WWE PPV Review

WWE Survivor Series 2017

The one night of the year where Raw and SmackDown compete in head-to-head competition.

by Owen Douglass, John Gawarecki-Maxwell | November 21, 2017

Rating:   GOOD


Survivor Series is one of the Big 4, which means John and I get to come together to write the review together with each of us controlling a thumb on our scale. This pay-per-view also pits Raw and SmackDown against each other, which led us to argue for the past month about whose brand is superior. Fortunately we're doing our best to put that aside those differences to review the show unbiased, since the ending of the pay-per-view taught us that nothing really matters.

Despite the finale putting souring the rest of the show, over the entire card was more good than bad, even if it wasn't as exciting and can't-miss as the TakeOver the night before. But it was nice to see some match-ups that we don't normally get to see due to the brand split, so it's worth checking out for that alone.


Kickoff Match

Elias def. Matt Hardy

Rating:   MEH

Owen: Thumb in the Middle

As a kickoff match, the bar isn't very high on expectations and this one just about met it. I appreciate Matt Hardy selling the arm during a lot of the match, even switching arms for the Twist of Fate attempt, but in the end the match wasn't all that special.

John: Thumb in the Middl

This match was decent in the same way that every other Elias match is decent. The man’s wrestling is totally competent, but he needs a compelling hero to play off for his shtick to really work. Unbroken, old-ass Matt Hardy doing his dumb Hardy Boyz gimmick is the furthest thing from compelling to me. The man could have easily been replaced with some other jabroni that no one likes (hi Jason Jordan) to the exact same effect.


Kickoff, WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match

Enzo Amore (c) def. Kalisto

Rating:   THE WORST

Owen: Thumb Down

From the entrances with Kalisto botching his jump into the ring I knew this was going to be a shitshow. The crowd was dead the entire time because it was a cruiserweight match, but the sloppiness of both men sure didn't help. The Jordenzo on the apron completely missed and Kalisto just fell into the ropes to no-sell it. It's a real shame the title picture is being clogged with these two instead of people they signed specifically for the division.

John: Thumb Down

Fuck Enzo and motherfuck the Cruiserweights.


Kickoff, Tag Team Match

Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn def. Breezango

Rating:   THE BEST

Owen: Thumb Up

It's a shame that Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn were relegated to the kickoff, but they're still two of SmackDown's best. The fact they let Breezango actually wrestle was a nice suprise, and the combination of these two teams made for a really fun match. Kevin Owens putting on a headlock and Zayn loving it is definitely a highlight. I hope this means we get to see Breezango in the ring more and not just in their Fashion Files segments.

John: Thumb U

I don’t have much to say about this one since it was a meaningless tag match between two teams with absolutely nothing going on from the show I don’t watch, but it was definitely fun. It’s nice when WWE remembers the friendship is power and that friendship-based wrestling is magical.


Six-Man Tag Team Match

The Shield def. The New Day

Rating:   THE BEST

Owen: Thumb Up

This was a fun way to start the show proper, and it made sense since The New Day were the ones to lead the first strike of this brand war. The result was pretty predictable, but The New Day brought the excitement with their creative spots that blended well with The Shield's usual schtick. Big E deserves a lot of credit, including that double Midnight Hour. You could tell The New Day's chemistry was much more natural than that of The Shield, who haven't really teamed up much in years.

John: Thumb Up

Don’t go selling The Shield short - even if their chemistry isn’t quite on The New Day’s level, the trio looked in top form. I was amazed by how badass Ambrose looked. It’s like WWE suddenly remembered that what made the “lunatic fringe” thing work in the first place was that Ambrose was depicted more as an unpredictable glutton for punishment than a wacky prankster. Here, Ambrose got beat to hell but kept on kicking in an exciting and fun way that we haven’t seen in a while. That’s mainly the theme I’ve gotten from this Shield reunion - it’s nothing new, but it’s the three characters recapturing some of that magic they lost over the years and returning to the top of their game. Add in a trio that is already at the top of their game, and you have a winner.


Women's Survivor Series Elimination Match

Team Raw (Alicia Fox, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Asuka, Nia Jax) def. Team SmackDown (Becky Lynch, Naomi, Carmella, Natalya, Tamina)

Rating:   REALLY GOOD

Owen: Thumb in the Middle

This match was what it was supposed to be, but that doesn't mean I loved it. Becky Lynch being eliminated so early was so bullshit, but Bayley not receiving much as well felt much more justified considering her booking on Raw. The confrontation between Nia Jax and Tamina was great to watch since I enjoy a fight between two powerhouses, and Jax losing by countout was a smart way to eliminate her without damaging her push. When it came down Asuka being Raw's sole survivor, having her quickly dispose of her opponents despite them outnumbering her was perfect and exactly how they should have handled it. This was the first time she felt like a legit badass on the main roster and I hope they build on this.

The reason I gave this a thumbs in the middle is because a lot of the women felt like afterthoughts and were taken out with little fanfare. You'd think on a four-hour pay-per-view they'd be able to give the women more time, but maybe that "Women's Revolution" really is nothing more than a marketing buzzword.

John: Thumb Up

I don’t know, dude, I found this match to be a lot of fun. I thought they did a great job giving everyone involved a chance to look good and show their stuff. (Alicia Fox, unfortunately, did not avail herself of this opportunity.) Hell, Tamina of all people looked good, and I’m so shocked that those words are exiting my mouth in 2017 that I’m almost willing to overlook Nia’s hackneyed elimination. Sasha and Natalya were especially on point, and that’s saying nothing of Asuka who, as you pointed out, looked like a monster. It probably could have been better, but it was a lot of fun which is more than I was expecting.


Champion vs. Champion Match

Baron Corbin def. The Miz

Rating:   MEH

Owen: Thumb in the Middle

I mean, it was fine I guess. I appreciate Maryse being at ringside to give Baron Corbin something extra to get heat and make Miz sort of a temporary face, but Baron Corbin is so boring in the ring I can't even remember any of the moves from the match. It is weird that he picked up the win while being a creep to another man's wife, but this is 2017.

John: Thumb in the Middle

I almost want to give this a Thumb Up for Curtis Axel’s Raw-red neck brace alone. But alas, the match was boring beyond belief. Miz does not work as a babyface no matter how much we love him. His wrestling skill gives him a natural heel vibe, and that’s fine but it means that something about him playing the fiery underdog will always feel kind of wrong. I get why the matched ended the way it did - Corbin has looked like a goober for a while, and cleanly pinning a former world champion is always a good look - but Corbin is such a dull loser that I’m not sure it was particularly worth it.


Champion vs. Champion Tag Team Match

The Usos def. The Bar

Rating:   REALLY GOOD

Owen: Thumb Up

It seems like the participants of the non-elimination tag matches really brought it as this was another great match. It may be my SmackDown bias, but I want to give credit to The Usos. Their pre-match promo was excellent, as was the ability to totally sell nearfalls. But I'm a bit bored of Sheamus and Cesaro, and saw them winning the tag titles as a downgrade for this match. That still didn't detract from this being a solid match and it delivered above my expectations.

John: Thumb in the Middle

I'm with you there. The Usos are looking good, but The Bar has been meandering for a while. It's mind-boggling how a team can have so much raw talent and make me care so little about them. They need a new take to bring them back to the level they should be at, or at least something more than Sheamus terrible-looking frosted mohawk tips. I guess that's the one positive thing you can say about The Bar - they elevate looking stupid into an art form. Well, that and even the dullest of their matches is still going to be okay if for no other reason than they're just that physically capable.


Champion vs. Champion Match

Charlotte Flair def. Alexa Bliss

Rating:   REALLY GOOD

Owen: Thumb Up

Would it shock you if I told you my favorite woman on the Raw roster and a Flair put on an excellent match? I really enjoyed the dynamic of Charlotte being so much bigger and stronger than Alexa Bliss, but her viciousness kept her in the match and gave her the advantage when she started targeting her ribs. My only gripe with this match would be Charlotte doing some offense toward the end of the match, including her top rope moonsault, that would be extremely hard to pull off with injurted ribs and not selling when going for it. But that just seems to be Charlotte's thing.

John: Thumb in the Middle

Honestly, I had the exact same problem with this match as I did with the mid-tier Champion vs. Champion match: Charlotte does not work for me as a babyface. Her natural charisma is that of a cocky, self-absorbed wrestling royalty jackass (which she plays with aplomb) so watching her take unnecessary risks like that moonsault just to be an exciting hero inherently feels wrong to me. It also doesn't help that she could basically fit Alexa in the palm of her hand and wrestle circles around Bliss even on an off-day. This was a good match that, storytelling-wise, was probably a much smarter decision than putting Bliss against Natalya, but something tells me I would have enjoyed watching that match more.


Champion vs. Champion Match

Brock Lesnar def. AJ Styles

Rating:   REALLY GOOD

Owen: Thumb Up

This was easily my favorite match of the night. I'm beyond grateful they pivoted away from Jinder Mahal facing Brock Lesnar, because the opening of the match would have been the entire thing. Instead, we had the story of Lesnar throwing around AJ Styles with him getting in zero offense for a while before finding an opening and battling his way up to a few believable nearfalls that even I cheered for, despite knowing there was no way he would win. It goes to show just how talented Styles is, as the storytelling was brilliant and it was impossible not to root for him to overcome Lesnar. This was by far Brock's best match since returning to the WWE, and certainly his longest. I'm glad he actually played ball instead of being stuck in his ways like his match with Dean Ambrose at WrestleMania.

John: Thumb in the Middle

To its credit, the last few minutes of this match were exciting as hell. The second that Styles got to turn it on and look like the world’s best wrestler, the complexion of the match changed for the better. Heck, I even got a kick out of watching Styles flip and somersault around the ring like Kota Ibushii selling for a blow-up doll.

But none of that can erase the beginning of the match, where Brock Lesnar once again went full-on SNK Boss Syndrome and mauled AJ with minimal effort. I get it, Brock’s a beast that doesn’t lose to anyone that isn’t essentially retired, but watching him mindlessly murder everyone in his path with little effort has gotten stale. And after three very competitive Universal Championship matches in his last three showing, booking Brock to look like he’s almost never in danger only made Styles, and the entire SmackDown Roster by extension, look like jokes that can’t hang. This was the best Lesnar match since 2015, and another reminder that I think it’s time for Brock to go away again.


Men's Survivor Series Elimination Match

Team Raw (Kurt Angle, Braun Strowman, Finn Bálor, Samoa Joe, Triple H) def. Team SmackDown (Shane McMahon, Randy Orton, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, John Cena)

Rating:   THE WORST

Owen: Thumb Down

Oh boy, this match had a whole lot of potential that was squandered in the worst fashion, including an ending worse than either SummerSlam John and I attended (2015 and 2016). There were some small good parts, like seeing Finn Bálor and Shinsuke Nakamura go toe-to-toe for a bit and Nakamura grinning from ear-to-ear when he got to fight Triple H. But while these were fun for smarky assholes like us, it didn't really serve anything to the storytelling. This is Authority Triple H and not NXT Dad Triple H. And the ending absolutely proved that.

A lot of people felt like afterthoughts in this match on the SmackDown side, as Nakamura was disposed of easily and Bobby Roode just kind of existed. Hell, John Cena felt like he didn't even need to be here with how ineffective he was. Finn didn't get too much either, as he was more there to continue his feud with Samoa Joe.

Now, we need to talk about that ended. Triple H "saving" his brother-in-law Shane McMahon from Kurt Angle felt so bizarre and made absolutely no sense. It was a swerve that made me do the same look Braun Strowman did and confused the crowd into silence. Then when he Pedigreed Shane it was a collective groan because of course Triple H had to win and be the only one that matters. This fucking sucked, and the Braun stuff afterwards didn't make up for it. It soured me on the entire show, and not because Raw won. Because Triple H.

John: Thumb Down

Welcome back to The Triple H Show Starring Triple H, The Man Who Always Wins Even When He Loses. It’s a bad show where we have a bad time. We always have a bad time. There are only ever bad times.


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