Hello AW Universe,
Oh boy, is this weekend ever going to be a wild ride. This year’s edition of Survivor Series weekend has been a build up of melees and schmoz finishes (this being written before the go-home episode of Friday Night SmackDown where there is sure to be another one), so it’s been hard to make sense of exactly who looks strong, weak, or obvious for going over this weekend, and what that even means heading forward.
Obviously whatever happens on Saturday at TakeOver: WarGames either already does, or will have a direct implication on what happens at Survivor Series on Sunday. So let’s do our best and try to make sense of what is likely to be a chaotic weekend, starting with the (somewhat) more sensible TakeOver card.
Matt Riddle Vs. Finn Bálor
Apparently this match was originally booked to be Finn and Johnny Gargano– which makes sense considered how Finn pulled his heel turn– so Riddle was pulled from the WarGames match to have a one-on-one contest with Bálor. As far as Riddle’s future goes, this might have worked out for the best. For a weekend that, frankly, is starting to look and feel a little over-booked, being set apart to wrestle in an isolated showcase could be a bet of a blessing. There are only four matches scheduled for the event, so Triple H has booked this card so that no match will be buried from time restraints, and will be allowed to breathe.
So with that being said, Riddle and Bálor should have plenty of time to work a really good match. There’s so much invested in Bálor’s heel turn, and Riddle will still look good losing to a guy who has a rocket strapped to his back right now.
Winner: Finn Bálor
Triple Threat #1 Contender’s Match
Damien Priest Vs. Killian Dain Vs. Pete Dunne
Adam Cole is the NXT Champion, and is currently Mr. NXT. He’s being booked like crazy, taking some ugly bumps in a ladder match against Dominik Dijakovic on the go-home episode of NXT, is wrestling in the men’s WarGames match on this card, and might be wrestling twice on the Survivor Series card, possibly on the the NXT Men’s Survivor Series team, but definitely defending his NXT Championship against the winner of this match.
In the bubble of strictly the NXT universe (not to be confused with the WWE Universe), I would lean towards Damien Priest going over in this match; he has a great look, they’ve been featuring him a lot more, and have added some more dimensions to his character (he’s a party-loving playboy, but serious when it comes to doing his job: wrestling).
However, considering that this is tied to the Survivor Series card, I would guess that Triple H and the rest of the bookers would want to showcase one of their more fleshed out, and even more impressive, talents. So with that in mind, Pete Dunne seems like the guy to have wrestle under the bright lights of the WWE stage.
Winner: Pete Dunne
The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly) Vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic Vs. TBA
With two WarGames matches on the card, it would make sense to book one to one the match as not to take the shine away from the main event. I would predict that this would be the opener, and answering the question surrounding this match: who is the surprise entrant going to be? There’s Kushida, Gargano, or Velveteen Dream are all sidelined with injuries, and all three have (allegedly) not been cleared to return to the ring in time for TakeOver. If we assume that’s true– everything’s a work– then does that mean there’s someone deep on the roster who’s going to get a chance to shine? Or perhaps someone from NXT UK? Though that would normally be the move for Triple H, to give the rub to another up-and-coming wrestler, but seeing as how this entire weekend is booked around this theme of Invasion, the likeliest answer is that someone from the Raw or SmackDown rosters is coming down. And considering the beatdown that the Undisputed Era unleashed on him this past Monday, my guess would be that Kevin Owens is teaming up with Dominik Dijokovik, Keith Lee, and Ciampa to exact revenge on the Undisputed Era. He wasn’t present on the WWE invasion on Wednesday, and the last time we saw him, he was being seduced by Triple H to reclaim the past glory he basked in on NXT (again, this is before SmackDown airing).
However, even with a triumphant KO return to NXT, Undisputed Era is on just such a roll, that I cannot see them dropping such an important match on such a hyped weekend, especially for Adam Cole who heads into a title defence on the next night.
Winners: Undisputed Era
Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox, and Mia Yim Vs. Shayna Baszler, Io Shirai, Bianca Belair, and Kay Lee Ray
Once again, NXT breaks new ground, ordering the women at the top of the card and giving them the biggest stage. The only things working slightly against this match is that the teams were formed sort of arbitrarily, they just sort of shuffled the babyfaces to one side and the heels to another after a brawl and that was it. Regardless, all the wrestlers in this match are incredible, but the focus will be on the team captains. Even though my logic with Undisputed Era winning their match was predicated on the fact that they had to stay strong, particularly for Adam Cole as he heads into a title defence, that logic doesn’t apply to this match and Shayna Baszler. Yes, she is heading into a triple threat match against Becky Lynch and Bayley the next night, but her team can take a loss with someone else eating the pin with her still looking strong; Undisputed Era is a faction that has to remain strong for the benefit for Cole. Rhea Ripley also seems to have a tonne invested in her from the bookers, so keeping her momentum would be more of a priority than anything else.
Winner: Team Ripley
The number one hope is that they put all the schmozy invasion shit that’s been bogging Raw and SmackDown down on hold for the night and let all these matches play out for the benefit of NXT moving forward; one would think that with two of the matches surrounding by steel cages this would in essence would prevent this, but this is WWE so you can’t put anything pass them.
It should be a great show, with enough space to put everyone on display and look good.
Should be a fun weekend! Enjoy AW Universe!