Sunday night the WWE held its 32nd annual Survivor Series event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. For the third year in a row this show pitted Raw vs. Smackdown in a sort of brand supremacy battle which turned out to be no battle at all with Raw getting a win in every match (except for the kickoff match which we didn’t watch).
I was glad to have my partner in crime (my brother) back with me to watch this event as it had been a while since we’d watched a PPV together. Overall I’d say it was a decent show with some high and low spots. The fact that there was only one title on the line during the event made it sort of lackluster for me, especially when it became apparent early on that they were booking a clean sweep for Raw.
(All photos courtesy WWE.com)
Team SmackDown Defeated Team Raw – Survivor Series Match
As I said in my intro, we didn’t watch this. From the looks of it it appears to have been a decent enough match though clearly one that was just meant to get guys onto the card. Team Raw was The Ascension, The B Team, The Lucha House Party (Kalisto and Lince Dorado), The Revival, Bobby Roode and Chad Gable. Team SmackDown was The New Day (Big E and Xavier Woods), The Colons, Sanity (Eric Young and Killian Dain), Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson and The Usos
Team Raw (Mickie James, Nia Jax, Tamina, Bayley, and Sasha Banks) Defeated Team SmackDown (Naomi, Carmella, Sonya Deville, Asuka, and Mandy Rose) – Survivor Series Match
The lineup changed for this match just prior to the show with Bayley and Sasha being added to team Raw after captain Alexa Bliss kicked Ruby Riott and Natalya off the team. From the introductions it was clear the crowd was PISSED at Nia Jax. In case you don’t know, she was responsible for legit injuring Becky Lynch which put her out of the Survivor Series. This was a pretty typically Survivor Series match for just under 19 minutes. The end came when Jax went full heel and turned on Banks allowing Asuka to submit her. Jax then came in and cleaned up to become the sole survivor. I wonder if this was the plan with Jax all along of if they did some re-writing due to the massive heat she was getting. Time will tell.
Seth Rollins Defeated Shinsuke Nakamura
Neither Seth Rollins’ Intercontinental Championship nor Shinsuke Nakamura’s United States Championship were on the line here but it didn’t matter… this was great. For nearly 22 minutes these guys showed what high level athletes they are and really put on a hell of a wrestling match. I’ve been pretty vocal about my relative apathy toward Nakamura but he really brought it here. Rollins has been one of my favorites for quite some time. I was a little surprised that we didn’t get some sort of outside interference from Dean Ambrose here to set up a future angle. The fact that WWE just went with a straight up wrestling match here was actually sort of nice though based on the two outstanding guys in the ring. From a purely wrestling perspective, this is match of the night in my book.
AOP Defeated The Bar
Just like the previous matchup, neither AOP’s Raw Tag Team Championship nor The Bar SmackDown Tag Team Championships were on the line. Honestly it doesn’t even matter. This match will be remembered for one thing and one thing only: Drake Maverick pissed himself. This was nine minutes of a hot mess and then this ending happened. I’m not sure how much Vince McMahon paid Drake to do this but it wasn’t enough. This is the sort of thing that will stay with his character forever and while it wasn’t offensive to me it clearly wasn’t the joke that Vince (I’m assuming this was his call) was going for.
Buddy Murphy Defeated Mustafa Ali To Retain The WWE Cruiserweight Championship
I don’t watch 205 Live but for 12 minutes I became a huge fan. These guys (the cruiserweights) are able to do things in the ring that the bigger guys just can’t do. Without knowing or following the storyline going into this match I can’t comment on much other than the in ring product which was just superb. In doing some research I found out that Buddy Murphy is engaged to none other than Alexa Bliss. Another huge win for Murphy 😉
Team Raw (Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Braun Strowman, Finn Bálor, and Bobby Lashley) Defeated Team SmackDown (The Miz, Shane McMahon, Rey Mysterio, Samoa Joe, and Jeff Hardy) – Survivor Series Match
By this point in the night it was pretty evident to me that Raw was going to get a clean sweep. Not quite sure where they’re going with that narrative but it will be interesting to see. That said, at the outset of this 24 minute contest the teams looked really lopsided. I don’t care what story WWE tries to tell with Shane McMahon winning the ‘Best in the World’ tournament in Saudi Arabia, dude isn’t a wrestler. He’s a PHENOMENAL athlete but he’ll never stack up against these pros in my mind. Things got even MORE lopsided when Samoa Joe got eliminated about a minute it. Not sure who he pissed off but this was a strange development.
From there we get a pretty standard Survivor Series match until Shane started doing things that Shane does, which if I’m being honest have been done so many times that they’re losing their luster. Sure it’s impressive to see a guy jump from the ring to the outside and land on a table or from one side of the ring to the other but at this point we’ve seen it so many times that it’s tough not to say, ‘OK… here’s the Shane spot’.
The end came with a slew of eliminations by Strowman which left Shane standing solo against Braun, Lashley and McIntyre. I’m glad they didn’t do something silly and have McMahon fight off these three monsters and it thankfully went quickly. This was an ass whooping that would have made Stone Cold proud back in the day which is curious when you realize that Fox recently spent a BILLION dollars to acquire the rights to SmackDown. Not sure why WWE would go out of their way to bury the SmackDown brand but that seems to be exactly what they did.
Ronda Rousey Defeated Charlotte Flair
This. Was. Outstanding. To tell the story of this match you need to know how we got here. Rowsey was set to face SmackDown champ Becky Lynch who was injured by Nia Jax. Lynch then chose her long time advisary (who she recently had an AWESOME Last Woman Standing Match with) to be her replacement. For nearly 15 minutes Flair showed why she deserved to be in this match with Rowsey who has picked up pro wrestling faster than anyone since Kurt Angle (and that’s saying something). The end came when Flair, out of nowhere, started beating Rowsey with a kendo stick and absolutely beat the shit out of her causing the DQ. She then went on to assault her with a chair to an alarming amount of cheers. Rowsey was booked as the babyface here but the crowd reaction was really strange. I’d hate to see Rowsey get the Roman Reigns treatment from the fans cause she deserves much better (as did Reigns). All in all, this match set in motion some pretty incredible stories in the future. I’ve heard rumblings that we may get Lynch vs. Rowsey in the MAIN EVENT of this year’s WrestleMania. I could also foresee a triple threat with Flair or even a four way with Jax. All of those matches are super intriguing and I’m looking forward to seeing it unfold.
Brock Lesnar Defeated Daniel Bryan
The WWE has built Brock Lesnar to such a state that he’s always the favorite when he steps into the ring. I always look forward to how they’re going to make his matches watchable or if he’s just going to squash his opponent. Out of the gate it looked like a newly heel Daniel Bryan was going to get the squash treatment in this 18 minute match but then it turned into something really, really special.
Bryan turned the tide with a low blow that left Lesnar on the defensive and allowed Daniel to lay in some wicked offense. Lesnar ultimately ended up winning the match after several finishers but it wasn’t before Daniel Bryan Bryan looked super impressive against his much larger opponent. Huge props to Lesnar here for once again selling in a manner which makes you really believe that a smaller opponent can beat him. I’ve been pretty vocal against Lesnar holding the top belt on Raw again but if he’s going to give us performances like this I’m all for it. Just need to make sure dude is on television with some regularity and with a potential UFC date looming against Daniel Cormier I’m not sure that’s in the cards. I hope I’m wrong.
Historically I haven’t been a big fan of the Survivor Series format. I’m generally not a huge fan of tag team wrestling and when you couple that with the fact that there’s really nothing on the line on these matches there’s a possibility for a bit of a boring show. While there were some matches that I’d put into that boring category there was some really outstanding stuff on this card as well. Couple that with the fact that we’ve got some stories coming OUT of Survivor Series that are super interesting and I’ve got to say overall this was a good show. I’m completely invested in where the women’s division goes from here and I’m even excited to see where they take another Lesnar title run. Having Daniel Bryan be a heel is super refreshing and for this fan, who rarely if ever watches SmackDown, I was happy to see Raw dominate the blue brand… at least on this night.
Upcoming WWE PPV Schedule
Here’s a look at the PPV schedule through 2018.
- Clash of Champions – 12.16.2018
- Royal Rumble – 1.27.2019
- WrestleMania 35 – 4.7.2019
- SummerSlam – 8.11.2019
NOTE: there will be shows between January and April, but dates have not yet been announced.
Did you watch Survivor Series? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!