Winners: Team Raw, Team Raw, Seth Rollins, The Authors of Pain, Buddy Murphy, Team Raw, Ronda Rousey, Brock Lesnar.
The kick-off show was comprised of one match, the tag team Survivor Series match pitting Chad Gable, Bobby Roode, The Ascension, Lucha House Party, The Revival, and The B-Team against The Usos, The New Day, The Colons, SAnitY, and the Club in what was, unsurprisingly, a bit of a clusterfuck to begin with. Things picked up in the middle, especially as all the moving parts started getting involved and throwing all their stuff out there. In the end, despite all the fuss and noise about Roode and Gable being made the captains, it came down to the Usos and the Revival so, of course, the Revival lost, which is actually kind of a kick in the teeth when you consider how the rest of the night went.
The event proper started with a fair amount of controversy as Mickie James, Nia Jax, Tamina, Sasha Banks, and Bayley took on Naomi, Sonya Deville, Asuka, Carmella, and Mandy Rose; obviously, the crow showered Nia with boos after her actions last week but, also, Natalya and Ruby Riott were booted off the team just moments before the match because, surprisingly, they couldn’t get their shit together given they’re currently feuding. The WWE then did the ultimate troll move and had Nia be the last woman standing for Raw and get the win after beating the hell out of Asuka and pinning her with a Samoan Drop. I love how the WWE is completely incapable of capitalising on Becky Lynch’s face heat and insists on pushing her as a heel, is completely incapable of capitalising on the ire the fans have/had for Roman Reigns, and can never get properly behind Cesaro, Rusevv, or a hundred other guys when they do their job right but the moment Nia accidentally breaks someone’s nose, they are right on it with the trolling and heel heat? I mean, how the hell does that work? I half expected them to portray Nia as a face here, given their track record!
Shinsuke Nakamura and Seth Rollins were up next and it’s at this point that I should mention that pretty much everyone on the show was forced to wear their brand colours/t-shirts to wrestle in, which was pretty annoying to be honest; Nakamura was sporting blue to go with this theme. It’s also at this point that the commentary team pointed out that Raw is leading one to nothing and I have to ask what the point was of making a storyline revolving around assembling the tag team Survivor Series team if it wasn’t going to factor into the “brand supremacy” narrative and, also, what an insult it is to the Revival that, of all the Raw representatives, they were the ones to lose! Anyway, this match was apparently exactly what Nakamura needed to find his fire again as they absolutely tore the place down. No interference from Dean Ambrose meant that Rollins got to kick out of the Kinshasa, hit a couple of Superkicks, and land the Stomp for the win.
The Artist Formally Known as Enzo Amore was in disguise at ringside and got forcibly ejected when he made an ass of himself; what a guy, I bet he feels well relevant now. Anyway, the Authors of Pain and the Bar went at it next; instead of a knock-down, hard-hitting slugfest between four massive dudes, we got a pedestrian, plodding affair with the one highlight being Drave Maverick pissing his pants thanks the Big Show. I’m sure that will be brought up on 205 Live this week. The AOP still managed to win, though, so it really makes you question what the point of that was except for making pre-teens laugh.
The Cruiserweight Championship actually made it to the main card! I am literally shocked, especially when this probably should have been swapped with the tag team Survivor Series match so that we could actually count all the fucking Survivor Series matches! So, as you may know, I don’t really follow 205 Live and don’t have a lot of investment in these guys but, from what I heard, it was a pretty decent, high-flying contest between Buddy Murphy and Mustafa Ali that saw then scratch and claw the crowd’s engagement from nothing to red hot, and Murphy retain with Murphy’s Law.
Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Finn Balor, and Bobby Lashley were up next, taking on Hardy, The Miz, Samoa Joe, Rey Mysterio, and the “best in the world”, Shane McMahon. So, remind me again why Shane is in this match again? He. Should. Be. At. Ring. Side! There was some dissension on Team Raw but it didn’t stop McIntyre making a complete joke of Samoa Joe and eliminating him within, like, thirty seconds of the bell ringing. From there, they did the old “everyone hit their finishers/gang up on the big man” spot that took Braun out of a large portion of the match, and then I absolutely hate myself for even suggesting the notion that Shane be the last man standing…because of course he was! Luckily, the WWE wanted Raw to do a clean sweep, so Braun ended him with the Running Powerslam but Shane still eliminated Ziggler and still looked (or, at least, was presented as being) better than all of his guys and his entire roster. What a time to be alive and working for the biggest wrestling company in the world where you have to constantly put over the son of the boss!
Anyway, Ronda Rousey had apparently been playing with Homer Simpson’s make-up gun again as she was painted up like a tart for her match against Becky Lynch Charlotte Flair. Unsurprisingly, this was actually quite the back-and-forth, competitive match; I say that because, as much as I rag on Charlotte and am sick of her, she is capable of putting on a really entertaining match and this actually showed that Ronda can actually wrestle and be carried to a good bout. However, Charlotte got herself disqualified when she started attacking Ronda with a kendo stick. She then beat the hell out of Ronda so badly the stick broke, hit the Natural Selection onto a chair, and then did the chair/neck-stomp spot…to a thunderous ovation! So, the WWE has now tried to turn Charlotte into a heel and, again, done nothing but make her a hotter face? How the hell does that work? The people should have been hating on Charlotte for hurting Ronda but, instead, they were chanting “thank you, Charlotte!” and “you deserve it!”, to the point where Ronda was a sad little panda. I can only assume that this is the ending they planned for Ronda/Becky and they just decided not to change it and the crowd forgot that it was Charlotte in the ring?
Daniel Bryan and Brock Lesnar got the main event; Bryan was a right cocky little shit, doing the Lesnar jiggle-and-jump and getting all up in his face. The WWE then pulled another troll move by having Lesnar beat Bryan to within an inch of his life with German Suplexes and F5s, to the point where Bryan was a complete lifeless ragdoll. However, on another F5, Lesnar accidentally hit the referee, which allowed Bryan to hit a low blow and the Running Knee. Lesnar kicked out but, from there, the match completely transformed into something we haven’t seen in a long, long time…a good Brock Lesnar match! Bryan started working Lesnar over with kicks and stomps; he dodged out of the way and caused Lesnar to smash his face off of the steel steps he was carrying and managed to wrap him up in the Yes! Lock for quite a while, to the point where it legitimately seemed like Lesnar would tap out. Obviously, he didn’t and managed to win with the F5 but…wow, colour me surprised! It’s almost as if Lesnar wants to be in the ring with technically gifted competitors who can get the best out of him, rather than big guys in hoss matches. After the match, Bryan was all cagey and heely and had a weird little smirk on his face…but the big story of the night was that Raw totally owned SmackDown! Live and was clearly presented as being the superior brand.
Baron Corbin opened the show and, obviously, boasted about the clean sweep from Survivor Series as if he was somehow responsible for it. He brought out Stephanie McMahon (oh…joy…) and they kissed each other’s asses for a bit before Stephanie addressed the elephant in the room and brought out Braun Strowman for his reward. The match will take place at TLC and, if Corbin wins, he gets full control of Raw but, if Braun wins, he gets to take part in the Royal Rumble. Since Steph also allowed Braun to name the stipulation, he makes it a TLC match…how fitting…and got booked into a six-man elimination tag team match right then and there, teaming with Elias and his old buddy Finn Balor to take on Corbin, Drew McIntyre, and Bobby Lashley. Things started out pretty hot and heavy, with Balor being isolated, worked over, and pinned first (because…of course!) but faded a bit as things dragged on. Elias was in for a bit but stupidly got himself counted out chasing Leo Rush at ringside, which left Braun all alone. Although Braun held his own, the heels all cheated and attacked Strowman to cause a no contest. Braun even got the old red sauce flowing due to the attack but the focus was on his arm, which I guess is to create drama and tension heading in to TLC.
Seth Rollins popped out to thank his fans and address his ongoing issues with Dean Ambrose. They’re also going to face off at TLC but Rollins called him out for a fight. Ambrose appeared on the TitanTron, though, and turned him down because it’s what people would want to see, so Rollins stormed off backstage to try and find him and ended up attacking a security guard. Afterwards, Tamina and Nia Jax cemented their weird, newfound friendship by teaming up against Sasha Banks and Bayley; the WWE continued their trolling by having Nia throw another of her trademark punches (though this time it doesn’t injure anybody) and win with the Samoan Drop.
The Lucha House Party were back in action (apparently they’re full-time Raw now? Who really knows these days!), taking on the Revival in a three-on-two tag team match. The Luchas won, because of course, and were painted as the faces in a handicap situation…After that, Ronda Rousey came out all smiles and sunshine because she’s bi-polar, I guess. She vowed to defend the title against Nia at TLC and then finish her business with Charlotte Flair but, before that, she made short work of Mickie James, which all largely seemed to sweep the crowd’s negative reaction to Ronda under the rug.
The Authors of Pain went up against Bobby Roode and Chad Gable next, which saw the AOP dominate in the early going and be showered with “AOP-P” chants (great job making this monster team a joke, Vince!) Once Roode tagged in, though, the momentum swung the other way, allowing Gable to get the win in a match that didn’t even go five minutes. So the AOP went from ass-kicking monsters who destroyed the competition, to the Tag Team Champions, to the butt of piss jokes, to losing in no time at all to a slapped together team that is barely able to stay on the same page? That is some wildly inconsistent booking, even for 2018 WWE.
Natalya and Ruby Riott tried to settle their issues next; the Riott Squad were at ringside and their interference seemed to spell the end for Nattie…but then it didn’t and she won anyway. I mean, obviously that isn’t it for these two but, if the Riott Squad are constantly going to be at ringside and get involved, at least have them tip the match in their favour!
Raw ended with Dean Ambrose coming to the ring, thinking Rollins had left the arena, to talk shit to the crowd. Of course, Seth was still there and he rushed the ring to attack Dean. Referees tried to pull them apart but Dean hit a low blow and laid Seth out with the Dirty Deeds to end things. Not really feeling Dean’s motivation, it basically seems to boil down to Dolph Ziggler’s heel turn on SmackDown! Live from a while back in that he’s sick of the fans expecting things from him and is an angry man now.
Charlotte Flair opened SmackDown! Live this week to brag about her actions at Survivor Series,; she claimed that she did it for the brand, and for Becky Lynch, which is kind of funny as I’m sure winning the match would have been better for the brand but whatever! Paige then slapped her with $100,000 and Charlotte ended up in a match with Billie Kay, which Little Miss Flair obviously won, then she immediately fought Peyton Royce. That match ended in a disqualification, though, when Billie got involved; afterwards, the Iiconics tried to beat up Charlotte and failed rather miserably so we could be reminded that she’s all edgy and dangerous now.
The Miz had a bit of a chat with Shane McMahon next, the result of which was then teaming up to take on some jobbers. The Miz then got rolled up and pinned like a douchebag when he tried to tag in Shane. So…are we trying to build up to a Shane/Miz feud now? What the hell is the point of that? Why can’t Shane just turn heel and play favourites with Miz and push him towards the WWE Championship? Why does the WWE think people benefit from feuding with Shane?
The New Day went three-on-three with the Bar and the Big Show next in one of those annoying holiday-themed matches the WWE always likes to put on that humiliates everyone involved. In this case, the New Day got the win after Big E hit Sheamus with a Thanksgiving turkey.
Asuka and Naomi took on Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville next, which wasn’t much of a match; Asuka and Naomi got the win, but mainly because of some miscommunication between Mandy and Sonya. Afterwards, Daniel Bryan popped out for a bit of a chat; he’s going to face AJ Styles again at TLC and explained that he’s become a bit of a dick because he’s realised that he doesn’t really need the people to do well, he just needs himself because he’s a fighter and all that.
Randy Orton gets the main event…again…against Rey Mysterio, like it’s 2003 or something, which was fast-paced, hard-hitting fun that saw Randy hit an RKO out on the floor and then another in the ring for the win. Afterwards, he beat Rey up with a chair and stole his mask; kinda seems like Orton is a bit directionless and just having random matches and randomly hurting people with no clear goal…which is fine as long as we don’t end up with Orton/Bryan.