H/t to BT sports for the cover photo
Survivor Series was the final pay per view of 2021, and the fifth in the brand supremacy version of the event. It was also a celebration of the Rock’s debut 25 years ago, but one without him on the premises. He wasn’t advertised for the show but a lot of people fantasy booked him there and got unhappy when it didn’t happen. Fantasy booking sand evidence is never your friend, folks. The more conjuring up you’re doing the more you need to let it go. But never mind that; how was the show?
Preshow: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Damien Priest
This started out a bit slow but once it picked up they were rolling. A lot of good looking strikes from both guys, which is to be expected given their backgrounds. Rick Boogz playing his guitar to revive Shinsuke when he’s down has become a fun bit, but here it served as an irritant to Priest throughout. Priest getting fed up and smashing the guitar over Boogz and then Nakamura got him disqualified. Whether that’s a foreshadowing or not, well we found our the next night on RAW when Priest started to do an ‘unhinged/snapping’ element during his match with Sami Zayn. Adding a new layer to the character is a good thing.
Charlotte Flair vs Becky Lynch
The month leading up to this was high drama as it began with the infamous belt swap and continued through a series of reports that blurred the lines and painted not just Charlotte Flair the character but Ashley Fleihr the woman in the worst possible light. Then came the interviews, mostly with Lynch, where a ton of gasoline was poured on the fire. And by Sunday a lot of people were still convinced that it was not an angle but a real thing. And as it turns out they were wrong. At the end of the day if there was any real concern that this was a shoot the the match wouldn’t have happened. But we have no idea just where the work began and the shoot ended as far as the build to this match. Lynch acted as if everything was 100 percent shoot the entire time while Charlotte mostly played the diplomat or ‘the adult in the room’ as she called it.
As it turns out what we got was pretty freaking awesome. They opened up like it was a real fight, and swung at each other throughout like it was real. This match had an energy to it like few things you see now. Charlotte brings this kind of energy to her big matches all the time, a kind of violent urgency that feels like you’re watching a real fight and not a worked performance, and Becky did a good job of matching it here. The finish with Lynch grabbing the ropes, while some didn’t Iike it, rightfully protected Charlotte as she is the Smackdown Women’s champion and Lynch’s equal here. To send her back with a decisive loss would have done her and the entire Smackdown side a disservice going forward.
As for these two it’s time to move on. Since 2017 the two haven’t been kept apart for more than four months not counting Lynch’s time off for maternity leave, and they are feuding it gets nasty in ways that have gotten fans legit angry not with Charlotte Flair the character but Ashley Fleihr the woman in ways that should not happen in 2021. And it’s the fans that claim to be smart ones who continue to believe kayfabe is real when it comes to Charlotte/Ashley even though it takes all of five minutes to find plenty of evidence to debunk most of this stuff as being storyline and not a shoot. Please smart fans, I beg you, try to live up to your name just one time.
At the end of the day no one has done more to make Becky Lynch look good over the past three years than Charlotte Flair from taking losses to getting beat up in on TV segments to putting on great matches with her in defeat to being subjected to real life hatred on top of the abuse she has already taken from wrestling fans from the day she arrived there. And I’m not talking the nepotism charged either; everything from body shaming to being told that she should be dead instead of her brother Reid gets laid in her comment sections every day so to add charges of unprofessionalism and being hated backstage that are supposed to be kayfabe steeped in some realism (yes, everyone who gets to where she is can be ‘difficult to work with’ sometimes) but were taken as 100 percent real by too many people is beyond enough.
It’s time to continue to let her do her own thing away from Becky, which she did quite well in 2021, without pulling her away from whatever she’s doing to have another great match with Becky and build another big moment. Especially if the only way to build any interest is going to paint the woman behind the character in such a light that leads to even worse treatment than she usually gets from fans. I usually don’t rip the creative process but in this case it’s proven to be a one trick pony.
Men’s Elimination Match
This went a bit long (30 minutes) and was a bit chaotic for a while but it settled down and there were lots of cool exchanges and set pieces. Bobby Lashley and Sheamus got to shine in major ways, Xavier Woods got a moment, and Finn Balor got some good work in. Then there was the closing sequence between Jeff Hardy and Seth Rollins which was a classic babyface hope spot leading into the heel finishing him off. Seth as sole survivor is a nice bookend to what was an excellent year for him in character and in the ring.
Battle Royals kinda are what they are. You hope for some cool spots and for the right guy to win. We got both here and Omos may be getting the first seeds of a big push with the W. The pizza Hutt tie in was fun regardless of what they naysayers say.
RKBro vs The Usos
This match got a bit lost in the sauce until I rewatched it. The highly charged opener and the long men’s Elimination Match meant a cool off was coming, and for me it was this and the battle royal. This was a milestone night for Randy Orton and this match treated it as such. The Usos did some great work as they ways do, while Randy and Matt Riddle as well. It was a fun one and everyone got to do their thing but Orton getting all his signature stuff in, including another RKO for the history books, was perfect. Congrats Randy on making history for the most Pay Per View matches in WWE history.
Women’s Elimination Match
I took my cool off break earlier but the Barclay’s Center chose to take it here. Some of y’all men really do not care for women’s wrestling and only want it rationed out, so when you got your one match early on you were done. That is a disservice to these women who quite frankly have put way more time and effort into character work, wardrobe, and forging their own unique in ring styles than men have over the past 5 years. And with limited time to boot.
Now that being said this wasn’t the greatest match overall. Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley and Sasha Banks showed out as they always do while Toni Storm, Liv Morgan, and Zelina Vega also did some good work. But Sasha’s elimination was one of the most convoluted messes of a spot they could think of and some of the other sequences in the match were a bit clunky. This match was far from bad though, and did not deserve the treatment it got from the crowd at Barclay’s that night.
And look it’s fine to not like a match. But when you start carrying out separately from what’s going on in the ring then you’re in the wrong, full stop. The ladies deserve better than that, and you’ll be the first ones mad on the internet should they get their time cut back in the future.
Big E vs Roman Reigns
This and the opener had the most heat going into them, although in this one there wasn’t any blurring of the shoot and kayfabe lines between the two. This match was a great bookend to the opener, and met the task of showing that Big E can stand in the ring with Roman Reigns in a main event and measure up. E hulking up late in the match was a welcome new wrinkle to his repertoire and adds a new element to Roman’s challengers that hasn’t been done before. After this match I think E moves to the front of the line for guys who should defeat Roman.
Whatever pathway they choose to get there this should be in consideration for one of the main events for WrestleMania weekend, it was that colossal of a conflict. This was very much a King Kong vs Godzilla kind of match here and running it back in April would be a great move in my opinion. E being a guy that Roman cannot put down the same way he put everyone down can be a great storytelling point if it’s allowed to unfold the right way. But it needs to happen again in 2022 and on another big stage.
Don’t let the naysayers convince you otherwise; this was a very good show overall. If you’re that angry about movie tie in segments and sponsor tie ins during a wrestling pay per view then please….
Did the show run too long? Yes. Is it the end of the world? No. But two great matches (Charlotte/Becky and Roman/E), two other very good ones (men’s elimination and the tag team brand match), and a good preshow match do not add up to a bad PPV just because there were some tie in skits with an egg from a movie. If you haven’t watched this yet I do recommend.