Survivor Series 2020
One of the original PPV events from the old days – Survivor Series 2020 faces the adaptation or die model that the WWE now has well in place; video screens dangling in the arena in place of an actual live crowd. It’s bedded in now – we’re used to it. Strangely, it works. The WWE isn’t stronger than ever but it doesn’t feel far off it. Remarkable really.
And the card for this event is solid – and boasts The Farewell of The Undertaker, which is dramatic and poignant given it was at Survivor Series in 1990 that the Dead Man debuted. More than that, the appearance of this phenomenon – The Phenon – is really what put the Survivor Series brand on the map. So though SS has had its 30th Anniversary already this was effectively a second 30th Anniversary; 30 years since Taker’s debut.
The traditional Survivor Series matches – five on five melees that feature branded SmackDown vs. Raw teams – are sloppy but fun. This year there’s a men’s match which has Raw making SmackDown look like bumbling idiots given ever Raw player survives. Each one claiming a scalp.
The women’s one is a bit more ramshackle and plays up to a popular Royal Rumble-derived gimmick where a person (in this case, Lana) hides out and does no work then claims the win and is elated.
But there was some decent action in both matches.
Better action though in the Women’s Title Match where Sasha Banks was victorious over Asuka in a strong battle. And the main event saw a ripper Champion vs. Champion event where Roman Reigns went over Drew McIntyre. The ending was a bit lame, but hey. The story told up to that point was really terrific.
That’s the thing with Survivor Series, there’s no story now in the traditional matches, they’re thrown together to fill out the card – way back in the day when there was only four – and then six or eight – PPVs the story was filled out over weeks, there seemed to be a reason why the teams had formed. Not now. So we get the story in the other events. Alas, there wasn’t much of a story in Bobby Lashley just pummelling Sami Zayn but there was great story in the tag match between brand champs with The Street Profits (SmackDown) defeating The New Day (Raw).
So, all up it was pretty good.
And then the Undertaker’s farewell. Well, this would have really popped with a live crowd but that’s not the world America is in now – so instead it was in-ring entrances for some of Undertaker’s friends and foes and then Vince himself doing a sincere address. A golden video package and then the last-ever slow walk to the ring by The Undertaker. No lifting of the lid, this was all in character. He said his thanks, stalked the ring, did his poses and then make the slit-throat gesture and hit the music once again. It was a great way to end. And an amazing 30 year legacy from the big man.
All this and a ton of good extras on a bonus disc – dark matches, including a Battle Royal invitational and some Taker-related recent matches (his final Wrestlemania showing from 2020, etc) make this one of the best WWE DVDs I’ve watched in some time.
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