Segunda Caida

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

Sunday, November 20, 2016

WWE Survivor Series 2016 (Not Quite) Live Blog

Saw some friends in town from Australia and got momentarily obsessed with the new show The Killing Season, so got home a little after the show started, but I'm here now and starting it from the beginning! Brand supremacy is incredibly stupid!

1. Ariya Daivari, Drew Gulak & Tony Nese vs. Rich Swann, Noam Dar & TJ Perkins

Still a bummer we don't get Gallagher and have been getting Dar, but at least Gallagher's picture has been in the 205 Live lineup. Pre-PPV matches always have a hot crowd because people are just excited to see live wrestling, and this match is immediately ice cold. People DO NOT care about the cruiserweight division, likely because they threw all of these guys onto TV cold and just said "here are cruiserweights!!!" The word "cruiserweight" probably doesn't even mean a whole lot to most current fans. They weren't the ones whining about the nWo interrupting WCW lucha matches 20 years ago. And this match is weird. They're presented as cruiserweights but then they go out there and put on a standard WWE TV match with guys being put into arm locks that won't go anywhere. The whole thing was pretty flat. Gulak did things I liked, but he doesn't have the flash to get over in a 6 man like this. Dar shows us how bad of a catcher he is, the ref stops TJ doing a dive for no reason whatsoever, Swann hits the ugliest standing 450 that he's ever hit. This whole thing shouldn't get anybody excited for 205 Live, which is a shame.

2. Kane vs. Luke Harper

Oooooo a bonus kickoff match! And Kane hits the chinlock to start the match! This whole thing is pretty chinlock-y. Harper gets some moments of nice clubbing, some neat short knees to Kane's head, a big senton that the crowd dug. Kane is pretty sluggish here. Realllly going through some motions. JBL makes a dud of a Walking Dead reference. This was a lot of nothing and naturally you gotta keep Kane strong. He looked really really slow and bad here.

3. Bayley, Alicia Fox, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks & Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch, Naomi, Alexa Bliss, Carmella & Natalya

I think most of this PPV will be individual entrances. Nikki was attacked backstage by an unknown assailant (maybe the return of Midnight!?!?) and replaced by Natalya. Natalya and Nikki confuse me, because I watch Total Divas with Rachel, and that has to be a scripted show. But in these backstage "acting" segments both (especially Natalya) are such terrible actresses, in a way that never shows up on Total Divas. Are the situations scripted and not actual words? Because Nattie is completely unconvincing whenever she has to act. I didn't really get into this match until the Carmella/Fox segment, oddly. I liked the way they matched up. Bliss hits a neat moonsault to quickly eliminate Foxy though. I like Jax but man was it a dumb choice for her to wear a big red Raw shirt. Couldn't they have just made her some red accessories for her outfit? Her and Naomi match up nice with Nia absorbing a big crossbody to the floor, and Naomi bumping big on the floor as Jax destroys her. I do hate how these eliminations just come so quickly. Natalya is really getting the weird push suddenly, with her just steamrolling Sasha and then dominating Charlotte, until Charlotte hit one kick to eliminate her. Really hard to get too into this match where every single pairing has just ended with someone getting eliminated. Hardly any tag outs or drama, just new pairing, new elimination. Becky takes an eternity to set up an armbar and somehow Jax just taps to it. Man this match is really bad. No flow whatsoever. Bliss gets eliminate as I type that. This suuuuuucks. Half the stuff Lynch does looks really good. She always throws a nice legdrop (all the variations), some of her suplexes are great. But sometimes her move set up can take an eternity. The Bayley to Belly really did not look like a "killshot" move. Lynch took like 90% of their segment together and Bayley just wins the match with one suplex. This was terrible. I've made a terrible choice.

4. The Miz vs. Sami Zayn

This is a real nice, hot match. I don't love either guy but they're matching up really well in this one. The small knee selling work is good and Zayn ramps up the selling after hitting a Blue Thunder Bomb. Maryse interjecting herself on the floor was great and her work and timing as a second is always worth watching. She knows when to hold back and has great reactions (her whipping her arm around while Miz is locking on the figure 4 is Wendell Kim-esque in it's animated excitement). Zayn locking on the figure 4 was a little clunky, with Miz pulling his own leg into position to help him out and we all knew there would be some sort of masturbatory '97 reference on this show, because they can't help themselves. If there HAD to be an SS97 spot this was probably the best case scenario, as the cut over to Maryse ringing it was great. Overall match was good. But damn at this point I'm pretty sure they just book shows in Canada so that they can rub the SS97 finish in their face. They're like a guy who had awful 90 second teenage summer camp sex with a girl who then sends her a letter every couple years reminding her of it.

5. Enzo Amore & Big Cass/The Shining Stars/Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows/Sheamus & Cesaro/New Day vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno/Breezango/Usos/Hype Bros/American Alpha

I don't mind Enzo and Cass yammering on for several minutes, as it allows me to FF with zero hesitation and attempt to get closer to live. Cesaro's dinner jacket/carnation look amazing, but he really needs that shit to be tearaway. Who takes a jacket off over their head? I like whenever Michael Cole slips up and says "Hype Brothers", but sadly he's not on commentary here. I don't know why it makes me laugh. Is there an ECW chant? We immediately start with two different eliminations. "This changes everything!!" Probably not. Gallows punches in the corner on Mojo looked really great, and Anderson throws an awesome knee to Ryder's face. Gallows and Anderson appear to get better as WWE's interest in them gets lesser. These matches are the pits with all the fast eliminations. How are these pins not being broken up!? Everybody has fucking 8 partners just standing there watching. And they all look like total goobers in their branded shirts. Primo does a cool weird bump in the corner that ends with his leg getting hooked. Man the way every single person tonight is getting eliminated after one move of offense, I'd be terrified to get in the ring. Does everybody have a fucking bus to catch or something? Slater's stage dive off the top looked great. But it's really hard to care about any of this. Not one once of psychology. I much rather would have seen a normal tag match between any of these teams. Usos vs. Sheamus/Cesaro for 10 minutes would be really good. Almost none of this match was good.

6. Kalisto vs. Brian Kendrick

Really fun start to this one, especially the "Kendrick using environment" spots: Holding onto ropes, the funky schoolboy into the bottom turnbuckle, kicking Kalisto's trapped body in the ring steps, but really anything he does has looked good. Kendrick breaks out a nasty back suplex and a cravate, and I loved Kalisto's fast head and arm drag to try and shake the cravate. Kendrick makes leg kicks look good and is really smart with his rope usage without getting cutesy. And then they break out the Spanish Fly from the apron which is pretty crazy, and then Kendrick catches Kalisto's tope in a really awesome way, just completely getting barreled over. This is really fun. This is really a PPV with some fun singles matches and horrible multimans. Damn that headlock takeover to set up the bully choke was sick. Really got into all of Kendrick's choke, with Kalisto gamely fighting to the ropes. Kendrick looks really great in this, even landing a vicious diving axe handle. When was the last time you saw a nasty axe handle? Kalisto's offense is really benefitting from Kendrick too. Nobody whips their head into the mat for Kalisto's kneeling rana quite like Kendrick. Well, that finish blew and I was not expecting to see Kendrick win. So the cruisers are staying on Raw....but 205 Live will be taped after Smackdown? How will any of that work?

7. Shane MacMahon, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, AJ Styles & Dean Ambrose vs. Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Chris Jericho & Kevin Owens

They're starting this off really slow which makes me think this is getting way more time than the other (terrible) elimination matches. Not tons to comment on at first, except for Shane's goofiest punches ever. It was nice to see Jericho's missile dropkick catch Shane right in the jaw. He is far and away the easiest guy to root against in this match. Is windbreaker pants really the best he can do for ring gear? How is the casual fan supposed to feel about him? He's supposed to be some kind of legend, right? Yuck. Ambrose hits a really nice lariat on Owens, then whiffs by a few feet on a tope that I think was supposed to not whiff. Styles hits a pretty wild flying elbow to the floor, Owens hits a nice fat guy senton to the floor and eats a back breaker over the barrier. This is actually pretty fun. Strowman kicks Shane in the face and I love it. Shane almost hangs himself clotheslining Braun over. Looked sloppy as hell, but the sloppiness gave it a nice reckless feel. Oh my but those Shane punches in the corner are the shittiest. Graves sucks the company dick and calmly puts over all the time Shane spends in the boxing gym. Good lord Braun tries to murder AJ by throwing him over the top to the floor, and either threw him too short or too far and AJ takes a nutso bump rolling over the top rope backwards to the floor. Good gravy. Much as I will continue to root against him, Shane's elbow through Braun on the announce table looked awesome, and Ellsworth grabbing Braun's leg to keep him out of the ring was a pretty clever way to keep Braun strong-yet-eliminated, and about the best use of Ellsworth. Also a good use of Ellsworth, having Braun launch him off the ramp through a table. Why were there pizza boxes on a table next to the entrance ramp? Who was just sitting there eating pizza and couldn't clean up his garbage? Somebody on the ring crew is going to have to leave an anonymous comic sans note asking people to clean up after themselves.

Shane commits on a missed dropkick and nicely sneaks in knees to counter a Lionsault. His timing on getting the knees up was really good. Damn Jericho slamming AJ's head into the mat looked nasty, just grabbing him by the hair and violently slamming the back of his head into the mat. The stuff with the clipboard was all realllllly stupid. The match goes 30 minutes with only 2 eliminations, and two guys go out because of the clipboard. That's really dumb you guys. Fuck I hate that I've actually liked a lot of Shane's stuff in this match. He's eaten several nice Reigns punches, and then flies wildly off the top rope into a spear. Though Reigns wasn't totally accounting for the weight and almost spiked his own head. It looked like Shane nailed him with a DDT. Oh, and they're sort of selling it that way, so that works for me. Some of his awful punches aside, Shane has clearly looked better than Rollins in this match, at minimum. Orton has been in like 30 seconds of this now 40+ minute match. I've actually been surprisingly into this whole match but it's finally starting to drag for me. But that's okay because it's over!! It looks like this has been getting pretty roundly shit on, and yeah there really wasn't any psychology outside of "These guys were randomly picked to be on one show, these were picked to be on the other show, they have zero alliances, but this time it counts!!!" So that's really stupid. Nobody actually cares about "brand supremacy". And yes a lot of this was constructed as valiant hero Shane fighting the odds. But I thought this was totally fine. Long as hell, but I was never bored. Not glowing praise I know, but this was definitely not as bad as some are making it out to be.

8. Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg

I understand the modern medical age we live in, but I still am amazed that 50 year old Goldberg looks essentially the same as he did 16 years ago. Goatee is whiter. That's it. I'm kind of foolishly excited for this one. And HOLY SHIT THEY BOOKED A SQUASH!! THAT was not the finish I was expecting. The whole build up I've been asking "how is a 50 year old who hasn't worked in 12 years going to get thrown around by Lesnar??" and then they go and have Goldberg squash him. Two spears, jackhammer, done. I'm kind reeling, and don't totally know if this was the stupidest way to book this, or the smartest. Lesnar has dominated almost everybody for 18 months, and now a guy who hasn't wrestled in 12 years beats him in 90 seconds. This has to send a terrible message to every single full time wrestler. BUT it also kind of makes sense that the first big Lesnar loss in ages would come in Warrior/Honky Tonk fashion. Just totally surprise Lesnar and mow through him, don't let him even get to suplex city. BUT then you go right back to thinking that there were other guys that are actually ON the roster that they could have booked to do that. This program is over, right? Goldberg isn't sticking around? So does Lesnar go back to dominating the actual roster and they just stop talking about how Goldberg came back, squashed him, and now Lesnar is right back to being better than the regular roster? I don't know!!! It seems kind of dumb and kind of hilarious but was also kind of awesome. I bet nobody was expecting this finish, which is amusing and I was certainly left with my jaw dropped. They built this up for like 2 months!! And then it takes 90 seconds and they go "Thanks for watching, universe!!" This is like one of those UFC fights that get 24/7 type specials, crazy build up, and then someone catches a high kick one minute in. So ridiculous.

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Blogger manjiimortal said...

I think you hit the nail in the head with the UFC comparison. The match was structured so that very early on Goldberg gets an opening and goes for the killing move right away! No nonsensical mid-range offence stuff or anything, just the killing spear that drills Lesnar through the stomach, the same stomach that cost him some UFC fights when he was having intestinal problems (Lesnar was even clutching his stomach after the spear, and selling it like a big near-KO move, yet another of his MMA weaknesses).

And with Brock reeling, Goldberg keeps wrestling smart and goes right away for the killing combo, spear and jackhammer, 1,2 and 3.

The entire match is premeditated on Lesnar being careless and paying for it, while Goldberg comes out as the smartest guy and thinking-man wrestler the WWE has had in the past I-have-no-idea-how-long.

7:55 AM  

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