WWE Survivor Series 2017: Updated Match Card Predictions After TLC
Now that the chaos of TLC is over, the focus can shift toward brand loyalty at WWE Survivor Series 2017.
Sunday's TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view gave fans a taste of what to expect on Nov. 19 as SmackDown's AJ Styles mixed it up with Raw's Finn Balor. More battles like this one are on their way.
WWE is hyping the event as a battle between the brands.
That means Styles and Balor may meet for a second time. It also means Survivor Series' trademark elimination matches will be a part of the card, and Brock Lesnar may get a challenge from Team Blue.
What contests should fans expect at the 30th edition of Survivor Series? Happenings from TLC and what bouts WWE booked for last year's event help project what's ahead.
Raw vs. SmackDown Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match (Men)
Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt, The Miz, Samoa Joe and Jason Jordan vs. Baron Corbin, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura
If Raw is going to take on SmackDown at Survivor Series, the no-brainer move is to pit the brands against each other in the kind of match the PPV is famous for. That's what WWE did last year and it promises to be the plan for 2017, too.
Samoa Joe returning from injury would add excitement to this clash. Braun Strowman and The Miz's tensions after their team imploded at TLC should be plenty high. And seeing Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn team up will be a treat.
There's plenty of star power to plug in, even if John Cena remains on hiatus and Chris Jericho doesn't come back in November.
The match would also give Wyatt something to do if his rivalry with Balor is put on hold to facilitate a rematch between The Demon and The Phenomenal One.
The Shield vs. The New Day
The Shield return match never came to pass, with Roman Reigns' illness putting that moment on hold.
It makes no sense now to have The Hounds of Justice face their scheduled TLC opponents. Kurt Angle, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose already took care of them. And Strowman broke away from his posse mid-bout.
It would be smarter to direct The Shield elsewhere.
With the Raw vs. SmackDown theme in play for Survivor Series, there's a clear choice ahead for the company. The New Day is the only other dominant trio on the roster today. The group is hugely popular and has been producing in the ring at every stage.
The Shield facing The New Day is a dream match WWE has to book before either squad splits up.
Finn Balor vs. AJ Styles II
AJ Styles stepped in as a last-minute replacement for Bray Wyatt, and an excellent match against Balor followed.
The Phenomenal One and The Demon tore down the house at TLC.
WWE officials surely heard fans chanting "This is awesome!" before the match even began; they had to see how much folks raved about Balor's win online. That's going to inspire a rematch, whether Balor vs. Styles at Survivor Series was the plan or not.
The second go-round between the two would give the PPV a major amount of buzz, and it would up the event's match quality in a significant way.
This is the obvious route to take for these two warriors.
Kurt Angle vs. Shane McMahon
In eye-popping news, WWE cleared Angle to compete as he replaced Reigns in TLC's main event. And with that, the Olympian competed in his first WWE match in 11 years.
He looked good as a supporting player for The Shield, and the company is now going to want to keep making use of the buzz Angle's return brings. And it may do with a heavy dose of nostalgia.
Last year, Goldberg and Brock Lesnar revisited their WrestleMania XX match. It could now be Angle and Shane McMahon's turn, as the two veterans deliver a sequel to their King of the Ring match in 2001.
Should the Raw general manager and SmackDown commissioner cross paths, WWE can add high stakes—giving the winning authority figure a chance to steal a Superstar or something similar.
Raw vs. SmackDown Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match (Women)
Asuka, Alexa Bliss, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Emma vs. Natalya, Becky Lynch, Carmella, Charlotte Flair and Naomi
At TLC, Asuka, Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss all walked away winners in their respective matches. There's a good chance they will all be on the same team come Survivor Series.
Last year's PPV featured a five-on-five battle between the brand's women's divisions. Repeating that move makes sense. Both Raw and SmackDown can find a place for the majority of their female Superstars here.
The only other probable option is The Four Horsewomen of NXT (Banks, Bayley, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch) going up against the Ronda Rousey-led Four Horsewomen of MMA.
However, WWE hasn't made a move in that direction since the Mae Young Classic. The seeds the company planted for that battle don't seem to be sprouting into anything for the moment.
Raw vs. SmackDown Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match (Tag Teams)
The Bar, The Club, The Miztourage, Heath Slater, Rhyno, Titus O'Neil and Apollo Crews vs. The Usos, The Hype Bros, Breezango, The Ascension and The Bludgeon Brothers
Even after both Raw and SmackDown send in five Superstars to represent them, there are going to be a large number of guys in need of a match. A good many of them will come from the tag team division.
It would be hard to leave The Usos out of the mix seeing how hot they have been. Breezango is a popular act who could use some spotlight, and The Bar has been steadily delivering when called upon.
The company can corral them all together in a single place by mimicking what it did at Survivor Series last year. Five teams formed a single unit for each brand in 2016. Repeating that would be the logical move.
Going this route would also allow WWE to reintroduce the repackaged Bludgeon Brothers on a big stage.
Cruiserweight Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match
Enzo Amore, Noam Dar, Ariya Daivari, Drew Gulak and Tony Nese vs. Kalisto, Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander, Gran Metalik and Mustafa Ali
Enzo Amore has assembled a team of loyal heels at an opportune time. The heel led an attack on Kalisto last Monday that saw Drew Gulak, Tony Nese and others do his bidding. The implication was that Amore paid them off.
And now, after getting cheated at TLC, losing the cruiserweight title to Amore thanks to an illegal eye poke, Kalisto is sure to want some payback. He can get that in the form of sending a team he puts together into battle at Survivor Series.
WWE can showcase nearly the entire division in one shot this way, and it can keep the charismatic Amore on top without having to put fans through one of his subpar matches. He would only have to make a cameo in this clash.
Brock Lesnar vs. Jinder Mahal
There's little doubt where the company is going for the top of its card: the WWE champion is going to face the Universal titleholder.
Jinder Mahal called out Lesnar last week, saying The Beast Incarnate is the worthy opponent left for him. Lesnar is set to answer him on Monday's Raw.
Lesnar has yet to officially accept, but WWE wouldn't have hyped this situation the way it has only to have the powerhouse tell Mahal, "No thanks."
A champion-against-champion clash makes sense, it just doesn't have the same buzz one would expect because of The Maharaja.
Even so, the matchup is the safest Survivor Series bet one can make right now. As crazy as it sounds, Mahal is fast approaching taking the spot on the card Goldberg occupied last year.