Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Survivor Series Live Blog

ER: I'm doing even more internet wrestling writer self-flagellation than Phil as I'm skimming through the pre-show to see if there's anything hidden in there. It said on the screen "Exclusive match" so we'll see if that means an actual exclusive match, or just Booker T HOT TAKES. Every one of Booker T's hot takes boils down to "Me and my brother used to fight all the time, but we had each other's backs". I swear no matter what feud he's talking about, he immediately brings it to that.

We get a Bad News Barrett promo where he basically throws his hat in the ring as the new authority figure depending on how tonight shakes out. AJ also does a promo rolling her eyes at all the sister drama. This stuff feels like stuff that should be relegated to a pre-show. Cesaro in-ring promo is interrupted by Zeb, and Rachel hilariously points out that the moment Zeb comes out there was a prompt on the bottom of the screen saying that the broadcast is available in Spanish. Intentional or not that made me laugh.

1. Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger

ER: This is a nice little pre-show match. Can't complain about this. I was expecting something with some lesser guys like Fandango or Heath Slater. This was their Worldwide match, as it gets about 5 minutes and isn't great, but it's good enough. Cesaro gets a few nifty throws in including a nice overhead belly to belly. He sells an early ankle injury adequately, although it seems like a bit TOO much as he's selling it after being in the patriot lock for a few seconds which would be already selling the patriot lock more than it's ever been sold. There was a cool moment where Cesaro limps towards the corner, but uses it to decoy Swagger into a missed charge (which he runs nicely into the turnbuckles). Surprised to see Cesaro go down so easy and clean to the lock. I haven't been following the TV much lately, so it would appear like Cesaro's stock is plummeting like I assume WWE's is doing ever since launching the Network.

PAS: Opening up with a long Helmsley promo is a rough way to start a PPV, man I can't even fast forward through this like I can on RAW. I hope you fucks appreciate this. They are hitting the Cena heel turn so much here, that it feels like a rib on the Opinions for You bloggers. I can already see the long terrible Masked Man Grantland article I won't be reading on Monday.

ER: Opening MacMahons promo really felt like "hey none of you have been watching TV for the past month so here's a point by point rundown for you." I loved how apparently Stephanie didn't understand the match stipulations until she was literally standing in the ring at the PPV.

2. Mizdow vs. Usos vs. Dust Brothers vs. Matadores

PAS: The last three minutes of this were kind of fun, I liked the dive train and the crazy superplex was kind of neat. Didn't care for much else, I didn't hate Mizdow last week but it has moved over into Chikara territory for me now. Unfortunately I think this means the end of good PPV tag matches for a while.

MattD: I'd really wanted this to be Gold/Star vs Matadors since I want another month or two of featured Dustin matches and I didn't think they'd put the belts on the Matadors, but Miz/Mizdow is pretty much primed for that sort of focus as they build to a split.

I kind of love how after last year when the tag titles were used as sort of a big middle of the card match, now they're used to start off almost every PPV with a high speed, high action sort of match. They're the new cruiserweight title.

The best part of this match was the Gold/Star heeling in keeping Mizdow out: Stardust teasing it and then refusing, Dustin blind tagging him when he finally got in, just ramping up the anticipation for when he finally made it in at the end. Goldust working brunt of this match was the best way to run it. The double team with the sunset flip and the German was ridiculous but fun. I loved Stardust pushing a Matador into the post which set up the Usos getting tagged in later, and the hot tag set up with the tombstone fight into the spinning DDT was pretty great too. And I liked how they teased the Usos dive before they actually gave it to the crowd with the crazy dive sequence.

Finish was pretty much what I was expecting (well, not the goofy trainwreck belly to back suplex spot). It's Sandow's first actual title which is kind of amazing in this day and age. Hopefully Dustin can keep enough q-rating to make it to a Mania match vs Cody.

ER: Pre-match JBL hilariously and accurately rips apart the psychology of the match, saying "Why the hell would you ever tag yourself out!?" Yep, that's kind of why these matches are usually pretty stupid once you think about them for two seconds. Way to connect the dots for the blissfully ignorant. Cole desperately tries to explain why it might be good to tag out but since it is always a horrible idea, his explanation was really just stammering. I really dig Cody's gear, that red/gold/black combo looks really cool. Also really shocked at how over Damien Mizdow is. Was not expecting to hear a "We want Mizdow" chant. Good for him. Also love Goldust immediately tagging Mizdow out when he finally gets in.

Pretty sure none of the commentary crew can tell Los Matadores apart. Goldust was the easy highlight of this as he was able to make everybody look good, leaned way into the Usos hip strikes (I had written "leaned way into the Usos asses" but decided to change that a bit) and his offense looked consistently better than everybody else's. Miz still takes strikes like a guy who's suffered tons of concussions and is scared to get another one, as he actively leans out of all strikes while holding his hands out in front of his face. He made an Uso superkick land two feet in front of his face by jumping away from it so quickly. He's taken offense like this for the last 4 years. I dug Stardust's "Falling Star" tope en reverse. Kudos to Goldust for saving Torito from being on the bottom of a dive train dog pile. You can see Goldust lift him out of the way at the last second. Match was a pretty big mess and would have been much better with any of the team combos in just a normal tag match.

3. Divas Survivor Series Match

PAS: Wow this was given a bunch of time. Weird booking to have all of the heel eliminated and then have the heel champion fighting the odds. Man I don't watch most Diva matches, but they have some really nasty dangerous moves. What the hell was that released suplex Natayla did? JBL seemed like he was on the verge of burying this match like Mike Awesome v. Masato Tanaka.

MattD: Nattie looked like something out of the live action Masters of the Universe coming down. I saw Paige's great forearm and then had to deal with my wife freaking out about the winter storm we're getting on the I-95 corridor and explain to my Paige-pale 12 year old (as he played Minecraft) that no, he can't pull off calling people "sucka." He then explained to me that "Brotha' from another motha'" has become a very popular phrase. I'm sure somewhere Joel Gertner is proud. My feed froze during Summer being absolutely terrified at Naomi skidding across the ring towards her. I kind of wish I hadn't refreshed it after that.

The best part of this match was Paige repeatedly telling Summer she was an idiot, then trying to walk out in disgust. There were some decent enough exchanges in this but it was interminable. How did they give this thing so much time?

ER: I can safely say that I watch more Divas matches than any of the other Segunda Caiders. And I feel pretty safe saying that this is the best the division has ever been. I don't know this for sure but I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Finlay was working with them again. JBL namedropping Aja Kong as having the most dominating "diva" Survivor Series moment is pretty great. Even pronounces her name "Ah-zhya" and everything. Boy I was really surprised this got 15 minutes. I thought a lot of the divas looked good. I'm a big Naomi fan, her stuff always has a nice snap and she gets crazy height for her "Rear View" from a standing position. Loved her headscissors to a kneeling Paige, and loved how Paige whipped her head right into it. Smart move getting Cameron out of their early, and dug some of Summer Rae's front kicks and her splashes to Naomi's arm. Alicia Fox is one of the best divas singles match workers, even tag matches, but she seems to be not good in multi man matches for whatever reason. I'm not sure why. This match would make a really good clipped highlight video. There were tons of great individual moments. They did not add up to 15 minutes worth of good match.

4. Bray Wyatt vs. Dean Ambrose

MattD: In watching old PPVs on the network, I've come to appreciate these video recap segments before the matches so that you get some sense of the feud, but they're a pain in the neck to watch on a PPV you already "bought."

They started this exactly as they should, charging at each other. Ambrose's little rotation preventing himself from getting tossed back into the ring was great. I'm sure he's done that before but I don't remember it. Ambrose chasing Bray across the ring after his Raven pose was a great spot too, and they followed it up with the counter off the dive. Nice little tease before Wyatt really took over. The Vader Attack cutoff followed by how much impact they put into the double clothesline on the floor was all good stuff.

Good last third WWE match stretch, with both Ambrose and Wyatt throwing bombs, countering each other's token moves, and both of them paying for going up top. The standing elbow drop was something out of a badly programmed NES wrestling game but in the best way. The ending worked well enough. You knew we weren't going to get something clean since it was a start of a feud and this set up TLC nicely, and really, was just what Dean needed on this PPV by showing the crowd how he's NOT Cena.

PAS: I really liked this, just a nasty fight with both guys beating the shit out of each other. I loved all of the car crash spots as both guys were just colliding into each other with abandon. Dean's crazy dive off the apron was and although the Bray on the microphone was a bit hokey, it kind of worked for me. Finish wasn't the craziest bit of table work we have seen but the character stuff by Dean really made it. These guys could have a great TLC match I am really looking forward to it.

ER: So much good stuff in this. I was expecting a good match and they more than delivered. I think "unorthodox" might be the most overused term by WWE announcers. I think at this point they've called every worker unorthodox. I'm not sure who they think is orthodox. And while technically inaccurate, it's a shame Goldberg wasn't here during this period. Ambrose has been my absolute favorite wrestler this year and he really is the greatest possible version of Roddy Piper in They Live. They were just constantly slamming into each other during this and I expect they had a bet going to see who could dislocate both shoulders first. Every single exchange was just super violent and I have no clue how Ambrose has been relatively healthy his whole career. Seems like I always want to write the word "fling" when talking about Ambrose. It's really the only time I use it. I no longer have "flings" so the word is useless to me in that sense. But every Ambrose match I always end up talking about he just "flings" his whole damn body at his opponent. He really does, and it looks fabulous. I think we can definitively say that their double clothesline spot was the greatest iteration of that spot in wrestling history. Normally it's a spot that predictably defies physics, but here Bray charges at fairly full speed and both appear to try and clothesline each other as damn hard as possible. I'm surprised neither guy got their arm ripped off, like two drag racers getting too close and knocking each others mirrors off. I like how the rebound elbow really only works for Ambrose 2/3 of the time, it's fun in an "opponent scouted it" kind of way. Every shot in this match landed with a nice thud, all of the nasty clotheslines, all the elbows, Bray going forehead first into a chair on that DDT. Their strike exchanges look truly unique, not like two guys who mapped them out, but like two off balance guys trying to sneak shots in. Ending was flat but it kind of should have been since no man should get a leg up on the other yet. I loved all of this.

5. Adam Rose/Bunny vs. Heath Slater/Gator

PAS: I was really disappointed that Sting wasn't revealed as the Bunny

ER: Adam Rose does nothing for me. He comes off as a really embarrassing old guy trying to be cool, but it's some weird version of what WWE thinks is cool. I guess "cool" is pretty subjective, but whatever Rose is supposed to be doesn't strike me as cool, interesting, fun-loving, entertaining, whatever. I'm sure some people think eye liner and greying goatees are cool though. Bunny had a nice missile dropkick.

ER: Backstage HHH addresses his team and says that there are no other 5 guys that he would have on his team. Normally those kind of statements can pretty easily be shot full of holes, but in a kayfabe sense when you think of guys he had at his disposal, that statement seems pretty accurate.

6. AJ Lee vs. Niki Bella

PAS: I couldn't have taken another Diva's match so no beef with that.

ER: I thought this was an okay way to move the title off AJ. She doesn't lose too much luster as she basically got tricked, but at the same time Nikki comes off like she outsmarted using a weird tactic that AJ wouldn't have thought of. Nikki is a shockingly better wrestler than people give her credit for so I was actually looking forward to the match, but I got other shit to do tonight so I'm not complaining about this.

7. Team Cena v. Team Authority

PAS: Liked parts of this a lot. Was pretty amazed at how irrelevant Cena felt in this match. Obviously Ziggler was the focus of this match, but honestly Erik Rowen got more showcase moments then Cena. I have never been a big Ziggler fan, but this was a pretty great performance, big time main event matches make his kind of bumping and selling appropriate, in a way it always seemed silly in four minute Smackdown matches. I was a little bummed to see Henry go out so quickly, no problem with the quick KO f but Kane is right there to be out in 20 seconds. Also didn't they just do remorseful Big Show making a decision for his family a year ago? Mainly that whole sport entertainment finish with Sting took forever and felt like the early days of weekly TNA PPVs where they would do a surprise debut every show (It's Vader! It's Sandman! It's Fat Tony Schivonie in a T-Shirt.) Still this kind of match is a fun showcase for a lot of guys, and a good way to hide limited guys who can do a couple of things.

MattD: So, I was putting the toddler down during the last two matches and the tablet can't run the Network well; it can run YouTube though and I watched Funk vs Hansen from 1982 instead and I think it's safe to say it was a better use of my time.

It bugs me that Noble and Mercury's ties don't match. I spent the entire babyface entrance annoyed that Kane and Rusev weren't switched in place so it could be Rollins in the middle, the giants on the end, and the champs in the middle. I was disappointed when Steph and Triple H left the apron since I really hoped that they did the "someone tries to tag Steph" spot. I like Kane a whole 14% more than the next guy, but couldn't he have been the one to eat the KO punch instead of Henry? I for one am glad that Ryback's gear says "Then" and not "Than." like it did last week. They really couldn't find a better way to protect him?

The Show-in-Peril segment was really good, with the heels making quick tags well. I didn't like the one on Dolph as well; it seemed to drag to me, though the hope spot cut offs were all pretty enjoyable. Cena is a really poor man's Mizdow on the apron. i wonder if Mercury and Noble can hear the Vince-Yelling-At-The-Announcers feed through those gimmick earpieces. It all ended with Rusev power bombing Dolph onto everyone and I swear I thought he was about to follow it up with a dive. Instead he missed the splash on the table and Dolph KOing himself on the stairs was probably the most ridiculous thing on a night of ridiculous things.

I like how they teased Rowan vs Haper before letting it happen. Rowan against giants is great, both the dropkick he did to Show and the hanging sleeper he tried on Rowan. The single best thing Rollins does is come flying in off the side of the screen. He'd be a good mid-card trios match tecnico in Mexico.

And that's what they went with with Cena? Really? I guess that really running Dolph vs the World could make Dolph. They do it too, with it all culminating in the domino spot and Triple H really noticing Ziggler for the first time in years. It's obvious that the Armstrong Curse is what summoned Sting. And say what you will about over the hill Sting but that felt like only the third or fourth special moment WWE's had all year and I think it lived up to whatever possible hype they could have had for Sting. Rollins and Dolph are the real winners of the injury bug this year. Survivor Series matches have low ceilings and they're really about something other than star ratings and in that regard this delivered in the way they needed it to with the eyes on it.

ER: Analytically I like the Henry elimination, but as a guy actually watching the match I was hoping to see a LOT of Henry in this as I like him opposite all the members of Team Cena. Fun little Ryback run with Rollins taking a massive Eddie style backdrop into the ropes and Ryback doing an awesome delayed vertical suplex on Harper. It's pretty impressive how quickly Rusev has improved since being up on the main roster. I thought he looked pretty bad earlier in the year in the NXT I watched, and now he's a guy with tons of cool unique offense (love his axe kicks and knee lift varieties) who knows how to play to his strengths. The table spot was really fun and he really just dove into an empty pool on it.

I really liked Ziggler in this, and I really LOVED the final few minutes with Rollins/Ziggler. I can't always get into "athletic men wrestling athletically with athleticism" but that was a cool hot stretch. I love that Rowan got a great fired up run, sprinting all over and KOing dudes off the apron, big spin kick on Harper. Harper also came off like a star in this and it's cool to see a guy like him treated like a big deal. His dive always makes me flip out.

So that ending. I was into it. Loved the Ziggler/Rollins stuff, loved the falling dominoes Steph spot...and then Sting came out, and we had some silent staring, and the fans were way more into it than I would have guessed, and then eventually Ziggler gets the win. So....Ziggler and Rollins were just knocked unconscious for like 7 minutes!? Both of them were just lying there not moving, and then Sting put Ziggler's limp lifeless body on the also lifeless Rollins for the win. I must say that after 7 minutes without resuscitation it's quite possible that Rollins and Ziggler now will have pretty nasty brain damage to deal with. Pretty selfish, Sting. Your long entrance may have caused mild retardation in two of the most popular guys in WWE.

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