The 28th edition of WWE Survivor Series emanates from Boston, Massachusetts this Sunday night. It's the second oldest annual WWE PPV (only WrestleMania is older) taking place in one of the biggest and most historic cities in America. Despite all of that, it does not feel like a major show. Don't get me wrong, I think Survivor Series "should" be a major show. It's just that WWE doesn't present it that way. I think fans perceive the event as a big deal just because it's one of the "big four" historically. It certainly doesn't come off as a big deal anymore.
The other thing worth mentioning here is that when I write these previews I try to do so with an optimistic attitude. I'm sorry if I fail to do that this time, but I think WWE is coming off three straight below average PPVs and I don't anticipate this one to be much better. There could be some things that I really like (like the elimination tag match), but I don't know if there will be enough of those moments that make this show come off like a big deal. Last year at Survivor Series we saw the debut of The Shield. It wasn't a very memorable show, but that moment was. I hope there's something big in store this time around too. We'll find out on Sunday night.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.com.)
The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston (Kickoff Match)
One week. That's how much build this match has. Miz turned heel on Raw. The announcers barely made a point to mention it. They didn't even replay it. It happened, though. Trust me on that. That's what I don't understand about WWE booking. There were four weeks between Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series. They could have done the turn weeks ago, built up a hatred between these two guys and had this match. Instead it's a match based on Miz dropping off the apron to refuse a tag. If they don't care to put the effort in then why should fans put time in to watch these characters? It should be a 7-10 minute match with Miz winning after cheating because that's what heels do. Winner: The Miz
Intercontinental Championship: Big E Langston vs. Curtis Axel
Does anybody ever win the title rematch? Not really. I didn't mind seeing the IC Title change on Raw. I think it's okay to do that once in a while because it makes fans realize that there can be title changes on TV instead of PPVs all the time. Langston should get the win here in a match that goes about eight minutes. Langston's IC Title run will likely be a long one. Hopefully it means more than Axel's reign did. Winner: Big E Langston
Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match - Natalya, The Bellas, The Funkadactyls, JoJo & Eva Marie vs. AJ Lee, Tamina Snuka, Kaitlyn, Rosa Mendes, Summer Rae, Aksana & Alicia Fox
I wonder how much planning actually went into this match. You've got the seven women from Total Divas on one side and the other side is mostly heels plus Kaitlyn, who has barely been on television for the past few months even though she's one of the best women they have. It's like somebody told Vince McMahon that they should have the Total Divas girls in a match, so he said fine and had others come up with seven other women to face them. As a result, we have the likes of Jojo and Rosa Mendes in a PPV match despite the fact that Jojo barely knows what she's doing while Rosa has somehow maintained employment for all these years. This match should be Natalya challenging AJ Lee for the Divas Title. Instead we get the "let's have 14 women wrestle in an elimination match" situation we have here.
There's no reason for AJ Lee's team to win since she's holding gold (or silver), so look for the Total Divas team to get the victory. The perfect scenario would be for AJ to be the last woman left on her team against four women on the other team. That way everybody hits their big moves on her, the fans cheer and everybody is happy. I just hope the ones that don't know what they're doing are standing on the apron for the majority of it. They'll have to tag in for eliminations, though. Winners: Team Total Divas (Natalya, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella & Naomi as the survivors.)
Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match - Cody Rhodes & Goldust, The Usos & Rey Mysterio vs. The Shield & The Real Americans
This is another match with one week of build because they announced it on Monday. It's okay because it's probably going to be the match of the night. Hopefully they allow them go to 25-30 minutes, take their time with the eliminations and build to an exciting finish. That's how traditional Survivor Series matches should go. There's no reason to rush through it.
As far as a winner goes, it's a tough call. There are positive aspects to either side winning and it makes sense. They don't really need to have Goldust and Cody go over because they're already holding gold. The Usos are good performers, but I doubt they're going to be there in the end. I can see Mysterio winning for his team just because it would give him some momentum after coming back from his most recent knee injury.
I'm leaning towards the heel team. I think the plan for this match is to build a rift between the members of The Shield. Right now, Ambrose is the only one in the team holding gold with the US Title (that he rarely defends) in his possession. I think a fun scenario for this match would be if there were three Shield members left against only Mysterio. They could have Mysterio try to fight back as the ultimate underdog that has been the calling card of his career. If Reigns is going to be the one they plan to push next year then a scenario where he's the sole survivor in this match makes a lot of sense. I think that 3 on 1 finish would be awesome. Mysterio pins Ambrose. Then he nearly pins Rollins, but Reigns makes the blind tag and the save for his partner with a Spear. He pins Mysterio to win. Reigns & Rollins are the survivors for their team.
Like I said before, this is likely going to be the match of the night. I wish there was at least one other 5 on 5 or 4 on 4 elimination tag because they're so fun to watch. I'm not sure why WWE is reluctant to do more of them. The positive thing about it is this is the only one we're getting, so I'm going to enjoy it. Winners: The Shield & Real Americans. (Rollins & Reigns as the survivors.)
CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs. Erick Rowan & Luke Harper
This doesn't feel like a PPV match. It would have been better if they did a Survivor Series elimination match using these guys, plus Bray Wyatt and find others to be on their teams. A regular tag match doesn't excite me that much although I am happy about the Wyatt Family moving up the ranks, so to speak. For the past three months they really didn't have a feud. At least they are against two top babyfaces. What I'm getting at is I think it's great for the Wyatt Family, but for Punk/Bryan it's a step down a bit.
They'll likely get 10-15 minutes and it should be a fundamentally sound tag match. Punk and Bryan are arguably the two best in-ring performers in WWE, so it's not like they have bad matches. I can see the heels winning due to Bray Wyatt interfering, which would lead to a singles feud for him. I just think Punk & Bryan will get the win here especially because the Wyatt Family had the advantage to end Smackdown. Get beat up on TV, win on PPV. Winners: CM Punk & Daniel Bryan
World Heavyweight Championship: John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio
Is there anybody reading this that thinks Del Rio has any chance of leaving as the World Heavyweight Champion? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? I thought not. I have no idea how many times Cena has wrestled Del Rio in the last three years, but it feels like I've written about this match about ten times. Maybe I've put the number too high. I don't know. My point is that it's been done so many times that I really don't need to see these two wrestling again. I'm not sure who Cena's next feud will be with, but I hope this is the end of this rivalry.
It should be noted that Michael Cole mentioned on Smackdown that Cena is 7-1 in matches at Survivor Series. I'm assuming he has really good records at every WWE PPV. This match should get around 15 minutes, the crowd won't really buy into any Del Rio nearfalls or submissions and Cena will overcome the arm injury to find a way to get the win just like he usually does. Winner: John Cena
WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. Big Show
The main event of this show features two guys who were in multiple feuds over the World Title for the past three years or so. They really didn't feud with each other, but they had many matches with the likes of Sheamus, Mark Henry and Alberto Del Rio among others. I guess they've graduated to the next level because now they're competing for the WWE Title, which Big Show hasn't held since 2002. Do I think he's going to win it here? Absolutely not.
As I've said many times before and as many of you have figured out, it feels like this feud is being done as a setup for a future feud between Big Show and Triple H. I'm not saying that will be a WWE Title feud. I just think they're going to have a big match whether it's at TLC or the Royal Rumble. The Rumble actually makes sense since WWE likes to have some major singles matches there, so that would fit. If it's TLC that works too. The problem is the WWE Champion looks like he's playing second fiddle to the guy in the suit. When it was Vince McMahon in that role 15 years ago I would have been fine with it because he was the best heel in the business at the time. Triple H is just a guy that doesn't really elevate anybody or do anything of substance at this point except say "best for business" 15 times per show. I think his wife Stephanie is doing a better job of being a heel of late, to be honest.
Now that I've depressed you by talking about Triple H, let's shift the focus back to the match. I see Orton retaining the title. I think the absolute best booking would be for him to win clean, but is that likely to happen? No. I know Triple H said nobody was going to help Orton. Just remember that heels lie. Also it's not like there were other instances where Triple H said somebody was going to help Orton and that's what happened. We're coming off three straight PPVs with screwy finishes (four if you want to count heel HHH at SummerSlam) and I expect another one. It will probably be a Triple H interference to set up his match with Big Show down the road. Perhaps it will be a DQ finish to set up Orton vs. Show again at TLC. Either way I'll go with Orton retaining the WWE Title. Winner: Randy Orton
I'm not sure what kind of viewership this PPV is going to have because as a NFL fan I know I'm going to be more interested in the Broncos vs. Patriots game on Sunday night football that is taking place at the same time as this show. It's arguably the biggest game of the season in terms of viewers. (My NFL picks are here by the way.) I'll watch Survivor Series after the game because I'm a diehard fan, but I don't love the product enough to see it live. I hope that what I wrote up above isn't perceived as something from a fan that likes to complain. I hate it. I just want better stories, fresher matchups and more great matches. I'm not sure that this show can deliver that.
My review of Survivor Series will get posted on Monday afternoon most likely.
John Canton - email@example.com