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On a night when the “best of the best” battled for brand supremacy at Survivor Series, WWE celebrated one of its greatest icons in a final farewell at the event in which he debuted 30 years earlier.
The Undertaker said one last goodbye to the company he reigned over for three decades Sunday night, with his Hall of Fame career lauded in grand fashion. The homage to one of the greatest to ever lace a pair of boots came on the same night that the Superstars of Raw and SmackDown battled for bragging rights.
Which brand emerged victorious from this year’s Survivor Series pay-per-view and what did The Deadman’s departure entail?
Find out with this recap of the November 22 spectacular.
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WWE Survivor Series match card
- WWE champion Drew McIntyre vs. Universal champion Roman Reigns
- United States champion Bobby Lashley vs. Intercontinental champion Sami Zayn
- Raw Tag Team champions The New Day vs. SmackDown Tag Team champions The Street Profits
- Raw Women’s Champion Asuka vs. SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks
- Team Raw (AJ Styles, Sheamus, Braun Strowman, Keith Lee and Riddle) vs. Team SmackDown (Jey Uso, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Otis and King Corbin)
- Team Raw (Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, Peyton Royce, Lacey Evans and Lana) vs. Team SmackDown (Bianca Belair, Natalya, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Bayley)
- Kickoff Show: Interpromotional Battle Royal
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Participants included: Dominik Mysterio, Rey Mysterio, Murphy, The Miz, John Morrison, Shelton Benjamin, Cedric Alexander, Bobby Roode, Dolph Ziggler, Chad Gable, Elias, Apollo Crews, Humberto Carrillo, Angel Garza, Kalisto, Ricochet and Jeff Hardy
Dominik Mysterio scored the first stunning elimination of the Kickoff Show match when he sent John Morrison over the top rope. Dolph Ziggler dumped Rey Mysterio, and The Hurt Business earned a few eliminations until Ricochet delivered a massive suplex that sent Cedric Alexander packing.
Apollo Crews got a measure of revenge on The Hurt Business, eliminating Shelton Benjamin to clear the faction from the match.
Murphy and Dolph Ziggler teed off on each other on the apron until Bobby Roode sent the former to the locker room. Dominik knocked Roode to the floor and paired off with The Showoff. An ill-advised blind charge into the ring post and a dropkick from Dominik led to Ziggler’s departure.
Across the ring, Jeff Hardy eliminated Shinsuke Nakamura, then continued his intensifying rivalry with Elias by ending his night prematurely.
SmackDown’s Chad Gable and Dominik teamed up to battle Raw’s Hardy and The Miz.
Gable eliminated Hardy with a clothesline, while Miz countered a 619 attempt by Dominik with a big boot to the face.
Dominik appeared to have eliminated The A-Lister, only to endure a trio of suplexes by Gable. Mysterio junior recovered and eliminated Gable, only for Miz to slide into the ring and send the rookie over the top for the win.
Miz won the Battle Royal
Battle Royals are at their worst when guys are wandering aimlessly around the ring, punching and kicking, then occasionally pairing off with another Superstar en route to their inevitable elimination. There was a lot of that going on here as there was no story to speak of.
Sure, Miz staved off elimination in sneaky fashion to win but beyond that, this was just a bunch of bodies doing things with no rhyme or reason.
And worst of all, no one is really better off for having competed here. Their stars not enhanced or strengthened in any measurable way.
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The battle for brand supremacy kicked off with Team Raw’s AJ Styles, Braun Strowman, Sheamus, Riddle and Keith Lee taking on Team SmackDown’s Jey Uso, Otis, King Corbin, Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins in the night’s opening contest.
The first drama of the night came when Rollins demanded to be tagged into the match and, after being despondent for the majority of the contest, sacrificed himself. A Brogue Kick from Sheamus sent The Messiah packing. (SmackDown’s Rollins eliminated)
Otis and Lee teed off in a battle of super heavyweights. They exchanged teases of superhuman feats of strength before Lee tagged Strowman into the match. The Monster Among Men uncorked a shotgun dropkick on Otis and tagged Styles into the match.
Styles and Owens quickened the pace until a fired-up KO unloaded with Stunners to the rest of Team Raw. Styles seized the opening and delivered the Phenomenal Forearm, eliminating his longtime rival. (SmackDown’s Owens eliminated)
The action broke down and Riddle pinned Corbin to send him to the locker room. (SmackDown’s Corbin eliminated)
Otis exploded into the match late, suplexing and clotheslining his way through the competition before coming face-to-face with Strowman. The former Universal Champion flattened him with a big boot but Otis recovered and delivered the caterpillar. He set up for the Vader Bomb but Riddle ran interference and Strowman powerslammed him for the fall. (SmackDown’s Otis eliminated)
A desperate Uso unloaded on the competition, wiping them out with a dive at ringside. He followed up with superkicks to everyone in sight, including one that left Styles hung up on the ropes. A blind tag to Lee saw The Limitless One deliver the Spirit Bomb for the clean sweep. (SmackDown’s Uso eliminated)
Team Raw defeated Team SmackDown (5-0)
The story of Uso nearly pulling things out and finding renewed strength within himself was a nice story late but for the most part, this one was all about Raw proving it could stay united long enough to win the match.
While that played out effectively enough, it was the least interesting story it could have told and led to the equivalent of a 35-0 Chiefs shut out of the Jets. It was one-dimensional and while it was a fine enough opener, it may very well go down in Survivor Series as the least compelling of these Raw vs. SmackDown matches.
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What started as a fun-loving exchange between Raw Tag Team Champions Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods (accompanied by Big E) and SmackDown Tag Team Champions Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford, gave way to a steadily increasing battle that saw New Day gain the upper hand following a dive by Kingston onto Ford on ringside.
The Raw tandem targeted the midsection of Ford, working him over while cutting the ring off. Corey Graves put over the aggression shown by Kingston and Woods just in time for Ford to create some separation and tag Dawkins in.
The biggest competitor in the match exploded into the bout, using his power advantage to toss Kingston around and deliver an underhook neckbreaker to Woods. The SmackDown champs fired off a flurry of offense but New Day fought back and delivered Midnight Hour. Ford kicked out.
Late, Dawkins downed Kingston and Ford delivered the frog splash. His previously injured ribs proved costly as he failed to immediately make the pin, allowing Kofi to kick out. Ford unleashed Kingston’s own Trouble in Paradise against him and Woods followed with a gutbuster for a quality near-fall.
The finish came when Dawkins blindly tagged in and hoisted Woods up on his shoulders. Ford came off with a blockbuster for the hard-fought victory.
Street Profits defeated New Day
This was the best match of the show. Easily.
At least to this point.
High-energy, strong in-ring content and a story revolving around Ford’s injured midsection that nearly cost his team the victory led to a captivating match.
The match had the unenviable task of being a babyface vs. babyface match, telling a story and living up to rather lofty expectations. Not only did the performers find a way to tell that story, it did so in a way that never forced either of the teams to play the de facto heel.
That is a testament to those involved in the match itself and in laying it out.
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United States Champion Bobby Lashley made his way to the ring, accompanied by Hurt Business teammates MVP, Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin, for his showdown with Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn.
Lashley dominated early, punishing Zayn with his power while his stablemates prevented the SmackDown star from escaping.
Citing the same vertigo he suffered at the hands of Lashley two years ago, Zayn begged off, only to deliver a cheap rollup for two. The Hurt Business, though, provided a momentary distraction and Lashley resumed his beating of Zayn.
The IC champ sought to make the most of an opening with a Helluva Kick but Lashley grabbed hold of him and obliterated him with a spinebuster. Zayn tried to escape but MVP tripped him and rolled him back into the ring, where Lashley applied the Hurt Lock for the submission win.
Lashley defeated Zayn
This was a really fun take on a squash match.
Lashley obliterated Zayn for the most part but by the end of the match, the IC champion had a logical complaint about the interference of MVP and Co.
For a match that was overlooked heading into the show, this was much more harmless fun than expected and should make for the latest in Zayn’s conspiracy theorist character.