WWE’s Survivor Series pay-per-view event takes place this Sunday on the WWE Network. While WWE is advertising Survivor Series as a celebration of The Undertaker’s historic 25 year career, The Deadman is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the matches on this card.
For the first time since WrestleMania 31 in March, a new World Heavyweight Champion will be crowned. Seth Rollins was slated to defend his title against number one contender Roman Reigns at Survivor Series, however due to a devastating knee injury, he stripped of the belt on November 5th. WWE decided to hold a 16-man tournament to determine a new World Heavyweight Champion, and the conclusion of that tournament will happen this Sunday in a series of 3 matches.
The Divas Championship will also be on the line as Charlotte defends her title against Paige, after an extremely controversial contract signing on Raw this past Monday.
Bray Wyatt has been pulling out all of the stops in an effort to take out The Undertaker and become WWE’s “New Face of Fear”, but is The Wyatt Family really any match for the legendary Brothers of Destruction?
Tyler Breeze will be in his first main roster pay-per-view match against Dolph Ziggler; the feud has been a bit dull so far, but this will Breeze’s chance to prove that he belongs on the big stage.
Interestingly absent from this show is a traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series match. There are rumors that one will be announced on Sunday, but what real implications could such rushed and randomly thrown-together match realistically have?
Let’s take a look at the card and see what Survivor Series has in store for the WWE Universe.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Tyler Breeze
NXT Superstar Tyler Breeze debuted on WWE’s main roster less than a month ago and will be making his much-anticipated main roster pay-per-view debut on Sunday as he goes one-on-one with Dolph Ziggler.
This is going to be quite the task for Breeze, but it has the potential to be a show-stealing match. Both Breeze and Ziggler are extremely athletic, so it will be interesting to see how Breeze will compete with Ziggler in a longer match. In his short time on the main roster, he’s been in a few squash matches, but was also, surprisingly, given a match against Dean Ambrose in the WHC tournament. Breeze was able to give the audience a small taste of what he’s capable of against Ambrose, but Sunday against Ziggler will be his first match that has storyline implications attached.
A win over Ziggler in his pay-per-view debut would give Breeze a ton of momentum moving forward, and could cement his place on the main roster. Dolph Ziggler has nothing to lose; the audience will still love him and be excited to see him put on stellar matches night after night.
Winner Prediction: Tyler Breeze
WHC Tournament Semi-Final Match: Alberto Del Rio vs. Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns was the number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship before Seth Rollins was injured. Triple H attempted to lure Reigns into joining The Authority and thus bypassing the tournament, but Roman Reigns refused to “sell out” and stated that he’d keep fighting with honor. He defeated Big Show in the first round, and, in a “What the hell were they thinking when they booked this?!” matchup, he defeated Cesaro.
Participating in this tournament has done nothing to help Roman Reigns. The WWE Universe expects him to win it all, plain and simple. Having him face Cesaro did neither performer any favors, and the crowd ended up booing him when the match was over.
As it stands currently, heel turn appears to be the only way for WWE to salvage Roman Reigns. He isn’t connecting with the audience as a baby face character, with many viewing him as the second coming of John Cena. Reigns is awful on the microphone and just decent inside of the ring, despite being given every opportunity to shine and improve. The fans are going to root against him no matter what WWE does; they might as well give them a reason.
Alberto Del Rio has been back in WWE since defeating John Cena for the United States Championship at last months’ Hell in a Cell event. He then linked up with Zeb Colter and formed the “Mex-Americans”. Is it a country? A stable? No one is quite sure. However, one thing every one is sure of is that Del Rio’s title reign has been awful so far. Yet somehow, he finds himself in the semi-finals of this tournament.
It’s extremely unlikely that WWE will have someone holding two belts at the same time. The winner of the match is obvious, guys.
Winner Prediction: Roman Reigns
WHC Tournament Semi-Final Match: Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose
Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens has put on two stellar performances over the course of this tournament. He defeated Titus O’Neil in the first round, and this past week on Raw, defeated Neville in a barn-burner of a match. Owens’ reign with the IC title has been spectacular, and having the belt has given his character new depth as a “prizefighter”.
Dean Ambrose, on the other hand, has been lost in the shuffle for quite some time now. He hasn’t had a meaningful storyline in months, just floating around with no direction in sight.
Before the tournament began, WWE began alluding to an upcoming Ambrose vs. Owens feud for the Intercontinental Championship. Their interactions were entertaining, and it appeared as though Dean Ambrose would finally be getting something of value to work with. That feud could still happen in the upcoming months, with this being just a short preview. However, seeing as Roman Reigns is on the opposite side of Ambrose on the tournament bracket, the possibility of them coming to blows in the final match with the World Heavyweight Championship on the line seems inevitable.
Again, it’s unlikely that WWE will put Owens in the finals since he already holds a championship. The winner of this match is almost as obvious as Reigns vs. Del Rio, but there’s a small possibility that Owens could pull out the win here and face (although only to lose to) Roman Reigns in the final match of the tournament. Unlikely, but possible.
Winner Prediction: Dean Ambrose
Charlotte (c) vs. Paige – Divas Championship Match
Let’s cut right to the chase; the “Divas Revolution” is dead, and it died on Monday during the final segment of Raw.
Charlotte has been on WWE’s main roster since July. In that time, she joined a team with Becky Lynch and Paige (PCB), became the number one contender to the Divas Championship, defeated longest-reigning Divas Champion Nikki Bella for the title, and is now stuck in a terrible back and forth angle with Paige. Charlotte’s road to winning the Divas Championship was pretty solid, but her title reign has been just plain bad. WWE must have realized this, and decided to make the storyline more, for lack of a better term, personal.
The audience was shocked on Monday night when they realized that a “Divas Championship Match Contract Signing” would be closing out Raw, the go-home show of Survivor Series. Everyone had high hopes that something big was going to happen, and that that something would be what solidified the “Divas Revolution” for the near future.
What happened instead was a poorly scripted, poorly delivered, mess of a segment.
By now, I’m assuming we’ve all seen Paige heartlessly telling Charlotte that her brother Reid “Wasn’t much of a fighter”. Reid died of a heroin overdose. It’s something that Charlotte, as well as her entire family, has said was the toughest time in their lives, and they still haven’t completely moved passed it. Dealing with Reid’s death is something that they struggle with every single day. Throw in the fact that neither Ric Flair, nor Reid’s mother, were given a heads up about this segment, and it becomes obvious that it was a truly tasteless attempt to make this feud seem relevant.
Some reports are saying that it was Charlotte’s idea to bring up her brother in this segment. Her mother Beth has come out to say that Ashley (Charlotte) would’ve never agreed to using Reid’s name is such a terrible fashion. Her father Ric said that he cried watching the segment, but understands that his daughter can’t say no to certain things without her career being put in jeopardy because of it.
On the other hand, some fans loved it. Many were excited to see WWE finally push the limit again and felt that it will make the upcoming match much more physical and exciting. The thing is, WWE can push the limits without being tasteless and insulting. They’ve proven that over and over again. No “personal” storyline in WWE has ever been a ratings draw, so the fact that they think this one will be any different is laughable.
Hopefully as we move forward into WrestleMania season, the company will completely switch gears when it comes to their Divas division and realize the gold mine of female performers (Sasha Banks, Naomi, Becky Lynch) that they currently have on the roster are being absolutely underutilized; their talent and time is being wasted, and that needs to change immediately.
Winner Prediction: Charlotte
The Brothers of Destruction (The Undertaker & Kane) vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt & Braun Strowman)
Bray Wyatt is still on a quest to prove that he is “The New Face of Fear” within WWE. After losing to The Undertaker at WrestleMania 31, Bray is seeking revenge against The Deadman and his brother Kane with the help of newest Wyatt Family member Braun Strowman in a tag team match.
This storyline has involved all of the “wrestling magic” type things that fans of The Undertaker and Wyatt love so much. The Wyatts abducted the Brothers of Destruction after Hell in a Cell, and then Bray took their lightning and fire powers, feasted on their souls, etc; all of the craziness that makes these characters what they are. The promos have been over the top and well done, making this match feel like a big deal.
The one issue here is this; neither Bray Wyatt nor The Undertaker can afford this loss.
Bray Wyatt is the all-around best performer in WWE today. The audience has embraced him fully, and the character has constantly evolved. However, when was the last time Bray Wyatt won a rivalry? Maybe when he faced Dean Ambrose last year in that poorly-written mess of a feud? While most see the enormous potential and longevity that the character possesses, many fans have lost hope that WWE will ever truly invest in him like they did The Undertaker so many years ago. Bray Wyatt and The Wyatt Family are consistently excellent inside of the ring and out, but they’re going to have to start winning sometime soon in a dominant and threatening fashion, or it’ll be very tough for the audience to view them as serious threats.
Then you have The Undertaker, the absolute best performer/character in the history of professional wrestling. Survivor Series is being advertised as a celebration of his 25th year in WWE; a career milestone that no one has ever reached, nor will they ever again. His WrestleMania win streak is historic, the way he has reinvented his character over the years is historic; the list goes on and on.
However, now in what seems to be the final run of his career, The Undertaker is on a losing streak.
Brock Lesnar defeated him at WrestleMania 30; the most shocking moment in WWE history. The Undertaker didn’t return for an entire year, and then defeated Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 31 in a match that really held no value for either performer. He faced Brock Lesnar 2 more times in 2015; winning the first match in a controversial fashion, and losing the second. Many fans think that due to these losses, the luster and thrill of The Undertaker is now gone.
He doesn’t perform very well inside of the ring these days, and is on a part-time schedule. One more loss may cause the audience to completely lose interest in The Undertaker, and some think it may even tarnish his legacy.
Survivor Series has been built up as a celebration of The Undertaker’s 25th year in WWE, so it appears that he’ll be the obvious victor here. However, if the company wants to cement Bray Wyatt as a top performer for the next 25 years, The Wyatt Family will show their dominance and pull out the win against two legends.
Winner Prediction: Bray Wyatt & Braun Strowman
WWE WHC Tournament Finals: TBD vs. TBD
There is no way to fully predict who will be in this match or who will ultimately walk out of Survivor Series as the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion; this is the part of my breakdown that is solely based on my own opinions and what I personally think will happen. I can always look back and laugh at how wrong I was, as I usually do!
As much as we’d all like to see Kevin Owens take on Roman Reigns, it’s not going to happen. It’s been painfully obvious from the moment the tournament bracket was released that the final two men would be Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose. Just as obvious is the fact that one of them will turn on the other. Over the past couple of weeks, Ambrose doesn’t seem as thrilled for Reigns as he usually is. His words have been short and to the point; WWE has been teasing a small amount of tension between the former “Shield” teammates.
Turing Dean Ambrose heel wouldn’t accomplish anything at this point. The audience loves him, and would probably cheer him even more as a bad guy. Why bother?
On the other hand, turning Roman Reigns heel could save his career. A majority of the audience already hates him, and WWE should embrace that. It would help Reigns get some true, old-school type heat. He would also have an opportunity to develop his character and add depth, especially on the microphone. Heels typically have fewer restrictions when it comes to their mic work, which would help Reigns work out the kinks so to speak.
Long story short: Reigns should reconsider Triple H’s offer to join The Authority, get a dirty win over Ambrose, and become the most polarizing WWE World Heavyweight Champion in recent memory. Otherwise, the audience will continue to call him “the next John Cena”, and he’ll never truly get over.
Winner Prediction: Roman Reigns