Sunday, November 20th, 2016
Air Canada Centre
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Apparently, another random six man Cruiserweight tag team match and Kane vs. Luke Harper occurred on the pre-show. That’s all you’re getting out of me on that.
A video package running down the card and pyro open the show. Your hosts are Mauro Ranallo, JBL, Corey Graves and Byron Saxton
Team Raw (Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Nia Jax, Alicia Fox, and Sasha Banks) (with Dana Brooke) vs. Team SmackDown (Natalya, Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, and Naomi)
5–on–5 Survivor Series elimination match
Nikki was attacked before the match so Daniel Bryan throws Natalya into the contest in her place, in a lazy segment. In case you’re wondering, what all parties involved in that segment were doing was acting. I know, it was hard to tell. This is the first of three matches that have thrown out all storyline logic or semblance of feud continuity. On the other hand, I’m a mark for the traditional Survivor Series elimination tag matches, so I’ll grade on a curve. This match was what it was, with my biggest complaint being Nia Jax tapping out to get eliminated. She couldn’t get disqualified or something? Charlotte continues to work a bit too fast, thus blowing a chop to Natalya in obvious fashion. The invisible woman behind Natalya felt it, though. In the end, Charlotte & Bayley are the survivors after taking out Lynch who was left alone with both. Luckily, Charlotte turns on and attacks Bayley during the celebration, to set up your next RAW women’s program for the title. **
The Miz (c) (with Maryse) vs. Sami Zayn for the WWE Intercontinental Championship; if Zayn wins, the title will transfer to Raw
Wait, now Michael Cole and David Otunga are present at the commentary booth, replacing Ranallo and Saxton. I guess it’s the wrestling commentary equivalent of a 1970’s key party. Maryse is looking splendid as usual. I somehow have managed to make splendid creepy. Miz went all Eugene, and was mimicking Daniel Bryan throughout the match. Well, this show’s moniker is “Fantasy Warfare”, which is appropriate since the only way the Bryan/Miz feud can payoff with a match will be in a video game. I actually liked this match. Miz working on the knee, Zayn’s selling and Maryse’s interference was all effective in telling the story and building heat. Speaking of which, Maryse’s quasi Montreal Screwjob distraction, led to Miz getting the win and Smackdown retains the IC title. I’m fine with it. Let’s just hope the other switcheroo title match has a different outcome. **1/2
Team Raw (The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston and Sheamus and Cesaro, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Enzo Amore and Big Cass, and The Shining Stars (Primo and Epico)) vs. Team SmackDown (Heath Slater and Rhyno, The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley), American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable), The Usos (Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso), and Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango))
10–on–10 Survivor Series tag team elimination match
Wait, another commentary swap? This time with Saxton and Otunga with JBL and Cole. I’m getting vertigo with all these changes.
There were two rapid fire title changes at the offset, with one bring the RAW tag champions. You knew that was likely to happen to thin this mass of humanity out. There was a spot in the middle that was hot, including the typical, everyone flys to the outside spot. The match slowed, until it got down to the Usos and Cesaro and Sheamus. This was an exciting match down the stretch, highlighted by Cesaro, who is further proving why he is still the most underutilized talent on the entire roster. Cesaro and Sheamus beat the Usos to be the surviving team, and win it for RAW. Well, RAW is 0-2 tonight over Smackdown and I have a feeling the trend will continue. Gee, and this is supposed to be a competition? ***
Brian Kendrick (c) vs. Kalisto for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship; if Kalisto wins the title, the cruiserweight division will transfer to SmackDown
Now it’s just Mauro Ranallo and Corey Graves calling the action.
Match started off well, and a good match overall, however, a few things killed it for me. A). The crowd died during the middle portion, instead of a few select chants (have I mentioned yet how much I am starting to loathe fan chants? It ruins the show for me, regardless what they are). B). Baron Corbin interference. Under different circumstances, I would have loved it, as it furthers Corbin’s heel persona, but it leads to my third issue. C). Cruiserweight title stays on RAW. I was excited to see the CW division move to Smackdown, as it makes the most booking and financial sense. Perhaps it’s my fault for expecting it and convincing myself it was a lock to happen. I mean, why even make the stipulations if neither of the two title matches followed through? I suppose the tedious purple rope swap and lackluster reactions will continue going forward. ***
Team Raw (Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, and Seth Rollins) vs. Team SmackDown (AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, and Shane McMahon) (with James Ellsworth)
5–on–5 Survivor Series elimination match
I feel like I should have liked this match. I certainly didn’t hate it (I’m so deep). I just think it was overbooked and overly long. There were certain high points along the way, and everyone worked hard. Ellsworth and Shane O’Mac getting rocked, the Shield reunion with them taking out AJ, and the ending sequence adding more (thus interesting) depth to the Orton/Wyatt dynamic being the highlights. Overall, it was creatively put together, but the times in the match when I literally wasn’t sure what was happening, took me out of it. Chaos is fun though, and this match had it. Wyatt & Orton survive when Wyatt Sister Abigail’d Roman Reigns. Finally, Smackdown gets a big win, avoiding a sweep, in what was likely the most important elimination match.
Match 6/Main Event:
Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) vs. Goldberg
This had a big fight feel, and Goldberg looked good. He appears to be in good shape and did not look small in comparison to Lesnar. This match took an unexpected, strange turn when Lesnar, stunned after being pushed down by Goldberg was speared out of his boots. Another spear and jackhammer later, it was over, in less than 2 minutes. No Rating. I sat in my chair with mouth agape. Lesnar rolls out of the ring, and Goldberg celebrates with his son…who is now shirtless? This kid must have the how to be a douche starter home kit. It’s in the manual. “When you get excited, take off your shirt and find someone to chest bump. Anyone.” Get this kid an Affliction T-shirt and hair gel stat! I bet Jerry Lawler can help out with that. I know there will be differing viewpoints on the decision to squash Brock like this. On one hand, I’m glad I didn’t have to watch them attempt another long main event style match, as I had no desire, especially by the end of the previous match. On the other hand, to make their credible, blockbuster attraction who ended the streak look like another geek, seems haphazard and another total wasted opportunity. No one will gain the rub from beating the guy who beat the streak. I guess an argument can be made that it went to Goldberg, but he isn’t a young, full time contracted talent that can move the needle in the long term. All of credibility to the rest of the hard working roster was damaged all for just one shocking moment. Much like the streak, you can’t get that moment back. I may change my mind several times over the next couple days on the effectiveness of this finish, but one thing is certain…it will go down as one of the most talked about and debated moments in the company’s history.
Overall, I thought it was a solid show. Matches were exciting and the time flew by, surprisingly. It was the finishes I had issue with, and ultimately knocked my enjoyment down a peg. One thing this show did accomplish is create a stir, and all sorts of speculation and fantasy booking. That’s a good thing. Also, the freeze in storylines have mercifully ended, with the players in the matches at least showing dissension, way more than they did in the build up. It will be intriguing to see where this goes with Lesnar, Goldberg, Styles, Jericho & Owens, Wyatt & Orton, the Shield, Shane McMahon, even the Undertaker. Now, that the RAW vs. Smackdown thirst has been quenched, WWE can go back to business as usual…you know, going back to being all sports entertainment-ey. Hey, that reminds me! We have one of those TLC PPVs coming up in two weeks, that continues to sterilize and overexpose the product. Check back for my thoughts on that.