One of my biggest issues with the WWE over the past year has been a lack of logical booking when it comes to pay-per-views. It was certainly possible that Survivor Series could have suffered the same fate, but thanks to some sensible decisions by the creative team, it was actually the best-booked show of 2012.
Great booking doesn't necessarily mean that it was the best overall event as it didn't measure up to WrestleMania or Extreme Rules, but there weren't any results that had me shaking my head in disgust. The three main-event-level matches in particular could have easily went south in that regard, however, everything made perfect sense.
Was Survivor Series the best-booked WWE PPV of the year?
The World Heavyweight Championship bout between Big Show and Sheamus was pretty much what you'd expect it to be. Like their Hell in a Cell meeting, it was a rough-and-tumble affair with plenty of hard-hitting action. Big Show controlled much of the match, but Sheamus made a comeback before accidentally hitting referee Scott Armstrong with a Brogue Kick as Big Show pulled him in front of himself.
Sheamus, other referees and medical personnel tended to Armstrong, but when Sheamus turned around, he was met with a KO Punch. Big Show seemingly scored the pinfall victory, but the decision was reversed as the officials conferred and decided to give Sheamus the win via disqualification due to Big Show's tactics.
Generally guys aren't usually disqualified for that type of referee bump, but I didn't mind it. There are obviously plans for Big Show and Sheamus to go at it again at TLC, so this type of finish was necessary. Both men looked strong throughout the match and Sheamus came away with a notch in the win column. Also, his beat-down of Big Show with a chair after the match set up a likely chairs match at the next pay-per-view.
The traditional, five-on-five elimination match between Team Foley and Team Ziggler was also very well done. There are always a lot of potential pitfalls in a match that involves so much main-event and upper-mid-card talent, but the writers booked this one correctly.
Daniel Bryan and Kane cost each other in the match in order to further their tumultuous relationship, while the likes of Randy Orton, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio and Wade Barrett shined brightest.
I was a bit surprised that Miz was eliminated cleanly by Del Rio because of his developing face turn, but it wasn't a big deal. It was fitting that the contest came down to Orton and Ziggler since they were essentially the respective team captains, even if Mick Foley technically served in that role for Orton's squad.
When Orton kicked out of the Zig Zag, it looked like he might unnecessarily beat Ziggler on pay-per-view once again, just like he did at Night of Champions, but that didn't happen.
Rather than going for an RKO, Orton got a crazed look in his eye and opted to attempt a punt for the first time in a long time. It backfired, however, as Ziggler got up and delivered a superkick flush to Orton's chin for the victory.
It was great to see Ziggler pick up his first pay-per-view win since winning Money in the Bank, especially in a clean fashion over a guy like Orton. Perhaps even more importantly, though, it looks like the wheels are churning with regards to Orton. The punt attempt brought back visions of his past heel character and it definitely seems like a heel turn could be in order in the near future.
The best moment of the night unquestionably came during the main event, however. Most figured CM Punk would retain his WWE Championship against John Cena and Ryback, and he did. The manner in which it happened what a shock to pretty much everyone watching, but it was done in a very effective manner.
The prevailing thought was that Punk would pin Cena after Ryback got taken out. Since Brock Lesnar didn't return at Hell in a Cell he seemed like the top candidate, but instead Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns from NXT Wrestling attacked Ryback and powerbombed him through the announce table, allowing Punk to pick up yet another tainted win.
I liked Brad Maddox's interference at Hell in a Cell because it was a logical way to keep the title on Punk while still having a shocking ending, and the creative team one-upped itself at Survivor Series by doing something similar albeit on a much larger scale.
The triple-threat result does a lot of positive things for the product moving forward. Punk now has a year-long WWE Championship reign and figures to face Cena at TLC since Ryback now has a route out of the title picture to feud with the "NXT Three."
Also, the young talent should get over quickly against the fastest-rising star in the company. On top of that, their potential relationship with Paul Heyman will be a hot topic of conversation.
While the winners of the last three matches on the card weren't too surprising, the booking was very creative. The WWE found a way to further the Big Show vs. Sheamus feud, give Ziggler a much-needed rub and keep the title on Punk while transitioning Ryback away from it. The in-ring action could have been better in some instances, but Survivor Series was booked to perfection.