WWE Survivor Series 2017: Recap & Grades

It’s Survivor Series. The one time of the year where BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH WE GET IT. You can only repeat the shtick about “brand supremacy” so many times before everyone accepts that nothing is actually on the line here. That’s fine though, I don’t NEED something to be on the line always. Sometimes, I’m content with putting two talented people together and having them wrestle to just be better than the other person.

I don’t want to spend a lot of time on the kickoff show, and neither did WWE.

ZING.

Elias beat Matt Hardy, which is neat I suppose. Enzo retained the Cruiserweight championship against Kalisto, which makes sense but also I don’t like it. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens beat Fandango and Tyler Breeze, which is an entirely zany concept that nothing was done with. It’s a bummer to see two of the very best guys on the roster left on the kickoff show, and also Zayn and Owens.

ZING AGAIN.

 

The New Day v. The Shield

There’s a great argument that these two trios are the best three-man teams in all of WWE.

Dean and Kofi start off the match, but Kofi tags out after a hard hit in the mouth. Seth and Xavier grapple for a minute until things repeat themselves, and now we see Roman and Big E together. Any of these combos could be a main event and I’d love it. Some quick tags get all six men in the ring, but it ends with Big E and Kofi on the outside. The Shield replicates the Unicorn Stampede on Xavier in the corner. Xavier finds rooms to crawl away and tag Kofi, who begins to dominate all three opponents. Ambrose is able to dodge Trouble In Paradise, but his Dirty Deeds attempt ends with him trapped on the wrong side of a Unicorn Stampede. The Lunatic Fringe almost gets away, but Woods drags him back. Seth and Roman attack from the outside, giving Ambrose just enough time to get in some offense and dive to the outside, but Big E spears him as he gets back to the apron.

Back in the ring, Dean is still isolated in the enemy corner. He tries to fight free from Woods, but receives a headbutt and is thrown into another corner. Woods sets him up on the top buckle but is thrown down, so Big E tags in for a belly-to-belly but is thrown down as well. Ambrose hits a big missile dropkick before getting the hot tag to Seth. Roman tags himself in after Seth hits a Bucklebomb on Xavier and builds up to a Superman Punch, which the crowd hates. I hate that the crowd hates it. Several quick tags end in a Kingslayer and Dirty Deeds combo to Kofi, but Woods is able to break up the pin.

Dean and Roman take out Big E and Kofi on the outside and set up for a triple powerbomb, but Big E gets back and pulls Roman out. Roman is thrown into the stairs, Seth catches a Trouble In Paradise, and Dean eats a shining wizard from Woods. The New Day gang up on Roman on the outside before setting their sights back on Dean. He is thrown at the top turnbuckle and gets two kicks to the head. Xavier lifts Big E on his shoulders and Kofi vaults over top, followed by Big E slamming down on Ambrose. He then picks up Ambrose and Rollins for a double Midnight Hour. As Xavier goes for the pin, Roman spears Big E on to the pile. The six men stagger to their feet before brawling in and out of the ring. Each member of the New Day eats a Shield finisher before they set up a triple powerbomb on Kofi from the second turnbuckle for the win.

The Shield win their first official match as a reunited faction.

Rating: 8/10

This match was loads of fun and did just about everything that it needed to. The New Day lose absolutely nothing by taking this loss, especially against arguably the most popular trio in the company. The Shield will inevitably split up again, but I hope they don’t misfire and break up the New Day. I’d love to see Kofi given a main event run, he absolutely deserves it, and I’d be even happier if he kept his allies alongside him.

 

Becky Lynch, Carmella, Natalya, Tamina, Naomi v. Alicia Fox, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Asuka: Survivor Series Elimination Match

I just want to say that Alicia Fox is great and so is her hat. But real talk, Becky is my favorite. And so is Asuka. And also Sasha. I’m not good at this.

The team captains start it off with Alicia having the early advantage, but Becky quickly picks up steam and sets up a top rope leg drop. Bayley tags in and IMMEDIATELY ELIMINATES BECKY IT LOOKS LIKE I QUIT WRESTLING NOW.

Natalya enters the fray and dominates Bayley which doesn’t make me feel too much better. Tamina tags in and loses advantage, falling victim to quick tags by Asuka, Alicia, and then Bayley again. Unfortunately for Raw, the hugger is dragged to the blue corner. Carmella is brought in, but Bayley overpowers her and Tamina. Carmella superkicks Bayley, leaving her prone to a top rope splash from Tamina for the elimination. Now it’s Tamina and Nia in the ring. They reach a stalemate on headbutts before Nia charges her into the corner with shoulder tackles. Tamina delivers two superkicks to send Jax to the outside, where Naomi pounces when the ref isn’t looking. Tamina lands another superkick and splash, which is just enough for Nia to miss the count and be eliminated.

Naomi sets Alicia up in the corner and hits a big enzuigiri, but misses her split-legged moonsault. Naomi rolls Alicia up for a three-count that seemed very confusing, but then Sasha forces Naomi to tap out with the Banks Statement. Carmella is trapped in the corner with Sasha and Asuka, and the latter woman goes wild in the ring. Carmella finds room to hit a Bronco Buster, but makes the mistake of smacking Asuka in the face. One stiff kick in the face later and the Staten Island Princess is eliminated. Natalya comes in and is immediately isolated from her corner. Natalya slaps Sasha, but the Legit Boss responds with a slap so loud that the entire arena gasped. She sets Nattie up for the double knees and the Banks Statement, but Tamina breaks it up. Sasha is sent face-first into a turnbuckle and is caught in the Sharpshooter and taps.

Natalya and Tamina glare at Asuka alone in the red corner. The Empress Of Tomorrow fights out of her corner, but is beaten down by the numbers advantage. The two Smackdown women hit a double suplex on Asuka, followed by a powerslam by Tamina, but Asuka refuses to stay down. She gets out of the way of another splash and catches Tamina is a vicious armbar, but Natalya pounces the second Tamina is eliminated. She sets up for another Sharpshooter that Asuka turns into a kneebar, but the separate. A discus clothesline is ducked into a spinning kick, followed quickly by the Asuka Lock for the win.

Asuka is the sole survivor for Team Raw, giving the red show a 2-0 lead.

Rating: 6/10

I’m still VERY upset about the way Becky was treated, but at least Asuka was booked like a monster.

 

Baron Corbin (United States Champion) v. The Miz (Intercontinental Champion)

Miz. Is. The. Best.

And I haven’t ever liked Baron Corbin. Sorry.

Miz starts off with hard strikes, but Corbin uses his size advantage. On the outside, Baron receives a dropkick from Miz, but he throws the A-Lister into the barricade and blows a kiss to Maryse at ringside. A furious Miz takes him out, gets in the ring, and clotheslines him back out again. A Miz this aggressive is uncommon but I’m very into it. Unfortunately, it really only takes one big kick for Corbin to get back on top of the action. The United States champ unleashes a handful of hard punches in the corner, but is sent to the outside. He sees through Miz’s plan and catches his dropkick attempt with a fist to the face. As he gets back in the ring, Bo Dallas attacks his knee while the ref is distracted. The Intercontinental champion abuses the weakened knee by stomping him in the corner while the Miztourage prowls at ringside. Miz locks in the figure four leglock, the much taller/longer Corbin gets to the ropes relatively easy. Trying to keep the momentum high, Miz runs directly into a Deep Six for a two-count.

Corbin dodges another attack, slides outside, and attacks Curtis Axel. He quickly jumps back in the ring for a big clothesline on Miz before throwing Dallas into the ring and ending his interference with the End Of Days. Miz takes advantage of this distraction with a DDT, but can’t put him away. They both take a while to rise, but Miz delivers his “It Kicks” when he rises, followed by two dropkicks in the corner. The third is intercepted and turned into an End Of Days to put away the Intercontinental champ.

Baron Corbin defeats The Miz, earning the first win for Smackdown of the night.

Rating: 6/10

Yo, this is dumb. If they just wanted the score to be 2-1 here, I’d rather see The Shield or Asuka lose than Miz. No, I don’t feel good about that sentence either, but I’m pretty upset that Miz lost this match.

I’m coming back to this segment after the show has finished and I’ve cooled down a bit. Miz is not hurt by a loss here because he’s the best, end of thought. Corbin, on the other hand, really needed a big win after the lackluster mini-feud with Sin Cara. Just because I don’t like him doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve a little something. Sigh.

I actually think I liked Corbin’s work here more than his Cena match at Summerslam. Is this his best match? Definitely let me know.

 

The Bar (Raw Tag Team Champions) v. The Usos (Smackdown Tag Team Champions)

These two teams are great, and I have been all about the Usos since their heel turn.

Sheamus and Jimmy begin the match, with the Irishman overpowering his opponent to start. Jimmy breaks away and traps Sheamus in his corner so that Jey can tag in and get some offense, but Cesaro is able to tag in as well. The Usos continue with incredibly quick tags to keep the offense strong against their Raw counterparts. The Bar double clothesline Jey to try to grind the pace down, but the brothers are too tricky and send the Raw champions to the outside. Jey is caught with an uppercut from Cesaro, but Jimmy dives to the outside. He is then knocked out by Sheamus, who goes back to the ring to take on Jey. The Bar is dominating the action and keeping the ring cut in half. Jimmy breaks away from Sheamus for a brief moment, but Cesaro kicks Jey off the ring before hitting Jimmy with a pop-up uppercut. Sheamus sets up that Ten Beats of the Blarhefjadd (no one can spell it) but Jimmy sneaks out and sets up a top rope corkscrew.

Both men make tags but Jey is the one with momentum, hitting several Samoan Drops and a running hip to the turnbuckle. Sheamus draws the attention of the ref, so the Usos team up to take out Cesaro, but he kicks out. Sheamus throws Jimmy into the barricade while Cesaro swings Jey around before locking in a Sharpshooter. Jimmy tries to break it up but runs into a Brogue Kick. Jey powers through and makes it to the ropes. Sheamus kicks Jey when the ref isn’t looking and Cesaro clotheslines him, but still a two-count. Jey knocks Cesaro out of the ring but is caught out of mid-air by Sheamus, setting up the tandem White Noise. Jimmy breaks up the pin at the last second, and I rejoice at the state of tag team wrestling at this moment in time. A huge spot ends with Cesaro powerbombing Jey who Samoan Drops Sheamus. Jimmy superkicks Cesaro out of the ring, but Jey’s pinfall doesn’t reach three.

Jey tries to crawl to his brother, but Sheamus is dragging to the red corner hoping to meet Cesaro there. Jey gets to his brother and they prepare to take out Sheamus, but Cesaro pushes him out of the way and winds up on the receiving end of a double superkick. Sheamus then eats a kick from each brother before getting a kick from each side, reminding me of DIY. It’s like a party…but for superkicks. Anyways, Jimmy bounces off the ropes and tags his brother as he flies out of the ring and onto Cesaro in a move that I had never even considered in a tag match. Jey climbs to the top for one more splash and the victory.

The Usos win a barnburner against Sheamus and Cesaro.

Rating: 8/10

When tag team wrestling is great, it’s really fucking great. I’ve even sorta come around on Sheamus because of his great work with Cesaro, but the Usos are absolutely top notch.

This match is made better by having seen the tag team Survivor Series match from last year, where these four men were the last ones in the match. The moment where Cesaro has the Sharpshooter and Sheamus lands a Brogue Kick to stop the interference is a direct reference to how that match ended last year, and the subversion of that is key to the second half of this match. It’s a really efficient way to progress the storytelling, similar to the DIY/Revival feud from last year on NXT as well.

 

Charlotte Flair (Smackdown Women’s Champion) v. Alexa Bliss (Raw Women’s Champion)

Charlotte is arguably the best female athlete in the company, and Alexa has gotten so damn good since she jumped to the main roster.

The Smackdown star attacks early and quickly, but Alexa stays on the outside to be safe. Bliss runs to the apron and Charlotte follows, but the Goddess Of Raw yanks her opponent down to the ground hard. Alexa delivers a running dropkick to Charlotte before throwing her back in the ring. Bliss locks in an abdominal stretch, keeping the match under her control. Flair gets some room and tries to slam Alexa, but she sneaks out and drops Flair again. Charlotte goes for a roll-up, but Alexa sends her face-first into the turnbuckle. A tornado DDT fails and Charlotte suplexes her opponent into the corner. Flair goes to the top rope but is knocked into the tree of woe and eats a dropkick. Ms. Five Feet Of Fury wants Twisted Bliss, but settles for double knees to the back. She wants a sunset flip, but the more powerful Charlotte picks her up for a powerbomb, but can’t follow through. The sunset bomb is successful the second time, but Charlotte kicks out.

Alexa and Charlotte end up trading chops, which is a bad idea when you’re fighting a Flair. Alexa lands a guillotine choke and looks like a little backpack on the much taller Flair. Charlotte uses her power to stand up and turn it into a huge powerbomb, but still no three-count. They both take a bit to get to their feet, but Charlotte hits Natural Selection for another two. She goes to the top rope for a moonsault but comes up empty. Alexa hits a DDT and goes for the pin, but Charlotte gets her leg on to the bottom rope for the save. Alexa pulls her up, but Charlotte throws her opponent into the ropes and hits a spear. Alexa dropkicks the injured ribs of Charlotte before going to the top rope again. She goes for Twisted Bliss, but catches the knees of Charlotte. She hits a big boot and locks in the Figure Eight for the win.

Charlotte forces Alexa to tap out and gives Smackdown the lead for the first time of the night.

Rating: 7/10

Women’s wrestling has never been better in WWE than it is right now. I will say that every day. The current roster of women is so damn talented, it’s unreal. Any time a women’s match is given time to go, they always show up and I love it.

MORE PLEASE.

 

AJ Styles (WWE Champion) v. Brock Lesnar (Universal Champion)

Perhaps the best wrestler in the world and also Brock Lesnar. Boy, I sure hope this isn’t exactly what we all think it will be.

Lesnar immediately starts shoulder charging AJ in the corner before throwing him across the ring. He does that same thing again. AJ crawls to a corner and gets stomped down. Brock grabs Styles by the hair and drags him to the opposite corner before throwing knees into his gut. The first suplex of the night is an overhead belly-to-belly. A German suplex almost sends Styles out of the ring. AJ is thrown clear over the top rope to the outside so that Brock can do his little bounce thing. He heads to the outside and throws AJ into an announce table. Back in the ring, a third German suplex sends AJ all the way across the ring. Styles is set in the corner and hit with a running knee to the face. Lesnar taunts his opponent to fight back, but dodges the weak punch before planting him.

Styles actually manages to land a few hits before taking another knee to the gut. Lesnar goes for an F5 that AJ sneaks out of. Lesnar goes for another running knee that meets a turnbuckle and AJ dropkicks the other leg before hitting a DDT. The Phenomenal One takes advantage by taking out Lesnar’s legs. He goes for a tornado DDT, but Lesnar powers him down so that both men are stunned. AJ hits a vicious Pele Kick to the back of Lesnar’s head. He wants a Phenomenal Forearm but is caught for another suplex that turns him inside out, landing hard on his knee. Lesnar hobbles to Styles and swings so hard that he gets sent over the top rope. AJ hits a Phenomenal Forearm to the outside and both men are down. AJ slams the Beast into the stairs before hitting a big forearm off of the stairs as well.

Back in the ring, AJ answers a simple punch with an enzuigiri and a springboard moonsault. He goes to the outside for a 450 Splash, but Brock kicks out. AJ wants a Styles Clash that Brock tries to turn into an F5, but AJ slips out again with a Calf Crusher. The crowd is as loud as I’ve heard in quite some time, but Brock slams AJ’s skull into the mat repeatedly to break the hold. AJ hits a massive forearm as Brock grabs for him, which he follows up with another springboard forearm, but the Beast still won’t stay down. Styles crawls to the apron again and removes his elbow pad, but he springboards right onto the waiting shoulders of Lesnar, who finally hits the F5 for the win.

Brock Lesnar ties the night up with a surprisingly hard fought win over AJ Styles.

Rating: 6/10

Look, none of us are surprised that Brock won because of course. I am a little surprised that AJ was able to get in as much offense as he did, but I’m just so fucking bored with Brock. He dominates, he takes offense that we’re all shocked by, he kicks out of every single finisher, then he wins off of ONE F5. That’s how it goes and there’s no variation. I get that having his name attached to the Universal Championship means something, but it sucks only seeing the title four times a year. I’m just done caring about part time wrestlers with championships.

However, this is arguably the most I’ve liked a Lesnar match since the triple threat with Cena and Rollins at Royal Rumble 2015, so that’s something.

 

Kurt Angle, Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman, Triple H v. Shane McMahon, Randy Orton, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, John Cena: Survivor Series Elimination Match

WHY IS JOHN WEARING GREEN THOSE AREN’T THE RULES

After a very long staredown, Shane attacks Braun from behind and is thrown back to his corner. Orton and Joe start the match proper. Joe’s brute strength has the early edge, and he tries for a Coquina Clutch as he dodges an RKO. They both tag out to bring in Finn and Shinsuke and I have now died, so my ghost will finish this piece. The two former New Japan wrestlers trade holds and dodge strikes before Finn looks over at Triple H, who asks for the tag. Hunter brings Nakamura to the corner and unleashes a few strikes before Nakamura delivers a few hard kicks of his own. Roode tags in, and now it’s a battle of father and son. If you don’t believe me, just look at their faces real close. Roode teases a Glorious chant but gets punched in the mouth instead. He gets back up and hits a big clothesline, but Triple H responds with a spinebuster. Trips mocks Roode with a “Suck it” cheer, but his Pedigree is evaded. They trade attempted finishers before Roode is pushed into the red corner. Angle tags in and hits three consecutive German Suplexes, but his Olympic Slam is avoided.

Nakamura tags in and attacks Kurt and Trips in the ring before knocking Braun off the apron. He sets Angle up for a top rope knee and proceeds to take out Joe, Finn, and Hunter. Braun is tagged in but Shinsuke goes right for him with a knee from the second turnbuckle. Strowman responds with a running powerslam to Nakamura for the first elimination. Roode sprints in and hits a surprising amount of offense before falling to a second powerslam elimination. Joe tags himself in and pushes Braun out of the way. Angle tries to break it up, but Triple H shoves him. Orton attacks both veterans while the rest of Smackdown attacks around him. Cena and Orton team up to go after Braun. They shove him to the outside, but two HARD punches knock both men out. Cena and Orton try to suplex Braun through a table, but they can’t lift him until Shane and the two eliminated men show back up to help power him through. Shane goes to the top rope to attack Braun, but Joe superplexes him back into the ring. Shane sneaks away and tags Cena, who quickly eats a senton from Joe. Joe hits a big uranage in the corner, but Finn tags himself in. He goes to the top but Joe tags back in. The miscommunication results in an AA to Balor and two of them to Joe, and the latter is eliminated.

Kurt steps into the ring against Cena, a callback to the first time Cena ever wrestled in WWE. The two men trade blows and shoulder tackles. Cena goes for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but gets caught in an Angle Lock before eating an Olympic Slam. The pin is broken up by Shane, but Finn lands a Coup De Grace on the 16-time champ. One more Olympic Slam and Cena is eliminated. Orton gets back in the ring and picks apart Angle limb by limb. Finn is tagged in and quickly runs through both Orton and Shane. He dropkicks McMahon into the barricade before going back after Orton. He almost hits another Coup De Grace, but eats an RKO instead. Balor is eliminated and Triple H comes in. Angle is tagged, but Orton takes both men out. He crawls to Shane, but he’s taken out by an angry Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Shane attacks both men with a steel chair and Owens eats an RKO, but Braun is back up and eliminates Orton.

Shane McMahon is the only blue man left against Braun, Kurt, and Triple H, who tags himself in. Before any contact is made, Kurt tags himself in as well. Shane works quickly and lands as many moves as he can, but Angle won’t stay down. Angle hits an Olympic Slam and rips his shirt before locking in the Angle Lock. He tries to roll out of it, but Angle follows him. Before Shane can tap out, Triple delivers a Pedigree to Kurt and drags Shane’s body on top for an elimination. While glaring at Braun, Hunter moves across the ring to stand next to Shane, but hits him with a Pedigree as well for the final elimination.

Triple H and Braun Strowman survive and give the final victory to Monday Night Raw.

Rating: 6/10

After a lot of celebrating, Braun grabs Trips by the throat and screams in his face about what will happen if he ever tries to turn on him again. Triple H tries a Pedigree, but he eats a running powerslam because obviously.

 

Just like the main event of last year’s Survivor Series, the ten men gave a lot for a big bombastic brawl that was much more about entertaining moments than it was about actual wrestling, and that is no problem whatsoever. There’s hardly any way that you can get a ring classic out of a ten-man match, so the best thing to do is make it all about spots. This is how wrestling works, and the card lived up to it’s potential.

Was it able to top NXT Takeover War Games from the night before? Well that’s hard to say (no, I don’t think so), but it certainly worked as it’s own night without any significant low points.

Nick Potter

Co-founder of The Filmsmiths. Degree in Broadcast & Cinematic Arts with a minor in Cinema Studies from Central Michigan University. Pretty much the barbecue sauce of people but I'm doing my best.

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