The boisterous and energetic crowd, along with ear-popping fireworks, welcomed viewers to the twenty-sixth annual WWE Survivor Series. This year’s spectacular was held at the Banker’s Life Fieldhouse, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Great, exciting and nail-biting matches were fought with aggression, intent, and fearlessness. What a great surprise the fans witnessed, to kick-off the show!

Ardent followers of the WWE know this event is built on the traditional Survivor Series elimination match. The rules are that the match continues until all members from a team are eliminated through pinfall, submission, disqualification, as well as count-out.

On one side was Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara, Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel, and Brodus Clay. Their opponents were Titus O Neil, Darren Young, Epico, Primo and Tensai. Once Brodus and Tensai were eliminated early on, the tempo really picked up. The focus was on the four regular tag teams. The exhibition of skill, speed, and endurance, combined with high flying, and awe inspiring moves, created some thrilling action for the spectators. Another elimination saw Tyson Kidd force Epico to submit with the Sharpshooter – a move made famous by Bret Hart, who was an admirable and dynamic former wrestler.

The lone survivor for his team, Darren Young, was outnumbered in the end against Rey, Sin Cara, Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel. Young displayed all his knowledge, fortitude, perseverance, and courage to attempt to get just one elimination. But unfortunately, he was outnumbered. Instead, all four of his opponents, performed some of their big moves on Darren, until finally, Mysterio utilized a splash off the top rope for the pin, which brought about the final elimination. Young’s tenacity was admirable. It was exciting seeing his determination, and I am sure that even though the odds were against him, some would have like to see a different outcome.

Rey’s team emerged victorious with Mysterio, Sin Cara, Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel as the survivors, which thrilled the crowd. It was a great match and, in my opinion, the right way to open the show. While it also put some emphasis on the tag team division, I wish the match was announced on the Raw before the event. It would have created more interest, and let fans know that there would more than one traditional Survivor Series elimination match. The surprise element was good though!

The World Heavyweight Championship match between Sheamus and the Big Show was a hard-hitting affair. It also provided the challenger, Sheamus, a chance to display his strength. He countered Show’s chokeslam at one point, by lifting the champion across his back, and dropped him to the mat. That move created total  disbelief among spectators.

The ending of the match, however, provided some controversy.  Sheamus hit Big Show with his “Brogue Kick.” But, the champion pushed the referee in the way. Other officials and medical staff came to check on their fallen friend. As the challenger was checking on the ref, Show snuck up behind his foe, and knocked him out with a punch. Another referee counted the pinfall, and Show retained the belt.  A third referee then overturned that decision, to declare Sheamus the winner by disqualification, because he concluded that Show pushed the first referee in the way of the “Brogue Kick.” Show, then verbally assaulted that referee for making the call.

While Sheamus was victorious, he did not win the title because a wrestler cannot win a championship by disqualification or count-out, unless those rules are waived. An irate Sheamus chased Show up the ramp with a steel chair, and unmercifully beat the champion with the weapon, until fans saw something unusual – the Big Show actually pleaded and begged Sheamus to stop. I never thought I would see the Big Show plead the way he did. He escaped through the curtain, as Sheamus posed on the ramp. Fans always have to expect the unexpected! Who would have ever thought that Big Show would stoop to the level of begging?

It was a memorable match, mainly for two reasons: Sheamus’ show of strength, and the beating afterwards. The aftermath was done to promote a possible rematch between to two, likely at the next pay-per-view, TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, on December 16. I am sure the rematch will be exciting. I thought Show would win, so the company can continue to build him up as a dominant champion. But, what I did not expect was Sheamus’ brutal post-match attack on the champion.

The final traditional Survivor Series elimination match was, in my opinion, built up well in the previous weeks, and delivered a lot of high impact action. Randy Orton, Daniel Bryan, Kane, Kofi Kingston, and The Miz battled Dolph Ziggler, Damien Sandow, David Otunga (replacing Cody Rhodes, who suffered a concussion just days before, in a match), Wade Barrett, and Alberto Del Rio.

Damien Sandow was repeatedly kicked by Daniel Bryan, and he decided to walk out from the match and on his team. But, Kane was not going to have any of that. He chased Sandow back to the ring, and chokeslammed him, for the pinfall elimination. But, that advantage was short-lived, as Dolph Ziggler entered, and quickly pinned Kane to eliminate him.

After The Miz was eliminated, Randy Orton was left alone against Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio. After some quick tags and double team tactics, Dolph accidently dropkicked Alberto. When Del Rio got up, he tried to apply his cross-armbreaker finishing hold, but Orton countered, and pinned his adversary with the RKO. Alberto Del Rio was eliminated, leaving Ziggler and Orton to go one-on-one.

They thrilled fans with some fast-paced and intense action. After a DDT, Randy thought about going for a punt on Ziggler. He took too long to decide, giving Ziggler enough time to deliver a beautiful superkick to Orton for the final pinfall and elimination. Dolph Ziggler was the sole survivor.

This was a tremendous match, and all the superstars involved performed well. The fans were disappointed that Dolph won. But, I was happy that he was the sole survivor. I hope the WWE continues to push this talented young wrestler, and allows him to enjoy a lengthy reign as the World Heavyweight Champion very soon. If that does happen, it will be well deserved.

The main event was a relatively entertaining three way match for the WWE Championship between the champion, C.M. Punk, and the challengers, Ryback and John Cena. This match revealed the strength, power, and in-ring skill, these three wrestlers possess. However, the ending, like the previous title match, provided controversy. What else is new in wrestling? Controversy always lurks, and fans thrive on it.

Ryback looked like he was on the way to capturing the WWE title, after applying his “Shell Shocked” finisher on John Cena, when out of nowhere, three young wrestlers, decked in armored suits, rushed into the ring, attacking Ryback, and rolling him out of the squared circle. I am sure fans who watched this event, asked themselves “Who are these three wrestlers?” They are Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and Roman Reigns, from the WWE’s developmental program, NXT.  Cena was left laying on the mat, and once Punk realized what was happening, he crawled back in, and pinned Cena. The victory allowed Punk to continue his year-long reign as WWE Champion. The fans were not happy with the outcome, or how the final few minutes went down.

The 2012 WWE Survivor Series was an enjoyable event. I appreciated the fact that the company decided to have two elimination matches instead of one. That creative decision added some spice and variety to the night. The title matches were exciting, nail-biting, and in the case of the World Heavyweight title match, hard-hitting. I also liked the way the company introduced Rollins, Reigns and Ambrose to the crowd, by allowing these three newcomers to delve right into the main-event picture, and attacking a top title contender in Ryback. By doing that, I believe fans will become more invested in the new talent. Hopefully, the WWE does not “drop the ball” on what can potentially be a great storyline.

I think the WWE should be commended for planning and executing such a tremendous event. Hopefully, the Tables, Ladders and Chairs pay-per-view, on Dec 16 will be entertaining, and I am sure the WWE will find a way to end 2012 on a high note.

Azeem Kayum

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