Predicting the Survivor Series Card

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With less than three weeks to go until the 29th annual Survivor Series pay-per-view, the official card is beginning to slowly take shape. Roman Reigns will challenge Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on November 22nd after the Authority announced as much on Monday’s episode of Raw. The show also gave us a women’s fatal fourway to determine the number one contender to Charlotte’s Divas Championship, which was conveniently won by Paige since she turned heel on Charlotte last week.

Those are the only two confirmed matches so far but last night’s Raw gave us an indication for how the rest of the card will most likely play out.

Obviously something is going to happen with the Wyatt Family v. Undertaker and Kane. Since Bray and Company took out Taker following his match with Brock Lesnar at Hell in a Cell, it’s been a foregone conclusion that we would get the payoff in the form of a traditional Survivor Series elimination match between the two factions, with Taker and Kane recruiting help. With less than 20 days to go and no mention of partners for the Brothers of Destruction, it seems like we might be getting a 4-on-2 handicap match instead. That result probably makes the most sense since the other people who have crossed paths with the Wyatt Family recently – Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Randy Orton – are either tied up in something else or injured.

Speaking of Ambrose, a program with Kevin Owens seems like the next step in the timeline of the Lunatic Fringe. The Intercontinental Champion was eliminated by Ambrose during last night’s 5-on-5 elimination tag team match on Raw and a back-and-forth with Owens is a great hurdle for Ambrose to jump over while he waits for his inevitable program with the winner of the Reigns-Rollins feud.

The Usos made their return in the aforementioned 5-on-5 elimination match, joining forces with their cousin Roman Reigns. With the Dudleys getting plenty of unsuccessful chances at the Tag Team Titles, it would make sense to slide the Usos into the challengers’ position with the New Day.

Tyler Breeze and Dolph Ziggler had some more interaction on Raw, with Breeze “costing” Ziggler the match by standing with his back to the ring which prompted Ziggler to swipe at him for some reason, which was enough of a distraction for Kevin Owens to hit a pop-up powerbomb and defeat the Show Off. Breeze then laid Ziggler out with the Beauty Shot and we’re headed for a showdown of main roster blondes.

We still don’t have a clear direction for the United States Championship but it would seem preposterous to not have the recently-returned (and already losing steam quickly) Alberto Del Rio on the card.

Also with nothing on the show so far: Cesaro, Stardust and the Ascension, Ryback, the Dudley Boyz, Sheamus, Wade Barrett, the Lucha Dragons, and Neville. A thrown-together traditional Survivor Series elimination match consisting of ten of the above wrestlers would make a lot of sense. As friend of the site Nick Gator pointed out, a Cesaro, Lucha Dragons, Ryback and Neville v. Stardust, the Ascension, Sheamus and Wade Barrett match would be really fun.

We’ll probably know a whole lot more after tonight’s Smackdown tapings but if the card shapes up as I expect it to, it should be a really fun Survivor Series.

Survivor Series Surprisingly Draws More Than 100,000 Buys on PPV

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Survivor Series, the November pay-per-view that was given away for free on WWE Network, surprisingly drew 103,000 buys on traditional PPV, according to WWE’s figures released this week. That number is well above the 77,000 buys October’s Hell in a Cell did.

The Survivor Series main event of Team Authority v. Team Cena, with The Authority’s jobs on the line, surely had a lot to do with that large number. WWE, however, assumed the headliner would bring in more WWE Network free subscriptions.

That says a lot about where WWE fans – and the general population – are technologically. If you chose to pay upwards of $50 for something you could have gotten for free, it means either your internet wasn’t capable of handling the stream, you don’t have the necessary devices to stream the Network to your TV, or you just don’t trust the service.

Survivor Series 2014 Review: Sting and Dolph Ziggler Steal the Show

The most notable moment from Survivor Series 2014, of course, was Sting finally making an appearance inside a WWE ring, delivering a Scorpion Death Drop to Triple H. The other huge takeaway is that this was really Dolph Ziggler’s show. With John Cena being eliminated after a knockout punch from the heel-turning Big Show, Ziggler was left to face three members of Team Authority by himself.

Alas, it was Dolph Ziggler – not John Cena – who overcame the odds last night.

While Sting placed Ziggler on top of Seth Rollins to get the final pinfall, it doesn’t take away from the fact that WWE made Ziggler look like a main event star last night.

The events of last night also set up a few programs moving forward, with John Cena and Big Show likely to square off and a potential Triple H-Sting showdown in the works. While WrestleMania XXXI seems the likely candidate, I could see the company not wanting to wait that long to get Sting on a pay-per-view card.

If I were picking nits (which I am about to) my only gripe with Sting’s appearance was that WWE gave him new theme music, even though his “Crow” theme was used in WWE 2K15 promotion and in the game itself. But it didn’t really matter. Once the crow noises hit, coupled with rumors that Sting was going to appear, the building erupted.

Below are my thoughts on the rest of the show:

– The Fatal 4-Way opener was a really solid match that kept the crowd hot. I missed the mark on my prediction of Goldust & Stardust retaining the straps but I really liked how the match ended, with Damien Mizdow finally getting in and stealing the pinfall from Miz. It’s a subtle nudge of things to come, when the pair inevitably breaks up because Mizdow is taking all of Miz’s spotlight, but that’s probably a little way down the line. Miz holding both belts and Mizdow still mimicking his celebration was great and I’m looking forward to what these two come up with as their reign rolls on.

– The Divas elimination match was… a match. I have no clue what the booking of this accomplished. The babyfaces (Is Alicia a babyface?) won in a clean sweep, with Naomi getting the final pinfall on Paige. The whole contest felt like a giant cluster with very little direction. I was hoping they would have Natalya and Paige be the final survivors for their respective teams, do battle for a bit, and set up a program between the two of them. It wasn’t meant to be.

– Roman Reigns appeared via satellite in one of his better interviews since his injury. That’s not saying much but this one at least wasn’t cringeworthy. Of note, Reigns said he’ll be back “this time next month,” meaning we’ll probably see him at TLC. My guess would be a match with Seth Rollins but time will tell if WWE holds him off pay-per-view until the Royal Rumble.

– I’m sure there was an uproar over AJ Lee losing the Divas Championship in the fashion she did (I stayed off Twitter for most of the show) but I’m fine with it. It was a nice tip of the cap to how Daniel Bryan lost the World Heavyweight Championship to Sheamus at WrestleMania XXVIII and Brie’s motivation made sense since AJ had DDT’ed Brie on Monday’s Raw, along with her marriage to Bryan.

There are still some questions. Is Brie a heel now and happily in the company of her sister once again? Or was this a one-off revenge move on AJ? Or did WWE not really think this out and just need a quick way to get the title off AJ, who is rumored to be leaving the company for another break?

Unanswered questions aren’t bad. Really, that’s the point. But do people really care much about the answers?

– Bray Wyatt defeated Dean Ambrose by disqualification when Ambrose hit Wyatt with a chair. During the post-match, Ambrose elbow dropped Wyatt through a table, then piled a bunch of chairs on top of him and climbed a ladder to mug for the cameras. The whole ladder thing was a strange and punch-you-in-the-face obvious way to set up another showdown between the two at TLC, which the broadcast team announced was official later on during Survivor Series.

– We got a surprise Bunny & Adam Rose v. Slater Gator tag team match, which was fine time-filler. I was hoping we would get our Bunny reveal but that will likely come on Raw. As silly as the Bunny’s involvement is, it’s a pretty well flushed out storyline and I’m actually interested in the payoff. I’m also excited about Adam Rose playing a heel, which seems to be a more natural fit for him.

– The pre-show Cesaro v. Jack Swagger match was pretty good and did well to get the crowd going early. That’s one thing that shouldn’t be understated: The crowd was great and that plays a big part in how the big moments of the show come off.

– I won’t make the “another heel turn for Big Show” joke. It’s a little strange, though, that we’re going to get another Cena-Show program, especially with Cena being the number one contender and Brock Lesnar rumored to be wrestling at TLC. Perhaps that isn’t the case and we won’t see Lesnar until the Rumble. If you don’t remember Brock Lesnar, he’s the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Yep, they still have one of those.

– All in all, WWE did a good job of making this feel bigger than it did going in. A lot of people didn’t like the Raw-style 15-minute opening promo, but it made the main event feel like more of a big deal. The follow-up will be important, as WWE could please a lot of fans by naming a new GM on tonight’s Raw that brings some excitement to the table. I’m not sure if I can buy in to the rumors of Sting being the GM just yet. We’ll see on tonight’s Raw.

– As for my predictions, I was 3-for-5. I was wrong on AJ Lee and Goldust & Stardust retaining their titles and three of the other matches were unadvertised or, in the case of Fandango, an opponent wasn’t named.

Ringside Rewind: JBL v. Booker T, WWE Championship Match, Survivor Series 2004

Survivor Series 2004, much like this year’s event, only featured two traditional elimination matches; Team Angle (Kurt Angle, Carlito, Luther Reigns and Mark Jindrak) v. Team Guerrero (Eddie Guerrero, Big Show, Rob Van Dam and John Cena) and Team Triple H (Triple H, Edge, Snitsky and Batista) v. Team Orton (Randy Orton, Maven, Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit).

The penultimate match on the card, though, was for the WWE Championship as JBL defended his title against Booker T. Let’s rewind 10 years time and re-live the match as we await WWE’s presentation of the 2014 version of Survivor Series.

Ringside Rewind: Team WWF v. Team Alliance, Survivor Series 2001

As we gear up for tonight’s Survivor Series, let’s take a look back at the 2001 version of the event, as posted on WWE’s YouTube page. This was the culmination of the “WCW invasion” storyline, which was so much worse and more convoluted than it could have been. The main event of Survivor Series 2001 was Team WWF v. The Alliance in a traditional elimination match where the winning team’s company would stay in business while the other’s doors would be shuttered, at least in kayfabe.

Team WWF was comprised of The Rock, Chris Jericho, Undertaker, Kane and Big Show while the Alliance squad was made up of Steve Austin, Rob Van Dam, Kurt Angle (who never competed for WCW or ECW), Booker T and Shane McMahon.

Ringside Rewind: The Montreal Screwjob

This post originally ran on on November 9, 2013 and is being re-posted as part of the lead-up to Survivor Series 2014.

During the main event of Survivor Series 1997, in the WWF Championship match between Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart, referee Earl Hebner signaled for the bell as Michaels had Hart in the Sharpshooter, in what would forever be known as the “Montreal Screwjob.”

Only a few men knew the plan and Bret wasn’t one of them. Despite assurances to the contrary, Vince McMahon screwed Bret Hart that night in Montreal.

Hart was on his way to WCW, after being told by McMahon that WWF wouldn’t be able to follow through on Hart’s 20-year contract due to financial troubles. According to the owner of the WWF, Hart would be doing what was best for everyone by leaving for WCW.

So that’s what Bret Hart did, negotiating a lucrative contract with the enemy, and agreeing to drop the belt the night after Survivor Series. He didn’t want to do business for Shawn Michaels and especially not in Canada. In wrestling, though, when it comes time to do the job, you do the job.

There is so much controversy surrounding the events of the “Screwjob” that a compelling case can be made for a number of arguments. Most say Bret Hart got a raw deal. Some say Bret Hart should have played by the rules and laid down for Michaels. A large number of people think the whole thing was a work.

No matter why and how the whole thing went down, it remains one of the most important moments in wrestling history.

That night Vince McMahon as the heel authority figure was born, which would lead to the Austin-McMahon rivalry and the Attitude Era. It also forced McMahon and the wrestling industry as a whole to pull back the curtain a bit. Depending on your stance, that was good or bad for business.

For two men that hated each other, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels truly had great in-ring chemistry and some of the greatest matches of each wrestler’s career came against one another.

WWE Survivor Series Preview and Predictions

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WWE presents Survivor Series live on pay-per-view and the WWE Network (which is free for November, don’t cha know?) at 8pm ET Sunday night. The card has a less-than-robust five announced matches, plus the return of Fandango on the free pre-show. Below are my predictions for the card. Feel free to leave yours in the comments!

Team Cena (John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, Ryback and Big Show) v. Team Authority (Seth Rollins, Mark Henry, Kane, Luke Harper and Rusev)

The stipulation added on Friday’s Smackdown that every member of Team Cena would be fired if Team Authority is victorious took a lot of the mystery out of the result of this match, at least in my opinion. They could always do the old trick where the members of Team Cena get fired then Vince McMahon comes out to save the day, but that seems like a lot of effort for a bait and switch.

WWE really needs to do something big at this event because of the WWE Network being free this month. In their minds, Randy Orton returning in his hometown and causing The Authority to be ousted from power might be enough. In the minds of potential subscribers, it may be too predictable.

No matter how they go about it, my bet is that Team Cena overcomes the odds and wins the big one.

Prediction: Team Cena

WWE Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way Match
The Miz & Damien Mizdow v. Los Matadores v. The Usos v. Goldust & Stardust

It seems like the luster is wearing off of the Goldust & Stardust team and, conversely, the popularity of the Miz/Mizdow pairing is soaring. (Mostly thanks to Mizdow.) Taking the titles off Goldust & Stardust leaves them both with seemingly nowhere to go, however. What’s more likely is Miz, being jealous of Mizdow getting all the attention, doing something dastardly and turning on his partner, costing them a victory and setting up a feud between the two.

Prediction: Goldust & Stardust retain

Dean Ambrose v. Bray Wyatt

I saw these two go at it at a house show a few weeks ago and am excited about what they’ll bring to a pay-per-view contest. As for who will win, it’s really a flip of the coin. I think Wyatt gets the best of Ambrose in round one of what will likely be a multi-month feud.

Prediction: Bray Wyatt

Divas Championship Match
Nikki Bella v. AJ Lee

The obvious outcome is Brie Bella costing her sister the match. On the flip side, this whole “feud” has run its course and I could see Brie helping Nikki as a way to get back at AJ for DDT’ing her on Monday’s Raw, reuniting the sisters.

The only problem is that would make both Bellas heels. With them being the focal point of Total Divas and also shining such a strong light on the Brie-Daniel Bryan marriage, it’s hard to imagine both Bellas being villains.

I think WWE goes the obvious route (which isn’t always the worst way to go) and AJ Lee retains.

Prediction: AJ Lee

Natalya, Alicia Fox, Naomi and Emma v. Paige, Cameron, Summer Rae and Layla

There’s very little to this storyline outside of the Paige-Alicia Fox mini-feud. I’m going with Team Nattie in this one with hopes that it leads to a Paige-Natalya storyline.

Prediction: Team Natalya

Divas Elimination Match Added to Survivor Series

A fifth match has been added to the Survivor Series lineup, WWE announced today. Natalya, Naomi, Emma and Alicia Fox will take on Paige, Cameron, Summer Rae and Layla.

The updated Survivor Series card, which comes to you live on WWE Network and pay-per-view this Sunday, looks like this:

Team Authority (Seth Rollings, Kane, Luke Harper, Mark Henry and Rusev) v. Team Cena (John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Erick Rowan and Ryback)

Divas Championship Match
Nikki Bella v. AJ Lee

Dean Ambrose v. Bray Wyatt

WWE Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way Match
Los Matadores v. The Miz & Damien Mizdow v. The Usos v. Goldust & Stardust

Natalya, Naomi, Emma and Alicia Fox v. Paige, Cameron, Summer Rae and Layla

Fandango is also advertised to return to action on the Survivor Series pre-show.