The knee injury that caused Seth Rollins to vacate his WWE World Heavyweight Championship forced WWE to drastically shake up their Survivor Series pay-per-view with less than 2 weeks to go before the event. A tournament was announced with the finals set to take place in Atlanta at the pay-per-view, but on the night, when it was all said and done, the man who left the arena as WWE World Heavyweight Champion was not the same man who won the tournament.
After an enthralling back and forth opening contest between Roman Reigns and Alberto Del Rio, it was the Samoan Superman who came out on top, advancing into the finals. In the opposite semi-finals bracket, a fantastic match between Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens ended with Dirty Deeds and the former Shield brethren were set to do battle with one-another in the main event for the very first time. The winner would be set to walk out as WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
But that wasn’t the case. Although the battle between Ambrose and Reigns was incredibly physical, it never really got going and ended at the exact moment that it started to pick up some steam. As both men traded stiff blows back and forth, it was Roman Reigns who eventually got the upper hand, connecting with a Spear and pinning Dean Ambrose’s shoulders to the mat to become the new champion.
His reign, no pun intended, would be incredibly short lived and as the confetti reigned down (again, no pun intended) and the pyrotechnics exploded, the WWE COO, Triple H, would make an appearance to congratulate Roman on his victory, offering a handshake. Reigns refused, and instead, the heir to the WWE throne ate a spear for his troubles.
Almost immediately, Money in the Bank contract holder Sheamus made Roman Reigns eat a fierce Brogue Kick, and it was immediately clear that proceedings weren’t ending just yet, as the Celtic Warrior cashed in his Money in the Bank contract that he won back in June. Reigns kicked out, but the hopes and dreams of his fans were soon crushed as a second Brogue Kick connected, and the referee’s hands hit the mat three times, signalling an incredibly short first run as WWE World Heavyweight Champion, in a fashion alarmingly identical to Daniel Bryan back at SummerSlam 2013. Sheamus would become WWE World Heavyweight Champion for the fourth time.
Thus far, reaction amongst fans has been mixed, with some people happy that Reigns didn’t win the title as they felt he “wasn’t ready”, with others hoping for a completely different outcome entirely and not happy with either man. Then there are those who are on the “Anyone but you, Roman” side of the fence who are completely happy with the way the event faded to black.
One thing is for certain – with Sheamus seemingly aligned with The Authority, and Reigns obviously looking to reclaim a title he’ll surely feel belongs to him, it makes RAW a must-watch. Ambrose will most likely want a rematch, and no doubt Seth Rollins will be keeping a close eye on proceedings as well, because he’ll surely feel the title is still his property as he never lost it in competition. Whatever side of the fence you’re on, it’ll certainly make for an interesting six months.
In the other main event, we celebrated 25 years of The Undertaker as he joined forces with his brother Kane to take on Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper of the Wyatt Family. More was expected from this match than was given, and it played out like a basic match with fans who weren’t necessarily disappointed with the outcome, but more-so that the contest wasn’t a back-and-forth encounter. Victorious were the Brothers of Destruction, and as the ring emptied, the sold out crowd in attendance gave The Phenom a much deserved standing ovation. One must assume if this was Undertaker’s last match in WWE and if not, it could be very soon. With WrestleMania being in the Deadman’s home State of Texas, one would conclude that the occasion seems fitting for a double retirement/Hall of Fame induction.
Elsewhere on the card, Charlotte defeated Paige to retain the WWE Divas Championship after a decent technical match, but perhaps an all out brawl was expected, given the controversial comments that were made in the build-up.
In the kick-off match, WWE legend Goldust returned to a great ovation, and his team of Titus O’Neil, The Dudley Boyz and Neville were victorious in a traditional Survivor Series match over The Ascension, Stardust, Bo Dallas and The Miz.
In the other traditional Survivor Series match, Ryback, The Lucha Dragons & The Uso’s bested The New Day, Sheamus and King Barrett.
And in perhaps somewhat of a surprise, new debutant Tyler Breeze pinned former World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler.
Match of the Night: Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens
Pictures courtesy: WWE