By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Rich Swann, T.J. Perkins and Noam Dar def. Drew Gulak, Tony Nese and Ariya Daivari (Kickoff Match)
I figured we would see a fourth traditional tag team elimination match from the Cruiserweights on this show considering the abundance of talent they have, but they were relegated to working another six-man tag team match instead. How exciting. As I've always said, the wrestling is fine, but the fans (or at least those that were sitting in their seats at the time this happened) were quiet for a majority of this match because these multi-man matches with the Cruiserweights have been done to death in recent months. And the trio of Gulak, Nese and Daivari never win! WWE 205 Live could not debut soon enough.
Kane def. Luke Harper (Kickoff Match)
I appreciate the matchup having some storyline significance in that Kane has had his issues with The Wyatt Family for months, but as a match, this was painfully boring. The commentators praised Harper's athleticism and he had a good showing here, but he lost to the guy who has been around for almost two decades. Why? I realize it's the Kickoff show, but Harper will never fulfill his full potential as long as he is being positioned as a lower midcard competitor.
Team Raw (Raw Women's Champion Charlotte, Bayley, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks and Alicia Fox) def. Team SmackDown Live (SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch, Natalya, Carmella, Naomi and Alexa Bliss) in a Traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series Women's Elimination Match
Yes, that's a hell of a headline, and probably the longest I have ever had to type for one of my match results. It might actually be longer than this match was. This wasn't short by any means, but it just wasn't what I expected. Banks getting eliminated early was weird considering she just headlined Hell in a Cell, but perhaps that sums up what Vince McMahon thinks of her? The rest of the match was laid out oddly with Jax tapping out (despite looking super strong throughout the bout), and Bayley beating Lynch clean. The crowd wasn't sure how to react to that, and fellow sole survivor Charlotte attacking her afterward all but confirms they will be feuding over the title coming out of this contest.
Intercontinental Champion The Miz def. Sami Zayn
I liked how the commentators acknowledged how Miz had never been able to beat Zayn prior to this point. As a match, this was pretty good and the clear face vs. heel dynamic helped (as opposed to what could have been if Zayn faced Dolph Ziggler). While I'm happy Miz retained the title and kept it on SmackDown, the finish was awful. Sure, Miz cheated to win and that's what heels do, but the way he cheated by almost blatantly ripping off the Montreal Screwjob in Canada was so unoriginal. Can they ever help themselves in Canada?
Team Raw (Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day, Cesaro & Sheamus, Enzo Amore & Big Cass, The Club, and The Shining Stars) def. Team SmackDown Live (SmackDown Tag Team Champions Heath Slater & Rhyno, The Usos, American Alpha, The Hype Bros, and Breezango) in a Traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match
Did the clean-shaven Rhyno resemble a Wolverine-esque CM Punk with long hair or was that just me? Anyway, this match wasn't as much of a mess as I originally thought it would be and I'm glad they went with the stipulation that when one member of a team was eliminated, the whole team was gone. New Day being the first team eliminated for Raw was a shocker, but in retrospect, it made sense because Cesaro and Sheamus winning for Raw rightfully earned them another tag team title shot. I really hoped American Alpha would last longer than they did, but no such luck. They have been so underutilized on the main roster it's ridiculous. They picked up the pace once it came down to the final two teams, so that was fun.
WWE Cruiserweight Champion The Brian Kendrick def. Kalisto by Disqualification
It's sad how differently people have reacted to the Cruiserweights compared to during the Cruiserweight Classic. Kendrick and Kalisto put forth an admirable effort in this match, but the crowd couldn't have cared less. The match had very little build and I think people would have wanted to see the Cruiserweight division on SmackDown. That said, the disqualification finish was a letdown. You can't hold a rematch between they're on separate brands and the Cruiserweights will continue to be wasted as long as they're on Raw. The debut of that WWE 205 Live show couldn't come soon enough. Also, if Baron Corbin was cleared to compete, why didn't he replace Shane McMahon in the big Raw vs. SmackDown match?
Team SmackDown Live (WWE World Champion AJ Styles, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, Shane McMahon and Dean Ambrose) def. Team Raw (WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens, United States Champion Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Chris Jericho and Braun Strowman) in a Traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series Men's Elimination Match
Needless to say, this was the best of the three elimination matches on this show. I was surprised that Owens and Styles didn't last until the end, but there were a lot of little things I liked about this match. First of all, James Ellsworth playing a part in Strowman's elimination was perfect considering their history. Then, The Shield reunion was a logical from a storyline standpoint (given Ambrose loathes Styles) and the crowd popped huge for it on the group's four year anniversary. Shane looking stronger than anyone else shouldn't have happened since he isn't an active member of the roster, and he looked like he was legitimately hurt on that Spear spot (though I have read conflicting reports). Most importantly, thank the lord Wyatt finally scored a meaningful win on pay-per-view. The follow-up is key. If he goes back to being directionless, then it was all for nothing, but I'll remain optimistic until we see more.
Goldberg def. Brock Lesnar
I'm in the camp that hated the abrupt finish to this match. Of course, no one saw it coming, but it was merely a moment and nothing more. Lesnar wasn't protected whatsoever, and the guy who beat The Beast isn't going to be here full-time. I said the same thing about The Streak ending back at WrestleMania 30, but Lesnar benefited big time from that, and whoever handed Lesnar his first loss would also benefit. But does Goldberg really benefit when he'll likely wrestle another match or two before riding off into the sunset? Moreover, what the hell does this say about the rest of the roster that Lesnar decimated in the last three and a half years? The outcome to their third match is extremely obvious now that Lesnar is down 2-0 to Goldberg. WWE had a golden opportunity for someone to be solidifed as a true superstar in beating Brock, but they flushed it down the toilet just so they could say they swerved the fans. I feel like I should have seen this coming considering this company's track record.
I was more excited about this event than any other installment of Survivor Series in at least five years, so with that in mind, this show failed to live up to the heavy hype for me. The final traditional tag team elimination was a blast on the whole, but the other two will be forgotten a week from now. Zayn vs. Miz was a nice match and the Cruiserweights underwhelmed, while the main event got people talking. Similar to SummerSlam, it was a strange show in terms of booking decisions, but the crowd was hot for almost the entirety of the evening. And no, this did not need to be four hours long, in addition to the two hour pre-show. I fear for the Royal Rumble.