Can you believe that just four months ago people were more excited about the WWE than they had been in years? To say that the build towards Money in the Bank, and eventually SummerSlam, was incredible would be a massive understatement. The returns of Kevin Nash and Triple H, the conspiracy and "walk-out" angles, as well as the early announcement that the Rock would be returning to the ring fueled the fire for some pretty intense Survivor Series hype! Where did all that momentum go..?
This year's event sold out in record-breaking time, and now just a few months later I find myself weighing the pros and cons of buying it on pay-per-view. Tell me, what is there to be excited about? The return of the Rock? The "never before - never again" tagline to the main event? The traditional Survivor Series match? On paper there's very little for the hardcore wrestling fan to invest in, but fear not! I believe that no matter how far the angles have fallen since SummerSlam, there are a few ways WWE can still pull this one out... Read on!
Beth Phoenix vs. Eve - WWE Divas Championship - "Lumberjill" match
Let's just get this out of the way right off the bat... I had thought the Divas of Doom angle was going to resurrect women's wrestling within the WWE and put real, deserving stars back in control. Instead we have a whiny, Twitter-obsessed Beth as champion, an undeserving, bland as all hell contender in Eve, and a completely buried Natalya. And none of it matters, because at the end of the day it's all a showcase to put over Kelly Kelly and her spot in Maxim magazine. Congrats Kelly, it's some great exposure, but it's not Playboy... (see what I did there?)
Motivation to buy: None
Alberto del Rio vs. CM Punk - WWE Championship
I still think this contest should have been a Submission Match to play off the build-up using the Anaconda Vice and the Cross Armbar, not to mention the in-ring showcase these two could put on. Stipulation aside, it might be worth buying Survivor Series just to watch CM Punk become the WWE Champion once again. I know, we were all complaining about the title being "shotgunned" and taking away from Alberto del Rio's credibility as a main eventer. But at the same time, WWE is coming to Chicago real soon, and they're going to want the hometown boy holding the strap. We've seen what happens when Punk's music hits in the Windy City, and as a fan who will be in attendance that night, I can tell you it's probably a smart business decision to give him the belt.
Motivation to buy: CM Punk winning the WWE title
Mark Henry vs. Big Show - World Heavyweight Championship
Two guys that I've never been a huge fan of are now putting on what is probably the best rivalry in the WWE going into Survivor Series. Imagine my surprise... Henry continues to dominate and shows no signs of becoming stale or boring, and Big Show has been showing up with some real passion in recent weeks. It's nice to see two guys who are nearing the end of their careers finally bring their "A game" to the table...
Motivation to buy: Their last match was great. Possibility of a title change...
Team Orton vs. Team Barrett - Classic Survivor Series Elimination match
The team captains still make no sense to me, but they tried to push feuds together to come up with something interesting. I'm not sure if they succeeded, but it'll be a nice treat as these matches are usually exciting and fast-paced. I actually enjoy what they're doing with Sin Cara and the Latino stable on Smackdown; it's about 100 steps up from the dos Sin Caras battle. Other than that it's been difficult to invest, especially with the injury to Christian and the faces continuing to dominate every step of the way. The heels should go over, but I'm skeptical of Sheamus, Randy Orton, and Mason Ryan all losing in the same match...
Motivation to buy: It'll be fun...?
Dolph Zigger vs. John Morrison - United States Championship
Here's what I think goes down at Survivor Series. There's just no way Zack Ryder doesn't wrestle at the event. They've been investing in him left and right, putting him in main events and giving him dozens of backstage segments advertising his Twitter petition. It doesn't take a genius to see that Morrison is on his way out... I wouldn't be surprised to see Morrison go over Dolph Ziggler and win the title in his final PPV match with the company, only for the GM to schedule an impromptu Triple Threat involving Zack Ryder. That could go one of two ways, with either Ryder winning the US title, or Dolph some how sneaking out the victory in his third match of the night. I'm just taking shots in the dark here, but I don't see Survivor Series closing without Ryder getting a shot at the title...
Motivation to buy: Ryder could win the title. Morrison's last PPV match? Ziggler is awesome.
John Cena & the Rock vs. R-Truth & the Miz - Never Before, Never Again
There are plenty of people unhappy about the booking of this match, and for good reason! The Miz and R-Truth should have gone into this looking like the biggest heels in the company, and instead they were beaten down so many times this match is actually quite unnecessary! But I realized that if you log out of Twitter, put down the magnifying glass, and remember what it's like to be a fan... this match is probably going to be awesome. The Rock is magic, and both Cena and Miz have proven they can hold their own with the Great One. Somehow, they will electrify... This isn't some random arena they're performing in, this is the Garden! There's no way Vince sends that NYC crowd home without something huge wrapping up the night... But what?
It's been said a thousand times, and I've argued against it every single time: John Cena turns heel on the Rock at Survivor Series. At this point I still hold to the "never gonna happen" side of the debate, but that doesn't mean I don't WANT it to! After the way Raw went off the air, it had me wondering... What if the reason they haven't built up the Awesome Truth, and the reason they've kept this whole thing focused on John Cena is actually because they were building to make the heel turn as huge as possible?
I know, it's never gonna happen! But this is Survivor Series! This is the 25th Anniversary! This is Madison Square Garden! This...is...John Cena and the Rock. Is a heel turn necessary for their match at WrestleMania? No. They could turn it into a Playboy Pillow Fight and it would still probably draw more than any WWE event in history. In fact, they could probably put Vince Russo in charge, hang a pair of "jorts" on a poll, and sell out Miami! They don't need anything to put over that match, but I doubt there's a better way to make it exciting than to turn Cena heel, and there's just no better time to do it than right now. As the saying goes: never say never.
Motivation to buy: The Rock. Possible John Cena heel turn.
So, even if the card for Survivor Series hasn't quite lived up to my expectations, I predict at least a few reasons to buy (and attending it live is always a good choice!). Considering this is the 25th Anniversary, held in Madison Square Garden, featuring the Rock in the main event... odds are good WWE will try and pull out everything in their magical bag of tricks. Then again, they could just let the event rest on its own hype and PPV buys and do nothing special at all! I know by definition I might be insane, but I'm going to watch just for the possibility of a swerve ending to the main event. Oh, and Zack Ryder...
Woo Woo Woo...follow me on Twitter @MikeKillam.