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Kevin’s WWE Survivor Series Review

November 18, 2018 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Buddy Murphy Survivor Series WWE 205 Live
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Kevin’s WWE Survivor Series Review  

WWE Survivor Series
November 18th, 2018 | Staples Center in Los Angeles, California

Kickoff Match: Team Raw Tag Teams (The B-Team, Bobby Roode & Chad Gable, The Ascension, The Lucha House Party, and The Revival) vs. Team Smackdown Tag Teams (The Colons, The Good Brothers, The New Day, SAnitY, and The Usos)
With so many moving parts, this had potential to be a train wreck or an awesome match like the 2016 edition. This ended up ranking somewhere in the middle. It wasn’t stellar but was far from bad. First off, I popped for Primo Colon, still getting PPV checks after a decade or so. Anyway, most of the early stuff was fine. However, once it came down to Roode & Gable/Revival/Lucha House Party against New Day/Usos, this picked up in a major way. Gable and Roode showed off some dope tag moves. Gable also had the big spot of the match, hitting a massive German off the top and to the outside onto everyone left in the match. Xavier Woods fell victim to an insane Shatter Machine when he tried his springboard elbow. That left it down to my dream match, Revival vs. Usos. Their interaction wasn’t long, but it was really good. The Usos won with the big splash in 23:04. I called this the Sabu of matches. It was sloppy as hell, but really fun. I liked the shine for Revival and the back third of the match was so good. [***]

Team Raw Women (Bayley, Mickie James, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks, and Tamina) w/ Alexa Bliss vs. Team Smackdown Women (Asuka, Carmella, Mandy Rose, Naomi, and Sonya Deville)w/ R-Truth
Due to a Kickoff backstage fight between Ruby Riott and Natalya, Alexa Bliss kicked them off the team. She replaced them with a cohesive duo, Bayley and Sasha Banks. Nia got massive heat and she made sure to brush off her fist during her entrance. Naomi played team captain role, yet got eliminated first, followed quickly by Tamina. The less Tamina in a match, the better. Mandy Rose was given a lot of shine and fared far better than expected. She even pinned Mickie. Sonya and Asuka were the last two Smackdown girls, which is great. Sonya is underrated. They were matched against Bayley, Sasha, and Nia. Sonya and Bayley got eliminated via double countout. The finish was clear as soon as Nia was knocked outside. Asuka and Sasha had a very good back and forth. Nia knocked Sasha to the ring, allowing Asuka to eliminate her with the Asuka Lock. Nia then came in and hit a bunch of leg drops and a Samoan Drop to win as the sole survivor in 20:14. A well laid out match with some strong interactions. Sonya, Mandy, Sasha, and Asuka all got good shine, while nearly everyone had a small character moment. [***¼]

WWE Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins vs. WWE United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura
Aesthetically, this wasn’t good. Seth had his weird half red, half black Raw shirt, while Nakamura wore an awful looking Smackdown shirt and overdid the blue. This felt like one of the better Nakamura matches. Seth played off his skills well. They found ways to hit their signature stuff, but do so in new ways. For example, Seth went for a tope suicida, only for Nakamura to have it scouted and go to another side of the ring. Seth changed stride and went to hit it, but ran into a kick. This was littered with little moments like that. It felt like they had done their homework on one another. Both guys survived the finishers of the other, with Seth kicking out of the Kinshasa and Shinsuke getting a shoulder up on the Ripcord Knee. They had a dynamite closing stretch that saw Seth dodge the Kinshasa and win with the Curb Stomp in 21:26. The best Nakamura match since his debut against Sami Zayn. He felt like he put in a big effort and Seth was game, as always. Great back and forth, it never felt like it dragged, and it had a hot ending. [***¾]

WWE Raw Tag Team Champions AOP w/ Drake Maverick vs. WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Bar w/ Big Show
I came in excited for this. Two brute tag teams beating on each other. We mostly got that. However, it was hard to fully pay attention to this. Former WWE wrestler Enzo Amore made a fool out of himself in the crowd and got ejected. Apparently, he was drunk and acting like a fool. Anyway, Drake Maverick saved AOP from a loss by interfering. He got chased away by Cesaro and ran into Big Show. As Show threatened him, Drake pissed himself (literally). AOP then stole the win and Raw went up 3-0 after 9:06. It was fine, but the finish fell way flat and it never clicked the way I wanted. [**]

WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy [c] vs. Mustafa Ali
These guys have had one of the best rivalries of the year. Several ****+ bangers on 205 Live. Given them this big stage is fantastic. Their knowledge of one another was clear from the start. Neither man wanted to make that crucial first mistake. Things really picked up when Buddy launched Ali to the floor outside in brutal fashion. In fact, Ali took three huge bumps to the outside. His high risk style was proving to be just that. A risk. Yet, it’s kind of what he needs to match up against the “Juggernaut.” Ali took things up a notch with a Spanish Fly off the announce table. Still, it wasn’t enough to get past Murphy, who used a barrage of offense to retain in a wild 12:16. What else more is there to say about the cruiserweight division? It’s the best in wrestling. Another incredible match from these two.[****]

Team Raw Men (Bobby Lashley, Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre and Finn Balor) w/ Baron Corbin and Lio Rush vs. Team Smackdown Men (Jeff Hardy, The Miz, Rey Mysterio, Samoa Joe, and Shane McMahon)
The 2016 version of this was stellar, but 2017’s was kind of a disaster. The main story early was McIntyre not being willing to take Braun’s orders. He tagged himself in at the start, escaped the Coquina Clutch, and used a Claymore to eliminate Joe in about two minutes. Joe is basically no longer a threat. Drew kept tagging himself in to defy Braun. Speaking of Braun, Team Smackdown jumped him and Shane elbowed him through the announce table. We were treated to a brilliant segment of Rey against Finn that led to Finn’s elimination. Give me a singles match between them. The next story was Miz getting a tired Shane to try big moves. He beat Dolph with the Coast to Coast and then captain Miz made him try another, only for Braun to return and swat him down. That set up Braun destroying everyone. Shane got left alone against Braun, Drew, and Lashley. There was no drama. Braun just easily won in 24:02. There were flashes of greatness in there, like the Finn/Rey battle. However, the Drew/Braun stuff went away late and it had a boring final stretch of just Braun dominating. [**¾]

Charlotte vs. WWE Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey
I originally expected this to be the Mania main event. It was surprising that it didn’t even main event this show. Anyone who knows me knows that Charlotte ranks among my least favorite wrestlers in the world. But make no mistake, I know she’s good. Her week to week stuff lacks, but for big matches, she delivers. This was one of them. There was a level of intensity to this that was unmatched on the show. You’d think these two had a long rivalry. It felt like a fight and not just two people throwing out a collection of moves at one another. I saw some people complain about a few spots being sloppy late but I actually liked that. The match felt like a true struggle and when athletes get worn down, things aren’t going to be super crisp. It gave the match a more realistic feeling. At 14:10, from out of nowhere, Charlotte pulled out a kendo stick and hit Ronda for the DQ. A furious battle that was the best singles match of Ronda’s career to this point. Charlotte brought out her best for a big match. The post-match angle only helped add to make this special. [****¼]

That post-match angle saw Charlotte brutally assault Ronda. That included more kendo stick shots, the PILLMANIZER on Ronda’s throat, and Charlotte beating up referees. It was intense. The crowd was surprisingly unsympathetic, cheering and singing goodbye to Ronda.

WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman vs. WWE Champion Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan came out with a smug look like he was in complete control. Amazing. When the match started, he hit and moved like he did against Takeshi Morishima back in 2007. Then, Brock went into Brock mode. He dominated for the next eight or so minutes. He hit an F5 and could have won, but pulled Bryan up. It felt like it was just going to be another lazy Brock squash. The crowd hated it. I hated it. Then, the ref bump came. It was a case of a good ref bump, too. It opened the door for Bryan to hit a low blow and the Busaiku Knee. Though Brock survived, Bryan spent the rest of the match using his wits and speed to find brilliant ways to get the upper hand. They swept everyone up in the drama. Brock’s three weaknesses came into play, including the dick kick, steel steps, and ring posts. When Bryan put on the Yes Lock, the fans bought Brock possibly doing the unthinkable and tapping. Alas, he got free, powerbombed out of a triangle choke, and won with the F5 in 18:40. The first segment of Brock dominating went on way too long. I get what they were going for, but if you cut that back a bit, the whole match would be tighter. Either way, this was a banger and some of the best stuff Brock’s been a part of. [****¼]

The final score: review Good
The 411
This show basically gave me what I expected in terms of quality. I figured all the matches would be good. Instead, we got two that didn’t deliver (Men’s tag and AOP/Bar), but a few that were fantastic (CW Title, Ronda/Charlotte and Brock/Bryan). Top to bottom, another really fun event from WWE’s main roster. They are consistently good, though there were some baffling booking decisions here.