If there is anything that we never thought we’d see, it’s WWE NXT getting a win over WWE RAW & WWE SmackDown Live at a Survivor Series event. In some ways, it did make sense for them to do so considering talent is on the same level or better than the red and blue brands. However, this is a brand where Vince McMahon has vastly overlooked everything and even changed talent the moment they arrived at either one of those other brands when they were “called up.”
Vince McMahon has had this weird habit of hurting those from the black and gold even when they were fine beforehand. WWE NXT has proven to be the top brand in WWE among fans for years now. However, we knew at the end of the day that despite what Triple H and even Stephanie McMahon claimed about NXT, it would still be overlooked by Vince.
Things seem to have changed, but this very well could have occurred due to the recent changes that have happened in the world of professional wrestling. All Elite Wrestling (AEW) has been going head to head against WWE NXT for around 2 months now, with NXT only getting one TV Ratings win in that entire timeframe. Thus, one would assume that they needed to be given the rub by management eventually.
That now seems to be the case. What happened at WWE Survivor Series, and why is it so big? We’re glad you asked.
Going into this event, we were not aware that WWE planned to put three cruiserweights in a match all representing their respective brands. However, that did just that and had Kalisto (SmacDown) vs Akira Tozowa (RAW) and the NXT Cruiserweight Champion Lio Rush (NXT) battle it out. Rush managed to get out of this match the victor after hitting a huge frog splash at the right time.
However, no one is better at stealing victories away from possible winners than the Undisputed Era. This is why everyone felt Roderick Strong had a good shot to win his match if he managed to pick his moments. It was going to be a tough match regardless.
In this match, you had, of course, WWE NXT North American Champion Roddy Strong representing NXT as well as WWE United States Champion AJ Styles (RAW) and WWE Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura (SmackDown). Due to the two men that Strong had to face off with, many felt he had no chance in hell to win.
These men are former World Champions both in the WWE and outside of the company. However, Strong is a former ROH World Champion himself and has proven he can get it done against some of the best talents in WWE. The problem? The dude was just coming off of a brutal WARGAMES match where he started for his team.
Somehow, Strong got through it all and right as AJ Styles hit his Phenomenal Forearm to get the win, Strong stopped him before he made the cover and pinned Nakamura himself.
In total, Rush & Strong gave WWE NXT two victories in these few matches. This became much bigger later on.
The Strategic Mastery
At WWE NXT Takeover: WARGAMES, Mia Yim was attacked before the match took place and thus Rhea replaced her with Dakota Kai. Dakota’s best friend Tegan Nox was already on the team and Candice LaRae helped to round out the fourth spot.
Candice actually started the match for her team with Rhea following. Team Baszler, made up of the NXT Women’s Champion herself as well as Io Shirai, Bianca Belair, and NXT UK Women’s Champion Kay Lee Ray. Team Baszler already had an advantage on Team Rhea once Ripley joined. It would be three on two until someone from her team came in to help out.
Dakota Kai was the next up to come out. However, after all that she went through the last few months…she took this time to completely snap. She turned around and attacked her best friend Tegan, trying to further hurt her injured knee. Kai then walked out, leaving Rhea’s team down to 2 and Shayna with a 4 on 2 advantage.
Somehow, despite it all, Ripley’s team came out the victors in this brutal WARGAMES match. Although, it’s funny how the reversal of roles comes into play the following night. During the match at Survivor Series, Rhea’s team members Candice LaRae and Io Shirai were “injured.” Many could believe this due to their match the previous night against each other.
It turns out, they were uninjured and hiding in the back until near the end of the match where they returned to help Rhea Ripley get the win over RAW and SmackDown.
Ripley lost two teammates the previous night but randomly gained them back when she needed them the most, all to get NXT another win.
The Undisputedly Awesome Title Match
While every world title in WWE was on the line at Survivor Series last night, pretty much no one cared about the other two after the NXT Championship match Adam Cole put on with Pete Dunne. A little bit of backstory to this is that Dunne won a #1 Contender’s match at NXT Takeover: WARGAMES the same night that Adam Cole and the Undisputed Era had to actually be in a WARGAMES match.
Due to this, both were going to walk into Survivor Series a bit beaten up. However, Cole was clearly the worst of the two, having been on the receiving end of an Air Raid through tables from the top of the cage to end the WARGAMES match. Thus, Cole came in with injured ribs yet never let it stop him at all.
Dunne is a former NXT UK World Champion where he held the title for nearly two years, making him one of the most successful World Champions of the modern era with a longer reign than any Brock Lesnar, John Cena, or CM Punk title run. Clearly, Dunne gets it done in the ring and Cole had his work cut out for him.
The two battled it out in what many felt was the best match of the entire night. It was a 5-star classic that we cannot possibly recommend enough. While Adam Cole did retain his NXT Championship in this match, it was by the closest possible margin one could have. Dunne will likely get another shot at the title down the line for sure.
Going into the event, we knew who was on the SmackDown Men’s Survivor Series Team. It consisted of Roman Reigns, Baron Corbin, Shorty G, Mustafi Ali, and Braun Strowman. Meanwhile, the Raw Men’s Survivor Series Team consisted of Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, Ricochet, and Randy Orton.
We knew these two teams for weeks yet WWE NXT did not want to give away their team too early. On the day of the event, we found out it was going to include some heavy hitters from the brand. This includes Tomasso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Damien Priest, Matt Riddle, and NXT UK World Champion WALTER.
The surprise element worked out well for the team as they managed to get through the match quite well with only a few casualties early on. Since only Ciampa and Lee competed in WARGAMES, most of the team was fresh for NXT. However, it was not quite enough to help them overcome RAW and SmackDown.
Keith Lee did manage to get a big win over Seth Rollins to eliminate the red brand. Lee, the only remaining NXT talent in the match at the time, then had the chance to go one on one with SmackDown’s Roman Reigns. The two managed to get past some big moves the other hit on them. However, it was Roman who managed to get a big spear on Lee in order to help the blue brand add to the board.
SmackDown, at this point, had 2 wins while NXT still had 3 and RAW had 1.
Shooting The Horses
Shayna Baszler, the NXT Women’s Champion, obviously is the underdog in any match where you see “The Man” Becky Lynch and Bayley involved. It makes sense, especially with Lynch being the RAW Women’s Champion and Bayley being the SmackDown Women’s Champion. Both are as good as they have ever been, if not better.
Shayna is as dangerous as they come, which is likely why she has the most combined days as NXT Women’s Champion in history. She is a tough out, even for Lynch and Bayley. The women pulled out all the stops, trying to get a big win for their brand. While RAW was out of contention to win Survivor Series by this point, Bayley could get a win to help SmackDown tie with NXT.
Meanwhile, if Shayna could get the win, NXT would go up to 4 wins on the night. This would seal up NXT’s domination over the other brands. Yet it was a tall order for them. Despite it all, Shayna found a way to get rid of Lynch on the outside and put her infamous submission clutch on Bayley.
Although she did not want to give in, the former Hug Lifer had to and tapped out to give NXT a huge win. Shayna captured the 4th win for NXT.
It was shocking, as many never assumed Vince McMahon would let the black and gold go over the other brands. Especially when WWE NXT is not run by him but rather by his son-in-law, Triple H. It’ll surely be interesting to see how far NXT goes with this after their big brand war win.
What did you think of Survivor Series? Did NXT impress you?