Based on the overall weakness of the build leading up to the event, most fans didn't have particularly high hopes for Survivor Series on Sunday night. Their suspicions were realized as the event turned out to be sub-par, to say the least, and featured a multitude of questionable booking decisions.
There were definitely some highlights, such as Roman Reigns' dominance to open the show, but that was undone by a lack of logic elsewhere. The card was pretty much doomed to fall short no matter what; however, the creative team could have at least salvaged it by making some imaginative and sensible choices.
Here is a closer look at the three biggest missteps that led to Survivor Series being one of the year's most disappointing pay-per-views.
The Cena vs. Orton Stare-Down
WWE needed to do something significant in order to make people care about Randy Orton vs. Big Show in the main event. It failed to do so leading up to Survivor Series, and what happened during and after their match certainly didn't help matters. The Boston crowd couldn't have possibly been more bored by the contest as evidenced by the fact that they showered Orton and Big Show with "boring" chants at various points throughout the tilt.
In what was presumably an effort to conjure up a positive reaction from the fans, Triple H, Stephanie and Kane made their way to the ramp during the match. This distracted Big Show, which led to an RKO, a punt and a title-retaining victory for The Viper. With so much time left, it was blatantly obvious that something more was going to happy. Rather than truly ending the show on a high note, though, World Heavyweight Champion John Cena came to the ring and posed with his title in front of Orton.
This left fans wondering whether or not a title unification match might be on the horizon. Perhaps it can be argued that WWE succeeded by getting people talking, but unifying the titles doesn't make much sense at this point. Cena holding the world title has made it relevant again, and the WWE Championship is always going to be in important. Because of that, it makes more sense to have two world titles now than it has at any point since the dissolution of the brand split.
The WWE brass realizes that a large contingent of fans has been calling for unification for quite some time, but that doesn't mean that it would be the right decision. Hopefully it ultimately turns out to be nothing more than foreshadowing of a future feud leading up to WrestleMania.
Lack of Progression in Bryan & Punk vs. Wyatts
Fans have been hot in recent weeks due to WWE's decision to remove Daniel Bryan from the WWE Championship scene. Rather than having him continue to chase the strap, Bryan teamed with CM Punk to take on Luke Harper and Erick Rowan on Sunday. "The Best and The Beard" came out on top, which isn't necessarily an unforgivable booking decision, but the manner in which it occurred left plenty to be desired.
It can be argued that the biggest problem with this entire situation was that Bray Wyatt wasn't part of the match. He is supposed to be the clear-cut standout in the Wyatt Family, yet he didn't even step into the ring at Survivor Series. At the very least, most figured that he would get involved in the match in a significant way. Wyatt was essentially a non-factor, though, and he backed down when Bryan and Punk challenged him afterwards. This led to Bryan and Punk celebrating in a jovial manner before continuing their celebration backstage, as seen in this photo courtesy of WWE's Instagram account.
The creative team can't possibly keep both Bryan and Punk involved in this feud through TLC, so it would have been nice to see something happen. Wyatt has been talking about "the devil" in recent weeks, and while many thought that "the devil" would reveal himself, that didn't happen. Perhaps "the devil" could have been Kane, which would have set up a Kane vs. Bryan feud so that Punk could be the main focus of the Wyatt angle.
Even if the writers didn't want to get that in depth, having Harper and Rowan win due to interference would have made things far more interesting. It would have strengthened the Wyatt Family significantly, and it would have raised plenty of questions about Bryan and Punk. Instead, we got an unimaginative, paint-by-numbers affair.
Kofi's Slap on Miz
The Survivor Series Kickoff show featured a grudge match between The Miz and Kofi Kingston. Miz seemingly turned heel on the go-home edition of Raw when he refused to tag Kofi, and WWE had an opportunity to build on that at Survivor Series. Rather than solidifying Miz's heel turn, however, things became far less clear. After Miz defeated Kingston, he offered to shake Kofi's hand. A distraught Kingston instead slapped Miz in the face before exiting the ring.
Now there is talk about whether or not Kingston may actually be the one turning heel. Fans have called for a Kofi heel turn for a very long time due to the staleness of his character, and his actions on Sunday have fueled speculation. Although a Kingston heel turn wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, a golden opportunity to turn Miz was squandered. As Miz pointed out on Twitter, fans don't know what to believe at this point.
Uncertainty can be good in wrestling sometimes, but not in this instance. Miz hasn't worked in a face role, and a heel turn is exactly what he needs in order to become relevant again. It may still happen, but why leave any doubt? Had Miz simply attacked Kingston following the match on Sunday, it would have allowed Miz to move on to something bigger and better as a heel. Instead, he'll continue to play the waiting game, which is exactly what doomed him as a face.
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