By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Fandango def. Justin Gabriel (Kickoff Match)
I appreciate the effort WWE put into "repackaging" Fandango, but he's essentially still a dancer, so what's the point? Adding the winless Rosa Mendes to act will do nothing for him. What's worse is that the only reason why Fanadngo was over to begin with was because of his catchy entrance theme, but now that that's gone, the character is dead in the water. Johnny Curtis is actually a very good wrestler, and it's a shame he's been saddled with this stupid persona.
Jack Swagger def. Cesaro (Kickoff Match)
I said it in my Main Event review and I'll say it again here: If Swagger was medically cleared to compete in this match, why wasn't he added to Team Cena? It makes no sense from a storyline standpoint. I was disappointed Cesaro wasn't on the card in any manner, so I was glad he was incorporated into the pre-show at least. He and Swagger worked a good match as they always do and the live crowd was into Swagger. I'm glad Swagger picked up the win, but Cesaro remains an enhancement talent. He deserves better, but you already knew that.
Mr. McMahon Added an Extra Stipulation to Team Cena vs. Team Authority
Just when you thought the main event didn't have enough stipulations, they add another! Anyway, kicking the show with Mr. McMahon was a smart move. I'm usually not high on episodes of Raw (much less pay-per-views) kicking off with a talking segment, but this was effective in building excitement for the main event and addressing the fact that The Authority won't have any power whatsoever if they lose. The verbal exchange between John Cena and The Authority was well done and didn't feature any comedy, thankfully.
The Miz and Damien Sandow def. Gold and Stardust, Los Matadores and The Usos to Win the WWE Tag Team Championship
I expected the match to be a bit more fast-paced than it was, but I still give props to everyone involved. Everyone played their roles well and the action intensified down the stretch. Everyone was able to hit their signature spots during the finishing sequence and I loved how Mizdow was the one to pick up the pinfall victory. The crowds are absolutely loving his shtick right now and for good reason. He and Miz can have a fun run as tag champs before they inevitably feud.
Team Natalya def. Team Paige in a Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match
Since the match was added to the card at the last minute, I didn't figure any fans would care. Alas, they didn't, so the lack of reaction to anything they did wasn't surprising. They popped for some of the finishes, but that was about it. It's not often we see a clean sweep, and I'm glad they went that route because it was the only thing about the bout that made it stand out. I'm all for Emma actually winning a match for once.
Bray Wyatt def. Dean Ambrose by Disqualification
Wyatt and Ambrose wrestled the hard-hitting, extremely physical match I expected them to and it was very entertaining from start to finish. Both guys are masters of in-ring psychology, so that obviously only helped them. I was completely content with the non-finish since they both need wins and this protects them both. Ambrose's post-match beatdown on Wyatt dragged on a little too long for my taste, but it seemed to indicate that they're on a collision course toward a TLC match next month which has the potential to be awesome.
Adam Rose and The Bunny def. Slater Gator
I was hoping that their lack of TV time over the last few months meant the team quietly disbanded, but I guess I'm not that lucky. The match was complete throwaway, nothing of note happened (per usual), and it didn't even take up enough time to be considered filler. So, what was the point? the least they could have done was have Rose officially turn on The Bunny or reveal who's in the suit, but apparently not.
Nikki Bella def. AJ Lee to Win the Divas Championship
I assumed there was at least a chance of Brie turning heel and helping her sister win the title, and I'm happy that's the route they took. Brie costing her sister the match would've been way too predictable and the Bellas are much better together than they are separate. Also, I've seen a lot of speculation that this all but confirmed AJ's departure from the company, but I wouldn't go that far. They were probably short on time and decided to do this angle instead, so I'm completely content with it.
Team Cena def. Team Authority in a Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match
I won't analyze every aspect of the match, but I'll make notes on its key moments. The Henry elimination right out of the gate was well done, but Ryback getting eliminated first for his team was asinine. Why not Erick Rowan? They spent all this TV time building him up only to have him get out first. Very strange. Rusev getting counted out was a smart move since it he technically remains unbeaten. Big Show turning on Cena was a shocker. I knew there was a chance of someone turning heel on Team Cena and that would have been the perfect spot for Sheamus. If Cena and Show reignite their rivalry going into TLC, I just might unsubscribe from WWE Network to prevent having to see it again. I was very happy to see Ziggler be made out to look as strong as he did. Last but certainly not least, what can be said about the debut of Sting? Word got out of it happening over the weekend, but that did not at all make the moment of him coming out any less special. It's been a long time coming and it definitely lived up to the hype. A many Superstars have debuted at Survivor Series over the years, and now Sting can be added to that illustrious list. It appears they're setting up Sting vs. Triple H at WrestleMania 31 which I'm all in favor of. Here's hoping they can keep his appearances on WWE TV far and few between so he still feels special by 'Mania time. Ziggler came off like a main event caliber star when he won the match for his team, and it's incredibly refreshing to see The Authority out of power. The best ending to a WWE pay-per-view probably since WrestleMania 30.
I had high hopes going into the show and I'd say they were either met or even exceeded. This was a one match show going in, but the rest of the card was filled out nicely. Ambrose vs. Wyatt was great, the two title changes were pleasant surprises, and the main event was excellent. All people will be talking about from this show for the foreseeable future will be Sting's debut, but take nothing away from Ziggler's major victory and everything else that happened over the course of the night. I also think enough occurred that anyone who signed up for the WWE Network only for the event might stay subscribed through December after what they gave away on this show. Needless to say, I'm excited for where WWE goes from here, and I can't remember the last time I was ever this excited for Monday's Raw.