With just days remaining until WWE presents this year’s Survivor Series, I am left with one question: What happened to the event I loved? What used to be a staple of the Thanksgiving season and one of the company’s “Big Four” has completely shifted. Now, one could certainly argue Survivor Series hasn’t changed for the worse, but what made the show special is completely missing.
It’s time to bring back traditional Survivor Series matches
The five-on-five Survivor Series matches were a delight this time of year, and oftentimes created stars the company desperately needed. It’s great to have the War Games format back to essentially replace some form of bragging rights. But WWE shouldn’t completely ban traditional elimination matches when many on the roster could still benefit from it.
Survivor Series is a hub for so many moments, including the Montreal Screwjob and the first Elimination Chamber match. The traditional five-on-five matches have also produced some of the more memorable moments in WWE history.
The winner-take-all match with Team WWE vs Team Alliance in 2001 is a perfect example of the relevance of traditional matches. That match ended the WWE rivalry with the WCW and ECW brands. Another historic moment was Team Cena vs Team Authority where the lone Survivor, Dolph Ziggler, overcame the stacked odds and stood tall at the end of the match.
The traditional Survivor Series matches have always had a captivating aura when done correctly. It was when they turned into glorified Raw vs. SmackDown feuds that the allure began to fade. The most recent time the WWE hit on the brand wars was in 2019 during the NXT invasion angle where the third brand emerged and dominated its counterparts.
If for no other reason, these matches need to return because they serve as a perfect launching pad for superstars. It’s a system where a star can be built overnight by what they accomplish in five-on-five action. Two legendary characters come to mind: The Rock and the Undertaker, both of whom debuted at Survivor Series in traditional elimination matches.
Even with the War Games format in place for both the men’s and women’s rosters, at least one elimination match can take place to help a performer excel.
How cool could a contrast in styles be with LA Knight and GUNTHER captaining respective teams? Or the in-ring debut of Jade Cargill inside of a traditional match. There’s a wide net of superstars backstage that could benefit from returning and carrying on the tradition that defined Survivor Series.
Furthermore, while the current War Games format is producing quality matches and memories in its own right, the high stakes are not there. It’s essentially another form of bragging rights for the eventual winners. Many will remember the War Games match during the Bloodline saga for the story being told with all the characters, but at the end of it all, it was just continued dominance for the Bloodline.
Besides the notoriety of being an MVP for their team., the survivors of a traditional match would be rewarded with some sort of opportunity. Usually, it’s a title shot or being put in the position to earn said title shot. There are a ton of superstars in WWE who need that opportunity to develop their characters more on-screen. That reason alone should be enough to restore the tradition of Survivor Series.