The complexion of Survivor Series saw a slight change Monday night when Sheamus and Cesaro won the WWE Raw Tag Team titles, thus earning a spot on the card at the pay-per-view.
But Survivor Series received a massive makeover during Smackdown Live Tuesday night after not only a new champion was crowned but also a dream match suddenly became a reality for Survivor Series.
Here are the full match results from the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England:
- Kofi Kingston def. Sami Zayn
- Randy Orton def. Rusev
- Becky Lynch def. James Ellsworth
- WWE Smackdown Tag Team championship – Shelton Benjamin & Chad Gable def. The Usos via count-out
- WWE championship – AJ Styles def. Jinder Mahal
Smackdown Live has a phenomenal champion
The 170-day WWE championship reign of Mahal came to a screeching halt Tuesday when Styles pinned him after hitting the phenomenal forearm to win the title for the second time.
Styles' victory came after what was easily the best title match of Mahal's reign, which shouldn't surprise anyone, as Styles is seemingly incapable of putting on even an average performance regardless of who he is in the ring with.
Styles' win not only sent fans in Manchester and elsewhere into hysterics — some excited to see Styles become champion, others excited to see Mahal finally dethroned — it also changed one of the champion versus champion matches at Survivor Series.
Before Tuesday, Mahal was scheduled to face his Raw counterpart — WWE Universal champion Brock Lesnar — in one of the marquee matches at Survivor Series.
But with Styles being WWE champion, he will face Lesnar instead of Mahal, making a match no one thought they would ever see a reality.
Obviously, this is an upgrade over what could have been between Mahal and Lesnar.
I'm not knocking Mahal or Lesnar, but Styles is arguably the best wrestler in the world. As I said earlier, he is pretty much incapable of having a bad match.
I don't believe Mahal is the talentless hack many wrestling fans make him out to be, but Styles he is not. There is only one Styles.
So what should we expect out of Styles and Lesnar? I think I have an idea, but at this point, I'm not totally sure about anything, which is a good thing. All of this newfound intrigue surrounding Survivor Series has certainly made it a show that is worth going out of your way to watch next weekend.
The Usos lose, but retain their titles
Style versus Mahal was not the only match with Survivor Series implications Tuesday, as The Usos had to defend their titles against Gable and Benjamin.
After seeing Raw's tag titles change hands 24 hours earlier, it certainly made this match a lot less predictable.
At the end of the day, however, The Usos retained their titles despite losing via count-out.
Gable chopped blocked on of The Usos in the back of the knee outside of the ring, which hampered his ability to make it back into the ring before the referee counted to 10.
I liked pretty much everything about this. It firmly established who the good guys and bad guys are in this feud, as The Usos, who have been leaning babyface for weeks now, are now in the position of the heroes fighting from underneath while Benjamin and Gable are the dastardly heels looking to unseat the champions, even if it is by nefarious means.
I also like the call back of sorts with Gable attacking one of The Usos' knees, as that is the same exact way The Usos turned heel on American Alpha more than a year ago.
Lynch-Ellsworth match was something else
For the first time in a long, WWE actually produced an inter-gender match. As much as that sounds groundbreaking, it really wasn't when you realized it was Lynch going up against Ellsworth.
Ellsworth pretty much did his best Andy Kaufman impersonation and ran down women for being the inferior sex, only to be tossed around the ring by Lynch and lose.
All of the people involved did their jobs well enough, but there was really nothing special here.
Rusev still denied a spot a Survivor Series
Although we are only a little more than a week away from Survivor Series, Smackdown Live's men's Survivor Series team is still without its fifth member.
Rusev had a chance to become the fifth man Tuesday, but a loss to Orton prevented that. If Rusev is not going to eventually land on Smackdown Live's team then I don't see what else he could be involved in to get him on the show.
If Rusev is left off completely, I think that would be a mistake on WWE's part.