The twenty-sixth annual Survivor Series pay-per-view will air Sunday night at 8 Eastern Time from the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. One of WWE’s longer-running pay-per-views, Survivor recently has disappointed the company in buy rates, so this year the pro wrestling company has booked fewer matches with higher profiles than usual.
In 2011 the event featured six matches, and in 2010 there were eight. This year there are only five bouts, with high-profile fights like a Triple threat WWE Title match between champion CM Punk defending against John Cena and Ryback, a one-on-one match for the World Heavyweight Title with champion Big Show defending against Sheamus, and a traditional 10-man Survivor Series elimination match headlined by Dolph Ziggler and The Miz.
Ryback vs. CM Punk vs. John Cena
The Second City Saint has been feuding with Cena on and off for over a year at this point, and Punk has a newfound rivalry with Ryback that drew a lot of eyes to WWE last month. The match was an obvious choice, even though it was a last-minute switch, and should serve as a way to add some dimension to Ryback’s performances.
Prediction: Punk Retains
The Rock is returning to face whoever holds the WWE Championship at The Royal Rumble, and he’s going to win. Not only would officials be taking away any chance of a grudge match in January between Punk and Rock, but they would ease tension about a title change just before the match.
Punk has the ninth-longest WWE Championship reign in history, and he won the belt at Survivor Series last year; he seems unstoppable. Having The Rock take it away is a better story then Ryback getting his first win tonight, or Cena winning the belt for the eleventh time.
Team Foley vs. Team Ziggler
The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Kane, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton make up Team Foley and Dolph Ziggler, Rhodes Scholars (Damien Sandow & Cody Rhodes), Wade Barrett and Alberto Del Rio make up Team Ziggler. The 10 men will fight in an elimination tag match that popularized the Survivor Series pay-per-view in the mid-80’s.
Prediction: Team Ziggler Wins
The freshly turned babyface Miz will be served another loss tonight when the team he leads in honor of Mick Foley is unjustly beaten by Team Ziggler. This will be the big win that Ziggler needs to make him a bigger star before he cashes in his Money in the Bank contract.
The Showoff needs the momentum the same way Miz needed it at 2010’s Bragging Rights. Miz’s team won a big match against Big Show’s team that night two years ago, pushing Miz and the Money in the Bank contract he held back then onto the main stage for when he’d cash in the title later that year.
World Heavyweight Championship
Big Show vs. Sheamus
The feud between the “SmackDown” top stars hasn’t been everything it could be, but their match last month was impressive. The Giant defends his belt against the Celtic Warrior again tonight, and Sheamus finds himself as an underdog for one of the first times in his career.
Prediction: Big Show Retains
Paul Wight has been in the wrestling industry since his World Championship Wrestling debut in 1995 as the Giant and through his WWE career as Big Show. He has had few runs as a World Champion.
He’s held a few world titles, but never for long. This is WWE’s chance to give the World’s Largest Athlete some time in the spotlight; it could be their last with Big Show in his early 40s.
United States Championship
Antonio Cesaro vs. R-Truth
The U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro has been on a roll since entering the WWE earlier this year. The Swiss Superstar will put his U.S. title on the line against R-Truth, who has apparently eased out of the Little Jimmy gimmick that had gotten more than tired with fans.
Prediction: Cesaro Retains
Whether or not Truth is still playing a character with an imaginary friend, he’s destined to lose this match. The company has been burying the former Tag Team Champion, even when he has a title, and he’s just too old to have a comeback as a singles wrestler now that his run with Kofi Kingston is over.
Truth could win the match in a takeaway move to push Cesaro to another championship, but that would be too quick. He hasn’t held the belt a considerable amount of time and would do better keeping the championship for a few more months.
Eve Torres vs. Kaitlyn
Eve Torres has been the Divas Champion since September, when Kaitlyn was mysteriously injured and couldn’t compete for the title. Since then the only women’s storyline related directly to wrestling in WWE has been a conspiracy theory that Eve is the culprit who attacked Kaitlyn.
Prediction: Kaitlyn Wins
The Divas Title doesn’t matter that much to WWE officials (see champions like the Nikki and Brie Bella). The pay-per-view could use a title switch, and the Tag Team and Intercontinental Championships are involved in the elimination tag match.