Survivor Series Observations

Survivor Series: The stars shone bright, deep in the heart of Texas

Survivor Series closed with an eventful Men’s 5-on-5 match. Photo by WWE.com

Toyota Center was the home for Survivor Series last night, and the talent showed just why this event is considered one of “the big four”.

There were some fun matches on the pre-show, but once the main card got started, there was no slowing down.

The Shield took on The New Day in a match between the two most important factions of this generation. Of course, Kofi and The New Day made jokes about “neutering” The Hounds of Justice, but The Shield got the last laugh when they Triple Power Bombed him from the middle rope to win the match. Everything considered, this match lived up to its hype. Could it have been better? Probably, but it did its job setting up the rest of the show.

The first of the two 5-on-5 matches saw the Raw women’s team defeat that of SmackDown. From Becky Lynch being the first wrestler eliminated to Tamina coming out looking like the strongest woman on the blue team, this match was full of surprises. The big star of this match was, of course, Asuka. The Empress of Tomorrow submitted both the former SmackDown champion, Natalya, and the woman who contributed to three eliminations, Tamina, for her team to win the match.   

Baron Corbin’s victory over The Miz was the first win for SmackDown Live for the night. Afterwards, he mocked Miz and the fans saying that he shut all of them up.

The Bar and The Usos faced off in another clash of champions. Personally, this match was one of the ones I was looking forward to the most. These two tag teams have developed great characters and have, without a doubt, earned their respective Tag Team Championships. The false finishes sold the match, and the ultimate payoff was the diving tag by The Usos that sealed their win.

Charlotte took on Alexa Bliss in the match between the two women’s champions. Bliss attempted to go for the Twisted Bliss, but she would miss and end up submitting to Charlotte. This win gave SmackDown the lead over Raw three wins to two.

That score, and considering who he was facing, made it obvious AJ Styles was going to lose his match against Brock Lesnar. That being said, this match delivered. Of course, Lesnar dominated the early parts, but Styles saw an opening and completely took over. Unfortunately for him, he went to the cookie jar one time too many, as he was caught midair by Lesnar who, then, put him over his shoulders and hit him with an F5 to win the match.

Survivor Series closed with the Traditional Men’s 5-on-5 match. Entrance after entrance, the crowd erupted for the participants of this match. They kept fans on the edge by teasing them with different face-offs. Strowman eliminated both Nakamura and Roode and things got rolling for the Raw team. The tension between partners like Samoa Joe and Finn Balor, or Angle and Triple H, caused them to get in each other’s way. Eventually, Shane McMahon was the final competitor left for SmackDown. He faced the tough task of trying to win against Triple H, Kurt Angle, and Braun Strowman. Triple H got frustrated with Angle’s inability to put away McMahon, so he hit him with a Pedigree and placed McMahon on top of him. Once Angle was eliminated, Triple H took matters into his own hands and eliminated McMahon to win the match for Team Raw. His partner, Braun Strowman, was not impressed with Triple H's actions. Strowman hit him with two Running PowerSlams to close out the show. After Survivor Series was off air, Stephanie McMahon came out to help her husband back up after Strowman’s attack. To the delight of the crowd, Triple H could not stand up straight, and eventually crashed into a teleprompter.

Highlight of the night

Braun Strowman was not having any of Triple H’s shenanigans. Him Powerslaming his teammate was awesome. Triple H’s commitment after the show, though, was the moment that went viral. His commitment to sell Strowman’s attack led to him throwing himself into a teleprompter. It was truly memorable.

Survivor Series proved to be a good show. Although there was never a real moment where it felt like it peaked, there was more than enough to remember this show by. What sticks out the most to me is how much this proves to fans the brand split that started in 2016 is still working. Matches like The Bar vs The Usos, or Charlotte vs Alexa Bliss showed us how far these entertainers have come since then. The Usos would have never grown their “Uso Penitentiary” characters without the brand split. The Bar would never exist, period. Alexa Bliss’ rise probably does not happen as quickly as it did without the brand split. The fact of the matter is, having two brands has allowed the two shows to develop new stars, and those new stars helped Survivor Series feel as important as it did.

Monday Night Raw will be live from Toyota Center tonight. If you haven’t bought tickets, you should. The post Pay-Per-View Raw’s always deliver, tonight should be no exception.

 

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Houston drops the opener

Angels use big sixth inning to take opener from Astros

Houston's offense started hot, then went cold Monday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With a 2-1 series win under their belt to start this ten-game homestand, the Astros turned the page to a three-game set with the Angels on Monday night. Things started strong for Houston, building an early lead, but it would erode in the middle innings as the Angels would respond with a big sixth inning to take the opener.

Final Score: Angels 5, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 18-17, tied for second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Suarez (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (1-2)

Houston Builds an early lead

After a 1-2-3 top of the first by Luis Garcia, Houston would start the scoring in the bottom of the inning. Back-to-back walks set things off, setting up an RBI ground-rule double by Alex Bregman, giving them the 1-0 lead. Kyle Tucker lead the bottom of the second off with a double, then came around to score on an RBI single by Myles Straw, then Michael Brantley made it 3-0 with an RBI double later in the inning.

Los Angeles roars back to take the lead

Los Angeles trimmed the lead to two runs in the top of the fourth with an RBI double, but Houston was able to get that run back on another RBI by Straw in the bottom of the fifth. Things fell apart for Garcia in the top of the sixth, with back-to-back one-out solo homers trimming the lead to one run and ending his night there: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, 92 P.

The Angels didn't stop there, getting two more runs to take the lead off of Brandon Bielak, who managed just one out while blowing the lead. Brooks Raley would enter to get the final out of the inning, then tried to keep the deficit at one run when he returned in the top of the seventh. It looked like things might unravel for him, allowing the first two batters to reach base on a walk and single, but he would battle back to strike out the next three straight to strand both.

Angels take the opener

Joe Smith took over in the top of the eighth, still 5-4, but would get two outs while allowing a double in his three batters before Houston moved on to Kent Emanuel, who finished the inning off. After another scoreless inning for Houston's offense, Emanuel remained in the game in the top of the ninth to keep a walk-off chance alive, and he would do so by erasing a walk to send the one-run game to the bottom half. The Astros wouldn't pull off a comeback, though, dropping the opener to Los Angeles.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Tuesday night. It shapes up to be an exciting pitching matchup, with Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 3.58 ERA) for Houston going up against the two-way star Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 2.41 ERA) for Los Angeles.

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