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Stew’s WWE Survivor Series 2023 Review

November 25, 2023 | Posted by Rob Stewart
WWE Survivor Series CM Punk Returns to WWE Image Credit: WWE, TNT Sports
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Stew’s WWE Survivor Series 2023 Review  

All right, no time for much preamble here because I was recording a Christmas podcast until right when this started. Let’s cover Survivor Series!

8:10pm: Kicking us off, we have the Women’s War Games match. Michael Cole notes that Becky Lynch and Bayley are starting the EVENT, but not the MATCH, because “the match doesn’t start until all women are in the ring”. That’s ticky tacky and you know it, Cole! If the MATCH isn’t until everyone is in, what are we supposed to call the whole first half?!

8:14pm: Speaking of which, I would NOT have predicted Bayley and Becky as the starters to this match. Going heavy and main event caliber right off the bat. War Games feels like it usually starts off with the cardio stars (not that Becky or Bayley are slouches there).

8:17pm: Dakota Kai gets involved on the outside, allowing the good guy team (Shotzi is out next to give Becky a friend against Bayley) to have the advantage, but not TOO much of one.

8:21pm: After a few minutes of Shotzi and Becky having the two-on-one advantage, Iyo Sky comes into the match.

8:23pm: Iyo tries to climb with a garbage can to the top of the cage, and Cole and Graves remind us of what she is capable of up there. KEP THIS IN MIND.

8:25pm: Bianca Belair, who has TWO braids tonight, enters the match and immediately starts whipping her opponents with them. I guess two braids is her character growth?

8:28pm: Kairi Sane is out next, and the fans continue to boo everyone that doesn’t get a table to bring into the ring.

8:31pm: Charlotte, being the last heroine into the match, enters the match. She didn’t get a table, and she’s a good guy. The fans should hate that.

8:35pm: Iyo actually goes to duplicate her trash can dive from a few years ago, and suddenly Cole and Graves act like this is some madness they have never seen before. YOU WERE JUST REMINDING US ABOUT IT, COME ON.

8:36pm: Asuka is out last, and she FINALLY gives the crowd the table they direly want. She is the biggest babyface of the match for a moment.

8:38pm: Damage CTRL wrap Bianca and Becky up in a chain, then do four corners’ worth of basement dropkicks to their faces. Excellent spot.

Shortly thereafter while I was typing, Asuka hits the blue mist onto Shotzi. I was waiting to see how the mist spot would go and if she would hit a teammate by accident. But nope!

8:41pm: Charlotte hits a moonsault from the top of the cage onto the entirety at Damage CTRL.

8:44pm: CHAOS HAS BEEN HAPPENING, and I can’t keep up. Bayley has been making save after save to keep the match going. Everybody swaps into the second ring and MORE CHAOS ENSUES. This match rules.

8:46pm: Bayley pushes Kairi Sane out of the way of a Spear, then takes big moves from everyone, leading up to Becky giving her the Manhandle Slam through the table. The good guys win! Curious to see how Bayley comes out of this with Damage CTRL. She took the L, but took it by saving her teammate. I really think the Bayley Gets Turned On thing is a bit too telegraphed. I don’t want to see it happen.

To that point, I was really hoping Damage CTRL was going to win this. Nuts. Especially since this virtually guarantees that Judgment Day wins later on, right? I’m kind of tired of them already. Except for Dom. I still love Dom.

8:52pm: We get a post-match Ruffles skit/commercial that sees R-Truth return. Has he been back? I feel like this is the first time I’ve see him since his injury. Either way, it’s always good to see Truth. Now I want potato chips, and I JUST ate leftover turkey and pie. Thankfully I don’t have any to feat upon.

8:53pm: Sami Zayn and Jey Uso are together backstage. Randy Orton has not shown up yet for their team, and Jey Uso feels like that’s his fault. Sami reassures him it is not.

8:55pm: It’s time for GUNTHER vs The Miz for the Intercontinental Title. I’m hoping we get a reinvigorated Miz here. He hasn’t been taken seriously in, what, three years? Ever since Lashley killed him for the world title that he himself gifted The Miz. Get this man some new minions! Have him find his groove again.

The only other option is a 3 minute squash, right?

9:01pm: Corey Graves gives us the betting odds for this match. Apparently it’s -5000 for GUNTHER. I’ve just never heard anyone openly give the betting odds for a match on commentary. Strange.

9:10pm: Miz has had a decent match, but not by going back to what used to make him great. He’s just wrestling like a smart babyface. And he just kicked out of the Powerbomb.

9:11pm: Just as I type that, Miz hits a big running kick to the groin while the ref’s back was turned. The fans are fully on Miz’ side as they chant “One more time”.

9:13pm: After a match that was more entertaining than it should have been–even if Miz just hung in there based on grit and willpower instead of his old cunning and deviousness–GUNTHER wins via tap out to a Liontamer type Boston Crab hold.

9:18pm: Dragon Lee vs Santos Escobar is up next, and it should be a banger that the fans might not care about. It feels like it’s been a minute since we’ve really seen Santos GO, but he should have the freedom to do so tonight.

9:29pm: To my pleasant surprise (and maybe I ought to remember this is Chicago), the crowd has been heavily into this one so far.

9:33pm: Santos wins clean with the Phantom Driver! The match could have stood to have had another few minutes to let these two guys go nuts, but it was a fun as hell sprint.

9:37pm: A match I’m not sure I knew was happening–Rhea Ripley vs Zoey Stark–is up next. I should probably pay more attention to these things, but this feels like it will be a negligible W for Rhea as we await Jade Cargill winning the Royal Rumble and challenging her at ‘Mania.

9:45pm: Rhea with some crazy hair tonight. Not sure if she has some small extensions in or what, but her hair doesn’t look long enough typically to do what it’s doing here.

9:53pm: This has been an excellent, high-impact match! A lot of times when you see some rigidity in women’s matches, it’s because they are trying to be a bit too fluid and athletic. This match is just too strong, hard-hitting ladies really laying it in.

9:54pm: Rhea wins after Riptide, allowing us all to hear her absolutely fantastic “This Is My Brutality” song again. Always the best part of a Rhea Ripley match and victory.

9:59pm: Men’s War Games is next, and Randy Orton still isn’t here! Oh no! But maybe CM Punk is, though, haha. I kid, I kid.

10:06pm: Finn Balor starts off the match for Judgment Day.

10:12pm: Seth Rollins is starting off for the good guys. Kinda risky for the world champion to start off a match like this when the Money In The Bank holder is right around.

10:13pm: By not having Randy Orton immediately available for the bout, we of course get a CM Punk chant to start the match (sorry, Michael Cole; I mean the Pre-Affair That Isn’t Technically The Match Yet Just Wait Okay). It fades quickly into the fans singing Seth’s music, though.

10:15pm: Nevermind, the Punk chant is back.

10:17pm: JD McDonagh is in next for Judgment Day.

10:25pm: After Jey Uso is the second member of the heroes, Damien Priest is up next for Judgment Day, and he has to hold back Drew McIntyre to let himself be third.

10:27pm: Sami Zayn is up next to save his buddy Jey Uso from the lopsided beatdown. He brings a table into the fray, causing the fans to chant Ucey.

10:30pm: Three minutes in, the fans are STILL chanting and singing for everything Sami is doing, as he has been a house of fire since entering.

10:31pm: Drew McIntyre is finally in. He goes after Jey after laying out Sami and Seth.

10:34pm: Cody Rhodes is in, which mens DOM IS NEXT. Curse this match making me wait for The Dirty One.

10:36pm: Cody and Seth start arguing after working together with a bull rope on Balor. Seth demands to know if Randy Orton is coming or not!

10:37pm: Dominick Mysterio is in! So it’s three minutes until Randy’s big entrance. Dom gets a little flurry of offense, but then the four good guys all gang up on him pretty hard.

10:40pm: McIntyre and Priest do a tandem three-man chokeslam to Sami, Seth, and Cody.

10:41pm: Randy’s turn comes up, but we get Rhea coming out to cash in the Money In The Bank instead. Remember back when The Miz had Money In The Bank and it was ruled invalid to have someone cash in on your behalf when John Morrison did a cash-in for him? But whatever, because before she officially can, Orton’s music hits and he enters the match.

I like to think Randy was backstage, hurriedly changing after just pulling in to the arena and going “oh crap I’m late!”

10:47pm: McDonagh gets chucked off the top of the cage into an RKO, then Cody hits Cross Rhodes (just one!) onto Damien Priest to get the win!

10:50pm: WHAT WHAT WHAT CM PUNK IS HERE. He doesn’t… do anything. But he’s here! He pals around with the crowd a bit, and… that’s it. Still, it popped the hell out of the audience.

I’m actually surprised WWE is taking the chance on the guy after his cancerous stint in AEW, but hey… a pop is a pop. I can’t imagine WWE puts him in a spot where he can’t be easily replaced. It will be wild to see where this goes from here, wrestling fans. What an era!

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
A completely entertaining show, with a phenomenal Women's War Games match, and a damn good men's one. The road between those two was filled with high quality matches, even if they weren't always relevant (Santos vs Dragon Lee) or the ending was easily predictable (Rhea vs Zoey; GUNTHER vs Miz). A quite good, if not amazing night of wrestling.

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WWE Survivor Series, Rob Stewart