The 2013 version of Survivor Series takes place next Sunday November 24th in Boston. It's the 27th WWE Survivor Series, which makes it the second oldest PPV in WWE history after WrestleMania.
What made Survivor Series special from its first edition back in 1987 was the unique Survivor Series elimination tag matches they had. That tradition has continued for most Survivor Series events over the years. As we sit here on Sunday November 17th there are no traditional Survivor Series matches announced for this year's show. I don't really understand it. I'll get into it more with one of the questions below.
At this point there are only three matches officially announced on WWE.com.
WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. Big Show
World Heavyweight Championship: John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio
CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan
That's it. Three matches. Survivor Series is considered one of the "big four" WWE PPVs yet here we are one week away from the show and they only have three matches announced. I realize that WWE thinks they don't need to announce more matches because the big names are the draws, but it makes the show look incomplete this way.
Here are some questions and answers about the show, all of which come from me.
1. Is Randy Orton vs. Big Show a compelling match for the WWE Championship?
It's not compelling to me. If it is to you then that's great. I'm not pessimistic. I just look at it like a realist. The entire Big Show angle is full of holes. I still don't get how he's a babyface after being a heel for a year. The guy has barely wrestled as a face in the last few months too. Obviously they did the firing angle to explain that, but shouldn't he at least earn the WWE Title match? I'm also still reeling from that awful "I have no money so I don't have money problems" promo that made absolutely zero sense. I'm pretty sure that somebody with no money is exactly the type of person with serious money problems.
The other issue with this feud is that it feels like the main story is between Big Show and Triple H, as well as Stephanie McMahon. It was nice of them to take Hunter and Stephanie for the week, but they didn't capitalize on it by furthering the Show/Orton story. They had one segment.
I think they can put on an entertaining match. It won't be as good as Punk or Bryan in the spot, but Show has done well in big matches if they are booked in a sensible way. There have been plenty of stinkers too.
I'm waiting for Big Show to deliver a promo about how much he really wants to be WWE Champion again because it's been so long since the last time. Do you know when Show last held the WWE Title (not the World Title)? November 2002 at Survivor Series. He beat Brock Lesnar. That's how long it has been. If you want me to care about the match, let the challenger prove to me that he really wants to be WWE Champion. The story shouldn't be about Show trying to cause problems for Hunter and Stephanie. It should be about the WWE Title.
Here is Big Show's last WWE Championship win. WWE put it up on their Youtube channel.
He only held the WWE Title for one month. It was a transitional reign to get it off Lesnar and onto Angle, who then dropped it to Lesnar at WrestleMania 19.
2. Do you expect a clean finish in the WWE Championship match?
Absolutely not. That would make it the fourth PPV main event in a row with a finish that isn't decisive. I don't see any scenario where Orton beats Show clean. I know that WWE would explain it by saying it's a heel holding the WWE Title so a cheap win makes the most sense.
They have tried to increase the intensity with Big Show putting Orton through the table on Raw, which was a week after Orton and friends put Show through the table. It's as if they're promoting a Tables match a month early because TLC is December's PPV.
I'm not sure how they're going to do it, but I fully expect Orton to leave as WWE Champion. It makes no sense for him to lose it so quickly when they are trying to establish him as the "face of WWE" in every promo he does. In the past three PPVs they already had the fast counting ref (Scott Armstrong), the no contest finish (well it's a Big Show) and the ref (Shawn Michaels) attacking Orton's opponent. What's next? I'm not sure fans are going to be that interested in paying $45 (or whatever it is in their area) to see it. That's the problem with shady finishes for main events on every PPV.
3. What percent chance do you give Alberto Del Rio in beating John Cena for the World Championship?
I'll give him a 1% chance. Maybe it should be less. It's not happening. He can put Cena in the Cross Armbreaker 47 times between now and Sunday and it won't matter one bit. We already saw Cena beat Sandow with a damaged arm. Then we saw Cena beat the Real Americans, a credible tag team, in a handicap match rather easily. He didn't even sell the arm injury in that match. Furthermore, how many times does the challenger win back the title in the rematch? It almost never happens.
I really hope WWE can find a credible heel opponent for Cena to feud with because if he's going to hold the World Title until WrestleMania like I expect then they better have some interesting stories for him. Otherwise this will be one of the most boring title reigns he's ever had. Trust me he's had a few.
4. Should Harper & Rowan of the Wyatt Family beat Punk & Bryan
Yes. I think they should. I know that CM Punk and Daniel Bryan are the most popular wrestlers among internet fans, so that statement I made will disappoint some. It's okay, my friends. Babyface tag teams that don't team together very often can lose to a regular tag team that is on the rise. With Bray Wyatt hovering around ringside they could do a cheap finish that causes Punk & Bryan to lose. Believe me, I know it sucks to see Bryan lose all the time. It doesn't help him. He went from being one of the best booked characters to one of the worst. However, in this scenario it's best for the heel team to win because then it sets up Wyatt to have a major match against Punk or Bryan. It could even lead to a triple threat between those three. You want Bray Wyatt to be a bigger star? Put him in feud with Punk or Bryan. They will help anybody.
By the way, even though Bryan and Punk are my two favorite guys currently in WWE that "Beard and the Best" name they tried to push on Smackdown is very weak. I like seeing them work together. I don't like the name.
5. Are you disappointed in the lack of traditional Survivor Series elimination matches on this card?
Absolutely. That's the worst thing about this show. I realize that they can put together one or two 4 on 4 matches this week on TV and act like they're a big deal, but everybody watching at home knows they mean nothing. You can either promote matches as a major event weeks in advance or you can throw them together the week before the show. Guess what the viewer cares about more? The matches promoted weeks in advance. If it was me, I would have announced one 4 on 4 match the night after Hell in a Cell and then another one the next night. That makes those matches look like a big deal.
I think WWE absolutely dropped the ball in not announcing a 6 on 6 elimination tag match based on the hot finish from Raw last week. They could have had a 30 minute classic PPV match out of it. Instead we get a regular tag match plus...well...we don't know yet even though the show is a week away.
There are a number of people that could be in elimination tag team matches as well: Sandow, Ryback, Axel, Langston, Miz, Ziggler, Fandango, Kidd and so on. Plus there are all the tag wrestlers, which I'll get to in the next question. Of course if they do add a match there will be no story to it and barely any build. What a shame.
6. What's the plan for the Tag Team Titles?
I have no idea at this point. I think what could happen is we'll get a traditional Survivor Series elimination tag team match that sees the teams of Goldust & Cody Rhodes teaming up with The Usos to take on Rollins & Reigns as well as the Real Americans. That way we can get a pretty awesome elimination tag match. I wouldn't put the tag titles on the line. What I would do is have either Cesaro or Swagger win the match so that their team could earn a tag team title shot at TLC.
It's okay if the tag titles aren't on the line at Survivor Series. I think Goldust and Cody should be in an elimination tag match, though. The other teams should be there too. The tag team division is arguably the best thing going in WWE right now and needs to have a featured role next Sunday night.
7. Who will AJ Lee defend the Divas Title against?
It's not official yet, but it looks like it will be Natalya. The story goes that Natalya made AJ tap out in a tag match a couple of weeks ago and then she got her Divas Title on Main Event this past week. That ended in a DQ after Tamina interfered. On Smackdown, Natalya beat Tamina clean with the Sharpshooter. It's the usual booking that WWE does where the person looks weak on one show and then gets the win back on the next show as if to say they are just fine. I feel like if they gave AJ vs. Natalya 8 to 10 minutes it could be one of the best WWE divas matches this year. It's just a matter of giving them a chance to show what they can do.
As far as AJ is concerned, I hope she is healthy and in good spirits after passing out during a tag match while on the European tour a couple of days ago. Those European tours can be grueling with shows happening every day over a two week period. It's important to get proper rest, to eat right and to not push yourself. Considering that AJ had a concussion last month, I can expect WWE doctors to be careful with her. Perhaps they won't put her in a match at Survivor Series. At this point it's hard to say.
8. Should Big E Langston get a US Title match?
I believe he should. Once again, this is WWE booking at its worst. Hell in a Cell was supposed to see Langston get an IC Title shot against Curtis Axel. He was injured, so they gave Langston a US Title shot against Dean Ambrose. The match at Hell in a Cell ended in a countout. The next night on Raw they did the match again. That ended in a disqualification. Those finishes should mean that Langston gets a US Title match against Dean Ambrose at Survivor Series. Has WWE done anything to suggest that might happen? No. Aside from a six man tag that also involved the Usos they haven't interacted since then. Langston should get a US Title shot here. He should also win the title. Ambrose isn't doing anything with it.
Angles like this make me question a lot of things about WWE. Do they have any long term planning anymore? I don't even know at this point.
9. What will be the best match on the show?
Since I only have three matches to pick from, I'll go with Cena vs. Del Rio. Add in a "sigh" to that as well. I think Punk/Bryan vs. Harper/Rowan could be pretty good, but I don't expect it to go that long. The problem with Cena vs. Del Rio is that we've seen them wrestle so many teams. I've seen them wrestle in person at two different house shows that were two years apart. It looked like the same match both times. My thinking is that they could tell a good story with Cena selling the arm injury (he did it well against Sandow) and coming back to win the match late.
I think Orton vs. Show will be okay. It's unlikely to be match of the night, though. Hopefully they can add one or two elimination matches because those tend to be very good in terms of quality. This show needs it.
10. On a 1-10 scale with 10 being high and 1 being low, how excited are you for Survivor Series?
A 5 out of 10. That might be generous too. I'm really not excited about Survivor Series. There aren't any matches that are match of the year contender or close to it, quite frankly. The two best performers (Punk and Bryan) are in a tag match that doesn't seem like a big deal. At this point there are no elimination matches.
Believe me when I tell you that I try to be optimistic about things. It's tough, though. The last three PPVs were the worst three WWE PPVs this year. Survivor Series may be considered the "big four" by some, but if you look at the lineup it doesn't come off that way.
I think what we have to be optimistic about is that hopefully the creative team has plans in place between now and WrestleMania. I'm optimistic about what may happen in the build up to the Royal Rumble. I always get excited about WrestleMania. That's months away, though. I should be excited about this show. And I'm not. I doubt I'm alone in feeling that way.
That's all for now. I'll be back on Tuesday with the Raw Deal review column and then next weekend for the preview (Saturday) & review (Monday) of Survivor Series. Please WWE, do something to excite us. We deserve it.
Until next time, thanks for reading.
John Canton - firstname.lastname@example.org