HOUSTON, USA – Survivor Series has come and gone, and in many ways it’s upheld a lot of things we now know about big PPV weekends in the WWE.
The perfunctory NXT Takeover event was tight and better than the main WWE event – and while Survivor Series itself is solid, many McMahonisms and "main show"-isms stop it from really reaching legendary status. We're also not lacking in post-Big Four main roster callups. Throw those all together and we do actually have ourselves your usual Big Four PPV.
Because so many things have happened, it's time to distill the big news of the week (not just the weekend, because RAW and SmackDown Live after the show are as much a part of the festivities as they are the respective fallout). I've put together a list of the winners and losers of the last Big Four PPV of the year.
Winner: Velveteen Dream
Where at first fans weren't really sure what to make of Velveteen Dream, nee Patrick Clark of Tough Enough fame, the powers behind NXT were trusting enough to give him the spot of the guy who takes Aleister Black to the limit. Not even guys like Hideo Itami got to do that against Black, and it's impressive for a guy who was still feeling out his character when he got here. It just shows that Dream has a lot of upside, especially considering he's only been 3 years in the business.
Loser: NXT Women’s Division
Despite Asuka being an impressive dominant force in the year and a half before she got called up to RAW, her reign didn't really make for compelling storylines for the rest of the division. Women would just come in, challenge her, and lose because they weren't ready. What the scene needed was someone who could easily interact with everyone else and make them compelling. The scene needed a heel champion, which Asuka wasn't always, so it should've made some sense here that Nikki Cross could have taken it.
Instead, they decided to give it to the half-baked Ember Moon, which really feels like a title reign that was promised earlier instead of a win that felt right for the current situation. Let's see how they write it, but I don't have a lot of faith in her here.
Winner: Andrade 'Cien' Almas
Okay, so we partly have Drew McIntyre's torn biceps to blame, but this is an interesting outcome that at least salvages one of NXT's failing big investments. Sure, Almas' association with Zelina Vega was already doing the job, but without a clear direction, there wasn't far to go. Almas is flourishing in his new role and his controversial character could open up all sorts of possibilities for the NXT Championship scene, especially now that the rest of the stories were sorted with WarGames.
Winner: Everyone involved in WarGames
It wasn't a high bar to clear, considering it's just a matter of creating the most carnage as possible. But the right people won in the Undisputed ERA to continue their momentum.
Loser: Everyone watching WarGames
The WWE production team clearly couldn’t keep up with the carnage happening in their setup, and the director wasn't always sure where to point his broadcast. Looks like there was a lack of close coordination in putting this match together on the production side of the game, and the viewers paid for it.
Winner: The Shield and the New Day
The Shield has successfully made up for Roman Reigns' sick leave from TLC with a barn-burning 6-man tag match against the New Day, and both teams have cemented their legends as two of the company's elite units.
Loser: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Speaking of elite units, what started out so promising ended up horribly derailed. In what seems to be the result of legitimate backstage heat with at least Sami Zayn, the most compelling storyline on SmackDown is now more of a punchline after the WWE Best Friends' crusade lost steam. Instead of being a big factor of Team SmackDown's loss at the main event of Survivor Series, they end up being a tiny part of it that doesn't even greatly influence the match.
Loser: Alexa Bliss
At this point, she’s just waiting to lose the title to Asuka, eventually.
Winner: AJ Styles and Brock Lesnar
Regardless of whose idea it was, and regardless of the inevitable Lesnar victory, pairing up Styles and Lesnar was the best move they made for this match. Styles can do no wrong as the man who cannot have a bad match, and it showed in the way Lesnar was game to take everything Styles wanted to do and make him look good.
That look in both their eyes as Lesnar was limping to the back showed that Styles could very well be a Paul Heyman guy if all parties involved wanted to. And I want them to do it—check this speech out here:
Loser: Jinder Mahal
The only problem with this match now is that Mahal absolutely needed to interfere, especially to keep the story they started going. It doesn't matter that people don't like him. In fact, that's a big reason why he should've come out to cause a loss anyway. If that happened, Styles wouldn't have had to lose so clean to Lesnar, and it would intensify their feud further. Instead, it looked like Mahal had no real interest in both the WWE Championship and his original target when he challenged for the champion vs. champion match. WWE has already failed him by not giving him the best run he could manage, and they've failed him again by not making him look relevant.
Loser: Team SmackDown
Look, we all knew Team RAW was going to win the whole thing the moment SmackDown threw the first shot and put the show #UnderSiege. Hell, it was made even more clear when Triple H declared himself the 5th man of the team. But did SmackDown and its up-and-coming stars really have to look bad in the loss?
The Survivor Series main event could've been used as a huge stepping stone for the big SmackDown call-ups of the year in Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode. Instead, they were treated as the rookies they are by having them eliminated first and second, respectively.
John Cena and Randy Orton could have gone out first, Cena especially because he was a last-minute filler addition to stack the card, and Orton because he had no real backing in the match. SmackDown was going to lose, but they could’ve done so much more and have Nakamura and Roode come into this week’s episode with so much momentum heading into new programs.
Once again, they dropped the ball—expect them to put the blame on the guys themselves for failing to get over.
Winner?: Jason Jordan
I put in a question mark there because it still depends on what exactly they're going to do with him, but it seems like they already have plans for him going from the negative reactions he's been getting. The best way to deal with it is really to turn him evil and let him flourish in that role. If he doesn’t, that’s when the experiment will have failed.
Losers: Paige and all the NXT women who were called up
It was one thing for Paige to come back (although in a way that could've been a lot better, for sure). Okay, so she brought two of the more inexperienced NXT women with her, but they can learn from her. But for 3 more ladies to arrive on SmackDown the next night in almost the exact same way? This is lazy writing for sure, and if how they got in was already lazy, it doesn't leave me with a lot of hope in how they’ll be handled from here.
Ruby Riot, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan are already out of character debuting as upstart heels, and I don't expect either trio to last too long. Let's see how they write this next week.
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