Cubed Circle Newsletter 162 – Survivor Series 2014 This Sunday
This week Ben Carass and Bryan Rose return for the penultimate hiatus addition of the newsletter for 2014, with Bryan Rose continuing his coverage of the 2014 Wrestling Observer Awards with the last of the class A awards, and Ben Carass looks at WWE’s go-home effort for the 2014 Survivor Series!
– Ryan Clingman, Cubed Circle Newsletter Editor
Survivor Series This Sunday, Who Cares?
Poor old Survivor Series. Over the years the second longest running PPV in pro wrestling history has become nothing more than a throwaway show that is presented by the company, and met by fans, with abject apathy. Even worse for the grand old “Thanksgiving week tradition”, it has been surpassed in the WWE’s big show hierarchy by B level shows like Money in the Bank and Elimination Chamber. Long-time fans may still have some nostalgic reverence for the show; the first PPV I ever saw from start to finish was Survivor Series 1993, before that my wrestling viewing consisted solely of randomly coming across episodes of Superstars from time to time– trying to remember a TV show’s timeslot was something my 6 year-old brain had not quite grasped yet. Even now, seeing the old red Survivor Series logo takes me back to my childhood. However, sadly, that is where the sentiment ends. Years of neglect has left Survivor Series’ reputation rotting in the gutter right next to Vince Russo’s career and the WWE have done such an abysmal job building this year’s card that you would have to look long and hard to find anyone that is even the littlest bit excited for the show. And all during a free month of the Network that was supposedly meant to entice new fans to sign up. Desperate attempts to make the show feel important like the stips in the main event have not worked at all – I mean, who could possibly believe that Triple H and Stephanie are never going to be seen again or that Ziggler, Big Show, Ryback and Rowan will all be fired? It’s beyond absurd. It also has not helped the main event storyline that the writing of Raw is consistently setting new low standards of atrocious on a weekly basis. Seriously, it is beyond a joke at this point how bad the scripting and dialog have become. Any other successful TV series would have fired these hacks a long time ago. I just hope that the finish of the main event doesn’t involve Rollins putting Cena in the sharpshooter and Triple H or Stephanie telling the timekeeper to ring the bell.
Let’s have a quick look at the card.
Team Cena (John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, Big Show & Erick Rowan) vs. Team Authority (Seth Rollins, Kane, Luke Harper, Mark Henry & Rusev) – If Team Cena wins the Authority will be out of power and if the Authority win all of Team Cena, except John Cena, will be fired. – When Vince announced the stip that the Authority would be gone if they lost, I was certain the heels were going to win. “Triple H and Stephanie being replaced with 3 weeks of build?” I thought. “Never happen.” Then they booked the ridiculous stipulation on SmackDown about all the faces getting fired if they lose, which surely all but guarantees a Team Cena win. Or does it? Remember Survivor Series 2010 when Cena was “fired” and missed maybe one week of TV? What I’m getting at is that the finish of, “the biggest match in Survivor Series history” won’t mean a damn thing in a couple of weeks because, either way, Vince McMahon will probably show up again and give the losers, HHH/Steph or the “fired” babyfaces a chance to get their jobs back. They have been teasing a Triple H/Ryback match, which sounds like just about the worst idea I’ve ever heard. Ryback working a slow, plodding 20 minute HHH match would be a disaster. Plus if they had the stip that Triple H and Steph will be back in charge if Hunter wins, which he likely would, where would that leave Ryback? Most likely in a worse spot than when he was teaming with Curtis Axel. And how stupid is it anyway that Triple H isn’t even in the Survivor Series match, fighting for his and his family’s “future”? This entire thing is a complete mess; at least the match should be fun, that is if they get Kane, Big Show, Mark Henry and Rowan out of there as quickly as possible. I’m going with a Team Cena win, but who cares as it won’t mean anything in 2 weeks.
Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt – Another program they have dropped the ball on. Wyatt cost Ambrose the Hell in a Cell match with Rollins, why? Because Bray knows some secrets about his dad and he wants to “save” Ambrose…I think. Once again the scripting and booking of angles for this feud have been lacklustre at best. Wyatt’s “mind games” or “total B.S” as I like to call it, are getting old fast and to make things worse, a couple of weeks ago on SmackDown, Ambrose was spooked by Bray turning the lights on and off then standing behind him. Also, you would think that being in the same vicinity as the man who cost him the biggest match of his career would make the “unstable” Ambrose snap, however the two have been no more than ten feet away from each other on several occasions and Ambrose has just stood there and listened to Bray ramble about his father. I’m not totally against Wyatt bringing up stuff about Dean’s father, as it gives some believable background to the Ambrose character, I would just like a little more thought put into the story, like how Wyatt is obtaining this information about Ambrose Sr. Match should be good, I’ll go with Wyatt since there is a gimmick PPV next month and they’ll need some matches to add the stipulations too.
Tag Team Title Four-Way: Gold & Stardust (C) vs. The Usos vs. Los Matadores vs. Miz & Damien Sandow – We’ve seen some combination of these teams wrestle each other weeks and in the case of the Dusts and the Usos, months. These multiple man matches are usually a lot of fun, so it’s not all doom and gloom. I see no reason to take the belts off the Dusts. They could go with Miz & Sandow just because Sandow is getting over big time, which could lead to a split down the road and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Usos won either. Still, I’m going with Dusty’s seed.
Divas Title: AJ Lee (C) vs. Nikki Bella – The rumour is that AJ is on her way out, so Nikki looks to be the favourite. I don’t care either way, although the latest decree was that none of the Total Divas were to be given the championship. I have no idea why, it’s not like they pay much attention to linear continuity on the show. It is also Brie’s final day of being Nikki’s assistant – another fine job they have done there. Maybe Brie has enough and costs Nikki the match, or maybe her final act is to help her sister win. I’ll go, Nikki.
Alicia Fox, Emma, Naomi & Natalya vs. Paige, Cameron, Layla & Summer Rae – They normally throw the women into a multi-person tag, the only variable being whether it is elimination rules or not, and this year it is. So, like the main event, if you get all the lousy workers out of there early (Cameron & Summer in particular) it could be a fine little match, for Divas standards of course. I’ll go with Paige as the sole survivor.
Fandango w/Rosa vs. A Mystery Opponent – This is a pre-show match and will almost certainly be kept short. I know it wouldn’t do Fandango any good, but I would love to see Bad News Barrett, who will be on the pre-show panel, get on the mic and tell Fandango he has some “bad news” for him then go beat him in 10 seconds with his big elbow smash.
So, yeah, it’s pretty much a one match show. I suppose it doesn’t really matter which team goes over in the main event, as I said earlier they will almost certainly stick to neither stipulation. The most important thing for Survivor Series is that the talent put on a great show. Since it is a free show then you would think a lot more people will be watching than the regular PPVs, so they had better blow all those people away and make them want to become WWE Network subscribers. Personally, I don’t see either happening. Just look at the card again; it hardly screams “Great show”, plus I think it is pretty clear at this point that some people are just not going to subscribe to the Network, no matter what.
Raw Ramblings – November 17th 2014
Berglund Centre Coliseum: Roanoke, Virginia.
I hated Raw. Hated, hated, HATED. The writing of the show has been the absolute dirt worst for a long time, what with the unrealistic dialog that no real humans would ever use, however this show took things to an all new level of atrocious scripting. How these writers are still employed is beyond me, because if they worked for any other “normal” TV show they would have been fired a LONG time ago, that is, if the Network hadn’t already pulled the plug on a show that blatantly flushes continuity down the toilet on a weekly basis. I’m not going into too much detail, because the utter tripe they produced on Monday doesn’t even really deserve that much analysis. It sucked – all of it.
The “story” (and I use that term extremely loosely) of the show was Team Authority taking out Cena’s Knights of the Mid-Card Table. There was an opening segment that went 16 minutes and NOTHING happened besides the normal babbling from HHH and Steph. They booked Dolph Ziggler to defend his IC title against Luke Harper in the opener. Team Authority jumped Dolph before the bell, and not for the first time on this show, John Cena was nowhere to be found. The match started and Harper hit his big boot; Dolph kicked out, although he really shouldn’t have because they went another 8 and a half minutes, only for Harper to win with his lariat. Why he didn’t just get the pin immediately with his boot for some easy heat? I have no idea. Rollins gave Dolph a curb stomp afterwards. That was the least of this show’s problems, however. Stephanie booked Team Cena partners, Big Show and Sheamus against each other, “for an opportunity at the WWE title.” She didn’t say where or when, and it didn’t matter anyway because Rusev and Mark Henry hit the ring for a no-contest after 11 minutes of horrendous action. Henry slammed Sheamus through the announce table and Rusev put Show in the camel-clucth. Again, the Captain in the “most important match in WWE history” and top babyface for over ten years didn’t lift a single finger to help out. Maybe the Authority got to Cena in the back, I hear you say. Well, no. They actually showed Cena watching Ryback vs. Cesaro on a monitor in the back. So they established that he was watching the show!!! He just couldn’t be bothered to go help his teammates. Ryback won in 14 minutes by the way and it also sucked. People still chant “Goldberg” at Ryback, because they want to see him smash people in two minutes and leave, not being carried to a boring 14 minute match, although there is more on that story in a little while. So, Cena asked Ryback to join his team and he said no, probably because he realised that Cena is the worst captain ever. The main event segment was “the biggest contract signing in history.” The entire Team Authority was out and HHH cut a baffling promo about how his team was fighting for their jobs and kid’s futures. If HHH getting sympathy on himself wasn’t stupid enough, Cena came out and proceeded to perform his wretched comedy, complete with vomit and fecal jokes. THIS WAS THE GO-HOME ANGLE! HHH also pretended to fall asleep on the turnbuckle during Cena’s promo. Just read that again. What is this company playing at? Steph slapped Cena – nobody cared. Ziggler and Show proved they were in fact idiots by coming out to fight with a man who didn’t give two craps about them earlier. Cesaro came out and appeared to be joining Team Cena, however he walked over to the Authority and everyone had a good laugh at the people who though Cesaro was actually getting a push. Erick Rowan showed up as a surprise member of Cena’s team; not before he was involved in a comedy segment with the Grumpy Cat earlier. Seriously, the big Renee loving, See No Evil watching, Cat wanting clown in now a main eventer. Idiocy. Finally, Ryback came down and a brawl broke out. Long story short, Cena gave HHH an AA through a table. Yes, it looks like they are doing HHH vs. Ryback, which should be hilarious when HHH tries to get a 20 minute match out of Ryback and it completely dies a death. Scott Steiner Royal Rumble 2003 and every match he had with Goldberg come to mind. I can’t explain just how bad the scripting of the main event angle was. Seriously, I have seen television shows written by Vince Russo that didn’t have as many plot-holes and continuity flaws as this abortion of a go-home show.
Other crap that happened: Miz and Sandow pitched movie ideas to the Grumpy Cat a couple of times. During the second segment involving the cantankerous feline, Rowan walked in and said he wanted the cat. Tyson Kidd submitted Adam Rose. The Bunny was flirting with Nattie and didn’t help Rose out of the sharpshooter; Rose got hot and tried to attack the Bunny again, however this time, and get this, the Bunny went behind Rose and humped him. Honestly, the Bunny humped him. Maybe it’s John Heidenreich in the costume. Bray Wyatt cut a meandering promo on Dean Ambrose, then Ambrose appeared on the Tron and made fun of his meandering promo. Ambrose revealed it was a pre-tape and he attacked Bray in the ring. Wyatt got away and Ambrose told him he didn’t need saving. Another feud they have made a complete mess of. They announced Larry the Cable Guy for next week’s show. I have no idea who that is, apparently he is some gimmick comedian or something. Rusev squashed Heath Slater, who was dressed as Apollo Creed. Before the match, Lana talked about Kim Kardashian and said she had a better figure than her (agreed). She teased showing a nudie picture, but nobody bought it for a second. The picture turned out to be of a topless Putin riding a horse. The joke fell flat, but Lana’s delivery was up there with the best things on this abysmal show. “I’m the best”, said Lana. No complaints here. Nikki Bella faced Brie in an “EXHIBITION” match, or in other words, a FAKE match. AJ was on commentary – said nothing. AJ distracted Nikki in this “fake” match and Brie won with a roll-up. The Dust Brothers, Miz & Sandow beat The Usos and Los Matadores. It was probably a decent match, but I was so burnt out on terrible booking that I couldn’t take any of the action in. Big E’s “A New Day” vignette also aired and he was the best preacher of the three. The act seems nothing more than another go-nowhere mid-card gimmick to me, but we’ll see where they go with it. I am not expecting a new Shield or even Wyatt Family, though.
Bryan Rose on the 2014 Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards Part III with Bryan Rose
More awards! Are you ready?
Promotion of the Year- New Japan Pro Wrestling. WWE and UFC made way more money this year than New Japan, that’s not even a question. But in every single other facet, New Japan has blown them away. The match quality this year was maybe even better than last year’s, which is pretty damn amazing. Their storylines thoughout most of the year made sense, and even harkened back to storylines from as far as ten years ago with the likes of Shibata/Tanahashi – this can’t be said for WWE. Their most interesting storyline this year was the Daniel Bryan rise to the top, and they were pulling the plug on that almost immediately until so innumerable factors worked against them. Everything else after has been largely forgettable. UFC has been plagued with too many injuries and too many canceled main events as a result. New Japan is the solid, firm choice for me.
Best Weekly Television Show: NXT. Even if Raw was two hours, it’s not getting this award. Smackdown is pointless. Every other WWE show even more so. TNA just exists, same with ROH. Lucha Underground has been a dark horse candidate since its debut a month ago, but I don’t think its going to grab this award. If it debuted in September like it was supposed to, there may have been a chance here. And I think it’ll still get votes. But I think NXT is the rightful winner here. It’s an easy hour to watch some of the best former indy talent around. The angles are logical and make sense, and no one comes across like a geek – everyone who’s on TV they have plans for. It may not always be the best match quality wise, but in terms of what’s the best TV show around it’s not even close.
Match of the Year: It’s a close one. Suzuki/Styles from G1 is still a perfectly executed match. Suzuki is great whenever he’s not facing Toru Yano in a tag match and he showed that in this match by doing as little as possible, but still looking fantastic in doing so. AJ Styles has completely reinvented himself into something awesome during his time in New Japan, and together the two had an awesome match. Hirooki Goto and Tomohiro Ishii had a fantastic match as well, one of the craziest back and forth brawls I’ve ever seen. I thought Ishii and Shibata were stiff, MAN I hadn’t seen anything until these two were going at it; just one of those matches remember for a very long time. I don’t know which match to go with right now, so I’ll leave this one up in the air. But it’s definitely between these two matches.
Rookie of the Year: This is always an award that’s hard to determine. We see new guys popping up on our radar, but half the time they’re someone who debuted a few years ago or even longer, and therefore aren’t elligable for this award. Cavernario from CMLL comes to mind here. He had a great 2014, including winning CMLL’s annual rookie tournament. But he made his debut in 2008, so he really doesn’t count as a fresh face. I’ll skip this one as I need to do more research on it.
Best Non-Wrestler: Stephanie McMahon. Yes, she’s going to rack up two awards this year. Can you believe it? The promos will probably do it. Paul Heyman is always great, but hasn’t been around as much this year as Stephanie. Bruce Tharpe I think could be a candidate here as well, but hasn’t had the exposure as the other two have had this year. NJPW needs some more NWA love, it seems!
Best Television Announcer: No one from North America, that’s for sure. I might just do a pity vote for Mike Tenay because he hasn’t been as completely terrible as everyone on WWE programming. Matt Striker might make a comeback here as well, and I’ve heard Kevin Kelly is not terrible either. So there are some candidates here, but it’s not a clear cut contest, or even a good one.
Worst Television Announcer: JBL would be the easy pick, but man Alex Riley’s new heel persona is just about the worst thing in existence on NXT television. Tazz continues to phone it in on Impact as well. This one has some strong candidates but I’m pretty sure I’ll be sticking with JBL. He’s not as bad as Riley but MAN IS HE ANNOYING. The WWE announcing situation is something that needs to be resolved, but if what they are teaching down at NXT is any indication, this is what WWE wants from their announcers. It’s really amazing.
We continue on with part IV next week when we move forward to the Class B awards!
WWE NXT – November 20th 2014.
Full Sail University: Winter Park, FL.
A video package recapped Sami Zayn’s “road to redemption” and they showed highlights from his match with Adrian Neville last week.
Bayley vs. Becky Lynch w/Sasha Banks – Becky at 4:23. Paint-by-numbers match. Finish saw Sasha get on the apron for the distraction, Becky necked Bayley on the top rope then rolled her up with a handful of tights for the pin. Maybe she isn’t used to the 20×20 ring, but Becky still looks rather awkward in there. Charlotte came down to save Bayley from the mean girls.
In the locker room, Bayley thanked Charlotte for helping her out. Charlotte told her she would not be there next week and advised Bayley to stay away from Sasha. Bayley hugged Charlotte, who seemed strangely aloof, perhaps hinting at a heel turn. She is a Flair after all, and in some cases, depending on the town, her father would flip back and forth on a weekly basis.
The Vaudevillains came out and English cut a promo about being the #1 contenders for the tag titles. The Lucha Dragons music hit and two minis came out in generic masks and Lucha Dragons t-shirts; Renee Young, apparently not understanding what the heat of the deal was, put over the little fellas and was super excited to see them. Apparently William Regal was watching in the back and sent out a referee, which is a whole other problem why a babyface GM would do such a thing.
The Vaudevillains vs. The Mini Lucha Dragons – Vaudevillians beat the minis in 1:30. Gotch did some squats with one of the minis then English pinned the other with a neckbreaker. Renee was all over the place on commentary. At first she put over the heels for “showing the Lucha Dragons what they have coming” then she quickly became appalled and said they went too far. – This was a mess of a segment. It wouldn’t have been as bad if the announcers did their job and acted disgusted in order to get the heels over, but they were just clowning around for the most part. Also, it would have been nice to have an explanation as to why Regal allowed this to happen. Babyface GM’s shouldn’t allow minis to get destroyed on their watch.
A KEVIN STEEN vignette aired. It didn’t reveal his new name (Kevin Owens). It was a short deal, with Steen’s face going in and out of focus against a black background. Steen voiced over some lines about “fighting anyone and everyone” and being the future. It closed with the date: 12/11/2014 – the TakeOver special.
Baron Corbin vs. Elias Sampson – Squash win for Corbin in 0:22. Fans counted along again, they got to “22” before Corbin won with his move. Bull Dempsey came out and glared at Corbin as he left, it was a nice little subtle deal.
Bull Dempsey vs. Steve Cutler – Squash win for Dempsey in 1:01. Fans counted along for this one too, however when they got to “22”, they booed and chanted, “Baron’s better.” Dempsey won with the diving headbutt off the top. – This was simple, but great booking and a perfect way to set up a fight between two mean, believable guys. Just have them go out and destroy people; what a novel idea.
Tyson Kidd vs. CJ Parker – Kidd via submission at 3:14. The fans chose Kidd and the guy they hated least and got behind him, but a “Total Divas” chant soon broke out.. Alex Riley went completely off the rails and claimed CJ was, “6’4 and 240lbs”. Isn’t that what they bill Randy Orton as? What a clown Riley is. I will not be sad to see him axed during the next round of talent cuts. He also said that the Dragon Screw is something you, “ONLY learn in the dungeon.” I guess nobody told Muta. Kidd won a nothing match with the MC3HFC and the sharpshooter. Kidd cut a promo afterwards about being a third generation Hart and challenged Finn Bálor to a match next week. Kidd said he would “excellently execute” Bálor. – Kidd vs. Bálor? Yes please!
Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady w/Carmella vs. The Mechanics (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder) – Enzo & Big Cass over in 1:31. Crowd were into the Yankee’s sing-a-long routine big time. Enzo sold for the heat immediately; Big Cass ran wild. Finish saw Enzo land an inverted Atomic drop on Dawson and Cass him with a big boot. The Ascension ran down and attacked the Yankee boys on the stage. They hit they ring and nailed Wilder with their finish then Viktor did a lifeless promo about them wanting to kill Itami and Bálor. Konnor said they would rise again. – Someone has probably told Viktor to try sound cold and menacing, but he just sounds like he is about to fall asleep at any moment.
Sami Zayn met with Regal in his office and thanked him for giving him the chance to come out and speak his mind. – That’s literally all that happened.
Sami came out for the main event segment and said he always thought he had what it took to be a champion, however last week proved that wasn’t the case. They showed the finish of the match again and Sami called out Neville, who showed up selling his knee “injury” from last week. Sami told Neville if their friendship meant anything he would give him one more shot at the title and if he couldn’t beat him, Sami stated he was “done.” Neville said he would give him a rematch whenever he wanted and tried to tell Zayn he had nothing to prove. Sami cut him off with a fiery speech about needing the title to prove to himself that he could do it. Regal came out on the stage and stated that Sami was not a failure and had done more than enough to earn another title show. Regal booked the title match for the live special on December 12. Neville told Sami he wouldn’t let him put his career on the line, because he didn’t want to be responsible for ending it. Sami claimed it didn’t matter if it was in the contract or not, if he couldn’t beat Neville for the belt, he was done. – Sami was tremendous here. He showed great fire and turned up the intensity from his usual “nice guy” character. Him putting his career on the line makes the outcome of the title match a little predictable, although that isn’t necessarily a bad thing as Neville and Zayn will have almost certainly worked the fans into a frenzy by the time the finish comes around and the pop Sami will get should blow the roof off the place. Would it be too predictable to have Kevin Steen help Sami win the title? Probably. If they didn’t add the “career” stip then they could have gone the other way and had Steen cost Sami the match and gone right into a feud between the two.
This episode couldn’t touch last week’s show. None of the matches were anything special and other than the main event segment and the Steen vignette, there wasn’t much to get excited about. Regardless, even unspectacular NXT shows still have good, logical storytelling (most of the time). They have started the ball rolling and planted seeds for the Takeover III show in December, which I am looking forward to more than any WWE PPV since SummerSlam and should be a beckon of light in what has been a dark and gloomy winter for the WWE product
WWE SmackDown – November 21th 2014.
Thompson-Boling Arena: Knoxville, TN.
Instead of burying the lead, let’s just get right to the point this week since SmackDown actually served somewhat of a purpose. Triple H added the stipulation to the Survivor Series main event that if Team Cena lost then all of the members, expect John Cena – go figure, would be fired. HHH was interviewed by Michael Cole in the ring for the opening segment and cut his usual 15 minute promo about how he had outlasted all the Attitude Era guys because he was smarter than them and said the same for Vince McMahon and all the other 80’s promoters. Eventually he called out Ziggler, Big Show, Rowan and Ryback (Cena was not on the show) then gave them the news about the new firing stip.
Non-Title Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev (US Champion) w/Lana – Rusev via pinfall at 6:45 (TV Time) Decent little TV match. Rusev got the heat and tossed Dolph into the steps. Ziggler came back to get some near-falls with a superkick and the Zig-zag. Finish saw Rusev counter Dolph’s jumping DDT and get the pin with a superkick. Rusev put Ziggler in the camel-clutch afterwards, none of Dolph’s teammates bothered to come help out.
Los Matadores w/El Torito vs. The Miz & Damien Sandow – Matadors over in 3:35. Total comedy match. The Usos and the Dust Brothers were on commentary; nobody, not even Cole and JBL cared about the match – Tom Phillips tried, but JBL buried him for making a Big Bang Theory TV show reference. Finish saw Diego throw Miz into the Usos then Sandow comically dove onto the Dusts at the announce table. Diego then rolled Miz inside and pinned him with a high-cross off the top.
Dean Ambrose was out for his “Survival Kit” segment. He told a story about getting mugged as a kid and when he told his mother what happened she gave him a pair of brass knuckles and told him they were his survival kit. Ambrose said he always carried a survival kit with him, but didn’t pull out any knucks, instead he talked about his fists, arms, legs, feet, teeth, head etc. being his survival kit now. Bray Wyatt appeared on the screen; he was behind some bars, supposedly in a cell, and he rambled about Ambrose’s father bringing him into the world then leaving him alone to rot in it. – Ambrose was great here. He had that Jake Roberts deal of speaking quietly and you could hear a pin drop in the arena the people were listening so intently. Bray was also pretty good and had more substance to his promo than the usual babble. The feud so far has been poor, but this was a decent segment.
Non-Title Match: AJ Lee (Divas Champion) vs. Brie Bella w/Nikki – AJ downed Brie in 3:23. This was horrible. AJ came out dressed like Nikki complete with butt padding and silicone boob pads, the latter of which she used as a weapon against Brie. “That’s why they call it entertainment” stated Cole. I wanted to throttle him. Finish saw Nikki get on the apron, AJ did an O’Connor-roll that sent Nikki to the floor and Brie was pinned.
Erick Rowan vs. Cesaro – Rowan via submission 4:00. It was basically a showcase for the new babyface Rowan, although the match consisted of Cesaro working him over for most of it and Rowan getting a couple of shots in here and there. For the finish, Rowan used the torture rack. Luke Harper strolled down the ramp and teased getting in the ring with Rowan, however he got on the apron and backed off. – The tease of the former Wyatt Family guys going at it was good, but it would be nice if we had an explanation why they suddenly don’t like each other. Bray apparently didn’t do that good a job of fixing them, I guess.
Team Cena were with Renee in the back. They all took turns at cutting a “Rah-Rah” promo about the Survivor Series match. Finally, Renee asked Rowan if he and anything to say; he lifted up his mask and said, “Freedom”. All the faces put their fists together and repeated Rowan’s proclamation. I guess he isn’t going to be Renee’s stalker, which is at least something.
Ryback & Big Show vs. Seth Rollins & Kane w/Team Authority – Ryback & Show by DQ at 6:30 (TV Time). Forget the match, it was worthless. They did a hard-sell angle after the heels attacked Show for the DQ: Team Authority beat down the faces, so Ziggler and Rowan came down to help out. Rowan took out Henry and Rusev then had a stare-down with Harper. Kane came in and chokeslammed Rowan which led to a parade of finishers from everyone with the heels coming out on top. Big Show was the only face left and he got in the ring to try fight the entire Team Authority; he did well for himself and planted Noble and Mercury with a double chokeslam, however HHH cut him off with a chair shot and Rollins hit the curb stomp. HHH wore out all the faces with the chair then Team Authority held Ryback up while Trips yelled at him and delivered another chair shot. HHH told Ryback he was done then yelled, “feed him to me” and finished him off with a pedigree, which Ryback actually did a hell of a job taking. The show closed with Triple H mean-mugging and all the heels standing tall.
Boring show until the main event angle, which was very good, although it certainly hints heavily at a babyface win on Sunday. Nobody bothered to mention why John Cena wasn’t there, so again he looked like a complete jerk that doesn’t care at all about his team and couldn’t be bothered to show up on SmackDown. Nothing worth checking out this week.
Next Week’s Issue
In next week’s issue Bryan Rose and Ben Carass return with coverage of the 2014 Survivor Series, what incentives, if any, the WWE gave free viewers to sign-up for the Network, NXT, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards, and more in our final hiatus issue of 2014!
General Questions/Feedback/Suggestions: Ryan@cubedcirclewrestling.com
Ben Carass’s Twitter: @BenCarass
Bryan Rose’ Twitter: @br26
Ryan Clingman’s Twitter : @RyanClingman