This year the centerpiece of the PPV is the final two rounds of the WWE Title tournament. Former Champion and backbone of the company Seth Rollins suffered a serious knee injury as you all know, and was forced to vacate the belt, thus WWE held a 16-man tourney to crown a new Champion. The tournament itself has been pretty solid and has made for some fine TV matches over the past two weeks (Reigns vs. Cesaro is probably the tourney highlight so far).
The other big hyped matchup this year is the Brothers of Destruction vs. Bray Wyatt & Braun Strowman. Now when this all got set up a month ago it seemed clear the plan was for all four Wyatts to face Taker, Kane and two other babyfaces in a Survivor Series match. Ya know, woulda made sense. But no, apparently Vince thinks a plain RAW-quality tag team match would be a bigger draw (Vince, what color is the sky in CrazyLand?). So we're stuck with what is likely to be a plodding, phoned-in affair. Next?
The one ray of Survivor Series hope was just announced at the Smackdown tapings the other night, as ten of WWE's brightest, most promising midcarders (for whom Creative has no plans going forward) will be assembled into a traditional elimination match. Of course WWE hasn't announced which ten guys will be involved. Why would you hype a Survivor Series match ahead of time for Survivor Series?? But at least we'll get a 5-on-5 match.
Anyway, let's get to the predictions. Dan and I are tied 46/69.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Tyler Breeze
This one should be a highly entertaining, fast-paced encounter. Ziggler is always game for a quality match, and NXT call-up Tyler Breeze has been extremely impressive thus far in his young career. Breeze currently has one of the best-executed in-ring personas, and totally owns his narcissistic character. I'm not sure why Breeze's main roster debut was a losing effort in the WWE Title tournament, but hopefully the ship will be righted here.
Justin's pick: Breeze needs to make an impression with a win
Dan's pick: I 100% agree. I like him a lot. The character has shades of Rick “The Model” Martel, who I loved. Hope he lasts awhile.
WWE Divas Championship: Charlotte vs. Paige
This should be a helluva women's match. Both Charlotte and Paige are tremendous talents, and with Paige's rather tasteless remarks on Monday about Charlotte's deceased brother Reid, this match will actually have some heat. While that promo was pretty exploitative, it's nice to see the women feuding over something personal that isn't manufactured.
Justin's pick: I think Charlotte retains since she just won the Title. Plus Paige has been in the doghouse with management recently.
Dan's pick: Yea, didn’t she just win it? Be kinda dumb to lose already.
Traditional Survivor Series Match: TBD vs. TBD
Yeah, so still no word on who's gonna be in this thing. Christ. I have to think it'll be something like Cesaro/Neville/Kalisto/The Usos vs. Sheamus/Barrett/New Day, or maybe sub out Sheamus for Stardust (since a Sheamus cash-in is still a possibility). At any rate, if the match looks something like that it's a potential show-stealer, even if the company doesn't give a shit.
Justin's pick: Team Cesaro
Dan's pick: I like Team TBD
Brothers of Destruction vs. Bray Wyatt & Braun Strowman
Yeah, I have no interest in this at all. Rehashing the Taker vs. Bray feud in general felt very forced, but at least when it was gonna be a 4-on-4 match I was somewhat excited. Now it's just a pointless tag team match with nothing at stake. Yes it's Taker's 25th anniversary in the company (to the day), but couldn't we come up with something meaningful for him to do?
Justin's pick: No way Taker loses here. Bray's effed again.
Dan's pick: Bray needs a win over Taker in the worst way. I’m going for the underdog here.
WWE Title Tournament Semi-Final: Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio
Is it me or has Del Rio looked very unmotivated since returning? From what I understand his work in Lucha Underground was really strong, but now that he's back in WWE he sorta seems like he doesn't care. Anywho, if you think Del Rio has a snowball's chance in Hell of beating Reigns I'd like to ask you to share whatever it is you're smokin'.
Justin's pick: Roman Reigns
Dan's pick: Come on.
WWE Title Tournament Semi-Final: Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens
Now this I like. Ambrose vs. Owens was originally going to be an I-C Title match, and that could still happen next month, depending on how the tourney shakes out. Both guys should be main eventers over the next year, and hopefully they'll get enough time on Sunday to upstage the other matches. If Ambrose wins here that sets him up as a top contender for both Championships.
Justin's pick: Dean Ambrose
Dan's pick: I concur
WWE Title Tournament Final: TBD vs. TBD
I think it's pretty obvious the final's gonna be Reigns vs. Ambrose. That's the only pairing that really makes sense, plus it presents multiple possible outcomes. Reigns could turn heel, Ambrose could turn heel (though I wouldn't advise that since he's more popular than Reigns). Or both guys could remain friends, but that's kinda boring. Personally I'd turn Reigns heel, have him win the belt, and make him such a scary monster heel that even Triple H and Steph are intimidated by him. He'd be their top guy but they wouldn't have the same control over him that they've had over Rollins and Orton in the past. Then when the time comes for Reigns to be a babyface again the fans will have come to respect him for not takin' any shit from his bosses. See how that works?
Justin's pick: Roman Reigns wins the WWE Title and joins the Authority
Dan's pick: Ambrose wins, RR goes and joins the Authority on Raw Monday.
Well that's your Survivor Series card. On paper it looks like a decent regular PPV, just not a very good Survivor Series. I know Vince will never go back to the original format for this show, and it's a shame. The old-school Survivor Series cards were loads of fun and provided a unique experience. Now it's just a regular show that might happen to have an elimination match or two, simply because they can't think of anything good for guys like Cesaro and Neville.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the show!