WWE Survivor Series 2016: Preview and predictions
A look at our predictions for WWE’s Survivor Series pay-per-view.
The last of WWE’s “Big Four” pay-per-views for 2016 will be Survivor Series. The Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada is playing host to this event, which will see six matches take place across the four-hour (and two-hour pre-show) event.
The presumed main event will see Goldberg and Brock Lesnar battle. This is a rematch 12 years in the making, as Goldberg was victorious over Lesnar in their WrestleMania 21 bout. Some call it one of the worst ‘Mania matches ever, though, so can these two redeem themselves from their past blunder?
Three elimination matches will also take place. Team RAW and Team SmackDown’s top men, women, and tag teams are going to be featured in matches for brand supremacy.
Survivor Series is set to be a loaded evening of action, but who will walk out victorious?
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match
Brian Kendrick (c) vs. Kalisto
About two months ago, the cruiserweights debuted on WWE RAW. They received plenty of hype after the popular Cruiserweight Classic, which reintroduced this division of wrestlers into WWE. Their ceiling seemed high and had a chance of taking up plenty of time on RAW. However, this group of Superstars, unfortunately, mean little due to no one really caring about the performers.
Well, at Survivor Series, Brian Kendrick and Kalisto will try to change that with a Cruiserweight Championship match. If the Lucha Dragon wins, though, then the cruiserweight division will be part of SmackDown.
There are no layers to this feud or anything like that, but the implications here are strong. If anything, they point in the direction of the title switching hands with “205 Live” set to air after SmackDown every Tuesday night. This will begin on November 29 at 10:00 p.m. ET.
If the cruiserweights are getting their own show after SmackDown, then it would make more sense to have them around on Tuesday nights and not going back to back with Raw, too. Plus, the travel schedule is lighter on them with just sticking to one night.
So, this means Kalisto should become the new Cruiserweight Champion. It’s disappointing to see Kendrick’s reign end this soon, but the creation of this new program may have given away his fate.
Prediction: Kalisto defeats Brian Kendrick to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship and send the cruiserweight division to SmackDown.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
The Miz (c) vs. Sami Zayn
Dolph Ziggler originally issued this challenge to put the Intercontinental Championship on the line at Survivor Series. Sami Zayn then won a match to earn the opportunity as the opponent, getting the chance to wrestle in front of his fellow Canadians.
Things have changed, though. On the 900th episode of SmackDown, Miz beat Ziggler to win the Intercontinental Championship for the sixth time. The match then got changed to Miz vs. Zayn at Survivor Series, which sets up the normal heel vs. babyface dynamic.
From what it has sounded like, if Zayn wins, he’ll take the title to RAW and not keep it on SmackDown. This is despite the United States Championship already being on the flagship show. It could be the trade for the cruiserweight championship, but would both mid-card titles really need to be on the show?
I don’t love the idea of this title trade, especially making the Cruiserweight Championship the No. 2 men’s title for a select group of wrestlers. Yes, SmackDown has one less hour than RAW, but they have found ways to integrate four titles into two hours with no problem. The cruiserweights aren’t even a guarantee to appear on the blue brand with 205 Live set for Tuesday nights.
What’s also not the best idea is the constant trading of titles, again. A belt change would be the third for the Intercontinental Championship in six weeks, suffering a similar fate as the RAW Women’s Championship.
For now, we’ll go with Zayn winning here because WWE has this set up for a title trade. Don’t be surprised if he eventually switches brands, though.
Prediction: Sami Zayn defeats The Miz to win the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
Tag Team 5-on-5 Traditional Elimination Match
The lesser built of the three elimination matches has been the tag team one between RAW and SmackDown. However, that doesn’t mean this won’t be an intriguing match to follow.
The Raw team consists of New Day, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, Enzo Amore and Big Cass, The Shining Stars, and Cesaro and Sheamus. These are the majority of the show’s tag teams with New Day as the king of them all. One thing each duo has in common is they are coming into this with no momentum. It’s from title match losses (Anderson and Gallows), non-title match losses (Enzo and Cass, New Day), and simply being The Shining Stars.
SmackDown has Rhyno and Heath Slater, American Alpha, The Hype Bros, The Usos, and Breezango. None of these teams have great momentum, but they’ve been booked to look strong instead of trying to take each other out.
Team SmackDown should probably be the winners here, but their show getting a win may not come yet. The Raw tag teams have been booked poorly, enough to the point where they somewhat badly need the win. As long as The Shining Stars don’t get the final pin, this brand winning wouldn’t be the worst thing.
Prediction: Team RAW defeats Team SmackDown.
Women’s 5-on-5 Traditional Elimination Match
The clear-cut ten best women on both RAW and SmackDown will be competing in this Survivor Series match. The divisions are small, so the top talent is going to be featured in the second of three elimination matches.
Team RAW has been all over the place throughout this. Charlotte is working her latest title reign, Sasha Banks has tried rebounding from a loss, Bayley isn’t there yet, Nia Jax runs through barricades, and Alicia Fox is kind of just there.
SmackDown has Becky Lynch, a legitimate No. 1 contender in Alexa Bliss, Nikki Bella –who has looked strong– and Carmella and Naomi haven’t done too much lately.
This match should make Bliss into a star, if she isn’t one already. Her work against Lynch has been strong, but something big could be done here to get her on a similar level to the elite talents on RAW.
With all three matches having nothing on the line, this could go either way. If RAW is going to win two of the three bouts, though, then this should go to the women. They RAW women have already been legitimized with title reigns across NXT and the main roster, while the SD Live females could use this big win to give them momentum.
Prediction: Team SmackDown defeats Team RAW.
Men’s 5-on-5 Traditional Elimination Match
The match with the most hype around it has been the men’s Team RAW vs. Team SmackDown elimination bout. This will see multiple world champions compete along with some of the biggest names in the company. Even “The List of Jericho” is showing up, which is always for the best.
The storyline for the RAW team has been issues within the group. WWE has pitted everyone against each other, which has made team chemistry seem more important than the actual match. It took away from this for a few weeks, but momentum wins on the November 14 episode of RAW helped Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Braun Strowman.
The one to watch from this team is Strowman. He has continued his dominance from jobbers to real talent, and has crushed them. The most recent victims were New Day, who saw the underrated athletic side of the former Wyatt Family member. This may be the case at Survivor Series, which will potentially be a showcase for the mountain of a man.
SmackDown hasn’t had the team chemistry issues that RAW dealt with, but they have their own intertwined storylines. This includes Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles rivaling over the WWE World Championship, as well as Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton aligning.
However, the thing to watch here is someone who isn’t even in the match.
On the 900th episode of SmackDown, Undertaker appeared in the Cutting Edge segment with the Survivor Series team. He told them that if they lost, there will be consequences. It makes things a bit more interesting, but to a degree.
The Undertaker isn’t going to return just to send an empty threat. That would make his appearance pointless, which WWE won’t do with one of their all-time greats. So, this kind of set up SmackDown’s demise before the match even started. Someone is going to screw it up, leading to RAW winning. We’ll then see Undertaker come out at Survivor Series, or the following Tuesday night, to target whomever that person may be.
The win here would give RAW the edge at 2-1. From there, they’ll have a chance to be booked with momentum, which has been an issue for a while.
Prediction: Team RAW defeats Team SmackDown.
Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg
The main event match is going to be one 12 years in the making. Goldberg and Brock Lesnar will battle for the first time since their disastrous WrestleMania 20 match, and look to remove the sour taste that their previous encounter left.
The story of this has been about “fantasy warfare,” integrating how Goldberg and Lesnar had big roles for WWE 2K17. It’s a bit of a silly tagline that wasn’t needed for this, but WWE has run with it for the past month instead of focusing on their match from 12 years ago — however bad it may have been.
Goldberg is seemingly in for his last match here. It would make for a great story if he did beat Lesnar and how he won it for his wife and kid. However, it just doesn’t seem likely or possible.
A majority of the time when WWE pits someone doing a one-off vs. a contracted talent, they’ll give the latter the win. The person who won’t be around isn’t going to benefit, and it’s a logical move. That’s going to be the case here with Goldberg vs. Lesnar.
Sure, Lesnar’s dominance has run its course after the past few years. He has had predictable matches that haven’t been anything special, especially over the past calendar year. However, WWE still pays him a lot of money and he’s under contract until 2018. He also hasn’t lost by pinfall since 2013, and a one-off from Goldberg certainly isn’t going to end that.
There’s every reason for Lesnar to win here, and while it would be fun to see Goldberg get one last win, that won’t happen at Survivor Series. Let’s just hope these two put on a respectable match, though. Anything better than 2004.
Prediction: Brock Lesnar defeats Goldberg.
What could go down at Survivor Series in each of these matches?
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