By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Survivor Series Hits
Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair in a non-title match: The event peaked with this main card opening match. Lynch and Flair put their differences aside and delivered the best match of the night. The finish was clever and somewhat protective in that Lynch simply got away with holding the ropes while getting the pin just moments after Flair got caught trying to do the same thing.
WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns vs. WWE Champion Big E in a non-title match: A good main event match with a surprisingly clean finish. WWE protected a lot of people on this show, so I was surprised that they actually had Reigns simply pin Big E clean. Sure, Big E selling a knee injury was meant to give him an out, but it wasn’t portrayed as being so devastating that fans would feel sympathy for him.
“Team Raw” Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, and Austin Theory vs. “Team Smackdown” Drew McIntyre, King Woods, Jeff Hardy, Happy Corbin, and Sheamus in a Survivor Series elimination match: The highlight of the match was actually Owens walking out just seconds in after claiming that he would prove his naysayers wrong. There was also some good in-ring work and Rollins was a logical survivor given that he is next in line for a WWE Championship match. The biggest disappointment was McIntyre and Lashley fighting to an overprotective double elimination via double count-out.
Raw Tag Team Champions Randy Orton and Riddle vs. Smackdown Tag Team Champions Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso in a non-title match: A soft Hit for a solid match with a crowd pleasing RKO out of nowhere finish. The hype of Orton breaking the record for most WWE pay-per-view matches also helped make the match feel a little more special.
WWE Survivor Series Misses
Vince McMahon and the golden egg: It was beyond ridiculous when Vince McMahon arrived at the building and was greeted by a group of adoring wrestlers. Somehow, it actually got worse from there, as Vince’s character stated that The Rock gifted him a $100 million egg that once belonged to Cleopatra. I get that the company obviously made a deal to promote Rock’s Red Notice for Netflix, but this was beyond ridiculous regardless of whether the mystery of who stole the egg actually leads to an improved rating for tonight’s Raw. And while WWE never promoted a Rock appearance, there were enough video packages to make a lot of fans assume that he was going to show up last night. And perhaps he will show up soon, but it made for a flat end to the show when so many people were left disappointed that Rock did not appear.
Survivor Series concept: The brand vs. brand theme is awful. Viewers have no reason to choose between brands, especially when the company just held its draft last month, meaning many of the wrestlers are new to their respective brands. The concept also causes WWE to give away big matches that would be better off being saved for more meaningful situations (see Reigns vs. Big E). Give viewers a couple of traditional Survivor Series elimination matches and then just have a regular show that includes actual title matches.
25-man dual brand battle royal: A terrible battle royal filled with bad product placement for a pizza company. If someone started throwing pizza in your direction, would you actually try to catch it or just duck for cover? Will there be a surge of small claims cases with fans demanding that WWE pay for their dry cleaning expenses? Anyway, the match was clearly designed to show that Omos is the true giant of WWE. It’s not like there was any doubt going into this match, so they basically just did damage to some of the other super heavyweights that he eliminated.
“Team Raw” Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, Liv Morgan, Carmella, and Queen Zelina vs. “Team Smackdown” Sasha Banks, Shotzi, Shayna Baszler, Natalya, and Toni Storm in a Survivor Series elimination match: They had ten wrestlers in the match and none came out of it strronger than they went in. Sure, Belair overcame a four to one advantage, but the plan became obvious once Banks was eliminated from the match, and creative needs to be careful to avoid going overboard with Belair’s Superwoman push or the fans may start to reject her. And that Banks elimination was awful. She came off like such a diva that it was hard to blame her heel teammates for causing her to be counted out. Shotzi should have gained something from being the last person standing from her team, but it didn’t feel like she actually achieved anything and she was beaten so easily by Belair that she came off like an afterthought.
U.S. Champion Damian Priest vs. Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura in a non-title match: I get a kick out of Rick Boogs more often than not, but it was hard not to sympathize with Priest when he became annoyed by the guitar playing at ringside. This felt like a television match in terms of quality. And while the finish played into the mean streak that they are trying to establish for Priest, it’s hard to imagine that this match convinced anyone who was on the fence to order Peacock to see the main card.