With WWE Survivor Series, WWE turned back the clock by giving fans a show that was almost four hours long. All kidding aside, this pay-per-view dragged at the end and left this writer with a bad taste in his mouth. If you count the pre-show, it was bookended by lackluster segments that took the shine off some of the show’s stellar matches. There’s plenty to like about this show. The battle of the tag team champions was a great bout, as were the other clash of the champions matches that headlined. But puzzling creative decisions were sprinkled throughout the show, so a pay-per-view that could have been great ended up being above-average and nothing more.
This year, WWE Survivor Series technically began with a match that left many fans scratching their heads. Look at some of the names involved in a pre-show battle royal: John Morrison, The Miz, Jeff Hardy, Rey and Dominik Mysterio, and Shinsuke Nakamura, among others, were all thrown into this match where the superstars involved weren’t fighting for anything. That list includes future Hall of Famers, but apparently, none of them were “worthy” of a spot on the main card.
To make matters worse, this match had no stakes. The argument that the bout centered around brand supremacy goes out the window. For some illogical reason, on a show where the battle of the brands ruled the day, it was every man for himself. Members of WWE RAW eliminated each other and WWE SmackDown superstars took each other out left and right, reducing their respective brand’s chances of victory. Makes sense, right? In the end, The Miz won the match with the formulaic “Heel sneaks back in to win after he’s seemingly been eliminated” narrative. From the confusing booking to the frustrating misutilization of talent (John Morrison and Rey Mysterio were unceremoniously tossed out early on,) this battle royal was not the best way to start the show.
Nobody could have predicted that the dysfunctional motley crew of Team RAW would have defeated Team SmackDown in a clean sweep. But that’s exactly what happened. The red brand’s Braun Strowman, Riddle, Sheamus, AJ Styles and Keith Lee ran roughshod on their way to picking up an easy victory. Most fans predicted that WWE would flip the script and have RAW come together to win here. But few, if any, could have expected that Team SmackDown to look like chumps in the process.
Former WWE Champion Seth Rollins “sacrificed” himself by getting on his knees and eating a Brogue Kick, ending his time in the match within seconds. Kevin Owens, a guy who should be a main eventer, didn’t fare much better. Otis got his chance in the spotlight in some fun showdowns with fellow hosses Keith Lee and Braun Strowman, but he never stood a chance. Once King Corbin was eliminated, Jey Uso never stood a chance. He put up a valiant fight, but a cool ending sequence where Lee caught up with a Spirit Bomb sealed his fate. On paper, SmackDown was the favorite to win this match, so this crushing defeat makes most of the show’s roster look weak. On the plus side, the victory makes RAW look a little more legitimate after its stock has dropped in recent months.
As expected, The Street Profits and The New Day stole the first half of this show. WWE’s top duos delivered a bout that was packed with energy, charisma and delectable tag team wrestling. With a clean win over one of the best teams in professional wrestling, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins have officially arrived. This match was everything you could hope for, and it also left us wanting more. The tag team division has been severely lacking for a while now, and there’s no end in site. It’s worth wondering if it’s finally time for WWE to unify the tag team titles again. In that case, WWE could run it back with these two teams, and after tonight’s showing, few fans could complain about that.
This writer was admittedly surprised to hear Sami Zayn’s clash with Bobby Lashley described as a comedy match. After all, we’re talking about the WWE United States Champion and the WWE Intercontinental Champion here. In theory, these titles should be revered. Instead, they’re often cast aside and practically forgotten about. So there’s some merit to the idea that this match was a laughing matter. This contest received minimal build on television, but Lashley and Zayn did what they could to tell a compelling story. Zayn used his crafty intelligence to counter Lashley’s overwhelming power, and “The Almighty” needed The Hurt Business’ help to secure the victory. Well, at least it wasn’t an utter squash match. It’s just a shame that talented performers like Zayn are put in this kind of spot when they should be receiving meaningful matches and storylines.
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