WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) tomorrow night (Sun., Nov. 24, 2013) live from the TD Garden Arena in Boston, Massachusetts, with its Survivor Series event starting at 7:30 p.m. ET with the free live streaming pre-show featuring The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston leading right on into the PPV main course at 8 p.m. ET.
The line-up leaves much to be desired.
Randy Orton and Big Show will duke it out for the WWE championship in the main event. John Cena will give Alberto Del Rio his rematch for the world heavyweight championship in another featured bout on the card while CM Punk and Daniel Bryan (The Best and The Beard) will team up to battle the Wyatt Family (Luke Harper and Erick Rowan).
Luckily for you Cagesiders, our staff of learned wrestling blowhards is here to help figure out just how the event is going to play out with predictions for each match on the card.
Let's get to it.
WWE SURVIVOR SERIES PREDICTIONS
Randy Orton vs. Big Show
The General: I'm wondering more and more if we're not going to get some variation of the Montreal Screwjob here. If it's done, I'm assuming it would be Show turning heel and going over Orton, who would go babyface. Perhaps this is where Vince McMahon returns and he's the one who does the honors of calling out to "ring the fucking bell". Remember, Bret Hart will be in attendance as a guest analyst and you should never underestimate how petty the power players in WWE can be. If that's not the way they go, expect some other screwy finish that results in Orton losing the strap. Pick: Big Show
Hulk Holland: Over the past few weeks, Randy Orton has fallen out of favor with The Authority, was abandoned by The Shield and for all intents and purposes, gotten lost in the championship shuffle. It's difficult to look at that direction and not expect a Big Show heel turn, as well as a win, particularly now that Daniel Bryan has been demoted. Winner: Big Show
Sean Rueter: I can predict more than just the winner of this match. In fact, the only thing I feel like I can't tell you about it is why they're telling this story with these characters. Oh, and who exactly thinks that this is "best for business" or the "right attraction". Orton gets knocked out, because we have to keep guys who are older than me looking good. Then HHH or a minion of The Authority interferes or overrules the decision (boy, wouldn't it be great if they DQ'd Show for using a closed fist strike and then promptly forgot they ever did like with the use of instant replay from Extreme Rules?), setting up The Big Show versus The Game for TLC. Yay? Pick: Orton
Keith Harris: The deck seems well and truly stacked against the Viper. The Shield apparently don't have his back. Hunter and Stephanie's support is ostensibly wavering. There's even rumours that Big Show will switch sides and join The Authority, leaving Orton out in the cold. Well, clearly this is another swerve orchestrated by the Cerebral Assassin to set up his main event against the giant at TLC. Pick: Orton.
Kanenite: WWE is heavily promoting the idea that Randy Orton has no chance to win this match. Therefore it seems almost too straightforward to assume that Big Show is going to be screwed over and that Orton will retain the championship. But wouldn't it be one of the biggest troll jobs in history if WWE actually gave Big Show the strap here, just to spit in the face of the vocal Daniel Bryan supporters? I wonder how long this match can really last. The Big Show hasn't wrestled a match on PPV in over six months, when he was defeated at Extreme Rules by Randy Orton. I expect the same result will take place at Survivor Series, perhaps with assistance from Kane. Pick: Randy Orton
John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio
The General: There is not a single compelling case to be made for Del Rio winning the title back here. I literally can't think of one. Unless Cena is seriously hurt again (LOL, I know) and has to take another vacation, there's simply no way Cena is doing the job here. Pick: Cena
Hulk Holland: It's hard enough to convince anyone John Cena will actually lose a championship match, then WWE had to go ahead and book him for his hometown of Boston against Alberto Del Rio. That, my friends, is also known as "three strikes, you're out." There's no argument to give Del Rio the title back this quickly, especially since awarding it to Cena meant wasting Damien Sandow's briefcase. Winner: John Cena
Sean Rueter: The only way this doesn't end with LOL is if Jern is really still hurt. And even then, he'd probably win and cut one of his goodbye speeches before showing up on Raw the next night. Pick: Cena
Keith Harris: Even with all the talk that Cena is banged up from returning too soon from his torn triceps and working a full road schedule, I don't think you'll find anyone who thinks the Champ is at risk of losing the title here. Really, they should have kept the briefcase on Damien Sandow for longer, just so Cena's matches have a little doubt to the final result. Pick: Cena.
Kanenite: Does anybody really care about this match? I think many wrestling fans are much more curious about who Cena's next opponent will end up being rather than watching this rematch. I guess pinning Del Rio last month wasn't enough to satiate Cena's appetite, so this time around he is going to make Del Rio tap out. I think it is time to start the clock on Del Rio's inevitable fall to a future PPV Kickoff match. Pick: John Cena
CM Punk & Daniel Bryan vs. Wyatt Family
The General: I don't see how we get through this without some sort of bullshit finish like they kept trying to run with Ryback where he never really lost but he never really won. My fear is most top level programs not involving John Cena will continue to play out that way. We'll see, though. Let me just go with the babyfaces because I think WWE wants them strong headed into January. Pick: The Best & The Beard
Hulk Holland: This is your typical "bigger names go over but everyone looks strong" kind of match-up, so I expect the team of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan to win, then get their asses kicked after the match when Bray Wyatt interferes. There are no titles on the line and the outcome has no bearing on the bigger picture, but it's going to be fun to watch. Winner: CM Punk & Daniel Bryan
Sean Rueter: Given the numbers being in the favor of the baddies, and the fact that I think one of the goals of this program is to plant seeds for a return to Punk vs. Bryan (with their alignments flipped from when the feuded during the Spring/Summer of 2012), I think Bray probably helps his boys to a win here. Pick: Luke Harper & Erick Rowan
Keith Harris: Despite being undefeated and having a strong monster stable push, the weakest two thirds of the Wyatt Family don't seem to be in Punk's or Bryan's league. Bryan could really do with a big win too, after being screwed by The Authority at every turn over the past three months. Pick: Punk & Bryan.
Kanenite: Daniel Bryan and CM Punk are two of the top three stars in the company. This match is a demotion for Bryan but a fresh change of scenery for Punk. However it is still a confusing match choice for the PPV, as you could easily argue that the team of Punk and Bryan have wrestled more important tag team matches than this on the last two free Raw main events. With that context in mind, it is a little disappointing to only see this as a regular tag team match rather than a traditional Survivor Series elimination tag team match. As far as analysis of this match goes, the Wyatts are thankfully in the midst of a push, but they aren't going over the top stars in the company. Pick: Punk and Bryan
Rhodes Bros, Usos, Mysterio vs. The Shield, Real Americans
The General: This match is intriguing if only because it's guaranteed to be fun and I like to imagine there's some great internal struggle regarding who should be the sole survivor(s). I'm thinking The Shield has done so many jobs lately that they're getting their win back here but if the rumors are to be believed, Roman Reigns is in for a big push here very soon. So let's say he's the sole survivor from both squads. Pick: Shield, Americans; Reigns is sole survivor
Hulk Holland: The Shield is no longer invincible and can probably afford to lose here, since I'm sure they will get to look strong later in the night when they turn on Randy Orton. Add to that the fact that nobody in the front office can pull the trigger on Antonio Cesaro and I have to give it to the faces, who have the belts and the return of Rey Mehsterio on their side. Winner: Cody Rhodes & Goldust, The Usos & Rey Mehsterio
Sean Rueter: This should be interesting. I don't see anyone on the side of the angels that anyone is going to buy in the traditional sole survivor role against any multi-man grouping of survivors from the heels. The guy who makes the most sense for it would be Cody, and if they do that it will be a real vote of confidence in him. The problem is that they've done such a good job building The Shield that without a bigger name like either The Best or The Beard in this one, I can't picture them losing. For that reason, I could see them going against conventional wisdom with this one and having an outnumbered heel fight out a win. I hear they like the big Samoan. Pick: The Shield and The Real Americans; Sole Survivor: Roman Reigns
Keith Harris: Given the participants and the likelihood that this will be given a lot of time, this promises to be the best Survivor Series elimination bout in years. Really who wins and loses doesn't matter much in the big picture. I'd lean to the babyfaces winning, as Rey's return needs to be put over with an exclamation mark. Pick: Cody, Goldust, Usos & Rey.
Kanenite: This match will probably steal the show because it is full of nine highly entertaining workers as well as Jack Swagger. The Shield haven't had a big victory in a long time so I think they will be the winners here. What I am more curious about is how they will take advantage of this type of match to create some conflict within The Shield, even in victory. I think either Roman Reigns or Deam Ambrose will be the sole survivor here, as The Shield finally earns a measure of revenge against the Rhodes Brothers. And I can't wait for Reigns to hit that spear on Rey Mysterio! Let's face it, Rey is probably going back on the shelf any week now, so they might as well put him out in style. Pick: Dean Ambrose is the sole survivor
Total Divas vs. Non-Total Divas
The General: Considering filming is ongoing for another season of Total Divas, I imagine there's a big plan for a compelling angle that will make for good television on both shows. Perhaps all the Total Divas survive, or perhaps none of them do. I'll go with the latter: Pick Non-Total Divas.
Hulk Holland: Honestly, who gives a shit? I would be interested in a Divas championship match-up, but this clusterfuck is just filler and will likely play out as such. I will LOLZ if they try to do that spot where everyone gets to hit their finisher just to see how bad the timing and execution are. No disrespect to the ladies intended, but only a handful of them can actually work. Winner: Nobody
Sean Rueter: They seem to realize that wins or losses by the cast of Total Divas do not effect the ratings of Total Divas, so I don't think the show factors in to the booking decision here. What does is that I think they've got AJ set-up for a long, Punk-esque run with the women's title, and this gives them an opportunity to get someone else a win in the one slot they have for a Divas match each PPV. Pick: Team Total Divas; Survivors: Brie Bella, Naomi and Eva Marie
Keith Harris: As the existence of the women's division seems only to be around to further their feminine reality show storylines nowadays, either the Total Divas ladies all fall out in this match leading to more conflict and tension for series two, or they put their differences aside and come together for the greater good. I think the latter is more likely. Pick: Natalya, Bellas, Funkadactyls, JoJo & Eva Marie.
Kanenite: The musical chairs segment was one of the worst angles WWE has ever used to set up a PPV match. The most interesting element in this one will be keeping track of how many seconds it takes for WWE to run through potentially 13 unique eliminations. Can Eva Marie and Jojo even take back bumps, or will they have to be disqualified instead? And will AJ be able to work together in peace with Kaitlyn? You remember Kaitlyn, right? Ultimately I think this match only exists as a platform to promote Total Divas, so their team will end up as the winners. I'll go extreme here and say that AJ and Tamina walk out on the match, leaving the rest of their pathetic team for dead in a clean sweep. Pick: All 7 Total Divas survive
Big E. Langston vs. Curtis Axel
The General: One of these two is getting pushed to the moon right now, at least as far as a guy can be pushed in the mid-card is concerned, and the other has lost all steam from his repackaging and failed pairing with one of the greatest managers of all time. This one's easy, and should come close to a glorified squash. Pick: Langston
Hulk Holland: They took the Intercontinental Championship off Curtis Axel because he's a bust, so why would they give it back to him a week later? In addition, Big E. Langston needs more time under the lamps if he's going to grow into that main event player WWE wants him to be. This match will be void of chemistry, but at least it boots Axel from the title picture for the foreseeable future. Winner: Big E. Langston
Sean Rueter: Oh man, even the biggest Axel defender in the world (which I might be) can't come up with any good reason to give Curtis a win here. Pick: Langston
Kanenite: This is one of the easiest matches on the card to predict. It is no coincidence that the IC Title was taken away from Axel immediately following his split with Paul Heyman. Axel is floundering and has nothing going for him right now, while Big E Langston is one of the hotter baby faces in the company. This match is simply here to showcase Langston and get the rematch clause out of the way as quickly as possible. Pick: Langston
The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston
The General: Sometimes you have to consider outside interests when looking at WWE booking decisions. In this case, Miz has a special airing on ABC Family here soon, so don't be surprised if he goes over with some heavy promotion for it. Pick: Miz
Hulk Holland: Kofi Kingston is the affable face who gets a nice little pop from the kids every time he wrestles and doesn't need wins to do it. To his credit, he's got some great moves, but he doesn't get the dubya here, because The Miz has a direct-to-torrent Christmas movie coming out that no one will watch, so he needs whatever juice he can get. Winner: The Miz
Sean Rueter: Hmm, this is usually the land of babyface victories. But a loss derails what little momentum the Miz heel turn has. Plus, Christmas Bounty premieres Tuesday on ABC Family y'all! Pick: Miz
Keith Harris: It's a bad sign for their career progression that these two are back feuding with each other in the curtain jerker. Given that Miz has just turned back heel, while Kingston is treading water as a perennial babyface, the former must be the favourite. Pick: The Miz.
Kanenite: Normally when someone turns heel on a partner, the fresh heel has to win the first match of the upcoming series. However that rule doesn't necessarily apply here since there is no guarantee of an actual feud brewing between these two men. The Miz is still the smart bet here though because Kofi Kingston never wins on PPV night. Pick: The Miz
Those are our predictions, Cagesiders. What are yours?