This Sunday is the 30th Annual Survivor Series spectacular, LIVE from Toronto’s Air Canada Centre. You read that right, by the way. This is the THIRTIETH SURVIVOR SERIES and—forgive me if I’m wrong, but—I haven’t heard anything about this truly historic anniversary. Survivor Series is one of the oldest traditions in professional wrestling, and the second-longest running event in WWE history. I’ll give you one guess as to why nobody’s brought it up. Ha! Trick question—two answers: 1) Vince McMahon hates numbers because he’s a self-conscious megalomaniac; 2) We already celebrated the Undertaker’s Survivor Series anniversary last year! Remember this…
“Twenty-five years of the Undertaker sounds way more impressive than thirty years of Survivor Series,” said nobody. What was I talking about? Ah, yes! This Sunday is Survivor Series, and what an enormous night it is poised to be when WWE pay-per-view returns to the Air Canada Centre for the first time since Unforgiven 2006. In fact, this is the first Canadian pay-per-view since Breaking Point 2009 at the Bell Centre in Montreal. In addition, this year’s show is scheduled to feature a number of breathtaking returns including that of Bill Goldberg as he gets set to face Brock Lesnar inside the squared-circle. Also returning are the Traditional Survivor Series Matches. The five-on-five elimination bouts have always maintained a presence on the autumn event, but this year they return to the forefront and feature some of the biggest stars—many of them champions—in professional wrestling. So let’s not waste any more time. My name is Mark Adam Haggerty and this is “Educated Guess: Survivor Series 2016.”
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Sami Zayn
As of this writing—Saturday November 12, 2016—every match announced for the Survivor Series has some verifiable gravitas. I usually wouldn’t start writing a prediction column this early, but upon close examination of the WWE roster, almost everyone is already on this card. And as a reminder, traditional Survivor Series matches can be long, generally no shorter than 20 minutes. The few singles matches scheduled are as interesting, if not more so, than the traditional elimination bouts, because they carry with them serious consequences. Dolph Ziggler isn’t just defending the Intercontinental Championship, he’s defending the reputation and livelihood of Smackdown. RAW already has five championship titles versus Smackdown’s four, meaning the three-hour Monday Night flagship could acquire 2/3rds of the belts in contention on the main roster. Still—I’m going with Sami Zayn. Survivor Series should tell an interpromotional story between RAW and Smackdown wherein neither brand loses steam, but Smackdown comes away looking stronger than before. That being said, if one aspect of my theory is wrong, there goes my whole case. I think Sami Zayn is going to take the Intercontinental Championship to Monday Night RAW, because Kalisto is about to bring an entire division to Smackdown.
Educated Guess: Sami Zayn
Level of Certainty: 59%
Excitement Factor: 8/10
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
The Brian Kendrick (c) vs. Kalisto
Kalisto could very well take the Cruiserweight Title—and the Cruiserweight Division, at large—to Tuesday Nights, if he defeats The Brian Kendrick at Survivor Series. I always found it strange that the Cruiserweights were only seen on Monday nights, and thought they’d be an especially exciting addition to the newly rebooted Smackdown Live. WWE recently announced another new broadcast—“205 Live” featuring the aforementioned cruiserweights—exclusively on the WWE Network. The new show will air live on Tuesday nights immediately following Smackdown, which means the cruiserweights will have to tour with the blue brand. I’m almost positive Kalisto will win the championship here, especially given his opponent, Brian Kendrick. My previous prediction regarding the Intercontinental Championship is based on this, as it seems likely WWE would want to balance the belts.
Educated Guess: Kalisto
Level of Certainty: 94%
Excitement Factor: 7/10
10-on-10 Tag Team Survivor Series Elimination Match
Team RAW [The New Day, The Club, Sheamus & Cesaro, Enzo Amore & Big Cass, and The Shining Stars] vs. Team Smackdown [Heath Slater & Rhyno, The Hype Bros, American Alpha, The Usos, and Breezango]
Seriously, everyone is on this card already. If you don’t believe me, look no further than this 10-on-10 tag team Survivor Series match. I actually really like this because it harkens back to the original ‘Series featuring the same format with teams such as the Killer Bees, Strike Force, and the Young Stallions. Yup—those are the teams I decided to name. I noted that I don’t expect either brand to vanquish the other in a landslide, but I do think Smackdown will emerge looking slightly better than its Monday night counterpart. I think RAW is going to win both the 10-on-10 tag bout as well as the women’s Survivor Series match, leading Smackdown to take the main event ‘Series win alongside the entire Cruiserweight Division. That leaves RAW with the Intercontinental title and two ‘Series wins that mean absolutely nothing, sans some sort of stipulation added in the coming days.
Educated Guess: Team RAW
Level of Certainty: 55%
Excitement Factor: 7/10
5-on-5 Women’s Survivor Series Elimination Match
Team RAW [Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Nia Jax, Alicia Fox, and Sasha Banks] vs. Team Smackdown [Nikki Bella, Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, and Naomi w/ Natalya]
There’s really not much more I can say that I didn’t already discuss just a few seconds ago. Once again, I think RAW will take these undercard ‘Series matches, giving the illusion that neither brand walked away more dominant than the other. Given the RAW side—specifically Charlotte, Bayley, Sasha, and the brute force of Nia Jax—it’s hard to imagine Smackdown stands a chance when their entire offense hinges on the abilities of Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch. And the coaching experience of Natalya? Yeah—Team RAW, for sure.
Educated Guess: Team RAW
Level of Certainty: 51%
Excitement Factor: 7/10
5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match
Team RAW [Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, and Seth Rollins] vs. Team Smackdown [AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, and Shane McMahon w/ James Ellsworth]
So why am I so certain Smackdown is taking the main event? After all, if RAW wins this match, my theory regarding the other two ‘Series bouts goes out the window. If you look closely at the RAW side, there’s enormous tension therein. The blue brand has its share of problems throughout the ranks of Team Smackdown, including the ongoing rivalry between Dean Ambrose and WWE World Champion AJ Styles. Not to mention Bray Wyatt’s bizarre relationship with Randy Orton. But they’ve also got Shane McMahon, and you better believe he’s going to do some zany horseshit that’s going to get over huge. Now let’s look at the RAW side, wherein nobody appears at peace with anybody. We’ve got Machiavellian best-friends Chris Jericho and Universal Champion Kevin Owens; The Guy—who everyone hates, including his team mates—Roman Reigns; Seth Rollins, who seems to be at some sort of odds with everyone in this match minus Braun Strowman; and Braun Strowman—the walking embodiment of a nuclear reactor. RAW’s December pay-per-view, “Roadblock: End of Ratings,” or whatever it’s called, is scheduled to feature Kevin Owens defending his Universal Championship against the United States Champion Roman Reigns. That leads me to believe we’ll see some kind of blow-out here that will end with Smackdown taking the win, with James Ellsworth more-than-likely getting involved.
Educated Guess: Team Smackdown
Level of Certainty: 85%
Excitement Factor: 9/10
Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar
This is being billed as Goldberg’s final match in WWE, presumably in the sport of professional wrestling, and it’s taking place at the Survivor Series in Toronto. Okay I get it. It’s not like WrestleMania is only five months away at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando or anything. It’s not like Goldberg will have made three television appearances leading up to his final match in—I can’t even finish the sentence. That is laugh-out-loud preposterous! I’ll say right now—I was wrong about the presidential election, but I am NOT WRONG ABOUT THIS. Now, if you ask me to make a prediction as to who might win, that’s admittedly harder to process. Here are some educated guesses that are easy: this match will be bad; Goldberg will get screwed; Goldberg will have his actual retirement match in Orlando. I think those are some pretty sturdy tent-poles, no? The real question is what happens? Does Goldberg lose? Does Brock Lesnar get disqualified? How and when will Triple H get involved? Yeah, you’re kidding yourself if you think for one second Goldberg isn’t going out on his back against the Game on April 2, 2017 at the Citrus—oh wow, okay, ahem—“The Camping World Stadium.” For now I’m willing to assume Bill Goldberg gets the win, and then tangles with his final foe either this Sunday or the following night on RAW. Edit: I finished writing this and I couldn’t help but think—Chris Jericho should be Bill Goldberg’s final opponent. More on that in the coming weeks.
Educated Guess: Bill Goldberg
Level of Certainty: 52%
Excitement Factor: 5/10
I noted earlier that everyone seems to be on this card. Well, I’m not 100% right about that. So I’d like to make some far-out suggestions based on whomever might be leftover. According to WWE’s Personnel Page on Wikipedia, there are a number of people missing from the lineup including the entire Cruiserweight Division minus the champion and number one contender Kalisto. So I’m going to go out on a limb and assume WWE will more than likely add something featuring a few of the remaining Lightheavyweight competitors including Rich Swann, Noam Dar, Lince Dorado, Drew Gulak, and the former champion TJ Perkins. I don’t know if WWE would add any more Survivor Series matches. As previously noted, they can be very long, plus this year’s show is being promoted as brand-versus-brand. Every match on the card—including the title matches—are interpromotional matchups, so I’m not sure a random cruiserweight or women’s match would even fit the bill. I think Kane versus Braun Strowman would have sufficed as part of the ‘Series undercard, however, Braun is scheduled for the main event. I should mention once more that I’m writing this eight days prior to the show, so plans could always change on RAW or Smackdown. Remember to check back with Daily Wrestling News for all the latest headlines throughout the world of wrestling, including card changes and additions to this Sunday’s event. Until then, follow me on Twitter @BPlusRadio and watch me every week on Grim’s Toy Show and BBWF Primetime.