Welcome to the WWE Survivor Series Preview. There are five announced matches on the show plus a match on the pre-show to make it six.
I think it's very likely that a match or two will be added because only five matches on the show are not enough. I think it's likely that Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara and the Primetime Players will be on the card in some capacity although it might be more than just a straight up tag match. It would have been cool if they announced a second 5 on 5 match as opposed to just the one.
The announce team for the show will be Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield. I think it will be a good mix because JBL will support the heels, Lawler will support the faces and Cole will be the middle man. They should work well together.
Joining me for this preview are TJRWrestling's Andrew Johnson and Christian Michael. Andrew covers Smackdown for the site, Christian covers Main Event for the site and together when they find the time they write the mid-week Raw Takes column as well. Thanks to the Melo Man for the wonderful banner up above. The graphics below are courtesy of WWE.com.
Pre-show: Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal vs. Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd
Andrew: This is one of those things that I wish they would just nut up and have another Survivor Series style match. Team Co-Bro was originally supposed to be in this match, but for reasons that are unclear (because I don't feel like looking them up) they've been replaced by the much better Gabriel/Kidd duo. Which is great, don't get me wrong, but wouldn't it just be easier to make this a four on four? Just team 2 of 3MB with the PTP or something and just go for it. Whatever, it's the pre-show, it's not like it matters or anything. I wonder if this match will reveal more about John Cena f**king AJ? Probably not, but I guess we can hope. Winner: 3MB
Christian: I know it’s the preshow match but I’m going to complain about it because that’s just what I do. In the spirit of the Survivor Series why not have Team CoBro and Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio join Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd to face Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal who would team with The Prime Time Players and Epico and Primo? Have a six on six elimination match and if you want to take the easy way out who could make it where one member of a respective team gets eliminated, the whole team is gone. In the early years of Survivor Series they used to have five tag teams vs. five tag teams in elimination matches. They were awesome. It would have been nice to see something close to that here with the tag division getting some life to it this year. As for the actual match, Slater and Mahal are a team WWE is focused on so they win. Prediction- Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal
John: Originally this was Ryder & Santino vs. 3MB. Then it got changed. Not sure why. I don't think the average fan is going to care very much either way because it's just the pre-show match. I am a huge fan of the Gabriel/Kidd team of course, so I'd love to see them get a push up the ladder as far as the tag division goes. The Gabriel/Kidd duo features a couple of awesome in-ring performers and Slater/Mahal are both pretty solid, so they will do a good job in terms of getting the crowd to care about the match. I'm going with Kidd & Gabriel to get the win. I think they replaced Ryder and Santino because management wants to give them a signficant push. At least I hope so. Winners: Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel
United States Championship: Antonio Cesaro vs. R-Truth
Andrew: I don't know why they couldn't find a better opponent for the awesome Handsome McRugby, but R-Truth isn't the worst thing in the world so I guess I shouldn't be so negative. They're doing a lot of things right with this story; Truth looks like a legitimate contender, Cesaro is playing it like he's actually worried Truth could take away his prize, and they're making it seem like it's important. The only problem is that it doesn't feel like it is. Winner: Antonio Cesaro
Christian: It’s great that Cesaro is now on his third straight PPV, but they couldn’t have possibly had him face a guy that I couldn’t care less about. I expect this to be nothing more than a nice PPV win for the United States Champion. Prediction- Antonio Cesaro Retains the United States Championship
John: Pretty easy to call this one. Cesaro's getting wins over different opponents as a way to extend his title reign and show how good of a champion he is. Simple story. I don't think many people watching this match will think Truth is going to win, nor should he win. It helps the title to keep it on Cesaro, so that's what is going to happen. Winner: Antonio Cesaro
Divas Championship: Eve vs. Kaitlyn
Andrew: Now it's time to add to the most ranted about WWE subject in the history of the Internet age:
The Divas division has had a rough year, mostly because this is the point where we realized that they aren't ever going to get serious about having professional wrestlers that happen to be women instead of women trying to wrestle. If that makes sense. With Nattie stuck in the jobber to the models role and Sarah Del Ray bumming it in Florida there isn't really any hope for a real woman to take the reigns and make this go from being a side-show to a center ring kind of deal, which sucks because there are a lot of talented females out there that can kick it just as well as the men.
I like Kaitlyn (especially her thighs) and I enjoy Eve enough to where I don't want her to spontaneously combust when she's on my screen. But, I'm not really eager to watch them stumble through a match. We as fans deserve more than that. We deserve women that actually want to wrestle. Winner: Eve
Christian: What am I supposed to say about this match? That I’m excited that Kaitlyn will finally get her revenge for what Eve supposedly did to her at Night of Champions? I’m not. WWE’s Divas Division is absolutely horrible right now. Even if they insert AJ into the division as a wrestler who the hell is she going to face? There’s no one left. Is Natalya even still with the company? She’s the one Diva with real wrestling talent and you never see her. It’s either shape up the division or abolish it all together. It’s nothing more than a giant waste of time right now. Prediction- Eve Retains the Divas Championship
John: They're doing this match again? By choice? Ugh. I think Eve's in line for along title reign to try to establish some credibility to the title and also because there really aren't a lot of women in WWE's divas "division" right now. Kaitlyn's one of the younger divas at age 26 and she's improved quite a bit in the last two years or so. I think in two more years she'll be a solid in-ring performer, but at this point she still has room to grow. Eve's much better as a heel than she was as a face. She's able to show some personality as opposed to her babyface run when she was bland.
I think they'll get about six or seven minutes, the crowd will be dead for the majority of the match and Eve will retain her title. Like I said, Eve will have a long title reign. She'll likely drop it to AJ Lee at some point in the new year perhaps WrestleMania if they plan on actually doing a women's wrestling story into WrestleMania for once. They're the two women that they push the most, so that makes the most sense. Winner: Eve
Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match: Team Foley (Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston, Kane, Daniel Bryan and The Miz) vs. Team Ziggler (Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Alberto Del Rio and Wade Barrett)
Andrew: I really hate to be one of those guys, but the whole shift in the match card that took place two weeks ago really took the wind out of my sails on this one, which sucks because it consist of like, everyone I love in wrestling. Daniel Bryan is the best wrestler in the world, Miz is the guy I hooked my fandom to when he was still wearing that stupid chick magnet t-shirt, Ziggler and Barrett are two guys I'm consistently high on and praising, Team Rhodes Scholars is like my favorite thing ever, and Mick Foley is the reason I still love wrestling at 29. This match might as well have been gift wrapped and labeled "For Andrew, From WWE, Merry Christmas" but I still feel kind of cheated. It's like asking for an iPod but when you unwrap the gift it's a goddamn Zune.
Anyway, I'm still going to try and enjoy it. At least it plays music right? Winner: Team Ziggler
Christian: If you ever needed proof that Vince McMahon has the attention span of a goldfish then this match is your proof. This was supposed to be the main event of the show with Mick Foley putting together a team, with Ryback on it to teach CM Punk about respect. They spent an entire episode of RAW building it. Then the very next week it was announced Punk was out of this match and replaced by Dolph Ziggler because he was now going to defend his title against Ryback and John Cena. Long term planning much?
As for the match, Foley’s involvement is kind of pointless now although this past Monday they tried to start something with Foley and Ziggler. With the talent involved and the time you’d figure that it would get it should be a very entertaining match. There will be one survivor in the match and it’ll be Randy Orton because he is the top star in the match or it’ll be Dolph Ziggler because he’ll be the World Heavyweight Champion in the very near future. I’ll go with Ziggler because he really needs a career highlight win. Prediction- Team Ziggler. Dolph Ziggler is the Sole Survivor
John: The story isn't great for this one. There's not much of an issue between Mick Foley and Dolph Ziggler, who are the captains of these teams. The issue was between Foley and Punk, but that got changed and now it's basically just five good guys against five bad guys. The funny thing is that on the babyface team you've got two guys in Daniel Bryan and The Miz who aren't really babyfaces at the moment. Bryan's still yelling at the fans to shut up about yelling "yes" while Miz is on the team because he felt disrespected by the other team. Needless to say, the lack of long term planning has affected the build to this match. The build could have been great. Instead it just feels like a match without much planning behind it, which in reality that's what it is.
The other issue in this match is the concussion that Cody Rhodes suffered on Tuesday. (Video) It's a legit injury as far as I know. I don't think it's going to keep him out for too long, but it may cause him to miss this match. The likely replacement is rumored to be Tensai, who just lost a short match on Raw this past week. Way to build up your talent, WWE. Anyway I don't think Rhodes was going to win the match, but the match would be better if he was in it.
I think Team Foley is going to win. Miz is going to get a big push as a babyface, which is something I predicted in January and also in August. I thought he had gone as far as he can go as a heel and being a face will freshen him up a lot. I think Miz will be one of the two survivors on his team. The other survivor will be Randy Orton, who is continually pushed strong. This has the potential to be an excellent match assuming they get 20 minutes or more of in-ring time. Winners: Team Foley - The Miz and Randy Orton as survivors
World Heavyweight Championship: Big Show vs. Sheamus
Andrew: I think I was the only person on the Internet that thought last month's Sheamus/Big Show match was going to rule, and I was right. It ruled. It ruled HARD. Unfortunately for these guys they've set the bar now and I don't think they'll be able to do it again. It'll still be good, but part of the appeal was that everyone was doubting it and it turned out to be wonderful. Now you're going to be expecting more and I don't think they can do it any more perfectly than they did at Hell in a Cell. This match really needed a stipulation, but whatever, HOSS FIGHT HOSS FIGHT HOSS FIGHT... Winner by count out: Sheamus
Christian: These two had that magic in the ring back in Hell in a Cell. Can they recapture it at Survivor Series? The Big Show still has been the dominant force in this feud on the road to this rematch. He’s doing the dastardly heel thing too by attacking Sheamus in a pub and knocking out Sheamus’ good buddy, William Regal. I’m leaning towards Sheamus regaining the title so they can have the blowoff match at TLC. If Show wins then the feud is pretty much over. They could have Show take the cheap way out but that’s not how he’s been booked so I think someone is getting a clean pin in a big time slugfest. Prediction- Sheamus becomes the New World Heavyweight Champion
John: I'm not sure about this one. Normally in this situation I would definitely pick the former champion to lose a second time in a row because it's rare that somebody wins a rematch for a championship. However, the way it's been booked makes me believe that a third match is coming between these two with a stipulation added to it at TLC next month. I thought this match should have had a stipulation added to it (Last Man Standing would work), but they are advertising it as a regular match. That leads me to think that Show is going to retain his title although I think they have to keep the door open for that third match at TLC.
I like their chemistry. They're booking this feud as a fight between two brawlers, which is very old school and quite frankly it's something that is a welcome sight. It reminds of last year when Sheamus feuded with Mark Henry and then Henry feuded with Big Show. The three of them know how to put matches together. I'm not always about the athletic wrestlers. You need brawlers in wrestling. These guys get it. Big Show's as good as he's ever been, which is proof that some guys develop as performers later than others. Sheamus has had a lot of very good matches this year, including their match at Hell in a Cell last match. That's why I don't mind how hard WWE pushes Sheamus. The guy deserves it.
I'm picking Big Show to leave as the World Heavyweight Champion. However, I think it will be a controversial finish. Maybe Andrew's right in calling the countout, but I'm picking the disqualification win for Sheamus. I think it will be something where Show hits Sheamus with the KO Punch twice in this match instead of just one time like he did last match. That will lead to a frustrated Big Show getting DQ'd and that sets up the third match at TLC with a table, ladder or chair stipulation (I would guess table). It will be an interesting match to watch. Last month they delivered the match of the night at HIAC. Let's see if they can top that. Winner: Sheamus via DQ; Big Show retains World Title
For the record, I'm not picking Dolph Ziggler to cash in his Money in the Bank contract for the World Title here. It seems like I predict it every month (you can laugh at me if you want), but I think they will hold off possibly until TLC next month or maybe on Raw before the end of the year. Then again last month they hyped that it might happen and this month they haven't mentioned it, so it could be the perfect time to have Ziggler cash in on Sunday.
WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Ryback
Andrew: WWE's really kind of f**ked themselves with this Ryback thing, haven't they?
It's still going to work, but they rushed the Goldberg formula and now it feels kind of forced. He should have at least bummed around on Smackdown longer. Maybe have a run with the big gold belt before moving up to CM Punk/Cena status, but whatever, they're here now, and they have to make the best of it. And fortunately, this is probably the best option available to them. Cena can take the pin and Ryback doesn't have to suffer another Maddox incident. It'll make sense, and it's a good way to move everyone forward without having to sacrifice the two things you've been building for the better part of a year; CM Punk's title reign, and Ryback's elevation. Cena is untouchable, he could get pinned 30 times in one night and he'd still move a truckload of those green t-shirts. Cena will be alright.
By the way, why is CM Punk worried about being in a triple threat? You just did this in August against one of the same guys and the current World Heavyweight Champion. You're going to be fine, dick head. Winner: CM Punk
Christian: Remove Big Show and insert Ryback. We just had John Cena and CM Punk in a Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam and now we have them back in one at Survivor Series. The popular finish prediction is that Ryback hits ShellShock on Cena and Punk steals the pin but we saw that same finish at SummerSlam. Remove Big Show and insert Ryback. I know that a title match is going to sell a PPV better that an elimination match but this was just hastily thrown together. Cena was and still dealing with the stuff with AJ and Ziggler. It’s almost as if the title for him is secondary to that other stuff.
If you went with the original elimination match it’s an easy way to keep the title on Punk for another PPV where he could lose and make Ryback the star of the night while letting Cena deal with Ziggler. Then at TLC you could do a Triple Threat Ladder/TLC Match where Punk could easily steal a victory and then let everyone move onto the Royal Rumble. Three words for Vince McMahon: LONG TERM PLANNING. It makes your programs more enjoyable when we don’t have to scratch our heads because things are constantly changing. Prediction- CM Punk retains the WWE Championship
John: The triple threat match makes sense from a storyline standpoint. At Night of Champions, Cena wrestled Punk to a draw. He didn't get a rematch due to injury. At Hell in a Cell, Ryback had Punk beat until the rogue referee Brad Maddox gave him a low blow that caused Ryback to lose. You can make a case that both guys deserve a rematch. The problem is that on the Raw after Hell in a Cell they spent three hours telling us it would be Team Punk vs. Team Foley and they featured Ryback on Foley's team. Then the next week they realized "hey we booked this so a triple threat makes sense" and suddenly the triple threat was on with only two episodes of Raw to build it up.
What happened on those two episodes of Raw? CM Punk got pinned by Ryback in a tag match two weeks ago. Then this past week CM Punk got pinned by John Cena in a singles match. That tells us that CM Punk is going to retain because typical WWE booking utilizes my "lose on TV, win on PPV" theory. It's not a theory without flaws, but it's something that has been very common for decades.
I know there are a lot of rumors out there about the WWE Champion and who might face Rock at Royal Rumble while also wondering about what might happen at WrestleMania 29. I wrote a column about these types of rumors, but I think the important thing is to focus on the title reign of CM Punk. I think he's leaving as WWE Champion because they set up that match with The Rock at Royal Rumble when Punk clotheslined Rock on the July 23rd episode of Raw. Obviously they could have moved the title off Punk between then and now (and I certainly predicted that a few times), but I think keeping it on Punk was the right move.
This will likely be a 15-20 minute match that is wrestled at a fast pace. That's the advantage of a triple threat. You can take turns with two guys in the ring while the third guy rests outside the ring and they build up the heat that way. They're formulaic in that sense, which doesn't make them interesting anymore. That's my way of saying that WWE does triple threat matches way too often.
The predictable finish is Ryback hits Shellshocked on John Cena, CM Punk shoves Ryback out of the ring and then covers Cena for the victory. Of course that's the finish they did at Summerslam when Cena hit the AA on Big Show, Punk shoved Cena out of the ring and covered Show for the win. Could they repeat a finish? Of course. This is WWE where they don't like to remember history unless it's convenient or somebody reminds them of something significant. My hope is that Punk wins with the GTS on Cena, but I don't expect it to happen. I also doubt that Ryback is going to get pinned or submitted, so that's why the screwy finish is the most likely ending.
It's a hard match to book. Punk leaving with the title is likely, Ryback not getting beat is likely and you know they always want to protect Cena. So what do they do? I don't know what it might be exactly, but I think by the end of the night CM Punk will still be your WWE Champion for one year and beyond. Winner: CM Punk
John: I'm worried about this show in terms of interest. There's a big UFC PPV on Saturday night with Georges St. Pierre making his return to the Octagon and that's going to likely do over one million PPV buys or close to it. That's going to hurt Survivor Series whether WWE wants to admit it or not (they don't want to admit it). While I don't think the WWE product is as stale as some people do, it's not hot right now either. I think the new year will be great with Rock coming back, but they still have to keep fans interested before then. Is this show a must see event? I don't think so. At least it doesn't feel that way to me.
I won't be watching Survivor Series live on Sunday. I'll be away from home on Sunday night, so I'll catch the replay of the event late Sunday or early Monday. On Monday afternoon I'll post my PPV recap on this site.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy WWE Survivor Series.
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