Ok let’s be more specific. What went wrong with Survivor Series in the last five years? 2014 was actually pretty good, because there were genuine stakes on the line, what with Team Cena taking on Team Authority, but since then…*poop emoji*.
I don’t necessarily mean this in terms of match quality, because plenty of the matches have been brilliant, but when you think specifically about what Survivor Series is supposed to be…you start to encounter a number of issues.
First things first. Fans don’t care about brand supremacy. Aside from last year, when NXT came out on top in a blatant attempt to bring more eyes to the product (not a complaint, just a fact), Monday Night Raw has won every year since 2015, and I have never seen a single person saying “damn, I really wanted SmackDown to win, because I only care about SmackDown because that’s the brand I support.”
We just want to see good matches. We don’t care if you’re wearing a terribly designed red or blue t-shirt over your normal gear, because it doesn’t add anything to the match.
The “stakes” are completely meaningless, especially now that the matches are just “well I’m a champion, and you’re a champion, so we should probably have a match against each other I guess.”
Wow, really thrilling stuff. I really care about that match now.
To build on the lack of stakes, nothing says “WWE doesn’t really care” more than the aftermath of Survivor Series. The commentators may mention now and again who won (probably RAW), but it doesn’t build to anything, because the matches were created without a feud, and now everyone is on separate brands again so we just have to resume the feuds that were pointlessly interrupted by Survivor Series.
The 2020 show has even fewer stakes than usual, because the majority of the people on team Raw were on SmackDown a few weeks ago, and we’re now supposed to believe they actually care which team they’re on and if they win for their brand? The wrestlers get moved from brand to brand every year, so why should any of them feel any sort of loyalty?
Just so people don’t think I’ve forgotten to mention it, I will say that it is genuinely insulting that WWE thinks its fans are so stupid that we will actually buy into the “one night of the year when Raw and SmackDown stars go head to head in direct competition” tagline.
It happens ALL THE TIME.
I won’t name every occasion it’s happened in the last year, but let’s just rewind a few weeks to the September 14 episode of Raw, when the Raw tag champs, The Street Profits, took on SmackDown tag champs Cesaro and Nakamura…for no reason. If you have a show every year whose gimmick is Raw vs. SmackDown…then make that the ONLY night of the year it happens, because it’s completely pointless and a lie otherwise.
It would make no difference to the excitement of the show if someone from Raw came out halfway through the show and announced Raw had won, despite trailing SmackDown 4-0, and that SmackDown was breaking the rules, even though there was no evidence for any of that.
I guess to summarise I’ll say this. We don’t care about the stakes, the wrestlers can barely pretend to care about the stakes, the aftermath makes it clear that WWE doesn’t care about the stakes, and the tagline is a load of poo.
Oh well, the matches are usually pretty fun, so let’s try and stay positive.