As another one of the "big four" pay-per-views—Survivor Series—is coming up, it seemed as good a time as any to have another round of this. Typically, Survivor Series can act as the event that rights the wrongs done at SummerSlam and afterward with Night of Champions, Hell in a Cell, and so forth. As we do with every edition of Fantasy Booking, we take a look at what has happened to build up the current event and give our thoughts on some alternative booking decisions that we feel would have led to a better show. What would you do if you were in charge?
Here are the rules:
1) You need to justify your choices within a reasonable mindset of what WWE has in store. Just because someone is a favorite of yours does not mean WWE would be pushing them to the title in any realistic fashion.
2) You cannot include people who are not a member of the roster, whether they are retired, working for another company, or obviously deceased. You can, however, work under the assumption that injured stars will return in time for certain events (but keep it within reason). Also, be realistic when it comes to bringing NXT stars up to the main roster. WWE never brings up 15 people in a year, so don't flood the market.
3) The earliest time frame you can begin planning from as a reference point is this year's SummerSlam.
Note: I restrained a few of my ideas based on current booking and a lot when it comes to injuries, but I'm still giving a generalized idea of what I could do with some revisionist history. I also wrote this up several weeks ago, and I have to agree that there are some things coming to the real Survivor Series event this year that I'm more excited about than what I have down below, but I figured you all might be interested in what my mindset was pre-Hell in a Cell.
1. [Pre-Show Kickoff Match] The Miz vs. Bad News Barrett
I've been saying for a long while that I think WWE's dropped the ball multiple times with Barrett turning babyface. When he returned, I would have pulled the trigger on that face turn and eventually brought him into a feud with The Miz. Why The Miz? Well, simply put, the Bad News gimmick has great potential for getting the audience to cheer at putting down a heel and one of the best bad guys on the mic is in fact The Miz. He's at the right level where he and Barrett can compete with one another and it won't seem weird. They've also had decent matches in the past.
2. [WWE Tag Team Championship] The Dudley Boyz (c) vs. The New Day
If I were in charge, I never would have booked these two teams against each other at the Madison Square Garden live event in any capacity whatsoever if they weren't going to give the belts to The Dudley Boyz. That being said, as much as I love The New Day, this feud can only sustain itself if the belts are traded back and forth. I'm assuming I would have booked The Dudley Boyz to either win the titles at the MSG show or at Hell in a Cell, and this would be a match where The New Day would win them back, setting up a TLC match at, well, TLC.
3. [United States Championship Match] Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Stardust
Cody Rhodes is one of the most ridiculously underutilized wrestlers in the company as of late. I'm not the biggest fan of the Stardust character, but I think if John Cena were to be taking time off as a guarantee, the idea of Dolph Ziggler and Stardust feuding with each other could be a great program to watch. I'll perfectly admit that I think it's a step down from seeing John Cena defend the title, as he's as good as you could possibly get for a representative of that championship, but considering his absence and the rest of the card, this is what I would likely go with.
4. [Intercontinental Championship] Kevin Owens (c) vs. Neville
Neville is another person that I think isn't being booked quite at the level that I'd like to see him at. I don't think he's the best on the roster, nor do I overlook how he needs to improve on the mic, but I think this is a pay-per-view where lesser people can be booked in spots like this and it doesn't matter, since the selling points are the world title match and the elimination match.
Neville is someone that has proven in the past he has good chemistry with Kevin Owens, who I think is just the man and hasn't done all that much wrong since his NXT debut. This would just be a good match to enjoy as a breather. Owens retains, obviously.
5. [Divas Championship] Charlotte (c) vs. Nikki Bella vs. Paige vs. Sasha Banks
The idea of Paige turning heel makes sense to me, but I would have held off a bit before doing it. Nikki would have gotten her generic rematch at Hell in a Cell and then Paige would have turned, but Sasha Banks would have as well, possibly.
If WWE was dead set on not turning Sasha Banks, even after the reaction she got with Bayley, then I'd hold off on the Paige turn until here. Stack the odds against Charlotte and let her prove herself, but don't make this just a Paige vs. Charlotte match, as Sasha's been grossly ignored in this "Divas Revolution" that's been supposedly going on.
6. [Traditional Elimination Match]: Team Heel (The Wyatt Family, Rusev and Sheamus) vs. Team Babyface (Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton, Cesaro and Ryback)
Sheamus and Ryback need to feud at some point. Cesaro and Rusev could have some good matches, I feel, and both are lingering around the level of "what the fuck do we do with these guys?" which is dangerous if WWE isn't willing to just toss them to the wolves and see what happens. Clearly, The Wyatt Family feud with Reigns, Ambrose and Orton wouldn't have been booked the same way if it's continuing here, as I think there were some missteps along the way, such as having Reigns and Wyatt in a Hell in a Cell match. That doesn't happen in my scenario, so this wouldn't feel so stretched out by Survivor Series.
My biggest priority here isn't to continue feuds, though—it's to push Dean Ambrose and/or Roman Reigns, depending on what the plan for WrestleMania is. If WWE wants to do the three members of The Shield face each other, then I think what needs to happen is Ambrose winning the Royal Rumble, Rollins still being champion going into the event, and Reigns winning Money in the Bank off Sheamus. If WWE wants to do Seth Rollins against Triple H and not have the title in the mix for their match at WrestleMania, then I still think Dean Ambrose needs to be a focal point and possibly win the Royal Rumble, but I wouldn't be opposed to Roman Reigns turning heel and having those two fight it out, which would mean that I would have Reigns win the title from Seth Rollins at TLC.
Either way, either Ambrose or Reigns is the sole survivor, or both of them are. Cesaro, Ryback, and Orton will just have to sit this one out.
7. [WWE World Heavyweight Championship] Seth Rollins (c) vs. The Undertaker /or/ Chris Jericho
WWE has liked to give Rollins a new opponent for the past few events and since Sting was available for Night of Champions, I see no reason why Jericho or Undertaker can't be put in that position for Survivor Series. I could do with either one of them and I think I'd end up really enjoying the match, so it actually doesn't matter to me which one would be chosen.
This topic was also discussed on this week's episode of Smack Talk. To hear the other panelists' cards, watch that segment below: