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    Tuesday, November 24, 2020

    The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Survivor Series 2020

    The Undertaker in WWE Survivor Series 2020


    In last year's Survivor Series PPV review, I was gushing over the fact that Vince McMahon had seemingly and finally brought NXT up to the level of its older siblings. We were all so proud that the best brand had become the real third brand. The WWE umbrella was complete.

    Of course, this is the WWE, and this is Vince McMahon. Things change. Now that new world order is gone one year later. Survivor Series continues to be a battleground for brand supremacy within the WWE, but now that NXT is gone, it feels more arbitrary than ever. Nothing means anything—to the point where they didn't even keep score this year. 

    You'd be forgiven if you felt pessimistic about the whole thing. Maybe you were in it for the matches, because storytelling aside, you knew they'd be good. That's cool, too.

    While you would think that the brand wars didn't matter, I found that this year's Survivor Series was an interesting barometer of where—that is to say, which divisions in which shows—Vince poured his effort into more. (Though Creative teams on both shows do work hard, it's Vince because he's got the final say on everything.) 


    Because both shows were pitted against each other, someone watching closely can tell which parts Vince is more invested in. Some differences are subtle, while some are stark. They can be as subtle as Roman Reigns edging out the win over Drew McIntyre in the main event, because they want to keep him the hottest thing going. They can be as stark as the RAW Survivor Series team sweeping the SmackDown Survivor Series team clean because the red upper-midcard has more upside to Vince right now.

    From my perspective—and based on how all of the matches were being pushed on both shows leading into the PPV—nobody pulled out any upset wins. Everyone who needed to win did so, and that was the beauty of the show: a lot of the right people got the rub. Yes, even Lana.

    What, then, does one do with this information? Well, for starters, if you don't have the time to watch all the WWE programming, this can clue you in on which people you need to prioritize. Some you already know, like Roman Reigns and Jey Uso. Some are a matter of reaffirmation, like Sasha Banks and the Street Profits. 

    All that's left is for WWE to follow through on the hand it's showed—and, of course, to figure out how to treat the others better.

    A note on the Undertaker's Final Farewell

    Rumors before the show were saying that either the Farewell segment or the Reigns/McIntyre match was going to main event, and now we all know what did. I think they pulled it off fine; nothing special, but just okay. You have the entire main card done in three hours, allowing people to check out early if they don't want to watch the Undertaker segment. 

    On the segment itself, with the canned reactions and everything, it was probably just the best way to give it an atmosphere in an empty arena. I've always been for the piped-in audience sounds in the ThunderDome because I couldn't stand silence, so this wasn't a big issue for me. Maybe they could've used all the legends they trotted out to create crowd noises instead; I would've been fine with that. But they did not.

    Still, what resulted was a segment that Undertaker fans liked, and one that non-fans could easily drop. Thanks for all the memories, 'Taker. For a stroll through a 30-year-career, you can check out Maro Rimorin's well-written piece on the Undertaker.

    Survivor Series 2020 Rating: A-

    Match of the Night




    Don't get me wrong—there are a handful of great matches on this card that the show is worth catching, so the tag team champions match manages to eke out the honors here. It's just that good, and the ending is satisfactory: established superstars pave the way for up-and-coming big stars in a great match. It's the dream match everyone knew it would be, even though they didn't hype it enough. But do also catch the women's Survivor Series match, the women's champions match, and the main event.

    Photo from WWE

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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: Survivor Series 2020 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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