match, Miz extended his hand in friendship again to Kingston, who this time refused and actually bitch-smacked a stunned Miz. Whether or not this was the beginning of a full-fledged heel-turn for Kingston, or another step in Miz turning back heel remains to be seen. I’m hoping for the former, as I enjoy the idea of Kingston as a heel. At least he’ll be able to broaden his character and personality, and potentially move up the card a bit as a result. We”ll see! Either way, solid effort from both guys.
School Letter Grade: B
Traditional Elimination Match
– The Usos, Goldust, Cody Rhodes & Rey Mysterio vs. The Shield & The Real Americans
Boone’s Breakdown: Typically in a traditional Survivor Series elimination match you want to give the heels the advantage and have the babyfaces overcome the odds to pull off the win. In this case, it was pretty clear that this match was designed to further elevate the status of The Shield’s Roman Reigns. It was a smart move and it was well executed. Heel after heel were eliminated, leaving Reigns (and Rollins for a while) alone to figure out a way to win. Reigns, proving he’s a star in the making, did exactly that. The match itself was thoroughly entertaining. We got to see back-to-back giant swings, a number of cool high spots and tons of fast-paced action from bell-to-bell. This was about as close to a flawless match as you can get. Very good effort by all involved.
School Letter Grade: A
WWE Intercontinental Title
– Big E. Langston (c) vs. Curtis Axel
Boone’s Breakdown: This was what it was. This was a match designed, much like the previous match, for one key reason — further elevate Big E. Langston’s Superstar status. He had some cool power-guy spots throughout the match and kept up with Axel from start-to-finish. After the match, Langston was interviewed in the ring by Renee Young. I pray this was not a glimpse of the promo angle the Big E. Langston character will have. Basically in a 60 second interview, Langston managed to throw out three-or-four cheap pops, culminating with him comparing his Intercontinental Title win to the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series. If Langston’s gimmick is that he blatantly uses cheap pops more than Mick Foley, it’s really going to limit his character’s growth. Let’s hope that was an odd one-time thing. Either way, pretty average match.
School Letter Grade: C
Traditional Elimination Match
– AJ Lee, Tamina Snuka, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, Aksana, Kaitlyn and Rosa Mendes vs. The Bella Twins, The Funkadactyls, Natalya, Eva Marie and JoJo
Boone’s Breakdown: Is it crazy that I kind of enjoyed this one? They really shot a lot of mini-angles all in one short little match. Maybe it’s because I was actually looking forward to a fun little train wreck that I left this match half-way impressed with everything that happened in it. Who knows, but I dug it. JoJo came off as somewhat of a star near the end of the match, which I thought was a fun little dynamic. The announcers did screw up and forget Nikki Bella was still in the match at the end, including Lilian Garcia announcing Natalya as the sole survivor. Regardless, this wasn’t nearly as bad as most people might have expected. I wouldn’t give it a “B” because it wasn’t really good or anything, but it was certainly slightly above-average in my opinion.
School Letter Grade: C+
– Ryback vs. Mark Henry
Boone’s Breakdown: I called the Mark Henry return in this one since it first became a rumor that Ryback would be issuing an open challenge, and that’s exactly what happened. Unlike most fans, I don’t need to be shocked or surprised to be entertained, so the fact that I saw this coming didn’t take away from my enjoyment. I will say that even though this wasn’t exactly a catch-as-catch-can classic, that spot at the end with Henry leaping into the air for a standing cross-body splash into Ryback, who was running at him, would bump this up a full letter grade no matter what. That spot was just awesome in my opinion.
School Letter Grade: C+
World Heavyweight Title
– John Cena (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio
Boone’s Breakdown: This was pretty much exactly what I expected. In my Survivor Series analysis, I pretty much predicted the exact outcome that happened here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not calling myself a rocket scientist by any means, as the finish was pretty predictable. Again, just because I wasn’t surprised or shocked by anything in this one doesn’t mean I couldn’t enjoy it for what it was. We all knew Cena was going over. We all knew Del Rio would focus his attack on Cena’s arm the entire time. A lot of us knew Cena would power-out of the Cross Armbreaker, showing fans that his arm is fully healed and back to normal, something that was emphasized by the fact that he finally worked without the protective arm-brace. Decent little match. Nothing amazing, but pretty average. I say average simply because we’ve pretty much seen this match multiple times in the past, and WWE didn’t really do anything different despite the fact that this was one of the main events of their last major pay-per-view of the year.
School Letter Grade: C
CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan (with Bray Wyatt)
Boone’s Breakdown: Along with the opening “traditional elimination match,” this was probably the best match on the show. CM Punk and Daniel Bryan always deliver, so nothing really shocking there. However, I will say that The Wyatt Family carried their end in this one more than I expected. For such big guys, who are still somewhat new to the business, at least on this big of a stage, they really delivered pretty well here. Jim Ross said it best when tweeting his thoughts about this match, “Really solid tag bout. Simple is good.” Anyone who has been reading my stuff here at eWrestlingNews.com knows I’m absolutely begging WWE to book a Bray Wyatt vs. CM Punk singles program, if for no other reason, than to watch these two go back-and-forth on the microphone during the build to their showdown. Based on what they did in the post-match angle for this one, along with internet rumors claiming Punk vs. Wyatt is coming next, it looks like they’re indeed going that direction. Hooray!
School Letter Grade: A
– Randy Orton (c) vs. Big Show
Boone’s Breakdown: Here’s the problem with this match — they dicked fans with the finish yet again in their PPV main event. The difference this time, however, is that it wasn’t a Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton quality match prior to the b.s. finish. It was Orton trying his best to deliver a good main event-level match with Big Show and WWE booking a crap finish on top of that. The match itself wasn’t going to be a four-or-five star match simply because Big Show isn’t really capable of such a match. He’s got physical limitations that prevent him from doing anything really spectacular. His spear is fun to watch, he teased coming off the top-rope at one point, brawled through the crowd, etc. Basically, he did what he could. Orton did his part. The fans, however, help make a good match great. On the flip-side, they can make a not so great match even worse. They did the latter on Sunday night with this one. They were boo’ing throughout most of the match, chanting “Daniel Bryan” several times and just seemed pretty unenthusiastic about what was actually happening in the ring. The fact that WWE promised no interference for the build-up to this match, only to start the show with Triple H coming out and making sure to say the phrase, “no physical interference” pretty much told you from the start that there was going to be some shenanigans in the finish. They came out, distracted Big Show when he was about to win, and gave Orton the opportunity to steal the victory. Just because they didn’t physically do anything, they still gave a big “f-you” to their PPV buying audience for the 100th time in a row in the main event. I’m not sure how many times they can do this until it really starts effecting their PPV business in a very negative way. Maybe it already has, we’ll see when the numbers come out for their last few PPV shows.
School Letter Grade: D
Unfortunately in the case of a pay-per-view, the main event really can make-or-break a show. It’s the lasting impression WWE leaves fans with as their show goes off the screen. They tried to wash the bad taste out of our mouths with the below-average main event, along with the screwjob finish, by having Cena come out and stand across from Orton holding up his title. Basically, the impression fans were supposed to get is that the company is going to unify the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships. If they end up not going that route, then the Cena-Orton showdown to close the show was pretty pointless. We’ll see how they follow it up on RAW on Monday night. Regardless, from top-to-bottom the show was actually pretty decent in my opinion. I know a lot of the feedback I have read online has been more negative than positive, but in my opinion this was a pretty good show. The main event definitely knocks it down a notch or two for the reasons I just explained. Keeping in mind that a C represents average, and the fact that a main event can make-or-break a show overall, I’ll call this show as a whole “slightly above average.” Thus …
Overall School Letter Grade: C+
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NOTE: The above item is an eWrestlingNews.com opinionated editorial, and should not be confused as a factual news item. Readers can contact the author of the above editorial, Matt Boone, via Twitter @MBoone420 or by posting your immediate feedback in the “Comments” section below.