ORLANDO – The 34th annual Survivor Series event held at the Thunderdome, brought in an “all-star” game-like mentality as the roster members from both Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown competing in inter-promotional warfare. This year also saw the 30th Anniversary of the debut of The Undertaker. Seven matches (including the preshow battle royal) the WWE Universe witnessed as brand warfare was alive and cooking for this event, here’s the 3 Count review of Survivor Series 2020.
1.) WWE CAN do Tag Team Wrestling when motivated.
The biggest gripe that World Wrestling Entertainment has had since the late 2000s has been the lack of care given to the tag divisions. Be it lack of tag teams, to irrational breakups, and the booking of the tag titles itself. WWE fans long for a tag team revolution that rival the likes of 2000s WWE programming or even the late Golden Era/New Generation teams.
However, Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day going head to head against Smackdown Tag Team Champions Street Profits gave the audience a match between WWE’s best tag team of the last twenty years and WWE’s fastest rising tag team.
This match was truly about respect. No gimmicks (despite the Gears of War inspired gear), no excuses, just absolute solid tag team wrestling. The Street Profits with both Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins being true, homegrown WWE talent, showing that they are one of the Performance Center’s biggest success stories, and being the New Day solidified them as a Tag Team to lead the next decade.
2.) The Women’s Survivor Series Match was WAY better than the Men’s!
If you look at both matches on paper and in all seriousness, the men’s match on the Smackdown side was doomed from the start. From a kayfabe perspective, yes Raw had some issues with teamwork with Riddle, Sheamus, Keith Lee, and Braun Strowman figuratively and at times literally bumping heads with each other, while self-professed captain A.J. Styles attempt to keep the peace. In actuality, there was no doubt that this team was significantly better than this year’s Team Smackdown.
Not for nothing, Smackdown has some great talent and solid workers, but aside from Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins, both former World Champions in their own right, this team was extremely weak. King Corbin despite winning the US Title, King of the Ring, Andre the Giant Battle Royal Winner, and Money in the Bank hasn’t fulfilled his potential, quite yet. Rollins sacrificing himself to a brogue kick for the “greater good” made it an uphill battle for the blue brand. Owens and Corbin getting eliminated back to back didn’t make matters any better. Otis and Jey Uso during this match did wonderful and it was nice to see Otis being serious, but despite them being pushed into single’s stardom, a bulk of their work is tag based where everyone on the Raw side were predominately known for their single’s careers. Jey’s desperation at the end made some captivating storytelling and in defeat, really stood out to be a solid performance, but in the end, it was no use. Raw won in a clean sweep 5 to 0.
On the Women’s side. It was by far a better match. Each woman had a chance to shine (yes, even Lana before she was told to stay away). The true stars of the match were Raw’s Peyton Royce for pinning Bayley first. For Bayley to put Royce over like that showed that Royce could very well be next in line for Asuka’s Raw Women’s Championship at a later date. Lacey Evans showing some improvement after that Spanish Fly spot. Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott showcasing their excellent chemistry in the match with their tag moves against Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler.
It’s been three years since the inaugural Mae Young Classic where both Evans and match MVP Bianca Belair debuted on WWE programming. Evans is still finding her stride as a worker, but as a character, she’s probably one of the best. Belair on the other hand has been amazing. The “EST of WWE” has been doing extremely well and her last sequence prior to her losing the match was excellent. It made sense why they did it (sure got a laugh and was a surprise), they needed to protect Belair, but it was still a question mark to fans and analysts alike.
Lana winning the match was quite comical (not in a bad way). Team Raw’s dysfunction in strategy ironically paid off as the sole survivor of the match ended up being “The Ravishing Russian.” Was the booking of this match perfect? Absolutely not! However, was the action good? Yes! The story was clear, as it showed dysfunction on one side. It showed that maybe Smackdown overlooked Raw. It put over Royce as a future #1 contender. Belair, Baszler, Riott and Jax were protected, with Belair and Jax not being pinned, Baszler despite getting disqualified, showed that she was one of the toughest in the ring. It also had a goofy, but feel good ending with Lana by technicality getting the victory for her team. Despite getting put through the announce table nine times, Lana getting the win makes sense with the way Raw’s story was leading to for a solid payoff.
Kick Out: WWE’s Champions are probably the best group of champions right now.
This may be an unpopular take, however WWE may have the best group of champions right now. The Tag Team Champions have the ever so reliable New Day and The Street Profits are solid. Sami Zayn is one of the best workers in WWE today holding the Intercontinental Championship. Bobby Lashley holding the United States Championship adds a bit of legitimacy with his MMA background and despite being in his forties, still a solid in-ring wrestler behind a solid faction in The Hurt Business.
Asuka and Sasha Banks solidified their spots as two of the best in-ring women’s workers in the business today in any company. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler despite the “strange bedfellows” storyline adds a legitimacy holding the Women’s Tag Titles and would give a team the ultimate rub when they do lose the titles.
Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns are at their absolute peaks as WWE and Universal Champions respectively. Both are delivering the best work in their careers with Drew winning his second WWE title prior to the event and Roman’s heel turn giving him a new light as a solid and compelling character.
Despite many flaws in WWE’s booking, the guys at Titan Sports have a championship roster that no North American wrestling company could touch. It rivals maybe New Japan Pro Wrestling for its name value and champion holders.
3.) It’s Time to let The Undertaker, Rest In Peace!
This one is hard for a lot of wrestling fans. Many have came and went when it comes to World Wrestling Entertainment, but that one constant has always been The Undertaker.
Seven World Championships, 27 WrestleMania Appearances with a 25-2 record, Seven Tag Team Championship Reigns, and a Royal Rumble (2007) winner. Despite his accomplishments may be less than an Austin, or Hogan, Sammartino, or Cena. Taker’s character-driven work throughout his 30 years in WWE shows that character work is truly a driving force in this business.
If Sammartino is the Bill Russell of WWE, Hogan the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of WWE, Stone Cold Steve Austin the Michael Jordan and John Cena being the LeBron James of WWE. Taker may have to be the Wilt Chamberlain of WWE. Physically imposing, can do things that a man his size shouldn’t be able to do, has records that will probably not be broken in the current era of sport and entertainment and despite not having many championships, there’s no denying the fact that he’s undeniable.
A locker room leader, and one of the most benevolent superstars to ever grace the ring. Undertaker is the shining example of doing what’s “best for business,” for being the gatekeeper for many superstars to go to that next level.
There will never be another Undertaker, and speaking on behalf of Last Word on Pro Wrestling, we thank you for the memories, and it’s an absolute shame that this moment wasn’t shared with a live audience.
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