WWE Survivor Series: Team Cena Vs. Team Authority — Big Surprises?

WWE Survivor Series, the 28th incarnation of the annual pay-per-view, takes place at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri, and the rumor mill is working overtime.

The main event features a traditional elimination-style Survivor Series match that will see Team Cena, comprising John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Erick Rowan, and Ryback, versus Team Authority, featuring Seth Rollins, Kane, Rusev, Mark Henry, and Luke Harper, with the leadership of The Authority and the careers of Team Cena on the line. WWE COO Triple H will be ringside alongside WWE Chief Brand Officer, Mrs. H, Stephanie McMahon.

For a year and a half, the top storyline in WWE has revolved around abuse of power exhibited by The Authority, which, in recent weeks, has led to the physical annihilation of members of Team Cena. Several weeks ago, Vince McMahon’s villainous on-air character, Mr. McMahon, raised the stakes of an otherwise flat grudge match by adding the win-or-go-home stipulation to “motivate” The Authority. This tweak not coincidentally coincides with WWE offering access to the WWE Network, usually priced at $9.99, free to new subscribers for the month of November, including Survivor Series. With WWE under pressure to increase a perceived lack in expected subscriber rates by year’s end, the company appears to be pulling out all the stops in order to generate interest in the show.

As if throwing into question the leadership of the company, from a storyline standpoint, wasn’t enough, PW Insider reports that Randy Orton, who weeks ago physically assaulted Team Authority chosen one Seth Rollins only to be curb stomped onto the steel steps on television so as to be freed to film WWE Studios film The Condemned 2, has flown from the New Mexico film location to St. Louis to appear at Survivor Series. From a storyline standpoint, it is expected he would intervene on behalf of Team Cena. In addition, Wrestle Zone reports that former Shield member Roman Reigns, who has been sidelined for several months following emergency surgery for an intestinal hernia and who is rumored for a possible December return, is expected to appear at Survivor Series, as is, potentially, the iconic Sting, in what would be his WWE debut.

The perceived stacked deck against Team Cena has many expecting that the good guys will reign supreme, bringing an end to the reign of Team Authority at Survivor Series. But a Team Authority win could set the stage for Monday Night Raw and a possible Mr. McMahon return, whereby he could serve something of a storyline receipt to Triple H who storyline ousted the WWE CEO as he was preparing to fire Cena. However, with the likelihood of Orton and Reigns involvement, a Team Authority win appears unlikely.

The move to upend WWE’s top storyline in such an abrupt and seemingly arbitrary way rings peculiar. It is possible that the change, coinciding with the company offering the WWE Network, including Survivor Series, free for the month of November, is a desperation move in attempt at a last grab for a subscriber boost before the end of the calendar year. It is also possible that with several shelved superstars set to return in coming weeks, such as Reigns, Orton, Bad News Barrett, Fandango, and Sheamus, that storyline focus is being shuffled in preparation of an all-hands-on-deck push for Wrestlemania 31 starting in January.