Rob and Chris are here to recap the events of the last of the Big 4 events for 2018!
So we had some chaos and news on the pre-show. First off, Natalya and Ruby Riott were kicked off Team Raw by team captain Alexa Bliss after an altercation. Elsewhere, Mandy Rose was announced as the fifth member of Team SmackDown Live.
10-MAN TAG TEAM ELIMINATION MATCH
Chris Novak: This match went as expected. Which is to say that it was a bit of a mess at first, but got really fun at the end. Lots of rapid eliminations and not a whole lot of storytelling and whatnot. Which I suppose is fine and I wasn’t exactly expecting anything else to happen. Gable and Roode did some crazy cool shit. Gable, in particular, had one spot where he hit a German OFF THE TOP ROPE and landed onto everybody. Eventually it ended with The Usos defeating The Revival to give the W to Team SmackDown Live. A very good match all things considered. ***
Well, would you look at that? Bayley and Sasha Banks are the replacements for Team Raw. Bayley and Sasha make it clear they don’t owe anybody anything, and that after Survivor Series, they’re coming after all of them after what happened to them this past Monday. LOVE IT! Of course I do. You know by now how it goes.
WOMEN’S SURVIVOR SERIES ELIMINATION MATCH
Chris Novak: A good match to start the show, if not structured a little bit weirdly. It was cool to see Mandy and Sonya get a lot of burn, but they did so at the expense of Naomi and Carmella, two extremely popular SDL women. As a result, the crowd was a little dead during parts of this match. I enjoyed that we got a lot of Sasha Banks-Asuka in this match. Bayley, meanwhile, did her best with Carmella, Mandy and Sonya. Surprised? Hell no. Nia, meanwhile, got heavy heat as expected. She wound up being the sole survivor after pinning Asuka. I cannot say that I’m surprised. This was going to be the result even before the incident with Becky happened earlier in the week. So it’s hard to be mad at this. It’s a low bar set, but this was easily the best women’s elimination match since they’d started doing these things. ***1/4 for me.
Rob O’Neill: Off the bat, I don’t like Nia Jax winning and being the sole survivor. I get it, but turning what she did to Becky Lynch into an angle pretty much seems kinda gross to me. Aside from that, it was excellent to see Bayley and Sasha Banks on PPV. I wonder if the idea was supposed to be Smackdown’s two top women are out of commission and not on the team, so logically there’s no reason Raw shouldn’t win. Despite all of that, I thought it was a perfectly fine match to open the show.
SETH ROLLINS VS. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA
Rob O’Neill: This match was very good! I liked it a lot. It’s just… I don’t know why I was supposed to care about it. Over the past couple weeks, Rollins has been (rightfully) preoccupied with Dean Ambrose. Nakamura has hardly been featured apart from one interview this past week on SmackDown Live where they built up the feud. Combine those elements with the fact that they only had six shows to build to this, and you have a recipe for apathy.
Funny segment backstage with the Raw team, Braun in particular, and R-Truth, as well.
AOP VS. THE BAR
Chris Novak: This match featured four big dudes just laying it into each other. You love to see it. Drake Maverick wound up pissing himself which provided enough distraction for AOP to get the victory with a double team move. A solid match on its own. *** will do it for me.
Rob O’Neill: This was shorter than I would have liked and Drake Maverick literally pissed his pants. It was weird.
BUDDY MURPHY VS. MUSTAFA ALI - CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE
Chris Novak: Before this gets started, shout out to both these dudes for making the main card. These dudes spent the time in this match just trying to kill each other and it worked the crowd over. Just a couple of absolutely insane spots, like a Spanish Fly off the announce table, among other things. Bud Murphy won and retained his title after a HUGE knee to the face and the 1-2-3 after hitting Ali with Murphy’s Law. ****1/4 for me and the clear MOTN so far. Awesome, AWESOME stuff.
Rob O’Neill: Hey the cruiserweights got on the main card of a PPV and they surely didn’t disappoint. The match started a bit slow, but once it picked up the crowd was all over it and it was great to see for these two. I’m interested where Buddy Murphy goes from here.
MEN’S SURVIVOR SERIES ELIMINATION MATCH
Chris Novak: After a pretty fun and lengthy affair, Team Raw won 3-0 and are now up 4-0. I have no real idea of why Raw is on the way to a clean sweep of SmackDown Live, but so it goes. The match itself was really fun and had a lot of cool and fun matchups. ***3/4 for me here, to be quite honest.
Rob O’Neill: While this wasn’t the best Survivor Series match of all time, it was fun and captured the spirit of the event. Shane McMahon bumped like a madman, as he does, and Raw got the victory and continued their hot streak. This will likely have a lot of storyline affects on SmackDown on Tuesday.
RONDA ROUSEY VS. CHARLOTTE FLAIR
Chris Novak: Holy Lord, this match. These two went hard as hell for however long this went. Stiffness, sloppiness, physicality and brutality. The match eventually came to an end after Charlotte beat the shit out of Ronda with a kendo stick. She then turned it up a notch and beat her up with a chair. If that wasn’t enough, after dismissing officials, she wrapped a steel chair around Ronda’s neck and STEPPED ON IT! Unbelievable showing by Charlotte, who was INCREDIBLY over with the LA crowd after the ass whooping. **** from me. Just a GREAT match and GREAT post-match segment.
Rob O’Neill: Well this was a fight, plain and simple. It would have been the same if it was Ronda and Becky, because they need to get to the 4 Horsewomen vs. 4 Horsewomen match. What I didn’t expect was the brutality! Charlotte used a chair and a kendo stick and Ronda got busted open. Also Charlotte and Ronda are two of the best big-match performers in WWE today, so this certainly didn’t disappoint.
BROCK LESNAR VS. DANIEL BRYAN
Chris Novak: What an unbelievable match. Lesnar beat the shit out of Bryan for about eight minutes and then Bryan turned it ALL the WAY UP! Brock sold his ass off for Bryan, and Bryan is just a fucking masterful professional wrestler. The greatest of his generation. This was the match of the night and a MOTYC. Daniel Bryan is ALL the WAY BACK! ****3/4.
Rob O’Neill: In terms of pure professional wrestling, this was one of the best matches of all time. I’m not exaggerating. I struggled with how to put my thoughts into words about this one, but it was amazing. Lesnar started the match throwing Bryan around for a solid five minutes and it looked like it would be a runaway (shoutout to Renee Young for playing up the danger to Bryan’s health angle on commentary, which many parroted on Twitter), but then suddenly out of nowhere, Bryan hit a sick looking knee and it suddenly we had a David vs. Goliath story! It shows two things: Daniel Bryan is perhaps the best all-around professional wrestler in the world, and when Brock Lesnar actually gives a shit about the match he’s in, he’s also one of the best in the world still.
Chris Novak: A very good show. The first half of this was so-so but not objectively, outright terrible. The final four matches of the show whipped ass, with the main event being the standout of the show. I don’t know why Raw was booked to sweep, but it’s hard to care when all of this will be rendered meaningless in a few weeks anyway. I’ll give this show a solid B+. It’s the fourth-best of the Big 4 shows this year but that’s not a big deal, because all of them were very good to excellent this year.
Rob O’Neill: This show was pretty average at some points, but the cruiserweight match, the women’s match, and the main event stand out and made it very good. If you don’t count Crown Jewel (you shouldn’t), WWE is on a hot streak with Pay-Per-Views at this point, and I’m interested to see if they can keep it rolling, AND i’m interested in watching Raw and Smackdown to see where things go next, which is all I’ve ever asked from a PPV. B+