There were a lot more matches at Survivor Series than there have been on recent PPVs, so let’s get right into this.
Tag Match Battle Royal: This match was exactly what I expected. It was just sort of there. Nothing offensive, nothing bad. People got to do their fun spots and this sort of match is usually what I want to see on the pre-show — something I can put on and tune out while I heat up some mozz sticks for the show. I do wish that Street Profits had won, though — I’m getting a bit tired of Ziggler and Roode as a tag team. They’re both great on their own but together they’re just not clicking personality wise for me.
Lio Rush vs. Kalisto vs. Akira Tozawa: This match was a bit of a disappointment. I always forget that NXT matches and cruiserweight matches are always scaled down in terms of high and fast spots when they are on “main roster” events. There were some great exchanges in this match; however, most of them were in the final two minutes of the match.
That’s not to say that cruiserweights have to start on a high note for me, that they can’t slowly ramp up throughout the match. But most cruiserweight matches have more speed even at the start, instead opting to ramp up the match’s intensity vertically, keeping the pace about the same throughout. I’d like to see a bit more of that on main roster matches.
Viking Raiders vs. New Day vs. Undisputed Era: All three teams have, for the most part, a very similar style (with the exception of Kofi). The teams all were distinct enough for me despite that, and I thoroughly enjoyed the match. I normally tune out New Day matches simply because they never have interesting plots behind them. So this match reminded me just why they’re so much fun to watch.
Kofi also was amazing for providing contrast to Viking Raiders with his flying kicks. The New Day were the best at driving the match through the different beats to the climax. Honestly, this match just made me remember I need to start paying more attention to New Day again whenever they come on my screen.
Women’s Survivor Series Eliminatino Match: I really enjoyed this match; however, I was so sad to see Io Shirai get a smaller role than I had hoped for. That being said, I absolutely loved the “come from behind” angle that NXT used while STILL then applying the cheap shots from behind as the “injured” women ran back in. It was an interesting mashup of plot devices. The internal logic of it perhaps isn’t 100% sound, but I was able to overlook that and just enjoy it. I thoroughly enjoyed Sasha’s run at the end of the match, as well — it really established her as a strong top card contender, something which in my opinion was needed ever since she’s come back.
Overall the match was excellent and it could have been just a touch longer for me. I enjoyed it, but I think they could have dragged out the middle a bit more, highlight some of the less top card talent.
AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Roderick Strong: I always feel kind of bad for glossing over matches that aren’t so much my favorite style, but strong style just really isn’t my jam. That being said, I do enjoy watching Nakamura. The emotion and energy he puts into his character during his matches always gets me invested in them. The other two, AJ and Strong, don’t have that same ring presences despite being great technical wrestlers. But with Nakamura combined with Sami Zayn’s fun personality at ringside, I enjoyed this match more than I expected to.
Adam Cole (c) vs. Pete Dunne for the NXT Championship: The problem here for me was it followed the midcard champions match and I hate to say this, but I was a bit underwhelmed by this match, at least when comparing it to a lot of Adam Cole’s other matches. Especially when looking back at his most recent matches against say, Daniel Bryan. I didn’t hate it, far from it, but I was simply…. underwhelmed.
The Fiend (c) vs. Daniel Bryan for the Universal Championship: Once again, an underwhelming match for me. I suppose this can be blamed on my expectations, but I think I was right in thinking this match would be a barnburner. And in reality it was solid, just not bananas like I had expected.
My biggest complaint was it really felt like it needed to be longer. The plot leading up to this match seemed to be pointing to Daniel Bryan going crazy like they briefly attempted last year with his heel turn. And once Bryan embraced the Yes chants and delivered his kicks I thought that was the end of act one of the match, that act two and act three would be him then realizing he should have never gone back to those Yes Kicks in the first place. This may still happen, but I expected it within the confines of the match, and honestly I think that would have been a better option. All that being said, I still thoroughly enjoyed the match.
Men’s Survivor Series Elimination Match: This match had to be my favorite. It hit all the points I wanted it to and them some. Touching on the feuds within each team and showing their instability, having NXT take advantage of those moments were great. It was plot actually paying off, a rare thing in WWE.
Keith Lee was so amazing I’m worried he may be called up to the main roster (I know, I know, NXT is supposedly main roster now but I’ll believe it when I see it beyond just being a part of Survivor Series). And despite his other faults, I’ve always enjoyed Roman charging up his Superman Punches, and oh boy did he do those punches; however, my praise stops there because Roman really didn’t need to get the win there and everything plot wise should have made NXT the logical winners. But that complaint aside, I very much enjoyed this match.
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Rey Mysterio for the WWE Championship: Dominick getting in on this match was the best part about it. And really, the only good thing about it. The rest was just extremely predictable and bad. Also, why hasn’t Lesnar started wearing a cup? Moving on…
Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Bayley: This had to be the biggest disappointment of the night. It was a pretty slow match and it never really picked up steam. I was surprised when it ended because, just like the Fiend/Bryan match, I assumed the match still had somewhere to go. I felt no rising action or tension from the match — it felt like it was in first gear the entire time. And by the time it had started ramping up it just sort of ended.
Also, as great as Bayley is, for me she is no Becky. I was expecting a huge fight between Shayna and Becky but there was a surprising focus on Bayley. My guess is they want to build a Becky/Shayna fued and didn’t want to give too much away too fast. But if this is the case, they needed to at least give us a little more than what we got because coming out of that PPV I really don’t feel any heat between the two.
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