WWE Survivor Series 2014 is more than a battle for storyline control of the company. It's a key moment in the WWE Network timeline.
On Sunday, Nov. 23 at 8 p.m. ET., WWE will present the 28th edition of Survivor Series. This is no ordinary pay-per-view, though. This is the sample officials hope gets fans hooked on the new streaming service.
The company is giving away the show for free to new WWE Network subscribers. It's a bold, risky move to push the subscriber numbers closer to 1 million.
John Cena's team of five taking on the team that The Authority assembled is the marquee bout meant to draw fans in to both the pay-per-view itself and to sign up for the network.
That clash follows in the tradition of Team WWF facing Team Alliance in 2001 and Team Austin colliding with Team Bischoff in 2003.
Both of those matches had kayfabe power on the line. In 2001, either WCW or WWE was to going to fold depending on who won. In 2003, the right to run Raw was the prize for victory. Now, WWE's executive tyrants will lose their hold on the company if they can't beat Team Cena.
The Scottrade Center in St. Louis plays hosts to that matchup and to an event that is the centerpiece of WWE's network month-long giveaway.
Live Stream, PPV Info
The WWE Network is free for new subscribers in November. That includes Survivor Series.
WWE is pushing the service hard, looking to up its subscriber total to that magic 1 million mark. This is an ideal time to sample all the network's archives, original specials and, on Sunday, Survivor Series itself.
One can stream the event on Apple TV, Roku streaming devices or video game consoles through the WWE Network. WWE's official website has a full rundown of network-compatible devices.
Check WWE.com's help section to see if its available in your country. Sorry, U.K. fans, you're not on the list for now.
Fans can still order the pay-per-view through various cable companies, including Comcast and Cox.
An hour-long preview begins at 7 p.m. ET and features two Superstars making their way back to the spotlight.
Bad News Barrett will be there, but not to compete. He is still recovering from shoulder surgery but promises some of his trademark bad news:
Fandango, who hasn't been around for weeks, is returning as well. Pushed to the bottom of the card and suffering from a lack of direction, the ballroom dancer stopped appearing on TV.
He is now partnering with Rosa Mendes and is set for a match on the pre-show, perhaps benefiting from a tune-up of his gimmick.
In addition to those elements, the pre-show will also feature discussion of the biggest Survivor Series matches. As announced on WWE.com, Paul Heyman will join Renee Young, Alex Riley and Booker T on the event's panel.
The pre-show streams for free. It will air on the WWE Network. You can also catch it via WWE.com, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Pheed and Google Plus.
- Nikki Bella vs. AJ Lee (Divas Championship)
- The Usos vs. Damien Mizdow and The Miz vs. Los Matadores vs. Goldust and Stardust (Tag Team Championship)
- Paige, Cameron, Summer Rae and Layla vs. Emma, Alicia Fox, Natalya and Naomi (Elimination match)
- Bray Wyatt vs. Dean Ambrose
- Team Cena vs. Team Authority (Elimination match)
Nikki Bella vs. AJ Lee
The sister-versus-sister feud between The Bellas has bled over into the Divas Championship picture. Nikki won the right to boss her sister around for a month by beating Brie at Hell in a Cell.
Being Nikki's personal assistant has meant she's suffered slaps and smoothies on her head as well as being forced to slip into a butler's uniform.
All eyes will be on Brie, as she's likely to play a big part in this title bout. Whether she prevents her sister from winning or steps up as the No. 1 contender should Nikki win is the biggest question here.
AJ's part in this story has been secondary for the most part. She'll be looking to outdo her recent pay-per-view work, which has been fine but nothing memorable.
Tag Team Championship Fatal 4-Way
WWE crams the majority of the tag team division into one clash here. Goldust and Stardust defend against The Usos, Los Matadores and the duo of Damien Mizdow and The Miz.
There hasn't been much in the way of story between these teams. They have all, though, earned victories over each other.
The sagging tag division could definitely use a great match, but this may just be another showcase for Mizdow. His mirroring shtick has consistently been one of WWE's most entertaining elements as of late. However, his inclusion, along with the oddness of Stardust and El Torito's presence at ringside, signal that we're likely in for a comedy-heavy affair.
Fans will be looking for signs of Miz and Mizdow splitting up. Either that or WWE putting the belts on them to make the most of their momentum.
Divas Elimination Match
Survivor Series now has a second traditional Elimination match. Unfortunately, it has nowhere near the amount of hype that Team Cena vs. Team Authority has.
WWE announced this match with no fanfare on Tuesday.
Paige and Alicia Fox's unfinished rivalry should provide some spark. Natalya will be the foundation in terms of wrestling. Having no Eva Marie or Rosa Mendes is a plus.
Even without any buildup and no added stakes, these women should have little issue surpassing last year's mess of a match. Team Total Divas vs. Team True Divas drained the drama from the match's format, speeding through the eliminations.
Bray Wyatt vs. Dean Ambrose
Either greatness or disappointment awaits.
Wyatt and Ambrose are among WWE's best emerging stars, two dark men who make for compelling foes. WWE, though, has had to hurry this story along. It would be better served getting a longer build, but there were too many injured folks on the roster to play the patience game.
That may leave this bout lacking energy, making it feel more ordinary than it should.
The Eater of Worlds has promised to save Ambrose from his own suffering. So far, that's meant attacking him and hovering around him like a phantom.
Ambrose is coming off a tremendous performance at Hell in a Cell. That stellar match ended when Wyatt ambushed him and ruined his hopes of getting closure against Seth Rollins.
Wyatt's early momentum has faded. He now gets a high-profile chance to shine in a contest sure to be heavy on brawling and lunacy. This is like two dogs with rabies getting thrown into the same pit.
This showdown with Ambrose, even with the flaws in its build, has the potential to be something special.
Team Cena vs. Team Authority (Elimination match)
WWE has built the show around this match, banking on the strength of fans' desire to see The Authority fall.
Seth Rollins leads Rusev, Luke Harper, Mark Henry and Kane into battle against John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Erick Rowan, Ryback and Big Show. If Rollins' squad loses, The Authority loses its power. It's those kind of stakes that have this teeming with promise.
The mix of veterans and up-and-comers adds to the fun.
Rusev or Ryback could go on a Roman Reigns-like run. Ziggler could be asked to play the hero if Cena falls. Rowan and Harper are sure to go at it like two rhinos.
The Authority storyline, which started in earnest last summer, could finally come to a close. There is an electricity surrounding that possibility.
It's a narrative WWE has leaned on a lot over the past year. Should Cena and company win, we're set to see some major changes in the months ahead.
With enough surprises, with enough new faces shining and with all that power up for grabs, Survivor Series can entice fans to keep the WWE Network a part of their routine following this free trial. That's WWE's hope, at least.