Survivor Series 2020 was supposed to be centered around The Undertaker’s “Final Farewell,” but the WWE talent did all they could do to steal the show with a headliner that will be talked about for quite some time.
WWE Universal champion Roman Reigns received assistance from Jey Uso to steal one from WWE champion Drew McIntyre in an encounter that felt like it deserved a spot headlining WrestleMania. The hard-hitting encounter is certain to be discussed as one of the best pro wrestling matches of 2020. And while it was certainly a fantastic match, Survivor Series was packed with noteworthy showdowns that included the Street Profits defeating the New Day and Sasha Banks finally getting a victory over Asuka.
And, yes, The Undertaker bid the WWE that final farewell, with a Paul Bearer hologram to cap it off providing a nice touch. If this was indeed The Undertaker’s last ride, then it has been 30 years of memories fans will never forget.
A recap and match grades for Survivor Series, WWE’s annual November event:
Team Raw (AJ Styles, Braun Strowman, Keith Lee, Sheamus, Riddle) def. Team SmackDown (Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin, Jey Uso, Otis, Seth Rollins)
I’m not sure what this does for the “SmackDown” brand, but it absolutely got nerfed by Team Raw in the opening match. It all started with Rollins sacrificing himself to Sheamus for paternity leave, and it went downhill from there.
Owens handed out a bunch of stunners until Styles hit him with the Phenomenal Forearm and eliminated him. Riddle then got rid of Corbin and Strowman powerslammed Otis straight to hell. It left Uso all by himself, and for a moment it seemed as if there might be a new wrinkle in the Uso-Reigns storyline. Nope. Lee caught Uso out of the air and clobbered him with a Spirit Bomb to complete the sweep.
Despite all of the friction, Team Raw did its thing. But this match made very little sense playing out the way it did.
Street Profits def. The New Day
This was beautiful.
It’s amazing to think that The New Day are now the O.G.s in this match and it kind of, sort of felt like an anointment from one groundbreaking African-American tag team to another as the Street Profits went over clean on The New Day. The right team won; it doesn’t hurt The New Day and proves that the Street Profits are here to stay.
There were so many incredible moments in this match as the teams showed each other respect and worked their tails off. Seeing Montez Ford and Kofi Kingston standing across from each other was a goose bump-inducing moment of the present meeting the future. Everything was crisp; both sides got their offense in and nobody looked weak. Ford kicked out of a Midnight Hour that sent this match into another gear. Some more back-and-forth led to Ford nailing Kofi with a From the Heavens splash, but his injured ribs prevented him from pinning Kofi. The end came when Dawkins blind-tagged himself into the match and hoisted Xavier Woods on his shoulders for a devastating Blockbuster Destroyer.
This hit all the right notes.
Oh, and The New Day’s “Gears of War”-inspired walkout gear was incredible.
Bobby Lashley def. Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn’s greatness cannot be understated. He has fully embraced this heel role and ridden it brilliantly. He never really had a chance to beat Lashley, but he tried everything to weasel his way out of the match.
From feigning vertigo to sneak a pin to trying to bait the Hurt Business into hitting him for a DQ victory, he was excellent. Ultimately, there was nothing Zayn could do to escape the powerhouse known as Lashley and he succumbed to the full Nelson.
It wasn’t a very competitive match, but it sure was fun and told the right story.
Sasha Banks def. Asuka
This is going to come off as hyperbolic, but Asuka and Banks may be the Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart of women’s professional wrestling. They have never had the same match twice and they routinely deliver. This was no different.
It’s hard to put into words just how seamless these two are in the ring. From the reversals and transitions to Banks’ selling of Asuka’s offense, it just clicks. They gave us a little bit of everything here with Asuka countering a Banks Meteora attempt with a Codebreaker and Banks searching for numerous submission attempts. It all ended with a beautiful sequence of near falls and reversals that ended with Banks finally getting one over on Asuka.
Go out of your way to watch this.
These two aren’t done, not by a long shot. And we’re here for it.
Team Raw (Nia Jax, Lana, Shayna Baszler, Peyton Royce, Lacey Evans) def. Team SmackDown (Bayley, Natalya, Bianca Belair, Ruby Riott, Live Morgan)
There was only one way this match was going to finish after weeks of Lana getting beaten down by Jax and Baszler: She had to win. It was a stupid booking decision, but they were determined to get there. That ended up putting a stain on a solid match that gave us noteworthy moments and a Bianca Belair coming-out party.
It started with Royce’s stunning elimination of Bayley, but she didn’t last long as Natalya slapped on a Sharpshooter to get Royce to tap. Natalya then found herself on the wrong side of Evans’ Women’s Right. Baszler then eliminated Riott and Morgan eliminated Evans with a crucifix bomb. Jax plowed through Morgan and left Belair on her own against Jax, Baszler and Lana, who was told not to inject herself into the match.
The goofiness of Baszler being disqualified for choking out Belair too long didn’t make much sense, but it did lead to an awesome visual of Belair launching Jax into the WWE Universe.
Unfortunately, she couldn’t get back to the ring in time and both were counted out.
That meant, you guessed it, Lana won. That was a silly way to get there and it hurt the match.
Roman Reigns def. Drew McIntyre
This showdown was worthy of a WrestleMania main event as the current iterations of Reigns and McIntyre gave it a big-match feel. It didn’t disappoint in the slightest with a finish that didn’t hurt either champion.
It was the true definition of a hoss fight. The two gave it their all and tore the house down in arguably the best WWE match since the pandemic. WWE decided to put the WWE championship belt back on McIntyre just six days ahead of this match, and that proved to be the right move.
Reigns and McIntyre destroyed each other in a match that kept piling on the momentum as it progressed. The final stretch kicked off with McIntyre reversing a spear attempt into a kimura. Reigns escaped and then sent McIntyre crashing through the commentary table with a pair of vicious Samoan Drops. Reigns then speared McIntyre through the barricade on the outside for a near fall.
They kept pushing the limits as Reigns hit another spear for the nearest of near falls. Out of nowhere, McIntyre connected with the Claymore Kick, but Reigns flew into the referee and knocked him out of commission. Jey Uso soon arrived to make up for failing Reigns in the Survivor Series match earlier in the night, which led to a Reigns low blow, an Uso superkick, a Reigns Superman Punch and a guillotine that was cinched in until McIntyre passed out.
This was very, very well done on every level. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some consideration for there to be a rematch at some point. It was just that good and the interference ending helped more than hurt.