21st Nov2018

‘WWE Survivor Series 2018′ PPV Review

by Nathan Favel

survivor-series-header

Welcome to this review of Survivor Series, right here on Nerdly. I’m Nathan Favel and we have a jumbled up mess that might just turn out all right, so let’s see if it did.

Match #1: The Usos survive as Team SmackDown def. Team Raw in a 10-on-10 Tag Team Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match (Kickoff Match)

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Under the captainship of The Usos, the blue brand’s Tag Team division came to win in the Survivor Series 2018 Kickoff, defeating Monday Night Raw in a 10-on-10 Tag Team Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match. After targeting Kalisto’s knee and ankle in the early goings, the aggressive Epico suffered The Revival’s Shatter Machine, giving Team Red the early advantage by eliminating both members of The Colons. The hobbled King of Flight, meanwhile, was replaced on the apron by his Lucha House Party cohort Gran Metalik. Shortly after The Colons’ elimination, Karl Anderson scored a fast roll-up pin on The B-Team’s Bo Dallas. Team Red’s co-captains Bobby Roode & Chad Gable rallied to eliminate the unpredictable with a Roode Awakening/moonsault combo that, appropriately, no one could have predicted. The back-and-forth nature of Survivor Series’ first match of the night continued, with The New Day’s elimination of The Ascension followed by Gran Metalik’s breathtaking senton to Karl Anderson, taking both him and his Good Brother Luke Gallows out of the competition. Lucha House Party’s celebration would be cut short, though, when The Usos’ double-team tactics destroyed the masked trio’s figurative piñata.

Big E then used his size to keep Dash Wilder on the defensive with a succession of belly-to-belly suplexes and a spear through the ropes that sent the Revival member to the floor. With the battle spilling outside the ring, Roode saw fit to create a Glorious catastrophe by diving onto the brawling Superstars, but Jey Uso took that perilous flight onto the mass of humanity instead. As the dazed combatants struggled to their feet at the bottom of the entrance ramp, Gable hurled Jimmy Uso off the top turnbuckle onto red and blue Superstars alike with a high-risk German suplex. Gable was seemingly on a roll, but an ill-timed moonsault propelled him into the waiting arms of Big E, who set the mat tactician up for the Midnight Hour. The Revival stayed alive in the final moments of the match by hitting Woods with the Shatter Machine, but their end came in the form of a series of Uso Superkicks. That left Dawson vulnerable to Jimmy’s top-rope splash — with a tribute to cousin Roman Reigns thrown in for good measure.

My Take: 2.5 out of 5 – So much for this being the best kickoff match in WWE history. That being said, it was a fun bout that was a bit sloppy in parts, always fun.

Match #2: Nia Jax was the sole survivor as Team Raw def. Team SmackDown in a 5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Survivor Series may be a battle for brand supremacy, but the end result of the Women’s 5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series Match didn’t come down to which team could topple the other. It was whether Team Raw or SmackDown could stave off implosion for the longest. Fittingly enough, Nia Jax’s ultimate status as the bout’s sole survivor came down to a betrayal of her own teammate. Both teams had put themselves in prime position for internal dissent during the Kickoff. To secure the “total humiliation” of the blue brand, Raw Team Captain Alexa Bliss subbed out the quarrelling Ruby Riott and Natalya for best buddies Sasha Banks and Bayley, the victims of a beatdown from The Goddess’ squad only days earlier. On the blue side, Captain Naomi — who assumed the role after Charlotte Flair was tapped to face Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey — filled out her crew with Mandy Rose, despite God’s Greatest Creation’s biting insults after initially being left to ride the bench. But save for a stolen pin by Rose, there wasn’t nearly as much intra-squad strife as the forecast had seemingly called for. Instead, Raw slowly whittled SmackDown down to a two-on-one disadvantage, with Banks and Nia Jax stacked up against Asuka, the returning sole survivor from last year’s fall classic.

Despite clearly feeling her newfound infamy as the woman who broke SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch’s face, Jax was conspicuous by her absence for most of the match and that didn’t change during the final stretch. The former Raw Women’s Champion let Banks mix it up with The Empress of Tomorrow in a sequence of moves and countermoves that had the STAPLES Center crowd falling off the edge of their seats. Jax was clearly willing to let The Boss handle the lioness’ share of the work, but she had no desire to give up the glory. With Banks perched atop the turnbuckle and closing in on a victory, The Irresistible Force snuck onto the apron and shoved her head-first into the waiting clutches of The Empress, who ensnared Banks in the Asuka Lock and quickly notched a submission. Jax immediately struck, flattening the former NXT Women’s Champion with a trifecta of leg drops and, finally, sealing the deal with a Samoan Drop. Bliss didn’t seem to mind the ill-gotten win much, to say nothing of Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon, who saw her show jump to 1-0 lead over SmackDown LIVE. No one, however, looked as pleased as Jax. This win wasn’t about total humiliation for SmackDown, but total vindication for The Irresistible Force as she looks down the stretch to a Raw Women’s Title bout with Ronda Rousey. She certainly achieved that and more. A star-making opportunity awaits, and much to her delight, Nia Jax’s infamy is growing by the second.

My Take: 2.5 out of 5 – Nia didn’t break anyone’s face, so that part was a success. The action was good, but Nia, whom I like, just isn’t ready for all of the pressure that she’s been saddled with. Nia still needs to improve her technique before they put her in the main event as a regular fixture. Since it’s going to happen any-way, I just hope that Nia gets put with the best women on the roster, so she can be carried to where she needs to go.

Match #3: Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins def. United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

In their first-ever one-on-one battle, Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins bested United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura, scoring a crucial second victory for Monday Night Raw at Survivor Series 2018 in the process. Despite the recent betrayal by his Shield brother Dean Ambrose, The Kingslayer was able to put his personal turmoil aside in this intense Champion vs. Champion Match. But the win didn’t come easy. Following some back-and-forth mind games between both titleholders, Nakamura seized the early advantage by way of his unmatched striking range, grounding The Kingslayer with brutal kicks that seemed to signal a win for Team Blue in the night’s first Champion vs. Champion clash. But Rollins persevered, sending Nakamura out of the ring and hitting The President of Nak-America with three consecutive dives that not only slowed Nakamura’s offense, but also planted some seeds of frustration.

After absorbing a Ripcord Knee from Rollins, the incensed Nakamura connected with a Kinshasa, but Rollins, somehow, kicked out at two. The U.S. Champion attempted his signature knee strike twice more, but the wily Rollins evaded the move both times and ultimately connected with a match-ending Stomp, giving Raw a 2-0 advantage over SmackDown LIVE. The Kingslayer lived up to his name, as The King of Strong Style was, well, slayed at Survivor Series 2018, reminding the WWE Universe why Monday Night Raw is also “Monday Night Rollins.”

My Take: 3.5 out of 5 – Now this was some good wrestling. It started slow, which is how all standard bouts should begin, and built to the grand finale that saw Seth get the victory. Well, it might not actually be a grand finale, but it inflated my ego to write it, so I’l leave as some-thing you can use against me later.

Match #4: Raw Tag Team Champions AOP def. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Bar (w/Big Show)

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Drake Maverick may have had an unfortunate accident, but it helped Raw Tag Team Champions AOP defeat SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Bar at Survivor Series, giving Raw a 3-0 advantage in the battle for brand supremacy. The Champions vs. Champions bout was physical from the opening moments, with Rezar and Sheamus locking horns. With a little help from Cesaro, The Celtic Warrior took down one-half of the monstrous Raw Tag Team Champions. The Bar’s advantage would not last long, however, as AOP overpowered The Swiss Superman and trapped him in their side of the ring, pummeling Cesaro into the canvas. But Cesaro weathered the onslaught of AOP and sent Sheamus back into the action. The Celtic Warrior staggered Rezar with a huge knee that turned the tides of the battle. Sheamus seemingly had the big man down after a Brogue Kick, but seeing his team in danger, Drake Maverick leaped into action, putting Rezar’s leg on the ropes before the referee could count to three.

Cesaro chased Maverick around ringside, driving AOP’s manager into a waiting Big Show. The World’s Largest Athlete throttled Maverick and hoisted him onto the ring apron with ease. The fear of being at the mercy of Big Show apparently led to Maverick losing control of his body, as he wet himself in the clutches of the giant, much to the confusion of The Bar. Maverick’s accident was apparently just the opening AOP needed, though, as they planted Sheamus in the canvas with a suplex-powerbomb combination to pick up the victory. It was an embarrassing moment for Maverick, but AOP walked out of Survivor Series with a huge statement victory over the SmackDown Tag Team Champions, giving Raw a big lead in the battle of the brands.

My Take: 3 out of 5 – This was a good match that could’ve used a bit more time, but it had some solid action and kept the asses in the seats.

Match #5: WWE Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy def. Mustafa Ali

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

In his first title defense since claiming the WWE Cruiserweight Championship at WWE Super Show-Down, Buddy Murphy defeated one of his greatest rivals, Mustafa Ali, in an exciting showcase of the kind of action the WWE Universe expects from WWE 205 Live. Of course, Murphy and Ali have met before, including a No Disqualification Match that was ranked as the best WWE 205 Live match in the first 100 episodes. In their previous four meetings, Ali has won all but one. Since he was bested by Cedric Alexander in the final of the WWE Cruiserweight Championship Tournament at WrestleMania 34, Ali has stopped at nothing — including putting his body on the line — to earn another opportunity. With the stakes higher than ever, Murphy tried to assert his power early in their Survivor Series clash, but the quickness of The Heart of WWE 205 Live kept the battle even. With Ali looking to take to the skies, Murphy managed to toss his opponent off the top rope into the fan barricade. With that, the champion was able to methodically — and powerfully — dismantle his challenger.

Ali countered Murphy’s strategy with his legendary resilience. Even after being tossed from the ring and flattened by an incredible dive by the champion, The Heart of WWE 205 Live continued to mount an effective offense, taking clear advantage of the contest following a reverse hurricanrana that spiked the champion into the mat. Fending off Murphy’s advances, Ali prepared for his patented 054, but Murphy again desperately tossed him off the top rope. With the champion zeroing in and preparing to put his opponent through a table, Ali managed to counter and execute a jaw-dropping Spanish Fly off the table. Murphy countered a second attempt at the 054, though, superkicking Ali’s jaw before a double powerbomb. Refusing to quit, The Heart of WWE 205 Live reversed Murphy’s Law before eyeing another high-risk move. Unfortunately for Ali, Murphy countered with a knee to the face, allowing the champion to successfully execute Murphy’s Law and retain the title.

My Take: 3.5 out of 5 – This actually got to appear on Pay Per View, so that’s cause for celebration. Hell, the match was worth talking about, so that’s another reason to celebrate. Holy Dean Malenko (I’d say “Holy Chris Benoit”, but he killed his wife and son), this was a good match that was worthy of those great World Championship Wrestling cruiserweight bouts that many of us still miss.

Match #6: Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley survive as Team Raw def. Team SmackDown (Men’s Survivor Series Match)

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

With a Universal Title opportunity and grudge match against Acting General Manager Baron Corbin riding on the result, Braun Strowman was unquestionably the Superstar whose fortunes were most entwined with the outcome of the Men’s 5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match. Given all that, it was only fitting that The Monster Among Men almost singlehandedly won the contest with four straight eliminations — a feat that was doubly impressive due to the gritty performance by Team SmackDown … and some pointed tensions within Strowman’s own squad. Strowman had made his distaste for all his teammates — Finn Bálor excluded — clear before the bell rang, and the feeling was clearly than mutual, especially between himself and Drew McIntyre. The Scottish Psychopath threatened to seize control of the match from the opening moments when he tagged himself in and scored a surprise elimination of Samoa Joe (the only Team Raw elimination not recorded by Strowman). That set off a chain of events that culminated in a brief throwdown between Strowman and McIntyre.

Team SmackDown responded in opportunistic, and impressive, fashion. Rey Mysterio ousted Bálor after a dizzying back-and-forth. And the legendary luchador did his best to hold “The Almighty” Bobby Lashley at bay. The Miz called a surprisingly crisp game as Team Captain. Shane McMahon put his death-defying bonafides to good use with a Leap of Faith that took out both Strowman and the announce table, as well as a Coast-to-Coast that helped send Raw’s Dolph Ziggler to the showers. It seemed, for a moment, like SmackDown had a puncher’s chance to outlast the red brand … at least until Strowman re-entered the picture. The Monster Among Men clotheslined McMahon clean out of the air on a second Coast-to-Coast attempt (this one to Lashley) and stormed back with near-immediate eliminations of Jeff Hardy, Mysterio and Miz. That left Shane, spent and sucking wind, as the last man standing for Team SmackDown. The SmackDown Commissioner refused to drop his hands, but even Shane knew he was destined to go down fighting. Strowman scooped him up for a Running Powerslam and put the match away in monstrous fashion, giving Raw a 4-0 advantage over SmackDown in the Survivor Series standings and effectively sealing the WWE fall classic for Team Red.

With that win, Strowman now has free rein to tee off on Corbin, but the Acting General Manager of Raw — who had been animatedly patrolling the outside as Team Captain —struck first, blindsiding Strowman before retreating up the ramp alongside Lashley and McIntyre. Their shared mocking of The Monster Among Men’s signature roar indicates that there might be a couple more people that Braun Strowman has to go through before he gets to Corbin. If Survivor Series was any indication, that won’t be a problem.

My Take: 3 out of 5 – It was a Strowman-fest, but it worked, so I don’t have any real complaints. I always prefer a competitive bout that doesn’t favor any one person, but Vince prefers to put all of the power in the hands of one wrestler, so there you go then.

Match #7: Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey def. Charlotte Flair by disqualification

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

The WWE Universe was excited to see the dream match between Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair at Survivor Series. However, that dream quickly turned into a nightmare for Rousey, who won by disqualification after Flair blasted her with a Kendo stick in the midst of one of the most ruthless assaults in recent WWE history. The match started off at a chaotic pace, with Charlotte showing no fear in the face of The Baddest Woman on the Planet, clobbering Rousey with a huge forearm shortly after the bell, and scrapping with the Raw Women’s Champion as the two traded submissions on the canvas. Flair even shoved Rousey to the canvas, letting her know that this ring was hers. The Queen rocked the Raw Women’s Champion by throwing her face-first into the bottom turnbuckle, then worked over Rousey’s leg. When the Raw Women’s Champion regained the advantage briefly, Flair staggered her with an elbow to the jaw, busting Rousey open in the process.

The Baddest Woman on the Planet’s supreme submission expertise soon turned the tides of the bout briefly, as the former MMA champion locked on a series of armbars, but Flair would not give up. The Queen soon locked on the Figure-Eight Leglock, though Rousey turned the hold over, setting off a scramble to the arena floor. That was where Rousey began to turn things around, eventually hitting Flair with the devastating throw she now calls Piper’s Pit and attempting to lock on her trademark armbar. The Queen escaped and retreated to ringside, rolling in and back out to restart the referee’s 10-count. Rousey became fed up with Flair’s evasion tactics and slid out to give chase on the arena floor. What The Baddest Woman on the Planet hadn’t counted on, though, was Flair waiting for her with a Kendo stick. The Queen blasted Rousey in the ribs with, then-splintered the Kendo stick across the arms and back of the Raw Women’s Champion. The official rang for the bell, but the carnage was just beginning.

Flair had another Kendo stick in the ring, and battered Rousey with that as well. Charlotte briefly left the ring, but The Queen returned to drive Rousey into a steel chair with Natural Selection. When officials tried to hold her back, The Queen tossed them aside, not worrying about any future fines or punishment. Flair then wrapped the chair around Rousey’s throat and ruthlessly stomped on it. Finally, the chaos came to an end, as a furious Queen left the ring. Rousey staggered to her feet with welts from the attack raising on her flesh. This wasn’t what she, or the entire WWE Universe, expected from this dream match. But after suffering a brutal attack at the hands of SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch on Raw, and then this shocking assault at the hands of Charlotte Flair, Ronda Rousey has certainly learned what it takes to succeed at the highest levels in WWE.

My Take: 3.5 out of 5 – This turned out to be a pretty good match. Rousey did well in a match with some-one who didn’t slow down for her. Flair had a great night and wrestled a bout worth the wait.

Match #8: (Main Event) Universal Champion Brock Lesnar def. WWE Champion Daniel Bryan (Champion vs. Champion Match)

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

A new attitude wasn’t enough to propel new WWE Champion Daniel Bryan to victory in a genuine dream match against Universal Champion Brock Lesnar — but it was pretty close. Thanks to a low-blow behind the back of a frazzled ref, the folk-hero-turned crazy-eyed sadist turned the two-time Universal Champion into a purple, writhing mess. Bryan landed a pair of Running Knees and slowly whittled The Beast Incarnate down until he was able to apply the “Yes!” Lock square in the middle of the ring. It was a remarkable turnaround for Bryan from the early goings of the match, where the five-time World Champion ill-advisedly tried to goad Lesnar into a fight, hoping, perhaps, to rile The Beast up to the point where he might make a mistake. Whatever plan Bryan had in place, it didn’t work, though, as The Beard got caught in Suplex City and found himself mercilessly tossed around the ring like a sack of potatoes. While Bryan had the look and pose of a post-collision crash-test dummy, the Universal Champion grew so bored with his own dominance (Paul Heyman, by contrast, looked horrified) that he let Bryan up after the first F-5 of the match, extending the punishment but inadvertently opening the door for the WWE Champion’s comeback. Bryan’s boot caught the ref when Lesnar attempted a second F-5, and The “Yes!” Man unleashed a field-goal low-blow, literally kick-starting the rally.

And regardless of the cheap shot that started it, the sequence was, by any standard, a legitimate comeback. Bryan didn’t just press the Universal Champion, he began to steadily dismantle him, targeting Lesnar’s knee and shaking off whatever damage The Beast inflicted on him to keep the match, shockingly, in his advantage. The knee work paid off when Lesnar crumbled during an F-5 attempt, allowing Bryan to apply the “Yes!” Lock that almost sealed the match. But much like AJ Styles and so many others before him, “almost” was as close as Daniel Bryan could get. Lesnar writhed free of his opponent’s hold and, despite Bryan briefly countering with a triangle, The Conqueror hoisted the WWE Champion onto his shoulders, hit the F-5 and secured one of the more hard-fought wins of his career. Looking somewhat shell-shocked, Lesnar and Heyman walked back up the ramp in a daze, neither seemingly sure of how The Beast had found himself in a fight nor how he managed to win it. The last image of Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series was a nod of appreciation as he made his exit. The last image of Daniel Bryan was a wild-eyed grin as he stirred to life. Clearly, the WWE Champion would do this dance again if given the opportunity. And the Universal Champion might just agree.

My Take: 4.5 out of 5 – Now this was great. The match had a proper start that took a left turn with Brock beating Bryan within an inch of his life, only for Bryan to do the same to Brock later in the match. This bout lived up to the expectations that many of us had and proved to be a winning combination.

News Of The Night:

  1. Charlotte Flair was booked to turn heel on Ronda Rousey, but turn made Flair into a hero. It remains to be seen if Vince did this on purpose or not, but Flair is now beloved by the people and for massacring Ronda with a steel chair and no less.

Final Verdict: 3/5

As a show, this was fairly dull in its way, but it had a spectacular finish with the main event, so I’m happy with a 3 for Survivor Series. I would have liked to have had Smackdown win a bout or two, but I suppose Vince just couldn’t resist showering Raw with more attention. Anyway, good wrestling and simple booking made for a good show.

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