By “The Chairman” Steven Vincent
Once upon a time, Survivor Series used to be considered one of the big four pay per views every year along with Wrestlemania, Summerslam, and Royal Rumble. However, the past few years I don’t feel Survivor Series is on the same level as the other big three pay per views.
What if I told you there was a way to make the Survivor Series so important that it would affect not only the next few months in WWE, but the payoff was at the Royal Rumble?
Last year was the first Survivor Series since the brands were split again and there were quite a few Raw vs Smackdown Live Survivor Series matches, but other than brand supremacy what was the point? Though I will say the featured Team Raw vs Team Smackdown Live match was very good and lasted almost an hour. I did like the twist with some of the midcard titles though that if the challengers won, then the title went to their brand. You may remember Raw’s Sami Zayn challenging Smackdown Live’s Miz for his Intercontinental Championship or Smackdown Live’s Kalisto challenging The Brian Kendrick for his Cruiserweight Championship. Of course both challengers fell short in their conquest and lastly there was that horrible main event between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar that lasted a minute tops?
Fast forward to 2017! What could WWE to make the Survivor Series matter again? Here’s my idea! Have the traditional five on five Survivor Series match between Raw and Smackdown Live. However to make things interesting, the winning team wrestles each other at their brand’s respective December pay per view in a fatal five way match with the winner earning the right to either enter the Royal Rumble at number 30 or if you prefer the element of surprise, the winning superstar gets to pick their entry spot in the Royal Rumble. It’s a proven fact number 27 has produced the most Royal Rumble winners. I know Smackdown Live has Clash of Champions in December, however I don’t see anything for a Raw PPV in December yet. Then again, I can’t imagine the Raw superstars go from Survivor Series to Royal Rumble without a pay per view thrown in between, but I guess we’ll see.
Now the question you may ask is how to decide who wrestles on each team. I propose there’s five qualifying matches for each show. On the Raw brand you start the qualifying matches the Raw after TLC which would be Monday October 23rd. Now there are only four Raw episodes between TLC and Survivor Series so one episode of Raw will need to have two qualifying matches which I would save for the Raw before Survivor Series. Make it a double main event if you will. Here’s who I’d book.
Braun Strowman vs Roman Reigns
This would be the very first match I would do! Start off hot with a major main event knowing one of these two superstars will be left off the big main event at Survivor Series. They’ve had plenty of run ins already, but this time the stakes are huge. I guess the loser could very well challenge Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series as a complimentary prize should Lesnar work this event? This then would give some time to build up that match. Of course the ultimate prize here is what could happen during the Survivor Series match. Your team wins at Survivor Series, you go on to win the fatal five way at the next ppv, you pick #30 to enter the Royal Rumble, you win the Royal Rumble, and then you’re in the main event of Wrestlemania! How scary would it be knowing Strowman could enter the Royal Rumble LAST?!?! Roman Reigns is also no slouch either and he’s already won the Rumble before. This is the match to get fans invested.
Finn Balor vs The Miz
This is a feud I’ve wanted to see for awhile now and now it can begin. Finn Balor has had his eye on getting back the Universal Championship, but something always seems to knock him off his path. This time it comes in the form of the Miz and the Miztourage. The Miz also would love nothing more than adding another Wrestlemania main event to his growing list of A List accomplishments. Now say Balor is able to defeat The Miz, not only would Balor secure his spot at Survivor Series, but would be owed a shot at Miz’s Intercontinental Championship (provided he still has it). The following Raw then would not only have a Survivor Series qualifying match, but a Finn Balor vs Miz Intercontinental Championship match. This is how you build up the prestige of your shows and get people interested. Of course if the Miz defeats Balor, does the Raw team gain an advantage with the Miztourage outside at Survivor Series?
Matt Hardy vs Bray Wyatt
With Jeff Hardy out the next several months, Matt Hardy needs to continue on alone and what better way than receiving this opportunity. Of course is he vulnerable now with his brother out that the Eater of Worlds Bray Wyatt could manipulate him or even make him BROKEN??? This would be the perfect way to push Matt Hardy over the edge into the Broken gimmick if WWE finally proceeds forward with it. The fans want it and fans would even be more happy to finally put an end to the Bray Wyatt Finn Balor feud. Hardy and Wyatt probably aren’t going to move onto the Wrestlemania main event, but they’re strong enough players on the roster to deserve a spot in the Survivor Series match. Though this could be the beginning of a long Matt Hardy vs Bray Wyatt feud. You know if Matt Hardy somehow defeated Wyatt to qualify at Survivor Series that Wyatt would make sure he failed in his conquest at some point.
Cesaro vs Sheamus
No typo! Fully aware they’re on the same tag team. This match would be the first of two qualifiers as this would take place on the Raw before Survivor Series. Kurt Angle could claim that he’s making these matches completely random and with what is at stake, these two are going to put it all on the line. We’ve seen these two about destroy each other before in a best of seven series before they finally joined forces to become a dominant tag team. However for one night, Cesaro and Sheamus are going to have to beat each other to a pulp to qualify for the Survivor Series.
Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose
Didn’t see this one coming did you? This would hands down be a great main event and this would be the final qualifying match on the Raw brand. Provided that they’re still the Raw Tag Team Champions, imagine how life after this match could be for these two. One of them would get the upper hand in pursuing a huge Wrestlemania moment if they jump all the hurdles while the other barely got out of the gate. These are the big matches fans want to see and what better match than Rollins vs Ambrose? Plus imagine how awkward it would be for Rollins or Ambrose having to join forces with the winner of the Cesaro and Sheamus match at Survivor Series considering how long they’ve been feuding.
Now of course another fun idea would be removing one of these wrestlers (probably whoever is holding the Intercontinental Championship) and having them face a mystery opponent that turns out to be a returning Samoa Joe provided he’s healthy again. Take out Miz from the equation and we get Finn Balor vs Samoa Joe!!!! Who could forget the awesome rivalry they had in NXT?? Say Reigns wins the Intercontinental Championship this upcoming Raw, then we get Braun Strowman vs Samoa Joe!!! This would be a win for everyone!?!?! I would love to see these two men just beat each other down for this opportunity.
Now take a look at Smackdown Live. After Hell in a Cell on October 8, Smackdown Live doesn’t have a pay per view until Survivor Series. That’s six weeks away! So Smackdown Live could easily plant the seeds for this idea and start their qualifying matches a week early to spread it out over five weeks. Assuming right now Jinder Mahal retains the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Hell in a Cell, he wouldn’t be booked to qualify for the Survivor Series match and instead would probably be defending his title. So here are the potential qualifiers for Smackdown Live.
Bobby Roode vs Dolph Ziggler
WWE loves rematches right after pay per views so might as well make one of the qualifying matches satisfy that for them. Ziggler is high enough of the card to be a potential threat and he was a Survivor Series hero a few years ago, however things have changed and WWE definitely is shifting towards the Glorious Era so more than likely this gets Roode onto the Smackdown Live team at Survivor Series. Plus who knows how much longer Ziggler is going to stay in WWE with the rumors of his departure coming so you really can’t write a long term storyline for him.
Randy Orton vs Tye Dillinger
Probably doesn’t scream main event, but you know Orton is going to be included in the big match at Survivor Series because of who he is. Dillinger is good enough to deliver a solid performance and will continue to thrive as an underdog, but unfortunately he’ll probably get an RKO for his troubles. If booked right, WWE could easily start turning Orton heel again (which NEEDS to happen) especially if brutalizes Dillinger at this match. You figure if Orton then started attacking all the major babyfaces on Smackdown Live such as AJ Styles, you could complete this heel turn in no time.
Kevin Owens vs Baron Corbin
Both of them have no respect for authority and don’t care what Shane McMahon or Daniel Bryan have to say. Even though McMahon and Bryan probably would rather keep both of them off the Smackdown Live team, they both realize what they could bring to the team therefore they make the two heels fight each other for one spot. Then again who knows what the status of Kevin Owens may be after Hell in a Cell with his upcoming match with Shane McMahon so there’s that? For now though, we’re just going to roll with this one and not overthink things.
AJ Styles vs Rusev
AJ Styles will more than likely still hold the United States Championship and WWE will throw Rusev at him because I feel it’s the only thing they know what to do with Rusev and that’s try to become the United States Champion since he’s a foreign heel. So say Rusev beats AJ Styles, then yes he’d be owed a United States title shot. Unless of course Styles includes the open challenge stipulation here making it a Survivor Series qualifier and United States title match. Either or, AJ Styles isn’t getting left off the Smackdown Live team at Survivor Series.Speaking of Rusev though, I would like to see him and Aiden English form an alliance going forward. Maybe make a run at the tag team titles?
Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Saving this one for last because I remember the fantastic match these two had at NXT Takeover when Nakamura debuted and Zayn had his final NXT match. I would love these guys to get a solid half hour at least to put it all on the line for the final spot of the Smackdown Live team. You can’t go wrong with either superstar. Imagine though if Zayn won and there’s the possibility of actually having to be on the same team as Kevin Owens. Then again, maybe Nakamura wins the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell and you throw Jinder Mahal in this match instead of Nakamura?
So there’s the ten qualifying matches for Survivor Series where Team Raw vs Team Smackdown Live compete to have a potential shot at picking their spot in the Royal Rumble. They just have to beat their Survivor Series teammates at their brand’s respective December pay per view in a fatal five way.
Thoughts? Like this idea? Hate this idea? Any of these matches appeal to you? Any matches you would book differently? Which team would you like to see come together? Who would you want to see win the chance to pick their Royal Rumble spot? Thanks for reading and let me know what you think and follow me on Twitter @ChairmanPodcast.