wrestling / Columns

411’s Survivor Series 2020 Preview

November 22, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
WWE Survivor Series

Hello 411 guys, gals, enbies, and everyone else! Welcome to 411’s WWE Survivor Series 2020 preview! I’m Jeremy Thomas as always, and it’s time to take a look at WWE’s yearly November spectacular. Survivor Series has always had a place close to my heart, often taking place on or near my birthday, and I love Survivor Series-style matches. But man, is this year’s spectacular a pretty unspectacular affair. WWE hasn’t done much on their feud-building for this PPV, relying solely on Raw vs. Smackdown rivalry which doesn’t work so well when everyone was drafted barely over a month ago. There were a thousand ways WWE could have built for this PPV, and this is what they decided on? Okay ‘E, you do you but damn. All that said, these matches may not have stories but they should have some good in-ring action so lets get into them and suss out what might go down, shall we?

Dual-Brand Battle Royale
Competitors TBD

At the time of this writing (Saturday afternoon), WWE has not announced any names for this Kickoff Show match, which might as well be called the Get Everyone We Can On The Card Battle Royale. There are some very notable names from the roster not present in other matches such as Randy Orton, Jeff Hardy, Daniel Bryan, The Fiend, Rey Mysterio, and so on. But let’s be real here. This match is the kind of thing used at best to make someone look dominant and give them a bit of momentum. The obvious candidate would seem to be someone like Lars Sullivan, but with WWE apparently forgetting he exists again for the past couple of weeks I’m not sure what’s going on there (nor am I complaining). This might be a pick that goes way out on a limb, but as mockable as they are WWE does seem to be following some sort of long-term booking plan for RETRIBUTION. A battle royale is a great place to give them a little bit of momentum at the expense of no one else. I’m going to bet that Mustafa Ali’s legion get involved and help him pick up the win here in order to give the group a little boost, as WWE doesn’t seem inclined to kill this angle yet.

WINNER: Mustafa Ali

Champion vs. Champion
Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn

Now we’re into the actual matches for Survivor Series’ vaunted “brand supremacy.” First up is out battle of secondary champions in a couple of entertaining acts. Bobby Lashley has found some new life as a member of The Hurt Business and Sami Zayn is always fun to watch, whether he’s on the mic or in the ring. This match makes for a classic big man vs. little man match-up that should be fairly fun. There has been, much like most of the champion vs. champion matches, little build here so Zayn and Lashley will have to build the heat themselves in the match. While Zayn will likely get some good chickenshit heel moves in here to have moments of control, Lashley winning seems to be the likely move as WWE continues to get behind the Hurt Business.

WINNER: Bobby Lashley (Raw Up 1-0)

Champion vs. Champion
The New Day vs. The Street Profits

To WWE’s credit, they’ve actually done a few things to play this “feud,” such as it is, up in the past month. We’ve had some promos back and forth between the two teams and they even partnered up for an eight-man tag match on this week’s Smackdown. These are both entertaining teams, but it’s also a babyface vs. babyface match which might temper the ThunderDome’s reaction a bit. I can see an argument for both teams to pull off the win here and I’ve gone back and forth on this a bit, but I think that we go with Vince logic which would suggest that the Profits can get over by looking competitive and getting a show of respect against the veteran tag teams. It also plays into my overall belief of how the Raw vs. Smackdown battle will end — in a tie — and that requires that Raw win this one.

WINNER: The New Day (Raw Up 2-0)

Champion vs. Champion
Asuka vs. Sasha Banks

This, like most of the matches, is one that could easily go either way. Asuka and Sasha Banks are riding high on their respective brands and this match has a lot of potential in the ring. Again, they haven’t done a ton to build this one up but these two don’t need a big story to deliver a big match. These two are no strangers to each other, having feuded just a few months ago before Banks and Bayley broke apart. Asuka came out the ultimate winner over Banks, but WWE has strapped a rocket to Banks as of late on Smackdown so it seems more likely to me that the tables will turn and Banks picks up the win. Either way it should be a fun match, albeit one that could go wonky if Carmella decides to get involved and attack Banks like she’s been doing on Smackdown.

WINNER: Sasha Banks (Raw Up 2-1)

Champion vs. Champion
Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns

Here’s a champion vs. champion match that actually has some heat behind it, even if it’s somewhat last-second heat. McIntyre showed up on Smackdown last week and beat Jey Uso, then had a face-off with Reigns before he earned his spot in the Survivor Series match with a WWE Championship win over Randy Orton on Raw. That led into a contract signing segment on Friday that was far better than your garden variety contract signing. We can question the hot-shotting of the WWE Championship to Orton and then back to McIntyre all we want, but it’s led to a match that will likely be much more intriguing than a heel vs. heel Orton vs. Reigns match. McIntyre will certainly come in hard-hitting here and we should have some good in-ring stuff here. Ultimately though, this is definitely Reigns’ match to lose. WWE is pushing Reigns like the mega-heel star he should be and while McIntyre has been an anchor on Raw, he can also take a loss. That will likely come in the form of some shenanigans, whether by way of Orton attack or something involving Miz & Morrison. Either way, at the end of the day Reigns seems the most likely to win here.

WINNER: Roman Reigns (Raw & Smackdown Tied 2-2)

Women’s Survivor Series Match
Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, Lacey Evans, Peyton Royce, & Lana vs.
Bianca Belair, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Bayley, & Natalya

I love Survivor Series-style matches. The five-on-five elimination bouts were always a hook for me, and even as they’ve been de-emphasized some in the modern era they’re still generally what I look forward to in late-year WWE PPVs the most. But man, has this one been a mess of a build. WWE has been all over the place here as they’ve built Team Raw around the bizarre idea that if Lana goes through enough tables she’ll get over as a babyface, and Smackdown’s women’s team has been a bit of an afterthought. Add into the mess the fact that WWE had to replace Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke with Lacey Evans and Peyton Royce in the most lackluster way and my excitement for this mostly rests on the hopes that Team Smackdown lays waste. There’s a lot of potential on Team Blue here; as a fan of Ruby and Liv, I would like to see them look good and Bayley of course is a star. But this is a match that is tailor-made to make Bianca Belair look like a star. Bayley most likely just up and leaves at some point when she thinks it’s a lost cause, probably after the Riott Squad are out, which will hopefully set up Belair to get a come-from-behind win to be the sole survivor. The other possibility is Lana ultimately proving that she can get the underdog victory, but somehow I feel like WWE isn’t done powering Lana through tables and she shouldn’t get the big win until after that.

WINNER: Team Smackdown – Belair survives (Smackdown Up 3-2)

Men’s Survivor Series Match
Keith Lee, AJ Styles, Sheamus, Braun Strowman, & Riddle vs.
Kevin Owens, Jey Uso, Seth Rollins, King Corbin, & Otis

There’s a lot of talent on display in the Men’s Survivor Series match, and I’d like to say I’m excited to see how this plays out. I can’t say that, but I’d like to. The problem here isn’t story, really; it’s simply that we have a huge mismatch in terms of the teams. Yes, Team Smackdown has some strong talent in here like Rollins and Owens, plus up-and-comers like Otis and Uso. And Corbin’s there too, I suppose. But on the other side you have Styles, Sheamus, Lee, and Strowman, along with an absolute need to build new challengers for the WWE Championship. Orton vs. Drew can only go on so long, after all. The stronger storyline has been with Team Raw in this build as Styles has served as the ringleader promoting unity here. I don’t think that will hold throughout the match, but it should definitely be enough to help Team Raw get over on a somewhat less star-powered Team Smackdown. Since WWE needs to build challengers for McIntyre and they both have plenty they can do with the WWE Champion, I’m guessing that Styles and Sheamus are the survivors to give them a boost. And thus Raw and Smackdown tie at three apiece for this show.

WINNER: Team Raw – Styles, Sheamus survive (Raw & Smackdown Tied 3-3)

And that’s all we have for Survivor Series! It’s essentially the laziest-booked PPV that WWE has given us in quite a while, but it still has potential in terms in fun matches even if no one cares what brand “wins.” All of the matches have the chance to over-deliver and even if only half of them do, this will be a decently enjoyable (if forgettable) PPV.

Anyway, thanks once again for reading, and remember that we will have live coverage of Survivor Series courtesy of the one and only Scott Slimmer, right here on 411mania.com. I have to go now, I think Nia Jax just confused me for Lana so I better run…

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Survivor Series, Jeremy Thomas