Becky Lynch stood tall (kind of) at the end of an inconsistent but mostly good Survivor Series. Though The Man was unsuccessful in the main event, losing the triple threat match after Bayley tapped to Shayna Baszler, she would put Baszler through a table to end the show.
It was a flat main event, but there was plenty on the show to enjoy. Adam Cole defended his NXT Championship in a very good match against Pete Dunn, the men's Survivor Series elimination match was fun and the triple threat champions match between Roderick Strong, Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles was another highlight.
Surprisingly, NXT won the night. It ended up being 1-4-2 for Raw, NXT and SmackDown. Makes sense -- NXT does go head to head against AEW, after all. You'll recall that Raw won a clean sweep over SmackDown last year and it amounted to nothing, so we'll have to see if this result will actually mean anything.
Shayna Baszler beats Bayley and Becky Lynch
Bayley tapped out to Shayna Baszler's Kirifuda Clutch.
It was a long and plodding match that was weighed down in large part by Bayley. Not only is she not as protected as either Lynch or Baszler, making her stick out as not really belonging, she also dominated much of the match with mostly unconvincing offense. Most of the best parts of the bout revolved around Baszler, with counters in and out of her Kirifuda Clutch.
Lynch laid out Baszler after the match, setting up what should be a good future showdown between them.
Rating: 1.5 stars. Flat crowd, not-much-happening match. The angle shot after the match wasn't interesting enough for this to warrant being the main event.
Brock Lesnar beats Rey Mysterio
Not much to this match. Lesnar beat down Rey Mysterio. Mysterio tried to attack Lesnar with a pipe, but Lesnar kept Mysterio away from his weapon. Eventually, Mysterio's son Dominic slides into the ring with a white towel. Lesnar grabs a hold of Dominic, Mysterio comes from behind and hits a low blow. Dominic lands another low blow, and the two hit stereo 619s and a double frogsplash for a 2 count. Then Lesnar kills them both and pins Mysterio with an F5.
Rating: 3 stars. Good for what it was. We got the cute moment of seeing a father-and-son 619. Not much of a match, but everything needs to be a 20-minute back-and-forth contest.
SmackDown wins mens elimination match
The 15-man three-way team elimination match is up next. Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, Randy Orton and Ricochet (Team Raw) take on Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, King Corbin, Mustafa Ali and Shorty G (Team SmackDown), and Tommaso Ciampa, Damian Priest, Matt Riddle, Keith Lee, and Walter (Team NXT).
Chicago was all about NXT. Anytime anyone from the black and gold brand was eliminated the crowd would react with huge boos. The match came down to Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Keith Lee. Lee eliminated Rollins with a Jackhammer, leading to one of the biggest pops of the night. The exchange between Lee and Reigns was the most electric thing on the show thus far, and it ended with Reigns hitting a spear and winning the match for his team.
This match had plenty to like, but also some questionable decisions. Walter was the first man eliminated, which was a bummer. One of the stories of the match was the question of Kevin Owens' alignment -- is he NXT or Raw? -- and it was answered in unceremonious fashion when Ciampa pinned Owens after a DDT. The match was also Corbin heavy at points, rarely a good thing.
But there were certainly highlights. Watching Chad Gable wrestle Ricochet and Matt Riddle was fantastic. Braun Strowman and Drew McIntyre both did great as dominating big men. Randy Orton had a fun RKO-fest. The whole last leg of the match was excellent too, which makes it hard to be too negative about it all.
Rating: 3.75 stars.
Bray Wyatt defeats Daniel Bryan
Daniel Bryan is great. So, so great.
The Fiend was very cool back at, but a lot of his shine has worn off by now. Long matches, red lighting, kicking out of over 10 curb stomps -- it's all a bit much. So this Universal Championship match started slow, with Bray Wyatt working over Bryan in slow, pretty boring fashion.
But then Daniel Bryan made his comeback. A few dives, dropkicks, Yes Kicks and, crucially, a "Yes" chant later, and the crowd was hot for Daniel Bryan. It's like 2013 all over again. Bryan hit the running knee, and the crowd actually believed he could win. But, just like 2013, it was all taken away at the last moment. Wyatt got the Mandible Claw in and retained his title.
Rating: 3.75 stars. The Fiend is obviously who the WWE are building, but Daniel Bryan was the star here.
Adam Cole retains NXT Championship
An even better match than the three-way. Adam Cole retained his NXT Championship in a long match with Pete Dunn.
This wasn't quite an NXT main event-level match, but it picked up at the end enough to make it well worth watching. Despite entering with injuries -- Cole had taped-up ribs and Dunn a bandaged over knee -- most of the bout was just the two trading moves. Their weaknesses played into one sequence towards the end, but outside of that there was no strong story running through this match. Just increasingly spectacular moves.
But what moves they were! Cole landed a superkick on Dunn as Dunn was midway through a backflip. Cole later hit a Panama Sunrise piledriver on the ring apron. Cole countered Dunn's finish into another piledriver and ended the match after a Last Call knee strike.
Yep, Dunn really got the short end of the stick here.
Rating: 4 stars. Good match, great ending sequence.
Roderick Strong beats AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura
This was one of the most promising matches of the night and, while not the instant classic some (I) hoped it would be, it was very good.
Roderick Strong got the win after AJ Styles hit the Phenomenal Forearm on Shinsuke Nakamura. Strong threw Styles out of the ring, stole the cover and pinned Nakamura. All three men got to shine in this match, but Strong ended up the star -- and not just because he won. He's such a crisp performer, and the announcers did a great job at talking him up like a star.
Rating: 3.75 stars. Very good but, like many AJ Styles pay-per-view matches, not as good as you thought it could be.
Team NXT wins women's elimination match
For the second night in a row, the women start the show. After a preshow that had NXT, Raw and SmackDown win one match each, Survivor Series' main show kicks off with the women's elimination tag match. It's chaos: We've got Charlotte Flair, Asuka, Kairi Sane, Natalya and Sarah Logan (Team Raw) against Sasha Banks, Carmella, Dana Brooke, Lacey Evans and Nikki Cross (Team SmackDown) against Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair, Candice LeRae, Io Shirai and Toni Storm (Team NXT).
Team NXT ends up getting the win after a messy match. I can only imagine how difficult a 15-person tag match would be to put together and perform, and inherent challenge showed here.
Io Shirai and Candice LeRae were taken to the back early after ostensibly suffering injuries. You know where this is going. Then we get a few eliminations, but the action is mostly only OK and the crowd isn't super into it. Chicago does wake up for Chalotte, though, who is eventually eliminated after Asuka, her team mate, sprays her with green mist following the two having a shoving match over an unsolicited tag.
Unsurprisingly, the match got better as there were fewer women in the mix. Natalya and Sasha Banks ended up being the sole members of their teams, with Rhea Ripley, Belair and Toni Storm still remaining on Team NXT. Natalya and Banks double-team submitted Storm with a Sharpshooter/Banks Statement combo, and then hit a Heart Attack on Belair to eliminate her. Banks then double crosses Natalya, curiously eliminating her with just a sucker punch.
The best part by far was the last few minutes of Ripley vs. Sasha Banks. Crowd was into it in a big way, and the two women worked very well together. Shirai and LeRae returned to the ring after their faux injuries earlier to help Ripley beat Banks and score a win for NXT.
Rating: 2.5 stars. Some highlights, but very missable.
Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode won a 10-team battle royale: Last eliminated The Street Profits.
Lio Rush beat Akira Tozawa and Kalisto: Rush pinned Kalisto after a frogsplash.
The War Raiders defeat The New Day and The Undisputed Era: The War Raiders hit the Viking Experience on Bobby Fish for the win.