So for those of you not in “the know” (that’s the technical term) WWE’s Survivor Series event is this Sunday. Billed as “Where Fantasy Warfare Gets Real” or some such, it’s allegedly the only event of the year where we’ll see superstars from SmackDown facing off against superstars from Raw. Given that it’s one of four (“The Big Four”) pay per views where we see both shows on a single night, I question whether we’ll never see them clash until next November, but that’s neither here nor there.
And man does this event sound like it’s going to be a clusterfuck.
First of all, as with all of the larger pay per view events that WWE does, the card has ballooned to something like four hours plus a pre-show. Given that fans have been complaining all year about five, six, and seven (yes, seven) hour pay per views it’s disappointing to see that WWE continue to try to turn these tentpole shows into day-long investments. It’s hard to have faith in a company that continues to appear as though it’s not listening, but we’ll get to that part in a minute.
So there’s two major booking decisions that make this event sound like it’s going to be an absolute train crash. The first is that there’s not one, not two, but three Traditional Survivor Series tag team matches on the card. Again, for those of you not privy to the way that these things typically work, a Survivor Series-style match pits five people against five other people in an elimination style match where all five members of one team must be pinned, submitted, disqualified etc. before the match is over. As you can imagine, these matches tend to take up a pretty significant chunk of time, with last year’s taking just shy of twenty minutes, and the 2014’s clocking in at around 45 minutes. There are three of these this year.
But not just any random three, oh no, that would make far too much sense. This year, all three of these matches are themed as Raw vs. SmackDown (which is fine): One is a men’s match (which is also fine), one is a woman’s match (which is still fine), and one is a tag team match. You might notice that one of these things is not fine.
It’s a tag team Traditional Survivor Series tag team match. Five tag teams against five tag teams in a tag team match. Tag team squared. How does it work? Nobody knows! All we know is that on the left side there’s going to be ten men, and on the right side it’s going to be a second set of ten men. Are four men going to be in the ring at the same time? Is it just going to be a regular Survivor Series match but twice as long? Who knows? WWE have failed to say.
So that’s sticking point number one. Issue number two comes from the midcard; specifically, there are two matches that are making me very nervous from a managerial standpoint. The first is the Intercontinental Championship match between The Miz and Sami Zayn. If Sami Zayn wins, the belt will come back with him to Monday Night Raw.
(Also, this article isn’t about this, but seriously WWE? You gave Dolph Ziggler a month with the title? And then he loses it on television right before one of the largest events of the year. Come on!)
The fact that the Miz won the title two days ago basically guarantees that he’ll be leaving Survivor Series as the reigning Intercontinental Champion. Normally I would agree with this statement, and if we were considering this match in a vacuum, it would be all but decided already. There’s no way that the WWE would stack Raw with the Intercontinental Championship and the United States Championship while leaving SmackDown with nothing.
Except they might.
You see, the other ridiculous match on the card is Kalisto, freshly back from injury, versus Brian Kendrick, for the Cruiserweight Championship. The stipulation for this match is what worries me: If Kalisto wins, not only will he win the Cruiserweight Championship, but the entire division will be moved to SmackDown. That part is great—again, in a vacuum this match would be wonderful. It’s a great way to get the cruiserweights off of an already-bloated Raw and onto SmackDown where they really should have been in the first place.
When you take these two matches, however, and bear in mind that Vince and Co. have always valued Raw as the more important show to SmackDown, what it could mean is a trade. That is to say, SmackDown might get the cruiserweight division but lose the Intercontinental Championship. It’s just crazy enough that it might happen.
This would be the equivalent of stealing food from a third world country to feed a fat person. See, it sounds equivalent on paper (a belt for a belt) but in reality what we’re trading is a belt for a division. The people that normally would compete for the Intercontinental Championship can’t compete for the Cruiserweight Championship because that belt comes with a weight restriction that the Intercontinental belt doesn’t have. What’s more, by taking the entire division, even if we added all the Intercontinental competitors, that’d be like twenty or more guys all vying for one belt. And not even the big belt. The whole thing would be cluttered.
In my ideal world SmackDown will win both matches—retaining the Intercontinental Championship as well as acquiring the cruiserweight division. This puts the cruiserweights on a show with a little less going on (and better writing) which gives them an opportunity to shine, while also taking some of the pressure off of Raw and giving it a little more room to breathe and develop storylines without feeling an obligation to devote half an hour to cruiserweight stuff. They’ve got enough going on between the women, the men, and the tag teams. Shit’s complicated over on Raw.
I just don’t trust WWE to make the smart decision anymore.