The added twist of NXT being presented on an even playing field as Raw and SmackDown left Sunday's Survivor Series pay-per-view with a fresh feel as one of WWE four major annual shows. If WWE accomplished one thing at the end of the day following a lengthy show with its All-Star Game format of dream matches, it told the world that the former "developmental brand" is indeed ready for prime time.
Not only did NXT win the weekend thanks to Saturday's outstanding TakeOver War Games 3 card, the strong booking it received one night later was only topped by the in-ring performances produced. This was WWE going all-in on its future by putting over its beloved third brand so hard, and the result was a memorable show with no shortage of good matches from start to finish.
What went down Sunday night in Chicago? CBS Sports was with you the entire way Sunday updating this story with results, analysis and highlights from the show. Subscribe to our podcast -- State of Combat with Brian Campbell -- and listen to our instant analysis of WWE Survivor Series below.
2019 WWE Survivor Series results, grades
Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode (SD) win the Tag Team Battle Royal [Kickoff Show]: NXT was the first brand eliminated, leaving two teams each from Raw and SmackDown. Street Profits then eliminated Revival to give Raw a 2-1 advantage. The OC ate a Zig-Zag and superkick from Ziggler, leaving his team with Roode and the Street Profits remaining. Angelo Dawkins dodged a superkick that landed on Roode and knocked him through the middle rope, gbut as Montez Ford went for a frog splash, Roode pushed him off. Luckily, Ford landed on the ring apron. But just as he landed the frog splash on Ziggler, Roode ran into the ring to toss Ford over the top rope. Nothing spectacular here but entertaining enough with the right two teams there in the end. Grade: C | Order of elimination: Forgotten Sons (NXT), Lucha House Party (SD), Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins (Raw), Imperium (NXT), Heavy Machinery (SD), Breezango (NXT), Revival (SD), The OC (Raw), Street Profits (Raw)
Cruiserweight Championship -- Lio Rush (NXT) [c] def. Kalisto (SD) via pinfall and Akira Tozawa (Raw) to retain the title [Kickoff Show]: Rush put NXT on the scoreboard with this win, which featured an expected amount of high spots and car-wreck energy despite the fact that the crowd never quite got fully invested. Rush delivered the spot of the match when he landed an insane double Spanish Fly off the top rope. The finish came after Kalisto hit Tozawa with Salida del Sol in the center of the ring just as an opportunistic Rush frog splashed Kalisto with the Final Hour from the top rope to steal the pin. Grade: B
Tag Team Champions -- Viking Raiders (Raw) def. Undisputed Era (NXT) via pinfall and New Day (SD) [Kickoff Show]: The Viking Raiders -- and in particular, the athleticism of the big man Ivar -- were given the showcase treatment in this high-energy match that put Raw on the board. Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish targeted Kofi Kingston's left knee throughout and ultimately took him out of the match completely after hitting a Total Elimination outside the ring. After the Raiders did the same to Big E on a tandem springboard German suplex, it came down to two teams. The size of Erik and Ivar won out as they combined for a Viking Experience that saw O'Reilly slammed onto Fish before Ivar recorded the pinfall. Grade: B
Women's Survivor Series -- Rhea Ripley (NXT) def. Sasha Banks (SD) via pinfall as NXT (Ripley, Candice LaRae, Io Shirai) survives: What was on pace to be a great piece of booking and a memorable singles duel to close the match between Banks and Ripley fell victim to a bit overcooking. LeRae and Shirai, bitter rivals on NXT, returned late after exiting due to injury and used everything from referee distraction to outright saving Ripley from submission to lift NXT to victory. After Shirai hit a springboard missile dropkick on Banks, Ripley followed with her Rip Tide finisher to get the pin. The ending not only produced a bit of confusion as to whether the late-arriving NXT stars were still in the match (per WWE social media, they were not eliminated), it added a somewhat unnecessary heel turn of sorts for the NXT team after being presented all match as underdog faces. Even with the smart booking of giving Ripley such a huge and deserved push as the NXT superstar who most benefited from the platform, a clean victory wouldn't have been out of place and could've announced even louder her long-term potential.
Still, the match was a fun affair with good booking to whittle the teams down. Late in the match, Charlotte Flair and Asuka turned on each other as teammates in an altercation that ended with Flair getting covered in green mist. Bianca Belair was also given plenty of shine for NXT with back-to-back pins. Grade: B+ | Order of elimination: SD's Nikki Cross via pinfall (Bianca Belair); Raw's Sarah Logan via pinfall (Belair); SD's Carmella via pinfall (Charlotte Flair); Raw's Kairi Sane via pinfall (Sasha Banks); SD's Dana Brooke via pinfall (Asuka); Raw's Asuka abandoned her team; Raw's Flair via pinfall (Lacey Evans); SD's Evans via pinfall (Natalya); NXT's Toni Storm via submission (Banks & Natalya); NXT's Belair via pinfall (Banks); Raw's Natalya via pinfall (Banks)
Which side is Kevin Owens on? Owens was confronted backstage by Seth Rollins, who asked which brand has his loyalty after Owens made a surprise appearance at NXT TakeOver: WarGames 3. In response, Owens said NXT does not need him and Raw desperately does, so he is team red all the way. He then reminded Rollins that he has turned his back on teammates before, too.
Midcard Champions -- Roderick Strong (NXT) def. Shinsuke Nakamura (SD) via pinfall and AJ Styles (Raw): On an already loaded card, this match wasn't given enough time in the end to reach its full potential from the standpoint of a star rating. Still, WWE chose a good opportunity to give Strong the kind of push he deserves as, legitimately, one of the best in-ring workers on this planet. The big spots were fun as Styles lifted Strong in an electric chair before Nakamura landed a kick off the top rope. Nakamura rallied late with a Kinshasa on Strong only for Styles to dive in and save the pin. It was Strong who laughed last, however, entering the ring after Styles hit a Phenomenal Forearm on Nakamura to push Styles out and steal the pin. Grade: B+
NXT Championship -- Adam Cole (c) def. Pete Dunne via pinfall to retain the title: Considering the damage they put themselves through just 24 hours earlier at NXT TakeOver, it's a wonder Dunne and Cole (in particular) were able to put on a match of this level. Yet given the platform of seeing the NXT championship defended on a WWE "main roster" PPV for the first time, the two superstars showed the world just how good the "NXT style" of work rate can be. Cole defended his title in the end and continued one of the most impressive championship reigns in NXT history from the standpoint of match quality following a mini classic.
The escalation of near falls down the stretch of this one were perfectly booked, as was the level of intensity as Dunne targeted Cole's injured elbow throughout only for the NXT champion to continue to rally. A Panama Sunrise on the apron from Cole might have been the best spot of the match. But after each wrestler kicked out of each other's secondary finishing moves, Cole reversed Dunne's attempt at the Bitter End into a huge Panama Sunrise and followed with a Last Shot for the pin. This one had all the tiny details that matter, including Cole stepping on Dunne's hand late to stop him from picking up his fallen mouthguard. It won't be long until Dunne is wearing this title; he was that good yet again in the same city he authored an instant NXT classic with Tyler Bate years earlier. Grade: A
Universal Championship -- "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt (c) def. Daniel Bryan via pinfall to retain the title: While Bryan was warming up in the locker room earlier, Miz stopped by and pleaded with him to "put a stop to 'The Fiend'" for his sake and their families' sake. Bryan simply responded, "Get out of my face." With the eerie red light of The Fiend providing the backdrop throughout, the story told in this match was a good one. After a long and deliberate beating from Wyatt to open the match, Bryan triggered a spirited rally by reconnecting with his fans through the "YES!" chant. The problem for Bryan was that a countless amount of missile dropkicks, YES! kicks and stomps to the face were unable to put Wyatt away. Bryan ultimately succumbed to the Mandible Claw, which forced his shoulders down for the 1-2-3 to end a match that was more of the hard-hitting Brock Lesnar variety than anything else. Grade: B-
Rey Mysterio mentally prepares: Though Mysterio reminisced that he had not fought Brock Lesnar in 15 years, he said he has changed recently. Showcasing a steel pipe, he promised to "masacre" Lesnar and take away the title, hoping that his son Dominick would be watching to see how you stand up to someone like Lesnar.
Men's Survivor Series Elimination -- Roman Reigns (SD) def. Keith Lee (NXT) via pinfall as the sole survivor for SD: This was a fairly epic encounter with multiple chapters and no shortage of teases toward future feuds. Although it was Reigns who stood tall in the end despite the implosion of his own team, this entire match was about putting NXT over as a legitimate third brand. Not only did Tommaso Ciampa make it to the final four, Lee eliminated Seth Rollins late with a Spirit Bomb and nearly did the same to Reigns after Lee inexplicably kicked out following two Superman punches and recorded a near fall of his own on Reigns. The finish came after Lee missed a moonsault and Reigns hit a spear for the 1-2-3, but the fist pump between Reigns and Lee after the match should have longterm momentum toward Lee's future push. The early highlight of the match was Matt Riddle rolling up Randy Orton from behind for a surprising pin and Orton responding with an RKO that led to Riddle's elimination. Consider that a future feud that fans can only hope gets a WrestleMania payoff
SmackDown's implosion started when Baron Corbin created an opening for his teammate Mustafa Ali's exit following an argument. Reigns responded by spearing Corbin before Ciampa recorded the pin. Rollins joined Reigns and Lee in the final three and teased cooperation with Reigns in a failed Shield power bomb attempt that was broken up by Lee. Grade: A- | Order of elimination: NXT's WALTER via pinfall (Drew McIntyre); SD's Shorty G via pinfall (Kevin Owens); Raw's Owens via pinfall (Tommaso Ciampa); NXT's Damian Priest via pinfall (Randy Orton); Raw's Orton via pinfall (Matt Riddle); NXT's Riddle via pinfall (Baron Corbin); SD's Braun Strowman via countout; Raw's Ricochet via pinfall (Corbin); SD's Mustafa Ali via pinfall (Seth Rollins); Raw's McIntyre via pinfall (Roman Reigns); SD's Corbin via pinfall (Tommaso Ciampa); NXT's Ciampa via pinfall (Rollins); Raw's Rollins via pinfall (Keith Lee)
WWE Championship -- Brock Lesnar (c) def. Rey Mysterio via pinfall to retain the title (No Holds Barred): The booking powers that be may have decided against giving the Chicago crowd a massive pop by putting the big belt onto the 44-year-old Mysterio's waist, but this was nothing short of sports entertainment at its best. In modern Lesnar fashion, it was a fast-paced car wreck featuring plenty of memorable moments packaged into a short run time. Mysterio rallied from an early beating, which included twice being thrown onto the announce table until Lesnar seemed ready to use Mysterio's lead pipe on him. That brought out Mysterio's son Dominick with a threat to throw in the towel as the match's drama instantly escalated. Low blows from Mysterio and his son on Lesnar changed the momentum. They teamed up for a tandem 619 which popped the crowd before both landed frog splashes. Lesnar was able to kick out of their tandem pin, however, shaking off chair and pipe shots in doing so. A German suplex removed Dominick from the equation and Lesnar caught Mysterio off the top rope into an F5 for the finish. This how you tell a fun little story without needing to drag back out Cain Velasquez to do so. Grade: B+
Women's Champions -- Shayna Baszler (NXT) def. Bayley (SD) via submission and Becky Lynch (Raw): From a booking standpoint, this was the right call to use this virtual All-Star Game match to put over Baszler's toughness and the NXT brand as a whole as the win lifted the yellow and black to an overall brand victory. It was the execution, however, that failed to live up to expectations given that this match was chosen to close show. Neither CM Punk or Ronda Rousey ultimately made a surprise run-in to end this one despite equal amounts of crowd chants and teases that had fan's booking minds working overtime. Instead, this turned out to be a rather anticlimactic match despite the creative finish of Baszler, after throwing Lynch over the announce table, reversing Bayley's elbow drop into a Kirifuda Clutch to produce the tap out.
The fatigued Chicago crowd had trouble staying enthused for this one, and the post-match antics of Lynch emerging from out of nowhere to beat down a celebrating Baszler by landing a double leg drop through the announce table failed to leave much of a mark. Giving an angry Lynch her heat back and allowing her to stand tall while talking trash felt out of place even if she hadn't been the one to tap out. She lost the match, as did Raw as a whole for the evening. Grade: C+
Roode & Ziggler, Men's SS
Rush, Women's SS, Strong, Baszler