Something has to change before the 2021 Survivor Series PPV
When The Undertaker walked out of the ThunderDome last year after bidding the WWE Universe his final farewell, there was no doubt in my mind that I had just watched a really good show. When it was all said and done, Survivor Series 2020 was one of the best showcases of in-ring ability in WWE all year. The Street Profits and The New Day put on a tag team clinic, while Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns finished off the night with a match of the year candidate.
The problem with the show wasn’t the card itself. The issue is the overall focus of Survivor Series has shifted away from the traditional five-on-five elimination matches and instead is all about “the battle for brand supremacy” or whatever tag line they used to make it sound different this year.
Ever since the brand split, this show has been built primarily around RAW superstars vs. SmackDown superstars. Except for that one time NXT got involved, dominated the whole show, and then didn’t return the following year for some reason. So again, primarily RAW vs. SmackDown – less than six weeks removed from the annual WWE Draft.
AJ Styles, Braun Stroman, Riddle, and Sheamus we’re all fighting for Team RAW barely a month after being drafted over from SmackDown. The longest-tenured member of the Red Brand on that team was Keith Lee. He moved over from NXT less than four months prior to Survivor Series. The same issue cropped up in the women’s match. Four of the five women representing SmackDown had just moved over from RAW.
Maybe if there were some kind of stakes involved in those matchups, I could see the extra motivation for the wrestlers, but that close to the draft I just don’t see why they would care. I don’t think they really did. The RAW Men’s Team spent more time fighting amongst themselves while Team SmackDown was barely seen together in the weeks leading up to the match.
The Survivor Series matches, which the show is named after, need new life breathed into them. Either the draft needs to move or WWE needs to ditch the brand vs brand format. At the very least, have something important on the line. Like 2003 for example, Team Austin vs. Team Bischoff. The Texas Rattlesnake lost his job when his team didn’t come out on top. It doesn’t have to be someone’s career, but something should be on the line.
I personally would not be sad to see brand vs. brand be ditched altogether. I understand the allure of having the Champion vs. Champion matchups, but it just throws an unnecessary monkey wrench into the storylines on each show. Randy Orton dropped the WWE Championship 22 days after winning because, reportedly, Vince McMahon didn’t want two heels squaring off in the main event of Survivor Series. There’s a lot to unpack there if true, so I’ll just reiterate that something needs to change.
I don’t care if it’s moving the draft, ditching the battle for brand supremacy, or just crafting a better plan and sticking to it. Right now there’s a lot of moving parts to this current format that really hinders one of the company’s top four PPV’s.