WWE Survivor Series Makes Houston the Epicenter of Wrestling

Over a four-day period, the WWE has made the Houston the epicenter of the sports entertainment world with the events surrounding Survivor Series. Testosterone and sweat filled the Toyota Center from the floor to the rafters as the thrills and spills kept fans on the edge of their seats while screaming for more. The affair kicked off on Saturday night with NXT Takeover WarGames, a showcase of developing superstars that featured a three title matches. Pete Dunne would retain the UK Championship Belt. Ember Moon, hailing from the great State of Texas, claimed the vacant NXT Women’s Championship in a Fatal 4-Way Match. Fan favorite, Drew McIntyre dropped the NXT Championship to Andrade “Cien” Almas.

Ember Moon captures the NXT Women's Championship at NXT WarGames.
Ember Moon captures the NXT Women's Championship at NXT WarGames.
Photo by Jack Gorman

The most anticipated contest of the night was of course the main event: WarGames. It was a gimmick match featuring nine men divided into three teams and released into the a caged double-ring. As expected, chaos ensued and it developed into a massive hardcore match once the final team was released and Killian Dain ducked under the ring to toss out garbage cans, tables, nightsticks and other weapons into the enclosure. The biggest highlight saw Roderick Strong superplexing Adam Cole from the top of the cage onto all of the other participants in the ring below. For more than half an hour, the bruised combatants battered each other until Cole ultimately claimed victory for his team by covering one of the bodies that littered the floor.

Adam Cole gets superplexed by Roderick Strong from the top of the cage at NXT WarGames.
Adam Cole gets superplexed by Roderick Strong from the top of the cage at NXT WarGames.
Photo by Jack Gorman

On Sunday as Survivor Series started, the venue was packed with nearly every seat occupied at the beginning of the broadcast — a sight not often seen at the beginning of Texans or Rockets games.

Hometown celebs including Houston Astros Outfielder Josh Reddick, rapper Travis Scott, and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top were in attendance for the extravaganza. The pay-per-view event contained very little promo work, all of the setups were done during previous weeks. It was four hours of near non-stop action as the only breaks came in the form of performer entrances and brief video packages reviewing the build up to the match.

It was Team Raw versus Team Smackdown and throughout the evening the rowdy fans battled along with dueling chants for each of their favorite superstars. The event could have easily been renamed “The Night of Power Bombs” as the entertainers hit variations of the move one after another in every bout. The first match could have been a main event for some shows as a three-man tag team match pitted The New Day versus The Shield. The back and forth battle ended with the RAW team destroying Koffee Kingston with triple power bomb from the second rope.

The women had a strong showing in a Champion versus Champion match as Team SmackDown’s Charlotte Flair pinned Alexa Bliss. New to the RAW roster and undefeated Asuka was the sole survivor as she pinned Carmella and then finally submitted Natalya to claim victory in the 5-on-5 Women’s Elimination Match.

Asuka pins Carmella during the Women's 5-on-5 Elimination Match at Survivor Series.
Asuka pins Carmella during the Women's 5-on-5 Elimination Match at Survivor Series.
Photo by Jack Gorman

The match of the night was the Universal Champion Brock Lesner versus WWE Champion AJ Styles. For most of the 16 minutes, Styles took an amazing beating as he was given an in-depth tour of Suplex City. The Phenomenal One attempted to swing the bout with high flying moves and an ankle lock but took one too many F5s and ultimately succumbed to the Beast Incarnate.

AJ Styles tries to submit Brock Lesner with an ankle lock at Survivor Series.
AJ Styles tries to submit Brock Lesner with an ankle lock at Survivor Series.
Photo by Jack Gorman

As the main event approached the crowd escalated to peak energy for the 5-on-5 Elimination Match featuring crossover star, John Cena. The star of the show was the massive Braun Strowman destroying several opponents with the running power bomb. It took the strength of the entire SmackDown team working together to lift Strowman and suplex the monster through the announcer’s table.

WWE Superstar John Cena taunts former Olympian Kurt Angle at Survivor Series.
WWE Superstar John Cena taunts former Olympian Kurt Angle at Survivor Series.
Photo by Jack Gorman

From a casual fan who has not truly followed the business in a couple of decades, the main event seemed to rehash storylines and characters from the turn of the century. Even the double-cross of Kurt Angle by Triple H and Strowman left standing there confused was somewhat of a throwback to those days.

Braun Strowman chokes Triple H for double-crossing team captain Kurt Angle at Survivor Series.
Braun Strowman chokes Triple H for double-crossing team captain Kurt Angle at Survivor Series.
Photo by Jack Gorman

A sold out crowd returned for a third day to witness a continuation of the brewing drama during the live broadcast of Monday Night Raw. The older wrestlers faded as the spotlight was placed on Roman Reigns backed by Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins challenged The Miz for the Intercontinental Title. Reigns took the belt after a great match to become a Grand Slam Champion.

The Shield stands over The Miz on Monday Night Raw.
The Shield stands over The Miz on Monday Night Raw.
Photo by Jack Gorman

However, the far bigger story was the return of a disgraced former WWE Women’s Champion. Rumors have swirled for the past several weeks that Paige would emerge after being suspended for violating the company’s wellness policy and dealing with massive issues surrounding several leaked sex tapes. During a Fatal 4-Way Match for the right to take on Alexa Bliss, music hit and Paige emerged on the ramp. After the crowd quieted, she said, “Did you miss me?” She then headed toward the ring along with two goons to interrupt the match only to retreat to the locker room pronouncing that “I’m back.” Of all the massive frames and bulging muscles on the roster, Paige is by far the has to be the strongest at this time to overcome the embarrassment and public humiliation that she has experienced.

Paige makes a triumphant return to the WWE on Monday Night Raw.
Paige makes a triumphant return to the WWE on Monday Night Raw.
Photo by Jack Gorman

It has been an incredible three days of WWE events and one more night of excitement remains at the Toyota Center. Limited tickets are still available.

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