WWE's Big Four pay-per-views stand out for a reason—they're the oldest and most revered, and all four have a little element that make them stand out.
WrestleMania's the grand stage to which all aspire, the Royal Rumble has the one match everyone looks forward to every year in the Royal Rumble Match, and SummerSlam tends to end many long standing feuds.
Survivor Series may well be amongst the best, for a reason that WWE itself tends to forget about at times—its traditional Survivor Series elimination matches.
Every year—well, most years anyway—two teams of either four or five wrestlers gather together to try and eliminate the members of the other team, until there's no-one left. Sometimes it's down to the last man on both teams, sometimes it's a 5-0 whitewash, such as when Team DX beat Team Rated RKO in 2006.
It's usually a good indicator on who WWE intend to push on the way to WrestleMania, and sometimes WrestleMania's feuds start from these matches.
There's three Elimination matches at this year's Survivor Series, which takes place on Sunday night in Boston, and I'll take a look at them right now.
(Batista, CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, Matt Hardy & R-Truth)
(Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes, William Regal, Mark Henry & Shelton Benjamin)
All three of the matches feature rivalries between captains that seem either young or non-existent... at least on the surface. This match, however, goes back four years. Batista and Randy Orton were together in Evolution, along with Triple H and Ric Flair, when the group turned their back on Orton after the Legend Killer won the World Heavyweight Title.
Batista would turn his back on Evolution himself a few months later, but Orton has never forgotten how Batista played his part in how Orton was removed from the group, and has bashed Evolution on several occasions. Batista has demanded that Orton be respectful to the opportunities the group gave him, and has vowed to kick Orton's behind for four years of badmouthing.
Looking at the team lineups, for the most part, the wrestlers seem to match up well, with the exception of Team Orton's inclusion of William Regal, the Intercontinental Champion. You'd have thought with the rivalry between CM Punk, Kofi Kingston, and Team Priceless that Manu would be in this match.
But it appears WWE don't quite have the confidence to put him in there yet, so Regal instead provides an interesting subplot to the match, further looked upon as Regal cost CM Punk his Lumberjack Match with Orton on RAW. Regal has also seemingly fallen out with Matt Hardy, so there's enough to keep him busy.
The wildcard in this match isn't even in the match. Two weeks ago on RAW, Randy Orton punted Ted DiBiase in the head, and he's not been heard from since (in reality, he's got married, and is reportedly replacing John Cena in The Marine 2, going straight to DVD). With Cody Rhodes not really wanting to be on Team Orton, if DiBiase interferes, which way will he go?
Will he help eliminate a Team Batista member to show solidarity to Cody, or will he try and get revenge on Orton?
I think there'll be a few survivors in this match, and as WWE want Batista to remain strong for a possible WrestleMania rematch with John Cena, he'll definitely be one of the survivors, and I guess that CM Punk and maybe Matt Hardy will survive along with him.
(Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio, The Great Khali & Cryme Tyme [Shad Gaspard & JTG])
(John "Bradshaw" Layfield, Kane, Montel Vontavious Porter, John Morrison & The Miz)
Four members of Team JBL went over on RAW this week...I think you can tell who was the odd one out. Yes, MVP didn't wrestle, but if he did, he'd have probably lost anyway.
Currently undergoing one of the longest losing streaks in WWE history, if MVP gets eliminated at Survivor Series, he'll have to pay back the biggest contract on SmackDown, and go down to a standard entry contract. He's probably odds on to be the first man eliminated from Team JBL, probably at the very giant hands of The Great Khali.
Elsewhere in this match, look for Mysterio and Morrison to get a lot of ring time and carry this match. Khali should do his bit and end up getting eliminated by Kane, Cryme Tyme will bring the comedy and eat Clothesline from Hell or the Moonlight Drive, and look for HBK and Mysterio to shine.
Seeing as the HBK/JBL rivalry is still young, I would suggest that JBL survives here, in order to build a match between the two at Armageddon. And to emphasise the screwiness of it all, I predict that JBL will be the sole survivor of the match, eliminating HBK last by cheating.
(Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, Candice Michelle, Kelly Kelly & Jillian Hall)
(Michelle McCool, Maria, Maryse, Natalya & Victoria)
I've always wanted WWE to replicate the 1995 match that pitted faces and heels together on the same team (they also did this in 2005), and they're doing it here with the Divas. The two champions of their respective brands captain their teams here, and both surely will have leadership issues.
The Glamazon's only ally on Team RAW is Jillian Hall, and it was made fairly clear on RAW this week that Candice and Kelly will be taking directions from Mickie rather than their captain. So the question is asked as to how both teams will co-exist.
Normally Mickie will want to be on the winning team, but she probably has good reason on this occasion to want to be the sole survivor, as a win and seeing Beth get pinned will please her immensely. But the problems on Team RAW are nothing compared to Team SmackDown.
Michelle McCool is not the most popular Diva in the SmackDown locker room - she has had real life issues with three members of her team, holding back both Maryse and Natalya's pushes, and refusing to work with Victoria recently because she had already feuded with her a couple of years ago.
And in storyline, all is not well between McCool and Maria either. McCool defeated Maria on SmackDown, hurting Maria's foot with the Brazilian Heel Hook, so Maria will definitely be out to one-up her captain.
As for the result of this match, it depends on which team blows up first. SmackDown will get an early lead, with the removal of Candice and Jillian, and it'll be down to Beth and Mickie versus Michelle and Maria. Maria steals the tag and shocks Beth, Michelle gets angry, lays out Maria, and Mickie pins them both to become the sole survivor for Team RAW.
So that's your elimination matches for this Sunday, and over the weekend, I'll have a look at the singles matches on offer, including two title matches and a Casket Match.
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