WWE announced at the end of this week's Monday Night Raw that Randy Orton will have to defend the WWE Championship against Drew McIntyre just six days before Survivor Series. Orton cut a backstage promo after the show boldly declaring that he would retain the title and continue his 14th reign as world champion, but the history books definitely aren't in his favor. WWE adopted the Raw vs. SmackDown "battle for brand supremacy" theme for Survivor Series beginning in 2016 and the previous clashes between world champions have resulted in the company pulling a few last-minute title swaps.
The 2017 Survivor Series was supposed to feature Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. Jinder Mahal, only for AJ Styles to dethrone Mahal less than two weeks before the show and challenge "The Beast" as the reigning WWE Champion. Styles and Lesnar were both still champions a year later, so WWE had Daniel Bryan turn heel and cheat to beat Styles for the title on the final episode of SmackDown before the pay-per-view.
It also doesn't help Orton's case that his last reign as WWE Champion ended without him successfully defending the title once. He beat Bray Wyatt for the gold at WrestleMania 33, then dropped it to Mahal at Backlash 49 days later.
There have been reports that a) Orton vs. Edge for the WWE Championship is the current plan for WrestleMania 37 and b) Vince McMahon wants to save McIntyre vs. Reigns for a bigger show down the road. But given the lackluster hype surrounding this year's Survivor Series it's possible that WWE sees McIntyre vs. Reigns as the must-see match the show needs, hence the sudden opportunity for "The Scottish Psychopath" to win the title back.
Do you think Orton retains next week? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments, and check out the full card (as of now) for Survivor Series below:
- WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns
- Raw Women's Champion Asuka vs. SmackDown Women's Champion Sasha Banks
- United States Champion Bobby Lashley vs. Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn
- Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day vs. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Street Profits
- Men's Survivor Series Elimination Tag Match: Team Raw (Keith Lee, AJ Styles, Sheamus, Braun Strowman, Riddle) vs. Team SmackDown (Kevin Owens, Jey Uso, King Corbin, Seth Rollins, TBD)
- Women's Survivor Series Elimination Tag Match (Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, Mandy Rose, Dana Brooke, Lana) vs. Team SmackDown (Bianca Belair, Ruby Riott, TBD)
- The Undertaker's "Final Farewell" appearance