Survivor Series 2016 preview

This Sunday, WWE hosts its 30th Survivor Series – a fact that’d be much more celebrated if WWE weren’t scared of numbering!

Headlining with the return of Bill Goldberg, Survivor Series also has a bubbling storyline underneath in the form of the way-too-early brand feud, with a series of Raw vs. SmackDown Survivor Series-style matches.

Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg
Let’s be honest, aside from the Raw vs. SmackDown feud, this is the real main event. A chance at redemption for Brock and Bill, after their match at WrestleMania twelve and a half years ago that went down oh-so-well.

Of course, the real reason for this to exist is to plug the new WWE video game… and there’s only one result that can reasonably happen. Goldberg winning could be a horrendous call, given that he’s already stated that “Brock is last”… along with the reports that Goldberg picked up an injury during their face-off on the go-home episode of Raw. That being said, part-time Lesnar’s not exactly going to be thrust into any title scene in the immediate future, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if they gave Goldberg the win. Logically, this shouldn’t be a pick ‘em, so I’m going to go with the guy who’s staying around. Prediction: Brock Lesnar

Survivor Series Match: Team Raw (Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns & Braun Strowman) vs. Team SmackDown Live (AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt & Shane McMahon)
The “other” main event, sees two teams of five fighting for “brand supremacy” (or whatever buzzword they’re using) after barely four months of the brand split. Looking at the two teams, Raw’s clearly got more “moving parts”, as it were, with the Owens/Jericho/Rollins feud still having some legs in it, compared to the AJ/Ambrose feud, which has been iced in favour of that distracting storyline with James Ellsworth.

Unfortunately, whilst the brand extension was started on the promise that “it’ll be the wrestlers who are the priority, not the authority figures”, that has slipped somewhat in recent weeks, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more interplay between the McMahons. I don’t expect any brand to take a “clean sweep” of the mens, womens and tag matches, but thanks to interference and in-fighting, I’ll expect the blue brand to sneak this. Prediction: SmackDown Live

Survivor Series Match: Team Raw (Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Nia Jax, Alicia Fox & Sasha Banks) vs. Team SmackDown (Nikki Bella, Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Carmella & Naomi)
For the men, read the women. This match has perhaps suffered with the face/heel divide being scrapped in the last few weeks (a babyface Bayley joining in a heel-style beatdown, anyone)? Unfortunately, unlike the men’s match, I don’t forsee anything major coming out of this, save for the standard post-show bickerings. There’s been talk of Nikki Bella going over to Raw and being a challenger for Charlotte, but I don’t see any triggers being pulled yet. I’ll pick Raw to win, with Charlotte taking the plaudits here. Prediction: Raw

Survivor Series Match: Team Raw (The New Day, Sheamus and Cesaro, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Enzo Amore and Big Cass & The Shining Stars (Primo and Epico)) vs. Team SmackDown (Heath Slater and Rhyno, The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley), American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable), The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) & Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango))
Unfortunately the biggest elimination match on the card is going to be the most pointless. With twenty men involved, I’m expecting them to throw in a rule along the lines of “if one man’s eliminated, that tag team is eliminated”; otherwise we’re going to have a LOT of pins coming from hiptosses and other moves that wouldn’t even get a one-count outside of this show.

There’s been next to no “our tag teams are better than yours”-style of arguing for this match, so I’m fully expecting this match to create two new title feuds for the December PPVs. Either way, this match is a real coin-toss, so I’m just going to go with SmackDown. For no particular reason. Prediction: SmackDown Live

WWE Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (c) vs. Sami Zayn
Well, a week ago we had an attempt at a Twitter war with then-champion Dolph Ziggler towards Sami Zayn. Whether that was an attempt at a swerve, or something that triggered a title change will remain to be seen. Nevertheless, we’ve now got Zayn vs. Miz in a match that’s perhaps not quite as eagerly anticipated as Ziggler/Zayn would have been. Given that I’ll be picking the Cruiserweights to move to SmackDown, it would make sense for the Intercontinental strap to move to Raw… but then you’d have two secondary titles on one brand, which’d lead to a pointless merger. Sorry Sami, but I can’t see that happening… Prediction: The Miz

WWE Cruiserweight Championship: Brian Kendrick (c) vs. Kalisto
There’s an added stipulation that the entire Cruiserweight division will move to SmackDown if Kalisto wins… which is an odd thing, given that none of the Cruiserweight wrestlers are signed to Raw. Kalisto seems to fit WWE’s dumbed-down definition of a cruiserweight – in that he’s small, has a mask and can fly – and with 205 Live debuting a week after this PPV, it wouldn’t shock me in the least if they pulled the switch and moved. Prediction: Kalisto

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ian Hamilton has been a wrestling fan since 1992, and when he’s not watching WWE, New Japan or his latest wrestling love, PROGRESS, he’s usually suffering through Sunderland AFC and the New York Jets. He’s got a couple of books out on Amazon – “Wrestling’s Sinking Ship” and “Gone Too Soon”, and can be reached via his website, BackBodyDrop.com, or on Twitter @theianhamilton

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