The SmarK Rant for WWE Survivor Series 2018 – 11.18.18
Oh man, everyone is so pumped for this one! The one time of year that RAW and Smackdown superstars collide! I was walking the mean streets of Saskatoon today and people were literally getting into fistfights arguing whether Stephanie or Shane would emerge victorious tonight. One dude in a red shirt straight up shanked a guy in a blue t-shirt, swear to god. I actually saw him whittle a toothbrush into a weapon and puncture the guy’s kidney. You know like in Anchorman when they have the big rumble with all the newscaster teams? Like that. But combined with the riot episode of Oz, with a touch of The Purge. It was pretty hardcore. I was fearing for my life at one point, but I think everyone understood that I representing for NXT and thus was neutral. Really, they need to scrap this show because honestly it’s becoming too intense to be around people during the buildup.
Live from Los Angeles, CA
Your hosts are Michael Cole and cast of thousands. Plus Corey Graves, twice.
Carmella, Naomi, Mandy Rose, Sonya DeVille & Asuka v. Mickie James, Tamina, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks & Bayley
So apparently they switched the lineup AGAIN before the show and replaced Ruby Riott & Natalya with Sasha & Bayley. Why? Quite the reaction to Nia Jax, which seems to show that people are more aware of her role in Becky’s injury than we thought. Tamina, who looks old as FUCK, starts out with Naomi, who quickly gets a rollup for two. And we get the big brawl with all the women and Naomi kicks Nia out of the ring, but Tamina superkicks her for the pin at 1:23. Carmella rolls up Tamina at 1:33 to even it up. And then we stop for a dance break before Nia interrupts and chokes her out. Over to Mandy, and Nia punches her down for two. Mickie comes in with a neckbreaker on Mandy for two, but Mandy goes to an abdominal stretch and Mickie reverses to a neck hold. Over to Asuka and she hits Mickie with the hip attack and Octopus, but Mickie reverses to a cradle for two. Sonya comes in and pounds on Mickie in the corner, but Bayley tags herself in. The RAW team works Sonya over in the corner and Mickie gets the top rope senton for two, but Mandy comes in with a running knee on Mickie for the pin at 7:45. This is kind of a mess. Carmella beats on Bayley and gets a DDT to set up whatever, but Bayley gets the belly to belly at 9:14 to even it up again. Mandy stomps on Bayley in the corner and chokes her out, but Bayley brings in Sasha as they’re just out there working in slow motion tonight. Sasha with the Bank Statement to finish Mandy at 10:50. Sasha gets double-teamed in the Smackdown corner and Asuka gets two before Sonya goes to the bodyscissors and this match is just dying. Bayley comes in and hits a knee in the corner for two, but Sonya gets a spinebuster for two. Nia saves and the crowd UNLEASHES on her again. Bayley suplexes DeVille for two while Asuka takes out Nia on the floor. Sonya and Bayley both tumble to the floor and they’re both counted out at 15:17. Crowd boos the shit out of that one. So it’s Asuka against Nia and Sasha and she hits Sasha with a dropkick and a knee to the face to set up a german suplex. Sasha fights back and rams Asuka into the apron (THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING!), but Asuka comes back with a missile dropkick for two. They fight over the Asukalock and Sasha rolls her over for two, then goes up and gets shoved off by Nia, allowing Asuka to finish with the AsukaLock at 19:33. Nia comes in and drops the leg on Asuka multiple times and finishes with the samoan drop at 20:13. Gotta get HEAT. So she concusses Becky and they’re PUSHING her. Jesus. This was slow, sloppy and completely heatless outside of the crowd booing Nia. *1/2
Meanwhile, the RAW and Smackdown authority figures jibber jabber at each other.
Seth Rollins v. Shinsuke Nakamura
They fight for a takedown to start and that’s a stalemate, so Seth goes for the arm and gets a rollup for two. Crucifix gets two and Nakamura bails and stalls as we’re nearing 5:00 in with absolutely nothing happening. Seth guillotines Nak to the floor and tries a dive, but Nakamura hits him with a kick to block that and take over. Back in, that gets two. That was really weird, as Seth had to switch directions while running the ropes, because one of them was in the wrong position. Nakamura drops a knee for two and goes to a chinlock before stomping Seth down on the ropes. Facelock time, but Rollins runs him into the turnbuckle to escape and comes back with the sling blade. Nakamura goes up and Rollins brings him down for a slam and then dumps him to the outside instead. That looked awkward. He follows with a dive not once, not twice, but THRICE and comes back in with a springboard clothesline for two. Nakamura escapes a suplex and gets a high kick, then hits him with a knee in the corner for two. Rollins with a superkick for two. Nakamura escapes the buckle bomb and they trade stomps, but Nakamura does a reversal of a clothesline into a triangle. Seth drops him on the turnbuckle to break that, but Nakamura gets the fireman’s carry into the powerbomb for two. Nakamura goes up but Seth gets the superplex into the falcon arrow for two. They slug it out and Nakamura gets the exploder, but misses the Kinshasa and Rollins gets his own knee for two. Rollins misses a frog splash and Nakamura gets the Kinshasa for two. Another try is blocked with a superkick, and the curb stomp finishes at 21:29. Last couple of minutes were OK, but this went on FOREVER and never really got going. **1/2
Meanwhile, Braun Strowman threatens his own team with getting these hands if they let him down. R-Truth bursts in to make the peace, before they remind him that he’s not actually on that team.
Cesaro & Sheamus v. AOP
AOP double-teams Sheamus in the corner, but Cesaro saves and throws forearms on Rezar in the corner. They work Cesaro over in their corner next and choke him out. I’m really not sure why they set this up as a heel v. heel match because it’s immediately apparent that the crowd doesn’t know who to get behind. Akam goes to a chinlock and pounds Cesaro down, and Rezar gets a knee for two. Cesaro comes back with forearms and AOP cuts him off and gets two and Akam goes to a chinlock. Cesaro fights free and makes a tag to Sheamus, who runs wild for a bit and goes up with a flying clothesline on Rezar for two. Brogue Kick gets two on Rezar, but Drake Maverick puts the foot on the rope to save. Big Show takes care of him and Drake pisses himself in terror, literally, which allows AOP to pin Sheamus with something at 9:14. So now it’s 3-0 RAW. This was a complete nothing of a match. ½*
Meanwhile, The Miz tries to pump up his team with the help of Shane, and Truth pops in to ask about joining the Smackdown roster, before Shane informs him that he’s already on the Smackdown roster. Anyway, Shane wants to prove that they’re the dominant show. But it’s already 3-0. Whatever.
Cruiserweight title: Buddy Murphy v. Mustafa Ali
I don’t see this one getting the show back on track. And poor 205 Live, as everything else is about BRAND SUPREMACY and they’re just out there repping their sad little dead brand. To be 100% honest, I had no idea Buddy Murphy was even the champion until they showed him winning it at Super Duper Showdown. He’ll always be half of Blake and Murphy to me! Ali gets a rana and puts Buddy on the floor and follows with a dive. Back in, Murphy heads out to the floor again and Ali tries another dive, but Murphy viciously shoves off him off the top and backwards into the railing. Can we NOT with the dangerous head bumps, please? Murphy throws him back in for two and follows with a backdrop before kicking him down for two. And we go to the chinlock, but Ali catapults him into the corner and comes back with a dropkick, but Murphy throws him out again and follows with a dive. Back in, Ali comes back with superkicks and a reverse rana for two. Ali kicks him to the apron and brings him back in with a DDT for two. Ali goes up to finish, but Murphy throws him out again and they fight on the table, where Ali gets a Spanish Fly to the floor. Back in, Ali tries to finish again, but Murphy powerbombs him for two. Ali rolls him up for two, but Murphy puts him down with a knee and hits his Murphy’s Law slam to retain at 12:25. Best match of the night so far, although it took a while for the crowd to get into it. ***1/2
Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan blows off the generic interviewer who asks him a dumb question.
Lars Sullivan is coming soon! Frankly I’m shocked it took this long.
Lashley, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Finn Balor & Braun Strowman v. Shane McMahon, Jeff Hardy, Rey Mysterio, The Miz & Samoa Joe
Drew and Braun squabble about who starts, which allows Joe to get the choke on Drew, but the Claymore Kick ends him at 0:38. The crowd rightly calls that one out as bullshit. Over to Jeff Hardy, and Drew beats on him and brings in Dolph for the big showdown with Shane. Did you know that Shane won the World Cup Tournament to Determine the Best In The World? Because they sure reminded us a few times. Dolph gets a dropkick for two and follows with the Fameasser for two. Shane is already turning red and huffing, and Dolph hits the Zig Zag for two before Miz saves. Thank god! We almost lost the heart of the Smackdown team!
Over to Miz and Braun tags himself in, but then Drew tags himself in and they continue bickering. So everyone brawls and all the little Smackdown geeks team up on Braun and dump him to the floor while the referee is not counting or otherwise attempting to prevent this 4-on-1 beating whatsoever. They all put him on the table and Shane puts him through with an elbow. Back in the ring, Miz goes to work on Drew and we cut to the back, where Stephanie and Paige have to be pretending to watch the match on the screen behind them while still looking at the camera in front of them. Finn tags himself in to save McIntyre and throws kicks on Miz in the corner, and reverses the Skull Crushing Finale for two. Coup De Grace misses, but he still runs wild on the Smackdown losers on the floor before Rey comes in with a senton. Finn puts him down with the inverted DDT for two, but Rey reverses him into the 619, which misses. Finn with the sling blade and he goes up and misses the finisher again, and Rey follows with the 619 and Drops the Dime at 12:03. And then Drew just bulldozes Finn and throws him out to be a jerk.
Lashley tags himself in and boots Rey to cut off another 619, then throws Rey around the ring and gets the DELAYED SUPLEX OF DOOM, but Rey knees out of it. Dolph sneaks in with a blind tag and Rey kicks him down and makes a hot tag to Hardy, who drops the leg on Dolph for two. He DDTs Drew on the floor to get rid of him, but Dolph gets his own DDT on Jeff for two. Jeff reverses the superkick into the Twist of Fate and goes up with the swanton, but it hits the knees and Jeff manages to make the tag to Miz to escape. Shane comes in and Miz demands a coast to coast dropkick and gets it, and Shane gets the pin at 18:12. Lashley destroys Shane with suplexes and Shane looks like his heart is going to explode at any moment, so Miz comes back in to save him and Lashley beats on him next. Miz gets the advantage and brings Shane back in again for another coast to coast, but Braun punches him out of the air and Lashley gets two. Thank god, though, as Rey saves the heart of Smackdown. We couldn’t go on without Shane there to carry the match. Braun comes in and destroys Jeff at 20:46, then catches the 619 and kills Rey at 21:15. Miz offers up Shane as a sacrifice, but Braun powerslams Miz at 22:20. So 80 year old Shane is left alone and the crowd chants “You can’t do this”. And indeed, Braun kills him dead to finish the match at 24:00. Well that was pretty anticlimactic after a super-hot match. **** Pretty clear which show is the “dominant brand” in their eyes at this point.
Ronda Rousey v. Becky Lynch Charlotte Flair
They fight for a lockup to start and Charlotte throws Ronda down and tries a figure-four, but Ronda flips out of it and they do a nice little reversal sequence. Charlotte runs her into the turnbuckles off a headlock and gets a suplex for two before going to work on the leg. Ronda appears to be busted open in the mouth, and a replay shows that an errant elbow from Charlotte did the damage. Ronda bails to the apron and gets a hanging armbar from out there (THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING!) before going up and getting brought down by Charlotte. Ronda grabs another armbar to counter and Charlotte rolls her over to counter, into a Boston crab, but she can’t get the figure-four. Ronda blocks the neckbreaker and goes for the arm again, but Charlotte rolls free and boots her down. Charlotte goes up and tries the moonsault, but it hits foot and Ronda makes the comeback, only for Charlotte to spear her for two. Charlotte with the figure-four, but Ronda reverses and they both fall to the floor for the double down. Ronda gets all fired up and sends her into the railing, and back in for some fisticuffs in the corner, but Charlotte fights back with chops and takes out the knee again. Charlotte with the big boot for two. Ronda tries the armbar again and Charlotte bails to escape, but Ronda hangs on and drags her back in for another try, which Charlotte blocks again. Back to the floor and Charlotte stalls for time, but then finds a kendo stick for the DQ at 14:19. Well that was an abrupt ending to a great, entertainingly hard-hitting match. ****
Charlotte snaps further and beats on her with the stick before grabbing a chair and hitting the neckbreaker onto it. This is supposed to be a heel turn, but it all draws a huge babyface reaction from the crowd and a “Thank you Charlotte” chant. Is there really that much resentment towards Ronda? Because she’s delivered like Fed-Ex in every PPV so far, so I don’t really get it. And then they go for the sympathetic exit where she’s selling on the way up the ramp, and the crowd BOOS her.
Brock Lesnar v. Daniel Bryan
Daniel cock-blocks the Yes chants just to be a dick, which is great. And then he goes full weasel heel, taunting Brock during his entrance and then running away and doing laps when the match starts. Bryan doing the BROCK DANCE is amazing. Brock finally swats him down like a bug and it’s suplex time. Bryan is already out, but Brock does it again and then adds an overhead suplex before offering a legal disclaimer that he’s capable of doing the same thing all night long. Brock tosses him and sends him into the railing. Some guy at ringside: “JUST PIN HIM AND END IT AND LET HIM DIE!” Brock: “Shut up.” I’d listen to him, dude. Back in, Brock with the bearhug and he throws Bryan around, and if Bryan’s got an endgame here he should probably get to it pretty soon. Back to the bearhug and another overhead suplex, and the F5 gets two, because he decides to pick him up. Bryan manages a couple of kicks from his back and the ref gets bumped, which allows Bryan to kick Brock in the nuts and hit the running knee for two. Bryan fires away with kicks to the leg and curb stomps Brock’s face, then escapes another F5 and sends Brock to the floor. He tries a dive and gets caught, but shoves Brock into the post and hits the running knee off the apron. He tries another dive and gets caught again, and this time Brock catches him and runs him into the post to snuff that rally.
He tries to add a shot with the stairs, but knocks himself out on the post instead and Bryan adds another knee off the apron. Back in, Bryan with another knee, for two. He clips the knee and wraps it around the post, then goes up with the missile dropkick and hits the dropkicks into the corner before running into an F5…and Brock’s knee collapses as Bryan lands on top in the Yes Lock. Brock threatens to tap and then breaks free, so Bryan punches him in the face and reapplies it. Brock breaks again and Bryan tries a triangle, but Brock has had enough and F5 ends it at 18:43. Well you can’t say that wasn’t completely different than any Brock match in the last two years or so. So RAW wins 6-0 for those keeping track. This was a HELL of a deal, although as usual David v. Goliath always ends with Goliath winning in WWE. ****1/2
Well slap me silly and call me Suzy if this didn’t turn into the best WWE PPV of the year after a crappy start. The undercard was rough, but everything from the CW title onwards overdelivered in a big way and this is an easy thumbs up, and would have been on par with last night’s Takeover without that first hour. Kudos to everyone but Shane, because enough already with him.
Tags: Brock Lesnar v. Daniel Bryan, SmarK Rants, Survivor Series 2018, WWE Network