Wednesday 14 November 2012

Survivor Series preview

Survivor Series is a perfect indicator of how far in advance WWE’s writing team works. The Miz is on the poster and isn’t anywhere near a prominent position on the show. Team Punk became Team Ziggler. And the WWE champion was switched from a Survivors match to a triple threat bout for the title seemingly on the chairman’s whim (both on-screen and off-).

As they have done many times over the last year or so WWE have failed to adequately prep for what should be one of their largest events of the year. The changes mentioned above are said to have come about because Vince McMahon was unhappy with the creative direction of his product. Fair enough, Vince deserves credit for making changes he thinks will improve the card.

But how did things manage to get that bad in the first place? Had he made changes more frequently throughout the year then the product may not have needed a drastic overhaul now. More attention needs to be paid to small details and finding new stars, and more time needs to be devoted to booking long term.

The original plans for the show actually didn’t seem too bad to me. The Team Punk v Team Foley match could have been very good. Presumably the last man standing on Team Foley would have been Ryback and he would have powered his way through Team Punk and won the match by beating the WWE champion clean. That would have been a great story and a great moment.

It was also looking as though we’d get a John Cena v Dolph Ziggler singles outing. It’s a match that’s happened before but not on pay-per-view and being in that spot would really have helped ‘The Show Off’, even though he almost certainly would have lost. At least he’s still going to wrestle, and captain a team no less. If only this were 1991 that would mean something.

The traditional Survivor Series match we’re getting should be good. With Daniel Bryan, the Rhodes Scholars, Kofi Kingston, Wade Barrett, and Randy Orton involved match quality should be high. Kane will be present to provide some comedy alongside ‘The World’s Toughest Vegan’, which should keep the crowd hot. Seeing career antagonist The Miz interact with his babyface teammates should be interesting too. If this is a permanent face turn for ‘The Awesome One’ it’s been a long time coming.
The Miz isn't on this poster for any particular reason
The number of feuds colliding in this match isn’t bad either: ‘The Viper’ versus Alberto Del Rio and Team Hell No versus the Rhodes Scholars are both well-established programmes. It would have been even better if Punk and Ryback hadn’t been moved to a separate encounter. What we have isn’t too bad though.

Matches like this are incredibly difficult to predict outcomes for because there are so many variables involved (and because only those men not eliminated are considered winners). Orton’s established proficiency at this match type should mean he survives a while and the recent treatment of Kofi Kingston makes me think he’ll be booked strongly as well. The Rhodes Scholars eliminating one or both of the tag team champions would make sense too, as it would set up a rematch at TLC.

I’ll pick a combination of the babyface team to win, with Dolph Ziggler and Cody Rhodes lasting a long time for their team.

The United States title match between defending champion Antonio Cesaro and challenger R-Truth should get a good amount of time considering how light the card is. ‘The Swiss Superman’s’ character is over as a star on the rise and Little Jimmy’s pal remains surprisingly over. Usually characters such as Truth’s get played out through overexposure. It’s a testament to him that that’s not the case here.

I think Cesaro will pick up the win and leave with the championship. If they get long enough this could be the most meaningful and rewarding singles match R-Truth has had since his programme with Cena last year.

The Eve v Kaitlyn rivalry has been chugging along for a couple of months now but hasn’t seen much advancement since Hell in a Cell. At that show the two faced off in a triple threat match that also involved Layla. Here they will drop the Brit and have a singles encounter.

I think this has the chance to be one of the best WWE women’s matches in years. The scarcity of bouts on the card means the two Divas are almost guaranteed a good amount of time and they are two of the best remaining workers in the promotion. Eve is underrated as a wrestler and Kaitlyn’s ability to connect with audiences is all too often downplayed. If everything goes right this could be a heated outing.

I’m going to predict a win for Kaitlyn. It feels like the right time for her to get the belt having been chasing it for a few months. It would be nice to see some fresh blood coming through.

The triple threat WWE championship match is a peculiar booking decision. Wrestling logic dictates that when booking a match of this type the heels should outnumber the babyfaces. Here we have two babyfaces against one heel. Not only that but both faces are established as being much more powerful than the bad guy they’ll be teaming up to battle.

I expect Cena and Ryback will get a portion of the match to go one-on-one, teasing a proper collision at some point in the future. The champ will probably break that up to get some heat and stop too much being given away.

Punk and Ryback are both good in their respective roles and I thought their HIAC clash was good considering all the limitations placed on them. Cena being involved will make replicating that success tough. ‘The Franchise’ doesn’t understand the psychology of these sorts of matches (in particular that he and Ryback should not team up on Punk for too long, if at all, for fear of presenting him as the valiant underdog) and is so inept that it’s almost guaranteed he’ll do something wrong.

The booking will have to be impeccable for this match to work. As it features the company’s top three stars I think it’s safe to say that a lot of time will go into ensuring it’s laid out well. I don’t see Punk dropping the championship. My reasons are the same as they have been before: I think he is the man who will clash with The Rock at Royal Rumble next January. Having him lose the belt and regain it or having someone else face ‘The Great One’ would go against the plot of the last several months.

Finally there’s the World Heavyweight championship rematch. The Big Show will defend against Sheamus. Their match at Hell in a Cell was better than I’d expected, but then I hadn’t expected much at all so that’s not saying a great deal. ‘Great White’ regaining the title would make sense here as Show is not an option for the spot long term and it would portray him as overcoming pretty tough odds (which should theoretically increase his popularity).

It’s rare for WWE to switch a title back and forth during a feud (it hasn’t really been done since the Orton v Christian programme last year) and I think this could be one of those rare occasions where they have a belt swap back and forth between two guys. I’d like to see that. It’s something different and would be a nice alternative to Punk’s long WWE title reign.

I’d expect at least one more match to be added to the show at some point. The ongoing rivalry between the Prime Time Players and Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara could result in a match between those two teams. Should that happen I think the PTPs will get the win as they went under at HIAC.

Another man we could expect to see is Brad Maddox. He was brutalised by ‘Big Hungry’ on RAW but could make a surprise appearance at the show. Perhaps he still has his “referee license” (that’s an actual thing WWE used to reference) and will appear after a ref bump during Punk’s title defence. While he lost his opportunity for a contract on Monday night I don’t think we’ve seen the last of him on WWE programming.

On paper Survivor Series looks like a pretty decent show. There are plenty of opportunities for standout moments and elevating talent. Whether that ends up happening or not I’ll probably always remember it as the card that would have been headlined by a ten man tag match.

Predictions summary:
CM Punk to defeat John Cena and Ryback
Team Foley to defeat Team Ziggler
Sheamus to defeat Big Show
Kaitlyn to defeat Eve
Antonio Cesaro to defeat R-Truth

1 comment:

  1. Cesaro will be interesting, as he has been quite a non defending champion. really hope the Miz is a babyface now. Even the Mrs thinks he is awesome. It will give him some fresh opposition.

    Liking the selections.