Back again, with another PPV after it feels like HIAC was just yesterday. With WWE looking to reassert Survivor Series as one of the major PPVs of the year, they extended this show to 4 hours and added a huge marquee matchup. How did it end up? Odd, really really odd.
Match 1: Team Raw (Charlotte, Bayley, Nia Jax, Alicia Fox, and Sasha Banks) v. Team Smackdown (Becky Lynch, Natalya, Alexa Bliss, Naomi, and Carmella) in an Elimination Tag Match
In the first of the three big Survivor Series matches, the women’s roster shined. While there were certainly a decent amount of botched spots, the storytelling from all 10 of these wrestlers was very strong, which is really the most you can hope for in this kind of match. Everyone kind of got their moment in the spotlight, and it established a few of the lower card wrestlers, like Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss, as excellent workers. For the Smackdown team, the absolute dysfunction was their downfall, and when the inclusion of Natalya in the place of an attacked Nikki Bella before the match, it really slowed down the momentum of that team. That said, Becky still looks strong, and I’d put her up with any of the wrestlers on the roster. For the Raw team, this became a platform to launch a Bayley/Charlotte feud, as Charlotte attacked Bayley after she secured the win for Raw. While that’s a good look for the future of these two, I really hate the dismissal of Sasha, who is still the biggest draw in the entire division. Until proven otherwise, Sasha v. Charlotte is the money there, and they need to make sure Sasha doesn’t lose any steam outside of the Championship picture.
Winners: Team Raw
Match 2: The Miz (Champion) v. Sami Zayn for the Intercontinental Title
The question for this match wasn’t really if it was going to be good, more of just how good. The Miz continues his year of peak matches here, as Zayn finally makes a fairly large stamp on a PPV in what seems like a long time. These guys put together a very compelling back and forth, and managed to convince me of either coming out on top when this match had no right doing that. In a macro sense, there’s no way the IC belt could leave Smackdown, but with Zayn’s hometown push, and him convincingly having the upperhand frequently toward the end, there was a slight shred of doubt. The schmohz finish was perfect. Zayn looked really strong, and like a viable contender to fight for a higher spot on the card on Raw, and Miz holds onto the belt in a completely heelish way. I’m looking forward to more from these two, as they continue to impress.
Winner and Still IC Champion: The Miz
Match 3: Team Raw (The New Day, Gallows and Anderson, Cesaro and Sheamus, Enzo and Big Cass, and the Shining Stars) v. Team Smackdown (Heath Slater and Rhyno, The Hype Bros, American Alpha, The Usos, and Breezango in an Elimination Tag Match
The biggest fear in terms of quality for the night came in this match, and for majority of it, it was an absolute mess. With 10 people on each team, it was impossible for anymore to get an actual foothold on the storytelling, so it became a spotfest in the middle. Also, with the elimination of The New Day early on, the biggest draw of the match was gone, so it was harder to hold onto the crowd. That said, both Gallows and Anderson and American Alpha managed to shine in spots of this. AA, being easily the most technically sound and arguably most athletic, they pulled out all the stops in terms of spots. For me, the was the perfect opportunity for Gallows and Anderson to come out strong with a win without the belts, and they looked really strong for much of this match. They’re departure, however, getting it down to Cesaro and Sheamus and the Usos, left me perplexed. Lastly, it seemed by sheer force of will, Cesaro made the end of this match extremely exciting. We all know how good he is, and how serviceable The Usos can be, so it just fit here. That said, it makes no sense that either of these teams, and inevitably Cesaro and Sheamus, get the win here. I love Cesaro and Sheamus together, as a team or against each other, but just an odd ending.
Winners: Team Raw
Match 4: The Brian Kendrick (Champion) v. Kalisto for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
This match got lost in the shuffle, which you could say for just about any cruiserweight match since the crowing of the champion following the Cruiserweight Classic. I will say that these two put on a good match, and Kalisto was hell bent on jamming in as many high spots as possible, but the Toronto crowd was absolutely disinterested. It’s a tough spot for this division, as they seem to be set up to fail week after week, and the hope being that the new 205 Live show will solve that problem. For me, the biggest issue is that no one other than Kendrick has any character to latch onto to. That’s not to say that any of them are incapable of having one, rather they just don’t have one right this second. Also, this had the oddest, and really stupidest, finish of the night, when Baron Corbin came out, beat both these guys up, for some reason. I get that he’s feuding with Kalisto (kind of), but that was an odd choice, and buries both these guys rather than put Corbin over in any way. Odd choice.
Winner and Still Cruiserweight Champion: The Brian Kendrick
Match 5: Team Raw (Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Braun Strowman) v. Team Smackdown (AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, and Shane McMahon) in an Elimination Tag Match
It’s difficult to fully unpack this match, as it was nearly an hour long, but this delivered in every possible way. Right off the bat, the crowd made themselves known when they went absolutely nuts for Jericho and Owens. I get that they’re both heels, but it makes sense, with the two of them being Canadian and being so damn good at what they do. That said, it made sense to eliminate them toward the beginning/middle, as it allowed the crowd to be invested in the other guys and characters. A gasp moment happened here as well, as Shane, taking a fairly decent beating for a lit of the match, took a spear bump that looked extremely grueling. He came out looking extremely concussed, kicking out of a pin he was absolutely not meant to. It was really scary, it was all on camera, and it’s either the best acting I’ve seen in a while in wrestling, or he needs to not step in the ring as a wrestler again.
With it getting down to Reigns and Rollins fairly quickly, Rollins put on an absolute show for a good chunk of this match, as he took the brunt of a lot of team Smackdown’s attacks. The match really picked up into another gear when we got a brief Shield reunion, as the eliminated Dean Ambrose came out and attacked AJ with Roman and Rollins, putting him through a table. Whether that was a tease for the future or not, it was a nice moment. In the end, it came down to Roman, who the crowd really went after tonight, and the Wyatts in Bray and Orton. With Orton sacrificing himself to a spear, he gave Bray the opportunity to hit the sister Abigail for the win. The more I think about that finish, the more I love it. Bray really needed a big win, and there are none bigger short of the title, and I can only hope this cements the Wyatts as a dominant force on Smackdown.
Winners: Team Smackdown
Match 6: Goldberg v. Brock Lesnar
One of the biggest matches of the year saw WCW legend Bill Goldberg return to face The Beast, and we got one of the biggest shocks in recent memory, and probably since Lesnar beat Taker at Mania. I’ll cut right to the chase, this match was less than 90 seconds, Lesnar got in no offense, and Goldberg destroyed the most dangerous force in wrestling in the past few years. I’m not going to get into the logistics of how Lesnar would agree to that, but let’s look at this on a large scale. If this is truly Goldberg’s final match, as I hope it to be but some reports are now refuting that, it’s a perfect ending. The man built his career on being undefeated and squashing people, what better way to go out than absolutely destroying the immovable object in Brock. Like the last match, the more I think about it, the more I love this. Let Goldberg ride off into the sunset with this win. For Brock, I’m not sure if this is it for him or not, but this give him the chance to go away for a while. He was becoming too dominant for everyone else on the roster; he became a force that was unstoppable. Also, if he does decide to come back, just have him destroy everyone, and he’ll gain everything he lost back very quickly. Everyone complaining that this “ruined” Lesnar do not understand how short wrestling fandoms memory is. He’s going to be fine, and this was an absolutely historic moment that we got to witness.
And that was Survivor Series. With a handful of great moments and an absolute shocker, this looooooooong PPV proved it’s worth by the end. Be sure to come back in 2 weeks for yet another review.