Pre-show notes: If you missed the show, you can watch it here on WWE Network. You can find past editions of The Best and Worst of Survivor Series on its tag page.
Your shares, likes, comments and Internet Things are appreciated. Be sure to drop down into our comments section and leave us a note to let us know what you thought of the show. I bet you thought things! And yeah, sharing the column around and posting it on social media helps more than you know. Keep us in the business of wrestling jokes!
And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Survivor Series 2016.
Worst: Burned At The Stakes
A major problem for a lot of people with the build to and presentation of Survivor Series is that there were three Raw vs. Smackdown traditional Survivor Series elimination matches, but there were no stakes. Beating the other team in a match or winning the best of the three matches didn’t win you anything. No home-field branding advantage at WrestleMania. No #30 spot in the Royal Rumble. No championships, no TV time, no talent. Not even a Bragging Rights trophy. They’re just wrestling to prove which show is “better,” which is so vague and meaningless that even the characters on screen struggle to define it. Stephanie McMahon’s like, “we have to BEAT Smackdown Live and my brother Shane!” and you’re like “…and?”
For me, there were two dealbreaker problems with Survivor Series. One is in how the actual Survivor Series elimination matches were booked, which we’ll get to in a minute. The other is that on a show built on a foundation of having no observable stakes, the two matches that did have game-changing stakes accomplished nothing, changed nothing and ended with audible, somehow smellable fart noises.
The first of these is The Miz vs. Sami Zayn for the Intercontinental Championship. It’s Raw (Zayn) vs. Smackdown (Miz), with the stipulation that if Zayn can win the Intercontinental Championship, the IC title leaves Smackdown and goes to Raw. This was originally supposed to be Zayn vs. Intercontinental Champion Dolph Ziggler, but Ziggler is a human Price Is Right loser horn and lost the belt on Tuesday. So Miz is a transitional champion so we don’t have to do face vs. face at Survivor Series, and the only reason we’re introducing these stipulations because we want to shake things up and move some people around, right?
No, none of that is right.
Instead of switching the belt to Zayn or even giving us an actual non-weekly show finish to a high stakes championship match, Zayn loses to a distraction roll-up after Maryse rings the bell when she shouldn’t have. So we get a thing we’ve seen before (mistimed bell ringing) plus a thing we’ve seen more times than I’ve seen my own reflection in a mirror (distraction roll-ups) to make the pre-match stipulations irrelevant, and nobody like, steps in to complain about Maryse openly cheating and ruining the match in front of everyone. Like, where’s Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley to argue with the WWE umps about what happened? Do they not actually give a shit about the Intercontinental Championship coming to Raw? Are they more worried about what will happen in the Raw vs. Smackdown matches where they win NOTHING?