Hey there tatfans and welcome to your very special 3 of 8 “Grand Slam” previews; the innovative sub-section of The Announce Table that previews and reviews the WWE big four – Summerslam, Survivor Series, The Royal Rumble and finally, Wrestlemania XXI. This time around we have got a choc-a-bloc edition previewing what promises to be a bumper pay per view: The Survivor Series.
The Survivor Series is one of the more traditional events the WWE shows. Along with The Royal Rumble, the entire show is based around a type of match. The Series is a 4 on 4 elimination match where the only prize is the prestige of being the last person remaining.
This year, both Raw and Smackdown! are submitting a wealth of their main event talents in order to put on as grand a show as they can. We’ll start of with Raw, and one of the most high stakes matches in a long time.
The team of Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, Chris Jericho and Maven are taking on the team of Triple H, Batista, Edge and Gene Snitsky. The winners of this match get “control of Raw” for the next four weeks but I know the Road to Wrestlemania 21 begins on the following Raw. Therefore I can only predict that Triple H’s team will be victorious.
I’m still unsure as to what they mean as to “getting control of Raw”. Does this mean that these four men will be able to book the matches? Will they be the on-screen decision makers? Will they be accountable to Eric Bischoff? What I gather the prize is the chance to become a bunch of outlaw commissioners, who can go around giving out beatings and changing rules without being accountable to anyone.
I pick Triple H and co for two reasons; firstly I think that Orton vs Triple H at Wrestlemania 21 begins here and the WWE will be as keen as they can to book Triple H as the unbeatable super-heel and get people to truly despise him. And with Edge, Batista and Snitsky in his corner he has three of the most naturally booable heels in the business. Secondly, I just can’t see how Benoit and Maven would abuse their privileges should they win. They’re too honourable for that.
The most classic Survivor Series match on the card is Smackdown!’s offering; Team Angle vs Team Guerrero. There are no big prizes, no stipulations, just a big old grudge with two teams of four who straight-up just don’t like each other. Angle has Luther Reigns, my man Mark Jindrak and Cool Cool Cool. Eddie Guerrero has John Cena, Rob Van Dam and The Big Show. I don’t know where to start with a prediction for this one; the Championship is not involved in any way although with Angle, Guerrero and Big Show involved we have 3 main contenders. My advice is to just sit back and enjoy this one, we don’t have to worry about booking, about retributions, about storylines; this is just about lasting longer than anyone else. A Survivor Series match in the truest sense of the form. At a push I’ll go for Team Angle to win but this is one of those matches which I can’t predict so I hope for a great match instead. Cool Cool Cool is also injured, so let’s hope that this doesn’t affect the match too much.
John Bradshaw Layfield puts his title on the line against Booker T, the five time WCW Champion who has yet to win the big one in the WWE. Last time around I suggested that JBL had defended his title successfully for the final time, and I think I’m going to stick by that. I thought that Big Show would be the man to take his crown but Booker T is currently just as convincing.
The Book Man has been on a stunning run so far, and is super over with the crowd. His scissors-kick has been booked to look like a 100 kilogram anvil is being dropped on someone’s head and not a man’s calf, and he is looking as dynamic as he ever has in the ring. Couple this with the fact that this is probably Booker’s last year as a main event star and I can only envisage a short but very sweet title reign for Booker to see him off into retirement.
Shelton Benjamin puts his Intercontinental Championship up against Christian too. Now it’s not unlike Raw to give someone the belt before swiping it away from them, just ask Randy Orton, just ask Chris Jericho, and this makes the match even more exciting. Christian has had some rotten luck recently; he was out of action for months, and he has also lost his last few high-profile matches against Jericho and HBK. In fact, his last major victory was at Wrestlemania and even that wasn’t clean.
I love Christian’s sneering, snide little runty character so I hope he wins this match, and my heart says he will. A guy like Christian is just made for a long term reign with a belt whereas right now Benjamin is more convincing as a challenger. My head says Benjamin will retain though; the Intercontinental belt has been passed around too much lately so perhaps it needs to stay with someone for a while. Whoever does win this will hold the belt for at least until Wrestlemania, as each athlete is the benchmark of upper-midcard quality right now.
Spike Dudley, Rey Mysterio, Billy Kidman and Chavo Guerrero take part in a fatal four-way for the Cruiserweight Championship in another difficult match to predict. Each man is getting a very reasonable push right now. Spike is the “general” of the Dudleyz, Kidman is the new heel who keeps picking up victories, Chavo is the returning enigma with the big vendetta and Mysterio is the man who just went 10 rounds with Kurt Angle.
No result would surprise me as each man is looking really strong right now. If the Dudleyz are at ringside then I will give Spike the win, but if they’re not then he will lose the belt. I also get the impression that Chavo is showing just a little bit of rust in the ring, and also that he has sort-of interrupted Billy Kidman’s push. Rey Mysterio is a natural born champion, gold suits him, but it also looks great around the waist of Billy Kidman, the most surprising, and convincing, heel on Smackdown right now. I nominate him to pick up a decent win.
The Undertaker goes up against John Heidenreich in a match that it seems no-one is really looking forward to, but I have to give Heidenreich some credit. He has been a good crazy-man over the last couple of months, and clearly looks a lot safer in the ring, but I still don’t think this will be enough to convince the Undertaker to do the job to him. In what will turn out to be more of an “executive decision” than a “wrestling” one, Undertaker will take a few big moves by Heidenreich surprisingly easily and will then Tombstone Heidenreich. Straight to hell, you ask? Probably.
Finally, and I hate to say this, but we have what is turning into the stock Trish Stratus vs Lita Women’s Championship match. After all the roster cuts, especially to the women’s roster; Jazz, Nidia, Gail Kim and Shaniqua, and with no replacements seemingly in place, the Women’s belt looks like it will be contested by about four women; Trish, Molly, Lita and Victoria. I think Trish should win this with a little help from Tyson Tomko but unless some new main event talent is drafted in, perhaps this will be one of the last Women’s Title matches we talk about for a long time?
I hope that Survivior Series stays as close as possible to the values that made this annual event so famous and popular. It may sound a bit finicky to some, but I hope that they don’t forget that a Survivor Series doesn’t have to be decided by two men standing. I hope they remember that it can finish as 4 men against one, and team mates from either side are not always eliminated one after the other.
There are a lot of egos to please in that ring, but there are a whole more fans to think about.
The match I’m looking forward to the most, and this is by a country mile, is Team Angle vs Team Guerrero. I just hope that this match lives up to my personal expectations of a classic style booking with a vintage 3 on 1 finish and I’ll be a happy chap.
Oh, and I hope Christian wins the Intercontinental Belt!