WWE Survivor Series
November 19 2017
Because the pre-show is a grind I decided to finish watching Attack’s live show on Facebook. Travis Banks vs. Chief Deputy Dunne of the Anti-Fun Police. Travis turning face and forming the Anti-Anti-Fun Police. Gotta love the undergraps. Great crowd. I need to get to Cardiff to see Attack. Damian Dunne has some great little matches on Attack shows. It’s easy to forget he’s such an accomplished wrestler because of all the goofy shit he does in places like Rev Pro. Sure, some of his Attack stuff is goofy too but he has main event matches and they deserve to be on top. Travis, obviously, is popular everywhere.
Elias vs. Matt Hardy
Elias sings about how bad Houston is for a while. I have to pop a second can of Monster. The match takes place in front of a barely quarter full building with fans trickling in. They’ve had issues with the major shows this year, struggling to get the fans in quick enough. Simple solution guys; open the doors earlier. The match is relatively heatless because of this. Elias works the arm. Matt has the veteran savvy to sell it and make the work mean something. Drift Away finishes when Matt can’t use his arm for an unfortunate Twist of Fate. Elias still isn’t over, despite everyone hating his guitar playing. They need to find a way for him to be hated during a match.
Final Rating: **
Shawn Michaels looks old as fuck. Pass it on.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Enzo Amore (c) vs. Kalisto
Enzo, as I’ve mentioned before, is the worst cruiserweight wrestler in the company but he can talk so he’s champion. How you doin Cruiserweight Classic midgets? Good wrestlers, huh? Can’t cut a promo, huh? Vince knows what draws, baby and Enzo by the barrelful. Even though everyone hates him. Enzo does a bunch of chinlocks. Cruiserweight wrestling! The best part of the match is when Kalisto doesn’t clear the ropes on his entrance and gets stuck on the ropes. It’s like the boys want to be on Botchamania. Enzo manages one big punch that looks cool but they make a hash of the follow up to that. Enzo wins. Nobody is bothered. The belt is dying a death.
Final Rating: *1/4
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. Breezango
I’m guessing this is punishment for KO and Sami irritating people on the European tour, dropped onto the pre-show. Meanwhile Breezango are one of the most over acts in the company and they haven’t wrestled a meaningful match in months.
El Steenerico shoot from the hip until Breezango turn up with the Fashion Cop gimmick. It’s fairly shocking how disinterested the crowd are here, given the renegade heels and babyfaces who routinely highlight Smackdown every week. Sami and Kevin not caring about Smackdown is right though. Who cares about brands? Idiots! That’s who. Pride in Smackdown vs. Pride in RAW. It’s a TV show, idiots. It’s not, in any way, a reason to fight. Oh yeah, “brand supremacy”. Anyway, Owens brings the gimmick into the match and can’t be bothered. He half-asses his way through some wrestling business before winning with the Pop Up Powerbomb. I love both of these teams but this wasn’t worth watching.
Final Rating: **
Pre-Show is done. It wasn’t worth watching. It never is. I only watched it to stay awake.
The New Day vs. The Shield
Until the New Day came out wearing Smackdown shirts I couldn’t remember what brand they were on.
New Day’s pre-match promo is all about their unity and suggest the Shield will just turn on each other at some point, like they did before.
The whole thing is screaming out for a heel turn in New Day’s ranks, although it could be a deliberate red herring by making it so obvious with the video packages. Maybe Big E has a logical reason to turn and New Day has been around for ages as a unit. Roman vs. Big E is a good scrap between Big’s. Dog vs. E. Part of the issue with this match is that all three Shield boys are former world champions. I don’t buy any of the New Day guys winning in a singles match against any of the Shield. WWE opt to have a team of five commentators and they all talk over each other. It’s awful. It’s a constant noise of chatter with no one making any worthwhile points. At least Cole takes the lead but he keeps making it about “brands”. I don’t care Michael. I just want the wrestling. Big E tears Dean’s shirt off and I’m outraged that he would disrespect the RAW brand in such a fashion. Score one for the Smackdown Brand! My one hope for the wrestling is that Roman doesn’t hit the Superman Punch but he does and the crowd cheer for him doing so. Don’t encourage him! He promptly hits another one. See what you did? If it wasn’t for the commentary and the production this would be a good match. However when it breaks down it gets really sloppy with Seth being in the wrong place and Dean overselling to buy Big E time. It’s a real mess. They get by that and into a big old scuffle, which is an improvement. Kofi eats the powerbomb off the ropes and the Shield win. As expected, really, as three former world champions against three guys who’ve never been near a world title in singles.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Video Control takes us backstage where Stephanie McMahon gets her RAW ladies all worked up.
Becky Lynch, Carmella, Natalya, Tamina & Naomi vs. Alicia Fox, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax & Asuka
Alicia Fox’s hat is magic. That’s why she’s the captain of this team. Everyone is wearing their respective brand shirts so you don’t forget what brand they normally represent. This is taking place under traditional Survivor Series rules. It’s slightly worrying that the chanting from the women on the apron is louder than the crowd. Bayley gets a fluke roll up on Becky for the first elimination. This is, of course, bullshit. She’s easily the best wrestler on her team (with no offence to Naomi or Nattie). Taking her out of the equation makes the structure downright odd. Logically you have Becky lose to Asuka at the end to establish Asuka’s dominance. Putting her out early just makes no sense. Why would you waste her like that? Tamina splashes Bayley out of the match so we can get the ‘dream match’ of Tamina vs. Nia. Aka Alpha Female vs. Viper with a thick layer of nepotism and a tonne less charisma. Nia laying out Lana is good for chuckles and Lana takes a better bump than either woman in the match. Tamina, Elimination Machine, gets Nia counted out. Alicia gets pinned in an awful spot, botched by both Fox and Naomi and the ref. Sasha then taps out Naomi while she’s celebrating.
It’s at this point they call on Asuka to save the match. Just get in there and beat up the Smackdown girls.
Carmella gets killed. Sasha taps to the Sharpshooter, leaving Asuka two on one against Nattie and Tamina. At least they left Asuka against two people who won’t lose anything in jobbing. The trouble is; they’ve built a match around Asuka and Tamina (probably figuring Tamina is disposable) but that means the crowd aren’t invested. Tamina taps to the armbar. Nattie to the Asukalock. The aim of the match was to put over Asuka strong and that happened so at least they got something right. If they’d debuted her on the main roster better it wouldn’t have been needed. Everyone would have known how badass she was before this and they could have spent this match actually building something. Oh well.
Final Rating: ***
Baron Corbin vs. The Miz
The only reason I care about this is because they sniped at each other on social media. Miz was especially strong, unable to keep himself from dropping an F-bomb, which WWE bleeped out. Why is it the builds are stronger when WWE are hardly involved?
Miz is babyface here, despite having two heels at ringside backing him up, which is testament to how much of a prick Corbin has been in the online build. The asshole Corbin even bullies the Miztourage! That poor injured Curtis Axel gets intimidated. Miz, in return, works the leg. It’s a dull heel/heel clash that the crowd don’t care about. It almost makes you wonder why they booked this. It’s a very WWE-style match. With mediocre wrestling leading to big spots and false finishes before Corbin hits End of Days out of nowhere for the pin. The show is four hours long. It didn’t need this snoozer occupying midcard time.
Final Rating: **3/4
Video Control takes us backstage where Paul Heyman is interviewed. He mocks the interviewer before pointing out that everyone gets crushed by the Beast whether they like it or not.
The Bar vs. The Usos
This is the clash of the tag team champions and following on from the last heel/heel match it’s a heel/heel match. Who’s bright idea was this again? Usos crack some ‘Bar’ jokes before the match and it’s excruciating. They make a point of working really hard and both teams are fantastic but they are hampered by the heel/heel set up and the crowd is quiet. Cesaro feels the urge to take a sickening bump into the buckles to wake the crowd up. Mate, just let them snooze for a bit. Sometimes you have to admit defeat. Cesaro is the lone hope for waking the crowd up, because he actually cares. The match picks up as it progresses, because they are all good wrestlers, but it’s tough to draw the crowd in because there’s nothing at stake. I don’t see a whole lot of Smackdown and RAW fans in the crowd, just wrestling fans. The crowd wake up for the false finishes. The Usos do a lot of superkicks and an awesome tag/dive spot before the frog splash finishes. This was really good but a touch sluggish and the crowd took ages to get invested.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Charlotte Flair vs. Alexa Bliss
These two have met twice before, on NXT TV, and both times Charlotte squashed Alexa because of the big gap between them at the time. Alexa comes in with championship pedigree here though and it should be a lot closer. Charlotte hasn’t progressed that much in 3 years, Alexa has stepped up. A case in point is her focus here, going after Charlotte’s ribs and taking the bigger opponent apart. Her in-ring hasn’t come on leaps and bounds or anything like that but she does display a degree of ring savviness. Charlotte brings a lot of the psychology here, with the selling and the ring positioning. She makes stuff believable that Bliss couldn’t do on her own. An example is Alexa doing her backflip knees and hitting the hamstring instead of the ribs she’s been working on. I do dig her using the Code Red while wearing the RAW red shirt. Charlotte shows a lot of clever positioning and the basics are there but the match is lacking in the difficult stuff. The transitions in particular and the awkwardness of the striking. Also Charlotte is heavily inconsistent with her selling. Often forgetting the ribs on her own offence, instead only selling when Alexa hits her. Impact on the ribs is the same no matter how you end up bumping. Again Charlotte’s positioning is killer though and she gets a foot on the rope off a near fall that’s almost too good.
Sparkle Splash should finish but Charlotte gets her knees up and hooks the Figure Eight to get the tap out. Alexa has gotten a lot of wins this year but Charlotte needed this big win. It was a solid match.
Final Rating: ***
AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar
This was the match I was most excited about and WWE have rather dropped the ball by having Smackdown up 3-2. So Brock has to win to turn the main event into a ‘decider’. It’s typical WWE. They should have put this on earlier in order to capitalise upon the uncertainty it would have had earlier in the night. Luckily the crowd remain invested with duelling chants and lots of excitement. Lesnar goes about his business and throws AJ around at will. AJ bumps and sells like a maniac, knowing that he needs that hill he’s climbing to be an enormous one. Brock generally bosses everyone so it’s not a shock. AJ kills himself taking the bumps though. It’s brutal. When AJ does mount a comeback it means more because of how destructive Lesnar is throughout the match. Lesnar twice blows spots. One time he gets lucky and falls into the ropes but the second time he falls over on an AJ tornado DDT and Styles barely covers for it. Lesnar is getting close to embarrassing. His deterioration this year has been shocking at times. Poor AJ can’t do anything about it with the size difference. AJ gives up and starts throwing himself at Lesnar and hoping for the best.
It’s a masterful performance from AJ Styles, covering for all of Lesnar’s shortcomings. You can see why they switched from Jinder and the embarrassment that would have been. With AJ fixing the situation it’s a total winner. AJ virtually throws himself into the F5 for the loss and the crowd appreciate what a phenomenal performance it was from AJ Styles. He carried Lesnar here, covered up his gaping flaws and even went out on his back to ensure Lesnar’s stock wasn’t harmed. Unreal work from one of the best wrestlers in the world today. It kills me that AJ wasted so much of his career down in TNA where no one saw him.
Final Rating: ****1/4
Team RAW (Kurt Angle, Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman & Triple H) vs. Team Smackdown (Shane McMahon, Randy Orton, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura & John Cena)
This looks like something booked on a 2013 edition of TEW. Before 2015, imagine this wacky combination of guys. Shane, Hunter and Cena are too important to wear colour coded shirts. We start with 45 minutes left of PPV time so we’re in for the long haul. Nakamura wanting Balor is good stuff. Cole calling Nakamura “Shin” is not.
I dig that Nakamura and Roode step up to HHH. The crowd know he signed them and took selfies with them. There’s a certain novelty of Hunter wrestling the wrestlers he signed. It’s relatively short-lived, which makes this an ideal setting for it. Nakamura is first out, because of course he is, at the hands of Braun. Strowman dumps Roode out too. Team RAW, easily winning, decide to argue with each other. That makes no sense. You’re winning. What are you arguing about? Cena then beats up Joe and Balor at the same time, just so you know who the real stars are (IE not the current ones). Cena puts Joe out with the AA. I’m aware the ‘new guys’ that have lost here are all veterans but this is symptomatic of WWE’s problems. They won’t let new guys get over because the old guys are still in all the top spots and the nostalgia acts keep winning. How will any new stars ever get over? Basically by getting over elsewhere and then coming back. Angle pins Cena with the Angleslam and now it’s Orton & Shane vs. four guys. Balor eats an RKO after having been kept around as dressing and workrate for the old guys for the whole match. Now it’s literally four old guys. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn run in to take out Shane, to rapturous applause because the crowd are into them. Anti authority guys getting over? I’m shocked. Only Shane makes his own save and Orton lays out Owens with an RKO. For fuck’s sake WWE. What is this hot mess? Braun puts Orton out. Now dumbass Shane is left on his own. Kurt hooks the anklelock for ages but Shane won’t tap. Then HHH comes in and Pedigrees Angle, before dragging Shane on top for the pin to no reaction whatsoever. HHH then Pedigrees Shane to win the match himself. Good lord. What a fucking abortion this was. The storytelling is so utterly confusing that I don’t think even the people in the match understood this nonsense. Genuinely one of the worst conceived, booked and executed piles of shit in wrestling history. The Good Ol’ Boys Club all got to horse around and Super Shane battled the odds. Fuck Shane McMahon. If I never see that tosspot wrestle again I’d be fine. Plus they’ve set up HHH vs. Angle for ‘Mania. Which will inevitably go too long and suck. “oh but nostalgia Arn, it’s all about nostalgia”. You can do nostalgia and get it out of the way before the important shit goes down. Instead of ruining your top card draws for no reason whatsoever. You idiots, what are you doing? WHY DO YOU HATE MONEY?
Final Rating: -**
This company is almost solely and entirely run by people who hate pro-wrestling. They can, and will repeatedly, destroy their own creations for no reason. Sometimes just because the crowd like someone. In any other business if someone is well-liked it’s a good thing. In wrestling it’s an excuse to treat them like shit and have them lose again and again until they’re worth nothing. Then you claim they’re not a draw and cut them loose. At least AJ Styles got to show his worth here. I’ll bet he’s thrilled he didn’t get stuck in that awful main event.