- We digested a jam-packed night of WWE's Survior Series to present the many winners and losers from the big event.
WWE presented the Survivor Series on Sunday night, which saw the Raw brand victorious over SmackDown.
The four-hour show, which took place at the Toyota Center in Houston, peaked early with an incredibly entertaining opening match between The Shield and The New Day. Survivor Series served as a solid show, well worth the $9.99 price of the WWE Network, and creates more interest for January’s dual-brand Royal Rumble.
As for the results:
--The Shield defeated The New Day
--Asuka was the sole survivor in the 5-on-5 Raw vs. SmackDown women’s elimination match
--Baron Corbin defeated The Miz
--The Usos defeated Cesaro and Sheamus
--Charlotte forced Alexa Bliss to submit
--Brock Lesnar defeated AJ Styles
--Triple H and Braun Strowman were the winning members of Team Raw in the 5-on-5 men’s elimination match
In honor of the 5-on-5 elimination match format, which WWE began using in 1987, let’s highlight five winners and losers from the 31st edition of the Survivor Series.
WINNER: Braun Strowman
Wrestling is no simple business, but there is one staple of the industry that is not overly complicated: listen to the crowd.
The audience in the Toyota Center made it known that Braun Strowman was the star of the show.
Strowman is one of WWE’s most popular homegrown talents in the past two decades. He has all the tools, including a spectacular look and size at 6’8” and 385 pounds, to carry the company as world champion.
Despite the company’s interest in booking him as a villain, the cheers from the crowd are overwhelming every time Strowman’s roar hits the speakers. There was no doubt that people wanted to see Strowman deliver hard times on Triple H to end the show.
Will Strowman’s popularity force WWE to re-evaluate its plan of a Brock Lesnar-Roman Reigns main event at WrestleMania 34? Strowman has no clear path for WrestleMania, and he would make for a rare Royal Rumble winner that is cheered by the crowd.
LOSER: The WWE championship
AJ Styles and Brock Lesnar delivered a compelling match, but there could only be one winner, and Lesnar was it.
Imagine if WWE had five giants that dominated all of their competitors? Very quickly, Braun Strowman’s impact (not to mention domination) would feel pedestrian. When there are multiple giants, then no one is a giant.
The same problem exists for multiple world champions. There cannot be two equal champions. Vince McMahon affirmed that belief when he had Lesnar defeat Styles at the Survivor Series, and the “Phenomenal One” now returns to SmackDown with a belt that means less than Lesnar’s Universal championship.
The match did serve as a reminder that there is no greater draw on a major stage than Lesnar. Whether the opponent is The Undertaker, Samoa Joe, Goldberg, or Styles, there is no doubt that Lesnar’s authentic fighting style, surprising amount of mobility, and facials add an entirely different dynamic to his matches.
WINNER: Father Time
Father Time remains undefeated, and that includes his work in the wrestling ring.
Kurt Angle and Triple H, both 48 years old, and even 40-year-old John Cena all looked a step (or two) slower in the Survivor Series main event.
If the plan is to feature Triple H vs. Angle at WrestleMania 34, or, for that matter, John Cena vs. Jinder Mahal, then it may be time to reassess both of those matches.
LOSER: Big E
The two most important matches on a wrestling card are the opener and the main event, and the opener between The Shield against The New Day was non-stop action for 21 minutes.
An otherwise incredible match was marred, at least for me, by the finish. Kofi Kingston took the pinfall from Dean Ambrose after a triple powerbomb off the rope by The Shield.
The time is now to build Big E as a singles star. He oozes charisma, starred throughout this Survivor Seriesmatch, and a victory over Reigns could have given Big E momentum to January’s Royal Rumbleand a marquee match at WrestleMania.
The presence of 31-year-old Big E would have been a welcomed addition in a crowd of 40-somethings in the main event.
The “Empress of Tomorrow” shined as the sole survivor in the women’s 5-on-5 elimination match.
Minus a few complaints (how is anyone supposed to like Bayley with the way she is positioned?), WWE’s creative team was wise to eliminate Nia Jax early and allow the match to be centered around Asuka dominating despite being out-numbered.
Is it possible to build Asuka’s ascension atop the women’s division up to WrestleMania? Based on WWE’s quick pace of storytelling, her first title run is likely to happen much sooner.
LOSER: Shinsuke Nakamura
Yes, Shinsuke Nakamura delivered highlights in the ring that saw him get the better of Triple H, Braun Strowman, and Finn Balor.
But he was still the first eliminated from the 5-on-5 elimination match main event.
This was a bad night to be a non-WWE bred talent. The first three wrestlers eliminated in the main event were Nakamura (who first became a star in New Japan), Bobby Roode (a standout for TNA/Impact Wrestling), and Samoa Joe (also one of Impact’s signature wrestlers).
Those of us, myself included, hoping for a world title run for Nakamura were gently reminded to curb our enthusiasm.
WINNER: Survivor Series-inspired tweets from WWE Creative Humor
I’ll let the tweets speak for themselves:
If you’re not already following the account, it is a great complement to the show.
LOSER: The 5-man announce booth
WWE unveiled a five-man broadcast booth at the Survivor Series, which featured Michael Cole, Booker T, Corey Graves, Tom Phillips, and Byron Saxton.
The multi-man booth was three commentators too many. Cole and Graves are WWE’s A-team of announcers. Everyone else could have added a side panel for insight during the show.
Less is always more when it comes to the broadcast booth.
WINNER: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn were two of the only talents on the entire WWE roster to stay true to their character during the build and payoff to the Survivor Series.
Brand loyalty was a foreign concept to the two Canadians, who did their best to cost Shane McMahon the match during the main event.
The negative, however, is that McMahon quickly recovered from the Owens/Zayn beatdown, and then responded with chair shots that forced both Owens and Zayn to run for cover.
Creative decisions like that make you think that the McMahons write the show…
LOSER: Brand rivalries
What, exactly, was at stake at the Survivor Series?
Once Raw and Smack Downs plit the first four matches, then the results of the Charlotte-Bliss and Lesnar-Styles encounters were foregone conclusions. WWE was inevitably entering the main event with the results tied, three wins apiece, and the five-on-five match would decide which brand would ultimately reign supreme.
Raw will forever remain the signature show for the WWE, but the real question in this pay per view was if there would be any concrete direction for April’s WrestleMania 34.
Lesnar was booked to look strong in victory over WWE champion AJ Styles, and Roman Reigns is still on a fast track to dethrone Lesnar at WrestleMania. But could Strowman derail those plans?
WrestleMania 15 remains noteworthy because it was the first ‘Mania to feature a headline of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock. That match needed to finish the show in order to mean as much as it did.
Would WWE ever consider taking a risk, eliminating part-timers from the main event, and deliver a go-home show of Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 34?
Questions will soon start to be answered as we finally enter the road to WrestleMania, which is only 139 days away.