Sunday, 4 December 2016

Survivor Series 2014

Image Source: Amazon
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 185 Minutes
Certificate: 12
Number Of Discs: 1
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: February 16 2015

The 2014 Survivor Series is a show of two halves, or rather two parts. Much of the first two-thirds is completely missable, with some matches being totally unworthy of being staged on any PPV event, much less a major show like Survivor Series. However, the main event - which takes up almost the entire final hour - is outstanding, with first-class booking and strong performances being topped off by a massive surprise. Therefore, the DVD for this show is a bit, well, uneven.

After a last-push promo to promote the main event opens the show (which I had completely forgotten about until revisiting it here), the card officially gets under way with an enjoyable four-team match for the WWE Tag Team Titles. This is something of a hidden gem as there's some great tag team wrestling here, and we are reminded as to how brilliant the Damien Mizdow gimmick really is. From there, though, the show falters.

The four-on-four women's match isn't up to much, and seemingly exists to allow the three-man announce team to make jokes about the history of the Survivor Series. Dean Ambrose vs. Bray Wyatt picks up steam at certain points, but the disappointing finish makes it clear that this is nothing more than a preview for their TLC match at, erm, TLC. Adam Rose and The Bunny vs. Slater Gator is short, at least, but it has no place on a major supershow; incidentally, it's bizarre seeing a bunny rabbit-clad wrestler on a show during Brock Lesnar's reign as WWE World Heavyweight Champion (even if Lesnar is absent from this card). The under card is rounded off by a (then-injured) Roman Reigns promo via satellite (yep, WWE really does want Roman to be the real face of WWE in the future), and a Divas Title match between AJ lee and Nikki Bella which lasts a matter of seconds, and brings the Brie-as-Nikki's-assistant storyline to a bizarre and, as yet, unexplained, ultimately confusing finale.

After some additional backstage segments showing each of the teams (both of which are slightly embarrassing, and why is Rusev wearing flip-flops during HHH's speech?), we finally get to the real selling point of this DVD: the battle between Team Cena and Team Authority, with the power of HHH and Stephanie McMahon at stake. This is one of the best-booked matches in WWE history, with plenty of talking points, a few surprises and some fantastic story-telling which draws the crowd in perfectly. It all crescendos with the unannounced WWE debut of Sting, which would have been the biggest moment of the year had a certain Streak not been terminated at WrestleMania XXX. Incidentally, I normally wouldn't spoil such surprises, but the DVD box art ensures that we are left in doubt that the Stinger shows up in some form at Survivors '14.

The extras consist of a short Fandango vs. Justin Gabriel match from the Kick-Off Show (which Michael Cole, attempting to promote Fandango's new gimmick, hilariously calls "incredible" when recapping it on the main card), a Bad News Barrett comeback promo from the same preview show, and a few exclusive backstage interviews. The other thing I should mention is how the frame rates and picture transitions are unusually slow during certain scenes, so if you think your DVD player is faulty, it's nothing to worry about.

Let's face it, although the four-way tag provides plenty of action, Survivor Series 2014 is a one-match show. If you haven't watched that bout, however, or if you want to relive it for historic or entertainment value, then the DVD becomes a must-see. That being said, the rest of the card is a real slog to sit through, so I'd recommend that you watch the opening bout and then skip ahead to the headline attraction. If the main event hadn't been so epic, the rating below would have been a lot lower.

Overall Rating: 7/10 - Respectable

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