Survivor Series was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) and WWE Network event, produced by WWE for their Raw and SmackDown brand divisions. It took take place on November 22, 2020 at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, and featured WWE's virtual fan viewing experience called ThunderDome. It was the 34th event under the Survivor Series chronology, and celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Undertaker's WWE debut.

Production

Background

Survivor Series is an annual gimmick pay-per-view, produced every November by WWE since 1987. The second longest running pay-per-view event in history (behind WWE's WrestleMania), it is one of the promotion's original four pay-per-views, along with WrestleMania, Royal Rumble, and SummerSlam, dubbed the "Big Four". The event is traditionally characterized by having Survivor Series matches, which are tag team elimination matches that typically pits teams of four or five wrestlers against each other. Since WWE reintroduced the brand split in 2016, Survivor Series has centered around competition between Raw and SmackDown for brand supremacy. In September 2019, NXT, previously a developmental territory exclusive to the WWE Network, debuted on the USA Network, solidifying its status as WWE's third major brand, and was subsequently added to the brand competition theme. The 2020 event will be the 34th event under the Survivor Series chronology.

Beginning with the 2017 event, the champions of Raw have faced their SmackDown counterparts in non-title matches. With the addition of NXT for the 2019 event, the matches became triple threat matches between the three brands' champions, but without NXT's involvement for 2020, the matches returned to being between Raw and SmackDown's champions. The 2020 Survivor Series will feature Raw's WWE Champion against SmackDown's Universal Champion, the Raw Women's Champion facing the SmackDown Women's Champion, Raw's United States Champion going against SmackDown's Intercontinental Champion, and the Raw Tag Team Champions facing off with the SmackDown Tag Team Champions.

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, WWE presented the majority of its programming from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida since mid-March with no fans in attendance, although in late May, the promotion began using Performance Center trainees to serve as the live audience, which was further expanded to friends and family members of the wrestlers in mid-June. On August 17, WWE announced that all future shows and pay-per-views would be held at the Amway Center, a larger venue also located in Orlando, for the "foreseeable future", beginning with the August 21 episode of SmackDown. Furthermore, the shows now feature a new fan viewing experience called the "WWE ThunderDome", which utilizes drones, lasers, pyro, smoke, and projections. Approximately 1,000 LED boards were installed in the Amway Center to allow fans to virtually attend the events for free and be seen on the rows and rows of LED boards. Arena audio is also mixed with that of the virtual fans so that chants from the fans can be heard. WWE's initial agreement with the Amway Center expired on October 31, but with the option to extend the contract with a two weeks notice. On October 12, PWInsider reported that the contract had been extended, with Fightful revealing the amended contract's expiration date as November 24.

411Mania reported that the COVID-19 pandemic was a reason that the NXT brand would not be involved in the event, unlike the previous year's Survivor Series. Outbreaks of the virus have occurred at both of NXT's home arenas, Full Sail University and now the WWE Performance Center, prompting WWE to exclude NXT wrestlers from the event to avoid potential transmission of the virus to members of the Raw and SmackDown rosters.

Storylines

The show was comprised of matches that resulted from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portray heroes, villains, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that build tension and culminate in a wrestling match or series of matches. Results are predetermined by WWE's writers on the Raw, SmackDown, and NXT brands, while storylines are produced on WWE's weekly television shows, Monday Night Raw, Friday Night SmackDown, and NXT.

Survivor Series elimination matches

Qualifying matches for the men's Survivor Series elimination match began on the October 26 episode of Raw. AJ Styles, Keith Lee, and Sheamus earned the first three spots on Team Raw by defeating Jeff Hardy, Elias, and Matt Riddle, respectively. The following week, Braun Strowman qualified for the team by defeating Lee and Sheamus in a triple threat match. Team SmackDown's first two members were determined on the October 30 episode of SmackDown. Kevin Owens and Jey Uso qualified by defeating Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan, respectively. The following week, King Corbin and Seth Rollins qualified by defeating Rey Mysterio and Otis, respectively.

For the women's Survivor Series elimination match, all five of Team Raw's members were initially revealed on the October 26 episode of Raw. WWE officials Adam Pearce and Pat Buck announced that WWE Women's Tag Team Champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler, along with Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke, would represent Team Raw. The fifth and final spot was determined by a fatal four-way match that night, which Lana won by defeating Lacey Evans, Peyton Royce, and Nikki Cross. On the November 16 episode of Raw, due to Jax and Baszler attacking Rose's arm during a tag team match, and then RETRIBUTION's Reckoning later attacking Brooke backstage, both Rose and Brooke were deemed unable to compete at Survivor Series, thus Pearce announced that they would be replaced by Evans and Royce. Team SmackDown's first member was determined on the October 30 episode of SmackDown. Bianca Belair won the spot by defeating Billie Kay and Natalya in a triple threat match. Ruby Riott won the second spot on the following episode, where she defeated Natalya and Zelina Vega in a triple threat match. On the November 13 episode, Liv Morgan qualified by defeating Chelsea Green, Natalya, and Tamina in a fatal four-way match.

Champions brand supremacy matches

All four of the champions brand supremacy matches were announced on the October 26 episode of Raw. At the time, it was announced that Raw's WWE Champion Randy Orton would face SmackDown's Universal Champion Roman Reigns, Raw Women's Champion Asuka would face SmackDown Women's Champion Sasha Banks, Raw's United States Champion Bobby Lashley would face SmackDown's Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn, and Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) would face SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford).

Over the next few weeks, five of the champions defended their titles before Survivor Series, with four of them retaining to keep the matchups the same as initially announced. SmackDown Women's Champion Sasha Banks retained her title against Bayley on the November 6 episode of SmackDown, Bobby Lashley retained the United States Championship against Titus O'Neil on the November 9 episode of Raw, Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn retained his title against Apollo Crews on the November 13 episode of SmackDown, and The New Day retained their Raw Tag Team Championship against The Hurt Business' Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin on the November 16 episode of Raw. Also during this time, SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Street Profits tried to get info on their Survivor Series opponents from former New Day member Big E, who basically told them that New Day would win. The men's world championship matchup, however, changed. After losing the WWE Championship to Randy Orton at Hell in a Cell on October 25, Drew McIntyre was given a rematch for the title, but before that, McIntyre appeared on the November 13 episode of SmackDown to confront Universal Champion Roman Reigns, despite not being the WWE Champion. McIntyre would go on and defeat Orton to win back the WWE Championship on the November 16 episode of Raw, thus becoming Reigns' opponent at Survivor Series.

Event

Pre-show

During the Survivor Series Kickoff pre-show, an 18-man dual-brand battle royal was contested, with its participants evenly divided between Raw and SmackDown. In the end, Raw's The Miz eliminated SmackDown's Dominik Mysterio to win the match, giving Raw the first win of the night.

Also during the pre-show, The Gobbledy Gooker, a character that also first appeared at the 1990 Survivor Series, pinned R-Truth to win the WWE 24-7 Championship.

Preliminary matches

The actual pay-per-view opened with the men's 5-on-5 traditional Survivor Series elimination match, featuring Team Raw (AJ Styles, Keith Lee, Sheamus, Braun Strowman, and Riddle) (accompanied by Styles' bodyguard, Omos) against Team SmackDown (Kevin Owens, Jey Uso, King Corbin, Seth Rollins, and Otis). Jey and Styles started the match. After Sheamus entered the match, Rollins tagged in, got on his knees, and allowed Sheamus to Brogue Kick him and get eliminated, proclaiming it was "for the greater good." After Rollins' elimination, the remaining SmackDown team members attempted to discuss a strategy outside the ring only for Strowman to tackle all of them with a running shoulder tackle. Back in the ring, Owens performed Stunners on Lee, Sheamus, and Riddle, after which, Styles performed a Phenomenal Forearm on Owens to eliminate him. Styles attacked Corbin with a superkick and Riddle performed a Floating Bro from the top rope to eliminate Corbin. After Otis performed the Caterpillar on Strowman, Otis attempted a Vader Bomb on Strowman only for Riddle to intercept Otis. Strowman took advantage of the distraction and performed a Running Powerslam on Otis to eliminate him. Jey attacked Team Raw with a flurry of Superkicks. In the end, Jey countered a Phenomenal Forearm from Styles and attempted a Splash on him; however, Lee, who was the legal member, intercepted Jey by catching him in midair and transitioned into a Spirit Bomb on Jey to win the match with a clean sweep, and giving Raw their second win of the night.

Next, SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) faced Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, accompanied by fellow stable member Big E from SmackDown); the trio came out dressed as their respective Gears of War 5 characters, available as downloadable content for the game. Big E went backstage after the match began. After an evenly contested match between the two teams, The Street Profits performed an electric chair/blockbuster combination on Woods to win the match for SmackDown, giving SmackDown their first win of the night. Following the match, both teams showed mutual respect for each other.

After that, Raw's United States Champion Bobby Lashley (accompanied by Hurt Business stablemates MVP, Cedric Alexander, and Shelton Benjamin) faced SmackDown's Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn. Zayn refused to fight Lashley and attempted to walk away from the match, however, he was thwarted by The Hurt Business. In the closing moments, Zayn attempted to leave again, only for MVP to intercept him, after which, Zayn tried to convince the referee that MVP tripped him. MVP then threw Zayn back in the ring and Lashley applied the Hurt Lock on Zayn, who submitted, giving Raw their third win over SmackDown's one win.

In the next match, Raw Women's Champion Asuka faced SmackDown Women's Champion Sasha Banks. In the end, after a series of attempted rollups on one another, Banks pinned Asuka with an inside cradle to win the match, giving SmackDown their second win of the night.

In a backstage segment, new 24/7 Champion The Gobbledy Gooker stumbled upon a trail of bird seed backstage. As The Gooker started to indulge with the seed, Akira Tozawa appeared and performed a roll-up on The Gooker to win the title. R-Truth then appeared and attacked Tozawa with a bag of bird seed and pinned him to regain the title.

The penultimate match was the women's 5-on-5 traditional Survivor Series elimination match, featuring Team Raw (Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, Lana, Lacey Evans, and Peyton Royce) against Team SmackDown (Bianca Belair, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Bayley, and Natalya). A few minutes into the match, Lana tagged in and faced off with Natalya. Jax then tagged in and Team Raw forced Lana to stand on the ring steps, not to tag in again. Bayley was the first to be eliminated after Royce performed Deja Vu on her and pinned her. Natalya then eliminated Royce by making her submit to the sharpshooter. Evans performed the Women's Right on Natalya to eliminate her. Baszler made Riott pass out to the Kirifuda Clutch and pinned Riott to eliminate her. Morgan then eliminated Evans with a crucifix pin. Morgan was then eliminated by Jax after Jax performed a Samoan Drop on her. The last remaining member of Team SmackDown, Belair, faced off with Baszler, who eventually applied the Kirifuda Clutch on Belair, who got to the ropes, but Baszler refused to let go of the hold as the referee counted to five, thus Baszler got herself eliminated by disqualification. Belair then fought with Jax. The two went outside the ring where Belair tumbled Jax over the ringside barrier; however, Belair did not make it back in the ring before the referee's count of ten, thus Jax and Belair were eliminated via count out, leaving Lana as the sole survivor of Team Raw. As this gave Raw their fourth win of the night, this automatically meant that Raw won brand supremacy.

Main event

In the main event match, Raw's WWE Champion Drew McIntyre faced SmackDown's Universal Champion Roman Reigns (accompanied by Paul Heyman). In the end, McIntyre hit Reigns with his Claymore finishing move, but Reigns inadvertently knocked down the referee after being kicked. Reigns' cousin Jey Uso then ran down to ringside and tussled with McIntyre, enabling Reigns to hit a low blow on McIntyre followed by a superkick from Jey. Reigns then applied the guillotine choke submission on McIntyre, who passed out, giving the win to Reigns. Although this gave SmackDown another win, Raw had already won brand supremacy with four wins to SmackDown's three wins.

Undertaker retirement ceremony

The 2020 Survivor Series saw the retirement ceremony of The Undertaker, who performed for WWE for 30 years, first making his debut for the promotion at the 1990 Survivor Series event. In what was the show's final segment, Shane McMahon, Big Show, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, Jeff Hardy, Mick Foley, The Godfather, The Godwinns (Dennis Knight and Mark Canterbury), Savio Vega, Rikishi, Kevin Nash, Booker T, Shawn Michaels, Ric Flair, Triple H, and Kane all entered the ring to kick off the ceremony. A video package recapping The Undertaker's career then aired, after which, WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon was shown in the ring and gave a brief, heart felt message before introducing The Undertaker for the last time. The Undertaker then slowly walked to the ring in full costume where he then confirmed his retirement in an emotional farewell speech and the ring bell tolled ten times, officially putting an end to The Undertaker character. The Undertaker performed his trademark kneeling pose as an image of Undertaker's former longtime manager, the late Paul Bearer, appeared via hologram. The Undertaker afterwards bid farewell, stating "My time has come to let The Undertaker Rest in Peace," delivering his trademark throat slash pose and then leaving the ring. The show ended with The Undertaker walking back up the entrance ramp to throw his fist up for one last time.

Match Preview

5-on-5-on-5 triple threat Survivor Series men's tag team elimination match Preview
5-on-5-on-5 triple threat Survivor Series women's tag team elimination match Preview
Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns Preview
Asuka vs. Sasha Banks Preview
Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn Preview
The New Day vs. The Street Profits Preview

Results

Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
(c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.

Battle Royal Eliminations

Elimination Wrestler Eliminated by Time
1 John Morrison Dominik Mysterio 0:24
2 Kalisto Dolph Ziggler 1:09
3 Rey Mysterio Angel Garza 2:01
4 Humberto Carrillo Angel Garza 2:34
5 Angel Garza Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin 2:55
6 Cedric Alexander Ricochet 3:58
7 Ricochet Shelton Benjamin 4:05
8 Shelton Benjamin Apollo Crews 4:08
9 Murphy Robert Roode 4:59
10 Robert Roode Dominik Mysterio 5:03
11 Dolph Ziggler Dominik Mysterio 6:00
12 Apollo Crews Shinsuke Nakamura 7:09
13 Shinsuke Nakamura Jeff Hardy 7:40
14 Elias Jeff Hardy 8:14
15 Jeff Hardy Chad Gable 8:52
16 Chad Gable Dominik Mysterio 11:55
17 Dominik Mysterio The Miz 12:04
18 The Miz Winner N/A

Survivor Series elimination matches

    Raw
    SmackDown
    NXT
Elimination Wrestler Eliminated by Elimination method Time
1


Seth Rollins Sheamus Pinfall 6:05
2


Kevin Owens AJ Styles Pinfall 12:20
3


King Corbin Riddle Pinfall 13:05
4


Otis Braun Strowman Pinfall 17:05
5


Jey Uso Keith Lee Pinfall 19:25
Survivor(s):


AJ Styles, Keith Lee, Sheamus, Braun Strowman, and Riddle (Team Raw) (clean sweep)
Elimination Wrestler Eliminated by Elimination method Time
1


Bayley Peyton Royce Pinfall 9:55
2


Peyton Royce Natalya Submission 11:40
3


Natalya Lacey Evans Pinfall 12:35
4


Ruby Riott Shayna Baszler Pinfall 16:50
5


Lacey Evans Liv Morgan Pinfall 18:00
6


Liv Morgan Nia Jax Pinfall 19:05
7


Shayna Baszler N/A Disqualification 22:25
8


Nia Jax Countout 23:20
9


Bianca Belair
Survivor(s):


Lana (Team Raw)

Other on-screen talent

Commentators
Pre-show Panel
Interviewers
Ring announcer
Referees

See also

DVD release

External links

Survivor Series 2020 previews

Men's Tag Team Elimination MatchWomen's Tag Team Elimination MatchDrew McIntyre v Roman ReignsAsuka v Sasha BanksBobby Lashley v Sami ZaynThe New Day v The Street Profits

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Survivor Series
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