SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
“Who wins? Who knows? Who cares?”
– Joe Piscopo, Saturday Night Live, Season 7, Episode 2
Wake the pets and call the neighbors, it’s time for our exclusive WWE Network/pseudo pay-per-view projections!
DISCLAIMER: Projections are based on what the columnist would do if he were booking this event, instead of Paul “NXT” Levesque, Runjin Singh, Ed Koskey, Ryan Ward and WWE Chairman Vincent Kennedy Trump McMahon. Projections are not predictions, because this is the column where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter. This preview has been sealed in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnall’s porch since noon today. Some of our departing contestants will receive a year’s supply of Dupont Lucite paint, now available in over one thousand fashionable colors for long-lasting beauty inside or outside your home. Pat McNeill’s wardrobe provided by Botany 500, tailored by Daroff. This is only an exhibition. This is not a competition. Please, please, no wagering. This lineup is based on the best available information as of this writing. These predictions are based on what the columnist would do if he had creative control over WWE, except for the part where he does his impression of Robert De Niro’s baseball speech from “The Untouchables” in the middle of the Friday creative meeting.
Welcome to a huge weekend of Red vs. Blue, as WWE has the climactic battle between Raw and Smackdown, four whole months after the brand split took place. I know many of us have stayed up nights wondering how this would all turn out. No more. We’ll know after Survivor Series whether Shane McMahon or Stephanie McMahon is best suited to run WWE after Vince McMahon retires a hundred years from now.
One of the problems with this format? There’s nothing at stake in the various Raw versus Smackdown elimination matches. We need to fix that. Here’s my idea. Since there are three elimination matches, a brand needs to win two out of three matches to be victorious. What if the winning brand was guaranteed that the Number 30 spot in the Royal Rumble would go to a wrestler from its brand? That’s an incentive that could work without locking WWE into a long-term booking decision.
Before we preview tonight’s show, let’s get to this month’s edition of the Wrestling History Lesson, because that’s why many of you clicked here in the first place. Twenty years ago, on November 24, 1996, the World Wrestling Federation presented “WWF Superstars” (pretaped) from Springfield, Massachusetts. On that show, we saw future “Brawl For All” winner Bart Gunn lock up with “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Jim Ross and Jim Cornette had the call.
What was happening in World Wrestling Entertainment fifteen years ago? I’m glad you asked! On November 265 2001 the World Wrestling Federation aired an episode of “Sunday Night Heat” (pretaped) from Fayetteville, North Carolina. In the opening match, two future WWE Hall of Famers faced each other as Amy “Lita” Dumas took on Jacqueline Moore. No, really. Michael Cole & Taz had the call. (Good luck finding this on WWE Network. Or…anywhere else.)
Did you catch the opening match on WWE Main Event last week? Watch it now (sort of). It’s The Hot Cops (Tyler Breeze & Fandango) locking up with the Vaudevillians. Tom Phillips & David Otunga have the call.
Michael Cole, Mauro Ranallo, Corey Graves, John Bradshaw Layfield, Tom Phillips, David Otunga, Byron Saxton, Dick Vitale and the late Dr. Joyce Brothers will be announcing the show. Renee Young, Booker T, Lita & Jerry Lawler will be doing the pre-show while Dasha Fuentes & Charley Caruso will be in the social media lounge, trying to remember each other’s names. On with the program!
NXT Toronto Projections: Winners will be Authors of Pain, Bobby Roode, Team DIY, Asuka & Shinsuke Nakamura
We need some sort of match for the WWE’s pregame Kickoff show. I’ll take Adrian Neville defeating Bo Dallas.
“The” Brian Kendrick vs. Kalisto (WWE Cruiserweight Title): There’s a lot of speculation about the Cruiserweight Division heading over to Smackdown, since they’ll be there anyway to take part in the “205 Live” show. But Kendrick just won the title, and Raw needs time-filling cruiserweight matches a lot more than Smackdown does. Projection? The match goes at the champ’s pace, but Kendrick manages to pull Mister Del Sol into a Captain’s Hook, and that’s your finish. Tomorrow night, Rich Swann starts agitating for his shot at Kendrick’s championship.
Mike “The Miz” Mizanin (w/ Maryse Mizanin) vs. Sami Zayn (w/ hat) – WWE Intercontinental Title: Yes, Mister and Mrs. Marine once again have control over the prestigious I/C Title. Dolph Ziggler is once again the schmuck that can’t make is as a main eventer. Projection? The Miz dominates the match, but Zayn surprises Miz with the Heluva Kick to win the match and the Intercontinental Title. I expect this move will go over well with the Toronto fans. Plus, it eliminates the awkwardness of switching the belt directly from Ziggler to Zayn.
Heath Slater, Rhyno, The Hype Bros, American Alpha, The Usos & Breezango vs. The New Day, Antonio Cesaro, Sheamus Farrelly, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Enzo Amore, Colin Cassady, Primo Colon & Epico Colon (10 On 10 Survivor Series Tag Team Elimination Match): Rhyno came up short in his run for office, but he can provide some much-needed leadership for the Smackdown crew. The Raw wrestlers are more likely to bicker among themselves, which is the only way the Smackdown crew stands a chance. Projection? Rhyno gores Epico to eliminate the Stars. Gallows and Anderson hit Fandango with the Magic Killer to even things up. Cesaro drops Jey Uso with the Neutralizer. Enzo & Cass get into an argument with Gallows & Anderson, leading to Jason Jordan pinning Enzo. Cass hits Anderson with a big boot, allowing Rawley to pin Anderson. Big E flattens Karl Gotch with the Big Ending. The Usos and The New Day fight outside the ring and both teams get counted out. Sheamus and Cesaro have a miscommunication, leading to Slater rolling up Sheamus for the pin. Heath Slater and Rhyno are the sole survivors.
Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Carmella Van Dale, Naomi Fatu & Nikki Bella w/ Natalya Kidd vs. Charlotte Flair, Alicia Fox, Bayley Martinez, Nia Jax & Sasha Banks w/ Dana Brooke (5 on 5 Survivor Series Women’s Elimination Match):In case you missed Smackdown, we’ve established that the Raw wrestlers (including Bayley and Sasha) are the heels in this matchup. I don’t know if this is a good long-term decision, but it makes the match easier to put together. Projection? Nikki pins Fox with the Rack Attack. Sasha Banks makes Carmella tap out to the Bank Statement. Nia Jax finishes Naomi with the Samoan Drop. Becky Lynch taps out Nia with the Disarmer. Bayley pins Alexa with the Belly-to-Bayley Suplex. Nikki Bella rolls up Sasha Banks for an elimination. Bayley drops Nikki with another Belly-to-Belly, and Charlotte pins Lynch with Natural selection. Charlotte and Bayley are your sole survivors.
A.J. Styles, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton & Shane McMahon vs. Kevin Owens, Braun Strowman, Chris Jericho, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins (5 on 5 Survivor Series Men’s Elimination Match): Yes, we’re at one victory per brand, and this match is the decider. Projection? This will be your long match of the evening, the primary reason this show is set for four hours. Braun Strowman crushes Shane McMahon and eliminates Shane. Ambrose eliminates Strowman with Dirty Deeds. Orton hits an RKO on Jericho and pins him. Rollins pins Bray Wyatt with a pedigree. Owens hits Smackdown mascot James Ellsworth with a package powerbomb at ringside. Ellsworth is stretchered out. Ambrose and Owens brawl to the back, and both men are disqualified. Rollins and Reigns set Orton up for a double powerbomb. Orton escapes and leaves ringside to take a deliberate countout. Styles surprises Rollins with an O’Connor Roll to get it down to one-on-one.
Cue Samoa Joe’s music. Joe comes to the ring, has a staredown with his old foe AJ Styles, then turns and headbutts Roman Reigns. Styles pins Roman with the Phenomenal forearm. Joe goes backstage and celebrates with Styles, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan. Samoa Joe has left NXT and signed with Smackdown.
Bill Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar: And now, it’s the rematch we’ve waited twelve years to see. Lesnar looked stronger than ever the last time we saw him. Goldberg hasn’t wrestled since 2004, but looks to be in good shape. Projection? Goldberg gives Lesnar a fight. Goldberg kicks out of the first F-5 from Brock, but not the second one. Brock Lesnar is your winner. After the match, Goldberg and Lesnar shake hands and Goldberg leaves the ring.
Then the lights go out. When they come back on, Lesnar is surrounded by Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper and Randy Orton. Brock fights off Wyatt and Harper but eats an RKO. And another. And another. Yeah, I know the McMahons are interested in having Brock Lesnar feud with Shane McMahon, but no one wants to see the former UFC champion sell for the owner’s son. Not for one minute.
Aftermath: We have two pay-per-views in the month of December. AJ Styles will fight Dean Ambrose at TLC, and Kevin Owens defends against Roman Reigns at Roadblock. We’ll see you there.
Pat McNeill of Greenville, South Carolina has been a PWTorch Columnist since 2001. He likes the Washington Redskins to beat the Green Bay Packers in Sunday night’s NFL game. You know, if gambling were legal.