WWE's 34th annual Survivor Series pay-per-view takes place this Sunday inside the WWE ThunderDome at the Amway Center in downtown Orlando. The show will center around the "battle for brand supremacy" between Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown for the fifth year in a row, and will also feature the "final farewell" of The Undertaker. Heading into the show their are plenty of questions on fans' minds — who wins the assumed main event between Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre? Does The Undertaker actually stay retired or is this all just one big bluff? Will the show still be positively reviewed despite NXT's unexplained absence?
We've once again assembled ComicBook's team of wrestling writers to break down those questions and give their predictions for the show, which you can see in the list below. Are you excited for Survivor Series? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments!
How Badly Is This Show Hurt By NXT's Absence?
Connor Casey: It's crippling. Last year's Survivor Series was my favorite WWE pay-per-view of 2019, due in large part to it actually living up to its build of having matches you'd only get to see once a year. On top of that, it actually made NXT look like the legitimate third brand as opposed to the minor leagues. Now, just one year after it beat both Raw and SmackDown, it doesn't even have a TakeOver on the same weekend. And since its absence hasn't been replaced with any real storylines beyond Roman vs. Drew, my interest has plummeted.
Ryan Droste: I think that it is hurt. NXT added a dynamic to the brand vs. brand concept of Survivor Series that has become worn out. When you hold a draft right before a brand vs. brand show, the idea of the talent having any real loyalty to their new brand is tough to buy. Next year, I'd like to see them try something new.
Evan Valentine: I don't think that Survivor Series will ultimately be hurt too bad on this one, in fact, I've always sort of been a proponent of the "main" roster and the roster of NXT being completely separate from one another in most events. Leave NXT to build its part of the world while WWE does the same and bring them together if necessary.
Nick Valdez: It seemed odd at first, but it seems perfectly natural now after seeing how much time had actually been put into creating storylines for the card rather than just throwing the champs together as usual. NXT's benefited from this as well as those stars can just build without having to stop and take an L from Raw or SmackDown.prevnext
SmackDown vs. Raw — Who Wins This Time?
Connor: Every year I think they'll put Raw over in a big way and every year I'm proven wrong. Let's go with SmackDow.
Ryan: I'll go with SmackDown solely off of the fact that they're on the more important network when it comes to the company's television deals.
Evan: This is a tough one as they're fairly evenly matched, but I'd probably give the edge to Smackdown. I think the five man match will be super close when all is said and done but I see someone like Braun Strowman being the last man standing.
Nick: SmackDown. Raw's entire story is how they can't work together, so I'm guessing their arguing leads to a loss and some one on one feuds for their team going forward. Then again, Jey having to explain to Roman why he lost to Team Raw would make for some good work.prevnext
Do You Believe The Undertaker Is Actually Retired
Connor: Yes, at least for now. Let's see what everybody is saying when a) fans are back in the stands and b) when the next round of Saudi Arabia shows hits. If we're sitting here a year later and he still hasn't wrestled, I'll buy it.
Ryan: No. Nobody ever stays retired in wrestling unless they are medically forced to.
Evan: Not a chance haha. He even said that he would come back to the ring if Vince wanted him to and do we really think that McMahon won't bring back the Deadman at some point? Maybe he won't wrestle during Survivor Series, but he's certainly to make an appearance considering the pay-per-view event was the first time we saw Calaway join the WWE.
Nick: I'm thinking yes for now. Soon as COVID-19 lifts and WWE's heading to Saudi Arabia again, I can imagine a "Super Farewell" to Undertaker. I don't think we're getting a Mark Henry level fake out here, but there's a good chance the Undertaker will get a do-over in front of a crowd. I don't think it'll be a full match, but he deserves one final slam in front of an adoring crowd.prevnext
Will Anything Top Reigns vs. McIntyre for Match of the Night
Connor: New Day vs. Street Profits might squeak by, only because you know those four are invested in having a killer match. Otherwise, this show lives or dies based on Roman vs. Drew.
Ryan: The match is not likely to have a clean finish but should be a banger outside of that. New Day and Street Profits should have a great outing, as well. When it comes to the likelihood of match of the night, I'd rank them: Reigns/McIntyre, Profits/New Day, and then Asuka/Banks.
Evan: It will definitely be a tough match to beat, but I could see Asuka and Sasha Banks giving it a run for its money...that is until Bayley comes in at the last second to get some revenge following their match during this year's Hell In A Cell, setting the groundwork for next year's Wrestlemania.
Nick: It's the only one I'm truly hyped for, so probably not. New Day and Street Profits is going to come close though.prevnext
Which World Champion Has a Brighter Future Following This Pay-Per-View
Connor: Drew has more potential opponents — Sheamus, The Fiend, Miz with his briefcase — but everything they've done with Roman so far on his heel run has been absolute gold. I don't see that changing anytime soon.
Ryan: I want to be clear, the future is incredibly bright for both. McIntyre has been the MVP of the men's division for the entirety of this year. However, what Reigns has done since returning is unmatched; it is by far the most compelling character on WWE television. Therefore, I'm going with Reigns.
Evan: Roman Reigns has found his groove and it's working. I'm not quite sure what we'll see from him in the lead up to Wrestlemania, but I think that Reigns is firing on all cylinders whereas the McIntyre/Orton feud ran for just a bit too long.
Nick: I'm torn between either of them, actually. Drew's at the start of another upswing (especially with his Mania level entrance), but Reigns is off like a rocket. I'm more inclined to say Reigns has a brighter future as it's not clear who his next contender will be, and that's just exciting. Drew, however, will probably have to shut Orton down one more time and that's not cool.prevnext
Survivor Series Has Lacked Any Real Stakes for the Last Few Years. What's One Way They Can Fix That?
Connor: Simple — anybody who is on the winning team of the elimination matches gets a future championship match of their choosing. You can play around with the concept — the 2004 Survivor Series pulled it off by letting everybody on Team Raw get one week as Raw's general manager — but centering it around future championship matches instantly adds stakes.
Ryan: In 1990, the Survivor Series tried a new concept where the survivors of each elimination match went on to a grand finale match at the end of the night. It was a cool idea, especially in an era where you didn't see that many stars together all that often. I wouldn't mind seeing a similar concept today, except you would need to have something on the line in that final match. Perhaps the right to enter #30 at the Royal Rumble could be an incentive. A title shot at the Royal Rumble. Something like that.
Evan: I wrote an article a while back about the idea of bringing back the original structure of Survivor Series, focusing on four-man teams for the entirety of the night and I stick by that. I think that each WWE pay-per-view event really needs to find a way to set itself apart, and with Survivor Series essentially being the next biggest thing for the organization following WrestleMania, it definitely needs to kick things up a notch.
Nick: It's already made some improvements in my eyes. I've never liked how individual character growth has to stop because it's the "one time of year where Raw and SmackDown go head to hand." The pandemic has changed the way WWE tells its stories, and Survivor Series is the better for it. The top match of the card is two people who have dynamically changed themselves and improved due to the challenges of the pandemic. Reigns gets the edge because he got to do the bulk of his growing off-screen, but McIntyre's time as a champion has finally tapped into that same exciting energy he had at his NXT peak. But neither of them can lose that momentum, so a loss has real consequences here! Keep the stories going!prevnext
What's Your Main Event for TLC 2020 Right Now?
Connor: Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan. If they add any stipulation it'll be TLC.
Ryan: I wouldn't mind seeing Daniel Bryan return for a championship match with Reigns. He was the first person that Jey Uso brutally attacked at Reigns' command.0comments
Evan: Definitely Roman Reigns related. I've been waiting to see a handicap match that has both the Usos battling against Roman and it seems like TLC might be the best bet for this, unless they decide to give us a rematch between Reigns and McIntyre.
Nick: Reigns has dominated all of my hype this year, and like Evan I'm hoping for a Usos v Reigns match before they officially become his tribe. We'll probably have an Orton rematch, so the SmackDown main event is already better than whatever McIntyre will be doing.prev