The 2012 edition of WWE Survivor Series finished off on a very strong note with the debuts of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns and their interference in the WWE Championship match.
Is the WWE finally making Survivor Series a big deal again?
They’re getting there, but no, not quite yet.
Following up last year’s show in Madison Square Garden was a lofty challenge. Between CM Punk winning the WWE Championship from Alberto del Rio and The Rock and John Cena teaming together, 2011’s show was a major event.
If anything, this year’s show was a bit of a step backwards.
While they delivered a shocking ending to the main event, much like The Rock dropping Cena in 2011, the show wasn’t strong from top to bottom.
This year, only the top three matches felt important—the WWE and World Heavyweight Championship bouts and the traditional elimination tag team match.
Both World Championship matches delivered, but the elimination tag team match between Team Foley and Team Ziggler felt disorderly. Rather than feeling like a cohesive, flowing match, it came across like a collection of feuds thrown together.
That said, the match was still good. It wasn’t quite as good as Team Barrett vs. Team Orton from 2011, but it was an entertaining match. Ziggler pulling out the clean victory following a Superkick on an unsuspecting Randy Orton was a nice touch.
In fact, the elimination tag team match that opened this year’s Survivor Series was arguably the best of its kind between the 2011 and 2012 shows.
Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, Brodus Clay, Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel defeated The Prime Time Players, Primo, Epico and Tensai in an impromptu elimination tag team bout to kick off this year’s edition of Survivor Series.
While this match was a phenomenal opener and all-around fun match, there’s no excuse why it shouldn’t have been advertised.
The elimination tag team match is a Survivor Series staple. Throwing together a traditional match at the last minute harms the reputation of it. Also, they could have added depth to the show’s undercard by promoting it.
The relative weakness of this year’s undercard is what really sets it back. Had the WWE spent more time promoting matches other than the top three on the card, Survivor Series would have felt more like the major PPV it’s supposed to be.
It’s apparent the WWE is taking steps in the right direction, though. This is the second consecutive newsworthy Survivor Series show they’ve had.
However, finishing out on a bang is only one facet of a successful overall show. A memorable finish like the invasion of the NXT wrestlers or Cena getting Rock Bottomed will stick out in the minds of fans, but it isn’t enough to make up for a subpar show.
It’s not a complicated formula. All they have to do is continue to deliver the memorable moments while emphasizing the undercard like they do for SummerSlam or the Royal Rumble.
Especially with the five-on-five elimination tag team match on tap, it’s not a very tough challenge to strengthen the undercard.
Survivor Series has felt more and more like a major WWE PPV over the past two years, but they still have their work cut out. If they continue down their current path, it shouldn’t be long before Survivor Series is on the same level as the Royal Rumble and SummerSlam again.