John: The 28th edition of WWE Survivor Series emanates from Boston, Massachusetts this Sunday night. It's the second oldest annual WWE PPV (only WrestleMania is older) taking place in one of the biggest and most historic cities in America. Despite all of that, it does not feel like a major show. Don't get me wrong, I think Survivor Series "should" be a major show. It's just that WWE doesn't present it that way. I think fans perceive the event as a big deal just because it's one of the "big four" historically. It certainly doesn't come off as a big deal anymore.
The other thing worth mentioning here is that when I write these previews I try to do so with an optimistic attitude. I'm sorry if I fail to do that this time, but I think WWE is coming off three straight below average PPVs and I don't anticipate this one to be much better. There could be some things that I really like (like the elimination tag match), but I don't know if there will be enough of those moments that make this show come off like a big deal. Last year at Survivor Series we saw the debut of The Shield. It wasn't a very memorable show, but that moment was. I hope there's something big in store this time around too. We'll find out on Sunday night.
Joining me for the preview is TJRWrestling's Christian Michael. Andrew Johnson couldn't join us this month, but will be back for TLC.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.com. The banner is courtesy of our friend Steve Melo.)
The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston (Kickoff Match)
Christian: Yay. The Miz is a heel again and he's feuding with Kofi Kingston. Haven't we seen this somewhere before? The Miz's babyface turn was a complete disaster so it's only natural that he return to a role that he achieved his most success in. Let's not forget the man main evented WrestleMania as the WWE Champion. Only twenty men in the history of WWE can say they walked into WrestleMania as WWE Champion and The Miz is one of those men. That's a rare honor if you ask me.
I like Miz as a heel. He was the type of heel you would pay to see get the crap kicked out of him because he was such a jerk. He's improved greatly in the ring in his time in WWE too. I hope this works out for him. The main event scene could use some freshness on the heel side and it's been almost three years since he was a top heel so it wouldn't be the worst thing to see Miz get to that level again. Hopefully, this match is the start of a career resurgence for Miz. Prediction- The Miz
John: One week. That's how much build this match has. Miz turned heel on Raw. The announcers barely made a point to mention it. They didn't even replay it. It happened, though. Trust me on that. That's what I don't understand about WWE booking. There were four weeks between Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series. They could have done the turn weeks ago, built up a hatred between these two guys and had this match. Instead it's a match based on Miz dropping off the apron to refuse a tag. If they don't care to put the effort in then why should fans put time in to watch these characters? It should be a 7-10 minute match with Miz winning after cheating because that's what heels do. Winner: The Miz
Intercontinental Championship: Big E Langston vs. Curtis Axel
Christian: What a waste Curtis Axel's title run was. Instead of him becoming a star he just became Paul Heyman's lap dog that couldn't hang with the big dogs in the yard. Lord only knows what's next for him. It was time to get the title off him and onto Big E. The E Train (that's what I think I'll start calling him) will only be derailed by The E Train. Langston, if he keeps his head straight and continues to improve in the nuances of the ring he'll be a World Champ in no time. Prediction- Big E Langston retains the Intercontinental Championship
John: Does anybody ever win the title rematch? Not really. I didn't mind seeing the IC Title change on Raw. I think it's okay to do that once in a while because it makes fans realize that there can be title changes on TV instead of PPVs all the time. Anyway, Langston should get the win here in a match that goes about eight minutes. Langston's IC Title run will likely be a long one. Hopefully it means more than Axel's reign did. Winner: Big E Langston
Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match - Natalya, The Bellas, The Funkadactyls, JoJo & Eva Marie vs. AJ Lee, Tamina Snuka, Kaitlyn, Rosa Mendes, Summer Rae, Aksana & Alicia Fox
Christian: Now we know that a PPV match can be booked through a game of musical chairs. I've always wanted that to happen ever since I played that game as a boy.
It's the girls on Total Divas vs. the rest of the girls on the roster. Say what you want about the show but it does great ratings for E! and WWE and it's really helped the Divas division have some spotlight on it.
That said, this match could be a real disaster. I'm talking THAT Jackie Gayda Match bad. If you don't know what I'm talking about good. Let it stay that way. Aksana, Rosa Mendes, JoJo and Eva Marie should never tag into the match. Let them get eliminated in a mass count out or something. If you do that then this match should be passable. If not then Jackie Gayda might be saying "at least I wasn't as bad as THAT Survivor Series match". Prediction- Team Total Divas. Brie Bella and Natalya survive.
John: I wonder how much planning actually went into this match. You've got the seven women from Total Divas on one side and the other side is mostly heels plus Kaitlyn, who has barely been on television for the past few months even though she's one of the best women they have. It's like somebody told Vince McMahon that they should have the Total Divas girls in a match, so he said fine and had others come up with seven other women to face them. As a result, we have the likes of Jojo and Rosa Mendes in a PPV match despite the fact that Jojo barely knows what she's doing while Rosa has somehow maintained employment for all these years. This match should be Natalya challenging AJ Lee for the Divas Title. Instead we get the "let's have 14 women wrestle in an elimination match" situation we have here.
There's no reason for AJ Lee's team to win since she's holding gold (or silver), so look for the Total Divas team to get the victory. The perfect scenario would be for AJ to be the last woman left on her team against four women on the other team. That way everybody hits their big moves on her, the fans cheer and everybody is happy. I just hope the ones that don't know what they're doing are standing on the apron for the majority of it. They'll have to tag in for eliminations, though. Winners: Team Total Divas (Natalya, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella & Naomi as the survivors.)
Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match - Cody Rhodes & Goldust, The Usos & Rey Mysterio vs. The Shield & The Real Americans
Christian: I'm very excited to see this match. It probably will be the best match on the card. That said I still want that twelve man tag damn it!
I think the babyface side will work well together. It's the heel team that will be interesting to watch. We've haven't seen The Shield have to deal with other groups a lot before. There was The Wyatts the last two weeks on RAW and that wasn't exactly smooth sailing.
I'm also going to be on the lookout for a breakout star in this match. I'd love it to be Antonio Cesaro and have him just Cesaro Swing the hell out of everyone but I think it'll be the beast of The Shield, Roman Reigns. Every time I see the man in the ring I think more and more he'll main event WrestleMania one day.
The other thing I'll be paying attention to is will The Shield breakup? They teased Reigns and Rollins not being happy with Ambrose a few weeks ago and then it wasn't touched recently. They could always go back to that here since one member of The Shield causing another to be eliminated is an easy way to facilitate the breakup.
As I said earlier, the talent is here to have a hell of a match. I just wish WWE gave a crap about making these matches feel special. Prediction- The Real Americans and The Shield. Roman Reigns is the sole survivor.
John: This is another match with one week of build because they announced it on Monday. It's okay because it's probably going to be the match of the night. Hopefully they allow them go to 25-30 minutes, take their time with the eliminations and build to an exciting finish. That's how traditional Survivor Series matches should go. There's no reason to rush through it.
As far as a winner goes, it's a tough call. There are positive aspects to either side winning and it makes sense. They don't really need to have Goldust and Cody go over because they're already holding gold. The Usos are good performers, but I doubt they're going to be there in the end. I can see Mysterio winning for his team just because it would give him some momentum after coming back from his most recent knee injury.
I'm leaning towards the heel team. I think the plan for this match is to build a rift between the members of The Shield. Right now, Ambrose is the only one in the team holding gold with the US Title (that he rarely defends) in his possession. I think a fun scenario for this match would be if there were three Shield members left against only Mysterio. They could have Mysterio try to fight back as the ultimate underdog that has been the calling card of his career. If Reigns is going to be the one they plan to push next year then a scenario where he's the sole survivor in this match makes a lot of sense. I think that 3 on 1 finish would be awesome. Mysterio pins Ambrose. Then he nearly pins Rollins, but Reigns makes the blind tag and the save for his partner with a Spear. He pins Mysterio to win. Reigns & Rollins are the survivors for their team.
Like I said before, this is likely going to be the match of the night. I wish there was at least one other 5 on 5 or 4 on 4 elimination tag because they're so fun to watch. I'm not sure why WWE is reluctant to do more of them. The positive thing about it is this is the only one we're getting, so I'm going to enjoy it. Winners: The Shield & Real Americans. (Rollins & Reigns as the survivors.)
CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs. Erick Rowan & Luke Harper
Christian: This whole thing seems like such filler to me. It's like WWE didn't want either Punk or Bryan in the title picture so they just randomly put them together as a tag team. Why are The Wyatts targeting The Beard and The Best? If we get an answer to who "The Devil" is that Bray Wyatt speaks of then I'll change my tune. If they do that then we have a storyline as opposed to a tag team match designed to just get two of your top guys on the PPV.
Clearly, The Wyatts should go over. They are WWE's new shiny six man tag act. Sorry, Shield. They are the ones that need a win over two former WWE Champions to show they're legit. Harper and Rowan have yet to be tested in a big PPV match so it'll be interesting to see how the fare. I like Harper a lot it's Rowan I have my reservations about.
It should be a fun match. I hope this is the start of a bigger story as opposed to a one shot deal. If that's the case this thing won't feel like such a waste of time to me. I just don't like seeing two top talents hanging around with nothing to do so they get stuck in a tag team. Prediction- Luke Harper and Erick Rowan
John: This doesn't feel like a PPV match. It would have been better if they did a Survivor Series elimination match using these guys, plus Bray Wyatt and find others to be on their teams. A regular tag match doesn't excite me that much although I am happy about the Wyatt Family moving up the ranks, so to speak. For the past three months they really didn't have a feud. At least they are against two top babyfaces. What I'm getting at is I think it's great for the Wyatt Family, but for Punk/Bryan it's a step down a bit.
They'll likely get 10-15 minutes and it should be a fundamentally sound tag match. Punk and Bryan are arguably the two best in-ring performers in WWE, so it's not like they have bad matches. I can see the heels winning due to Bray Wyatt interfering, which would lead to a singles feud for him. I just think Punk & Bryan will get the win here especially because the Wyatt Family had the advantage to end Smackdown. Get beat up on TV, win on PPV. Winners: CM Punk & Daniel Bryan
World Heavyweight Championship: John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio
Christian: Ok, ready. Cena wins. (Hears John Canton screaming from his office) Ok, ok. Geez you want more analysis? Cena wins with the STF. There. I'm done. This is a no brainer, slam dunk. If Alberto Del Rio wins then clearly Vince is very sick and we should all be worried for his well being. Prediction- John Cena retains the World Heavyweight Championship
John: Is there anybody reading this that thinks Del Rio has any chance of leaving as the World Heavyweight Champion? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? I thought not. I have no idea how many times Cena has wrestled Del Rio in the last three years, but it feels like I've written about this match about ten times. Maybe I've put the number too high. I don't know. My point is that it's been done so many times that I really don't need to see these two wrestling again. I'm not sure who Cena's next feud will be with, but I hope this is the end of this rivalry.
It should be noted that Michael Cole mentioned on Smackdown that Cena is 7-1 in matches at Survivor Series. I'm assuming he has really good records at every WWE PPV. This match should get around 15 minutes, the crowd won't really buy into any Del Rio nearfalls or submissions and Cena will overcome the arm injury to find a way to get the win just like he usually does. Winner: John Cena
WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. Big Show
Christian: I haven't been this underwhelmed by a WWE Championship Match since Cena defended the title against R-Truth in 2011. This match and the story behind it really does nothing for me. Besides didn't Orton and Big Show square off in a PPV match already this year that no one cared about?
I want to apologize to everyone that I told to be patient after SummerSlam with the Daniel Bryan story. You were right to get angry. I was the dummy for thinking there'd be a big payoff to that. The payoff is The Big Show in a PPV main event. Yuck.
The thing I hate most about this whole thing is that Bryan and Orton are just pawns in the Triple H/Big Show feud. If they want to feud then fine. Let them have their match and leave the great workers and WWE Title out of it. I don't care that. Big Show got fired and I don't care that he's broke. I do care about who allowed him access to the arena when he was supposedly fired. Are we ever going to find that out?
Here's the real kicker of it all. He supposedly had a lawsuit that would have basically handed him the WWE, a billion dollar company by the way, and gave it up for a WWE contract that would pay him what, a million or two at most and a WWE Title match. Clearly this man is an idiot and it's no wonder he has financial problems. Using basic common sense I can figure this out and yet WWE wants me to feel sorry for him. Nope.
Even though Triple H says there won't be any outside interference I still expect something fishy to go on. It would be too much to ask the heel champion win clean and in a dominant fashion to show he's the face of the company. No, can't do that. Prediction- Randy Orton retains the WWE Championship
John: The main event of this show features two guys who were in multiple feuds over the World Title for the past three years or so. They really didn't feud with each other, but they had many matches with the likes of Sheamus, Mark Henry and Alberto Del Rio among others. I guess they've graduated to the next level because now they're competing for the WWE Title, which Big Show hasn't held since 2002. Do I think he's going to win it here? Absolutely not.
As I've said many times before and as many of you have figured out, it feels like this feud is being done as a setup for a future feud between Big Show and Triple H. I'm not saying that will be a WWE Title feud. I just think they're going to have a big match whether it's at TLC or the Royal Rumble. The Rumble actually makes sense since WWE likes to have some major singles matches there, so that would fit. If it's TLC that works too. The problem is the WWE Champion looks like he's playing second fiddle to the guy in the suit. When it was Vince McMahon in that role 15 years ago I would have been fine with it because he was the best heel in the business at the time. Triple H is just a guy that doesn't really elevate anybody or do anything of substance at this point except say "best for business" 15 times per show. I think his wife Stephanie is doing a better job of being a heel of late, to be honest.
Now that I've depressed you by talking about Triple H, let's shift the focus back to the match. I see Orton retaining the title. I think the absolute best booking would be for him to win clean, but is that likely to happen? No. I know Triple H said nobody was going to help Orton. Just remember that heels lie. Also it's not like there were other instances where Triple H said somebody was going to help Orton and that's what happened. We're coming off three straight PPVs with screwy finishes (four if you want to count heel HHH at SummerSlam) and I expect another one. It will probably be a Triple H interference to set up his match with Big Show down the road. Perhaps it will be a DQ finish to set up Orton vs. Show again at TLC. Either way I'll go with Orton retaining the WWE Title. Winner: Randy Orton
Christian: Is this going to be an exciting PPV? Probably not. Am I still going to watch it? Yes. Because that's what I do. I'm a wrestling fan and I watch wrestling. I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised. I'm looking forward to the men's Survivor Series Tag and the Wyatts vs. Punk and Bryan. Other than that I hope that one day we won't be talking about THAT Survivor Series. Be sure to follow me on Twitter as I'll be on there tweeting during the PPV. Go BIG BLUE!
John: I'm not sure what kind of viewership this PPV is going to have because as a NFL fan I know I'm going to be more interested in the Broncos vs. Patriots game on Sunday night football that is taking place at the same time as this show. It's arguably the biggest game of the season in terms of viewers. (My NFL picks are here by the way.) I'll watch Survivor Series after the game because I'm a diehard fan, but I don't love the product enough to see it live. I hope that what I wrote up above isn't perceived as something from a fan that likes to complain. I hate it. I just want better stories, fresher matchups and more great matches. I'm not sure that this show can deliver that.
My review of Survivor Series will get posted on Monday afternoon most likely.
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