With Raw, Smackdown and NXT converging, Matthew Roberts takes a look at Survivor Series 2019, the latest release from WWE Home Video.
For the “first time ever” Raw, Smackdown and NXT officially “joined forces” on WWE PPV at Survivor Series 2019. But did the action live up to the hype? Courtesy of WWE Home Video’s latest release Matthew Roberts takes another look.
You could tell something was different about this years’ Survivor Series right before the main show had even officially started. Yes, this year, victories on the kickoff show were being counted towards the brand’s tallies as the evening went on. No doubt next year we’ll return to them being ignored.
Whatever the reasoning behind adding NXT to the mix with Raw and Smackdown this year there is no denying that it had definitely shook things up. Time will tell, of course, whether it will prove to have been the true start of anything big for anyone of the names who made an impression on the night but it would be churlish to complain about the WWE showcasing new names when that is one of many people’s most virulent complaints about the company, i.e. that they don’t do enough of that.
The kickoff matches, all of which are included here, were the usual mixed bag. A “cross-branded” tag team battle royale was as irrelevant as you might have expected. Existing to give the “lesser lights” of the promotion (and I only mean that in terms of profile) it’s choice of winners made you worry early that this was going to be a night when the promotion’s status quo was retained. It was what it was, irrelevant filler. The Cruiserweight title three-way between Lio Rush, Kalisto and Akira Towaza was better and as ever with that division made the most of the limited time that was allocated to them. The match between The Viking Raiders, The New Day and Undisputed Era was a lot better, even if rather worryingly few in the crowd seemed all that bothered in the early going.
Things “proper” kicked off with the fifteen women, three-way Survivor Series Elimination match. It all sounded like overkill in terms of numbers when it was announced and there was, to be fair, a feeling of that as it unfolded. That said, despite lasting nearly half an hour, it was a fast-paced match that kept things feeling brisk throughout. One advantage was that it gave us little glimpses of match-up’s that we haven’t seen on WWE TV before and that gave it, obviously, a fresh feeling in a time when by the very nature of the business (and the sheer amount of TV product the WWE has) gives us a few too many “recycled” matches. If the intention of this match was to cement the stardom of Rhea Ripley then it certainly achieved that, even if the “injury” spot including her teammates Io Shirai and Candice LeRae harkened back a little too close to the previous evening’s War Games shenanigans.
AJ Styles, Roderick Strong and Shinsuke Nakamura had a more “traditional” Triple Threat match next and whilst it was perhaps not quite up to the levels some might have been hoping for it was still a good, back and forth, an encounter that kept us all entertained. The all NXT match that followed it for the NXT Title was even better. Of course, Adam Cole versus Pete Dunne was always likely to be very good, even with the effort Cole in particularly had put in the evening before at War Games. That both men played on injuries and niggles from their participation at Takeover elevated this even more. Professionally this must have been one of the most satisfying weekends of Cole’s career.
As daft as it might sound on paper, The Fiend and Daniel Bryan couldn’t follow that one. The limitations of the Wyatt character in the ring (which really should have been ironed out before he became Champion but that’s another article for another time) were clear to see again but with Bryan using a fast-paced attack to keep his head above water this was about as good as you could have expected. Much, much better was the men’s fifteen man elimination match between the three brands. Some (well, many) of you will have been apoplectic that NXT UK Champion Walter was tossed aside so early and easily but as someone who simply doesn’t get or enjoy Walter it was probably the moment of the night for me simply because the opprobrium it was sure to generate online. Still when we were all basking in Keith Lee’s glory half an hour or so later that had all been forgotten about. Of course, some still complained he fell to Roman Reigns at the end, but those people probably don’t understand half of much about wrestling as they think they do. All told, this was the match of the night.
That other internet favourite Brock Lesnar had yet another fun and exciting match with a smaller opponent and whilst I could do without the whole “Dominic” storyline you have to admit that you probably fooled yourself for a minute that father and son would team up to give Rey the shock victory. More proof that people who denigrate Lesnar’s in-ring ability don’t know what they are talking about either.
Putting the women’s three-way on-top might have seemed like a good idea at the time but in practice it didn’t quite work. Bayley and Shayna Baszler, for all their talents, are no Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey in terms of profile and there was simply too much “one person plays possum on the floor whilst the other two go at it” going on in a loop for this to be anything other than merely ok. Proving that she is the 2019 Stone Cold, Becky lost without losing and then battered the winner anyway. Which is not a criticism of her in any way. Or Austin for that matter.
So in the final analysis Survivor Series probably fell a little short of being an all-time classic even if it should hopefully prove to be a game-changing night for the undoubted winners of the evening NXT. That said nothing really dragged and there was enough good-to-great action to make this a thumbs up from me.
Format Reviewed: Blu Ray
Photographs courtesy of Fetch and WWE
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