The WWE Smackdown Reaction for Nov. 8 by Kelly Dishnow

Welcome to The Smackdown Reaction where I offer my take on the happenings this week taped in the UK. You can check out John’s full in-depth report here.

An NXT invasion recap from last week starts us off to lead into the opening video and pyro. There’s a new UK set that’s rather plain-looking. Since we are in the UK, let’s hope the show doesn’t suck too bad.

King Corbin kicks us off this week with a horribly boring promo. The promo was so terrible that you could tell canned boos had to be added in post-production. Corbin makes fun of Roman to promote their match later, but it falls flat. Corbin finally leaves after killing the crowd of boredom. Not a good way to start the show.

New Day up next to revive the crowd with their title match against The Revival. Quick promo beforehand to get the crowd woke back up. Big E had a funny line about tying to break Charlotte Flair’s title reign count. As expected, the match was pretty good with New Day picking up the win and titles. The ending came when Big E blocked the Shatter Machine and Kofi disposing of Dawson before finishing Wilder off with a Hart Attackesque Trouble in Paradise. This gives New Day their seventh title reign and I’m assuming they will be aiming to break the Dudley’s ten WWE titles (8 WWF, 1 Raw, and 1 WCW) and will exclude their eight ECW tag titles. We’ll see, though.

Quick “recruiting” promo between Sami Zayn and Daniel Bryan. Zayn mentions a tag match for later.

Heavy Machinery is out next to get beat up by Imperium of NXT UK since we are in the UK after all. This does not last long as New Day leads the babyface reinforcements to send Imperium retreating through the crowd.

Quick promo by Sasha Banks and Bayley to hype the NXT Takeover, Survivor Series triple threat, and Sasha’s match with Nikki Cross.

Tag action is next with Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro taking on Ali and Shorty G (ugh). The match was really good but far too short. Nakamura picked up the win for his team after a Kinshasa on Ali. Hopefully a rematch happens and they are given more time. Bryan was shown on the ramp observing.

Boss Time is next as Sasha comes out to an awful remix to her song. It keeps the poppiness of her original theme with Snoop Dogg’s rap from WrestleMania 32 mixed in. Go either pop or rap, not both. Nikki Cross comes out and Bayley is on commentary. The match itself wasn’t all that special with Sasha getting Cross to tap to the Bank Statement. After the match, Shayna Baszler shows up and destroys Bayley to provide a highlight. Baszler leaves before Sasha can run back down the aisle to help Bayley.

Backstage, Zayn was still pestering Bryan when The Fiend showed up. Zayn figured he was going to get beat up again and ran, leaving The Fiend to attack Bryan with the Mandible Claw to end the bit.

Promo time with the hometown hero, Tyson Fury, is up next. Tyson runs down his upcoming fights and calls out Braun Strowman. Tyson puts Braun over and hints that the next time they fight, it should be as a tag team. The crowd liked the idea and I can already see the tag titles going on them. The B Team comes out to get beat up to end the segment.

Quick women’s tag match to determine who will join Sasha Banks on Team Smackdown between Fire and Desire and Carmella and Dana Brooke. Dana Brooke picked up the win for her team by pinning Sonya Deville with a senton bomb. Glad to see Dana get the chance she’s been looking for. They need to build the face girls up to take on the heel Bayley after Survivor Series.

Roman Reigns and King Corbin will close us out as the main event. The match was a bit on the meh side as we’ve seen it several times on Raw already. Corbin picks up the win after help from Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler. Corbin is really nothing special and I don’t get what Vince sees in him. Granted, Vince still thinks it is 1987 and just being tall is all you need to get over, but the crowd hasn’t cared about that since the mid-90s.

Let’s look at the highs and lows from the show.

The Highs:

New Day winning the tag titles was really the only bright spot match wise. I’m really happy for them, but they need to break the record so they can move on to other things.

The Tyson Fury promo was a nice touch for the local fans. I’m sure we can pencil him in for WrestleMania.

The Lows:

With it being a double taping and in the UK, the show as a whole just sucked. Corbin bored the crowd to death in the opening promo and his main event match with Roman. It’s very telling when some of WWE’s biggest markets always seem to have lousy shows anymore.

==

That’s all I’ve got for today. I’ll be back with the Raw Reaction on Tuesday. I already saw the spoilers and am not looking forward to it. It’s gonna be a long night.

The post The WWE Smackdown Reaction for Nov. 8 by Kelly Dishnow appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

TJR: Ranking the 10 Best WWE Survivor Series Elimination Matches Ever

The month of November for  WWE fans means Survivor Series. I have reviewed every WWE Survivor Series pay-per-view, which you can check out right here. I’ve also reviewed every WrestleMania and SummerSlam as well. As for the Royal Rumble, I’ve reviewed all the Rumble matches, but not the entire PPVs. Maybe you’ll see those in January.

This event goes all the way back to 1987 as WWE’s first non-WrestleMania pay-per-view. For about the first decade, they built the show around American Thanksgiving with the idea that it would be a fun show for the whole family. As the years went by, WWE settled on just making it an annual November show. One of the signature matches at Survivor Series nearly every year is an elimination tag team match. They are usually 5 on 5 or 4 on 4 matches, but there have been other variations of it.  What I’m going to do today is share my personal rankings of the 10 best elimination matches in Survivor Series history. I’m going to past in my play by play, my star rating, my analysis from the reviews and add in some updated 2019 thoughts in blue font as well.

What’s interesting about selecting just ten of these is that I have nine elimination matches rated at ***1/2 out of five or better, which means very good to great matches. When I checked all my ratings, I also had another eight matches tied for the tenth spot at ***1/4 out of five. I’ll pick one, but there are so many others close to it. A women’s match hasn’t made it on here yet, but maybe they’ll break through this year. Anyway, let’s get to the list.

 

10. Rey Mysterio, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Goldust & Cody Rhodes vs. Antonio Cesaro, Jack Swagger, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns @ Survivor Series 2013

The order of entrants for the 5 on 5 elimination tag was as follows: Rey Mysterio, Jimmy & Jey Uso, Goldust & Cody Rhodes. The Spanish announce team is there with Ricardo Rodriguez joining them. Good luck to their table surviving the event. The Real Americas were first for the heel team as Zeb Colter did a promo mocking the people of Boston. He mocked them for cheering a foreign guy like David Ortiz. Good heat for that. Cody Rhodes cut him off saying nobody wanted to see him talk or twerk and he even twerked. Can somebody let me know when the word “twerking” goes away? Please and thank you. The Shield entered last.

Elimination Tag Team Match: Rey Mysterio, Jimmy Uso, Jey Uso, Goldust & Cody Rhodes vs. Antonio Cesaro, Jack Swagger, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns

Cody and Dean started it off as Cole mentioned that The Shield debuted at Survivor Series last year. Ambrose was really aggressive. He got in the ref’s face and Cody rolled him up to eliminate Ambrose after just three minutes of action.

Dean Ambrose eliminated by Cody Rhodes

I didn’t expect that quick elimination. The action broke down with the faces clearing the ring of the heels. The Usos hit dives on the four heels left in the match. Jey connected on one side of the ring and Jimmy hit his dive on the other side. Swagger isolated Goldust in their corner as the heels made some quick tags to control the action. Swagger Bomb and then a Cesaro tag leading to a double stomp on Goldust. Goldust hit a backslide for two and then a DDT on Cesaro, but Cesaro prevented a tag with a gutwrench suplex. Goldust fought out with an impressive sunset flip. Goldust tagged in Mysterio, who took it to Swagger with his bulldog and a headscissors. Mysterio hit the 619 to Swagger, then Jimmy Uso hit a superkick and Jey Uso tagged in with a splash to pin Swagger.

Jack Swagger eliminated by Jey Uso

Cesaro nailed Jey with a huge uppercut for two. Cesaro Swing time as the crowd counted along for about 15 times. Jimmy ran in and Cesaro gave him the Cesaro Swing too for about 20 times. Cody tagged in, he gave Cesaro a sunset flip and that was enough to pin him. That was about 11 minutes into the match.

Antonio Cesaro eliminated by Cody Rhodes

It’s now 5 on 2 for the babyfaces. Reigns and Rollins were alone for their team. Perfect way to build the heels into bigger stars. Lots of quick tags for Reigns & Rollins as they worked over Jey in their corner. Back body drop to Rollins outside the ring. Jimmy tagged in to face off with Reigns, who he put down with a Samoan Drop. Running corner splash by Jimmy with Cole mentioning that they are Rikishi’s sons like he always does. Reigns countered Jimmy’s top rope splash by getting his knees up. Reigns hit a Spear on Jimmy to eliminate him after 15 minutes.

Jimmy Uso eliminated by Roman Reigns

Cody entered for his team as Rollins tagged in for his. Moonsault by Cody got him a two count. Cody hit Cross Rhodes on Rollins, but Reigns made the blind tag. Reigns Spear on Cody eliminated him after 16 minutes.

Cody Rhodes eliminated by Roman Reigns

Jey Uso entered for his team and he threw Reigns into the barricade outside the ring. Back in the ring, Jey missed the top rope cross body block. Rollins tagged in and hit a curb stomp on Jey to eliminate him after 17 minutes.

Jey Uso eliminated by Seth Rollins

It was 5 on 2. It’s now 2 on 2. Three quick eliminations in a row. Mysterio with a hard kick to the head of Rollins for two. Rollins hit a running dropkick in the corner. Reigns tagged in and threw Mysterio out of the ring under the bottom ropes with Mysterio taking the bump on his chest as he’s been known to do. Back in the ring, Reigns missed a corner charge. Rollins tagged in, Mysterio went on his shoulders and rolled him up to eliminate him via pinfall at 20 minutes.

Seth Rollins eliminated by Rey Mysterio

Rollins got in some cheap shots on Mysterio before leaving. Reigns was the last guy left for his team. Reigns trash talked Rey by saying “you came all the way back for this – to get jobbed out.” Maybe you shouldn’t say “jobbed out” but that’s okay. Mysterio enziguiri created some space. Drop toe hold by Rey and he tagged in Goldust. Goldust was on fire with ten punches in the corner as well as a powerslam for two. Top rope cross body by Goldust. Reigns broke free of a bulldog, they ran the ropes and Reigns hit a Spear on Goldust to eliminate him at 23 minutes.

Goldust eliminated by Roman Reigns

Rey jumped off the top rope on Reigns’ shoulders. He gave him the headscissors to set up the 619. Reigns was able to quickly recover and when Rey came bouncing off the ropes, Reigns destroyed him with a Spear. That was it at 23:23.

Rey Mysterio eliminated by Roman Reigns

Winner & Sole Survivor: Roman Reigns

Post match, Reigns received an ovation from the crowd out of respect. The announcers put over how incredible Reigns was in the match. They replayed the four Spears that Reigns used to win the match.

Analysis: ***1/4 It was a very good match as expected. I love these elimination tags, which is why I wish they did more of them on this show. Reigns was the expected survivor by me and most people that know how WWE tends to book these matches. Reigns is a star on the rise that was in there at the end with two veterans that have over 20 years of experience. It’s not like you should be putting over the older guys in a match like this. Veteran guys putting over young guys – that’s what the business is about. Reigns eliminated four guys in the match with a Spear. It reminded me of ten years ago when Randy Orton was in an elimination match like this, he was the sole survivor and obviously went on to great things including his first World Title in less than a year after that moment. This is the start of a push for Reigns, likely as a babyface. Ambrose could be jealous of him. Maybe Rollins stays heel. There are many ways they can go with it.

(This was when the monster push of Reigns was becoming obvious. The crowd liked The Shield even though they were technically heels going into this match, but they would become a face group over the next few months. Reigns was also impressive at the Royal Rumble two months later when he finished second to Batista and the crowd was strongly behind him in that match too.)

 

9. Kofi Kingston, Mason Ryan, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Hunico vs. Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Wade Barrett, Sin Cara and Stardust @ Survivor Series 2011

(The format of this review isn’t as detailed as the others. I don’t plan on re-writing it.) 

The 5 on 5 is next with Team Barrett first: Wade Barrett, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Hunico (to no reaction) and Cody Rhodes. Rhodes is without a mask permanently, which is the right move. By the way, Cody is also wearing kneepads. That is noteworthy folks. Randy Orton’s team was next with Sheamus out first. I guess the captain goes last on the babyface team. He was followed by Sin Cara in a white mask, Kofi Kingston, Mason Ryan and then Randy Orton to a massive face pop. Orton got the best face pop while Sheamus was very close behind. They mentioned that Orton has won 4 Survivor Series elimination matches, saying that he was the sole survivor twice. It’s nice when WWE remembers history. Yep, they are really loud for Orton.

Team Barrett (Wade Barrett, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Hunico and Cody Rhodes) vs. Team Orton (Randy Orton, Sheamus, Sin Cara, Kofi Kingston and Mason Ryan)

Kingston started with Ziggler. Orton ended up getting the tag in, he hit the RKO on Ziggler and he pinned him. The heels retreated. Orton went after them. They ended up throwing the heels outside while Sin Cara & Kingston did top rope dives to the floor. Sin Cara stayed down after his dive to the floor. The refs are making the “X” sign and the fans are chanting “We Want Ryder” already. It looks like a legit injury to Sin Cara. He didn’t clear the top rope on his dive and the move didn’t hit. He was untying his boot at ringside as the refs tended to him. He’s officially eliminated. They had a bit of a delay while Cara was hurt, but they ended up picking up where they left off. Kingston worked with Barrett, but Ryan got the hot tag at the same time as Hunico, who took a beating. Great fallaway slam by Ryan followed by a press slam. Rhodes got the blind tag, he leaped off middle ropes, hit Ryan with a kick and pinned him with the Cross Rhodes to eliminate Ryan. Why put Mason Ryan in the match if he’s not going to eliminate anybody? Weird. Not complaining, but it’s odd that they put Ryan in the match when Ryder and Daniel Bryan aren’t even on the card. The crowd chanted “Cody! Cody!” because they like chanting for heels, which is fine by me. Sheamus became the legal man and he worked with Cody. The heels cheated to get the advantage as Sheamus became the babyface in peril as we reach 12 minutes.

After Hunico got the tag, Sheamus was able to get to his corner where he tagged in Kofi Kingston, who went nuts on Wade Barrett with his high octane offense. The heels slowed Kingston down by cheating. Barrett ended up hitting a big boot out of nowhere and then the Wasteland. That eliminated Kingston. It was now 4 on 2 with only Orton & Sheamus remaining for the face team. “Here comes the Swag Man” says Booker when Swagger gets tagged into the match. The heels took turns beating up on Orton. He put Rhodes down with a suplex and tagged in Sheamus, who worked against Swagger. Top rope shoulderbreaker by Sheamus followed by his backbreaker. Barrett interfered when he went for the Celtic Cross. Sheamus hit knees to the head of Swagger repeatedly while Jack was in the ropes. The ref Chad Patton warned him about it. He reached the five count and disqualified Sheamus. That was a lame way of eliminating him, but they protect him a lot and he doesn’t get pinned very often. Sheamus was mad, so he booted Swagger in the head with the Brogue Kick. It’s now Orton left alone against Rhodes, Barrett & Hunico as we hit the 20 minute mark.

The announcers talked about how much of a disadvantage there was here with Orton against three guys. Rhodes taunted him by doing the Orton pose while standing over him. Orton hit the spinning powerslam and DDT on Rhodes. Hunico tagged in while Barrett distracted Orton. Hunico with a springboard and Orton catches him with a RKO as Hunico leaps off the top. Rhodes goes to attack Orton, but Randy hits the RKO. He turns around into Barrett, who hits the Wasteland. That’s enough to eliminate Orton. Cole mentioned that Sin Cara has a ruptured patella tendon. That’s bad. That’s a broken kneecap basically. He’s going to be out for half a year I’m guessing, if not more. The match went 22:10.

Winners: Team Barrett – Wade Barrett & Cody Rhodes

Analysis: ***1/2 Very good elimination tag match as these almost always are. The eliminations were well done. The injury to Sin Cara was unfortunate, however. I know some people don’t like the guy, but it’s a damn shame to see somebody go down like that. I liked his work. As for the booking, I picked Team Barrett because a win for them would have meant more. Guys like Orton need to lose in matches like this because it will build up his opponents. If he beats them all the time then Barrett & Rhodes won’t be taken seriously by fans. Now they have something to brag about. Good work by everybody and I agree with the booking. It’s nice when it makes sense, huh?

(I don’t remember much of a follow up to this. Barrett and Rhodes were stuck in the midcard level with WWE failing to pull the trigger on them as main eventers. It’s not a surprise that they would eventually leave the company when they had a chance.)

 

8. Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, The British Bulldog and Sycho Sid vs. Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Razor Ramon and Dean Douglas @ Survivor Series 1995

The next match is a wildcard elimination match, so I’ll tell you who the faces and heels are. Yokozuna (heel) & Owen Hart (heel) entered first for one team. Dean Douglas (heel) was the awful teacher gimmick done by Shane Douglas. Razor Ramon (face) was the Intercontinental Champion at the time, so the story is that he won’t get along with his team.

The other team featured the British Bulldog (heel) managed by Jim Cornette, who was also a manager for Yokozuna and Owen Hart. Bulldog got the next title shot at the December PPV. Sycho Sid (heel) walked out with his manager Ted Dibiase. They spelled it “Sycho” instead of “Psycho” so they could trademark the name. Ahmed Johnson (face) was making his pay-per-view debut as they said in the introduction. They had really high hopes for him as a power wrestler on the rise. Shawn Michaels (face) was the last man out for his team. He was on the receiving end of a huge push by this point and it was clear that he was going to be “the man” in WWE going forward. Vince McMahon was going crazy calling him the most resilient superstar in the WWF today with Perfect saying this guy has nothing on him. Perfect was yelling at Vince to sit down.

Analysis: I always liked the idea of wildcard teams. It’s something they should have done before and after this because it’s a creative idea that changes things up a bit.

Team Michaels (Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson, The British Bulldog and Sycho Sid w/Ted Dibiase and Jim Cornette) vs. Team Yokozuna (Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Razor Ramon and Dean Douglas w/Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette)

Pre-match notes: This was a unique match that they billed a Wildcard Survivor Series match where partners were randomly picked on teams.

Michaels worked with Hart with Michaels sending him out of the ring with a headscissors takedown. Cornette got involved, so Michaels hit him in the butt with his own tennis racket. Powerslam by Hart. Douglas with a suplex on Michaels. Michaels did a hard whip into the corner followed a forearm smash and a double axehandle off the top rope for a two count. Douglas with a knee to the face, but then he missed a splash. Michaels up top and he a hit a moonsault press for two as Hart made the save. Johnson tagged with an axe kick for Douglas and a kick for Owen. He wasn’t able to slam Yoko, so the three heels on the other team worked on Johnson. You could tell Yoko looked bigger than in the years before this. The heels worked over Johnson in the corner and even Ramon hit Johnson with punches. Johnson came back with a huge powerslam on Douglas. Michaels tagged in, Johnson picked him up and tossed him onto Douglas. Michaels went for the superkick, but Douglas left the ring. Ramon went over there, so Douglas shoved him. Ramon punched Douglas (his teammate) and Michaels did the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! to eliminate Douglas.

Dean Douglas eliminated by Shawn Michaels

Owen and Bulldog faced off with the announcers noting they were brothers in law. Spinning heel kick on Bulldog and then Michaels tagged in for the heels, so Hart tagged in Ramon. They referenced the epic ladder matches between them. Clothesline by Ramon on Michaels, back elbow by Michaels and a running forearm attack. Ramon teased a Razor’s Edge and he connected with it, but Johnson broke up the pin attempt. Big knee lift by Ramon on Michaels as Perfect mocked the greasy hair of Michaels. They ran the ropes and did a collision spot so both guys were down. Sid was tagged in for his team as he pounded away on Ramon. Sid’s offense was basically just punches and kicks. They did a double clothesline spot where both guys were down for a bit. Sid went to the top for some reason, so Ramon slammed him off of there. Sid hit a one handed Chokeslam on Ramon. Michaels tagged in, Sid held Ramon, it led to Ramon moving and Michaels hit Sid with a Superkick. Down goes Sid with Shawn not looking too upset about it since Sid was a heel. Ramon covers, Bulldog goes in for some reason and misses everything with a leg drop. Ramon covered Sid to eliminate him.

Sycho Sid eliminated by Razor Ramon

Analysis: The problem with that is that Sid tagged Michaels into the match, so Ramon pinning Michaels made no sense. None of the announcers even mentioned it. I’m not sure what the hell Bulldog was doing. He must have thought it was another spot in the match.

Bulldog went after Ramon. Sid brought Michaels into the ring and dropped him with a Powerbomb that Michaels sold as a big deal. Bulldog left the ring, so Michaels was the legal man again. Ramon was down, but then he crawled over and put an arm on top for a two count. Hart nailed Michaels with a back body drop. Yokozuna was throwing punches at Michaels, so Vince was yelling about how the ref should stop it. Hard whip into the corner by Yoko that Michaels sold by flipping upside down. Yoko with a vice grip to ground Michaels. Hart tagged in for a headbutt off the top, but Michaels moved. Johnson got the hot tag with punches for the other team. Johnson caught Owen and hit the Pearl River Plunge to eliminate him.

Owen Hart eliminated by Ahmed Johnson

Ramon worked with Johnson with Ramon hitting a knee to the face followed by a bulldog. Johnson nailed a sloppy looking spinebuster that Vince just called a “devastating maneuver.” Johnson posed on the turnbuckle like an idiot, so Ramon hit a Razor’s Edge. That looked awful. Bulldog just went into the ring to break up the pin and the ref did nothing. He’s not legal, yet he was in the ring. Sid, Kid and Dibiase walked down to ringside. Ramon hit a fallaway slam for two followed by a clothesline. Kid grabbed Ramon’s leg, Ramon punched him and Bulldog capitalized with a running powerslam to pin Ramon.

Razor Ramon eliminated by British Bulldog

Analysis: There was another fall that shouldn’t have counted because Bulldog never tagged in. He just saved Johnson from a pin and the ref Tim White did nothing about it.

Yokozuna was the last guy left for his team. He decked Michaels with a punch to the face. Leg drop by Yoko to Michaels. He teased the Banzai Drop, but he took so long that Michaels was able to move out of the way. Michaels stumbled into the corner to tag in Johnson. Johnson hit a body slam on Yokozuna that looked sloppy, but it was close enough. Bulldog broke up the pin from the guy on his own team. Michaels and Johnson knocked Bulldog out of the ring with a double clothesline. Michaels with a Superkick on Yokozuna, Johnson hit a big splash and pinned Yokozuna at 27:24.

Yokozuna eliminated by Ahmed Johnson

Survivors: Shawn Michaels, Ahmed Johnson & British Bulldog

Post match, Michaels and Johnson raised their hands. Cornette celebrated the win with Bulldog.

Analysis: ***1/2 That was a good elimination match with a cool twist due to the wildcard nature of the teams. I liked that they did spots like Michaels being the reason Sid was eliminated, so Sid got his revenge with a Powerbomb right away. Ramon was screwed out of the loss by Kid and Sid, which furthered that storyline. It’s easy to see why they chose those three to survive: Michaels was on the road to being the top guy, Johnson was a new star on the rise and Bulldog was getting the WWE Title shot at the December 1995 PPV, so they wanted him to look strong. It was a fun match from start to finish with two good guys winning in the end.

(I can remember this match being a favorite of my friends and I at the time because of the wildcard factor. We didn’t know what faces would be teaming with heels and vice versa, so that led to an interesting match scenario. The part about Bulldog being able to go in the ring and pin Ramon like that was a bad mistake by the referee. I still thought it was a good match and I remember it well due to the mix of heels and faces on the same team.)

 

7. Alberto Del Rio, Wade Barrett, Damien Sandow, David Otunga and Dolph Ziggler vs Kofi Kingston, The Miz, Randy Orton, Kane and Daniel Bryan @ Survivor Series 2012

The introductions for the Survivor Series elimination match was up next. The order for Team Ziggler: Alberto Del Rio (in a Rolls Royce), Damien Sandow, David Otunga, Wade Barrett and Dolph Ziggler. The captain of the team comes out last even though he didn’t pick his team except for Otunga. But let’s not hurt our heads trying to go over that storyline.

The order of introduction for Team Foley saw team captain Mick Foley coming out first. He has a significant limp to his walk that should tell people he probably shouldn’t wrestle again. The tag team champions Kane and Daniel Bryan entered together. Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston was next and Cole tried to tell us people call him The Wildcat even though I’m sure that very few people do. The Miz was out next. Finally, Randy Orton entered last for his team.

If these guys came out as a group instead of individually they could have fit another match onto the show. The intros took a long time. Even The Undertaker probably thought those introductions took a long time. All due respect, of course.

(That Undertaker joke was pretty funny. I think so, anyway.)

Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Ziggler (Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio, Damien Sandow, David Otunga & Wade Barrett) vs. Team Foley (Kane, Daniel Bryan, Kofi Kingston, The Miz & Randy Orton)

Kingston started with Otunga. Kingston hit a cross body off the top rope to the floor. JBL kept talking about Otunga’s credentials. Otunga hit a sloppy powerslam spot on Bryan. Sandow tagged in with a Russian Legsweep on Bryan followed by the Elbow of Disdain for two. Bryan came back with a running clothesline followed by his corner dropkick. Bryan hit a series of kicks as the announcers mocked JBL for how many different sports he has referenced during the broadcast. Sandow ran away, but then Kane brought him back in and Bryan kicked Sandow in the head. Kane hit a Chokeslam on Sandow to eliminate him. Damien Sandow is eliminated by Kane.

After the elimination, Kane argued with Bryan. Bryan shoved him. Kane threw Bryan outside of the ring. Dolph Ziggler attacked Kane from behind with a Zig Zag. That eliminated Kane. Nice spot there. Kane is eliminated by Dolph Ziggler.

Randy Orton came into the ring for his team and hit a slingshot suplex on Ziggler. Cole did a good job of putting over the successful history of Orton at Survivor Series. Kingston got a monkey flip on Ziggler that Ziggler sold by landing on his face instead of his back. What an amazing athlete Ziggler is. Bryan worked with Ziggler, but that didn’t last long. Barrett tagged in and Bryan missed his corner dropkick. Knees to the face by Barrett followed by a big boot that knocked Bryan out of the ring. Otunga tagged in to hit a clothesline followed by a shoulderblock. That’s pretty much all of Otunga’s offense. Bryan went for the No Lock. Otunga tapped out. I’m happy with that. David Otunga is eliminated by Daniel Bryan.

Del Rio entered the ring for his team and he worked over Bryan with a chinlock. Nice backbreaker by Del Rio on Bryan. Del Rio did a corner charge, so Bryan dumped him out to the floor. I’d love to see a feud between those guys. Hopefully next year. Bryan tagged in Kingston, who hit a chop off the top rope followed by a dropkick and clothesline on Del Rio. Boom Drop by Kingston. Ziggler distracted Kingston, but Kingston still hit a springboard cross body on Del Rio for two. Barrett tagged in and he hit a Bossman Slam. Barrett hit the Bull Hammer forearm, formerly known as The Souvenir, for the pinfall victory to eliminate Kingston. Kofi Kingston is eliminated by Wade Barrett.

Orton faced off with Barrett, hitting a dropkick for two. Barrett hit a boot to the face of Orton. Suplex by Orton followed by a knee drop got Orton a two count. Orton wanted to tag in Miz, but instead Bryan tagged in instead. The story is Miz hasn’t tagged in at this point. Bryan got a missile dropkick off the middle rope for two. JBL called him the “Flying Goat.” Barrett gave Bryan a clothesline over the top to the floor. Del Rio tagged in. Bryan went for the No Lock, but Del Rio fought out of it. Del Rio hit the running enziguri in the corner. Then Del Rio applied the Cross Armbreaker. Bryan tapped out. Daniel Bryan is eliminated by Alberto Del Rio.

It’s now two on three with only Orton and Miz on Foley’s team while Ziggler, Barrett and Del Rio were on the other side. They don’t get along. Miz worked with Del Rio and he tagged in Orton, who hit a nice uppercut Del Rio. JBL mocked the way Cole used the word “vintage” too often. I love JBL’s commentary. Del Rio hit an armbreaker on Orton using both knees. Ziggler tagged in. Orton broke free of Ziggler to make the hot tag to Miz. The crowd was cheering Miz, who was on fire with a corner clothesline on Barrett. Boot to the face of Ziggler. Top rope double axehandle from Miz. JBL: “Classic Miz. Vintage Orton.” Barrett hit a boot to the gut of Miz and then Miz countered the Wasteland with the Skull Crushing Finale. Good spot. That was enough to eliminate Barrett. Wade Barrett is eliminated by The Miz.

It’s two on two now. Miz hit Del Rio with his DDT for two. Bridging German Suplex by Del Rio got two. That’s one of my favorite moves in wrestling. Miz tripped up Del Rio while he was on the middle rope. Miz missed his corner clothesline. Del Rio hit his running enziguri for the pinfall on Miz. The Miz is eliminated by Alberto Del Rio.

That means it’s two on one with Orton being the lone representative of Team Foley going against Ziggler and Del Rio. Orton was distracted by Ziggler, so Del Rio hit a kick to the head for two. Ziggler hit a neckbreaker on Orton for two. Del Rio hit a double foot stomp on Orton. Del Rio went to the top rope, he jumped off and Orton hit a dropkick to the face of Del Rio. Clotheslines by Orton as the crowd came alive. Powerslam by Orton. Ricardo Rodriguez jumped on the apron. Del Rio hit an enziguiri to the back of the head of Orton. Outside the ring, Foley decked Rodriguez with a punch and ten applied Mr. Socko to Rodriguez. That drew one of the biggest pops of the match. Ziggler snuck in the ring, he went for a dropkick, Orton moved and Ziggler hit Del Rio. Orton threw Ziggler into the ring post. Del Rio went for the Cross Armbreaker, but Orton hit a sweet counter into the RKO to eliminate Del Rio. Now that was the biggest pop of the night. Alberto Del Rio is eliminated by Randy Orton.

It’s down to Orton vs. Ziggler, who is still stuck with his shoulder up against the turnbuckle ring post. Orton went for the RKO. Ziggler held onto the rope. Ziggler hit the Zig Zag to Orton for two. Terrific nearfall there. I thought that was the finish. Orton avoided the Rocker Dropper and he hit the DDT off the ropes. Orton’s mouth was bleeding. Orton walked back to the corner to set up for the punt. The fans were ready for it. Ziggler got back to his hit and hit a Superkick. He covered for the one…two…three. That was some Sweet Zig Music. The match went 23:43.

Winners: Team Ziggler. (Sole Survivor: Dolph Ziggler)

Analysis: ***1/2 That was fun. I’m a big fan of these elimination matches and wish we got to see them more than once per year. I just think they’re a lot of fun to watch with all of the eliminations and the way you can create rivalries as part of the match. I thought The Miz did a great job in a babyface role. The crowd was supportive of everything he did, so his babyface run is going to work as I suspected. Ziggler winning was the right move considering how many times he has lost in the past few months. It gives him some momentum going forward while Orton isn’t hurt by it because he’s continually pushed in a strong way. This could also lead to the heavily rumored heel turn of Orton. They can also keep Orton face and make him one of the main challengers to Ziggler if/when Ziggler becomes the World Heavyweight Champion. There are a lot of possibilities. I’m just happy that Ziggler got a big win that he really needed.

(That’s the star rating that’s slightly above average for a Survivor Series elimination match. As long as the booking isn’t ridiculously silly, a match that gets around 25 minutes should always reach that level. The win was pretty big for Ziggler and then he got to main event the next PPV when he beat John Cena in a Ladder Match thanks in part to AJ Lee. Ziggler was Mr. Money in the Bank and on his way to one of the most memorable cash in’s every a few months after this.)

 

6. Batista, Bobby Lashley, John Bradshaw Layfield, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio vs. Big Show, Carlito, Chris Masters, Kane and Shawn Michaels @ Survivor Series 2005

Team Smackdown was up first. The World Champion Batista made his entrance with his upper body taped up due to his back injury. He was the top face on Smackdown. The heel JBL entered in his limo with his image consultant Jillian Hall, who had a growth on her face, which was a stupid gimmick. Rey Mysterio was a face that received a great ovation as well as “Eddie” chants since he was wearing EG armbands. Bobby Lashley was the most jacked guy on the roster that was a newcomer face that they were trying to build up. The last man up was the heel Randy Orton along with his dad Bob Orton. “Hey, nothing you can say!” It was a catchy tune. The announcers noted Orton was the sole survivor at the previous two Survivor Series.

Team Raw was led by the great Shawn Michaels, who was one of the top faces on Raw. Carlito was a heel that liked to spit apples at people that aren’t cool. He was a young guy in his mid-20s just like the next man, Chris Masters. I guess you could say he is more jacked than Lashley – they are at least similar in that regard. Big Show was one half of the Tag Team Champions in a face role. Last man up for Raw is the other Tag Team Champion Kane, who was unmasked and also a face.

Analysis: Smackdown had more talent on their team. Some of the key Raw guys were in featured matches like Cena, Angle and Hunter, so that’s why Smackdown had a better team here.

Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Smackdown (Batista, Rey Mysterio, John Bradshaw Layfield, Bobby Lashley & Randy Orton) vs. Team Raw (Shawn Michaels, Carlito, Chris Masters, Big Show & Kane)

Pre-match notes: Both teams were a mix of heels and faces, which I noted above for their entrances.

Orton started off with Michaels. There was a lot of bickering from the announcers with Tazz mocking Lawler’s joke book. Hard slaps by both Orton and Michaels early on. Chops by Michaels. Orton came back with an uppercut for two. Orton missed a knee drop. Masters worked over Orton for a bit with basic stuff including a shoulder tackle. Lashley faced off with Masters with Lashley hitting a spinning powerslam. Masters came back with a hard clothesline. Masters went for the Masterlock submission, but Lashley fought out of it and nailed a belly to belly suplex. Masters brought in Carlito, who wanted nothing to do with Lashley. Hard clotheslines by Lashley on Carlito followed by a running powerslam for a two count. Michaels tagged in, but Lashley threw him off the top rope as HBK did the Flair top rope bump. Lashley with a body slam followed by a belly to belly suplex on Michaels. Carlito went in the ring, so Lashley dropped him with a Dominator. Michaels got an assist from Kane because the ref was checking on Carlito and Kane hit a Chokeslam on Lashley leading to Michaels covering him.

Bobby Lashley eliminated by Shawn Michaels

Analysis: That was a weird elimination. Lashley was booked like a beast that destroyed everybody, yet it took just one move for him to be pinned. It should have taken more than that because it made Lashley look weak.

Mysterio was in for Smackdown as he hit a dropkick to the knee. Kane nailed a cheap shot knee to the back to knock down Mysterio. Press slam by Masters on Mysterio. Kane tagged in, missed an elbow and Mysterio nailed him with some leg drops as well as a standing moonsault. Kane crushed Mysterio with a boot to the face. Bearhug by Kane. Mysterio bit Kane to break free and tagged in Batista. The crowd came alive as Batista crushed Kane in the corner. Kane punched Batista in the ribs. Kane knocked the other SD guys off the apron. Batista hit a Spear on Kane. Mysterio hit a 619 to Kane. Batista with a Spinebuster on Kane was enough to pin him.

Kane eliminated by Batista

Big Show hit a Chokeslam on Batista for a two count. Kane was still in the ring while the ref was talking to guys on the apron for some reason. Kane and Show hit a double Chokeslam on Batista to eliminate him.

Batista eliminated by Big Show

Analysis: It was an early elimination for the World Champion, but he was legitimately hurt and they needed to protect him.

JBL went after Show, which led to Show hitting a body slam. Show with a boot to Orton. Show tossed Mysterio hard into the turnbuckle. Orton stunned Show on the top rope leading to JBL hitting the Clothesline from Hell. JBL didn’t cover, so he tagged in Mysterio with a 619. Mysterio tagged in Orton, who hit a RKO on Show. JBL got the tag, bounced off the ropes and hit another Clothesline from Hell. Mysterio tagged in and hit a seated senton to pin Show.

Big Show eliminated by Rey Mysterio

It’s 3 on 3 with all six guys brawling around the ring. JBL hit a fallaway slam on Michaels on the floor. Masters whipped Mysterio hard into the turnbuckle for a two count. Carlito hit a suplex on Mysterio for two. Leg drop by Carlito on Mysterio gets two. Chinlock by Carlito on Mysterio to ground the high flyer. A camera shot showed that Michaels was out on the floor. Mysterio broke free. JBL made a blind tag and crushed Carlito with a Clothesline from Hell to eliminate him.

Carlito eliminated by JBL

Masters with a suplex on JBL for two. Michaels was still face first on the floor after the fallaway slam by JBL on the floor. Mysterio tagged in, jumped into Masters’ arms and JBL with a boot led to Mysterio getting a two count. Masters missed a corner charge. Mysterio dropkick to the knee leading to a 619 and a Dropping The Dime leg drop by Mysterio to the head of Masters. Mysterio pinned Masters to eliminate him.

Chris Masters eliminated by Rey Mysterio

It’s 3 on 1 for Smackdown with Michaels as the last guy left for Raw’s team. JBL rolled Michaels into the ring. Mysterio with a drop toe hold followed by a 619 to Michaels. Mysterio went for a springboard attack off the top, but Michaels crushed him with a Sweet Chin Music superkick. That was amazing. That eliminated Mysterio.

Rey Mysterio eliminated by Shawn Michaels

Analysis: That was the spot that HBK made famous with Shelton Benjamin on Raw. It looked just as good here, but that Raw moment is the one that people remember the most.

JBL went for the Clothesline from Hell. Michaels avoided it and hit him with the Sweet Chin Music to eliminate JBL.

JBL eliminated by Shawn Michaels

Orton was fresh against an exhausted Michaels. Orton avoided the Sweet Chin Music, he went to the floor and Michaels took him out with a plancha over the top to the floor. Michaels with a forearm, kip up, atomic drop, two clotheslines and a body slam. Michaels went up top with the Flying Elbow. Both guys were down in the ring. JBL was stumbling around the ring as he grabbed a chair from ringside. JBL went into the ring with the chair, Michaels avoided him and nailed him with Sweet Chin Music. When Michaels turned around, Orton was there with the RKO for the one…two…and three. Orton wins it for Team Smackdown at 24:00.

Shawn Michaels eliminated by Randy Orton

Survivor: Randy Orton

Analysis: ***1/2 Good elimination match with a lot of fun moments and a memorable ending. Orton was the sole survivor for the third year in a row, which shows how hard WWE wanted to push him to the top of the ladder. I liked the story of the veteran Michaels as the last man left for his team as he tried to come back to win the mach. It looked like he was going to get the win, but Orton stopped him with the RKO for the win. It was also a cheap win, so there was a reason for the Raw team to complain. The announcers bickering for the entirety of the match really made it tough to get through because they didn’t stop the entire time.

(A very good match with some all-time great talent in there. Michaels and Orton had history at Survivor Series two years earlier as well, so it was fun to see them go at it as the final two guys again. An incredible performance from Michaels as usual.)

 

5. American Alpha, Breezango, Heath Slater and Rhyno, The Hype Bros and The Usos vs. Big E and Kofi Kingston, Cesaro and Sheamus, The Colons, Enzo and Cass and Gallows and Anderson @ Survivor Series 2016

Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Raw (The New Day’s Big E and Kofi Kingston w/Xavier Woods), Sheamus and Cesaro, Enzo Amore and Big Cass, The Shining Stars (Primo and Epico), and Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson) vs. Team Smackdown (Heath Slater and Rhyno, The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley), American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable), Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango), and The Usos (Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso)

The rules are that if one member of the team is eliminated then his partner is eliminated as well.

Fandango was throwing out his tickets for fashion violations. He threw a bunch of them at Woods. Big E picked up Fandango and Kingston jumped off the top for the double team Big Ending to eliminate Fandango.

Fandango & Tyler Breeze eliminated by Kofi Kingston

New Day celebrated that elimination. Kofi turned around and Jimmy Uso crushed him with a huge superkick to eliminate them.

Kofi Kingston & Big E eliminated by Jimmy Uso

Analysis: That was a fast way to start the match. I was stunned by New Day being eliminated so early.

Ryder hit a flapjack on Epico. Rawley yelled duck to his team and did a bell clap slap to the head of Epico. Rawley hit a shoulder tackle to the knee of Epico. Shining Stars worked together on Rawley as the crowd chanted for Slater. Rawley nailed a cross body block on Anderson and tagged in Ryder. Knees to the face by Ryder followed by a missile dropkick on Anderson. Gallows saved Anderson from a Broski Boot so Ryder booted both guys on the floor. When going back in the ring, Anderson hit Ryder with a knee to the head, tag to Gallows and Magic Killer finished off Ryder.

Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley eliminated by Luke Gallows

The Raw guys worked on Gable for a bit as Primo nailed a splash to the back of Gable and Epico nailed a slingshot elbow drop for two. The crowd chanted for Slater again. At the show, he turned to the crowd and thanked them although it wasn’t shown on the broadcast. Epico hit three suplexes in a row on Gable. Primo missed a corner charge and Gable dumped Epico out of the ring. Jordan tagged in and Gable jumped off the top with an Avalanche Bulldog to eliminate Primo.

Primo & Epico eliminated by Jason Jordan

The final three teams on each side faced off. Slater & Rhyno battled with Enzo & Cass in the ring. Cass tossed Enzo over the top onto the guys outside the ring. Cass hit a running boot to Rhyno to send them both over the top. Slater went up top and hit a stage dive onto everybody on the floor. Sheamus knocked down Gable and Jordan hit a belly to belly suplex on Sheamus. Gable with an O’Connor roll into a German Suplex on Cesaro that was very impressive. Wow that was great. Jordan launched Gable over the top onto the other guys on the floor. Jordan ran the ropes, Gallows knocked him down, Anderson tagged in and G&A pinned Jordan with the Magic Killer.

Jason Jordan & Chad Gable eliminated by Karl Anderson

Analysis: That elimination upset me just because I picked American Alpha to win this match and thought they should have lasted much longer.

Slater was on offense against G&A, but Anderson stopped his momentum with a spinebuster. Fans chanted “He’s Got Kids” for Slater, which the announcers didn’t even acknowledge. The Raw guys worked on Slater for a bit until Gallows accidentally knocked Enzo off the apron. Rhyno tagged in, Gallows turned around and Rhyno hit a Gore to a thunderous ovation to eliminate Gallows.

Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson eliminated by Rhyno

Cass hit the big boot on Rhyno and Slater. Tag to Enzo, who went up top for the Boom Shaka Laka splash off the top to eliminate Rhyno.

Rhyno & Heath Slater eliminated by Enzo Amore

The Usos were the only team left for Smackdown Live against Enzo/Cass and Sheamus/Cesaro. Enzo nailed a punch on Jimmy, but Jimmy came back with a superkick. Jey tagged in and hit a Samoan Splash to eliminate Enzo.

Enzo Amore & Big Cass eliminated by Jey Uso

Sheamus hit the forearm shots on Jey as the crowd chanted “ten” for all of them while the announcers didn’t acknowledge it at all. Rolling senton by Sheamus on Jey. Enziguri kick by Jey to Sheamus, Jimmy tagged in and the Usos each hit a superkick on Cesaro after he pushed Sheamus out of the way. Sheamus with a Brogue Kick on Jimmy, but Jey made the save. Damn good action right there. Sheamus hit White Noise off the ropes for two. Jey hit a Samoan Splash off the top for two as Cesaro made the save. Cesaro got the hot tag with several uppercuts that connected on Jey. Dropkick by Cesaro on Jimmy sent him out of the ring followed by a 619 on Jey. Cesaro hit a cross body block off the top rope for a two count. The crowd really came alive for this. Cesaro did the Swing on Jey Uso while the crowd chanted “ten” for all of it. Jimmy hit a kick to the back of Cesaro’s leg and a dive took out Sheamus on the floor. Jey applied the Tequila Sunrise submission on Cesaro. Cesaro fought out of it, applied the Sharpshooter, which is always big in Canada and Jey tried to fight out of it. Cesaro pulled him back to the middle of the ring. Jimmy went for a superkick, but Sheamus knocked him out of the ring with a Brogue Kick. Sheamus saved Cesaro for the win. The match went 18:55.

Jimmy & Jey Uso eliminated by Cesaro

Survivors: Team Raw – Cesaro & Sheamus

Post match, Sheamus wanted a handshake from Cesaro. Sheamus walked away without shaking the hand. Both of them celebrated the win with the crowd fully behind Cesaro. After replays aired, Cesaro celebrated with some Hitman shades from a fan at ringside.

Analysis: ***3/4 That was a very good match at a fast pace, there were a bunch of quick eliminations and the last two teams really put on an entertaining finish. The New Day being out of the match early was a big surprise when it happened and it still is just because of their status as a top tag team. I know that you don’t have to protect champions in a match like this, but I figured they would do better than that. I enjoyed some of other quick elimination spots as well as the diving sequence on the floor. The crowd came alive for a lot of it, but were really into the bit with Cesaro & Sheamus against The Usos at the end.

(This set the stage for Cesaro and Sheamus becoming “The Bar” tag team that realized how great they were together and they had a very successful run as a team. This match is a lot of fun and maybe forgotten as an awesome elimination match. It’s not easy with 20 guys out there, but they did well.)

 

4. Big Show, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, John Cena and Ryback vs. Kane, Luke Harper, Mark Henry, Seth Rollins and Rusev @ Survivor Series 2014

Here’s the order of entrance for Team Authority: Kane, Mark Henry, Luke Harper, Rusev with Lana and then Seth Rollins. They were joined by Triple H, Stephanie McMahon, Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble as well.

The order of entrance for Team Cena: Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Erick Rowan with some generic music, Ryback and then John Cena.

Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Authority (Seth Rollins, Kane, Mark Henry, Luke Harper & Rusev) vs. Team Cena (John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Erick Rowan & Ryback)

Mark Henry was the first guy in the ring for his team. Henry got a big pep talk from Hunter and Stephanie. Henry ran right at Show like a dumbass, so Big Show nailed Henry with a KO Punch and he pinned him to eliminate him.

Mark Henry eliminated by pinfall

Analysis: That was quick. The problem with Show’s finisher is he should just do that move to everybody at any time, yet he doesn’t. Also, shouldn’t Henry’s partners try to save him? It’s a must win. I know I’m nitpicking, so I’ll just move on.

(It’s a valid point. They put over how important it was to win the match, yet nobody tries to break up the pin at all. That’s what I get for thinking!)

Rollins attacked Show from behind. There were a bunch of quick tags until they did a showdown with Harper facing off with Rowan. Rollins tagged himself in to prevent them from battling it out. Ryback tagged in, went after Harper (he was back in) and hit a suplex. Ryback hit a splash on Kane, who was legal. Rusev tagged in to face off with Ryback in a meeting of power wrestlers. Rusev got in some shots, but Ryback nailed him with a spinebuster. Ryback connected with his Meat Hook Clothesline while the crowd chanted “Feed Me More” for him. He went for Shellshock, but Kane booted Ryback to save Rusev. All the members of Team Authority brawled with Team Cena. Rollins snuck into the ring and hit a Curb Stomp on Ryback. Rusev nailed a Superkick on Ryback to pin and eliminate him.

Ryback eliminated by pinfall

Analysis: I didn’t think Ryback would lose that early. I figured he would last near the end since WWE seemed like they were building him up as a breakout babyface star. Instead, he only lasted a few minutes. That was odd since they built him up so much. I don’t mind it because I think Ryback is average, but it looked like they were going to push him hard again.

Big Show battled with Harper, who nailed Show with a nice dropkick. The heels worked over Show for a bit, but he managed to tag in Ziggler. Ziggler was on fire against Harper. That lasted briefly because Harper was able to ground him with a sidewalk slam. The heels made some quick tags as they worked over Ziggler. They continued to make tags while focusing on Ziggler. This sequence lasted over five minutes. Rollins hit a big move on Ziggler by ramming him face first into the middle turnbuckle for a two count. Ziggler came back with a move on Rusev for a two count. Harper saved Rusev. Cena hit the AA, there were Chokeslams and everybody went outside the ring. Rollins received a back body drop by Rowan onto the others. Rusev kicked Rowan outside the ring. Rusev picked up Ziggler and gave him a Powerbomb over the top, which caused Ziggler to go crashing into the other guys.

Rusev cleaned off the announce table. He put Ziggler on it. He took too long to do it, so Ziggler moved. Rusev went crashing through the Spanish announce table. The referee finally started to count so Rusev was counted out. The referee didn’t count for about a minute of these guys standing outside the ring, but once Rusev went through the able he counted.

Rusev eliminated by countout

Analysis: Most of us figured that Rusev would lose without getting pinned or being submitted, so that’s how they did it.

The match is now 4 for Cena and 3 for Authority. Kane went for Chokeslam on Ziggler, but he moved and tagged in Cena. Cena hit his shoulderblocks, spinning slam and Five Knuckle Shuffle on Kane. He hit the Attitude Adjustment on Kane. Rollins snuck into the ring, kicked Rollins in the ribs and hit a Curb Stomp. Cole was yelling at the ref to take control. JBL said that they should let them go.

Harper and Rowan tagged in for their teams. They had a physical fight at the start, which led to Rowan hitting a spin kick on Harper. That was impressive. Kane grabbed Rowan by the throat. The ref sent him out of the ring, so Rollins hit a flying knee attack off the top rope. Harper hit a spinning clothesline and pinned Rowan.

Erick Rowan eliminated by pinfall

The match was 3 on 3 by this point. Ziggler was still on the floor. Show stood beside Cena and Show nailed Cena with a KO Punch! Heel turn alert. Cena got pinned by Rollins, so he was out.

John Cena eliminated by pinfall

Analysis: Shocker! Wow. That was a big spot. Show was due for his annual heel turn anyway. The fans didn’t see it coming, so they reacted to it in a big way. If you look back at their history, Show has turned on Cena several times in the past.

After the attack, Show walked over to Triple H and shook his hand while Stephanie celebrated. Show walked out of the ring and went to the back. He was eliminated by countout.

Big Show eliminated by countout

That meant that Ziggler was left alone against Rollins, Kane and Harper. The heels taunted Ziggler and toyed with him. Ziggler hit a superkick and Zig Zag to eliminate Kane.

Kane eliminated by pinfall

It’s down to Ziggler against Harper and Rollins. Harper went after Ziggler aggressively. He hit a superkick to knock him down for two. Harper hit a powerbomb for two. He was mad that it was only a two count. Ziggler nailed Harper with a rollup and he grabbed his jeans for extra leverage. That was enough to eliminate Harper by pinfall.

Luke Harper eliminated by pinfall

(The next PPV was TLC with Ziggler beating Harper for the IC Title in a Ladder Match. It was pretty good.)

We are down to two men: Ziggler vs. Rollins. Rollins was the aggressor of the two. Rollins got an inside cradle for two and then a leaping DDT for another nearfall. Rollins came back with a Powerbomb into the corner for two. Rollins went up top, Ziggler tried to knock him off and instead Rollins knocked him off the ropes. Ziggler hit the Fameasser for a great nearfall. Cole was freaking out on commentary saying he had goosebumps while Triple H was getting angry at ringside. Mercury and Noble tried to provide interference. Ziggler knocked them down. Ziggler hit the Zig Zag on Rollins. Triple H pulled the ref out of the ring and punched him out. The crowd hated that.

Ziggler was attacked by Noble & Mercury. He was able to get rid of them with superkicks. Ziggler hit another Zig Zag on Rollins. Another ref slid into the ring. Triple H attacked him. Hunter went after Ziggler by punching him in the head. Hunter worked him over and hit a Pedigree in the middle of the ring. He dragged Rollins on top of Ziggler and he called for another ref to come down. It was Scott Armstrong, who is the corrupt ref. He was making the count, but that was interrupted by some ominous music.

Then the moment finally arrived. It’s Sting! Big ovation for that. No surprise to those of us online, but it was not advertised. He was in his usual black coat with black & white facepaint.

After all these years, Sting is finally in a WWE arena. We know it was rumored and leaked online a day earlier, but it’s still an awesome moment. There was a video package playing as he walked down to the ring. Armstrong went to face off with him, so Sting punched him in the face.

Sting went face to face with Hunter in the ring. The fans were cheering and chanting “Sting” for him. They had a staredown for about one minute as the fans chanted “This is awesome.” Hunter tried to punch him. Sting avoided it, kicked him and nailed the Scorpion Death Drop on Triple H.

Sting put Ziggler on top of Rollins. Apparently, Ziggler and Rollins were out that whole time. It must have been two or three minutes. The original ref slid back in the ring to count the pinfall. That was it. The match went 45 minutes.

Seth Rollins eliminated by pinfall

Winners: Team Cena (Dolph Ziggler is the sole survivor)

Analysis: **** It’s such a tough match to rate in terms of ratings, but I’m giving it four stars out of five because the work was very good for much of it and they delivered in terms of giving it a big time feel. It was hurt by the ref bumps although that was just part of the story. That final pin happened after Rollins and Ziggler were out of it for a few minutes. I give them a lot of booking for laying things out perfectly by giving so many different people a chance to shine. Ziggler and Rollins were clearly the stars of the match. Harper had a good showing too. Cena barely did anything, which is fine because he’s the most pushed guy on the show. Big Show’s heel turn was definitely a surprise although I guess he was due to turn since it seems like he turns every year. That debut for Sting was special. He didn’t say a word because he didn’t have to. He was just there to kick some ass and that’s what he did. That moment really stood out as something special that we’re going to remember for years to come. It makes us want to see more of him, which is exactly the reaction WWE is hoping for.

(This wasn’t the greatest technical wrestling elimination match due to all of the big guys involved, but the stories they told were excellent. Yes, Big Show turned heel and face a lot in his career, but this moment caught a lot of people by surprise and taking Cena out of the match so early was shocking. Also, Sting’s debut was expected that day because of online reports that came out, but it was a surprise for most fans and the crowd in the arena responded to it in a big way because it was a huge moment. I think it’s fair to say it was one of the loudest pops in WWE this decade.)

 

3. Booker T, The Dudley Boyz, Rob Van Dam and Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho, Christian, Mark Henry, Randy Orton and Scott Steiner @ Survivor Series 2003

Bischoff’s music starts. His entire team comes out together. Glass breaks, here comes Team Austin coming out together. These guys got the biggest pop of the night thus far. The crowd busted out into several chants back to back. One for Austin, HBK, RVD, Tables and Booker T. as well. That was cool. Stacey Keibler, Long and Bischoff are in one corner while Austin is in the other.

Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Austin (Shawn Michaels, Booker T., Rob Van Dam, Dudley Boys) vs. Team Bischoff (Chris Jericho, Christian, Mark Henry, Scott Steiner, Randy Orton)

(Pre-match notes: It’s probably obvious to you, but Austin’s team were the faces and Bischoff’s team were the heels.)

We start out with Christian against D’Von. Whip into the ropes for Christian, shoulder tackle. Slap to the face by Christian. D’Von takes him down quickly. Leaping clothesline by D’Von gets two. Tag to RVD. He gets a spinning kick for two. Christian gets a punch, then tags in Jericho. He opens up with chops, grabs the foot, RVD gets a spin kick. Shoulder tackles by RVD, then a northern lights suplex for two. Jericho leaps over a sweep kick, dropkicks for two. Tag to Steiner. Whip into the ropes, RVD goes down. After some posing, RVD gets a springboard crossbody for two. Another spinning kick gets two. He flips over, Steiner ducks a kick and gets an overhead belly to belly. So much for that move being moved. He gets another belly to belly, this one to the side for two. RVD to the top, he gets tripped up. Steiner hits an overhead belly to belly off the top for two. I guess it’s really not banned. RVD tags in Booker. Booker opens up on Steiner with punches, but Steiner cuts him off with a clothesline. Kissing the biceps elbow gets two. Into the ropes, forearm for Booker. Knee to the gut and a scissors kick for Booker. Spinaroonie time. Big spinebuster for Booker gets two. All ten guys are fighting on the floor with Booker & Steiner still in the ring. Steiner Recliner by Steiner near the ropes. Stacy gets up on the apron, cheering for Booker. Steiner grabs her. Dudleys get a reverse neckbreaker/3D variation. Booker comes in with the Bookend for three. Scott Steiner is out.

Scott Steiner eliminated by Booker T

Mark Henry comes in against Booker. Henry catches him and falls forward with him into his slam move. He gets the pinfall. Booker is out.

Booker T eliminated by Mark Henry

(That was the World’s Strongest Slam by Henry. I didn’t know a name for it at the time.)

Rob Van Dam faces off against Henry. He takes a clothesline. Forearm to the back. RVD gets Bubba in thanks to a blind tag. Whip into the ropes, Henry pancakes him with his stomach. Into the turnbuckle, Bubba takes his face first bump after the blow. Clothesline staggers Henry. He tags in D’Von. He powers out and clotheslines the back of their heads. Into the ropes, another clothesline. Okay, so we know Mark Henry can do a clothesline. Henry goes sternum first into the turnbuckle. He bounces out and the Dudleys 3D him. RVD comes off the top with a Five Star Frog Splash. All three guys cover Henry for the pin. Henry is out.

Mark Henry eliminated by Rob Van Dam

Jericho gets the advantage, but RVD fights out with a springboard moonsault for two. Jericho tags in Orton, who opens up on RVD. Into the turnbuckle, RVD leaps over Orton, but it doesn’t work because Orton decks him with a clothesline. Boot to the face by RVD. Springboard kick by RVD followed by a Rolling Thunder. To the top, Jericho shoves RVD off the ropes, sending him neck first on the top. Orton hits the RKO for the pinfall. Van Dam is out.

Rob Van Dam eliminated by Randy Orton

It’s 3 on 3 as D’Von enters. Sideslam by D’Von. To the top, a headbutt gets two for him. Blind tag brings in Jericho, who gets shoulder blocked down by D’Von. Boot to the face by Jericho followed by a missile dropkick. That gets two. Jericho misses a charge, D’Von gets a shoulderblock. Christian distracts D’Von, he turns around and Jericho gets a spinning sleeper/neckdrop for the three count. D’Von Dudley is out.

D’Von Dudley eliminated by Chris Jericho

Bubba comes in. He gets a big sideslam for two. He tags in Shawn Michaels, who is in the match for the first time. Chops to Jericho in the corner. He does the ten count in the corner. Christian comes in, so Shawn leaps off the ropes with a double axe to his face. Jericho tags in Orton. They do a double shoulderblock to send HBK down. Orton goes for a dropkick, HBK hangs on to the ropes and Orton hits the back of his head. Tag to Christian and tag to Bubba. Bubba clears out Team Bischoff, dropping Christian’s face on the top rope. Back body drop gets two on Christian. Samoan Drop on Orton. Jericho gets a low blow on Bubba. Christian gets the Unprettier on Bubba for the pinfall.

Bubba Ray Dudley eliminated by Christian

It’s Orton, Jericho & Christian vs. Michaels. Christian works on HBK. HBK gets the flying forearm and kip up. He takes out the heel team. They end up pulling HBK out to the floor, triple teaming him. Christian brings in Orton. He quickly tags Christian back in. Michaels fights him off, but Jericho pulls him to the ground. Orton distracts the ref. Christian slingshots HBK head first into the ring apron. HBK comes up bleeding HUGE! Suplex back in gets two for Christian. He does an HBK like muscle pose. HBK is bleeding a lot. Unprettier is blocked. He shoves Christian into the corner. He charges at Shawn, but eats a superkick. HBK falls on top for the pin. Christian is out.

Christian eliminated by Shawn Michaels

Jericho faces off with Michaels. Big whip into the corner, HBK does his customary feet up in the air flop and turns around to eat a Jericho clothesline. Tag in to Orton, who blatantly chokes HBK. Sleeper by HBK. Reversed into a side suplex by Orton. He tags in Jericho. He covers for two. Whip into the corner. Jericho jumps off the middle ropes, gets nothing. HBK gets a DDT. One…two…no, Orton saves! Big nearfall there. He sends Orton out over the top. Jericho gets a bulldog. Lionsault is blocked by the knees from HBK. Long eight count. Crowd is really hot. Superkick is ducked. Walls of Jericho reversed into a rollup by HBK! One…two…three! Jericho is out. Jericho comes back in to the ring with a steel chair and smashes HBK in the face with it. Huge heat for that.

Chris Jericho eliminated by Shawn Michaels

Orton comes back in, drapes his arm across the chest and he gets only two! Another good nearfall. Orton to the top. He goes for a crossbody, Michaels ducks and Orton hits the referee. HBK’s face is all red. This is a MASSIVE blade job. I can’t say it enough. It’s like his bloody face at Hell in a Cell #1. Bischoff comes in, kicks HBK in the ribs. Austin comes into the ring, throws Bischoff out and gives a Stunner to Orton. Ref sees none of it. Crowd is going NUTS. Austin takes Bischoff to the back, brawling with him. Batista comes in through the crowd and hits a huge sitout powerbomb on HBK. Orton crawls over for the cover. Ref wakes up, one…two…three! Team Bischoff wins at 27:27. Austin shows up in the aisle looking at what happened. He never saw Batista.

Shawn Michaels eliminated by Randy Orton

Survivor: Randy Orton of Team Bischoff

Analysis: ****1/4 This match was very exciting, especially at the end. The last fifteen minutes of it was filled with the kind of drama that you’d expect from a match involving this many talented people. Shawn Michaels put on an outstanding performance. The finish was something that was predictable, yet it worked really well. The effort of Jericho, Orton and Christian shouldn’t go unnoticed either. They did a terrific job in telling the story of the match. Very good match.

(That was a wild few minutes of action, especially at the end. Michaels was incredible trying to fight back against three guys and nearly pulling it off. I like how the win was really cheap for the heels because they needed Bischoff and Batista to help Orton get the win. I don’t think it hurt Orton that much because he was seen as a star on the rise. This was a huge win for him. I’m just really impressed with how well booked it was because it helps to accentuate the great work in the ring.)

 

2. AJ Styles, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton and Shane McMahon vs. Braun Strowman Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins @ Survivor Series 2016

The intros took place for Team Smackdown Live. Their mascot James Ellsworth entered first. Huge ovation for Shane McMahon, who is the Commissioner of Smackdown Live. Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt entered together to the Wyatt Family song. The WWE Champion and team captain AJ Styles was up next. Even though he’s a heel, he received one of the loudest ovations of the night. Dean Ambrose was the last man up for Smackdown’s team and the crowd loved him as well. Nobody on Smackdown’s team was really booed much. Loud “AJ Styles” chant as the crowd waited for Team Raw to enter.

Team Raw intros started with Braun Strowman to a mild reaction. Seth Freakin’ Rollins was up next and he received a great ovation. The US Champion Roman Reigns made his entrance to loud boos. By far the most boos of anybody on this show. Chris Jericho was cheered heavily because he’s a Canadian wrestling God basically. Cole noted Jericho is 3-0 in Survivor Series elimination matches. Last man up was Universal Champion Kevin Owens, who is also a Canadian that the crowd loved even though he’s a heel.

Analysis: If this was your first time watching WWE you would think Reigns is the biggest heel in the company. Instead, he’s still booked like a face that gets booed.

Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Smackdown Live (AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt & Shane McMahon w/James Ellsworth) vs. Team Raw (Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns & Braun Strowman)

Styles faced off with Owens as the crowd cheered champion vs. champion matching up. Both guys missed moves early on to show how even it was. Fans chanted “stupid idiot” to bring in Jericho to a huge ovation. Owens hugged Jericho to a huge ovation. Running shoulder tackle by Jericho on Styles and Styles came back with a dropkick. Jericho tagged in Rollins, which gave us Rollins vs. Styles – a feud I would love to see one day. Styles brought in Ambrose, who wrestled Rollins many times this summer. They each teased finishers and got out of it to show they are so even. Jericho tagged, yelled at Ambrose for destroying his jacket that was worth $15,000 and Ambrose took him down with arm drags. Jericho came back with an enziguri kick. Jericho and Ambrose exchanged some hard slaps. Shane tagged in against Jericho, both of whom are in their mid-40s. Flying back elbow by Shane. Otunga mentioned the battle of the bulge and said he’s not talking about Owens’ stomach. I saw Owens rip Otunga on Twitter, which was well deserved. A dropkick by Jericho knocked down Shane. Rollins tagged in with a suplex on Shane. Reigns tagged in to boos as he hit corner clotheslines on Shane. Rollins got the tag with a punch off the top rope onto Shane. Ambrose and Owens tagged in with Ambrose hitting a running clothesline, but Owens came back with a clothesline of his own. Ambrose crushed Owens with a clothesline and hit a suicide dive on the floor although he barely connected with it. That looked weak. Back in the ring, Owens nailed Ambrose with a kick and Ambrose fought out of a Popup Powerbomb attempt. Jericho saved Owens from an attack, Strowman tagged in and all then guys stood in the ring.

The match turned into a fight with all ten guys going at it. Strowman caught Ambrose in his arms and Styles saved Ambrose with a forearm smash on Strowman. Owens went up top and hit a cannonball dive onto the guys on the floor. Shane went up top and he teased a dive, but Strowman shoved him down. Ambrose and Styles worked together to stun Strowman and Shane hit a clothesline to knock Strowman out of the ring. Ambrose with a clothesline on Rollins and Styles hit a Pele Kick on Reigns. Crowd chanted “AJ Styles” as he bickered with Ambrose. Ambrose took down Styles. Shane broke it up, but Styles hit Ambrose with a forearm in the back. Strowman hit a running Powerslam on Ambrose to eliminate him.

Dean Ambrose eliminated by Braun Strowman

Analysis: They went several minutes with no legal man in the ring, so if you want to bee critical you could say that they ignored the rules of the match. I don’t mind it because the action was so good.

Strowman hit a running splash on Shane in the corner. Styles went for an attack, but Strowman shoved him over the top to the floor. That was a nasty looking bump by Styles. Orton went for a RKO, but Strowman shoved him away. Bray Wyatt got in Strowman’s face. Jericho told Strowman that he’s the captain now (good movie reference). Strowman tossed down Jericho and attacked Wyatt with a running dropkick that sent him out of the ring. Strowman cleaned off the German announce table as Orton showed up with a RKO out of nowhere onto Strowman on the table, which didn’t break. Wyatt and Orton cleared off the English announce table. They put Strowman on the announce table. Shane McMahon slowly climbed the turnbuckle and jumped off the top with the flying elbow drop on Strowman through the table. It looked great and drew a huge ovation from the crowd. The replays of the spot showed how impressive of a leap it was. Loud “this is awesome” chants started up. After all of that, the ref finally started a count as Styles rolled Shane back in the ring. Strowman was legal for Raw, he was at ringside at the count of eight and nine, but he couldn’t get in the ring at ten. Strowman was counted out. It was Ellsworth holding the foot of Strowman to prevent him from going back into the ring.

Braun Strowman eliminated by countout

Strowman went after Ellsworth, who went up the ramp and did the comedic stumble. Strowman caught up to him and heaved him off the stage onto a nearby table. There were some pizza boxes there too.

Analysis: Big bump by Ellsworth. It was a way to protect Strowman by not having him get pinned or submit. He ended up looking strong because of what he did to Ellsworth.

Jericho and Owens worked on Shane with Owens hitting a running senton. Owens mocked the Shane O Mac dance leading to a two count. Jericho nailed a dropkick on Shane. They did a spot where Jericho hit a Lionsault and Shane got his knees up, but Jericho didn’t sell it. I’m not sure if it was something where they made a mistake on that spot. Jericho hit a Codebreaker on Shane, Orton went in the ring and Jericho hit a Codebreaker on him. That led to Jericho slowly going to cover Shane, who kicked out at two. Rollins tagged in, slammed Shane and Jericho missed a top rope splash on Shane, who moved. Styles got the tag with a fireman’s carry into a backbreaker on Jericho. Owens wondered if Styles can even see through that stupid hair. That was clever. Styles locked Jericho into the Calf Crusher submission, but Jericho fought out of it. Styles got a cradle for two. Styles nailed a running forearm on Owens, who was on the apron. Styles set up Jericho for the Styles Clash, but Owens ran into the ring with the List of Jericho clipboard and hit Styles in the back with it. The papers on The List were all around the ring. Owens hit a Popup Powerbomb on Styles as the referee disqualified Owens. The crowd hated that and some chanted “bullshit” for it.

Kevin Owens eliminated by disqualification

Analysis: The List is an object, so it warrants a disqualification. Crowd wanted to see more of Owens, though.

Jericho freaked out about The List being used, picked up the papers and Styles tagged in Orton. That led to Orton turning Jericho around and he hit a RKO to eliminate Jericho.

Chris Jericho eliminated by Randy Orton

Analysis: The Raw co-captains were eliminated within one minute of eachother.

Jericho retrieved his list from a referee and left. The two Raw guys left were Reigns and Rollins against four Smackdown guys.

Analysis: While at the show, I remarked to the guys seated near me that I thought Reigns and Rollins would win even in this 2 on 4 scenario. It didn’t happen, but I thought it was possible.

Orton with a powerslam on Rollins. Can we get a Curb Stomp counter into a RKO like at WrestleMania 31? Nope. Wyatt tagged in with a running splash on Rollins in the corner. Orton worked with Rollins in the corner and seated him on the top rope. Orton with a superplex on Rollins. Reigns got the tag with punches on Styles, he knocked Wyatt off the apron and hit a Samoan Drop on Orton. Reigns with a popup Samoan Drop on Styles, who he had a great feud with earlier this year. Reigns with a seated Powerbomb called a Niagara Driver by Graves earned a two count. Styles avoided a Superman Punch with a leaping kick to the head. Shane tagged in with a DDT on Reigns. Rollins missed a leaping attack, so Shane hit a clothesline and slammed Rollins down spinebuster style. Shane sent Reigns hard into the ring post. The crowd was standing because they knew what was coming. Shane climbed the top rope and went for the Coast to Coast dropkick across the ring. He jumped, Reigns got up and crushed Shane with a Spear. Wow! That was nasty to watch again. Reigns covered and Shane lifted his right shoulder up while Cole was yelling about how Shane was eliminated. Shane looked knocked out. The ref called for the bell saying that Shane was knocked out.

Shane McMahon eliminated by Roman Reigns

Doctors checked on Shane in the ring. Orton went over to one of Shane’s sons (and I think Shane’s wife was there) to tell them he’ll be okay. Good guy Randy. Fans chanted “Shane O Mac” as doctors helped him to the back.

Analysis: When it happened live I thought Shane was legitimately hurt because he hit his head so hard. Watching it on the broadcast is even more painful to watch. They didn’t botch it, but it was just a violent crash. Shane performed very well in this match with some big moments that we won’t forget. Shane appeared on Smackdown two days later, so he was fine even though he was likely hurting from the spot.

It’s 3 on 2 for the Smackdown guys as Wyatt hit a running back splash on Reigns. Fans chanted “Roman Sucks” as Reigns hit a clothesline on Wyatt, who he had many matches with. Rollins tagged in against Styles with a blockbuster off the ropes, a kick to the head and a flying knee attack off the top rope. Rollins sent Wyatt into the barricade with a suicide dive. Forearm smash by Rollins in the corner. The crowd chanted “Roman’s sleeping” because he was laying against the barricade. The announcers didn’t mention it as Rollins hit an enziguri kick while Styles was on the top rope. A “wake up Roman” chant started up. Rollins with a superplex into a Falcon Arrow for a two count as Orton made the save. Forearm shot by Orton blocked a suicide dive attempt from Rollins. Reigns saved Rollins with a punch to Orton. Rollins cleared off the German announce table and Reigns cleared off the Spanish announce table. Styles made the save with a running kick on Reigns. Styles went back in the ring to pose and Ambrose ran back down to the ring. Ambrose hit Styles in the back of the head with a clothesline. Ambrose pounded on Styles with punches. Other referees went to the ring to stop Ambrose as fans chanted “stupid idiot.” Ambrose sent Styles into the steps at ringside. Security guys showed up, but Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns beat them all up. The crowd cheered. The three former Shield guys all looked at eachother as Ambrose and Rollins held Styles. They hoisted Styles in the air and Reigns led the three man Shield Powerbomb on Styles through the table. Rollins rolled Styles into the ring and pinned him.

AJ Styles eliminated by Seth Rollins

Analysis: Great moment. I was sitting by this guy that hated Reigns that was marking out for this as much as anybody. It’s funny how the haters hate Reigns on his own, but when he’s with The Shield guys he is loved again.

The match is down to Reigns and Rollins side by side in the ring against Orton and Wyatt on the floor. Luke Harper showed up at ringside. He must have been under the ring. That distracted Roman and Seth, so the SD guys paired off with the Raw guys. Reigns sent Orton into the post, but Harper was there to send Reigns into the ring post and nailed a superkick. Rollins was on fire with a Slingblade on Wyatt and somersault dive over the top to the floor took out Harper on the floor. Rollins nailed Wyatt with a kick in the ring. Rollins went up top with a Frog Splash, but Orton greeted him with a RKO and Wyatt pinned Rollins for the elimination.

Seth Rollins eliminated by Bray Wyatt

Analysis: Great spot with Orton helping his buddy Bray again. I kept thinking that Orton might turn face against Bray, but it didn’t happen. Rollins had an incredible performance all night long.

The fans chanted “Let’s Go Smackdown” because they don’t like Reigns. Wyatt was in there with Reigns and Reigns hit a punch on Orton. Outside the ring, Reigns sent Wyatt into the barricade at ringside. Drive By dropkick by Reigns on Wyatt on the apron. Reigns hit a Spear on Harper on the floor. Back in the ring, Wyatt teased Sister Abigail and Reigns fought out of it with a Superman Punch. Reigns went for a Spear, but Orton shoved Wyatt out of the way so Reigns hit the Spear on Orton. Wyatt capitalized with Sister Abigail on Reigns and covered for the win at 52:55.

Roman Reigns eliminated by Bray Wyatt

Survivors: Team Smackdown Live – Bray Wyatt & Randy Orton

Post match, Wyatt posed with Orton and Harper.

Analysis: ****1/2 Wow. What an awesome match. They went nearly an hour long making it the longest WWE match of the year, told so many different stories and gave us a memorable ending as well. I tried to comment on things as they happened because if I left it all for this space it would have been difficult. There were a lot of great spots with the Shield Reunion taking place, Strowman tossing Ellsworth off the stage and that Reigns spear on Shane that looked absolutely devastating. As for the result of the match, I’m happy that Smackdown won and hope it leads to a serious push for Wyatt although I have my doubts about that. I picked Reigns and Rollins to survive because both guys are pushed strong on the Raw side, but I’m happy to be wrong about it because of how the match turned out. This is one of the best Survivor Series elimination matches ever. While I wish there was more on the line and that the win meant more, in terms of match quality this was pretty damn good.

(I was at this show and it’s probably the longest WWE match I’ve seen in person. I’ve been to dozens of WWE events over the last 30 years, so that’s saying a lot. The thing about it is since it was such an excellent match I was not bored at all, nor did I think it ran too long. It felt just right. I’ll always remember the Shield reunion spot that led to cheers from the fan even though the angry Reigns hater was booing Reigns so much. It just shows how fickle wrestling fans can be. It was also a cool story with Wyatt/Orton winning, which led to Orton winning the Royal Rumble and Wyatt winning the WWE Title at Elimination Chamber, but then Orton turned on Wyatt. Sadly, the feud sucked after that, but they sure built up both guys well with meaningful wins.)

 

1. The Rock, Big Show, Chris Jericho, Kane and The Undertaker vs. Booker T, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Shane McMahon and Stone Cold Steve Austin @ Survivor Series 2001

The Alliance was introduced first in this order: Shane McMahon, Booker T, Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam (he was cheered by a lot of fans), Kurt Angle and WWE World Champion Steve Austin, who received a lot of cheers even though he was a heel. When Austin was in the ring, fans did the “WHAT?” chant.

Analysis: The team was better than the WCW team at the Invasion PPV four months earlier.

The WWE Team was introduced in this order: Big Show, Kane, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho and WCW World Champion The Rock. Jericho was a on his way to being a heel by this point while the others were faces. The ovation for The Rock was massive. They loved him.

Winner Take All Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team WWE (The Rock, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho, Kane & Big Show) vs. Team Alliance (Steve Austin, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Shane McMahon & Booker T)

Rock and Austin started with a slugfest. Rock stole some Austin moves and Shane made the save. Leaping clothesline by Rock on Booker with Shane making another save. Jericho with a flapjack on Booker. RVD missed a spin kick and Jericho hit a spinning heel kick followed by a suplex. RVD hit a cartwheel into a moonsault for two on Jericho. RVD wanted a hurricanrana, but Jericho blocked it with a Walls of Jericho. Kane tossed Angle into the turnbuckle followed by a clothesline. Angle hit a German Suplex on Kane, but Kane came back with a sidewalk slam followed by his top rope clothesline that he did all the time. Undertaker tagged in against Angle and Booker tagged in with Taker hitting a leg drop. Shane kept interrupting pinfall attempts. Old School clothesline by Undertaker. After a few more minutes, Taker did another pin attempt on Booker and Shane broke it up. Austin worked with Undertaker and Austin hit the Old School clothesline on him as Shane broke up another pin. The Alliance team worked over Taker in their corner. Swinging neckbreaker by Angle on Taker got a two count. Undertaker hit a DDT on Angle. Show tagged in with a huge hip toss for Angle and a press slam for RVD. Angle avoided a Chokeslam and hit an Angle Slam on Show. Booker tagged in and hit a Scissors Kick on Show followed by the Spinarooni. RVD tagged in and hit a Five Star Frog Splash. Shane tagged in with a flying elbow smash off the top to eliminate Show.

Big Show eliminated by Shane McMahon

Analysis: I like that it took three finishers plus Shane’s elbow to finish off Show. It makes him look better than losing after one move.

Rock clothesline on Shane. Kane tagged in and hit a huge Chokeslam on Shane. Heyman freaked out about it. Undertaker tagged in with a Tombstone for Shane. Jericho tagged in with a Lionsault and he pinned Shane to eliminate him.

Shane McMahon eliminated by Chris Jericho

Jericho with a running forearm smash on Angle followed by a backbreaker for two. Knee drop by Booker on Jericho. RVD got in some kicks on Jericho and Jericho got a sunset flip for two. Kane tagged in with a boot to the face followed by two clotheslines. Kane hit a boot to the face on Booker, which allowed RVD to get in a kick. RVD nailed a Five Star Frog Splash on Kane. No cover because Kane grabbed him by the throat. Booker ran in with a kick to Kane. Everybody started brawling around the ring. RVD up top and he hit a jumping side kick on Kane to eliminate him.

Kane eliminated by Rob Van Dam

Undertaker cleaned house with clotheslines for all four Alliance guys. Undertaker with snake eyes followed by a boot to the face. Undertaker knocked down Austin. Undertaker hit a Last Ride on Angle. Booker brought a chair into the ring, Undertaker kicked him, Austin hit a Stone Cold Stunner on Undertaker and put Angle on top to eliminate Undertaker.

The Undertaker eliminated by Kurt Angle

Booker nailed a jumping side kick on Rock. Rock hit a DDT for a two count. Rock whipped Booker into Angle on the apron and Rock hit the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! to eliminate Booker.

Analysis: Of course they’d use a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! pinfall in this famous match.

Rock slammed RVD while he was on the turnbuckle. Both guys were down. Jericho nailed a bulldog, but he missed a Lionsault as RVD came back with a spinning heel kick. Split legged moonsault by RVD. Jericho hit a face first move that Jeff Jarrett called The Stroke and that eliminated RVD.

Rob Van Dam eliminated by Chris Jericho

The match is down to Rock and Jericho vs. Austin and Angle. Angle worked with Jericho in the ring while Austin battled Rock on the floor with Austin sending Rock into the ringpost slingshot style. Austin back in for his team and he hit a superplex. Angle with a back elbow on Jericho. The Angle and Austin team isolated Jericho for a few minutes. Jericho bounced off the ropes and they did the double clothesline spot. Rock tagged in against Angle with Rocket hitting an overhead suplex and he applied the Sharpshooter on Angle, who tapped out quickly. Heyman was freaking out about it.

Kurt Angle eliminated by The Rock

Austin is the last man for the Alliance. Jericho went for a Lionsault on Austin, but Austin got the knees up leading to a two count. Jericho got a rollup, Austin turned him over to counter it and Austin sat on top to pin Jericho. That was enough for an elimination.

Chris Jericho eliminated Steve Austin

We are down to two with Rock facing off with Austin. Spinebuster by Rock. Jericho back in the ring and he hit The Stroke on Rock to put him down face first. Austin was slow to cover and Rock kicked out. The Undertaker ran down to ringside to prevent Jericho from interfering again. They went to the back.

Austin and Rock brawled outside the ring for a bit with Austin sending Rock into the steeps steps and the ring post. Rock threw Austin over the announce table and followed up with punches. JR and Heyman were bickering again with JR telling Heyman to kiss his ass. Back in the ring, Austin hit a Spinebuster followed by a Sharpshooter. After about 30 seconds, Rock got to the ropes. Austin went for the title, he tried to use it as a weapon and Rock tripped him up with a Sharpshooter. Austin crawled to the ropes. Rock held onto the hold and Austin got to the ropes again. Low blow by Austin. Austin went for the Stunner, Rock caught the boot and hit a Stunner of his own. Austin’s lip was bleeding. Rock went for a cover, but Alliance referee Nick Patrick pulled Earl Hebner out of the ring and punched him. Rock went for a move on Patrick, but Austin hit a Rock Bottom on Rock. Patrick counted the pin and it was a two count. Crowd went wild for those nearfalls. They worked perfectly. Austin punched Patrick to send him out of the ring. Austin brought Hebner back into the ring, Rock shoved Austin into Hebner, Rock fought out of a Rock Bottom and Austin hit a Stone Cold Stunner. Austin covered and there was no referee to count. Kurt Angle ran down to the ring, hit Austin in the head with the WWE Title, the crowd cheered that and Rock hit a Rock Bottom on Austin to win the match at the 44:57 mark. The crowd was going crazy for the win!

Steve Austin eliminated by The Rock

Survivor: The Rock

Analysis: ****1/2 Awesome match. The victory meant that WWE continued to exist while The Alliance died. I don’t think anybody watching this show thought the Alliance were going to win, but it would have been an interesting twist if they did. The match was a comeback story since Rock was able to lead his team back after they were down two to four late in the match. The match felt like a big deal the entire time, but once it got down to Austin vs. Rock it felt even more special. I liked how there were a lot of twists in the match such as when Jericho turned on Rock after he was eliminated and it almost cost them the match. The big turn came at the end of the match with Angle doing the cheap shot on Austin as the guy that turned his back on the Alliance to help WWE just like Vince McMahon said. They said it would happen and it happened. It’s nice when a storyline plays out like that.

(It was an outstanding match with a ridiculous amount of star power. I will always feel like WWE ended the Invasion storyline way too soon, but at least they ended on a strong note with the best Survivor Series elimination match of all time.)

===

Will there ever be a five-star Survivor Series elimination match? I doubt it because it’s been over 30 years without one, but it’s certainly possible with the right booking and mix of talent.

This was over 15,000 words. If you want to read even more about Survivor Series, just remember I have the complete Survivor Series review archive right here.

That’s all for this column looking back at the ten best Survivor Series matches of all time.

The post TJR: Ranking the 10 Best WWE Survivor Series Elimination Matches Ever appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

A Collective Review of AEW Dark 11/8/2019 by Lance Augustine

Welcome back to the weekly TJRwrestling review of AEW Dark. Last week on Dark, the show was a little below average for what they have presented so far, but wasn’t terrible.

AEW Dark consists of matches taped before and after AEW Dynamite airs and is shown on the AEW YouTube the next week. I’ll post the video below the review. Does Dark rebound in week 6? Let’s find out!

AEW Dark from Charlotte, North Carolina 11/8/2019

The 6th episode of Dark aired on Friday this week even though it usually airs on Tuesdays. Airing it before Full Gear is smart, and a way for the fans to get ready for the Pay-Per-View.

This week opens with familiar faces Tony Schiavone and Dasha Gonzales. I apologize for calling her Fuentes in my review of Dark last week. That was her WWE moniker. They start by running down the matches for Full Gear tomorrow. They talk more about the feud between Cody and Chris Jericho before sending it down to Excalibur, Goldenboy and special guest announcer, Arn Anderson for the first match.

Hikaru Shida vs. Big Swole

Big Swole is making her second appearance on Dark, after last week. Shida lost to Riho in the match leading to Riho’s AEW Women’s title win. The match begins with both women feeling each other out for the advantage. Swole pushes Shida into the ropes and grabs a headlock. Shoulder tackle by Swole knocks Shida to the mat. Both women are back and forth that ends with Shida kicking Swole in the face. On the outside, Shida hits Swole with a knee to the face. Shida grabs a chair and hits Swole with a knee off launching off the chair. Back in the ring, Shida keeps the advantage with a single leg crab. Swole attempts a reversal but is cut off and stomped for her troubles. Shida with a running knee into the corner and gets a near fall. Swole with some kicks followed by a headbutt and a two count. Hanging guillotine by Swole but is reversed into a backbreaker by Shida. Swole hits a pump kick and attempts a ripcord but Shida recovers with a knee lift and a two count. Shida then hits Swole with another knee strike and picks up the win in about 7 minutes.

Winner: Hikaru Shida
Match Rating: 1.75/5 stars

Match Notes: The match as a whole didn’t have a lot of heat to it. One of my biggest gripes about AEW is the way their women are presented and this was another case of that. Big Swole hit some nice power moves, but overall didn’t do much to improve her stock. AEW continues to push the Japanese women stars and while it isn’t a bad thing, I just wish they had more of a backstory for fans to get invested.

After the match, Shida poses in the ring with a Kendo stick and is immediately interviewed right after the match. She talks about showing off the Japanese style. She is asked about the match at Full Gear between Riho and Emi Sakura and picks Sakura to win.

Tony and Dasha are back in the studio to talk about and introduce the next match coming up.

“The Native Beast” Nyla Rose and Leva Bates vs. Shalandra Royal and Shazza McKenzie 

Chuck Taylor joins Excalibur and Goldenboy on commentary for this match. This is the first match McKenzie and Royal have had since the Women’s Casino Battle Royale.

Rose and McKenzie start the match off. McKenzie with the go behind but is quickly taken down by Rose. McKenzie with kicks to the thighs but Rose isn’t affected. McKenzie tags in Royal, but she is also quickly taken down by Rose. Rose with a slam and then starts to grind into the neck of Royal. Bates looks for the tag but Rose ignores her and takes on both opponents herself. Double suplex by Rose on both McKenzie and Royal. Bates showing her excitement in the corner while McKenzie and Royal start to double team Rose, but is quickly hit with a double chokeslam. Rose continues to pound on McKenzie in the ring. McKenzie climbs to her corner and tags in Royal. Rose hits Royal with a fallaway slam. Bates wants the tag again but rose ignores her again. Rose continues to beat on McKenzie and hits a suplex for a two count. Rose carries McKenzie over to her corner and uses her limp arm to make the tag. Rose hits Royal with a Death Valley Driver but the two count was interrupted by McKenzie. Rose hits both of them with a double Samoan Drop. Rose climbs up to the top and hits the Senton Bomb on both women. Rose covers both women and gets the win at around the 7-minute mark.

Winner(s): Nyla Rose and Leva Bates
Match Rating: 1.25/5 stars

Match Notes: This was the definition of a squash match. Nyla Rose dominated The entire match and Leva Bates didn’t tag in at all. Nyla hit some impressive moves, but overall the match was below average.

After the match, Nyla Rose is interviewed by Alex Marvez. Hearing him say Shalandra Royal and Shazza McKenzie was a real delight. Nyla talks about the All In battle royal and reminded us how dominant she was. She said she is tired of being disrespected and is going to start taking out the entire women’s division.

Back in the control room, Tony and Dasha run down the card for Full Gear. They shook to a package talking about Cody’s promo and announcement from this past week on Dynamite. The promo was unbelievable. If you haven’t seen it yet I highly suggest you do.

A hype video is shown chronicling the history between Cody and Chris Jericho ahead of their match at Full Gear. As the package ends, Tony and Dasha are back to introduce the main event.

The Hybrid 2 (Jack Evans and Angelico) and Kip Sabian vs. SCU (Scorpio Sky and Frankie Kazarian) and Cima

Angelico and Cima are the two men to start the match. Cima gets the early advantage and works on Angelico’s arms. Angelico reverses and works on Cima. Cima with a tag to Kazarian, who hits all three opponents with offense. Evans and Kazarian are the legal men and exchange offense. He tags in Sabian and he takes Kazarian down. Kazarian recovers and gets a quick tag into Sky. Sky hits him with a leg drop and tags Kazarian back in. All three men exchange tags again and Sabian is in a bad way. Sky hits Sabian with a few back elbows. Angelico distracts the referee and Jack Evans hits Sky with a kick that knocks him off the apron.

Sabian rolls Sky back in the ring and puts him in a chinlock. Sky makes his way back to his feet and tries to stop Sabian’s momentum to no avail. Sabian tags in Evans and he continues to work over Sky. Sky into the turnbuckle as Evans tags in Angelico. The three continue to exchange tags and keep Sky in their corner. Sabian whips Sky into the corner with force and Sky hits the mat. Sky makes a comeback and hits a nice dropkick. Sky reaches for the tag but is cut off by Angelico. He pushes Angelico off and makes the tag to Cima. Cima takes out all three opponents and stacks them up on each other. He jumps off the top rope and crashes into all of them. Cima with a backstabber on Angelico for a near fall. Cima picks up Angelico but is met with a shot to the face. Evans and Angelico hit some double team moves, including an assisted 450 splash from the mat. Cima makes a comeback and hits Evans with a German suplex. Sabian is in and hits Cima before he can make the tag. Cima rebounds and tags in Kazarian who hits Sabian with a flying knee. Kazarian and Sky double team Sabian with a knee strike double team. Kazarian tags in Cima who hits the Meteora for the win at the 14 minute mark.

Winner(s): SCU and Cima
Match Rating: 2.75/5 stars 

Match Notes: The match was alright. Both teams worked well together with lots of tags in and out with double teams moves aplenty. Jack Evans had some athletic stuff throughout, but Sabian stood out the most in the team.  Both members of SCU are great and they worked well with here with Cima. All six men worked hard, but overall it was an average six man tag match.

After the match, Cima and SCU celebrate in the ring and we get a hype video for Full Gear as the show ends.

 

Overall Show Rating: 4 out of 10

I wasn’t a huge fan of AEW Dark last week, but I think it was better than this week. The opening match had little to no heat and didn’t do much for either woman. The tag team match was essentially a squash match with Nyla Rose destroying everybody. The main event was pretty decent but overall nothing really of note. There was no Cody segment this week and instead we had a slew of packages for Full Gear. Dark airing on Friday this week was a last push for people to buy the Pay-Per-View.

What did you think of AEW Dark’s 6th outing? Loved it? Hated it? Didn’t even know it was on? As always keep the conversation going over @collectiveheel on Twitter and let me know your thoughts. Support the site and each other and I’ll be back soon with some more Collective Thoughts.

 

The post A Collective Review of AEW Dark 11/8/2019 by Lance Augustine appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

Why the NXT Invasion of Raw and Smackdown Could Be a Pivotal Moment in WWE – by Mike Sanchez

History has told us to expect the unexpected. Whilst some people diligently plan for every eventuality or possibility,  for every given scenario in the professional or personal lives, others will leave their future up to fate as the song says; ‘que sera, sera, whatever will be will be’. Some subscribe to the old adage of the Six P’s; Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance, whilst others live by the mantra of ‘try your best, there’s nothing more you can do than your best’. Whatever point of view you take or advice you adhere to, one thing is for certain; the future is unpredictable and unknown. Things happen that will be out of your control. True wisdom lies in knowing you cannot change the future, but knowing that you can adapt to the challenges that await you.

It was such a challenge that faced WWE immediately after the Crown Jewel event. As was widely reported at the time, a hefty proportion of WWE talent were effectively left stranded in Saudi Arabia, unable to board their flight back to the United States. For whatever the reason for this (and I’ve read many opinions and various reasons online) the fact remained that WWE were in quite the pickle. They had some of their roster en route to Friday Night Smackdown, but many were simply not going to make the show, no matter what flight they caught. A dilemma for WWE, especially considering the FOX deal on Friday nights is still in its infancy.

Step forward the COO of WWE, Triple H. In fairness to him and WWE, the options to them were limited; run Smackdown with a thin line-up that ignored the draft rules of the previous weeks by having some Raw talent on the show, or call in the cavalry from the yellow brand, NXT, to save the day. The calls were made and Triple H brought his army. The timing couldn’t have been better as we have Survivor Series on the horizon and with NXT now brought in to face Raw and Smackdown superstars, it gave the company an ideal opportunity to showcase some of their talent and introduce some ‘new’ names to a wider audience.

Smackdown was then advertised as ‘must-see’ for all fans as the NXT roster were going to make their presence known. Would it be for one night only and WWE would return to their regularly scheduled programming on Monday? Who knew? As it turns out, the reception for the NXT stars and the excellent show they all put on, meant they were creating a buzz and being noticed. So when all the talent arrived back from Saudi Arabia and were all raring to go, NXT stayed and made themselves at home.

I think this could be a pivotal moment in WWE and I’ll explain why. Some years ago, WWE tried the three factions idea when they had WWE go up against ECW and WCW – more commonly known as the WCW/ECW Invasion. The latter two would align with one another to create a simple story of two warring companies – with WWE eventually winning, of course. The premise was simple and it also allowed for something that hadn’t been done before. Yes, all the talent were technically WWE stars and on their payroll, but the situation was new. The locker room was divided, the crowd allegiance was split between companies, each fan having their own personal favorite wrestler and faction.

Today WWE can give each brand a stable base from which to operate and build. Each have their own show. Each have their own roster and each have enough pedigree and history to be more than a flash in the pan or in danger of being absorbed by the almighty WWE machine and fade into insignificance. Ask yourself, would this have worked if the 205 Live roster had ‘invaded’ Raw and Smackdown? The addition of NXT to the mix also allows WWE to play with the rules somewhat. The draft was rightly criticized by many fans for not being rigid enough and allowing WWE to break their own rules (Brock Lesner to Raw, anyone?), but NXT don’t adhere to the draft and do their own thing, similarly the rules of the draft only restrict Raw and Smackdown talent from crossing over to each other’s shows, however they can drop in on NXT whenever they want and it’ll still make sense.

Many wrestling fans, myself included, have expressed their concerns for the NXT talent in recent months. Their continued success in the company and the excellent shows they put on could have meant that they became entrenched in the brand and rather than move on to the larger audiences and arenas on Monday and Friday nights, they would find themselves held back in Florida in a company that they love, but perhaps restricting the next stage of their development. Victims of their own success, if you will. The recent interactions on the main roster could have put that argument to bed. WWE may rely on NXT to continue to provide an alternative to Raw and Smackdown, but I think the winds of change have already taken effect. The addition of NXT talent to the mix also offers up many fresh feuds and stories. It allows a true cross-brand opportunity that can deliver on so many levels and gives the men and women more opportunities to show the world what they can do.

Triple H will not be satisfied with HIS team playing second fiddle to the main roster and being used to fill in gaps when appropriate. This showing on national networks will only serve to boost NXT – they’re in a win-win situation. Though WWE have shaken things up with the main brands, the injection of NXT throws a curveball into the mix. They’re coming across as renegades, upstarts and an unsavory band that have been ignored for too long but now want to show the world what they’re capable of. Names like Keith Lee, Matt Riddle, Rhea Ripley, Tomasso Ciampa and Adam Cole are trending on Twitter twice a week, and getting hundreds of thousands of views for online videos and clips. They’re becoming more and more recognizable to a wider WWE audience. They’re doing exactly what Triple H wants them to do; be impossible to ignore. When my young son (who has never seen NXT) watched Smackdown and Raw with me this week, he leapt from the sofa and shouted “Adam Cole Bay Bay!” it made me think that WWE and NXT must be doing something right. Adam Cole merchandise now occupies several spots on a young boy’s Christmas list to Santa.

With the competition for WWE very real and it making inroads and producing a solid product on a regular basis, WWE may have needed to be creative going forward and not rest on their laurels. They may have needed something unexpected and surprising to change the game. Perhaps the unfortunate delay of the talent on a Thursday night in Saudi Arabia could be the catalyst for something so huge and unexpected, it could change the face and future of the WWE for a long time to come. I certainly hope so.

The post Why the NXT Invasion of Raw and Smackdown Could Be a Pivotal Moment in WWE – by Mike Sanchez appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

5 Star Match Reviews: The Legend of ‘6-3-94’ Misawa vs. Kawada – by Alex Podgorski

It has been called by some people the greatest singles match of all time. It’s considered the best singles wrestling bout of the entire 1990s. This match was so critically-acclaimed that it took 23 years for any match to get the same rating. It’s the first match to get an official rating of six stars out of five by the Wrestling Observer. This is the mythical encounter between Mitsuharu Misawa and Toshiaki Kawada from June 3rd, 1994.

As a reminder, I am reviewing Five Star wrestling matches as rated by Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer. It goes back to the 1980s and I’m going to pick different matches from different eras to see how they look today. Check out previous entries in my 5 Star Match Reviews series right here.

The Story

Misawa vs. Kawada is one of the best, deepest, most personal rivalries in wrestling history. It has that special blend of on-screen and off-screen that translates into the greatest possible chemistry between them inside the ring. They are so close to each other, yet so far apart. Former high school mates, former tag team partner and tag team champions, archrivals, and vicious competitors. Kawada was said to be jealous of Misawa’s success, and wanted his coveted top spot.

And back in the early 1990s, a lot of people believed Kawada deserved it. Although Misawa has long been lauded as a wrestler with god-like levels of skill (with very good reason), he wasn’t perfect by any means. His stoicism was said to take the emotion out of his matches, and he wasn’t as dynamic a performer in the ring as Kawada or even Kobashi. Yet Misawa was the unquestioned ace, a title he earned by putting on legendary matches that have, more often than not, withstood the test of time.

In this match, Kawada wanted to prove that he was not only on Misawa’s level, but worthy of carrying AJPW as a company.

The Match

This is for the AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship. They do ring introductions as the crowd is loud. And by loud, I mean EXTREMELY loud. They explode the moment the bell rings. They’re split down the middle, chanting both Misawa and Kawada’s names equally.

There’s a long stare-down as they lock up, and Kawada gets a clean break on the ropes. A second lock up leads to a chop-elbow exchange. Misawa whips Kawada, who holds onto the rope before Misawa could elbow him. Kawada goes for a yakuza kick but Misawa dodges it. The crowd cheers this because they know how much those moves mean to each wrestler. A third lock-up ensues, and Kawada chops Misawa on the rope. Misawa reverse an Irish whip, Kawada ducks a spin kick and hits a yakuza kick right to Misawa’s chin. Misawa no-sells, runs the ropes, tries his own running attack, but Kawada smashes him in the face with a huge spinning kick as the crowd applauds. Kawada goes for a vertical suplex but Misawa lands behind him. Kawada tries to lock in a sleeper hold but Misawa reverses this into a huge Backdrop suplex.

Kawada slowly gets back up as we have another standoff. Rear waistlock by Misawa transitions into an armlock by Kawada. Kawada keeps working the right arm, but Misawa does his classic standing somersault reversal and elbows the s**t out of Kawada, sending him down to the canvas. Misawa whips Kawada and hits a dropkick, sending Kawada out of the ring. Misawa runs the ropes for his elbow suicida, but Kawada dodges, so Misawa skins the cat. Kawada tries a clothesline but Misawa rolls back into the ring and hits a rope-assisted double kick, sending Kawada onto the barricade. Misawa attempts an apron attack, but Kawada elbows him as he flies, sending Misawa down to the floor.

Outside the ring, Kawada tries to whip Misawa, but Misawa reverses that, sending Kawada into the barricade. But as soon as Kawada hits it, he charges back and hits a strong clothesline on Misawa. Kawada gets back into the ring as we pass the five-minute mark. Damn, this has been brutal thus far.

Kawada elbows and axe kicks Misawa in the back of the head and then applies a facelock. Kawada sits on Misawa’s back and continues his onslaught with strikes, including another yakuza kick to the face. Kawada continues with vicious chops that echo through the arena, before locking in a liontamer and some more strikes. Misawa lifts himself up but eats more hard strikes to the head and chest. Misawa tries to power out but Kawada maintains control with stiff kicks, including one to the nose. Kawada goes for the first pin of the match but only gets two.  Misawa rolls out to try and recover but eats more kicks to the face as he tries to enter the ring. Kawada locks in a sleeper hold with bodyscissors and Misawa gets the rope as we reach the 10-minute mark.

Kawada continues to kick Misawa in the chest, but by now Misawa has had enough of Kawada’s s**t and kicks Kawada hard in his main kicking leg, sending Kawada down. Misawa’s showing excellent psychology once again because Kawada does have a history of leg issues, which is why Kawada’s writhing in pain. Misawa kicks Kawada’s leg some more and applies a single leg crab, but Kawada kicks Misawa hard in the face with his free leg, breaking the hold. Misawa reapplies another leg lock and Kawada keeps trying to kick his way out, but Misawa blocks the kicks and stretches the leg some more. That is one of those classic examples of AJPW wrestlers’ exemplary toughness: when a wrestler has a submission hold on and they get hit, they don’t release the hold right away; it takes multiple strikes to force a wrestler to release a hold. If this were WWE, they’d let go right away.

Kawada escapes the leglock by applying a facelock on Misawa. Kawada gets up slowly and Misawa kicks the leg again. Kawada tries to kick back, but the leg damage is too much for him to handle and he falls to the mat. Kawada tries to power through the pain as Misawa kicks and knees his leg. After all that striking fails, Kawada drags himself to the rope, breaking the hold as the crowd applauds. Kawada limps around the ring as Misawa kicks him some more. The crowd is now firmly in Kawada’s corner as Misawa waits for him to get back to his feet. Kawada tries to hook the leg but Kawada elbows him as we reach the 15-minute mark.

More elbows from Kawada grounds Misawa. Kawada goes for a vertical suplex but Misawa blocks it. Kawada attempts an armbar but it too is blocked as Misawa whips Kawada and hits another hard spin kick. Misawa attempts the tiger driver but Kawada pushes him into the corner. Another stiff strike exchange ends in Kawada’s favor. He whips Misawa into another corner and hits a jumping kick to the face. Kawada tries that same move in the opposite corner but Misawa reverses that into a big elbow that sends Kawada down. Misawa hits a dropkick but Kawada powers through that and yakuza kicks Misawa in the face as he tries to get up. Misawa hits an elbow smash but Kawada answers with a HUGE gamengiri kick to the face. That made the crowd even louder than before.

Kawada goes for a pin but Misawa kicks out at 2. He goes for the folding powerbomb but Misawa powers out, so Kawada answers with a huge dropkick to the back of Misawa’s head, and follows that with a diving knee to the same spot. Kawada chops Misawa on the side of the neck, wearing down Misawa’s weak spot. Another pin attempt gets a two and the crowd is making tons of noise. You can barely hear the announcer as their chants get even louder. Kawada attempts the powerbomb again but changes his mind and step kicks Misawa in the face. Misawa shows his toughness and determination and tries to gain some momentum with strikes of his own. He attempts a spin kick but Kawada grabs his leg, so Misawa kicks him with his free leg, sending him down at the twenty-minute mark.

Misawa’s up first and has blood coming from his ear. He attempts the tiger driver again but Kawada blocks that. So Misawa then tries the tiger suplex, but Kawada escapes that too. Kawada kicks Misawa’s leg, to which Misawa responds with an elbow to the face. Misawa runs the ropes and blocks a second gamengiri attempt by Kawada and kicks Kawada in the face again. Misawa connects with the tiger driver but it gets 2.5. I’m pretty sure the crowd is stomping their legs instead of clapping, because their reaction is that thunderous. It’s hard not to agree with them. The chemistry and back-and-forth action between these two is unbelievable.

Misawa hits the tiger body press (frog splash) for another 2.5 count. Misawa applies another facelock to wear Kawada down but Kawada reaches the ropes with his foot. Both of them get out of the ring and Misawa throws him back in. Misawa ascends the top turnbuckle and attempts a diving elbow drop, but Kawada counters with another massive gamengiri that blasts Misawa in the face. Simply amazing. Kawada tries the powerbomb again but Misawa still has the power to block it, so Kawada hits him hard in the face once more. Kawada tries the same move again, but this time Misawa blocks the strike and hits another savage elbow. Kawada is up seconds later and starts trading elbows with Misawa. Misawa wins that exchange and tries a running elbow, but Kawada answers with another yakuza kick followed by a huge lariat. Kawada then picks Misawa up and hits a massive dangerous backdrop. Misawa lands hard on his neck and shoulders on that one. Kawada then picks him up again and hits the folding powerbomb but Misawa kicks out at 2.8 at the twenty-five minute mark.

They’re both back up and Kawada hits a massive enzuigiri and then another gamengiri to the face. Kawada isn’t done tenderizing Misawa’s head and hits a massive German suplex that sends Misawa out of the ring. Kawada tosses Misawa back into the ring and hits the folding powerbomb again but once more Misawa kicks out at 2.8. Kawada tries that move once more but Misawa breaks it up on the ropes, so Kawada drags Misawa back into the ring and locks in the stretch plum submission hold, but again Misawa reaches the ropes. Frustrated, Kawada pulls him to the center of the ring and locks in the stretch plum again and wrenches it as hard as he can. The fans erupt in ‘mi-sa-wa’ chants. Kawada goes for a pin but Misawa kicks out at two. Misawa gets a sudden surge in strength and hits a strong elbow as both wrestlers are supine. Kawada gets up first and hits a yakuza kick, but Misawa elbows him as he gets up around the thirty-minute mark.

Misawa hits a running spinning lariat and starts to gain momentum. He hits hard strikes to the back of Kawada’s head followed by a release German suplex. Kawada looks completely spent as Misawa drags him to the middle of the ring and hits a bridging tiger suplex, but Kawada kicks out at 2.5. The commentator sounds like he’s completely out of breath calling this match. I would be too if I was calling this action.

Misawa prepares for another German suplex but Kawada reaches the ropes in desperation. Misawa’s still in control in the middle of the ring now, but Kawada elbows out and hits an abisengiri (rolling kick) to break away from Misawa. The crowd explodes in ‘ka-wa-da’ chants as he hits a second abisengiri that sends Misawa back out of the ring. The two stare daggers into each other as Misawa gets back into the ring. As soon as Misawa’s back in, Kawada hits hard elbows but Misawa no-sells them. Misawa tries the rolling elbow but Kawada blocks it and hits several hard head-butts and chops sending Misawa into the corner. Kawada starts kicking Misawa with both legs as Misawa sits in that same corner. Misawa gets another sudden burst of energy and hits a hard elbow that sends Kawada flying backwards. Kawada gets up seconds later but eats a huge rolling elbow. Misawa hits a flurry of stiff elbows and Kawada is staggering. Another rolling elbow sends Kawada back to the mat at the 35-minute mark.

Misawa tries the tiger driver once more but again Kawada powers him into the corner. Misawa kicks Kawada again but Kawada gets a second wind and starts kicking Misawa’s legs again. Another stiff strike exchange starts, and this time Misawa blocks the abisengiri and hits another running elbow. Kawada can barely stand as Misawa picks him up. Misawa hooks the arms and hits an ABSOLUTELY MURDEROUS Tiger Driver ’91. OH MY GOD! Kawada just got spiked!! How could he have survived that?!

The referee counts one…two…THREE. COUNT TO THREE!!! The roof explodes off Budokan Hall as the fans lose their minds and the commentator loses his voice.

Winner and still Triple Crown Heavyweight Champion after 35:30: Mitsuharu Misawa

Review

OH, HELL YEAH! What a fantastic match! That was so much fun to watch! It was filled with drama, stiff and brutal action, and a white-hot crowd. I’ve watched countless Japanese wrestling matches and I don’t think I’ve ever heard a crowd that excited. They really helped sell the significance of this match and everything that took place inside that ring.

From an in-ring action perspective, this was not a mat wrestling clinic by any means. Instead, it was a straight-up NWA-style brawl and a fantastic one at that. Misawa and Kawada destroyed each other with elbows, kicks, forearms, and everything in between. The action never slowed and there wasn’t a single dull moment at all. There was even a moment where the ref warned Kawada because he thought Kawada had close-fisted punched Misawa, and those are banned in AJPW. That alone underscored how much these two wrestlers hated each other. Although some might say this match could’ve used more chain grappling and reversals, the truth is that such wasn’t needed. They told an amazing story through strikes and submission holds alone. It was all about the desperate lengths to which both Misawa and Kawada had go to win.

But that lack of grappling didn’t take away from the fantastic chemistry these two wrestlers have with each other. Misawa vs. Kawada is one of the legendary feuds of pro wrestling. It’s on the same level of intensity as many of the great ones: Flair/Steamboat, Tanahashi/Okada, Austin/Rock, Angle/Lesnar, Bret/HBK, among others. These are two wrestlers that know each other perfectly and it showed in this match. They both knew and anticipated each other’s signature moves, they both knew where the other had weaknesses or injuries, and they both knew what it took to keep the other down. They kept the drama palpable by keeping it simple and telling the match through straightforward strikes as opposed to over-convoluted sequences.

That is why this is such an awesome match: its simplicity tells such a deep, emotional story. You can tell from how they strike and how they sell that they hate each other. You can see the desperation in Kawada’s movements and the reluctance in Misawa as he had to abandon his trademark stoicism in favor of additional brutality. If there was ever a perfect example of the ‘less-is-more’ philosophy in wrestling, it’s this match.

Final Rating: *****

Needless to say, this match deserves all the praise it got back in 1994 and still gets now. It’s one of the most brutal slug-fests in wrestling history witnessed by one of the hottest crowds ever. It proved that you can do so much with so little and still tell a masterful story. Of course, it also ends with one of the most brutal finishers ever seen, showing once again what kind of supermen worked for All Japan in the 1990s.

As for its classification as the match of the decade (1990s), that’s where I’d have to disagree. Don’t get me wrong; this match is definitely on the short-list for that distinction but it doesn’t deserve the top spot. The final stretch lacked the same level of drama as the famous ‘6-9-95’ tag match between Misawa, Kobashi, Kawada and Taue. After Kawada’s Folding Powerbomb failed him, he had little left that he could bust out. Sure, he had his array of kicks (which are legendary in pro wrestling), but those were worn down thanks to Misawa’s earlier leg work. Kawada also used a brainbuster as a rare finisher, but he barely so much as teased that as an option in this match. Had he done so, I think this match’s closing minutes would’ve had a much higher level of anticipation.

While it isn’t the greatest singles match of all time in my opinion, I recommend watching it all the same.

Check out previous entries in my 5 Star Match Reviews series right here. Thanks for reading.

The post 5 Star Match Reviews: The Legend of ‘6-3-94’ Misawa vs. Kawada – by Alex Podgorski appeared first on TJR Wrestling.

Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week 11/7: WWE NXT Invades, Wyatt Wins Title, Travel Issues, More

Welcome back wrestling fans. Like most of the world, were you working while Crown Jewel was on? Or maybe you were stuck on a plane for 24hrs and missed Smackdown? Well, fear not, as I am back once again with The Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week to catch you all up.

10. NXT Announces Second War Games Match

Last night on WWE NXT it was announced that there will be a men’s War Games Match to go along with the women’s one that was announced last week for NXT: WarGames on November 23rd. The match will feature The Undisputed Era made up of Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Riley, Bobby Fish and Adam Cole going against the team of Tommaso Ciampa, Matt Riddle, Keith Lee and a mystery partner. Having both a men’s and women’s version of a gimmick match is something the WWE has done often in recent years, with the Royal Rumble and Hell in a Cell being a couple examples. Thankfully this wasn’t the case 20 years ago, as I don’t think anyone would have wanted to see Mick Foley and the Undertaker in a lingerie pillow fight. (TJRWrestling)

9. Randy Orton Re-signs with the WWE

After multiple social media messages teasing a possible defection to AEW, Randy Orton re-signed a five-year contract with WWE this week. Orton, who is a 17-year veteran of the WWE, will be 44-years-old when this contract expires. Orton is already a multimillionaire and one has to believe that this new contract will only help his bank account be Elite, even if he isn’t going to be. (TJRWrestling)

8. Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez Match Ends Quickly at Crown Jewel Due to Cain’s Knee Injury

Cain Velasquez’s WWE debut match against Brock Lesnar ended quickly and disappointedly for Velasquez. The whole match only lasted two minutes and 10 seconds before Velasquez tapped out to the Kimora Lock from Lesnar. The reason the match was kept so short was Velasquez is dealing with a serious knee injury, that will most likely require surgery. None of this I imagine is how Velasquez imagined the beginning of his new multi-year contract with the WWE was going to go. However, the last Kane started his WWE career as a dentist with bad teeth, so things could always be worse. (TJRWrestling)

7. Brock Lesnar Quits Smackdown and Signs with RAW

Just three weeks after being drafted to Smackdown, Brock Lesnar quit the brand and signed with RAW bringing the WWE Heavyweight Title with him. The reason given was that Brock wanted to get revenge on Rey Mysterio for attacking him with a chair after Lesnar defeated Cain Velasquez at Crown Jewel. Paul Heyman explained on RAW that Brock Lesnar can switch brands while no other wrestler can because he is special and has a no-cut contract allowing him to do whatever he wants to do. A wrestler having the ability to just quit one brand and join another whenever he feels like it already weakens this incarnation of the brand split. Instead of just switching brands all “willy nilly” maybe they should have some sort of rule were a certain number of wrestlers can appear on the opposite brand each week. I doubt however that such a Wild idea will ever be in the Cards for the WWE. (TJRWrestling)

6. AEW: Full Gear Takes Place This Saturday Night

AEW’s next PPV event known as Full Gear is scheduled to take place this Saturday night at 7PM ET. The show will be headlined by Chris Jericho defending the AEW heavyweight title against Cody Rhodes. The build for this match has been excellent with Jericho’s faction, the Inner Circle, attacking Cody’s brother Dustin, Cody giving a heartfelt promo stating that if he doesn’t win he will never wrestle for the AEW Heavyweight title again and even Virgil showing up this week to promote Jericho. Virgil most likely will be able to be found after this at various wrestling conventions, selling “autographed” photos of himself and Chris Jericho for $20 and an Olive Garden gift card. (TJRWrestling)

5. NXT Invades Smackdown and RAW

The travel issues that WWE experienced this week did have a silver lining. Due to a majority of the Smackdown roster being stuck in Saudi Arabia, NXT superstars were brought in to wrestle on Smackdown. The results were one of the most critically acclaimed episodes of Smackdown in a long time, culminating with an excellent match between NXT Champion Adam Cole and Daniel Bryan. NXT continued to be featured on RAW, with the last segment being a brawl between the NXT and RAW locker rooms. All of this was a success for the WWE, with the fans responding positively and none of the wrestlers getting fired this time for inappropriate use of a necktie. (TJRWrestling)

4. Travel Issues Cause Many WWE Superstars to be Stuck in Saudi Arabia for 24 hours

The flight home for many of the WWE Superstars from Crown Jewel ended up being a disastrous one. Due to what the WWE is reporting was mechanical issues on the charter flight back, more than 175 WWE superstars and employees were stuck in Saudi Arabia for 24hrs. Some superstars, including Vince McMahon himself, were able to fly out on Private Jets and get home on time. This whole fiasco has led to a number of conspiracy theories from websites not as good as this one, including that Saudi Arabia actually held the WWE employees hostage due to money issues. All of these rumors are unsubstantiated and should not be taken as fact. What is fact, however, is that this whole incident hurt the morale of the locker room, with several wrestlers stating that they will never go back to Saudi Arabia. Perhaps Vince needs to just find a more reliable form of transportation to get his roster from show to show than chartered flights, like a genuine, bond-fide, electrified six car monorail.. monorail…Monorail. (TJRWrestling)

3. Brock Lesnar vs Rey Mysterio to Wrestle for WWE Heavyweight Title at Survivor Series

After quitting Smackdown, Brock Lesnar showed up on RAW looking for Rey Mysterio. Lesnar terrorized backstage production assistants and even put RAW announcer Dio Madden through the announce table all in the search for Mysterio. Mysterio, who is the face remind you, seemingly hid from Lesnar through all of this, then snuck up behind him and attacked him with a lead pipe. So far in this feud, Mysterio has watched as his son was beaten up, brought in his much bigger friend to fight for him, and attacked Lesnar with both a chair and a pipe from behind. What was the result from all of these “heroic” actions by Mysterio, he now gets a title shot at Survivor Series? We shall see if Mysterio can “man up” and actually face Lesnar face-to-face at Survivor Series. Right now. Mysterio seemingly being more scared of Lesnar then Jessie Spano was from the effects of caffeine pills is making it difficult for us to be excited for this Survivor Series match. (TJRWrestling)

2. Raw vs Smackdown vs NXT Matches to Highlight Survivor Series

The WWE will hold their annual Survivor Series event on Sunday, November 24th. Like previous years, the theme for the show will be the champions from each brand competing against each other. However, a notable difference from previous years is that the NXT champions will be included in these matches. So far two non-title triple threat matches have been announced, one between the RAW Smackdown and NXT Women’s champions and one between the tag champions from all three brands. It is great to see so many NXT talent get to make their main roster debuts at Survivor Series. Let’s hope Vince doesn’t try to make any of them hatch from an egg to make an even bigger impact this time. (TJRWrestling)

1. The “Fiend” Bray Wyatt Wins the Universal Title at Crown Jewel

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. After failing to pull the trigger on Wyatt at Hell in a Cell and getting lambasted by the WWE universe for it, WWE corrected their mistake at Crown Jewel and had Wyatt defeat Rollins in a falls count anywhere match to win the Universal Championship. Wyatt, who is a Smackdown superstar, will now be bringing the Universal Title to Friday nights with him. Wyatt was made to look superhuman in the match, no selling everything that Rollins did to him and seemingly impervious to pain. What was not impervious to pain however was the audience’s eyes, which were forced to watch the match through lighting that was reminiscent of the Nintendo Virtual Boy.  I suppose we should just be happy that Wyatt and Rollins were wrestling and not playing tennis while our eyes were bleeding. (TJRWrestling)

That concludes another exciting episode of The Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week. If you enjoy my weird sometimes outdated sense of humor then please follow me on Twitter @BackseatBookers and listen to my podcast The BackseatBookers (beware it is explicit as Samuel L. Jackson thinks I swear too much).

 

The post Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week 11/7: WWE NXT Invades, Wyatt Wins Title, Travel Issues, More appeared first on TJR Wrestling.