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WWE Survivor Series 2023 preview: Randy Orton’s return is finally here

WWE.com

WWE Survivor Series 2023 takes place tonight (Sat. Nov. 25) from the Allstate Arena near Chicago, Illinois, starting at 8 pm ET, live on Peacock (in the U.S.) and WWE Network (everywhere else).

Randy Orton’s WWE return is finally here

Randy Orton returns to WWE tonight at Survivor Series to compete in his first match in 18 months. He’s been out of action during that time recovering from major back surgery.

Orton is jumping right into the fire, as his first match back is War Games. He’s joining a team with Cody Rhodes, Seth Rollins, Jey Uso, and Sami Zayn to take on Drew McIntyre and The Judgment Day (JD McDonagh, Damian Priest, Finn Balor, Dominik Mysterio).

The teams will do battle in two rings covered by a steel cage. The rules of WarGames are as follows:

• Two teams will be contained in separate cages with one member of each team starting the match.

• After five minutes, a member from the advantaged team will be released to enter the match.

• After a three-minute period, alternating members from each team will enter the match until all competitors are inside the cage.

• Once all competitors have entered, WarGames officially begins.

• The only way to win the match is by pinfall or submission.

Cody, Seth, Sami, and Jey have been feuding with The Judgment Day for months, but things weren’t looking good for the babyfaces when Drew decided to shake Rhea Ripley’s hand and join her side in this war. McIntyre made that decision because he absolutely despises Jey Uso for screwing him out of the WWE Universal championship last year in the UK at Clash at the Castle. Now he gets to destroy Jey inside a cage.

Rhodes reacted to Drew’s heel turn by giving his old friend Randy a call, and that’s how both teams were finalized. Cody clearly thinks he can trust Orton, but it’s worth pointing out that Jey also played a major role in injuring Orton (in kayfabe) 18 months ago. Will the Viper already turn heel and strike Jey down when he least expects it tonight?

No matter what happens, the atmosphere in Chicago will be electric for the long-awaited return of CM Punk Randy Orton.

The rest of the card

Here are the remaining four segments that are currently advertised for Survivor Series:

WarGames: Becky Lynch, Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair & Shotzi vs. Damage CTRL (IYO SKY, Bayley, Kairi Sane, Asuka)

Damage CTRL is more powerful than ever now that Kairi Sane and Asuka have joined the fold. The numbers advantage was too much for Bianca, Charlotte, and Shotzi to handle, so they asked Becky Lynch to go to war with them. The Man happily obliged; she does have a long history with Damage CTRL, after all.

The main problem for the babyface side is that Becky and Charlotte had a major falling out years ago as they each tried to become the top star in WWE, and they are no longer friends. Their inability to get on the same page was front and center last night on SmackDown, and it led to their loss in a tag team match against Asuka and Bayley.

If Lynch and Flair can’t sort out their issues ASAP, their team is doomed. Meanwhile, Bayley doesn’t quite realize it, but the rest of Damage CTRL seems ready to kick her out of the group when the time is right. If Damage CTRL fails to win tonight, it might be the right time to pull the trigger.

Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Zoey Stark for the Women’s World Championship

Zoey Stark has not let up one bit since moving on from her story with Becky Lynch and Trish Stratus. She came up short in a 5-way women’s world championship match at Crown Jewel earlier this month, but subsequently won a Battle Royal to earn her first one-on-one match for the gold.

She has the daunting task of taking out Rhea Ripley, a completely dominant champion whose reign on top has rarely been threatened. Very few people think Zoey can actually win this match, but her confidence has never wavered. If Rhea’s focus is divided due to The Judgment Day’s WarGames match, it might provide an opening for Zoey to do the impossible.

GUNTHER (c) vs. The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship

GUNTHER is the longest reigning Intercontinental champion of all-time and needs new challengers, so The Miz recently turned babyface and won a 4-way match with a botched ending to earn this title match.

The Ring General takes pro wrestling very seriously and has zero respect for an entertainer like The Miz. The Miz thinks his past accomplishments in the ring prove he is the real deal and much more than just an entertainer. The A-lister said he’ll do anything to win the title, and he backed up those words by giving GUNTHER a low blow and Skull Crushing Finale.

Even so, GUNTHER remains the heavy favorite here. It would be completely shocking if he lost his belt to a guy who did the job for Akira Tozawa not that long ago.

Dragon Lee vs. Santos Escobar

The LWO completely imploded a couple weeks ago when Carlito accused Santos Escobar of being a traitor at Crown Jewel. This led to Escobar turning on Rey Mysterio, sending him to the hospital, and wishing his leg was amputated during surgery. Santos beat the shit out of former allies Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro as well, leaving Carlito as the only member of the LWO left to get revenge on him.

It was supposed to be Carlito vs. Santos tonight, but Santos struck again last night on SmackDown and injured Carlito too. Dragon Lee didn’t waste any time asking SmackDown GM Nick Aldis to allow him to take Carlito’s place in this match, so here we are.

There is a rumor that Escobar might have some new henchmen by his side soon, so perhaps his new friends will show up tonight to screw over Dragon.

Summary

Survivor Series is the final main roster PLE of 2023, and some top stars like Roman Reigns and LA Knight are nowhere to be found on the card, Even so, this event is all about the War Games matches, so as long as those bouts deliver the goods, the rest of the lineup doesn’t really matter much.

This night is also about the return of Randy Orton after 18 months on the sidelines, as well as closing the book on all the fan speculation about CM Punk potentially returning to WWE in Chicago. All of the reporting on the situation indicates that Punk won’t be at Survivor Series tonight, but many fans continue to see references to him on WWE TV and hold out hope that the reports are wrong.

What will you be looking for at Survivor Series?

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