I don’t always review WWE pay-per-views, but I usually do them for the ‘Big Four’ events. ‘Survivor Series’ would need to be a great show to surpass the previous night’s ‘NXT Takeover: War Games’ event that was insanely good.
I didn’t have high hopes for ‘Survivor Series’, but there were some matches that intrigued me. Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles was the match I was most looking forward to watching. I guess there were also certain match-ups in the main event that we’ve never seen before like Braun Strowman & Shinsuke Nakamura and Triple H & Bobby Roode that occurred, which were pretty cool.
Was the 2017 ‘Survivor Series’ worth all the hype?
First off, let me say note that this pay-per-view did not need a two-hour pre-show. The main card was filled with long video packages and full entrances in multi-man matches. They could have easily squeezed one of these pre-show matches onto ‘Survivor Series.’
The pre-show kicked off with a panel of Renee Young, Jerry Lawler, Peter Rosenberg and Shawn Michaels. They went over the matches on and off all through the pre-show.
Elias vs. Matt Hardy
It was nearly an hour into it before Elias showed up in the ring to sing a song. He talked some shit about Houston and out came Matt Hardy to give him a fight. It was a nothing match. Elias took most of the match and hit the Drift Away for the win.
It went back to the panel to talk about more matches and blah blah blah.
Enzo Amore vs Kalisto (Cruiserweight Championship Match)
Kalisto comes out with lukewarm cheers. The dude is just not over. Enzo’s music hits and he actually got a pretty good pop for the amount of people who were in the building at this point. This match was better than I expected. Enzo is getting better, not by huge leaps, but you can tell working with the cruiserweights at house shows is paying off. The finish came when Kalisto hit exposed metal and Enzo hit his Jawdunzo for the pin.
Winner: Enzo Amore
Back to the panel, where HBK refused to pick anyone on Smackdown ’cause he’s RAW guy’, but picks AJ Styles. By the way, I remember when Shawn Michaels was a Smackdown-ish guy. Remember when he acted like he was poor and had to do JBL’s evil bidding to earn some extra money? That all happened on Smackdown and RAW. The brand affiliations were sort of loose back then in 2009.
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. Breezango
Owens and Zayn came out and ran down the crowd. Owens said this was the city he first won the IC and Universal titles, fans cheered and then he snapped back with, “Those were his moments, not theirs”…love that line. Breezango came out and said Owens & Zayn had smelly unkempt facial hair and they had a lot of fashion violations. The match was another one that was just ‘there.’ I wish they would let Breezango have a tag title run, but they are just comedy guys who get other people over.
Winner: Owens & Zayn
The main ‘Survivor Series’ card started with some video packages and the introduction to my nightmare situation.
A FIVE MAN ANNOUNCE TEAM!
I hate, hate, hate this. I was expecting them to talk all over each other, but it didn’t really happen. It was basically four different excited voices bickering about which brand was better…and Booker T mumbling nonsense. He really couldn’t care less about what is going on in the ring these days.
The Shield vs. The New Day
It took forever for the match to start since we had full entrances and video packages. The match started slow at first and it took a solid ten minutes to get going. Once it got going though, it was nuts. A double Midnight Hour for a near pin, a few ‘let’s take everyone out and get the numbers’ spots and a double triple-powerbomb off the 2nd rope for the win. The last few minutes was really fun and the near-falls were extremely close and were creative in breaking up pins.
Winner: The Shield
Here comes a ridiculous moment when Stephanie McMahon talks up the RAW women’s team. It was the worst second-worst moment of the show.
Women’s RAW vs Smackdown Live Elimination Match
The RAW team was captained by Alicia Fox and Bayley, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax and Asuka were under her command. The Smackdown Live team was captained by Becky Lynch and she had Carmella, Natalya, Tamina and Naomi on her squad.
Becky Lynch was eliminated first on a roll-up and then Nia Jax was counted out after Tamina splashed her a few times (this felt like it was setting up a feud, but that’s impossible). Bayley was also eliminated when freakin’ Tamina splashed her and got the pin. Bayley is not nearly as over as she was just a few months ago. They are killing her.
Alicia Fox and Naomi had a horrible minute of miscues and botches. Alicia ended up getting pinned while Naomi was putting on a submission…what a mess. Naomi was eliminated instantly after Alicia when Sasha Banks jumped in and put on the Bank Statement. Asuka pinned Carmella with a stiff kick to the face and then Natalya eliminated Sasha Banks with a Sharpshooter. This left Asuka as the lone member of Team RAW vs Natalya and Tamina. Asuka fought back and eliminated Tamina with a flying armbar. Natalya tried to put on the Sharpshooter, but Asuka turned it into an ankle lock. Natalya escaped, but Asuka countered Natalya’s spinning clothesline into the Asuka Lock for the win. Asuka is the lone survivor for Team RAW.
Winner: Team RAW
There’s a backstage sketch with Steph and Daniel Bryan. Steph claims nepotism that Bryan got John Cena on his team and Bryan laughs that she would bring up nepotism.
Baron Corbin vs The Miz (U.S. vs Intercontinental Champion)
Corbin comes out and they play his social media promo telling The Miz to just stay at home with his pregnant wife. The Miz comes out and they play his social media promo in response. They then show Maryse in the front row.
I’m not sure who was supposed to be the babyface here. A babyface wouldn’t bring up someone’s pregnant wife and a babyface wouldn’t allow his two minions to interfere in the match. They both for cheers are random times and the crowd wasn’t in the match much until Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel got involved. Those two guys were more over than Corbin and The Miz. Corbin hit the End of Days and pinned The Miz. Corbin gets Smackdown Live’s first win of the night.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Paul Heyman did a promo in the back about AJ Styles facing Brock Lesnar. Heyman is always good on the mic and said AJ will regret stepping in the ring with The Beast.
Sheamus & Cesaro vs The Usos (RAW vs Smackdown Live Tag Team Champions)
Fantastic match, I loved it! There were a lot of double-team moves and crazy near-falls. The Usos even hit a Saomoan Drop off the top rope in a Doomsday Device spot. It was a big of a spot fest after the first near-fall, but there was a lot of action. I hate to cut this review of the match short, but every guy got their shit in and the crowd was eating it up. The Usos won after hitting a double superkick on Cesaro and then one again on Sheamus…then they hit a splash on Cesaro for the pin. Smackdown Live is now all tied up 2-2.
Winner: The Usos
Alexa Bliss vs Charlotte Flair (RAW vs Smackdown Women’s Champions)
I wasn’t expecting a ton in the match, but it was pretty solid. Alexa was working Charlotte’s ribs all match. The match was a bit clunky, but there were some spots I liked and Bliss didn’t look overmatched, which I feared would happen. One impressive move was when Alexa hit a double knees onto the back of Charlotte. She’s lucky Alexa is light cause that move would cause real damage by a bigger gal. Charlotte makes Alexa taps out with the Figure Eight. Smackdown Live takes the lead 3-2. RAW will need to win the last two matches to win the night.
Winner: Charlotte Flair
Here comes the most anticipated match of the night.
AJ Styles vs Brock Lesnar (WWE vs Universal Champion)
They made this match out to have a ‘big fight’ feel with in-ring introductions. Heyman grabs the mic, calls AJ a ‘performer’ and announces his ‘fighter’ Brock Lesnar. Brock starts off the match throwing AJ around like a rag doll. He suplexes him from one corner of the ring to the next and also mixed it up and just tossed him at times. AJ had to get a second wind and came back with a flurry of punches. He then hit a Phenomenal Forearm to Brock on the outside. He then took most of the match and even had Brock in the Calf Crusher for quite awhile. Brock just smashed AJ’s head into the mat to make him let go of the hold. AJ got cocky and went for another one when Brock went into the ring, but ate an F5 from Brock and was pinned. This was the best match on the show. Brock put on his ‘working boots’ tonight and put on a show with AJ. I would love to see these guys get another PPV match down the road. RAW tied up the show 3-3.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
There’s still about an hour left in the show with only one match left. As I said earlier, they could have added at least one more match on the card, but they didn’t build any other matches up. Enzo vs Kalisto wouldn’t have added to the RAW vs Smackdown storyline of the PPV.
RAW vs Smackdown Men’s Elimination Match
Kurt Angle captained Team RAW with Triple H, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor and Braun Strowman. Shane McMahon heads up Team Smackdown Live with Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, Randy Orton and John Cena.
This match featured a lot of new head-to-head matchups. They played up the never-before-seen matches when guys would tag in and out. Shinsuka Nakamura facing Finn Balor was probably got the biggest cheer, since it hasn’t happened since a random NXT show before Balor was called up. There were ‘NXT’ and ‘New Japan’ chants that broke out. I was surprised a ‘TNA’ chant didn’t break out wen Samoa Joe faced Bobby Roode soon after.
Strowman got into the match and pinned Nakamura and Roode with powerslams…and then Randy Orton with another powerslam later on. They continue to build up Strowman as a monster. I’m curious to what the endgame is here. We all know Brock vs Roman is expected to be the Wrestlemania main event, so who is on the docket for Strowman? Triple H or maybe the Undertaker?
Cena didn’t do much in the match and was mostly just there to sell his new shirt color/design. He was pinned by Kurt Angle after an Angle Slam. He did manage to eliminate Samoa Joe with an AA before Angle pinned him.
Finn Balor continues to be marginalized and was eliminated by Randy Orton without doing much in the match. This match was all about getting Strowman over and pushing the Triple H/Angle/McMahon storyline.
Shane McMahon was jumped by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in the middle of the match. He was able to come back and fought his way to be the only member of Smackdown Live left. Angle was getting ready to beat him and that’s when Triple H interfered and hit a Pedigree on Angle and put Shane on top of him to eliminate the RAW GM. Strowman looked confused from the apron. Triple H then hit a Pedigree on Shane and pinned him for the Team RAW victory. Strowman is still confused and grabbed Triple H and said to never do that again. Strowman let him go and started to walk away when Triple H attacked him. He tried to hit a Pedigree on Strowman, but it was blocked. Strowman then hit TWO powerslams on Triple H and walked to the back.
Winner: Team RAW
The 2017 ‘Survivor Series’ was decent. It would have been much better if the main event didn’t drag on. It would have been hard to keep the main event running smooth. A big multi-man match is supposed to build towards singles matches, but you can’t do that in a brand vs brand match. The only way to do that is in-fighting among the team. It looks like the only future matches that were built from the main event is Owens vs. Shane McMahon, Strowman vs Triple H and Triple H vs Angle.
To be fair, I hate matches (or in this case an entire PPV) in which WWE insults our intelligence by making the wrestlers wear Blue or Red shirts since they don’t believe their fans are smart enough to remember who is on each team. I’ve probably tweeted about it every single time they’ve put on a match like that over the last decade.
‘NXT Takeover: War Games’ was one of the best Takeover events of all-time. WWE really needed ‘Survivor Series’ to be an all-timer, but it wasn’t even close. This PPV has always been considered to be the weakest of the ‘Big Four’ and it proved it once again.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.