Toyota Center – Houston, TX – Sunday, November 19, 2017
Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Booker T, Nigel McGuinness, Tom Phillips and Vic Joseph are on commentary throughout the evening in various combinations.
~KICKOFF MATCH #1~
Elias defeats Matt Hardy at 9:15. Matt interrupts Elias’ pre-match song, robbing the people of Houston and the viewing audience of a beautiful gift. They go back and forth to little reaction and Matt takes control as we head into a commercial break. When we come back Elias reverses the momentum and focuses on Matt’s arm. Matt comes back with a Side Effect on the ring apron, and he sells his arm appropriately through his comeback. He sets up for the Twist of Fate, but Elias counters and hurls Matt shoulder-first into the ring post. Elias hits the Drift Away to get the pin. Good win for Elias, kind of a dull match.
~KICKOFF MATCH #2~
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore defeats Kalisto at 8:45 to retain the title. Enzo has been the Champion since 10.22.17, and this is his second defense. Both men are aggressive to start, and Kalisto gets the upper hand so Enzo takes a powder. Enzo comes back by snapping Kalisto’s neck off the top rope as we take a commercial break. We come back and the realest champ in the room is firmly in control. He does his usual awkward looking moves, and then Kalisto makes the comeback, but he can’t connect on the Salida del Sol. Moments later Enzo hits the JawdunZo to get the pin and retain the title. Not a terrible match, but nothing interesting or exciting. At least Enzo didn’t hurt himself running into the ropes.
~KICKOFF MATCH #3~
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn defeat Breezango (Fandango & Tyler Breeze) at 7:45. After a brief promo battle, the match begins, and the Fashion Police take control and hand out some tickets. That’s a good time to take a commercial break advertising the show I’m already watching, according to the producers of this event. When we come back, Breezango is still in control, surprisingly. It doesn’t last much longer though, as Owens and Zayn take over and isolate Breeze in their half of the ring. Eventually, a hot tag is made and Deputy Dango is a house afire. Unfortunately for the Deputy, he misses the Last Dance and Owens flattens him with a Pop-Up Powerbomb. Fine little tag team match here, and a good win for Owens and Zayn.
The Shield (Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins) [RAW] defeat The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods & Big E) [SmackDown] at 21:20. The video package makes this match look super hype. It’s a feeling our process to start, as everyone gets a chance with a member of the opposite team. The Shield takes the first advantage and they isolate Woods. Momentum swings back and forth as both teams work a fast pace. After a heat segment on Ambrose, the match breaks down and the action gets even faster and more intense. Out on the floor, Rollins takes Woods out with a knee to the face, and Ambrose hits Big E with Dirty Deeds. In the ring, Reigns hits Kingston with a big Spear, and then the Shield hits an Avalanche Triple Powerbomb to finally put Kingston away. Awesome way to start the show, as two of the most over acts in the company went out and treated this match and the whole Raw v SmackDown angle like a big deal, and as a result this felt important. More than that, it was just great fun to watch, with tons of action and a surefire definitive finish. Great stuff.
RAW – 1, SmackDown – 0
Team RAW (Alicia Fox, Asuka, Sasha Banks, Bayley & Nia Jax)defeated Team SmackDown LIVE (Becky Lynch, Naomi, Natalya, Carmella & Tamina, w/ Lana) at 18:35 in an elimination match. Fox and Lynch are the captains, which had little to no meaning attached to it. Carmella is Miss Money in the Bank. The two captains start it out, but it doesn’t take long for Bayley to make a blind tag and eliminate Lynch with a schoolgirl rollup at 2:05. Asuka is massively over here, by the way. Bayley is next to go, after Tamina flattens her with a Superfly Splash at 5:30. Jax and Tamina square off, and the crowd seems interested in that. Lana interferes and Jax knocks her off the apron. Tamina hits Jax with two superkicks to send her to the floor, and then follows her out to hit a third one. After a body press off the stairs, Jax is unable to make it back to the ring and gets counted out at 9:05. An extremely sloppy reversal sequence leads to Naomi eliminating Fox with a sort-of sunset flip at 11:00. Banks sneaks in and locks Naomi in the Bank Statement to eliminate her at 11:05. Carmella tries to test Asuka, and she gets kicked in the head and eliminated at 13:00. Next to go is Banks, via a Sharpshooter at 15:30. Asuka is now alone against Natalya and Tamina. Team SmackDown double teams Asuka, but when Tamina misses a Superfly Splash, Asuka locks on an armbar and eliminates Tamina at 17:35. Natalya comes in and tries the Sharpshooter but Asuka reverses to a Knee Bar. More counters lead right into the Asuka Lock and Asuka is your sole survivor. While there was no shortage of action, there was no real story to speak of in this match. The captains did nothing, and outside of a short Tamina/Jax encounter there wasn’t anything the crowd was dying to see.
RAW – 2, SmackDown – 0
United States Champion Baron Corbin [SmackDown] defeats Intercontinental Champion The Miz (w/ Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel) [RAW] at 9:35 in a non-title match. Miz’s wife Maryse is sitting ringside. Axel even has a red neck brace on, which is dynamite commitment to the brand. This is two heels that the crowd legitimately dislikes, so it’s a bit of an interesting dynamic. They brawl to start, quickly taking the fight to the floor, where Corbin taunts Maryse. Miz targets the big man’s knee, keeping him low to the ground. Corbin has to fight off Miz and the B-Team, so he’s got his hands full. Miz uses the Yes Kicks, and then tries multiple running dropkicks in the corner, but Corbin pops out and catches him in the End of Days to pick up the win for SmackDown. Perfectly cromulent match, which is more than I expected of it. Corbin then cuts a promo over Miz’s fallen body and sells the knee work on his way to the back.
RAW – 2, SmackDown – 1
SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos (Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) defeat RAW Tag Team Champions The Bar (Cesaro & Sheamus) in a non-title match at 15:55. These were the last two teams in last year’s 10-on-10 tag teams match, which was won by The Bar. This is a very physical match right from the beginning. They fight in and out of the ring, and they also use the tag team formula, which works perfectly when you’ve got two teams as good as these two. Sheamus and Cesaro isolate Jimmy for a little while, but then of course Jey gets the hot tag and cleans house. Jey gets beat up for a little bit, but then the match picks up steam and starts racing toward the finish. The Usos unleash a barrage of superkicks, first knocking Cesaro to the floor, then taking Sheamus off his feet. One Superfly Splash later, and the Usos pick up the win. Really fun tag team match here between two of the best WWE has had in a while. They didn’t quite go bananas, but it was close.
RAW – 2, SmackDown – 2
SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair defeats RAW Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss at 15:00 in a non-title match. Charlotte takes the early control using her size and power, but Bliss is tough too, and she attacks Charlotte’s arm to take the advantage. Bliss works the ribs as well, which along with the arm should help mitigate Charlotte’s strength advantage. They go back and forth, trading big moves and counters, but worth women prove to be perseverant. Bliss goes for Twisted Bliss, but Charlotte gets her knees up, and then levels Bliss with a boot to the face. Charlotte cinches in the Figure-Eight and Bliss taps out. This maybe ran a little long, but I was worried about Bliss keeping up with Charlotte, but she held her own out there. Charlotte was her usual, which is great.
RAW – 2, SmackDown – 3
Universal Champion Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) [RAW] defeats WWE Champion AJ Styles [SmackDown] in a non-title match at 15:25. Lesnar tosses Styles around like a rag doll for a while, just as one might expect. The crowd is really into Styles here, which is fun to hear. Styles survives a ton of punishment, and manages to fight back on multiple occasions, bringing the crowd right along with him. Late in the match, Styles tries a Phenomenal Forearm, but Lesnar catches him in a vicious overhead German Suplex. Moments later, Styles sends Lesnar to the floor and then hits the Phenomenal Forearm to the outside! Styles continues throwing everything he has, including a springboard 450 splash, but Lesnar kicks out. A series of reversals ends with Styles cinching in the Calf Crusher, which Lesnar sells like he’s getting paid an exorbitant sum of money to be there. Lesnar breaks it by grabbing Styles by the head and slamming it repeatedly into the mat. Best. Counter. Ever. Styles fights back and finally hits the Phenomenal Forearm, but it only gets two! Heyman looks worried at ringside. Styles goes for another Phenomenal Forearm, but this time Lesnar catches him and hits a soul-crushing F-5 to get the pin. Wow, Lesnar worked his ass off here and made AJ Styles look like a potent threat. Styles was the ultimate underdog babyface here, and he really wrestled a perfect match. I would love to see this again.
RAW – 3, SmackDown – 3
Team RAW (Kurt Angle, Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Samoa Joe & Triple H) defeat Team SmackDown LIVE (Shane McMahon, John Cena, Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura & Bobby Roode) at 33:20 in an elimination match. Everyone is perfectly color coordinated here except for Cena, who opts for a bright green t-shirt amidst a sea of red and blue. We start with a lengthy feeling-out process and get a couple of cool pairings out of it, like Strowman/Shane (HHH laughing as Strowman literally throws Shane across the ring is great), HHH/Nakamura, and Roode/HHH. Those last two are interesting because HHH is directly responsible for both men being in the company in the first place. The first elimination comes when Nakamura cleans house but then runs into a Powerslam from Strowman and gets pinned at 11:40. Strowman catches Roode in a Powerslam too, and he gets pinned at 13:00. The match breaks down and there’s dissension on the ranks on the RAW team, even though they’re up 5-3. All of Team SmackDown, including the two eliminated members, join forces to suplex Strowman through one of the ringside tables. Miscommunication between Joe and Balor leads to Cena hitting a slew of Attitude Adjustments, including two on Joe to pin him at 18:10. Angle comes in, and he hits Cena with an Angle Slam, Balor hits a Coup de Grace, and Angle hits another Angle Slam to pin Cena and eliminate The Franchise at 21:55. Balor misses the Coup de Grace on Orton, and Orton hits an RKO to eliminate Balor at 24:00. The crowd perks up big time, and we see Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have pulled Shane off the apron and delivered a beating. Shane of course fights back with a steel chair, sending Owens into the ring where he takes an RKO. Strowman gets back up on the apron and tags himself in, hitting Orton with a powerslam and eliminating him at 26:40. Shane is left alone, and he survives an awfully long time in the Ankle Lock. HHH comes in to break it up and hits Angle with a Pedigree, then pulls Shane on top for the pin. Angle is eliminated at 32:05. HHH now appears to be siding with his brother-in-law, but then he turns on him and hits a Pedigree to eliminate the captain and win the match. Well that started off all well and good, but the order of elimination was puzzling, and this really did nothing to advance any stories or put anyone over. Big waste of a main event. HHH tries to celebrate with Braun but takes two powerslams for his efforts.
RAW – 4, SmackDown – 3
The main event is nothing, but three matches on this show are very good – great, and a couple more are in the good range, so that’s enough to warrant a recommendation.
Tags: AJ Styles, Braun Strowman, Brock Lesnar, survivor series, WWE