Survivor Series is normally one of the most important WWE events of the year, featuring several key matches that help craft storylines heading toward the Royal Rumble. It certainly hasn't been treated that way this year, though, and the show will suffer because of it.
After spending an entire week building a traditional Survivor Series elimination tag match between teams led by Mick Foley and CM Punk, the entire angle was scrapped in favor of adding a WWE championship match to the card.
In certain circumstances, when there's an extended build period to recover from a change of plans (such as WrestleMania), it wouldn't be a big deal. However, with so little time between Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series, it was a costly change.
Not only did Punk end up leaving the team he was going to captain, but Team Foley also lost Ryback. Therefore, two of the match's most vital participants were ripped away and a lot of the luster went with them.
Dolph Ziggler took control of the heel team. While he has a bright future, he hasn't been booked like a top guy lately and certainly isn't on Punk's level quite yet. He also didn't have a standing feud with Foley, meaning that angle was lost as well.
If that match had been sacrificed for a can't-miss WWE title match, it might have been understandable. At least then the creative team would be able to bank on something to save the card from failing.
Unfortunately, that's not the case. Even though the match will feature three key superstars in Punk, Ryback and John Cena, it doesn't have the feel of a top-tier matchup because the suspense level heading into the night is very low.
How would you grade the Survivor Series build?
That's because Punk is widely expected to retain the belt, reaching a full year as champion. It would be a major surprise if Ryback or Cena walked out with the title, and it's hard to imagine the WWE sacrificing Punk's reign just for the sake of a surprise.
Furthermore, the amount of time that was spent fixing the two biggest matches on the card has taken a lot of time away from the midcard feuds, which desperately need the television time. Instead, they have received very little.
In order for a major event like Survivor Series to become a smashing success, it needs to keep fans involved from start to finish with a wide range of great angles and matches. The crazy build makes that a long shot at best.
With that being said, there are a couple of things to keep an eye out for that could help. The Miz has joined Team Foley, signaling a likely face turn. Meanwhile, Ziggler still has the Money in the Bank briefcase and could cash in. Those aren't show-saving ideas, though.
Survivor Series needed an outstanding, quick build in order to succeed. It didn't get it and that limits the show's usually sky-high potential.