Saturday, 5 March 2016

Survivor Series 2015

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 182 Minutes
Certificate: 12
Number Of Discs: 1
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: January 25 2016

(To read a full event review of WWE Survivor Series 2015, click here.)

At the time when it was held, the 2015 edition of Survivor Series didn't exactly receive a lot of praise. But whilst it hardly stands out as an epic event upon the second viewing on DVD, it still has its moments, even if it doesn't really feel like a major supershow.

The first two matches are actually quite good: Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio is an underrated battle and a nice start to the PPV, whilst Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens is better still with some really cool spots and high-impact moves. These are the semi-finals of the tournament to crown a new WWE Champion after Seth Rollins went down with injury; the final, between Reigns and Ambrose, would be the Survivors main event.

It's the second hour of the show which dragged the event down. Although it starts fairly well, the Survivor Series elimination match features some strange booking decisions and, by the end, the match just feels like a waste of time. The Divas Title match between Charlotte and Paige is better than I had remembered, but the disinterested crowd reduces one's enjoyment of the bout. Likewise, Dolph Ziggler vs. Tyler Breeze is a short but adequate match that suffers from a complete lack of heat, which no doubt played a part in Tyler's push being curtailed shortly afterwards.

The seemingly asleep Atlanta audience does seem to care about the next match, which celebrates 25 years of The Undertaker as he and Kane face The Wyatt Family. It's a decent bout, but it needed more high-quality action and standout moments if it was going to amount to anything memorable. That said, the double chokeslam to Braun Strowman through an announcer's table sticks out, as does the double sit-up by the Brothers of Destruction during Bray Wyatt's Spider Walk.

The WWE Title tournament was in itself a missed opportunity to create a bit of unpredictability and excitement, so many fans were hoping that Reigns vs. Ambrose would end the tournament with a bang, perhaps via a heel turn. Instead, the match is fine but it doesn't last very long (the crowd seems apathetic again which also doesn't help), and it ends with no heel turn, making the entire tournament exercise feel like filler. There are post-match capers whereby Sheamus cashes in Money In The Bank (I wasn't going to spoil it, but WWE spoiled this moment themselves on the reverse DVD packaging), but the presentation feels too similar to Randy Orton's Authority-influenced cash-in from SummerSlam 2013, and Sheamus' total lack of momentum before and even during this show resulted in a fair amount of disappointment with the finale to Survivor Series.

The only DVD extra is the pre-show Survivors elimination match, which is arguably better than the bout which was featured on the main card. I should point out that this was shown on the WWE Network, meaning that it is false advertising to call this an "exclusive" DVD extra. That being said, it's clear that DVDs are no longer a priority for WWE, so this probably won't be a problem for much longer.

So while it isn't totally forgettable, Survivor Series 2015 was a bit of a let-down (especially compared to the 2014 edition which featured Sting's historic WWE debut). There were some good matches, a historically noteworthy Undertaker match and a MITB cash-in, but the combination of lazy outcomes, strange booking decisions during the main elimination match, a lacklustre crowd, an injury-depleted roster and the seen-it-all-before feel to Sheamus' big moment resulted in a show which didn't exactly wow the "WWE Universe". Only die-hard collectors or fans of The Undertaker (since this was his 25th anniversary) are likely to enjoy this DVD; otherwise, barring a clearance sale, you may want to steer clear of this one.

Overall Rating: 6/10 - Reasonable

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