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Survivor Series badly needs some stakes

The next pay-per-view on the WWE schedule is the Survivor Series event set to invade the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on Nov. 21, 2021. My man Cain A. Knight (you think that’s his real name?) touched on this a bit but there’s a real problem with what this show has become.

In short, the idea of brand warfare — it’s the one time a year Superstars from Raw and SmackDown go head-to-head! (which isn’t even true) — is patently ridiculous, even when you don’t consider that they’re doing this just weeks removed from the annual Draft designed to shake up the rosters. What we end up with, then, is traditional Survivor Series elimination matches that look like this:

Raw men’s team: Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Rey Mysterio, Dominik Mysterio

vs.

SmackDown men’s team: Drew McIntyre, Jeff Hardy, King Woods, Sami Zayn, Happy Corbin

The entirety of the men’s team representing Monday Night Raw spent the past year wrestling exclusively on Friday Night SmackDown. The blue brand features three wrestlers who did the same for the red brand. What exactly is the point of this? Our brand is better, thanks to the changes we just made to it? Why would that even matter, when they’re just going to make the changes again next year?

The idea of brand warfare itself is silly when both brands exist under the same umbrella, to say nothing of the annual trading of talent. Now that there exists an actually viable competitor to WWE in AEW, it amplifies how ridiculous it is that WWE attempts to manufacture this war between brands each year. Seeing AEW send five of its best to wrestle five of WWE’s best in an elimination match would be interesting, for all the obvious reasons. Even just the idea of that makes clear just how much it doesn’t work when it’s between Raw and SmackDown.

I’m not saying they should do away with Survivor Series entirely, though. The concept of big team elimination style matches is still solid. They just need, you guessed it, stakes.

The Royal Rumble is coming up here soon. Maybe the sole survivors get to choose their entry number. Or maybe they just get a guaranteed shot at a title, or at the very least a match to determine the next top contender. Almost anything would work, they can get as creative with it as they need to. That’s the beauty of competition.

But you have to have something worthwhile to be competing over. Brand supremacy for a brand you literally just showed up on is not it.