As a kid, I loved Survivor Series. Just the visual of all the big stars teaming up, the interweaving of feuds, and the elimination format mesmerized me. I absolutely loved it, so this yearly event has always had a special place in my heart reserved for it. This year's edition of the annual show felt like a big deal for the first time in a few years in the build-up, with the brand split, the traditional elimination matches and the main event featuring the long awaited rematch between Bill Goldberg and Brock Lesnar. With expectations high, this event really did not disappoint.
You really can't talk about anything else before mentioning the main event of Survivor Series 2016. Bill Goldberg vs Brock Lesnar felt like a dream match, with a huge, real fight feel, and while the match may only have lasted just over 90 seconds it felt like a big moment in professional wrestling history. Goldberg came out of this as the biggest star in the company, and you expect this will lead to a big money rematch down the line for Lesnar. For me, this was a great main event, and I loved every second of it, even if I can understand why there were those who hated it.
If the main event was short and divisive, the Smackdown vs Raw elimination match was the antidote for that. Running for the best part of an hour, this featured some of the best workers in WWE today working through some very well constructed spots, including a brief Shield reunion, Shane McMahon almost killing himself (though that was clearly not planned, obviously), AJ Styles bumping like a maniac, and much much more. This is well worth buying the blu-ray for alone.
Further down the card there are plenty of other cracking matches. The tag team elimination match is a real throwback to the old days of Survivor Series matches, and the visual of all those bodies around the ring is pretty spectacular. Given what happened since, it looks like the right team won the match and the action was really well put together without ever being too ambitious, which was probably wise given the number of competitors involved. The Miz had a fun match with Sami Zayn, despite a silly ending, and I would certainly be up for seeing these two go at again in the future. Brian Kendrick and Kalisto had a fun cruiserweight match, again marred by an interference finish, although this time it made perfect sense to end the way it did. Finally we had a fun opener featuring the women of Raw facing off against the women of Smackdown, which again served to further story-lines on both sides. It was a fun encounter, with Bayley, Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss and Natalya especially shining here. A fast paced encounter, and very a very enjoyable way to open the card.
Survivor Series 2016 was a very good show, and aside from a lack of perceived stakes for the elimination matches (brand supremacy aside), every match was passable at the very least, if not really good. The undercard was fun, and the top two matches were sensational for completely different reasons. For me, this is up there with Wrestlemania in terms of quality of matches this year, maybe even surpassing it from an in-ring perspective. Certainly one of the best WWE PPVs of the year and well worth a look.
EXTRAS: The usual pre-show matches are present here, with Luke Harper and Kane facing off in a match which is far better than I actually expected it to be, which was nice. There is also a multi-man cruiserweight match that while far from spectacular, is certainly entertaining if you enjoy cruiserweight action. We are also treated to a segment from Raw in the build-up to the show, with a stare-down between Lesnar and Goldberg, interviews with Charlotte and Sami Zayn, and a fun segment in the "social media lounge" with Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. A decent selection on offer.