Hi everyone. I’m here to discuss the finer points about the competition at Survivor Series and the recent success of WWE NXT.
Wow, what a Survivor Series! I knew it was going to be great. And although it can be argued the main event and a couple others could’ve been better, I’m confident it delivered the goods. But the thing that intrigued me the most at the end of the night, was just how dominant NXT was. Yeah, I expected them to do well, but to easily beat Raw & SmackDown? It doesn’t seem right. NXT was labelled a “developmental territory” earlier this year. Superstars were being promoted to the main roster for exposure and better pay; but all of that has fallen by the wayside.
What we’re seeing is NXT breaking the mold. Triple H’s NXT has shown everyone what WWE can be like when they go a different way about it. We’ve become so tired of the way WWE produces its main roster that NXT is like a breath of fresh air. As seen at Survivor Series, the fans were adamantly behind it because they know NXT is a more exciting product than anything Raw & SmackDown can dish out; and doing so with lesser stars and production staff
How Did The Brands Do?
First of all, let’s take a look at Raw’s night. Their only win was The Viking Raiders on the pre-show, so the fans (me included) who didn’t tune in early didn’t see Raw pick up any wins. And with SmackDown moving to FOX, you’d imagine WWE wanting to make the brand look strong to attract more viewers? But outside of Roman Reigns barely scraping past Keith Lee, the only other win was Bobby Roode & Dolph Ziggler on the pre-show.
And do you know what makes this harsher on Raw/SD talents? NXT had WarGames just the night before. Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair, Candice LeRae, Io Shirai, Shayna Baszler, The Undisputed Era, Tommaso Ciampa and Keith Lee participated in WarGames; yet most of them won (or came close) their matches despite Raw/SD talent having days to recover. In case you didn’t see women’s WarGames, Rhea Ripley pumphandle dropped Shayna down (very) hard on to some chairs and the champion needed medical tape for her back. And Baszler still won the main event clean… without any help from her Horsewomen buddies.
I was expecting the scoring to be closer, with perhaps SmackDown getting the win in the main event to earn the bragging rights. But going in to the last match… we already knew NXT was winning or it’d be a draw. And perhaps the most ironic thing was Becky Lynch “standing tall” by being a sore loser. She towered over the other women’s champions after Raw had a terrible night, and what does that tell us? Does it tell us that Raw has value? Or does it tells us Raw has a bunch of sore losers which she represents?
Wednesday Night War Implications
The elephant in the room is AEW, and I’m sorry but it has to be mentioned. It’s understandable from a business standpoint to make NXT equal; they want to draw more viewers to challenge AEW in the Wednesday Night War. Survivor Series was like another glorified advertisement for NXT. It’ll be interesting to find out if the ratings will increase to the point it can succeed without Raw/SmackDown crossovers. Without the recent invasion, it’s difficult to imagine NXT making their mark last week.
AEW should be 8-0, but WWE knows it needs to do much more if it wants NXT to succeed in the long term. Survivor Series and everything leading up to it has helped the black & gold brand tremendously, and it’s up to AEW to take Dynamite to another level so they don’t fall in to a deadly pattern.
Did NXT dominate too much at Survivor Series? I believe they did. Raw was touted as WWE’s flagship show earlier this year, yet it’s been relegated to the third brand with three hours to endure each week. And then we have SmackDown. It had so much hype going in to the FOX deal, but it’s been overshadowed by a brand which hasn’t enjoyed a major network for six months. And what’s crazy is that most the Raw & SD talents got noticed because of their time in NXT… but now they are suffering for not being part of it. We see Kevin Owens praising it as the #1 brand despite being a Raw superstar, and you can tell he means every word.
The worry going forward is that NXT will lose its identity now WWE considers it an equal. On the other side of the coin, NXT’s newly found sovereignty could persuade Vince McMahon to change the other brands to follow the same formula. WWE has an incredible amount of talent, so it’s not like it can’t be done, but it’s more about changing Vince McMahon’s mindset. After all, we know he’s competitive and it probably makes his eye twitch every time he sees AEW beating NXT. In the end, Survivor Series was about changing Vince McMahon’s way of promoting. It also helped put NXT on the map so they can take it to AEW; without being held by the parent’s hand.
How do you feel about Survivor Series’ booking? Do you think it was too much? Was it just right? Will NXT ever dominate like that again? Or was it a one-off? And how can Raw recover from being thrashed so conclusively? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading!