First Up: The Shield vs. The New Day
For an opening match, this was easily one of the highlights of the night.
It wasn't perfect: one minor issue was the New Day performing their trademark Unicorn Stampede a little too long on Dean Ambrose. But there was plenty of frenetic energy. Highlights included a double Midnight Hour as all Shield members got their finishers in at one point, and Kofi leaped over both New Day brothers onto Ambrose, only for Big E to follow suit.
The Shield scored the win with a Triple Powerbomb from the second rope. It seems fair that Ambrose got the pin when he seemed to suffer most of the abuse in this one.
Match Rating: 4 stars (Out of 5)
Becky Lynch, Tamina, Naomi, Carmella, Natalya vs. Team Raw Asuka, Alicia Fox, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Nia Jax
The only frustration of this match was Becky Lynch eliminated first and early. I mean Alicia Fox outlasted Lynch, seriously? This was a by-the-numbers, but still entertaining affair. Asuka was the real star of this match though Natalya deserves credit for committing to her role as a cartoon villain. After a so-so debut, having Asuka dominate is a smart move to ensure her as dominant.
Match rating: 3.25 stars
Baron Corbin vs. The Miz
Strange that this was a heel vs. heel match. Though I have to give WWE bookers credit for sticking to their guns, one quirk was that they seemed to portray either guy as the face depending on perspective. Miz was defending the honor of his pregnant wife while Corbin was overcoming the odds of Miz and the Miztourage.
This may have been the sleeper match of the night, with plenty of back and forth action. It wasn't the best, but it was better than expected, especially in a battle of evil vs. evil. Corbin got the duke, the first smackdown win of the night.
Match rating: 3.25 stars
The Bar vs. The Usos
Both teams have had superb matches with the teams who faced off earlier: The Shield and the New Day respectively. While this match never reached those heights, it was still a respectable effort. There were plenty of near falls and even an attempt to recreate the nail-biter finish of last year's 20 man tag match.
Like last year, the final bits were the best part with some creative offense such a tag turned into a diving splash to the outside. The Usos evened the score from last year with a series of double superkicks followed by a splash.
Match rating: 3.75 stars
Charlotte vs. Alexa Bliss
This was a veritable dream match, with two of the most talented and charismatic women always seeming to be on opposite brands. (Okay, they faced in NXT, but they weren't the megastars they are now.) While the match relied a little too heavily on Alexa dominating followed by Charlotte dominating, there was still plenty of action. Alexa showed that her bag of tricks is deeper than she gets credit for and Charlotte played a good hero-in-distress. There was still plenty of action, with both women narrowly escaping each other's big moves.
Charlotte won by making Alexa tap to the Figure Eight in a pretty fun match.
Match rating: 3.5 stars
AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar
Boy, did WWE make the right call by switching out Mahal for AJ. It's also amazing that with a fairly recent switch, WWE still had enough material for a decent video package. Over the last few months, Lesnar has gotten a reputation for not being able/willing (more realistically willing) to go more than 10 minutes. While Lesnar has proven he can make an art form out of short matches—see his match with Goldberg from Mania this year - this was a reminder that the man can still get the job done in full matches.
The early portions of the match saw Brock dominate AJ with German suplexes. Unlike Cena at Summerslam '14, Styles fought back. There was a botch here, a near botch there, but both men brought their A-game. It should be no surprise Brock got the duke in this one, but much like the Rocky story they compared this to, AJ put up a valiant fight against someone who could squash him like a bug. For goodness sake, Lesnar sold AJ's calf-crusher like he was legit going to tap out.
Match rating: 4.25 stars
Team Raw vs Team Smackdown
Kurt Angle, Triple H, Finn Balor, Braun Stroman and Samoa Joe vs. Shane McMahon, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, Randy Orton and John C
Last year's Raw vs. Smackdown match was truly an epic encounter, a near hour-long bout with A-listers bringing their A-game, easily a match of the year candidate. This year well, I wouldn't call it a match of the night candidate. A big problem was that the action felt a little mechanical. The match moved along at a pace that felt like they had to check certain boxes: The eliminations felt predictable. Owens and Zayn interfered, which was good to continue their story. But their interference felt so uneventful that it felt like going through the motions. Even putting Stroman through a table felt mechanical.
Adding injury to insult, the first four eliminations were the company's future stars: Roode, Nakamura, Joe, and Balor were all eliminated early. Even John Cena was taken out fairly uneventfully. Not counting Stroman, the last participants were middle-aged part-time authority figures: Triple H, Shane McMahon, and Kurt Angle.
While it may sound like the negatives are outweighing the positives, this match wasn't a total wash. With those names, it should be no surprise that this match still brought solid action. The match even saw a few dream pairings such as Samoa Joe vs. John Cena and Triple H vs. his Canadian equivalent Bobby Roode (Triple Eh) if you will.
This might have made this match a little more forgivable, except for that ending. In the end, Triple H gave Kurt Angle a Pedigree and let Shane pin him. I have a feeling that this will pay off in a storyline. Regardless of how good this storyline is, it'll never change just how awkward this ending was, with long pauses and Stroman looking perplexed.
While this did reek of McMahon hubris, Stroman standing triumphant over Triple H at least showed some forward thinking. Also for a good laugh, check out the clip of Hunter walking into the entranceway after the match.
Match rating: 3.5 stars
My Overall Feelings
Overall, Survivor Series was a pretty solid show. While there were some irksome moments, especially in the main event. While there were only two great, standout matches, there were no major stinkers either. Also, the Raw vs. Smackdown narrative added suspense to each match.
© 2017 Alex deCourville