Am I the only one who just doesn’t care if RAW and Smackdown wins the most matches during the Survivor Series? The idea is fine; having the champions from RAW taking on champions on Smackdown was exciting when the WWE started pitting them against each other. The problem is it’s gotten stale, especially when you have Superstars switching from one brand to another. It’s hard to see a RAW or Smackdown member profess loyalty to their show when they were forcibly moved just months ago during the draft.
On the flip side, it does allow the WWE to get wrestlers who couldn’t normally fight against one another because of the entire brand split. So I’m still fairly eager to see what does go down during Survivor Series… even if the actual Survivor Series matches take a backseat.
The first match for this year’s Survivor Series was something I was looking forward to as it pitted the RAW Women’s Champion Becky Lynch against the Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair. There seems to be legitimate bad blood between the two ladies, both in kayfabe and out of kayfabe, so I was looking forward to how they would work together. Thankfully, they were able to put aside their differences and put together a wonderful match.
The match did have Charlotte dominate Becky Lynch for the majority of the match. While The Man would get her licks in once in a while, it was the Queen who would be beating down on Becky throughout. Even with this, Charlotte just couldn’t pin her foe. I do wish there was a little more balance with the offense as a whole.
The finish came after Charlotte attempted to get Becky to submit with a Dis-Arm-Her, which is The Man’s finishing move. Becky managed to get to the ropes to break the hold, though. Charlotte then peppered Becky with chops to the chest. Becky tried to counter with strikes of her own but Charlotte ducked underneath one of the blows and tried to roll up The Man while using the ropes for leverage. The referee spotted this and broke up the pin. This allowed Becky to roll Charlotte up and use the ropes for leverage. The official didn’t spot this and counted the pin for Becky.
The Becky Lynch fan in me does kind of hate this match as it made her look weak against Charlotte. Like I said, I wish the offense was a little more balanced between the two, especially since these are supposed to be the best in their respective brands. The finish also felt like a compromise so Becky or Charlotte couldn’t really be proclaimed better than the other. Still, the match itself was good even if it was a little one sided.
The next match on the card was the male Survivor Series bout. We had Kevin Owens, Bobby Lashley, Austin Theory, Finn Balor and Seth Rollins on the RAW side while Smackdown had King Woods, Jeff Hardy, Sheamus, Drew McIntyre and Happy Corbin. Although we had a high caliber performers on both sides, there was just something weird with the pairing. Even from the start, with Owens eliminating himself just to spite Rollins, things never went to high gear for me. Everyone, especially King Woods, felt underutilized.
The finish came down to Seth Rollins for RAW and Jeff Hardy for Smackdown. After some back and forth, Seth Rollins went for a curb stomp but Hardy blocked it and connected with a Twist of Fate. The Charismatic Enigma then when to the top rope for a swanton but Rollins got his knees up in time. One curb stomp later and Seth Rollins is the sole survivor for the RAW brand.
This was a decent match but it never went to overdrive. There wasn’t really anything exceptional that happened in the match and, in all honesty, I had to go rewatch it just so I could give this a proper review. It’s fine at the moment your watching it but so unexceptional you’ll immediately forget about it.
The next match was the Battle Royale to commemorate The Rock’s debut at Survivor Series 25 years ago. This was dumb because, one, The Rock didn’t even show up for his tribute match. Two, it looks like the winner will get a lot of pizzas from Pizza Hut? Anyway, a Battle Royale is the perfect match to lighten things up and they did try to do so with things like R-Truth offering pizza to Omos but Otis accepted it and Sami Zayn attempting to rally the remaining Smackdown members but got overzealous, leading to him being tossed into the RAW participants to be eliminated.
The final 2 Superstars in the Battle Royale came down to Omos and Ricochet. Ricochet attempted to use his quickness and agility to keep Omos off balance. It even looked like he was going to low bridge Omos over the top rope. However, the big man put his hand on the ring apron to stop himself. Omos then grabbed Ricochet and flung him over the top rope, making Omos the winner of Battle Royale and the pizzas… which the Street Profits absconded and threw most of them into the crowd.
I can’t help but be extremely disappointed by this. I usually have goofy fun with Battle Royales but this one just didn’t work. There weren’t any clever moments nor were there any particular matchups that worked. This was just here to promote Omos as this unstoppable monster… who didn’t get his pizza pies.
The next match had the RAW Tag Team Champions of RK-Bro face off against the Smackdown Tag Champs of The Usos. While I don’t really see the team of Randy Orton and Riddle fully gelling as a team yet, the gimmick of the two working together has definitely grown on me. This had the Usos beating down on Riddle until the Original Bro got the hot tag to the Legend Killer. Standard stuff but still fun.
It looked like it was all over after Orton ate a double superkick with Riddle taking a serving of a superkick sandwich as well. Riddle did manage to slide both his shoulders off the mat for a 2-count. The Usos set up for a double team attack but Riddle wiggled out of a fireman’s carry and sent Jey into the ring post. Riddle makes a blind tag to Orton but Jimmy takes out The Viper with a kick and plants Riddle with a spinning back kick. Jimmy then went for a Superfly Splash but Orton slithered back into the ring and caught the flying Uso with an RKO to get the pinfall win.
This was a fun match and you can definitely rely on both teams to put on a good show. However, the finish was rather predictable as you knew Orton was going to do some “marvelous” RKO to get the win. I do think the beatdown on Riddle was a few minutes too long which did kind of slow things down a tad too much. Still a decent match in the long run.
The next match was the Women’s Survivor Series. This had Queen Zelina, Carmella, Liv Morgan, Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair for the RAW side competing against Natalya, Shayna Baszler, Toni Storm, Shotzi and Sasha Banks from Smackdown. As much as I love Women’s wrestling, this just didn’t click with me. This just felt slow and plodding with nothing really much happening until the closing moments of the match.
The worst thing about the Women’s Survivor Series bout this year was the finish. The Smackdown team essentially couldn’t take Sasha Banks’ grandstanding so they kept her out of the ring so she got counted out. This left Natalya, Shotzi and Shayna Baszler going against the lone RAW participant, Bianca Belair. Guess what? Bianca Belair routed the trio, becoming the sole survivor of the RAW team!
This was really dumb. This could’ve been a star making show for Shotzi, finally eliminating Bianca Belair who looked like she was going make a comeback from behind. It could have also resulted with the Smackdown team being “correct” in getting rid of Sasha Banks. Instead, they all looked like chumps and it did not do any favors to Shotzi and Shayna Baszler, the Smackdown participants who needed to look badass.
We finally get to our final match of the night. This had the WWE Heavyweight Champion Big E facing against the WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. They did a good job trying to promote this match and build heat between the two. It just wasn’t enough but I will give points to the WWE for trying to give this a big match feel. Besides, the match itself was fine. Just having two powerhouses who are also agile is always good. There were some really cool spots, like Big E “hulking up” after eating several superman punches from Reigns and a couple of legitimately close pinfall kickouts.
The finish came after Big E managed to kick out of a Roman Reigns spear. Reigns tried to apply his guillotine chokehold on Big E but the New Day member pushed him into the corner. Big E then tried to spear the Tribal Chief to the outside but Reigns blocked it and locked in the guillotine. Reigns then draped Big E over the second rope and reapplied the guillotine in the middle of the ring. Big E managed to power through and connect with a Big Ending but Reigns broke the pin by reaching for the bottom rope. Big E started battering Reigns outside of the ring. The Head of the Table managed to recover enough to toss Big E into the ring steps, though. Reigns tossed Big E back into the ring and Big E nearly nailed Reigns with another Big Ending but Reigns wiggled out of it and kicked Big E in the back of his leg, sending the WWE Heavyweight Champion to one knee. One spear later and Roman Reigns gets his hand raised in victory.
This was a good, no-nonsense, no-frills, no gimmick fun match. Just having the two top guys duke it out with no funny business and no interference from people not involved in the match. They gave us a good match and a clean finish, which I always appreciate so I will say this was a great match overall.
This year’s Survivor Series started out really strong but kind of waned and lost direction by the middle of the pay-per-view. Thankfully, the show ended really strong so, while the actual Survivor Series matches were duds, there were at least some really entertaining bouts so it was more than just watchable.
By the way, did RAW or Smackdown win? I don’t know because I don’t care!
What did you think of this year’s Survivor Series? Let me know in the comments section below!