Wednesday, November 15, 2023

The History of WWE Survivor Series (2012)

An historic show that had long-reaching fallout....

Survivor Series 2012 - Bankers Life Fieldhouse - 11/18/12

This here was a helluva Survivor Series.  Not one but two full-length, exciting elimination matches were featured, and the main event was both a good match AND included a major show-closing angle.  It should be noted that this card was reshuffled only two weeks before the event due to Vince's batshit decree that the fans didn't want to see a Survivor Series elimination match headline Survivor Series.  More on that later.  Regardless, WWE delivered one of the strongest Survivor Series cards in years.

The PPV opened with one of the two traditional SS matches, which as I recall wasn't officially announced beforehand.  Brodus Clay led Justin Gabriel, Tyson Kidd, Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio against Tensai, Primo & Epico, and the Prime Time Players.  The bout took its time, featured pretty spectacular action, and amazingly the two oversized team captains were the first two knocked out, leaving the smaller midcard guys to carry the match.  After a tremendously entertaining 18 minutes Mysterio, Sin Cara, Gabriel and Kidd won the whole thing.

Next was a solid Divas Title match between Eve Torres (at the time probably the most over heel Diva on the roster) against Kaitlyn.  This was pretty standard stuff, but both women could work and they had a strong outing.

Third was a bit of a filler match as US Champion Cesaro defended against R-Truth.  Nothing great here but it was a decent RAW-quality match.

The World Championship was up next as new Champ Big Show defended against former Champion Sheamus.  This was a good hard-hitting big-man match until Show pulled the referee in front of him to absorb a Brogue Kick, earning a DQ.

What an eclectic bunch of guys.

We were then treated to an excellent one-two punch.  The featured elimination match pitted Team Foley - Randy Orton, The Miz, Kofi Kingston and Team Hell No - against Team Ziggler - Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio, Wade Barret, Damien Sandow, and David Otunga.  I said before that the card had been reshuffled.  Originally the main event of this show was slated to be Team Foley, captained by Ryback vs. Team Punk, captained by....well, CM Punk.  Punk and Ryback had been feuding since Hell in a Cell, and eventually Foley got involved and assembled a team to face Punk's squad.  Additionally John Cena was to face Dolph Ziggler in the semi-main event.  Backstage however Vince insisted that the main event of this show had to be a WWE Title match, and a convoluted storyline removed Punk and Ryback from the elimination bout, subbing in Ziggler as the heel captain.  Nevermind that Foley and Ziggler had no beef with each other and therefore the whole reason for this match was now nullified.  I guess a WWE Title match is more important at Survivor Series than an actual Survivor Series match with a purpose.  It should be noted that the buyrate for this show was seemingly not helped by this reshuffle, but whatever.  The elimination match was still excellent and ran about 25 minutes, eventually boiling down to Orton vs. Ziggler.  Dolph managed to eke out a win as part of a rare push for The Showoff (He'd go on to defeat Cena at TLC the following month).

The main event was now a Triple Threat for the WWE Title - CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Ryback.  Going in I was so pissed about the card reshuffle that I figured this would be a forgettable schmozz of a match.  I was incorrect - these three rivaled the elimination match for the night's top bout.  This was a high-energy, chaotic brawl full of believable near-falls that culminated with Ryback hitting Shellshock on Cena.  Before he could get the pin though, three unknown assailants clad in black stormed the ring, beat the tar out of Ryback, and triple powerbombed him through a ringside table.  Punk then opportunistically covered the unconscious Cena to retain the belt.  Those three attackers?  Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns.  This was one of the most exciting angles in recent memory.  I was already familiar with Rollins from his ROH run, and was vaguely acquainted with Ambrose via some of his Indy and FCW exploits.  Reigns was new to me, but given the presentation of this debut I became instantly fascinated with all three new stars (as did everyone).

The aftermath of this attack was one of the best-handled ongoing angles the company ever executed, as The Shield members were all groomed to become the future of WWE (or in Ambrose's case, AEW).

This was so boss.

Survivor Series 2012 was a show that really shouldn't have worked nearly as well as it did.  Changing the card only two weeks out was a pretty terrible idea, truth be told, but the PPV ended up being pretty great and set the stage for three new stars to take the company by storm.

Best Match: Team Foley vs. Team Ziggler
Worst Match: Cesaro vs. R-Truth, by default
What I'd Change: They still should've presented the original Team Foley vs. Team Punk scenario, with Ryback being the sole survivor only to be attacked by The Shield.  The effect would've been the same, but Ryback would have gotten a much-needed big win.
Most Disappointing Match: Nothing really.
Most Pleasant Surprise: The opening elimination match, since it wasn't announced.
Overall Rating: 8.5/10
Better than WrestleMania XXVIII and/or SummerSlam 2012? - Probably not better than 'Mania but way ahead of SummerSlam.

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