#SurvivorSeries may feature three traditional tag team matches, but this event is about one match: Brock Lesnar vs. Bill Goldberg.
Lesnar vs. Goldberg is a dream match that features two iconic stars. Goldberg ruled WCW in the late 1990s and Lesnar is the only man to wear #UFC and #WWE championship gold. This won't be just a match; it will be an experience.
We haven't seen this kind of buzz for a WWE show in ages. Goldberg has not wrestled in 12 years and questions loom about whether he can return and take part in a good match. Lesnar is always an attraction when he wrestles, and against Goldberg, the match is likely to become a spectacle, if nothing else. Both wrestlers work stiff styles. Can Goldberg handle a trip to Suplex City?
This year, the Survivor Series also features matches between teams from Smackdown Live and #Raw, competing for brand superiority, along with some solid undercard matches. Let's look at the show and make some predictions:
Goldberg vs. Lesnar
This can turn really good or really bad, really quickly. It's an odd match-up, one that only began as a way to promote the #WWE2K17 video game; that's where the "fantasy warfare turns real" catchphrase came from. Goldberg only wants to return so that his 10-year-old son can see him wrestle in real life. Lesnar is a vicious beast who, the last time he was on a PPV, bloodied Randy Orton with vicious elbows to the head, busting him up the hard way. Anything can happen during a Lesnar match, and if you are 49 years old like Goldberg is, it could be a really tough night.
Goldberg holds a victory over Lesnar 12 years ago at Wrestlemania XX. The Madison Square Garden fans hijacked the show and booed both men out of the building because word leaked that the two were leaving the company after the show. Stone Cold Steve Austin was also the guest referee, so having the most popular guy in company history as the third man in the ring that night just fueled the fan dislike of the two exiting stars.
Will Survivor Series 2016 be different? The signs going in are not good. Goldberg has slipped to one knee during a recent Monday Night Raw appearance and "tweaked" his shoulder during another. He has appeared gassed during interview segments. Lesnar, on the other hand, is always in top condition. He competed in a #UFC fight in July and brings that intensity with him to the WWE ring.
Prediction: This match will need to be short and sweet. Lots of staredowns, tests of strength and headlocks. They will have to pull out the Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior script from Wrestlemania VI for this match. Let's hope Goldberg doesn't get injured here. Expect Shane McMahon to run in and cause Lesnar to lose, rekindling their feud, which began at Summerslam after the Orton beatdown. We need a happy ending to the Goldberg story, and Lesnar needs to move on quickly on to his next feud.
The Miz vs. Sami Zayn, Intercontinental Championship
One of the best wrestlers in the company vs one of the worst. Zayn is one of the WWE's bright spots, a Daniel Bryan-esque wrestler who is a good striker and a high-flyer. Zayn has one of the most fun entrances in the business and can put on a good match with anyone. Fueled by his "El Generico" gimmick from his independent wrestling days, Zayn is the underdog who is proving himself on the biggest stage in the world.
Smackdown Live's Miz is also great, but for different reasons. The former Tough Enough contestant has experienced a resurgence after teaming with his real-life wife Maryse. Miz, the current champion, has a new edge about him, and even though his in-ring work is rough, his personality carries him. The Miz is locked in a mysterious verbal feud with Daniel Bryan about who is tougher and who loves the wrestling business more. This is an inter-promotional battle, so the winner of the match gets to take the championship back to his respective brand.
Prediction: Zayn will carry the Miz to a great match, and somehow Bryan will cost Miz the match and the championship. The Intercontinental championship will return home to Raw with Zayn, and The Miz will be the angry fall guy on Smackdown Live!
The Brian Kendrick vs. Kalisto, Cruiserweight Championship
Kendrick has not impressed during his title reign. He's the last guy on the roster that should have the championship. TJ Perkins was a much better wrestler, even though his personality and charisma borders on non-existent. Kalisto is a great high-flyer that is well-liked as a former member of The Lucha Dragons. Kalisto will tear the house down with his incredible moves here (expect only one or two botches) and make Kendrick look out of his league. This is another inter-promotional match where the winner keeps the championship with his brand.
Prediction: AND NEW!!!!!! Kalisto will win the gold here and take the title back to Smackdown Live, where he will promptly drop the gold to the inevitable future champion, James Ellsworth, because that's how the WWE rolls.
Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown Live: Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns, Chris Jericho, Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman vs. AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Randy Orton, Shane McMahon and James Ellsworth (Mascot)
Anything with #AJStyles has got to be good. He is, after all, The Face That Runs The Place. The WWE has done a great job building this match, and you really cannot go wrong with these nine guys (Sorry Braun Strowman). There are so many story lines going on here, so this match will be a pro wrestling fan's trip to the buffet. Expect Jericho to cost Owens the match "accidentally," but before that, we will see great action with Styles vs. Rollins, Styles vs. Owens and Styles vs. Jericho. Let's hope Reigns and Styles never square off because Canada will boo Reigns out of the building. On the other side, we might see Orton break from The Wyatt family and of course, Ellsworth will be ungodly over with the crowd.
Prediction: Team Smackdown wins when Ambrose pins Owens after Jericho, distracted by Ellsworth, accidentally takes out his "best friend" Owens. Shane McMahon celebrates and the Undertaker comes out to the ramp and tips his hat to the Smackdown Live team.
Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown Live: Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Nia Jax and Alicia Fox vs. Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, Alexa Bliss, Naomi and Carmella
Get ready for the Bayley show. Sure, Charlotte is the champion and the best female worker on both Raw and Smackdown Live, but Bayley is the female John Cena and you know what that means? Bayley wins. There's a few dynamics to this match. Banks and Charlotte don't get along; Jax is a powerhouse on the rise. The Smackdown Live crew is less complex, but Bliss wants Lynch's title and she will probably get it soon, so expect some in-fighting.
Prediction: Team Raw wins. Charlotte and Bayley will be the last two for Team Raw against Lynch and Bliss. In a bizarre turn, Charlotte will join forces with Bliss against Lynch and Bayley. Bayley will pin Bliss while Lynch and Charlotte are going at it on the outside. After the match, Charlotte's going to unleash some hell on Bayley, setting up a match for the Royal Rumble.
Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown Live: The New Day, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, Sheamus & Cesaro, Enzo Amore & Big Cass and The Shining Stars vs. Health Slater & Rhyno, The Usos, American Alpha, The Hype Bros and Breezango
We go old school with some traditional Survivor Series action -- a 10 on 10 elimination match. In the 1980s, this concept was kind of cool, an opportunity to see unusual combinations of wrestlers when the business wasn't so over-exposed. But now, these matches are just a way to get everyone on the show, like the Wrestlemania battle royal.
The storyline here is that these teams may not want to work with the other tag teams, so expect lots of ignored tag attempts, forced tags without the partner's consent, and outright abandoning of tag team partners. This will be fast and furious with quick pin attempts. It will likely come down to The New Day and Gallows & Anderson against Slater and Rhyno. At least we will get to see Enzo and Big Cass make an awesome ring entrance.
Prediction: Gallows and Anderson will turn on The New Day, costing them the match, setting up for a tag team title match between the two where Gallows and Anderson will prevail, but only after The New Day breaks Demolition's tag team title length record. Sheamus will also turn on Cesaro, and the Shining Stars will walk out of the match with Breezango in attempt to sell them some timeshares.