No time for bullshit this week as all of Raw’s tag teams came together for a good, old fashioned clusterfuck of a battle royal to decide which team will captain the tag team Survivor Series team. However, in a fantastic show of just how little the WWE thinks of their tag team division, Braun Strowman arrived almost instantly and destroyed everyone, causing the match to get thrown out. Stephanie McMahon then made things worse by showing her smug, self-entitled face once again and giving Braun a bit of an ear-bashing. She ended up making a deal with him by allowing him to have anything he wants if he helps Raw win at Survivor Series. Braun picked a rematch with Brock Lesnar and, also, a match against Baron Corbin, which Stephanie granted but only after Survivor Series was in the bag. Ronda Rousey then randomly showed up to hype her match against Becky Lynch, before Corbin himself popped out to taunt Braun a bit. I guess it was worth cutting the balls off of the entire tag team division to build towards the Corbin/Braun match that we’re all dying to see…
Ember Moon and Tamina went at it next, which was only natural considering Tamina and Nia Jax are suddenly best buddies now and their thing is beating up Ember and sucking the life out of her momentum. Nia was at ringside and her interference ultimately distracted Ember enough to cost her the match after Tamina hit a questionable imitation of the Superfly Splash. Afterwards, the big girls made mincemeat of Ember once more.
Seth Rollins had a bit of a chat with my pick for the worst announcer of the modern age, Corey Graves, wherein Seth hyped his match against Shinsuke Nakamura over worrying about Dean Ambrose. Ambrose, however, interrupted on the TitanTron to spit some venom at Rollins and then fans; Dean claimed that he is taking the chance to be reborn and burned his Shield vest in a dumpster fire, which Rollins sold like Dean was setting fire to a puppy or something.
Afterwards, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre came out, mocking Kurt Angle’s entrance and the man himself but claiming that they now own Raw since they destroyed the Shield and destroyed the legend (as in Kurt). Finn Balor took umbrage to this and decided to challenge Drew to a match, which earned him a match against Ziggler; it’s interesting that Dolph is being subtly shifted to Drew’s underling, especially considering (as I’ve said before) he was the Intercontinental Champion not that long ago and Drew has won zero titles since his return to the main roster, not to mention that he was in the finals of the “World Cup” just the other week! Anyway, Ziggler jumped Finn immediately and worked a grounded match to keep Finn from gaining momentum and hitting his big moves. When Finn did manage to make a comeback and land the Slingblade, Ziggler planted him with the Famasser but it only got two and that was enough to light a fire under Balor’s ass as he dumped Ziggler, took out Drew, and then countered a cradle into a pin and won the match, which earned him a spot on the Survivor Series team.
Becky Lynch and Ronda then had a bit of a verbal exchange, where Ronda put down Becky for “not being Charlotte” and branded her a whiney, self-entitled millennial who didn’t “earn her fans” like Ronda has. Exactly what is it that Ronda has done to “earn” her fans? She’s sloppy in the ring, looks like a drag queen half the time, and has two facial expressions! I’m sorry people but she has a long way to go to even be on the same level of match quality, promo performance, and in-ring style that Becky has and I look forward to seeing the fans cheer the life out of Becky over Ronda at Survivor Series. Afterwards, Ruby Riott mocked Natalya for crying over her broken sunglasses and, when Natalya tried to attack her, Ruby and her cronies beat Nattie up a bit. Great.
The Raw tag teams came out again for a do-over of the opening match, which saw Bobby Roode and Chad Gable win in a little over three minutes. Really? Roode and Gable? Really? Christ, well, anyway, the cheque cleared and Brock Lesnar decided to show up this week; he hopped about like a moron while Paul Heyman hyped up Lesnar’s match against AJ Styles. Jinder Mahal interrupted…and got absolutely manhandled by Lesnar for his efforts. Lesnar was so into it that he nearly killed the Singh Brothers! I never thought I’d feel sympathy for Jinder but, well, there it is.
Bobby Lashley and Elias then went at it for a place on the men’s Survivor Series team. Lashley used his power to shut down most of Elias’s offense and even managed to recover from the traditional “big man is an idiot and Spears/runs into the ringpost” spot to slam Elias on the steel steps. Lio Rush held on to the Drifter’s foot to stop him beating the ten count and Lashley won in lacklustre fashion.
Finally, Alexa Bliss named all of the members of her Survivor Series team, citing Natalya, Mickie James, Nia Jax, Tamina, and the winner of this week’s main event, which pitted Sasha Banks against Bayley. Wow, so these two went from being the focal point of NXT to a randomly tossed together match on Raw weeks (if not months) after their weird “issues”? Anyway, it was all a set-up as, just as things were getting interesting and Sasha had the Banks Statement locked in, all of the heels attacked to cause a no contest and, in the melee, Alexa announced that the final member of the team would be Ruby Riott. Becky Lynch then led the SmackDown! Live women’s division to the ring for a sneak attack to thunderous applause! During the melee, Nia clocked Becky right in the face and, apparently, broke her nose but Becky fought through it and dominated even with a bloodied and battered face.
AJ Styles kicked things off this week by hyping up his incredible reign as WWE Champion and his match against Brock Lesnar; he talked about how he was relishing the opportunity to face Brock again, though I’m sure even Roman Reigns would tell you that fighting the same guy over and over gets a little repetitive. Paul Heyman showed up to stir the pot a bit by saying that AJ doesn’t quite match up to Daniel Bryan, whyich is honestly a strange thing to say considering AJ’s lengthy title reign and ability to stay healthy; this, of course, brought out Bryan, who was uncharacteristically hot-headed and ended up brawling with AJ, which was enough for Shane McMahon to randomly grant him another title shot in the main event.
Andrade “Cien” Almas was back in action this week; he took on Jeff Hardy, who actually didn’t get the main event slot for a change. This was a solid match, with Almas largely dominating until Jeff fought out of the Hammerlock DDT, hit the Twist of Fate, and then pinned him with the Swanton Bomb because…the rumour was that Almas was a rising star and the WWE had big plans for him, so obviously he’s going to lose to Jeff Hardy in 2018 😐 After the match, Paige announced that the Miz would be the sole captain of the men’s Survivor Series team, they Jeff is now on the team, and booked Miz to face Rey Mysterio in the next match.
So, yeah, Miz and Rey faced off, with the stipulation being that Rey would be off the team if the Miz won. Miz went for a shock pin right as the bell rang and continued desperately trying to pin Rey to the mat but Rey was having none of it. Miz got a good near fall off a Sit-Out Powerbomb, survived the 619, and tried to roll Rey up again following the Frog Splash but Rey countered, got the win, and secured his place on the team. Afterwards, Randy Orton arrived and, when Rey ran away (very brave…), hit the Miz with an RKO because he’s a Viper!!!
Paige then announced to the SmackDown! Live women’s division that, because of Becky Lynch’s injuries, she won’t be able to compete at Survivor Series. Becky then came out and exercised her right to name her replacement, which was, of course, the prodigal daughter herself, Charlotte Flair. They even shook hands, because suddenly beating Raw makes up for their blood feud? I mean, Jesus! Could it not have been Asuka? I know they’ve flushed her reputation down the toilet but Charlotte is such an obvious and annoying choice.
The New Day took on the Bar again but, this time, the Big Show was officially part of the match, which mixed things up enough to make this seem new and fresh. Unfortunately Big Show didn’t really add that much to the proceedings and, if anything, bogged it down a bit; again I am simply flabbergasted that SAnitY weren’t pushed as a dominant three-man stable like this. Maybe if they have been lumbered with the Big Show they would get more chances…Anyway, the Bar and Show won after Show hit that shitty KO Punch and pinned Kofi Kingston. Afterwards, the Usos announced that SAnitY, the Colons, and the Club are all on the Survivor Series team…which is pretty obvious given that is the entire tag team division!
AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan fought for the WWE Championship in the main event; how about that!? The WWE Champion is actually involved in the main event on SmackDown! Live! Styles attacked right away, taking things to the outside and attacking Bryan’s leg. Bryan fought back with his speedy, high-flying offense and then began working over AJ’s arm. Eventually, they just started trading punches and things kicked into another gear as Bryan stomped away at AJ while he was tied up in the tree of woe; AJ countered the Yes! Kicks into a Styles Clash attempt, which Bryan also countered. Bryan managed to get the Yes! Lock on but AJ made the ropes, dodged the Running Knee, and got the Calf Crusher. Bryan rolled through into the Yes! Lock, so AJ turned into a catapult but accidentally hit the referee with a forearm. Bryan then hit a low blow, landed the Running Knee, and pinned AJ to become the WWE Champion! Jesus! After the match, Bryan apparently turned heel and kicked the crap out of AJ, then posed with the belt! I mean…sure, okay? This, again, smells of the WWE entering panic mode following Becky’s injury and pulling a swerve for the hell of it, drastically altering the Survivor Series card for no real reason mere days before the event. I’d heard the rumours ages ago that they wanted to turn Bryan heel but it’s a pretty terrible idea; nobody is going to boo him, surely? Won’t this just be another Becky situation where he says and does heel things but is cheered out of the building? On the plus side, though, I am very surprised to see them put the belt on Bryan as I never thought they would take that risk; I only hope he stays healthy enough to have a decent reign this time.
Tag Team Survivor Series Elimination Match: Chad Gable and Bobby Roode, The Ascension, The Lucha House Party, The Revival, and The B-Team vs. The Usos, The New Day, The Colons, SAnitY, and Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
I’m still a bit unsure as to why Bobby Roode and Chad Gable are the team captains; it’s not as if they’re Raw’s top tag team, or even a popular team (are they?) I can only assume that it’s part of some bigger plan, possibly involving them being pushed towards the belts. Either way, this will probably be a clusterfuck from start to finish and I’m expecting Team Raw to win.
Women’s Survivor Series Elimination Match: Natalya, Mickie, Nia Jax, Tamina, and Ruby Riott vs. Naomi, Sonya Deville, Asuka, Carmella, and Other
It’s a great sign that Team SmackDown! Live doesn’t even have a full team; I’m assuming the last spot was supposed to be taken by Charlotte Flair but, obviously, she has better things to do now. Given that SmackDown! Live was the only brand to “invade” their rivals this year, I’m guessing that Team Raw will also win this so they can get some retribution.
Men’s Survivor Series Elimination Match: Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Finn Balor, and Bobby Lashley (with Baron Corbin) vs. Shane McMahon, Jeff Hardy, The Miz, Samoa Joe, Rey Mysterio
I mean, of course Shane-fucking-McMahon is on his brand’s team again! For the last time: Shane’s place is at ringside! Just put Randy Orton in the damn match! Or Tye Dillinger! Or Rusev (remember him!?) Or anyone but Shane McMahon! God, this pisses me off no end! On paper, Raw seems to have the advantage with their team but their must be a reason for Shane to have won that “World Cup” and to be in the match and I suspect it will lead to Team SmackDown! Live winning this match, with Shane as the last man standing and probably pinning Strowman!
The Authors of Pain vs. The Bar
This should, theoretically, be quite the dream match; two big teams who are known for kicking ass and taking names just going at it. Instead, though, the AOP have barely had a chance to establish themselves as anything other than jobber killers, randomly had the belts thrown on them, and are now faced with a far more established tag team. As a result, and because the Big Show will probably get involved, I’ll give this to The Bar.
Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair
WrestleMania comes early thanks to Nia Jax. Again, I am pretty annoyed that they went with Charlotte for this match; I get why but I just think Charlotte should have concentrated on leading the Survivor Series team to victory and Becky should have put her faith in Ronda’s physical opposite, Asuka. The only consolation is that, hopefully, Ronda Rousey makes mincemeat of the golden girl.
Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
This match has been overshadowed somewhat by the Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins issues as of late and the fact that Nakamura is literally never on television and, when he is, it’s hardly a prominent showing. Nakamura has been booked terribly since winning the United States Championship, randomly being Orton’s lackey and then just vanishing for weeks or facing the likes of R-Truth. Hopefully, this match will light a fire under his ass and we can get him back on track. That, and the inevitable interference form Ambrose, means that I’m giving this one to Shinsuke Nakamua.
Daniel Bryan vs. Brock Lesnar
I mean, presumably the original plan was AJ Styles vs. Roman Reigns, which would have been a fresh and exciting match. Instead, the WWE have gone from panic mode to a full on nervous breakdown and we now, suddenly, have this match. Ironically, this is a match we all wanted to see…about two years ago. As it is, I doubt this will go any different to Lesnar/AJ would have and Brock Lesnar will win.