Survivor Series is this Sunday and features numerous RAW versus Smackdown Survivor Series elimination matches. The undercard is also filled with numerous matches that feature RAW versus Smackdown. Out of all of the matches between the two brands, none have been hyped more than the men’s elimination match.
Survivor Series Preview: Men’s Elimination Match
First, let’s break down Team RAW. The self-proclaimed co-captain of Team RAW is WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens. Owens has done a very good job of playing his part as the top heel on the Monday night show. His best friend and other self-proclaimed co-captain, Chris Jericho, is also on the team. Jericho has seen a resurgence with his latest run in the company and his infamous list. WWE’s latest monster Braun Strowman is the muscle of the group, and figures to play a key part with an old ally on the Smackdown team. Former SHIELD members Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins round out Team RAW. In total, Team RAW has a combined 36 championships in the WWE.
Team Smackdown is built pretty similarly. Current WWE World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles is the captain. The man Styles has been feuding with recently, Dean Ambrose (who is also a former SHIELD member), is also a part of the team. New allies Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton are both on the blue team and the final member, who was just added last week is the Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon. And how could anyone forget the Team Smackdown mascot James Ellsworth? Between the five members of the blue team, there is a combined 29 championships in the WWE.
There are a few things that one must consider when looking at this match and what to expect. First, the WWE will do whatever they can to protect certain superstars that they are invested in. This means that if Kevin Owens, AJ Styles or Braun Strowman are not going to be one of the survivors in the end, WWE will need to come up with creative ways to have these men eliminated from the match. There are a few key scenarios that could allow the WWE to pull this off.
Braun Stroman can be eliminated by disqualification and keep his heat and continue to come across like the monster he is. Say, for example, Strowman is disqualified because he continues to beat on Shane McMahon in a corner after the referee has finished his five count. This would eliminate him from the match and give another opponent an easy opportunity to pin McMahon and eliminate him while giving McMahon an out thanks to the attack by Stroman. This would be a perfect opportunity for someone like Chris Jericho to pin McMahon and hold it over his head in future promos.
It will be hard for creative to come up with a way to protect both of the brands premier champions. Generally, a pinfall would lead to some sort of championship opportunity for the victor, but with the brand split in place, that is not possible in this match. So, how do they get around this issue? Something like having Kevin Owens cheat to beat AJ Styles would be a believable way to protect Styles and get him out of the match.
Then you have the Wyatt Family. Bray Wyatt has long taken pins in high profile matches, so it would not be the end of the world to see him pinned here. But Randy Orton is sort of a different story. Orton recently turned heel and needs to be built up as such. Having him take a pin this quickly might do some damage to his character. At the same time, it isn’t like the Wyatt Family has ever come through with any of their promises before.
There are a couple of wild cards at play here as well. James Ellsworth is the mascot and has continually cost people matches on Smackdown. Will that continue here? If so, will it be on purpose this time around? It would not be far-fetched to think that this whole time Ellsworth has been a plant by Stephanie McMahon to screw over Team Smackdown. Another wild card is The Undertaker, who returned on the final Smackdown before Survivor Series and claimed that he was back. Taker also threatened the blue team and told them that losing was not an option. Will he have an impact on the match somehow? Will he step in for someone at the last minute?
There is one last wild card that has not been talked about in many places and that is Baron Corbin. Corbin was originally in the match but had to be removed after he sustained an injury against Kalisto two weeks ago; a match that Shane McMahon put Corbin in after he refused to take part in a tag team match. The question here is whether Corbin will interfere to cause Shane McMahon’s elimination? Or could he attack McMahon early in the night and open up a spot for The Undertaker to step in? Truth be told, this might be all fantasy booking, but just some food for thought.
Prediction: Braun Strowman is disqualified. Chris Jericho pins Shane McMahon. Seth Rollins eliminates Bray Wyatt. AJ Styles eliminates Chris Jericho. Roman Reigns eliminates Randy Orton. Kevin Owens eliminates AJ Styles. Dean Ambrose eliminates Seth Rollins. Kevin Owens eliminates Dean Ambrose after James Ellsworth turns on Ambrose. Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns are the survivors.