Survivor Series 2020 — Bring out your dead!
This is a review of the matches and overall show WWE Survivor Series 2020, originally aired sunday 22nd November 2020 and took place at Amway Center.
Match 1: Men’s elimination match Team Smackdown v Team RAW — raw wins with zero eliminations.
This was an interesting if narratively one sided match. Every event was built around building on and creating new narratives for members of the smackdown roster.
After a good but average bit of back and forth Seth Rollins tagged into the match, only to fall to his knees and tell RAW’s Sheamus to do his part. Before he brogue kicked Rollins in the face and pinned him.
This is a curious choice but creates some very interesting prospects in a narrative sense. With the elevation of storytelling around Roman and Jey Uso, and the continued story coming from the fallout between Rollins and Buddy Murphy this unexpected story beat really opens up the field of possibility to all sorts of exciting opportunities.
The second narrative focus of this match was on building up Otis as a credible threat, more than holding his own against all of team RAW at multiple occasions. This is a curious choice now that he is no longer Mr.money in the bank, but did a lot to put him on the upper levels of the midcard.
Lastly the choice to leave Jey Uso as the final member of team Smackdown was obviously used to focus on the inevitable fallout when he finally lost the five on one match situation. He was made to look capable and valiant, but didn’t last very long on his own. Later seeing the interaction back stage between him and Roman was ok, but didn’t do as much as it could have to build on the story, being more of a continuation of the situation. Roman sending Jay home after his loss. Note, he didn’t leave in the end so we see him again.
Match 2: Mens Tag Match. New Day, RAW champs vs The Street Profits, Smackdown champs.
This was really a chance for the New Day to put over the Street Profits and a legitimate tag team and not as Big E had been saying on the run up to this show, New Day knock offs. The Street Profits eventually won after a fun and evenly contested match when they performed an electric chair — blockbuster combination on Woods. This was as good as you might expect from all involved, but didn’t do anything truly monumental.
Match 3: Midcard title clash. Intercontinental champion Sami Zayn v United States champion Bobby Lashley.
The stand out performer in this heel vs heel match was Sami Zayn in defeat. His protests, manipulative behaviour, and cowardice being cranked up to the max in this situation. Like all good heels, he came across as constantly right to feel uncomfortable with the persistent presence of the rest of the hurt business crew. Lashly was fine, if uninspired in this mostly comedy match.
Match 4: RAW Women’s Champion Asuka vs SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks.
This was a good showing from both performers, with a fairly well paced match with some interesting back and forth. There we’re some slightly sloppy moments including a wonky looking pin after a number of pin reversals. Great but not as great as both these superstars can do in the ring, together or otherwise. Still one of the better matches of the night and nice to see Sasha go over on ppv as a champ two ppvs in a row, even if this was non-title.
Match 5: Women’s survivor series match RAW vs Smackdown.
This was a more classic match with a range of interesting eliminations. A highlight was a superplex by Peyton Royce on Natalya onto the collected women from both teams outside the ring.
The real story here was focused on the continued treatment of Lana by her own teammates (and to a lesser extent the whole womens division). While she had a small moment of capable womens wrestling in the ring during the match, she was eventually religated to standing on the ring steps for the duration. Eventually due to the monster duo of Shayna Baszler (dq after refusing to let go of a clutch) and Nia Jax (counted out with Bianca Belair) being eliminated Lana remained as the sole survivor.
This has left many a fan and commentator befuddled at the booking of this match overall, and for the most part I can understand this feeling, but I think we shouldn’t devalue the image of Lana in the middle of the ring looking directly down the barrel of the hard cam shouting repeatedly, “I am the SURVIVOR” if this moment had been led to a little smoother it could have really been powerful, the bullied and abused standing strong at the end and having gotten through the abuse. I personally think a situation where she had managed to pin an exhausted Bianca Belair would have been better but I still think this moment has some value.
Match 6: WWE Champion Drew McIntyre vs Universal Champion Roman Reigns.
This was another fantastic hard hitting match with some great back and forth. Roman really shone as the more diverse in ring performer of the two. Thats not to say that Drew isn’t capable, more that he has been limited narratively to a smaller moveset and has not recently had the chance to add as much to the matches he has. Roman didnt carry Drew here, but he did carry much of the ion ring narrative.
This had a great end too, allowing Drew to kick out of near everything Roman had to offer, only finally being put down by outside interference from a not so gone Jay Uso, and a low blow from Roman.
It also furthered the story between the former and latter as they both embraced at the top of the ramp.
Final segment: Undertakers Final Goodbye.
This was ruined slightly by some issues on the network for me. It felt odd to be happening on the end of the show. We had Half an hour of people walking out. Shane McMahon, The Big Show, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jeff Hardy, Mick Foley, The Godfather, The Godwinns Dennis Knight and Mark Canterbury, Savio Vega, Rikishi (the previous five were part of the infamous Bone Street Krew along with Taker), Kevin Nash, Booker T, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Triple H and Kane. Before a video package played and we returned to see those people just, vanished to the void. Then an emotional Vince introduced The Undertake for one last time, before he made his way to the ring, and addressed the… well the void saying “My time has come to let The Undertaker Rest in Peace,”. He posed in front of a holographic Paul Bearer before leaving once last time.
The event was something that was nice to see happen and it was good to see some older stars make a return. But the presentation felt very strange and inclusion of Holographic Bearer made me personally feel uncomfortable.
I respect the intention, but it was an awkward watch.
For an overall look at the show I’ll not include the last half an hour due to how it was such an outlier from the rest of the night.
Overall it was a shame to see not inclusion of NXT this year as I felt they added a lot last go around. I understand why there was none this time, but it would have been a bonus to the show. Also, the complete dropping of any sort of score tally detracted a little as it lowered the stakes this time around. This is a problem every year already, the lack of stakes, so it’s nice that at lease there’s a show bragging rights thing going on normally.
The tag team champions match was a nice highlight, Sami vs Bobby was entertaining, and The womens matches were good, but both could have been more.
The real standouts here were the story progression in the Men’s traditional survivor series match and the main event which was a fantastic brawl.
Overall I’d say this was an above average, but not truly standout PPV. It will be memorable mostly due to its being tied to The Undertaker’s send off, but not much on its own.