Survivor Series 2016 is coming in just two days from now, and this year’s event’s theme appears to be brand vs. brand competition. Five men, five women, and five tag teams per brand will be representing RAW and SmackDown in battles for brand supremacy. Two titles will be put in the line, and there may be some title-switching between brands in the process. And a returning WWE legend will hit the ring to compete for the first time in 12 years, as he faces arguably the most intimidating physical specimen in today’s WWE. So without further ado, here’s a complete list of Survivor Series 2016 predictions, as we look at what may go down at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto on Sunday.
Where are the Cruiserweight and Intercontinental Championships going?
The stakes will be high for everyone involved in Survivor Series, and it all starts with the two scheduled title matches: “The” Brian Kendrick defending his Cruiserweight Championship against Kalisto, and The Miz putting the Intercontinental Championship on the line against Sami Zayn. For the former match, Kendrick is part of the RAW brand with the rest of the Cruiserweight Division, while Kalisto is competing in SmackDown. If Kalisto wins the title on Sunday, that would bring both the belt and the division to SmackDown, and that could make a lot of sense, as Philly.com‘s Vaughn Johnson believes.
“I believe that to be the case because 205 Live, the new cruiserweight show, will be produced after SmackDown Live. There will be no need for them to appear on RAW as well. (And) even if Kendrick wins, I still believe the Cruiserweight title is headed to SmackDown Live when it is all said and done.”
Meanwhile, it’s going to be quite the toss-up as The Miz and Sami Zayn take part in another brand vs. brand title match. As confirmed on Tuesday by WWE’s official website, Zayn would bring the Intercontinental Championship to the RAW brand if he wins it at Survivor Series 2016. Predictions tend to favor Zayn at this point, with Bleacher Report stating that he has the potential to “make the title interesting again.” But that’s also going to give RAW two mid-card singles titles, while leaving SmackDown with the short end of the stick in terms of title prestige. And title count, if Kendrick beats Kalisto and the cruiserweights stay on RAW.
As this writer sees things, Kalisto does seem to be the more plausible choice to win the Cruiserweight Championship, as the division just isn’t getting enough attention as a sideshow on RAW. The Intercontinental title match, on the other hand, is much harder to call, but will likely go to The Miz, with the possibility of shenanigans from Maryse, the Spirit Squad, and/or the man himself.
But where does that leave Dolph Ziggler, who lost an IC title match to Miz on Tuesday? That’s an interesting consideration, and I am personally expecting him to either cost Zayn the title by attacking The Miz and causing a disqualification, or, in a case of thinking out of the box, by attacking Zayn and turning heel. It’s been three years since Dolph lived up to his “@HEELZiggler” Twitter handle by playing the bad guy, and even if he got a huge babyface pop by winning the Intercontinental title from The Miz at No Mercy in October, it might be time to freshen up his character with a heel turn.
The traditional Survivor Series matches: Which brand will reign supreme?
Instead of centering on the usual heel vs. face feuds for the traditional five-man elimination matches at Survivor Series, this year’s edition is all about which brand is better. Babyfaces and heels will have to coexist with each other on the same team, and fight for the supremacy of their brand instead of fighting among each other. And yes, we are predicting a lot of infighting in each of the three matches.
For the tag team match, which features a whopping 21 men (due to RAW‘s The New Day having three members), this one’s probably swinging RAW‘s way, and not because of the slight manpower advantage; only one man in a tag team has to be pinned or submitted for the team to be eliminated, after all. There’s far more upside on the red brand’s team, what with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, Enzo Amore and Big Cass, and Sheamus and Cesaro also included. SmackDown, on the other hand, has its fair share of fodder in Breezango and The Hype Bros, as compared to The Shining Stars being the sole weak link (in terms of push) on the RAW team. In short, this match could easily go to Team RAW.
On paper, RAW‘s women’s team has more star power than SmackDown‘s. Charlotte and Sasha Banks are arguably the top two female talents in all of WWE, and even with Bayley seemingly falling victim to WWE’s tendency of giving start-stop pushes to top NXT stars, those two alone, plus up-and-coming monster heel Nia Jax, make Team RAW a logical choice to win the women’s elimination match at Survivor Series 2016. But unlike what most predictors said, I think the blue brand just might have a chance of pulling off the upset. Sure, you’ve got Becky Lynch and Alexa Bliss, then Carmella and Nikki Bella feuding with each other. Team SmackDown, however, also has Natalya as the women’s “coach,” and if she can lead her team to forget their differences and win the match, this could establish her character as a mentor-type for SmackDown‘s women’s roster.
In its Survivor Series 2016 predictions, CBS Sports favored the RAW women and the SmackDown men. I’m willing to wager it goes the opposite way, with Team RAW picking up the win at the Air Canada Centre. Roman Reigns’ legions of detractors may throw a fit over it, but there’s a chance Reigns may actually be the deciding factor in the match, as WWE might want to build him up for next month’s Universal Championship match against Kevin Owens. Furthermore, Team SmackDown’s fifth member, Shane McMahon, is not a wrestler per se, and there have been some who are expecting team mascot James Ellsworth to turn on Dean Ambrose for some surprise dissension, a “swerve,” if you may. This one could go to RAW, but like the women’s match, it’s pretty much a toss-up.
Goldberg vs. Lesnar: Who wins in this WrestleMania XX rematch?
On Thursday, The Inquisitr talked about some of the reasons why Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar most likely won’t be as bad as their WrestleMania XX match from 2004. And if you consider the facts that Goldberg is wrestling his first match in 12 years, pushing 50, and suffering from ring rust, and that Lesnar has been booked as an unstoppable force, we’re likely going to see the “Beast Incarnate” go over at Survivor Series 2016. CBS Sports also offered a succinct explanation of why a Lesnar victory is the most logical prediction:
“Considering it was Goldberg who got that WrestleMania XX win and there’s absolutely zero benefit in putting him over Lesnar, who remains employed by WWE, it only makes sense for Lesnar to get the victory. The only question is whether the match plays out clean or results in another disappointing finish like Lesnar-Orton did at SummerSlam.”
Yes, this is going to be a special match indeed, one that feels worthy of being the main event at Survivor Series 2016. Again, we’re not predicting a technically superior match, but all signs point to the match being better than the original one from 2004. And most signs point to the Beast adding Bill Goldberg’s name to the list of people he’s “conquered.”
[Featured Image by WWE]