It’s nearing that magical time of November where everybody in America (not Canada, their Thanksgiving was in October. Go figure.) forgets their diets and eats enormous amounts of food! It’s time for not one, not two, but three NFL Thanksgiving games! It’s time for all the spectacle and wonderment that is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! And not to be left out, it’s time for WWE’s fourth major PPV event, Survivor Series!
Wait, don’t leave yet! I said it’s WWE’s fourth major PPV! That automatically makes it a big deal!
Except that WWE isn’t treating it that way.
As the second oldest PPV in WWE history, Survivor Series was conceived to capitalize off of the mega-success that was WrestleMania III. The difference? It would focus on tag team matches rather than the singles competition that ‘Mania showcased. Which was fine from 1987 through 1990 when only tag matches were are on the card. But when The Undertaker was deemed worthy enough to take the WWF Championship away from Hulk Hogan in 1991, it was at Survivor Series. Suddenly, instead of watching a night of tag matches, fans were treated to a near THIRTEEN minute match where The Deadman took home the Gold. And then all hell broke loose.
The ’92 edition featured just 3 tag matches to 5 singles bouts. 1993 saw a return to an all tag format but was considered highly disappointing. 1994 saw Bob Backlund win the WWF Title for the first time in 11 years from Bret Hart. Diesel went on the win the Belt from him in 8 seconds just 3 days later. The ’95 and ’96 editions saw WWF Creative throw the entire locker room in the ring at different points. The 1997 event was overshadowed by the Montreal Screwjob. 1998 brought on only the second WWF Title PPV tournament. And since then, the most important thing to happen at a Survivor Series PPV?
When The Rock returned in 2011 to team up with John Cena against Awesome Truth, it was his first time in an actual match since 2004.
So why does Survivor Series get such a bad rap? Why is it treated with less respect than Money In The Bank nowadays? Why is it still even a regular PPV even after WWE tried to cancel it in 2010?
Now here’s the swerve: Instead of answering these questions I just posed and (mostly) complaining, I’ll roll out a plan to fix Survivor Series and the WWE PPV structure as a whole. All while still making sure there is a monthly PPV for the WWE Universe to buy.
- There should be five major PPVs: Money In The Bank, SummerSlam, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble, and WrestleMania.
If we go back to the WWE Season concept I introduced in the Year End Awards, this would put your major PPVs in July, August, November, January, and April. Since the Money In The Bank contracts are won in July, that still gives the winners 4 major PPVs to cash in at, in addition to the other PPVs and televised shows. And any PPV that has a classic match like Punk/Cena in 2011 in its history deserves major PPV status. Although, the turnaround for having a SummerSlam directly following a major PPV does bother me a bit so we can include the option of moving MITB back a month to June.
SummerSlam is the second biggest PPV and is usually treated as such. This is when the Lesnars and Rocks and other veterans like to come out the woodwork, so it shouldn’t be too hard to put a few big matches on the card. I also think that SummerSlam should be taken out of LA every once in awhile, just keep it at warm weather venues.
Survivor Series will still be held in November but should no longer be viewed as a tag team PPV. The option to do ONE traditional Survivor Series match is allowed. I also think that some form of tournament should be held at this event each year, whether it be for King Of The Ring (which isn’t used enough), the Tag Team Title (for anyone who feels the format shouldn’t change) or even the World or WWE Titles. You could hold early round matches of the tournament on Raw and SmackDown (I also vote that SmackDown be broadcast live for the month leading up to Survivor Series so that people aren’t reading SD results on Wednesdays like I do) and get down to the final 6 (wrestlers or teams) for the PPV. Have the final 6 matches that determine the Survivor Series finalists be Beat The Clock matches, with the two best times receiving byes in the first round of matches. That will give you two first round matches, those winners meet the two finalists with byes, and those two winners square off in the Championship match. 5 matches, fill the rest of the card with a traditional Survivor Series match, a Divas match, and a match involving Kofi’s career not advancing. And since Creative won’t want to make it so easy for a current Champion to lose their title, knock the qualifiers down to 4 with the winner getting the Title shot at night’s end.
Royal Rumble’s current format works pretty well, so it can remain as is. Just no more than 3 to 4 veteran appearances and NEVER more than 30 wrestlers involved.
WrestleMania can also remain the same, we just don’t need three main events like they tried at NY/NJ with Punk/Taker/Trips/Lesnar/Rock/Cena. The sight of those crying Divas who didn’t get their WrestleMania moment on Total Divas chokes me out up every time.
- If WWE still insists on doing 2 PPVs in October to make up for not having one in March, it should be NXT heavy.
Night Of Champions: September 15. Battleground: October 6. Hell In A Cell: October 27. Each 21 days apart. While I understand the WWE has more than enough wrestlers to pull this off, did anyone else realize that the Daniel Bryan/Randy Orton feud was resolved in a mere 70 days from the time Trips dropped Bryan at SummerSlam? In hindsight, Creative did a good job with the feud in that short time period, but is there really a reason we’re not watching Randy and Bryan’s feud culminate on Sunday rather than last month?
If WWE wants an early October PPV, create a few secondary feuds that you feel can draw and give them headlining status. For instance, maybe put Kofi in an actual feud with a heel. Have The Real Americans battle it out with Los Matadores and throw the Prime Time Players in the mix. Then add in a match with a Punk/Cena/Sheamus/Orton/maybe even a willing veteran. As the undercard, give some worthy NXT-ers their chance to show off. It might even get a few more Hulu Plus subscriptions so that the WWE Universe can actually watch the damn show. Then people won’t be so dumbfounded when The Shield/Big E Langston/Xavier Woods show up on Raw/SmackDown/PPVs.
Which leads me to my next point:
- Drop the prices on the non-major PPVs.
I left WWE with 5 major events they can charge their normal prices for ($70 for WrestleMania is a bit steep though), so I think the remaining 7 PPVs should have their prices dropped.
February: Elimination Chamber
April: Extreme Rules
May: Payback/Over The Limit/Capital Punishment
June/July: Battleground/No Way Out
September: Night Of Champions
October: Hell In A Cell
December: TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs
I’m not the biggest fan of the literal naming they use but I can live with it. I’m even in favor of having low price points on maybe 2 to 3 of the PPVs (like $30). The diehard fans are going to buy regardless; WWE wants to target those fringe fans who turn on Raw every Monday even if they’re switching back and forth. All it would take is a few mentions of their low priced PPV. Then those fringe fans might splurge on a regular priced PPV, and the next thing you know, they’re dropping money on ‘Mania.
I can’t guarantee it would return WWE to Attitude Era popularity (they’d have to give me a job in Creative for that), but it would give them more opportunities to be seen. I’ve been watching wrestling with Anthony for over 4 years now and he still won’t commit to being a fan or wrestling. At least this give WWE a chance to expand their audience.
I came up with these ideas as I watched Raw on Monday because I have no desire to watch this year’s edition of Survivor Series. The WWE and World Championship matches barely advance those storylines and each of the tag matches are just in place for certain Superstars to have something to do.
And of course Total Divas is back, so WWE has to have a match featuring the 7 Divas of that show (with Eva Marie, JoJo, and Cameron barely competent in the ring) versus 7 other Divas (with the weirdly blonde Rosa Mendes as their weak link). At least Kaitlyn is back to in-ring action I suppose.
The best part about Survivor Series for me? The Miz is back as a heel! Let’s hope he hands Kofi a Skull Crushing Finale at some point because I’ve never liked him using the Figure Four Leglock.
And hopefully, it’ll take him more than 10 minutes to beat Kofi. Because they’ll have to get Kofi back in his box before Raw on Monday.
Miz v. Kofi: Miz
Total Divas v. Divas: Total Divas
Team GoldCody v. The ShieldMericans: Team GoldCody
Punk/Bryan v. The Wyatt Family: The Wyatts
Cena v. Del Rio: Cena
Orton v. Big Show: All signs are pointing to a Show heel turn in favor of The Authority. I don’t know if that’s enough to give him the Belt though. But why would they ruin Orton’s heel run so soon? Orton.
Hell In A Cell: N/A
Since SummerSlam 2013: 5-7-1