2019 WWE Survivor Series Results & Review

Photo Credit – WWE.COM

The thirty-third annual Survivor Series emanated from the All-State Arena in Chicago, Illinois, with a new caveat added to the event’s brand supremacy theme. For the first time, NXT competed against Raw and SmackDown. There were several Interbrand matches along with three title matches that made for one of the better WWE pay-per-views of 2019.

WWE didn’t make the wrestlers wear those color-coded brand-specific t-shirts, which were lame. Adam Cole is the big winner here as his matches throughout this pay-per-view cycle exuded superstardom. It will be interesting to see what is in store for him in the next six months.

The match I was looking forward to the most was the Triple Threat encounter between NXT North American Champion Roderick Strong, U.S. Champion AJ Styles, and Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura. In some ways, this match was behind the eight ball before it began since it was never going to live up to the impossible expectations fans had considering the talent involved.

While it never got to that fifth gear, it got close as all three wrestlers worked well together. Several big spots got the tough Chicago crowd to come alive. Roderick Strong got the win when Styles hit the phenomenal forearm on Nakamura and Strong ran in, threw Styles out of the ring, and pinned Nakamura.

Adam Cole defeated Pete Dunne to retain the NXT Championship in what is unquestionably match of the night. This was their most high profile match to date. This match could have very easily been a significant misstep considering Vince McMahon usually doesn’t book NXT style matches on major WWE shows. Vince deserves credit for letting NXT shine by allowing them to do what they do best. I’d recommend going out of your way to see this one.

Team SmackDown won the Men’s Survivor Series Triple Threat Elimination Match when Roman Reigns pinned NXT’s Keith Lee to emerge as the sole survivor. I was concerned that NXT would get lost in the shuffle of the main roster star power of Raw and SmackDown.

One point of contention occurred right of the bat when WWE U.K. Champion WALTER, representing Team NXT, was eliminated in four minutes. The crowd hated this, and fans online were equally as upset. WALTER shined against both Bruan Strowman and Drew McIntyre until McIntyre hit WALTER with the Claymore Kick for the elimination.

Looking at this from a promoter’s lens, this was the first time seeing WALTER for a large part of the audience. Booking WALTER to run roughshod over McIntyre and Strowman was done with the idea of getting him over with the uninitiated before he was eliminated. However, it wasn’t enough as all everyone remembers is how quickly WALTER was pinned.

Tomasso Ciampa pinning Kevin Owens with a draping DDT, in front of Randy Orton, was funny because it is a move out of Orton’s playbook. Also, Orton never beats anyone with that move while Ciampa sealed the deal.

Seth Rollins’ next t-shirt should read, “How the mighty have fallen.” The once-popular superstar is now a pariah due to several Twitter faux pas over the past few months. While he didn’t say anything offensive, his comments have made him come off as a company kiss ass while WWE has been pushing Rollins as the cool lead babyface on television.

Photo Credit – WWE.COM

Keith Lee came off like a superstar in the final frame with Roman Reigns. In defeat, Reigns offered a fist bump out of respect to Lee, which spoke volumes. Typically, fans would have rejected the idea of the top guy giving props to an already popular wrestler.

However, Reigns has only extended his fist to members of The Shield. Lee getting such praise came off as a nice moment that suggests big things are in store for the former Texas A&M defensive end. At 6′ 2″, 320 lbs. and moves like a cat, Lee has the makings of a superstar.

Brocks Lesnar matches at Survivor Series have become an event unto itself. The past two years he tore the house down with smaller opponents in AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan. This year he wrestled the smallest of the small in Rey Mysterio.

The NO DQ stipulation was used well as the mammoth Lesnar threw Mysterio around like a ping-pong ball. Rey found an opening and walloped Lesnar at will with a lead pipe. Rey’s son Dominick got involved and looked as if he was going to throw the towel in. The father and son duo delivered a double 619 to Lesnar, which was fantastic.

Each also delivered an Eddie Guerrero style frog splash to Lesnar. Dominick got some serious height with his splash. Lesnar caught Rey coming off the top rope with an F-5 for the win. While the match was short, it was fun while it lasted and told a great story.

In the main event, NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Bazler defeated Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch and SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley. The finish saw Bazler submit Bayley with a rear-naked choke, giving NXT the overall win for the evening with four wins, two wins for SmackDown, and one win for Raw.

NXT’s involvement this year made for one of the better Survivor Series shows in some time. They added a fresh element to the overproduced “brand supremacy” theme and greatly improved the match quality. WWE booking NXT as the heel invaders worked against them, inadvertently making them the babyface underdogs that no one wanted to lose.

It was important for NXT to shine on its biggest stage to date, and their win over Raw and SmackDown could give them the rub needed to beat AEW, in the ratings, consistently going forward. WWE produced a fun show that elevated their most popular asset. I’d say mission accomplished.

 

Survivor Series Quick Results:

Photo Credit – WWE.COM
  1. Team NXT (Rhea Ripley, Io Shirai, Bianca Belair, Candice LeRae, and Toni Storm) def. Team SmackDown (Sasha Banks [c], Dana Brooke, Carmella, Lacey Evans, and Nikki Cross) and Team Raw (Charlotte Flair [c], Natalya, Asuka, Kairi Sane, and Sarah Logan)
  2. NXT North American Championship Roderick Strong defeated Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura and U.S. Champion AJ Styles
  3. Adam Cole pinned Pete Dunne to retain the NXT Championship
  4. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt def. Daniel Bryan to retain the WWE Universal Championship
  5. Team SmackDown (Roman Reigns, King Corbin, Shorty G, Mustafa Ali, and Braun Strowman) def. Team Raw (Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, Ricochet, Drew McIntyre, and Kevin Owens) and Team NXT (Tommaso Ciampa, Matt Riddle, Keith Lee, Damian Priest, and WALTER)
  6. Brock Lesnar defeated Rey Mysterio in a No Holds Barred, No Disqualification Match to retain the WWE Championship
  7. NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler defeated SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley and Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch

Leave Marko Stunt Alone

This past Wednesday on AEW Dynamite, Pentagon and Fenix defeated Marko Stunt and Jungle Boy in a match that has become as divisive as The Last Jedi. Some fans loved the match, and others hate it with a burning passion. However, those who dislike it are not upset because it was a bad match. Their anger stems from the participation of a 98-pound wrestler who stands at 5 foot 2 inches named Marko Stunt.

Marko Stunt didn’t do anything wrong or say anything offensive. His diminutive stature was such a turn off that many couldn’t suspend any modicum of disbelief in a professional wrestling match. Famed manager Jim Cornette echoed the sentiments of disapproval when he tweeted the following.

“The most embarrassingly rotten stinky tag match in history of wrestling just took place on #AEWDynamite & the Ding Dongs are now in 2nd place for worst alltime tag team”

In tag team wrestling, there are two wrestlers to a team and four wrestlers in total. Cornette has called foul on an entire team and match due to the presence of one fun-sized participant. The gist of the vitriol surrounds the notion that it was embarrassing to watch grown men act as if Marko could hurt them or kick out of their big moves.

Marko has been wrestling for four years. However, Wednesday night’s match on TNT was by far the most massive audience he’s performed in front of. 1,014,000 million people witnessed the pint-size grappler perform, and many deemed him too unbelievable for an unbelievable sport.

If you watch the match and look at it from solely a performance perspective, it was a great match, and Marko did his job well. Especially considering he was booked in the match on two hours’ notice as an injury replacement for Luchasaurus. However, when I watched the match with the narrative stakes involved, I was nervous because there were a few big moves where I wasn’t sure if Marko should have kicked out.

Marko worked the match as a hit and run underdog, who was pinned by Pentagon, which is how he should have been booked. Unfortunately, Marko’s stature will make it extremely difficult to overcome any carefully crafted booking. However, it’s not impossible.

Wrestling has always had smaller people inside the ropes. Some felt Bret Hart and Shawn Micheals were too small to be credible world champions when they first won their respective titles. People said Sean Waltman was too small to be taken seriously when he made his WWE debut in 1993 as the 1-2-3 Kid.

“How the hell is this guy gonna beat up anybody,” was my reaction when I saw Rey Mysterio walk down the aisle for the very first time. I ate my words once the bell rang as this amazing athlete proved that his talent was undeniable.

If you don’t like Marko Stunt as a performer, then you don’t like Marko Stunt as a performer. However, while not every super small person who is a wrestler can convey the intangibles to produce the ultimate underdog character that people love to cheer. Marko Stunt does that for those who like him.

In some ways, Marko being the anthesis of what a wrestler is supposed to look like is the evolution of professional wrestling. The industry is in the maiden voyage of a new era. New and up-and-coming talent is being featured. We’ve already seen the biggest of the big get starring roles right out of the gate simply because of their monstrous size, only to fail spectacularly.

Why not see what the smallest of the small has to offer?

NWA POWERRR: Old School Look with New School Energy

Over two years ago, when Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan bought the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), everyone wondered what could be possibly done with the brand. We’re long removed from the days when the NWA was the governing body of professional wrestling or even relevant within the industry.

The last twenty plus years saw the vestiges of the promotion attach itself to any independent promotion willing to pay a membership fee. Most obtained membership out of nostalgia for the once-mighty company where iconic names such as Lou Thez, Harley Race, and Ric Flair showcased their skills.

Last week, NWA debuted their new show on YouTube called POWERRR filmed in front of a live studio audience in Atlanta. The set design is a replica of the old Georgia Championship Wrestling cable television show on channel 17 (TBS).

Old school production graphics are used, similar Georgia show format, and they even used the old yellow NWA logo. If that’s not cool enough, the show has a worldwide air time on Tuesday at 6:05 EST. The: 05 start time was a distinguished hallmark of TBS programming for many years and most synonymous with wrestling. Unforgettable start time is an excellent piece of marketing, and it’s free.

Powerrr is a one-hour commercial-free show with a mixture of squash matches and competitive matches between stars. Promos occur at the studio podium after the match where current storylines and advanced and future angles and born. This is precisely how Georgia Championship Wrestling was formatted.

However, what makes Powerr different from other nostalgia acts is the show’s old school motif coupled with contemporary wrestling. This gives the show a new school energy that makes it feel fresh. Industry leader WWE has thrown basic wrestling storytelling by the wayside. The NWA is giving older fans what they’ve missed while providing younger fans with a version of wrestling they never knew they wanted.

What a difference two years makes. In 2017, WWE was the only wrestling promotion that could get a viable television deal. Jeff Jarrett and Tobey Keith couldn’t even get a tv deal. The belief within the television industry was that wrestling’s popularity is fading, and WWE is the only company that can do it on a large scale.

Today, WWE has three shows on television worth billions of dollars, and AEW is making waves on TNT. Billy Corgan might have picked the perfect time to debut Powerrr. The response to the show has been overwhelmingly positive. Hopefully, continued success can be parlayed into a television deal to coincide with the recent resurgence of wrestling’s popularity.

The first two episodes are posted down below. I highly recommend giving NWA Powerrr a close look. The second episode features a wrestler I’ve had the pleasure fo working with named Ashley Vox who wrestles the NWA Women’s Champion in a non-title match.

 

Dynamite Kid Passes Away

Tom “Dynamite Kid” Billington has passed away at 60 years old. Today is also Billington’s 60thbirthday. The cause of death is unknown at this time. He has had a litany of health problems and was confined to a wheelchair.
Most wrestling fans will remember Billington’s time in WWE as one half of the famed tag team The British Bulldogs alongside his real-life cousin Davey Boy Smith.
Diehard wrestling aficionados, however,  will remember Billington as one of the most influential in-ring workers of a generation, and perhaps, of all time. His famous series of matches in Japan with Tiger Mask (Sayama Satoru) revolutionized the industry and put jr. heavyweight or cruiserweight wrestling on the map.
When I got into internet tape trading, the best of Dynamite Kid compilations were a prerequisite for any collection. It was one of the first tapes I obtained. The utter brilliance that Billington exhibited in the ring was awe-inspiring on a level that may never be duplicated.
His jaw-dropping matches in Japan with Tiger Mask are to this day admired and studied by every independent wrestler looking to make it to the next level. Stu Hart’s Stampede Wrestling in Canada also produced many memorable Dynamite Kid matches.
Billington exuded intensity in all facets of his in-ring work. He ran over opponents with his brutal clotheslines, and his vertical snap suplexes set the standard for the popular maneuver. At 5′ 8″ and  228 lbs. Brit would glide in the air with his swan dive headbutt. 
Unfortunately, Billington’s career is as revered as it is cautionary. The constant high impact bumps and injuries that come with wrestling in such an aggressive style caught up with him and he became wheelchair bound in 1997.
Not one to shy away from controversy, Billington was known behind the scenes for being a bully and his callous ribs on fellow wrestlers. There will be many good and not so good things said and written about him over the next few days.

Pure Dynamite
, Billington’s autobiography is a sometimes grandiose, but brutally honest, account of his career and the wrestling business as a whole. Wrestlers naturally like to put themselves over. However, Billington admitted things about himself that others wouldn’t even think of talking about in a public forum.
For the initiated, Dynamite Kid is a true legend in professional wrestling. It’s a shame that he wrestled during a period where showmanship and size trumped wrestling ability at the box office.
Today, the tide is turning rapidly in the other direction as the technical, high flying, knockdown drag-out style of wrestling is highly attributed to Golborne, Lancashire, England resident, Tom Billington.

Trophies In Pro Wrestling

DevittSuperJuniors

In professional wrestling, championship belts are the benchmark for success. Those who wear fifteen pounds of gold and leather around their waist are either considered the best in the world, or at worst, the top two out of three.

Trophies in wrestling also award athletic achievement and recognize merit of a particular accomplishment such as winning a battle royal or tournament. Declaring an honor such as “best wrestling match” or “coolest finishing maneuver” also earns with the winning nominee a trophy.

In 2013, Prince Devitt (Finn Balor) won the Best of the Super Juniors tournament for the second time. BOSJ is held annually by New Japan Pro Wrestling and is a round robin style tournament featuring 18 wrestlers divided into two blocks. Devitt defeated Alex Shelly in the finals to take home the trophy deeming him the best junior heavyweight in the world.

My latest article at What Culture.com reviews some of the trophies in professional wrestling that either played an important part in a particular match or a wrestlers career. Click here to check out 10 Wrestling Trophies You Need To Know About.

Ten Greatest WWE Champions of All Time

The WWE Championship is the holy grail of professional wrestling. It’s the belt that every aspiring and current wrestler dreams of holding. Having this honor bestowed upon you means you are the best that this business has to offer.

Today, I will rank the top ten WWE Champions of all time.

To say this list was hard to compile would be a colossal understatement—42 wrestlers over 50 years made for several list changes. The thing to remember is that all lists of this type are subjective. You do the best you can with criteria that make sense to you.

For example, Money is extremely important, but being a big draw doesn’t define a wrestler. Iron Man 3 made over four hundred million at the box office, but it’s not winning Best Picture at the Oscars.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Continue reading “Ten Greatest WWE Champions of All Time”

Jake “The Snake” Roberts is going into the WWE Hall of Fame

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                                  Originally written for and published by Camel Clutch Blog February 2014

Jake “The Snake” Roberts will be inducted into the 2014 class of the WWE Hall of Fame. Roberts’ trials and tribulations over the years are well documented and it’s inspiring to see that he has battled back from the point of no return. The Hall of Fame is an honor that is long overdue for the snake man, but I didn’t always think that way.

As a kid, I was the prototypical fan who booed every villain and cheered every hero. However, I was lukewarm about Jake Roberts. The DDT was cool and it was fun to see his pet snake Damien, but I didn’t believe he could beat up anyone. His feud with Andre the Giant going into WrestleMania V validated my belief. The only way Jake had a chance against Andre was to capitalize on the big man’s fear of snakes.

Fast forward twelve years later to 2000 and I’m training to become a professional wrestler at Slamtech: The Wrestling University. Learning ring psychology is a crucial element in putting a match together. Without it, there is no story being told and it’s just fake fighting.

My instructor, “Brutal” Bob Evans would list various wrestlers whom we were to find tape on and study what they did in the ring. Jake Roberts was one of them. I scoffed at the notion. Of course, I did this mentally because doing so out loud would have resulted in a plethora of Hindu Squats.

I got home from training that evening and watched Best of The WWF Volume 8. The main event featured Jake Roberts vs. Ricky Steamboat. The match was fantastic, but what I was blown away with is how Roberts performed. He played the crowd like a fiddle without throwing a single punch. The way he responded and retaliated to everything Steamboat did was simply brilliant. I was in awe and humbled by his mastery of the craft.

As good as his work in the ring was, his promos were a on another plane. Jake Roberts’ interview before his match with Ted DiBiase at WrestleMania VI will go down as one of the best ever. He didn’t yell and scream and simply promise revenge. He instantly brought their feud to a whole new level by stating

“Everything you stand for is on the line.” DiBiase’s hubris was the Million Dollar championship and losing it would have been his undoing. Of course, the nine-year-old me couldn’t appreciate the brilliance at hand, but the twenty-one-year-old me marveled at his genius. He spoke softly and carried a big stick as he lowered his voice so people would have to open their ears and really pay attention to his words.

Jake “The Snake” Roberts and the WWE Hall of Fame go together like peanut butter and jelly. He is one of the all times greats that is easily identifiable and a fair amount of non-wrestling fans are familiar with his character. Every move he executed in the ring and every word he uttered into a microphone meant something. Nothing was wasted and his performance shined because of it.

While his time in WWF is his most remembered, his stints as a heel in Mid-South Wrestling and in Mexico was some compelling stuff that is worth going out of your way to see. His body of work over the years is a perfect example of how beautiful professional wrestling can be when it’s done right.

Heyman Hustle Shines on Pay-Per-View

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Money in the Bank was an excellent event that pulled out all the stops and produced a great moment when Paul Heyman blindsided CM Punk with a ladder and cost him the MITB briefcase. These moments are normally reserved for Monday Night Raw. It’s not hard to understand why, considering that more people will always watch free Raw than a pay-per-view. Still, I would have bet any amount of money that the turn would have happened on Raw and build to a Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk match at Summer Slam.

Continue reading “Heyman Hustle Shines on Pay-Per-View”

Ring of Honor: 10th Anniversary Results and Thoughts

Ring of Honor 10th Anniversary iPPV 3/4/12    The Manhattan Center in New York City

Glory By Honor X Tag Team Rematch: The All Night Xpress (Rhett Titus & Kenny King) defeated Wrestling’s Greatest Tag Team (Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin) when King pinned Ben out of a Power Bomb sunset flip exchange.

Special Attraction: Mike Bennett defeated Homicide with a school boy after being distracted by Maria Kanellis and Brutal Bob Evans.

– ChiKara Grand Champion Eddie Kingston came out for s special interview and Kevin Kelly announced a co promotion event between RHO and ChiKara titled “Synergy” in Chicago. Kevin Steen came out and wanted to make an alliance with Kingston where they destroy both promotions and rebuild them in their own image.

Continue reading “Ring of Honor: 10th Anniversary Results and Thoughts”

Is Bobby Roode Bound for Glory?

(Posted on Gerweck.net)

This Sunday, Bobby Roode will headline TNA’s signature event, Bound for Glory. He is set to face Kurt Angle for the World Heavyweight title in what will be the most important match of his career. This is also one of the most important matches in the history of TNA because they have a rare opportunity to create a new star within the industry.

Continue reading “Is Bobby Roode Bound for Glory?”