WWE‘s Survivor Series is approaching fast. The 2018 and first post-Evolution iteration of The Only Time When Raw And Smackdown Go Head To Head (besides those other times) includes two matches involving women: a 5-on-5 tag team elimination match and the Champion vs. Champion’s Friend/Rival/It’s Complicated/Get Well Soon, Becky match of Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair. Before it was derailed by injury, the women’s singles match was the most highly anticipated on the card, an extremely uncommon occurrence if not a first in the history of this PPV.
Over the thirty-one previous Survivor Series events, women wrestled in a total of twenty-seven matches. Some had multiple women’s and/or mixed tag and/or intergender matches, and the 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, and 1997 shows didn’t include any female wrestlers. Some of the matches are forgettable, some terrible, and some show highlights. Like I did before this year’s SummerSlam, I’m going to look back on the history of women on the autumnal WWE Big Four show, and rank all the Survivor Series matches in which women wrestled.
27. Debra, The Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, and Tori def. Ivory, Jacqueline, Luna, and Terri Runnels, 1999
The Survivor Series best remembered for the debut of Kurt Angle and Stone Cold getting hit by a car also includes an eight-woman tag match that contains so much almost unbelievable garbage you can’t even get offended about any of it. It’s the Mr. Burns thing of all the diseases attacking you at once.
At this point in 1999, the WWF Women’s Championship picture centers around Ho-era Ivory, Mae Young, and the Fabulous Moolah, the latter both 76 years old. In this match, Ivory is joined by heel ladies with a range of wrestling experience, Jacqueline, Luna, and Terri Runnels, whose character right now is that she’s a MILF with breast implants. The old ladies are joined by Tori and Debra, whose character right now is also that she’s a MILF with breast implants. Puppy jokes abound on commentary and an embarrassing “we want puppies” chant breaks out early. If you’re going to chant for a woman to get her tits out, you might as well chant, “get your tits out!” It’s the name number of syllables and everything!
Anyway, the old ladies are too old to wrestle, the crowd and commentary are dumb and sexist, and Tori’s shirt gets ripped off when a fight breaks out between all the women at once after Moolah pins Women’s Champion Ivory. The match also feels way too short for one in which someone is supposed to earn a title shot in a way that isn’t a fluke. Every aspect of this match is bad, and the worst of the Attitude Era on display.
26. WWE Divas Championship match: Nikki Bella (with Brie Bella) def. AJ Lee (c), 2014
In retrospect, it kind of works for Nikki Bella to start her status quo figurehead villain/ Longest Reigning Divas Champion storyline with such a dumb, cheaper than cheap win. That being said, here is this entire match: AJ Lee goes over to Brie Bella on the apron, Brie kisses her, Nikki hits her with a clothesline, and a Rack Attack wins her the match and the title. Because it’s 2014 and WWE is starting to value women more, commentary connects this to how Lee kissed Brie’s husband, Daniel Bryan, at WrestleMania to cost him a match against Sheamus, rather than just going OMG girl-on-girl. However, that’s definitely why the kiss was a part of this, and this barely-a-match is not at all good in itself.
25. WWF Women’s Championship match: Sable def. Jacqueline (c) (with Marc Mero), 1998
The first Survivor Series not to include any traditional Survivor Series elimination matches also included the first defense of the reactivated WWF Women’s Championship. The Jacqueline (with Marc Mero) vs. Sable feud that birthed the reappearance of the title was extremely Bitches Be Crazy and included a bikini contest, arm-wrestling, Mero interference shenanigans, and Jacqueline cutting off a piece of Sable’s hair and wrapping it in her own hair. Titilation of the male audience is much more blatantly a priority in women’s division programming now than it was earlier in the decade, and, as with the men’s division, good wrestling matches are not.
So Sable, who has little to no charisma as a babyface, is attacked by Jacqueline before the bell. She’s pretty awkward in the ring, and there isn’t much believable force behind her moves. When Mero interferes, Sable kicks him in the nards, Sable Bombs him, and cusses him out. Jacqueline does fine heel work, including bringing back that ripped-out hair, but falls to the Sable Bomb and loses her title. It’s all very short and not much wrestling happens. Overall, this match is catfight garbage, but still watchable if you’re prepared for a Maximum 1998 wrestling segment.
24. WWE Women’s Championship match: Trish Stratus (c) def. Lita, 2004
Here’s another one with basically no wrestling, but that does work well as a segment. Trish vs. Lita for the Women’s Championship at Survivor Series 2004 has one of the most insane title match video packages of all time, which ends with “Come Survivor Series, you’re going to lose to me just like you lost your baby,” because it’s a climax of one most insane WWE storylines of all time. We see clips of Lita talking about her post-miscarriage [of a baby conceived under dubiously consensual circumstances, what with the whole forced marriage to Kane, a literal demon] depression, mixed with clips of Trish Stratus being the evilest human being alive and calling her fat while she’s already dealing with the most horrific stress possible. When Lita is no longer carrying a child none of us can prove wouldn’t have been the libertarian antichrist, Stratus calls her “chubby” again and Lita FREAKS THE EFF OUT.
In the match, Lita takes out seven months of pain, just punching Trish right in the face as the bell rings. She looks like she’s out for murder and gets some “no closed fist” and “hey, you have to stop kicking Trish in the corner and punching her on the ground” warnings. Trish powders out, and Lita starts beating her with a chair to the point of disqualification. She keeps beating up Stratus until the refs finally separate the women. This is the only part of this whole storyline like makes sense as human behavior, but it’s not a good wrestling match, just an okay wrestling segment.
Oddly for a PPV match, this is really the just buildup altercation before their Raw main event for Women’s Championship, which Lita wins. It was the first time the women’s title ever main-evented Raw, something it would not do again for twelve years.
23. WWF Women’s Championship match: Ivory (c) def. Lita, 2000
Four years prior, Lita also failed to win the Women’s Championship, this time from Ivory, at Survivor Series. At this point, Ivory is part of the Right to Censor, which is probably my top wrestling stable I wish would have just had slightly better wrestlers in it because it’s a great idea, especially at the time it existed. In the autumn of 2000, it’s the early period of the stable during which, for maximum conservatism, Ivory wears a LONG SKIRT to the ring. In contrast to the Mormon missionary look of her opponent, Lita, beloved by the audience, looks super cool and has her thong underwear showing, which is one of RTC’s main problems with her.
Lita’s in-ring performance is the carried by her looking rad, the crowd adoring her, and the fact that she does everything with a lot of passion, even if some of the moves aren’t executed that well. But very early in the short match, she starts bleeding profusely from the face, probably because she’s wrestling an opponent with extremely limited mobility and also nonsensical high-heeled boots. High-flying moves like a double crossbody and two moonsaults don’t help the face blood situation. It doesn’t look like Lita can see or is even aware of what’s happening. The ref checks on her after the match and she’s helped to the back.
Another extreme lowlight of this match is one of Jerry Lawler’s most dehumanizing and sexist commentary lines ever, after saying he can’t stand to look at Ivory, “I guarantee the one thing she’s good for, she’s not good at.”
22. WWE Women’s Championship match: Mickie James def. Lita (c), 2006
In the wake of Trish’s retirement, the changing of the guard for women’s wrestling in WWE continues with Lita’s “last” match at Survivor Series 2006. This title feud saw Mickie James turn face and Lita turn heel, and that’s very much how they work this match. The larger Lita plays the bruiser with strikes and kicks, then a body scissors and a sleeper, while James is a scrappy underdog. The match gets more even, and Mickie James kicks out of the Litasault and wins the match with a very nice DDT.
Part of what makes this match basically unwatchable to me is the crowd and response by commentary to the crowd. The whole gimmick of this Lita heel turn is that it’s a fun opportunity for male viewers to yell at a woman who has a lot of sex, and they do, including “Hey Lita, how much?” from one individual, a “She’s a crack whore” chant, and, of course, the extended “Ho” chant. Lawler brings another *chef’s kiss* line, especially for him, with “Lita took three pregnancy tests before she even took a driving test.”
Oh yeah, and after this match we get the infamous “ho sale” segment. Lita, who’s been saying she doesn’t care what the crowd thinks, now wants applause for being “the greatest women’s champion of all time,” and calls the crowd “disrespectful” when the boo her instead. Cryme Tyme, who we saw sneak into Lita’s dressing room before the match, enters and sells bras, yeast infection medication, panties, and a vibrator to the audience for cash, that last item for $25. They finish with the box they brought the items in, advertised as “It’s cheap, it’s wide, and everybody likes it, it’s Lita’s box!” This also goes for $25. Lita freaks out in the ring. Her delivery of “A dollar? Come on!” is pretty funny, but otherwise this is all depressing. Even typing words about it is depressing.
21. Handicap match for the WWE Divas Championship: Natalya def. LayCool (c), 2010
Wow, what a relief to have a match that’s just short and dumb and bad! Michelle McCool and Layla are co-Divas Champions because WWE does not care about women’s wrestling at all at this point. But they do put over Natalya as legit in this match. She’s a Hart in Canada, she’s never won the championship before, and this very short, two-on-one joke of a championship match really is “a culmination of the lifetime of hard work.” She fights off both opponents in and outside of the ring and drags McCool back in so she can win the title. This all takes about a minute. Natalya sets up the Sharpshooter to a big pop and McCool taps out like one second later, when it’s barely even locked on.
20. Kelly Kelly, Maria, Michelle McCool, Mickie James, and Torri Wilson def. Beth Phoenix, Jillian Hall, Layla, Melina, and Victoria, 2007
This ten-woman tag match is nice model girls vs. meaner/tougher girls in red. There are a few well-executed moves, especially from James and Phoenix, mixed with motorboating and hair-pulling. It’s not a good wrestling match, and the presentation of it at the end is very much, “Hey, we just watched ten good-looking women for a little while!”
19. Lumberjill match for the WWE Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix (c) def. Eve Torres, 2011
The packaging of this match, with the feud of two more muscular women hating on their one or two clothing sizes smaller coworkers, is garbage. But this short match is one of those you watch and feel like would have been much better if it took place in a time period when WWE prioritized women’s wrestling. Eve Torres, with her jiu jitsu background, moves well in the ring, and her counter of a Glam Slam setup into an Octopus Stretch is pretty cool. But soon, after a struggle on the second rope, she eats a Super Glam Slam. RIP, 2011 Eve Torres.
18. 5-on-5 Survivor Series elimination match: Team Mickie def. Team Michelle, 2009
This match is part of the terrible “Piggie James” storyline during which LayCool bully Mickie James and make fun of her weight. This very short (especially for Survivor Series elimination-style) match doesn’t reflect that at all, and most people in it don’t do much. Michelle McCool is the last survivor of her team, and is pinned by Melina, who survives with James to pick up a W for the very perky babyfaces.
17. 7-on-7 Survivor Series elimination match: Total Divas def. True Divas, 2013
The concept of this match is that the female wrestlers who aren’t on Total Divas at this point (AJ Lee, Aksana, Kaitlyn, Alicia Fox, Rosa Mendes, and Summer Rae) (those last three would go on to be on Total Divas) are mad that those who are (The Bella Twins, Eva Marie, The Funkadactyls, JoJo (!!!), and Natalya) because they’re getting more opportunities in WWE. Makes sense! What doesn’t make sense is booking a 7-on-7 Survivor Series elimination match and giving it under 12 minutes. Everyone in this match looks extremely strong on offense and weak on defense because almost everyone is eliminated after been hit with one wrestling move.
That being said, this match is pretty hilarious and I definitely recommend it. The Summer Rae-Nikki Bella dance-off-to-elimination made me laugh. The very much not a wrestler JoJo does surprisingly well too, and her stuff with Tamina actually gets the crowd invested.
16. 5-on-5 Survivor Series elimination match: Team Raw def. Team SmackDown, 2008
If you watch Survivor Series 2008 on the WWE Network, this part of the show is marked as “Beth Phoenix in a Survivor Series Elimination Match.” That pretty much tells you what you need to know! The wrestling is a mixed bag with more bad and than good mixed in, Maryse is hilarious, and it’s very short, but Beth Phoenix’s sole survivor sequence is still entertaining and cool. This match format actually works pretty well for the Divas Era, when WWE largely did not hire women for wrestling ability, because nobody has to be in the ring that long.
15. Six-Pack Challenge for the WWF Women’s Championship: Trish Stratus def. Ivory, Jazz, Jacqueline, Lita, and Mighty Molly, 2001
Survivor Series 2001 is the end of the Invasion angle, and the six-pack challenge for the vacant WWF Women’s Championship reflects that. Trish, Lita, and Jacqueline represent the WWF and Ivory, Mighty Molly, and the debuting Jazz (and put over by Paul Heyman as “the more ferocious female competitor in history”) represent the Alliance. Jazz looks badass in her debut, Jacqueline also looks tough and fires off some nice dropkicks, and the temporary Team Xtreme tag team move alliance by Lita and Jacqueline is fun. Trish Stratus, the most popular woman in the match, wins with a Stratusfaction to Ivory. It’s a short, not great match, and most of these wrestlers are not yet at their Final Form.
14. WWE Women’s Championship match: Trish Stratus (c) (with Mickie James) def. Melina (with Joey Mercury and Johnny Nitro), 2005
When the three heels enter for this match, their mutually sexual and obnoxious team interactions are pretty great. The following Melina vs. Stratus bout is short and not complicated, but okay. Stratus is able to pin Melina after her devoted fan Mickie James moves her out of the way of a blow. They’re a month away from the kiss, and watching Stratus be oblivious to the slightly unhinged nature of James’ perkiness and devotion is a highlight of this match that is overall okay but doesn’t have many highlights. It’s helped by the crowd being super supportive of our hero champ.
13. 4-on-4 Survivor Series elimination match: Team Fox def. Team Paige, 2014
This match is Alicia Fox, Emma, Naomi, and Natalya (with Tyson Kidd) against Cameron, Layla, Paige, and Summer Rae. As you can guess from that lineup, the quality of the match at any given moment depends on who’s in the ring. Much of the match is solid, especially Emma vs. Paige, but it’s hurt by a lack of story and the crowd and commentary team not caring about what’s happening at all.
12. WWE Women’s Championship match: Molly Holly (c) def. Lita, 2003
As we’ve already seen, Lita’s win-loss record at Survivor Series is terrible, but this, at least, is a decent match. Here, Lita has recently returned from a neck injury and is gunning for the Women’s Championship while Molly Holly is gunning for her neck with submission holds and heely kicks. Holly brings the technical wrestling ability and Lita brings the star power, and the audience is invested. Holly dodges the Litasault and hits the Molly-Go-Round, and when Lita surprisingly kicks out of that, she freaks out and shoves face into an exposed turnbuckle. It’s not a classic, but it’s a wrestling match with a simple, solid story.
11. Hardcore match for the WWE Women’s Championship: Victoria def. Trish Stratus (c), 2002
This Victoria vs. Trish Stratus match is preceded by a video package that is both extremely sexist (like, if you ever read something about demeaning female character tropes, it’ll probably say there’s usually a subtext of these types of characters… but this is wrestling and it’s 2002, so they’re just the text), but also successfully gets me hyped to watch these people fight. Before the match, Victoria asks a mirror backstage “Who’s the prettiest Diva of them all?” and freaks out when she hears it say “Trish Stratus” in her own mind. She then breaks the mirror and a cardboard standee of the Women’s Champion. Unlike the many other matches on this list that contain a version of this dynamic, this is so over-the-top that it’s still entertaining for me.
The story of this match is that Victoria thinks that Stratus is a princess who can’t hang in the hardcore craziness world (she apparently didn’t watch all the times Trish went through tables, etc, before this) and that fighting her with no rules will “destroy [her] soul.” But although Victoria dominates at first, Trish is courageous and makes a comeback. A fire extinguisher changes the game for Victoria though, and “this witch, this jezebel” (thanks, JR) is the new Women’s Champion. The match is short and plagued with other issues of WWE women’s wrestling at this time, but it’s fun garbage wrestling.
10. WWE Divas Championship match: Eve Torres (c) def. Kaitlyn, 2012
This match is not great, but it’s pretty entertaining, and Eve’s fake perfect princess to maniac and back again character work is amazing. A lot of campy Divas storylines aren’t fun to watch because of the sexism element, but this one is just campy in a fun/funny way. There isn’t much believable power behind many of these moves, but the overall story is told effectively, with Kaitlyn easy to root for and Torres fun to root against.
9. Steve Blackman, Crash Holly, and Molly Holly def. T &A and Trish Stratus, 2000
If I was just rating the parts of these matches that contained women, this would not be very high on the list. This is largely the scrappy Crash Holly against the much larger Test and Albert, but when Trish gets involved, Molly follows. Neither Trish nor Molly is at their ideal WWE form yet, but they’re both used well in this match. The match ends when Molly pins Stratus after a sunset flip while the men brawl outside of the ring. It’s a solid, entertaining, short tag match.
8. 5-on-5 Survivor Series elimination match: The Fabulous Moolah, The Jumping Bomb Angels, Rockin’ Robin, and Velvet McIntyre def. Dawn Marie, Donna Christanello, The Glamour Girls, and Sensational Sherri (with Jimmy Hart), 1987
The women’s division of the 1987 WWF was not at all a priority and would be phased out in 1990, but it existed and got a solid match at the first Survivor Series! They actually announce female competitor’s weights in this second-ever 5-on-5 elimination match. Overall there’s way more of a focus on making women’s matches a worthwhile part of the show and maintaining a semblance of sport than in later decades for the company. Heck, Jesse Ventura’s commentary is more feminist, possibly by accident, than a lot of early Women’s Revolution stuff, including, “These girls throw their punches and make their moves just as hard as the men do…You know, you talk about women’s liberation. These girls are liberated.” Thanks, Jesse!
The match has its weak parts, but is overall some good 1980s wrestling, with Velvet McIntyre an early athletic standout. However, women’s wrestling in Japan is about to get extremely awesome, and you can tell the Jumping Bomb Angels, Itsuki Yamazaki and Noriyo Tateno, have been trained differently, and Ventura and the crowd are wowed by their more high-flying style.
The match ends up 3-3: both tag teams plus Women’s Champion Sherri Martel and McIntyre, a contender for her championship. After an okay sequence, McIntyre pins the champ, and commentary mentions this must “shoot her up to the number one contender.” Wow, this match has so much more meaningful consequences than most of the other matches I watched for this list!
McIntyre is the next eliminated, and this turns into a match between two established tag teams. In an era with many Foreign Heels, the Bomb Angels keep up the babyface heat with a completely intentional dropkick to Glamour Girls manager Jimmy Hart on the apron, which gets a huge pop. The Japanese tag team, which at this point had been wrestling since 1981 and had won the tag champions in All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling the previous year, end the match as the only remaining survivors. In WWF, they would go on to win the Women’s Tag Team Championships (hey, there’s an idea) from the Glamour Girls in a two out of three falls match at the 1988 Royal Rumble that’s very much worth watching, just like this first women’s Survivor Series bout.
7. WWF Intercontinental Championship match: Chyna (c) (with Miss Kitty) def. Chris Jericho, 1999
After Chyna defeated Jeff Jarrett in the infamous Good Housekeeping match to win the WWF Intercontinental Championship, the first time this title was won by a female wrestler, she issued an open challenge. This challenge was answered by Chris Jericho, who insulted Chyna and women to begin their rivalry/alliance IC picture storyline.
There’s a Sexism Is Bad element of this storyline that really doesn’t work because so much other Attitude Era programming says Sexism Is Good And Fun. Jericho has a lot of fans in the crowd who are too smarky to boo him for doing despicable heel things, including forcibly kissing Miss Kitty.JR observes, “A lot of possibly male chauvinists here” like this isn’t the same PPV that previously included this list’s #27. It sucks to watch people cheering sexual assault, but the retaliatory spear from Chyna is very satisfying. This isn’t Chyna’s strongest in-ring showing, while Jericho is in his physical prime, but they both effectively perform the story that she just can’t be kept down. By the end, the crowd freaks out more and more at every kickout. The match suffers from a weak finish (a top rope Pedigree, a move I feel like never looks good from the top rope), but is overall solid and entertaining.
6. 4-on-4 Survivor Series elimination match: Aja Kong, Bertha Faye, Lioness Asuka, and Tomoko Watanabe (with Harvey Wippleman) def. Alundra Blayze, Chaparita Asari, Kyoko Inoue, and Sakie Hasegawa, 1995
At this point, Alundra Blayze, the sole face of the still alive (but not for long) WWF Women’s Division has recently finished up her classic feud with Bull Nakano. And who better for her next big rival than the woman who ended Nakano’s three-year WWWA World Single Championship reign of terror, Aja Kong?
Everyone else in the match besides Blayze and Bertha Faye is an AJW wrestler on loan with a solid pedrigree too, and the crowd is pretty into them. Lioness Asuka, with gear that reminds me of current Bone Soldier Taiji Ishimori, busts out the giant swing, Asari’s high-flying would slay on today’s indies, and Hasagawa looks like a hoss with several double-arm suplexes to Watanabe.
But none of them compare to Aja Kong. Her second AJW theme song declares that, “God made the devil just for fun, but when he wanted the real thing, he made Aja Kong,” and that’s the version of this wrestler, dominant and DGAF, that shows up to the WWF in 1995. Blayze is at a 1-3 disadvantage and manages to take out Faye and Watanabe, and when it gets down to Blayze vs. Kong, it’s hot fire. Kong pins Blayze after an Urakuen, which feels a bit underwhelming because it’s not really an established one hit kill in this context, and declares herself number one contender.
Blayze vs. Kong never happens because Blayze gets fired from the WWF. The company never figures out something else for Kong to do, she goes back to Japan, and the women’s division goes into hibernation until 1998. Watching this Survivor Series match makes you really wish it didn’t if only so we could see this teased title feud. Sadly, the closest thing we have to a Blayze vs. Kong singles match that you can watch online is a clip from what looks like a shoot boxing match between them in Japan in AJW.
5. 5-on-5 Survivor Series elimination match: Team Raw def. Team SmackDown, 2016
The theme of Survivor Series 2016 is ENEMIES BECOME ALLIES FANTASY WARFARE, and while the dream match element of the show doesn’t really apply to the women’s elimination tag, the Team Of Rivals aspect does. On the SmackDown side, we get developments in the Nikki Bella vs. Carmella and Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss feuds, and on the Raw side we get Charlotte Flair vs. the still very over Bayley. After Bella is attacked backstage, Natalya is added to the match at the last minute, which is a smart move since this Survivor Series happens is Canada. Nia Jax is a basically morally-neutral, largely unscouted hoss at this point, and plays a wild card role. Aside from a few dumb Can They Coexist moments, this is overall a quality, fun-to-watch wrestling match.
4. 5-on-5 Survivor Series elimination match: Team Raw def. Team SmackDown, 2017
The build to last year’s Survivor Series mostly did not establish compelling stakes for anything, but this match is good in itself and gave us the blessings of sole survivor Asuka and Alicia Fox’s captain’s hat. After a Fox vs. Lynch captain vs. captain sequence, Bayley gets an exciting, freak first elimination with a rollup. It’s 5-4 for Raw, and SmackDown just lost their captain in a demoralizing way.
The Superfly Splash that eliminates Bayley is terrible, but the Nia vs. Tamina headbutt-off is probably better than you remember. Sasha Banks kills it in this match too, but let’s be real, the beauty of the screaming 2017 Survivor Series Asuka is head and shoulders above everything else in the world. The streak lives on in my heart.
3. 4-on-4 Survivor Series elimination match: The Radicalz def. Billy Gunn, Chyna, K-Kwik, and Road Dogg, 2000
I’m so annoyed I have to include this to this list due to my own rules that this would be a ranked list of all matches in which women wrestled at Survivor Series shows! Chyna is the first eliminated in this match, and then it’s all dudes. Still, Chyna wrestling in the men’s division is an important part of the history of women in this promotion, so here we go.
The Radicalz (Chris Benoit, Dean Malenko, Eddie Guerrero, and Perry Saturn) are basically a continuation of WCW’s The Revolution with the name changed when these guys jumped promotions. They’re great wrestlers with dubious morals out to prove themselves. Leading up to Surivivor Series, they’ve been beefing with low-level DX people, with the Right to Censor also involved. Tragically, Billy Gunn’s right to use the name “Mr. Ass” was a casualty of this feud.
On the babyface side, while the Road Dogg and K-Kwick LENGTHY rap-rock entrance song has aged TERRIBLY, Chyna, way more over at this point than she was for the previous year’s match with Jericho, still looks awesome during her bazooka entrance. She’s kind of dating Gunn at this point, her rebound from Eddie Guerrero, and they have a good tag teamwork moment during this match. Chyna revenge-hits Guerrero through the ropes, and he hits her with his Intercontinental Championship to cause her elimination. The rest of the match is a short-ish, midcard-stakes tag elimination match between four wrestlers at the top of their games and a team containing Road Dogg in overalls. It’s worth checking out if you, like me, completely forgot it happened.
2. Charlotte Flair def. Alexa Bliss, 2017
The issue with Flair vs. Bliss is that like most Raw vs. SmackDown Survivor Series or champion vs. champion matches, there isn’t much reason to care about the outcome. However, the self-contained story of the match is good and actually makes the tricky larger face vs. smaller heel dynamic work.
Flair dominates early, but Bliss has a plan. She targets Flair’s ribs with dropkicks, an abdominal stretch, and many nasty kicks. Flair sells the heck out of this and it slows down her higher impact moves. When she misses a moonsault, her ribs are too hurt for her to capitalize on a spear soon after. But Flair is able to counter Twisted Bliss with a double knees and quickly bridges into the Figure Eight after a big boot. Bliss taps out. It’s a good match, and satisfying in the way that indie dream matches can be good and satisfying.
1. WWE Divas Championship match: Charlotte Flair (c) def. Paige, 2015
Our number one women’s match at Survivor Series is Charlotte Flair’s first Divas Championship defense, arguably the first WWE women’s title match since the mid-90s with a build a men’s match could also have. The Revolution-minded Team PCB breaks up because Paige’s catchphrase is “This is my house!” not “This is our house!” She won the Divas Championship on her first day in the company and now she’s mad that Flair, with her legacy kid advantages, has seemingly overshadowed her. Charlotte, who’s only been on the main roster since SummerSlam, needs to show that she’s not just a flash in the pan/nepotism hire by retaining her title.
The women first try to weaken each other with submissions, chops, and kicks. Paige starts the match more aggressively and mocks her opponent, but Flair soon starts returning everything she’s given. She shows her own mean streak with a brutal-looking spot in which she keeps a Figure Four locked on while hanging off the apron. Heel and face dynamics aside, it’s mostly a well-executed match in which two pretty evenly matched, driven wrestlers with something to prove to the audience, their opponent, and themselves beat each other up. And that’s why, so far, Flair vs. Paige is the best women’s match in Survivor Series history.