Survivor Series has never been my favorite gimmick PPV. There’s usually never much at stake and instead you end up over-analyzing the inter-team squabbles in search of a potential new feud that may or may not materialize. Since going to the Raw vs. Smackdown format this has become even more pronounced. What are two teams that don’t even exist on the same program really fighting about? What’s at stake? The only ones who care if Raw or Smackdown wins are the kayfabe GM’s of the shows. This may have made sense if there was still a WCW program, but essentially both Raw and Smackdown are on the same footing, even if Smackdown is perceived as the B show. I don’t see what the harm would be in putting something on the line. Whoever wins gets to pick someone off the other roster. Anything.
Despite these grudges, there are several “dream matchups” that even with minimal build, should still make for a fun night. And of course there’s the smug satisfaction that only comes from rubbing it in to your hardcore Raw-only friends that Smackdown won 4 of 7 inter-promotional matchups. Whoa ho, suck on those stat apples!).
Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. WWE Champion AJ Styles (Champion vs. Champion Match)
Brock Lesnar vs. anyone is usually a happening. Except maybe against serious champion Jinder Mahal (if this was still jobber Jinder, this would have been entertaining at least to see him utterly squashed). WWE finally realized this and pulled the plug on the Mahal experiment (at least for now…there’s still an upcoming tour of India to promote), ceding the title to the Phenomenal One. Hooray!
This should be a much better match. Lesnar’s advocate Paul Heyman did a nice job building up AJ Styles as a speedy technician with heart (as opposed to his blow off of Mahal). Based on the infrequency of Lesnar matches, this will likely be the only time these two come face to face. Hopefully, we’ll get more than a few suplexes from Brock and a short match that leaves fans asking “is that it?”. Kinda hoping Daniel Bryan remains the advocate for Styles on Sunday and crowns him with some sort of Milky Way title if he’s victorious.
Prediction: Styles lost his last inter-promotional feud to Finn Balor and it seemingly didn’t matter as he picked up the WWE Championship shortly thereafter. Assuming The Beast is still the guy to put over Roman Reigns in April, he has to continue to look invincible. Lesnar wins.
Men’s 5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match
So, in a match that may headline the show and features ten top-tier WWE superstars, this match is about two GMs and a COO more than the other seven guys who actually wrestle full time (well six, if you exclude Cena). This match exists in all likelihood to set up further Kurt Angle related drama and matches within the greater McMahon family. Perhaps we get a rematch between Angle and McMahon for old time’s sake before he ends up squaring off with the game, likely at Wrestlemania.
There’s some intrigue with Balor and Samoa Joe and their potentially reignited rivalry. Oh and hey Randy Orton is here, so that’s gonna be bland I bet! Ideally, I would have liked Orton and Strowman up against the Singh brothers where they just took turns dropping them on things, but they’re probably saving this for ‘Mania. Also, hey John Cena is randomly on Smackdown and Bobby Roode is a guy too. Nakamura wouldn’t dare mail in another performance against his boss, The Game would he? Sorry to poop all over this match – it should lead to some good stories and we might get some interesting 1-on-1 matchups with all the talent involved.
Prediction: Randy Orton is the lone survivor for no good reason. No, no no. As much as I fear that actually happening, I have a little more faith (not much more) in WWE. Angle probably inadvertently gets HHH eliminated before getting pinned himself by Shane McMahon. However, Braun still rules the day and ends up on top alongside Samoa Joe and Finn Balor, leading to some potential matchups between the three to take us through Royal Rumble.
Women’s 5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match
Alicia Fox got the surprising nod as captain for the Raw women’s team (and has since taken on the most literal interpretation of the role ever, even donning an actual sea captain’s hat). Rounding out her team are Asuka, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks, and Bayley. Meanwhile Becky Lynch heads up a yet-incomplete squad of Naomi, Carmella, and Tamina. While a lot of chatter has focused on Paige or perhaps a returning Nikki Bella taking the last spot, I for one am expecting Breezy Bella to step up. He/she doesn’t have a match. Why not? Ellsworth is gone. Some dude’s gotta fight the ladies, right?
Prediction: Ultimately, if rumors are true we’re eventually getting a Four Horsewomen (WWE) vs. Four Horsewomen (UFC) matchup at Wrestlemania. My initial guess was the final four in this matchup would have been the four horsewomen, with some drama being teased between the ladies, before they ultimately got on the same page for Wrestlemania. With Charlotte out of the picture in this match though, I’m not sure where they’re going. My guess is WWE doesn’t know either, and the outcome of this match will be irrelevant in the big picture. Let’s say Asuka is the only survivor so she can establish her dominance on the main roster.
The Shield vs. The New Day
The Shield reboot has been Sierra Hotel Inconsistent Lame Dumb so far. With Reigns out for a good chunk of the group’s tenure, and no real main event challengers lined up, the Hounds of Justice (or Ambrose, Rollins and whoever else WWE thought would make a fun “fantasy camp” replacement) have been mostly spinning their wheels. The idea of a Shield/New Day battle on paper sounds like a dream matchup, with two of the top factions of the past five years finally going toe to toe for supremacy. But like most of the matches on Sunday’s card, this has come together last second, and there’s not a whole lot behind it. Besides, both teams will likely go their separate ways after tonight, but at least we can say we saw New Day/Shield.
Prediction: They didn’t put the Shield back together for a brief Roman Reigns reclamation project run again, only to have them lose. The New Day will have to rock another day. The Shield prevail, while the New Day moves on to winning and losing the tag belts a bunch more times so WWE can call them the most successful tag team ever.
Raw Tag Team Champions Cesaro & Sheamus vs. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos
Based on the matches that both of these groups have been a part of the last half year or so, I would expect this to be one of the top matches of the night. Again, another match with absolutely nothing at stake here, so hopefully the crowd gives these performers their attention and due. Hopefully Cesaro gets a chance to talk with his lisp.
Prediction: The Usos are the more credible champs, having won their titles fair and square in an epic cage match, so I guess they come away victorious here.
Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss vs. SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair
Hey look! It’s another match that changed at the last second. So now instead of Natalya and Alexa Bliss, we have the much more intriguing Charlotte Flair vs. Alexa Bliss. Again, with no real build between these two it’s hard to get too excited about what should be a marquee match within the division.
Prediction: Charlotte’s a lot taller, so I guess she wins.
Intercontinental Champion The Miz vs. United States Champion Baron Corbin
The Miz and Baron Corbin square off to see who really is the best B-level champ in a match that has relied mostly on internet videos to build the feud. I’m not sure what the end game is here. Both guys could use a win to legitimize their reigns. Corbin is already seen by much of the fan base and possibly WWE officials as somewhat of a joke. The Miz could be elevating his title, but has been mired in distractions with the Shield and his ancillary partnerships with the Bar and the Miztourage (shut up spell check, “Miztourage” is too a word) and hasn’t had a chance to get back into a real personal vendetta where he thrives.
Prediction: While Corbin could use the win more to establish himself as a respectable champion, my gut says the Miz (possibly with help from Dallas and Axel) comes away with a win in a program that likely never gets addressed again after Sunday.
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore vs. Kalisto (Kickoff Match)
Enzo Amore is a jerk. Kalisto likes saying “lucha lucha”. Something’s gotta give
Prediction: Personality beats in-ring ability every day of the week. Well, not really, but what fun is to have a milquetoast, masked babyface as your champ (even if he does bounce around a lot)? Enzo retains. Maybe he faces Hideo Itami in the near future.