One of WWE's four biggest pay-per-views of the year went down Sunday night from Houston as Raw and SmackDown went head-to-head at Survivor Series. The massive 10-match card spanned six total hours with the two-hour kickoff show bleeding into the four-hour event.
And while three-plus hours of the event were nothing short of outstanding, the final 15 minutes or so left the viewer puzzled and confused as to not only the booking of the event but the future of WWE as a whole. Following an action-packed heavyweight match that is absolutely in the conversation for WWE match of the year, the men's Survivor Series elimination match took center stage with a mix of both young and veteran stars. However, the end of the match featured three of the four oldest performers in the ring and made little sense in terms of continuing important stories on either brand.
CBS Sports was with you live throughout Survivor Series, updating this post with results, grades and highlights from the big show. Check out our recap and grades below and keep scrolling for our live highlights from the event.
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2017 WWE Survivor Series recap, grades
Elias def. Matt Hardy via pinfall (Kickoff Show): Booked just hours before the start of the show -- and without any history between them to fuel it -- both superstars were given way too much time to tell a simplistic story. Hardy sold a shoulder injury throughout after having his arm slammed on to the ring apron. The finish saw Elias toss Hardy shoulder first into ring post before hitting his Drift Away finisher for the 1-2-3. Grade: C-
Cruiserweight Championship -- Enzo Amore (c) def. Kalisto via pinfall to retain the title (Kickoff Show): For a feud that has been so generic and underwhelming, this title match was par for the course. Here's to hoping this also marks the end of their program. Amore largely dominated using physicality as the larger man. Both superstars hung on to the top rope with their hand to avoid their opponent's finisher late. But after Amore sent Kalisto into an exposed part of the turnbuckle on the ring apron, he connected with his Jaw-Done-Zo finisher moments later for the victory. Grade: C
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn def. Breezango via pinfall: Strong promo from the heels before the match, explaining why the "under siege" angle of Raw versus SmackDown "wasn't their fight." They also called it a "disgrace" being booked into a last-minute kickoff show match against "two clowns like Breezango." Were they planting seeds for an appearance later tonight? The match was largely pedestrian until a late hot tag to Fandango. But his rally was halted when he missed a Last Dance from the top rope as Owens pulled Zayn under the ropes to avoid it. KO then tagged himself in and connected with a pop-up power bomb for the finish. Grade: C+
The Shield of Raw def. The New Day of SD via pinfall (Raw leads 1-0): That's how you set the tone for a major pay-per-view. Action, intensity and plenty of big names made this six-man tag team match a virtual All-Star game. It was clunky at times but a series of memorable high spots certainly made up for it. The drama built properly over time and seemed to reach a new level when Xavier Woods dove in to save Kofi Kingston from a pin after he ate consecutive finishers from Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose.
Chaos continued from there both in and out of the ring. Big E saved Woods from a triple power bomb attempt from The Shield. The New Day then hit a creative spot on Ambrose as Big E sat on Woods' shoulders and Kofi leaped over both of them from the top rope for a splash before Big E did the same (forcing Reigns to break up the pin). But the match closed with Kingston falling victim to the numbers game as The Shield raised him up for their patented power bomb, with all three members leaping from the second rope, to get the 1-2-3. Great finish to a fun match. Grade: B+
Survivor Series -- Asuka, Alicia Fox, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax & Balyley of Raw def. Becky Lynch, Naomi, Carmella, Tamina & Natalya of SD (Raw leads 2-0): Anyone who had issue with the underwhelming nature of Asuka's main roster debut in recent months, the unbeaten former NXT champion was booked to be a star in this one. Asuka was the sole survivor, rallying from behind against both Tamina Snuka and Natalya to close the match with a pair of Asuka Locks. While the build to get there wasn't perfect, the energy was strong and the finish certainly made it worth it.
Neither brand had a larger lead than the 4-2 advantage SmackDown had when Naomi pinned Fox (during a botched spot in which the referee rang the bell despite there not being a three count). But that advantage was short lived as Banks instantly submitted Naomi from behind to pull Raw closer. Outside of Asuka, the MVP of the match could've gone to Snuka for her surprising run of offense. Not only did Snuka battle back to force a countout of Jax, she scored an early pinfall of Bayley with a Superfly splash (dedicated to her late father Jimmy Snuka) from the top rope. Snuka would miss her second splash attempt, however, late in the match. Asuka, who had previously pinned Carmella, instantly swooped to submit Tamina via armbar. With just Natalya left, Asuka reversed out of a Sharpshooter and combined a sit-down inverted suplex into the Asuka Lock to end the match. Grade: B
Order of elimination: Lynch-SD (by Bayley), Bayley-Raw (by Snuka), Jax-Raw (via countout), Fox-Raw (by Naomi), Naomi-SD (by Banks), Carmella-SD (by Asuka), Banks-Raw (by Natalya), Snuka-SD (by Asuka), Natalya-SD (by Asuka)
Midcard champs -- Baron Corbin of SD def. The Miz of Raw via pinfall (Raw leads 2-1): If his failed cash-in of the Money in the Bank contract ahead of Survivor Series was the low point in Corbin's build toward a potential main event run, this match was a definitive push in the other direction. In fact, from a booking standpoint, this may be the best Corbin has looked in a WWE ring. With Maryse seated in the front row and present for the first time since announcing her pregnancy, Corbin put over his diabolical side early by holding up Miz's face in front of her before punching it. He went on to sell a storyline left knee injury throughout the remainder of the match and battle back in almost babyface fashion, including stiff beatdowns of The Miztourage.
Late in the match, Corbin intercepted a running dropkick attempt in the corner by Miz to hit him with End of Days for the pin. But he closed by eliminating any thoughts of a face turn by grabbing the microphone and standing over Miz before saying, "Hey Miz, my hand went up and your mouth went close. And all you people in this audience and all you people watching at home, I just shut your mouth, too." Grade: B-
Tag team champs -- The Usos of SD def. Sheamus & Cesaro of Raw via pinfall (Tied 2-2): This one had sleeper potential to be match of the night, and the four participants didn't hold back from attempting to get it there. Creative double team spots and constant near falls became the norm as the drama continued to build in the second half. But the two teams saved the best for last with a spectacular finish. Cesaro sacrificed himself by pushing Sheamus out of the way to eat a double superkick from The Usos. But Sheamus was unable to rally, and after being dropped to his knees, he was hit with a double superkick of his own. With a running start, Jimmy tagged in Jey and instantly dove over the top rope to splash Cesaro on the floor. Jey then climbed to the top rope and connected with a splash on Sheamus for the pin. Grade: B+
Women's champs -- Charlotte Flair of SD def. Alexa Bliss of Raw via submission (SD leads 3-2): It might be too overzealous to call this a "dream match," especially in comparison to some of the other matches on the card. But Flair and Bliss, the only two women in WWE history to hold both the Raw and SmackDown titles, went out and performed as if they had been feuding for years. The lack of a proper build -- just five days thanks to Flair's late title victory on Tuesday -- didn't rob from how well they delivered. Outside of Asuka or maybe Sasha Banks, the two superstars went out and made a strong case that they are the two best female wrestlers in the company.
The chemistry was strong off the start as Flair and Bliss delivered a physical match in which both played their respective roles perfectly. Charlotte fought from underneath throughout as the babyface, shaking off storyline rib and face injuries. Bliss, meanwhile, was a textbook heel as a master of facial expressions, helped by her constant screaming at the referee. In place of a gluttony of big spots, the two focused largely on psychology and well-timed counter moves off of methodical beatings. Big near falls were also aplenty with Charlotte escaping defeat late after missing a moonsault. But Bliss' follow-up attempt of Twisted Bliss caught nothing but Charlotte's knees. After silently mouthing "you will never beat me," Charlotte hit a running kick to the face before forcing the tap out via her Figure Eight. Grade: B+
Heavyweight champs -- Brock Lesnar of Raw def. AJ Styles of SD via pinfall (Tied 3-3): Now that is what you call a "dream match." Relegated to co-main event status, Lesnar and Styles performed as if they were in the main event of WrestleMania. Just about everything was perfect from their timing, psychology and intensity. Styles also seemed to bring out a version of Lesnar in terms of his selling that we don't always see. For a one-off match thrown together as a gift for fans to pad the card, this was a best-case scenario in terms of how it delivered. The only issue comes down to whether Lesnar's knee injury was legit or not and whether it keeps him out of action.
As expected, Lesnar dominated the entire first half by throwing Styles around like a rag doll, dragging him by his hair and delivering a quad of German suplexes. Styles sold the suplexes so well, from one corner of the ring to the other, that one time he flipped head over heels. Lesnar shut down Styles' attempts to rally as the match perfectly told the "David versus Goliath" story until Styles finally turned the match around. A springboard forearm to the floor and another off the steps weakened Lesnar. Styles then hit a 450 splash in the ring for a near fall and a huge pop from the crowd.
That set up a sensational finish as Lensar briefly countered out of the Styles Clash only to have Styles reverse it into a Calf Crusher. With Lesnar beautifully selling the pain and the crowd at a fever pitch, Brock powered out by violently slamming Styles' head to the canvas five times. Lesnar then kicked out of the Phenomenal Forearm and caught Styles' second attempt at the move in mid-air before hitting an F5 for the pin. This wasn't as good as expected, it was even better. Grade: A
Survivor Series -- Triple H, Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Samoa Joe & Kurt Angle (Raw) def. Shane McMahon [c], Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode & John Cena (SD) via pinfall as Raw wins 4-3 overall: With so much talent in the ring and so many scenarios in play in terms of run-ins and spinoff storylines, it didn't seem conceivable that WWE could screw up the finish to this match. But despite a top-shelf undercard that built up to the main event and a solid start to the match, somehow, they did. In a move that was head-scratching at best, three of the final four remaining superstars were over the age of 46. The fourth was Strowman, who ended up being one of the two survivors in Raw's victory after being left with a 3-1 advantage to end the match. But how we got there was disappointing as Triple H sabotaged a member of his own team by hitting a Pedigree on Angle and pulling his brother-in-law, McMahon, onto him for the pin. Triple H followed by taking out Shane-O-Mac to give Raw the victory before Strowman went on a rampage.
Strowman threatened Triple H by cornering him and yelling, "If you ever try to cross me again, you will never play this game again. Do you hear me?!" Triple H attacked him from behind and fell victim to a pair of running powerslams after Strowman broke free from a Pedigree. The crowd was left stunned, forced to debate whether to be more angry at the inconceivable leaps of psychology or the fact that the top stars on each brand were booked out of the match so early.
While run-in's from Jason Jordan, Daniel Bryan and Kane never materialized, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens did emerge from the crowd to turn on their own brand midway through the match and attack McMahon. Both were fought off with a single chair, however, and an RKO on Owens from Orton. The big spots were few and far between in this match, save for a five-way suplex on Strowman through the announce table. The biggest problem overall was how much Triple H inserted himself into the match. He was at the center of some of the match's top moments early on when he tagged himself in to shorten an entertaining standoff between Balor and Nakamura to have his own with Shinsuke and then Roode. The moments were forced but still entertaining. The same can't be said for the finish, which was forced and nothing else.
Having Strowman as the last man standing at the end of the show and allowing him to look so strong throughout (he eliminated Nakamura and Roode in succession with running powerslams) was a smart move. But WWE dropped the ball by allowing the Triple H-Angle story to get such dominant play. The confusing psychology didn't play out as smart and instead was overthought. It also showcased WWE's larger issue with creating stars as it once again reached back to the past when things mattered most.
The interference of Zayn and Owens, arguably SmackDown's top two stars over the past few months, causing their own team the match was great booking. It was so good, in fact, it should've gone on last, leaving fans itching to find out what happens next. Instead, we got the all-too-predictable booking of authority figure Triple H once again reaching in to affect the outcome to his choosing. It's tired and stale and it robbed the company of what was on pace to be a contender for the best show of 2017. Grade: C
Order of elimination: Nakamura-SD (by Strowman), Roode-SD (by Strowman), Samoa Joe-Raw (by Cena), Cena-SD (by Angle), Balor-Raw (by Orton), Orton-SD (by Strowman), Angle-Raw (by McMahon), McMahon-SD (by Triple H)
2017 WWE Survivor Series highlights
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