The 30th edition of WWE Survivor Series is this Sunday. Find out what’s in store as Raw and SmackDown go head to head, plus Goldberg-Lesnar II.
On Sunday, November 20, WWE presents Survivor Series, live from Toronto, Canada. Airing on the WWE Network from the Air Canada Centre, it’s the first time Survivor Series heads to Canada since 1997. Hey, something big happened that year in Montreal, right?
But as for 2016, this is the 30th edition of Survivor Series. One of the trademarks of the annual event is the elimination multi-man tag matches. While some years feature more of these matches than others, they are usually the most entertaining part of the show.
This year, there are three “traditional” Survivor Series matches. Each one pits members of Raw against members of SmackDown Live. All three are five versus five, with one featuring men, one featuring women, and the third being tag teams. With allies and rivals alike making up the teams for each brand, chemistry may be an issue. But volatile teams make for interesting matches.
In other Raw vs. SmackDown battles, two championships will be up for grabs. The Intercontinental Championship currently resides on SmackDown, but it’s being defended in an inter-promotional match. Same goes for Raw’s Cruiserweight Championship – the only difference is the entire Cruiserweight Division hangs in the balance.
In the main event, a rematch twelve years in the making will become a reality. Sure, it may not have been well-received the first time around. But this is Fantasy Warfare! Two of the most dominant superstars in wrestling – past and present – meet up in an epic rematch, and the fans will be the real winners.
With this in mind, here’s our full preview of WWE Survivor Series 2016.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match The Brian Kendrick (c) vs. Kalisto (If Kalisto wins, the title and the Cruiserweight Division both move to SmackDown Live)
If we’re being honest, this match has the biggest stakes of the entire weekend. In addition to a championship being up for grabs, an entire segment of the Raw roster could be working on a different night after this one.
(The) Brian Kendrick finally toppled his former protege TJ Perkins at Hell in a Cell, becoming the new Cruiserweight Champion. The Wizard of Odd also used his veteran wisdom to retain in a rematch, taking a count out loss to keep the title. Since then, he’s been looking for new challengers.
And it looks like his biggest challenge will come from Team Blue. Fresh off an injury layoff, Kalisto has been looking to get back on track. He kicked that off by gaining a measure of retribution against Baron Corbin, the man who injured him in the first place. Corbin slipped during a match and tweaked his knee, and Kalisto was like a shark with blood in the water.
After knocking Corbin off of Team SmackDown, Kalisto was granted a match against Kendrick. With the title on the line, there’s a strong possibility that the Cruiserweight Championship will be heading to SmackDown. Kalisto is, after all, a former United States Champion. He’s no stranger to knowing what it takes to win a title.
But Kendrick is (unofficially) a former WWE Champion, and he’s not about to lose the championship he worked so hard to win. And, with the entire Cruiserweight Division going wherever the title goes, you can be sure Kendrick wants to keep everything on Raw.
Will Kalisto pull off a victory and bring the likes of Cedric Alexander, Rich Swann, and Tony Nese to SmackDown?
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match The Miz (c) vs. Sami Zayn
On SmackDown Live this week, The Miz caused a major Survivor Series match to be changed at the last minute.
Several weeks ago, Dolph Ziggler celebrated a squash victory over Curt Hawkins by issuing an open challenge to any Raw superstar. Since Miz was seemingly keen on waiting to get his rematch for the Intercontinental Championship, Ziggler looked to find some new competition.
The next week on Raw, Sami Zayn faced Rusev, with the winner gaining the opportunity to challenge Ziggler at Survivor Series. Both men were eager for the championship opportunity, as well as the chance to bring the gold onto Raw. Zayn emerged victorious, and a match between two of the most exciting superstars in WWE was set.
But The Miz decided to push for his rematch, and his wish was granted. He and Ziggler had a tremendous match to open the 900th episode of SmackDown. The Spirit Squad tried to get involved, as did Maryse. In the end, though, it was an assist from Maryse that led Miz to his Intercontinental Reunion Tour kicking off.
That also means that Ziggler would be replaced at Survivor Series, with Zayn now challenging against The Miz. The same stipulation still applies – if Zayn can win his first championship in WWE, the Intercontinental Championship goes to Raw with him. But The Miz covets the Intercontinental Championship more than almost anything, except for maybe Maryse (and possibly quail).
Will the last minute change in the match affect Zayn’s gameplan at all?
Team Raw vs. Team SmackDown Live Five on Five Tag Team Traditional Survivor Series Match
The first of three traditional Survivor Series matches features the top tag teams from each brand.
On SmackDown, the decision was made to have a series of qualifying matches to earn places on the team. As SmackDown Tag Team Champions, Rhyno and Heath Slater were the first team added, and also . The Hype Bros followed shortly afterward when they defeated The Ascension. In the next few weeks, American Alpha defeated the Spirit Squad, The Usos won over the Headbangers, and Breezango bested the Vaudevillains.
Meanwhile, on Raw, Tag Team Champions The New Day were named captains. The final spots were handed out, seemingly at will: Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, Sheamus and Cesaro, Enzo Amore and Big Cass, and The Golden Truth. One change was made when R-Truth decided to sell his and Goldust’s spot on Team Raw for a Puerto Rican timeshare, sending The Shining Stars on to Survivor Series.
The big issue facing both brands is team unity. On Raw, Gallows and Anderson have seemingly been at odds with just about all of their teammates. They are also hell bent on becoming Tag Team Champions, having defeated the New Day in a nontitle match.
SmackDown’s squad seems to be more unified. After King Booker made an appearance to give a rousing speech, they appear to have joined forces for the greater good. But whether that carries through to Sunday is anyone’s guess.
One interesting stipulation in this match is that when one member of a tag team is eliminated, his partner is also eliminated. This could lead to strategizing on both sides – taking out a perceived “weak link” to get rid of a stronger partner.
Who will display tag team supremacy at Survivor Series?
Team Raw vs. Team SmackDown Live Five on Five Women’s Traditional Survivor Series Match
One of the main points of contention between Raw and SmackDown since the draft has been the women’s divisions. Daniel Bryan has accused Mick Foley of having a “weird” obsession with women’s wrestling, while simultaneously proclaiming SmackDown’s women as superior. At Survivor Series, he gets a chance to put his money where his mouth is.
A five on five elimination tag match between the brands pits ten exceptionally talented women against one another. The sides are fairly equally matched, and it’s anyone’s guess as to who wins the bragging rights.
On SmackDown, Nikki Bella defeated Natalya to become captain of the team. Natalya, however, was denied a spot on the team, although she was named coach instead. Nikki is joined by SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Naomi, and Carmella.
Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair will captain the Red Team. She’ll be joined by Nia Jax, Bayley, Alicia Fox, and Sasha Banks.
Both squads have their fair share of dissension and rivalries that need to be put aside. Nikki Bella and Carmella are in the midst of a blood feud, and Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch have yet to definitively settle their differences. Meanwhile, Charlotte and Sasha Banks are possibly this generation’s Austin-Rock. And let’s not forget that Charlotte intended for Dana Brooke to be on Team Raw in place of The Boss.
Both sides seemed united on SmackDown this week, when Team Raw invaded and jumped Nikki Bella. The rest of the Blue Team made the save, and pushed back the Raw assault. Will that be the case on Sunday?
Team Raw vs. Team SmackDown Live Five on Five Men’s Traditional Survivor Series Match
All night at Survivor Series, the best of Raw will be taking on the best of SmackDown Live. In this match, seven of the ten participants are current or former world champions. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Team Raw is led by WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens. He’s joined by his best friend, Chris Jericho as co-captains. Rounding out the team are Seth Rollins, United States Champion Roman Reigns, and Braun Strowman – who won a battle royal to earn his spot on the team.
The Blue Team from SmackDown is captained by WWE World Champion AJ Styles. The Champ That Runs The Camp is joined by Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose, and Commissioner Shane McMahon. Shane replaced Baron Corbin after the Lone Wolf suffered a knee injury at the hands of Kalisto. The SmackDown crew will be joined at ringside by their “mascot,” James Ellsworth.
The theme of the night has been a lack of unity amongst the teams in the Survivor Series matches. Here, you have a pair of world champions teaming up with their main rivals for the title – Ambrose already has a title match scheduled against Styles at TLC. But last week on Raw, both sides seemed to come together in support of their teammates.
The possible consequences of a loss for both teams must be weighing heavily on each of the participants. Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon has threatened to fire her team if they come up short. On SmackDown, the Undertaker returned to say that a loss at Survivor Series would be dealt with – by him.
With the stakes as high as they are, these ten men will put it all on the line to show they are the superior brand.
At Survivor Series, Fantasy Warfare becomes a reality.
A rematch twelve years in the making, Goldberg sets foot in a WWE ring for his first match since WrestleMania XX. On that night, he defeated his opponent for Survivor Series – Brock Lesnar.
Since that night twelve years ago, Lesnar redefined himself following a stint in UFC, and became the most dominant force in WWE. The Beast Incarnate has been nearly unstoppable since he returned to WWE in 2012. His run of dominance landed him on the cover of WWE 2K17 this year.
Another big part of that video game was the inclusion of Goldberg. The man best known for his unprecedented undefeated streak was the featured pre-order bonus, and a downloadable character. Much of the early promotion centered around Goldberg.
During promotion for the game, Goldberg was asked about competing again. He stated if he came out of retirement, he’d want to fight Lesnar again. Brock issued a challenge to Goldberg, through Paul Heyman – and the challenge was accepted.
Goldberg is looking to have his first match in front of his wife and son. Lesnar wants to destroy Goldberg, since he’s the one blemish on the Beast’s record.
Twelve years ago, the match was reviled by fans who knew both men were bailing on WWE once the bell rang. But this Sunday, everyone is anxiously awaiting a match they never thought the would see again.