The Survivor Series build was stuck in neutral for several weeks before finally starting to pick up during the final shows leading up to the pay-per-view. Whether enough was done to salvage the card won't be known until the main event is complete on Sunday night.
One year ago, The Shield debuted at Survivor Series and provided an instant boost to an otherwise mundane show. A similar twist or swerve might need to occur in order to get this year's show to live up to its "Big Four" status.
Knowing that, let's take a closer look at the top matches scheduled for the show and make predictions for which superstars will come out on top in each. For a complete rundown of the card, which could see another match or two added, visit the WWE's official website.
Randy Orton vs. Big Show
The WWE has spent weeks trying to convince viewers Big Show is a legitimate threat to take the title. From Triple H questioning Orton's ability as the top guy to The Shield failing to back the WWE champion up on several occasions.
In situations like that, rarely does the belt actually change hand. Big Show is a reliable veteran capable of filling a void in the main event scene, as he's done in recent weeks. Yet, he's not a superstar who's a proven big draw capable of carrying a show.
In contrast, Orton has been headlining cards for a long time and is a much safer choice to continue in that role as plans for Royal Rumble and WrestleMania start to take shape. Whether he recruits outside help or simply takes care of Big Show himself, the "Viper" should lead Survivor Series as champ.
Prediction: Randy Orton
John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio
Cena's defense of the World Heavyweight Championship against Del Rio needed a stipulation. Something that would have helped the challenger level the playing field by further taking advantage of the champion's bad arm in the rematch.
Which Survivor Series match will be the best?
Without one, it's hard to imagine a scenario where Del Rio emerges with the belt. He's had numerous runs with the title and has never been up to the task of adding importance back to the No. 2 belt. Cena is somebody capable of bringing the prestige back to the title.
Expect Del Rio to work over Cena's arm in the early going, but it's not going to matter. "Super Cena" could win with one arm tied behind his back and a blindfold at this point and nobody would be surprised. He should retain with relative ease for a marquee title match.
Prediction: John Cena
CM Punk and Daniel Bryan vs. Erick Rowan and Luke Harper
The biggest question mark heading into this match is what the future holds for Punk and Bryan. They could remain a team for a couple months before turning on each other for a WrestleMania feud or it could just be a one-off team until they return to singles action in the immediate aftermath.
If it's the former, they will win the match and begin their ascent up the tag division. A potential feud with the Rhodes brothers, especially with Goldust returning to the WWE and performing at such a high level, would have some serious intrigue and potential.
Otherwise, if the plan is for Punk and Bryan to split up, it's a perfect chance for the Wyatt Family to pick up a marquee win. Whether it's through interference from Bray Wyatt or help from “The Devil,” which could be Kane, there are ways for them to emerge victorious without making the star tandem look weak.
The second option seems more likely since the Wyatt Family needs a big victory to continue its rise.
Prediction: Erick Rowan and Luke Harper