In the battle for brand supremacy there could be only one winner, but multiple MVP’s.
Survivor Series saw WWE’s three brands go to war in the name of honour. Ultimately, it was the former developmental (now premier) brand of NXT that took home the victory with an impressive score of four wins, eclipsing SmackDown’s two and Raw’s measly one.
For NXT, this was something of a coming out party. Yes, they are now on network television, but they haven’t been in front of an audience the size of the Survivor Series viewership before. This was a chance to show the wider WWE Universe what they can do. Due to this, some of the roster made a name for themselves overnight.
On the flipside, you have the always present names of Raw and SmackDown. Despite being on television every week some of these performers still managed to impress more than ever on this night.
Here are just five of wrestlers who impressed the most at Survivor Series.
Who else could start off such a list?
Keith Lee has been in the WWE for a relatively short space of time, but it was made clear in the Men’s Elimination Match that the company has a massive amount of respect for the big man. He made it to the end of the contest before being eliminated by Roman Reigns and he took part in a few star making spots along the way.
It should be proof enough that he is seen as a potential star that he was allowed to derail the momentum of Braun Strowman by flooring him on the outside. Beyond this impressive feat, he eliminated the divisive Seth Rollins to receive the pop of the night. Considering how protected both of these wrestlers are, neither is an inconsequential accomplishment.
Keith not only earned the respect of Roman Reigns on this night, but so too did he earn it from every fan in that arena and watching at home. If a star was truly born at this event, then it was unquestionably Keith Lee.
Now bask in his glory.
There was more than one standout performer in the Men’s Elimination Match as Drew McIntyre looked like a million bucks once again.
The Scottish Psychopath tends to be booked as a force to be reckoned with in these types of environments, but this was beyond his usual showings. McIntyre first impressed everyone watching by unequivocally winning a chopping battle with WALTER. That is something that nobody else in the WWE can say as WALTER typically tears people’s chests apart with his vicious strikes. On this night though those blows paled in comparison to those of Drew McIntyre. He followed this up by being the one to eliminate the monstrous Austrian with an empathic Claymore Kick.
Not satisfied with eliminating one monster, McIntyre then struck Braun Strowman with another Claymore to ensure that he couldn’t beat the referee’s ten count and so was counted out and eliminated. It may not be the same as pinning the man, but it was still a visual victory for Drew against one the most protected stars in the industry.
Whether or not this statement performance leads to any sort of a push is entirely unknown at this point. In the past it hasn’t, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that McIntyre shone on this night.
As the commentary team drilled home throughout the night, these past few weeks have been hell for Adam Cole.
The Panama City Playboy has competed in a violent ladder match with Dominik Dijakovic, defended his title against Daniel Bryan, and gone through incomparable pain in War Games the previous night. Still, though, he walked to the ring with his usual swagger and put in a match of the night performance against Pete Dunne.
It is because of these tribulations that Cole is on this list and Dunne is not. Both men worked harder than most to have the best match on the card, but it was more impressive for Cole to be able to do that after the punishment his body has taken as of late.
If the Panama Sunrise on the apron didn’t make you love this guy, then the reversal of the Bitter End into a second one sure as shooting did.
He gave the fans everything that he had and then some this weekend and because of that he should be hailed as a wrestling hero.
All hail Adam Cole Bay Bay.
Much like Adam Cole, Rhea Ripley has been through her fair share of hell over the weekend. On Saturday she picked up an empathic victory over Team Shayna in War Games, despite being at a big numbers disadvantage. Then, on Sunday she again scored a victory for her team by toppling Sasha Banks to become the sole survivor (If Candice and Shirai were actually eliminated) in the Women’s Elimination Match.
Ripley is a performer without compare. She has a totally unique look and build, giving her an immediate advantage when it comes to getting over with the fans. You can’t ignore the imposing Australian and with how good she is in the ring; you don’t want to either.
The entire build to Survivor Series has seen her positioned as the most dangerous woman in the mix, aside from Shayna. She has earned victories over some of the biggest names in the division and is destined to be a champion in no time.
Rhea is a rare talent that needs to be pushed carefully. This was a perfect example of how to do that and she won over a lot of people in the process.
Finally, let’s address the elephant in the room; The women’s triple threat match was not good.
It was slow, the crowd were ice cold for it, and no one seemed to be able to read the room and up the pace accordingly. With that said
In the end, match quality sometimes isn’t as important as the outcome and this was an outcome that showed the wider audience that Baszler is a terrifying competitor.
From the fact that both women immediately identified her as the biggest threat, it is clear that management wanted to build her up as a killer.
With a decisive victory over Bayley and that post-match attack from Lynch, it seems likely that Shayna is going to go to war with Lynch again down the line. The fact that she is being matched up with the biggest star in the division is impressive beyond words and shows just how far this former MMA star has come.
People talk about Ronda Rousey and how well she crossed over to wrestling, but the real success story is Shayna Baszler. She is fluid in the ring, her facial expressions have come on in leaps and bounds, and she is the most believable badass the company has this side of Brock Lesnar.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @Impers0nalJesus. Thanks for reading!