Welcome to Richard Reacts to WWE Survivor Series 2015! If you need to get caught up on results, you can read our exclusive coverage at this link. Brooks Oglesby recapped the Kickoff at this link. Below are my reactions as the show airs in real time:
* Goldust made a surprise in-ring return in the Survivor Series Kickoff, teaming with The Dudley Boyz and Titus O'Neil in a Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match. He's returning from shoulder surgery he underwent back in May under the care of Dr. Jeff Dugas.
* Tyler Breeze and Summer Rae did a social media lounge segment with Tom Phillips on the Kickoff; I wasn't a fan. Breeze seemed to be trying too hard and it came across forced. I'm still not sure Summer is the right fit with him, they don't really flow together. I put it out on Twitter that I felt it was forced and the majority of feedback I received from followers was not good.
* 14,481 was announced SurvivorSeries attendance. Security was tight, I've seen photos of Atlanta police department with machine guns in bulletproof vests. I'm sure some of that is cosmetic to alleviate fear. There was a coffin hung at the top of the ramp. Scott Hall was at the show and mentioned on announce.
Semi-Finals Match in WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament
- Alberto Del Rio w/Zeb Colter vs. Roman Reigns
Pass or Fail:Pass. Nice hot opener that had the crowd throughout.
The finish: Roman Reigns speared Alberto Del Rio after Del Rio missed off the top rope and pinned for the three count after a well-balanced match.
Analysis: The crowd was hot, which is a good sign opening a pay-per-view. Del Rio has kept himself in great shape and WWE really needs him right now. Del Rio hit a Back Stabber for a near fall, the crowd popped hard when Roman kicked out. Another good near fall featured Alberto going for the cross armbreaker but Roman got his shoulders on the mat. Roman picked him up and hit a sit-down powerbomb. The crowd chanted "this is awesome." Del Rio got the cross armbreaker hooked in but Roman was able to fight it off. Roman finally hit the spear and pinned Del Rio when he missed on a top rope spot for the pinfall victory. They worked hard, the crowd appreciated it and the match was a hot opener.
Click here to reload the page for the latest updatesSemi-Finals Match in WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament- Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin OwensPass or Fail:Pass. They recovered from a slow start and had a great match
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The finish: Dean Ambrose fought off pop up powerbomb attempts from Owens after being slammed face-first into the announce table, hooking Dirty Deeds and getting the pinfall victory.
Analysis: The crowd cooled off for the start, maybe one too many armdrags. Ambrose got them going after going high-risk and then the first near fall. There were dueling "Let's go Ambrose" and "Fight Owens fight" chants, which gave the announcers the opportunity to plug the sold out crowd number listed above. Owens got Ambrose on the mat and declared "chinlock city." KO had a great suplex spot off the middle rope into a near fall, drawing "this is awesome" chants from the recovered crowd. Owens dropped Ambrose face-first on the announce table and put him back in the ring but Ambrose built a great counter that resulted in Dirty Deeds and the win.
5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match
- Ryback, The Lucha Dragons & The Usos vs. The New Day, Sheamus & King Barrett
Pass or Fail: Can I pass a match on Xavier Woods's hair alone? I mean you have to look at this; a masterpiece:
The bout itself passed, just a fun mid-card spot fest with the entertaining New Day.
The finish: Ryback pinned Sheamus after hitting Shell Shocked
Analysis: I love it when all three members of The New Day get on the mic; there's so much money in this gimmick, something they made work on their own. Xavier Woods and that hair - just brilliant. I'm paying a lot of attention to Sheamus being in this match and the fact they didn't come out to his music but to the New Day theme. Does that have any impact on a possible "cash in" later in the show? The crowd picked up on the match when Usos and Lucha Dragons went high risk and Ryback jumped from the ring onto the pile. King Barrett was eliminated first, followed by Jimmy Uso. Sheamus eliminated Sinn Cara, which sparked an argument with Big E. Big E got eliminated next by Jey Uso, making it three-on-three but Kofi and Xavier left with him, because they said he was hurt. Sheamus did well to fend them all off but the three-on-one was ultimately too much, with Ryback Shell Shocking him for the three count. I don't know what to make of Sheamus getting pinned but one would have to think it doesn't say much about his chances of "cashing in."
WWE Divas Championship Match- Charlotte (c) vs. PaigePass or Fail?:Fail. The crowd cared less about this than anything else on the night. This was very disappointing and fell flat.
The finish: Paige tapped out in the Figure Eight, giving Charlotte the victory to retain the WWE Divas Championship
Analysis: My first question coming into this bout was - was Paige's controversial line about Charlotte's brother, Reid, worth it? Was the heat nuclear? I have to say no. The crowd started disengaged and Paige didn't have near the heat I bet Vince thought that she would. So not only did WWE have to deal with a week of backlash but they didn't get what they were after in the first place. Ouch. Finally, they picked it up when Paige got on top of the crowd control barrier and showboated. Charlotte went off the barrier, where she landed offense.
The match itself wasn't something I would call "bad," it was just slow and they never had the crowd. Even when they tried really hard on the outside, it wasn't there. We've seen huge strides with the perception of women's wrestling in WWE but much more of this and I don't know what will happen. The time was there but the crowd didn't care, not even after almost a week of controversy surrounding Paige's line about Charlotte's baby brother Reid. This was my least favorite thing Charlotte has done so far in WWE and isn't anywhere near what she or Paige are capable of doing.
- Tyler Breeze w/Summer Rae vs. Dolph Ziggler
Pass or Fail?:Fail. The crowd was still gone and I'm just not convinced on Breeze yet. Ziggler looked good but no one cared about the finish.
The finish: Tyler Breeze got the surprise win, hitting an unprettier and getting the three count.
Analysis: Dolph came out in polka dot trunks, causing one of my friends in the business to text, "What's Dolph wearing? Circa '94 on an acid trip." I popped. Dolph hit his great dropkick on Breeze when he went off the ropes. I love Ziggler's dropkicks, there is nothing prettier in pro wrestling than a perfectly executed dropkick. Other than that though, there wasn't much too this. I understand what they're trying to do with Tyler Breeze but you'd think he would generate some heat, especially beating Ziggler like that. I sensed apathy from the crowd; which is never good.
Tag Team Match– The Undertaker & Kane vs. Luke Harper & Bray Wyatt w/Braun Strowman & Erick RowanPass or Fail?:Pass. This match was a tribute to The Undertaker. He hit all his vintage spots, did it together with Kane and got the easy win without burying Bray again.
The finish: The Undertaker tombstoned Luke Harper, getting the pinfall victory for The Brothers of Destruction.
Analysis: Erick Rowan started by getting a double chokeslam from Kane & The Undertaker. I tweeted that I hoped someone was backstage taking notes on everything Undertaker does. He plays his character better than anyone else and we're all going to miss him when he hangs it up. Michael Cole called Undertaker greatest of all time and he was over like rover with a crowd that's been on their hands for two matches. He went vintage with a leg drop on Luke Harper on the apron. Kane ended up getting thrown over the announce table, momentarily taking out the headsets of the announce team. Undertaker went for the double chokeslam on Bray and Harper but Braun Strowman got involved. This caused the Brothers of Destruction to chokeslam Strowman through the Spanish announce table, popping the crowd. There was a fun spot when the Wyatts had regained control and Bray was spider walking with Undertaker and Kane down; the Brothers of Destruction got up simultaneously in "deadman" fashion. This match was all about paying tribute and not as much about current storylines - past or present. This was all about honoring Undertaker and that was accomplished. If you were hoping Wyatt was going to avenge his loss, you're likely disappointed. I for one am honored to have had the privilege to enjoy Undertaker's body of work. I implore you to not get too caught up in the booking of this one and enjoy what this man has given us.
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Finals of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
- Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose
Pass or Fail?:Pass but the finish was out of the blue. A gimmick to follow was inevitable.
The finish: Roman Reigns speared Dean Ambrose to win to get the pinfall victory. The finish was really out of nowhere as Ambrose was stomping Reigns after a series of clotheslines but Roman was able to counter to go over.
Analysis: Dean Ambrose came out shirtless under his leather jacket (the wife beater was ripped and still on from the bottom). They started physical and the crowd were engaged. Dueling Ambrose/Reigns chants but Dean is clearly more babyface of the two. Both Ambrose and Reigns have so much passion that shine through into their work. It's something that separates prospects and you can tell, they both want the same rub that was given to Rollins. The finish was out of the blue and had people looking to the ramp for something else or expecting a turn. Confetti fell from the rough as Ambrose gave Reigns a fist bump before getting out of the ring and letting him have his moment.
Triple H came out, apparently to congratulate him. Reigns took him out with a spear but Sheamus came out to cash in. Reigns kicked out of a cover. It didn't take much longer as Sheamus was able to hit the Brogue Kick and pin Reigns to become WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Sheamus, a four-time WWE Champion, embraced Hunter and celebrated.
The vocal part of the crowd hated Roman Reigns so a pop was audible when Sheamus won. Sean Hopkins went back to the replay because he couldn't believe it. I'll tell you, WWE will hope Roman can become a top babyface in the chase. It's something I brought up on social media over the weekend and it's something I understand. Sheamus hasn't been protected but he clearly lost earlier on this show to keep the surprise active. I thought once he was pinned, he was done. WWE just doesn't operate under that logic.
We'll see how it goes but WWE clearly wants a heel champion, someone for these up and coming babyfaces to chase in hopes they can find their next top guy. Survivor Series wasn't near as good as the past two WWE pay-per-views and I remain the most disappointed in the Divas Championship match. It really lacked at a time when it should have stole the show.