Maybe it’s the whole Thanksgiving thing – a cultural aspect lost on me given my location, but I’ve never really been that blown away by a single Survivor Series event. The first was a novelty, sure. Beyond that – and to of course I missed a bunch of them in the middle there, so I know, most obviously, there was the “screwjob” and a few other key happenings, but as an even it fills me with that dreaded meh-expression.
Still, soldier on. This year’s Survivor Series looked good on paper and it often was in the ring. But overall the finishes were a letdown to solid builds.
Well, let’s start at the start – the women’s Classic Survivor Series match was very good. A couple of slightly muddled bits, one or two dud spots but we got to see Nia Jax dominate, and yet Charlotte still looked dominant, Sasha Banks and Alicia Fox got to do their thing, Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch had moments too. But the highlight was most certainly Jax; a double suplex, some crushing clotheslines, a series of deadly power moves. Team Raw took the win and then Charlotte rounded on Bayley, did that dirty double-cross, to set up their feud. No points to the Bella School of Not Selling an Injury. It was excruciating to watch that pre-match and Natalya stepping up as super-sub did nothing beyond the pop of her Hart family entrance music sounding out in Canada.
The Miz and Sami Zayn had a good match with Miz retaining and cheating; the finish somewhat disappointing after some great work.
Team Raw (The New Day’s Big E and Kofi, Sheamus and Cesaro, Enzo Amore and Big Cass, The Shining Stars of Primo and Epico and Luck Gallows and Karl Anderson) defeated Team Smackdown (The Hype Bros, Heath Slater/Rhyno, American Alpa, Breezango and The Usos). This was an epic and sometimes messy tag team 10-on-10 Survivor Series match. But it rocked to a great finish with the Uso doing some really solid spots and a star-effort from Cesaro in particular. This was probably the one case where the finish told the story as best it could. Great fun.
The Brian Kendrick and Kalisto’s Cruiserweight title contest ended in a DQ when there was interference. Disappointing. Not at all a good finish, a total crush to everything that had been going on in an otherwise-okay match.
The evening’s epic Survivor Series match of Smackdown Live’s AJ Styles/Deam Ambrose/Randy Orton/Bray Wyatt/Shane McMahon defeating Team Raw’s Kevin Owens/Chris Jericho/Roman Reigns/Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman went on far too long for my liking (52.55) but there were some terrific and brutal spots. And it was a good use of talent for the most part I guess. But it just felt too long.
Then the absurd squash to finish. Goldberg, first time in the ring in 12 years, 50, double-spears the MMA/WWE brute Brock Lesnar and then has him wrapped for a pin in under two minutes. Obviously a quick match is not an ugly match and there were some stunned faces in the arena and perhaps many of the folks at home loved finishing on a triumphant note – Goldberg’s music is better than any of his moves – but it just seemed old-school silly. Utterly implausible.
Survivor Series, on face value, was okay. Quite good. Some very good moments even. But I’ve never really clicked with the format. And this year’s felt like a series of missed/botched opportunities with enough good wrestling somewhere in the middle to get it over the line.
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