Wednesday, November 15, 2023

The History of WWE Survivor Series (2013)

I hate this show so much...

Survivor Series 2013 - TD Garden - 11/24/13

Ugh.  WWE was on their way to a triumvirate of good consecutive Survivor Series PPVs but then assembled this turd of a show, seemingly as a way to dare fans not to order it.  I remember reading online about a month before this show that WWE was really striving to put together a stacked Series PPV to make it seem like one of the Big Four again.  When the final card was announced I said, "Wow, they only missed that goal by about twelve parsecs."

What's sad is they had a ready-made five-on-five match just sitting there.  The Authority angle had just begun a few months earlier, and unlike in 2014 the fans actually cared about it.  Also unlike 2014, WWE had a full roster of healthy talent.  Sadly we'd have to wait a full year for an Authority vs. Anti-Authority Survivor Series match, and on paper the 2014 incarnation wasn't nearly as intriguing as the 2013 one could've been.

The only real elimination match at the 2013 Series PPV OPENED the show.  Yup.  Went on first.  How can you have a PPV centered around a gimmick match and then have that gimmick match open the fucking event, with the rest of the show essentially just a slew of regular matches?  Anyway, The Shield and The Real Americans teamed up to take on The Rhodeses, The Usos, and Rey Mysterio.  In fairness this was a fine elimination match and helped build up Roman Reigns as a monster heel, but otherwise lacked much purpose.  Dean Ambrose was eliminated only two minutes in for some reason, but following that we ended up with a nice 5-on-2 scenario for Reigns and Rollins to come back from.  Reigns took out four men with The Spear to win the match.

Nothing was gonna follow this.  Not with the phoned-in card they booked.

Next Big E. Langston had a run-of-the-mill RAW match, successfully defending the I-C Title against Curtis Axel.  Yawn.
The second of two elimination matches was up next, as WWE tried once again to shove "brand loyalty" up everyone's collective ass.  This time it was the ladies from Total Divas: Nikki, Brie, Natalya, Naomi, Cameron, Eva Marie and JoJo against the, um.....Partial Divas I guess: AJ, Tamina, Kaitlyn, Alicia, Rosa, Aksana, and Summer Rae.  Yes, heels and faces intermingled once again, because whether or not you're on a stupid reality show evidently trumps moral alignment.  This 7-on-7 match was over in eleven minutes, and Nattie and Nikki were the survivors.  Next?

A rematch of WrestleMania XXIX's worst bout was next as Ryback faced Mark Henry.  Literally the only logical reason to subject the audience to this match a second time would be for Ryback to get the win he should've gotten in April.  Nope.  Henry beat him again.  How's that big push workin' out for Ryback?

Echoing the events of 2008's Survivor Series, John Cena returned from injury at Hell in a Cell after a major SummerSlam loss to somehow earn an automatic World Title match, this time against Alberto Del Rio.  As with Survivor Series 2008, the defending Champion was treated as an afterthought and Cena predictably won the belt for the thousandth time, and then successfully defended it here, handing Del Rio a second consecutive PPV loss.

The red-hot Daniel Bryan went from headlining a handful of PPVs against Randy Orton for the WWE Title, to teaming with CM Punk in a midcard match against Bray Wyatt's henchmen.  Read that again.  Daniel Bryan, the hottest babyface in the company, and CM Punk, the second hottest babyface in the company, were relegated to a midcard tag match against the two sidekicks of WWE's newest heel Bray Wyatt.  Wyatt himself would not participate in the match.  Unbelievable.  This match was fine as a RAW main event, but was a totally inappropriate use of Bryan and Punk.

These two shoulda won the Tag belts.  And then each won a World Title.
The Two-Man Power Trip 2013.

And now for the main event.  It's been years and I still can't wrap my brain around how fucking stupid this was.  First a little background: During Daniel Bryan's big 2013 push, where he was constantly being held down by The Authority, The Big Show came to his aid and openly criticized Hunter and Stephanie's business practices.  The Authority responded by exploiting Big Show's apparent financial problems, threatening to fire him if he didn't do everything they asked (in this case, repeatedly beating up Daniel Bryan and other babyfaces).  This led to multiple segments where Show was reduced to tears.  Yes, the big nasty giant melted into a blubbering imbecile week after week.  Eventually Show had enough and turned his wrath on The Authority, and they fired him.  Nevermind that in 2012 he supposedly signed an "ironclad" contract wherein he could not be fired for any reason.  Show then started breaking into RAW tapings, interfering in matches, and threatened to sue for wrongful termination (One would think his case would evaporate once he attacked WWE wrestlers without being an employee).  Hunter and Steph were so taken aback they agreed to rehire him and give him a WWE Title shot at Survivor Series.  This has to be the least heroic way a babyface has ever gotten a Title match - hijacking RAW after being fired, and threatening to sue the company unless he got to fight the Champion.  Unreal.

It should also be noted that during this time WWE attempted to transfer Daniel Bryan's YES chant, and his white-hot popularity, over to The Big Show.  Needless to say it failed miserably.  Clearly Daniel Bryan, and not his catchphrase, was the main reason for Daniel Bryan's popularity.

This all led to one of the worst-ever PPV main events, as Big Show and Randy Orton delivered a weak free TV match that only ran ten minutes, featured a typical dumb-babyface-gets-distracted-by-heel-entrance-music ending, and had the audience bored out of their minds.  Seriously, this was one of the least engaged live crowds I can remember.  Listen for the "We want Bryan" chants scattered throughout the match.  Or better yet, don't watch this at all.  It sucks.  By the way, the funniest part of the match was Michael Cole quoting Randy Orton as saying, "I don't know if I can beat The Big Show."  Umm, Randy?  You just beat him six months ago at Extreme Rules.  Do you not remember that?

In 2013 Survivor Series returned to being a phoned-in fiasco.  WWE tried to dump Daniel Bryan back into midcard Hell and re-elevate a 40-something babyface the fans weren't invested in, and the result was another watered-down mess of a show.

Best Match: The Shield/Real Americans vs. Rhodeses/Usos/Mysterio
Worst Match: Randy Orton vs. Big Show, simply for how unwanted a main event it was.
What I'd Change:  Hey idiots.  This show's called Survivor Series.  You have a stable of heels running roughshod over the roster, and a handful of babyfaces standing up to them.  Seems like a natural backdrop for an elimination main event, no?  How about Randy Orton/Kane/The Shield vs. Daniel Bryan/CM Punk/Big Show/Goldust/Cody Rhodes?  Wouldn't that make sense?  Wouldn't that be 1000 per cent better than the main event we got?
Most Disappointing Match: No one match was disappointing.  The company's complete disconnect from what the fans wanted to see however, was.  I cannot overstate how giddy I was at learning of this show's abysmal buyrate.
Most Pleasant Surprise: Fucked if I know.
Overall Rating: 3/10
Better than WrestleMania XXIX and/or SummerSlam 2013? - Nope, not even a little.

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