Elias def. Matt Hardy (Kickoff Match)
Elias has yet to be advertised for a pay-per-view ahead of time (and no, the day of the show doesn't count). Instead, he's added to the card at the last minute as a filler match/segment, and this was no different. Hardy has been pretty directionless as well lately, which is a shame, but this was a fine match for what it was and Elias went over as he should have. The arena was basically empty because the doors to the building just opened, but WWE wisely kept the lights down during this match so it wasn't as apparent.
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore def. Kalisto (Kickoff Match)
Most fans couldn't have cared less about this match heading into the event, so don't think that the lack of people in the audience was the reason why they were quiet for this contest. Rather, this feud has been a waste of time and there was nothing out of the ordinary about this outing. It was a mediocre match and nothing more. I hate the idea of Hideo Itami being pigeonholed on 205 Live, but it's better than doing nothing on NXT, so we can just skip to that already?
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn def. Breezango (Kickoff Match)
I never thought I'd see Owens wrestling on a Kickoff show, but it happened. I don't mean that as a bad thing, but it basically sent the message that they weren't going to be interfering in the main event (which was smart because they did anyway and I wasn't expecting it anymore). Owens and Zayn were clearly the more beloved duo of the two tandems, but it was a nice little tag team match while it lasted with the right outcome.
The Shield def. The New Day
I had high hopes for this match and it definitely delivered. As I've said before, The Shield were known for their exciting six-man tag team matches years ago and this match was a perfect example of why that was. To their credit, New Day were awesome as well and had their fair share of memorable moments, resulting in a really fun outing on the whole that the crowd was hot for from start to finish. There was no way Shield wasn't going over on the five year anniversary of their debut and in their second match back.
Team Raw (Alicia Fox, Asuka, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Nia Jax) def. Team SmackDown (Becky LYnch, Natalya, Tamina, Carmella and Naomi) in a Traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series Women's Elimination Match
I was critical of last year's women's tag team elimination match because it featured several sloppy spots, and sadly, this match suffered from similar issues. Lynch getting eliminated first was bothersome, but it won't be a big deal if she rebounds this coming week on TV. Fox and Naomi had an awful interaction, but everything else was decent. The key to this match was showcasing Asuka as the sole survivor, so in that respect, this was a success. At least her main roster run is largely off to a strong start.
United States Champion Baron Corbin def. Intercontinental Champion The Miz (Non-title)
This was the match that I was looking forward to the least coming into the event because their styles didn't seem to mesh well on paper, and of course, that was exactly what happened. It was a slightly better bout than I thought it would be but nothing we'll remember a week from now. I will say that I liked the finish quite a bit in that came of nowhere, not to mention that Corbin needed the clean win way more than Miz did.
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos def. Raw Tag Team Champions Sheamus and Cesaro (Non-title)
I know some fans were disappointed when Sheamus and Cesaro replaced The Shield in this match a few weeks ago, but despite the heel vs. heel dynamic, these teams worked wonderfully together. The first half was well-wrestled albeit slow at times, but they really picked up the pace in the second half and delivered a fantastic finishing sequences. Sheamus and Cesaro and The Usos have elevated tag team wrestling in WWE to new heights this year and I'd love to see them work more matches against each other in the future. On a side note, I was thankful that the title belts in the corners of Sheamus and Cesaro never came into play at any point.
SmackDown Women's Champion Charlotte Flair def. Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss (Non-title)
Make no mistake about it, I much preferred this match over what was originally advertised (Bliss vs. Natalya), but it was good at best. I don't know, I was just bored for a majority of it. Charlotte winning was predictable, sure, but that wasn't what I disliked about it. The matchup lasted longer than it needed to considering they didn't exactly light the world on fire early on, but it was by no means bad. Perhaps they'd just need more time to develop better chemistry together.
Universal Champion Brock Lesnar def. WWE Champion AJ Styles (Non-title)
I wrote in an article prior to the pay-per-view predicting that this would be Lesnar's best singles match in years, and I don't think I was far off with that claim. I was scared for the first few minutes when Lesnar destroyed Styles, but Styles sold that beating like a million bucks. The best part about this was that the crowd was invested in the entire outing, giving it a big fight feel in the process. Styles scored more offense over Lesnar than almost anyone else Lesnar has faced this year, giving fans hope he would win. Of course, I never thought for a second that would happen, but they suspended my (and the fans') disbelief very well. The two bad botches might have been the only thing that kept this from being a stronger Match of the Year candidate. Styles gained a ton in defeat here and continues to be the most phenomenal performer on the whole WWE roster. Wow.
Team Raw (Raw General Manager Kurt angle, Triple H, Braun Strowman, Finn Balor and Samoa Joe) def. Team SmackDown (SmackDown Live Commissioner Shane McMahon, Randy Orton, John Cena, Bobby Roode and Shinsuke Nakamura) in a Traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series Men's Elimination Match
With so much star power involved, it was tough to not think that this could be an incredible match, especially considering last year's Raw vs. SmackDown match was outstanding. Unfortunately, this didn't reach those same heights in my opinion. I really liked the first half with the "dream match" combinations between Balor and Nakamura, HHH and Roode, and Joe and Orton. The "younger" guys getting eliminated first didn't bother me a ton, but it is kind of ridiculous that it always comes down to the stars who have been around for decades: HHH, Cena, Orton, Shane and Angle. Thankfully, Strowman was a sole survivor and shined at the end, but the crowd was confused when HHH betrayed Angle and then Shane. It was an anticlimactic conclusion that reeked of 2002 booking. HHH vs. Shane would be cool given their rumored legitimate bad blood, but it looks like we're headed toward Angle vs. HHH at WrestleMania instead.
I'll start off by saying that this was a much stronger show than last year. You can't call this a bad show considering it hosted two excellent matches. That said, it didn't live up to my lofty expectations with such star-studded card. It was still a solid event, however, with several matches delivering and others being average at worst. Definitely go out of your way to watch Styles vs. Lesnar, Shield vs. New Day, and even Sheamus and Cesaro vs. The Usos. The layout of the matches made it predictable who would win, but the in-ring action was entertaining overall. It just would have helped if something was on the line other than "bragging rights." While this wasn't a home run show, I'm glad Survivor Series feels more important now than it did years ago when it was clear the company couldn't have given two shits about it.