WWE Title

Brock Lesnar (c) vs Rey Mysterio

Rey getting a world title shot here very much feels like a ‘challenger of the month’ for Brock, as opposed to a return to being a world Champion for Rey-Rey. As such, I don’t see the Master of the 619 beating Lesnar although if he were to, there would be some obvious comparisons to draw between this match and one of the Lesnar’s career bests – his match against Eddie Guerrero at No Way Out 2004.

After I re-compose myself having just realised that match was FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, allow me to continue. Lesnar is great (when he wants to be) and one has to imagine he has a level of respect for Mysterio who will very likely go down in history as one of the greatest junior heavyweights and Luchadores of all time. As such, it’s easy to see them re-create Guerrero vs Lesnar – only with Cain Velasquez or Mini-Walter Dominic Mysterio playing the role of Goldberg giving Mysterio the win and helping the underdog vanquish Brock.

However, as mentioned at the start, I don’t see Mysterio winning so I’m predicting that the match does echo a lot of Guerrero/Mysterio, only with Velasquez or Dominic (most likely Velasquez) turning on Mysterio and helping Brock win. Cain in particular can justify the turn following the high profile loss at Crown Jewel. Brock to win with Rey moving on to a feud with whoever costs him the match.

Prediction: Brock Lesnar Wins

Becky Lynch vs Bayley vs Shayna Baszler

The rumour going round recently was that prior to the changes in the NXT television deal, WWE had big plans for the current NXT Women’s champion Shayna Baszler on the main roster. This is hardly a surprise as she’s been on a tear since taking originally becoming the NXT Women’s champion. Interestingly – at Survivor Series Baszler will surpass Asuka as the person who has been NXT Women’s Champion for the most combined number of days (sub-point: she’s actually already done it – but because Asuka gave up her title on a taped show, WWE recognise her reign as lasting 12 days longer than it actually did… if that makes sense).

I mention all of this because with Bayley and Lynch very much already established, and with Baszler (rightly) being positioned in the upper echelons of the combined women’s division in WWE, I expect that this match will give the win to NXT.

One of the issues with these matches is that there is little at ‘stake’. Why do wrestlers care about “brand supremacy”? If there was a storyline where Vince was going to award a McGuffin (bag of cash, increased wages etc) to whichever brand won, then it would make more sense… but Brand Supremacy? It’s not like the brands ever care about it the rest of the year?

WWE will be aware of this though and it’s more about the effect of the matches rather than the reasons they’re fighting. I predict that Baszler pins or submits Becky Lynch – setting up an eventual match between the two further down the road (perhaps at Mania). This ties in with Baszler/Ronda Rousey/Becky Lynch too but will be a slow build as they’ll need to (presumably) get the women’s title off Baszler first (if I had to guess? Tegan Nox at Royal Rumble weekend). The slow build to Baszler / Lynch starts here.

Prediction: Shayna Baszler Wins

The Viking Raiders (Erik & Ivar) vs New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) vs The Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly)

I’ve already made my feelings known about ‘brand supremacy’ earlier in the article, so won’t repeat them here. Just know that every point about it not mattering, and therefore being more about what happens next as opposed to what happens now still applies in this match (as well as ever other inter-brand match throughout the card).

I’m picking Erik & Ivar to win here for a number of reasons. There was an interesting promo which the Viking Raiders gave post title win where they explained (correctly) that they were the first ever team to hold the ROH, IWGP, NXT and WWE Tag Team titles. For them to state this fact – on WWE Television nonetheless – shows that there is a real investment in the team and that they are pushed for big things.
Also, I don’t think that New Day so much *need* the win as much as the other two teams and it will help  TAFKA War Machine more than it would Fish & O’Reilly.

The Tag Team scene on RAW is also arguably the most interesting of the three brands currently and I expect Erik and Ivar to win here before a further defence against “The Best Tag Team in the World” The OC (the storyline here writes itself) before going on to face The Authors of Pain in what should be a lot of fun and on either The Rumble or Mania.

Final note on this one – I’m coming round to the names Erik & Ivar. I’m still not 100% certain which is which, but they’re fine as names actually make more sense than Hanson & Rowe given the team. “Hawk & Animal” or “Ax & Smash” would have sounded stupid at first too. You’ve just gotta get used to these things.
Although “Warbeard Hanson” is one of the greatest names ever.

Prediction The Viking Raiders Win

Survivor Series Match

Team Raw (Charlotte Flair, Asuka, Natalya, Kairi Sane & Sarah Logan) vs Team Smackdown (Sasha Banks, Carmella, Dana Brooke, Lacey Evans & Nikki Cross) vs TEAM NXT (TBC at time for writing)

My deadline for these articles is the Wednesday pre-NXT which is usually ok, but for this PPV means there’s some matches I’ve literally no idea who’s fighting.

So let’s start with predicting the NXT Women’s team and we start that by looking at War Games the night before where most of the NXT Women are competing. It’s a shame actually that match isn’t 5 vs 5 as they could have then easily added a stipulation that the winning team goes onto Survivor Series the following night. Although with Baszler already in a match on the Survivor Series card, I’m guessing this is kinda what happens anyway – the “good girl” team win and the NXT Survivor Series team is Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox, Mia Yia + AN Other. I’m guessing Bianca Belair right now, but no idea how they crowbar her in and it could just as easily be Io, KLR or as an outside shot; Piper Niven or Toni Storm.

This all gives the NXT Team an obvious ‘out’ for not winning… they’d literally had a War Games match the previous night. I expect Shayna to get involved and ‘turn’ on one of the NXT women – ideally Tegan Nox beating her the previous night to win War Games.

So, down to Smackdown vs Raw. Natalya, Logan, Carmella & Brooke all seem obvious fodder and I don’t see Lacey Evans lasting the whole night either. This essentially gives us Charlotte & The Kabuki Warriors vs Banks & Cross and as there are no obvious challengers there to the Women’s Tag Champions on the other team, I reckon they’ll come out on top – bringing Charlotte Flair with her and giving her a reason to get a title shot vs Bayley next.

Prediction: Team Raw Win (Charlotte Flair, Kairi Sane and Asuka survive)

Survivor Series Match

Team Raw (Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, Randy Orton and Ricochet) vs Team Smackdown  (Roman Reigns, Mustafa Ali, BRAUN Strowman, King Corbin and Shorty G) vs Team NXT (TBA)

This one is going to come down to who is on team NXT. The Undisputed Era are already busy so I’m guessing right now than Team NXT is the misfit bunch of Finn Balor, Keith Lee, Tomasso Ciampa, Matt Riddle & a returning Johnny Gargano. Unless it gets silly. And by silly, I mean unless Triple H is involved.
I really don’t want Triple H involved here as it doesn’t look great for them that the best way that ‘Dad’ thinks his team can win is if he does the fighting himself. Sadly, I think we’re going to be heading for a silly situation where the NXT Team looks more like Balor, HHH, Dain, Damian Priest and Keith Lee.

With Triple H involved, this throws out everything. If Trips is in the match (IF) then the best scenario would be for him to be eliminated first. Probably by Rollins, although it would be a great thing to see Shorty G or Mustafa Ali pin him quick.

This gives the NXT team something to rally behind – like when a team gives away a daft early goal, only to go on to win the match. I’ve now convinced myself that Team NXT will win mainly because of the other teams costing themselves the match.

Couple of side bets: Rollins / Reigns to eliminate one or the other… BRAUN will only be eliminated by some nonsense (probably a countout)… McIntyre to eliminate Shorty G or Ali then to be quickly eliminated by the other one.

I also think NXT is winning here, because RAW or a Smackdown win would be a launch pad for the next challenger to Wyatt or Lesnar, but I’m not sure that’s happening.

Prediction: Team NXT Win

AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura vs Roderick Strong

I’m predicting that this match – which if Shinsuke has his working boots on could be an absolute belter – is going to be where Smackdown gets it’s token win for the evening where Nakamura pins Roddy Strong via help from Sami Zayn. WWE have booked themselves into an odd position where we’ve essentially got heel vs heel vs heel, but luckily it’s three of the best wrestlers in the world so should be a great match that would have headlined a Rev Pro show about 5-6 years ago.

With three heels in the match, I’m bracing myself for SHENANIGANS, but hopefully this can be kept to a minimum with Zayn, Anderson, Gallows, Fish, O’Reilly and Cole all keeping back and letting the three champions do their thing.

The three heel thing is why so many were expecting one of them to drop the title before the show. Theoretically, had Daniel Bryan beaten Shinsuke for the IC title on a random Smackdown in the last few weeks, we could have had Bryan vs Styles vs Strong which (as much as I love Shinsuke) would have probably been the better match.

Styles is facing Humberto Carillo the following Monday on RAW, so if he’s dropping the US Title to him then (which he may well end up doing) it makes more sense for him to lose here. And with Strong in War Games the night before, he has a similar ‘out’ the NXT Women. I predict Nakamura wins here before going back to a storyline with Daniel Bryan in the run up to the Royal Rumble.

Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura Wins

WWE Universal Title

Bray Wyatt © vs Daniel Bryan

This is one of those matches that I was absolutely convinced that we’d seen many, many times before on PPV. But – because the “Daniel Bryan joins the Wyatt Family” story was a lot shorter than people remember – this is (incredibly) only the 2nd time that they’ve had a one on one match on PPV; the previous match being an excellent showing at The Royal Rumble in 2014 (the last CM Punk match). In fact, it’s been almost 5 years since they’ve had a one on one match at all.

But these two do know each other well… although this is now a very different Bray Wyatt to the one that tried to indoctrinate Bryan in early 2014. Following an oft-criticised feud which has almost resulted in turning Seth Rollins heel by being so badly received, Wyatt needs a win and – more importantly – a good match. I’d imagine this is why Bryan has seemingly been parachuted into this one – give Wyatt a good match to further put over The Fiend as a Main Event Star, hopefully ditching the red light.

Who The Fiend goes onto post-Bryan (assuming this is the case) I’m really not sure. Maybe Roman Reigns? Smackdown’s Main Event scene feels a bit odd at the moment and it’s hard to see the obvious choice. Assuming that they don’t continue with Wyatt / Bryan though, I expect we go back to what was expected a few weeks ago with Bryan besting Nakamura for the IC Title. Create a better villain, you’ll create better heroes.

Prediction – “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt WINS

NXT Title

Adam Cole (c) vs Pete Dunne

We’ve got an interesting dynamic playing out in this card, where I’m predicting Team NXT to win the main match, but Undisputed Era to lose their matches. I think UE will win War Games, but could well prove to be the apex on The Undisputed Era’s dominance of the yellow brand.

Also, with Lesnar and Wyatt both predicted to retain, Survivor Series could really do with a title switch given its position as one of WWE’s “Big 4”. With this all in mind, I predict that Adam Cole (“fresh” off War Games remember) will lose the NXT Title… but to who.

Cole’s opponent at Survivor Series remember will be the winner of a triple threat between Killian Dain (which, let’s be fair, is a much better name than Big Damo), Damien Priest (which, let’s be fair, really *isn’t* as good a name as “Punishment Martinez”) and The Bruiserweight Pete Dunne.

Pete made a much publicised move to the US a few months ago and this could well be his reward. The longest reigning NXTUK Champion also has a recent loss to Priest, giving him an obvious first challenger post-Cole before (presumably) moving onto matches with Ciampa and Bálor which could be GREAT.

Where Undisputed Era go next will be very interesting.

Prediction: Pete Dunne Wins

Those are our predictions, what are yours? Please leave them in the comments below!