WWE Survivor Series 2011: Predictions for WWE's Big Return to MSG
It's that time of year again. Everyone is gearing up for a big Thanksgiving dinner, thinking about all of the delicious turkey they're going to eat on Thursday and how much money they're going to spend during the big Black Friday sales.
However, while these events are drawing near, fans of professional wrestling are gearing up for something just as exciting. I know what you're thinking, "Just as exciting as turkey, you say?"
If I say that, you know I'm being serious. I'm talking about WWE's annual fall pay-per-view event, Survivor Series.
This year's show marks the 25th anniversary of the exciting and historical event, so WWE should be pulling out all the stops to celebrate.
This year, Survivor Series comes to us from New York, in the historical Madison Square Garden.
That alone should tell you that this is going to be a big deal, but add the fact that The Rock is returning to wrestle his first match in over seven years and will be teaming up with his opponent at WrestleMania XXVIII, John Cena, and you've got an event that is set to make history.
Fun fact: Tickets for this show sold out in thirty minutes.
Divas Championship: Beth Phoenix (C) vs. Eve
Their match at Vengeance received praise for being one of the better Diva matches in recent history. Beth was able to retain the championship, however, Eve won a Battle Royal on the October 31st edition of RAW to earn another shot at the butterfly-emblazoned championship.
I believe that the key factor in this match will be interference.
At Vengeance, Natalya and Kelly Kelly were banned from ringside. This time around, their encounter has been stipulated as a Lumberjill Match, meaning all of the Divas from the WWE will be outside of the ring.
They're supposed to be there to throw the competitors back in the ring if they hit the floor, but we all know that it's not going to go down that way. This stipulation has been known to cause quite a bit of chaos in the past, and this time shouldn't be any different.
Keep in mind that Beth and Natalya, the "Divas of Doom", have spent the last few months terrorizing all of the Divas on the roster, so don't be surprised if the Lumberjills show some bias towards Eve and help her claim the victory.
This would make Eve the first ever three-time Divas Champion.
I like the Divas of Doom, but tomorrow night will not be good for them.
Winner and NEW Divas Champion: Eve
United States Championship: Dolph Ziggler (C) vs. John Morrison
Dolph Ziggler is currently WWE's longest-reigning champion, having held the championship since June. He's also one of WWE's most talented performers. For the second pay-per-view in a row, Ziggler finds himself competing in two matches.
He's accomplished many things in 2011, including a short-lived reign as World Heavyweight Champion. To say that he's been on a roll would be an understatement.
The opposite could be said of Ziggler's Survivor Series opponent, John Morrison. Morrison started off the year well enough, with a huge match against his former partner, The Miz, for the WWE Championship and impressive showings at Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber.
Unfortunately, it's been downhill from there. Morrison suffered a neck injury at the hands of his former friend, R-Truth, in the spring. Ever since his late summer return, he's been on a losing streak.
Morrison finally gained a win on the November 7th edition of RAW, defeating Ziggler in a non-title match. In the eyes of Interim RAW General Manager John Laurinaitis, that seems to have been enough to earn Morrison a shot at the United States Championship.
This decision has drawn the ire of Zack Ryder fans, who believe that "Long Island Iced Z" has been cheated out of a match for the title.*
Even though Morrison has gained his "MoJo" back, I don't think that it will be enough to defeat Ziggler. I guess Morrison has a slight chance for victory if this ends up being Ziggler's second match of the night. But even then, I think Ziggler will bring his "A" game to the event and overcome yet another hurdle. Also, Ziggler is likely to have Vickie Guerrero and Jack Swagger in his corner.
Winner and STILL United States Champion: Dolph Ziggler
*Watch for some sort of Zack Ryder involvement, as that could drastically change the outcome of this match.
5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match: Team Orton vs. Team Barrett
This is going to be the only Survivor Series Elimination match at this year's event, but it's sure to be an exciting one. Some of WWE's brightest, young, up-and-coming stars will do battle to ensure one thing, and one thing only—survival.
This match type is one of my personal favorites. I have always found this to be an exciting concept.
On one side, you have Team Barrett. It should come as no surprise that Wade Barrett is the leader, having headed two stables, The Nexus and The Corre, since he began his career in early 2010. Barrett's Survivor Series team consists of United States Champion Dolph Ziggler (competing in his second match of the night), Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes, former World Heavyweight Champion Jack Swagger and the impressive luchador Hunico.
On the flip side is Team Orton, which is just as impressive. Orton himself has had a terrific year since being drafted to SmackDown, having won the World Heavyweight Championship on two occasions. His team consists of "The Great White", Sheamus, powerhouse Mason Ryan, the high-flying Sin Cara and WWE Tag Team Champion Kofi Kingston.
This may be the match that I am most looking forward to. There's so much fresh talent and potential. It could easily steal the show with its mix of many styles. Cody Rhodes and Dolph Ziggler have been impressive this year, and I look for them to turn in a great performance here.
It's always hard to predict the winners of these Survivor Series Elimination Matches. As much as I like Team Barrett, though, I have to pick Team Orton to take the win. Barrett's team is young and they will put up a good fight, but I think that the experience of Orton, the power of Sheamus and Ryan, and the quickness of Kingston and Cara will be too much for Barrett & Co. to overcome.
Winner: Team Orton
NOTE: Christian was originally on Team Barrett but had to be replaced by Ziggler after sustaining an injury. That said, I would expect to see Christian make his presence known at some point during this match. It may not be enough to help Team Barrett win, but it will definitely be enough to cause some problems for Team Orton on their way to victory.
WWE Championship: Alberto Del Rio (C) vs. CM Punk
This match will be the meeting of two superstars who have had huge years in WWE.
Del Rio won the first ever Forty-Man Royal Rumble, headlined WrestleMania, won the RAW Money in the Bank Ladder Match and captured the illustrious WWE Championship on two occasions. After months of talking about it, it would seem that Del Rio finally fulfilled his destiny.
Punk, who started off the year in a bit of a rut, took the wrestling world by storm over the summer when he delivered a shocking promo at the end of an episode of RAW. He would go on to face John Cena for the WWE Championship at Money in the Bank.
After winning the title, Punk left the company with the belt, gaining more fanfare as he carried on with his controversial actions outside the ring. However, Punk eventually returned and became one of the top stars in the company.
After defeating Cena again, this time at SummerSlam, to retain his title, Punk was assaulted by Kevin Nash. Seeing a huge opportunity, Alberto Del Rio then cashed in his Money in the Bank to win his first ever WWE Championship.
Since then, Punk has been waiting for his one-on-one rematch. Del Rio only agreed to the match after Punk put him in the painful anaconda vise, refusing to let go until Del Rio gave him what he wanted.
It's just the way Punk gets things done.
I think this will be a good match with many near falls and close calls, but in the end, I see Punk leaving with the WWE Championship. He will defeat Del Rio and mark the beginning of his huge championship reign with a celebration in front of a raucous New York City crowd. This will likely go down as one of the great moments of Survivor Series history.
Winner and NEW WWE Champion: CM Punk
World Heavyweight Championship: Mark Henry (C) vs. Big Show
At Vengeance, the ring wasn't strong enough to hold these two. The squared circle came crashing down after a giant suplex. The match was, obviously, ended. As a result, we did not get to see who was the better of these two giants.
Few would have predicted that Mark Henry would ever win "the big one," but the fact is, Henry has been more intense than ever before and is a surprisingly good world champion. I'll admit that I was one of the doubters, but I have been incredibly entertained by his reign as champion. It's been a welcome breath of fresh air.
Big Show returned from an injury in October—an injury that he sustained at the hands of Mark Henry.
Ever since his return, Big Show has been out for revenge and has been relentless in his pursuit. Show has stated that one of them will have to be carted out of Survivor Series, but Henry is determined as ever and claims that he will not be that guy.
I never thought I'd say this, but I'd like to see Mark Henry's world championship reign continue, and I think it will. He's been unstoppable since being drafted to SmackDown earlier this year. Big Show will bring everything he's got, but I think Henry will find some way to keep the championship.
Let's just hope the ring has been reinforced this time.
Winner and STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Mark Henry
The Rock and John Cena vs. Awesome Truth
This is the big one. The moment everyone has been waiting for. The Rock's return to the ring.
It was previously believed that The Rock would make his return to the ring when he and Cena squared off in an epic battle at WrestleMania XXVIII in April. However, Awesome Truth, after having caused many issues for Cena over the last couple of months, forced Cena to ask for help from his future opponent.
Most people might be inclined to believe that, even on their worst night, the team of Cena and Rock can easily turn back Awesome Truth. And under normal circumstances, they may be right, but these aren't normal circumstances.
Cena & Rock's rivalry continues to heat up as WrestleMania draws nearer. It seems as if their dislike for each other has taken precedence over their battle with Awesome Truth.
The biggest question is whether or not Cena and Rock can co-exist. After all the bickering they've done this year and the ending to RAW this past Monday, I don't believe they can. I think their egos and their dislike for each other will get in the way, allowing Miz or Truth to sneak in a quick pinfall, which would be a huge victory for them.
Everyone has an opinion of how they think it's going to go down, but mine is that Cena will turn on The Rock.
Sure, Cena asked for Rock to be his partner, but remember back at WrestleMania when Rock delivered a rock bottom to Cena in the main event? That action resulted in The Miz retaining the WWE Championship.
I think that Cena could still be looking for revenge and believe that he invited Rock to be his partner so he could cause him to lose his big return match, to take the opportunity to get inside Rock's head.
I think Cena and Rock's dissension will cost them big here.
Winner: Awesome Truth
No matter the outcome of the matches, I think the 25th anniversary of Survivor Series has the potential to be one of the best events of the year.
All of the elements are in place. I'm really looking forward to seeing Rock's return to the ring and anticipate seeing the heat turned up in his rivalry with Cena—a rivalry that I still can't believe I'm seeing.
I'm also looking forward to the other matches, but I'm especially interested in the Survivor Series Elimination Match, which I think might surprise some people.
Enjoy the show, everyone. I'll be back tomorrow night with my thoughts on the event.