I’ve been watching wrestling for a very long time and one of my favorite VHS (look it up) tapes was Survivor Series 1987. The late 80s WWF is my favorite era of wrestling ever and this show (plus the next few years) had almost everyone you could want to see on a WWF show from this time. You had a midcard match with ten wrestlers, a women’s match with ten wrestlers, a tag match with twenty (!) wrestlers and a main event match with ten more, including Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant for the first time since the most famous match in history.
That’s the kind of thing that made me always want to see the Survivor Series. Where else were you going to see Rick Rude vs. Hulk Hogan or Strike Force vs. Demolition or Randy Savage vs. Hercules (outside of house shows)? It was the kind of card that gave you such a buffet of options and it was awesome to see every single year….at least up until you reach a certain point.
After 1990, it was time to quote Owen Hart and realize that enough is enough and it’s time for a change. That led us to 1991/1992, when the show felt much more like a regular pay per view with some Survivor Series matches thrown in. For most of the rest of the show’s history (though not entirely), that would be what you would get year after year. You would have some kind of an elimination tag, but most of the show would be a regular pay per view. In other words, it stopped being Survivor Series and became a show that had Survivor Series matches.
Now in theory, that is something I can live with a lot of the time. It’s kind of the best of both worlds, as a lot of the Survivor Series matches were for little more than bragging rights, which isn’t going to benefit anyone in the long run. Unless it sets up another match down the line, it didn’t mean much if a match ended with one wrestler as the sole survivor. It might have been a cool moment in the short term, but the company realized they needed to do something else with the concept.
Well flash forward to 2016 and that was taken down another rung. The show more or less stopped being about personal issues and because ALL about the Battle For Brand Supremacy. Now every year going forward, you were going to get the battle between Monday Night Raw and SmackDown in a series of elimination matches. That’s kind of dull, so what else could WWE have done to spice things up a bit?
That brought us to 2017, where we had the champions from each brand facing off in a bunch of non-title “dream” matches. This was another way for WWE to push their easily disproven lie that this is the ONE NIGHT OF THE YEAR where Monday Night Raw and SmackDown go head to head. I have no idea why WWE thinks this is something that they need to keep pushing because it is kind of a running joke about the show these days. Heck this year they had such a match exactly a month before at Crown Jewel for the King of the Ring and Queen’s Crown tournament finals.
But anyway, now they have an idea with one brand fighting another and since WWE does not like to change anything ever, that is what we’re getting going forward, pretty much no matter what happens. That might not be the best thing in the world, but it is the kind of thing that fits WWE’s plans rather well: don’t do anything more than you have to and enjoy putting your feet on the desk while the WWE fans are lucky enough to be graced by your brilliant, yes brilliant I say, ideas. They would never question them or anything like that, because they’re just lucky enough to bask in your glory (for their ideas are limitless).
That brings us to this year where WWE just does not seem to care. Look back at the build to this year’s Survivor Series and tell me what WWE has done to suggest that this show matters whatsoever. We are eleven days away from the show and there are currently four matches announced: the men’s champions facing off, the women’s champions facing off, the Monday Night Raw men vs. the SmackDown men and the Monday Night Raw women vs. the SmackDown women.
The latter of these matches were set over the weekend, meaning WWE had about two weeks to hype them up. Did WWE bother to do that on the first of their four shows on Monday? Not at all really, save for having Bobby Lashley destroy Dominik Mysterio to take his spot on the team (because that wasn’t a decision they felt they needed to make going in). Outside of maybe a quick graphic, the teams were barely mentioned, with the women’s team being put into a five way match where Doudrop attacked Bianca Belair to set up a feud that has nothing to do with Survivor Series.
Then you have the champion vs. champion matches, which include Big E. vs. Roman Reigns on the men’s side. This should be a layup, as Reigns has been attacking Big E.’s New Day brothers Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods. I don’t think this is something that even WWE can screw up, as Big E. can see what is going on and want to rush to his friends’ defense and face Reigns man to man. So how did we open with Big E. the week after Reigns attacked the New Day?
That would be with Big E. rubbing cocoa butter on himself and talking to Kevin Owens. Later in the night, Big E. beat Chad Gable, teased a match with Otis, and sat ringside for the main event, where Owens attacked him after losing to Seth Rollins, the #1 contender to Big E.’s title. While Big E. had all of that going on throughout the night, he never once mentioned Reigns or what happened on SmackDown, as that show might as well have been in another universe.
See also the battle of the Women’s Champions. Charlotte is currently dealing with Sasha Banks, while Becky Lynch was on commentary for a match where Liv Morgan became the new #1 contender to her title. Outside of maybe a few words here or there, Lynch did not mention Charlotte once during her stint on commentary, because in this version of WWE, those matches mean nothing whatsoever.
When are these matches that they are actually hyping up going to take place? Day One on January 1? Or maybe some special Monday Night Raw or SmackDown in December. It certainly won’t be at Tribute to the Troops, which is not only already taped, but got a heck of a lot more attention than Survivor Series did this week. Instead, WWE is just pushing Survivor Series to the very, very back burner, while also hoping that we get the show anyway. This week, a History of the WWE package on the Montreal Screwjob got more attention than some of the top matches at the pay per view. That’s their business plan right now?
For the life of me I do not get the point of Survivor Series these days. Other than giving the company a month off, it is treated as the biggest nuisance that they have to put together every year. This week’s Monday Night Raw showed just how little they care and I don’t see it getting much better. If nothing else, they don’t have much time to act like they care, and as a result I’m not sure if it will be much of a survivor on WWE’s TV series.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
Keep up with the LATEST WRESTLING RUMORS! Click here to sign up for the exclusive Wrestling Rumors daily newsletter, delivered right to your inbox.