Best and Worst Booking Decisions from WWE Survivor Series 2020 Results
The 2020 Survivor Series presented fans some stellar in-ring action and truly emotional moments, making it one of the best WWE offerings of the year, but that is not to say it was not without its booking hiccups.
On a night in which we waived goodbye to The Undertaker in a breathtaking conclusion to an iconic career, and Roman Reigns waged war with Drew McIntyre in a Match of the Year candidate, WWE still managed to leave fans scratching their heads at some of the decisions that played out on the screen.
What were those creative choices and which decisions most satisfied the audience on a night dubbed "The Best of The Best?"
Find out with this recap of the WWE Network presentation.
Best: Jey Uso Earns His Seat at the Table
When Team Raw swept Team SmackDown in the night's opening match, it felt a lot like an insult to the blue brand. After all, the story heading into the show was that AJ Styles, Riddle, Braun Strowman, Keith Lee and Sheamus could not coexist long enough to win the match, let alone go on a complete sweep of the opposition.
As we found out over the course of the night, though, the story of the match was less about the red brand's dominance and more about the trajectory of Jey Uso's story.
He failed miserably to guide his team to victory, drawing the ire of cousin Roman Reigns and seemingly losing his place in the family after the disgusted Universal Champion dismissed him from his sight.
Uso, though, would reappear by night's end and assist Reigns to victory over McIntyre, earning a big embrace and standing tall alongside The Tribal Chief.
It was yet another stellar chapter in the best story WWE has told in years.
Uso has struggled to find himself since losing to Reigns at Hell in a Cell and becoming subserviant to The Big Dog. On a night where everything was at stake, where his place in his own family was on the line, he finally figured out what he had to do in order to win back the confidence of his cousin.
It was a great bit of booking that will only propel the storyline forward and help Uso reach his destination from a character standpoint and further strengthen what has already been a wholly engaging program.
Worst: Is Lana a Lovable Underdog or a Lucky Loser?
What is Lana's character supposed to be?
It is a fair question to ask following the events of Survivor Series.
Rather than booking her like a lovable underdog who fends off a much more talented opponent en route to an unlikely victory, she was booked like a lucky loser, standing on the outside of the ring and earning a victory only after the other two competitors still left got themselves counted out.
That does nothing to help her and only further builds resentment for her current push.
Yes, we get it; she's not the best in-ring worker. She never will be, but to book her like a completely useless competitor whose only wins come under the flukiest scenarios is not doing her any favors whatsoever.
Which begs the question: why is the company continuing to highlight her if there are no plans to do anything with her beyond licking into wins and being put through a table? If anything, Survivor Series felt like the emphasis for another Samoan Drop through the announce table on Monday night than the start of some unlikely underdog story that will finally win over the audience.
There were certainly better, more effective ways to get to Lana being the sole survivor.
Remember when Peyton Royce inexplicably pinned Bayley, then turned around and was eliminated right after? Think about how great a spot that would have been for Lana late in the match, pinning the former SmackDown Women's Champion to win the match for Team Raw.
That's not what happened and now, whatever story WWE Creative thinks it is telling has been muddied further by a development that benefited absolutely no one involved in Sunday's Women's Traditional Tag Team Elimination Match.
Best: The Undertaker's Final Farewell
Mark Callaway made a career out of protecting The Undertaker character so it stands to reason that we were never going to get some grand, teary-eyed farewell at Survivor Series, whether the event took place in front of a live audience or the WWE ThunderDome.
It's just not who he is as a performer or what The Phenom was as a persona.
What we got was the most respectful, meaningful and effective goodbye we could get out of both a character and man that have captivated audiences for three decades, created unforgettable moments and provided fans with a certain showmanship and creativity we may never see again.
Revealing it was now The Undertaker's turn to rest in peace, he knelt down and acknowledged the late Paul Bearer one last time before a long walk up the ramp and into immortality.
It was a classy conclusion to one of the greatest careers in pro wrestling history, made even more special by the fact that it was Vince McMahon himself who introduced The Deadman, further signifying just how meaningful that character (and the man behind it) was to the company.
Worst: Raw Bests SmackDown in Dual Branded Matches
There was something odd about watching Raw defeat SmackDown in the battle for brand supremacy this year.
Perhaps it was the fact that SmackDown has been so vastly superior to the red brand from both a creative and in-ring standpoint. Maybe it is because a large portion of the Raw Superstars who led the brand to that victory were just SmackDown competitors six weeks ago.
Whatever the case may be, it felt wrong.
Yes, Roman Reigns and Sasha Banks are the two faces of the blue brand and they went over in the respective matches, so it was not a total loss, and The Street Profits grabbed the proverbial torch from The New Day by way of their victory, but it still felt as though SmackDown should have emerged as the clear winner.
If for no other reason than it is currently WWE's most successful show, both in the ratings and creatively.
Maybe WWE thought that building some momentum for the Raw brand by way of key victories Sunday night would help attract viewers back to the show. Maybe it was considered a way to emphasize the flagship after the company spent so much time hyping SmackDown over on Fox.
Even the Kickoff Show battle royal that saw The Miz win for Raw at the expense of guys like Rey Mysterio, Dominik, Murphy and Chad Gable felt like the wrong call, regardless of whether he is Mr. Money in the Bank.
It was a strange night of booking from that perspective, even if SmackDown will likely shake it off and continue of as the most must-see show in the WWE Universe at this time.