11/20 WWE Survivor Series Review: Surprising result for Goldberg/Lesnar, WWE delivers a great show

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WWE Survivor Series Review
WWE Survivor Series Review
November 20, 2016
By: Mike Tedesco of Wrestleview.com

A sampling of WWE’s new business model (starting at WrestleMania 33) was felt tonight. WWE is targeting the “Big Four” PPVs to make a huge long weekend out of them to streamline revenue as much as they can. It’s going to help their quarterlies in the long run because WWE has proven, despite how bad the product is on television, people will still turn out for it because a.) they buy tickets based off the history of the event and b.) WWE is the only show in town anyway. Even with a mediocre product on free television every week, for the most part their PPVs deliver. Survivor Series by and large has been a throwaway show despite being one of their longest running events. Years ago there was even talk of doing away with it all together. This year, there was a renewed interest in making it special, and they accomplished that. The build was well done despite the matches themselves having no real consequence, probably the only mistake they really made.

The weekend kicked off with a really wonderful presentation of NXT Takeover on Saturday night. Survivor Series would have a tough act to follow. Normally the main roster has trouble following a good Takeover event.

How did the main roster fare for the 30th edition of Survivor Series? Let’s find out.

Goldberg defeats Brock Lesnar in one minute and twenty-six seconds

No, that is not an exaggeration. You read it right. One of the most anticipated matches of the year saw a 49-year old Goldberg, who hasn’t wrestled at all since he last defeated Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania XX in March 2004 (with yours truly in attendance, thank you very much), triumphantly come back and shockingly defeat Brock Lesnar in 1:26 becoming the first man to pin Lesnar since he ended the Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania XXX. Hell, this is the first time Lesnar has been pinned since Triple H pinned him at WrestleMania 29. There was one submission loss to the Undertaker at last year’s SummerSlam, but that was a wonky finish.

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely loved the finish. Everything they’ve done with Bill Goldberg since his return has been absolutely perfect. If this happened in 2003 when he first came in, they could have made ridiculous money with him. For all the time I’ve criticized WWE for their inability to create stars, they resurrected the career of Goldberg and made him into the force he was way back in WCW before they killed him at Starcade. Imagine if they used Roman Reigns like this when he was first going into singles competition. It may have been a different story for him. Now it’s a bit too late for him if you ask me.

The finish was phenomenal and fresh. It easily sets up a rematch in the future and it got people talking. If they went through a slow, plodding match, this wouldn’t have turned out so well. If they went fifteen minutes with Goldberg taking a lot of abuse before ultimately losing, people would be complaining and there’d be nothing to talk about. Like it or not, you’re talking about this finish. There’s also a really great story coming out of this match that I hope they elaborate more on tomorrow. Brock Lesnar came into this match supremely confident, as evidenced from the video package, and he underestimated his opponent. It has pangs of real life attached to it. Sometimes in boxing or MMA, you’ll get a big match like this and it ends in less than 30 seconds because someone made a mistake and got caught in a submission or something of that nature. This kind of had that feel to it. Like I said, this won’t be the last time these two lock horns. This was a complete and total surprise, which I’m happy about. It was just about perfect in my view.

Team Smackdown Live vanquishes Team RAW

After falling behind 0-2 in the Team RAW matches, Team Smackdown Live picked up the victory in the main offering of the challenge issued by Shane McMahon. Despite not having any consequences attached to the match other than bragging rights, on top of the facts that neither brand has really had a chance to be established and it’s so close to the split that we’ve seen these match-ups before, it turned out to be a really good match. Everyone served a purpose and was smartly used, even James Ellsworth! The match was given over 50 minutes, but it didn’t really drag. There was constant action. Shane McMahon had a few gutsy spots with his Leap of Faith and then being speared out of mid-air during a Coast to Coast attempt, which was damn impressive (and probably saw him get concussed in real life), but the moments when he was going punch for punch with some people were just cringe worthy.

Still there was so much good and so very little bad. There was current rivalries playing into finishes, an awesome RKO from Orton to Rollins while he was trying for a frog splash, a mini-Shield reunion, the List of Jericho being destroyed, Ellsworth getting killed, and so much more. It was a fun match even if it was a throwaway affair that will probably be forgotten about in a month, but we’ll see. Stephanie McMahon did say Team RAW’s jobs depended on winning, so maybe we’ll see a few firings, but they did the same thing in 2014. It’d be kind of redundant.

Quick Thoughts

* I figured the RAW women would pick up the win so they could keep Charlotte’s PPV winning streak intact until probably WrestleMania and that proved to be correct. As for the match, I didn’t particularly care for it. I checked out after they had Nia Jax tap out, which is basically cutting her legs out from under her before she even gets established.

* The Miz and Sami Zayn had an above average match, but for once can we do a PPV in Canada that doesn’t involve some callback to the Screwjob of 1997?

* The 10-on-10 Tag Team match was really well done and better than I expected. I’m a bit disappointed with the usage of American Alpha in the match, but it was overall a very good match.

* Brian Kendrick and Kalisto worked really hard in their match, but I’m still struggling to figure out a reason as to why I should care about the Cruiserweight Division whatsoever. It’s too spotty and no one really has a character. It’s really had to care about. The Spanish Fly off the apron was very impressive, but incredibly dangerous and could have just as easily turned back and ended someone’s career. Moves like that should be the finish, not just another move in the match. Sorry, but when things like that happen and the match just goes on like it never happened, I totally check out.

Overall Impression

This was a damn good edition of Survivor Series with a main event that people will be talking about for some time. It’s been a long time since Survivor Series felt special. Tonight it really did. WWE hit a homerun here. It’s nice to see the resurrection of Goldberg and the Survivor Series.

As of 1:20 AM EST, 48% of our readership are giving Survivor Series a thumbs up. I’d have to agree with them. You can view the poll here.

Bump of the Night: The Spanish Fly off the apron!
Match of the Night: Team RAW vs. Team Smackdown Live ****

Final Rating: *** 3/4

Well those are my thoughts. Do you agree? Disagree? Let me know by commenting or using one of the other two options to get in contact with me.

E-Mail – MikeyT817@gmail.com
Twitter – @MikeTedescoWV

Check out my recap of WWE Survivor Series by clicking here.

Please check out my live recap of RAW every Monday at 8 PM EST.

Thanks for reading!

Mike Tedesco is the official recapper of WWE Monday Night RAW for Wrestleview.com.

  • TheCyberZon

    Great review as always, Mike.

  • Brian Farmer

    You expressed my thoughts exactly on the main event. Brilliance.

    In terms of the cruiserweights, I think what we’re seeing is the result of what happens when wrestling becomes all about the high spots and not about character development. Part of what made WCW’s cruiserweight division so special was that you had distinctive characters in the mix. Even those who weren’t in the upper echelon brought something unique to the table in look, character, or style, and it helped the viewers to invest in the players. That’s sorely missing from the product on the whole right now, but especially among the cruiserweights.

  • Here’s two things I take away from the Lesnar vs Goldberg match: It’s not like you can’t build Brock up again after this. You can have him come on TV and say something akin to “I became complacent fighting lesser opponents and the one guy who could most take advantage of that weakness did. It WILL NOT happen again”. The other thing is, regardless of what the online wrestling fans think, the live crowd LOVED it. So, no, I don’t think this was the dumbest thing WWE has ever done. That said, there’s got to be behind the scenes stuff going on for this to have happened.

  • vinedig

    First let me start off by saying that I give this years survivor series an A and I give this article an A+
    Although Mike T. pointed out a few things WWE did tonight that just didnt make much sense and can definitely make you lose intrest at certain points (all I might add he was spot on about) I feel there was just so many great things WWE did tonight that more than made up for it. As pointed out for way too many years to even count survivor series did not only have the “Big 4” feel let alone was good at all the traditional survivor series teams were made up of people who lacked meaningful current storylines and sometimes let’s just call it what it is even jobbers. It seemed like more of a punishment if you are a wrestler involved in those matches. This year just felt so much different. I actually felt the build up of this whole PPV on both brands each week leading up and it was really incredible! From the Goldberg/Lesnar match build up and all the other fueds in between every wrestler seemed to have a purpose and direction and delivered when it came time to fulfill their current storylines. I’ll stop here but for the first time in a long time I can list of so many positive things about this PPV. From hard hitting matches, to nostalgia, and even comedy relief that actually made sense and wasn’t overkill (James Ellesworth). This just shows that when you have good build up on your weekly shows each week on each brand and put effort into all storylines whether big or small it will have a positive outcome. This show also sets up more stuff down the road. Anyone who complains are the people who are never happy.

  • conan_kun

    I hope Bayley dethrones Charlotte at Roadblock and stop that ridiculous PPV winning streak then Charlotte takes backseat for title feud, there just wasn’t any heat for Charlotte’s assault on Bayley, prove that the crowd is tired of Charlotte being shoved down our throat. When the same woman stands tall at the end of every single Raw women’s PPV match, you tend to lose people’s interest.

  • unknown

    Correction: Charlotte is only undefeated on PPV when it is a title match. She tapped out to Sasha Banks in a tag team match at Battleground.

    As for the lack of characters in the Cruiserweight division, the only one that has a character of sorts is Brian Kendrick, which he can build on now that he’s the champion.

  • Randy Torkkola

    Goldberg/Lesnar: I’ve seen feedback on this site that because this was a squash match, it shouldn’t have closed the show. I completely disagree. This was a big ending to the show and you’re best off, in my opinion, ending your show on the most memorable moment. This finish was a moment.

    Men’s Elimation match: A strong, well-worked match all around. The close certainly made the new Wyatt Family seem like a huge deal to me and they did enough during the match to advance the AJ/Ambrose feud for the next big show in 2 weeks. I’ve been a little uninspired personally by the James Ellsworth stuff on SmackDown, but even I have to say his role tonight was pulled off perfectly.

    Kendrick/Kalisto: Two of the few cruiserweights in the entire company right now that hold even a bit of interest for me right now. Hopefully, they start doing some work on this 205 Live show they’re launching and create some kind of characters for these guys. I think Corbin vs. Kalisto holds a chance for Kalisto to step up his character too.

    Tag team Elimination match: Another really good showing of the traditional format. Personally, I was disappointed by early exits from New Day and American Alpha, but those are personal more than anything that could be called bad booking. As gimmicky as it is, I’m still really enjoying Slater and Rhyno together, I laughed at the crowd chanting “Feed my kids”. Sheamus and Cesaro are building an interesting dynamic of being very individually based in a time when most tag teams are working big on cooperative stuff.

    Miz/Sami Zayn: Maryse is an amazing personality and the perfect compliment to make Miz a really over heel. She might be a better heel manager than even Vickie Guerrero was in her run, though she might not have that level of heat. It plays well to take the sneaky, chickenshit heel Miz and pair him with Maryse, who can be just as if not more cunning and devious than he is to keep him on top.

    Women’s Elimination Tag: A reasonable start to the show. It kind of shows that the solid star power in with ladies is centered on Raw, though. Bayley, Charlotte, Sasha and Nia all seem like a bigger deal than anyone on Smackdown’s side right now. I disagree with Mike that they cut Nia’s legs out, though. My guess is if anything it’s the start of a run toward a title feud for her. The monster has to have a weakness, and it looks like in Nia’s case, it’s going to be that you can submit her if you can hook her into something.

  • Glenn Wolf

    exactly as i thought for goldberg. total build up, shtty 30 second waste of time “match”.

    congrats to JBL for excitedly yelling out completely the wrong team as the winner.

    congrats too to the broadcast team for missing a vital part of the count in their insistance on showing us some dumbfks in the audience instead of what’s going on in the ring.

  • OC O

    “but for once can we do a PPV in Canada that doesn’t involve some callback to the Screwjob of 1997?”?????
    What, you don’t remember No Way Out (2003), Summerslam (2004), Unforgiven (2006), Breaking Point (2009), and NXT Takeover: Toronto?

  • J™

    So much hype for a less than 2 minute match????
    This was worse than the match they had 12 years ago!!!
    “Mega Match” my ass!

  • Evander Nii

    Honestly, I think the cruiserweight division matches involving Brain Kendrick is always boring. No high-flying, no skills and beautiful moments with him, just straight wrestling match. TJP, Kota Ibushi, Cedric, Swann, Andrea Cien, metalic are fun to watch… They deserve the belt and represent it better

  • Mike Tedesco

    Breaking Point and No Way Out featured the Screwjob quite prominently in their main event matches, so… The point is it’s been twenty years and it’s overkill at this point.

  • OC O

    And the other PPVs’ in Canada?

  • Mike Tedesco

    Never mind — going in circles!