WWE Survivor Series will air live from Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. But this year’s installment of the last of the Big Four pay-per-views is unorthodox.
The vacant WWE World Heavyweight Championship will be decided in the ongoing tournament that began two weeks ago. It’s almost a coincidental nod to The Rock’s victory at the 1998 Survivor Series: Deadly Game event.
Also, the show’s namesake match will take place, but the competitors remain a mystery. The match will likely feature five babyfaces and five heels who aren’t already scheduled on the card.
Here are previews and predictions for the entire 2015 Survivor Series card.
1. WWE Championship Tournament Semifinal: Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio
Roman Reigns is the superstar many expect to leave Survivor Series as WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Reigns was the 2015 Royal Rumble winner and — despite the displeasure of a contingent of fans — headlined the main event of WrestleMania against Brock Lesnar before Seth Rollins’ Money in the Bank cash-in and championship victory. Since then, he’s been featured mainly as a midcard performer, but has gained serious momentum this past month. Reigns was already scheduled to face Rollins for the title prior to his knee injury and took the noble, super babyface approach of earning his spot through the tournament, rather than taking a handout from Triple H.
Winner: Roman Reigns
There’s no chance Reigns doesn’t advance to the main event. Del Rio hasn’t lost a singles match since his return, but that still won’t be enough to halt Reigns’ rise to prominence.
2. WWE Championship Tournament Semifinal: Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose
Many fans assume that Reigns’ expected coronation will come at the expense of his former Shield brethren Dean Ambrose. Or maybe, Ambrose will turn heel and be victorious with help from Triple H. While both scenarios seem possible they overlook Kevin Owens, who has consistently been WWE’s top heel after Rollins since his main roster debut in May. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking, but I think Owens’ momentum suggests his placement in the finals, among one underlying fact:
Winner: Kevin Owens
WWE wants Reigns to be a babyface champion. Turning Ambrose would be the most illogical decision to make given how much more popular he is than Reigns. Ambrose is cheered by men, women, children, marks and smarks alike. Owens is cheered by smark fans, but has enough heel heat to garner a negative reaction from common fans. Sure, the same people who will cheer Owens regardless will boo Reigns, but if you’re going to go blow for blow with Ambrose’s fan base, you’ll lose.
3. Dolph Ziggler vs. Tyler Breeze
Ziggler-Breeze is the least talked about match on the Survivor Series card yet, if given the proper amount of time, could be the best match of the night. Before I knew anything about Breeze’s character I immediately thought, “this guy reminds me of Dolph Ziggler.” Both superstars share a similar frame, look and in-ring ability — albeit Ziggler is far more experienced. But still, it’s almost like a less corny, more technical version of Undertaker vs. Faker Taker at Summerslam ’94.
Winner: Tyler Breeze
What would be the point of Breeze being called up to the main roster just to lose in his pay-per-view debut? He needs to earn some momentum to keep fans interested. Then again, if he’s the “next Ziggler,” who’s to say he’ll be immune to questionable booking.
4. TBD vs. TBD: 5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series Elimination
Today’s Knockout’s Andrew Watkins gave his projections on the participants for the 5-on-5 elimination match, which features the superstars I also expect to participate. There’s no way New Day isn’t present on Team Heel as it is currently the most valuable group in WWE. The other two spots will likely be filled by Sheamus and Barrett, or possibly Stardust. Team Babyface should feature Cesaro who is the most popular active superstar not already featured on the card and is too valuable not to utilize. The Usos are coming off a big return so they’re another obvious choice as well as Ryback because he’s always thrown into these sort of things. Which leaves one remaining spot for either Kalisto — who surprisingly advanced to the second round of the Championship Tournament — or Neville for highspots.
Winner: Team Babyface
Since this match really has no bearing on past angles or storylines, the babyface team should be victorious. It would be a good way to give Cesaro fans a consolation prize for not having him featured in the championship final and keep momentum in the Swiss Superman’s favor.
5. Charlotte (c) vs. Paige: WWE Divas Championship
Everytime I think of this match I keep going back to the last line of Raw. It’s almost a week later and it still bewilders me that Reid Flair’s death is being used as a storyline — especially without approval of his parents, one of whom is Ric Flair, a two-time Hall of Famer and currently under a Legends contract. Then the statement released by WWE, claiming “subject matter this personal is only approved as a result of the strong advocacy of the talent themselves.” This basically paints Charlotte — who as her father noted during his “Wooooo! Nation” Podcast, is still new and probably doesn’t feel comfortable speaking up against questionable angles — as the scapegoat. The line did little to garner interest in the match, rather brought negative attention to WWE.
But, for the first time since Monday, let’s focus our attention back on the match itself. Paige has been on fire since turning on her former Team PCB teammates and grabbed the reins as the top — and really the only true — heel in the Divas division. Charlotte has remained dominant since her main roster debut and — unlike Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch — has been given consistent booking. Beyond the controversy is a title bout featuring two former NXT standouts who are capable of putting on a stellar match if given enough time.
Charlotte can’t lose this match. Before the contract signing I could’ve convinced myself that Paige had a chance of winning and going on a strong heel reign, opening the door for the other former NXT Divas, as well as Charlotte, to contend for the title. But no, not after the tasteless “your brother didn’t have much fight in him” line. There’s no chance a Flair doesn’t win this match.
5. Brothers of Destruction (Undertaker and Kane) vs. The Wyatt Family
Survivor Series marks the 25-year anniversary of the Undertaker’s debut in WWE. Consider this: Undertaker has been in WWE a quarter of a lifetime and is still a major draw. Then there’s his kayfabe brother, Kane, who has the longest tenure of any full-time WWE superstar, dating back to 1995 — Glenn Jacobs played Isaac Yankem and Fake Diesel before finding his most successful character in 1997. The duo is one of the most dominant tag-teams in WWE history and a fixture of the Attitude Era. They face the Wyatt Family who are the modern day embodiment of the eeriness that both characters displayed in their respective heydays. Bray Wyatt, the charismatic cult leader and his gang of monsters are all young, rising talent that could benefit from a match against two WWE legends regardless of the outcome.
Winner: Brothers of Destruction
As much as it makes sense for Bray Wyatt to get a much-needed win, Undertaker will likely be victorious on his silver anniversary. He’s a part-time competitor who rarely loses — aside from matches against real-life monster Brock Lesnar. Although there is the chance that Undertaker, who is credited as a locker room leader and for having a tremendous respect for the business, will take the opportunity to put over young talent.
6. WWE Championship Tournament Final: Roman Reigns vs. Kevin Owens
With John Cena, Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins and Daniel Bryan out, this is the best example of the current WWE hierarchy. The top active heel and assumed future babyface champion. Either way, Survivor Series will end with a new champion in the first reign of his career… or will it?
Winner: Roman Reigns
Reigns defeats Owens in the ending many expect. The “Make Roman Look Strong” tournament ends with the new champion celebrating the first of many title wins in what will be a storied career. Reigns has successfully one-upped The Authority and did things the honorable way to a mixed reaction.
7. WWE Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. Sheamus: Money in the Bank cash-in
There’s only one way to make Reigns universally loved: have his title win spoiled by the most hated male superstar in the company. Seriously, no matter how much heat Reigns gets from smark fans, Sheamus gets more. Sheamus is somewhere between X-Pac heat — which was ridiculous, by the way — and Eva Marie heat. It’s not a heel doing a successful job of garnering hatred, rather a deeper, “I don’t want to see this person on my TV” disdain. That’s who is going to successfully turn Reigns into the most likable character in WWE. Besides, Triple H wants “his man” and Reigns has already spurned him. Don’t forget what he said seconds before Rollins turned on The Shield, “there’s always a Plan B.”