Two weeks ago, we could ask ourselves if WWE were about to talk about one of their “Big Four PPVs.” The 2021 edition is the upcoming 35th annual Survivor Series. It’s also the 25th anniversary of The Rock’s debut. The participants in the Survivor Series traditional matches were announced on social media. No qualifying matches, no intensity coming to that PPV. The second longest-running pay-per-view event in WWE history seems to bore the company when the fans were waiting for it, like every year.
Survivor Series is an event where the superstars from RAW and SmackDown go head-to-head the only time in the year and the WWE Universe will be able to watch superstars from both shows taking on each other for brand supremacy. But, also, since the beginning of the year, WWE have released 80 wrestlers, if not more. And not only fans don’t forget but they don’t forgive.
Survivor Series has diminished in stature over the years. The battle for brand supremacy means less and less, especially when it happens five minutes, after a WWE Draft. But there’s still decades of tradition behind Survivor Series, and it’s a unique event that pitches not only Brand vs Brand, but also Champion vs Champion when wrestlers truly on an equal pegging go head to head to shout about who’s best. This anticipatory event will be full of thrilling eliminations and unforeseen sole survivors. That is why Survivor Series has to stay about.
Note: Predictions are purely that, predictions. Nobody at SteelChair has heard of anything ahead of time, we promise.
25-Man Duel Brand Battle Royal
Survivor Series marks the 25th Anniversary of the debut of one Rocky Maivia. Little did we know back then just what a trailblazer he would become, these days better known as The Rock, or Dwayne Johnson. A multi-time World Champion and WrestleMania main eventer, then, of course, The Great One has found himself one hell of a career outside of the square circle. So, in honour of the Rock’s 25th Anniversary, WWE Official Sonya Deville decided that the perfect way to mark the occasion would be with a 25-man duel branded battle royal. While it’s not the same as The Rock making an actual appearance, we’re sure he is pretty busy, so maybe this is the next best thing. With some of the names involved in this match, maybe this is the chance for a young upstart to make a name for themselves, so 25 years from now we’re talking about them in the same breath as The Rock.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: AJ Styles – although not without major assistance from Omos.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Cesaro if SmackDown, AJ Styles if RAW.
United States Champion Damian Priest vs Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura
As has become a traditional part of Survivor Series, since 2017, not only do we get the 5-on-5 matches, but we also get a number of Champion vs Champion matches. While there are no titles on the line, there are certainly bragging rights at stake when the current US Champion, Damian Priest will take on current IC Champion, Shinsuke Nakamura. Who will prove themselves to be the best mid-card Champion in WWE?
While Nakamura is the more experienced of the two, the King of Strong Style has never won a match at Survivor Series. That includes two appearances in the equivalent of this match: 2018, where he was United States Champion, and 2019, where he was Intercontinental Champion. Whereas Damian Priest only has one previous Survivor Series appearance, in 2019 (the one year where NXT was also involved) as part of Team NXT in the 5-on-5-on-5 match, and he was eliminated by Randy Orton after ten minutes.
Damian Priest’s debut year on the main roster has been one to remember. From being an entrant in the Royal Rumble, picking up a victory at his first WrestleMania and becoming the United States Champion at SummerSlam, plus, along the way, Priest has picked up victories over the likes of Sheamus, Jeff Hardy, Drew McIntyre and The Miz – all former World Champions in their own right. But that doesn’t mean that Nakamura is to be overlooked or slept on. Especially with Rick Boogs in his corner, shredding that guitar.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura – because the curse has to end at some point, right.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: This is probably the most interesting match of the night. I don’t think they have faced off before one-on-one, I may be wrong, and that’s what makes it a potential Match of the Night. I will say Nakamura but the winners of this one will definitely be the fans watching.
RAW Tag Team Champions RK-Bro (Randy Orton & Riddle) vs SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos
One of the most dominant tag teams in WWE history, SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos, will square off with RAW Tag Team Champions RK-Bro at Survivor Series. Tonight, Randy Orton will enter WWE’s history book when he wrestles his 177th match on PPV, an absolute record.
In the midst of their first championship reign, Randy Orton and Riddle have fended off the likes of The Hurt Business and AJ Styles & Omos since claiming gold at SummerSlam, but the duo will run into one of its biggest tests in the seven-time Tag Team Champions The Usos.
Jimmy and Jey Uso are used to maintaining the tag team standard in WWE, holding the sixth-longest Tag Team Championship reign in WWE history at 202 days. The twins are one of the few pairs in WWE history to claim tag team gold seven or more times and have been asserting their authority on the Blue brand since defeating Rey & Dominik Mysterio at WWE Money in the Bank.
Can RK-Bro prove they are the superior tag team, or will they be locked inside The Uso Penitentiary? Without the “weight of the belts” on their shoulders, this match can be very interesting, with a nice collision of styles. Orton, like The Usos, are pure “WWE Kids,” something that has now become so important…
Danny Cause’s Prediction: RK-Bro – I just don’t see a world where Orton loses to the Usos. Plus frustrate Roman when his cousins fall short yet again.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: The Usos. It’s a very Samoan night…
RAW Women’s Champion Becky Lynch vs SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair
The recent WWE Draft saw Becky Lynch drafted to RAW while still holding the SmackDown Women’s Championship, while Charlotte Flair was drafted to SmackDown, still in possession of the RAW Women’s Championship. While there were ample opportunities for each woman to lose their title before setting sail for their new home with a clean slate, WWE opted not to go that route. Instead, it was decided for Flair and Lynch to simply trade belts, much like New Day and Street Profits with the Tag Team Championships last year. This led to a headline-worthy closing segment to a recent episode of SmackDown, where WWE Official, Sonya Deville oversaw the exchange of the Championships. With rumours that there were people, behind the scenes, not happy with this idea, the segment was… awkward to say the least. There was a moment where Charlotte tossed one of the Championship belts to the floor – an instance that was seen as a mark of disrespect. But when WWE tend to treat their titles as little more than props, in situations like this one, Flair’s actions can be taken into context.
There has been further speculation about the state of the relationship between Flair and Lynch. It has been well known how close those two have been, going all the way back to their callups to the main roster, constantly travelling on the road together and rooming together. For all intents and purposes, it seemed they were as close as sisters. But that friendship has reportedly deteriorated to the point where Becky and Charlotte are no longer friends. How true these reports are is up for fan debate and could well be intentional to add a little more spice to this matchup. But as has often been the case in the history of WWE, real-life tension behind the scenes can lead to incredible chemistry in the ring. Time will tell which will be the case in this scenario.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Becky Lynch – this one may not be pretty, but it could well be a hell of a match.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: We have seen that match so many times, except this time there’s so much hate and history between them. I read the word “Screwjob” everywhere, I believe it will happen, and that will help Becky Lynch prevail.
Women’s Traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match
Team RAW (Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, Liv Morgan, Carmella & Queen Zelina) vs Team SmackDown (Sasha Banks, Shayna Baszler, Shotzi, Natalya & Toni Storm)
The battle for brand supremacy at Survivor Series will feature another blockbuster Women’s 5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match as RAW and SmackDown’s best female Superstars set out on a collision course.
Monday Night RAW’s squad will consist of Bianca Belair, WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion Rhea Ripley, Liv Morgan, Carmella and Queen Zelina. Friday Night SmackDown team was set, represented by Captain Sasha Banks, Shotzi, Shayna Baszler, Natalya and newcomer Toni Storm. After Aliyah got the pin in a huge Six-Women’s Tag Team Match with the help of Naomi, WWE Official Sonya Deville swiftly removed her from the team and announced Storm as her replacement the following week on social media.
Both teams have their fair share of animosity to overcome, as Morgan has had her tribulations with Carmella and Queen Zelina as of late, while SmackDown’s team could see a fair amount of dissension form between Shotzi and The Boss.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Team SmackDown – might as well toss a coin, to be honest. This one could go either way.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Yep, you might toss a coin on this one. Team SmackDown for me.
Men’s Traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match
Team RAW (Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Austin Theory & Bobby Lashley) vs Team SmackDown (Drew McIntyre, Jeff Hardy, King Woods, Happy Corbin & Sheamus)
The traditional men’s Survivor Series match stretches back to 1987 and has practically been a constant ever since. In recent times, these matches have served as RAW vs SmackDown to see which brand is the more superior. There was a time when the GMs of their respective brands would agonise over which five wrestlers should make their team, sometimes even opting to put themselves on the team (Kurt Angle and Shane McMahon, we’re looking at you). However, there aren’t different GMs anymore, instead, Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville seem to run both shows between them, so Pearce has picked both men’s teams for both brands.
However, the Scrap Daddy himself seems to be rather indecisive when it comes to picking the teams. He initially appointed Dominik Mysterio (along with his father, Rey) to Team RAW, before deciding that he’d made a mistake, as the team “should” consist of former World Champions. Therefore, Bobby Lashley defeated Dominik Mysterio and, as per the stipulation, replaced Dominik on the team. At that point, all five members of Team RAW were former World Champions in their own right, fair enough. The following week on RAW, Rey Mysterio took exception to the way Pearce had treated his son (effectively feeding him to Lashley), so then Rey faced Lashley, in a losing effort, and was also stripped of his place on the team. After Austin Theory attacked Dominik, Pearce promoted Theory to Team RAW saying that he “liked his style”. Who knows what happened to Pearce’s previous rule that only former World Champions should make the team. Unless Theory had a sneaky reign that we’ve all forgotten about.
Likewise, things on SmackDown seem to be just as indecisive, with their initial five-man team being announced with the inclusion of Sami Zayn. On last week’s episode of SmackDown, Zayn tried to claim he was the Captain of the team and wanted to boot out Jeff Hardy. Instead, Adam Pearce booked Zayn and Hardy against each other in a single’s match, with the loser losing their place on the team. Hardy picked up the victory, following a Swanton Bomb, and Zayn was distraught as he looked on at the Tron and saw his place on the team evaporate before his very eyes. Last night on SmackDown, Sheamus defeated Cesaro, Ricochet and Jinder Mahal to take the final spot on the team. Although, it wasn’t without the assistance of one Ridge Holland. Time will tell what this new alliance means for the WWE Universe.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Team RAW – likewise, too close to call, but I’m going with my gut.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: There’s so much hate on each team… There’s probably more chances in the SmackDown side than RAW.
WWE Champion Big E vs Universal Champion Roman Reigns
The animosity between The New Day and The Bloodline will come to a boiling point at Survivor Series when each elite group’s dominant champions battle it out. WWE Champion Big E will face his toughest task to date when he goes one-on-one with Universal Champion Roman Reigns at Survivor Series.
Big E has undoubtedly been preparing for this showdown ever since becoming WWE Champion, purely due to Reigns’ dominance on the Blue brand. The animosity between the two champions has intensified, however, as The Head of the Table and SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos have started a bitter rivalry with Big E’s royal New Day cohorts, King Woods and Sir Kofi Kingston.
For the past 446 days, Roman Reigns has stood alone as WWE’s top champion. Big E seized the opportunity of cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase at the absolute right moment, the one he chose, on RAW. Big E could go a long way toward establishing himself as a credible main event star and, potentially, Reigns’ equal by defeating The Head of the Table on Sunday.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Roman Reigns – it pains me to say, but I’m finding this run stale now. It seems that nobody is allowed to even appear on the same level as Roman unless that person’s name is Brock Lesnar. This feels like a rudimentary win for the Tribal Chief.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Roman Reigns, with a little help from The Rock?
WWE Survivor Series is streaming this Sunday at 8 PM EST (1 AM GMT) on the WWE Network. The Kickoff Show begins at 7 PM EST (midnight GMT) on WWE Network and WWE social platforms.
All pics and videos courtesy of WWE