On November 24, World Wrestling Entertainment will present its Survivor Series pay-per-view from the TD Garden in Boston.
Throughout the history of the annual fall event, traditional elimination tag matches have been the backbone of the Survivor Series. The event was founded on the premise of teams of four or five doing battle until every member of the opposing team had been eliminated, and WWE has done a solid job in keeping with that tradition.
And that does not appear to be ending any time soon, as plans have been put into motion for at least one high-profile elimination tag match at this year's show.
This past Monday night, the Wyatt Family inexplicably attacked CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, planting the seeds for a match involving those five Superstars, among others.
Who will fill out the rest of that match, not to mention the card, for the November extravaganza?
Join me now as I put on my fantasy booker hat and take a look at how I would craft the traditional Survivor Series matches at this year's show.
Team Rhodes: Cody Rhodes, Goldust and the Usos
Team Shield: Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro
This past Monday on Raw, The Real Americans defeated WWE Tag Team champions Cody Rhodes and Goldust, immediately throwing their name in the hat for a future title match.
Also deserving of a title opportunity are Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, who, despite losing to the Rhodes brothers in consecutive title bouts, never received their rightful rematch. The only opportunity they had to retain their titles was in a triple threat tag match also involving The Usos.
Speaking of those second-generation stars, The Usos also have a claim to a Tag title match seeing as how they too received their title opportunity in a triple threat match. On top of that, they were not included in the fall that ended the match.
Why not save a Fatal 4-Way match for the title until December's TLC pay-per-view, where the four show-stealing teams can vie for the titles in a special gimmick match like a ladder match?
A traditional Survivor Series elimination match would allow for some of the individual stars to be eliminated without hurting the momentum of the team. Therefore, when it comes time for the title match in December, everyone will still be hot.
The Tag Team titles have the opportunity to mean more now than they have in a very long time, thanks to a plethora or talented teams. Why not capitalize on the opportunity to expand the angle and tell stories that could further invest audiences in the outstanding action the four teams have delivered to this point?
Booking the Outcome
The heels have the most to lose in the match. A loss would be the third straight for The Shield, while The Real Americans are coming off of a pay-per-view loss to Los Matadores and cannot afford a misstep.
I say Roman Reigns and Antonio Cesaro survive and win the match after the Neutralizer from Cesaro to Cody Rhodes, who will be the remaining babyface.
Team Langston: Big E. Langston, R-Truth, Dolph Ziggler and Christian
Team Ambrose: Dean Ambrose, Ryback, Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow
While the match was rough in a few spots at Hell in a Cell, it was easy to tell that there was a ton of potential for a quality rivalry between Big E. Langston and current United States champion Dean Ambrose. Their rivalry could, in many ways, dictate the future of the company and as such, they should find themselves leading teams into battle at the Survivor Series.
Ryback and Curtis Axel as members of Team Ambrose works in that they are two more prevalent members of the midcard, not unlike Ambrose, and find themselves in limbo after CM Punk's beating of Paul Heyman at Hell in a Cell has left them without a mouthpiece and manager. What better way to protect them and their spots by partnering them with a guy whose strongest attribute is his mouth?
To counteract those two Superstars, R-Truth would be added to Team Langston. The last month has seen Truth do battle with both Ryback and Axel, the latter of whom he took to the limit in two solid (if unspectacular) Intercontinental Championship matches.
Joining Axel and Ryback on Team Ambrose would be Damien Sandow, who is coming off the biggest match of his career this past Monday against John Cena and would make a perfect addition to a team full of talented midcard heels.
Next up for Team Langston would be Dolph Ziggler, who has been toiling in the midcard without much to do for the better part of two months. He did manage to defeat the aforementioned Sandow in two consecutive matches back at the beginning of the month, though.
The wild card in the match would be the final member of Team Langston. It would be easy to throw a wildly popular midcard comedy act such as Santino Marella in the mix, but, despite the fact that fans love him, he does not fit with the other, more serious Superstars in the match, so he's out.
With very limited options available, the best solution would be to bring back Christian, who has been missing from WWE programming since suffering a concussion. The match would immediately benefit from added star power, not to mention a great talent who has shown an ability to get young stars over.
Booking the outcome
The entire purpose of the match is to build Langston to the point that fans do not just feel like he has the chance to unseat Ambrose as U.S. champion but feel like he will beat Ambrose.
Rather than going the predictable route and having Langston and Ambrose as the final two participants, I would have Langston stun The Shield member with the Big Ending early in the match and shock the world by eliminating him first. It would be shocking moment that fans could get excited about and one that would leave no doubt that the former NXT champion is the rightful No. 1 contender to the title.
From there, I would have Christian eliminate Axel, perhaps setting up an Intercontinental title program between the two of them. Ryback would eliminate R-Truth fairly easy following the Meat Hook lariat, while Sandow surprises Christian with the You're Welcome for the elimination.
Dolph Ziggler would be the next to go following Shell Shocked from Ryback. That leaves Langston to fend off Ryback and Sandow.
Langston makes a go of it, taking the fight to both opponents. He hoists Sandow up for the Big Ending, but the former Mr. Money in the Banks escapes and bails from the ring. He is eliminated by count-out seconds later. The booking decision allows Sandow to save face without being pinned or made to submit so that he stays strong for a potential World Heavyweight title feud with John Cena.
This leaves Langston and Ryback, who exchange hard-hitting power moves. After a few minutes of action, Langston ducks the Meat Hook and delivers the Big Ending for an even bigger win.
Team Khali: The Great Khali, Santino Marella and Los Matadores
Team Fandango: Fandango, Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre
Before you get all "what a crappy idea for a match" in the comment section below, understand that I know the likelihood of this match ever making it to pay-per-view is low. With that said, in the spirit of the 1993 anti-classic featuring Bam Bam Bigelow, Bastion Booger and the Headshrinkers taking on the Doinks (Men on a Mission and the Bushwhackers in Doink the Clown makeup), let's take a look at some comedic filler.
The feud between Great Khali and Fandango has (not) taken WWE by storm. The tenacious Superstars have done battle in some of the most grueling and barbaric matches (to watch) and most recently competed in a mixed tag match that also featured Natlaya and Summer Rae.
Since returning just over a month ago, former Intercontinental and United States champion Santino Marella has both teamed with Khali and done battle with Fandango, so his inclusion in the match makes sense.
3MB has had its fair share of trouble with Los Matadores since the Mexican Superstars arrived in World Wrestling Entertainment. As part of Fandango's team, they would have the opportunity to stand across the ring from their rivals and, perhaps, not lose as badly as they typically do.
Booking the Outcome
Summer Rae dances around ringside, distracting fans from the pain and suffering that is the over-the-top comedy of this match.
OK, that was harsh, but does it really matter who wins?
Typically, comedic matches see the babyfaces pick up the win, and this will be no different, unfortunately.
There are a lot of very talented individuals on the heel side that have been utterly wasted over the last year.
Team Punk: CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Kofi Kingston and The Miz
Team Wyatt: Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and Kane
As mentioned in the introduction, the events that occurred on Monday night's Raw set the stage for some sort of showdown between CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and the Wyatt Family.
That lays the groundwork for a very solid match already, given the talent of Punk and Bryan and the fact that all three members of the Wyatt Family have demonstrated the ability to perform at a high level when in the ring with talented workers.
With that said, why not surround them with talented workers?
There is history between the Wyatt Family and Kofi Kingston and The Miz. Bray defeated Kingston at Battleground, while the trio has tormented The Miz for the better part of four weeks. It makes sense to include those two Superstars on a team with Punk and Bryan and would also help the quality of the match.
Adding Kane to top off Team Wyatt would create a number of storyline threads for fans to keep an eye on.
Considering the history between the Big Red Monster and the Wyatt Family, who were responsible for his two-month disappearance, there would be immediate questions surrounding Kane's ability to coexist with them. As a soldier for The Authority, however, he may not have a choice.
The second story would involve Kane's past partnership with Bryan. Though they were a dysfunctional team, they were still effective partners and grew into something resembling friends by the time they lost the Tag titles.
The idea of Triple H and Stephanie using Kane against Bryan is a fun one and brings their story full circle.
Booking the Outcome
The ideal situation would be for the Wyatts to come out victorious and, hopefully, intact. The best way to accomplish this would be for Kane and Bryan to fight around ringside, drawing a double count-out at some point in the bout.
That would leave a three-on-three situation. From there, Harper and Rowan run through Kingston and Miz, leaving Punk in a precarious situation. He fights valiantly but ultimately falls in defeat following Sister Abigail by Bray.