WWE Survivor Series 2017: What’s Actually At Stake?


WWE Survivor Series 2017 has only one match where a championship can be lost, so why should fans be excited?

In years past, Survivor Series was an exciting event that brought chaotic multi-person matches and the landscape of WrestleMania starting to come into focus. As the second-longest running event (only behind WrestleMania itself), this holiday tradition has been held on the Sunday before Thanksgiving since 1995. Survivor Series is one of the rare times each year where no one was safe from the maelström inherent to the program and served as a delightful appetizer for the turkey and stuffing to follow.

The brand split has simplified most WWE Survivor Series 2017’s contests into “Raw vs. SmackDown“, but therein lies the problem. Since each show has their own version of championship gold for the major titles (heavyweight, tag team, womens) there is no chance any of these will be lost that night. On top of that, Intercontinental Champion The Miz (Raw) will face United States Champion Baron Corbin (SmackDown) in a non-title match since WWE is intent on keeping those titles associated with their respective shows.

The only championship being contested during this year’s Survivor Series involves the Cruiserweight match between Enzo Amore and Kalisto. This belt has changed hands six times in 2017 and gone back and forth between Enzo and Kalisto three times since September. It seems WWE is rehashing the same ping pong aspect it gave to the Raw Women’s Championship in 2016 when Charlotte and Sasha Banks traded the title among themselves seven times between April and December 2016 until Bayley broke the cycle.

The rest of the card is filled with Red vs. Blue matches that don’t have anything on the line except pride and bragging rights which will last roughly one week before the shows get back on track and prepare for the next brand-specific event, which is the SmackDown exclusive Clash of Champions in December. If the competition between brands had been an ongoing subject since the split then Survivor Series could be much more contentious (i.e. compelling) but fans know this animosity will be short-lived.

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The wild cards for the show remain Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn who could represent the most interesting turn of events for the entire evening. Both men lost their opportunities to be part of Team SmackDown but as heels neither man certainly won’t be honor bound to do what is best for the Blue Brand.

In fact, they may even up the ante in their on-going feud with Shane McMahon and play spoiler in the Team Raw vs. Team SmackDown match, giving the win to Raw just to spite him.

As one of the “big four”, Survivor Series must bring us big moments beyond matches involving unlikely combatants like Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles and The Shield vs. The New Day.

The WWE wants us to believe these moments will be a big deal because of the names and that is true to an extent, but what is at stake? Neither Brock or AJ can lose their title so who wins and who loses is ultimately irrelevant. Neither Shield or New Day has any gold to lose and since both are incredibly over with fans their match will simply be about defending their brand. The same can be said about the matches involving the tag team and women’s champions.

Plenty of fans will simply enjoy the matches for what they are, rare contests between superstars who are on different shows. For me, I wish there were at least some higher stakes on the table other than a fleeting representation of show loyalty.

What if the champions who lose also forfeit their belts? At least this makes the match meaningful because every wrestler has something to fight for instead of knowing their belts are safe regardless. Ever since the split, both Raw and SmackDown have taken random jabs at each other but nothing that would rise to the level of making us believe the shows are competing for our affection.

Next: What Were The 10 Greatest Moments In Survivor Series History?

I applaud Vince for changing his mind and at least making the “WWE Title vs. Universal Title” match one worth watching because the idea of seeing AJ Styles pin Brock Lesnar will be too enticing for marks and smarks to resist. We may see even more changes before the show kicks off on November 19th and these changes will likely be done to draw attention away from the fact that we won’t be seeing new champions crowned until after we emerge from our Thanksgiving hibernation.