Since the second brand extension, Survivor Series has regained its status as one of the biggest WWE Pay-Per-Views of the year, after losing much of its prestige sometime in the late 2000s.
Survivor Series 2017 was the second Survivor Series in a row to push the SmackDown vs. RAW feud for bragging rights, and the intense invasion angles between the shows, along with some cracking promos and some surprising title changes which altered the line-up on multiple occasions, all made this the most anticipated ‘Survivors’ event in a long time. Did it live up to the hype?
Six-Man Tag Team Match
The Shield vs. The New Day
Kicking things off is a wild six-man tag between the two best WWE factions of the decade. They are given plenty of time, and they ensure that despite the fast pace, the action builds slowly to a huge crescendo of major spots at the finish. It’s not a big surprise that The Hounds of Justice would prevail, but this outstanding opener is another feather in the cap of The New Day, who somehow enjoyed their best year from an in-ring standpoint in 2017, despite their record-setting Tag Team Title reign stretching from SummerSlam 2015 to Roadblock 2016.
Ten-Woman Tag Team Elimination Match
Alicia Fox, Asuka, Bayley, Sasha Banks & Nia Jax vs. Becky Lynch, Natalya, Naomi, Carmella & Tamina
There could only have been one choice for the sole survivor in this match. That would be Asuka, the undefeated Empress of Tomorrow who had only been recently promoted from NXT, and that’s exactly how it went down, positioning her as the one to watch in RAW’s female division. The match itself is a bit inconsistent, though, with some glaring botches bringing things down a peg or two.
Baron Corbin vs. The Miz
Heel vs. heel matches are rare, and though both men did a great job in promoting their match on social media, the videos were only partially shown on WWE television, making this feel like the least important match of the evening. It’s still entertaining, though, and I got a kick out of Curtis Axel donning a red neck brace, to fit in with the brand rivalry.
The Usos vs. Sheamus & Cesaro
Arguably the two best WWE tag teams of 2017 square off here in a great encounter. The drama builds significantly in the final few minutes, with several extremely close calls before The Usos wrap things up. Jimmy and Jey have becomes masters of the art of tag team wrestling, having already spent several years heading up WWE’s doubles division, whilst Sheamus and Cesaro have become such an effective team that it may be a long time before they pursue singles glory again.
Charlotte Flair vs. Alexa Bliss
This match only became official five days earlier when Charlotte defeated Natalya to become SmackDown Women’s Champion. It’s a strong effort between two of WWE’s very best female wrestlers, and though the outcome is a bit predictable (due to the scoring of the inter-brand matches, bearing in mind that Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles was up next), it takes nothing away from the quality of this bout.
Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles
AJ Styles’ shock WWE Championship win over Jinder Mahal was enthusiastically welcomed by just about everybody (besides Mahal), not least because it suddenly set up this dream match between AJ and Lesnar, and it ends up being one of Brock’s best matches of his second WWE run! Lesnar rag-dolls Styles to begin with (really roughing him up at times), before AJ mounts a comeback and manages to have Lesnar on the defensive on multiple occasions. Brock triumphs in the end, but this is the perfect example of how a smaller competitor can put up one hell of a fight against The Beast Incarnate, and eventually lose, without either man looking weak in the process. A must-see match.
Ten-Man Tag Team Elimination Match
Kurt Angle, Triple H, Finn Bálor, Samoa Joe & Braun Strowman vs. Shane McMahon, John Cena, Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura & Bobby Roode
Unfortunately, the card then falls off a cliff at the most crucial time. The exciting build to the SmackDown vs. RAW rivalry was designed to culminate with this ten-man affair, with Kurt Angle’s job as RAW General Manager at stake. But after an adequate opening salvo, the eliminations suddenly became rushed and somewhat illogical; Shane is left alone against Angle, HHH and Strowman. Then, a HHH Pedigree on Kurt seems to indicate a possible Shane-HHH alliance… only for HHH to Pedigree Shane and take the win for he and Braun, making Angle and SmackDown as a whole look really weak.
Not for the first time, the match becomes all about Triple H (which was telegraphed by his involvement being the focus of the pre-match promo videos), and though Braun destroys The Game afterwards, none of Hunter’s potential storylines have progressed over the last eight weeks. That will likely change, either at RAW 25 tonight or over Royal Rumble weekend, but whatever the fall-out, it felt like the entire brand rivalry storyline was suddenly jettisoned to promote HHH and, to a lesser extent, Strowman, meaning that a great show ends on a flat note.
Because this was a four-hour PPV, we got three matches on the Kickoff Show which are all included as bonus material here on the DVD and UK exclusive Blu-ray: Matt Hardy vs. Elias (held just before Matt became “Woken” in a WWE setting), Enzo Amore defending the Cruiserweight Championship against Kalisto, and Kevin Owens teaming with Sami Zayn against Breezango.
All three are what you would expect in a pre-show environment, with the bouts serving their purpose but not standing out beyond that. Owens and Zayn DO get involved in the main event as well, and that played an important role in their on-screen feud with Shane McMahon (which has since evolved into a growing rivalry between Shane and Daniel Bryan, though neither authority figure has officially turned heel as of this writing).
Despite the disappointing main event, this is still a really entertaining show. AJ vs. Brock is awesome, The Shield vs. The New Day is a slow-burning thriller, The Usos vs. Sheamus & Cesaro does not disappoint, and both Corbin vs. Miz and Charlotte vs. Alexa are worth watching too.
It’s a shame that the two elimination matches do not match expectations (one because of botches, the other because of booking), because if they had, this would quite possibly have been the best Survivor Series card in many years. However, it’s still a strong card overall, and so I’d recommend checking out Survivor Series 2017 again on DVD or Blu-ray.
Grab a copy of WWE’s new SURVIVOR SERIES 2017 DVD or Blu-ray…
– United States: RIGHT NOW! Get your Survivor Series DVD now here on Amazon.com.
– Australia: RIGHT NOW! Get your Survivor Series DVD ordered at Madman.com.au.
– UK/Europe: RIGHT NOW! Get your Survivor Series DVD (or the Blu-ray) on Amazon.co.uk.