Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Survivor Series 2015 Onsite Review

Took my wife and son to Survivor Series at Philips Arena in ATL the other day and had a phenomenal time despite the uncertainty surrounding the event.  WWE, and the authorities promised stepped up security for the show and that was readily apparent.  We saw Department of Homeland Security officers with dogs outside the venue while waiting to get in to the show.  We also had to completely empty our pockets and go through metal detectors before entering Philips.  The line inside the CNN Center was miserable, but the outside line we chose went pretty quickly actually.  I was pleasantly surprised with that.  Although MARTA was recommended we stuck with our decision to drive it and that worked out pretty well aside from dropping $20 to park.

Our view for the night.
  • Roman Reigns vs Alberto Del Rio--This was a fine match.  As usual it was hurt a bit by the inevitability of Roman Reigns moving on to the tournament finals.  Roman got the standard mixed reaction, but it was not nearly as overwhelmingly negative in the arena as people have suggested on Twitter, etc. which kind of baffles me. 
  • Dean Ambrose vs Kevin Owens--This one did not have the level of inevitability as the first match.  The crowd was firmly behind Ambrose, but Kevin Owens is certainly popular in his own right.  What concerned me about the outcome is that it was clear to even me that Ambrose would be more popular than Reigns in the final.  Honestly, as much as I hate it I am sure Owens would have gotten a pretty good pop against Reigns as well. 
  • Ryback, Kalisto, Sin Cara, The Usos vs New Day, Sheamus, and King Barrett--Highlights were New Day and their teammates dancing, the big dives which was punctuated by Ryback's incredible dive and the faces getting the victory. 
  • Charlotte vs Paige for Divas Championship--There was zero heat for this match and I will admit that we used this for our bathroom break.  It may sound silly, but even though the threat was ruled to be not credible we decided before the show that the three of us would stick together throughout the night so we figured that was our last good chance to get bathroom break, refills, etc. done so we took it.  I was very straightforward with how I felt about the tasteless Reid Flair references used to build this match and I just did not care about it at all.  The ATL crowd didn't care either, but I am not going to speculate why that was.  As much grief as Roman Reigns gets he at least gets a reaction.  Charlotte?  She's dying on the vine out there.  No one cares about her no matter how beloved her father is. 
  • Tyler Breeze vs Dolph Ziggler--Honestly, I forgot this match was on the card.  The right guy won, but I cannot possibly imagine caring about Dolph Ziggler at this point.  Tyler Breeze is pretty much in the same boat in that regard.  I appreciate the gimmick to some degree, but I simply don't care about him.  Summer Rae is talented and I like her, but this gimmick feels like the new Fandango to me.
  • Brothers of Destruction vs Wyatt Family--Unfortunately we could not really see the entrances for the night and it sounds like Taker's was impressive.  We could see the flames, the side of the flaming symbols, and of course the smoke.  I don't really care about Undertaker to the degree most of the WWE Universe does, but it was cool to see him here. The crowd was absolutely hot for it.  Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper ended up representing the Wyatt Family.  I liked the destruction of Rowan to start, and putting Strowman through the announce table was a nice touch.  This was pretty much what you expected and I hate it for Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper specifically as I think they deserve much better.  The crowd ate it up though so in a vacuum I guess it was a nice way to pay tribute to 25 years of Taker. 
  • Roman Reigns vs Dean Ambrose for WWE World Championship--This was the match I was most excited for as I wanted to see Roman Reigns' coronation as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion in person.  The match was fun, but it was kind of short which gave us too issues.  One, the finish seemed to come out of nowhere.  Two, it telegraphed even to us huge Roman Reigns fans that this wasn't really his moment and that there would be shenanigans.  Of course there were as you certainly know by now.  The crowd seemed to pop for the Spear Triple H took and did seem to want Roman to overcome the Sheamus cash-in.  I joked that I worked myself into a shoot because for that brief moment when Roman kicked out of the Brogue Kick I actually thought that he might leave ATL with the belt and I hoped he would.  Him kicking out was actually a legitimate mark out moment for me and it was fun to get emotionally invested like that.  Sheamus successfully cashed-in though and I still think that was a mistake. If nothing else, I would have had Roman thwart Sheamus before he actually got the briefcase turned in and have Sheamus successfully cash-in on Raw last night.  Anyhow, it was a flat ending to a show that I by and large enjoyed live.  Speaking of emotional investment I thoroughly enjoyed watching my 8 year old enjoy the show and my favorite moment was him screaming, "YOU'RE NOT OUR CHAMPION!" at Sheamus after the cash-in.  Sometimes I wish I could go back to enjoying wrestling through that lens. 
By the time I started reading reviews of the show I was surprised by two things which were shots taken at the crowd as I thought it was pretty feisty for things that deserved a reaction.  Secondly, the overall rating of the show seemed low to me so I wonder if that was a function of the live experience enhancing the show for me in general.  That coupled with the fact that I actively like Roman Reigns so his push or attempted push as "The Guy" doesn't bother me.  I cannot say that I have ever had a bad time at a wrestling show aside from maybe the Fingerpoke of Doom so I may be going to easy on this one.  I enjoyed it and I will be interested to see when and if they finally commit to Roman Reigns as the champion for real.  That's what interests me most right now in WWE.  That puts me in the minority, but it's the truth.  Despite the disappointment of the Sheamus cash-in I thought Survivor Series was a success and I hope to watch it on WWE Network soon. 

Sorry for the picture quality, I just use my iPhone and it obviously doesn't do the event justice.