WWE Survivor Series 2016
November 20, 2016
Air Canada Centre
Toronto, Canada

Watch: WWE Network

Meet our previewers:

  • Jeff Hawkins: Cranky old man at Voices of Wrestling, co-host of Shake Them Ropes. Writing this under duress. Follow him on Twitter @crapgame13
  • Barry Hess: Voices of Wrestling columnist who puts the mark in smart mark. Follow him on Twitter @BFHess171

WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Brian Kendrick © vs. Kalisto

Jeff Hawkins: So is 205 Live a sly way to get rid of the Cruiserweights on RAW because Vince McMahon has no vision or is it a way to try and get some goodwill by using the Network and killing a crowd? One concern I have of having the division on both shows is fatigue and how it might lead to more injuries for a roster of guys who work a high risk style and have an apathetic boss looking for a reason to give up on this experiment. But two paydays (hopefully) can’t be a bad thing, can it? I think the division stays on “the flagship” and the small guys do double duty. I can see a memo that says “They’re smaller, so legroom in coach isn’t as much of a problem.” Prediction: Brian Kendrick

Barry Hess: The reset of the Cruiserweight Division is unofficially official, right? It certainly feels that way. Transferring the purple ropes to the blue brand three months after the flat debut on Raw is the right choice; the choice that made the most sense on the heels of the CWC in my view. As poorly as the Cruiserweight Division has been presented it is hardly beyond the point of no return. Quite the opposite in fact. Allowing SmackDown Live to win the cruiserweights automatically creates a sense of value for the division, a value that has been missing on Raw from the very beginning. Brian Kendrick has correctly been placed at the top of the championship pyramid as the final pieces of the roster continue to fall into place. Kalisto has said in the recent past that we’ve only seen 30% of his capabilities to date. This would be a good time for him to expand that percentage. Prediction: Kalisto

WWE Intercontinental Championship
The Miz © vs. Sami Zayn

Jeff Hawkins: (Furiously deletes his brilliant preview for Dolph Ziggler vs. Sami Zayn.) So we go from a nice “workrate” match to…something more pedantic. I like Miz, but I have a sneaking suspicion now my prediction for the Cruiserweight match is wrong and we’re getting a Cruiserweight division/Intercontinental Title swap. Or Miz is ending up on Raw for Cesaro. Or Samoa Joe is going to be brought in on behalf of Daniel Bryan. If Sami wins this, it’s to get a midcard title onto Braun Strowman. Somehow I think Miz wins “by crook” in the new matchup. Prediction: The Miz

Barry Hess: Some may be disappointed by the eleventh hour title switch back to Miz, but lest we forget the great chemistry shared between the A-Lister and Zayn highlighted several times this past spring. I expect a strong match with a healthy dose of emotional investment from the audience. The outcome of this match was going be tied to the cruiserweight contest whether Dolph Ziggler or The Miz walked in as champion. Just as it makes more sense for the Cruiserweight title to reside on SmackDown Live, the Intercontinental title feels at home on Raw. It’s no coincidence that this match and the cruiserweight match are now the only matches with a straight heel/face dynamic. Prediction: Sami Zayn

10-on-10 Survivor Series Tag Team Elimination Match
Team Raw (The New Day (Big E and/or Kofi Kingston and/or Xavier Woods), Sheamus and Cesaro, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Enzo Amore and Big Cass and The Shining Stars (Primo and Epico)) vs. Team SmackDown (Heath Slater and Rhyno, The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley), American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable), The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) and Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango))

Jeff Hawkins: Meh. Three multi-man matches with teams that hate each other and no real stakes. I think Smackdown wins by virtue of having the only team worth protecting in America Alpha. I think the Usos steal the final pin from American Alpha to replay the whole angle that turned them heel in the first place. Prediction: Team Smackdown

Barry Hess: Tag team Survivor Series-style matches used to be the highlight of my annual Survivor Series viewing. Of course that was back when tag teams had some modicum of value associated with them (I know, I’m showing my age). More than anything else this match highlights the dramatic gap in character development between the Raw and SmackDown Live teams. There is but one tag team in all of WWE that matters: The New Day, who continue to inch closer to breaking Demolition’s record title reign as a piece of my soul slowly withers away and dies. Prediction: Team Raw


5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match
Team Raw (Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Nia Jax, Alicia Fox and Sasha Banks) (with Dana Brooke) vs. Team SmackDown (Nikki Bella, Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Carmella and Naomi)

Jeff Hawkins: I am fascinated by the prospect of Becky Lynch getting to work with Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, and Bayley again for my own fandom’s nostalgia of when things were better. I think Raw wins in rather dominant fashion. Charlotte gets the final pin, Nia Jax survives, possibly Sasha Banks as well, and Bayley probably gets pinned so both can torment her more. Alicia is definitely not surviving. Prediction: Team Raw

Barry Hess: Hot take alert: here’s your Match of the Night, though I’m not sure it’s all that much of a hot take considering the talent involved. This match serves as a real testament to the depth of WWE’s female roster as compared to just 24 months ago. Think back just two years ago and the abysmal Team Fox vs. Team Paige Divas match that included the likes of Layla and Cameron. 14 minutes none of us will ever get back…ever. But I digress. The talent on the women’s roster have demonstrated an inherent ability to thrive in multi-member matches like this dating back to the early days of NXT; we should stop being surprised when they outperform expectations. Prediction: Team SmackDown

5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match
Team Raw (Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins) vs. Team SmackDown (AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton and Shane McMahon)

Jeff Hawkins: In prior incarnations of a brand split, such as Bragging Rights, Team Blue Laundry would get a symbolic win against B and C players on Team Red Laundry to prove they were a good show too. Right now Smackdown feels like the fresher show, and the move to do a Raw after-show and put the 205 Live after Smackdown to help Raw shows if it doesn’t bother the company slightly, they’re at least aware. Kevin Owens is going to cause Chris Jericho to get pinned. Braun Strowman is going to do a “roar” spot. The Wyatts are probably going to walk out. James Ellsworth is going to blow it for Smackdown. Prediction: Team Raw

Barry Hess: Okay, this is where my head starts to hurt. I want to like this match, I really do. I’m just so damn confused. The overarching theme of brand allegiance exists on paper and not reality. The theme of enemies paired as teammates rings hollow. The theme of booing the very sight of Roman Reigns despite anything and everything else going on is distracting and annoying. Am I supposed to view Braun Strowman as a critical hero or an untrustworthy villain? Does this really qualify as a clash of The Shield? Bray Wyatt? I hated the involvement of Shane McMahon, but admittedly I hate it less with each passing day. I loved James Ellsworth’s presence on SmackDown Live, but admittedly love it less with each passing day. I’m just going to sit back and see where this takes me. That’s all I can do. Prediction: Team SmackDown

Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg

Jeff Hawkins: I was wrong. I was certain they’d put a stipulation on this match to get some more smoke and whistles to protect Goldberg. As it stands, two men who put on a match 14 years ago that was so bad, a WrestleMania crowd shit on it are going to do it again with one of the participants having not worked since then. At worst it will be a trainwreck so bad, no one will care if Mickie James was a victim (a TNA joke, really Hawkins?). At best they let Goldberg do a couple power moves, maybe he takes a couple suplexes and an F5 and perhaps Shane screws Brock for a cheap win. It’s not much but it’s better than what they did with Sting at WrestleMania, I’ll consider that progress. As it stands, I don’t think they let Goldberg have any sort of moment, because something something WCW, and based on how he takes it and how he does, maybe he gets a WrestleMania moment next year. Prediction: Brock Lesnar

Barry Hess: The fact that more people aren’t excited for this match speaks to how spoiled, jaded and generally annoying most wrestling fans have become these days. I’ve heard all the complaints. Bill Goldberg, who last competed 12 years ago, is in no condition to go 20 minutes…you know, like he used to back in his WCW days (?). This match is going to be an unorganized mess. Eh maybe. I’ll even grant you a probably, to which I say, so what? Give your star-rating pencil a break and just enjoy it for what it is; a prototypical WWE special attraction match.This is just another example of older guys from the past getting the focus that should be going to the younger guys working every week. Clearly we haven’t been watching the same show every Monday. The Beast needs to correct the most notable blemish on his record. That’s what this match is about; allowing the high-priced commodity on the roster to capitalize on the cache from one of the few remaining veterans whose past exploits have yet to be muddied by questionable work past his prime. The build to this match was very well done; the right notes have been hit at the right time. Lesnar is going to destroy Goldberg, as he destroyed Randy Orton at SummerSlam and Dean Ambrose at WrestleMania. Lesnar will leave Toronto as the untamable beast he’s been presented to be as we inch closer to the money portion of the calendar. That’s what this match is about and nothing more. Prediction: Brock Lesnar