It’s that time of year again. Time to gear up for brand warfare and forget that the wildcard rule existed as its commentary’s one night for brands to fight. This year was a bit different though as we got NXT thrown into the mix and they have certainly brought the violence the past few weeks. Now it’s time to see if they could hang with the main roster in a series of matches designed to find the best of the best and give people the chance to win titles. Let’s stop stalling and see who won big and who lost hard in the battles of WWE.
A Fun Rush
Once again, the cruiserweights manage to take the time they are given and spin gold. The triple threat between Kalisto, Akira Tozawa and Lio Rush was awesome. It was fast, furious and saw all three guys prove why they deserved to be there. It was a refreshing addition to the second hour and offered more exposure to the much-under-appreciated Cruiserweight title and the 205 Live brand. There was plenty to enjoy and a lot of mad spots and desperate maneuvers to enjoy. Plus, who doesn’t want to see a Spanish Fly on two people?
Team NXT Make the Best Villains
Team NXT scored the first point of the main card as they won the Women’s Elimination match. They went down early on as Candice LeRae and Io Shirai were taken to the back with injury but came back to make the save when Sasha Banks looked set to topple Rhea Ripley. Their villainous tactics earned them the win and the first point of the night. Alongside this we got to see some old faces return in Sarah Logan and Toni Storm who have not been seen on any of their respective TV in quite some time. It was an excellent opener with some interesting moments, especially Asuka causing her own team to lose numbers by misting Charlotte and walking off.
Mid Card Titles, Main Event Calibre Match
Goddamn this was brilliant. All three men were on fire here. Strong got to show off how much of a badass he can be and how opportunistic he can be by stealing the lead. Nakamura got to remind everyone how good he really is and how lethal his strikes are. And Styles? Well, he was AJ Styles, so he was the glue holding the match together. It was a bout of beauty. It was violent, well-paced and I’m pretty sure Styles had his face broken on multiple occasions through some unfortunate landings. No one slouched, no one looked bad and the big bad NXT win was the icing on the excellent wrestling cake.
Match of the Night
Trust it to Adam Cole and Pete Dunne to have the absolute match of the night. This was amazing. A TakeOver calibre match on a WWE PPV. The pair went hell for leather despite the wars both men had suffered the night before. Cole and Dunne continuously one upped each other in a battle of wits, brute strength and vicious strikes. Cole stunned the world by kicking out of the Bitter End whilst Dunne survived a Panama Sunrise on the apron. The pair beat each other half to death with Dunne only giving out after a reversal into Panama Sunrise and an unprotected Last Shot to the back of the head. It was a violent end to a violent match. That is how you do a title match WWE main roster. Pay attention.
Hey Seth, watch this match and then you’ll understand how to put on an excellent Fiend themed match. Daniel Bryan wasn’t cartoonish in his approach to the monster who is now champ. He understood he was going to be tough and went all out to try and beat him. No weaponry, no forced stoppages, just wrestling. He struck, he kicked, he used submissions and even hit the Knee Plus but the Fiend still rose again. He was unstoppable as always but that didn’t stop Bryan pulling out more tricks. He may have reversed Sister Abagail but the Fiend caught him with the Mandible Claw and held on until Bryan passed out. The Fiend wins again but Bryan did something Rollins never could, gave the Fiend a challenge without relying on weapons.
The Conflicting Match
This was good but my god do I have some grievances. One, why the hell was WALTER the first elimination after one Claymore. He is the United Kingdom champion, give him a dignified exit. Two, by that logic how is it that Braun Strowman has to be counted out when his UK counterpart can be pinned. Three, why did Corbin get so much attention when we had stars like Damian Priest and Matt Riddle who could have used more time? Those aside, there was a lot to enjoy too. Ciampa betraying Kevin Owens, the NXT eliminations, SmackDown dissolving as Corbin was a dick, everything involving Keith Lee. Even the predictable ending wasn’t too annoying. This was good. Not excellent but good enough to avoid a rant about them screwing over WALTER in this match.
The women’s Title Triple Threat was another fun bout that did exactly what it needed to do. It gave the women a showcase to prove their worth and claims to their titles. The three wanted to kill each other and certainly tried to do so throughout the course of the match. Baszler eliminated Becky by throwing her across an announcer table where she smashed into a bunch of monitors. Bayley tried to keep the fight going and gave it a good effort but, in the end, succumbed to the Kirifuda Clutch. After the match, as Shayna was gloating over Becky, the Man rose from the wreckage to break Shayna through the table and walking off as the metaphorical winner of the bout. To some this was the end they wanted, to other’s it was typical WWE putting their own star ahead of the competition. I thought it was fine.
Waste of a Battle Royal
Let me preface this by saying I’m happy to see tag teams getting a chance to shine, especially since it featured teams of all three brands. However, they ruined the feel good of it by wasting the big win on a team no one cares about, Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler. They bested so many better teams and screwed over the Street Profits to win. I think any team would have benefitted more from this win. Roode and Ziggler are the absolute bottom tier for winning. It’s just a win to them. It has no bonus. This could have propelled better teams. This was a cynical point to SmackDown.
WWE Title Dud
It seems this PPV thrives on wasting potential. This was an entertaining prospect as Brock murdered Rey. He hurt Rey so bad, Dominick came out to try and save his dear dad. That being a distraction to get in some low blows and some weapon shots. After double 619s and double Frog Splashes it felt like a Mysterio family affair. Only Brock kicked out and won about 10 seconds later. How disappointing. There was potential for a longer and more fun match but once again, Brock seems incapable of long bouts. It’s a shame as Rey and Dom were making the impossible seem possible if only for a moment. Brock makes moments happen sure. But not always for the best reason and all he managed to do here was deflate all the air out of the balloon.
So, when all is said and done, what actually happened on this PPV? No title changed hands, no progress story wise was made and when people look back on this PPV they will probably see a decent show that played out like a 4-hour advert for NXT. The main roster really took a side line in many matches to give NXT the floor and I appreciate that but there seemed to be a lack of any idea what to do the whole time. TLC is only a few weeks away and I can’t really see any big ideas for matches going into that. Wouldn’t it have made sense to start something here?
Undisputed Era on Pre-Show
I will now retract that appreciation for tag team wrestling point I gave WWE. How the hell can you have the top faces in the NXT war on the pre-show. The Undisputed Era are some of the hottest stars across the whole of WWE programming. If anyone screamed main roster card, it was them. Plus, they were against all the other tag champs. That is a main card match. Luckily the match was good otherwise I would have had way more to rant about here. All three teams were excellent in action and the match was a hell of a lot of fun despite it’s less than stellar placement. Though I’m not happy about my NXT favourites eating the pin.
So RAW got one point all night. How odd is that? The former flagship show did terribly against SmackDown and NXT on this night. I wonder if this is part of the FOX effect. Obviously, NXT were the stars of the show and SmackDown the secondary stars. RAW mostly seemed like after thoughts for a lot of the show. They had the stars but no wins to back it up at all. It’s not a bad thing by any means just something to consider.
So, there you have it, Survivor Series reviewed for your reading pleasure. It was a solid show that I had a lot of fun watching. The positives stole the review and it was great to see so many NXT stars given a massive platform to show off on. Keith Lee has become a new mega star, Rhea Ripley impressed once again, Roderick Strong stuck it to AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. Obviously, it wasn’t all good. There were some questionable decisions made in regards to predictability and booking choices but they weren’t too intrusive. I wish we had more direction heading into TLC but I will settle for a show that didn’t put me to sleep.