This episode simply did a great job at giving the fans a reason to be excited for Survivor Series. As the show progressed, it very much felt as if Smackdown was the more united brand.
For the amount they hyped up this episode, you think Shane and Bryan would’ve at least wore suits (no Shane’s blazer-jean combo doesn’t count as a suit). Nitpicking aside, it was brilliant how they didn’t bother wasting time with some drawn out speech. In a way, that gave this episode more of a grand feeling.
Miz vs Dolph Ziggler
As a huge Walking Dead fan boy, I completely marked out when Mauro said “They’re as unpopular as Negan and Lucille in Alexandria” when referring to Miz and Maryse.
For those that noticed, the Survivor Series graphic for the IC title match includes both Miz and Ziggler, which was actually a subtle way to make this match unpredictable.I’m not sure if that was done on purpose, but it definitely had me guessing. Along with that, most of the match was pretty even in terms of pacing and that added to the unpredictability.
Considering how the contest only lasted 12 minutes from the start of the bell, I believe these two made the most of it. At the same time, it almost felt shorter than that, because the intensity never exactly died down. Instead of spamming near falls, both men knew exactly when to use them, and that aspect made this nail biting.
Since the Miz is a heel, I don’t mind that the Spirit Squad got slightly involved. With that being said, I can’t say I was impressed with how Maryse just reversed Ziggler’s inside cradle. The push she gave Dolph looked incredibly soft, meaning it wasn’t realistic one bit. It would’ve been better if the Miz just picked up the clean win minutes after the Spirit Squad threw Dolph off of his game.
Oney Lorcan vs Kalisto
Damn, I forgot how much I missed Kalisto and his entrance. I’m glad he was given this match, which resulted in a quick win. This is exactly what Kendrick’s match should’ve been on Raw. Based on the booking of both go home shows, I’d actually say Kalisto is heading into that title match with more momentum.
King Booker/Tag Team Division Promo
It wouldn’t be a special edition of Smackdown if King Booker didn’t make an appearance. Once Booker showed up, I didn’t think the promo could get any better, but than Brezango interrupted his motivational speech.
Nikki Bella vs Carmella
Holy sh*t, was Mauro ever on top of his pop culture references on this show. I spit my beer out in laughter once he called Nikki “a real crowd pleaser”.
I actually wrote an entire paragraph about this match and how pointless before it was over. Well, that wasn’t the case. It needed to happen in order for the two competing wrestlers to get on the same page. The match itself was rather bland, but it picked up once Charlotte showed up. Once both teams made their way out and began brawling, I was completely sold on everything about this. The intensity was high, the dislike felt real, and it was great to see that each team had a sense of unity. This shows the fans that these women truly care about their respective brands.
Talking Smack: The Smackdown women’s team was highly entertaining on Talking Smack. Not only did they feel united, each of them sounded extremely natural.
Survivor Series Tag Team vs Rest of the Tag Division
It wasn’t until this match that I realized how many tag teams were on Smackdown. This 16 man tag match, was extremely crowded, and I imagine that’s exactly how the 20 man tag will feel. Let’s just say it was difficult to follow the action, or even care for it. However, I did notice that the Smackdown tag teams were the only ones that haven’t shown any signs of internal conflict, which is pretty neat.
Cutting Edge w/Raw Survivor Series Men’s Team
As someone that idolized Edge growing up, it was great to see that he grew his hair and beard back out. It almost felt like he was still a member of the active roster. Instead of just being a bland returning legend, it was awesome that he used this as an opportunity to tell the fans where his allegiance lies. That made this appearance feel more special.
I can’t get over the amount of chemistry that exists within team Smackdown. I’d go as far to say that Styles-Ambrose-Ellsworth is just as entertaining as Owens-Jericho. Watching Styles’ disgust with James in this segment was beautiful.
Apart from Edge, nobody was as synonymous with Smackdown as much as the Undertaker, so it was fitting for him to make his way out during this promo. Once he started talking, did anybody else guess that he would take Shane’s spot on Team Smackdown? He surely made it seem that way when he said he was back(glad Bryan brought it up on Talking Smack). Either way, this wasn’t as eventful as the finish on Raw, but it was a good use of mixing legends with current day wrestlers.
Raw was a decent, but this was much better as go home show. The Smackdown writers found a way to make each segment feel different. Raw very much explored one theme, while this show explored multiple themes. Also, this show simply flowed better. The low point was the 16 man tag, while the high point was the women’s brawl. Overall, I give this show an 8/10.