There is a lot at stake this weekend. At Survivor Series, the Intercontinental Title could end up being brought back to RAW, while SmackDown could find itself with the entire Cruiserweight Division. Brock Lesnar and Goldberg are facing off in a rematch over a decade in the making. Meanwhile, on Saturday night, NXT takes over Toronto in a hyped event featuring the return of former Women's Champion Mickie James.
This week, Gabby Velasquez, Jordan Chaffiote and Andy Sahadeo will be giving their opinions on Survivor Series and NXT TakeOver: Toronto.
Question 1: Brock Lesnar will be facing Goldberg at Survivor Series and is favored to win. At this point, can anyone currently on the main roster realistically defeat Brock Lesnar?
VELASQUEZ: I wrestle with this constantly, pun absolutely intended. In the build-up to WrestleMania 32, I got caught up in the brilliance of Lesnar's storyline with Dean Ambrose and honestly believed the Lunatic Fringe could come out on top, but his clumsy loss to Lesnar was a bit of a wake-up call. Until Brock Lesnar no longer wishes to make money wrestling a few matches a year, WWE is not booking him to lose. I don't know how many years that will be. Since I assume he'll be around for at least two more years, I would guess that it won't be anyone on the main roster right now.
The closest contenders for me would be Kevin Owens or, God help the IWC if this happens, Roman Reigns. However, Reigns has already (technically) lost to Lesnar and Owens, as much as he might want to fight Lesnar, does not NEED to defeat Lesnar. But in the future, I would argue that Shinsuke Nakamura or Samoa Joe could convincingly defeat him. Nakamura defeating Lesnar would introduce him to the casual audience convincingly and be the perfect way to establish someone with as much potential to draw as Lesnar.
CHAFFIOTE: Chad Gable. Just kidding, maybe. Here’s the thing, there are a hundred ways to make a main eventer, so it really has to be about the story. Unfortunately, that’s not Lesnar’s strong suit. In the current environment, AJ Styles has the credibility to do it, and we’ve seen him spin straw into gold on more than one occasion. With the proper build, Finn Balor stands a chance of telling a great story, he’s not the biggest guy and since Brock’s already killed the Deadman, the Demon King should be easy work. A complacent Brock is a defeated Brock. However, the strongest bet is not currently on the main roster, but rather current NXT Champion, Shinsuke Nakamura (who might just kick Brock’s head off of his body.)
SAHADEO: At this point, there’s only one person on the main roster that can believably beat Brock Lesnar, and that’s Braun Strowman. Lesnar’s whole gimmick now is predicated on the idea of coming back once in a while and just doing a few German Suplexes and leaving afterwards. With WWE building up Strowman as “The Monster Among Men,” the idea of Lesnar flinging Strowman around the ring like a ragdoll does not seem feasible to me. Standing at 6’8, 385 lbs, a guy like Strowman has the look of an absolute beast that could potentially decimate Lesnar—but only after the Braun Strowman character has been fleshed out more.
However, I would rather see Samoa Joe or, as Jordan said, Shinsuke Nakamura defeat Lesnar. Both of the NXT stars are legitimate badasses who have the credentials to back it up—with Joe being a former Cal State Judo Champ and Nakamura who has MMA experience and has even faced Lesnar beforehand in New Japan.
Question 2: Which brand needs the Cruiserweight Division more: RAW or SmackDown Live?
VELASQUEZ: Okay, hear me out: RAW needs the Cruiserweights. WWE's flagship show has lately become overrun with promos and backstage segments, and not enough pure wrestling. The Cruiserweights bring that to the show. Obviously, they've been severely mishandled since joining the red brand and desperately need some major character development. But without them, I'm afraid that RAW will continue to flounder, which I do not want by any means. But I'm no fool: I know that having the Cruiserweights on SmackDown will make life easier in regards to 205 Live. And I know that SmackDown will have a far stronger midcard with them present. So while I stand by my belief that RAW needs the Cruiserweights, they are better off showcasing their talent on Tuesday nights.
CHAFFIOTE: SmackDown Live needs the Cruiserweights but the Cruiserweights really need SmackDown Live. The management of them since the CWC has been nothing short of disastrous, and this is an opportunity to revamp all of that. Right now they feel too much like they’re on their own island, the tag teams and the women all interact and move in and out of their divisions, but not so with the Cruiserweights. SmackDown’s midcard could use some padding anyway, and having them interact, tag, and ally themselves with members of that division would add so much to building up their characters. I don’t, however, want to see Brian Kendrick drop the title this soon, so I’d prefer it if SmackDown gets a DQ victory but he’s still champion.
SAHADEO: SmackDown Live definitely. RAW is three hours long and is way too crowded with talent, promos and Stephanie McMahon segments. On the other hand, SmackDown Live (being that it’s two hours instead of three) is very concise and showcases a lot of great wrestling matches without sacrificing the quality of storytelling. With the advent of 205 Live and its placement after SmackDown Live on the Network, it seems pretty apparent that they’re moving the Cruiserweight Division over to the blue brand. If the move does happen, the extra hour of 205 Live would technically count as another hour of SmackDown Live, thus giving more time to the Cruiserweights while balancing out the one-hour time gap between RAW and SmackDown Live.
Question 3: Which NXT Superstar do you think can be the woman to dethrone Asuka, or should it be Mickie James?
VELASQUEZ: It should not be Mickie James. That being said, I'm sure their match is going to be amazing. But the purpose of NXT is fostering fresh talent, and while James is fantastic, fresh she is not. Right now, there are only two women in NXT I can see growing enough to break Asuka's undefeated streak: Ember Moon and Nikki Cross.
Ember Moon has a brilliant entrance and overall aura about her, and what I would argue is the best finisher in WWE right now. Nikki Cross is just crazy enough to go toe to toe with Asuka. But I believe that Ember Moon will capture the gold first. She's slightly more established, the kind of face NXT could build its brand on once Asuka gets called up to the main roster. OR, keep Asuka's streak alive and put the women in a triple threat match and have Asuka not be pinned at all and just move on to the main roster.
CHAFFIOTE: Definitely not Mickie, as she should be there to put the newer talent over and I’d also like to see her working on the main roster from time to time. There are two contenders as the division stands: Nikki Cross of Sanity and Ember Moon. The order of these two future NXT Women’s Champions will likely be dependent on when the rest of Sanity achieves championships. This has the potential to be the biggest stable since The Shield, and they will hold all the gold at some point. Of course, there’s also the possibility that they bounce right up to the main roster first. If they do, or if they stretch out the build on NXT, our resident warrior princess is next in line. Ember Moon is really something special, but she also seems to know how to restrain all of that uniqueness so that it doesn’t appear gimmicky. Her and Asuka could put on a MOTY contender easy.
SAHADEO: Exactly what Jordan said. Mickie James’ sole purpose is to put Asuka over in the meantime while they rebuild the women’s division in NXT. After the Draft, NXT was completely purged of all its female talent and was left with only Bayley as a credible contender. I think they’re doing a great job now building up some of the newer girls and making the fans care about them.
Ember Moon stands a good chance at dethroning Asuka, as she’s superbly talented in the ring and looks the part to take the championship off of Asuka. However, in the past few weeks, we’ve barely seen Ember Moon, so it hasn’t allowed for too much character development on her part. This Mickie James match will provide a burner feud until Ember gets built up properly. SAnitY’s Nikki Cross also stands a chance with her insane gimmick and numbers advantage with Alexander Wolfe, Sawyer Fulton and Eric Young.
A lot of people also don’t pay Peyton Royce and Billie Kay any mind, but they’re currently on fire with their whole Mean Girls aesthetic. They’re kind of like The Revival—a team no one initially cared about but completely built their rep up from scratch after being used as jobbers. I don’t think they’ll be able to dethrone Asuka, but one of these two (if not both) will see an NXT Women’s Championship run in the future.
Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!