First up was the pre-show which actually featured a traditional Survivor Series elimination match. I have to say The Ascension look a bit out of place in a stable with Stardust. I understand the route they are going with this, the idea of wasteland barbarians becoming barbarians from the cosmic wasteland does make sense but visually it just does not work. To be fair though, the three of them are fantastic performers in their own right so it is just good that they are finally doing something. The most we have seen them do is stand to the side of Cesaro’s matches on RAW holding up a sign saying ‘Stardust Section’. Those appearances were really strange given that they were barely even mentioned. Cody Rhodes is making the most of a bad gimmick, he knows his fans want him to go back to just being Cody. He has said on Twitter that a certain someone would have to beat him for that to happen.
That person may be Goldust who of course made his return in this match. Goldust’s return was a welcome one, this was obvious by the crowd reaction in Atlanta. I feel bad for him that his return happened on the kickoff show, Goldust is a legend he deserves more than the pre-show treatment. They could have put him in the elimination match that was on the main card. As much of a legend as Goldust is though, having him pin Viktor after a single powerslam made Viktor look very weak. At one point Bubba Dudley hissed as Stardust in the way that he does to other people, that was hilarious. This was actually a fun match. There were some fantastic performers in this and all of them are portraying colourful characters. Both teams made up a match of returned veterans and talented fresh faces. All of them deserve to be on TV more often. It was just ridiculous that a traditional Survivor Series match was held on the kickoff show. It is supposed to be a big deal. This situation sounds like a joke news piece from Kayfabe News that actually happened.
The main card began with the American national anthem. It is usually only sung at Wrestlemania due to it being an important occasion but due to current events it made sense to open the show with it. Given that there were ISIS threats to the event itself it felt like a message to sing the national anthem. It was like they were saying “We are not afraid”. I have to say the video package at the beginning detailing the events that have led us here was fantastic. WWE are really good at promos now. The inclusion of Warriors by Imagine Dragons made it even better. I am wearing my Imagine Dragons T-shirt as I write this.
Roman Reigns seems to be really connecting with the fans now, it is good to see. I have always thought he was good, people just turned on him at Royal Rumble because he was not Daniel Bryan. As for the match he was in first; I find it difficult to care about a match involving Alberto Del Rio. He has good skills in the ring but not much of a personality. He has zero charisma as a heel or a babyface. Having said that the match was well produced, it made a lot of sense. Roman threw Del Rio around because he is a powerhouse but Del Rio got him with tricky things and technical wrestling. Although despite it making sense in it’s choreography it was a very boring match. There were some good sequences such as Reigns ducking the double stomps and hitting Alberto with a superman punch. The first match is supposed to set the tone for the rest of the night and unfortunately for the rest of this pay per view, it did.
Kevin Owens is on-screen gold that much is undeniable. The kickoff of Kevin Owens vs Dean Ambrose featured some fantastic technical wrestling. Technical mat work continued throughout the match but with brawling worked into it. Both of these guys are really entertaining, so much so that I would like to see a fully fledged Intercontinental title feud between the two. Owens’ trash talk during matches is hilarious:
Owens: “Chin lock city, bitch.”
*Referee asks Ambrose if he wants to quit*
Owens: “He says yes!”
Hilarious stuff. Always incredible to see Owens perform a moonsault. The suplexes Owens performs off the top rope are gruesome looking. This match was awesome, which the fans in attendance made clear a number of times. It was definitely the best match on the entire card. There were a number of cool little moments. The highlight of the match was Owens throwing Ambrose off his shoulders onto the announce desk in what looked like a modified F5 of sorts. After Ambrose vs Owens a really cool retro platform game style promo for TLC played. It depicted Roman Reigns in a 16-bit world hitting luchadores with chairs.
As always The New Day were absolutely hilarious in the traditional elimination match. Sheamus however, he was a different story. Sheamus should take a leaf out of Kevin Owens’ book when it comes to being a good heel but still being able to funny. There was some fun and fast paced action in this match. The big four man dive to the outside was ground breaking. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people dive at once. That spot seemed to wake the audience up slightly. They gave a big cheer for that and they were really excited when Ryback was going to dive onto the pile as well. The trumpet has returned! Barrett dancing with Kofi and Big E to it was the best thing that happened all night. WWE should let Woods perform more in the ring, they seem to forget that he can wrestle too. The high-flying gymnastics by The Lucha Dragons is just marvellous to witness. At one point Jey Uso could blatantly be heard saying “reverse this” to Sheamus. However another positive was the ending, the triple team sequence was fantastic. Advertisements on the WWE Network?! I am paying for this service! Charlotte Flair is an impressive athlete and Paige is good as a heel so the fact that their match was extremely boring is very disappointing. Neither of them really pushed themselves in terms of in-ring ability. However the likelihood is that this was down to what they were instructed to do. The electric chair onto the apron was very impressive from Charlotte. Other than that the match was quite uneventful.
The Tyler Breeze vs. Dolph Ziggler match was pretty good. It was one of the better matches on the card but if they had been given more time and the match was better produced, it could have been outstanding. It was a good match and their characters are very entertaining, it just could have been much more. It was at least very fast paced and technical. Commentary were really putting Breeze over, in one instance JBL referred to him as a future champion. I have to say I was surprised that Breeze used Christian’s finisher to win.
The match between Brothers of Destruction and The Wyatt Family is what fans were most looking forward to. I love the supernatural characters in WWE, the guys involved in this match are the best in the world at pulling that off. The theatrics at the beginning of the match were masterfully pulled off, a lot of money and effort was put into Undertaker’s entrance. The stare down between Kane and his adversaries that occurred just before Taker’s entrance was intense. The moment got even more awesome when the bells began to toll. Hearing that gong marking the appearance of The Undertaker is enough to make even the most jaded cynic feel like a kid again. There were some pretty cool moments in this one, it wasn’t quite mind blowing but it was a fun match. Either way it is always great to see Undertaker and Kane wrestle. The crowd were captivated, they went nuts when The Brothers of Destruction double chokeslammed Braun Strowman through the announce desk. This match was fun but I think this feud has legs with potential to create a number of superior matches.
I did not expect Reigns vs Ambrose to be as much of a brawl as it was due to the two of them being close friends. It was obvious that it was going to be those two in the final since the beginning of the tournament. What was not expected was the amount of trash talking and throwing into barricades that occurred. They were almost acting like heels, it was almost like they were teasing what everyone expected which was one of the two turning heel on the other. It was an interesting acting choice from Reigns to keep popping his shoulder back into place. I have to say the superman punch Roman hit on Dean after he jumped off the top rope was brutal. It actually looked like it connected. A lot of intensity and excitement to this match, there was a mad exchange of punches to the face at one point. The two performers clearly made a decision backstage to not hold back. Overall the main event was exciting and it felt like a pivotal story event given what the two characters have been through together. However, it was far too short for a main event match. If only the outcome was where the championship would stay for a while. I would much rather see Roman as world champion than Sheamus. WWE have seriously screwed themselves by making Sheamus the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, nobody wanted to see that.
Match of the night: Kevin Owens vs Dean Ambrose