“It’s the one night a year where Raw and SmackDown superstars go head to head.”
WWE repeats that hackneyed and inaccurate phrase with such zealous frequency that you half expect Jack Torrance to descend into madness prior to typing that sentence thousands of times into a manuscript. That would certainly make The Shining more interesting, to see Nicholson don a red t-shirt before planting an axe into the torso of Scatman Crothers, bedecked in his Tuesday night blues.
Survivor Series 2017 followed a somewhat similar path as the previous year’s event, in that there were some very good matches throughout the epic-length broadcast, only to have some glaring issues with the main event take precedence. And unlike the 2016 show, where Goldberg and Lesnar was a 90-second oddity, this finale dragged on for more than 30 minutes, with some participants looking like they’d seen far better days.
The Raw vs. SmackDown narrative deserves a hard push when it’s executed, but this felt *too* pushed. Beginning with the conveniently-timed “siege” committed by Shane McMahon and SmackDown, the acrimony seemed to come out of nowhere, without any long-term build. It’s just, “Oh, hey, November’s coming – we need to invent tension.” And nobody likes pre-fab conflict, do they?
10. Sunday After NXT
The 2017 Survivor Series drew 12,000+ fans to Houston’s Toyota Center, going on second out of four consecutive nights of shows inside the building. The previous night, NXT put on their rendition of WarGames inside the same building, a show that would also include Andrade Almas’ NXT Title win over Drew McIntyre, and the critically-acclaimed Aleister Black/Velveteen Dream match. Once more, the consensus had NXT outdoing the main roster effort.
Yet the attendance told a different story. While previous TakeOvers have done comparable attendances to their main show counterparts, the WarGames Takeover did only 5700 fans, less than half of Survivor Series’ attendance. Dave Meltzer would note in The Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Survivor Series was the only event of the four show run (including Monday’s Raw and Tuesday’s SmackDown in the same building) where the upper deck was even opened up.