Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Survivor Series 2014
Date: November 23, 2014
Location: Scottrade Center, St. Louis, Missouri
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jerry Lawler
Now this is going to be an interesting one as the whole show is built around one match and that one match’s big surprise. Last year they made no secret about the show being entirely built around one single match, which wound up making the way to make the whole thing work. That one match is Team Cena vs. Team Authority for Cena and company’s jobs vs. the Authority having power. The jobs were thrown in at the last minute to really hammer home who was going to win but that’s not always the worst thing. Let’s get to it.
Pre-Show: Fandango vs. Justin Gabriel
This is the NEW AND IMPROVED Fandango, meaning he has Rosa Mendes and now wears a white shirt. We’re ready to go after the dance sequence that kills even more time. They slowly punch each other to start with Gabriel, who has skeleton tights for no apparent reason (JBL: “The leftovers from Giant Gonzalez.”), getting knocked to the floor.
Back in and Justin breaks out of a chinlock and gets two off a springboard kick to the face. For someone who flies around as much as Gabriel, the fans are almost totally silent. A suplex slam (as in a suplex where Fandango never left his feet) takes Gabriel down and the guillotine legdrop is good enough to put Justin away at 3:10.
Rating: D-. You know how Fandango still hasn’t done anything since his “rebirth” here? After this match it really surprises me that he still has a job as this was so horribly boring. Naturally they did the same match again the next night on Raw because maybe they just didn’t get the point across here. Really boring match.
Pre-Show: Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger
The battle of the former Real Americans. On the way to the ring, Cesaro talks about the history of Swiss neutrality before picking Team Authority. He proclaims his allegiance in various languages (which is NOTHING that could ever be capitalized in around the world) until Swagger and Colter come in to pick Team Cena. Swagger gets a quick rollup for two to start, earning himself a gutwrench suplex.
The Patriot Lock has Cesaro in early trouble but he’s still able to throw Swagger down with a German suplex. More suplexes set up a chinlock. Back up and Swagger grabs a German of his own, followed by a chop block to stay on the leg. The Vader Bomb is blocked but Swagger grabs the Patriot Lock. That goes nowhere and more Germans are rolled, only to have Swagger counter into the Patriot Lock again for the submission at 5:23.
Rating: C-. They crammed a lot of suplexes into just five minutes. This also shows you how much better a match can be if you have interesting people in there. Swagger isn’t the best in the world but there’s at least a reason to care about him and more than one note to his character. I’ll take Cesaro being all serious and speaking different languages over HE’S A DANCER IN A WHITE SHIRT any day.
The opening video recaps the main event, which was set up on Vince’s whim. That’s the problem with so much of what the Authority does: whatever happens can be changed by either the two of them or Vince because they’re the ultimate powers. No matter how the story goes, someone with power can come in and change anything at the drop of a hat. Why hasn’t Vince come back and changed something else on a whim? Eh no real reason other than the plot hasn’t called for it. That’s really bad writing.
Here’s Vince to open things up with talking. Vince talks (see, I told you that’s what he was going to do) about how epic this is really going to be and brings out the Authority because we haven’t heard from them in the first five minutes. The sucking up begins immediately but Vince cuts them off to bring out Cena.
Vince recaps the main event as we’re just burning through pay per view time here. Cena asks if the Authority will leave on their own accord if they lose tonight. HHH says that Cena is going to have a bad holiday because four men’s responsibilities will be on his head after tonight. Those four men are going to be forgotten about because they’re the ones with everything to lose. Cena will keep his job because he’s such a big star, but he’ll have that on his head forever.
Stephanie suggests that someone on Team Cena will turn on him because they have to think of themselves. She says the Authority will still have their jobs at headquarters and run things from afar, but Vince says not so fast. They’ll still have desk jobs and be in charge of different departments but they’ll have no authority on screen.
One more thing: if the Authority does lose tonight, only Cena can bring them back. That’s the moment where they gave away the ending and everyone knew the Authority would be back by the end of the year at the latest. Stephanie goes into full STEPHANIE IS SHOUTING mode but Cena says the Authority will lose tonight.
So to recap the recap (which took us to fifteen minutes into the show): the Authority will still have jobs and huge salaries but they just don’t have to deal with the headaches of running the show. On top of that, Cena can bring them back because FOREVER means until Cena says otherwise. This is all stuff that could have been done on Raw but why not waste pay per view time on it. I know their line is “But it’s a free month on the Network!” That’s not an excuse to do something stupid like this as it’s a really bad way to get the show going when this could have been done in five minutes on any given TV show.
Tag Team Titles: Usos vs. Miz/Damien Mizdow vs. Los Matadores vs. Goldust/Stardust
Goldust and Stardust (villains here) are defending and Mizdow is one of the most popular guys on the roster because of how hard he’s been working with the stunt double character. Diego and Stardust start things off as Cole reads Stardust’s latest riddle. A quick rollup gets two on Stardust before it’s off to Miz who is stopped by OLE! Mizdow does his stunt double stuff on the floor as JBL talks about Papa Shango putting a curse on Mizdow years ago. This isn’t a rousing start to the commentary tonight.
Miz won’t tag out, again missing the point of having a stunt double. Jey comes in to chop Diego but Goldust tags himself in and chinlocks the Samoan. The fans continue to want Mizdow but Stardust waves them off and uppercuts Jey instead. This time it’s Miz tagging himself in but Fernando tags Jey and flips off the top and onto Miz.
It’s FINALLY off to Mizdow, only to have Goldust tag himself in ten seconds later to bring the crowd back to silence. Lawler brings up a great point: if Mizdow comes in and Miz is on the apron, shouldn’t Mizdow just stand there? Stardust comes in and stomps Fernando before cranking on both arms to slow things down a bit. Goldust stomps Fernando on the floor (brothers think alike) and we hit the chinlock. Things stay slow as we hear about Grumpy Cat appearing on Raw. I had been trying to forget that guys.
Stardust loads up what looks like a Tombstone but Fernando spins out into a tornado DDT (good one too) and it’s off to Jimmy. Now we pick things up a bit with the Usos cleaning house with Umaga attacks and superkicks (and a shaking camera, which has happened multiple times tonight). Goldust powerslams Jimmy down for two but the double Uso dive takes down a few people.
There’s the Falling Star from Stardust, giving us this brilliant exchange: Cole: “That’s the Falling Star!” “JBL: “I have no idea what that is!” Cole: “It’s the Falling Star!” JBL: “I know!” Torito gets thrown onto the pile and Diego does the same. Back in and a quadruple Tower of Doom takes down Los Matadores and the champs, allowing Mizdow to tag himself in and pin Goldust for the titles at 15:25.
Rating: C. This was a big longer than it needed to be but the payoff was exactly what it needed to be. There was no reason to wait any longer on giving Mizdow something and this opens the door for some new possibilities in the story. The match was fun but they could have cut out a few minutes to make it flow better. It’s fun enough though (annoying commentary aside) and a good way to open the show, after the long talking of course.
Miz takes both titles and Mizdow keeps posing.
Larry the Cable Guy is guest hosting Raw. As usual, WWE is about ten years behind the pop culture times.
Vince will be on the Steve Austin Show. Now that could be entertaining and it kind of was if I remember correctly.
Adam Rose and the Bunny do a toy commercial until Heath Slater and Titus O’Neil come in to set up a match for later. Fans: “NO! NO! NO!” Is it bad that I miss the Bunny and wanted to see more of him?
Team Paige vs. Team Team Fox
Paige, Cameron, Summer Rae, Layla
Alicia Fox, Natalya, Emma, Naomi
Natalya is accompanied by Tyson Kidd, who clearly doesn’t care in a great short run character. Paige and Natalya start things off on the mat and we hit the King’s Court reference which turns into a discussion of Lawler having a foursome. Paige is sent to the floor for a quick spank from Natalya (because of course) before it’s off to Layla vs. Emma, neither of whom are still on the main roster. Lawler: “Emma could trip over cordless phones.” That’s not very hard to do King.
It’s back to Paige for a headbutt and THIS IS MY HOUSE. How can she afford this many houses? Cameron comes in to break up a tag attempt and this could go badly. The fans want Mizdow again and good grief it’s the Daniel Bryan story all over again. You just had him for fifteen minutes when he won a title. Be happy with what you got and shut up already. Emma rolls over and tags Naomi for the big showdown that no one wanted to see. Naomi runs through Cameron and a bad looking wheelbarrow Stunner gets two.
Everything breaks down and Cameron does an awful bulldog, allowing Naomi to roll her up for the elimination at 6:12. Summer kicks Naomi down to take over, only to miss a splash. Fox comes in as the announcers ignore the match to talk about old Survivor Series teams. The heels bail so Fox tries to get a CHICKEN chant started. It’s off to Layla for her bouncy cross body but a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gives Alicia the elimination at 9:29.
Summer comes in and misses a charge, allowing Natalya to dropkick her down. It’s off to Paige who takes over, only to have Summer do Paige’s scream and get decked as a result. Emma comes in for the Dilemma, a forearm to Paige on the apron and the Emma Lock for the submission on Summer at 12:04. So Paige is all alone and starts with Emma, who quickly faceplants her down. Natalya eats a superkick so it’s off to Naomi for the Rear View and the headscissors DDT for the final pin at 14:16.
Rating: D-. Oh sweet goodness the Divas Revolution needed to happen soon. This match felt like it was going on forever with almost none of them looking like they should have been out there this long. Between “CHICKEN! CHICKEN!” and Layla’s face offense under the guise of a heel and Cameron being the disaster that only she can be, this was horrible with Paige and Natalya not being able to hold it together.
Kidd, who didn’t do a thing all match, celebrates more than anyone else in a great touch. That’s the highlight of the last fifteen minutes.
We recap the pre-show, which also included the return of Bad News Barrett. As usual, Cesaro gets left out. The best part: Renee Young with long hair. I had forgotten about that and it says a lot that she’s just as beautiful with her hair hacked off.
The panel talks for a bit.
We recap Bray Wyatt vs. Dean Ambrose, which started when Wyatt targeted Ambrose in October for whatever reason Bray picks his next target. There was something about Dean’s dad being in prison but it was never really explained. Ambrose said he didn’t care why Wyatt did it anyway so it didn’t really matter. Tonight is the first match.
Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt
They slug it out to start (shocking) before heading outside (even more shocking) where Dean takes over with some clotheslines. Back in and Bray runs Dean over before knocking a dive out of the air with a right hand. I can never get used to Bray’s blood red tattoos as they always fool me. We hit a seated full nelson on Dean (always nice to see them mix up the rest holds) before he fights up for a double cross body.
They go outside for the third time for a double clothesline and both guys are down again. Back in and Dean takes over before doing Bray’s lean upside down out of the corner in a nice touch. Dean ties him in the ropes and kisses Bray on the head before a dropkick and legdrop get two. Bray counters the Rebound Lariat into a release Rock Bottom for two as this match really hasn’t taken off yet.
The middle rope backsplash misses because it would have killed Dean and the top rope elbow gets two for Ambrose. Back up and Bray EXPLODES with a clothesline and he makes it even worse with another Rock Bottom onto the steps. That’s only good for two so Bray grabs a mic and says they could have ruled the world together. Dean has chosen his path though so Bray grabs a chair and drops to his knees like he did with Cena at Wrestlemania. Dean isn’t Cena though and he hits Bray with the chair for the DQ at 14:00.
Rating: C+. Much like the Cena match at Wrestlemania, this felt a lot more like it was designed to set up something else (which it was) instead of being a big showdown. Bray’s babbling gets to the point where you stop caring what he’s talking about and that doesn’t make for the most interesting matches. No matter how you look at it, the whole thing always feels like you’re waiting on the next big thing, which gets repetitive in a hurry. It’s still a fun brawl though and got going after the first few minutes.
Post match Dean lays Bray out and elbows him through a table. That’s not enough for him as he buries Bray under another table and a pile of chairs. That’s only T and C though so why not pull out a ladder? Dean climbs the ladder but is all like “this is the free month so you have to pay to see me dive off.” Referees won’t let him shove the ladder onto the pile either.
The Authority gives their team a long pep talk, including Stephanie crying at the thought of only having a huge salary and working in an office. This is one of the problems of having such a big main event: there’s so much time to fill which certainly couldn’t have been filled with another Survivor Series match. This talk eats up WAY too much time and is summed up as “we’re betting everything we have tonight so win or else.”
Adam Rose/The Bunny vs. Heath Slater/Titus O’Neil
Slater and the Bunny get things going but Rose tags himself in quickly. Heath gets him on the mat before it’s off to Titus for some forearms to the back. Rose dives over and makes the tag. Lawler: “Maybe we should explain why there’s a bunny in the ring.” Cole: “Well it’s actually a man in a bunny suit.” Good grief just start speaking gibberish to us since they clearly think we’re that stupid. The Bunny pins Slater off a middle rope dropkick.
The Rosebuds leave with the Bunny.
More commercials. Counting the opener, the pep talk and all these commercials, there’s probably been seventeen minutes wasted, or about the same amount of time spent on a quick Survivor Series match.
The injured Roman Reigns has a satellite interview where he talks about wanting to be here punching people. We’ll make it nineteen minutes of filler. Reigns will be back in a month.
Team Cena says they’re ready.
Divas Title: Nikki Bella vs. AJ Lee
AJ is defending and Nikki has Brie as her unwilling assistant. After the big match intros and Brie gets on the apron for a distraction, followed by kissing AJ (and launching a thousand fanfics). The Rack Attack gives us a new champion at 38 seconds in the Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus finish. Allegedly this was the way the match was going the entire time and it wasn’t cut down, making me shake my head even more.
Of course the sisters are back together with an eventual explanation of “we’re sisters.”
Ambrose vs. Wyatt is announced for TLC in the namesake match.
We recap the main event. The Authority is all corrupt so Vince came in and said let’s put their power up against Team Cena. John put together a team of the few people who would fight with him so the Authority made them as miserable as they could. It’s a simple story but they’ve made this feel like a legitimately huge match.
Team Cena vs. Team Authority
John Cena, Big Show, Ryback, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan
Seth Rollins, Kane, Rusev, Mark Henry, Luke Harper
Cena’s partners’ jobs vs. the Authority’s authority. Harper is Intercontinental Champion and Rusev is the undefeated US Champion. The eleven entrances eat up even more time but in a good way this time. They’ve done a really good job at making this feel like a big deal and it’s working well here. Henry and Show start but HHH has to get in one last pep talk, allowing Show to knock him out for the elimination at 50 seconds.
It’s Rollins in next but Show chops him down to the floor. Kane comes in but Show drags him into the corner for the tag off to Cena, who pounds on Kane even more. Now we get a showdown that the fans find bigger than it probably is with Rowan vs. Harper. This was during that short period where Rowan was a genius, which has been completely forgotten since. Rollins tags himself back in before anything can happen and is immediately caught in the wrong corner.
Ryback comes in to join in on the fun but Rollins tags out to Harper. That’s fine with Ryback as he grabs a vertical suplex, only to get punched in the face by Kane. The big bald is beaten down as well so we’ll try Rusev. A spinebuster ends the slugout but Shell Shock is broken up. Everything breaks down and it’s a Curb Stomp from Rollins and the jumping superkick from Rusev to eliminate Ryback and tie us up.
Show comes back in but Rusev escapes a quick chokeslam attempt and brings in Harper. A dropkick of all things puts Show down and it’s back to Kane for some stomping. Kane follows Harper’s suit with a (basement) dropkick, followed by the Gator Roll (he’s stopped using that) from Harper. Show throws Harper away too so it’s off to Ziggler, who Harper beat (through some shenanigans) to win the title.
The heels start taking over on Ziggler with Kane’s sidewalk slam getting two. A comeback is stopped by a boot to the face and it’s off to Rusev for some knees to the ribs. Ziggler tries to punch Rollins in the face but gets caught in a downward spiral into the corner. We hit the chinlock for a bit before the running DDT plants Rusev. Everything breaks down again and we hit the parade of finishers (always a favorite).
Rollins is thrown onto a pile but Rusev throws Ziggler onto that pile. It’s time to load up the announcers’ table but Rusev misses Ziggler and splashes through the table instead, leading to a countout at 21:02 to make it 4-3. Cole: “COUNTOUTS ARE A FACTOR! COUNTOUTS ARE A FACTOR! COME ON DOLPH! COME ON DOLPH! ZIGGLER’S IN! ZIGGLER’S IN! RUSEV IS OUT! RUSEV IS OUT!” Get the parrot a cracker and shut him up already.
Back in and the exhausted Ziggler tags Cena for a quick AA to Kane. Rollins makes the save with a Curb Stomp and everyone is down. A double tag brings in Harper and Rowan with Erick cleaning house. Kane’s chokeslam is broken up but the springboard knee from Rollins sets up Harper’s discus lariat to put Rowan out at 24:14. So it’s Show/Cena/Ziggler vs. Rollins/Kane/Harper and we get a big six man staredown….until Show KO’s Cena, turning heel again to fill his quota for the year. Rollins steals the pin to eliminate Cena at 25:11. Now THAT is a shock.
Show stares down at the Authority and then walks out at 26:30, leaving Ziggler down 3-1. Ziggler can barely stand after the long beating he took but it’s now the Shawn formula in 2005. The fans want Orton (who was put out by Rollins a few weeks ago but why have the hometown boy here to make the save when you can have him on a movie set instead? To make it worse, Stephanie chants “OH YEAH! OH YEAH! OH YEAH!” in what was supposed to be cheerleading.
Kane throws Ziggler into the barricade and Rollins drags him over to the corner for some tags to the eliminated partners. Kane’s superplex is broken up though and a quick superkick and Zig Zag make it 2-1 at 29:35. Harper is right in though and kicks Ziggler’s head off to send him outside, followed by a nice suicide shove. A great sounding superkick gets two on Ziggler and the sitout powerbomb amazingly only gets the same. Ziggler somehow grabs a rollup (and jeans) for a fast elimination at 31:35, leaving us one on one.
Dolph can barely stand but he still grabs a DDT for two. Rollins has way more gas though and hammers Ziggler down, only to miss a top rope knee. The Fameasser gets two out of nowhere as HHH and Stephanie are losing their minds on the outside. Noble and Mercury are dispatched and the Zig Zag connects but HHH pulls the referee out at two.
The J’s are dispatched again and Stephanie is knocked off the apron (onto HHH of course because Heaven forbid she not have a soft landing). Another Curb Stomp misses and there’s a second Zig Zag for two with HHH breaking up the pin one more time. HHH beats on Ziggler for a bit and hits a Pedigree…..and there’s a crow.
In one of the biggest surprises of all time, STING makes his WWE debut (with JBL listing off his resume to make sure you know this was planned in advance) and HHH is in shock. Sting decks HHH’s crooked referee and does the big staredown with HHH, setting up the Death Drop (sold really well too). Sting pulls Ziggler on top of Rollins (who hasn’t moved in over six minutes) for the final pin at 44:07.
Rating: A. I liked this even better knowing what was coming. They did a really good job of setting up the story here as both teams were in enough trouble at different points to keep it interesting with the Cena elimination being the biggest of them all. I was genuinely surprised when that happened and it holds up well enough as a moment today. The near falls near the end were great as well, making this a really great match. This should have been a total star making performance for Ziggler but since WWE is in charge, it was pretty much forgotten in about a month.
HHH looks like reality sets in while Stephanie shows her horrible acting skills one more time. For once I’m fine with the focus being on them but good grief that screeching is killing it. On top of that, everyone knew they would be back sooner than later and it didn’t even last a month.
Overall Rating: B-. This is the definition of a one match show and thankfully that one match delivered because the rest of this show was pretty horrible. Everything from the end of Ambrose vs. Wyatt to the start of the main event was a waste of time or boring, as was so often the case in WWE at this point. The main event bails the show out, but that’s the ONLY thing worth watching on here.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!