Last year’s Survivor Series was a lot of fun. We had NXT demanding their place in it, showing that they were worthy of being considered “the main roster” alongside Raw and SmackDown. Here in 2020, was WWE able to live up to the precedent set last year? In short, no.
Battle Royal: I do like Battle Royals as the pre-show. It allows for fun spots but really doesn’t ever have any larger implications. I do think it’s absolutely weird that Dominik seems like he is being pushed so hard even if it’s just a preshow match. Is this weird to anyone else? Anyway, it was a quick simple Battle Royal and it did its job. For a pre-show, it’s all right in my book.
Team Raw vs. Team SmackDown (Men’s Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match): Honestly I don’t have much to say about this match. Turns out, “SmackDown gets squashed” wasn’t the most interesting of angles. What may be interesting is the fallout that will happen on Friday, however. WWE knew this, which is obviously why they put the match on first.
And don’t get me wrong, I am all for some matches being not as interesting in order to set up to more interesting things down the road. It’s just…maybe PPVs aren’t be the best time for that? But when you have one PPV a month, like WWE does… well, that’s a whole systemic issue and a discussion for another day.
Side note, I did like Seth’s little bit during the match. I liked him willing to sacrifice himself.
New Day vs. Street Profits: I wasn’t all that intrigued in this match going into it. It was more a formality than it was anything really promising. However, The New Day always put on fun matches and Street Profits are close behind.
I did very much enjoy seeing a more heelish tone to New Day, even though it was more playful than malicious, and the match itself was an entertaining one. We had the usual big leaps and splashes that are common from New Day and the Street Profits. Just a fun, solid match.
Sami Zayn vs. Bobby Lashley: The actual fight was nothing special whatsoever. In fact, it was honestly pretty dull, but Sami really made this entertaining with his usual fun in-ring work. His attempts at being underhanded are always fun, and who doesn’t love the insults he slings?
But there wasn’t really a match. It was just watching Bobby Lashley beat Sami up for eight minutes.
Asuka vs. Sasha Banks: Both women are at the top of their game and they are so much fun to watch. These two women have had a back and forth for much of this year, which has not been very much in Sasha’s favor. This was made clear as Graves pointed out Sasha panics in submissions but Asuka doesn’t. It was a good touch.
I’m glad that Sasha won here. She has been coming off as weak this whole year; she has been characterized as out of her element and a lot weaker than the top women on the main roster. I was surprised when she won the title belt that quickly after Bayley’s betrayal as she didn’t have any time to really be presented as being equal with Bayley and honestly not worthy of the title. So it’s good she won, she really needed it.
Team Raw vs. Team SmackDown (Women’s Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match): I want to start off by saying there were actually some things I liked here. For instance, Peyton Royce had a great showing — yes, she tapped out to Natalya but she pinned Bayley. At least let me believe that she will get a push! All of Peyton’s sequences were strong, especially since the first half of the match was filled with botches. The Riott Squad also had some good moments as well and I did enjoy Shayna as well.
But man, there were a lot of sloppy sequences as well. So many slip ups and time spent adjusting and readjusting, sequences just felt off. I can easily overlook one or two of these moments, but the match was just chock full of them.
Also, man did Nia Jax get way too much time. We get it, she can push people really hard. And boy did we see her do that a lot, again and again and again. Her moveset feels more like a school yard bully than a wrestler.
Lastly, the ending with Lana was so absolutely stupid. The obvious ending and the one they should have gone with is that she actually wins the match, not on accident but because she’s actually skilled. Instead it’s an accident? That doesn’t prove her teammates wrong whatsoever. It just makes her lucky. I was hoping to see Lana actually get to do something here. But, no, we’re going to keep burying her I suppose.
Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns: I was honestly pretty excited for this match. Roman has been amazing since returning and while I have cooled a little bit on McIntyre I was still looking forward to seeing the two.
The first half of this match was fine but parts of it could have been cut. After a while that slow methodical build hits a point of diminishing returns — with no larger narrative to the match or the feud overall, you don’t need that much build. It worked for Roman vs. Jey because of that personal relationship, but it didn’t work so much here. My hype for the match helped get me through the first half of the match, though.
Once the match hit the back half, it was extremely good. That Superman Punch being countered with a Claymore was great. Drew going through the padded wall was great as well. All the large “holy sh*t” moments paid off well. I will say Jey running in was a little predictable, but it wasn’t something I minded.
In the end though, it is not a match I’m going to return to and not just because the rest of the PPV was pretty bland. More just because it didn’t have the emotional intensity between the two to really make it feel big. There were some great spots, yes, but not anything I haven’t seen in other matches.
Undertaker’s Farewell: I’ll keep this short, but it was just…. odd? Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX felt like a much better goodbye than this. I know some people really liked it, and if you did, more power to you. I just thought it felt thrown together.
Summary: Overall it was slightly worse than average for a WWE PPV. I enjoyed some matches and there were others that had some moments, but it just really fell flat.
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