WWE Survivor Series 2015
November 22, 2015
Phillips Arena – Atlanta, Georgia
Meet Our Preview Team!
- Ru Gunn (@doctordala): Ru is Voices of Wrestling’s SmackDown reviewer and one of the best damn wrestling writers on the planet. We have a little bias but seriously, she’s awesome, read her stuff.
- Joey O’Doherty (@AwesomeOJoe): Joey’s good too! O’Doherty is currently a columnist at Voices of Wrestling covering a number of topics, mainly focusing on WWE and NXT.
- Jeff Hawkins (@Crapgame13): Don’t let the Twitter name fool you, there is nothing crappy about Jeff Hawkins, 1/2 of Voices of Wrestling’s Shake Them Ropes podcast. They talked to Dave Meltzer this week and you should listen to it.
- Sean Flynn (@spiffie6123): Sean is Voices of Wrestling’s RAW reviewer. Please accept our condolences.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Tyler Breeze
Ru Gunn: For Ziggler to stall Breeze’s momentum here would seem to be a lose-lose situation that wouldn’t get anyone over. Prediction: Tyler Breeze
Joey O’Doherty: Breeze has looked good in his two Raw outings and I feel Ziggler will bring the best out of him in what could be a show stealing match. While I do feel Breeze could be used better from a character point of view, he has fared better than other NXT callups in recent memory—Adam Rose, The Ascension and Emma say hello. Prediction: Tyler Breeze
Jeff Hawkins: Count me in on the hopes that this is a hot opener with show stealing potential. Unlike curtain jerking in NXT, Breeze actually gets to win one. I think we need to establish Breeze a bit after taking him out clean to Ambrose in the tournament: but that doesn’t mean a midcard heel gets a clean win. Summer Rae with the distraction assist. Prediction: Tyler Breeze
Sean Flynn: Common sense booking would say you put the new guy cleanly over an old guy who can take a loss. But WWE is not known for their common sense booking. I think they give Breeze the win, but only after making it clear he should have lost. Prediction: Tyler Breeze
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Semifinal
Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose
Ru Gunn: I saw this match at a house show last week, so I know how this one ends (the New Day and Cesaro interfere). Truthfully, as much as I advocate for the blue brand, this shouldn’t’ve been “wasted” as a throwaway time-filler main event the Thursday before last, and instead built up as a really significant dream-match; two beloved independent wrestlers who somehow never crossed paths before now, finally butting heads on the road to the WWE Championship. In a situation where Owens is forced to participate and doesn’t have the option of scarpering with his belt, I hope to see a new level of motivation from both men. Prediction: Dean Ambrose
Joey O’Doherty: I’m honestly on the fence here. It’s possible that both could be easily positioned into the spot of main event heel if WWE wants to go down that route, and Ambrose could easily become the victim screwed out of the title if Reigns was to turn in the final. I’ll go with Ambrose to win here as it tells a better suspenseful tale if he meets Reigns in the final. I expect Owens and Ambrose to, at the very least, be an entertaining brawl. Prediction: Dean Ambrose
Jeff Hawkins: Meet Dean. Meet Roman. Dean is Roman’s buddy through thick, thin and failed pushes and attempts to leech the Shield’s heat. They’re on opposite sides of the tournament. Dean has supported Roman in his quest, but what if he’s the last obstacle? Well before we get to that, we have to give Dean something to do after, so we sow the seeds for an Owens feud here, and I for one am DYING to see what these two do at December’s TLC. This one’s going to go for a while a la Cesaro/Roman and I think be very good, but in the end, Dean gets the win, and probably also gets beat down by Owens post-match. Prediction: Dean Ambrose
Sean Flynn: I’m slowly working myself into a shoot when it comes to how this tournament is going to play out. I want to go all crazy with fantasy booking involving triple threat matches, heel turns, MITB cash-ins, going full Russo. But I think WWE is going to make this simple. No turns. No cash-in (at least no successful cash-in), and a face vs. heel final. With Rollins out, Owens is pretty much the de facto #1 bad guy, so might as well put him with their desired #1 good guy. I’m looking for Owens and Ambrose to go balls to the wall in this match as they try to cement themselves into the top-level mix before WrestleMania season begins. Prediction: Kevin Owens
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Semifinal
Roman Reigns vs. Alberto Del Rio
Ru Gunn: If Roman Reigns is an exclamation mark, what type of punctuation is Alberto Del Rio since his return? Perhaps ellipses; he’s full of the promise of future excitement, but is mostly just a long drawn-out expectant sort of nothingness. No matter how chiseled Berto looks, his matches have fallen short of spectacular, even when he’s been specifically positioned against opponents that make him seem dominant, strong, and exceptionally handsome. Here, he’s going to play second fiddle to Reigns on all those characteristics; so unless Berto suddenly becomes a compelling scrappy underdog, this is going to be an awkward match with a weird power balance. Prediction: Roman Reigns
Joey O’Doherty: Alberto has looked solid enough since returning even though his partnership with Colter feels unnecessary. He is nothing more than a road block that Reigns will eventually pass to reach the final. Alberto is destined to receive his first loss since returning to WWE, therefore this match will most likely be devoid of any suspense or drama. Alberto, depending on his mood, may drag a decent match out of Reigns but without any real emotional investment, I fear this match will drag on longer than it should. Prediction: Roman Reigns
Jeff Hawkins: More like Meh-ximerica. Other than looking the part I tend to be of the camp that the only excitement Alberto Del Rio brings to WWE is Vince McMahon’s fantasies of conquering AAA and CMLL. His promos are uninspiring, his matches are rather devoid of actual emotion from him, and he goes through the motions of a good but never great WWE style match. I’d love to be wrong and see him cut a promo in Spanish with subtitles or a Zeb translation that makes me take notice. While we all hold our breaths until MexAmerica goes to war with Freedonia, he’s a man of size with a secondary title which makes him “credible” for the Big Dog, and the Big Dog’s gotta eat. Perhaps a loaf of Roman Meal (I can do this too, Vince). I think we get a callback to the Raw arm injury with a couple of Cross Armbreakers for intrigue for the final match. Prediction: Roman Reigns
Sean Flynn: Everything about the return of Alberto Del Rio confuses me. I don’t know who decided to bring him back, how much it cost to get him to let bygones do their thing, what the hell is up with him and Zeb Colter. None of it makes a lick of sense. Thankfully The Big Doggernaut, the leader of the Roman Empire, the future of the company is here to put everything right. I kind of hope this match doesn’t go too long or get too intense, as I want Reigns to have the energy to put on a huge match with Owens in the finals. Prediction: Roman Reigns
WWE Divas Championship
Charlotte © vs. Paige
Ru Gunn: I feel like WWE needs to pick whether they’re going to be family friendly entertainment marketed heavily to children, or whether they’re the sort of company who are going to do angles about addiction-based death. This feud, while feeling typically haphazardly assembled and lacking anything deeper than a hastily scrawled note before RAW, has a particularly mean-spirited vileness to it that is attracting unneeded seedy controversy to the women’s division. All of this cheap drama makes me extremely sceptical that this will pull through to be a well-worked, wrestling-focused match. Prediction: Paige via DQ
Joey O’Doherty: Regardless of the lack of taste shown in the RAW segment between these two women, it was a step in the right direction, even if WWE did take a step back with the needless Reid Flair comments, than any half assed revolution. The contract signing gave this limp feud a good jolt of adrenaline that has been lacking from any main roster divas feud in recent memory. The match itself has the potential to be solid but considering the competitors, it may end up being the blind leading the blind in terms of booking and psychology, as Paige and Charlotte are far from the top workers in the division. I predict this feud will continue so a cheap win for either girl is on the horizon. I’ll go with Paige via DQ with Charlotte’s rage getting the better of her. Prediction: Paige via DQ
Jeff Hawkins: I knew waiting to turn in my pick would pay off. Look, as I explained on this week’s Shake Them Ropes this kind of “real life” can be used, it just has to be earned. But who believes Paige and Charlotte truly hate each other to the point where one would use the worst possible thing you could say to the other? Michael Bay finds this character development suspect. I also still think that in Greenville this was meant to get an “Izzy Groan” a la Sasha in NXT. Now, for all the perpetual outrage being pointed at the WWE for doing such a thing, are we really that surprised? A company that used an invasion of Iraq and a beloved wrestling icon turning traitor to sell tickets to their “biggest WrestleMania of all time” (at the time). [A terrible French tragedy to sell out Cowboys Stadium reference would go here, but I’m not that guy].
Now, WWE being the swell people they are have put the responsibility on Charlotte for “strongly advocating” the angle “with talent’s consent” which I find as believable as Shawn Michaels not knowing what was going on in Montreal. I mean I’m sure Tony Atlas wanted a racist portrayal of African-American culture, Sgt. Slaughter asked to be called a traitor by millions of people and that Muhammad Hassan not only wanted to do a terrorism angle, but also suggested his own termination for being foolish enough to agree to such a thing when an attack was bound to happen around the same time. Sure that “Southern ‘rasslin” had race baiting and misogyny, among other things, but it wasn’t done in lieu of taking the time to do character development. I think Charlotte’s losing the title precisely due to the blowback and perhaps to see how she handles it. Are you going to put it past them?
Now if you excuse me, I’ll get off my soapbox, because who the fuck owns a soapbox in 2015. Prediction: Paige
Sean Flynn: Apparently pro wrestling has obliterated my moral event horizon, because the angle itself on Monday didn’t give me pause. I find it appalling that they didn’t even let Ric know that his kid was going to be angle fodder, but it is what it is. They tried to heat this match up, and hopefully it will get some reaction. But this feels like it has the potential to go off the rails very quickly. I don’t dislike Charlotte in the range everyone vexed over Ric’s kid does, but I recognize she is still green as grass and has a lot of room for improvement. This could get ugly. Don’t think you can take the belt of Charlotte after this, and really they’re just keeping it warm for Nikki. Prediction: Charlotte
The Brothers of Destruction vs. The Wyatt Family
Ru Gunn: Much like the Undertaker vs Wyatt match at WrestleMania, there isn’t really a good outcome here. If the Undertaker is victorious on the special which has been marketed heavily around his legacy—as you’d expect—then the Wyatts (who, after all, will be the ones still on the roster after the dust settles) are left to look like impotent idiots once again, and all the last few weeks of momentum building and strong wins were for nothing. Or else the Wyatts take the win; it ends up looking like anyone can beat the Undertaker these days, and the great crowd-pleasing Undertaker win that has been all but advertised is anticlimactically extinguished. Then the next problem is where do the Wyatts go from there? There’s no other stable that’s an obvious challenge for them. Whoever Bray picks to represent him here, this is likely to be a lumbering mess of a match, with no one to cover weaknesses (Braun Strowman doesn’t bump; the Undertaker is a thousand years old and his sunburnt papery old-man body looks unhealthier by the day), and no one to provide dazzling moments of impressive athleticism like in the Wyatts previous best match to date, their first Shield encounter. Prediction: The Wyatts
Joey O’Doherty: My god this feud has been nothing except a few beat downs and the odd pyrotechnic display. It’s been devoid of any substance or decent build and proved in my eyes that no matter who you put Bray Wyatt in a feud with, the end result is disappointment. This feud could have been so much more but it has dragged down RAW over the last few weeks and apart from an Undertaker milestone, it lacks any real importance. I’ll go with Bray and co to become victorious but in reality I really lack the motivation to care about the outcome. Prediction: The Wyatt Family
Jeff Hawkins: Alright fantasy bookers, *THIS* is the match you should be looking at for twists turns and “plot furthering”. As everyone and their mother has noticed, the Brothers of Destruction already made all four Wyatts look like easy pickings. But we also need to get rid of Undertaker until The Road to WrestleMania. The stipulation is that they will face two of the Wyatt clan: but what if when they took Kane, the Eater of Worlds somehow got control of the mentally weaker Kane? That’s right, it’s KANE TURN 1000! It may not go down in the beginning, but it will in the end. So the Wyatts then proceed to humiliate Kane over the next few months and when the Undertaker comes back, he fights to rescue his baby brother, and this time succeeds instead of being helpless, like the time of the accident that created the Big Red Machine. Full Circle. Then the Brothers of Destruction make up at WrestleMania and perhaps walk into the sunset of retirement and Libertarian politics as we hear Paul Bearer scream “Oh Yes!”
Or Undertaker and Kane beat the crap out of Braun and Luke and leave Rowan and Bray crawling, following the buzzards. Bo Dallas comes out to tell Bray to Bo-Lieve. Prediction: The Wyatt Family
Sean Flynn: Every minute spent on this match is a minute where New Day could be talking about booty, or Cesaro could be throwing people all over the place. Instead, we get to watch John Gustafson and Max Goldman take it to some kids who infringed on their ice fishing turf. The Wyatt family exists solely to lose to people after telling a scary story, so I see no reason for this to change here. I really hope this is the first true stop on the Undertaker’s last ride, ending at Wrestlemania 32. I expect less than nothing from this match. Prediction: The Brothers of Destruction
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Final
TBD vs. TBD
Ru Gunn: Assuming, like all sensible people are, that Ambrose and Reigns face off here; potentially this couldn’t be a better story if WWE had planned Rollins’ injury all along. Two brothers-in-arms, scrapping over an opportunity only possible because of a third, wayward, treacherer brother. Now their backstabber is out of the picture, betrayed by his own body, the men are left with no obstacles but each other. While the outcome seems inescapably inevitable, I’m anxiously anticipating which story develops here. Will it be gullible, easily manipulated Reigns that falls to Triple H’s headgames, or will Ambrose’s mercenary side from the Shield shine through in light of this shot at the top prize? Or will the men’s friendship endure, once again, through everything? Is brotherhood more important than gold? I’m hoping for a match here that takes us through the highs and lows of Ambrose and Reigns’ history with each other, emphasising how well they know each other, and their three years’ worth of chemistry together. If Ambrose has to lose, then it ought to be his fatal flaw of approval-seeking vulnerability that loses him the match, not just stupidity. Prediction: Roman Reigns
Joey O’Doherty: I really should be more excited about this tournament, after all it is for the biggest prize in WWE. However due to WWE’s inability to create new top stars, this match seems like an upper mid card at best and a let down for a tournament final. I’m intrigued about this outcome more than dying to see how it plays out and the finish regardless of what happens will more than likely be underwhelming when the dust settles. With a few days until the PPV I speculate WWE still haven’t settled on a direction as of writing.
This could play out a number of ways but I’m guessing Triple H will play apart in the outcome and after a coin toss I’m banking on Ambrose being Hunter’s new face of The Authority and WWE’s plod towards the Royal Rumble continues. Prediction: Dean Ambrose
Jeff Hawkins: HHH talked to Cesaro, he talked to Alberto, he talked to Roman, he talked to Owens. He didn’t talk to Ambrose. He’s going heel, right? Nope. This is the story of will Ambrose take advantage of his wounded friend to get the title himself (and perhaps vice versa). I think they tease the hell out of Ambrose going heel but never pull the trigger, then HHH reveals “his guy” as possibly himself, Sheamus or Ryback. I originally thought you tease a bit of heat on Ambrose, then Sheamus cashes in the briefcase and Brogue Kicks Dean so that Ambrose never goes full heel and he becomes a frustrated chaser for the belt. Turning Dean is stupid, because people want to cheer him, perhaps more than the WWE would like, and he’d be overshadowed by the Authority. Having Reigns lose turns him into Lex Luger circa 1988-1989 as the new star that people turn on because he can’t win the big one. He’s not being turned here, too much “He’s the New Cena” time and effort have been invested.
I thought they save the Reigns coronation for WrestleMania, but Rob McCarron has me convinced that they could build up Brock/Roman with the belt and still make it seem like a big deal. If it’s not Reigns, it’s Sheamus, but I think it’s Reigns after a hard-fought match, a little attempt at siphoning of love from Dean fans when they embrace, then Dean leaves and lets Roman have his moment. But I don’t count out anything. Prediction: Roman Reigns
Sean Flynn: I have to disagree with the brilliant Ru Gunn on this match. Ambrose, like communism, is just a red herring. I won’t say they couldn’t possibly put Reigns in a situation to get booed out of the building again, but I would be extremely surprised. I think having to move quickly on this will force WWE to keep things simple. They have a good guy who they’ve built for over a year. They have a mean nasty bad guy who has the credibility that comes from a clean win over John Cena. They can let the good guy beat the bad guy and have confetti and pyro and hope at least half the crowd cheers at the big moment. Possible they could have Sheamus attempt to cash in, but I think when this show goes off the air we shall all be living under the Roman Empire. Prediction: Roman Reigns