The 26th edition of Survivor Series will take place this Sunday night in Indianapolis. There are five announced matches at Survivor Series plus a match on the pre-show to make it six.
I think it's very likely that a match or two will be added to the show because five matches are not enough. I think it's likely that Rey Mysterio, Sin Cara and the Primetime Players will be on the card in some capacity, although it might be more than just a straight up tag match. It would have been cool if they announced a second five on five match as opposed to just the one.
The announce team for the show will be Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Bradshaw Layfield. I think it will be a good mix because JBL will support the heels, Lawler will support the faces and Cole will be the middle man. They should work well together.
Pre-show: Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal vs. Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd
Originally this was Ryder & Santino vs. 3MB. Then it got changed. Not sure why. I don't think the average fan is going to care very much either way because it's just the pre-show match. I am a huge fan of the Gabriel/Kidd team of course, so I'd love to see them get a push up the ladder as far as the tag division goes.
The Gabriel/Kidd duo features a couple of awesome in-ring performers and Slater/Mahal are both pretty solid, so they will do a good job in terms of getting the crowd to care about the match. I'm going with Kidd & Gabriel to get the win. I think they replaced Ryder and Santino because management wants to give them a significant push. At least I hope so.
Winners: Tyson Kidd & Justin Gabriel
United States Championship: Antonio Cesaro vs. R-Truth
It's pretty easy to call this one. Cesaro's getting wins over different opponents as a way to extend his title reign and show how good of a champion he is. Simple story.
I don't think many people watching this match will think Truth is going to win, nor should he win. It helps the title to keep it on Cesaro, so that's what is going to happen.
Winner: Antonio Cesaro
Divas Championship: Eve vs. Kaitlyn
They're doing this match again? By choice? Ugh. I think Eve's in line for a long title reign to try to establish some credibility to the title and also because there really aren't a lot of women in WWE's divas "division" right now.
Kaitlyn's one of the younger divas at 26 years old, and she's improved quite a bit in the last two years or so. I think in two more years she'll be a solid in-ring performer, but at this point she still has room to grow.
Eve's much better as a heel than she was as a face. She's able to show some personality, as opposed to her babyface run when she was bland.
I think they'll get about six or seven minutes, the crowd will be dead for the majority of the match and Eve will retain her title.
Like I said, Eve will have a long title reign. She'll likely drop it to AJ Lee at some point in the new year—perhaps WrestleMania if they plan on actually doing a women's wrestling story into WrestleMania—which is rare in recent years. They're the two women that WWE pushes the most, so that makes the most sense.
Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Tag Team Match: Team Foley (Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston, Kane, Daniel Bryan and The Miz) vs. Team Ziggler (Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes, Damien Sandow, Alberto Del Rio and Wade Barrett)
The story isn't great for this one. There's not much of an issue between Mick Foley and Dolph Ziggler, who are the captains of these teams. The issue was between Foley and CM Punk, but that got changed and now it's basically just five good guys against five bad guys.
The funny thing is that on the babyface team, you've got two guys in Daniel Bryan and The Miz who aren't really babyfaces at the moment. Bryan's still yelling at the fans to shut up about yelling "yes," while Miz is on the team because he felt disrespected by the other team.
Needless to say, the lack of long-term planning has affected the build to this match. The build could have been great. Instead it just feels like a match without much planning behind it, which in reality—that's what it is.
The other issue in this match is the concussion that Cody Rhodes suffered on Tuesday. I don't think it's going to keep him out for too long, but it may cause him to miss this match.
The likely replacement is rumored to be Tensai, who just lost a short match on Raw this past week. Way to build up your talent, WWE. Anyway I don't think Rhodes was going to win the match, but the match would be better if he was in it.
I think Team Foley is going to win. Miz is going to get a big push as a babyface, which is something I predicted here on Bleacher Report in August. I thought he had gone as far as he can go as a heel and being a face will freshen him up a lot.
I think Miz will be one of the two survivors on his team. The other survivor will be Randy Orton, who is continually pushed strong. This has the potential to be an excellent match, assuming they get 20 minutes or more of in-ring time.
Winners: Team Foley—The Miz and Randy Orton as survivors
World Heavyweight Championship: Big Show vs. Sheamus
I'm not sure about this one. Normally in this situation I would definitely pick the former champion to lose a second time in a row, because it's rare that somebody wins a rematch for a championship. However, the way it's been booked makes me believe that a third match is coming between these two, with a stipulation added to it at TLC next month.
I thought this match should have had a stipulation added to it (Last Man Standing would work), but they are advertising it as a regular match. That leads me to think that Show is going to retain his title, although I think they have to keep the door open for that third match at TLC.
I like their chemistry. They're booking this feud as a fight between two brawlers, which is very old school and quite frankly, it's something that is a welcome sight. It reminds of last year when Sheamus feuded with Mark Henry and then Henry feuded with Big Show. The three of them know how to put matches together.
I'm not always about the athletic wrestlers. You need brawlers in wrestling. These guys get it. Big Show's as good as he's ever been, which is proof that some guys develop as performers later than others. Sheamus has had a lot of very good matches this year, including their match at Hell in a Cell last month. That's why I don't mind how hard WWE pushes Sheamus. The guy deserves it.
I'm picking Big Show to leave as the World Heavyweight Champion. However, I think it will be a controversial finish. Maybe it will be a countout, but I'm picking the disqualification win for Sheamus. I think it will be something where Sheamus kicks out of the KO Punch twice in this match instead of just one time—like he did last match.
That will lead to a frustrated Big Show getting DQ'd, setting up the third match at TLC with a table, ladder or chair stipulation (I would guess table). It will be an interesting match to watch. Last month they delivered the match of the night at Hell in a Cell, which admittedly was a below average pay-per-view. Let's see if they can top that.
Winner: Sheamus via DQ; Big Show retains World Title
For the record, I'm not picking Dolph Ziggler to cash in his Money in the Bank contract for the World Title here. It seems like I predict it every month (you can laugh at me if you want), but I think they will hold off possibly until TLC next month or maybe on Raw before the end of the year. Then again last month they hyped that it might happen and this month they haven't mentioned it, so it could be the perfect time to have Ziggler cash in on Sunday.
WWE Championship match. Who will win?
WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. John Cena vs. Ryback
The Triple Threat match makes sense from a storyline standpoint. At Night of Champions, Cena wrestled Punk to a draw. He didn't get a rematch due to injury. At Hell in a Cell, Ryback had Punk beat until the rogue referee Brad Maddox gave him a low blow that caused Ryback to lose. You can make a case that both guys deserve a rematch.
The problem is that on the Raw after Hell in a Cell they spent three hours telling us it would be Team Punk vs. Team Foley and they featured Ryback on Foley's team. Then the next week they realized a Triple Threat makes sense, and suddenly the Triple Threat was on with only two episodes of Raw to build it up.
What happened on those two episodes of Raw? CM Punk got pinned by Ryback in a tag match two weeks ago. Then this past week, CM Punk got pinned by John Cena in a singles match. That tells us CM Punk is going to retain because typical WWE booking utilizes my "lose on TV, win on PPV" theory. It's not a theory without flaws, but it's something that has been very common in terms of WWE booking.
I know there are a lot of rumors out there about the WWE Champion and who might face Rock at Royal Rumble, while also wondering about what might happen at WrestleMania 29. I wrote a column about these types of rumors, but I think the important thing is to focus on the title reign of CM Punk.
I think he's leaving as WWE Champion because they set up that match with The Rock at Royal Rumble when Punk clotheslined Rock on the July 23 episode of Raw. Obviously they could have moved the title off Punk between then and now (and I certainly predicted that a few times), but I think keeping it on Punk was the right move.
This will likely be a 15-20 minute match that is wrestled at a fast pace. That's the advantage of a Triple Threat. You can take turns with two guys in the ring while the third guy rests outside the ring, and they build up the heat that way. They're formulaic in that sense, which doesn't make them interesting anymore. That's my way of saying that WWE does Triple Threat matches way too often.
The predictable finish is Ryback hits Shellshocked on John Cena, CM Punk shoves Ryback out of the ring and then covers Cena for the victory. Of course that's the finish they did at SummerSlam when Cena hit the AA on Big Show, Punk shoved Cena out of the ring and covered Show for the win. Could they repeat a finish? Of course. This is WWE, where they don't like to remember history unless it's convenient or somebody reminds them of something significant.
My hope is that Punk wins with the GTS on Cena, but I don't expect it to happen. I also doubt that Ryback is going to get pinned or submitted, so that's why the screwy finish is the most likely ending. Maybe we'll see Brad Maddox again in some capacity. It could happen.
It's a hard match to book. Punk leaving with the title is likely, Ryback not getting beat is likely and you know they always want to protect Cena. So what do they do? I don't know what it might be exactly, but I think by the end of the night, CM Punk will still be your WWE Champion for one year and beyond.
Winner: CM Punk
I'm worried about this show in terms of interest. There's a big UFC PPV on Saturday night with Georges St. Pierre making his return to the Octagon, and that's likely going to do over one million PPV buys or close to it. That's going to hurt Survivor Series whether WWE wants to admit it or not. (They don't want to admit it.)
While I don't think the WWE product is as stale as some people do, it's not hot right now either. I think the new year will be great with Rock coming back, but they still have to keep fans interested before then.
Is the 2012 edition of Survivor Series a must-see event? I don't think so. At least it doesn't feel that way to me.
John Canton is a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report. You can read more of his work at his website TJRWrestling.com along with his talented staff of writers. He also writes a lot about the NFL at TJRSports.com, so check him out there as well! You can follow John on Twitter @johnreport, too.