Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Chad's Problem With Survivor Series

Survivor Series 2014
Photo courtesy: WWE
By Chad Smart
@chadsmart & @my123cents on Twitter

In my “Barely Surviving” blog looking at Survivor Series 2014, I expressed my dislike with the show. After the blog was published I was called out for being too negative and told if I didn’t like it, I should stop watching. Since the blog was quickly written, I think some of my criticism came off as baseless complaining while the reasoning behind the complaint was left out of the thought. I’d like to try and clarify my biggest issue with Survivor Series.

Before I get to that, I’d like to address the “if you don’t like it, don’t watch” comment. I have been a wrestling fan for over 30 years. I have what wrestling fans call “the sickness.” I will watch any wrestling from any promotion because I like wrestling. Because I grew up in a different era perhaps my fandom is a little different than fans whose introduction to wrestling happened during the Attitude Era or later. When I started watching wrestling when it was more SPORTS entertainment instead of sports ENTERTAINMENT. 

Therefore, I enjoy the actual physical wrestling aspect as well as the character/storyline aspect and prefer to see matches that aren’t just signature moves done in order with no rhyme or reason. That’s why right now I see nothing impressive about Roman Reigns. But that’s another blog for another day.

While I enjoy actual wrestling, I do enjoy the storyline aspect and when done well the storyline enhances the emotional attachment to a particular match. Unfortunately this aspect is one that I view as severely lacking in today’s mainstream wrestling and is one of my biggest areas of complaint with WWE. Honestly, I have gotten to the point where I don’t watch RAW in full on a weekly basis due to the lack of compelling story and repetitive nature of the show. Why do I need to see wrestlers fight each other for 3-4 weeks before seeing them fight in a more meaningful match at the PPV?

Just for sake of argument, I haven’t watched a full TNA show is probably at least 9 months. I’ve probably seen one Ring of Honor show in the last year because their product doesn’t appeal to me. I still watch and pay attention to WWE because 1) they have a lot of good talent that I enjoy watching, 2) my123cents was started as a wrestling blog. Even though Kevin writes more about his life now and I’ve started writing about hockey, we built this site on wrestling and will continue to write about wrestling, and 3) I keep hoping for a return to a more enjoyable product.

I will say I hold WWE to a higher standard for entertainment than most other wrestling companies. When you’re the number one company in an industry and have been so for over 30 years, you can’t be making the same mistakes as smaller companies. Is it really sensible to hold Vince McMahon to the same standard as Dixie Carter or Gabe Sapolsky? I don’t think so. That would be like saying Steven Spielberg should be held to the same standard as the guy making local commercials.

Sting helps Team Cena
This brings me to the usage of Sting at Survivor Series. Sting, who had never stepped foot inside a WWE ring before Sunday, was used to show that anything can happen in WWE. I’m not overly excited to see Sting in WWE as most people and I have zero interest in a Sting/Undertaker match at Wrestlemania because I feel that both guys are at least 3-5 years past the point where the match would be good, I understand the appeal of Sting in WWE and have no problem with him having one last run in front of a wide audience. However, his appearance at Survivor Series made zero sense, and that’s my issue with it.

Why did Sting show up? Why did he care if Team Cena won the match? Why was he just hanging out backstage in full wrestling gear? Why did the audio/video guys have a Titantron video and music for him ready to go? Kevin and I have said many times over the last four years that we should stop looking for logic in wrestling. I am willing to accept certain factors simply as “well it’s wrestling.” Stuff like guys bouncing off the ropes on an Irish-whip or not countering signature moves even though they happen in every match and opponents should see them coming are accepted because that’s what makes wrestling wrestling. Some things though just don’t make sense.

If WWE wanted the ending of the Team Cena/Team Authority match to involve a surprise star in order to entice people to order the network under the guise of you never know what to expect, that makes sense. Keep everything the same up until Triple H pedigrees Dolph Ziggler. As Haitch puts Seth Rollins on top for the pin fall cue broken glass and have Steve Austin walk out. Crowd will go crazy as they do when “Stone Cold” shows up out of nowhere. During Survivor Series there were promotions for Austin’s live podcast with Vince McMahon next week after RAW so there’s the reasoning why Austin would be in the building. Austin’s rise in popularity was built on him fighting the WWE authority and having issues with Triple H so there’s a legitimate reason for Austin to have an interest in helping Team Cena win the match. Now, everything that happened at Survivor Series stays the same only this time the story makes sense.

Instead, WWE had Sting show up and if reports are true (btw, I dislike basing anything off of Internet reports. Since I don’t have any sources of my own, unfortunately I have to use unverified reports from time to time.) WWE has no plans for Sting to show up again until maybe the build up to Royal Rumble. So, as was seen on RAW, there was no reasoning given for Sting’s involvement. Sting is just a guy who showed up unannounced, caused havoc and left. To me, this is similar to TNA having Randy Savage, Test or Rikishi show up for a PPV main event and never be seen again. It was done simply to shock fans.

Maybe there is some long term planning here and I’m jumping the gun by being critical. If so, when the time comes, I’ll admit I was wrong. Until then though, I will continue to be critical of gaps in logic in wrestling. Out of curiosity, was there any interaction between Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella or AJ Lee on RAW? You know, since last time he was on TV, Brie was being fired because of her husband and the match at Survivor Series played into AJ kissing Bryan at Wrestlemania 28.

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