One name looms large over the traditional Survivor Series matches and champion versus champion contests in this year’s show: The Undertaker. Thirty years after his debut at this event, The Deadman is saying his final farewell. Dave and Gavin Hillhouse bring you a recap of the action from the WWE Thunderdome.
Dave: I’ve got you covered for the whole pre-show part. I’m looking forward to the celebration of The Undertaker. It’s nice to know that it’s a farewell, as opposed to awkwardly suffering through some of his unfortunate main events (see: Goldberg; Reigns) and wondering if his final night shouldn’t have already come to pass. Instead, he had an unexpectedly terrific story to tell in the Boneyard Match at WrestleMania and it’s finally a fitting time to hang up the hat.
During the pre-show, R-truth is set to celebrate 30 years of the Gobbledy Gooker when Akira Tozawa interrupts and gives the giant turkey the chance to pin R-Truth for the 27/7 Championship.
Next up is a Dual-Brand Battle Royal featuring a bunch of people who couldn’t at least make it onto Survivor Series teams. Last out are The Miz and John Morrison, who came out too quickly and had to do his slow-motion moves in regular speed.
Dolph Ziggler doesn’t even take his hat off, so how long will he last? Dominik gets the first elimination by tossing Morrison. Rey Mysterio and Kalisto have a moment to show off their acrobatics, but Alexander eliminates Kalisto with a kick. Ziggler knocks his own cap off when he superkicks and then subsequently eliminates Mysterio.
Alexander gets another credit as he tosses Garza to the floor, but he’s gone thanks to Ricochet, who is then finished for the night courtesy of Benjamin, who joins them via the hands of Crews. Gable misses a somersault kick like I do in a video game, but Elias does his best to sell it.
Dominik learns that Ziggler’s power tonight comes from his hat, and like the cartoon Hercules without his ring, the Show-Off tumbles helplessly to the floor. Our final four is Chad Gable, The Miz, Jeff Hardy, and Dominik. Gable soon eliminates Hardy to piped-in boos. Dominik is trying to kick The Miz off the apron, but Miz seems to roll back in enough before getting booted to the floor and is therefore not eliminated.
He waits until Dominik manages to toss Gable and starts to celebrate before rushing in from behind and throwing Dom over the ropes to take the win. Ah, a young wrestler’s rookie mistake.
Winner: The Miz
Men’s Survivor Series Match: Team Raw (AJ Styles, Riddle, Keith Lee, Braun Strowman, Sheamus) w/ Omos VS. Team Smackdown (Jey Uso, Kevin Owens, Otis, Seth Rollins, King Corbin)
Gavin: AJ Styles starts off the match against Jey Uso, with Uso using his recent aggression to shove AJ around. AJ fights back with a dropkick that entirely misses. Jey slows AJ’s momentum with a pop-up Samoan drop, and tags in King Corbin. The King misses an attack in the corner but makes up for it with a hard K.O. punch. Corbin tags in Otis and AJ tags in Riddle, who locks in a sleeper hold. Otis tosses him off, eats some kicks, and then hits a headbutt on Riddle for 2. Kevin Owens is tagged in and goes right after Riddle’s exposed feet. Riddle is able to get to his corner and tag in Sheamus, and Owens tags in Seth Rollins.
Dave: Owens was actually headbutting Riddle’s foot. That’s new to me. In another first to my knowledge, Rollins gets on his knees and offers himself up as a martyr, asking Sheamus to “do his part”. Sheamus delivers a Brogue Kick and Rollins is the first eliminated. As the remaining Team Smackdown gather themselves outside, Strowman charges around the floor and bowls them all over. When the action returns to the ring, Otis and Lee square off in an even test of strength. Lee finally gains the upper hand and brings in Strowman to begin a beatdown of Otis, including a low-altitude missile dropkick.
Gavin: Strowman tags in AJ, and Otis overpowers him to tag in Owens who tosses AJ with a massive back body drop. AJ goes to the ropes but gets caught with a backbreaker for 2. Owens sends AJ to the outside and looks to fly onto him, but Lee comes in to stop him. Owens delivers a Stunner to him, Sheamus, and Riddle, but gets caught by AJ’s Phenomenal forearm for 3. Corbin comes in and delivers the End of Days to AJ, but Team Raw breaks it up. Corbin cleans them out of the ring and looks for another End of Days, but AJ slips out of it to deliver a Pelé Kick. He tags in Riddle, who delivers the Floating Bro for 3. Jey comes in and beats down Riddle, but the Original Bro tags in Sheamus who delivers a bicycle knee for 2.
Dave: Uso escapes and brings in Otis, who takes down every member of Team Raw as they charge into the ring, until Strowman enters and both remove their shirts to announce the seriousness of the situation. Otis slams Strowman and follows with the Caterpillar, but is caught climbing the ropes by Strowman and suffers a walking powerslam before being eliminated. It’s all up to Uso for Team SmackDown. A superkick takes down Styles, but as he leaps off the top rope to deliver a splash, Omos pulls Styles out of the ring. Lee makes a blind tag and he grabs Uso out of the air during a second splash attempt and turns it into a Spirit Bomb for the win and clean sweep.
Winners via domination: Team Raw
Match Rating: Gavin: 3/5, Dave: 2.5/5
Champions Versus Champions Match: Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) w/ Big E Langston VS. SmackDown Tag Champions The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford)
Dave: The New Day has their Gears of War 5 gear on, while Dawkins and Ford run a promo backstage promising the beginning of their own Survivor Series legacy to give Kingston and Woods time to get out of them.
Gavin: Xavier Woods and Angelo Dawkins start off, with Woods looking to isolate Dawkins by grabbing his arm and tagging in Kofi. Dawkins gets away and then tries the same thing, leaving Ford and Kofi in the ring. They have a fast-paced exchange, with Ford getting the advantage with an enziguri. He tags in Dawkins and they deliver a flapjack, and Dawkins delivers a splash for 2. He tags in Ford and they look for an assisted splash, but Kofi gets his feet up and tosses Dawkins to the outside. He dives outside and takes out Dawkins and Woods takes out Ford. Kofi tags in Woods and they rain down punches on Ford.
Dave: It’s New Day’s turn for some legal double-teaming, with kicks and a gutbuster bringing Ford down. Woods traps Ford in a choke while Kingston lays himself out on the apron pretending to sip from one of the Profits’ solo cups before kicking it away. After Kingston enters the ring and comes to a stalemate with Ford, both teams tag and Ford gains the immediate advantage, taking out both New Day members with charges into opposite corners. Ford has regained his composure and the Profits start yet another series of double team attacks on Woods. Woods gains the upper hand on Ford and tags in Kingston for a Midnight Hour, but only for a two-count.
Gavin: Kofi delivers three consecutive Boom Drops on the injured abs of Ford and looks for Trouble in Paradise, but Dawkins holds on to his leg, allowing Ford to hit Kofi with a dropkick. Ford tags in Dawkins who delivers the Anointment, and Dawkins tags Ford back in. He delivers a Frog Splash, but he can’t capitalize due to the pain from his injured chest area. Kofi delivers the S.O.S., but Dawkins breaks up the pin. Woods takes out Dawkins with a missile dropkick, and Kofi tags in Woods.
Dave: Ford dodges Trouble in Paradise and then gives it right back to Kingston. Woods is still the legal man, though, and he delivers a gutbuster to Ford for two, and then looks for a superplex. Ford shoves Woods away and Dawkins tags himself in, picks up Woods in an electric chair, and Ford delivers a blockbuster onto Woods on Dawkins’ shoulders for the win.
Winners via pinfall: The Street Profits
Match Rating: Gavin: 4/5, Dave: 4/5
Champion Versus Champion Match: United States Champion Bobby Lashley (w/ MVP, Shelton Benjamin, and Cedric Alexander) VS. Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn
Dave: Zayn does his best to challenge Lashley physically, but when the U.S. champ runs right through Zayn’s clothesline before delivering his own you get the feeling where this match is headed.
Gavin: Lashley delivers a suplex that knocks the spit out of Sami. He delivers a spear in the corner and looks for another, but Sami counters with a kick. Lashley hits Sami with a stalling suplex, and Sami feigns vertigo, since he suffered that from a Lashley stalling suplex last year. ‘Twas a ruse, as he rolls Lashley up from behind for 1.
Dave: Zayn buys some time by heading to the floor, walking backwards up the ramp. He falls to the ground next to MVP and claims that he was tripped, looking for a DQ, but MVP runs him into the ring and right into a Hurt Lock by Lashley for the easy win.
Winner via submission: Bobby Lashley
Match Rating: Gavin: 2/5, Dave: 1/5
Dave: It wasn’t a squash, it wasn’t a comedy match, it wasn’t competitive … so it ended up being nothing.
Backstage, outside Roman Reigns’ dressing room, Jimmy Uso is trying to tell Jey that it’ll be okay. Reigns emerges and says there’s no excuse for the loss. Reigns dismisses Jimmy and tells Jey that he couldn’t control his team. He dismisses Jey as well and says he has no time for losers tonight.
Champion Versus Champion Match: Raw Women’s Champion Asuka VS. SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks
Gavin: The two start off exchanging holds, but it quickly gets heated with both competitors shoving each other around. Banks cinches in an armlock, and then rolls over into am armbar attempt. Asuka is able to keep her arms locked, but Banks rolls through into the Bank Statement, and rolls her into a pin attempt when Asuka escapes that as well. Asuka looks for the Asuka Lock, but Banks escapes by pulling Asuka’s fingers. She delivers a tilt-a-whirl backstabber, but then The Empress of Tomorrow fights back with a punch and a hip attack. She applies an ankle lock to the Boss, and then delivers a sliding kick for 2.
Dave: The close-contact wrestling continues with Asuka holding Banks in a standing armbar while stomping The Boss’ back. A series of knee strikes gives Asuka a moment to strut in confidence, but Banks dodges a Shining Wizard and traps Asuka in an abdominal stretch. I know it’s not a live crowd, but this has the feel of a tight story told through submission attempts that is leaving spot-craving fans impatient. As both women end up battling on the apron, Asuka knocks her down to the floor with her “spinning hip attack” (we all know it’s a flying butt).
Gavin: Banks delivers a tiger feint kick and then a wrecking ball dropkick, but when she goes for an attack from on top of the barricade, Asuka catches her with a Codebreaker. The two trade covers, each only getting two. Banks hits a backstabber and gets another two, and then delivers the meteora in the corner. The Blueprint goes to the top ropes, but when Asuka gets her knees up, Banks grabs her knees, flips her over and locks in the Bank Statement. Asuka is able to reverse it into the Asuka Lock, but Banks escapes. Banks gets out by goes to the apron, but Asuka hits her with a rope-hung Codebreaker. The two trade rollups that only get 2, but when Asuka goes to the ropes one more time, Banks catches her in a rollup that finally gets a 3.
Winner via pinfall: Sasha Banks
Match Rating: Gavin: 3/5; Dave: 3.5/5
Breaking news: The reign of The Gobbledy Gooker comes to an end as Tozawa pins the turkey backstage, followed quickly by R-Truth pinning Tozawa for a new reign for himself.
Women’s Survivor Series Match: Team Raw (Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, Lacey Evans, Peyton Royce, and Lana) VS. Team SmackDown (Bayley, Bianca Belair, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Natalya)
Gavin: Lacey Evans starts off the match against Bayley, who quickly backs Evans into her comer to tag in Natalya, who delivers her stomp/dropkick combo for two. Evans tags in Royce, who gets backed into the corner for Bianca Belair to tag in. The Est of WWE delivers a standing moonsault and double-tags bring in Riott and Baszler.
Dave: Riott folds in half backwards after a kick from Baszler, but as Riott fights back Baszler tags in Jax. Morgan enters and tries a sleeper, but Jax simply tosses her away with ease. Lana tags herself in, which displeases Jax. Natalya comes in and the former partners face off. Lana gets the upper hand and drags Natalya over to her corner, looking for a tag. Jax tags in and tells Lana to get out of the ring, and the whole team agrees. Lana goes halfway down the steps and stays there, holding back tears. This is not a great example of the Women’s Revolution. Not long after, Team SmackDown is having their way with Royce in their corner, topped by Belair giving tribute to The Undertaker with Snake Eyes.
Gavin: Bayley goes to the top to jump onto everyone, but Royce meets her at the top and superplexes her onto everyone else. She gets her back into the ring and delivers Déjà Vu to pin the former SmackDown Women’s Champ. Natalya comes in, and Royce gets her into a single leg crab. She gets to the ropes and Belair hits Royce, allowing Natalya to lock in the Sharpshooter to eliminate Royce. She looks to get Evans, the next legal woman for Team Raw, into the Sharpshooter as well, but Baszler breaks it up. Nat locks Baszler in the Sharpshooter, but Evans hits her with the Women’s Right for 3.
Dave: Belair enters in Natalya’s place, also finding herself distracted by Baszler as Evans takes her to the top for a Spanish Fly. Jax tags in, as do Riott and Morgan in quick succession to start chopping Jax down. Double-knees from Morgan and a Riott Kick force Jax to tag in Baszler. Riott tries to tag out while in the Kirifuda Clutch, but Jax pulls Morgan to the floor. As the ref investigates, Riott rolls Baszler over for what would have been a three-count while still in the Clutch. The ref doesn’t see it, though, and Riott passes out for an easy pin by Baszler.
Gavin: Belair comes in hard, hitting Nia with a dropkick. She goes for a splash but Nia gets the knees up. She slams the Est and hits her with a leg drop, but only gets 2. Nia goes to the second rope, but gets shoved off. Baszler gets in and locks in the Kirifuda Clutch, but Belair stands up and gets to the ropes. Baszler keeps the hold on Belair and the ref disqualifies her. Jax meets Belair on the outside, and Belair tosses Jax over the barricade, but they both get counted out, meaning that Lana is the sole survivor.
Match Rating: Gavin: 2/5, Dave: 2/5
Champion Versus Champion: Universal Champion Roman Reigns (w/ Paul Heyman) VS. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Drew McIntyre
Dave: I have to say, now that the main event is here, I was expecting a lot more Undertaker material throughout the night. I still find Reigns’ single golden glove a little weird. An opening lock-up solves nothing, as neither gains an upper hand. They circle each other and test each other’s strengths again, each managing to knock the other down in turn. I like the opening pace.
Gavin: Roman takes control with some vicious kicks, which Drew matches with some kicks and a chop that echoes throughout the Thunderdome. Roman fights back by throwing Drew into the ringpost and then the steps. He brings the WWE Champion back in to the ring and locks in a chinlock, some knees and a suplex for 2. Drew fights back, delivers a neckbreaker and looks for a Future Shock DDT, but Roman escapes it and lands a Samoan Drop. Roman goes for a Superman Punch, but Drew catches him with a spinebuster for a close 2. The Scottish Warrior brings Roman to the outside and slams him into the barricade and the steel steps.
Dave: There’s a nice smack to the Glasgow Kiss on Reigns, and another missed Superman Punch brings about a Future Shock DDT for a two-count. McIntyre patiently waits for a Claymore opportunity, but this time he does run right into a Superman Punch. Reigns goes for his guillotine choke but McIntyre escapes. Reigns is talking to himself an awful lot.
Gavin: Reigns charges with a spear but McIntyre rolls with it and turns it into a Kimura Lock, which Reigns barely escapes via the ropes. Reigns goes outside for a break, but McIntyre charges right into a Samoan Drop onto the announcer’s table.
Dave: It doesn’t break, and Reigns knows that’s not the script, so he does it again and the table falls apart this time. As McIntyre stumbles to his feet only to be speared through the barricade, Reigns quickly drags him into the ring but only gets a two-count. McIntyre stops a spear with a kick, goes for a Claymore, and gets another spear for yet another two-count.
Gavin: Roman goes for a second spear, but gets caught with a Claymore. When Roman gets hit, he crashes into the ref, allowing Jey Uso to come down and interfere. Roman hits a low blow, Jey hits a superkick, Roman locks in the Guillotine Choke, and a second ref runs to the ring as McIntyre struggles mightily before passing out.
Winner via submission: Roman Reigns
Match Rating: Gavin: 2/5, Dave 2.5/5
The Undertaker’s Final Farewell
Dave: It’s time for The Undertaker’s final farewell, and out come some people to pay tribute to Taker. Shane McMahon is first out to a piped-in “Shane-o-Mac” chant. Big Show is here, then JBL, Jeff Hardy with Undertaker-symbol themed facepaint, Mick Foley, The Godfather, The Godwinns, Savio Vega, Rikishi, Kevin Nash, Booker T, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Triple H, and Kane.
Gavin: We watch a promo package to honor Taker, with highlights of staredowns, Tombstones, catchphrases, casket closings, entrances, and testimonials from a range of wrestlers.
Dave: The WWE promo production is, as always, top-notch. After the montage, Vince is alone in the ring, sharing his own emotional appreciation. He chokes up saying goodbye before bringing out the man of the hour. The Thunderdome screens are cleared of fans as Undertaker makes his classically slow entrance, perhaps milking this one just a little bit more than usual.
Gavin: There’s a weird spacy light portal thing, tesla coils, an elevating platform to bring Taker up to ring level, and lots of fire. The Undertaker says that “My time has come”. He deserved a crowd to hear this live, unfortunately, instead of pausing to acknowledge the pre-recorded chants thanking him. He finishes by saying “My time has come to let The Undertaker rest in peace”.
Dave: Yeah, there’s a slight misstep with the crowd chanting audio, which again unfortunately takes away from the moment. That’s not being nitpicky, it’s just that this moment of The Undertaker feels too big for an empty Thunderdome. It was very touching to see Paul Bearer’s image join Taker in the ring, and he seemed to be working hard to keep his composure at that moment. It was nice, but you can bet that whenever WrestleMania is in front of 100,000 people again, The Undertaker, to borrow a phrase from Bill Goldberg, will have one more bad-ass entrance in him.
Survivor Series 2020
A subdued celebration for The Undertaker is probably the way he wanted it, but it certainly felt low-key. It was also a little disappointing that both the Men’s Survivor Series match and the main event were essentially set pieces for the continuing Reigns/Uso storyline. A great tag match and a very good Women’s Champions match helped to elevate the show.