The first year that Survivor Series has NXT involvement! Fiend, Lesnar and Adam Cole all defend their belts as well! How’d it all work out?
Adam Cole didn’t die last night apparently and now gets fed to Pete Dunne! But he is the Bay Bay, so can he pull it off?
Also personally I’m really looking forward to Strong versus Nakamura versus Styles match. The fact they were all faces of their respective former companies tracks well for the fans. Strong was Mr. ROH, Styles was Mr. TNA and Nakamura is the youngest IWGP Heavyweight Champion and one of the New Three Musketeers.
Lots to live up to. So let’s set the coffee pot and get ready for like 5 hours of…hopefully good, please be good.
- Kickoff-Show: Tag Team Battle Royal: Roode & Ziggler wins @8:20 – **
- Kickoff-Show: NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Lio Rush (c) vs Kalisto vs Akira Tozawa: Rush retains via Final Hour @8:20 – ** 1/2
- Kickoff-Show: Tag Team Triple Threat: The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) vs Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar): Viking Raiders win via Viking Experience @14:35 – *** 1/2
- 5v5v5 Elimination Women’s Team Match: NXT (Rhea Ripley, Toni Storm, Candice LeRae, Io Shirai & Bianca Belair) vs RAW (Kairi Sane, Charlotte Flair, Sarah Logan, Asuka & Natalya) vs SmackDown (Sasha Banks, Dana Brooke, Carmella, Lacey Evans & Nikki Cross): NXT wins with 3 Surviving Members @28:00 – ** 1/4
- NA vs US vs IC Champion Triple Threat: Roderick Strong vs AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura: Strong wins via Opportunistic Pin @16:45 – **** 1/2
- NXT Championship: Adam Cole (c) vs Pete Dunne: Cole retains via Last Shot @14:10 – *** 3/4
- Universal Championship: Daniel Bryan vs The Fiend (c): The Fiend retains via Mandible Claw Hold @10:10 – ** 1/2
- 5v5v5 Elimination Men’s Team Match: RAW (Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Ricochet, Drew McIntyre & Randy Orton) vs SmackDown (Baron Corbin, Roman Reigns, Shorty G, Mustafa Ali & Braun Strowman) vs NXT (Tommaso Ciampa, WALTER, Damian Priest, Matt Riddle & Keith Lee): Roman Reigns sole Survivor @29:25 – ****
- WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs Rey Mysterio: Lesnar retains via F5 @7:00 – ** 1/2
- Women’s Champion Triple Threat: Bayley vs Shayna Baszler vs Becky Lynch: Shayna wins via Kirifuda Clutch @18:10 – *** 1/2
Kickoff-Show: Tag Team Battle Royal – Much like my lack of desire to write out all these tag teams, this match is worthless. I suppose it’s nice to give people that didn’t make the teams a shot at doing something, but it also does no one any real favors. Revival got eliminated when everyone knows they’re one of the actual best tag teams, Street Profits come up short, to a throw together tag team that no one really cares about. It was an alright cluster, but there’s no real reason to care about this since WWE doesn’t have a good track record with making these Battle Royal winners matter.
Kickoff-Show: NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Lio Rush (c) vs Kalisto vs Akira Tozawa – Another match that’s hard to care about. More sizzle than substance, and the sizzle is only on medium at best. Rush still hasn’t ingratiated himself to the audience, given by his lack of reactions, and two other men from 205 Live which has been cancelled twice recently. The spots were overly choreographed and Kalisto getting in Tozawa’s face saying “what are you doing” is moronic. It’s a Triple Threat…what else is he doing? Taxes? Filling out an application for Night School? Barely average spotfest with no energy.
Kickoff-Show: Tag Team Triple Threat: The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) vs Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) – Undisputed Era did well at fighting from underneath. Being the smallest team and the team with the most damage since they were involved in WarGames, they really had to pick their spots. New Day tried to prove who they were and meet Viking Raiders head on, to mixed results. New Day had their best shot once Big E pulled off his Diving Spear and they hit the tandem Elevated Double Foot Stomp, but the Ivar broke it up. Total Elimination took out Kofi and that left us with an ROH showdown. reDragon tried to get the high ground, but War Machine was just too much. Oh sorry, I slipped out of consciousness or something. Raiders just use their size to get around some of UE’s offense and Thor’s Hammer…erhm…Viking Experience wins the match. Well wrestled and each team told a fairly solid and logical story.
5v5v5 Elimination Women’s Team Match: NXT (Rhea Ripley, Toni Storm, Candice LeRae, Io Shirai & Bianca Belair) vs RAW (Kairi Sane, Charlotte Flair, Sarah Logan, Asuka & Natalya) vs SmackDown (Sasha Banks, Dana Brooke, Carmella, Lacey Evans & Nikki Cross) – Sadly, this match was a mess. Starting with Dana Brooke breaking up a pin earlier, which made no sense. Then Raw and SmackDown coming to a complete stop to mock NXT when Candice and Io got injured instead of, you know, continue fighting in a three team elimination match. Then Sasha doing the same thing when she broke up a pin by Kairi, to eliminate her with a Meteora. A bunch of sloppy spots, but all I can say is at least it ended in a way I enjoyed. Rhea is wonderful, and she looked strong and smart when Candice and Io came back down to help out for the win. Great strategy and great outing by her, the match was just a mess to put it nicely.
NA vs US vs IC Champion Triple Threat: Roderick Strong vs AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura – We get a triple threat that could either steal the show, or be mired in shenanigans since we all remember how Styles and Nakamura’s feud went before. This was a very well done match where all three interacted more often than not. Sami Zayn on the outside added a nice level of comedy and even a little bit of excitement when he interfered at one point by driving AJ into the post in hopes to set up Shinsuke. This was a fantastic back and forth, we even saw the Reverse Powerslam for the first time since the John Cena incident. Strong gets wiped out by a Kinshasa, so AJ and Nakamura go back and forth for a while. AJ hits the Phenomenal Forearm, and then Roddy shows up and takes advantage of the prone Nakamura to pick up the sneaky win for NXT. Great match, with a lot of great elements.
NXT Championship: Adam Cole (c) vs Pete Dunne – Both have a bit of battle damage on them after their respective WarGames matches, but since Cole nearly died, I think we know who’s worse for wear. Unfortunately for the crowd reception, the fact they wanted to start a little fast with bigger moves (due to injury) hurt the feel of the match a little. Coming off a big match and seeing they’re both banged up, it’s a little silly to start quickly. Eventually the crowd was really into the match, and more huge spots. Cole pulled off one of his patented timed Superkicks, Panama Sunrise onto the Apron and even the original Last Shot, couldn’t put Dunne away. A theme that continued from the end of his UK Championship run, one Bitter End, isn’t enough to finish his opponents. So Dunne had a couple good moments, but I never really bought that Cole was going to lose the match. Really good, but lacked something.
Universal Championship: Daniel Bryan vs The Fiend (c) – I’m not a fan of the red light, but outside of a cage it’s easier to see. This match kinda follows the same pattern we’ve seen where The Fiend gets in some intermittent offense, but he gets beat on and proves to be unkillable. The main thread here was Daniel Bryan tapping back into the power of the YES movement after disowning it. Knee Plus with the YES support got the closest near fall we’ve seen since The Fiend debuted, but still not enough to keep the monster down. Mandible Claw Hold, three count, good game, press F to pay respects.
5v5v5 Elimination Men’s Team Match: RAW (Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Ricochet, Drew McIntyre & Randy Orton) vs SmackDown (Baron Corbin, Roman Reigns, Shorty G, Mustafa Ali & Braun Strowman) vs NXT (Tommaso Ciampa, WALTER, Damian Priest, Matt Riddle & Keith Lee) – This was well done. We saw dissension with Corbin just generally being an ass and pissing off his teammates, but there was no illogical stalling. We even got a short stint of Vince McMahon loving big sweaty men when Braun, Drew and WALTER were all in the ring together. Amusingly, the crowd hates Seth who did the most pandering coming out in Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls stylized gear. When it was down to Roman, Seth, Keith Lee and Ciampa, the boos were raucous, especially when they took out Ciampa. Yes I also realize that taking out Ciampa was because Roman broke up Ciampa’s Fairytale Ending attempt, but that makes sense. Roman and Seth having a weird connection in every match is a trope we’re supposed to expect by now. But the final showdown with Keith Lee and Roman was nicely done, and the crowd received it well. Keith missed a beautiful Jumping Round Kick, and hit a Spirit Bomb, but Roman kicked out. One missed Moonsault from Keith later, Spear and the Samoan Sex Machine is sole survivor on the most dysfunctional team. So we all know Corbin will take credit being a great Captain on Friday. But it was a damn good match.
WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar (c) vs Rey Mysterio – Mysterio went for the pipe early, but Lesnar kept his distance until he could separate Rey from the pipe. Then the match went how we would’ve expected a normal match to go. Eventually Dominik came out with a towel to beg off Brock. This bought time for Rey to hit a Low Blow, Dominik hit a Low Blow and then the pipe got bounced off Brock’s head a few times. Duel 619s from Rey and Dom, followed by back to back Frog Splashes, Rey and Dom cover Brock…but Brock kicks out. He German Suplexes Dominik off the ropes and catches Rey, hitting an F5 for the finish. Not what many people wanted, but not really bad for what it was. Lesnar is a beast, it’ll take more than a little heart and your non-credible son to beat the Beast.
Women’s Champion Triple Threat: Bayley vs Shayna Baszler vs Becky Lynch – This match is bound to send the crowd home happier than Lesnar doing Lesnar things. So I totally understand the placement as the main event. Bayley was often disregarded as the weakest at different points in this match, and that made things amusing probably at times they weren’t supposed to be. Shayna looked great catching both in different submissions and even bumping for the other two was on point. Shayna laid out Becky slamming her into the announce table and then focuses on Bayley. Bayley showed good evolution in her character and tried to work her way into winning situations, but Shayna was just too much.
Overall Score: 8/10
You know, even though it came in at a little over five hours…it was an enjoyable five hours. Aside from starting off the Kickoff Show with some worthless nonsense (perfect for a Pre-Show, I’m not complaining), everything was good or at least had entertaining moments that kept things moving. Though I do acknowledge hyping up The New Day as a highly decorated tag team…and sticking them on the Kickoff Show, is definitely a mixed message that leans towards insulting.
Lesnar’s match felt more like a stepping stone to get to the final blow off situation, which I don’t mind too much. NXT winning Survivor Series also wasn’t surprising, but with how much they won by, that was a little surprising. I do really like how NXT won matches though. There was a lot of Triple H in how they won, and that also made a meta message.
NXT was seen as the “smart” brand with the usage of Io and Candice, and Roddy taking advantage of the situation. So the brand tied to the Cerebral Assassin and the brand the “smart fans” tend to prefer, looking smart over the “main roster”…just so many cute little meta jabs.
Maybe I looked too far into things, but you know, I enjoyed Survivor Series, and I think most of you enjoyed it more than you expected – so I’ll indulge WWE a little. They can’t always be terrible, tonight proved that.