Survivor Series: A Long And Pretty Lousy Episode Of Raw/SmackDown

So, Survivor Series last night.  A show that started with a truly excellent match and then over the next four hours (yes, it was way too long) they proceeded to waste all of that goodwill and put out an offering similar to what they do to put fans to sleep for three hours every Monday night on the USA Network.  And put them to sleep they did, as the crowd slowly died, making all of the pitstops along the way that a disinterested/frustrated New York City WWE crowd makes: the wave, cheering for the wave over what's happening in the ring, CM Punk chants, and finally, an unbreakable silence.  So how did WWE manage to sour a crowd in one of their hottest cities at one of their biggest events of the year?  Let's take a look.

Survivor Series: A Long And Pretty Lousy Episode Of Raw/SmackDown
The Universal Champion Roman Reigns in the main event match at Survivor Series against WWE Champion Big E, courtesy of WWE.

Let's begin this Monday morning quarterbacking of Survivor Series by looking at what was maybe WWE's biggest mistake last night, one that rightly pissed off both the live crowd in Brooklyn and those watching at home on the Peacock app.  The company spent the past couple of weeks marketing that this year's event would mark the 25th anniversary of the debut of one of their biggest stars of all time, The Rock, who made his WWE debut at the 1996 Survivor Series inside the nearby Madison Square Garden (hey, remember when WWE was allowed to hold pay per view events there?).

Obviously, there's nothing inherently wrong with celebrating such a thing, but WWE turned the dial up to 11 last night by not only opening Survivor Series with a video package centered around Rock's new film Red Notice (made all the more perplexing as it is exclusive to rival streaming service Netflix) but then filling the rest of the show with stories involving him (Vince McMahon and his gifted golden egg, more on that later) and recurring videos showing Rock's greatest career moments.

Rightfully so, fans at this point assumed they were in store for the WWE return of one of their all-time favorites, possibly to set up a Wrestlemania match with Roman Reigns.  But that was never in the cards and of course, Rock did not show up at Survivor Series.  Somewhat ironically and hopefully not intentionally, "The People's Champion" even posted on his official Instagram account minutes after the show ended, showing off his weekly cheat meal that could give Andre The Giant pause.

But the Rock's absence was hardly the only issue last night…

Last night's Survivor Series was an overlong show with slow, uninteresting matches that by the end of the night, had bored the always lively New York City crowd to almost literal sleep.

And this is when they weren't force-feeding the audience stupifying nonsense, such as the 25-Man Battle Royal match (again, named in The Rock's honor…), which already would have been deemed awful after being dominated and won by Omos, a "wrestler" so bad that he makes Giant Gonzalez look like a genuine Hall of Famer.  No, that wasn't enough.  WWE needed more insurance that this match would be spectacularly awful, so they gimmicked the whole thing up with sponsorship from Pizza Hut and said the winner would get some pizza.  They marketed Pizza Hut… in Brooklyn, NY.  Give that some thought.

And then there was the TV return of Vince McMahon and the golden egg saga.  It started bad enough, with a jaw-hanging stupid moment where Vince arrives and shows a bunch of the lower card wrestlers a gold egg as they all "oooh" and "ahhh".  This continued throughout the night, until someone apparently stole the goddamn thing, leading to Vince demanding that everyone from both rosters appear on Raw tonight to determine the guilty party.  This is how they spent a decent amount of the four-and-a-half-hour-long Survivor Series last night.  Distracting you with a golden egg.

By the time the main event match of Champion versus Champion, Roman Reigns versus Big E rolled around, the crowd was done.  They were funeral silent throughout the match, often leading Reigns to try and interact with them directly to try and get their blood flowing again.

But it was to no avail, as the damage was already done and the Barclay's Center seats were filled with corpses, all murdered by WWE with a Survivor Series show that came off as lazy and silly as any of the crap they offer on Raw every week.

The biggest question I'm left wondering today is even if The Rock had shown up at the end of Survivor Series last night, would that have resurrected the crowd?  Or would Rock have been left holding the bag again at yet another awful modern WWE event, as he did at the end of the 2015 Royal Rumble, looking around awkwardly for where good WWE wrestling had long since gone?

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About Ryan Fassett

As a lifelong fan of movies, comics, wrestling, and collectibles, Ryan is excited to share his thoughts on all of it with you. He is also an active filmmaker and published comic book writer, along with being a connoisseur of soda.
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