Hearken back 17 years to the 1998 Survivor Series, when 14 men vied for the WWE Championship in a one-night, winner-take-all tournament. The scheming, plotting, twisting, turning, and swerving left us all astonished as the night drew to its double-cross crescendo. By comparison, the 2015 Survivor Series, where the same championship was at stake among the final four combatants of a tournament, didn’t feel quite as scintillating.
Granted, the 2015 tournament was never meant to happen, and only came about out of necessity. But it does demonstrate the stark difference between the two eras: one was exciting, intriguing, and chaotic, and the other just felt like business-as-usual, taking for granted the forum it has to enthral millions of viewers. Perhaps because WWE braintrust knew they could still run the same planned ending to the show (Sheamus’ cash-in), that they didn’t go for the creative overhaul. I get that, but this night should’ve probably felt like a bigger deal.
The lifelessness of the period may be best encapsulated in this one show. While Survivor Series 2015 isn’t the worst event bearing the name, it felt like a colossal missed opportunity, a chance to really go full-throttle, capturing the imagination of its audience. Instead, high stakes didn’t feel all that particularly high.
10. Heightened Awareness
The day before the event, The Federal Bureau of Investigation released a statement, saying: “The FBI is aware of reports of an alleged threat that includes an Atlanta, Georgia venue and event. While we take all threats seriously, we do not have specific or credible information of an attack at this time.”
The group ISIS was associated with the rumoured threats, though nothing would come of them. Survivor Series went on as planned, with extra security at the event, and more thorough searches of attendees conducted. Aside from the heavier security presence, and Lilian Garcia singing the Star Spangled Banner at the open of the TV broadcast, Survivor Series felt like a normal pay-per-view. No mention of the alleged threats were made during the PPV.