by Melanie Arvanitis
Put on your turkey-eating pants, as I review WWE’s most prized Thanksgiving tradition: Survivor Series!
Survivor Series is WWE’s second longest running pay-per-view event that airs annually around Thanksgiving. It puts the red and blue brands (Raw and Smackdown) against each other to decide which brand is superior (in a way like wrestling’s field day). Last year NXT (WWE’s developmental brand, sort of) participated for the first time and won the whole event, with very impressive performances, but sadly NXT couldn’t be involved this year due to COVID (the NXT roster wrestles at Capitol Wrestling Center, while the main roster wrestles in the WWE Thunderdome). Besides NXT not being involved this year, Survivor Series 2020 was an amazing pay per view event. The show was a little rough around the edges, but its exciting matches made up for it. Now, I’ll be going through a breakdown of each match and Undertaker’s Final Farewell.
Traditional 5v5 Tag Match:
Who Won: Team RAW (AJ Styles, Braun Strowman, Keith Lee, Sheamus, & Matt Riddle)
What a way to start off the night! WWE pulled off another amazing opening match, just like in this year’s Clash of Champions (Jeff Hardy, Sami Zayn, and AJ Styles’s Ladder Match)! Kevin Ownes showed many new and unique moves; he was very determined and explosive with offense whenever he got tagged into the match, which made him very fun to watch! Keith Lee was also amazing on Team Raw, somehow catching Jey Uso on his shoulder mid-air, which still makes my jaw drop! He also had an amazing encounter with Otis, and to my surprise, they were somehow able to suplex each other! Oh, and the Limitless One finally has a new theme song! (Keith Lee used to have his theme song Limitless when he was on NXT which was a real bop, and perfect for his character, but for some reason they changed it and gave him a generic rock song once he moved to the main roster.) Overall, this was a great match to start off the night, with some incredible new showings from people who’ve been on the main roster quite a while, and from some who have not.
The New Day vs The Street Profits (Tag Team Match)
Who Won: The Street Profits (Smackdown)
This match-up is pure gold; the Raw Tag Team Champions, The New Day vs the Smackdown Tag Team Champions, The Street Profits; two joyous teams that are so similar, yet so different. To start off the match, The New Day walked in with their new truly beautiful Gears of War 5 ring-gear (to celebrate their cameo in the game), and Big E (their third member who got separated from them in the WWE Draft just last month) joined them in the ring, much to my delight! To mention some highlights, The New Day’s Xavier Woods performed an amazing missile dropkick that sent him (diagonally!) ¾ of the way across the ring; Montez Ford, as always, performed his finisher, the frog splash, which is the best in the business. Both teams really showed their A-game, but The Street Profits ended up on top. I was rooting for my favorite tag team ever, The New Day, but I wasn’t too surprised when The Street Profits won because it was almost like The New Day was metaphorically passing the torch to the newer tag team Dawkins and Ford. It’s like when a retired WWE legend enters the Rumble – you know they aren’t going to win because why have them get a championship opportunity, when you can give it to a current and fresh superstar who hasn’t gotten that opportunity or as many opportunities yet. Obviously it’s different here (though The New Day are already legends in my book, not to mention they are tied for the most tag team championships won at 10!), but I think that metaphor gets my point across.
United States Champion Bobby Lashley vs Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn
Who Won: Bobby Lashley (Team RAW)
This match was a little disappointing, but Sami Zayn was hilarious as always. Lashley was accompanied by his stable, The Hurt Business, and Zayn was trying to win the match, via disqualification, by getting Shelton Benjamin or Cedric Alexander to punch him. He also ‘accidentally’ tripped over MVP, and tried to make it seem like MVP tripped him on purpose. The match was quick and fun, but I think it would’ve been better if they maybe let Sami Zayn pull off his tricks a bit longer, before Lashley inevitably put the Hurt Lock on him and won the match.
Asuka vs Sasha Banks
Who Won: Sasha Banks (Team Smackdown)
This match was overall pretty good, but the ending was a bit disappointing. Asuka and Sasha were consistently rolling each other up to try and get a pin near the end of the match, which is a standard move, but Sasha ended up getting a win with one, which just felt lazy and rushed at the time; the more I thought about it though, how would one end this match? Sasha Banks is getting a major push with her first long-title run, after defeating the former Smackdown Women’s Champion, and backstabbing ex-best friend Bayley (Held the longest reign as SD Women’s Champion with almost 400 days) at last month’s Hell in a Cell. If she got completely beaten by the eccentric Empress of Tomorrow Asuka, that would completely ruin her momentum, but if Banks full-out won, it wouldn’t make much sense because she’s never beaten Asuka before and just lost the Raw Women’s Championship to Asuka a few months ago. I think this match could’ve been better, but it was still very good. The ending was probably for the best, even if it felt a bit off at the time.
Who Won: (Ultimately) R-Truth
During the Survivor Series kickoff, WWE’s infamous Turkey, the Gobbledy Gooker, won the 24/7 Championship (which has to be defended anytime and anywhere) from the now 45-time 24/7 Champion R-Truth. Truth got his baby back after using Akira Tozawa’s trap with bird seed to win back the championship!
Traditional 5v5 Women’s Tag Match
Who Won: Team RAW (Sole Survivor: Lana!)
Lana is the best, Lana #1 *clap* *clap*!!! Lana had been teased and samoan dropped through nine tables leading up to Survivor Series, by tag team champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. After tagging herself in (and she apparently wasn’t ‘supposed’ to), she was told to stand in the corner. Team Smackdown’s MVP, the EST of WWE, Bianca Belair, (who also performed amazingly, reminiscent of her Royal Rumble performance earlier this year) was facing off with the Irresistible Force (Jax), and just got counted out at the very end. The only woman left in the ring was Lana, which meant that Lana was the sole survivor!!!!! In my opinion, Survivor Series 2020 was truly Lana’s night; there was even a WWE Chronicle made about her which talks about her difficult childhood in Russia and her mental health issues during the pandemic caused by cyberbullying. Besides Lana’s big win, there were many other amazing highlights in this match! I think it was the Sassy Southern Belle Lacey Evans who performed an awe-inducing Spanish fly off the top rope; Peyton Royce performed an AMAZING superplex (also off of the top rope), landing on the rest of the women in the match (except Lana), which was truly one of the best moments of the night. It also made me pretty happy to finally see the veteran Natalya and the Riott Squad be pushed more in this match. They are usually used as weak superstars to prop other women up, but they are so much more than that and this match proved it! This match was likely my favorite of the night, and I’m very excited to see what will happen with the Nia/Lana storyline next!
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre vs Universal Champion Roman Reigns
Who Won: Roman Reigns (Team Smackdown)
It looks like Lana isn’t the only one being Samoan dropped through the commentator’s table! Two of the biggest powerhouses in WWE, McIntrye and Roman Reigns clash in this fiery war of a match. So much happens in short bursts in this bout, like when McIntyre goes for a Claymore, Reigns lands a spear or a superman punch, or McIntyre gets Samoan dropped through a table and speared through a barricade. Roman’s Superman Punch looked awesome as always, and McIntyre has been looking really impressive by integrating a lot of planks into his technique, like with chokeholds for more leverage and pressure, or a really cool looking jackknife cover! Sadly (at least in my opinion), Reigns won and proved he’s ‘The Man’ of WWE, but really not, because he landed a low blow, and had an assist from his minion cousin, Jey Uso to land the three count.
Undertaker’s Final Farewell:
The Undertaker’s Farewell was a bit sloppy, but it was still a great way to honor The Deadman. It started out with the entrances of many WWE Legends who have had some amazing matches with Taker and are close friends with him in general, including but not limited to, The Big Show, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, The Godfather, and Jeff Hardy. It was nice that they each had their designated time for their own entrances, and that they were there to honor The Undertaker. It just felt a little pointless since they spent the time gathering up all these people and just had them leave right after. It was still really nice to see all of those legends; especially ones that haven’t shown up to a WWE event in a long time. After this a montage of Undertaker’s greatest moments played, and WWE Legends talk about the impact of The Phenom. After the video, Vince introduced Taker, with a mini, but heartfelt speech. It was hard to see Undertaker’s silhouette through so much smoke, and a whole bunch more nitpicky things I can mention, but besides all those little mistakes and imperfections, what The Undertaker said was perfect. They even paid tribute to Paulbearer with a beautiful hologram. Thank you Taker, for 30 years of undead excellence, may you rest in peace…
One other thing that I noticed: I find it a little bit weird how Survivor Series is all about brand supremacy, yet there was no scoreboard kept throughout the entire event, and it was never announced that the final score was a tie. This is a minor complaint, but it just seems like they strayed a little bit away from what Survivor Series is all about.
This was an amazing pay-per-view, and ever since Clash of Champions, WWE has really been stepping up their game, delivering some of my favorite matches of all time with NXT-level creativity. It feels really special that The Undertaker’s final farewell is exactly thirty years after he debuted at Survivor Series.
Onwards to Tables, Ladders, and Chairs next month!