After the domination of NXT these last few weeks, I don’t think anyone expected them to even get a point on the board at Survivor Series, much less dominate the evening.
However, that’s exactly what happened as the Raw and Smackdown superstars were left to look like fools for most of the night. The action was fresh, as was the format, thanks to the inclusion of NXT, who proved once and for all that they are no longer a developmental brand.
Despite putting their bodies and careers on the line 24 hours earlier at the epic War Games TakeOver event, the NXT guys and gals still had enough left in the tank to defeat the best of Raw and Smackdown. WWE truly went all in on securing the present and future of NXT, to some detriment to the tried and trusted brands.
So, what happened altogether in Chicago at Survivor Series? Well, for starters, CM Punk did not return despite the overwhelming chants for him all evening. Here’s the lowdown from a memorable night of WWE entertainment.
Women’s Survivor Series Match: Team NXT Def. Team Raw And Team SmackDown
A great way to open the night with 15 of the best female performers on the planet squaring off. It was rather difficult to see what was going on from time to time with so many superstars on the apron which was always going to be the case with so many featured. Nonetheless, they did very well and delivered an exciting contest.
Rhea Ripley was portrayed as the true star of the contest, dominating proceedings and looking like a million bucks in the process. She is the future of this women’s division. Charlotte Flair and Asuka turning on each other made sense in the grand scheme of things as they are set to clash at TLC next month, while Sasha Banks felt wasted here. Overall, a very good way to start the show and give NXT a positive start.
Roderick Strong Def. AJ Styles And Shinsuke Nakamura
This one didn’t go as long as I expected so it never got elevated to a classic, although it was still a very good encounter between three of WWE’s finest. Strong winning was a surprise, though. I’d have put money on Nakamura taking this one home.
WWE really are pushing these NXT guys to the moon, which is great but sometimes the more established stars need to win first so it means more when the up and comers get their victory. Strong pinning Nakamura surprised the crowd, and put NXT two up on the night, with the gold brand threatening to run away with it.
NXT Championship: Adam Cole Def. Pete Dunne
An outstanding match here at Survivor Series, which was fast becoming another TakeOver event with all the NXT inclusion. Adam Cole took immense punishment the previous night at War Games, but still had enough left in the tank to retain his title against a very game Pete Dunne, who shined when the lights were brightest
Some have called this one a classic, but I’d say it was just a notch below that. The final stretch which saw a ton of near falls and counters were truly mesmerising. Both men are incredible at this style of wrestling and they got the fans on their feet throughout. A show stealer, no doubt about it.
WWE Universal Championship: The Fiend Def. Daniel Bryan
This was what it was. The Fiend dominated Bryan for the first part of the bout, before Bryan channelled the Yes Movement to rally back only to get caught in the Mandible Claw and pinned. It was basically a less over version of a Brock Lesnar squash. It just didn’t work.
Having The Fiend be dominant is all well and dandy, but he needs to have a weakness for us to believe he will eventually lose. Undertaker was never indestructible, neither is Brock Lesnar, so why is Bray Wyatt now he wears a Halloween mask? It’s just a bit odd. That red lighting is also very annoying and makes it difficult to see what’s going on in the ring. A lot needs to be done to perfect this new character.
Male Survivor Series Match: Team Smackdown Def. Team Raw And Team NXT
This was absolutely outstanding. If it had main evented the show, no one would have complained. Roman Reigns’ latest mega push kicked off as he was the sole survivor despite the implosion of his team, while NXT was put over as a credible force to be reckoned with.
Seth Rollins being eliminated by Keith Lee was a major surprise. I was convinced Rollins would either be the last man standing or turn on his team mates. I’m not sure where he goes from here. Matt Riddle embarrassing Randy Orton by rolling him up for an early elimination was well executed, as was the immediate reply in the form of an RKO. I’m down for a feud between these two. Tommaso Ciampa looked a real star too, and almost came away with the victory for NXT before The Big Dog got the win for team blue.
No Holds Barred Match For The WWE Championship: Brock Lesnar Def. Rey Mysterio
Simply put, this was WWE and sports entertainment at its absolute finest. Despite how short the bout was, they packed a lot in and delivered a typical Lesnar car wreck of a contest. Mysterio took a massive beating in the early going which almost resulted in his son, Dominick, throwing the towel in to protect his father.
The two generations of Mysterio then worked together on Lesnar to swing the momentum in Rey’s favour. The tandem 619 and Frog Splashes were well executed and popped the crowd huge. Lesnar quickly responded with a trip to Suplex City to remove Dominick from the equation before catching Mysterio with an F5 to retain. Just a lot of fun to watch.
Shayna Baszler Def. Bayley And Becky Lynch
On paper, this was the right call to have the women headline Survivor Series as it was the most hyped of all the contests. Also, having Shayna Baszler win and secure the overall victory for NXT was also smart. What wasn’t great was the actual match which was rather a let down all things considered.
The fans repeatedly chanting for CM Punk did not help matters though, as the women did everything they could to deliver a credible main event, but nothing really clicked. Many expected Ronda Rousey to return to cost The Man, which would’ve helped give this one the boost it desperately needed, but alas it was not to be. Having Lynch beat up Baszler after the match and put her through the announce table got a huge reaction, but maybe they would’ve been better served to have that take place during the contest.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @JK_CFC3. Thanks for reading!