HEYDORN’S TAKE: Don’t hold me to this – WWE Survivor Series 2021

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH ASSISTANT EDITOR (@zheydorntorch)

PHOTO CREDIT: WWE

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

Here we are again, folks. Brand supremacy, champion vs. champion, Raw vs. Smackdown, Survivor Series time. Who’s ready?!

You can stop laughing now, I get it. Nobody is that excited about Survivor Series, right? I’m not sure WWE even is and it’s their damn show. I’ll say it again after saying it for three straight years now, Survivor Series is an outdated concept and the attempt to modernize it with champion vs. champion matches and brand warfare has created unnecessary inconsistencies with character alignment within the highest ranks of each roster.

The build to Survivor Series 2021 has been less than mediocre at best and wholly saved by the champion vs. champion bouts at the top level. The traditional elimination matches that are set have rocks for stakes and have featured obnoxious bickering between team members instead of genuine stories about wanting to win. The mid-card champion vs. champion match between Damian Priest and Shinsuke Nakamura was an “oh crap” after thought and the tag team square off clocked in at a smidge more interesting due to one week’s worth of attention.

That leaves the women’s and men’s top champion vs. champion bouts to carry the show and they have. Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair have woven a storyline stocked with true to life elements that should jump off the screen in the ring. Outside of just Raw vs. Smackdown, Roman Reigns and Big E have a personal vendetta against one another going into their match. There were added layers given to both those matches, which ultimately highlights and otherwise bleak show from a build perspective. Match quality-wise, the entire card should deliver.

Call this a preview, a calm look into the distant future, or a gaze into a wondrous crystal ball; just don’t hold me to anything, ok?

Women’s Survivor Series Match – Team Raw: Bianca Belair, Rhea Ripley, Queen Zelina, Carmella, & Liv Morgan vs. Team Smackdown: Sasha Banks, Toni Storm, Natalya, Shotzi, & Shayna Baszler

Loads of talent in this, but no true build to speak of. The storytelling on both sides has been rooted in neither side getting along, creating exactly zero avenues for an audience to invest. The match will deliver from an entertainment perspective due to the talent, but cultivating a rooting interest is out of the question. The match will belong to Bianca Belair when it’s all said and done. She’ll not just be the sole survivor, but she’ll have a handful of memorable athletic feats to show off as well. Team Raw is walking out victorious.

Damian Priest vs. Shinsuke Nakamura – WWE United States and Intercontinental Champion vs. Champion Match

I swear WWE forgot they had to trot this match out there on Sunday night. The build has essentially been nonexistent leaving Priest and Nakamura in quite the bind in terms of finding a story for their match. This is babyface vs. babyface, so look for both to be respectful of the other. Priest is the protected act and project right now and he’ll take the win cleanly to maintain that status.

The Usos vs. RK-Bro – WWE Smackdown Tag Team and Raw Tag Team Champion vs. Champion Match

This is a sneaky match of the night contender. Off the charts talent involved in this one and thanks to both teams being over with the audience, it will stand out when it’s all said and done. Orton and Riddle need a serious tone to balance them and facing The Usos provides them with one. Their interaction was limited in building the match, but they got significantly more than other matches on this show. Look, RK-Bro is a fun little team, but is running its course. The Bloodline is the focus. WWE will shine the light where it needs to go and The Usos stay strong next to Roman Reigns with this win.

Men’s Survivor Series Match: Team Raw: Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Finn Balor, Bobby Lashley, & Austin Theory vs. Team Smackdown: Drew McIntyre, Jeff Hardy, King Xavier Woods, Happy Corbin, & Sheamus

I mean, see above in the women’s Survivor Series section. Same exact problems stick out like sore thumbs here too. Incessant bickering and obnoxiousness have reared its head into any kind of logical build based on wanting to win and having that win mean something. The result? Neither team is worth getting behind. Like Belair, this match should revolve around Drew McIntyre. With a showdown against Roman Reigns in the cards, getting momentum back is critical and this is an avenue to achieve that. Team Smackdown takes the W in the end.

Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair – WWE Raw Women’s and Smackdown Women’s Champion vs. Champion Match

This one’s personal and both women have made that fact a central point in hyping the match. Lynch cut a bad ass babyface promo on Raw to drive the story between her and Charlotte home and delivered the best line possible regarding their match saying that it wasn’t about brand supremacy, but about building a legacy. Lynch gave the match stakes with that comment. Add to that the real-life collision both had backstage politically and you have a recipe for real intrigue. Flair always looks the part of a star and did throughout the run to this match, adding a big fight feel to an already enticing matchup. In what will be the match of the night, look for Becky Lynch to get the win, propping her up as still the woman to beat in WWE while knocking Charlotte down a peg thanks to what happened on Smackdown a few weeks ago.

Roman Reigns vs. Big E – WWE Universal and WWE Championship Champion vs. Champion Match

This is personal too, but for different reasons. WWE made this match more than just about brands beating brands and the added layer has created clear babyface and heel lines that fans can stand behind. Reigns and The Bloodline taking out Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods gives Big E a reason to want to win and he articulated that reason successfully on Monday night. Big E has found a balance with his champion character that firmly places him as a main event act in WWE. Reigns is Reigns. He’s the top star of the wrestling industry and continually shows it when he’s in the ring. Reigns needs the win, will get it, and will stay the head of the table. Big E, protected or not in the loss, is elevated by hanging with Reigns and thus wins regardless.


CATCH-UP: HEYDORN’S DYNAMITE RECEIPT 11/17: First night of “Hangman” Adam Page title reign stocked with new stories and potential

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