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    Tuesday, November 21, 2017

    The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Survivor Series 2017

    Allow my vulnerable self to try my best to put my feelings about this year’s Survivor Series into words. Fellow Smark Henry writer and editor-at-large Stan Sy is here, too, to help you guys make better sense of this review article, and to give you guys a different perspective. His thoughts will be written in red as an homage to Team RAW and their victory! Hurray!

    Alright, I need a nap. And maybe some Valium.

    Stress levels were at an all-time high for the entire duration of this pay-per-view—I regret not attending the Smark Henry x PWR viewing party at Skinny Mike’s to have my friends take care of me in the event of my inevitable heart attack.

    We all knew what we were getting into when we tuned in: a packed match card with an all-star main event. And when I said all-star, I freaking mean it. I mean, who would’ve thought we’d see our childhood heroes—John Cena, Randy Orton (yes, shut up, I was born in ‘96), Shane McMahon, Triple H and Kurt Angle—in the same match, along with today’s most popular NXT alumni—Bobby Roode, Samoa Joe, Finn Bálor and Shinsuke Nakamura. Wow.

    They definitely gave us the pairings we were all drooling for, and even gave us some we didn’t even really know we wanted until we saw them happen before our very eyes. The match was really fun that way and was able to keep the audience on the edge of their seats.

    I don’t know about you guys, but I knew Team RAW had this in the bag. But more importantly, I knew Triple H was going to win the whole thing. Granted, he wasn’t the Sole Survivor, but he wasn’t going to get pinned by anybody on that SmackDown team at any moment in that match. Why? Because he’s Triple H. It doesn’t matter how long he’s been away, or how much he’s considered a “vet”—Triple H is king, yo, and it freakin’ shows.

    Everybody can’t exit the match in a grand, falsie-finish kind of way—there’s always going to be a few people who obviously have to take the lower end of things. It’s sad that the NXT alumni in this match had to be those designated ones, because in the end, they’re the ones who need it the most as they carry out the future. The bigger names like Shane McMahon and Kurt Angle were protected as hell—as well as Braun Strowman, who seems like it was whom the entire match was built for. As for Triple H, they didn’t compromise his character one bit and kept this untouchable royalty-type characteristic of his that makes you all hate him in the first place—which, I think, is okay, after coming into terms with what kind of heel he’s always been.

    On that note, The King of Kings now just inserted himself in two huge potential feuds: one with Braun Strowman and one with Kurt Angle. Through this match, the real spotlight is all on him now and it drives lots of people nuts because, well, where does that leave the rest? I’m not entirely sure. Finn Bálor might still continue his feud with Samoa Joe, while Bobby Roode and Shinsuke Nakamura are kind of whatever at the moment. On the bright side, the NXT alumni were able to make very memorable moments during the match: HHH and Roode squaring off was like a battle of father and son, and did you see the Too Sweet boop on Nakamura’s forehead from Finn Bálor?! Ahh, so satisfying.

    But you know what's not satisfying? John Cena being the only one wearing neon green out of all his teammates who made the effort to wear blue. He stood out so much, it just reinforced everybody's opinion on how random his addition into this match was. Yeah, aren't you a special snowflake.

    Stan Sy: The first thing we have to talk about is Triple H stealing the thunder of the main event. That sequence at the end—when he Pedigreed Kurt Angle to have Shane eliminate him and then pretend like he was betraying Braun Strowman only to say “just kidding lol”—got us all equally confused and for good reason. Sure, it could set up a Braun feud down the road, but was that absolutely necessary?

    The way I see it, Trips did all that as part of troll booking. We love Triple H for what he’s done with NXT to date, but can’t reconcile that with the heel character he’s supposed to play. In doing what he did, he got the IWC digging up all his past sins as someone who supposedly buries younger talent just to push himself. Now, people are salty towards Trips. And if that was the intention, then I get why he tried to get heat that way because of the world we live in now.

    It’s just unfortunate that it came at the expense of logical storytelling and of building up his NXT alumni. Yes, Braun Strowman was established even more as a star of the future through that booking, but it didn’t do any favors for Joe, Roode, Nakamura, and Bálor who needed it just as much.

    And then there’s Shane McMahon, who deserved everything he got in that match. He started all this #UnderSiege business, so it was only right that he got left alone to deal with Angle, HHH, Braun, and an interfering pair of BFFs in Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. In the end, Shane got his hubris and I’m excited to see how Daniel Bryan deals with him on SmackDown Live tomorrow.

    Lastly, there’s the whole charade of the scoreboard, which was an improvement over last year’s Survivor Series in terms of presentation. My only gripe is… WHAT WERE THE BRANDS COMPETING FOR? Why am I supposed to care that RAW came back from a 3-2 deficit? Why does this matter when none of it will matter by the next day?

    WWE had one last chance to present the stakes for the entire PPV by at least laying it out at the start of the show. We didn’t get that so all this hullabaloo about scores was ultimately meaningless. Come on, Creative. Is it really that hard to put the privilege of hosting Money In The Bank or having a shot at the #30 entry in the Royal Rumble match on the line? Kahit VL man lang ngayong Pasko? Okay, I’m done.

    Well, Stan, that’s the whole Survivor Series pay-per-view concept for you... It’s like the yearly Sports Day in Middle School—it’s the one day you’re representing your batch to compete against other batches, and you get so worked up and make glittery signs and start trash-talking the other batches in the middle of the sprint relay because fuck, I wanted we wanted to win so bad. And we weren’t even sure what we were going to get out of it apart from bragging rights. So, going back to the point—it’s the same thing here, wherein it’s the one time in the year where RAW Superstars go head-to-head with SmackDown Superstars. I don’t know, it’s supposed to be cool. We’re not too sure why it’s cool, but...but it’s cool. And you simply want to fight the good fight and bring the gold to the brand you’ve been calling home the past year.

    I think the whole point of the brand split was for them to essentially compete with each other, no matter what. Respective Commissioners and General Managers build their own brand up as much as they can throughout the year to constantly prove themselves that they are the brand worth watching more than the other. After the competition for ratings comes the physical part, where both finally clash in the end of the year as the final and true test on who gets to be called the best brand...until, well, the next Survivor Series, I guess. And I believe that as long as there is a brand split, the battle will always be about brand supremacy. Always. But yes, in hindsight, I realize it's rather petty. They also should emphasize on all this a lot more because they’re making me play Sherlock Holmes at this point.

    Rest of the card

    You know how usually, and traditionally, in a match card, you have “filler” matches that give the audience time to rest from a nail-biting match onto another? Yeah, no, not on this pay-per-view. From start to finish, either it felt like every match kept getting better and better, or WWE just simply did an amazing job to keep everybody interested in the results. Wait, why is my heart racing just thinking about it?! Jeez, it’s been an entire day but I remember the stress I was feeling all throughout. Amazing.

    I remember being so emotionally drained, I turned into a frail and vulnerable little girl at the match before the main event, which was AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar. I had to look up which arm starts to hurt when you’re about to have a heart attack just to make sure. For the first time, I was actually begging for a filler match between that and the main event, just to give my damn heart a break from all the emotions and the hype I was feeling. “Wait, no, stop—give me another commercial break, I can’t!” But I needed a break because I also really needed to pee. I wasn’t given the chance to. It was so good and so cruel all at the same time.
    • Lesnar and AJ delivered and gave it their all—AJ brought out the best out of Lesnar, possibly giving him his best match in the last couple of years. Although, I was hoping for a Jinder Mahal interference to at least set the table up nicer for that retaliation feud.
    • Albeit not flawless, both the women’s matches were nice and still made everybody eager to know who was going to win, and who was potentially going to appear—*coughs* Paige *coughs*. She didn’t show up that night, but it’s okay. Kudos to Alexa Bliss, too, for dominating Charlotte for the most part of their match!
    • The Shield vs. The New Day and The Bar vs. The Usos all delivered and gave us quality matches with innovative finishes. It was a beautiful triple powerbomb from the top rope by The Shield (RIP Kofi Kingston) and crazy-ass dives from The Usos that made me wonder if these guys are paid that much to want to almost kill themselves for our entertainment. So much respect for all of them.
    • Baron Corbin takes home the victory in this match that left people a bit confused on who to cheer for. Both are heels, but it was a matter of who you hated less—and that’s who you really cheered for. The Miz using Daniel Bryan’s moves, though, and losing because of it, makes everybody’s wet dreams of a Daniel Bryan in-ring return feel just a little more real. We’re getting closer and closer to WrestleMania, you guys...

    Overall, I think most of us can agree that Survivor Series this year has been the best main roster pay-per-view of 2017. At least, in my humble opinion. The matches weren’t all Match Of The Year candidates, but there was something about this all-star, all-champion, no-throwaway booking of the card—it was able to get everybody’s eyes glued to the screen anyway because no result could be afforded to be missed. It was unpredictable for the most part and they took full advantage of that, playing with my emotions and got me feeling like they ripped my insides out from my throat and played jump-rope with it. I love wrestling, but I hate wrestling. But I love wrestling. But I also hate wrestling. But I love it. The nostalgia, the crazy spots, the drama, the mini-heart attacks—it’s a nice pay-per-view to watch if you want to be reminded of why you’re a wrestling fan in the first place. I grade it an A!

    Photos by WWE
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Survivor Series 2017 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Unknown
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