This Sunday, Survivor Series will air live on the WWE Network. What is commonly referred to as the “weak link” of the Big Four PPV’s, Survivor Series’ appeal relies on large-scale elimination tag team matches. This year, similar to last year, WWE has embraced the brand warfare angle with the focus pushed away from the trademark elimination matches and towards Champion vs. Champion matches. Come Monday morning, we are officially on the road that leads to the road to WrestleMania as the feuds heading into the biggest event in sports entertainment take shape. What will happen? Who will be the sole survivors? And which brand will come out on top as the A-Show and the best at putting the other “UNDER SIEGE?” Let’s dive in:
Cruiserweight Championship: Enzo Amore (c) vs. Kalisto (Pre-show)
This is the only match booked for the hour-long pre-show. The good news: the match will get plenty of time and Kalisto will have ample time to carry Enzo to a good match. The bad news: what a missed opportunity to have a Cruiserweight elimination match. The Survivor Series matches have been traditionally booked to elevate an up-and-coming star by making them the sole survivor for their team (See, The Rock and Randy Orton, to name a few). This would have been a great opportunity to showcase the likes of Mustafa Ali, Cedric Alexander, and/or Jack Gallagher. But, I digress. Since Neville’s departure, the Cruiserweights have seen a change of course in having a hot-potato championship with Kalisto and Enzo remaining on the top of the division. Rumors are running rampant that Hideo Itami is set to make his main roster debut very soon and joining the Cruiserweight division. Adding that kind of legitimacy to the division should be great for 205 Live. Itami’s recent heel work in NXT has reinvigorated his tumultuous WWE career. I would imagine Itami is coming in to be a legitimate contender for the championship. Thus, we need a face champion here. Look for Kalisto to carry Enzo to a good match, perhaps some interference from Drew Gaba-Gulak (as an Italian Long-Islander, that’s the best nickname in the company right now), and a Kalisto win with Itami’s debut on the main roster coming Monday night.
Result: Kalisto def. Enzo Amore
Women’s Traditional Survivor Series Match: Team Smackdown (Becky Lynch, Tamina, Naomi, Carmella, and ???) vs. Team RAW (Alicia Fox, Nia Jax, Asuka, Sasha Banks, and Bayley)
SPIN ZONE! Paige is NOT the 5th member of Team RAW despite her clearance to return to the ring. She had to go and spoil it by doing her usual Instagram things so her punishment is that she won’t return until after Survivor Series (unless they do what they did with Nikki Bella last year and somebody gets attacked before the match and they need a substitute). Assuming that doesn’t happen, this match is very interesting. Firstly, who the heck is the fifth member of Team Smackdown? Do they do the ol’ switcheroo and plug Natalya into Charlotte’s spot? There are also rumors of Nikki Bella returning now that she’s finished with her ballroom dancing (I was really rooting for her on Dancing with the Stars). Whichever they go with is inconsequential. My personal opinion is that this match will showcase Asuka’s dominance and serve as the beginning of a push for Becky. I think Alicia Fox will get eliminated right off the bat a` la Breezango last year and throw one of her ridiculous fits. A Tamina/Nia Jax faceoff writes itself. And Becky is likely to faceoff against either or both Sasha and Bayley, because the Four Horsewomen should fight each other whenever the opportunity presents itself. It’s always great. My bet is Team Smackdown gets out to an early lead just for Asuka to lead Team RAW back to victory, submitting Becky Lynch (who will have a great showing) to become the sole survivor. P.S. too bad we won’t see James Ellsworth get beat down by the women again (Best of luck in the future, James “Chince McMahon” Ellsworth).
Result: Team Smackdown def. Team RAW
Intercontinental Champion vs. United States Champion: The Miz vs. Baron Corbin
Other than the Shield vs. the New Day, this is the only match with some actual build behind it. Both the Miz and Baron Corbin have taken to social media to turn nothing into something, cutting scathing promos on one another. Corbin mouthed off about Maryse, the Miz dropped an F-bomb, it’s been hectic! After a convincing win over Sin Cara on Smackdown, Baron Corbin has seemed to recover from his de-push that resulted in that terrible SummerSlam squash with John Cena (expect an article about that in the near future). The Miz has recently morphed into the cowardly heel role on RAW, but that will probably be put on hold for this match because YOU DO NOT TALK BADLY ABOUT A MAN’S WIFE! Baron Corbin’s moveset is hot fire and The Miz is a great technical in-ring performer. I predict The Miz will wrestle a great match, but will let his emotions get the better of him resulting in an End of Days out of nowhere and an elevation of the U.S. Championship.
Result: Baron Corbin def. The Miz
Smackdown Tag Team Champions vs. RAW Tag Team Champions: The Usos vs. The Bar
MAN! This one is tough. The Bar and their Dragon Ball Z-inspired antics are riding a nice wave of momentum after capturing the RAW Tag Team Championships from Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose a couple of weeks back. On the other side, the Usos are probably the hottest tag team in wrestling right now, hot off the heels of their incredible feud with the New Day. The in-ring ability of both teams alone makes this a dark horse candidate for match of the night. This match comes down to who needs the win more? Injuries have kept the Hardy Boyz and The Revival off RAW for some time now, making Smackdown’s tag division much more competitive. Therefore, I’m giving this win to the Usos so that they can solidify themselves as the top team in the company. My prediction: lots of stiff strikes, perhaps some more dislodged teeth, and the ol’ Double Uce on Sheamus for the Uso win in a great match.
Result: The Usos def. The Bar
Smackdown Women’s Champion vs. RAW Women’s Champion: Charlotte Flair vs. Alexa Bliss
Great move by WWE putting the title on Charlotte for this match. Don’t get me wrong, Natalya is great, but these are the top two women in the company and this match needed to happen. The only women to be both RAW and Smackdown Women’s Champion will be going head to head: the Goddess of RAW vs. the Queen of Smackdown Live. All signs point to this being a great match as Charlotte is the best women’s wrestler in the world and Alexa Bliss has been nothing short of spectacular this year. With Asuka just being called up to RAW, Alexa Bliss needs all of the momentum in the world if she is going to have any chance against the inevitable matchup with the Empress of Tomorrow. I’ll bet the commentators make a big deal about the height difference between the two. Look for Alexa Bliss to be caught in the Figure-8 and have a hard time getting to the ropes because of her short arms, thus having to use heel tactics to escape. Charlotte will put in a great showing, but Alexa Bliss will go over clean after a Bliss-ful DDT (why is that not the name of it?), which Charlotte will sell wonderfully.
Result: Alexa Bliss def. Charlotte Flair
The Shield vs. The New Day
After a bad case of the mumps and 2 whole sieges, the Hounds of Justice are finally going to make their PPV return as a unit. And thank the wrestling gods (no, not JBL), it’s against the New Day. There is a reason the Usos are the hottest tag team in the world right now. That’s because their dance partners for the last few months were the New Day. Anyone who had said Xavier Woods is the weak link of the New Day has to be eating their words by this point. His performances this year have been innovative and electric. Add that to the always awesome moveset of Kofi Kingston and the best hot tag in the business in Big-E and you have a team that can legitimately challenge the Shield. The Shield speaks for itself. The most dominant faction in recent memory, now all former World Champions, are back and they didn’t skip a beat as far as their chemistry goes. There’s not much more to say other than “sit back and enjoy!” There will be glorious high spots and hard hitting action from bell to bell. After putting in a great showing, the New Day comes up short. The Shield wins with a triple powerbomb to Big-E in the match of the night.
Result: The Shield def. The New Day
Men’s Traditional Survivor Series Match: Team Smackdown (Shane McMahon, Randy Orton, John Cena, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Bobby Roode) vs. Team RAW (Kurt Angle, Triple H, Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, and Samoa Joe)
This might be the most unpredictable match of the night. First things first, Braun is the youngest man in this match at 34 years old. That is bonkers to me. Secondly, the story going into this match, other than #UNDERSIEGEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, is all over the place. Shane McMahon is in the match just because he feels he needs to. John Cena was thrown in there because, reasons. Orton, Nakamura, and Roode all won their way onto the team, but have had zero participation in a build to the match. The RAW team makes a little more sense because these guys are all ticked off about the first #UNDERSIEGEEEEEE. Still, though, Triple H declaring himself on the team just because he wants to is weird. Is he that invested in RAW winning that he feels he needs to get involved? Who knows? Regardless, this is still one of the marquee matches so it should be well put together. A Nakamura/Balor faceoff would be sweet with a capital SWEET. Triple H facing off with Bobby Roode will be fun for 2 reasons: (1) It will be like looking in a mirror for both of them; and (2) a “GLORIOUS!” vs. “SUCK IT!” taunt off is just waiting to happen. For me, this comes down to who needs the rub from a great performance? Nakamura and Bobby Roode will both have good showings to put them in the WWE Championship and U.S. Championship pictures, respectively. Braun Strowman will get eliminated in a fluke way to keep him strong (he doesn’t really need the sole survivor rub, he’s the best thing on RAW). Team Smackdown’s pitfall, however, is Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn waiting in the wings to just ruin the party for Team Blue. An interference from the two best friends will likely cause Team Smackdown the match. Look for Finn Balor to hit the Coup de Grace on Nakamura after a beat down from Zayn and Owens for the final 1-2-3 to further push Finn back to the Universal Championship picture.
Result: Team RAW def. Team Smackdown
WWE Champion vs. Universal Champion: AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar
Remember just a little while ago when I said the Men’s Survivor Series Match was the most unpredictable? Yeah, forget about that. What I deemed as Brock Lesnar’s last “dream match,” can literally go anywhere. There is seemingly nothing that AJ Styles cannot do in that ring and Brock is, pound for pound, just as much of a freakish athlete. AJ will wrestle an intelligent, calculated, gutsy match, and Brock will be Brock and rag-doll AJ from post to post. And AJ will make that look PHENOMENAL (had to do it). When it comes down to it, there is no world, from a storyline standpoint, in which Brock Lesnar should win. It does nothing for Brock, nothing for AJ, and will make Roman Reigns’ inevitable WrestleMania win over Brock all the more rejected by the fans. A win here turns AJ into a megastar and it will make Brock a little more vulnerable to smaller technical wrestlers, maybe to a point where a match with Finn Balor would be believable (read my article about Brock’s dream matches, and you’ll see where I’m coming from). It will take multiple countered F-5’s and at least three Phenomenal Forearms, but AJ gets the win here.
Result: AJ Styles def. BRRRRRRRRRRROCK LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLESNAR
As you can probably tell, I’m super excited for Survivor Series and I think it will be a great show all around. I’ll be watching the show live, so Tweet me your reactions @MAVA1216 and let me know how you feel about my predictions in the comments below.