Survivor Series is still one of the "Big Four" pay-per-view (PPV) events in the same way that Horace Hogan is still one of the members of the nWo.
Let's face it, this year's offering, which is scheduled to pop off at the TD Garden this Sunday night (Nov. 23, 2013) in Boston, Massachusetts, is here because it has to be, not because it wants to be.
Apparently, it has been booked as such.
Everybody knows who will win the World Heavyweight Championship match between John Cena and Alberto Del Rio. Conversely, nobody cares who wins the WWE Championship match between Randy Orton and The Big Show. Either way, some crusty veteran we've seen way too much of will leave with the gold.
It's what happens after the fact that could potentially bear fruit.
If you look at how Randy Orton vs. Big Show has been set up, it's hard to dismiss rumors that Show turns heel. In the past few weeks, Orton has fallen out of favor with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, hereon referred to as "The Authority," and Show was able to get his contract restored.
Remember what happened the last time he was fired and came back?
Show turned evil and I suspect he'll do the same here. The match itself is not compelling and we've already seen Orton whining about The Shield leaving him high and dry. Don't be surprised to see them go one step further this weekend, though it's no guarantee "The Viper" turns face as a result.
But I have him losing either way.
I can say the same thing for Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena. Am I supposed to believe the champion is going to drop the strap in front of his "Beantown" broskis? Cena pleeze. Besides, he just won the goddamn belt and kicked Damien Sandow to the curb in the process, and there is no way they did all that just to give it back to a wrestler who can't move the needle.
Natalya, The Bellas, The Funkadactyls, JoJo & Eva Marie vs. AJ Lee, Tamina Snuka, Kaitlyn, Rosa Mendes, Summer Rae, Aksana & Alicia Fox is set for a traditional Survivor Series elimination bout, which is laughable, because some of these gals are so offensive as performers I can't bear to watch them.
If Eva Marie was any more robotic, she'd be coming out to the theme of Small Wonder.
I get that WWE has a Divas division and there are female performers who can deliver, but a cool-down match should be quick and painless. This has the potential to drag on for 20 minutes or so and I can already hear the Bellas spine-chilling shouts emanating from their corner.
I don't care who wins, but it will probably go to the faces, since they've been getting worked on television.
The answer to that match, of course, is the other traditional Survivor Series elimination bout, featuring Cody Rhodes & Goldust, The Usos & Rey Mysterio vs. The Shield & The Real Americans. Antonio Cesaro and Roman Reigns on the same team?
Oh hell yeah.
The bad news is, these guys have a lot to live up to following the epic tag match from Monday Night RAW, which was a PPV quality match on free TV less than a week before the double-S. Makes sense. Point being, the bar has been raised, though looking at this line up, there is a chance they could meet -- and exceed -- those expectations.
And I'm already marking out for the end, when each guy gets to hit his finisher in a round robin of controlled chaos.
I'm pretty sure the heels go over here because the faces were (spoiler) STANDING TALL at the end of the Smackdown! taping. The Usos are interchangeable so a loss here does little to disrupt any momentum and keeps the tag team champs looking strong. I should probably mention that we have Mysterio's big return to PPV, but that's up there on the care-o-meter next to Jimmy cracking corn.
Still, this match is likely to steal the show and is almost worth the $60 by itself.
Coming in a close second is the CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs. Erick Rowan & Luke Harper feud that was put together for reasons I don't yet fully understand, other than the fact that Punk and D-Bry are in between singles programs and have nothing else to do.
But when you're as good as they are, you put them on a PPV by whatever means necessary.
I definitely have the faces winning because of their (spoiler) beatdown by The Wyatt Family, but this is one of those bouts where the finish is irrelevant to the match. Bray Wyatt is the leader so until he loses, Rowan and Harper are fine. But don't get fooled by their size, these pseudo-hicks can work.
I'd love to see Harper land back-to-back Truck Stops on Punk and Bryan, just because.
The Intercontinental Championship is also up for grabs in the battle between Big E. Langston vs. Curtis Axel, another repeat from free TV, because gosh darnit, we have to give the champ a rematch. Even with WWE's history of stopping and starting pushes, there is no way they give the title back to the increasingly arid Axel.
Though I'm sure he'll still pretend to wear it in the coming weeks, like the invisible shirt he rips off when sauntering to the ring.
I like both guys as performers but their first encounter was a dud. It's not that they don't have the skills, they just don't have the chemistry. And me paying for a match I already saw for free isn't going to magically transform them into Steamboat/Flair.
But I suppose watching Axel eat a Big Ending isn't the worst thing in the world.
It sure beats the heel duck face finisher we are bound to get in the Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz kickoff match, which I would like to kick off my TV when it comes on prior to the start of the PPV. Miz is going over here because he has that dopey Christmas movie coming out
Maybe he can come out in a Grinch suit, Pete Rose style.
So there you have it. Six total (buyable) matches in a PPV that asks you to shell out $60. That means each bout is worth $10. Since I would only pay for two of the aforementioned contests, I'm going to have to go into this show expecting to lose money.
I'll buy it anyway, because I'm a mark, but for the casual fan this is a tough sell.