WWE Survivor Series certainly felt like one of the big four shows again, as this PLE will easily be talked about for years to come. A true changing of the guard in pro wrestling is taking form again, and the WWE is continuing its trend of breaking records in 2023. Survivor Series not only delivered memorable action, it gave Chicago a night it will never forget.
Fans Will Never Forget Where They Were November 25, 2023.
Despite the absence of arguably the biggest star in the company, there were no missteps on the card as every performer knocked it out of the park. From the high flying in both War Games matches, the arrival of Santos Escobar, or the continued dominance of Rhea Ripley, the moments throughout the night were undeniable. Here will take a look at three moments that stood out the most.
Women’s Wrestling…That’s It
A beautiful trend in WWE programming in recent months has been the concentrated focus on the women’s division. This was again evident by the Survivor Series opener being the Women’s War Games match. From an in-ring standpoint, this was by far the better War Games of the night and may go down as the best Women’s War Games since its genesis.
The storytelling here was second to none, as we’re witnessing the slow burn of Bayley as the leader of Damage CTRL. While the heroics of Bayley could be argued kept Damage CTRL alive during War Games altogether. Their team unison was on display from the jump, entering the arena all wearing Asuka’s symbolic masks. Bayley was without a doubt the MVP of War Games, and the eventual dumping of her from the group she created will bring fans to tears.
There were tears of joy once bitter rivals, better friends hugged it out in the middle of the cage. It has been a long time since Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair have been on the same page. As their rivalry is well-chronicled inside and outside of the ring. These two alphas reuniting adds an interesting wrinkle as Wrestlemania season approaches.
Whether or not you loved the outcome, this match provided the best spots of the night. Kairi’s pop-up insane elbow drop, Charlotte’s cage sault, and the genius of War Games hitting her trash can dive with an added twist were the best spots of the night. The ladies jumped off the cage, literally, and stuck the landing in this year’s Survivor Series War Games.
The Era of Mami Continues…
To echo the sentiments of Michael Cole, when you look up “star” in the dictionary, you will find a picture of Rhea Ripley. Ripley successfully defended her title in the co-main event and Mami’s aura only gets bigger. There have been many critiques for her few title defenses, but there is something about Ripley that just feels larger than life. It is truly a moment when someone earns the opportunity to stand across from the champ.
Zoey Stark provided a contrasting style to Ripley that played out amazingly in action. One thing Ripley does not get enough credit for is her detail in selling. Rhea makes her counterparts look amazing when taking their offense, meanwhile showcasing the strength and dominance that personifies her as champion. From strutting to the ring in her best Sensational Sherri cosplay to stacking Stark in style, Mami is the moment.
Welcome Back, Welcome Back, Welcome Back!
On an already memorable night, the element of surprise is what excites fans the most. One surprise was the known return of Randy Orton, yet the company provided two major returns that placed beautifully knotted bow on the evening. Starting with the return of everyone’s favorite comic relief, R-Truth. The brand deals have exhausted many, dating back to the Mountain Dew dark match back in January. Yet the emergence of R-Truth with a bowl of Ruffles was executed to perfection. Truth suffered a torn quad a year ago and details on his return were relatively quiet. It was a feeling of warmth to see him back on the television screen.
Next, the men’s War Games match would get injected by the “Viper” Randy Orton. Returning after eighteen months from a career-threatening back injury. Orton appeared to be in possibly the best shape of his career and went on to execute all of his greatest hits in the squared circle. Orton’s War Games teammates even did their best Randy impressions during the match which was a nice homage to one of the best to ever lace them up. Orton finished the match when JD McDonagh was sacrificed off the cage into the grips of an RKO. The moment Randy’s music hit it was clear how much he was missed and how he is used going forward will be a must-see, as he signaled to fans after the show he has a lot left in the tank.
The final scene of the night is what pro wrestling is all about, that exact feeling. In an industry that lives by the creed “never say never,” it’s still hard to grasp what part of the timeline this is. For all Marvel fans, this is the reason you sit through the post-movie credits as Chicago got its wish when “Cult of Personality” sounded off and CM Punk emerged. If you watched from home you likely adjusted your eyes and your TV screen to make sense of what you were witnessing.
All of the rumors, and subtle references on programming actually led to an unimaginable return to WWE for Punk. While the exit from AEW was nasty, the exit from WWE in 2011 was far uglier as a was lawsuit involved. While the hatchet is buried, for now, the immediate attention goes to plans for Punk on programming. The return has already produced nearly 100 million views across all social media platforms in just 24 hours. In a calendar year where the WWE is breaking records, and printing money, I cannot believe it’s “clobbering time” again. For that reason alone this year’s Survivor Series will never be forgotten.