ByJosh Molina, writer at
Covers mixed martial arts and professional wrestling and the convergence of the two industries.
Josh Molina

I don't like where there is headed. Shane McMahon has joined Team Smackdown to compete against Team Raw at the Survivor Series, in another homage to the McMahon family and middle finger to the fans -- and the wrestlers in the back.

We like McMahon, but he's not a professional wrestler. He's the epitome of a wannabe wrestler who uses his family's position, privilege and power to thrust himself into story lines at his convenience so he can live out his childhood dream. The problem is that this likely isn't a one-time deal. It's probably leading to something at Wrestlemania.

Vince McMahon is one of the most influential men in wrestling and we wouldn't have the incredible industry that we have without him. However, this obsession with the McMahon family, with Shane and Stephanie constantly feuding, is just killing business. It shows a tremendous lack of creativity.

Can you imagine if Vince McMahon had inserted himself into storylines back in the 1980s? What if McMahon was trying to play the role of "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, and was trying to roughhouse with Andre The Giant? It would have sucked.

Instead of storylines developing organically, we get the McMahons forced onto us, while other guys drift into obscurity. We have no choice, but to take it or run.

Smackdown Live was at least way better than Monday Night Raw. The reason? It was only two hours, compared to Raw's three. And Smackdown has AJ Styles.

The show opened with another talking segment featuring AJ Styles, who rightfully insulted James Ellsworth, who allegedly wasn't in Glasgow, Scotland for the show. Like on Raw, the members of Team Smackdown are fighting with each other. Baron Corbin came out, followed by Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and the Wyatt Family's newest member Randy Orton.

Then, of course, the man who still has a few months left in his push, Dean Ambrose came out and brought Ellsworth with him. This guy does nothing for me, and in fact, just turns me off. He makes me not want to watch. But he's popular in a gimmicked sort of way. He's the geek at the party everyone pretends to like for 15 minutes, until they ditch him.

Then Commissioner Shane McMahon came out, appointed Ellsworth as the team mascot for Survivor Series and booked a 6-man tag match tonight between everyone involved. More Ellsworth.

The Bottom Line: Lots of talking, not enough wrestling, and too much Ellsworth.

Grade: C-

The Vaudevillians vs. Breezango

This is good NXT gone bad. Breezango wore kilts, proving that kilts are about the extent of the WWE's historical knowledge of Scotland. Breezango got the win in a two-minute match and earned a spot in the 20-man tag team match at Survivor Series. Why is there more talking than wrestling?

The Bottom Line: When you put The Vaudevillians against Breezango, somebody has to win.

Grade: D

Naomi vs. Natalya

Naomi has a great ring entrance and Natalya is a good worker, so the action in the ring was bearable. But this segment was really about Nikki Bella, who was doing commentary at ringside, and Carmella, who stormed down to argue with her. Natalya tried to break up the confrontation, but then got rolled up into a small package by Naomi for the win. Not much there.

The Bottom Line: The women's "Revolution" continues.

Grade: D-

Baron Corbin vs. Kalisto

Odd segment. Corbin rolled his ankle or twisted his knee while walking on the apron. The referee tried to stop the match, treating it like a legitimate injury, but Kalisto wasn't buying it. He dropkicked the leg into the steel apron and then delivered a frog splash onto the leg. Corbin is out of the Smackdown vs. Raw match.

The Bottom Line: Why would they emasculate this poor guy with a worked injury to take him out of a big Survivor Series match?

Grade: C- (It was at least puzzling).

Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss (Smackdown Women's Championship)

First of all, can the WWE stop giving its female stars porn star names? This match had no realism to it. The offense and defense was terrible. It felt they were trying not to mess up a fake pro wrestling match. They were just going through their spot. The match was only saved by Alexa Bliss's great facials. Lynch tapped out Bliss with an armbar to retain the championship. The funniest part of this match was Mauro Ranallo doing his best to call it like it was Flair vs. Steamboat or something. Ranallo should tamp down his voice for these types of nothing matches and save his dramatic voice for PPV and bigger matches

The Bottom Line: Bliss is gonna win the title eventually

Grade: C+

Curt Hawkins vs. Apollo Crews

Crews missed a dive off the top rope allowing Hawkins to roll him up for the pin. Somebody had to win. Crews is going nowhere and Hawkins is apparently getting a push now. After the victory, Crews just stared for what seemed like eternity at Hawkins, showing a face of pure frustration and depression, almost like he had just heard about the U.S. presidential election results.

The Bottom Line: In Crews's case, not all NXT guys shine in the WWE

Grade: D-

Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton & Luke Harper vs Kane, Dean Ambrose & James Ellsworth

Kane apparently replaced Corbin. Sadly, the crowd only wanted to see Ellsworth in the ring. Kane refused to tag him and when Ellswoth eventually tagged himself in the crowd went nuts like he was Kerry Von Erich in Texas. Ellsworth is a joke and he's being treated that way, which means the joke is on the fans. Ellsworth attempted to rip off Shawn Michaels, tuning up the band for some sweet chin music, but Bray Wyatt countered with the Sister Abigail for the win. The Wyatt family surrounded Ellsworth, who was protected by Ambrose.

The Bottom Line: Cane Ellsworth

Grade: C+ (only because AJ Styles was on commentary).

Then, Daniel Bryan came out to a huge pop. With Orton, Wyatt, Ambrose and Styles and Shane McMahon, who sprinted to the ring, Bryan read from his clipboard. He teased that his name was on the list, but then said, of course, he couldn't wrestle. Instead he pointed at Shane and said, "So, Shane McMahon, will you be the 5th member?" Shane tried to shrug it off, but the crowd started chanting "YES!" and McMahon passively accepted by pointing his hands and fingers in the air, Bryan's signature move.

Shane will no doubt put on a good performance, but it's not what we most want to see. We want to see wrestlers, wrestling. The Survivor Series isn't really going to be about any of the tag team matches anyway; it's a one-match show, headlined by Goldberg vs. Lesnar. In the meantime, we wait, and suffer.


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