The 2019 edition of WWE Survivor Series was a Raw-Smackdown-NXT show and Road Dogg has provided some insight into who came up with some of the ideas at the time.
It was November 1, 2019, when WWE’s NXT brand invaded Smackdown. That episode of Smackdown followed the Crown Jewel Premium Live Event in Saudi Arabia on October 31. However, most of the WWE roster competing at Crown Jewel was delayed coming back to the US, so the company changed its plans that night. This statement was issued earlier in the day, prior to Smackdown.
“The WWE roster is delayed in its return from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, following a historic performance at yesterday’s record-breaking WWE Crown Jewel event. More than 175 Superstars, production crew and employees boarded a 747 charter flight back to the United States on Thursday. After the door closed, due to several aircraft problems including mechanical issues, all passengers sat on the tarmac for more than six hours. With SmackDown set to emanate live from Buffalo, N.Y., several Superstars felt so strongly that they arranged for their own separate charter in order to make it back to the U.S. for the show. Due to unforeseen issues, that charter will not land until after the live broadcast on FOX. As always with WWE, the show must go on. Live at 8/7 CT on FOX, SmackDown will feature Superstars, such as Daniel Bryan, The Miz, Carmella, Nikki Cross, Dana Brooke — plus, additional surprises. For the latest updates on this story and tonight’s SmackDown, check back with WWE.com and follow WWE on social media.”
What ended up airing on Smackdown that night were some fresh matchups including NXT’s Tommaso Ciampa facing The Miz, NXT’s Rhea Ripley & Tegan Nox facing Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville along with a main event that saw NXT Champion Adam Cole defending that title against Daniel Bryan, who last competed in NXT about nine years earlier.
At the time of the invasion, Road Dogg was working with the NXT brand after spending several years as a Smackdown writer. During a recent episode of his “Oh You Didn’t Know” podcast, WWE Senior Vice President of Live Events Road Dogg talked about how his good friend Paul “Triple H” Levesque came up with a lot of ideas during that NXT invasion of Smackdown.
“Yes, it was definitely [Triple H’s idea], match suggestions, everything. But look, it wasn’t Paul’s ball yet. You know what I mean, and that’s just the truth of it, it wasn’t his ball yet. But Vince knew he needed this to put his show on the air and Vince, look, he was a great promoter. He would put a show on no matter what the scenario the show must go on and so on. Look, he knows when to do what and what to do when and that’s what he did was he sat back and he said, Okay, these are your guys. I’m not going to try to use them, how would you use them?”
“And so we all you know what I mean, there was a million suggestions and shows what we landed on, what I do believe I remember is that the Lesnar thing was supposed to be on either, set either at the crossover segment at the 10 o’clock hour, or I’m sorry, the nine o’clock hour, or, or the main event of the show, but because they landed so late, they had to put Lesnar on first and try to buy some time, but they made it and the rest is history. But yeah, that was scary all the way around.”
Road Dogg went on to explain that even though they were missing a lot of people, it ended up being a show that was fun to watch.
“Sometimes when you have an overseas tour, and this happens a lot, you have to have a SmackDown show with half your crew gone. And you have to really make chicken salad out of chicken poop. And so a lot of the times those shows feel fresh and fun to watch. Because it is, because it’s stuff we wouldn’t normally do. And we’re throwing everything at the wall almost to make you look at the new shiny toys and not think about all the guys that are gone, you know, and how do we put on a show for tonight? And we’ll worry about tomorrow then. And so yeah, it was a lot of people’s ideas, though. To say it was all Hunter’s idea, I don’t think it’s fair, but it definitely came from his camp for sure.”
At Survivor Series 2019, NXT won four matches, Smackdown won two matches and Raw won one match, but that was the only year where WWE made it a show about those three brands.
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