Survivor Series is Sunday and for the second time in WWE history the World Championship will be decided in a tournament. The first time was in 1998 and it ended in controversial fashion with the Rock, who at the time looked to be sliding into a full face turn, pulling a swerve and joining Vince McMahon’s Corporation to become his Corporate-approved champion in return for Vince recreating the Montreal Screwjob from a year before to decide the match in his favor. It worked in that it legit caught people off guard and a lot of people didn’t see it coming, but the show itself wasn’t very good and led to a not very good WrestleMania 15.
The shadow of that night looms over this weekend because Roman Reigns, the Rock’s cousin, finds himself in a similar position. The WWE has put a big effort into rebuilding Roman’s standing with the fans after they booed him through WrestleMania 31 because they didn’t want him in the main event. He’s poised to win Sunday, but having received an offer to switch sides from Triple H there’s real speculation that he’ll reprise what his cousin did 17 years ago. And of course there are some other matches on the show. So let’s take a look at the whole show:
Dolph Ziggler vs Tyler Breeze
Should be a good match in whatever time they get to work. Bringing Breeze up to the main roster and pairing him with Summer Rae was a good way to end the Ziggler-Rusev angle and still have something for Dolph to do. Breeze just got here so my guess is that Ziggler will be putting him over here, with Summer Rae providing some interference to help her man get the win.
Diva’s Title Match: Charlotte (champ) vs Paige
This one got real controversial Monday night when Paige mentioned Charlotte’s deceased brother Reid during a contract signing brawl. It didn’t go over well and Ric Flair (Charlotte’s Dad if you don’t know) was not very pleased with it at all. It was definitely in bad taste, but…..that’s wrestling. Bad taste is kinda what they do. It adds some heat to the match, and while I think the outcome is a foregone conclusion (unless they go with a non-finish to set up another match at TLC) it should be good. No matter the official result Charlotte’s keeping the title here.
Undertaker and Kane vs Two of the Wyatt Family
I have no idea what’s going to happen here. It all depends on who goes in the ring for the Wyatts. If either Rowan or Harper is in the match then I think it’s safe to predict an Undertaker/Kane victory. If it’s Bray and Strowman then I think they’ll take it, or we’ll get some kind of non finish to set up TLC.
WWE Championship Tournament
We have two semifinals matches and then the final here. Roman Reigns takes on Alberto Del Rio in the biggest foregone conclusion match of the year, and then we have the wildcard matchup of Dean Ambrose vs Kevin Owens. There are a few ways this thing could unfold:
- Owens cheats to beat Ambrose, then loses to Roman
- Ambrose beats Owens, faces Reigns in the finals, somebody turns heel, Owens gets pissed and causes him to lose to Reigns in the finals
- Ambrose beats Owens, faces Reigns in the finals, somebody turns heel
Scenarios 1 and 2 both set up an Ambrose-Owens angle, that could slow burn towards a WrestleMania match if they play it right. Owens would get a match against Roman at TLC where Dean can come after him, then they can meet at some point during the Royal Rumble match in January and take it from there. If I were booking things that’s probably what I would do.
Scenario 3 will probably result in either Dean or Roman joining the Authority. Dean joining the Authority makes almost no sense. The hellraising rebel suddenly selling out to the man? Really? I don’t see it. As for Roman……I hope not. There’s no reason to do it right at this moment. Yes there is a faction of the fanbase that still boos him but it’s not because they want him to go heel; they just don’t want him as the top guy in the company. Turning him heel does nothing for them whatsoever and may cause the fans who do cheer him now to go milquetoast instead of buying into the heel turn and booing him. I just don’t see it as the slam dunk move some people think it is.
On the other hand, a straight up Roman win here could lead to a meaningful heel turn in a few months. If the crowd reactions go like they did when he won the Rumble, you could parlay that into a pissed at the fans Roman going into ‘eff all you guys’ mode and aligning himself with the Authority later, which can in turn lead to a Seth Rollins face turn when he comes back from injury and a three way main event for the title at WrestleMania 33.
Turning Roman heel Sunday is a too cute by half move that only serves as a ‘see what we did there?’ callback to Survivor Series 1998. I know some people think that would be a cool thing but I’d rather pass on that. This isn’t the Attitude Era anymore and you don’t have to do super duper double swerves here. Sometimes it’s best to play it straight. Now that being said there is always Scenario 4……..
Sheamus has to cash in eventually. You can do it here, give him a two month run as champ until the Royal Rumble, and take it off of him. But that would mean doing yet another “Roman got screwed out of the title” angle….if you want to do that and have Roman beat Sheamus for the title at Royal Rumble, I guess I can live with that.
Having run through all of these options, I would rank them (in terms of my preference) this way: 1, 2, 4, 3. Play it straight for now and if you want to do the heel turn for Roman you can do a proper build towards it afterward. Should be an interesting show.