Hello everyone. You've landed on Planet Kayfabe here in the now 20 year old NoDQ Galaxy. The meet-up looked to be a lot of fun, so if you got to go I hope you had a great time. I hope you join you all some time... or maybe they all can join me in the mental hospital someday. Either way, shout out to Aaron, Jeff, Cindy and Kyle for a couple great videos along with their guests over the weekend. Now here's my thoughts on this year's Survivor Series event live from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
The show was built around "bragging rights" and "brand supremacy". They need to come up with a better angle in the future. Bragging rights doesn't mean anything when these matches aren't even going to be mentioned after Tuesday. No one in February is going to rub it in Shane's face that Smackdown got their ass kicked (oh, spoiler alert I guess). Neither really matters here. Brand supremacy? Come on. Raw is always going to be treated as the more important show of the two. It's funny because with this crowd Raw was basically the heel and Smackdown was the babyface in each match. Whatever, let's get into it.
Team SmackDown (The Usos, The New , Sanity, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, and The Colóns VS. Team Raw (Bobby Roode and Chad Gable, The Revival, The B-Team, Lucha House Party, and The Ascension (10-on-10 Survivor Series tag team elimination match)
Winner: Team Smackdown
Smackdown kicked things off with a win here and I hope you enjoyed it because later on in the show WWE would forget it even happened. Some, like Aaron Rift, are calling it the best pre-show match WWE has ever done. I tend to agree. I can't think of anything else off the top of my head that could compare. Usually the pre-show matches are 10 minute tops glorified TV matches with nothing special going on. This was a legitimate PPV match that would have fit nicely on the main card that went about 22 minutes.
All the competitors, especially the bigger names here... and Gable, really worked hard to make this match great. I can only imagine their frustrations when it pretty much went ignored the rest of the show like it never happened. I know and you know I'm not in the right mind, but I KNOW I saw this match. I wasn't imagining this. Come on, WWE. Last thing I need is another mental concern. The story they wanted to tell was the clean sweep for Raw, so why not just have Raw win this match instead of pretending like it never happened? Weird, but that's WWE for you. Oh well... To everyone involved, I appreciated your efforts. I usually don't pay much attention to the pre-show but you made it worth while.
Team Raw (Mickie James, Nia Jax, Tamina, Bayley, and Sasha Banks) (w/ Alexa Bliss) VS Team SmackDown (Naomi, Carmella, Sonya Deville, Asuka, and Mandy Rose) Women's 5-on-5 Survivor Series elimination match.
Winner: Team Raw
As expected Nia Jax came out to a ton of boos which she played up holding up her fist and WWE frantically putting over some lame hashtag to promote her sloppy work all match. Nia was barely involved but as many of you probably suspected she was the one to get the final pin here over Asuka. The crowd booed hard and the camera even zoomed in on a fan flipping the double middle finger to her.
That's a lot of heat, but I'm not in the school of thinking all heat is good heat. WWE was pretty much rewarding bad behavior here. The fans weren't booing her because Nia Jax is suddenly some great heel. It's because she's a shitty worker who f***ed up the hottest angle in WWE today. If it was good heat, they'd want to see her get beat, instead they don't want to see her and I predict we aren't far away from these boo's turning into "you can't wrestle" and "boring" chants during her segments.
All match long they were pushing that "Face Breaker" tagline. They reeeally wanna get that hashtag over. Whatever. What does that tell the locker room? Hey, ya want a big push? Just punch the champion in the eye and ruin the hottest angle in the company. Come on. This business is supposed to be a f***ing work. I know ACCIDENTS HAPPEN, I've heard that enough this past week, but Nia has a track record and in this business you're not supposed to hurt people so they can't work their next date. I know in this age of guaranteed money there's less emphasis on protecting your opponent, but that doesn't mean Nia's careless, sloppy work that f***ed up the possible main event and gave the champion a concussion should be rewarded.
Ya know what will be great? When WWE is putting over this little hashtag and in Nia's next feud she gives yet another woman a real concussion. Oh boy wouldn't that be fantastic heat! Heat is heat, right? Please. Give me a f***ing break. This broad belongs either in developmental or in a Torrid catalog if all she's going to do is hurt people for real in what is supposed to be make-believe.
Oh and the match was ok.
Seth Rollins (Intercontinental Champion) VS Shinsuke Nakamura (United States Champion)(Singles match)
Winner: Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins
Things picked up again here. They went about 22 minutes and watching it live I felt like this was Shinsuke Nakamura's best match on the WWE main roster. Seth Rollins however has had a year of great matches like this. I was expecting Dean Ambrose to interfere and that would allow Smackdown to tally a cheap victory in the record books. The longer and better this match went I thought they were going to have Dean come in and break it up just to piss the crowd off and get heat because HEAT! GOTTA GET THAT HEAT!
No, instead they decided to actually give the fans a good show and performance. Raw's Seth Rollins picked up the win wearing half a Raw shirt and half one of his own shirts. I wouldn't have minded if he just took it all all together. Ya know, because it was bothering my eyes... right. Nakamura was in all blue. Rollins was one of the more popular Raw guys, but the crowd was split down the middle here it seemed. Despite WWE not doing much with Nakamura even since winning the US title I hope this match showed them how much talent the guy has. Even with his handicaps on the mic, he is still able to get a reaction with his timing and mannerisms. I'm not calling for a big main event push, but... something. Do something with the guy. Business as usual for Seth Rollins, though. He continues to be great and will probably be the run away MVP in the NoDQ Year End Awards.
AOP (Raw Tag Team Champions) (with Drake Maverick) vs The Bar (SmackDown Tag Team Champions) (with Big Show) Tag team match
Winners: Raw Tag-Team Champions A.O.P.
Early in this match Rea1, Eric Arndt who you know better as Enzo Amore was seen in the crowd in the 2nd row disguised in a wig and hoodie. He removed his shit to reveal who he was to the crowd causing a distraction and began cutting his stage promo in the crowd while standing on his chair. He basically used the event to pull off a publicity stunt to promote an album he released on the same day. Hey, since WWE like rewarding bad behavior like with Nia Jax maybe they should have Enzo perform the lead single on Raw? Maybe even have him win the Royal Rumble? I mean come on. Think of the HEAT! Heat is heat, right? While you're at it make Stephanie McMahon WWE Champion because think of the ~HeeEEEeeeeEEEeeeAT~ it will get.
During this match there was a spot where Drake Maverick was scared by the Big Show so he pissed himself. I'm sure everyone under the age of 8 and Vince McMahon himself thought this was hilarious, but I didn't. It's not even like toilet humor is beneath me. I just have standards. It was great when Vince pissed his pants in the ring because it was actually built up the whole show and he had it coming. This just felt like a cheap gag that was just random and it's not going to get Big Show over as a monster and it certainly isn't going to get the Authors of Pain more over either.
Anyway, AOP went over. The pants wetting lead to the finish, but no one really remembers who won. Its the lame "humor". Seriously. The match sucked, but what were they thinking here? How do they expect Drake to have any credibility now? This is fine if you're a little preliminary comedy act. Not if you're managing the tag team champions. No wonder no one takes this division seriously.
Buddy Murphy (c) vs Mustafa Ali (Singles match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship)
Winner: Crusierweight Champion Buddy Murphy
The match was a fine crusierweight match that went just over 12 minutes. It took a while for the crowd to get into it since only the hardcorest of the hardcore fans watch 205 Live. They're great talents, but they aren't presented as a big deal. Good for them making it on the main card, though.
The main problem with the crusierweights is that they simply aren't unique in 2018. There's guys in the main event working that style who would have been considered crusierweights in 1998. Its a fine program for very young talents to cut their teeth and get some exposure, but its not the division anyone wants to make a living especially when they are barely promoted on the main roster. Murphy hit Murphy's law for the win, so as I figured he retained. Is this technically a Raw win since the c'weights were labeled "Raw exclusive" a couple years ago? It didn't make the final tally, much like the preshow. Good match, but everyone there is limited in terms of star potential.
Team Raw (Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Braun Strowman, Finn Bálor, and Bobby Lashley) (with Baron Corbin and Lio Rush) VS Team SmackDown (The Miz, Shane McMahon, Rey Mysterio, Samoa Joe, and Jeff Hardy) 5-on-5 Survivor Series elimination match
Winners: Team Raw
This is where I really started to notice that Renee Young was struggling tonight, as she does most nights. For a year I was advocating getting guys like Booker and Coach off Raw and putting Renee Young on there if WWE insists on having a 3rd person. Now I'm sticking with my gut in the first place. Just get rid of the 3 person booth. Renee's little random interjections were just horrible. She was great on the pre and post shows. On Edge and Christian's podcast months ago before she was slotted on Raw she talked about how she doesn't like commentary because you have no freedom and on Talking Smack she got to do her own thing.
Samoa Joe was out of this match quickly. Some are suspecting an injury. Who knows. It's weird though. I don't get it. He's one of the few actual over intimidating guys they have in an era with a roster full of skinny geeks and he was treated like a job guy here. Shane McMahon hit his elbow off the post to through the announcer's table onto Braun Strowman who I still think is taking too many bumps for a monster, but hey no shame in taking any offense from the "Best in the World" I guess. Still... How about no more f***ing selling for the 6'9" 300+ pound monster. People don't want to watch this guy sell for 15 minutes, they want to see him destroy shit. That's what got him over.
Shane would later hit his 'Coast-to-Coast' move and Renee had a terrible line about how Shane is "shortening his career" with moves like that. Yeah... The 49 year old executive/part-time wrestler with grey hair and 3 kids is "shortening his career". One of many brutal lines. Braun would recover to pretty much bury Smackdown. Shane was again the last member of Smackdown and got Power-slammed by Braun which allowed Raw to pick up another win. Corbin attacked Braun post match but ran away, so the heels got the heat at the end. Drew McIntyre was booked pretty strong here. Its obvious they see bright things for him in 2019. I approve. You wont hear me complaining about seeing more Drew McIntyre on my TV, good Lord.
Ronda Rousey (Raw) VS Charlotte Flair (SmackDown) (Singles Match)
Winner: Via DQ, Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey
At the end of this past match you'll see why my latest column titles "Die Heeling" is as relevant as ever. This was a great match and I was torn at first but I will say this was my favorite match of the night. Not just the match, but the angle afterwards as well which if you're a big Becky Lynch fan you should be worried about those Ronda vs Becky at Wrestlemania rumors going up in smoke.
Ronda is from the LA area, but this crowd didn't care. Charlotte was the favorite. I was curious how they'd react. I knew Becky would be the favorite but with Charlotte filling in it didn't seem to matter. They were not with Ronda at all here. Ronda has been given a lot very quickly by WWE so I can see why some fans resent that. They may even resent the constant references to "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, too with her signature move now even not-so-subtly being called "Piper's Pit". Even in her UFC days her attitude did turn off a lot of people. You can't deny that in this short time she has improved a lot as a worker, though.
Charlotte would give Ronda her best match in WWE yet. Not a surprise since she is also the most talented worker Ronda has been paired up with as well. It was a physical match and Ronda was bleeding from her mouth early on and her ear. It was the biggest beating Ronda has taken yet. The match ended at 15 minutes when Charlotte said f*** it and got herself disqualified to give Raw another win in the books. Commentary put it over like a heel turn and Charlotte acted like a beast. The crowd got even hotter for this siding with Charlotte. I'm not sure if the goal was to put sympathy on Ronda but it didn't work. Maybe all the millennial men in that crowd didn't like that lame promo last week.
This felt different than the fans just cheering a turn. They were with Charlotte even before she snapped. After they did they loved her even more and really rubbed it in Ronda's face. Maybe I'm getting soft, but as much as I enjoyed the beat down portion of this, I almost felt bad for how the crowd reacted towards Ronda when you consider how hard she has worked to try to be a legit wrestler and took a hell of a beating just for fans to laugh and chant "one more time". At the end Ronda didn't ignore the reactions like most people in WWE do when something goes a way they don't want to or expect. She sold disappointment and looked out at the crowd almost sad.
Where does she go from here? I think you have to turn her heel. WWE did a great job getting Ronda cheered when she first debuted. After her Rumble run-in every time her name came up fans booed, but the angle with Stephanie got her over as a babyface. She was also cheered vs Nia Jax who no one cares about. She was cheered against a heel Nikki Bella who is unpopular with a large portion of the men in the crowd. Now against Charlotte who, I know got booed against Becky, but no one really hates her, Ronda got booed HEAVILY. Part of that was perhaps Smackdown being the babyfaces with this crowd but its more than that. This crowd wasn't burying Raw, they were all over Ronda here. We'll see how she rolls with it. That's wrestling. They aren't always going to love you. Who knows though. Like I said, Smackdown was the babyface brand here and Smackdown lost every f***ing match, so maybe the fans were just fed up. I'm trying to place explanation on why the fans would turn on Ronda. Who knows. Sometimes crowds just turn.
Brock Lesnar (Universal Champion) (with Paul Heyman) VS Daniel Bryan (WWE Champion)(Singles match)
Winner: Universal Champion Brock Lesnar
The match started out with Bryan working as a heel doing the cat-and-mouse routine. There was a funny moment where he was mocking Brock's little entrance jig. The match was physical as you'd expect, but not like what we saw just prior to this. If you were worried about Bryan, I think you can relax a bit. Brock is rough and can be stiff, but he's not out there ruining people. He's called "the beast" so he has to work like one. After some toying around Brock got a hold of Bryan and took him to Suplex City.
The crowd accepted Bryan as a heel and Brock as a face, but things turned in the middle when Bryan, yes you're reading this correctly, made a babyface comeback with a low blow. Bryan got a lot of offense in and there were some great moments where they did their best to convince you that Brock would tap out. Brock really sold for Bryan here. The finish was never really in doubt but they did their best to suspend disbelief. In the end Brock won clean as I'm sure most of you expected. It was a great match and it was almost my favorite match on the show. It might even be yours. Yeah surprise-surprise. Daniel Bryan is still an incredible worker.
That's it for my Survivor Series review. Its up a little late, but I had to get some fresh air. Hopefully my mental hiccups throughout were entertaining enough. This whole Nia Jax thing really bring my piss to boil, too. I find it funny how some fans are so willing to file this under "accidents happen" (yeah, over and over again...) but yet not one actually co-worker of Nia's has come to defend her. Interesting. I'm sure the rumored heat backstage is real. Hey, Nia I'm sure you're a sweet chick in real life, but if you wanted to be in WWE because you love wrestling and not just because you didn't just want to be on TV and knew your cousin could get you a good job so you wouldn't have to go punch a clock 9-5 somewhere then go work on your craft so you aren't hurting your co-workers and preventing them from working. This Becky Lynch deal isn't the first and probably wont be the last incident and it also could have been a lot worse. The business is a f***ing work. I know you're a 2008 type model turned wrestler trapped in a 2018 division of workers, but I'm sure you can at least learn to throw a fake punch the right way.
I enjoyed this show. 6.5/10 hot goth babes. Not a great show, but not bad at all. We had a few very good matches and a great pre-show match as a bonus.
Thanks for reading everyone. Enjoy Raw tonight. For NoDQ, I'm KC, this is Planet Kayfabe. See you next time.