The 32nd annual Survivor Series pay-per-view was nothing short of controversy and drama. Survivor Series was live in Los Angeles from the Staples Center and is dubbed as the “one night where Raw and Smackdown Live compete head-to-head”. For the third straight year, Monday Night Raw proved its dominance over Smackdown Live. The show was headlined by Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair and Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan. But with a card that changed numerous times and many big names missing from the card, this event felt like a let down. Find out the matches and results below.
Survivor Series Kickoff:
10-on-10 Tag Team Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match:
Team Raw: B-Team, Revival, Lucha House Party, the Ascension, Roode and Gable (captains)
Team Smackdown: The New Day, Gallows and Anderson, the Colons, Sanity (Young and Dain) and the Usos (captains)
This match opens with Team Smackdown being introduced by the New Day, most likely to get the crowd hot. And show that this LA crowd was more behind the brand in blue. Team Raw came out to no fanfare besides their traditional entrances.
The first team eliminated from either side was the Colons from Smackdown, a surprising elimination from the underutilized Revival. Kalisto of Lucha House Party was injured early on and Gran Metalik would take his place early on in the match.
The next team to be eliminated was the B-Team by the Club on a roll-up from Karl Anderson. Bobby Roode then pinned Eric Young of Sanity off a moonsault from Gable to make it four teams for Raw to three for Smackdown Live.
New Day’s powerhouse, Big E, entered and quickly laid waste to the Ascension, evening things at three teams apiece.
The injury replacement, Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado squared off against the Good Brothers, leading to an eventual senton from Metalik to Anderson for the 1,2,3 and giving Raw the advantage again.
The Usos even things up for their team by making quick work of the Lucha House Party.
Two teams from Raw (Revival and Roode/Gable) and two from Smackdown (New Day and Usos) were left. New Day’s Big E and Xavier Woods worked together to give the blue brand an advantage by pinning the A-show’s captain, Bobby Roode.
It was then down to the Revival who caught a flying Xavier Woods in mid-air for their tag team finisher, Shatter Machine.
The Revival had the momentum against the Samoan twins and both teams traded near falls. The Usos eventually unleashed their dual super-kicks leading to the Revival and Team Raw’s demise.
Result: Team Smackdown def. Team Raw
Grade: 1.5 stars
Reasoning: I give this match one and a half stars because of poor wrestling as well as poor booking. Throughout this match there were many botches and missed moves, especially from Lucha House Party who had zero chemistry with other teams. Safe to say they should stay on 205 Live. Booking was also a concern here, especially in the fact that a team like the Revival eliminates a power-house team such as the New Day. At times this match was exciting and had some decent spots, but for the most part it screamed “kick-off” match.
5-on-5 Women’s Survivor Series Elimination Match:
Team Raw: Nia Jax, Tamina, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Mickie James w/Alexa Bliss (captain)
Team SD: Asuka, Carmella, Naomi (captain), Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose
It was revealed on the pre-show that Sasha Banks and Bayley would be added to team Raw to replace the feuding Natalya and Ruby Riott. Also, announced was Mandy Rose as the fifth member to the blue brand’s squad.
Nia Jax was booed out of LA as she made her way to the ring. Obviously the WWE Universe will not let down what she did to Becky Lynch.
Former Team B.A.D. members, Tamina and Naomi started the match for their respective brands. This quickly turned into an all member brawl between all 10 women, similar to the one on Raw. Naomi was super-kicked by Tamina which lead to her early elimination.
Carmella came in for her brand and evened things up by rolling up Tamina. Then called for a dance break. She then quickly tagged in Mandy Rose to avoid having to face-off with Nia Jax.
Rose took it to the bigger and stronger Jax by trying to get her off her vertical base. Jax eventually tagged in the veteran, Mickie James. Asuka tagged in for team blue to a massive pop from the audience. Asuka rolled up James but was almost caught off guard by a roll up of James’ own.
Deville was in next for SD Live and brought her MMA striking background to the veteran. Bayley tagged in but, was tagged out again by James who was met with a running knee. Rose tagged herself in to pin James instead of her former friend.
Carmella and Bayley would square-off which lead to a Bayley-to-belly suplex for Carmella’s demise.
Rose who was the MVP of the match to this point, took the fight to Bayley who made a tag to the Boss, Sasha Banks who put Rose into the Bank Statement and made Rose tap out.
Asuka was set to face-off with the Boss but was quickly tagged out by her teammate, Sonya Deville. Deville again used her MMA striking to her advantage but, her pin attempt was broken up by Jax. Bayley came in and delivered a fight to Deville. Bayley hit another suplex at ringside to Deville which lead to a double elimination of not only Deville, but Bayley as well.
Asuka was left shorthanded against Banks and Nia Jax. Asuka and Banks traded blows before the eventual Asuka Lock from the Empress of Tomorrow and was left to face Nia Jax.
Jax entered the ring, delivered three massive leg-drops to a worn out Asuka and secured the win for Team Raw.
Result: Team Raw def. Team Smackdown
Grade: 2.25 stars
Reasoning: This match was better than the pre-show match. It gave names like Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose a chance to showcase their talents for team blue. Again though, booking was a major question mark. Especially the abrupt elimination of former women’s champ, Naomi.
Jax was a major heel, getting booed for everything she did throughout.
Seth Rollins (Intercontinental Champ) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (US Champ):
The crowd was behind both superstars in this match as they chanted “Burn it Down” and “Nakamura” as the match started with technical grappling. The match then picked up as Nakamura rolled to the floor and slowed down Rollins’ momentum.
A brilliant knee to the face from ringside to Rollins from Nakamura gave Shinsuke needed momentum for the rest of the match.
Nakamura got many submission moves in on Rollins before Rollins again gained the upper-hand by hitting the US champ with a buckle bomb. He tried for the Curb Stomp, but Nakamura reversed for a near-fall. Rollins hit a falcon arrow and gained another near-fall.
Nakamura eventually got Rollins into position for the Kinshasa but was not able to keep him down. A second Kinshsa did not work either and Shin was eventually met with a Stomp giving Rollins the win.
Result: Rollins def. Nakamura
Grade: 4 stars
Reasoning: This match started off slow, but eventually picked up its pace. The crowd was behind both men and the competitors cliqued well despite never facing off in NXT or the main roster. The near-falls and fast-paced action left fans guessing who would earn bragging rights for their brands. Nakamura looked very strong here and was probably one of his better booked matches on the main roster. This provided the crowd engagement that the PPV needed after the lack of top stars from the event.
AOP (Raw Tag Champs) vs. The Bar (SD Tag Champs):
Sheamus and Cesaro went right after Akam and Rezar and tried to catch the Raw champs off-guard. Cesaro tried for his Cesaro Swing, but Rezar broke up the swing. And worked down Cesaro.
Cesaro eventually got back into the match and tagged in his partner, Sheamus. Sheamus hit the Ten Beats of the Bodhran and a shoulder tackle.
AOP’s manager, Drake Maverick tried to get involved and help out his team, but ran right into the Big Show. Big Show choked Maverick until he peed himself leading to AOP picking up win off of the distraction.
Result: AOP def. the Bar
Grade: 0.25 stars
Reasoning: Boring, boring and boring. What could have been a great, physical match, was instead turned into a glorified comedy show. The action was very slow, even a hot tag from Sheamus did nothing to help.
The finish was horrendous. The “pee” spot was horrible and didn’t even look legit to top things off. This match is in one word, SKIP-ABLE. If you decide to watch or re-watch Survivor Series 2018.
Buddy Murphy (C) vs. Mustafa Ali for Cruiser-weight Championship:
Murphy used his strength to his advantage early on and tried to keep the more agile, Ali on the ground.
Ali eventually picked up the pace to his liking and threw the champ to the floor with the use of a headscissors. A somersault dive from the top rope wiped out Murphy on the floor.
The cruiser-weights traded blows and got the crowd behind them with their fast action as chants of “205” echoed in the arena.
Murphy eventually ended up winning with the 054 to retain his championship.
Result: Murphy (c) def. Mustafa Ali to retain
Grade: 4 stars
Reasoning: Possible match of the night candidate and it wasn’t even from the two main brands. Murphy and Ali tried to fully get the crowd behind them, but nonetheless, this was still a great match. Although he lost, Ali still continued to look like a legit star on the 205 Live roster.
5-on-5 Men’s Survivor Series Elimination Tag Match:
Team Raw: Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley, Finn Balor, Dolph Ziggler,and Drew McIntyre w/Baron Corbin (captain)
Team SD: Samoa Joe, Shane McMahon, Rey Mysterio, Jeff Hardy, and the Miz (captain)
Samoa Joe and Drew McIntyre started the match off for their respective teams. Joe quickly went after the Scotsman as he was arguing with his teammates and locked in a Coquina Clutch. The Scot escaped both attempts and hit a Claymore kick to eliminate Samoa Joe early on (yes, this really happened).
A brief exchange between Hardy and Ziggler turned into McMahon and Ziggler. McMahon went right after the “Show-Off” with quick jabs, stunning Dolph. Ziggler nearly scored an elimination after a drop-kick but team captain, Miz broke up the fall for his team.
Miz and Ziggler faced off for a moment until McIntyre tagged himself in, preventing Strowman from coming into the match. Tensions boiled and Strowman was beat down by Team Smackdown.
Strowman powered out but was hit with the 619 and dumped over the top rope. Then chaos ensued when McMahon and company beat the monster down, threw him on the announce table and Shane hit a flying elbow to take Strowman out of the equation, for now.
Back in the ring, Balor and McIntyre tried to take out Miz, Hardy and Mysterio. Balor was on a roll until Mysterio hit a splash getting rid of Balor.
Many superstar went back and forth until the Miz made his way back into the ring. Miz traded blows with Ziggler and pointed towards McMahon to hit his coast-to-coast, he did and pinned Ziggler.
Lashley was setup to receive a coast-to-coast, but McMahon was swatted down by Braun Strowman.
Strowman then made quick eliminations of Jeff Hardy and Rey Mysterio leaving the Miz and a worn down McMahon for the blue brand. Miz tried to out-run Strowman but was chased down and eventually pinned after a powerslam, leaving just Shane-O’Mac.
McMahon was quickly disposed of and Raw won yet another match.
Result: Team Raw def. Team SD
Grade: 1.5 stars
Reasoning: Some decent exciting spots at points, but overall just a glorified ass-kicking handed out to team Smackdown. The early elimination of Samoa Joe was completely asinine and random. Strowman may be the most over-booked superstar since Roman Reigns as he defied the odds yet again and eliminated four of the five SD superstars. Horrible booking and a let down of a Survivor Series match.
Rousey (Raw Women’s) vs Charlotte
This was originally supposed to be Ronda vs. Lynch, but thanks to Nia Jax, that was scrapped after Lynch was unable to compete. Flair used her height while Rousey used her speed and MMA athleticism. Leading to a face-to-face confrontation setting the tone.
Flair sent Rousey face-first into the turnbuckle and immediately targeted the lower-back and legs of Rousey. Rousey started bleeding from her mouth due to an elbow from Flair and hit an enziguri.
Rousey eventually got Charlotte into the armbar, but Flair reversed and put Rowdy Ronda into a Boston Crab. Rousey escaped but ate a big boot from the Queen.
Flair caught Rousey with a spear and escaped an eventual headscissors and applied the figure-four but Rousey fought off the Figure-eight.
Rousey then took the upper-hand and started striking Flair left and right. Flair was rag-dolled around the ring, but stayed in the match with big chops into the corner. Rousey almsot got Flair to tap to another armbar and then delivered a Piper’s pit.
Flair rolled out of the ring and Rousey went to chase her down, but was met with a kendo stick strike from Flair. After the bell, Flair beat the hell out of Rousey and left her a bloodied mess in the ring.
Result: Rousey def. Flair by DQ
Grade: 4.5 stars
Reasoning: Even with the DQ, this match was the best of the night and it’s not even close. Rousey and Flair had amazing chemistry. Say what you want about Rousey, but she has really honed her craft in the WWE. She looks like she has been doing this longer than a few months. Both women looked strong and credible in this match. One of the few things WWE got right on the night paid-off in a big way. Charlotte presumably turned heel and has unleashed an aggressive side that we haven’t seen in awhile. The crowd loved it and even some “You deserve it chants” broke out in the direction towards Rousey in reference to the ass-kicking she received.
Brock Lesnar (Universal Champ) vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE Champion)
Bryan made his way out first with a huge smirk on his face. Lesnar then came out and circled Bryan. Bryan agged him on and eventually got the best of the Beast.
For the next ten minutes of this match, Daniel Bryan was rag dolled by the stronger and more powerful, Lesnar. Lesnar kept hitting multiple suplexes and wore Bryan down with his strength. Lesnar applied a couple of bear-hugs to Bryan and almost made him “pass-out”.
Lesnar hit an F-5 and went for the pin, but Bryan surprisingly wasn’t down. Lesnar went to pick Bryan up from the ground and was met with a kick to the face. Lesnar picked Bryan up for another F-5 but Bryan kicked the ref while on the Beast’s shoulders and escaped the move. With the ref down, Bryan low-blowed Lesnar and then hit a running knee, for a near-fall.
Bryan with a newfound second-wind started kicking the hell out of Lesnar and got the crowd heavily on his side. Bryan sent Lesnar to the flow and threw Brock into the steel ring post.
Lesnar was stunned and Bryan hit another running knee on the Beast, but was only good enough for the two. Lesnar went for another F-5, but Bryan reversed into his Yes! Lock. Lesnar eventually escaped.
Bryan eventually applied a triangle submission move, but was overpowered and was on the receiving end of an F-5.
Result: Lesnar def. Bryan
Grade: 4 stars
Reasoning: Obviously WWE wasn’t going to have Lesnar lose. However, the way they went about it was brilliant. Lesnar was obviously booked to look dominant over Bryan, but Bryan proved to be resilient throughout the fight. Bryan wasn’t booked to look weak and WWE actually gave us a match instead of a squash. Lesnar’s best match in years.
Overall PPV Grade: C-
Overall, Survivor Series 2018 was a major letdown. Poor booking and lack of interest in matches made it a less than stellar event. Raw swept the night which is curious considering Smackdown Live is moving to FOX in October of 2019 to the tune of a one billion dollar deal. I would not personally recommend this brand vs. brand format again for next year’s Survivor Series, as it takes away the intrigue of matches when they’re basically meaningless. The only saving grace to this PPV was Flair and Rousey and even Bryan vs Lesnar.