Saturday, November 20, 2010

Wrestling: Survivor Series (2010) Predictions

It's been one of the classic WWF/WWE "big five" Pay-Per-Views for more than twenty years, but at the beginning of 2010, WWE announced it no longer had use for the antiquated event, aiming to replace it with another of it's many concept shows. Fortunately, Survivor Series did not go the way of the King of the Ring PPV, becoming reinstated as plans for the Nexus faction began to take hold in RAW's programming -- a blessing, to be sure!

No Holds Barred WWE Championship match with special guest referee, John Cena
Wade Barrett vs Randy Orton (c)

If you've been living under a wrestling rock, then you wouldn't know that this match comes with an added special stipulation: If Wade Barrett wins the title, John Cena will be released from the contract that binds him to Barrett's service. If Orton retains, then John Cena will be fired, as is apparently allowed by Barrett's powers over him. A situation that all but forces Cena to aid his begrudging master, or so it would seem.

For us fans, the rock and hard place comes in the form of the unlikelihood of John Cena's absence from WWE programming, versus Wade Barrett's relative unreadiness to hold as covetted a top spot as the WWE Champion. A predicament, to be sure, but not one that's at all foreign. In 1998, for example, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin was given many challenges that threatened unemployment, such as Judgment Day, where he refused to count three for either Undertaker, or Kane. Steve Austin, a bigger star in stature and monetary gains, always found a way back to teevee and to the WWE roster. If pushed, I'm sure John Cena would have similar fictional methods available to him, as well. Will they go the long way around, though? I'm not sure it's in keeping with the WWE style any more, certainly not if they want to get away with this angle.

Barrett is quite green, still. His power as a talker has carried him since winning NXT and forming The Nexus, but I'd be reluctant to say that makes him a worthy WWE Champion. Of course, being worthy has very little to do with championships in WWE, these days. Neither does the logical outcome though, either. What about Money in the Bank holder The Miz? He has until the end of the year to cash his championship shot in -- will he play a factor?

I honestly don't know what to expect of this match, and that has elevated it above it's otherwise mediocre status. These usual suspects of the RAW main event rarely entice, but the possibility that WWE will make a hard decision is enticing. John Cena as a heel aiding Wade Barrett's victory with glee might be the best possible outcome, but that's too easy, and I don't think it'll happen. Exactly what will happen, I do not know!
Prediction: Randy Orton

Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match
Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, Chris Masters, Big Show & Montel Vontavious Porter vs Alberto del Rio, Tyler Reks, Drew McIntyre, Jack Swagger & Cody Rhodes

Personally, I don't feel Survivor Series need revolve around these classic ten-man elimination tag matches. My favourite Survivor Series shows might actually be 1998, where the WWF title was contended in a King of the Ring style elimination tournament, and 2002, where the feature of the night was the first even Elimination Chamber -- a survior's match if there ever was one.

The construction of the match has been somewhat clumsy, but it at least provides an eclectic mix of Smackdown's wrestling stars. Alberto del Rio continues to rise through the ranks, with many assuming he'll be groomed for a spot as a face. He certainly has a team backing him that should put up a worthy challenge against the heroes of the match-up. I think he might get the rub.
Prediction: Team del Rio

World Heavyweight Championship match
Edge vs Kane (c)

The last thing I want to see before the decade is through is Edge with another championship reign. Kane's first on-going reign in the top spot hasn't been anything to write home about, but it's serving a purpose. With any luck, this will be a decent match, but I don't need to see Edge get the better of it for a satisfying end. Perhaps a DQ finish, or some other non-title situation.
Prediction: Edge

Sheamus vs John Morrison
Morrison's role as rescuer made for a confusing build-up to this match, but at the end of the day, it's got the making of a great mid-card bout. These two have very different styles, and while there's potential for disaster, I think Morrison will be up to the challenge of working a good match. Sheamus was on the receiving end of a shock upset to Santino Marella (the man who Morrison saved). I would expect his winning ways to be restored here.
Prediction: Sheamus

Tag Team Championship match
Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov vs Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater (c)

Why oh why, Heath Slater? Why?
There's a popular theory going around that Vince McMahon wants to destroy tag team wrestling. It's a symbol of the fictional premise of the pseudo-sport, and all he's interested in selling is "entertainment." This match might actually help make the argument. The best legit team, The Hart Dynasty, has been jobbed silly over the past few months, taking a pointless barrage of losses to patchwork pairing, Cody Rhodes & Drew McIntyre, who've now dissolved themselves. Kozlov and Marella are barely comedy relief, but also one of the most successful duos of the year. Honestly, I wouldn't be too fussed if they picked up a shock win. I used to have a bit of a soft spot for Kozlov, and wouldn't mind seeing him finally get a credit to his name. I'd think there's more to come from the Nexus, however, and they will benefit from backing up their claim to the gold (or bronze, "big ass pennies" as Jeff Hardy put it).
Prediction: Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater

Intercontinental Championship match
Kaval vs Dolph Ziggler (c)

Despite being a two-time X-Division champion (as Low-Ki), Kaval just can't buy a win in WWE, it seems. That's a path Bryan Danielson knows all too well, which, for both men, included statistically unimpressive runs through NXT, before joining the big shows with more losses to come. Danielson ("Daniel Bryan") finally got the rub when he won the United States title from rival, The Miz, and has been winning some of the better matches of each show, ever since. I don't know that the same fairytale ending is in Kaval's future, but hopefully this is the start of something. Ziggler has given the IC belt some sense of stability, but it's an otherwise forgettable run. In 2011, it'd be great to see prestige come back to the WWE titles. Good matches like this might be a start.
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler

United States Championship match
Ted Dibiase vs Daniel Bryan (c)

Ted Dibiase has been suffering from a severe lack of personality, something his former Priceless teammate, Cody Rhodes, has done well to avoid. I still prefer Dibiase of the two, but absolutely could not stomach a US championship reign at this point in time. Maryse adds some interest to his appearances, but no amount of bad singing and babes will be enough to make Dibiase a worthy contender to this title. The best we can hope for is a decent match. Bryan Danielson needs a better class of challenger to etch his name in history with, but at least he isn't on the losing end of this questionable encounter [I hope].
Prediction: Daniel Bryan

Handicap Divas Championship match
Natalya Neidhart vs Layla & Michelle McCool (c)

I don't know what the point of this match is, or the Divas title, for that matter.
With TNA dropping the ball on their women's tag titles, they might as well make the Divas belt a tandem title (as discussed many times throughout 2010). Pointless either way.
Prediction: Michelle McCool & Layla

The Kayfabe Countdown: WWE Top Ten
Cumulative tally based on the win/loss records of televised matches.

#1 The Big Show [--]
#2 Kofi Kingston [--]
#3 Rey Mysterio [--]
#4 Randy Orton (WWE Champion) [--]
#5 Drew McIntyre [--]
#6 Cody Rhodes [--]
#7 R-Truth [--]
#8 The Miz (Money in the Bank) [--]
#9 Kane (World Heavyweight Champion) [--]
#10 John Cena [RE]

#1 Tyson Kidd & DH Smith [--]
#2 Layla & Michelle McCool [--]
#3 Drew McIntyre & Cody Rhodes [--]
#4 Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov [--]
#5 Brie Bella & Nikki Bella [--]

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