Last year’s Survivor Series was awful. Sorry to be so blunt upfront, but there was so much wrong with last year’s Survivor Series. At this point, there’s no question that out of the Big 4 WWE PPV’s, Survivor Series is the least prestigious. The Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, and WrestleMania are always hugely promoted and highly anticipated. Survivor Series is treated as the unloved step-child of the bunch. And that’s a shame because this event used to be fun. In fact, the 2002 and 2003 editions, with the debut of the Elimination Chamber and one of my all-time favorite matches in the Team Austin vs. Team Bischoff match, were certainly shows to remember. Even the 2001 show was memorable in that it put the disappointing Alliance angle to bed. So it’s a shame to see the show become this devalued. But looking at the card for this year’s show, it can’t possibly be worse than last year’s. With the exception of a certain hopeless rematch, this show doesn’t look too bad. Let’s predict who’ll come out on top.
WWE Intercontinental Championship
The Miz © vs. Sami Zayn
Some redemption story this turned out to be for Dolph Ziggler. At No Mercy, he won another Intercontinental Championship, and since there’s likely no chance of WWE giving him another World Title reign ever again, he’ll have to settle for this as winning his “top prize”. But just as quickly as he won it, he lost it; The Miz defeated him on Smackdown this past week to regain the Intercontinental Championship. In doing this, Dolph Ziggler adds another badge to his sash of disappointment as he will not head into Survivor Series with the pressure of keeping one of Smackdown’s crown jewels on his back. Instead, The Miz faces RAW’s Sami Zayn, who has been embarrassingly misused on RAW since the brand split. The stipulation reads that if Zayn wins, he brings the title over to RAW, but it should read that is Zayn wins, he just joins the Smackdown roster. At least they’d book him better there.
Who I Want to Win: The Miz; he’s backed up his talk of bringing relevance back to the midcard title, and what better way to furher establish that than by retaining the title in the blue brand’s honor. I want to pick Sami just because he’s been booked like she, but there’s no guarantee he’ll be drafted over if he wins.
Who Will Win: Sami Zayn; piggybacking off of that, the chance that he gets drafted over and has a career revival hasn’t completely been ruled out.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
The Brian Kendrick © vs. Kalisto
Sami Zayn isn’t the only one on RAW being treated absolutely terribly. For another example, look no further than the Cruiserweight Division. Not just any single Cruiserweight in it; I mean every single competitor who is a part of it. Aside from The Brian Kendrick, and even he’s had trouble connecting with the fans despite his magnificent work lately, no one in the division has anything going for them aside from their athletic ability. And it’s tough to get over with the RAW crowd off of athleticism alone; this isn’t NXT. They want to invest in characters and aside from Kendrick, no one in the division really has one. I mean, TJ Perkins loves video games. That’s about it. Because of this, maybe they can use a boost from the way Smackdown runs things, and they can get that move if Smackdown’s Kalisto comes out on top this Sunday. If Kendrick loses to Kalisto, the Cruiserweights are headed to the blue brand, where they originally thrived for a bit when Smackdown acquired the division in 2002.
Who I Want to Win: As much as it pains me to say this, Kalisto. Don’t get me wrong, I still like Kalisto. But I waited a long time for The Brian Kendrick to become Cruiserweight Champion, and I don’t want his reign to end so quickly. But if it means getting the Cruiserweights on a show with better booking, I’ll take it.
Who Will Win: Kalisto; I think after this past Monday’s RAW, Vince might realize that the Cruierweights on RAW are not working and will seek a change in setting, especially since Smackdown and 205 Live are happening on the same night anyway.
Traditional Survivor Series Match • Tag Teams
Team RAW (The New Day, Sheamus & Cesaro, Gallows & Anderson, Enzo & Cass, & The Shining Stars) vs. Team Smackdown (Slater & Rhyno, American Alpha, Hype Bros, The Usos, & Breezango)
I’m so confused on how this match is supposed to work. Usually, five-on-five Survivor Series matches are exactly that; a team of five wrestlers going against another team of five wrestlers. But the way I’m reading it, all ten men that comprise every tag team in this match (excluding New Day, where obviously one of the three members will have to sit out) will legally participate. If that’s the case, then the aprons are going to be totally crowded. Will they be able to fit all 20 men around the ring like that without interlap? While I ponder that, I should remind you that quantity doesn’t exactly equal quality. WWE has ten (11 if you count Awesome Truth) tag teams spread out across the two rosters and only a few of them are actually taken seriously. The Shining Stars, Breezango, and the Hype Bros are pretty much certified jokes, so I bet on them getting tossed early. As for who’ll make the winners circle…well…
Who I Want to Win: Team Smackdown, preferably with American Alpha being the biggest survivors.
Who Will Win: Team RAW, mainly because of The New Day.
Traditional Survivor Series Match • Women
Team RAW (Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Alicia Fox, & Nia Jax) vs. Team Smackdown (Nikki Bella, Becky Lynch, Naomi, Carmella, & Alexa Bliss)
Even as a champion, it seems like Becky Lynch has to play second banana in some fashion, because despite being the Women’s Champion on Smackdown, Nikki Bella was selected to lead the roster’s women’s team. Sure, by the standards of WWE women’s tenures, Nikki is a veteran, but she doesn’t have a big shiny plate of gold on her shoulder like the Lynch-miester does. But no matter who leads, they’re entering as a solidly booked division; way better booked than the RAW women’s division, which has been about nobody but Charlotte and Sasha Banks for months. Alicia Fox and Nia Jax is on the team, but they’ve been booked as pure afterthoughts for months. And Bayley is pretty much just there; a far cry from her NXT popularity. At least Carmella, Naomi, and Alexa on Team Smackdown do have feuds and/or characters going for them. Alicia, Bayley, and Nia have barely been given that. For these reasons, doesn’t it make sense that Team Smackdown win on Sunday?
Who I Want to Win: Team Smackdown; a team comprising of Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, and Carmella is the kind of team I want to see victorious.
Who Will Win: Team RAW; if anything, Charlotte is going to win it for her team due to the fact that she is on a PPV undefeated streak, which WWE loves reminding us about.
Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg
March 14, 2004: the date that one of the most painfully abysmal matches I have ever laid my eyes on took place. This match was so bad that the Evening Gown Tag Team Match from earlier in the night was more worth watching, and I don’t mean that to sound perverted. And that just should not have been the case because both of these men are not only huge draws, but also dynamic athletes who were expected to tear each other to shreds and give us something worth remembering. And yeah, the match is remembered, but not well. It stood out for all the wrong reasons. Goldberg won after about 13 minutes of tediousness, they both ate Stunners, and we were gladly allowed to move on from this anti-climactic encounter. However, since Goldberg and WWE have recently made up, Goldberg was allowed a comeback run, and guess who his first opponent is. Yup. The rematch is happening. Only this time, Brock Lesnar’s repertoire has been dumbed down to literally four moves (knee strike, Kimura, F-5, and German suplex) and Goldberg is soaking in ring rust, having not wrestled since that big night 12 years ago. Therefore, this match actually has potential to be even worse than the first time. Not even Paul Heyman could convince me otherwise.
Who I Want to Win: Paul Heyman’s checkbook, as in I hope they paid him well for attempting to make this storyline as fascinating as possible.
Who Will Win: Brock Lesnar. I know that the two matches are 12 years apart, but if you think WWE won’t resist doing 50/50 booking with it, think again.
Traditional Surviovor Series Match • Singles Stars
Team RAW (Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, & Braun Strowman) vs. Team Smackdown (AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt, & Shane McMahon)
The match where the marquee stars play. And they were nice enough to let Braun Strowman join them. Braun Strawman is big in size and stature, but as far as actual status goes, he’s a midcarder, and not a particularly interesting one. His biggest claim to fame so far is kick-starting Smackdown mascot Braun Strowman’s run as the new Blue Pants. He is the wildcard, however, or his team. BFF’s Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho join him, presumably being accompanied by the Hall-Of-Fame-bound List of Jericho. Filling out their team is former Shield allies-turned-enemies-turned-maybe-allies-again Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Too bad for Reigns that he has to fight his brother Dean Ambrose for a second Survivor Series in a row. Also too bad for Ambrose is that he has to put his fantastic rivalry with AJ Styles aside to fight by his side on Sunday. And on top of that, he has to trust Bray Wyatt and his new family member Randy Orton to not stab him in the back. But the real question of this match is easily what kicks Shane O’Mac will be walking out in. For the second time in 2016, the son of the Chairman will compete and thought he’s likely willing to die to prove he runs a better show than Stephanie, don’t expect to see anything like this come Sunday.
Who I Want to Win: Team Smackdown; like the women’s match, it’s mainly the parts that make me cheer for the team rather than the sum. AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, and Shane McMahon and three dudes I’d put on my Classic Survivor Series team if I could.
Who Will Win: Team Smackdown; I’ll probably end up on Chris Jericho’s list for being so pro-Smackdown here, but AJ Styles getting the final pinfall for Team Smackdown and bragging about it here just makes all the sense in the world to me.