CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman and 7 Matches for WWE Survivor Series 2013
Yes, I know WWE's 26th annual Survivor Series is still roughly four months away, but I can't help but consider the possibilities for the "Big Four" spectacle in Boston, Massachusetts.
Survivor Series is not only WWE's second longest running pay-per-view event (behind WrestleMania), it's also my second-favorite in company history (behind Royal Rumble).
This year's show should be nothing less than tremendous when you consider that WWE programming currently features two fresh and dynamic wrestling stables in the Shield and Wyatt Family.
It's a no-brainer that either trio could serve as a strong foundation for a well-nigh unbeatable team in one of this year's traditional Survivor Series elimination matches.
But which superstars should team with them?
Should the WWE and World champions compete in an elimination match, or defend their respective titles?
Who ought to be carrying WWE gold come November, anyway?
Will somebody get "screwed" in Boston for old times' sake? Perhaps hometown boy John Cena?
Here's how I'd book the event. Consider it an early Thanksgiving offering from me to you!
Divas Championship: AJ Lee vs. Brie Bella vs. Nikki Bella (on WWE Kickoff)
AJ Lee is the coolest thing to happen to the WWE Divas division since... she's probably the coolest thing that's ever happened to the WWE Divas divsion.
I prefer her as a pitiless, kooked-out heel, but WWE may eventually turn her squeaky clean so they can properly cash in on AJ Lee merchandise. How do you turn a she-devil into an admirable good girl? Stack the deck against her by booking her in a triple threat match against a couple of stuck-up twins.
AJ dropkicks Nikki (or Brie, who but John Cena or Daniel Bryan can even tell the difference?) off the ring apron, who wipes out against the security wall. With one twin out of the equation, AJ locks the other in her Black Widow submission hold and retains the title by tap-out.
Your Winner: AJ Lee
Intercontinental Championship: Cody Rhodes (c) vs. Chris Jericho
There aren't many performers in WWE I'd trust to put on a hotter opening contest than these two.
I know that when it comes to the Intercontinental Championship, Cody Rhodes has been there and done that. But there's no disputing Rhodes was at his very best during those title reigns, and unfortunately he's been losing steam ever since. One last good run (or two) with the belt whose awesome retro design is kayfabe thanks to Rhodes is exactly what the former Legacy member needs to regain credibility.
According to Fozzy's heinous website, the heavy metal band's booked to tour until October 20, 2013, which means 2013 may be treated to a second stint of Jericho putting over the wrestling stars of tomorrow. He could even return to action in time for Halloween, the one day of the year when Jericho's hairstyle won't seem preposterous.
Jericho did current Intercontental Champion Curtis Axel the honor of losing to him on a recent episode of SmackDown, and I think second-generation star Cody Rhodes could benefit from similar treatment from the gifted veteran, but in the form of a full-fledged feud. The program has a natural storyline, too, as Jericho would look to extend his record for most Intercontinental Championship reigns to a nice, even 10.
Just when it looks like Cody's got the match in the bag and he's setting up for the Cross Rhodes, Jericho scoops his legs out from under him and locks on the Walls of Jericho (or maybe even the Liontamer if he wants to show the internet some love).
Rhodes fights valiantly, but is eventually forced to tap.
Your Winner: Chris Jericho
Jericho wins his 10th Intercontinental Championship, but loses it back to Rhodes in an old school ladder match at the TLC pay-per-view in December. Ladders and the Intercontinental belt go together like peanut butter and jelly, or Frank's RedHot and absolutely anything.
Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Orton vs. Team Wyatt
Randy Orton is WWE's Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match specialist.
His flair for serpentine histrionics suits the format of the match well, as he has been able to tell a simple, dramatically compelling story at Survivor Series year after year.
Orton has created outstanding WWE memories in the closing minutes of traditional Survivor Series tag matches against the likes of Shawn Michaels (twice), Dolph Ziggler, Wade Barrett and Cody Rhodes, Triple H, and Kofi Kingston (even if CM Punk did most of the work that year).
So why not put Orton's Survivor Series magic to work against five up-and-coming superstars? Ok, so "up-and-coming" is a fairly generous assessment of Jack Swagger, but I'm Canadian and therefore remarkably kind.
Like the Shield before them, I imagine the Wyatt Family will pick fights with an array of WWE's top babyfaces. Team Orton is loaded with do-gooders the kids will cheer for against Bray and his band of creepy, bearded baddies.
Orton is perpetually rumored to turn heel, so it would be interesting to see Bray Wyatt attempt to bring out Orton's wicked side. Sure, it's a little reminiscent of Kane and John Cena's lame-sauce "Embrace the Hate" storyline, but it would work in this case because Kane and John Cena aren't invited to the party.
I have Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger rounding out Team Wyatt because I think it could be fun to watch how tension between the Wyatt Family and Zeb Colter's clients plays out on the night.
Orton's been the final man eliminated from the losing team of a traditional Survivor Series elimination match for the past two years now, so it's probably best he reestablish himself as king of the match type. Despite being down two-to-one against Bray Wyatt and Antonio Cesaro, Orton wins the match with a pair of sneaky and sudden RKO's, last eliminating Bray Wyatt.
Sole Survivor: Randy Orton
However, Orton doesn't get much time for his patented victory dance, as Wyatt and his misfit minions beat him down hard after the bell.
United States Championship: Damien Sandow (c) vs. Christian
By Survivor Series, Dean Ambrose ought to have traded in his United States Championship for a life more befitting of his well-rounded skill set in the World or WWE Championship picture.
Damien Sandow will need a solid run with an undercard title before joining Ambrose at quasi-main event status. He's got a quick tongue that would get plenty of mileage out of representing the United States of America as its champion.
Christian has had a decorated career, but he's never won the United States Championship. I think he belongs in the World title hunt, but it's fairly clear WWE sees the aging, smallish Canuck more as a decent hand than a money-maker. If that's the case, why not have him possibly add yet another championship to his already impressive resume?
A Damien Sandow vs. Christian feud means good promos and great matches. But the best part of this potential rivalry? Sandow won't have to carry Sheamus through those painful intellectual challenge segments.
Christian signals for the Spear, but Sandow catches Captain Charisma on the way in, making him pay with his lackluster finishing maneuver, the Silencer. But hey, this is fantasy booking... let's just imagine he has a new, more imaginative finisher by November. Either way, Sandow retains.
Your Winner: Damien Sandow
Call me crazy, but at TLC a month down the road from this bout, these two guys could actually put on the first watchable Chairs match in WWE history.
World Heavyweight Championship: Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Wade Barrett
Ziggler is entitled to a lengthy reign as World Heavyweight Champion after two criminally short trips as champion. Wade Barrett is long overdue for a World title push himself, and he's big and brutish enough to bully a babyface Ziggler.
Barrett has the oratory and in-ring skills to be a top-drawer heel for years to come, but he has to stop saying "Barrett Barrage". There's something deeply troubling about how he utters that catchphrase.
Ziggler dodges Barrett's bizarrely-named finisher, the Bull Hammer, and puts his lights out with a sweet superkick to keep the title. Two consecutive Survivor Series wins by superkick for the Zig Zag Man!
Your Winner: Dolph Ziggler
After the match, Mr. Money in the Bank, Dean Ambrose, teases cashing in his World Heavyweight Championship contract on an exhausted champion, but it turns out the real reason Ambrose is on his way to the ring is because his previously scheduled match is up next!
Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Punk vs. Team Heyman
Team Punk: CM Punk (Captain), Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne, Rob Van Dam and Tyson Kidd vs.Team Heyman: Brock Lesnar (Captain), Curtis Axel, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins
Traditional Survivor Series elimination matches have been virtually meaningless afterthoughts for the last few years. Serving as a vehicle for a main event-level feud like Punk vs. Lesnar is exactly what the gimmick match needs to regain its former excitement and prominence.
The Shield have a loose past affiliation with both Punk and Heyman, so their inclusion here is logical.
Air Boom would be suitable challengers for Rollins and Reigns' Tag Team Championship around this time, and Kingston is a natural fit for Team Punk when you consider he and Punk used to be tag partners.
If Tyson Kidd is cleared to wrestle come Survivor Series, fighting alongside a huge star like CM Punk can only up his previously hurting stock. It just so happens Punk referred to Kidd as "a workhorse" on Monday Night Raw back in January. Why not exploit that fact to give Kidd a hard-earned push upon his return?
Rob Van Dam brings some much-needed size and name value to a team with three fairly compact underdogs.
There's something that feels right about Punk leading a team of talented guys who have not always had the easiest time finding their footing in WWE.
Once Lesnar has mowed through 2-3 members of Team Punk, it all comes down to CM Punk vs. Lesnar and Ambrose. Just when it looks like Punk has had the life double-teamed out of him, the Straightedge Superstar counters the F-5 with a desperation crucifix pin to eliminate Lesnar! Ambrose rushes Punk, who drills him with an mega-abrupt Go To Sleep! Before Punk can score the decisive pin-fall, an outraged Lesnar DESTROYS Punk with the F-5 and tosses Ambrose's prone body on top of that of Punk for the three-count.
Sole Survivor: Dean Ambrose
This not only throws fuel on the fire for Lesnar and Punk's eventual SummerSlam rematch, but also pushes Ambrose closer to the top of the WWE ladder.
NO DQ Submission Match for WWE Championship: John Cena (c) vs. Daniel Bryan
If sanity and good taste prevail, John Cena's challenger for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam will not be Mark Henry and/or Ryback, but Daniel Bryan.
If Bryan does get the opportunity he so richly deserves, smart booking says he shouldn't win the gold straight away. He should come extremely close, but just shy of victory. In fact, I think he could even afford a loss to Cena in a rematch at Night of Champions.
On the Monday Night Raw following Night of Champions, Bryan plays into his well-documented inferiority complex. He tells the WWE Universe that he doesn't have the stuff champions are made of, and announces his "retirement". Bryan takes approximately a month off to sell the angle while Cena engages in a transitional feud through Over the Limit and Hell in a Cell (yes, October has two pay-per-views) with a talented heel like Damien Sandow or Cody Rhodes, two guys who could use a brush with main event greatness without claiming the ball just yet.
Bryan resurfaces at the end of the Hell in a Cell broadcast to pick Cena's bones after he's successfully defended the title inside the Cell. Bryan uses the Cell to brutalize Cena before yielding him unconscious with the LeBell Lock. Naturally, the crowd goes nuts. They love themselves some Cena dissection.
Cena escapes the LeBell Lock on multiple occasions, but eventually finds himself trapped in a version of the hold in which Bryan chokes him with the very steel chain that was once Cena's signature prop. Cena passes out from the pain, and Bryan becomes the new WWE Champion.
Your Winner: Daniel Bryan
Bryan can start referring to the LeBell Lock as the CenaSucks-Lock.
Is this the main event you would choose for WWE Survivor Series 2013?
What traditional Survivor Series teams do you want to see face off?
Let me know in your comments below!