Wednesday, 21 November 2012

WWE Survivor Series on Sky Box Office - TV Review

It’s time to step into WWE territory once again as we look at the last of the “big four” pay per views of the year, the Survivor Series, shown live in the early hours of this past Monday morning on Sky Box Office here in Britain.

The show began with the first elimination match as Brodus Clay, Justin Gabriel, Tyson Kidd, Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio faced Tensai, Primo, Epico, Darren Young and Titus O’Neil.

This was a good way to open the show. I was more than pleased when I found out that there would be more than one traditional Survivor Series match, and this was a great way for some of those who hadn’t made it onto the card to get their marquee moment.

On to the eliminations. Clay was the first man eliminated. After a mass brawl which saw all o the babyfaces flying out of the ring Clay was left alone with Tensai, and after Clay missed a big splash in the corner Tensai took the pin after taking him out with a running senton.

Tensai himself followed a few moments later. Having helped O’Neil use Gabriel as a punching bag the big man tried to take him out with another running senton. When he didn’t get the pin the first time he went for the move again, only for Gabriel to roll out of the way so he could roll him up for the three count. Frustrated, Tensai took Gabriel down with a big clothesline before he left the ring.

Then it was Kidd’s turn to take a beating, but after avoiding O’Neil’s big boot, with the big man crotching himself on the top rope, Kidd connected with a kick to the head before springing over the top rope to take O’Neil down with a roll-up.

Epico quickly followed. After some quick exchanges Kidd locked in a Sharpshooter as Epico tapped out. I think this is the first tie I’ve seen the Sharpshooter used to gain a legitimate win at the Survivor Series.

With the babyfaces now up four to two Kidd finally managed to get the hot tag to Mysterio, and after blocking Primo’s top rope superplex attempt the masked man almost took him out with the 619. Primo managed to avoid the blow, only to be taken out with a roll-up variation for the three count.

The 619 was soon forthcoming. Mysterio soon took Young down with the move, and a series of quick tags saw his four opponents taking him out with various high flying moves until Mysterio sealed the deal with the big splash off the top rope.

The first title match of the evening saw Kaitlyn challenging Eve for the Divas title.

Before the match began Kaitlyn was attacked by a mystery woman backstage. This time around Kaitlyn managed to fight back, pulling off her attacker’s blonde wig, revealing Aksana was the mystery attacker. Eve then showed mock concern for her challenger before Kaitlyn pushed her to the ground.

As for the match it seemed like it was a lot more than filler material this time around. In fact it was pretty enjoyable. Eve played the part of the heel champion extremely well, showing cowardly tendencies and ruthlessness in equal measure, while this may well be the best performance Kaitlyn has put in.

It was a well executed encounter, especially from the champion who impressed me with her various submission holds, but I can’t help thinking what would happen if the Divas were given a bit more time for their matches.

The champion retained the title in this one, taking Kaitlyn down with a neck breaker for the winning pin.

And props to JBL at the announcer’s desk for his Norwich City/Manchester United reference. I never thought I’d hear my beloved Canaries mentioned in a WWE show. Who knows, maybe they’ll run a show in Norwich now. Mind you, I can just picture the local promoter threatening Vince McMahon for holding a show on “his” territory!

The title action continued with R-Truth challenging Antonio Cesaro for the United States title.

Once again Cesaro proved what I’ve been saying for the past few years by putting in another great performance.

Both guys put in good stints, with Truth showing why he was deserving of another title shot by matching Cesaro’s performance level. The match may not have lasted long but it certainly delivered.

Once again the champion came out on top as Cesaro took Truth down with the Neutralizer for the title retaining pin.

After an overlong segment involving A.J. Lee and Vickie Guerrero, the kind of which really should have been left for the television shows, it was on to the Smackdown main event as Sheamus challenged the Big Show for the World title.

These two picked up where they’d left off last month. It may not have been pretty to watch but just like their last match it was compelling.

Once again the big Irishman tried to take it to the even bigger champion, but Show did a good job of taking his challenger out using the slow and methodical approach. But as the hold saying goes no matter what he did he couldn’t put Sheamus away.

The most impressive moment of the entire match came when Show climbed the ropes as Sheamus lay prone in the corner. Sheamus managed to recover though and lifted Show off the ropes and onto his shoulders before falling back with the Electric Chair. It didn’t get the job done, and neither did the White Noise finisher.

With Show slumped in the corner Sheamus psyched himself up for the Brogue Kick. But as he came forwards Show pulled the referee in front of him, the official taking the full force of the blow.

As a doctor and two more officials came down to the ring to check on their fallen comrade Show recovered enough and took Sheamus out with his big knockout blow. One of the other referees then counted to three as Show celebrated his win.

After much conjecture the official then conferred with the ring announcer, and it was finally revealed that Show had actually been disqualified, giving Sheamus the win but not the title. Naturally this didn’t sit too well with the champion as he argued with the referee. It was then that a recovered Sheamus attacked Show with a chair, pummelling him with the metal seating device.

Show then pleaded with Sheamus to stop the assault, with Sheamus telling him that he had to beg. The plea fell on deaf ears though as Sheamus finally took the big man down with the Brogue Kick.

The second elimination match saw Alberto Del Rio, Damien Sandow, David Otunga, Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler taking on Mick Foley’s boys, Kane, Daniel Bryan, Kofi Kingston, the Miz and Randy Orton.

Unlike the first elimination match this one had quite a back story to it, especially as far as Team Foley was concerned. Much of the speculation surrounded the newly-turned Miz, and whether the others could get along with him. It certainly seemed that way during the match, especially when his partners were reluctant to tag him in, leaving him as a virtual bystander for the majority of the battle.

As for the eliminations Sandow was the first man to go. Having taken a beating from Bryan he tried to head for the hills, only for Kane to drag him back to the ring. The Big Red Machine then tagged himself into the match and took Sandown out with a choke slam for the first pin.

Kane followed a few moments later. Bryan began to argue with Kane, saying that he’d had Sandow beat. Kane grabbed his partner around the throat and pushed him over the top rope. However, he failed to notice Ziggler sneaking into the ring, and the Money in the Bank winner took him out with a back breaker variation for the three count, evening the scores.

Bryan then took his turn as the target, but when Otunga decided to pose while going for the pin it didn’t do him much good. Bryan quickly applied the Yes Lock after kicking out, which Otunga quickly tapped out to.

Bryan eventually made the hot tag to Kingston, who pulled off his usual impressive moves, including a top rope cross body block that almost put Del Rio away. But when Barrett tagged in he soon took Kingston out with his Bull Hammer elbow, pinning the IC Champ and evening the scores.

The master of Yes Lock was the next to go, and this time around the submission specialist fell to the armbar submission of Del Rio, giving Ziggler’s boys the advantage.

The next elimination finally saw the Miz in action. After putting on some great exchanges with Barrett Miz countered his Wastelands attempt with the Skull Crushing Finale for the pin, evening the sides once more.

The Miz continued his good showing until Del Rio moved out of the way of his trademark corner attack. An enziguri kick later and Del Rio had another victim, leaving Orton on his own against two men.

The odds looked against Orton, but after a one-sided ringside fight between Ricardo Rodriguez and Mick Foley which saw the return or Mr. Socko Orton survived Ziggler’s interference to take Del Rio down with the RKO for the pin.

This left Orton alone against Ziggler, and after Ziggler survived an RKO attempt Orton took him down with his trademark DDT. But instead of going for the pin Orton backed up, deciding to go for the punt instead.

This proved to be his undoing. As Orton came forward Ziggler countered with a super kick. A three count later and Ziggler was declared the sole survivor.

And is it me or is Mick Foley beginning to look a lot like Captain Low Albano?

The main event saw John Cena and Ryback challenging C.M. Pun for the WWE title.

A few days ago I reviewed a triple threat match where every man really was in it for themselves, and it featured only one double team move. This was the formula used for this match, and it was all the better for it.

All three men put in excellent performances here, from the cowardly mannerisms of Punk and his head cheerleader Paul Heyman, to the never say die attitude of Cena to the almost unstoppable power of Ryback.

With a few people wondering if Punk and Cena would team up to take out Ryback it was refreshing to see them go after each other. Ryback was booked perfectly as he took the trademark moves of his two more illustrious opponents, coming back moments later to take them down with his own brand of power.

It was a perfect piece of psychology and kept the big man fresh and strong, and as the match went on you just couldn’t tell which man was going to walk away with the gold.

Then came the one moment of co-operation as Cena and Punk put Ryback through the announcer’s table, taking him out of action so they could try and settle things between them. Both men came out with their big moves but once again they just couldn’t put each other away.

But then the sleeping giant awoke as Ryback came back into the match and took both of his opponents down with his Shell Shock finisher, one after the other. It looked like we were going to get a new champion until three mystery men dressed as security guards stormed the ring to take him out. As they put Ryback through the Spanish announcers table with a triple powerbomb we found out that they were NXT guys Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. So finally, another former ROH guy that I used to rave about had made it onto the big stage.

So with Ryback laying in wreckage for the second time a barely recovered Punk crawled over to Cena to get the title retaining pin, ending this dramatic encounter.

In conclusion - let me pause for a few moments to regain my breath.

In recent times I’ve read online reviews of other shows before watching the show myself. I didn’t do that this time around. The only feedback I got was when my brother told me that a work colleague said it was a good show.

That particular person was wrong. It wasn’t a good show. It was a great show.

This year’s Survivor Series delivered big time. I really can’t speak too highly about this show. Each match hit the spot as it were, from the opening elimination match right through to the main event. It was a show filled with great performances and great drama, particularly in the marquee matches.

As for my match of the night the no-prize goes to the Punk/Cena/Ryback three way. I must admit that I had my doubts about this one, but once again the storytelling and psychology was spot on, and the appearance of the NXT guys makes me wonder if Punk is going to form a new stable, with Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns given a brief to protect the champion at all cost.

So with that being said it’s time to end this late night viewing by giving the 2012 Survivor Series the big thumbs up.