The 31st annual Survivor Series rolled into Houston, Texas last night with the potential to be one of the best events of the year. The main roster was aware that they had to follow in the footsteps of the NXT roster, who had blown them out of the water the night before at Takeover: War Games. Despite this, the Raw and SmackDown rosters tried to step up to the level that had already been reached a few hours earlier, but it seems apparent that WWE once again promised so much and delivered so little.
There were so many ways WWE could have saved Survivor Series. Returns, heel turns or even interference could have helped to ensure that last night didn't become just another night in WWE's history, but it seems that the company was always doomed to fail.
Survivor Series included some of WWE biggest stars and could have been so different. Wrestling wasn't the main problem last night. It was more about the booking and the direction in which the creative team decided to take the show. While there were points where the wrestling was a problem, there were others where the result was the most annoying part of the match. The following list looks at ten things that WWE definitely got wrong at Survivor Series last night. In the midst of all the negativity, there will also be five things that the company got right and could continue to build from moving forward.
15 Wrong: The Crowd
The WWE Universe is usually the reason why many WWE events are taken to the next level but it seems that even the fans weren't happy about the show last night and spent most of it being as quiet as possible. This was made most apparent in the Tag Team match between The Usos and Sheamus and Cesaro, because the crowd was pretty much dead.
The crowd is usually dead throughout the women's matches, but it seems that the only time the crowd really woke up was when Brock Lesnar was up against AJ Styles and when Brayn Strowman attacked Triple H. It wasn't the crowd's fault; the night was quite lacklustre as it had the potential to deliver so much after what the crowd had already witnessed in the same arena the night before, but it actually delivered so little and the main event only posed more questions rather than offering up some answers.
14 Wrong: Many Of The Match-Ups Were Awful
While the crowd were definitely an issue last night, they can't be held accountable for the fact that they had no idea who to cheer for in a number of the matches. Because of the way WWE had booked the show, it meant that matches like Cesaro and Sheamus versus The Usos and Baron Corbin up against The Miz were both pitting a heel against a heel.
This means that the WWE Universe didn't actually want any of these stars to win their matches, so they sat silently watching unsure of how to react because they didn't have a preference throughout. WWE could have had a few title changes before the matches to make these better but this is the problem with Champion versus Champion matches. Sometimes you can't predict who the champion will be and a silent crowd has the ability to ruin even the best of bouts.
13 Right: Charlotte Versus Alexa Bliss
Many of the WWE Universe were upset that Charlotte defeated Natalya on SmackDown last week to become the new Women's Champion and took Natalya's place in her match against Alexa Bliss at Survivor Series. The WWE Universe was finally able to see The Goddess versus The Queen and the match didn't disappoint.
Considering the women's match earlier in the night had been a botch fest, these two women had to save the division and prove that these really were the best female wrestlers that WWE had to work with and they were able to deliver. Charlotte was always going to win this match because of her superior ability, but Alexa put up a good fight and in the end, it made sense that Charlotte took Natalya's place, since Natalya was the one who finally submitted for SmackDown Live to give Raw the win in the Women's match.
12 Wrong: The Miz Versus Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin and The Miz have had a fantastic back and forth dynamic over the past few weeks before their match with Baron stooped low enough to include Miz's pregnant wife Maryse in the promos. Miz has delivered some of the best promos of his career to Baron in the build-up to this match, but it seems that this wasn't enough to allow him to pick up the win.
Maryse was at ringside for the match and it seems that WWE ensured that they used this to their advantage, even though Baron went on to win under strange circumstances. Miz was seemingly on top throughout the match until Baron hit End of Days to signal the end of the match, so it will be interesting to see how Miz bounces back from this. Miz and Baron haven't been in the best of form lately so this was supposed to be the time for them to bounce back, but it was Baron who was able to strike first.
11 Wrong: John Cena
Many of the WWE Universe were already infuriated that John Cena was chosen to be part of the Survivor Series team for SmackDown even though he was last seen on Monday Night Raw and hadn't been on WWE TV for a number of months. Cena didn't even appear on SmackDown for the invasion show but was still allowed to arrive in Houston and take part in the main event.
This is worsened by the fact that he refused to wear the team shirt and be a proper member of the group, and he later went on to take The Coupe De Grace from Finn Balor and completely no-sold the move so that he could set up for an Angle Slam from Kurt Angle. It was bad enough that Cena no-sold the Styles Clash earlier this year when they duo first collided, but he decided to no-sell Finn's finishing move that has kept many men in that ring down over the past few months, so the WWE Universe definitely wasn't happy.
10 Right: Asuka's Undefeated Streak Is Still Intact
One thing that many of the WWE Universe was worried about heading into Survivor Series was how WWE would handle the fact that Asuka was still undefeated. When the women's elimination match came down to Asuka in a two-on-one situation against Tamina and Natalya, many of the WWE Universe assumed that this could be where her streak finally ended.
Instead, Asuka stepped up and once again managed to defy the odds as she forced Tamina to tap to the armbar before forcing The Queen of Black Harts to tap to the Asuka Lock. This means that The Empress of Tomorrow is able to continue her undefeated streak and has been made to look even stronger during the show since she was able to make defeating someone with Natalya's technical ability look easy. It was thought that Dana Brooke might have interfered to set up a match with Asuka, but since this didn't happen, future plans for the Japanese star won't be revealed now until tonight's episode of Monday Night Raw.
9 Wrong: Predictability
Survivor Series was designed with seven matches that saw SmackDown and Raw go head to head, which means that by the time Charlotte took on Alexa Bliss, the WWE Universe knew that Charlotte would have to win the match. Brock Lesnar then had to win his match to level up the scores, otherwise there would be no reason why the main event elimination match would need to take place.
Obviously, there is no way for WWE to get around this because there always needs to be a winner, but if they have tweaked the card a little bit then the fans might have found it a little less predictable. Many fans thought that AJ Styles actually had a chance of defeating the beast at Survivor Series, but when they looked at the scores and realized that the show would be over if AJ won, it was obvious that The Beast was going to continue to dominate and take AJ as his next victim.
8 Wrong: The Kick-Off Show
WWE decided to make the kickoff show for Survivor Series this year two hours long and presented three different matches. Unlike the rest of the matches on the card last night, these matches were not pitting brands against each other. Instead, it was Matt Hardy against fellow Raw superstar Elias and Kevin Owens teamed up with his "best friend" Sami Zayn to take on Fandango and Tyler Breeze.
Kalisto took on Enzo Amore for the Cruiserweight Championship in a match that had already been announced for the show, but Kalisto managed to botch his entrance on his way to the ring, so it seems that the WWE Universe didn't hold out much hope that this would be a show stealer. The show was completely underwhelming and if viewers tuned in late and went straight into the main show, there would be nothing of significance to bring them up to date with.
7 Right: The Shield Versus The New Day
WWE realizes the importance of ensuring that the opening match of the night is one that sets the tone for the entire show and it seems that they definitely made the right choice when they selected The Shield and The New Day to open the show. Now, there are many members of the WWE Universe who are claiming that The New Day deserved to win, but putting the result to the side, this was a fantastic match.
The Shield proved why they are all former WWE Champions while The New Day has been seen as the best trio in WWE for the past year for a reason. It was The Shield's first pay-per-view match together for more than three years and the fifth anniversary of their debut so it was obvious that they were going to win. The Triple Powerbomb from the top rope was a nice touch, though.
6 Wrong: The Women's Survivor Series Match
The women of WWE are always talking about being part of a Women's Revolution and how they deserve to be part of these kinds of matches, which is why they have now been given an annual elimination match as well. The women are capable of stealing any show when they are given a chance, but they completely bottled it last night.
The match had more botches than any other match of the night, with Alicia Fox accidentally getting pinned when she was supposed to submit, Tamina ruining every move she attempted to pull off and Nia delivering what looked just like a roll straight through Carmella that didn't look right at all. How did Tamina end up being one of the final two? She is one of the worst wrestlers on the brand; it just made no sense at all. The women will be lucky if WWE allows them to have this match next year after that spectacle.
5 Wrong: John Cena And Triple H Didn't Match
In the men's Survivor Series match last night it was quite obvious who was actually loyal to their brand. Braun Strowman obviously never changes his clothes, but all other stars in the match had ensured that they had worn either red or blue to show that they were fighting for their brand.
Triple H and John Cena were the only two exceptions. Not only that, but Triple H and Cena didn't even wear the Raw or SmackDown shirts. Cena decided it was a better option to wear and promote his own merchandise and didn't even try to wear blue sweatbands, while Triple H went for his usual black attire with his new shirt. At least Triple H's shirt was red. It seems that Triple H and Cena have reached the point now where they don't actually have to match like the rest of the roster, which proved last night just how much both men try to stand out above everyone else.
4 Right: Braun Strowman Was Made To Look Like A Beast
Despite the men's traditional Survivor Series match turning into a highly confusing affair, Triple H pedigreed Kurt Angle and then helped SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon to pin him and eliminate him from his own team. The Game then went on to take out Shane himself to win the match for Raw, but it seems that he had already managed to annoy Braun Strowman.
The Monster Among Men seemingly took offence to the fact that Triple H decided to turn on his team, and went after the WWE COO choking him in the corner and then delivering a thunderous running power slam. Triple H made Braun look like the monster that he has been billed as over the past few months by selling the choke in the corner like it was killing him. It seems that WWE has some huge plans for Braun if they are allowing him to get the better of the 14-time World Champion at one of the biggest events of the year.
3 Wrong: The Commentary Team
WWE definitely ensures that everything is bigger on pay-per-view and Survivor Series was no different, as the company unveiled their five-man commentary team before the show. It seems that the likes of Corey Graves, Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, Tom Philips and Booker T were all expected to join forces last night and call the action from both brands together.
This didn't go down as well as expected. Booker T seemingly forgot that he was a Raw announcer and praised SmackDown a number of times. Michael Cole was calling a number of things wrong while the other commentators spent most of the night correcting everything that Booker had said. Perhaps next year WWE will have a change of pace and choose just three announcers who actually know what they are doing behind the desk so that the commentary flows as well as it did at NXT: Takeover under the leadership of Mauro Ranallo.
2 Wrong: Botches Throughout The Show
WWE is streamed live all over the world. The WWE Universe is aware of this, so they know that there will always be the risk of a botch every now and then. This would have been acceptable if there wasn't a botch in almost every match last night.
The Women's Elimination match was perhaps the worst, but Brock Lesnar and AJ managed to botch in their match too. Kalisto botched his own entrance and even when the camera's finished rolling, Triple H walked into the entrance screen on his way out of the building. It seems that last night was just a bad day at the office when it came to stars falling out of moves or being caught in a way that they shouldn't have. WWE will probably have a chat with their stars about these, but botches happen, and there isn't really a way to prevent them since most of the time these matches go off without a problem. Last night was just a bad night.
1 Right: Brock Lesnar Versus AJ Styles
It was one of the matches that many of the WWE Universe were least looking forward to, given the fact that Brock has something of a reputation for squashing his opponents, but it seems that the match was actually the standout bout of the night. AJ put up a good fight and at one point even hit his forearm and seemingly had The Beast down.
AJ also almost forced Brock to tap to the Calf Crusher, before brute strength allowed him to find a way out. While there was a number of botches throughout the match, the duo still managed to put on a show-stealing performance. Brock obviously won the match so that he could continue what has been a dominant streak on the Raw roster over the past few years, but AJ took him to the limit like no other star has before him and it actually turned out to be an even match between the two men in the end.