WWE celebrated Survivor Series Weekend last Saturday and Sunday in Houston, and the company should indeed be celebrating. Both shows were outstanding, and gave the WWE Universe many things to be thankful for.
Instead of going through every match, we’ll just take a big-picture view and discuss the events in general. (That way, you can read between helpings of your Thanksgiving feast.)
The Professor Gives Thanks for SS Weekend –
NXT Takeover: War Games
Overall Impression – I know that I say this after just about every NXT Takeover special, but this was one of the best shows in the developmental brand’s history. From top to bottom, this card delivered. There were new stars made, while some of the existing stars cemented their positions in the NXT lineup. There wasn’t a match that truly disappointed.
Best Match – There was a lot to choose from here. However, the show was called War Games for a reason. The main event was thrilling, and perfectly booked. This was the first time that the WWE Universe got to see the Undisputed Era in extended action and Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly delivered in spades. Kudos to the Authors of Pain (with Roderick Strong) and SAnitY for making it hard to decide which team had the best performance. There were a ton of “Holy S___!” moments in this match.
Worst Match – I almost hate to give this designation to any of the bouts from War Games. If forced to choose, I’d say that the opener between Lars Sullivan and Kassius Ohno was the least spectacular bout of the night. It was still a very good match. Ohno got in enough offense to make it competitive, but his bumping really established Sullivan as a beast to be reckoned with going forward.
Biggest Surprise – The biggest surprise of the night was that Drew McIntyre dropped the NXT title to Andrade Cien Almas. This was another excellent match. McIntyre and Almas worked well together, and McIntyre did a lot to ensure that Almas is a credible champion. There were some rumors that NXT changed the title on the fly when McIntyre was injured (possibly a torn biceps) at the end of the match. Later reports indicate that Almas was always booked to win, with McIntyre moving on to either Raw or SmackDown Live. Unfortunately for the Scotsman, his injury put those plans on hold for the time being. Runner up for this award was the match between Aleister Black and Velveteen Dream. Black is clearly destined for the top of the card, but Dream put on a surprisingly adept performance in defeat.
What Comes Next – The landscape of NXT is certainly changing. With McIntyre possibly gone, and a heel Almas holding the title, there should be a slew of new challengers. Aleister Black, Roderick Strong and others will be lining up to take on the new champ. Ember Moon is the new women’s champion. She’ll have no shortage of contenders either, even though five members of the NXT women’s division made main roster debuts this week. Velveteen Dream showed that he deserves more of a feature role in the company, and there’s no telling what Undisputed Era will get up to next. NXT is the future, and the future is looking good.
Overall Impression – While this show wasn’t quite as spectacular as the NXT show, Survivor Series delivered more than any WWE show since Great Balls of Fire. There wasn’t an earth-shaking surprise at this show, but just about every match delivered on its potential.
Best Match – This was a tough one. I debated between the AJ Styles – Brock Lesnar bout and the war between the Shield and the New Day, which opened the show. I also considered the tag bout between the Usos and the Bar. At the end of the day, I went with the Usos and the Bar. The match probably wasn’t any better than the other two, but the outcome was always in doubt. There wasn’t anyone who really doubted that the Shield and Lesnar were going to go over.
Worst Match – The men’s elimination match was the lone clunker of the entire weekend for me. WWE constantly touts its “New Era,” then loads PPVs with part-timers and stars from the early 2000s. It was no different in this match. Despite the presence of new stars like Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Bobby Roode – we were looking at Kurt Angle, HHH, and Shane McMahon as three of the final four bodies left standing. HHH (of course) got the win for his squad, hitting Shane O’Mac with the Pedigree to seal the deal. Suddenly, it was 1999 again. There were only two saving graces in this match. The new stars were given a fair amount of offense before being launched, and Strowman was never eliminated. They did a spot where the entire SmackDown team worked together to put Strowman through an announce table (after he’d eliminated two of the members). Strowman then destroyed HHH with a couple of running power bombs after the match was over. So, we learned that Strowman is a monster, and that HHH is still better than everyone else.
Biggest Surprise – Aside from the disappointing booking of the men’s elimination match, the biggest surprise here was that Styles and Lesnar did such a good job of selling their bout that the ending was actually in doubt a couple of times. Lesnar sold for Styles the same way he has for Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman in the past. I thought it was impossible for Styles to look any better to the WWE Universe than he already did, but this match proved me wrong.
What Comes Next – Strowman should continue his reign of terror on Raw, while Roode and Nakamura need to be elevated on SmackDown. (Neither made an official in-ring appearance on Tuesday’s show.) The Shield will continue to try and get Reigns over with the crowd, and Styles will go on making everyone on SmackDown look better. Five NXT women made debuts this week, so it should be interesting to see what comes next.
Enjoy your holiday and try not to eat too much. Next time around, we’ll see how things are progressing on each show. Until then….