RAW Deal: Red vs. Blue
HOUSTON, TX, USA—I’ll give the WWE credit for one thing: even though we still don’t really know the actual stakes both brands are fighting for this Survivor Series, they’ve done a good job of building up the drama and urgency. If this comes back around next year, we’ll remember everything that’s happened in 2017 and say it was a good feud.
I mean, I’m hooked. Aren’t you? This may be saying a lot, but it’s the first time in NXT’s Takeover history that the build for a main show PPV actually eclipsed the build for an NXT Takeover—especially one that’s bringing back the legendary WarGames. It helps that WWE’s stacking the deck all the way to the top by adding three legends in the main event, and pulling out all the stops they could. Sometimes it’s approaching the point of being too hokey, but the star-studding works just because Survivor Series was designed to be led by an ensemble cast.
Let’s take a look at how I think the show’s going down:
Enzo Amore vs. Kalisto for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship in a kickoff match
Still think they should’ve just gone all in and had a cruiserweight elimination match to prolong the feud. They’re a bit trapped in the corner here in a Neville/Austin Aries situation; Amore still needs the title to help build up face contenders, but if Kalisto loses here he’ll be a sitting duck. I hope someone debuts and interrupts—maybe a Japanese guy we haven’t seen in NXT in a while?
Winner: Enzo Amore
The Usos vs. Sheamus and Cesaro in a tag team match
Last year there were enough tag teams in both divisions for a huge 10-man elimination match; now we’re reduced to having the champions represent the brands. Maybe it’s for the better, anyway. The Usos need to take this one home and establish themselves as one of the best teams in the entire company.
Winner: The Usos
The Miz (with the Miztourage) vs. Baron Corbin
This little interbrand champion vs. champion feud has developed in an interesting way. There was a nice little tease with the WWE attempting to cast some doubt over the Intercontinental Championship scene on SmackDown by having Sin Cara challenge for Baron Corbin’s title, but now we’re left with a clear heel vs. heel matchup. Miz will have to work pseudo-face by default here, as he’s the one with more to defend. If that’s the case, I’d like to see Corbin beat him despite the presence of the Miztourage and move Miz toward being a more organic face.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Team RAW Women (Alicia Fox, Nia Jax, Asuka, Bayley, and Sasha Banks) vs. Team SmackDown (Becky Lynch, Carmella, Naomi, Tamina, and TBA)
The real question here is who exactly Team SmackDown’s 5th member would be after Charlotte Flair won the SmackDown Women’s Championship from Natalya this week. The easy money would be on Natalya, the former champion she just replaced. Rumors are swirling that the 5th spot is reserved for the return of the embattled Paige; and while that makes sense, I just don’t see that happening when Natalya is really right there. Or it could just be Lana, who knows.
The winner of this match would depend on who that 5th woman really is. If it’s merely Natalya, I think Team RAW’s got this match to lose, especially with Asuka on their roster.
Winner: Team RAW Women
The Shield vs. The New Day in a 6-man tag match
This match is a prime example of overloading the card to maximize it. All members of the Shield were supposed to represent RAW elsewhere, with Roman Reigns originally being on Team RAW and Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose being RAW tag champs. This is a much better use for them and the New Day since we know they’ve got the highest chances of stealing the show. There are people who think the New Day are breaking up after this match, and there’s a possibility of that happening as the Shield have to win here to get back the momentum of their would-be reunion.
Winner: The Shield
Alexa Bliss vs. Charlotte Flair
Alexa Bliss has been a sitting duck for a while now since her feud with Mickie James, and while she’s waiting for the eventual rivalry with Asuka to happen and take the championship from her, I think she needs the win more. Flair already had her hometown victory moment with her dad.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) vs. AJ Styles
This may be the low-key most interesting storyline heading into Survivor Series. Everyone knows former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal was the guy who started this interbrand rivalry by challenging Brock Lesnar to a match. Now that AJ Styles ended up taking the championship from him two weeks ago on SmackDown Live, it’s gotten even harder to predict who should win this match. Although it’s easy to bet on Lesnar winning with the help of interference from Mahal, it doesn’t help Styles at all to lose to Lesnar, even if it is Lesnar. My most favorable scenario is Mahal comes in and causes a no-contest, but we also know that’s not gonna go over well with the universe. Isn’t it sad that we’re really not expecting Styles to win clean here?
Winner: Brock Lesnar
Team RAW Men (Kurt Angle, Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Triple H) vs. Team SmackDown Men (Shane McMahon, Randy Orton, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, John Cena)
When you really think about it, this match might be the most main event-y main event in the WWE this year. All of the company’s biggest names (save for their champions) are included in this match, and the level of talent should make this elimination match one for the ages. However, it’s also pretty easy to predict—RAW’s been the underdog in this entire feud, and SmackDown’s got a lot of karma waiting around for them in the form of Shane McMahon’s hubris and Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn’s pettiness. This is team RAW’s to take.
Winner: Team RAW Men
Let me know what your predictions are in the comments!
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