Team Raw (Bobby Lashley, Austin Theory, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Finn Bálor) vs. Team SmackDown (Drew McIntyre, King Woods, Sheamus, Happy Corbin, Jeff Hardy)
Survivor Series Elimination Match
In general, Survivor Series elimination matches are arbitrary. This has been more true in the recent years they’ve been doing a SmackDown vs. Raw theme for their November pay-per-view (PPV). But even with all that, this year feels excessively so. It’s a pay-per-view where the matches that share the name of the show feel utterly pointless.
Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
WWE opted to reveal the teams the most exciting way they could, randomly announcing them on Twitter on a Saturday afternoon with zero warning. I guess if there aren’t any stakes, no need to spend time Raw and SmackDown creating the teams.
They announced for Raw Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Finn Bálor, Rey Mysterio, and Dominik Mysterio. For SmackDown, Drew McIntyre, Jeff Hardy, Sami Zayn, King Xavier Woods, & Happy Corbin.
The next two weeks were spent with mainly Adam Pearce (and lesser degree Sonya Deville for the men’s side) refining the teams, removing some talent and adding others. This where it really doesn’t make any sense.
Pearce would go to Raw and tell various Raw talent that he wanted to make sure Raw had the best team going. Then he would head to SmackDown and tell them the same thing about the blue brand. But why?
In essence, Pearce and Deville are building teams to compete against themselves. They didn’t divide the shows to even make it a friendly competition between the authority figures. They just built teams to try to beat themselves? What’s his motive to build a team to win if you’re building both teams? What’s the point of this?
On the Raw side, Lashley defeated Dominik Mysterio to take his spot. This is understandable. Even with nothing at stake, Lashley deserved a spot on the team over the young Mysterio who loses way more than he wins. Lashley then dominated Rey Mysterio last Monday so Adam replaced the elder Mysterio with Austin Theory. This is a move that makes less sense outside Pearce sometimes being a heel. He’d prefer a future hall of famer, even if he’s a bit banged up, over an unproven rookie.
On the SmackDown side, Jeff Hardy walked in on Sami practicing a team leader speech. This lead to a one on one match where the loser was off the team. Hardy picked up the W and Zayn was eventually replaced by Sheamus, decided by a fatal 4-way on Friday.
We’ve discussed that the authority figures have no reason to care about this, but do the wrestlers?
No. They do not.
In fact 4 out of 5 of the members on each team were not even on their brand as of two months ago. So brand loyalty is out the door. There’s been no heat between the brands such as sneak attacks and invasions. There’s never been a real stake for the victory, such as the sole survivors getting a late spot in the Royal Rumble.
So what are we even doing here? This feel like some extra lazy stuff, even by WWE’s creative standards. There are teams of men who have no reason to put their differences aside to work together picked at random on a Saturday by the same people for each team. The company clearly just did the bare minimum to book Survivor Series matches because it’s a yearly PPV and they didn’t have much of a choice.
This is all not to say the matches aren’t going to be good. There’s a ton of talent in these matches, wrestlers who pride themselves on giving the fans a show no matter what the story involved. And they likely will.
But given the work that’s gone into building this, why should any of us care?
Raw and SmackDown will face each other in a traditional Survivor Series elimination match tonight at 8 PM on Peacock in the United States and the WWE Network everywhere else. Keep it here to Cagesideeats.com for all your Survivor Series coverage.
Who will win this match?
This poll is closed