11/18 WWE SURVIVOR SERIES KICKOFF SHOW REPORT: Heydorn’s report and analysis of PPV pre-show with tag team Survivor Series style match, and more

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


WWE EXTREME RULES KICKOFF SHOW REPORT
NOVEMBER 18, 2018
LOS ANGELES, CA
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK

Panel: The Coach, Jerry Lawler, Beth Phoenix, and David Otunga

-The pre-show began with Coach introducing the panelist. Each panelist ran down what they were looking forward to most at Survivor Series. Lawler was on his game in particular and said he had been “killing it” since he and Coach worked together last.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Is Lawler trying to stick it to Coach or something? That lined seemed out of the blue. On this panel, Jerry Lawler is the one of the things that is not like the other. 

-After the introductions, the panel ran down all of the Survivor Series matches with the panelists owning the verbiage behind each one. They also hyped that the tag team 5 on 5 Survivor Series style match would be taking place a little later on the kickoff show. When the match rundown ended, Coach plugged the WWE Network and said that if you sign up for Survivor Series, customers would get the December WWE PPV, TLC

-From there, Coach addressed all of the changes this week to the Survivor Series card. He briefly touched on what happened with Becky Lynch and then cued up a video detailing the events of SmackDown Live between Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles.

Heydorn’s Analysis: A really great video that highlighted the drama and emotion from Tuesday night.

-Out of the video, Coach asked the panel for their thoughts on what happened with Daniel Bryan on SmackDown Live. Lawler said that “evil was like diarrhea – eventually it’s going to come out.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Yep, that was a real line. Is WWE just messing with me now?

Beth Phoenix and David Otunga provided their analysis on Daniel Bryan next. From there, the panel discussed Bryan’s chances against Brock Lesnar. Lawler did rock, paper, scissors to decide and then chose Brock Lesnar as the winner of the match. Phoenix also picked Brock, but said that Daniel Bryan needed to find the evil again to try and get the win. Otunga also addressed the “evil” and chose Daniel Bryan as the winner.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Decent analysis there and a good setup to the match tonight. That said, the problem with it is that the announce team framed “evil” NOT as a bad quality. They framed it as an avenue to victory for Daniel Bryan. That isn’t going to get him booed as a heel.

-When the panel was finished discussing Lesnar vs. Bryan, they turned their attention to Becky Lynch. Coach cued up a highlight video that detailed the events of her appearance on Monday Night Raw this week with Ronda Rousey.

-From there, Alexa Bliss was shown backstage giving her team a pep talk. She said that SmackDown was willing to play dirty and that they would beat them at their own game. She said winning was not enough and that she wanted total humiliation. From there, Nia Jax asked Bliss if she saw what she did to Becky Lynch? Ruby Riott then brought up the sunglasses to Natalya and Nattie attacked her. The rest of the Raw team broke up the fight and the segment ended with Alexa Bliss telling both Nattie and Riott that if they can’t get along, they would be off the team.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Interesting turn of events. Maybe? Jax’s commentary was notable. With it, it appears WWE is doubling down on her actions and will use them to get Jax heat. 

-When the backstage segment finished, Coach asked Beth Phoenix what it was like on a team of five competitors. Otunga then chimed in a bit on his thoughts as well.

-A commercial aired for the WWE Network.

-Out of the commercial break, both Baron Corbin and Paige joined Jerry Lawler and the Coach on the panel. As they discussed their busy night, Lio Rush interuppted them with Bobby Lashley at his side. Rush called Lashley “art” and Bobby proceeded to flex. From there, Lashley did his “butt pose” as Rush arrogantly laughed. Coach then sarcastically thanked them for their appearance and moved on with the segment with both General Managers.

Heydorn’s Analysis: The entire panel looked uncomfortable during the pose. Just not getting the strategy with this. Both Rush and Lashley have more to give than just a silly pose. 

When Lashley left, Coach asked Paige and Corbin why they thought their brand would come out victorious once Survivor Series was all said and done. Paige called her team a family and Corbin countered by saying that winning wasn’t about family. He said that his team isn’t necessarily “family” but that they would put their differences aside to win. From there, Coach asked Paige about the remaining slot open on her SmackDown Women’s five on five team. Paige said they had options, but she would not reveal what they were so as not to tip off Corbin. Paige then addressed what happened with Becky Lynch and said that Charlotte was a suitable replacement. Corbin laughed that point off and said that nobody in the WWE could prepare for Ronda Rousey on less than a weeks notice. Coach then thanked both GM’s and plugged that their full preview for Rousey/Charlotte was forthcoming.

-A commercial aired for WWE Shop and WWE Survivor Series.

-After the commercial break, Coach cued up a video that detailed the story surrounding Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Another great hype video from WWE. Ideally, there would be a true story between Rousey and Charlotte for this match. That said, this video presented their story in the best way possible. Well done.

-When the video ended, the full panel discussed Becky choosing Charlotte to replace her against Ronda Rousey. Each member praised Becky Lynch for putting her differences with Charlotte aside in order to get the win for SmackDown.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Absolutely nothing “heel” about the way this panel is talking about Becky Lynch. Pretty telling.

The panel then debated what a win over Ronda Rousey would mean to Charlotte before discussing the social media feud between Lynch, Rousey, and Nia Jax throughout the week after Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live.

-When the social media discussion ended, Charlotte was interviewed backstage. She said addressed what happened on social media but dismissed it and said that tonight was about Raw vs. SmackDown. Charlotte said she was a reliable fill-in for Becky Lynch and said in winning against Ronda Rousey, she would prove to the world how good she is. From there, Charlotte said that at the end of the night, Ronda Rousey would bow down to the queen.

Heydorn’s Analysis: A straightforward promo, but one that the match needed. Of course, this belonged on Raw or SmackDown had timing allowed, but Charlotte framed what winning would mean for her. She didn’t lean on solely winning for SmackDown, but talked about what victory would do for her as well. Good stuff. 

-After the backstage promo with Charlotte, the panel made their pick for the match. Lawler chose Charlotte along with Beth Phoenix. Otunga disagreed and chose Ronda Rousey as the winner.

-A commercial aired for the Marine 6 featuring The Miz, Shawn Michaels, and Becky Lynch.

-Out of the commercial break, Naomi was giving her team a pep talk and said she would be team captain with Charlotte off the team. She told them to stay united and then told everyone to welcome the new member to their team. R-Truth walked in and the team rolled their eyes as Naomi promptly pointed out that Truth wasn’t a woman. From there, Naomi welcomed Mandy Rose as the fifth member. Rose then cut a promo and said she would put personal vendettas aside in order to win. The team looked worried, but went along with the choice.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Kind of a letdown if you had high expectations like I did. Probably my fault on that, but figured it was a good moment to introduce someone knew to the big stage. In looking at the storylines on SmackDown though, Rose more than makes sense.  


LISTEN TO PWTORCH’S “WRESTLING NIGHT IN AMERICA’S” POST-PPV PODCAST HOSTED BY GREG PARKS LAST NIGHT TAKING CALLS AND TALKING WITH ON-SITE CORRESPONDENT…

In this episode of Wrestling Night in America, PWTorch columnist Greg Parks breaks down, with callers, WWE Survivor Series from all angles. Included are calls on the final two matches and the emotion drawn from fans, Raw’s dominance over Smackdown, the lack of A.J. Styles, Dean Ambrose, and Randy Orton, plus an in-arena perspective from PWTorch.com contributor Frank Peteani, and more.

-On Tune In Radio HERE
-On Apple Podcasts HERE
-Or search “PWTorch” or “Pro Wrestling Torch” on your podcast app of choice


After the backstage encounter, the panel debated the choice of Mandy Rose as the fifth member of team SmackDown. From there, Coach cued up a hype video for the Buddy Murphy vs. Mustafa Ali cruiserweight championship match.

-Out of the video, 205 Live General Manager, Drake Maverick, joined the kickoff panel. Maverick discussed how proud he was of 205 Live and said that 205 Live was the most exciting hour of television. From there, Maverick said he couldn’t wait for his brand’s title match and said Ali vs. Murphy could steal the show. Coach then asked Drake Maverick about managing AOP and cued up footage of them defeating Seth Rollins to become tag team champions. Maverick said he promised AOP would be tag team champions and he was a man of his word. Maverick said that his team had destroyed everyone on Raw and that they would take care of business against The Bar as well. He said that The Bar was more interested in choreographing their entrance than winning.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Maverick fully dives in to is characters. Both characters contradict themselves a bit, but he still dives in to get them over. This promo is a great example of that passion and dedication. 

From there, Maverick dismissed the Big Show as part of the Bar and went back and forth with Jerry Lawler who disagreed with him. He then called himself the smartest man in the WWE before Coach wished him luck on Survivor Series.

-A commercial aired for WWE Survivor Series and Lars Sullivan.

-After the commercial break, Coach welcomed in Booker T as a new panel member. Booker replaced Lawler and after he was introduced, the panel ran down the Survivor Series card once again.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Smart way to start the second hour as it reset for folks who possibly didn’t see hour one of the kickoff show. 

From there, the panel discussed how team Raw and team SmackDown prepared for their respective matches. Coach then asked Booker about Daniel Bryan. He asked what Bryan could do to beat Brock Lesnar and Booker responded by saying not to overlook Bryan. He called the match a “pick-em”, but then said if he had to put money on the match, he’d choose Brock Lesnar. Coach then asked Beth Phoenix about Ronda Rousey. Phoenix said that Rousey has enough experience to beat anyone and that she’s seen it all in the fight game. Then, Coach threw the broadcast to Corey Graves, Tom Phillips, and Byron Saxton for the first Survivor Series style match-up of the night.

(1) New Day, Good Brothers, Sanity, & The Usos vs. The Revival, Lucha House Party, The Ascension, Bobby Roode and Chad Gable, & B-Team – 5 on 5 Raw vs. SmackDown Tag Team Survivor Series Match

New Day made their entrance first to a decent response from the LA audience. Woods took the mic when they got to the ring and hyped the Survivor Series format that pits Raw vs. SmackDown Live. Every time Woods mentioned Raw, the audience booed and each time they did, Woods said “Monday Night Raw” to get the audience to continue booing.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Wow. That’s quite the reaction for Monday Night Raw and not a good one. I know its brand vs. brand tonight, but the WWE fan base just booed the flagship show. 

From there, New Day introduced their team. The Good Brothers came out first and was followed by The Colons, Sanity, and The Usos. As the Usos walked to the ring, they welcomed Raw to the “SmackDown Penitentiary.”

Heydorn’s Analysis: New Day alluded to the Usos as the captains, but they really carried the segment and came off as more captain-esque. Obviously, not a huge deal, but worth noting.

After they got to the ring, the Raw team was introduced. In true Survivor Series fashion, team Raw and team SmackDown were each decked out in their red and blue shirts. After the Roode and Gable entrance, Gable said that team Raw would win the match. From there, Roode chimed in and said that their win would be Glorious.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Truly shocking right? 

Once all members of team Raw got in the ring, the bell rang, and the match began. Kalisto started things off for Raw and went toe to toe with Epico. Both men exchanged holds in the middle of the ring until Epico connected with a delayed vertical suplex on Kalisto. Epico then went for the first cover, but Kalisto kicked out. Out of the missed pin attempt, Kalisto tagged Dorado into the match. They hit some nice tandem offense on Epico and followed with a pin, but Epico kicked out as well. Eventually, Kalisto tagged back into the match and was cornered by the SmackDown team. For the first elimination, The Colons were eliminated by The Revival after a Shatter Machine.

The Colons Eliminated

After the elimination, Curtis Axel fought Karl Anderson. Axel cut the ring in half and battered on Anderson in the Raw corner. From there, Bo Dallas tagged into the match and worked to keep momentum. Dallas was then quickly rolled up by Anderson for the 1,2,3 pin.

B-Team Eliminated

Out of that elimination, Chad Gable and Big E both tagged into the match. The audience loved this potential confrontation, but it was cut short as Killian Dane tagged into the match. Dane dismantled Gable until Gable tagged into the match. As he did, Eric Young tagged in as well. From there, Gable and Roode hit their moonsault neckbreaker combo on Young before getting the 1,2,3 pin.

Sanity Eliminated

Right after that elimination, New Day and the Ascension were the legal teams. Xavier Woods represented New Day and was grounded by a side headlock. Eventually, Woods escaped the hold and decked Konnor with a stiff forearm to the face. From three, Woods tagged Big E into the match and lifted him on his shoulders. Woods then dropped Big E onto Konnor and Big E made the pin for the 1,2,3 elimination.

The Ascension Eliminated

When that elimination was over, the Lucha House Party hit the ring. They ran through their offense which included tandem springboard moonsaults onto the Good Brothers. From there, Gran Metalik connected with his springboard Senton and made the cover for the elimination.

Good Brothers Eliminated

Heydorn’s Analysis: The audience really reacted negatively to Gallows and Anderson leaving the match. Notable given all the tag team talent in the ring. 

Immediately after that elimination, Lince Dorado was pinned by the Usos which eliminated Lucha House Party.

Lucha House Party eliminated

Heydorn’s Analysis: Ugly bump by Dorado. He’ll be feeling that tomorrow morning.

From there, The Revival and New Day were the legal men in the match. Eventually, Woods made the hot tag to Big E and Big E cleared the ring with belly to belly suplexes. He then attempted his running splash, but was tripped up. Then, Chad Gable made a blind tag into the match and nailed Big E with a suplex. From there, Gable hit his rolling German suplex on Big E which was then transitioned into a Roode neckbreaker. Eventually, the action spilled to the outside of the ring. Big E nailed his running suicide dive spear and the action concluded with Roode flipping Gable over the top rope onto all of them. With Roode left in the ring, he was clocked with a superkick by Jey Uso. From there, Jey hit a jumping suicide dive onto all of the remaining combatants in the match. Then, with Jimmy Uso looking to dive off the top rope, Gable scaled the ring post with him and connected with a German Suplex all the way to the floor onto everyone in the match.

Heydorn’s Analysis: That’s some offense right there. Dangerous move for Gable, but certainly impressive. 

Finally, Big E caught Chad Gable to counter his moonsault and Woods hit him with the Up Up Down Down for the pin and elimination.

Roode and Gable Eliminated

Out of the pin, the Revival tagged into the match and were legal along with New Day. Eventually, the Revival connected with the Shatter Machine for the elimination.

New Day Eliminated

After that pin, the Revival and the Usos stared each other down in the middle of the ring. They then brawled as the audience cheered. The Revival took momentum, but it shifted once Jimmy Uso connected with a step up enziguri. Jimmy then climbed to the top rope for a move, but was stopped by Scott Dawson. From there, Dawson nailed Jimmy with a superplex and then Dash nailed him with a top rope splash. After, Dash made the cover, but Jey stopped the count. In the end, the Usos hit a flurry of superkicks on both Revival members. They then hit their own top rope splash and made the cover for the 1,2,3 win.

Revival Eliminated

WINNER: The Usos (SmackDown Live)

Heydorn’s Analysis: Good enough for me. The early part of the match was very much A to B in style, but the middle and end was innovative and unique. Fun start. 

-After the match, Alexa Bliss was interviewed. Bliss confirmed that she kicked Nattie and Ruby Riott off the team and welcomed Bayley and Sasha Banks as their replacements. Banks told Bliss that her and Bayley didn’t owe Bliss anything. She said that she remembered what they did to them last week and confirmed that after they beat SmackDown Live, they would come for each one.

Heydorn’s Analysis: See? Is that THAT hard? By just referencing their differences, Banks gave consistency to the story and didn’t look like a silly ol babyface. 

-When the segment with Bliss was over, the kickoff show panel returned. They ran through all of the Survivor Series matches again and then discussed the changes to the Raw women’s team. From there, they recapped Daniel Bryan vs. Brock Lesnar for the third time.

Heydorn’s Analysis: Lesnar vs. Bryan has been given the most time on this kickoff show. Could be a clue that its being primed for the main event slot. 

-From there, Coach cued up a recap video that highlighted Braun Strowman’s negotiation with Stephanie McMahon from Monday Night Raw this week. After the video, the panel debated whether or not Strowman could be a team player on team Raw this week.

-The show wrapped up with each panel member highlighting what they thought would be the talking points after Survivor Series was over. Booker T talked up team SmackDown, Otunga said Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey, and Beth Phoenix mentioned Charlotte.

-From there, the Coach wrapped the kickoff show as Alexa Bliss was shown pumping up her team and Naomi was shown talking up hers. Coach then said that women’s five on five would start the show as the kickoff portion of Survivor Series faded to black.

Heydorn’s Analysis: It was what a kickoff show is. Featured a decent match, hyped the matches, and moved on. Nothing more, nothing less.

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