I'm tuning in late, because why the f*ck should anyone watch two hours of WWE talking heads repeating the same sh*t we've been hearing said on WWE TV for weeks now, over and over again.
TEN-TEAM ELIMINATION TAG TEAM MATCH:
Team Raw (The Ascension, Lucha House Party, The Revival, the B-Team, Chad Gable, & Bobby Roode) (w/Gran Metalik) vs. Team Smackdown (The Usos, The New Day, the Shining Stars, SAnitY, Luke Gallows, & Karl Anderson) (w/Alexander Wolfe & Kofi Kingston) - 6.75/10
Before the match, The New Day, Usos, and Roode & Gable all cut promos that were essentially "we are going to win for our brand" followed by a catchphrase, which pretty accurately reflects all of the thought that Creative has put into this PPV.
Unsurprisingly, the first team out were the Shining Stars, who will now go back to their den for their winter hibernation, from which they will emerge just in time for the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royale (after which, of course, they will go into their summer hibernation, from which they will emerge just in time to be eliminated early on from a pointless Survivor Series match, and the cycle of life continues).
Kalisto hurt his knee early on... and apparently Gran Metalik was just allowed to come in and replace him. This is TOTAL BULLSH*T. If you're to hurt o continue, you don't get a f*cking substitute. Otherwise why wouldn't, say New Day, just replace their babyface in peril with their fresh third man in every match?
Big E. sexually harassed Konnor in the ring. Byron Saxton referred to this as a "positivity spank." Both of these men should expect a talking-to from HR when this match is over. What the order of eliminations really so important they couldn't have just changed plans and had Lince get pinned right away when they realized Kalisto couldn't continue?
Basically, this was two match. The first chunk of the match was a pointless mess of people getting eliminated in so short a time as to make them look bad, and I probably would have given a DUD to it simply due to the lack of anything exciting and the aforementioned idiotic replacement. The rest of the match, which was the Revival, Gable, & Roode vs. New Day & Usos portion, was GREAT! Lots of crazy stuff and exciting nearfalls and some cool and intricate little series of spots. The sort of thing that makes you wish this had just been a regular eight-man tag instead of this cluster f*ck.
If you want to know how crazy some of this was, Gable gave Jimmy Uso a GERMAN SUPLEX OFF THE TOP onto the pile of people on the outside. Also, DAWSON did a dive, and DASH WILDER did a Tornado DDT on the floor! We also saw a Tornado DDT in the ring by Dawson and a Suplerplex by Dawson followed by a TOP ROPE SPLASH from Wilder.
CHARLY CARUSO INTERVIEWS TEAM RAW - Idiotic. Apparently Nattie and Ruby Riott got kicked off the team for fighting with each other, so now Alexa has two spots to fill. You'd think Alexa would replace them with her heel buddies in the Riott Squad, but instead she is going to pick Sasha Banks and Bayley who she set up an ambush and gang-beating on for absolutely no reason, just six days ago. Sasha and Bayley insist to us that they want revenge on the Alexa and the others for what they did to them, but they are going to put all of that aside for tonight to "prove that Raw is the dominant brand" because "the Smackdown women crossed a line" by invading Raw. Okay... if invading the other show is "crossing a line" then why did the two of you (as babyfaces, no less) do it to Smackdown two years ago to build up this very same match?
So basically, for the second time in six days, Alexa has the option of choosing people who she already knows will work well together or choosing people likely to fight with each other, and she has now twice chosen people likely to fight with each other, and it's even worse this time because the very vacancies she is trying to fill right now were caused by people likely to not get along failing to get along.
TEN-WOMAN ELIMINAITON TAG TEAM MATCH:
Team Smackdown (Naomi, Asuka, Mandy Rose, Sonya Deville, & Carmella) vs. Team Raw (Mickie James, Nia Jax, Tamina, Sasha Banks, & Bayley) (w/Alexa Bliss!) - 6.5/10
Renee Young noted that Mickie James has never been on the losing side at Survivor Series. This seems like something that should have been used to hype Mickie up going into this match rather than something that someone just throws out there on the fly as Mickie is walking to the ring.
Naomi got superkicked by Tamina and eliminated mere seconds into the match. Soon after that. Carmella rolled Tamina up for the pin. Then music played so Carmella could have a "dance break," which might have lasted longer than both Naomi and Tamina did."
The very first time that someone tagged in without the legal teammate's consent, the Raw team started arguing and doing it to each other. This made them look pathetically petty (both those who made the tags and those who got upset about them), especially in comparison to what we saw a few seconds later when Mandy Rose tagged herself in on Sonya Deville in order to steal a pin. Of course, in their incompetence, the announcers managed to entirely miss the significance of Mandy's actions.
Sasha makes Mandy tap, and Sonya runs in to help Mandy anyway when she seemed to think Sasha left Nia's first spot (aside from a pointless early schmoz) involved her punching Mandy Rose in the face, while the announcers tease that this might give Mandy a black eye. Well... at least they're making something out of this. Everyone HATED Nia, as you would expect. Unfortunately, the right finish here is for her to go over, as she has a title shot coming up and no one else does. Then again, Ronda being the one to slay what should be Becky's monster isn't great, either, so maybe Becky should lay Nia out with a belt shot, as this would protect Nia in defeat, let Becky get her necessary revenge, and allow them to set up a situation that can be turned into some sort of issue between Asuka and Becky to set up for a title shot.
Nia turned on Sasha for what felt like no real reason. I get what they were going for, but I think the spot would have worked better if Nia had run in right after Sasha tapped and just dropped her leg on both Sasha and Asuka, just to squish Asuka even more.
This match, like the tag team one, felt like the first few eliminations were rushed, and thing got much better when everything thinned out. After the finish, a scoreboard popped up on the screen telling us that it was now 1-0 in favor of Raw. So the tag team match didn't even f*cking COUNT?! Then what the hell was the point of it?!
AUTHORITY FIGURES BICKER INCESSANTLY ABOUT STUPID BULLSH*T - This completely infuriated me and almost made me consider turning the show off. There was less bickering and bad trash talk in my high school fantasy baseball leagues, and that not only was a group of teenagers, but had actual money on the line (120$), as opposed to this show, which has diddly-squat.
SETH ROLLINS vs. SHINSUKE NAMAKURA - 8/10
Tom Phillips pushed that some of these Raw vs. SD matches were not just happening for the first time ever, but were matches which we "might never see again." MAYBE I could buy that if changed five or six people every year, but they swap a good quarter or even a third of a roster every year during the Superstar Shakeup, the idea that guys won't wind up on the same show ever once every few years (at the very least) is ridiculous.
These guys worked with their shirts on, lest we forget what show they're on. Because it's not like we have announcers to tell us this. Hell... Nakamura was also wearing blue tights, so that's all the cueing anyone should have needed. I say this not out of a desire to criticize their fashion choices (although Rollins' Frankenshirt really is an eyesore), but because it feels like one more thing to just rub this stupid Raw vs. Smackdown crap in our faces. Is there really anyone out there who loves watching Raw but hates Smackdown and therefore wants to see Raw win (or visa-versa)? NO! So why do they expect us to care about this sh*t? If I have any sort of rooting interest, it's me rooting for Raw not because I like Raw better, but because I currently despise Steph less than Shane. The idea of professional wrestling is to make fans want to see one side win because they like that side, not pick the lesser of two evils.
These guys went out there and had an awesome athletic match with some GREAT false finishes. Rollins won clean, which shocked the hell out of me, because Ambrose costing Rollins the match would protect Rollins, add more fuel to that storyline, and even the score up (because once again their scoreboard ignored the tag team division match), which will result in fewer matches later on having predictable finishes to get things tied up by the end (yes, not counting the tag team match means there are only six matches, so we'll probably end in a tie).
RAW MEN'S TEAM BACKSTAGE - Bad. Bickering occurred. Quite frankly, Lashley, Dolph, and Balor were used as window dressing for a segment between Drew and Braun. Corbin came in to have his own segment with Braun. Corbin emphasized that Braun wasn't allowed to touch him, so Braun attacked Lio Rush even though Rush didn't do anything. Braun left, then R-Truth showed up to be an idiot comedy goof who didn't realize he was giving a pep talk to the wrong team.
THE AUTHORS OF PAIN (w/Drake Maverick) vs. SHEAMUS & CESARO (w/Big Show) - 5.5/10
AoP have cool new intimidating masks. They got the win with a Powerbomb/Neckbreaker combo, so Raw is now up 3-0. The match was fine, but disappointingly short. Also, they did a spot where Drake Maverick peed his pants because he was afraid of Big Show. Do you think Vince is purposely trying to sabotage 205 Live, or do you think he thinks so little about 205 Live that he doesn't even realize why this is a bad idea.
SMACKDOWN MEN'S TEAM BACKSTAGE - Bad. Annoying speeches from Miz and Shane. Truth showed up for more comedy.
WWE CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Buddy Murphy(c) vs. Mustafa Ali - 8/10
Finally something I care about! And, thankfully, it was awesome. The story of this match was that Ali's attempts to go to the top rope kept getting foiled in very painful ways. His back took a pounding because of this, and Ali sold excellently, as always. The referee was WAY too lenient with his count-outs for my taste. The bigget spots here were Ali getting shoved off the top to the floor (slamming his back into the barricade on the way down) and a Solo Spanish Fly off the announcers' table to the floor. The fans chanted "205!" during this match. I don't ever remember hearing them chant "Raw!" or "Smackdown!" Just saying.
KAYLA BRAXTON INTERVIEWS DANIEL BRYAN - Passable heel move. Kayla wanted to know if Bryan was ready to face Brock after such a short turnaround. Bryan walked off without answering her question.
LARS SULLIVAN VIDEO PACKAGE - He's "coming soon," so I guess he's getting called up. They wouldn't even tell us what show he's on, which flies in the face of this whole stupid idea this show is trying to push that there is competition between Raw and SD by reminding us that it's all under the control of WWE and that unseen WWE forces are the ones making roster decisions.
TEN-MAN ELIMINAITON TAG TEAM MATCH:
Team Smackdown (Shane McMahon, The Miz, Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe, & Rey Mysterio Jr.) vs. Team Raw (Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Finn Balor, & Bobby Lashley) (w/Lio Rush & Baron Corbin) - 6.75/10
Tea, Raw bickers immediately so Joe gets Drew in the Coquina Clutch... but Drew manages to escape it, nail Joe with the Claymore, and pin him. Joe's home market crowd was not happy with this. But Shane McMahon gets to kick out of stuff.
Drew and Braun start fighting after a non-consensual tag. Yes, just like the Raw team in the women's match, and in the men's match last year. Even though the involved parties in the women's match had a lot more of a reason to fight each other but managed not to, the Raw men start doing it, because the booking in this company sucks.
Team SD gangs up on Braun and Shane gets to do his big spot putting Braun through the announcers' table with a diving elbow drop from the top turnbuckle. Didn't this exact same thing happen last year? It took a while for the action to start back up, but when it did... they cut backstage to show us Steph and Paige half watching the match, and half glaring at each other backstage.
Balor attacks Drew for no reason, so he's a dick. He ran wild on Team Smackdown for a while, then got eliminated by Rey. Good. The dickhead deserves it. And he also deserved Drew beating him up afterwards. This led to Rey almost hitting the 619 on the distracted Drew until Lashley got into the ring and beat Rey up. Even if he's knees are shot, Rey can still sell his ass off.
Rey managed to get a reversal, at which point Cole told us that "Rey Mysterio, the biggest little-man in the WWE, has fought out of the Lashley dilemma." I can't decide if Cole's line is better or worse if the "Lashley Dilemma" is the name of a move or not.
Shane also got to eliminate Ziggler, because he's the promoter's son. Do you think Erik Watts watches the reactions Shane gets and wonders how different his career would have been if he had been able to jump off of high places?
Braun finally made it back into the match, popping up and intercepting an attempted Coast To Coast with a clothesline. I laughed my ass off at this, followed by a new round of laughter brought on by Michael Cole calling this as "Shane O'Splat." Braun ran wild and eliminated Jeff, Rey, and Miz. This meant that the match came down to Shane on his own against three guys from Raw, one of whom was Braun Strowman. For the second year in a row. Braun then pinned Shane, too. I was honestly worried they were going to copy the "Raw guy attacks other Raw guy and lets Shane pin him" spot from last year, too. Instead the attack came after the match was over, with Corbin running in to knock Braun down from behind, then leaving. Smackdown is now down 4-0, and I don't think Ronda or Brock are losing. They had better place some security around the TitanTron to make sure Shane doesn't try to jump off of it.
WWE took some time to tout their charity work with people who lost their homes in the recent California wildfires. To do this, they sent a woman named "EMBER Moon." Maybe not the best choice.
CHARLY CARSUO INTERVIEWS SETH ROLLINS - She tells him he'll be defending his IC Title against Dean Ambrose at TLC. What the hell has Dean done to deserve a title shot? Seth responded with a decent promo.
RONDA ROUSEY vs. CHARLOTTE FLAIR - 7/10
JoJo announced this as a "women's division match" but it's actually not because there are two women's divisions, not one, and this is an interleague match-up. Charlotte has an SD shirt cut similarly to her gear that she is wearing over her gear, while Ronda cut the front of a Raw t-shit off and is wearing it like a really short cape. Ronda got a shockingly small reaction during her entrance, but the fans didn't react in the way a lot of people feared they would and just outright crap on this match in favor of chanting for Becky.
I really enjoyed the shoot-style start they had (basically everything until Ronda went to the top rope. Not that I didn't like the stuff they did after that, but at that point it felt a more lore like usual pro wrestling).
Ronda got busted open inside her mouth, either by an elbow from Charlotte or from going face-first into a turnbuckle. Ronda went for the armbar while Charlotte worked on the leg and they were well on their way to the best match we'd seen hours (and possibly even the best of the night so far) and the crowd had just started to really get into it... and Charlotte attacked Ronda with a Kendo Stick for no reason and got herself DQed. More weapons shots happened, but no one came out to help Ronda. Her Raw friends, not referees, no anyone. The crowd- which had been supporting Ronda- booed for a while, but then decided to just start cheering Charlotte as she assaulted Ronda with weapons and beat up the referees who tried to stop her.
Charlotte then went to Pillmanize Ronda's neck... and STILL no one came out to save her. Only once Charlotte had actually Pillmanized Ronda's neck did the road agents come out and stop her. The crowd chanted "THANK YOU, CHARLOTTE!" and wooed.
This really feels like the worst thing they could have done. It feels like all at once they are trying to clumsily to plug Charlotte into the top heel role they wanted Becky in while also trying to turn Charlotte into Becky got turned into by accident, which will both dilute Becky and build up even more resentment from fans who see this as them trying to take what got Becky over and use it for their preferred star instead of the one that they didn't want but who was dropped in their laps organically. Plus, now all of the heat is between Ronda and women on Smackdown, but they can't pay it off in any way because Ronda is on the other show.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - We got a lot of focus on Ronda being checked on before walking to the back under her own power. Meanwhile, most of the crowd is either booing, chanting for Becky, or chanting "you deserve it!"
DANIEL BRYAN vs. BROCK LESNAR (w/Paul Heyman) - 7.75/10
Most fans cheered for Bryan, but there were a few "WE WANT AJ!" chants as well as some boos. Brock came out, after which time Bryan stalled to get heel heat. Brock clotheslined him right in the head, then threw him on his head with a German Suplex, and this turned into a complete and total squash. Vince is probably laughing his ass off right now. The crowd booed Brock and chanted "SAME OLD SH*T!" as Brock hit more German Suplexes. Brock gave Bryan an F-5 but pulled him up at two.
Bryan FINALLY got some offense in with head-kicks when Brock tried to pick him up. Brock went for another F-5 but it hit the ref. Bryan got up and kicked Brock in the nuts, then hit a running knee for a false finish. Bryan got in a bunch of stomps and then this turned into a real match that was pretty awesome, but the way it started almost killed it for me. We've been seeing these Brock matches for a long time now where he dominates the whole thing and the other guy gets a bit of offense in and then Brock just comes back with the F-5 and wins, and so rather than being excited that Bryan might win, and spent the majority of Bryan's offense just waiting for the other shoe to drop, and it eventually did. 6-0 Raw, because apparently the pre-show doesn't count. Why did they even have SD win that match if they were going to do this? Why not just have Raw win that one too so that you don't have to pretend it didn't happen and bury the entire tag team division?
Despite some great matches, this was a BAD show from WWE. The terrible concept (a bunch of matches with no consequences) made this an uphill climb, but the booking really killed it. I already explained why I don't think they could have chosen anything worse to do for the Ronda vs. Charlotte match short of Ronda losing clean, but the rest of booking of the show seemed designed to bury Smackdown. The lone exception to this was the pre-show match, which WWE themselves buried by not even counting in their tally. Even in places where they could have protected someone (if, for some reason, Rollins HAS to win, then why not have Dean try to interfere and have it backfire?), they chose not to. Meanwhile, they booked things in such a way as to deny us even seeing much-beloved wrestlers like AJ, Ambrose and Becky (at least have her give a pep-talk or something!), and all of the big, fancy "traditional" (as they love to call them) Survivor Series matches were big clusterf*cks. Is there something that could come from SD getting so horribly routed? Yes... but I have no faith in WWE to be able to book such a thing in an intelligent manner because their track record at this point isn't even in the toilet anymore; it's something that had to be carted off as hazardous waste.