Interesting probably isn't even the appropriate word to describe what went down at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto Sunday night, as WWE presented the 30th annual Survivor Series.
Since I have something to say about every match on the main portion of the event, we're going to change the format up a tad and go through each match in chronological order with my thoughts and analysis.
Before that, here are the match results from the kickoff:
- Kickoff match – TJ Perkins, Rich Swann & Noam Dar def. Tony Nese, Drew Gulak & Ariya Daivari
- Kickoff match – Kane def. Luke Harper
Women's Survivor Series – Team Raw (Charlotte, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax & Alicia Fox def. Team Smackdown Live (Becky Lynch, Natalya, Carmella, Naomi & Alexa Bliss)
This match actually fell a short of my expectations, but it did further some stories for each brand, which is a net positive in my mind.
Before the match event began, you had Carmella skipping to the ring looking guilty as ever. Conspicuous by her absence was Smackdown Live captain Nikki Bella. A few moments later, we found out why she was the victim of yet another sneak attack backstage, forcing coach Natalya to take her place.
It clearly looked like Carmella snuck up on Bella yet again and cost her a chance to wrestle that night, which should only further intensify their feud.
The other story that was told was Charlotte and Bayley being the survivors for Raw, but their victory celebration was short lived as Charlotte attacked her partner.
With Banks being eliminated surprisingly early, it looks like Raw is going full-steam ahead with Charlotte and Bayley as the next feud for the Raw Women's championship.
Other than those two items, there wasn't much to take away from this match from an in-ring standpoint. Like I said before, I expected more out of these women mostly because I know what they are capable of, but that does not mean what they produced was bad. It was still an enjoyable match.
WWE Intercontinental championship – The Miz def. Sami Zayn
This was another match that fell short of my expectations. I expected a little more drama to come into play between these two because they are so good at their respective roles.
Instead, we got a pretty standard match that could have easily taken place on Raw or Smackdown Live with yet another instance of The Miz using a shortcut to earn a victory.
There is nothing wrong with The Miz using an underhanded tactic to win again, but again, I expected a little bit more for pay-per-view.
Tag Team Survivor Series – Team Raw (Cesaro, Sheamus, Enzo Amore, Big Cass, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson & The New Day) def. Team Smackdown Live (Heath Slater, Rhyno, The Usos, American Alpha, The Hype Bros, & Breezango)
Since Raw won the women's match, I fully expected Smackdown Live to pick the win here to even up the series of Survivor Series matches.
I was wrong.
I also expected this to be a showcase of sorts for American Alpha.
I was wrong again.
Raw won and this was more of a showcase for Sheamus and Cesaro. Even in victory, we got to see them bicker with each other some more.
WWE Cruiserweight championship – The Brian Kendrick def. Kalisto via disqualification
It looks like the cruiserweight division is staying on Raw for now after Baron Corbin jumped into the ring to attack Kendrick and Kalisto, which forced the referee to end the match via disqualification.
Corbin's attack was revenge for Kalisto injuring his knee on Smackdown Live a couple of weeks ago, which forced him out of the men's Survivor Series with Shane McMahon as his replacement.
I still think the cruiserweight division has to wind up to Smackdown Live at some point with 205 Live being taped after the blue show, but I guess it wasn't meant to happen on this particular night.
Men's Survivor Series – Team Smackdown Live (Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose & Shane McMahon) def. Team Raw (Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho & Braun Strowman
This was easily the best of the three Survivor Series matches not only from an in-ring standpoint, but also from the number of stories that were told.
Let's start with James Ellsworth. Yes, Smackdown Live's mascot. Ellsworth may have been a mascot, but he was partially responsible for Strowman being eliminated from the match after he prevented him from getting back into the ring, which caused Strowman to be counted out.
Ellsworth did a good deed for Smackdown Live, but paid dearly for it, as Strowman tossed him from the stage to some staging equipment below.
I guess Ellsworth's story has now come full circle, as the match that started this miraculous for him was against Strowman.
Next up is McMahon. He did a lot, including driving an elbow through Strowman while his body was strewn on the announce table, and his body also paid for it. McMahon was tossed around from one side of the ring to the next, as he should have, but the wrestlers didn't take it easy on him, especially Reigns.
After performing one of his signature death-defying move to Strowman, McMahon decided to double down by going coast-to-coast on Reigns. This was a bad idea in storyline and in reality, as Reigns was ready. McMahon was not.
McMahon jumped off the top rope and was met by a spear. The spear did not hurt McMahon. However, the force of him being driven into the ground legitimately did, as he was knocked out in the ring.
McMahon had look in his eyes as if he was miles away. The referee deemed him too injured to continue, which signaled his elimination.
McMahon performing awe-inspiring stunts is his calling card, but there is a reason why they are called high-risk maneuvers, especially for a 46-year-old that does not have an athletic background despite being in very good shape for his age.
McMahon's children were in the front row and were actually consoled by Orton while WWE's medical personnel tended to him. I guess Orton's real-life instincts as a father took over, but it was another reminder that McMahon probably should be staying from spots like that.
The next story is Ambrose and Styles, who despite working well together, couldn't sit their egos long enough and eventually fought each other in the middle of the match.
Their first scrap led to Ambrose getting power slammed and eliminated by Strowman, but that wasn't the last we saw of him. Ambrose marched to the ring later in the match and attacked Styles again, which actually got him booed by the Toronto fans.
They were not booing for long, as Ambrose's return allowed for a brief reunion of The Shield. Security guards were dragging Ambrose out of the arena, but Reigns and Rollins decided to dispatch of the security force and help Ambrose destroy Styles.
The trio cleared off one of the announce tables and hoisted Styles up for their patented triple power bomb. Rollins rolled Styles back into the ring and pinned him.
While one part of Smackdown Live's team imploded, another part of it grew stronger in Wyatt and Orton, as they were the two remaining for Smackdown Live's victory.
This came after Reigns attempted to hit Wyatt with a spear, but Orton shoved him out of the way and took the proverbial bullet. Wyatt immediately jumped on Reigns and hit him with sister Abigail to clinch the win.
That moment was probably the best part of the story between Wyatt and Orton thus far. Even Luke Harper, who has been a skeptic of Orton from the very beginning, was satisfied.
The final important thing to remember about this match was the List of Jericho being damaged at the hands of Jericho's best friend Owens.
Owens lost his cool and hit a member of Smackdown Live with the list, which forced the official to disqualify him. Worse than that was that the List of Jericho was all over the place, as papers were scattered around the ring.
Jericho was distraught by this and scrambled to reassemble its contents. However, his lapse in concentration caused him to get eliminated, but not before being visibly upset at Owens.
We have seen little hints at tension between Owens and Jericho in the past, but messing with the List of Jericho may cause a permanent crack in the friendship. Owens stepped over the line Sunday. There are some things you simply you can't come back from.
Goldberg def. Brock Lesnar
After all of the buildup, after all of the hype I fully expected Goldberg and Lesnar to go out there and doing everything in their power to make up for the debacle that was their first match at WrestleMania 20.
Well, they did, and it only took a few minutes.
Goldberg shocked the world by running through Lesnar and beating him in surprisingly quick fashion. Wrestling fans, including myself, were shocked at this development.
Lesnar didn't even hit an offensive move. I mean, he did drive Goldberg into one of the turnbuckles, but that was it. Goldberg shoved him down, speared him, speared him again and hit him with the jackhammer.
Goldberg then pinned Lesnar and the match was over. Just like that. The match only lasted as long as it because Goldberg was milking the crowd reaction after each of his four moves.
The biggest positive from this was that it ended the show far ahead of schedule, which is a blessing. These four-hour marathon pay-per-views can take a lot of people. I know it does to me.
It obviously provided a shocking outcome that will get wrestling fans buzzing.
And I know wrestling fans aren't used to short matches in main events, but if you follow any combat sport, big fights sometimes end within seconds. Look at Mike Tyson or Ronda Rousey as prime examples.
Their fights were short, but boy were they entertaining.
Although the match barely lasted 60 seconds, there was a story being told. Lesnar clearly came into the match overconfident, which happens to fighters who go on dominant runs like the one he has been on.
Look at Anderson Silva as a prime example of that. Lesnar can use that moving forward if WWE books these two in a rematch.
Another story that was told was that Goldberg is not coming back for a one-shot deal. A victory that dominant has to be capitalized upon. That was all but confirmed after the event when Pro Wrestling Sheet reported that Goldberg will participate in the Royal Rumble in January.
Yes, the much-ballyhooed match was shorter than the time it took me to write this story and in the moment that felt like a bit of a letdown. However, in the grand scheme of things it will probably make a lot of sense.
There is more to come from this and WWE clearly has a story to tell. All we have to do is allow it to tell the story.