I don’t like to talk about the same thing in back to back weeks but there’s only so much going on in wrestling at the moment. With Survivor Series coming up on Sunday, the final two weeks of Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live have been devoted to building up the one big story of the battling brands. While there might be a few more things going on with the show, everything revolves around that one concept, which is a pretty far cry from the original shows.
The original idea behind Survivor Series was to take a bunch of stories and feuds and put them into a series of elimination tag matches. These matches allowed for the major feuds to be advanced while also throwing in some matches that you didn’t get to see all that often. It made a few extra ideas and allowed things to advance while not just doing the same matches over and over again.
That was the case for a very long time, with only the occasional years of mixing things up. WWE would always come back to the elimination concept almost every year, though in the last few years that has changed. Now it’s all about Monday Night Raw vs. SmackDown Live with the shows’ bosses talking about how important everything to them, because for some reason the fans are supposed to be obsessed with picking sides. It’s not about the wrestlers anymore, but rather the shows they’re on. That’s what we’re getting again this year and that’s not what I want to see.
Therefore, today we’re going to mix things up a bit and see how the card would go if it was following the format of the original shows. Survivor Series is a simple idea that can still work today, even if that idea seems to be a waste of time anymore, mainly because they wouldn’t be able to say the name of the shows over and over again for weeks while having one show invading the other.
Today, I’m going to look at what a Survivor Series card could look like coming out of Super Show-Down (with a little leniency here and there when there were no stories set). The show would still feature talents from Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live, but rather than having them fight each other, the teams would be from the same brand. For the sake of simplicity, we’ll assume that the matches are able to fit into the pay per view time slot with some elimination tags and a few other matches to fill things in.
Note that this was written before this week’s SmackDown Live, which should be obvious.
These are in no order, save for the main event and Kickoff Show matches.
Kickoff Show: Cruiserweight Title: Buddy Murphy(c) vs. Mustafa Ali
This is one of the few matches that WWE has gotten right. Murphy won the title last month in Australia and then you have Ali as the best possible challenger. The title should change hands here with Ali getting his big moment on the big stage. There isn’t anything else to add here as the match makes perfect sense and has been set up very well.
Kickoff Show: US Title: Shinsuke Nakamura(c) vs. Rey Mysterio
They’ve already set this up with Mysterio defeating Nakamura to qualify for the World Cup. Since Nakamura’s title reign means a grand total of nothing though (despite Nakamura being six days away from having the longest title reign in three years), it’s no surprise that Mysterio has never mentioned wanting a title shot. Give him one here, maybe even give him the title for the sake of capitalizing on his popularity since his return, and go from there with the fans getting a big reaction to a southern California hero.
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose
This match is going to happen at some point and there is no better place than the same show where Shield debuted. You definitely don’t need to have a conclusive winner here and it would make more sense to have them brawl to a double DQ, possibly in a hurry. Or don’t even have the match start as Rollins just beats on Ambrose and they fight before the bell even rings. As long as Rollins doesn’t pin him here, you have a bunch of viable options to choose from.
SmackDown Women’s Title: Becky Lynch(c) vs. Naomi
Everyone needs some cannon fodder and, despite what WWE seems to think, Naomi can be used for more than talking about the Glow while Asuka beats up the IIconics. She’s still popular and would be a great victim for Lynch instead of having her beat Charlotte again. It’s a one off match and title defense with Lynch wrecking one of the most popular people on the roster. Save up the Ronda Rousey vs. Lynch match for later, on a stage where it might be a little better served (though make sure to do it, because the build has been awesome).
Ronda’s Rowdies vs. The Samoan Dynasty
Ronda Rousey, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Natalya, Ember Moon
Nia Jax, Mickie James, Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan
Sounds better than Team Rousey vs. Team Jax no? With Tamina intentionally left off for the sake of not dragging the match down. This is another one that writes itself. You already have built in feuds for the title with Jax going after the title and the Riott Squad’s eternal feud with Bayley/Banks/Natalya. Make something up for Moon vs. James (or just have them there on the side because the match needs five people each) and you’re off to the races.
Step Up To The Bar vs. Uso Penitentiary
The Bar, Sanity, Colons
Usos, New Day, Good Brothers
Yes just three teams per side, because there are nowhere near enough teams to make more than that so we’re not going to stretch things out further than they need to go. You could have this be one elimination per team or single elimination rules, though either way you could almost guarantee a few eliminations happening at once to get rid of some of the people. This doesn’t need to last long and can be used to set up someone as fresh challengers for the Bar. Say the Good Brothers for example. As in someone actually new.
All-Americans vs. We’re Taking Over
Kurt Angle, Bobby Roode, Finn Balor, Elias, Apollo Crews
Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler, Bobby Lashley, Lio Rush, Baron Corbin
This is another good example of a match where I had to cut down on the amount of names that I could put in since there were other options I left out (Jinder Mahal, Bray Wyatt and more). For the sake of this, have it get down to McIntyre vs. Angle and you can do the same ending that you had from last week on Monday Night Raw. Roode can be in there for cannon fodder and the entrance to fire up the fans at the start. Rush is fine for the annoying pest who gets beaten up with a series of finishers because everyone is sick of hearing from him. All that matters though is McIntyre wins in the end.
Universal Title: Brock Lesnar(c) vs. Braun Strowman
Yes do it again here and yes put the title on Strowman. He can lose it at the Royal Rumble or at Elimination Chamber or wherever else, but get it off of Lesnar as soon as possible and make Strowman the star he should be. I know it’s too late to really capitalize on everything he has but do what you can already. You can keep this short again with Lesnar hitting the F5 and Strowman coming right back with the running powerslams. I’m sure Lesnar will be paid either way.
The Phenomenal Ones vs. The A-List
AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, Jeff Hardy, Kofi Kingston, Rusev
The Miz, Samoa Joe, Andrade Cien Almas, Randy Orton, Aiden English
All that matters here is Miz pinning Styles to set him up as the next challenger to the title. Rusev and English have been feuding for months, Orton can pick a new legend to go after (Kingston is owed a big victory), Hardy vs. Almas can be set up and Samoa Joe choked out Bryan a few weeks ago. Miz beats Bryan and Styles at some point in the match to establish himself as the clear #1 contender to end the show. Everything else is a detail you can pick one way or another.
This card took me about ten minutes to put together. I know WWE loves the idea of one story instead of, you know, more than that, and they’re stuck under a mandate of what to put on the card, but it’s not like a card that works isn’t out there. Survivor Series is a concept that can still work without having the red vs. blue idea over and over. Can we please just try something else? Just for a single year? I’m not sure I can survive another in the series otherwise.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 28 wrestling books. His latest book is the the Complete 2003 Smackdown Reviews.
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