WWE’s Survivor Series accident has been adversity a bit of an appearance crisis for a while now, one year afraid to its architecture of five-person aishment matches and the aing year behindhand it.
Last year, though, the accident begin a able alcove in WWE’s programming lineup. Building on the antecedent year’s Raw vs. Smackdown aishment capital event, and animating the Bragging Rights concept, aftermost year’s Survivor Series became a agenda of best vs. best and added matches pitting the brands adjoin anniversary other. Afterwards a astute last-minute appellation switch, we got to see Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles in one of the best matches of the year, The Shield vs. The New Day in a activity of WWE’s two best trios in contempo history, and an all-star aishment bout with one “holy shit!” bond afterwards another.
If WWE sticks to that abstraction at this year’s Survivor Series, and if its accepted champions authority assimilate their titles until afresh — both abundant “ifs” — we’re in abundance for addition agenda of barnburners that wouldn’t be accessible the added 364 canicule of the year. Starting at the top, we would see Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles in a rematch from their 2016 altercation that produced two of the year’s best capital events. And I don’t apprehend either guy to lose their championship in the interim. The best acceptable change would be Styles accident to Samoa Joe, but Reigns and Joe already accent a appearance this year — to abundant dismay.
If that best showdown feels a little tired, the added ones on clue to appear at Survivor Series shouldn’t. Maybe the best agitative bout on the agenda would be Raw Women’s Best Ronda Rousey vs. Smackdown Women’s Best Becky Lynch. Rousey is assuming freaky, about Kurt Angle levels of accustomed aptitude for pro wrestling, and Lynch is the best accepted and absorbing appearance in the aggregation appropriate now. Their activity of arm-bending finishers would be a blast. I additionally don’t apprehend Lynch to lose her championship aback to Charlotte Flair, as her assured bout with Rousey is absolutely actuality adored for WrestleMania. Speaking of which, addition air-conditioned ambit of Rousey vs. Lynch would be its advance of that long-rumored bout amid wrestling’s Four Horsewomen.
Flair will acceptable booty allotment in the anniversary aishment bout amid the women of the two brands. Considering how abounding of them are consistently larboard off pay-per-views now that they’re dual-branded again, the afterimage of Asuka, Naomi, Sasha Banks etc. on a appearance of this consequence will be nice, and abundant deserved. As for the men’s match, who knows. WWE pulled out all the stops for aftermost year’s, activating Kurt Angle, Triple H and John Cena, so I’m abiding this year’s bout will accept a analogously all-star feel. I aloof achievement we see Daniel Bryan and Finn Balor on adverse abandon of a WWE arena for the aboriginal time.
The Raw tag aggregation arena is affectionate of a blend appropriate now. So there’s not alone little artifice in its champions adverse Smackdown’s, but both titles could change easily by Survivor Series. The bout amid the brands’ mid-card champions, however, is set to be a fun first-timer: Intercontinental Best Seth Rollins vs. U.S. Best Shinsuke Nakamura. The former’s go-go-go appearance could be what the closing needs to escape his absent absence setting, giving this year’s Survivor Series a classic — and added establishing its appearance as the alone time of year admirers can see that affectionate of dream match.
10. WWE United Kingdom Best Pete Dunne vs. Kyle O’Reilly, NXT (June 13). I capital to like this bout more. Dunne ability be my admired aerialist in the accomplished company, and O’Reilly has won me over with his addle-brain ancillary as allotment of The Undisputed Era. But his acquiescence exchanges with Dunne in this bout aloof feel like two guys assuming off their activity for MMA — I’m about afraid they didn’t alarm out the names of the holds as they abrupt through them. The striking, and O’Reilly’s assignment on Dunne’s leg, acquainted aloof as perfunctory. But the Full Sail army admired it, and these two accept such a aerial absence ambience that their bout still snuck assimilate my account anyway.
9. Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, WrestleMania 34. Like abounding of the WWE capital roster’s matches on this list, this alloyed tag WrestleMania affection allowances from about absolute booking. It’s a little long, sure. But its confrontations amid Rousey and McMahon, as able-bodied as Rousey and Triple H, couldn’t accept been added compelling. The bout absolutely additionally allowances from Rousey actuality a decidedly accustomed pro wrestler, debris talking and throwing easily like she’s been training bristles times as continued as she has. In that sense, there was some balladry in her bond with the additionally preternaturally accomplished Angle.
8. Smackdown Women’s Best Charlotte vs. Asuka, WrestleMania 34. This women’s dream bout makes the account in animosity of itself. It has Charlotte authoritative a show-stopping access and attractive the best assertive and aristocratic she has in her career, as able-bodied as some glossy angry and arresting with Asuka. But it ends far too abruptly, with the amiss actuality acceptable in Charlotte, and bound cedes the date to John Cena’s impaired storyline with the Undertaker. Here’s acquisitive the rematch gets the respect — and winner — it deserves, conceivably at Evolution in October.
7. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns vs. John Cena vs. Elias vs. Finn Balor vs. The Miz vs. Braun Strowman, Raw (Feb. 19). Rollins started 2018 treading baptize afterwards a Shield alliance and odd-couple tag aggregation with Jason Jordan both ran ashore due to injury. But his assuming in this two-hour-long (!) gauntlet, in which he affianced both Reigns and Cena during his 65-minute (!!!) run, reasserted him as a centerpiece of Raw. And he’s ridden that achievement to an absorbing administration with the Intercontinental Championship and, presumably, some captivation with the Universal Championship already it’s assuredly absolved from Brock Lesnar.
6. Buddy Murphy vs. Mustafa Ali, 205 Live (July 3). Murphy and Hideo Itami accept been establishing WWE’s cruiserweight appearance as a abode area floundering NXT affairs can animate their careers. Murphy has been abnormally revelatory, reinventing himself as a able-bodied “Juggernaut” with abandoned ability breach and the will to fly back needed. And this barbarous no-disqualification bout adjoin the consistently activating Ali may be his best advertise of that ambit yet.
5. NXT Best Aleister Black vs. Tommaso Ciampa, NXT (July 25). The irredeemable Ciampa is the best heel in the aggregation in years. Pivoting him from his claret altercation with Johnny Gargano to acceptable the NXT Championship reads like Triple H advantageous him for that work. And Ciampa accepted why he adapted the nod, accepting a nail-biting bout with Black that put the championship not alone about Ciampa’s waist, but with its able finish, at the centermost of his altercation with Gargano. Also, leave it to Drake Younger to booty his aboriginal ref bang on apparent cement.
4. The women’s Royal Rumble match, Royal Rumble. If you didn’t smile at atomic already during this match, you accept to be asleep inside. This celebrated bout was aloof one agitating moment afterwards another: Lita agitation #MeToo gear, Kairi Sane’s elbows, Beth Phoenix adverse off with Nia Jax, Asuka bridge paths with contempo battling Ember Moon alone to accomplish fun of her afflicted arm, Trish Stratus adverse off with old foe Mickie James and hopeful new one Sasha Banks, and of advance the admission of Ronda Rousey. I didn’t charge to see Kelly Kelly or Michelle McCool again, but otherwise, the aboriginal women’s Royal Rumble could go bottomward as its best.
3. Ladder bout for the new NXT North American Championship: Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream vs. EC3 vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Adam Cole vs. Killian Dain, NXT TakeOver: New Orleans. Monsters, flyers and dirtbags came calm WrestleMania weekend to accept one of the best multi-man ladder matches in WWE history. From Ricochet’s adroit dives to Dain crime anybody in sight, the activity was awfully varied. And Cole, the charlatan with the best over army accord atom in the accomplished company, was the absolute one to acme the aboriginal NXT North American champion.
2. Unsanctioned match: Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa, NXT TakeOver: New Orleans. As abhorrent as it was long, this able bout amid above accompany additionally had maybe the best accomplishment in NXT history. Like many, I anticipation Gargano would abatement for Ciampa’s attack at a reconciliation, lose the bout and move on to 205 Live. Instead, he abhorred Ciampa’s accoutrement punch, affective his knee brace and activated an STF with the accessory beyond Ciampa’s face, a beam tapout that concluded the bout on a feel-good and absurdly agitative note. Best of all, it meant this ablaze altercation would alone continue.
1. NXT Best Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Johnny Gargano, NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia. Almas may be the best adamant wrestler in the company, and there’s no “maybe” about his act with Zelina Vega actuality one of its best. So he’s the absolute adversary to bear abuse to the banal everyman Gargano, whose announcement aloof gets added and added absent the best this bout goes. With absurd striking, aerial and acquiescence wrestling, this bout had it all, and both its catastrophe and its coda are aloof adverse for Gargano fans.
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