WWE Week in Review, Nov. 30: Roman Reigns Dominates, World Titles to Be Merged
Right now isn't the best time to be a fan of the WWE, as it is difficult to remember a time when the product was more stagnant than it is at the moment. That was proven this past week with Survivor Series, Raw and SmackDown all failing to make a lasting impact in the eyes of the fans.
After successfully retaining their titles at Survivor Series, World Heavyweight Champion John Cena and WWE Champion Randy Orton are set to meet in a TLC match at the upcoming WWE TLC event in a championship unification match. Will the titles actually be merged, or will we witness another fluky finish to a pay-per-view that sees both men switch straps?
Daniel Bryan was successful in overcoming The Wyatt Family at Survivor Series and on Raw, but he was mysteriously kidnapped by them on Monday night. When should we expect Bryan to return, and will he return unscathed and unchanged like Kane?
CM Punk has since set his sights on The Shield, who initiated an attack on him on Raw. Could Punk be slowly moving in to a feud with The Authority, and which member of the rouge trio will he target first?
Here, I will break down the week in wrestling by analyzing the Survivor Series, Monday Night Raw, Friday Night SmackDown and WWE Main Event broadcasts, including each show's highlights, low points and other noteworthy, monumental moments. Also, an award will be given to the show and Superstar that shined the brightest over the course of the week.
Match of the Week: Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler: Main Event, Nov. 27
Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler have had a raging rivalry with each other since the start of 2013. They have faced off on WWE Main Event before, and I am sure that their latest encounter on the program won't be their last.
However, their most recent matchup against one another managed to be better than any other match contested on Raw, SmackDown or Survivor Series this past week, and that is certainly saying something. I was disappointed that Ziggler and Del Rio never rekindled their rivalry a few months ago over the world title, as it is matches like these that will get me invested in Del Rio's stagnant character.
As expected, their chemistry was off the charts, and Ziggler had a strong showing against the former World Heavyweight champion. Regardless, Del Rio's armbar proved to be too much for Ziggler, who tapped out within seconds of the hold being applied.
Here's hoping that the next time these two clash, a championship title will be up for grabs.
Superstar of the Week: Roman Reigns
When The Shield first debuted a little over a year ago at 2012's Survivor Series event, I thought Roman Reigns had the least amount of potential out of all the members of the rogue trio. I was gradually proved wrong over time, as Reigns has improved leaps and bounds since then.
He was one of the few highlights of this year's Survivor Series installment, as he eliminated four of the five members of the opposing team in the elimination tag match, becoming the sole survivor in the process. He went on to be further showcased the next night on Raw with a win in six-man tag team action and by competing three times on SmackDown.
If this past week was any indication, then Reigns will undoubtedly have a very bright future as a singles competitor when The Shield disbands.
Show of the Week: WWE Main Event, Nov. 27
If you couldn't already tell, WWE is in a bad, bad place nowadays. If that wasn't already evident enough, it certainly is when WWE Main Event wins the award for Show of the Week over Raw, SmackDown and Survivor Series.
The last few pay-per-views produced by WWE have all been slightly underwhelming or flat-out disappointing, so the fact that Survivor Series was also mediocre wasn't much of a surprise. The next night's Raw wasn't a large improvement either, as most of the show consisted of boring filler.
The same can be said for SmackDown, where the first hour consisted of meaningless garbage, and the second hour featured actual wrestling. Thus, that leaves us with Main Event, which proved to be an enjoyable episode all around this week.
I believe the show doesn't get the credit it rightfully deserves sometimes, especially when it features must-see matches such as Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler.
This Week's Highlights
Traditional Survivor Series elimination tag team match: If there was one match I could suggest to anyone to go back and watch, it would most definitely have to do be this one. Everyone involved put forth a strong effort and made it a very enjoyable contest. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins battling back in a five-on-two situation was fun to watch, and Reigns emerging as the sole survivor was a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, the show went downhill from there.
CM Punk and Daniel Bryan vs. The Wyatt Family: The battles between The Beard and The Best and The Wyatt Family at Survivor Series and on Raw were solid. I would have liked to see The Wyatt Family get a win over them in either match, but at least they held their own against the former world champs. I am intrigued by The Wyatt Family kidnapping Bryan, but I am skeptical as to what will happen with Bryan given his former partner Kane returned unscathed despite being abducted at SummerSlam.
The Shield vs. Cody Rhodes, Goldust and Rey Mysterio: The Shield were on an absolute roll this past week. After cleaning house at Survivor Series, Roman Reigns continued to dominate on Raw by picking up the win for his team following a fun six-man tag team match. It also helped set up the WWE Tag Team Championship match that place later in the week on SmackDown.
Mark Henry returns: It has been nearly three months since we last saw him on WWE TV, but Mark Henry finally made his return at Sunday's Survivor Series event. He worked a fine match with Ryback and went on to pick up wins on Raw and SmackDown in the seven days that followed. One can only hope that WWE Creative has something meaningful in mind for him now that he is back, but I am not getting my hopes up.
The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston: These two have always worked well together, and their recent string of matches have been no exception. They had a good match on the Kickoff show at Survivor Series and a nice rematch on Raw. I was surprised to see Miz cleanly win both outings, but I am still confused as to whether he is still a face or is now a heel. Tweener, perhaps?
The 12-man tag team match: Sure, the one that occurred in the main event of Raw Country last week was slightly better, but this was still a great match that received a substantial amount of time. It made the second hour of SmackDown worth watching and consisted of some exciting action down the stretch. Any time these 12 competitors cross paths, awesomeness ensues.
This Week's Low Points
Title unification: Of course, this will differ for everyone, but I am not all that excited for the unifying of the titles come WWE TLC. With it being 11 years in the making, you would think that WWE would take the time to build it up more and make it feel more special. I would rather see it happen at WrestleMania 30, but if it is going to involve John Cena and Randy Orton, then I guess TLC is a better place for it. I am not exactly sure why people are thinking why Orton and Cena will simply trade titles, as I fail to see what purpose that would serve.
Randy Orton vs. Big Show: Needless to say, Orton and Show should not be headlining a pay-per-view in 2013. The match was mediocre at best and barely exceeded 10 minutes. How embarrassing. The distraction from The Authority finish was weak and ended the Survivor Series pay-per-view whimper, not to say that everything that preceded it was all that great anyway.
John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio: They worked a very well-wrestled match, but it was difficult to get engaged in the action when the winner was never in doubt. Not even the live crowd cared to react to most of what occurred in the contest until the very end. Del Rio desperately needs to get out of the title picture, and Cena needs to move onto bigger and better things.
Diva elimination tag team matches: The one at Survivor Series was bad enough, so what was the point in holding a rematch the very next night on Raw? The Survivor Series tag bout was actually better than the one on Raw, which saw The Bella Twins and Eva Maria emerge as the sole survivors. Yes, Eva Marie survived and the Divas Champion AJ Lee along with Natalya didn't. Think about that for a second.
Miz TV: I'm a fan of The Miz, and not even I found this entertaining. The fans were confused as to whether they should cheer or boo him, and the same goes for Titus O'Neil. Michael Strahan delivered his lines better than some past guest hosts have, but the "millions of dollars" dance at the end involving all three of them was pretty cheesy. What was Strahan supposed to be hyping again?
Antonio Cesaro vs. Titus O'Neil: You had to know going into the Thanksgiving-themed episode of SmackDown that there was going to be holiday silliness. The match ended awkwardly on a disqualification when Darren Young walked into the ring (yes, he didn't even make contact with anyone), and the post-match "puking" from O'Neil was just unbearable. Did anyone actually find this funny...at all?
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Graham Mirmina, a.k.a. Graham "GSM" Matthews, is a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.