Here we go!
ELIAS vs. MATT HARDY
Bad Booking: This match
Nothing against the both superstars. But this match was unnecessary. A win against Matt Hardy doesn’t really do much for Elias when it’s so early in the pre-show. A loss for Matt Hardy is just nonsensical. Does this serve to push Matt towards “broken” territory? Most likely not.
CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE: ENZO AMORE (c) vs. KALISTO
Good Booking: Enzo Amore is still the realest champ in the room.
No hesitant booking. Nothing questionable. Enzo Amore needed to retain here. It’s a shame because Kalisto was able to hang with “heavyweights” such as Alberto Del Rio and Rusev. But the fact of the matter is Amore holding the title makes fans want to know who will truly dethrone him. There have been rumors of Neville returning, but if that’s not the case, Mustafa Ali and Cedric Alexander are ready for the challenge.
Good Booking: Match is moved to the kick-off show.
With Survivor series being about brand supremacy, the cruiserweight division really has no business being on the main card. Especially since they aren’t defending it against someone on the Smackdown roster than somehow isn’t a part of the division.
TAG-TEAM MATCH: BREEZANGO (TYLER BREEZE & FANDANGO) vs. KEVIN OWENS & SAMI ZAYN
Good Booking: The match is surprisingly competitive.
I was expecting a squash match here. I’m glad it wasn’t. As comedic and Breezango is, they are much understated in the ring. Breezango putting up a fight has bigger implications than most people will realize. If they had been squashed, it would be unlikely they would ever get a shot at the titles again. But with this booking, there’s still a chance.
Good Booking: Owens and Zayn air their grievances.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are on the pre-show. After they declared their lack of allegiance to Smackdown, they were placed before the main show. This allowed for bigger implications for the actual main card itself. Count on Owens and Zayn to play a part in the 5-on-5 main event.
6-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH: THE NEW DAY (BIG E, KOFI KINGSTON, & XAVIER WOODS) vs. THE SHIELD (ROMAN REIGNS, SETH ROLLINS, & DEAN AMBROSE)
Good Booking: The Shield prevails.
There was only going to be one booking analysis for this match. And the right one happened. WWE Creative was wise to stick to the continuity they’ve created, whether then meant to or not. The New Day may be the longest reigning champions in history and have never turned on each other, but the argument can be made that the only thing that can beat the Shield is themselves. With three former world champions and victories over Triple H, Braun Strowman, and The Undertaker, this was The Shield’s match to lose.
WOMEN’S SURVIVORS SERIES 5-ON-5 MATCH: TEAM SMACKDOWN (BECKY LYNCH, CARMELLA, NATALYA, TAMINA, & NAOMI) w/ LANA vs. TEAM RAW (ALICIA FOX, BAYLEY, SASHA BANKS, NIA JAX, & ASUKA)
Good Booking: Asuka is sole survivor.
There was no doubt that Asuka was not only going to survive the match. But to be the sole survivor is a major thing, especially being down 2-1 with Natalya and Tamina. Add in her three eliminations and it is now a clear sign for things to come for Asuka.
Good Booking: Becky Lynch and Bayley are eliminated first.
Like The New Day being eliminated early last year, Becky Lynch and Bayley’s early eliminations creates a whole new intrigue in the match. There will be no heroic underdog comeback from either side. Their eliminations allows for superstars like Tamina, Carmella, and Asuka to rise to the occasion.
UNITED STATES TITLE vs. INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE: BARON CORBIN vs. THE MIZ w/ THE MIZTOURAGE (CURTIS AXEL & BO DALLAS)
Good Booking: Corbin puts Smackdown on the board.
Corbin winning was much needed for many reasons; Smackdown avoids going down 0-3 and needing to win the remaining four matches and Corbin earning some much needed momentum. Especially after his weird feud with Sin Cara. Because The Miz is a top-tier heel, him eating the loss here doesn’t really hurt him too much in the long run, but rather can set him up with his next feud.
RAW vs. SMACKDOWN TITLES: THE BAR (SHEAMUS & CESARO) vs. THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO)
Good Booking: Mentioning history.
Michael Cole calling back to the previous year where these two teams were the final teams for RAW and Smackdown was a nice touch. It’s great when this continuity is mentioned as it adds more importance to the match. This callback also made The Usos’ victory this time around much sweeter, even after tying up the series at 2.
RAW vs. SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S TITLES: ALEXA BLISS vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR
Good Booking: The Goddess bows down to the Queen.
This one could have gone either way. But with the score tied at this point of the night and a certain Brock Lesnar victory, logically Charlotte had to win this so it would come down to the 5-on-5 elimination match. But even if we ignored that detail, Charlotte was still the right choice to go over. Alexa Bliss was able to maintain control for a sizeable portion of the match, but with Charlotte’s recent title win and Ric Flair’s health journey, Charlotte was poised to win.
UNIVERSAL TITLE vs. WORLD TITLE: BROCK LESNAR w/ PAUL HEYMAN vs. AJ STYLES
Good Booking: Not a squash match.
This was smart move on Creative’s side. The Beast moniker is slowly starting to fade, which it should rightfully do. Styles deserves the best. And the best booking is what he got. Styles was never counted out of the fight once. And the surprising amount of offense he got in was a nice touch.
Good Booking: Jinder Mahal did not interfere.
There were rumors of Jinder Mahal interfering and costing Styles the match. Thankfully, Mahal’s contribution was a short video promo before the match. Ruining a blockbuster match like this would’ve been downright unforgivable booking.
TRADITIONAL 5-ON-5 SURVIVOR SERIES ELIMINATION MATCH: TEAM RAW (KURT ANGLE, TRIPLE H, BRAUN STROWMAN, FINN BALOR, & SAMOA JOE) vs. TEAM SMACKDOWN (SHANE MCMAHON, RANDY ORTON, SHINSUKE NAKAMURA, BOBBY ROODE, & JOHN CENA)
Bad Booking: Shane McMahon.
Why Shane McMahon is in this match is still a mystery to me. It’s understandable that he’s a leader and someone the talent can get behind. It’s also understandable that he essentially called for the siege on RAW. So why not make him manage the team from the outside? Shane McMahon is literally 0-3 in matches. In each match, he got injured. And with this, Shane McMahon was Smackdown’s final man. Not John Cena. Not Randy Orton. Shane McMahon. Storyline it makes sense. But in this regard, it’s hard to believe McMahon as a credible threat at this point, even if he’s willing to sacrifice himself to destroy his opponent.
Bad Booking: New stars eliminated first.
Someone had to go first. And second. Unfortunately it had to be Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode. Even more unfortunate was that it was always going to be these two first. In terms of star power, these two are the lowest rungs. It’s unfortunate. An even later look shows that the majority of the final superstars were also semi-active aside from Orton, who is a veteran, and Braun Strowman.
Good Booking: RAW’s dissention.
Realistically, RAW had a super team. The only way for the team to be beaten was if there was dissention within this team. And there was plenty of it. Finn Balor and Samoa Joe butting heads, Triple H and Kurt Angle bound to feud, and Braun Strowman’s inability to coexist with anyone was an excellent way to build the tension for the match.
Bad Booking: John Cena.
When John Cena was announced as the fifth member of team Smackdown, it was assumed that he would play a larger role. He didn’t. In fact, he was the third person eliminated from Team Smackdown, fourth person eliminated overall. He didn’t even make it to the technical “second half” of the match. But it seems as though he’ll go on to feud with Samoa Joe or Finn Balor since he eliminated the former and was eliminated with help from the latter. Either, this isn’t good news for the new stars.
Bad Booking: The ending.
The ending was a disaster. While it was rightfully RAW who should have walked away with the victory, Creative missed several opportunities and instead went with the overused “talent vs. the authority” storyline. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn were nothing more than squashed distractions. Jason Jordan never interfered. And for some reason, Triple H caused Kurt Angle’s elimination. For what reason? To eliminate Shane McMahon himself and take the glory? And now Braun Strowman is feuding with whatever is left of The Authority? Compared to a strong 5-on-5 match last year, this one faltered hard.
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