Survivor Series 2021 Recap: The Man and The Queen Take it ‘Big Time’
On Sunday night, the WWE hosted its 35th annual Survivor Series event as the card, headlined by Roman Reigns vs Big E and Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair, emanated from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. WWE had heavily leaned into the silver anniversary of the Rock heading into the show and continued to do so as the night progressed.
*Warning: This article does feature spoilers.
During the Kickoff show, Vince McMahon showed up with a golden egg that once “belonged to Cleopatra.” He was very enthused about the egg, explaining that it was the actual egg that the Rock, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot tried to steal in the new Netflix film Red Notice, a film by which Letterboxd deemed entirely mediocre. It ultimately wasn’t a stage prop. Vince explained to Roman Reigns that The Rock gave him the real egg, worth a sum of $100,000,000. Vince McMahon sitting at the desk with the egg the entire night inexplicably missed it being stolen. Vince told Sonya Deville that he will be at Raw on Monday to find out who stole his egg.
Ultimately like most WWE pay-per-view events, it was a mixed bag. The show opened with the highly-anticipated showdown between “The Man” Becky Lynch and “The Queen” Charlotte Flair. The two most decorated female wrestlers in WWE history have wrestled many times in the past, but this time it was different. The heat between the two in real-life had been heavily documented for weeks as personal animosity allegedly took over the backstage environment.
The match itself was intense and physical. The match was more clunky than it was polished, but with the microscope that Charlotte and Lynch’s relationship has been under, that made the match feel more legitimate than it otherwise would have. It started physical out of the gate as the women let the audience know that it wasn’t going to be pretty or a technical paragon but it would be physical and gritty. Both women pulled out rarely utilized tricks, such as Becky Lynch’s incredible armbar pinfall combination and Charlotte using Andrade El Idolo’s moonsault combination. Becky played into the Ric Flair scrutiny and Charlotte returned the favor locking in the Disarm-her. Charlotte ultimately got outwitted as Becky Lynch won in a startling finish to a sensational pro-wrestling match. The best pro-wrestling matches are the matches that make you feel something and the stories that make you feel something. The Charlotte-Becky rivalry is the closest we have to a 2021 equivalent to a Bret Hart-Shawn Michaels rivalry and they record number one hits every time the proverbial band goes to make a record.
You can feel the passion and energy in Becky Lynch’s voice and see the emotion on her face. Either Becky Lynch delivered the greatest actress performance since Meryl Streep in Kramer vs Kramer or there’s actually something there. Hyperbole on Becky’s acting skills aside, kudos to WWE for leaning into it.
The main event between Roman Reigns and Big E was yet another physical contest. Roman leaned heavily into the Rock as well, hitting a rock-bottom at one point in the match. The crowd was invested in the match and the two powerhouses put on a 20-minute clinic. The clean finish was surprising, but refreshing given the recent booking of a majority of the Tribal Chief’s matches. Unfortunately for Reigns and Big E, this will likely be overshadowed by the fact that The Rock did not appear to finish the show, despite how much WWE leaned into it. This shouldn’t take away from the match that they had as neither superstar had any bearing on the aftermath, although it most likely will by the nature of how WWE laid out the show leading into the match.
Book-ended by two fantastic matches, the rest of the show offered very little. The Usos had a decent match with RK-Bro that was primarily highlighted by one of the better RKO’s we’ve seen. Matt Riddle taking the splash out of the RKO was a nice touch. Otherwise, the match was more of the same. For Randy Orton it was a huge night as he broke the record for most pay-per-view matches in WWE history. Congratulations to the Viper.
The traditional Survivor Series tag matches were fine and had their moments, but faulty booking jeopardized the quality of the matches. There were four superstars eliminated via count-out tonight. Kevin Owens doing to Team RAW what Seth Rollins did last year to the chagrin of Seth Rollins was a nice touch, but they went to the well too often. Not to mention, Sasha’s elimination was executed poorly by everybody involved. Bianca Belair had a nice showing, but it did little to progress the championship story going forward as WWE failed to make Liv Morgan come across as a credible threat to Becky Lynch. The loudest reaction of the night was for Jeff Hardy.
The final match on the main show was a battle royal won by Omos. His reward was pizza from Pizza Hut. The Street Profits ended up throwing the pizza into the audience. There aren’t enough words in my vocabulary to describe just how lousy the entire segment was.
Overall, the Lynch/Flair and Reigns/Big E matches made the show an okay watch, despite a substandard mid-card. There were quite a few instances where the stories that WWE were trying to convey came across hokey and synthetic, putting it nicely. The results were as followed:
Kickoff: Shinsuke Nakamura def. Damian Priest by disqualification.
Becky Lynch def. Charlotte Flair.
Team Raw (Seth Rollins*, Finn Balor, Austin Theory, Kevin Owens and Bobby Lashley) def. Team SmackDown (Drew McIntyre, Jeff Hardy, Sheamus, Baron Corbin and Xavier Woods).
Omos wins a 25-man Battle Royal, last eliminating Ricochet.**
Team Raw (Bianca Belair*, Liv Morgan, Rhea Ripley, Zelina Vega and Carmella) def. Team SmackDown (Shotzi Blackheart, Sasha Banks, Natalya, Toni Storm and Shayna Baszler).
Roman Reigns def. Big E.
*indicates sole survivor.
**Other participants in the Battle Royal: Angelo Dawkins, Montez Ford, Mansoor, Drew Gulak, T-Bar, AJ Styles, Commander Azeez, Apollo Crews, Shanky, Jinder Mahal, Shelton Benjamin, Angel Garza, Sami Zayn, Bobby Roode, Dolph Ziggler, Otis, Cesaro, R-Truth, Chad Gable, Cedric Alexander, Ivar, Erik and Humberto Carillo.
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