John: Welcome to the TJRWrestling WWE Survivor Series preview. I have mixed feelings about the Raw vs. Smackdown concept because there isn’t a title match on the card. In addition to that, WWE doesn’t give us a reason to care about brand supremacy. There’s no reward for the winners like giving them certain spots in a Royal Rumble match or anything like that. Why should we care about who wins? When there’s a regular match with a title match on the line or there’s a long term story, that’s when we care. In this case, we’re supposed to care about Raw vs. Smackdown one month after they just did a draft that changed the rosters around? It seems like flawed logic. With that said, there are some intriguing matches although I could also point out all of the great talent sitting on the sidelines for this show. Smackdown ended with Daniel Bryan celebrating a win over Jey Uso yet Bryan, one of the biggest stars in the company, is not even a part of Survivor Series. It just seems weird to me.
I think The Undertaker’s “Final Farewell” will be very well done because WWE is excellent at doing that sort of thing. Will somebody interfere? Perhaps. I don’t know who it will be because if WWE wants The Fiend to be a babyface then it would be stupid for him to get his ass kicked by Undertaker or have any sort of confrontation. I’m sure it’ll be fun to watch and I’ll be sad that there’s no crowd in attendance to give Undertaker that send off he deserves. Then again, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the last time he’s going to be in a WWE ring even though the “final farewell” name does make it seem like the last time he’s dressed up as The Undertaker on camera. I guess we’ll see what happens. I’ll add also that I think this might go on last.
Joining me for the preview are Alex Podgorski and Lance Augustine. Here are some thoughts from Alex and Lance, then we’ll get to the preview.
Alex: For the first time in a long time, I’m very excited for a WWE show. Not because of the matches or the stories involving the ‘regular’ wrestlers. It’s because this show is being promoted as the last and final farewell of the Undertaker. The mythical Undertaker, the wrestler more synonymous with WWE than anyone else, is finally disappearing for good. His Last Ride documentary ended with the ambiguous ‘never say never’ line, suggesting that he wasn’t finished with WWE. Now things have changed and Undertaker is actually going to make his final-ever appearance. And as a wrestling fan that grew up on the Undertaker, it’s bittersweet to see the icon of my childhood disappear forever. I just hope they don’t use this show as a bait-and-switch to tease another Undertaker match, because that would REALLY suck. The guy has earned his retirement; please don’t let him keep making him wrestle like The Great Muta.
Oh, there’s a bunch of other matches on this show as well. But as you can imagine, ALL of those will feel much less significant compared to the Undertaker’s final farewell. I’m not blaming any wrestler in particular for that fact. But it seems kind of iconic that for a company that’s supposed to promote ‘the brand’ instead of individual wrestlers and that ‘no superstar is above the WWE’, they sure are hyping up this one wrestler (Undertaker) more than the WWE brand itself.
Also, apparently there will be a dual brand battle royal on the pre-show this year (no NXT, I guess both GMs [are those still a thing?] are still mad over how both main roster brands got owned at least year’s event). The participants haven’t been announced, so it’s anyone’s guess who will win. So in the spirit of completely random guesses, The Fiend wins this just so he can creep out everyone else in the match.
Lance: Since Survivor Series has gone to this Brand vs. Brand format, I kind of look at it like an All-Star Game for any sports organization. It’s full of matches we don’t get very often, and the wins and losses don’t mean nearly as much because they are on separate shows. Adding to this year is the celebration of The Undertaker’s 30 year run with the company, which obviously, is a big milestone. Many of us grew up watching the man either scaring us to death with the gimmick or showing great athleticism for a man that is nearly 7 feet tall and over 300 pounds. All in all, he should be on anyone’s top 10 list. It’ll be exciting to see what they roll out for him, and I am assuming that with the limited matches actually on the card, a lot of the night will be dedicated to him.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.)
Note from John: There is a Kickoff Show match that will be a Dual Brand Battle Royal. We are not going to predict it because WWE has yet to mention who is in it. If Big E is in it, I’ll pick him to win. Lars Sullivan would be a good choice too. The match really isn’t a big deal, so we’ll proceed to talk about the main card.
Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) vs. Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins)
Alex: The Street Profits have been tag team champions for the bulk of this calendar year. And for the bulk of this calendar year I honestly couldn’t care less about them. Maybe it’s just a matter of personal taste, but I genuinely don’t find anything captivating about them as a team. Their matches are average and repetitive. Their promos are copy-and-paste versions of each As a result, I think the New Day is a better team. They’re more exciting, have better tag team chemistry, and more experience. And since the New Day (as a complete trio or split up) still make up such a critical part of WWE’s merchandise department and have such a devoted fan following, I can see them coming out on top at Survivor Series.
Winners: RAW Tag Team Champions The New Day (Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods)
Lance: The New Day has been trying to keep the momentum going since Big E has left the group, and they have done a pretty good job. It isn’t shocking since Kingston and Woods are both veterans that know how to get a gimmick over. Remember when this stable was panned when it first got put together? Now, it’ll probably go down as one of the most successful stables of all time. All because the guys in it knew how to get over. The Street Profits have also been making some noise since being called up last year, and have been one of the more featured on both shows. They have had a run with The Raw Tag Titles and have already won The Smackdown titles of the same name. This should be a fun one between two teams that are athletic, but can hit some power spots when needed. It’ll be a nice back and forth, but ultimately, I think The New Day does the job and they put The Street Profits over.
Winners: The Street Profits
John: They are two teams that are easy to like as babyfaces that are full of energy. The New Day are the most established team while Street Profits have had a very good 2020 in terms of the length of their title reign. I don’t think WWE has booked the Street Profits that well in terms of having memorable matches or feuds this year. This might be one of the better tag team matches in WWE this year as long as they get time and I think they will get something around 15 minutes or more. I think either team will be fine after a loss, but Kofi/Woods have such a legacy in WWE already that I think the Street Profits could use the win more. I’m going for a Ford and Dawkins win here.
Winners by pinfall: The Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins)
5-on-5 Women’s Elimination Tag Team Match: Team Smackdown (Bianca Belair, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Bayley and Natalya) vs. Team Raw (Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, Peyton Royce, Lacey Evans and Lana)
Alex: For this match, I’m making my prediction based on whom I can see WWE pushing as a big star in the coming months/years. Of these ten women, three are either champions or firmly established in the title picture (Baszler, Jax & Bayley), and one is stuck as someone technically-gifted but forever doomed to be the bridesmaid and never the bride (Natalya).
That leaves six women: Lana, Evans, Royce, Riott, Morgan and Belair. And of those six, the only one that I can see becoming a bigger star is Belair. She’s incredibly gifted as an athlete and we have seen glimpses of what she can do in NXT. Because of this potential in her (and because of how well she performed in previous inter-promotional matches), I predict she will go on a monster sweep in this match. I predict she will be taken out temporarily, only to return and eliminate all five of the Team Raw women.
Also, while I think it’s a bit unlikely, I would really like to see her lift up and drop Nia Jax with her KOD slam finisher.
Winners: Team Smackdown (Bianca Belair is sole survivor and eliminates all 5 opponents)
Lance: As soon as this match was finalized, I thought that this would be the way Bianca Belair will get back on track and pushed up the women’s division. She has the most going for her in the match and really hasn’t been showcased as much lately. Obviously, Jax and Baszler will have something to say about that as they are the current Women’s Tag Team Champions. I think the teams will work together well for the most part while still having the usual signs of dissention. It was announced on Smackdown that Bayley and Natalya would be joining Team Smackdown, and I think that changes things up a bit. Bayley has spent the better part of the year as Raw and Smackdown Women’s Champion, and I can’t imagine they are ready to move away from her yet. There could be a lot of ways this match could go, but my head Is telling me all signs point to Team Smackdown. It just feels like the members of the team have the most to gain by winning and I could see Team Raw being the ones that suffer from a lack of partnership. GIve me Biana Belair as the lone survivor after a little bit of a battle. It would be a great way to shoot her up the card.
Winners: Team Smackdown (Survivor: Bianca Belair)
John: There’s been no interaction between the two teams, so there’s not much of a storyline here. The Smackdown women have barely done anything together other than some awkward posing on this week’s edition of Smackdown. Meanwhile on Raw, there’s been a lot of arguing on a team full of heels although I guess Lana is a face now. The other four women are heels with Peyton Royce and Lacey Evans replacing Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose. My prediction for the Raw team is that Lana is going to be frustrated at being mistreated by Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler, so we’ll see something where Lana costs one of them a fall. Perhaps they even do a spot where Lana jumps off the barricade and puts Jax through the announce table as payback for Jax putting Lana through the table nine times.
I think Smackdown should win here because I’m picking the Raw men to win, so I don’t want to pick the same show twice. It’s possible that this gets booked in a way where most of the Smackdown team survives, but I can see Morgan, Riott and Natalya losing to Jax and/or Baszler in the match. Bianca Belair is obviously a woman with a bright future, which is why she should be a winner here. I think Bayley will also be a survivor since she has been booked strong all year and this can be a bit of a bounce back for her after losing the SD Women’s Title last month. It’s not a lot that Smackdown wins because Raw has some big names, but I just think Smackdown winning makes more sense.
Winners: Team Smackdown – Bayley and Bianca Belair are survivors
United States Champion Bobby Lashley vs. Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn
Alex: It’s hard to pick against Bobby Lashley in this one, and that isn’t just because he checks Vince McMahon’s most important box (MUSCLES!!!!) Lashley and the Hurt Business have been such critical members of RAW over the past several months, while Sami Zayn has been…Sami Zayn. He has always been a guy that got his spot based on luck, either good or bad.
Long-term, I think WWE still has something big planned for Lashley, so it would make sense for him to be pushed as strongly as possible. Especially since WWE’s most important period (well, during normal times, anyway) is coming up in the new year. I think this will be a bit more competitive of a match compared to Lashley’s previous PPV matches, but I predict Lashley will win by locking in the Full Nelson while the rest of the Hurt Business taunt him from ringside.
Winner: United States Champion Bobby Lashley
Lance: Sami Zayn has been going some of the best work I can remember as of late, and really had a standout ladder match already this year and captured the Undisputed Intercontinental Championship in the process. Lashley has been pretty impressive himself since coming back to WWE, sans the Lana storyline. This should be a David vs. Goliath type of match where Zayn uses his quickness to get away from Lashley, but Lashley lands a few blows and power moves. There isn’t much build, like most of the matches on the show, but I think these guys can overcome that and have a solid match. I will take Lashley to win in the end.
Winner: Bobby Lashley
John: This one is pretty obvious, I think. Sami Zayn is one of my favorites in WWE, but he’s booked like a chickenshit heel while Lashley is a dominant, powerful heel. That should lead to a win for Lashley. If Zayn does win, I could only see it being by countout or disqualification and that’s not a finish that should be done when guys are on opposite shows. Plus, they are heels, so they should have a more decisive finish. I think Lashley wins clean in under ten minutes and then Zayn can say he only lost because the title wasn’t on the line.
Winner: Bobby Lashley
Raw Women’s Champion Asuka vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks
Alex: There’s quite a bit of history between these two women, especially from earlier this year. I’m sure Asuka remembers how Sasha and Bayley screwed her out of her title in July, and she’ll be out for revenge. Plus, I genuinely think Sasha is cursed (or at the very least, has awful title luck). She has had six championship reigns thus far (including her current one), and none of them has been longer than 35 days. She just appears to be doomed to be forever shoehorned into ‘surprise win’ angles and frequent title changes. At this rate she might as well change her last name from Banks to Flair. Because of these two factors, I think that Asuka gets the win here, so that she looks incredibly strong going into Royal Rumble and WrestleMania season.
Winner: Raw Women’s Champion Asuka
Lance: Both women have the distinction of winning their titles from Bayley, and they have a solid history with each other. This is the one match on the show that can say they have any kind of history, so that already makes it feel like a bigger deal. Banks has been on a little bit of a tear since the breakup with Bayley happened and It looks like she will be pushed as one of the bigger stars in the women’s division until Charlotte Flair’s eventual return. I am looking for this to have contrasting styles, but also flow very well. Both women have been booked fairly well, and I don’t think either of them would be dead with a loss. With that being said, I will take Sasha to win the match.
Winner: Sasha Banks
John: It could go either way here. Since Asuka won their last match at SummerSlam (when Banks was the heel Raw Women’s Champion), it makes sense for Banks to win with Asuka returning the favor. However, there is the Carmella factor because we have seen Carmella attack Banks three times including this past Friday on Smackdown when Asuka made no attempt to save Banks. I expect Banks to have a long title reign (perhaps until WrestleMania season), but she doesn’t have to win here. If Carmella costs Banks then that makes it more likely that Banks will want to defend the title against her, so I think that’s the finish. I’m going with an Asuka win. They could opt to go with Banks winning and Carmella attacking after the match too. No matter what happens for the finish, I expect a very good match between two of the best women’s wrestlers in WWE.
5-on-5 Men’s Elimination Tag Team Match: Team Smackdown (Kevin Owens, Jey Uso, King Corbin, Seth Rollins and Otis) vs. Team Raw (AJ Styles, Keith Lee, Sheamus, Braun Strowman and Riddle)
Alex: I seriously wish these Survivor Series matches had something MORE on the line than just ‘brand supremacy’ or ‘bragging rights’. All this talk about this brand or that brand is hollow nonsense that the average fan couldn’t give less of a shit about, especially since both shows look and feel more or less the same. Just swap red for blue and there you have it. I wish that they fought for something actually valuable, like the losing team getting spots 1-5 in the Royal Rumble while the winners gets spots 26-30. That would actually make this match mean something and would help promote the Royal Rumble, which is always fun.
Okay, side rant over.
Looking at both teams, it’s honestly a crapshoot in terms of who would win. Both teams are balanced in terms of what kinds of wrestlers comprise them (established stars, recent main roster debutants, veterans, etc.). And yet, I’m still going to try to be optimistic here and make a prediction not based on what I think will happen based on previous results patterns, but based on what I want to happen.
And what I want to happen is Keith Lee kicking tons of ass. Because I think he’s badass and needs to redeem himself following a lukewarm main roster debut. I want him to basically run everyone over and show he can be a monster because WWE really needs new stars right now. What better way to make one than by booking them to stand tall and destroy an entire team of five opponents?
Winners: Team RAW (Keith Lee is the sole survivor)
Lance: Big E being absent from this match is shocking. I know a lot of us in the wrestling community thought he would be the one added on Smackdown, but it was Otis instead. Either way, if you look at the sheer talent in the match alone, this is going to be the standout Survivor Series Match. A match having as little on the line as this one does is still very intriguing and one, I will surely be checking out. Half of the guys in this match have been Universal or WWE Champion at some point. Guys like Keith Lee and Riddle are going to benefit from being in a match with guys like this. Will it add up to one of them having a strong showing? Time will tell. This will probably be the type of match where someone like Strowman or Otis is at a disadvantage for a good bit of the match, but take out most of the other guys before either winning or being eliminated last. I would love to see someone like Owens be the one survivor because I think he deserves that kind of spotlight, but in the end, I think Team Raw is going over. Look for Lee, Riddle, or Strowman to be the last one standing or any combination of that. I will take Lee and Riddle to be the lone survivors for Team RAW.
Winners: Team Raw (Survivors: Riddle and Keith Lee)
John: I feel pretty confident in saying I think Team Raw is going to win here. While I have been annoyed at their “who is the captain?” arguments for several weeks, at least they have had some interaction. The Smackdown team has barely had any segments together at all, so it’s hard to get that excited about the match. While I expect a pretty good match based on the talent involved, it would have been nice if Smackdown cared more about trying to build a story with their team.
Since I’m going with Team Raw, I have to pick who the survivors are as well. I think Braun Strowman and Keith Lee are the obvious choices. Sheamus will probably argue with Strowman, which will cause Sheamus to get eliminated. Styles has had chemistry issues with his team too. Riddle is there to eliminate one or two guys, but I doubt he wins. I think WWE wants to keep Strowman strong because he can work as a face or heel in high profile feuds and Strowman has been dominant in Survivor Series matches. Keith Lee nearly won for NXT last year, but Roman Reigns beat him. This year, I see Lee as one of the suvivors for Team Raw.
It should be a great match and one of the better matches of the night. I just wish there was more intrigue going into it.
Winners: Team Raw – Braun Strowman and Keith Lee are survivors
WWE Champion Drew McIntyre vs. WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns
Alex: Roman Reigns as the ‘tribal chief’ has been more entertaining than I thought he’d be. You can tell he’s a lot more comfortable in this role than he was pretending to be Roman Cena. And he comes across as more confident and badass, even though he’s a villain. As much as I like Drew, I think that Reigns takes this one. I think WWE will do whatever they can to make the most out of Reigns for however long they still have him for.
Don’t forget, Reigns is wrestling only two years after recovering from a bout with leukemia, and you can be sure that battle has impacted his long-term health. I sincerely doubt any pro wrestler can wrestle for long after battling any type of cancer, so Reigns’ days in WWE might already be numbered. Drew is still healthy and can go for much longer, so I predict Reigns will score some cheap win instead of anything clean here.
Lastly, this will be the last in-ring match of the night, with the Undertaker’s farewell ceremony closing the show (what, you think the Undertaker leaving for good WON’T close the show?). And because of that, WWE can get away with having a villain win the last match on the card.
Winner: WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns
Lance: This is a match that is pitting two guys against each other that will carry the company for the foreseeable future. I have said it previously, and I will again here, McIntyre is the man and he is exactly where the company wanted Reigns to be for so many years. He had the biggest win of his career at Wrestlemania when he defeated Brock Lesnar and carried the title through October with absolutely no fans in the buildings. He did lose it to Orton at Hell in a Cell, but regained it on Raw this past week to set up this match. I have also been on record saying that Reigns never really did it for me until he came back and had this new hardened edge to him. I think his reign at the top of the Smackdown brand has been a breath of fresh air and I am excited to see where they take his character into the future. Now, onto the match.
I think WWE might have booked themselves into a corner with this one, and it limits the possibilities for a clean finish. They have protected and booked both of these guys so well that either one of them taking a loss would be a big deal. There are multiple ways they could book this, but all of them end with The Usos being involved somehow and causing some sort of distraction. This is also a classic babyface vs. Heel match, which is something that we seem to be losing in wrestling over the past handful of years. This is a tough one to pick for sure, but my feet are at the fire, and for that reason, I think Reigns wins, albeit not clean. Look for a really competitive match, with the help from outside interference being the reason that Reigns goes over. McIntyre loses, but still looks strong.
Winner: Roman Reigns
John: I’ll join the group in picking Roman Reigns to win here. That sucks for Drew McIntyre since he just won back the WWE Title on Monday’s Raw, but I think it makes sense for the dominant heel Reigns to pick up another victory. I just don’t think WWE is going to book Reigns to lose a match between now and WrestleMania or whenever they take the title off him. In McIntyre’s case, it wouldn’t shock me if Randy Orton showed up and dropped him with an RKO to cost Drew the win. I don’t want more Drew/Randy matches, but I just have a tough time seeing Drew losing in a clean manner. Maybe Jey Uso helps Reigns win too, but if you do that then there’s no follow-up since Drew is a Raw guy while Roman/Jey are on SD. Another option that could factor into the finish is Drew’s friend Sheamus, who could claim he was trying to help when he “accidentally” costs Drew the match. There are a few options here.
I expect a very good match between the two main champions in WWE. They have wrestled in the past going back to WrestleMania last year, but a lot has changed since then. Drew is a face while Reigns is a heel and both guys are doing the best work of their career. Give them 20 minutes and let’s see what they can do. I’m very interested to see how this one is booked.
Winner: Roman Reigns
The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most
Alex: Either the men’s or the women’s elimination matches because those will be the most unpredictable. But even those will pale in comparison to The Undertaker’s scheduled final farewell.
Lance: McIntyre vs. Reigns.
John: I would normally go with the men’s elimination match because I love those kinds of matches, but it’s not as interesting this year. I’ll go Reigns vs. McIntyre because I’m interested to see how it’s booked.
The Match I Care About The Least
Alex: Street Profits vs. New Day. Both shows have abysmal tag team divisions, but at least New Day are a tad more dynamic than the Street Profits.
Lance: Zayn vs. Lashley.
John: Even though Sami Zayn is one of my favorite wrestlers in WWE, I’ll go with his match against Bobby Lashley because I think two heels in a match isn’t a good idea.
Alex: The Men’s SmackDown vs. Raw elimination match. With so many “top” stars on each team, I predict lots of pinfall attempts and dramatic sequences. Because of that, this match will probably go around thirty minutes. Which will still be shorter than The Undertaker’s entrance.
Lance: One of the Elimination matches.
John: I think the Men’s Smackdown vs. Raw Elimination Match is probably going to go around 30 minutes or more. The women’s match will likely be around 20 minutes at most.
Alex: Zayn vs. Lashley. I just can’t see this going longer than ten minutes.
Lance: Banks vs. Asuka.
John: Lashley vs. Zayn since Lashley matches don’t really have to go along and when it’s heel vs. heel, they should keep it short.
Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)
Alex: 9. If this were based on the booked matches exclusively, then my rating would be a six or 6.5, and that’s only because I like the SmackDown vs. Raw matches since it gives me the opportunity to make bets with some friends on what’s going to happen.
This show has the added caveat of having the Undertaker’s last ever appearance. That alone makes it significant since I, like most of you, grew up watching him wrestle, and seeing him depart for real and for good is a truly momentous occasion. It’s just too bad that there’s no live audience to witness it, because that would’ve turned this appearance into the most emotional departure in WWE history. There would’ve been fans openly weeping to see him leave. But instead of that we’ll get flickering screens and manufactured crowd noise and not something real and genuine.
That is, unless WWE really DOES pull the bait-and-switch and this whole thing becomes yet another wrestling angle. I personally don’t think that should happen, yet I wouldn’t put it past this company just for the sake of getting more attention.
Lance: I will go with a 7.5, for the simple fact that it’s going to be celebrating The Undertaker’s career. The matches will hold their own and I am sure there will be plenty of moments that will get us talking, but the dedication to one of the most revered superstars of all-time is a big reason we will be tuning in.
John: It’s rare for me to be the low man on the optimism scale, but I’m going with a 7 out of 10 here. That’s not bad at all. I’m a bit surprised that both of my friends here went higher than that although I do get the excitement over The Undertaker’s segment. That should be a lot of fun and full of nostalgia for all of us lifelong WWE fans. I just think the card could be better in terms of building up the matches and making us care more about the “brand supremacy” issue that is supposed to be a big deal.
John: I’ll be back with a review of WWE Survivor Series on TJRWrestling.net on Sunday. It will likely not be live, but I will try to get it posted late Sunday night.
If you want to send an email, send it to me at [email protected] as well. Thanks for reading.