Hardly an auspicious debut for my rejigged wrestling column, as this follow-up to my Survivor Series Predictions post is a few days late due to work and issues in my personal life.
Anyway, the WWE decided to announce a lot of Survivor Series participants at the very last minute and, of course, added a bunch of extra matches to the card on the night so it’s thrown some of my predictions askew a little but, despite that, a lot of Survivor Series seems like to went pretty well so let’s have a quick recap now…
This was, of course, the obligatory inter-brand clusterfuck where a whole mess of the WWE’s tag teams were just thrown at each other for no real rhyme or reason other than trying to get everyone on the card.
Perhaps most disappointingly, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode won after stealing the victory away from the Street Profits; I mean, never mind actually trying to shine a spotlight on a new (read: actual) tag team, or continue the story of the O.C. being the “Best tag Team in the World”. It obviously makes much more sense to have Ziggler and Roode win because…well…nope, I got nothing!
Winner: Absolutely Glorious by elimination.
Honestly, I was happy to see the Cruiserweight Championship be represented on the show; it would’ve been a bit weird to miss it out considering this is the “only time” all three brands get to go head-to-head.
So, despite looking like he’d be fired a while back, Lio Rush has, instead, bounced back and is in the middle of a redemption story of sorts as the Cruiserweight Champion. I can’t say I know what Kalisto or Akira Tozawa did to get a title shot, or say that they’re particularly inspired challengers, but all three guys did a good job of getting some energy into the crowd ahead of the main card.
Winner: Lio Rush by pin fall, retains championship.
As if being relegated back to the tag team division wasn’t bad enough, Kofi Kingston didn’t even end up on the main card! The only plus side to this was the knowledge that kickoff show matches actually counted to the “brand warfare”, which went some way to making up for that boneheaded decision last year to not count kickoff show matches.
Anyway, given that the Undisputed Era went through hell at NXT TakeOver: WarGames the night before, they put in a decent innings here; perhaps too good, as they didn’t seem to be selling the effects of that match very much.
While I still think it would have meant more to have the Undisputed Era win so that NXT would look even better, it was still refreshing to not have the New Day win (…even though Kofi, arguably, needs to be winning…but then, he needs to win singles matches to regain his solo momentum but the New Day can afford losses, if that makes sense?)
My prediction: The Undisputed Era to win, by hook or by crook.
Actual winner: The Viking Raiders by pin fall.
Well, Rhea Ripley did end up as the sole survivor but only against Sasha Banks, so I was pretty much bang on with my prediction. The main thing was that Rhea got the win and came away looking fantastic, which is just the momentum she needs ahead of her upcoming title match against Shayna Baszler. Rhea really needs to stay in NXT though as I can see her being just another face on Raw or Friday Night SmackDown.
My prediction: Team NXT to win, with Rhea Ripley as the sole survivor.
Actual winner: Team NXT by pin fall/elimination, with Rhea Ripley as the sole survivor.
I was massively surprised to see this match on the main show, rather than the kickoff show, but this was a great opportunity for NXT to get back some points after the Undisputed Era lost the tag team match. AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura seemed to gel a little better in this match than in their previous feud; maybe the added presence of Roderick Strong was a good counter balance.
However, I can’t say I’m really feeling Strong; he seems a bit generic to me, like he’s lacking a certain it factor and would end up floundering anywhere but NXT. He got the win here though, through underhanded tactics, so maybe he has a bright future ahead of him.
My prediction: AJ Styles to win.
Actual winner: Roderick Strong by pin fall.
This was another match that was scheduled when I did my predictions but only became official after Pete Dunne won a qualifying match at WarGames. It’s a busy time for Adam Cole; not only is he facing a direct challenge from Tommaso Ciampa, Finn Bálor has also thrown his name into the hat and, now, he’s got Dunne looking to progress away from NXT UK and towards NXT proper.
Cole sold the effects of his match at WarGames much more convincingly here, almost painting him as an underdog, which left him desperate to hit the Panama Sunrise and put this one to bed but Dunne is…well, tenacious seems the best descriptor. In the end, though, it simply came down to Cole being able to hit his finish where Dunne could not, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some kind of fatal-four-way for the NXT Championship soon enough to settle the issue.
Winner: Adam Cole by pin fall, retains championship.
I really don’t get why the WWE insists on bathing the Fiend, Bray Wyatt’s matches in that distracting red lights; it must be almost impossible to tell what’s going on live. Normally, that sort of trick is used to cover a performer’s botches or faults (I’m looking at you, Sin Cara); I get that it gives the Fiend an “aura” but it just doesn’t work for full-length matches.
Anyway, despite resisting the Yes! chants recently, Daniel Bryan actually channelled his most popular gimmick during this match and wisely used speed and technique to get around Wyatt’s power and mind games. Ultimately, though, Wyatt was able to get the Mandible Claw cinched in to take the match but I highly doubt this will be the last we see of these two.
My prediction: The Fiend, Bray Wyatt, to retain due to a non-finish.
Actual winner: The Fiend, Bray Wyatt, by pin fall; retains championship.
Well, the good news was that Triple H didn’t take up a spot on Team NXT; the bad news was that WALTER, the big, bad, unstoppable, take-no-prisoners bad ass of NXT UK got eliminated first after one Claymore from Drew McIntyre. This seemed to be so that the WWE could book Keith Lee as NXT’s dominant big man, and have a run in with Roman Reigns, so either than can only book one dominant monster in one match at any one time or they’re a bit more enthusiastic about Lee for some reason.
Keith Lee absolutely came across as a superstar as he ended up being the last member of Team NXT, outlasting Ciampa and Riddle, both of whom are big NXT guys. Reigns, however, was able to absorb Lee’s offense and get the win but, by all accounts, this was a decent match despite the nonsensical elimination of WALTER.
My prediction: Team NXT to win in a clean sweep.
Actual winner: Team SmackDown by pin fall, with Roman Reigns as the sole survivor.
I’m equally surprised that this match didn’t open the show as I figured Brock Lesnar would want to get in and out nice and quickly. Rey Mysterio played it smart and attacked with his steel pipe but soon ended up being pummelled by Lesnar’s spam-fest offense.
The best part of the match was when Dominick Mysterio showed up to hit a 619 and a Frog Splash on Lesnar to show off how much he’s training has paid off; it didn’t help his Dad win the match and I’m yet to be fully convinced that Dominick will be a star in his own right, but it was a decent effort nevertheless.
My prediction: Brock Lesnar to win and retain the WWE Championship.
Actual winner: Brock Lesnar by pin fall, retains championship.
I guess the WWE figured they may as well have another “historic” female main event, not that I blame them as a great deal of the build and hype for Survivor Series revolved around Becky Lynch and Shayna Baszler (oh, and I guess Bayley too…).
Despite Bayley being somewhat overlooked in the build, she more than held her own when she was called upon to get involved in the match; the downside was that there was a little bit too much in and out from the women here, which is disappointing but standard fare for a WWE triple threat match.
As I predicted, though, Baszler took the victory after forcing Bayley to tap out; I’m pretty sure that everyone figured that would happen, to be honest, so it’s not much to crow about but it was the right decision and helps add loads more spice to the Baszler/Ripley feud.
My prediction: Shayna Baszler to win.
Actual winner: Shayna Baszler by submission.
So, by all accounts, probably one of the better Survivor Series events we’ve had in a long time. What were your thoughts and favourite matches/spots of the night? Sound off in the comments and stick around for the next Wrestling Recap column.