Here’s my final thoughts on Raw and SmackDown Live’s WWE Survivor Series 2018!
Team Raw (Bobby Roode and Chad Gable, The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson), The B-Team (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel), Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado, Kalisto, and/or Gran Metalik), and The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor)) vs. Team SmackDown (The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso), The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and/or Xavier Woods), Sanity (Alexander Wolfe, Eric Young and/or Killian Dain), Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, and The Colóns (Epico Colón and Primo Colón)) (5-on-5 Survivor Series Tag Team Elimination Match)
Reactions: While I’m glad that this multi-man bout got a lot of time, it definitely had its sloppy moments. A few disjointed interactions were hard to ignore, such as Kalisto’s awkward spot with one of the Colón’s at the start of the match. The miscommunication on display here took something away from the match as a whole, but it still delivered a fun pre-show performance from each and every Superstar. The best portion of this bout came when the last two teams on Raw went to war with the final two teams on SmackDown. The hot near-fall’s, clever usage of tag team finishers, and series of planchas and other moves to the outside were amazing to see. This was certainly a flawed yet entertaining car crash of a match.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Team Raw (Mickie James, Nia Jax, Tamina, Sasha Banks, and Bayley) vs. Team SmackDown (Carmella, Naomi, Sonya Deville, Asuka, and Mandy Rose) (5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match)
Reactions: There’s one major takeaway from this match to take note of – Nia Jax has garnered an immense amount of heat. Every time she made her presence left, the live crowd rained down boo’s. Nia took it all in stride and played up her newfound “Facebreaker” persona pretty well, though. Now about the match – it was decent.
There weren’t a whole lot of standout moments to speak of, except for Sasha Banks and Asuka’s intense closing stretch. And it was nice to see Asuka shine like her old self, which is a rare occurrence these days. The last-minute additions of Banks and Bayley also managed to make this whole affair a little bit more interesting. Overall, this one was just fine. It certainly accomplished its job of making Nia Jax even stronger leading up to her future Women’s Championship opportunity.
Rating: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Seth Rollins (Intercontinental Champion) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (United States Champion) (Champion vs. Champion Match)
Reactions: As far as first-time meetings go, this Champion vs. Champion match was quite the treat. Like most of Shinsuke Nakamura’s matches, things started out slow and stuck to a methodical pace throughout. Once Seth Rollins got control of the US Champion though, the pace picked up tremendously. Thankfully, Nakamura was able to keep up with him move for move. There were a good amount of cool counters exchanged between both men and the crowd came unglued near the middle to ending portions of this match. I wouldn’t mind watching these two lock up once again on another major PPV stage. This match is further proof that Rollins is one of, if not the best in-ring performer on the current WWE roster.
Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars
AOP (Akam and Rezar) (Raw Tag Team Champions) (with Drake Maverick) vs. The Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus) (SmackDown Tag Team Champions) (with Big Show) (Champions vs. Champions Match)
Reactions: Coming into this show, this match had the least build behind it. And it definitely showed once it finally took place. The crowd could care less about what was happening as both powerhouse teams clashed. I don’t blame them – there was nothing extraordinary taking place during this contest. It was pretty uninspired, to be honest. While the action wasn’t bad per se, it was hard to care since both teams didn’t mess all that well. And the ending? Yeesh…it doesn’t get any cornier than that. This one was a definite snoozer…
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Mustafa Ali (WWE Cruiserweight Championship)
Reactions: After being forced to sit through a complete bore of match beforehand, the Cruiserweights arrived to wake up the crowd. Murphy and Ali not only harkened back to their matches against each other on 205 Live, they also included some new elements. Buddy Murphy was the clear powerhouse here, which made Mustafa Ali fight from the bottom for a good portion of this title bout.
Your usual presentation of top-notch, high-flying Cruiserweight mayhem played a huge part here. There were a slew of jaw-dropping moments to recall, such as Ali’s sick Spanish Fly off the announce table and Murphy shoving Ali off the top rope during a springboard attempt. 205 Live showed up on the main show and convinced everyone that they should never be relegated to the pre-show ever again. Great match!
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
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)
Reactions: Out of all the brand warfare elimination matches put on tonight, this one stood out the most. Braun Strowman and Drew McIntyre’s hatred for each other made for some interesting moments. Team Raw had a hard time getting along, but that didn’t stop them from getting the big win. That win was definitely hard to come by, though. Shane-O-Mac sacrificed himself on three occasions with a series of death-defying moves, which gave him MVP status for the evening.
Finn Bálor and Rey Mysterio looked great once they locked up, plus McIntyre quickly showcased his dominance via a sudden elimination of Samoa Joe. The rest of the pack from both sides put on a fiery performance that was only dampened by the disappointing ending. Strowman came in, cleaned house, and easily grabbed the victory for Team Raw. It would have been a bit more fun to see SD put up more of a fight as a team against Strowman near the match’s end, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I still found this Survivor Series Elimination match to be the finest one on the entire show.
Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Ronda Rousey (Raw) vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown)
Reactions: Pure. Unabashed. Intensity. Ronda Rousey and Charlotte made the most of a last-minute change to a former Champion vs. Champion bout. The work they put in here stood out from the rest of the matches before it due to smart limb work and brutal work from both women. Charlotte stood toe to toe with the Raw Women’s Champion in a highly entertaining encounter.
Rousey made it a habit of going for Charlotte’s arm and made sure to toss her across the ring when the opportunity presented itself. Charlotte made sure to kick into a more violent gear as she worked on Rousey’s leg and even made her bleed at one point. This fantasy matchup met all of the high expectations everyone attached to it. The DQ ending was pulled off excellently and added to the match instead of taking away from it. Charlotte’s post-match assault brought the crowd to its feet and set up a future rematch between the two. Based on everything that took place here, I can’t wait to see them go to war again with relaxed rules in the future.
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Brock Lesnar (Universal Champion) (with Paul Heyman) vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE Champion) (Champion vs. Champion Match)
Reactions: I didn’t know I was going to see here. And like most fans, I feared for Daniel Bryan’s safety. The mind games that the WWE Champion played at the beginning of this bout bit him in the ass…at first. A pissed off Brock Lesnar is a supremely dangerous Brock Lesnar. Lesnar had his way with Bryan for several grueling, uncomfortable minutes. This bored the crowd (and me), but one big heel move changed the dynamic of this contest.
Bryan landed a severe low-blow on the Universal Champion that made the crowd come unglued. After that game changing moment, Bryan really made us all believe that he could possibly conquer the beast. The new WWE Champion cracked the Universal Champion with flying knee strikes, stiff kicks to the leg, and even managed to lock Lesnar in the YES! Lock. Like Lesnar’s bout against AJ Styles at last year’s Survivor Series event, the dynamic of David vs. Goliath worked to the strengths of this main event. Even though Bryan met his end, he put in a award winning performance against an inspired Brock Lesnar. Make this one happen again with No DQ rules at some point, WWE!
Rating: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Match of the Night
Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte!
This year’s Survivor Series was booked in a pretty head scratching way – even though the tag teams of SD took the pre-show victory, it didn’t count towards the overall brand warfare scoreboard. Plus the Blue Brand didn’t get a single win once the main show got underway. Even though those odd decisions were made, the action itself was a joy to experience.
The Cruiserweights and the top two ladies of WWE’s competing rosters put on the night’s most outstanding contests. The rest of the card’s matches ranged from decent to pretty damn good overall. It looked as if the main event would end the evening on a sour note. But Lesnar and Bryan took the crowd on a wild ride that was worthy of the main event spot it was placed in. Survivor Series 2018 turned out to be a fun event as a whole.
Final Score: 3 & a Half out of 5 Stars