‘Fantasy Warfare Just Got Real’. It’s the tag line that’s been drilled into our heads for the last month or so. In the year 2016, Goldberg and Brock Lesnar are facing each other for no other reason than to promote WWE’s new video game. But outside of that, the core of this show is about which show is better, Raw or Smackdown. To determine this, multiple elimination tag team matches have been set up for each division. A match for the the men, the women and the tag teams. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a favourite and I’ve been leaning towards Smackdown. The blue brand has been consistently producing the better show for months now, so hopefully Survivor Series finishes with my preferred brand standing tall.
5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series Women’s Elimination Match:
Team Raw (Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Nia Jax & Alicia Fox) vs. Team Smackdown (Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, Alexa Bliss, Carmella & Naomi)
Before the match begins, it’s revealed that Nikki Bella has been attacked backstage and can’t compete. Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan names Natalya as her replacement. Carmella is first eliminated by a poorly executed axe kick from Alicia Fox, who was then quickly eliminated by Alexa Bliss. Nia Jax threw everyone around for a bit like someone tearing apart a living room to look for their keys and Naomi is counted out as a result. The first shocker of the night comes when Natayla gets a quick roll up and eliminates Sasha Banks much earlier than expected. Charlotte and Natalya’s never ending rivalry from earlier this year was renewed when Charlotte eliminated her after a big boot. Another surprise occurred when Becky Lynch made the powerful Nia Jax tap out. Charlotte takes out Alexa Bliss twenty seconds later.
Leaving us with Charlotte and Bayley on Team Raw and Becky Lynch the sole woman left on Team Smackdown. Becky fights valiantly but ultimately falls to the Bayley to Belly to give Team Raw the first win of the evening. While initially celebrating the victory with her, Charlotte attacks Bayley and leaves her laying. I’m usually so excited whenever Bayley picks up a victory, but it just didn’t feel right having someone with the character like Bayley to be beating her friend in a two on one situation. This brand fighting thing will be done after tonight, so I’ll excuse it and we can get back to the Bayley I know and love tomorrow.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Sami Zayn vs. The Miz (c) (w/Maryse)
If Sami Zayn wins, the Intercontinental Title comes to Raw
Another inter-promotional match but this time it’s in singles competition. The Miz just regained the championship from Dolph Ziggler on this past weeks Smackdown and now must immediately defend it against Raw’s Sami Zayn. The Miz has continued his rivalry with his boss Daniel Bryan, each of them getting more personal in their war of words. Miz uses various signature manoeuvres that were quintessentially Daniel Bryan just to get to him. The Miz is having the best year of his career and Sami Zayn is everyone’s ray of sunshine, so I’m super into this match. When Sami has Miz in the figure four, Maryse runs over to the timekeeper and rings the bell. This makes Sami release the hold and think he’s won the Intercontinental title. When the referee waves it off, Miz rolls up Sami and sneaks away with the victory. Smackdown gets it’s first win of the evening.
10-on-10 Traditional Survivor Series Tag Team Elimination Match:
Team Raw (The New Day, Cesaro & Sheamus, Enzo & Big Cass, The Shining Stars & The Club) vs. Team Smackdown (Heath Slater & Rhyno, Breezango, The Hype Bros, The Usos & American Alpha)
There are twenty men out there at once, that is too many people! Thankfully though, it doesn’t stay that way for very long. Fandango is immediately eliminated by The New Day to take out Breezango, which crushes my spirits. I’m vindicated twenty seconds later when The Usos knock out Kofi Kingston with a superkick to eliminate The New Day. The match is barely a minute in and two teams are already gone, one of them being the Raw Tag Team Champions. The match properly gets started now with the remaining teams and much to my delight, The Hype Bros are next eliminated by The Club after a Magic Killer. Another blessing comes my when The Shining Stars are hit with an elevated bulldog by American Alpha and they too are eliminated.
After a lot of things making me happy, it’s time to crush my spirits again as American Alpha are next to be taken out after another Magic Killer from The Club. Following this, The Club, Heath Slater & Rhyno and Enzo & Big Cass are all taken out within ninety seconds of each other which leaves us with Cesaro & Sheamus on Team Raw against The Usos for Team Smackdown. Back and forth with many near falls for the next five minutes but Cesaro locks Jey Uso in the Sharpshooter and makes him tap out. A Sharpshooter wins in Canada, Bret Hart’s miserable face may have cracked a brief smile when that happened. Cesaro & Sheamus survive and gives Raw another win.
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Kalisto vs. Brian Kendrick (c)
If Kalisto wins, the Cruiserweight Title and entire Cruiserweight division comes to Smackdown
Brian Kendrick is in the middle of a career rejuvenation, while the Cruiserweight division as a whole isn’t quite hitting the mark. Kalisto has just returned from two months off on injury and is the only Smackdown superstar to qualify in the Cruiserweight division. It’s a mystery as to why he’s just not on Raw in the first place. Anyway, the match goes roughly twelve minutes and it was quite good. Kalisto hit a moonsault side slam off the apron to the floor which woke the crowd up big time. In the end, Baron Corbin interfered and attacked Kendrick then Kalisto to cause the disqualification. But because Corbin hit Kendrick first, Kalisto is the one that loses and the Cruiserweights are staying put on Raw.
5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series Men’s Elimination Match:
Team Raw (Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Seth Rollin, Roman Reigns & Braun Strowman) vs. Team Smackdown (AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton & Shane McMahon)
This one was certainly a marathon and not a sprint. This match clocked in at just under an hour and the first elimination doesn’t come until we were over sixteen minutes into it. Dean Ambrose is the first to go after a brawl with fellow team mate and enemy AJ Styles, he was then hit with a running powerslam from Braun Strowman. Strowman takes an RKO on the announce table which leaves him in perfect position for Shane McMahon to hit his Leap of Faith elbow drop from the ring to the announce table. Shane makes it back in the ring, but Braun is counted out when James Ellsworth (the Team Smackdown mascot for some reason) holds his lengths to prevent him from making the ten count. Ellsworth pays for it when Strowman chases him up to the stage and then tosses him off of it and through a table, killing him instantly (I assume, I’m not a doctor).
When Chris Jericho looks to be in trouble, his best friend Kevin Owens runs in and attacks AJ Styles with ‘The List’ and because that’s technically a weapon, Kevin Owens is eliminated by disqualification. While Jericho is arguing with the referee over the decision, Randy Orton hits an RKO to eliminate Jericho. A while later, Shane McMahon attempts to go coast to coast, he gets caught mid air in a BRUTAL spear. Shane is eliminated by knock-out and Toronto chants his name in respect for his incredible effort tonight. Dean Ambrose returns despite being eliminated earlier to attack AJ Styles, in the process we get a SHIELD reunion and gets Rollins and Reigns to help him give a triple powerbomb through the announce table to Styles. Rollins gets Styles into the ring and eliminates him.
We’re down to Reigns and Rollins on Team Raw and Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt on Team Smackdown. When Rollins attempts a frog splash on Wyatt, Orton slides into the ring to hit an RKO from literally out of nowhere! That RKO was so good I was a little aroused, I’m not going to lie. Wyatt pins Rollins and Raw is down to just Roman Reigns. Just when it looks like Reigns is about to spear Wyatt, Orton pushes Bray out of the way and takes the spear, sacrificing himself for Bray. Bray Wyatt hits Sister Abigail and pins Reigns. Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton survive and Team Smackdown gets the win. Wow, that was a long match.
Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman)
It’s Goldberg’s first match since 2004 and in his last match he beat Brock Lesnar. But Brock Lesnar today is very different to the one he faced twelve years ago. Lesnar has not been beaten in almost three years. He gave John Cena the worst beating of his career. He took The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania. This match has been hyped for the last few months with video packages, appearances on ESPN’s Sportscenter and it’s one of the biggest shows of the year. They stare face to face and the bell rings. Brock picks up Goldberg and rushes him into the corner. Goldberg retaliates by shoving Brock to the ground. Brock gets back up and walks right into a spear. Goldberg then hits another spear. Goldberg picks up Lesnar and hits the Jackhammer. ONE. TWO. THREE.
THAT’S IT! Goldberg, in his first match in twelve years has beaten Brock Lesnar in less than ninety seconds! So little has happened but there’s so much the process here. Is there a reason they didn’t go ahead with a full length match? Is Goldberg going to stick around? If the decision was made for Lesnar to lose, why was it as harsh as this? It’s only several hours removed from this match result and none of it is making any sense to me. But, wow is there a hell of a good reason to tune into Raw tomorrow!
Survivor Series was such an odd show from top to bottom. You had oddly timed eliminations in all three matches with the likes of Sasha Banks, The New Day, Dean Ambrose and American Alpha all being eliminated way earlier than expected. They definitely gave you the shock factor, but in a few of those cases, having them stick around for a little longer probably would have been beneficial to the actual match itself. Every match in ring wise was above average, it was a four hour show with only six matches so each one of them had their time.
The tag team elimination match suffered due to the number of bodies around the ring as it made everything look too clustered. The women’s elimination match didn’t exactly do wonders for making the Smackdown women’s division look good. In the end, Smackdown came out of Survivor Series with two wins and Raw also scored two as well (they did get one by disqualification too, but that didn’t really count). So at the end of the show nobody won, but Smackdown didn’t lose which is what I’m happy about.
As for Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar, it’s still way too early to tell whether this will end up being the best decision ever made, the worst decision ever made or somewhere in the middle which is my guess. It made for an incredible jaw dropping moment and it had me yelling in surprise at my TV. In all honesty, that’s what I want from my wrestling, so I’m leaning towards being quite happy with the decision. Hopefully some of these things will make sense thanks to Raw tomorrow.
Final Rating: 8/10