Backstage word on Survivor Series dominates the latest WWE rumors, including where CM Punk and John Cena will end up on the card.
The pay-per-view is not for several weeks, but reports of how the WWE puzzle will fit together are already buzzing. Monday's Raw gave us some hints as to what the company is thinking for the event, but a look at reported backstage conversations reveals a few surprises among the expected items.
Four potential matches include a crowded tag match, Big Show getting major spotlight, a traditional Survivor Series elimination tag team match and a non-surprising choice for the World Heavyweight Championship bout.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust retained the titles at Hell in a Cell despite having two sets of opponents. They may have an even steeper challenge ahead.
According to F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com, "A four-way tag match between WWE Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns vs. Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro vs. one other team is booked for WWE's Survivor Series pay-per-view."
This route would eliminate a number of options for traditional Survivor Series tag matches but could be an exciting clash.
The Real Americans earned a surprising win over the tag champs on Monday's Raw, so it's conceivable that they'd then receive a title shot.
The Shield not being out of the championship picture is believable as well. What's worth looking out for is what third team steps up in the next few weeks. The Usos are presumably still in contention, and The Prime Team Players feel like the only other option unless WWE wants to insert a comedy team, which seems unlikely.
While Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose seem likely candidates for entering a traditional Survivor Series tag match as representatives of "The Authority," reports suggest it will be Daniel Bryan and Punk who take on that role.
F4WOnline, by way of WrestlingInc.com, says that "a four-on-four match is being planned for Survivor Series with The Wyatt Family and one other Superstar vs. Punk, Bryan and two other Superstars."
If Kane is doing Stephanie McMahon's bidding elsewhere, it's hard to imagine who else WWE has in mind to join the Wyatts. Kane's monster-type gimmick along with his history with the Wyatts makes him the only one that would fit easily into that group.
The Wyatt Family's attack on Punk and Bryan on Monday's Raw leads one to think that rumor is a reality.
The same report says that WWE is deciding between either Big Show vs. Randy Orton or Big Show vs. Triple H, while Bryan vs. Triple H is off the table. Officials reportedly "want the Survivor Series pay-per-view to feel like a big event once again."
Whether or not Orton vs. Big Show would help the company achieve that goal, it appears that is the direction it is going.
It was Big Show that stomped through the throng of Superstars to interrupt Orton's championship coronation and lay the champ out. Many fans speculate that Big Show will trade dropping his lawsuit against Triple H for a title shot.
Don't count out Triple H taking on the giant himself, though.
This rivalry has been more about Big Show and Triple H than anyone else. Big Show knocked out the COO, who has to still be fuming.
As for the other world title match, don't count on some unpredictable turn of events.
A F4WOnline report, via WrestlingInc.com, has the old champ getting a rematch, "Word after Hell in a Cell was that the Alberto Del Rio vs. John Cena rematch would take place before the Survivor Series pay-per-view on free TV. However, word coming out of Raw last night was that Del Rio vs. Cena for the World Heavyweight Title will indeed take place at Survivor Series."
Del Rio's promo on Monday's Raw hinted at this happening when he talked about wanting to hurt Cena.
Assuming the Survivor Series card ends up looking like these reports suggest, there are some things to get excited about, but Del Rio and Cena one more time is not one of them. WWE reportedly said it wanted Survivor Series to feel like a big event again.
We are two years removed from their last feud together, but isn't there someone else who can step up, an up and comer or established name, who would provide a fresher, more exciting world title showdown?
The Wyatt Family going up against the former indy stars is an example of WWE creative living up to its name, while revisiting Del Rio and Cena's rivalry is an example of the company's stagnant imagination.