John: World Wrestling Entertainment is presenting Survivor Series this Sunday night and it's being built around two major events: The finale of the WWE Title tournament to crown a new WWE Champion as well as 25 years since the legendary Undertaker debuted in WWE.
It's a show that is missing some big names because John Cena is on a hiatus to host a reality show for Fox. Former WWE Champion Seth Rollins is out 6-9 months after major knee surgery and Randy Orton will miss at least six months if he undergoes shoulder surgery like most people expect. There's also no Brock Lesnar even though this show could use him.
This is arguably the most poorly promoted PPV of the year in terms of announcing a full card. They don't have a Kickoff Match announced. There's a 5 on 5 traditional Survivor Series elimination match with no names announced for it. Even though the Tag Team division is improving, there's no Tag Title match announced. It's lazy booking and it shouldn't happen.
Joining me for the preview are Christian Michael, Heather Hickey and Matty J. Douglas. As always, the match order isn't the order that we necessarily think will happen on the show. It's just a format to use for this preview.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.com. The banner is courtesy of our friend Steve Melo. Go visit his website prowrestlinglinks.com for convenient links to all kinds of different wrestling related websites.)
Dolph Ziggler vs. Tyler Breeze
Christian: This is an interesting match because Tyler Breeze was the Dolph Ziggler of NXT. What I mean by that is Breeze basically became a guy that should be champion but whose job was to make someone else look great.
If they get 12-15 minutes they can have a really good match. Hopefully this won't be a one and done scenario because these two could tell a really good story in Ziggler being a former young, brash pretty boy and Breeze in that role now.
Prediction- Tyler Breeze
Heather: On paper, it makes sense for these two to rekindle their feud, now that they’ve both been dismissed from the championship tournament. As a very, very casual NXT watcher, I haven’t seen enough of Breeze to throw much analysis at the wrestling part of this match.
From what I’ve seen so far, he shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for Ziggler, unless the story is that he keeps getting into Ziggler’s head. I’m not exactly sure WHO Tyler Breeze is. There are too many things happening. He’s got the narcissism of Rick “The Model” Martel, the seasonal residence gimmick of “The Million Dollar Man” Ted Dibiase, the smirk of Val Venis, the selfie schtick of “Dashing” Cody Rhodes, the valet of Fandango, and the boots of Melina. Who are you, Tyler Breeze? Though this feud makes sense on paper, in reality Dolph Ziggler should be leading his own Survivor Series team, as a nod to his stellar showing at last year’s event. History, schmistory.
Winner: Ziggler, who’ll get a furry selfie stick to the head as payback, and let’s hope Lana comes out to clothesline Summer Rae with her wrist cast, Bob Orton style.
Matt: I love Tyler Breeze and I love Dolph Ziggler, but I feel like the writing on this rivalry has been pretty bad. Not how it started, but instead the fact that there was a break for two weeks and then they picked it up again once they were both eliminated from the WWE Title Tournament. You know what would have been more interesting? How about having them screw each other out of qualifying for the tournament? It’s a classic wrestling trope that would have worked. Or even crazier: have them still feud while in the tournament. Crazy outside the box I know.
As it stands, I’m sure these guys will have a great match on Sunday. Their styles should mesh to put on a good, different kind of match, much like Dolph and Ambrose had on Monday. Just wish the creative on the narrative wasn’t so stop and go.
Winner: Tyler Breeze (because he has to get the W at his first PPV)
John: I like both guys a lot and I'm happy that Breeze gets to be in his first PPV match at a pretty big show. I think this feud was hurt a bit by the WWE Title tournament because Ziggler was a participant in that, he did fairly well and then this storyline was forgotten a bit while that happened. They should still have a good match - I just don't expect the crowd to care that match.
My other prediction for this match is that they will do the match again on Raw and the loser of Sunday's match will win on Monday. That's typical WWE booking in 2015. I'll go with Breeze winning due to some Summer Rae distraction.
Winner: Tyler Breeze
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament Semifinals: Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio
Christian: I could sit here and break this down but you, me and everyone else knows Alberto Del Rio is in this spot simply to make Roman Reigns look great heading into the finals. I'd be shocked if this goes longer than ten minutes. I expect a very decisive win for Roman.
Prediction- Roman Reigns advances.
Heather: I have a sneaking suspicion that this match will go on far longer than need be. Not just to fill time, but to emphasize Roman Reigns’ fighting spirit, and how valiant he is in going in to battle for a second match in one night after battling through this lengthy bout with Del Rio. Unfortunately for me, I am only interested in seeing Roman Reigns in a long match if he’s spending most of it being creatively brutalized by the likes of a Lesnar or a Wyatt, and looking truly vulnerable before fighting back. Del Rio is not that opponent. He may look leaner, but he sure isn’t meaner. His return at Hell in a Cell was heralded by trumpets, but it’s been nothing but a sad trombone ever since. To make matters worse, I don’t see many complementary intersections between his and Reigns’ wrestling styles. And here’s the nail in the coffin for this match: we all know how it’s going to end, so there’s little reason to pay attention.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Matt: This should be a good match. I can’t recall them ever having had matches with one another before Del Rio left. I’m not sure exactly how their styles will mesh but their respective physicality should make for a decent match at the very least and a great match at the very best. There isn’t an incredible narrative here, other than both want to advance in the tournament, which is as good as any I’d say.
I do need to say this: The Mex-America storyline with Zeb and Alberto is awful. Like so very awful. It simply makes no narrative sense, and at its core isn’t what I think they want it to be. Why would I boo two guys that want to bring people together? Want to end bigotry between two nations? Sure actually combining the countries is not something anybody would want, but the sentiment of their message is actually quite progressive and moving.
Winner: Roman Reigns (because OBVIOUSLY!)
John: Is anybody watching this show going to pick Del Rio to win this match? Probably not. I think the whole MexAmerica gimmick is pretty bad. I know we shouldn’t shit it on it so early in its existence, but it really isn't a good way to get heat. If they go to some parts with a strong Latino community those fans might cheer for this group just because it seems like they are supporting Mexicans in America. That's why the whole thing is pretty weird.
As for the match, I think it'll take place in the first hour and should get 10-15 minutes. I don't expect them to go 20+ minutes like the Reigns/Cesaro match and it won't be as good as that, but it should be fine. It wouldn't surprise me if they did a story where Reigns had to a sell an arm or leg injury throughout as a way to make him look like a wounded warrior in the finals. It will be predictable with a Reigns win in under 15 minutes.
Winner: Roman Reigns
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament Semifinals: Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens
Christian: The best story to be told in this tournament is to have the former Shield mates face each other for the title. This match should be 15 minutes of chaotic fun. Kevin Owens will be WWE Champion one day. It just won't be Sunday.
Prediction- Dean Ambrose advances.
Heather: We know that Dean Ambrose can wrestle more and differently than he usually does. I think he’s been watered down by 1) Being the token talker for The Shield, 2) Being positioned as a one-dimensional ruffian ever since, and 3) Not being given very interesting opponents.
Kevin Owens is a very interesting opponent. Whenever Kevin Owens has a keyboard in his hands, a microphone in his face, or a wrestling mat under his feet, he has my attention. Not just because he’s passionate and charismatic, but also because he is a highly-skilled wrestler. I want him to push Ambrose to a place where he has to rise to the occasion. Where he has to take new punishment, counter different moves, and make it look like he’s got a chance at this thing.
Dean Ambrose is positioned as a lunatic who is unpredictable and fearless. But I believe he’s met his match in Kevin Owens, who would love to do NOTHING more than prove Ambrose to be a regular, predictable, fallible guy.
Winner: Dean Ambrose. Because Owens is in a good pocket with the IC title right now, and a win over Owens will position Dean Ambrose as a believable pretender to the throne. Ambrose and Reigns will go into the main event looking battered and bewildered by the poetry of the scenario.
Matt: Allow me to complain for a bit about how this Title Tourney has played out. There have been quite a few missteps along the way if you ask me. It started when they announced the brackets. There was no New Day and there was no mistaking that this would be the Final 4. All the excitement was sucked out of me because creatively, this was the least ambitious path they could have traveled down. Even announcing the brackets wasn’t fun. You could have had a week where people were jockeying to get into the Tourney, or a battle royal to detrain the brackets. They could have done anything inventive, but chose not to.
For all my problems with this WWE Title Tournament (and I have a lot of problems with it), it has given us some great matches. This could be the best match of the night. The WWE really wanted to give us this match at Survivor Series, as it was penciled in before the Rollins injury for the Intercontinental Championship instead. Who can blame the WWE for wanting to give us this program? I’ve wanted to see these guys tango for quite some time (and I’m not talking about them taking a dance class with Fandango). This match should be a fun clash.
Winner: Dean Ambrose (because Dean vs. Roman is inevitable on this night)
John: It's another match where I doubt anybody is picking the heel to win even though there could be a very good case made for Kevin Owens. He's probably the best pure heel in WWE right now considering how good he is in the ring as well as his promos, which are arguably the best for any wrestler in WWE (Paul Heyman is the best, but he's not a wrestler). However, Owens winning this match doesn't make the best story. Plus, Ambrose is damn good too.
The crowd should be on fire for Ambrose in this match. He's the most beloved face on the show from the entire audience while some people still don't like Reigns. I think this might be the match of the night if they get 15 minutes because they can wrestle a physical style and create some memorable nearfalls throughout. The thought of these two having a series of matches intrigues me. Get them some weapons too because that would be a lot of fun.
If it was up to me, Owens would win this match and the tournament. The problem is it's not up to me and I think the Reigns/Ambrose final is intriguing as well, so that's what WWE is going to go with. I would be very surprised if Ambrose didn't win here.
Winner: Dean Ambrose
Traditional 5 on 5 Elimination Match
(This match was announced on WWE.com with no participants.)
Christian: This match is here just to appease long time fans like myself that think it should be a priority to have a Traditional Survivor Series Match on the PPV. It's also here to to get ten guys on the show which is never a bad thing.
Since WWE hasn't announced anyone in the match I'll say it'll be Cesaro, Neville, Ryback and The Usos vs. The New Day, King Barrett and Sheamus. Regardless of WWE's lack of interest there will be enough talent in the match to make it fun.
Prediction- Cesaro's Team
Heather: Proving that Seth Rollins is so freakin’ awesome that his injury has left Survivor Series without a Survivor Series. THIS is what Seth should be crowing and cackling about on his first “live via satellite” appearance on Raw. Survivor Series is touted as one of the “big 4” original Pay-Per-Views. Its allegedly distinguished heritage (see: The Gobbledy Gooker) has led to an annual fuss over WWE’s “Thanksgiving Tradition” for 28 years running. And they sure do love to hype the event by staging traditional Survivor Series elimination matches every week for weeks on end. Cue Seth’s devastating knee injury, a vacant title, and a tournament outta nowhere that has made the last two episodes of Raw downright enthralling – ask any WWE fan, and he/she can tell you who’s in the semi-finals on Sunday night. But don’t ask about the namesake match, the TRADITIONAL SURVIVOR SERIES 5-ON-5 ELIMINATION MATCH. And please don’t ask if there might be more than one. Because as of this writing, no participants have been announced, and I don’t think it’s for the element of surprise (unless you count the greatly-exaggerated expression of shock on Vince McMahon’s face when someone informed him that there was no Survivor Series match on the card for Survivor Series).
So who will get thrown into the mix? Back in the Hell in a Cell preview, I predicted Team Ryback vs. Team Owens. So let’s say Ryback, Neville, Cesaro, Mark Henry and R-Truth, but instead of Kevin Owens, the other team will be Sheamus, Big Show, King Barrett, The Miz, and… Bo Dallas or Fandango? Wow. Get well soon, Sethie.
Winner: Sheamus will be the sole survivor.
Matt: Why advertise this match if the participants aren’t even known. Surprise us at the show by having one of these and we might have been happy. Now we’re just thinking they’re lazily going to patch a match together with guys like New Day (who should be winning the WWE Title Tourney) and Cesaro and Ryback. I would rather not have a Traditional Survivor Series match at all if they’re going to slap it together haphazardly.
If you were dead set on having them at the show, they could have been creative and had the Survivors of the Traditional Survivor Matches duke it out for the vacant title in the main event. It could have been anything from a Fatal 4 Way to an over the top rope battle royal, depending on how many survivors you booked. Why do I spend more time coming up with creative solutions that the people that work at WWE?
John: If WWE isn't going to spend time actually giving a shit about their own PPV and announcing matches then why should we sit here wasting our time doing it? This could have been set up so easy. Instead, they didn't even try.
My five participants for the match would be Cesaro, The Usos & Dudley Boyz vs. Sheamus, King Barrett & The New Day. They could have set it up in one segment on Smackdown, but no. They don't even care. Oh, and the faces would win too.
Winners: The Faces...whoever they are
Divas Title: Charlotte vs. Paige
Christian: I didn't actually see the "controversial" contract signing from RAW. I did read all the backlash. It's always such a gray area incorporating real like tragedies into wrestling stories but it also shouldn't surprise you if you've been watching WWE for the last 25 years.
If nothing else it got people paying attention to this match and in the end that's what it was meant to do. Hopefully these two get the time to put on a great match because they can steal the show if given the time. I just hope that after this match, Sasha Banks becomes the focal point of the Diva Division. #WeWantSasha
Prediction- Charlotte retains the Divas Championship.
Heather: I strongly disagreed with the “dead brother” wild card dealt out during the contract signing on Raw. Reid Flair died at the age of 25 - tragic on its own, made worse by the circumstances. Invoking Reid’s name as a heel tactic was in poor taste - and I was ALL for the Paul Bearer shenanigans during Taker/Punk a few years ago. Paul Bearer’s death was sad, but not tragic in the same way. And it was properly integrated into the feud by the steady hands of Punk and Heyman.
This contract signing stunk of lazy storytelling, a sensationalist bomb dropped at the eleventh hour. What purpose did it serve, other than to rip at the wounds of the Flair family, leave fans perplexed, and demonstrate the lack of confidence in their work to this point? But what’s done is done. And the only way to move forward is for Charlotte to come down that aisle on Sunday without a trace of a smile on her face. No flips or poses. Just intensity. And when that bell rings, Charlotte will rush Paige and beat the eyeliner off her face. Paige will rally a few times, indicating that Charlotte may have let her emotions get the best of her, but the match will end in a double DQ when the women both refuse to listen to the ref’s call for order. The feud continues.
Winner: Double DQ
Matt: I need to get this off my chest. I didn’t like last Monday’s main event segment with these two ladies (apart from the discovery that the Divas have clothes that aren’t their ring gear). It started off fine, and I did think Charlotte bringing up her brother did do a lot to humanize her and make us sympathize with her as she got emotional just talking about him. If that was the goal, they had accomplished it right there.
Obviously the goal wasn’t about character building, it was about causing a controversy, and that they did when Paige insulted Charlotte’s deceased brother. I didn’t like it in the moment, I don’t like it now. It immediately felt cheap and counterfeit to me. There was no story here, just an obvious ploy to grab headlines. Finding out after the fact that Ric and Charlotte’s mother weren’t informed or consulted made it even worse to me, and I already kind of hated it. There were better ways to get heat for Paige and build sympathy for Charlotte, and in a way it made me feel the opposite emotions. I feel bad that Paige was dragged into this and was told to invoke Reid’s name to get heat (because we all know that she wouldn’t have pitched this idea) and I’m kind of against Charlotte for being down to use her brother’s death to get cheap heat and sympathy.
As a guy who deals with storytelling on a daily basis, there’s no worse offence to me than lazy writing, devoid of explanation or planning, meant only pander and create a stir for the people watching. This was as cheap and overt an attempt to grab headlines as I’ve ever seen, and I didn’t dig it. Some others may have, and that’s fine. To each their own though.
Winner and Still Divas Champion: Charlotte (because she’s the babyface who had her deceased little brother’s honour besmirched)
John: The big talking point about this match is the stupid angle on Raw where Paige mocked Charlotte by saying Charlotte's dead brother Reid didn't put up a lot of fight, which is why he passed away nearly three years ago. I think it was pretty ridiculous as well as unnecessary, but as WWE fans we get used to this company doing some questionable things. It doesn't make it right. It just makes us want to shrug our shoulders while wondering how much longer we want to put up with it.
I like both women and I think heel Paige is much more enjoyable than the face version. Charlotte really doesn't have much of a character aside from mentioning that Ric Flair is her dad about every 30 seconds she is out there. We know, WWE! Think of something else. At least there's a rivalry here with some backstory, so the crowd could be invested in it.
They'll probably get 10-15 minutes sine it's not a deep card. Charlotte shouldn't lose the title, but Paige shouldn't tap out or get pinned so soon after her heel turn. That's why I'm going with Paige by disqualification after Charlotte is too aggressive outside the ring. That way they can do a rematch at TLC with a stipulation.
Winner: Paige by disqualification (Charlotte retains the Divas Title)
The Undertaker & Kane vs. Two Members of The Wyatt Family
Christian: I'm a bit surprised that Luke Harper isn't in this match. He's the best worker in the Wyatt Family and would really help the match flow better with an older Undertaker and Kane. Plus, he doesn't get hurt being pinned since he's taken so many falls in his WWE career.
It's going to be a spectacle seeing The Undertaker enter the arena on his 25th Anniversary in WWE. I never thought he'd become the legend he became after watching that stiff, green worker debut in 1990 but he did and I for you am great full because he is one of the best of all time. Thank You Taker.
The match itself probably won't be great but it won't matter because it'll all be about celebrating The Undertaker.
Prediction- The Undertaker and Kane
Heather: Has Brock Lesnar had enough time to grow a beard and break in some bumpkin slacks? Because unless he’s the one sent out as a member of the Wyatt Family, I really couldn’t care less. There is far, far too much suspension of disbelief required here.
None of the Wyatts ever seem to accomplish anything, or for very long. How could they possibly pose a threat to this legendary duo? For their part, the Brothers of Destruction look like the only thing they could destroy is our nostalgia for The Undertaker and Kane. I appreciate that they’ve reunited for Taker’s final lap, but how sad is it that the entrances are going to take longer than the match should? There are going to be a lot of kicks to the lower halves of bodies, strikes, and VINTAGE! moves. I’m not sure what the point is here, other than to play out a story that should never have been resurrected, and give a fans the chance to see The Phenom in action (inaction?). It’s best that I stop now.
Winners: The Undertaker and Kane
Matt: I’m kind of done with Undertaker and Kane. Watching The Undertaker now makes me kind of sad. It’s like watching Kobe Bryant play in the NBA this year. His body is breaking down and he can’t do the things he did before. I respect him for not quitting and wanting to come back and play, but I selfishly want to remember my heroes at their best, not seem them tailspin on their way out the door.
I want to remember The Undertaker at his best. Instead I’m kind of being forced to watch the Undertaker attempt to stir up the same gravitas as his skill set and match quality diminish and depreciate. I’ve never been the biggest Undertaker or Kane fan, but this is just not fun to watch.
I have no expectations for this match. In fact I may take a break from the show while it’s going on. The story and what is at stake here don’t intrigue me, and the quality of this match surely won’t be great.
Winners: Undertaker and Kane (because the old guys definitely need to go over at Undertaker’s 25th Anniversary)
John: They could have done a better job of celebrating The Undertaker's 25 years in WWE in this match. They have done great in terms of posting stuff on WWE.com and on WWE Network about him, but it was bizarre to have them barely do anything on Raw this past Monday. Plus, two weeks ago on Raw they had Kane and Undertaker decimate all four Wyatt Family members. It should have been a brawl on Monday to give the Wyatt Family the advantage again or at least show that they are ready. By not doing that, it makes those Wyatt boys look pretty weak.
I would have preferred a traditional elimination match instead of a regular tag match because elimination tags are what Survivor Series is all about. They could have had the Dudleys in a tag match against Harper/Rowan, then do something where there's a DQ finish, all four Wyatt Family guys beat them up and the next week on Raw, it looks like it might happen again when all of a sudden Undertaker & Kane make the save. Then you can book this match to where Undertaker is the last survivor for his team and manages to win. But no, we just get a regular tag match. What a shame.
The booking of this match is difficult to me. If you pick Wyatt & Strowman then having one of them lose is a huge mistake. If you pick Harper & Rowan then having them lose is pretty obvious. I think what they might do is go with Wyatt & Harper so that at least Harper can work the majority of the match since he's a great in-ring performer and he can take the pin. Pinning Wyatt doesn't seem smart to me. Having Strowman lose would be a mistake this early in his career.
I doubt Undertaker and Kane are losing, which is fine because it's a night about The Undertaker lasting 25 years in this company, which is pretty remarkable. He's not my favorite wrestler ever by any means, but I like him a lot and respect him tremendously. Let's enjoy this "retirement tour" as much as we can because I really think he's going to call it a career at the next WrestleMania. For now, the Brothers of Destruction get the win.
Winners: The Undertaker & Kane
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Tournament Finals
Christian: It's pretty much a lock that Ambrose vs. Reigns will be facing each other for the Championship. With Seth Rollins out this is WWE's chance to shake things up with a big angle. Obviously you know where I'm going.
I said this when I wrote about potential WWE Champions after the tournament was announced, but Reigns should go heel and align with The Authority. The seeds were already planted with Triple H on RAW a few weeks ago. If WWE's goal is to have Reigns be the next John Cena or The Rock then he should go the route of The Rock. Rock turned heel and won his first WWE Championship in a tournament after aligning with the evil owner at Survivor Series. Sounds familiar, right? If you want more similarities Rock beat a crazy but lovable lunatic in the finals. Who would Reigns be facing in the finals here?? Exactly. Remember Rock didn't become the mega star he did until he turned heel and established himself as Champion. I think Reigns needs that.
Heel turn or not I expect Reigns to walk out as Champion. I just hope it's not a run of the mill match that Reigns wins and that we get a big angle coming out of it at the end.
Prediction- Roman Reigns wins the WWE Championship.
Heather: So I’ve put Reigns and Ambrose in the main event, which I’ll bet I’m far from alone in predicting. But it works on so many levels. Ambrose and Reigns are fighting for Rollins’ title. They’ve enjoyed both formal and implied alliances with each other since the dissolution of The Shield, and now they must set aside the notion of brotherhood for the sake of the coveted championship. Because they’re both babyfaces, they will take the noble route, shake hands, and wrestle.
It will be a long match, because there is going to be a tedious feeling-out process, during which each man will test the other in an effort to gain the upper hand without discrediting himself. I say tedious because in the wrong hands, it will feel artificial – so let’s hope that both men are feeling froggy and wanna jump. What a perfect opportunity to demonstrate their true value as WWE Superstars, and to wring every ounce of emotion from each other – and the fans – in their journey as men who bonded in battle, then fought a common enemy, and now both have something to prove.
This could be Austin/Hart. We could all walk away from this match feeling like we’d seen a special moment in time as pro wrestling fans. It could be the night that Roman Reigns earns the crown that has thus far hung so heavily on his head. And what better person to do it than Dean Ambrose. He will give Roman everything he needs, and Roman will fight back from the dead after his brother turns on us all. Their shared history, their respect for each other, and their determination to realize the potential of the Shield might make Seth Rollins’ untimely injury one of the most fortuitous plot twists of recent years.
Winner: Roman Reigns is the new WWE Champion
Matt: This main event has quite a few permutations and possibilities. Let me start with what I don’t want to see:
- I do not want to see them have a respectful match with no turn or no angle on the show.
- I don’t want to see Sheamus, because I might have to quit watching if he’s Champion (why does he even have that damn briefcase? In what scenario is him winning good for business?)
- I don’t want to see Lesnar, because it’s too easy response. Make stars and memorable moments out of the guys who are here every week.
Now that we’ve gotten the bad stuff out of the way. let’s get down to the nitty gritty. One of these guys should turn here. Both guys turning would be good for their careers. Both guys turning creates fun storytelling fodder for the coming months. There are reasons to do each turn and when it comes down to it, the decision really is about what you hope to accomplish.
If you want Dean Ambrose to be able to spread his wings and thrive, turning him heel is the best way. He’ll probably never be the top babyface in the eyes of management (despite his apparent ability to connect with the crowd & sell merchandise), but he can definitely become the top heel. On the other hand, if you want Roman Reigns to be the next big babyface, turning him heel is the best way to make that happen. All great babyfaces of the last two decades got over as heels. Cena, Bryan, Rock, Austin, the list goes on; they all got over as heels before becoming mega babyfaces.
The goal presumably is to get Roman over huge. So I say turn him and let Ambrose have a few months as the Austin type bad ass babyface chasing. The story there is the best one to tell. After turning down Triple H’s offer and going through hell in the Tourney, he relents at the end, afraid to lose the WWE Title. This will make the championship victory hollow, and you can immediately start planning toward the emotional and REAL championship victory that will come in the future.
Winner and New WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Roman Reigns (because heel Roman and his Empire could be a lot of fun)
John: The Reigns/Ambrose finals are so intriguing on many levels. What stands out to me above all is that they really haven't wrestled eachother that much. I'm not sure when the last time they had a singles match was and it doesn't matter when it was because the point is that it's a fresh matchup. That's a good thing. Then there's the possibility of one of these top two faces turning heel with Triple H as the new "Corporate Champion" or whatever moniker you want to give that person.
I liked that little promo by Ambrose on Raw when he said things are going to change if he's WWE Champion. That's the kind of thing that makes me think maybe he's the guy that will turn heel to get to the top. Ambrose would be incredible as a heel because he's done it before prior to his WWE career. Plus when The Shield debuted as heels, he was thought of as the leader and the one that got to talk the most. I think if he turned heel he would be a breakout star similar to CM Punk in 2009 when he got to turn heel.
I think Reigns will win because WWE really wants to position him as the next John Cena. They probably should have turned him heel after he lost at WrestleMania and then they could have turned him back into a face by this point so that he's super over going into 2016, but they went the other route. Reigns spent much of the year having really good matches while trying to earn the respect of the crowd. Some people still hate him, though, so it's not like things have changed that much since January.
What I would do with the finish is have a 20-25 minute match with both guys selling exhaustion because they already had a match earlier in the night. Do everything you can to make this feel like a classic match and let them kick out of a lot of stuff. You could even have Triple H and Stephanie McMahon sitting ringside to tease the idea that somebody is going to cheat to win the gold.
I think WWE will go the safe route and have Reigns win as the babyface. That was what they planned to do on this show before Rollins got hurt and I think they will stick to that plan. This way, Reigns can go into WrestleMania as a long term WWE Champion that will try to defend it against the Royal Rumble winner whether that's Brock Lesnar, John Cena or somebody else.
I think after Reigns wins, they can do the spot where he's about to handshake Ambrose. That's when Ambrose kicks him in the knee, hits a Dirty Deeds DDT and leaves because he's pissed he lost. It doesn't mean he's a part of The Authority. It just turns Ambrose into a jealous asshole and that's a role I think he can really thrive in.
Getting back to the official prediction, I think Reigns wins in about 20 minutes with the announcers calling it a classic.
Winner and New WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Roman Reigns
But wait there's more! What about Sheamus? I don't think there's going to be a successful Money in the Bank cash-in because the guy is a major flop as the briefcase holder and it just doesn't feel like the right time for him to leave as WWE Champion. What I would do is have Sheamus try to cash-in at the urging of Triple H, then have Reigns pin him and that really puts over Reigns huge. The end of the night sees a story with Reigns holding the WWE Title while Triple H is furious about it and the story is that Hunter will do everything he can to get the title off him. You could even do a Royal Rumble match with Reigns defending against Triple H since Hunter would put him over.
This is the night where Reigns really ascends to the top of WWE whether the fans like it or not. The pressure will be on him and the creative team to make it work.
John: I hope it's a great show. I'm not sure that it will be. Most WWE PPVs have been in the 7/10 range when I rate them, which means they are usually pretty good, but they rarely are excellent from top to bottom. If there's only six matches then maybe the quality of the wrestling will carry it and provide us with a memorable Survivor Series event this year.
I'm going to watch and write about Survivor Series on Sunday night. Check out the live recap on TJRWrestling.net Sunday night or read all about it after the show is over.
Christian - @Christian_973
Heather - @kickyhick
Matt - @MJDP_GSE
John - @johnreport
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