By Jason Powell
WWE Survivor Series 2016 Kickoff Show
Aired live on WWE Network and social media
Toronto, Ontario at Air Canada Centre
-Renee Young hosted the show from the usual perch on the arena floor. She was joined by the panel of Booker T, Lita, and Jerry Lawler.
-Tom Phillips checked in from the mobile kill room known as the social media lounge. Kevin Owens will answer him to join horrible Twitter questions later in the show.
-Readers have informed me that the twice as long as usual needlessly long Kickoff Show will feature Kane vs. Luke Harper (in a battle of two guys who are not as good as the boss’s son) and yet another cruiserweight six-man tag match. Don’t worry, I’ll pay attention to the matches and, of course, the actual Survivor Series show.
-The hosts talked and talked and talked inside the nearly empty arena. There were video packages and stuff. Booker probably laughed uproariously at several of his own jokes.
-Backstage, Sami Zayn thanked Mick Foley for believing in him. Foley said he didn’t give him the Intercontinental Title shot. Foley said Zayn earned it. Foley said his super fan son told him about Zayn. Foley said his son is never wrong, and Foley was impressed by what he saw. Foley tried to fire him up. Zayn cut him off and spoke about how Foley is an inspiration to him, while adding that he read all of Foley’s books. He said Foley had a dream at age 14, and he had the same dream. Zayn said that kid will become IC Champion tonight (see, I am paying attention to relevant things).
-The Miz crashed the panel’s set and said Foley gave Zayn the big “bring home the title to Raw” speech, but he didn’t get anything from Daniel Bryan. Miz said he’s made the IC Title the most prestigious and relevant in all of WWE. Miz said all his heroes had the IC Title when he was a kid. He mentioned Ultimate Warrior, Shawn Michaels, and Bret Hart (um, all three also held the world title). Miz said he and Maryse will prove how awesome they are when they keep the title on Smackdown.
-Backstage, Becky Lynch spoke with Nikki Bella about the women’s elimination match. Lynch drifted into talking about White Walkers from Game of Thrones before Nikki brought her back to reality. Charlotte and Dana Brooke entered the room. Charlotte recalled making Lynch tap to win the title. Nikki said she’s been waiting 18 months to wipe the smile off Charlotte’s face. Nikki said Charlotte tears others down to build herself up. Charlotte said she put Nikki in a neck brace before and has no problem doing it again.
-Kevin Owens joined Tom Phillips in the social media lounge. Phillips pointed out that Owens was wearing a blue shirt even though he’s on the red brand. Owens said he likes money so he made a shirt with Toronto Blue Jays colors. Funny. Owens pointed out that Phillips didn’t invite Chris Jericho. Owens yelled for Jericho, who joined the interview. Owens had a “Kevin Owens Show” logo appear on the monitor. Jericho pointed out that it’s red like the Raw blood that courses through their winning veins. Funny.
-One of the brilliant fan questions was whether Owens would wear a scarf if Jericho gave him one. Jericho gave him one and Owens wore it. The next was what Owens thinks of James Ellsworth. Owens said he thought Shane McMahon was their mascot. Jericho said Ellworth is actually wearing a worm costume. Phillips pointed out that Ellsworth doesn’t have a chin. Jericho told him to Be A Star.
-Owens and Jericho mocked Phillips for leaving Raw to join a broadcast team “that already has too many people on it.” They were asked if they will be the sole survivors. Owens said he didn’t care as long as they win. Owens asked asked if he thinks Jericho has him on the list. Owens removed Tom’s mic and he and Jericho spoke into it. They mocked Phillips and then Jericho put him on the list for asking dumb questions. This was comical enough that it almost made the Kickoff Show worth watching.
1. TJ Perkins, Noam Dar, and Rich Swann vs. Ariya Daivari, Drew Gulak, and Tony Nese. The 205 Live broadcast team of Mauro Ranallo and Corey Graves were on commentary for the match. A woman could be heard asking if someone could hear her. “Cool,” she said. Then she spoke about nine minutes. Perkins caught Gulak in the kneebar, which Nese and Daivari broke up at 4:00. The teams bickered heading into a commercial break.
After the break, Daivari got the better of Dar and got a two count off a nice kick. Graves said Ariya said he is the most successful member of the Daivari family. Shawn is somewhere laughing at Graves’s joke. Later, Swann checked in and had a nice run of offense and got a nice reaction for a huracanrana that pulled Daivari off the middle rope. A short time later, it was time for rapid fire dives over the ropes, which the referee drew heat for by stopping Perkins. Perkins waited until the referee turned around and then he dove over him to perform his dive, which got a big pop. In the end, Swann performed a standing 450 splash on Daivari for the win…
TJ Perkins, Noam Dar, and Rich Swann beat Ariya Daivari, Drew Gulak, and Tony Nese in 11:50.
Powell’s POV: The referee got more heat than the heels. Hopefully that changes once 205 Live starts. Swann’s finisher was impressive, but he did drive his knees into Daivari on the way down. Daivari, Gulak, and Nese just keep searching for the right combinations of babyfaces they can actually defeat.
Young hyped the premiere of 205 Live for a week from Tuesday…
Backstage at Raw, Kalisto was interviewed and asked about bringing the cruiserweight title to Smackdown. Kalisto brought up Eddie Guerrero within seconds. He said Smackdown blue runs through his veins. Brian Kendrick showed up and mocked the idea of Kalisto being the face of the division. “How would anyone even know?” Kendrick asked. He said anyone could put on Kalisto’s mask. Kendrick said he will continue to be the face of the division…
2. Kane vs. Luke Harper. Ranallo, JBL, and David Otunga were on commentary. Ranallo pointed out that JBL has kicked off more Survivor Series than anyone with “five kickoffs.” JBL compared Harper to Bruiser Brody again. Harper performed an early suicide dive, which the broadcast team raved over. Harper got a couple of two counts, including one after a big boot. They took another break to air a Survivor Series video just in case you didn’t know the show was on tonight. Ugh.
Harper remained in control and worked the crowd for some heat. Kane cut off Harper as he went to the ropes, then performed a superplex. Harper regained control and threw a dropkick at Kane for a two count. “What can’t Luke Harper do?” Otunga asked. Kane came back with a DDT for a two count. Harper performed a swinging sidewalk slam for a two count that Kane was slow to kick out of. Kane caught Harper going for a discuss clothesline by the throat, then chokeslammed him for the win…
Kane beat Luke Harper in 9:10.
Powell’s POV: Mauro noted that it was Kane’s record typing 18th appearance at Survivor Series. It was nice to hear the broadcast team gush over Harper even though he ended up losing the match. They really laid it on thick while talking about his athletic ability. I just wish it would lead to something for Harper, who continues to be a sidekick.
-Young and the panel spoke about the match. Lita said she didn’t know if her ex-husband was going to be able to pull that one out. There were loud Goldberg chants as the panel was talking. It didn’t last long, but at least we know it won’t be a anti-Goldberg crowd in Toronto. Booker spoke about Rock being his rival, having Goldberg on his radio show, Brock Lesnar not responding to his request to appear on his radio show, and being Goldberg’s only friend when Goldberg first arrived in WWE.
-The hosts made their main event predictions. Lawler picked Lesnar. Lita picked Goldberg. Booker channelled Clubber Lang by predicting pain, then laughed at his own joke. A video package on Goldberg vs. Lesnar probably brought a merciful end to this double dose of the needlessly long Kickoff Show.
Join me for live coverage of WWE Survivor Series in a separate story on the main page.