Previewing WWE's Survivor Series pay-per-view (PPV) featuring CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Ryback for the WWE Championship, Team Foley vs. Team Ziggler in a traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series tag team match, and Big Show vs. Sheamus for the world heavyweight championship.
Like a good Thanksgiving dinner, you have to eat all the stuffing before you get to Grandma's apple pie. That means we're going through the card from the bottom to the top.
3MB! International Airstrike! Pre-Show!
The trio of Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, and Drew McIntyre will take on the team of Tyson Kidd and Justin Gabriel in the Survivor Series Pre-Show. This may be my favorite of the Pre-Shows WWE has put together so far. Usually, the airtime is given to a couple of midcarders so they can have a pointless match which is typically unconnected to any long-term storyline. Or, in the case of Hell in a Cell, a Q&A with John Cena that only served to foreshadow the painfully bad angle of Cena/AJ Lee/Vickie Guerrero.
This, on the other hand, looks to be a really fun match with repercussions which will be felt on down the road.
3MB and International Airstrike show the pros and cons of the revitalized tag team division. Slater, Mahal, and McIntyre were three jobbers who all had a little amount of heat, but nothing that would force WWE to use them in a meaningful way. Hell, Slater is best known as getting his ass handed to him in the weeks leading up to Raw 1000.
As a group, the fan's hatred for each individual member can be combined into a giant ball of fury. 3MB proves sometimes a team can be greater than the sum of its parts. The use of three wrestlers alone lends itself to all types of cheating and shenanigans to surely infuriate the fans. 3MB is made up of three arrogant, smug, cocky SOB's who the WWE Universe will want to see get crushed.
That is heeling done right.
Kidd and Gabriel are two fun, highly energetic wrestlers who WWE has failed to use in any meaningful way. Each could easily be chasing the Intercontinental or United States Championship. With Kofi Kingston taking the place of "guy who smiles and jumps high," though, Creative has nothing for them. So the duo gets thrown together in a tag team and is jobbed out to the other tag teams.
It's a tough break for the Airstrike, but -- say it with me, folks -- such is the life in WWE.
Eve! Kaitlyn! Divas Championship!
It is funny to think this whole feud started with a botch.
On the Aug. 20 edition of Monday Night Raw, Kaitlyn defeated Eve Torres in a Battle Royal to earn the right to challenge Layla for the Divas Championship at Night of Champions. The thing is that Eve was supposed to win that match. A slip on the apron by Eve led to Kaitlyn being the last (wo)man standing in the ring.
Give WWE credit for being able to play the whole thing off as if it were planned.
Kaitlyn would be taken out of the match at Night of Champions after a sneak attack from an unknown assailant, and Eve would go on to win the Divas championship from Layla. All three would go at it at Hell in a Cell, with Eve retaining via pinfall over Layla. Eve picked up the title, like she was supposed to, and all would finally be right in the WWE Universe.
While the storyline playing out backstage has been a bit bizarre -- Aksana in a blond wig, Kaitlyn taking screen shots of Eve's iPad, etc. -- it has been coherent and internally consistent without involving any of the women falling in love with another wrestler.
Honestly, how hard is it to write the Divas a decent angle?
On top of that, Kaitlyn must have impressed someone in the back. Here she is with another shot at the Divas Championship. While she hasn't connected with the fans in a way her fellow "Chickbuster" AJ Lee has, there is certainly potential there.
At the very least, she can run the ropes far better than Kelly Kelly ever could.
Cesaro! Truth! United States Championship!
Antonio Cesaro is foreign and awesome, yet no one seems to really care about him. A year ago, he was working in Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), slowly climbing up the ranks. Here he is, at the highest point of his WWE tenure.
R-Truth is old and insane, yet everyone seems to love him and his kooky ways. A year ago, he was main-eventing Survivor Series, tagging with The Miz against John Cena and The Rock. Here he is, at one of the lowest points of his WWE tenure.
The United States Championship has a long and storied history, yet it has been treated as the jobber's championship for years now. Years ago, it was held by names such as Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Roddy Piper, Rick Rude, and other legends. Here it is, its prestige withered away by misuse and abuse.
This is a matchup of oddities and perplexing paradoxes. A rising star being held down by a lame gimmick and worthless title, facing off a wrestler who has a long history in the business with no noteworthy moments. One can almost feel the crises of identity as all three occupy the same ring.
I would go on, but I feel as if I have already given more attention to this match than WWE has.
Show! Sheamus! World Heavyweight Championship!
The Big Show and Sheamus face off in a Hell in a Cell rematch for the World Heavyweight Championship. The two's last go-round was arguably the match of the night, and hopefully the encore does not disappoint.
Outside of an exciting fight between giants, though, there isn't much left to say. Sheamus is big, white, Irish, and loves to fight. Show is big, fat, angry, and loves to fight. It is a formula that works in a vacuum, but fails to translate over to seven-plus weeks of television, which the fans have had to endure.
Hopefully, we will be out of this giant forest and have some new challengers to the throne when the night is through.
As always, it is important to remember that Dolph Ziggler still holds onto the Money in the Bank briefcase. It almost seemed too obvious for Ziggler to cash in at Hell in a Cell, so it made sense WWE held off on pulling the trigger. However, I haven't heard too many people thinking that Ziggler would cash in tonight. Perhaps, this means WWE will surprise us all?
What would be a bigger jump into the main event than winning the 5-on-5 matchup and becoming the NEW World Heavyweight Championship?
Or, we can get The Big Show vs. Sheamus again at TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs. Both are possibilities.
Foley! Miz! Kofi! Kane! Bryan! Orton! Ziggler! Sandow! Rhodes! Maybe! Barrett! Del Rio! Survivor Series!
There is a lot going on here, so let's buckle up and dive into this thing.
The original idea was Mick Foley was pissed off that CM Punk had Brad Maddox interfere in the WWE Championship match against Ryback at Hell in a Cell. Punk was all like, "Hey, it's not my fault!" But Foley was all like, "That's a bunch of bologna, Punk!" So both sides created their teams and agreed to face off at Survivor Series.
However, Vince McMahon was all like, "This is stupid. Why are we putting the championship in a tag team match? Let's throw Punk, Ryback, and John Cena into a Triple Threat match." So he did it, because he's the boss and can do whatever he wants.
Though, didn't the Board of Directors take away that power? Maybe they have a shorter memory span than most pro wrestling fans.
Anyway, Punk and Ryback are out of the match. So, Dolph Ziggler took control of the heels because he's a showoff who will steal the show, your girlfriend, and a Survivor Series team. Foley is still in charge of the faces. The Miz was originally a bad guy, but has switched over to the light side because he has a movie coming out; heels don't sell out at the box office.
As for the rest of the squads, it's the standard "too many cooks in the kitchen" affair. Hell No continues to bicker back and forth, with Miz joining in for some Three's a Company fun (making Paul Bearer WWE's Ralph Furley, or would he be Mr. Roper?). Kofi Kingston is the Intercontinental Champion, a title he won from Miz. So those two may, or may not, hate each other. Then there is Randy Orton, who is almost guaranteed to RKO one of his teammates by the end of the night.
On the heel side, Ziggler will try to lead a rag tag group of baddies to victory. Wade Barrett and Alberto Del Rio are competing for the "Why are you in the main event?" championship. Rhodes Scholars looked to be a point of cohesion, but Cody Rhodes will most likely be missing the event because of an injury he suffered during Main Event. His replacement is as of yet to be determined, but rumor has it that it will be Tensai, sans Lord.
Because that's what the people want.
With this much pure talent -- outside of Tensai, of course -- it is almost impossible for the match to suck. The storylines are practically secondary to the spectacle of ten competitors in and around the ring. I'll be the first person to call out WWE when they start throwing garbage at its audience. And it cannot be denied that the lead up to this event has been garbage.
This match is sure to be exciting, though. Sometimes that is enough to keep the fans happy.
Punk! Cena! Ryback! Triple Threat! WWE Championship!
As I have previously stated, this match was thrown together to give Survivor Series a legitimate main event. Not that this is a bad thing, of course. When you are asking your fans to $44.95 online and upwards of $60 in some places, just for one Pay-Per-View (PPV), you should give them something worth spending money on.
That being said, you should also give them a finish that makes them feel like their money was well spent.
It is highly unlikely this match ends in any type of clean finish; the real question is how does WWE book this? A double pin like Summer Slam? Some type of outside interference? Does Brad Maddox make a triumphant return to action, or does Paul Heyman have something -- or someone -- else up his sleeve?
At the very least, I hope and pray WWE does something, anything, to change the equation. I want to have faith in the promotion to do right by its viewers. I believe those in the back are smart enough to make the ending fun and interesting. I know there is a way to do something exciting which will make us want to tune into Raw tomorrow night.
It just comes down to whether or not Vince McMahon and his cronies are willing to pull the trigger on something new and different.
Hopefully this has prepared you for the night's festivities. Leave a comment below about what you are looking forward to, and please join Nolan, myself, and the entire CSS Sunday night gang in the live blog right here TONIGHT!