Make no mistake about it, Survivor Series is important this year.
That’s a welcome change from most of the stuff we’ve seen in the last decade. Most WWE fans know that Survivor Series used to be one of WWE’s biggest shows of the year, arguably in league with the Royal Rumble and Summerslam. But over the last several years, the show has lost much of its luster. WWE has actually contemplated “rebranding” their November pay per view, and eliminating the Survivor Series concept altogether. That’s a really sad notion, considering that if booked a certain way, the various Survivor Series tag team matches can be made important again.
However, WWE does seem to be trying to make Survivor Series feel important again. Last year, Sting made his long-awaited WWE debut, and was responsible for The Authority being ousted from power. The impact of that stipulation was nullified just over a month later, but the moment itself was huge.
This year, happenstance has prompted the crowning of a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion at Survivor Series. And I do mean a new champion. There’s a 75 percent chance that the man walking out with the belt will be wearing it for the first time. Make no mistake about it, in an era where fans are dying for something fresh, a new champion may prove to be a step in the right direction.
More on that later. Let’s run down the show and see what we’ve got to look forward to.
In a way, this match is really sad. Last year, Dolph Ziggler was the sole survivor of his team, and the man who (with some help from Sting) sent The Authority packing. This year? He’s probably going to lose to Tyler Breeze. There’s nothing wrong with losing to Tyler Breeze, but man…how many times can they drop the ball on this guy?
Seeing as Breeze did lose his debut match to Dean Ambrose, I suppose he could theoretically survive a loss to Ziggler here. But that’s not the right move. WWE needs some new blood to step up, and Breeze is more than capable. I just wish they didn’t have to sacrifice Dolph for that to happen.
PREDICTION: Tyler Breeze
I’m curious to see how the crowd reacts to his match, given how poorly many fans reacted to WWE making Reid Fleihr’s death a factor in the storyline. If WWE has its way, every bit of that heat will wind up on Paige, and Charlotte will be the sentimental favorite. But given how smart a large percentage of the audience is in the modern era, that may not be the case.
Charlotte should be the one they go with here. I imagine that would’ve been the case even without all the heat. Charlotte is a good ambassador for what WWE seems to want their women’s division to become. She’s not great on the mic yet. But she’s a great athlete, a good wrestlers, and she can be a positive role model for young girls. I don’t see her dropping the title in the near future.
Oh, come on. Of course it’s going to be Undertaker and Kane. It’s the 25th anniversary of ‘Taker’s debut, and he just lost a Hell in a Cell match to Brock Lesnar. There’s no way they let him take another loss here.
An unfortunate side effect of this match is that The Wyatt Family are starting to look like chumps. Bray Wyatt lost to The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. He went back and forth with Roman Reigns before finally losing to him at Hell in a Cell. Now he and his entire group are about to lose to ‘Taker and Kane. If booked properly, The Wyatt Family can become one of the most dominant groups WWE has seen in years, and have a real mystique about them. But they’re definitely not headed that way now.
PREDICTION: The Undertaker & Kane
WWE did the right thing in terms of booking this tournament. They didn’t call John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, or any other big names to throw in there. They stuck with members of the full-time, active roster. Things were a little rocky in the first round, as The Big Show was simply there to be fed to Roman Reigns, and they had to use tag team wrestlers like Titus O’Neil and Kalisto. But for the most part it’s gone very well, and we’ve got some really good matches out of this tournament.
The direction they’re going seems pretty obvious. They’ve even teased it this week. It’s Roman Reigns over Alberto Del Rio, and Dean Ambrose over Kevin Owens. I’m very pleased they let the US and Intercontinental Champions make it this far. But in the end, it has to be the two former Shield members in the finals.
With Seth Rollins gone, WWE needs a new lead villain. The purpose of this Survivor Series main event should ultimately be filling that role. For my money, it needs to be Roman Reigns. They already planted the seed with that Triple H segment, and in certain arenas he’s already got half the crowd booing him. If they simply let the fans get the booing out of their system, they’ll eventually turn around and start cheering him. That’s how it worked for The Rock, and it can work the same way for Reigns. They just have to go with the flow and stop fighting with their audience. Can Dean Ambrose pull off a heel turn? Absolutely. But he shouldn’t have to. Fans want to boo Reigns, so WWE should give them the pleasure of booing him.
In terms of predictions, I’m going to give WWE the benefit of the doubt and say they’ll do the right thing with Reigns. But considering WWE’s track record of doing the right thing with talents like CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and Dolph Ziggler, this is a 50/50 toss up at best.
PREDICTION: Roman Reigns
Images courtesy of WWE.com.
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