The SmarK Rant for WWE Survivor Series 2017 – 11.19.17
Live from Houston, TX
Your hosts are Michael Cole and friends. Yes, we’ve now entered the time of FIVE MAN commentary teams. Four hours of this upcoming, friends.
(Don’t remember this one at all!)
The New Day v. The Shield
Kofi notes that the Shield might be the Hounds of Justice, but they’ll go “Bob Barker” on them, which is a pretty great line. They also drop hints about how the Shield is likely to turn on each other again leading up to Wrestlemania, which isn’t exactly long odds. (Unless they get super-sick after a foreign tour, but how likely is THAT?) Dean and Kofi trade wristlock attempts and Ambrose gives him a love tap, and then it’s over to Roman and Big E for the power battle. I feel like it’s a big incongruous to talk about the New Day’s “24 titles between them” when many of those are the tag titles they’ve held as a team. Like, why would those count three times each? Roman hits E with a samoan drop and the Shield cleans house, leaving Xavier by himself and beaten down in the corner. The Shield triple-teams him and Ambrose gets two, but Kofi comes in and makes a comeback with clotheslines on Ambrose. Boom Drop sets up the Trouble in Paradise, but it misses and Dean tries Dirty Deeds. New Day reverses him into their corner for the Unicorn stomps, and Booker T is offended by the apparent cheating on display here. Finally the Shield has had enough and a brawl erupts, resulting in E spearing Ambrose off the apron. Back in, that gets two. Back elbow gets two. Woods goes to a chinlock as they continue to have trouble getting this thing into second gear. Dean blocks a superplex attempt, but Big E switches in and tries a belly to belly, which Dean counters with a missile dropkick. Hot tag Rollins and he hits the blockbuster on Kofi and a sling blade for two. Xavier comes in Seth gives him the turnbuckle powerbomb, into a clothesline from Reigns that gets two. Superman punch is countered into a rollup for two, but a second try hits. Ambrose comes in, and they hit Kofi with the rainmaker knee and Dirty Deeds for two, but Xavier saves. Rollins hits him with a superkick while the other two deal with Big E and Kofi on the floor, but Big E breaks up the triple powerbomb. New Day makes a comeback and takes out Reigns on the floor, so they’ve got at least 20 minutes while he takes a nap. They trap Dean in the corner and invent a wacky new triple-team where Kofi leapfrogs Big E, who is on Xavier’s shoulders, and then Big E splashes Dean for two. Big E gets both Rollins and Ambrose and they hit a double Midnight Hour on them, but Reigns saves. Finally they all charge in for the big West Side Story rumble, but Kofi is left with Roman and a spear results. And then we get a top rope, triple powerbomb on Kofi, and he’s super extra dead at 21:50. It was actually kind of disappointing for the first half, but once they started doing MOVEZ, people got into it. I do feel like people would have been more invested in it if someone had called an audible when it was apparent that the match wasn’t working 5:00 in, and gone heel. Like Bret Hart used to do in babyface matches. Anyway, still a really good opener. ***1/2
Meanwhile, Stephanie gives her version of a peptalk to the women’s team.
Becky Lynch, Natalya, Carmella, Tamina, and Naomi v. Bayley, Asuka, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks & Alicia Fox
I feel like the loss of James Ellsworth will make a huge difference in the fortunes of Smackdown’s team this year. Becky goes after Fox with a top rope legdrop pretty much immediately and gets two, but Fox escapes the armbar and Bayley sneaks in with a rollup at 2:04 to eliminate Becky. Nattie comes in and beats Bayley down, and a suplex gets two. Bayley comes back on Tamina, who is looking OLD, and the RAW team works her over in the corner. Bayley gets caught in the Smackdown corner and Carmella superkicks her into a Tamina splash at 5:23. Next up, we get the first Nia v. Tamina showdown, which gets a good pop, and Nia quickly gets the corner splash and a rolling senton for two. Nia stops to destroy Lana, however, and gets superkicked out of the ring and counted out at 9:01. Alicia screams at her on the way out and gets rolled up by Naomi for two, but Naomi misses a moonsault, setting up an incredibly sloppy sequence where Naomi accidentally pins Fox at 10:50 with an ugly sunset flip, and then Sasha immediately dives in and taps out Naomi at 10:56. What a mess.
So Asuka kicks the hell out of Carmella and gets a hip attack for two, but Carmella gets a broncobuster on her that only serves to make Asuka really, REALLY mad. A vicious kick to the face ends her at 13:00. Sasha comes in and slugs it out with Natalya, but Nattie gets a clothesline for two. Sasha comes back with the double knees in the corner and Bank Statement, but Tamina saves. Nattie yelling “Help me, help me” at the corner was a nice touch. Nattie goes to the Sharpshooter and Banks taps at 15:14. So Asuka is alone with Natalya and Tamina, and they hit a double suplex on her. Tamina pounds away and goes up for a splash, but that misses and Asuka jumps into an armbar at 17:30. Nattie goes for the Sharpshooter out of that, but Asuka reverses to a kneebar, kicks her in the face, and finishes with the Asukalock at 18:21 to win the match. Asuka destroying everyone and winning by herself was literally the only result they could do. (Unless they decided later to have her suddenly job at Wrestlemania and then completely depush her for no reason. But how likely is THAT?) Much like the 2016 version, it varied wildly between “terrible” and “really good”, but the finish here was enough to pull it out on the good side. ***1/4
Meanwhile, Stephanie and Daniel Bryan argue about nepotism, because we haven’t had enough Stephanie tonight.
Baron Corbin v. The Miz
Among all the other failures of the Jinder title reign, wasting Corbin’s briefcase for no conceivable storyline reason is another one. Corbin attacks Miz outside and beats on him, but he stops to badmouth Maryse and Miz makes a comeback before getting booted off the apron and into the railing. Back in, Miz goes after the knee and gets his terrible figure-four, but Corbin escapes and hits the Deep Six for two. End of Days is escaped by Miz and he gets the DDT for two. Both guys are out and Miz revives first for the Yes kicks, but he walks into End of Days at 9:25. Just an average TV match. **1/4
Meanwhile, Bayley helps a couple get married via jewelry store commercial, because this fucking show isn’t long enough as it is.
Cesaro & Sheamus v. The Usos
Sheamus’s silver mohawk is distractingly stupid, but maybe that’s just mindgames on his part. The Usos work Sheamus over in the corner and they’re pretty clearly playing babyface tonight as Booker T takes credit for their success on commentary and then also points out how he’s a 10-time tag champion and they’re only 5. The Bar regroups and double-teams Jimmy, but a cheapshot from the apron triggers a brawl outside and Jimmy dives onto Cesaro before Sheamus lays him out. Back in, Sheamus getting a flying clothesline for two. Jimmy plays face in peril as Sheamus grabs a chinlock and follows with the backbreaker for two. Cesaro boots Jey off the apron and prevents a tag, allowing the Bar to double-team him with the Cesaro forearm for two. Jey finally gets the hot tag and hits the running butt splash on Cesaro in the corner, for two. Usos with a double-team superkick for two. Jey goes up and Cesaro brings him down with an uppercut and follows with the Giant Swing into the Sharpshooter. Sheamus cuts off the save attempt, but Jey powers himself to the ropes to break. Jey reverses White Noise into a rollup and then sends Sheamus into the post, but he goes up and gets caught with the double-team White Noise for two. Another double-team attempt from the Bar with a Doomsday Device, but he reverses into a mid-air samoan drop on Sheamus that gets two. That’s the kind of thing that should be a finish and it just cheapens it when it’s only a near-fall. Jey fights off Sheamus and makes the tag to Jimmy, and it’s a superkick party, with the announcers actually calling it that, and Jey finishes Sheamus with the flying splash at 15:54. Kind of disappointing, as it was another one that took forever to get going and went too long once they hit the peak. Still good, but mostly dull and forgettable. ***
Meanwhile, Jason Jordan gets promo time, so you KNOW this show is too long.
Alexa Bliss v. CharlotteFlair
Alexa runs away for a bit, but yanks Charlotte off the apron to take over, getting two off that. Bliss goes after the ribs and holds a top wristlock before reversing a slam attempt for two. They slug it out in the corner and Bliss runs Charlotte into the turnbuckles. She tries a tornado DDT, but Charlotte blocks and slams her into the corner, but she can’t get the moonsault. What did she think she was going to do there, exactly? Bliss was clearly not down. Bliss gets the standing moonsault and messes up the double knees, but gets two. Charlotte comes back with a powerbomb that Bliss reverses into a sunset flip for two, and Code Red gets two. Looks like they were repeating the blown spot there. Charlotte blocks a DDT and makes the comeback with chops, but Alexa falls into a teeny-tiny guillotine, which Charlotte reverses into a powerbomb for two. Natural Selection gets two. Charlotte goes up for another moonsault, but it misses again and Bliss gets two. Bliss with the DDT for two, but Charlotte comes back with a spear, but Bliss goes back to the ribs and tries the Twisted Bliss, which misses. Charlotte boots her down (missing by a mile) and the figure-eight finishes at 15:53. Crowd was mostly dead for this one and they botched a LOT, which is surprising for them. Again, too long, but not terrible or anything. **1/2
Brock Lesnar v. AJ Styles
Smackdown is up 3-2 at this point, so I guess they’ll cancel the main event if Brock doesn’t win, and then we can all go to bed at a decent time. Brock tosses AJ around the ring, hurling him around like a Crockett jobber, and the suplexes begin. AJ gets tossed to the floor and thrown into the table, and back in for another suplex as poor AJ is turned into a ragdoll physics demo. Knee in the corner and Brock dares him to fight back, then clubs him down again. AJ finally does get some offense in, but Brock hammers him down again. AJ escapes the F5 and goes after the knee, but Brock powers out of a tornado DDT attempt. AJ hits the Pele to set up the forearm, but Brock cuts him off with another suplex. AJ manages to dump him onto the apron (the hardest part of the ring!), and follows with a flying forearm to the floor. Back in, AJ with the enzuigiri and a Lionsault to set up the springboard 450, and that gets two. Styles Clash is casually reversed by Brock into an F5, but AJ rolls through it into the Calf Crusher. Brock SMASHES him to escape, but AJ keeps coming with the forearm for two. Another attempt is caught, however, and the F5 finishes at 15:18. Best Brock match in FOREVER, as we expected, mostly because Brock was willing to sell like crazy before the usual F5 finish. ****1/4
Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Kurt Angle, Braun Strowman & HHH v. Shane McMahon, John Cena, Randy Orton, Bobby Roode and Shinsuke Nakamura
Now, if this match was as super-important as they’re building up, why wouldn’t Finn Balor be the Demon for it? Shane stupidly attacks Braun to start and that goes badly for him, so he tags out to Orton. Joe overpowers Orton, but nearly walks into an RKO and they hit a stalemate. Next up, Balor v. Nakamura, which has New Japan and NXT geeks alike going crazy. They trade wristlocks and taunts on the ropes, and neither is able to hit the other. HHH comes in to give it a try and Nak is ready to go as he’s finally looking motivated tonight, but HHH hammers him in the corner. Nakamura puts him down with a high kick, but walks into a facebuster and Roode tags himself in. He stops for an ill-advised taunt and gets punched in the face, but comes back with a clothesline for two. HHH with a spinebuster, but Roode escapes the Pedigree and gets his own spinebuster. HHH escapes the Glorious DDT, however, and Kurt Angle comes in and throws german suplexes. Roode escapes the Angle Slam and they clothesline each other, which gets us back to Nakamura. He hits Angle with kicks and fights off the charging RAW team with knees, but Braun won’t go down, and the powerslam finishes at 11:32. Roode gives it a try with a blockbuster, but Strowman picks him up like a child and finishes him at 12:23. Joe tags himself in, rather than let Braun continue to wreck fools, and the brawl is suddenly on. Strowman is left alone with Orton and Cena and he no-sells all their stuff before they head out to the floor. Braun preps the announce table, but all five Smackdown guys team up to suplex him through the table, even though Nakamura and Roode are supposed to be eliminated. If we can’t depend on the sanctity of pro wrestling rules, what hope do we have for the youth of the nation? Anyway, Braun is down and out for an extended amount of time, but no one ever counts him out. Shane goes up for a big suicide dive, but Joe cuts him off with a slam back into the ring. Shane escapes and brings Cena in, but he gets beat up in the RAW corner. Joe and Finn squabble over the kill, allowing Cena to hit them both with multiple AAs and Joe is gone at 18:06. Angle comes in to do some wrestling with Cena, and they slug it out. Five Knuckle Shuffle is blocked with the Angle Slam, but Shane saves, so Balor sneaks in with the Coup De Grace, and another Angle slam finishes Cena at 22:00. Orton comes in with a Garvin stomp on Angle, but he brings Balor back in and Finn cleans house and then dropkicks Shane into the railing in a sick bump. Back in the ring, sling blade for Orton and he goes up to finish, but that misses and the RKO ends him at 23:35. I’m increasingly unconvinced that Balor is gonna be Brock’s next challenger. (And I was correct. He’s just not over, you see.) So HHH and Angle double-team Orton, but Zayn & Owens suddenly charge out and beat up Shane, until Shane fights them both off with a chair, of course. And then Orton hits Owens with an RKO for good measure, but Braun revives and comes back in to powerslam Orton at 26:47. So Shane is alone and stalls for time, but HHH wants the honors. And so does Angle, but Shane rolls him up for two, going for the weakest link. Shane with the back elbow for two, and Oklahoma roll for two. Hurricane DDT gets two. Angle quickly hits the Angle slam and grabs the anklelock…but HHH turns on Angle with the Pedigree, and puts Shane on top at 32:02. Braun is like “WTF?” and so is Shane, but HHH finishes him with the Pedigree at 33:23 because he wanted to finish it himself. So HHH and Braun are your sole survivors, because GOD KNOWS we need more HHH. Come on, four hours for THAT finish? Match was really fun for the first little bit, but kind of died off once Braun went through the table and Nakamura got eliminated. **1/2 And Strowman turns on HHH afterwards to get his heat back, as we learn that the RAW team was a complete shambles who couldn’t get along, but they still wiped the mat with Smackdown anyway. (And what the fuck was that stuff with HHH and Strowman leading up to? Oh yeah, FUCK ALL. Fuck this match.)
I think putting AJ-Brock as the main event would have helped the show a lot, and would have also meant that the near-falls meant something, because the HHH Show at the end was a real downer. It wasn’t a terrible show by any means, but AJ-Brock really saved it from complete mediocrity and I won’t even remember any of the results in three days. (Literally the only match I can remember today is Brock-AJ.) Thumbs in the middle.