It’s the 30th annual Survivor Series, the annual November tradition for WWE! Tonight, Goldberg returns to take on Brock Lesnar. Plus, three traditional Survivor Series elimination matches as Raw and SmackDown Live go head to head!
To get a primer on all things Survivor Series, starting back with 1987, check out my Survivor Series Top 10 series over at Place To Be Nation.
Cruiserweight Six-Man Tag: Drew Gulak, Tony Nese and Ariya Daivari vs. Rich Swann, Naom Dar and TJ Perkins
It’s amazing how WWE has made the Cruiserweights into a completely dull and pointless division. It took these six guys basically FOREVER to get the crowd into the match and it never did anything for me. The match was a preview for the new Cruiserweight show debuting on the WWE Network next Tuesday, which should give away a result of a later match. At least Rich Swann got the win, since he’s got the most charisma of anyone out there.
Winners: Rich Swann, Naom Dar and TJ Perkins
Luke Harper vs. Kane
A member of the “New” Wyatt Family (don’t ask me what’s new about them), Luke Harper is a damn good worker for a big man. Kane, on the other hand, is an OK worker for a man his age. I really wish they’d give Harper better stuff to do than fight Kane in a pre-show match, but at least he’s being used at all. Actually, you know what? I take it back. I’d rather him not on the show at all if he’s just going to get jobbed out to one chokeslam from Kane. What a ridiculous result. Let’s hope it isn’t an omen for things to come.
SURVIVOR SERIES 2016!
We’ve got three elimination matches tonight, and we’re starting the night off with the ladies! It’s Raw vs. SmackDown! Live!
Traditional Elimination Match: Team Raw Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Nia Jax and Alicia Fox vs. Team SmackDown! Live Becky Lynch, Naomi, Alexa Bliss, Carmella and
Nikki Bella Natalya
Well, it was SUPPOSED to be Nikki Bella in there as captain of the SmackDown! Live team, but Nikki was seen in the back saying she was hit from behind, so coach Natalya took her spot. I’ll assume we’ll find out later that Natalya attacked Nikki Bella at some point in the near future.
The women start off with quick tag segments that saw Nia Jax controlling the match for a while before Alicia Fox pinned Carmella and then Alexa Bliss got Fox to quicken the pace unnecessarily. They’ve got 6 matches over four hours. Don’t rush anything! The formidable Jax, though, couldn’t stay in the match after SmackDown champ Becky Lynch put her in an armbar, but Nia slammed Lynch into the barricade before Charlotte hit Alexa Bliss for her second elimination of the match.
Bayley gets the final elimination of the SmackDown champ Lynch before Charlotte attacks her surviving partner.
This match was booked really weird with an unnecessary back and forth and kept resorting to the old quick pinfalls/eliminations that used to plague women’s matches. Taking Nikki out of the match and then having Natalya get eliminated before the final 2 for her team made little sense and doesn’t do anything to push any kind of story forward. I was hoping for a near-classic, but I wouldn’t put it above the women’s match from the first Survivor Series, and it really should have been.
Winners: Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Nia Jax and Alicia Fox
Survivors: Charlotte and Bayley
Intercontinental Title Match: The Miz (c, SmackDown! Live) vs. Sami Zayn (Raw)
The Miz won back the title from Dolph Ziggler last week to take the Show Off’s place in this match. The question is, if Zayn wins, will the title go to Raw or will the champion go to SmackDown? I don’t think anyone has said anything definitively one way or the other. Zayn, by the way, beat former United States Champion Rusev to earn the shot here.
Sami spends a good chunk of the match favoring his knee, limping around at times to set up some drama with The Miz using a figure-four leglock, but I imagine it’s tough doing Blue Thunder Bombs, Topes and running kicks at the turnbuckle with an injured knee. Shockingly, Miz’s figure four seems to have improved a bit, but it’s still way too far out of character and Miz doesn’t work the legs nearly enough for it to make sense as a move.
On the other hand, Miz using a bunch of moves popularized by SmackDown general manager Daniel Bryan was fun, despite knowing that there will never be a payoff with a match between the two.
The ending of the match, though, came with a side of stupidity. Zayn had Miz in the Figure Four as Miz’s wife, Maryse, rang the bell to distract Zayn and get him to let go. And Miz took advantage for a roll-up three count that looked like one-and-a-half. Disappointing finish to a match that maybe should have been better.
Winner: The Miz
I’m so glad we get a series of commercials on pay-per-views now. Kay Jewelers, really? I get Hulu and the WWE toys, but how is this the right audience for a Kay Jewelers commercial?
Traditional Elimination Match: Team Raw Enzo and Big Cass, The Shining Stars, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Sheamus and Cesaro and The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) vs. Team SmackDown! Live Heath Slater and Rhyno, Tyler Breeze and Fandango, The Usos, The Hype Bros and American Alpha
We kick off the first 20-man tag team elimination match at the Survivor Series since 1988 with promos from Enzo and Cass and the New Day as Team Raw is announced and stands at the top of the stage. The sea of humanity in the ring is nuts and we can only hope they give this match enough time to build properly. Unfortunately, we start off with a quick succession of eliminations, as the New Day takes out Breezango and then the Usos shockingly eliminate New Day. Jimmy Uso got the pin – it’s his first Survivor Series elimination, as twin brother Jey has two coming into the evening.
I really don’t get the point of getting rid of The New Day so fast, as they are really the only established power team on the roster. Everyone else on Team Raw has been made to look like goobers for the most part. Not that Team SmackDown is any better, but at least they have American Alpha…
Unfortunately, the bookers of this show have no idea what they should focus on here and build to a final teams match-up of The Usos against Sheamus and Cesaro, the wacky tag team that hates each other pairing. A match like this is the reason why I stopped watching weekly TV shows and have trouble getting through a modern pay-per-view, because they don’t seem to have any idea of how to book a match any more or build to something interesting people wanted to see.
Let American Alpha fight back from a disadvantage to win the match. They were ridiculously over with the crowd. Instead, the VERY stale Usos are the final focus of the match for SmackDown! Live, facing off against Cesaro and Sheamus. I love Cesaro, but the tag team pairing isn’t going anywhere as long as The New Day have the tag team titles on Raw. But at the very least, they get the win here, giving Raw a 2-1 advantage in interpromotional matches.
Winners: Team Raw Enzo and Big Cass, The Shining Stars, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Sheamus and Cesaro and The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston)
Survivors: Cesaro and Sheamus
Cruiserweight Title: Brian Kendrick (c, Raw) vs. Kalisto (SmackDown! Live)
If Kalisto wins this, the division moves from Raw to SmackDown, and since the new 205 Live cruiserweight show is airing Tuesday nights after SmackDown! Live on the WWE Network, they may have telegraphed the outcome here.
Of course, WWE cares about the Cruiserweights about as much as I do, as Baron Corbin runs in to attack both men. He’s definitely not a cruiserweight. He didn’t leave both men laying. I have No idea what the point of that was, as Kendrick keeps the title and Raw keeps the cruiserweight division. I absolutely do not understand the booking of this show. At every turn, they seem to go out of their way to do the opposite of what SHOULD happen.
So the cruiserweight division keeps Kendrick as a headliner, instead of using someone with the potential of Rich Swann or Cedric Alexander (who had a great match with Bobby Roode at NXT‘s Madison Square Garden show Wednesday night).
Winner: Definitely not logic.
We’re down to two announced matches left to fill two hours. I assume this next match will take up a good chunk of time, though.
Traditional Elimination Match: Team SmackDown! Live AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose and Shane McMahon (with Team Mascot “The Chinless Wonder” James Ellsworth vs. Team Raw Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman
We get a much more deliberate, slower pace to start things off here, which probably means they are going to take their sweet time with this match. Which they kind of have to do.
Braun Strowman got a lot of great heat to start the match off, taking out almost everyone on Team SmackDown! (including an elimination of Dean Ambrose, number one contender to the WWE Title) until his former cult leader, Bray Wyatt came up and broke up some of the momentum. Orton nailed Strowman with an RKO onto a table, followed by Shane going from the top rope to the table with an elbow. Despite all of this, Strowman almost made it back in, but the Chinless Wonder held his leg and got him counted out. Strowman, in turn, tossed Ellsworth through a table with pizza boxes on at the top of the stage.
The stupid booking continues as Kevin Owens gets himself disqualified and Chris Jericho gets knocked out by an RKO from Randy Orton. Which means Team SmackDown! had a 4-2 advantage over Raw, but it also means that the two most popular guys in the match – Canada’s own Owens and Jericho – are out of the match early during a show IN CANADA. And Roman Reigns, who is still getting booed out of the building, is still getting the babyface comeback push.
And the only person who seems to be able to take Reigns out is Shane fricking McMahon, a 46-year-old father of three who only came back to the company earlier this year. Reigns, though, gets the last word, hitting a spear on Shane when the Commissioner tried to hit Reigns with a coast-to-coast. Shane, though, was knocked silly and didn’t keep his shoulder down, leading to some momentary confusion before the referee just sent him to the back with a glassy look in his eyes.
Rollins and Reigns, left alone on Team Raw, decide to reunite the Shield by putting Orton through a table, but AJ Styles breaks up what would have been a fan-popping moment. Ambrose, the third former member of the Shield, comes back and attacks his own team captain. As security tries to take Ambrose away, Reigns and Rollins take security out and the Shield reunites to put AJ Styles through a table with a triple power bomb.
Ambrose faces Styles in two weeks at the TLC pay-per-view.
And the two members of the Shield were left against the new Wyatt family, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton. Luke Harper shows up to help the Wyatts because this match hasn’t been overbooked enough, but he gets taken out by Rollins. Rollins, though, gets nailed with an RKO OUTTA NOWHERE when he leaps from the top to hit Bray, and Reigns is left alone with the Wyatts, because WWE really doesn’t get that no one cares about Reigns. To prove my point, the crowd goes CRAZY when Wyatt hits Reigns with Sister Abigail and pins him to give Team SmackDown! Live its first victory in elimination matches tonight.
Winners: Team SmackDown! Live AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose and Shane McMahon (with Team Mascot “The Chinless Wonder” James Ellsworth)
Survivors: Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton
What a terrible show with ridiculous booking. Wait… What do you mean there’s still one more match? It’s Goldberg vs. Lesnar? Ah, hell.
Brock Lesnar vs. Bill Goldberg
It’s the main event set up because Goldberg was a pre-order bonus for the WWE2K17 video game. I bought the damn season pass for the game and I still don’t get Goldberg without paying extra money because I didn’t bother to preorder a digital download. For that alone, I hope Lesnar destroys him. Also, Goldberg hasn’t wrestled a big time match (or possibly any match) since WrestleMania XX, when he beat Lesnar… 12 and a half years ago. That was one of the worst WrestleMania matches ever, and these two guys were closer to their primes.
We have 40 minutes left as Goldberg gets escorted down to the ring. This will NOT end well for wrestling fans.
The match, though, doesn’t last very long. Goldberg hits Lesnar with one spear, two spears and then a jackhammer and pins Lesnar as Lesnar’s advocate Paul Heyman looks more shocked than when Lesnar pinned the Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX.
I’m assuming this means there will be a rematch at some point in the near future. The Royal Rumble? WrestleMania 33? I can’t believe that match went as quickly as it did. But, because it involved Brock Lesnar, it will have no impact on the weekly happenings on Raw Monday night, so that’s something.
Winner: Bill Goldberg
Overall thoughts: For the first time in a long time, a four-hour show went far less than the advertised time. The show, though, needed more time for the first two elimination matches.
This show was booked like it was done by a 12-year-old who’s never seen a Survivor Series before. Almost every result at the 2016 Survivor Series made zero sense and was counter-intuitive to what should have happened in order for the best possible result.
Much like other big shows this year, this won’t be a show that fans rewatch over and over. It’s a shame, because there was a lot of potential here – much like WrestleMania and SummerSlam – but it got wasted by a lot of stupid decisions.
WWE comes back with another special event in two weeks, with the SmackDown! Live exclusive TLC show, and then Roadblock happens two weeks after that.
Are you burnt out yet?
If not, be sure to check out the final chapter of the Survivor Series Top 10 over at the Place To Be Nation, coming later this week.