Survivor Series emanates live from Toronto, Ontario, Canada this Sunday. After a series of forgettable, average-at-best pay-per-views, the November tradition is shaping up to be one of the best shows in recent memory. Here’s why:
10. Breezango – Yep – I’m going there right off the bat. I’m all in on this duo. So, yes, this pay-per-view has just enough Breezango on it to be exceptional. Really, Tyler Breeze and Fandango are the most entertaining tag team on Smackdown not named American Alpha. Push them to the mooon.
9. Comedy done right – It’s rare for WWE to excel at comedy. It often comes off campy and corny. However, Smackdown has absolutely nailed James Ellsworth. Now, he’s the official mascot of Team Smackdown. Sign me up.
8. High stakes Cruiserweight Division action – Even the Cruiserweights are getting in on the brand rivalry. Brian Kendrick vs. Kalisto should deliver, but with the division hanging in the balance, a lot more is on the line. Can you imagine the Cruiserweight division on Smackdown?
7. New Day’s run continues – With virtually all of the WWE’s noteworthy tag teams vying for brand superiority, the Raw Tag Team Championships get a rest. That greatly increases the chances of the New Day recording the longest reign as any tag team champions in WWE history. Now, whether you support that or not – who knows? I do. They’re the greatest tag team since the Attitude Era.
6. Shane O’ Mac returns to in-ring action – Here comes the money, amiright?!?! I don’t know how much of a draw McMahon was at Wrestlemania in a one-on-one showdown with The Undertaker, but he’s right at home in the midst of a ten-man tag team match. For wrestling fans, it’s always a spectacle when the prodigal son laces up the boots.
5. Dolph Ziggler vs. Sami Zayn – Need I say more? I mean, technically, I’m not doing my job as a columnist if I don’t provide anymore insight. However, I don’t think any of us really need any further clarification here. Nonetheless, this is an outright dream match. Two of the greatest in-ring workers in the world going at it one-on-one for one of the WWE’s most storied championships.
4. GOOOOOOLD-BERG! Sure, the actual match between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar is probably going to be a snooze-fest. Sure, Goldberg looked gassed after his entrances. He was totally sucking wind, soaked in sweat, trying to cut a promo on Raw. When he got a little action in on Rusev, he committed a couple of blunders that left fans wondering if he should’ve just stayed home.
Also, his opponent isn’t exactly a known ring general. It’s not as though Goldberg is stepping into the squared circle opposite AJ Styles or Seth Rollins. Lesnar doesn’t exactly have the reputation of being a real gamer. Just ask Dean Ambrose.
This match has all of the makings of a total disaster. That being said, it really is going to feel special to see two titans of wrestling lore standing face-to-face, eagerly awaiting the bell to ring. The entrances are going to be long, drawn out, pyro-laden masterpieces. Honestly, I hope the entrances last longer than the match itself.
That visual is going to ring in the hearts of the fans who grew up with Goldberg.
3. The main event (or, what should be) – You have eight of the best workers in the world involved in the main Raw vs. Smackdown bout. And, hey – I’ll give Braun Strowman credit. He is an improved wrestler.
There are so many dynamics at play here. There’s potential for a champion vs. champion showdown that the IWC has been having wet dreams over for years: Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles. Braun Strowman might rag-doll Shane McMahon off of the arena. Hey, there’s also potential for The Shield to reunite.
Quite simply, there’s a wealth of excitement heading into this match. These are the workers who have been on the shows week in and week out, touring to promote this show. So, there’s absolutely no reason for it not to be the main event.
2. Brand rivalry is back – In one show, they’ve somehow managed to make me care about brand superiority again. Before, the Raw vs. Smackdown rivalry felt horribly manufactured. It’s tough to bring back the feel of the inaugural brand split in 2002, but in recent weeks, the WWE has done well to make it feel important.
Factor in that there are virtually no consequences to either side losing, and it really has been quite the admirable booking job. There’s dissension among the ranks on Raw. Meanwhile, superstars are being pulled from the match because of injury on Smackdown (kind of sucks for Baron Corbin – I was stoked about a potential Corbin-Strowman faceoff).
It feels like a nice, standalone event, similar to the Royal Rumble and King of the Ring – as it should. The big question now is whether or not they should bring back the Bragging Rights trophy. Too soon? R.I.P. Bragging Rights.
1. The Thanksgiving tradition – Yeah, I’m going to get a little sappy on you for a second, but there’s just nothing quite like the ties Survivor Series has to turkey day. For (American) wrestling fans, Survivor Series is sort of the unofficial kickoff to the holiday season. The year is starting to wind down, and we’re all thinking back on the year that was. It’s a time to enjoy the company of loved ones
Or, it’s a time to throw somebody through a table. You decide.
Regardless, this is one of the best Survivor Series cards of all time on paper. Whether it delivers on that potential, well, that’s a different point altogether. For the time being, just enjoy the festivities.
Stoney Keeley covers the WWE for WrestlingNews.co, covers the NFL’s Tennessee Titans for Pro Football Spot, and is the Editor of The SoBros Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @StoneyKeeley and the SPOT’s Tennessee Titans Twitter feed at @spot_titans.