Heading into this year’s Survivor Series, it’s fair to say that a large chunk of the WWE’s marketing and build has centred around the event coinciding with the Undertaker’s thirtieth anniversary and his “final farewell” to the role (and, presumably, wrestling). As much as I dislike how the WWE has handled the Undertaker since they broke the Streak, there’s no denying the impact and longevity of Mark Calaway’s career; a consummate professional through and through and maintain a staunch commitment to kayfabe, we’ve seen the Undertaker open up more than ever in recent years, which has really helped to celebrate what an influential and lasting figure he has been over the years.
I was pretty sure that the Undertaker’s appearance here, which main evented the event, was simply to set up one last WrestleMania match for the Deadman and, while I can still see that potentially happening since nether Mark or Vince McMahon can seem to truly let go of the character, the farewell turned out to be just that. Several of the Undertaker’s most recognisable friends, allies, and rivals showed up to honour him (including Savio Vega, of all people) and, after a thankfully coherent and heartfelt speech by Vince, the Undertaker himself showed up for one of his characteristically elaborate entrances to lay his career to rest. Will we see him make an appearance if and when crowds finally come back to WWE programming? I’m almost certain, yes but, for now, the bell appears to have finally tolled for the Deadman…
Anyone not good enough to make it onto the main card, or the men’s Survivor Series teams, was thrown into this match, which was for the highest stakes ever…nothing. Oddly, Big E wasn’t involved in this match, or the vent at all; I guess the WWE has just given up on the solo push they were giving him? No doubt he’ll randomly win the Royal Rumble or something because, you know, why actually build or put some time into anything. This match was mainly there to put a bit more spotlight on Dominik Mysterio and it looked as though he had won…until the Miz randomly rushed in and dumped him for the win. Although he didn’t actually show up again later in the night, I’m sure that he’ll ride this victory in his usual obnoxious way for a few weeks,
Winner: The Miz by elimination
My prediction: Team Smack Down by pin fall
Actual winner: Team Raw by pin fall/elimination
So, after all these weeks of Team Raw dicking about and not being on the same page, it turns out that they were able to get their act together to not only win but win with a clean sweep, knocking off all of Team Smack Down without the red team taking a single loss. Of course, it didn’t help that Seth Rollins simply allowed Sheamus to Brogue Kick him and elimination him from the match without any kind of resistance and that the match, for all of its entertaining chaos, suffered from that weird thing tag (and multi-man tag) matches often do where guys are eliminated with a ridiculous amount of easy. In the end, Jey Uso was the last man standing and fell to a massive Spirit Bomb from Keith Lee, which resulted in Roman Reigns disowning both Usos after the match.
My prediction: The New Day by pin fall
Actual winner: The Street Profits by pin fall
I wasn’t expecting the Street Profits to come out on top of this match since the WWE is so high on the New day and likes to give them wins more often than not, considering the team (or, at least, the threesome) has technically spit up and how long the group has been going, I’d kind of like to see Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods move on to other things going forward and maybe this is a step towards that. Kofi and Xavier kind of dabbled in slightly heelish tactics as well and the main purpose of this match seemed to be to get the Street Profits over, which it went a long towards, so hopefully they get some spotlight on Smack Down going forward rather than disappearing into obscurity as most Tag Team Champions tend to do.
My prediction: Bobby Lashley by submission
Actual winner: Bobby Lashley by submission
Whereas the New Day opted to employ a few heelish tactics in the last match, neither Bobby Lashley or Sami Zayn did the same here, meaning we had one type of heel (the cowardly Zayn) battling another type of heel (the muscle with his gang in his corner), which is a really weird dichotomy. It’s a strange thing in wrestling that face vs. face matches can work thanks to the “friendly competition” and “mutual respect” angles but heel vs. heel just can’t really find a way to click. Though Sami lost, this match did wonders to sell his chickenshit persona as he tried everything he could to get out of it or to run away, meaning he won in terms of character work if nothing else. Whether that actually leads to the WWE bothering to do anything with him and the Intercontinental Championship, though, is another thing entirely.
My prediction: Asuka by submission (following interference from Bayley)
Actual winner: Sasha Banks by pin fall
I guess the WWE are actually going all-in with Sasha Banks as a champion this time around; say what you will abut Asuka’s sketchy booking and such over the years, a win over her is still a pretty big deal and to do it without interference (which I was convinced we would see) is even more impressive. Sadly, I still remain unimpressed with Sasha; she doesn’t work for me as a face and I just really don’t like her so I’m not looking forward to seeing her getting all this focus in the lead up to WrestleMania. In the mean time, though, it feels like Asuka is left treading water with no real challengers waiting in the wings, so I guess it could be worse.
My prediction: Team Raw by elimination
Actual winner: Team Raw by elimination
Right, so the storyline in this match was that everyone (and I mean everyone) on the Raw team hates and distrusts Lana. Why? I’m not entirely sure. I get disliking her as she’s been basically a career heel/bitch up until this point and considering her a weak link since she is relatively untested, and I get Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler hating on her because they’re bitches, but everyone? So you’d naturally think that the obvious way to resolve that would be that Lana would surprise everyone by being competent and getting the win for her team and, while both of those things were true, in essence, she ended up spending the majority of the match crying on the ring steps since no one would tag her in and her team didn’t even want her standing on the apron with her. She was only the sole survivor because the last women in the match got counted out so she didn’t even score an upset win or anything like that so I guess we’re meant to like and cheer for her out of pity?
My prediction: No contest due to rampant interference
Actual winner: Roman reigns by submission
Can I just say I love that Reigns has added this guillotine choke to his repertoire? It really helps expand his move set and I can only hope that he’ll add more moves as his heel run progresses, or revert back to hitting that kick-ass Powerbomb of his more often. This turned out to be a battle of the big boys, with both guys throwing massive shots at each other, but it also suffered a little by falling back on the Reigns/Lesnar formula of having both guys spam their biggest move only to kick out of them. This was, primarily, apparently done to keep Drew McIntyre looking strong in defeat since he kept kicking out of Spears and what-not; he also has serious grounds to butt heads with Reigns later down the line since Jey Uso basically cost him the match in order to get back into Reigns’ good books. However, while I have high hopes for these guys having great matches together on a grander stage, I could do without it just being a finisher spamfest since those matches only really work in a very limited bubble and both guys are capable of a lot more than that.
What did you think to this year’s Survivor Series? How many of your predictions came true and what were some of the highlight of the event for you? What did you think to the Undertaker’s farewell and what are some of your favourite matches/moments from his career? Whatever your thoughts, though, feel free to leave a comment below.