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The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Survivor Series 2016



I guess I don't have to tell you what you already know by now.

This is what we've come to: shock value for shock value, the big casual moment for the many casual fans who have come back to witness Goldberg, bread crumbs once again for the fans who have to worry about and deal with the complexities that make the business palatable for the casuals. Goldberg is, once again, a dominant force of nature, even though all outside factors point to the opposite. This is what they came for.

You can be mad, but at the same time, you can't be mad. It's the ultimate throwback, the ultimate act of subversion against a business that's become too full of itself. It's a business that, thanks to the internet and the billions of magnified voices around the globe who think they know what's about to happen next, has reached the critical mass of the fullness of itself.

It makes sense, doesn't it? You went into Survivor Series either rooting for Goldberg or thinking why we needed to have this match in the first place, between a laconic shoot fighter and a has-been who doesn't, shouldn't have much to offer to the fast-paced world of modern pro wrestling. So there's the joke, then; the punchline is that you were never going to see a real match in the first place. The joke is you only think you know. You really don't.

But does it work?

Maybe it would, if there weren't so much narrative baggage that Brock Lesnar carries by virtue of being Brock Lesnar. Maybe if there weren't so many careers and reputation left behind in his destructive wake. If John Cena wasn't treated as a plaything, if Dean Ambrose wasn't treated as a star who didn't need the benefit of mutual carnage with the Beast, if Randy Orton wasn't thrown around like a rag doll. 

Maybe it would've worked better if Brock Lesnar lived in a bubble, the same bubble that Goldberg is apparently made to live in, far, far away from the rest of the men and women who work tirelessly, full-time in front of the Universe. There was merit in this moment, but the consequences, the subtle subatomic ones that make the gears of the Universe turn are far too much to throw aside.

It's all we ask, really. Sideshows aren't bad, but Jesus, have some god damned foresight. If we're going to wreak large-scale, then let sideshows be sideshows.

*****

  • I'm not sure if it's intentional at this point, but I now like the idea of Survivor Series being a speed bump in between single-brand PPVs and their respective storylines. I want it to be a thing each brand has to get together for every November, while still maintaining the microtensions between brand members. It works as an Olympics-style event way more than a show that both brands have to populate with their own stories.
  • Putting the women on first was a good move and not for any sexist reason out there. The difference in talent quality is just too noticeable the more women are involved. While the booking of the match was partly to blame, many of the women were just not at the top of their game.
  • The Miz vs. Sami Zayn just didn't get going, but not through any fault of their own. The crowd was too dead, and the time was too short for them to put together a solid match. The booking was safe, too, which goes for the other title match as well. I suppose the idea of switching up the status quo, while tempting, was just too damn good to be true.
  • And when you do actually get a match going, like the Cruiserweight Championship match, they ruin it with some bullshit like Baron Corbin interrupting. Yes, we can applaud their efforts at maintaining continuity, but this just goes to show that timing is paramount. Why couldn't they have done this at the next SmackDown, regardless of whether Kalisto won the match?
  • The tag team Survivor Series match almost became match of the night, if the main event elimination match didn't end up being so good. Team RAW winning makes a lot of sense now knowing what happened, but I wanted American Alpha to get their due. Cesaro and Sheamus being the sole survivors and finally earning some de facto recognition makes up for it, though.
  • And how about that five on five? Just when you thought it wasn't going to amount to anything because of the disorganized opening third, it turns into the most sensible five-on-five yet, with so many questions of the good kind sprouting. Why give Team SmackDown the rub? What's really going on with Randy Orton and the Wyatt Family? Are the Shield amenable to getting back together? How does any of this make AJ Styles seem despicable? I'm excited to find out.

Photo from WWE
*****

Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, but really hates Davey Richards with his entire soul.

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