Two years ago, my husband and I were lucky enough to have floor seats for the 26th annual Survivor Series in Indianapolis, on his birthday no less. Two years later, we will be attending the Raw immediately following this year’s Survivor Series in St Louis, Missouri. I’m trying to overlook the special guest Larry The Cable Guy so I can stay hyped about going. So much has changed in the last couple of years. Former team captain Dolph Ziggler has gone from killer heel to John Cena’s BFF, while Team Hell No is no more thanks to injury and The Authority. The Shield have disbanded, with Roman Reigns out recovering from surgery, Seth Rollins holding the Money In The Bank Briefcase, and Dean Ambrose feuding with the deranged Bray Wyatt. CM Punk has permanently left the building. Anyone remember Team CoBro? Anyone? No?
Monday Night Raw leading into Survivor Series was full of surprises, and surprising the fans is generally something WWE Creative has issues with. The biggest shocker of the night was the impromptu Intercontinental Title match early on in the night. Ziggler faced off against Luke Harper, who was only recently released from Bray Wyatt’s grasp. He proclaimed himself to be a team player by throwing Ziggler at the feet of the Authority last week on Smackdown, which was apparently enough to earn him a title shot. After a fantastically tense and brutal match, Ziggler was pinned and Harper became the first of the Wyatt family to get the gold around his waist. I imagine this is the first among many surprises ahead. Let’s take a look at the match card and make some predictions.
Kickoff Show – Bad News Barrett & Paul Heyman on the panel, Fandango (with Rosa Mendes) vs TBD – Singles Match
It’s been some time since we’ve seen Fandango, and even longer since we’ve seen Wade Barrett. Fandango has been out of action since the summer following a string of defeats caused by Summer Rae and Layla. Barrett has been out since June after suffering a separated shoulder that resulted in him being stripped of the IC Title and pulled from the upcoming Pay Per View. Paul Heyman represents Brock Lesnar, who we can add to the list of superstars who don’t grace our television screens too often these days. I hope to hear a plan to return to action from both Barrett and Heyman (on behalf of Lesnar), as the timeline for both stars is pretty up in the air. Lesnar especially, as reports have him stating interest in returning to MMA, which takes the WWE World Heavyweight Champ even further away from action. As far as Fandango goes, I have to assume that he is now paired with Rosa Mendes in the same way he was once paired with Summer and then paired with Layla. At one point, he was seriously over with the crowd. Now? I’m not sure what could make us care about him again. Sticking him with newly outed bisexual Total Diva Rosa is one way of getting him attention, I suppose, but it may not be the attention he wants or needs. I would like to see a revision of his character, so hopefully his match is a solid one.
AJ Lee (c) vs Nikki Bella – WWE Divas Championship Match
AJ is by far the best diva the WWE has got on their main roster right now. The Paige fans can disagree, but they lost that argument once their anti-diva hero sold her soul and joined the cast of Total Divas. Right now, AJ is in the middle of the Bella storyline, where Brie is slave to Nikki after losing a stipulated match. On Raw, she made it clear during the Bella’s exhibition match that she isn’t going to tolerate nonsense from either Brie or Nikki; she attacked Nikki after the match and then turned on Brie. She took shots again at the twins on Smackdown, taking extra steps to mock Brie. It’s a cheap way of highlighting the Bella feud while not pushing aside the Divas champion. The Divas division has turned into one big advertisement for Total Divas. The only saving grace is AJ, only no one seems to have a place for her. I’d love to see some fresh female faces from NXT climb the ranks and go against AJ, specifically Charlotte and Bayley. Hopefully this whole Bella thing is short-lived and we can see something good done with the Divas division. Or, we’ll just get more Total Divas drama with AJ thrown in randomly.
WINNER: AJ Lee. I fully believe the rumor that Vince will not allow a Total Divas cast member to hold the title, and I hope they don’t prove me wrong.
Goldust & Stardust (c) vs The Miz & Mizdow vs The Usos vs Los Matadores – Fatal Four-Way Tag Team Championship Match
No matter what happens, it seems that Goldust and Stardust are destined to battle The Usos for eternity. To say that I’m bored and frustrated with this endless back and forth would be a gross understatement. Throwing Los Matadores into the mix is less than exciting, but I am interested by the addition of The Miz and his stunt double, Damien Mizdow. The pair make a very unique tag team, and I’m sure all of us are just waiting for the moment when Mizdow steps out of his mentor’s shadow and makes a big statement. I’m hoping that Miz x2 will see the majority of the action, leaving Los Matadores simply for brief comic relief and The Usos to keep busy jumping out of the ring and landing on someone for the thousandth time. Gold and Stardust seem to get better with every match, and Cody seems almost too comfortable in his new shiny skin. If carried out right, this could be one of the highlights of the evening.
WINNERS: The Miz and Mizdow. I’m going out on a limb here, but the We Want Mizdow chants have got to lead to something eventually, and I’m expecting the unexpected after seeing the IC title abruptly change hands.
Team Natalya (Natalya, Alicia Fox, Naomi, Emma) vs Team Paige (Paige, Cameron, Summer Rae, Layla) – Survivor Series Elimination Match
So, Alicia Fox is a face again? I can’t keep track anymore. This is an interesting match; Natalya is at odds with Summer, Paige and Alicia are no longer BFFs, Naomi and Cameron had a major falling out, and Emma… stole Layla’s favorite Coach purse? I hate to admit it, but I enjoy seeing Summer get under Natalya’s skin. Summer is an effortless villain and I’m happy when she’s on my TV. She is one of the major factors that keeps me watching Total Divas. I assume that this match was introduced as a way of advertising for the reality show and highlighting their two newest additions to the cast, Paige and Alicia. This match has all the potential in the world to be a great one, if the women are allowed to really go for it and leave behind the hair pulling and ass shaking for one night. This is also a good opportunity for both Naomi and Cameron to get back in their groove, as they’ve been mostly forgotten lately.
WINNERS: Team Paige, possibly assisted by a distraction involving Tyson Kidd.
Possible additions: Heath Slater & Titus O’Neil
Both men have been bizarrely featured lately, as if creative wants to give them a major push but doesn’t quite know how to do it. O’Neil had a title shot recently on NXT while Slater has actually been winning matches on Raw, Smackdown, and Main Event. Not featuring either athlete at Survivor Series would be a shame. With only five matches on the card, there is plenty of room for one or both to have a match.
Dean Ambrose vs Bray Wyatt – Singles Match
Bray Wyatt faltered during his feud with Chris Jericho, but the man is back and then some in this current back and forth with Dean Ambrose. It’s interesting to see these two at each other’s throats. Both men were formerly part of a trio in which they acted as the mouthpiece and somewhat of a leader. Both have seen their groups disband, their former teammates taking drastically different paths. Ambrose has been the clear breakout star from The Shield; he has found success without the Authority and without the swarms of females who think he’s dreamy. He has grown his character into something big and bold, comical yet dangerous. Bray Wyatt has returned to his roots and has somehow managed to make himself seem stronger alone than he was with the two massive men standing behind him. Neither one of these men will hold back, making this one a very tough call. I would like to see some sort of dual focus out of Ambrose, as it’s unrealistic for him to simply forget about Seth Rollins.
WINNER: Dean Ambrose. Wyatt cost him his shot at revenge in his cage match against Rollins. Ambrose will not be beaten this time around.
Team Cena (John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, The Big Show, Erick Rowan, Ryback) vs Team Authority (Seth Rollins, Kane, Mark Henry, Luke Harper, Rusev) – Survivor Series Elimination Match
If Team Authority loses this match, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon will no longer have control over the WWE. If Team Cena loses, they all get fired. Spoiler alert: Team Cena wins. There is no way those five stars are out of action at the same time, so this whole firing threat is an empty one. The second biggest shocker of Monday Night Raw was the abrupt face turn of Erick Rowan as he joined Team Cena. Ryback joining was a bit of a letdown, as I was hoping the Big Guy would stick to his word and remain a loner, but I am glad he’ll be involved in the main event. I’m also glad Sheamus was “injured” and left Team Cena to make room for the two final wildcard additions. There is a lot of tension between these two teams. Ryback hates everyone, Luke Harper has ticked off Ziggler and possibly Rowan, The Big Show will be gunning for Henry and Rusev, Seth Rollins will likely go head to head with Cena, with Kane backing him up, and then you have The Authority and their minions (Jamie Noble & Joey Mercury) who will be watching at ringside, itching to interfere and cost Cena the match. I see Show, Kane, and Henry as the first men eliminated; while they pose big threats, they don’t have the most compelling storylines at the moment. Rusev will likely not be too far behind. We have to see Harper and Rowan face off at some point, with one man eliminating the other. I feel that it will come down to Cena, Ryback and Rollins at the end. Ryback’s crazy current push leads me to believe he will be crucial in this match, while Rollins has to be the one who either wins it or loses it for The Authority. I only hope we’re able to see an end that doesn’t involve Cena as the center of attention once again.
WINNER: Team Cena. Obviously. I hope that it’s Ryback that secures the win, right before attacking Cena and ending the PPV with a Feed Me More chant. Hey, a girl can dream.