Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?

Survivor Series 2017
Date: November 19, 2017
Location: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
Attendance: 14,478
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T., Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton

I barely remember this show other than it was a bunch of Raw vs. Smackdown stuff, including AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar. As usual, the modern stuff has no impact on me because so much of it feels like it’s going to be similar to whatever we’re likely to get this year. Let’s get to it.

Kickoff Show: Matt Hardy vs. Elias

This is a bonus match, because a four hour show needs more content. Before the match, Elias asks if anyone wants to go for a walk. You can wear red or you can wear blue, but at the end of the day, what would Elias do? The song gets cut off by the booing but he gets it going to talk about how much he hates Houston. Hardy’s music cuts him off again and we’re ready to go. Since it’s a major pay per view and WWE has a really weird way of doing their pre-shows, the are far more empty seats than filled ones opposite the hard camera.

Hardy headlocks him down to start as the announcers start talking about other matches on the show. The Russian legsweep sets up the middle rope elbow to the back of Elias’s head as we take a break. Back with Matt dropping a fist for two but getting his throat snapped across the top rope. Elias switches over to the arm and cranks on an armbar for good measure. The arm goes into the post as Corey talks about getting to see matches we’ve never seen before, such as HHH vs. Shane McMahon. I’d recommend studying your WWE Network before.

The armbar goes on, followed by a double underhook shoulderbreaker for two. Matt gets sent to the apron and Elias follows for some reason, allowing Matt to hit a Side Effect and take over. Back in and Elias gets sent into all three buckles, followed by the bulldog for no cover. Another Side Effect gets two and the middle rope elbow is good for the same. Elias is smart enough to hit him in the arm though and sends it into the post. Drift Away puts Hardy away at 9:16.

Rating: D+. I can never get around the empty seats during these first matches. What in the world is the point of having a match when it’s something that means as little as this and isn’t even any good in the first place? The arm work was fine and it played into the finish, but it was nothing that wouldn’t bore you in the third hour of Raw.

Kickoff Show: Cruiserweight Title: Kalisto vs. Enzo Amore

Amore is defending and was sent into a cake on 205 Live to really make this personal. Before the match, Enzo goes into a rant about Kalisto sending him into a cake that Enzo paid for. Tonight, Enzo is going to make beef stew out of chicken. Enzo is extra aggressive to start but Kalisto kicks him away without much effort. The chase to the floor is on and Kalisto follows him back in with a slingshot Code Red for two. Kalisto goes to the ropes once too often though and gets his throat snapped as we take a break.

Back with Enzo getting two off a clothesline and pulling him out of the corner into a side slam for the same (cool move). The chinlock goes on for a bit until a running forearm in the corner gets two more. That means a second chinlock with a Stunner not quite breaking the hold. It’s too early for the Salida Del Sol so Enzo puts him in the Tree of Woe, only to miss a charge and hit the buckle.

Kalisto hits a top rope moonsault but his ribs won’t let him get a cover. He’s fine enough to hit the hurricanrana driver but the Salida is broken up again. They slug it out on the apron and Enzo pulls him head first into the rob that connects the buckle to the post. The Jordunzo finishes Kalisto at 8:13.

Rating: D+. That’s one of the better matches I remember from Enzo, which probably had a lot to do with Kalisto being in there to do most of the hard work for him. There was little chance that Enzo was dropping the title here so at least they kept it short, even with a commercial included. Not a good match, but it could have been worse.

Kickoff Show: Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens vs. Breezango

Sami is freshly heel here and doesn’t like being stuck having to face losers like Breezango. They should be on Team Smackdown tonight but Shane McMahon is holding them back. It’s all part of the McMahon sibling rivalry but here’s Breezango to cut them off. They got a tip of some fashion violators and all that ungroomed facial hair proves they’re right. That’s bad enough for some violations so Fandango dropkicks Owens down. Owens and Zayn are sent outside where they have fashioned tickets rained down on them as we take a break.

Back with Sami getting sent outside again but Owens gets in a cheap shot this time to put Breeze in trouble. Owens comes in for his usual pummeling but it’s already back to Sami for the chinlock. A kick to the face isn’t enough to get Breeze out of trouble as Owens comes back in for a chinlock of his own. That’s not good enough, so we hit the fourth chinlock in about two minutes.

Owens mixes it up with a backsplash but hits knees, suggesting that he should have stuck with the chinlocks. The hot tag brings in Fandango for the snap jabs and a middle rope dropkick. A tornado DDT gets two with Owens making the save but Fandango misses the Last Dance. The Pop Up Powerbomb finishes Fandango at 8:32.

Rating: D+. Well this concludes the worst Kickoff Show I can remember in a long time. It didn’t seem like Owens and Zayn cared at all here and really, can you blame them? The previous month they were headlining a pay per view and now they’re on the Kickoff Show? That’s the best you can have for these guys? Fair point as that’s the idea of the story. Other than that, I still feel bad for what happened to Breezango as they got themselves over and then were just dropped for….whoever the Smackdown Tag Team Champions were at this point. Does it really matter if they’re that forgettable?

The opening video focuses on the war between Raw and Smackdown, featuring the UNDER SIEGE deal, which was mainly all about Stephanie vs. Shane. I still don’t get how they didn’t have the Usos with the Uso Penitentiary deal leading that charge. The rest of the Raw vs. Smackdown matches get a quick look of their own.

We have a FIVE MAN commentary booth. As usual, quantity equals quality in WWE’s eyes.

New Day vs. Shield

This didn’t get the attention that it deserved because it’s a genuine dream match. Before the match, Woods says that while this is great fuel for the fan fiction writers, it’s also time for them to show that they’re the most dominant trio in WWE history. Kofi brings up the Raw roster invading three weeks after Smackdown did and not even doing it as well. They’re about to go Bob Barker on the Hounds of Justice (How did no one get that line in before?) and when Wrestlemania time comes up, the Shield will bite each other (true actually, at least before Dean got hurt).

They’re the true brotherhood around here and it’s time to prove it. And now, before the match, here’s another video of Smackdown invading Raw and vice versa, in case you didn’t get the point six minutes ago. The only new material here is New Day costing the Shield the Tag Team Titles. Big pop for Shield, as you had to expect. Seth and Dean have the half Raw half Shield shirts but Reigns is too cool to go that route.

Ambrose and Kofi start things off as the fans are split here, apparently not able to pick which wristlock they like best. Booker’s preview for the night: “There’s not gonna be a whole lot of entertainment.” This man gets paid to do this people. Rollins and Woods come in with Woods quickly realizing that he’s in way over his head. As the announcers discuss titles, Big E. comes in to face Rollins. Now you NXT fans should get where commentary should be going, but of course nothing is mentioned.

It’s off to Reigns instead and this isn’t quite the showdown that WWE thinks it is. Big E. breaks up a waistlock attempt and runs Reigns over with a shoulder, only to have an elbow do the same to him. A good looking Samoan drop gives Reigns two….and the fans are there with the SWEET because we’re that lucky. Everything breaks down and a triple clothesline takes Big E. and Kofi to the floor, leaving Woods to get stomped down in the corner. Rollins comes off the top with a right hands to the ribs as the Shield starts their rhythm.

Ambrose gives up the tag to Kofi though and things pick up in a hurry. The Boom Drop hits Ambrose but he kicks Kofi out of the air. It’s too early for Dirty Deeds though and the Unicorn Stampede is on. New Day does it again for good measure and the fans aren’t thrilled this time around. That’s enough for Rollins and Reigns and everything breaks down. Big E. spears Ambrose through the ropes, thankfully not coming that close to death. That’s only good for two and things settle down again with Ambrose’s shirt being ripped off. It’s an improvement, as Ambrose looks more normal in all black.

The chinlock goes on for a few moments before Dean breaks up a superplex attempt. Big E. can’t get one either and Dean missile dropkicks him down instead. The hot tag brings in Rollins, albeit with an unnecessary jump from Dean. Seth springboards in with the clothesline and starts in with his usual fast paced offense. The announcers are already getting really annoying with this Raw vs. Smackdown stuff and Graves being in the middle is all that’s holding it together.

Reigns comes in for a jumping clothesline to Woods and the Superman Punch knocks him even sillier. Big E. breaks up the spear but Rollins saves Dean from the Midnight Hour. The jumping knee into Dirty Deeds gets two on Kofi with Woods making a save of his own. A fired up Woods comes in so Rollins kicks him in the face to calm things down. Now it’s Big E.’s turn to break up the TripleBomb and there’s Trouble in Paradise to Rollins. Reigns is laid out on the floor so Woods puts Big E. on his shoulders so Kofi can jump over them for a splash onto Dean.

Woods drops Big E. onto him as well but there’s no cover. Instead Big E. picks up Ambrose and Rollins for a double Midnight Hour, leaving Reigns to spear Big E. onto the covers for a save. Both teams pull each other up for a cool visual and the fight is on again. Dirty Deeds plants Big E. on the floor and the spear cuts Kofi in half. Shield isn’t done though and it’s a super TripleBomb to completely finish Kofi at 21:32.

Rating: B+. This took some time to get going but once they turned it into the big fight feel, it became what it should have been. These teams are both great in different ways and while New Day has had more success as a trio, it’s hard to argue with them beating three former World Champions. Shield winning is the right choice, but at the same time it means that we have to hear about Raw being up 1-0 on Smackdown for far too long now.

Cole: “Raw is up 1-0!”

In the back, Stephanie McMahon: “Raw is up 1-0!” She gives the Raw women’s team a pep talk and it’s about as over the top as you would guess.

There’s a scoreboard to show Raw is in fact up 1-0.

Raw Women’s Team vs. Smackdown Women’s Team

Raw: Sasha Banks, Bayley, Alicia Fox, Asuka, Nia Jax

Smackdown: Carmella, Natalya, Becky Lynch, Naomi, Tamina

Lana is in Smackdown’s corner and Fox and Lynch are the captains. During the entrances (which are going to take their sweet time), Phillips reminds us that Raw is in fact up 1-0. Does WWE really think we have the attention spans of drunken squirrels? We also get to see the Raw women invading the Smackdown locker room so we can hear about UNDER SIEGE for the fifteenth time in the show’s first forty five minutes.

Fox and Lynch start things off with Fox actually getting the better of it off some forearms. Becky gets in a neck snap across the top though and drops a top rope legdrop for two. The threat of the Disarm-Her sends Fox to the ropes so Bayley tags herself in and grabs a rollup to get rid of Lynch at 2:02.

Natalya comes in next to stomp Bayley in the corner as Booker can’t figure out who is on which show. Tamina misses a splash in the corner and gets forearmed in the head before it’s off to Asuka to a big reaction. That’s just a preview though as a few kicks to the legs are enough before Asuka hands it back to Fox. Since it’s Fox and she’s not very good, it’s already back to Bayley, who gets beaten up in the corner. Carmella hits a superkick and Tamina’s Superfly Splash gets rid of Bayley at 5:27.

That’s what you get for cheering her when you’re not supposed to people. Nia comes in to face Tamina, and it’s not interesting a year earlier either. A shot knocks Naomi off the apron and Tamina does the same to Asuka before neither can hurt the other. Nia’s headbutt hurts both of them but Nia splashing her in the corner only hates Tamina. Lana gets on the apron for some reason so Nia knocks her off, allowing Tamina to superkick her to the floor. A dive from Naomi and another superkick set up the crossbody off the apron to get Nia counted out at 9:01.

Fox comes in and yells at Nia as she leaves and gets knocked down by Naomi. In one of those moments of brilliance you only see in wrestling, Naomi looks over her shoulder, sees Fox moving, and then starts jumping up for the split legged moonsault. Naomi is fine enough to get a sunset flip that she lets up at two…but Fox doesn’t get her shoulders up and the referee counts the pin anyway at 10:31. Banks is right back in to make Naomi tap to the Bank Statement at 10:47 so we’re down to Banks/Asuka vs. Carmella/Tamina/Natalya.

Asuka comes in to unload with kicks to Carmella and the hip attack gets two. Carmella pulls her down by the hair and hits a quick Bronco Buster before pausing to mock Sasha’s dance. For reasons of general stupidity, Carmella slaps Asuka in the face and it’s a knee to the head, followed by a heck of a kick to get rid of Carmella at 12:59. Banks and Natalya come in and hit each other a few times until Natalya gets the better of it for two. Sasha gets sent face first into the middle buckle and the Sharpshooter makes her tap at 15:22, leaving Asuka vs. Natalya and Tamina in the Ultimate Warrior at Survivor Series 1988 mold.

Natalya gets in a few kicks and hands it off to Tamina for a slam. The Superfly Splash that wouldn’t have hit even if Asuka hadn’t moved misses when Asuka moves and it’s a cross armbreaker to get rid of Tamina at 17:32. Natalya can’t get the Sharpshooter as Asuka pulls her into a kneebar, followed by a kick to the face. The Asuka Lock finishes Natalya at 18:27.

Rating: C-. This wasn’t great to start but the ending was exactly the right call with Asuka getting the star treatment at the end. The rest of the match wasn’t all that great as the focus was on Tamina (who still isn’t interesting, mainly because Nia is better at every single thing Tamina is around to do) or Alicia being wacky, making it an exercise in waiting around on Asuka. To their credit though, they got that part right and that’s what mattered most.

Here’s what coming on WWE Network. Don’t worry though, because they’ll air almost nothing but NXT, 205 Live and whatever tournament they have going on at the moment.

Stephanie (erg) brags to Daniel Bryan about Raw being up 2-0. She accuses Bryan of getting John Cena on the Smackdown men’s team by practically being family. Bryan: “Didn’t you put your husband on the Raw team?” It turns into a discussion of Wrestlemania XXX as this goes on way too long as we AGAIN recap the invasions. Sweet goodness WE WATCH THE TV SHOWS AND DON’T NEED TO HEAR THIS STUFF OVER AND OVER AGAIN! I haven’t watched the TV shows since last year and I can tell you what happens week by week just because of all these recaps.

Baron Corbin vs. The Miz

Smackdown vs. Raw and US Champion vs. Intercontinental Champion, though it’s non-title, like every match tonight. Miz has Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel with him and Corbin has been talking trash about Maryse and Miz’s unborn child. The threat of an early clothesline sends Miz bailing to the floor and it’s time for some consultation. A Dallas distraction lets Miz hit a baseball slide, followed by a clothesline to put Corbin right back on the floor. Corbin kicks him off the apron though as they’re going back and forth pretty fast so far.

The fans try to start some dueling chants but the LET’S GO MIZ chants are pretty clearly louder. Corbin misses a running crotch attack to the back but easily avoids a baseball slide. With Miz in trouble, Dallas hits Corbin in the knee to give Miz his first actual advantage. The Figure Four is easily blocked but a chop block cuts Corbin down again. Now the Figure Four goes on but that’s broken up in short order, allowing Corbin to hit Deep Six on one leg.

Dallas is right there again with a shot to the knee though and Miz adds a big boot. Corbin’s knee is fine enough to slide underneath the ropes and beat up the Miztourage but the End of Days is countered into a DDT for two. Some rather weak looking YES Kicks don’t have much effect so Miz hits the running corner dropkicks. Corbin shrugs them off though and End of Days is good for the pin at 9:26.

Rating: D+. Commentary really hurt this one as the put on Raw vs. Smackdown stuff continues. The leg work was fine but when Corbin is fine enough to do all of his usual stuff and then hit his finisher to win, it doesn’t mean that much. You had to give Smackdown something in this whole thing and given how bad the midcard titles are presented in the first place, this was the least painful loss for a champion.

Post match Corbin says he just shut everyone’s mouth.

Paul Heyman says everything about tonight is phenomenal, including AJ Styles. Then the bell will ring and the conqueror is going to rip AJ Styles apart.

Usos vs. Cesaro/Sheamus

Before the match, the Usos mock the Bar’s catchphrase and says they’ll be bartenders tonight. Or maybe they’re pole vaulters. Sheamus drives Jimmy into the corner to start and Jimmy isn’t sure what to do here. Instead it’s off to Jey who does the same to Sheamus, though he’s smart enough to stomp away and take over. As the announcers discuss Corey’s lack of success (as Booker hadn’t heard about it), Cesaro comes in and gets hiptossed down.

A quick double team puts Jimmy down though and it’s off to a headlock, because a chinlock isn’t sophisticated enough. Jimmy knocks Sheamus to the floor but a dive gets cut off by a Cesaro uppercut. Back in and Cesaro puts on a Crossface without the arm trap as Booker wants the Bar to be called the A-Team. Graves: “Why would you do that? They’re called the Bar Booker.” Sheamus drops a knee and puts on a chinlock with Cesaro running in to kick Jey off the apron.

The pop up uppercut gets two but Sheamus takes too long setting up the ten forearms to the chest. Booker: “Think about the brand!” Jimmy gets in a Whisper in the Wind and that’s enough for the hot tag to pick up the pace. He also picks up Cesaro with a backdrop into the corner for two, leaving Sheamus to argue with the referee. Jey gets in a superkick but Sheamus adds a forearm to the back, allowing Cesaro to Swing Jimmy into the Sharpshooter. The longest crawl to a rope I can remember gets Jey out of trouble, assuming you bought the Sharpshooter as a potential finish either (you shouldn’t have).

The spike White Noise is broken up and Sheamus is sent into the post. He’s fine enough to hold Jey up for White Noise with Cesaro adding a springboard spike. Jimmy makes a great looking last second save so Cesaro throws him out and loads up Jey in a powerbomb. Sheamus goes up top but gets punched in the face, allowing Jimmy to Samoan drop him down with Cesaro adding the powerbomb. Cesaro dives in the way of a double superkick, leaving Sheamus to take the same thing. Jimmy does the eternally cool tag while diving over the top to take out Cesaro. The Superfly Splash finishes Sheamus at 15:56.

Rating: B-. Yeah of course this was good with two very talented teams. Granted a year later the Usos haven’t had a meaningful match in forever and the Bar are now the Smackdown Tag Team Champions, but at least this was entertaining. If nothing else though, this is a great showcase of what happens when you just let people go and have a fun match, which is always going to help things out.

Jason Jordan, who was recently (and thankfully) replaced on the Raw team by HHH, wants to see HHH get eliminated before Team Raw wins.

We recap Charlotte winning the Smackdown Women’s Title on Tuesday to take Natalya’s spot tonight. If nothing else it was awesome to see Ric Flair come out after his health scares.

Charlotte vs. Alexa Bliss

Non-….you get the idea. Charlotte knocks her outside early on and is polite enough to hold the ropes open to invite Bliss back in. Booker of course talks about baseball. Back in and Bliss hides in the ropes before slapping her in the face. That earns Bliss a hard right hand so they head to the apron with Bliss snapping the arm to the floor. A dropkick into the steps has Charlotte in more trouble and it’s off to an abdominal stretch, though Charlotte has to kneel because Bliss isn’t that tall.

Some kicks to the ribs keep Charlotte in trouble and she gets sent face first into the middle buckle to make things even worse. Bliss tries to go aerial but a tornado DDT is countered into a t-bone suplex into the corner (with Bliss bouncing around as only she can). Charlotte gets crotched on top but rolls away before Twisted Bliss. That’s even worse for her though as she gets caught with middle rope double knees to the back (I still don’t get how that doesn’t cause a severe injury.).

Code Red gives Bliss two and she hammers away with even more fire than she usually shows. A guillotine choke has Charlotte in trouble (it worked for Bayley against Nia Jax) but a sitout powerbomb (looked great) breaks that up. The fans are split (as they should be) and Bliss breaks up the Figure Eight with a right hand that has the referee checking on Charlotte.

Natural Selection gets two but the moonsault misses (as always). Bliss grabs her DDT for two of her own so she chokes and screams a lot. Amazingly enough, Charlotte can pretty easily overpower Bliss and hits a spear to cut her in half. Back up and more kicks to the ribs have Charlotte in trouble but Twisted Bliss hits raised knees. A big boot sets up the Figure Eight to make Bliss tap at 15:46 and put Smackdown up 3-2.

Rating: B. Heck of a match here with Bliss looking like she could more than hang with someone on Charlotte’s level. You don’t see someone go move for move with Charlotte like this and it’s a great sign for Bliss’ future. The ribs story was perfectly fine, even if it meant that another champion had to lose. You know, because of bragging rights.

Post match, Charlotte nods in approval.

We recap AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar in another champion vs. champion match. Lesnar is the monster and AJ is the new underdog champion (sounds oxymoronish), thankfully saving us from Lesnar vs. Jinder Mahal.

Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles

Heyman handles Lesnar’s introductions, saying he’s fighting (Heyman: “Fighting. You hear that Mr. Performer?”) and the fans are split to start. Brock goes straight to the shoulders in the corner and throws AJ across the ring a few times. Forearms to the back keep AJ in trouble as the dominance is on early. One heck of an overhead belly to belly has Styles in more trouble and there’s the first German suplex. Lesnar sends him outside for a toss into the barricade as Cole is almost giddy.

Back in and another German suplex has AJ rocked but he tries to get up anyway. With Heyman cradling the Universal Title like a newborn, Brock hits a running knee in the corner. Lesnar wants him to fight and then clotheslines AJ right back down. Some right hands have little effect for Styles as Brock puts him down again. The F5 doesn’t work and Lesnar’s second running knee hits the buckle.

A DDT actually puts Lesnar down and it’s time to cheer for AJ as he kicks at the leg. Lesnar throws him off a tornado DDT attempt and they’re both down. AJ tries a springboard but gets caught in a German suplex that flips him over his head. Well of course it does. This time AJ ducks the big right hand and Lesnar falls to the floor, setting up the slingshot forearm. Brock goes knee first into the steps and there’s another forearm off said steps.

An enziguri makes things even worse back inside and the springboard 450 gets the first two as Heyman is panicking. The Styles Clash is countered into an F5 attempt which is countered into the Calf Crusher. You can hear the fans actually going nuts…until Lesnar grabs AJ’s head and rams it into the mat to break it up. Another F5 is broken up and the Phenomenal Forearm connects for a very close two. Brock is right back up with the F5 for the pin at 15:19.

Rating: A-. Oh yeah this worked. I was getting into these near falls all over again as they were nailing the Rocky story. Lesnar knows how to play the monster but AJ is even better at being the fighting from underneath high flier. This was great stuff and I’d love to see it again, even if a year later they’re somehow right where they were here. Anyway, great performance from both guys as Lesnar shows he can still do it.

We recap the Raw vs. Smackdown men’s match. Allow me:

UNDER SIEGE

Invasion

Invasion

Stephanie is really, really annoying

Roster changes because they knew the original lineups were awful

Invasion

Got all that?

Raw Men’s Team vs. Smackdown Men’s Team

Kurt Angle, Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, HHH

Shane McMahon, Randy Orton, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, John Cena

What are the odds that the whole competition comes down to this? Shane jumps at Strowman to start because Shane is the most awesome person ever. That’s shrugged off so we’ll try Joe vs. Orton instead. Joe headlocks him into the corner without much effort so let’s go with Nakamura vs. Balor instead. That certainly gets the fans into it, though Cole ruins it a bit by calling him Shin. The feeling out process begins as the NXT chants start up.

Nakamura takes him to the ropes for the swinging arms, only to be reversed into a TOO SWEET to the head. HHH comes in for a kind of weird showdown and takes Nakamura into the corner for the right hands. Nakamura gets in the first kick to the chest but the facebuster sends him into the corner for the tag to Roode. This one isn’t so much weird as much as it is….nothing. Since Roode’s pose takes forever, HHH punches him in the face. Fair enough actually.

The spinebuster takes Roode down again but Roode counters the Pedigree and hits a spinebuster of his own. That means we get the GLORIOUS pose but the Glorious DDT is broken up. Instead HHH drives him into the corner for the tag off to Angle for the rolling German suplexes.

A double clothesline puts them both down so the Raw guys switch places on the apron. It’s off to Nakamura for the running knees so Joe comes in to make the save. Everything breaks down and Nakamura hits Kinshasa on HHH, only to run into the now legal Strowman. The middle rope knee staggers the monster but the running powerslam gets rid of Nakamura at 11:31.

Roode comes in and kicks at Strowman’s legs, followed by the Blockbuster. That’s not even good for one so Roode tries it again, earning himself another running powerslam for the pin at 12:22. For some reason Joe and Strowman get in an argument, as do HHH and Angle. Smackdown is smart enough to let them fight until Orton and Shane come in like idiots. Orton powerslams Joe and Cena is all fired up, only to have Strowman come in for a heck of a 2-1 showdown. The AA and RKO are both broken up and Strowman knocks them both to the floor.

Orton and Cena get together and the rest of Team Smackdown (including the eliminated members) get together to suplex Strowman through a table. Naturally Shane gets to talk the trash but Joe breaks up an elbow to the floor with a belly to belly superplex. Cena comes in to hammer on Joe but gets booted in the face. The Rock Bottom out of the corner looks to set up the Coup de Grace, only to have Joe and Balor get in an argument. An AA to Joe, an AA to Balor and another to Joe is good for an elimination at 18:05.

Angle comes in for the showdown with some history behind it and Cena gets taken down without much effort. Back up and Cena elbows him in the face, followed by initiating the finishing sequence. The Shuffle is reversed into the ankle lock but Cena slips out without much damage. The Angle Slam does a little more damage, to the point where Shane has to make a save. Balor drops the Coup de Grace and another Slam gets rid of Cena at 21:45.

We’re down to Orton/Shane vs. Balor/HHH/Angle/Strowman so Orton comes in, only to get forearmed by Balor. A trip to the floor lets Balor shotgun dropkick Shane into the barricade. Back in and the Coup de Grace misses again, setting up an RKO to get rid of Balor at 23:46. HHH is right there to jump Orton from behind but the backbreaker gets him out of trouble.

Cue Sami and Owens to beat Shane up but he fights them off with a chair, because OF COURSE HE CAN DO THAT. An RKO drops Owens….and Strowman is back up to come in again. The running powerslam is good for the elimination at 26:32 and Shane is worried, mainly because he’s alone against HHH, Strowman and Angle. Shane stands around forever before going in to face Strowman until HHH tags himself in. Angle tags himself in as well and gets taken down by a Russian legsweep.

The jumping back elbow to the jaw and la majistral get two each. Shane hammers away in the corner but the Angle Slam puts him down. There’s the ankle lock for nearly a minute…until HHH comes in and Pedigrees Angle to give Shane the pin at 32:00. HHH stares at Strowman, helps Shane up, and Pedigrees him as well for the pin at 33:20.

Rating: D+. Yeah this still didn’t work a year later either. The first third is spent on showdowns that don’t mean anything and the rest is getting rid of the people who don’t matter so we can get down to the big stuff with Shane, HHH and Angle. You know, the older guys. The wrestling wasn’t the worst but it was long, didn’t feel important and came off more as a way to get to the ending instead of something worth seeing along the way.

Post match HHH is all smiley as Strowman stares him down. Strowman grabs him by the throat and says never do this again so HHH tries a Pedigree but gets powerslammed twice to end the show. This of course lead nowhere.

Overall Rating: B-. Much like last year, the show just felt long and brought down the good things they had going on. Now that being said, the good matches on the show were more than good enough to make up for the bad and the show is definitely worth seeing. AJ vs. Brock is more than good and the opener isn’t far behind. In other words, this Survivor Series is great if you take out the Survivor Series matches.

If nothing else, they’ve made me dislike Survivor Series, which used to be my favorite pay per view. This Raw vs. Smackdown story was pure annoyance with the announcers all suddenly being cheerleaders about a story that would disappear in a few days. It feels so manufactured and, because it’s WWE, they beat you over the head with it so hard that you’re waiting on the whole thing to finally end so you don’t have to hear about it anymore. Thanks for sucking the fun out of one of my favorite shows guys. It only took thirty years.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!

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