By Haydn Gleed
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Survivor Series looks good on paper, doesn’t it? When they started the hype for the event, I wrote that I wasn’t blown away by Raw vs. Smackdown for bragging rights only but that I felt we were starting to see the benefits of the roster split due to matches that we have never seen or haven’t seen in a while being placed on this card. I feel that point is still in play. Obviously, the WWE Champion vs. WWE Universal Champion match has pushed things completely over the edge, but I legitimately have not sensed this level of excitement for a Survivor Series in many years.
Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles: I’m going to list the match placements based on the wwe.com preview piece and for me it’s important due to reasons that will become apparent as I go through this preview. Well what can you say about this match that hasn’t already been said or thought by the majority of people. A true dream match for any wrestling fan out there. The biggest freak of nature in Professional Wrestling against arguably the best Professional Wrestler in the last 10 years. You have the Beast vs the Phenomenal one, and although I don’t usually use the cliché WWEism’s to describe performers in this instance I feel it’s very apt.
I’ll come straight out and say that I think Brock Lesnar will come out on top, mostly because there’s a small show in New Orleans next April that I feel WWE will want Brock to be as strong as possible for, but the real intrigue is in the type of match that we end up having. I know people reading this are probably sick of Suplex City, and hell as someone who watched Angle v Lesnar and their feud in the early 2000’s in real time and know how good Brock can be, I’m sick of Suplex City but I also feel that the more casual fans love to watch Brock throw people around and then hit an F5 much in the same way people loved to watch Butterbean just throw punches wildly at people in the 90s for four rounds. But I hope that this match is different in terms of AJ using his speed and ability to force Brock into a wrestling match (obviously not shoot I’m talking in Kayfabe terms), and that AJ will be too fast for Brock to just grab and throw but instead he has to work to catch AJ to get him in a position to suplex.
People have speculated that Jinder could get involved in this match and I will admit that’s a distinct possibility, but I hope that the interference is kept to a minimum and at most a distraction finish. For the ultimate feel good ending, I would personally like the following. AJ and Brock are going toe to toe for fifteen minutes, but it looks like AJ is starting to get the advantage. Jinder and the Singh brothers stand on stage or at ringside causing AJ to take his eye off the ball for a second allowing Brock to hit two F5’s for the win. With AJ down, Jinder and his cronies come into the ring and attack AJ only for Brock to send Jinder and the Singhs to Suplex City (cringe) and we have the mutual respect moment between Brock and AJ to finish the show. For me that would enable everyone to come out of this match with credibility, keep both brands main titles strong and further the feud that I think will be carrying Smackdown into 2018.
Brock Lesnar wins.
Team Raw (Kurt Angle, Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, Triple H) vs. Team Smackdown (Shane McMahon, Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, John Cena) in a Survivor Series elimination match: As much as I dislike the Raw vs. Smackdown for bragging rights only logic of this match, I am looking forward to seeing people who haven’t faced each other before locking up. Angle and Nakamura, Cena and Joe, Balor and McMahon, all moments that I think will be memorable. The reason I feel it’s important to know if this match will be last or not is because if this was the true last match main event of the show, then I don’t think you would see as much interference or screwy finishes as I think will happen, but in it’s place as one from the top then I don’t see a problem.
I predict we will come out of this with a Smackdown victory due to the Raw team imploding. I can see a situation where Shane is taken out early, possibly with some kind of distraction by Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. I can see Bobby Roode not lasting very long either, leaving Orton, Cena, and Nakamura on the Smackdown side. I can’t see Balor and Joe getting along for too long and I’m assuming a brawl between them will start due to some miscommunication. I can see Kane getting involved and taking out Strowman. And I can’t see any logic in Angle not taking out Triple H given that Hunter performed the Pedigree on his storyline son. So I appreciate there’s a lot of screwy finishes there, but it fits into the narrative that Stephanie has been pushing on Raw that Angle doesn’t have any control over Raw. What excites me about this match more than anything is that I’ve laid out the above scenario but I can think of at least three or four other ways of booking the match that would be just as intriguing and I simply don’t know which way they are going to go. When you preview a match and you genuinely feel that way, that means the promotion did its job correctly.
Team Smackdwon wins.
Raw Tag Champions Sheamus and Cesaro vs. Smackdown Tag Champions Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso in a non-title match: The Usos have recently been doing the best work of their WWE career and it’s all because they’ve been given the opportunity to talk and develop characters. How did we all not predict that? Cesaro and Sheamus (I refuse to use the terrible tag name of theirs) won the titles from Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins recently, but I still feel they are being portrayed as lucky champions as opposed to true champions. Because of that and also because WWE has been pushing The Usos so aggressively in the last three to four months, I see the Usos going over clean. Watch out for this match, because on a card that has a lot of star power and a lot of potential, I feel this is the match that has ability to surprise a lot of people with it’s quality.
The Usos win.
“The Shield” Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose vs. “The New Day” Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods: I’ll get it out of the way straight away, The Shield are going to win. It’s their first pay-per-view match since the reunion and Roman Reigns is involved. C’mon, would you expect anything different? I know a lot of people are excited by the potential of this match, and although I think this will be a decent match, I kind of feel that the feud itself has been forced to feel bigger than it actually is. I just can’t see any benefit of The New Day going over so it takes that intrigue out of the equation for me. There’s been discussion amongst analysts regarding the possibility of a New Day split, but I don’t think they should but secondly it’s not WWE’s style to have a heel turn for a major group or character to come out of nowhere. It’s usually telegraphed way ahead of time and I just haven’t seen the signs.
The Shield win.
Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte in a non-title match: There’s no doubt about it, Charlotte Flair winning the championship and then celebrating with her father was a moment to remember in WWE history. It’s also made an even more intriguing match for this show between Bliss and Charlotte. With all due respect to Natalya, this match jumps off the page more than a heel vs weak heel match that I’m sure would have been great in quality yet would not have had substance behind it. This match, however, is an intriguing match between two of the most over women on the WWE roster. I see Charlotte going over and a lot of heel stalling tactics from Bliss before Charlotte comes out on top. This could have been a spot where Carmella cashes in her Money In The Bank contract after the match only to have Charlotte regain the belt next Saturday at Starrcade. However, I don’t see that happening in part because I don’t think they should be playing hot potato with the title, but mostly because I don’t think Carmella is at the level where it would be believable for her to be champion even for a week at this point.
Team Raw (Alicia Fox, Nia Jax, Asuka, Sasha Banks, Bayley) vs. Team Smackdown (Becky Lynch, Naomi, Carmella, Tamina, Natalya) in a Survivor Series elimination match: The main intrigue of this match is the mystery fifth member of Team Smackdown has been completely taken out of the equation with the announcement of it being Natalya. I literally have no idea why this wasn’t announced sooner outside of WWE going back and forth on who should be the fifth person. The announcement doesn’t change my mind of this being a whitewash from the Raw ladies simply because of the comparison in star power. If Paige had been the fifth woman on Team Smackdown then I could see a scenario where she abandoned her team and turned heel, and that could have been the sort of out for the performance of Team Smackdown. As it is, I can’t see Asuka, Sasha Banks, or Nia Jax being eliminated by anyone on Team Smackdown. Perhaps if WWE wants to throw Smackdown a bone then Bayley and Alicia Fox could be eliminated and make it slightly more competitive. Nevertheless, the Raw ladies will come out on top.
Team Raw wins 5-0
Intercontinental Champion The Miz vs. United States Champion Baron Corbin: People seem to be quite down on this, but I’m probably the opposite. If this was one of two heel vs heel matches on the card then I would probably fall into the underwhelmed category, but I think this will be a lot of fun and allow Miz and Corbin the chance to show off their characters. I remember the first time I saw a heel vs heel match. It was Shawn Michaels vs. “The Model” Rick Martel at SummerSlam 1992 from Wembley Stadium. There were a lot of traditional heel tactics such as stalling and non-clean rope breaks, but there was a lot of fun stuff as well like both men using the ropes leverage, etc. I see a lot of that happening here with both men trying to cheat in a heelish way to get one over on the other. I don’t think this will be highlight of the night or anything, but it will be a fun addition to the evening. As for the winner, I’m going to say Baron Corbin as he needs it more and The Miz can get his heat back within five minutes of talking on the mic.
Baron Corbin wins.
Enzo Amore vs. Kalisto for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship (Kickoff Match): I literally have never cared less about a WWE/WWF match ever. Um *flips a coin*….
Prediction: Enzo Amore
As always feel free to agree or disagree with me on twitter @haydngleed or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...