One year ago, John Cena and The Rock teamed up to defeat The Miz and R-Truth in the main event of a star-studded Survivor Series. It set the bar high for this year's show, which has been forced to undergo a rapid build due to a late change of course.
The original plan featured traditional elimination tag teams led by Mick Foley and CM Punk, rekindling a rivalry that was built during Punk's quest for respect. It was quickly changed to Team Foley against Team Ziggler while Punk moved into a title defense.
Punk will attempt to extend his WWE title reign to a full year by defeating Ryback and John Cena. Also on the card are matches for the World Heavyweight, United States and Divas championships. There's room for a match or two to get added on Sunday night, as well.
Let's take a look at all the important viewing information for Survivor Series followed by a complete preview and some predictions for one of the year's biggest shows.
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis
When: Sunday, Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. ET
Watch: Pay-per-view (local cable providers)
Live Streaming: WWE.com has PPV for $44.95
Eve (c) vs. Kaitlyn – Divas Championship match
Antonio Cesaro (c) vs. R-Truth – United States Championship match
Big Show (c) vs. Sheamus – World Heavyweight Championship match
Team Foley (Randy Orton, The Miz, Daniel Bryan, Kane and Kofi Kingston) vs. Team Ziggler (Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio, Wade Barrett, Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes) – Survivor Series elimination match
CM Punk (c) vs. Ryback vs. John Cena – WWE Championship match
Main Event Preview and Prediction
A victory on Sunday night will ensure Punk reaches the one-year mark as champion, a feat that hasn't been accomplished since Cena did it back in 2006-07. There were a boatload of short title reigns between the two extended ones.
Some people were unhappy with how Punk and his buddy Paul Heyman mocked Jerry Lawler's heart attack on Raw, but it accomplished exactly what they wanted: massive heat. Being a longtime wrestling guy, Lawler understands that.
It's actually things like that which have allowed Punk's run as champion to continue for so long. He has managed to keep his ideas fresh instead of falling into a rut like so many title holders before him. It's a lot easier said than done.
The only problem with switching the main event to this match is the lack of suspense. It would be an enormous surprise if Ryback or Cena walks out of Indianapolis with the belt, especially since all signs point to Punk against The Rock at Royal Rumble.
It should be a pretty good match overall with no shortage of false finishes. Ultimately, expect Punk to retain before setting up some type of celebration for himself on Raw that draws the ire of all the people he's demand respect from in recent months.
Prediction: CM Punk
What They're Saying
Ryback has been built into a monster and kept his run of dominance alive by destroying Brad Maddox to set himself up for Survivor Series, as pointed out by the WWE Universe.
Sheamus has been given his rematch for the World Heavyweight title against Big Show, and his sights are set squarely on the giant heading into Sunday.
Undercard Match to Watch: Team Foley vs. Team Ziggler
This match comes down to which superstar is going to get a push coming out of Survivor Series. If it's Ziggler, his team will win. If it's The Miz, who recently switched sides and seems headed toward a face turn, Team Foley will come out on top.
Ziggler has been booked extremely poorly since winning the Money in the Bank briefcase. Any boost he received from that major victory is long gone, meaning he will need another push before it makes since to make him the top title holder on Smackdown.
That said, The Miz has been out of the main-event scene for too long. He's a top talent and a face turn will give him a chance to get back in the conversation for the main belts. He will lead a Team Foley triumph, setting him up for a big push.
Prediction: Team Foley
Which Star Will WWE Bury?: R-Truth
There aren't many options for this distinction on the Survivor Series card because it's tough to get buried in the massive tag team match. So it goes to R-Truth almost by default since it seems likely Antonio Cesaro will defend his United States title.
R-Truth has already watched his stock drop quite a bit since last year, when he was featured in the aforementioned battle with Cena and The Rock. He hasn't had a meaningful direction since returning to singles action.
On the flip side, Cesaro has a promising future and holding the mid-card belt is helping him grow as a superstar. Since there isn't a path for him to move up if he dropped the belt, keeping it on him for awhile longer is the best move. That's not good news for R-Truth.
Stars Unaccounted For: Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara
Mysterio and Sin Cara have been working as a tag team for awhile now, bringing their high-flying style to the tag division. They are a big hit with the younger portion of the audience and are contenders for a title reign down the road.
They aren't on the card at the moment, but it wouldn't be a surprise if they were added. A match against the PrimeTime Players, Titus O'Neil and Darren Young, in a Hell in the Cell rematch would appear to be the most likely option.
The WWE has placed a renewed emphasis on the tag division over the past few months. In order to maintain that momentum they need to keep featuring matches on the pay-per-views. If Mysterio and Sin Cara aren't added, it would be a step in the wrong direction.