WWE Survivor Series picks are no easy feat, not even for those of us who religiously follow sports entertainment. Seriously, how does one accurately make predictions when you’re dealing with two discrete rosters going head to head? You’ve got winners, losers, eliminations and intra-team storylines. It’s not as clear-cut as simply RAW vs. SmackDown Live. Nope, we’ve got RAW vs. RAW and SmackDown vs. SmackDown in the same match. WWE has the unique challenge of booking for each brand as well as the match itself on the pay-per-view. It’s a three-headed beast for the creative staff.
There are enough variables and moving pieces to this puzzle to make your head spin. It also means that you’ll have a heck of a lot to talk about on Monday.
Survivor Series is obviously built around Goldberg’s long-awaited return and rematch against Brock Lesnar. I think with this match we need to taper our expectations a little bit. Ring rust is understandably expected and “the man,” as Bobby Heenan would say, isn’t the 30-something athlete he was when he burst on the scene almost 20 years ago. However, Goldberg has stayed in phenomenal shape, and I believe we’ll see flashes of his golden age in WCW. So who wins? Will anybody be next?
To help me decipher everything, I’ve enlisted my WWE Insider posse once again. Aaron Oster has the hot prognosticating hand, having picked all but one match correctly at the last pay-per-view.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match
Brian Kendrick (c) vs. Kalisto
Aaron: Unlike most people, I don’t think this is a lock. The Cruiserweights don’t have to move to SmackDown just because 205 Live is filmed during SmackDown. However, it’s certainly easier to do it that way. And when it comes to the WWE, often times the easiest solution is the way they go. I will say this… it would make a lot of sense for Brian Kendrick’s character if he lost by count out or DQ. The stipulation says if he loses, the division goes to SmackDown. However, it doesn’t say he has to lose the title for the division to move. PICK: KALISTO
Scott: As much as I’m happy to see Brian Kendrick with the cruiserweight championship, I think there is a good chance Kalisto wins the gold. Since 205 Live is set for Tuesday nights, it fits nicely for the division to find a home on SmackDown Live. PICK: KALISTO
Chuck: I don’t see Brian Kendrick as a viable long-term champion because of his veteran status. WWE is all about pushing the young guys and rightfully so. Age aside, I honestly suspect the belt will wind up being passed around like a hot potato in this division. PICK: KALISTO
Intercontinental Championship Match
The Miz (c) vs. Sami Zayn
Aaron: I legitimately have no idea what’s going to happen in this match. The Miz victory on SmackDown has opened up a ton of possibilities. I could see anything from Zayn winning cleanly (and they’d rather have Miz lose than Ziggler), to Miz winning and bringing the title to RAW anyway, to Dolph Ziggler being inserted into the match and winning. The IC title going to RAW is interesting, particularly if the U.S. title goes away, and right now I’m not sure if SmackDown can host an IC division. So I think the IC title goes to RAW, in whatever way the company deems fit. PICK: SAMI ZAYN
Scott: I was bummed when Dolph Ziggler lost the Intercontinental Championship, but it makes sense to have the villainous Miz take on the fan favorite in Sami Zayn. Though I’ll go with another title change here with WWE looking to switch things up a bit and make Survivor Series memorable. Plus, I just really want Zayn get a big break on the main roster, and a run with the IC title can do that. PICK: SAMI ZAYN
Chuck: The Miz just won the belt and this championship reign is going to be short-lived. I think the strap is headed over to RAW, for a number of reasons, but most importantly because Sami Zayn deserves it. He’s been over with fans since his debut on the main roster, and its time to reward him with a little gold. PICK: SAMI ZAYN
Tag Team Survivor Series Match
Team RAW (Enzo Amore & Big Cass, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, The Shining Stars, Cesaro & Sheamus and New Day) vs. Team SmackDown Live (Heath Slater & Rhyno, Hype Bros, American Alpha, The Usos and Tyler Breeze & Fandango)
Aaron: It’s fairly clear that the tag and women’s matches are going to be split between RAW and SmackDown. The question just becomes which goes to which brand. The whole build of the tag aspect was pretty much RAW running down SmackDown’s tag teams. Because of that, I really feel like a RAW win would make the SmackDown tag division look even worse. So I give them the win, and I use this match to put American Alpha back in the spotlight, as they’ve been completely lost in the shuffle. PICK: TEAM SMACKDOWN
Scott: This one is hard to call for a number of reasons, so I’ll go with the hope American Alpha are the final team left standing. Survivor Series is a great platform to spotlight Jason Jordan and Chad Gable as the standout duo. A win here would be quite the feather in their cap. PICK: TEAM SMACKDOWN
Chuck: And here is where we have a slew of moving parts. You’ve got 10 guys in one match, so anything can happen here. I’d really like to say Enzo & Cass will be the last team standing, but I don’t see WWE pushing them with wins. Their push will continue to come on the mic. And looking at the rosters, the odds seem to tilt in RAW’s favor. But I think that’s actually a detriment for “Team Red.” Look for the swerve here and SmackDown to steal the win with American Alpha standing tall. PICK: TEAM SMACKDOWN
Women’s Survivor Series Match
Team RAW (Charlotte Flair, Bayley, Nia Jax, Alicia Fox and Sasha Banks) vs. Team SmackDown Live (Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, Carmella, Alexa Bliss and Naomi (w/coach Natalya))
Aaron: If SmackDown wins the tag match, then RAW has to win the women. The question is who survives. You could go a number of ways with this. You could have the three horsewomen on RAW all surviving. You could go Charlotte/Bayley and have that instantly be your next title match. However, I’m going with Bayley as an underdog sole survivor as she fights off a two-on-one to establish her claim as #1 contender. PICK: TEAM RAW
Scott: You can literally flip a coin here for a prediction. WWE seems to be big on portraying Charlotte as the dominant force in the women’s division. At the same time, Bayley really needs something to push her back to the forefront. That is why I will take a shot in the dark and say Charlotte and/or Bayley end up survivors. Maybe planting seeds and laying groundwork for Charlotte vs. Bayley on a big stage. PICK: TEAM RAW
Chuck: Just was the case with the tag team match, RAW seems to be stacked with a little more talent than SmackDown. But in this case, I think the Tuesday crew comes away victorious. Look for a little intra-squad fighting between Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch. But in the end they will pull it together and get the win. PICK: TEAM SMACKDOWN
Men’s Survivor Series Match
Team RAW (Kevin Owens, Chris Jericho, Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins) vs. Team SmackDown Live (AJ Styles, Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose, Shane McMahon and Bray Wyatt)
Aaron: I was going back and forth on this for a while. However, with The Undertaker giving his proclamation that if they lose that they’d have to deal with the Deadman, I now envision a SmackDown loss leading to AJ vs. Undertaker at the Rumble. As for RAW, Roman Reigns is going to be a survivor, both because of who he is, and because he seems next in line for Kevin Owens. I’ll also throw in Rollins here, as I envision a final three of The Shield. I fully expect Braun Strowman to get some major shine, probably eliminating Shane and Bray. PICK: TEAM RAW
Scott: This could be a show-stealer with the talent involved. James Ellsworth wasn’t even a blip on the WWE radar a few weeks ago, and now look at him. A reason you got to love pro wrestling. Lots of stories could be playing out in this one, leaving room for a myriad of scenarios playing out. Braun Strowman will surely get some big moments, as he should, if they are in fact pushing him up as a potential main-event player. Randy Orton turning on Bray Wyatt has potential. Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles may cost each other in the match considering they meet two weeks later. Some dissension is likely to begin here for Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. After the dust settles, I’ll go with Seth Rollins and/or Roman Reigns walking away victorious. That said, I could be completely wrong, considering The Undertaker hinted to lurking in the shadows in support of SmackDown. PICK: TEAM RAW
Chuck: Before Tuesday I would have said this one was a coin flip. However, with the Undertaker’s return, the odds shift in favor of RAW. I see SmackDown taking the loss and Undertaker making good on his promise to punish their failure. His hit list starts Tuesday. This match has more moving parts than any other. You’ve got a ton of infighting on both sides. I expect we’ll see a lot of Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens bickering. It will be interesting to see whether Braun Strowman gets any traction here. Maybe he can use this match to start a program with Roman Reigns. Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles going at it is a given. But the real question is whether Randy Orton’s stay in the Wyatt Family will be short-lived. My guess is yes. PICK: TEAM RAW
Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg
Aaron: There are a lot of things that could indicate a Goldberg win. The crowd is much hotter for him than I think anyone would have guessed. A win could propel him farther if he wants a Mania run. However, the result comes down to this: Goldberg is 1-0 against Brock Lesnar. He’s not going 2-0. PICK: LESNAR
Scott: I think Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg are especially motivated to have a good match. They want to erase their largely panned WrestleMania XX showdown out of the fans’ minds. Goldberg wants to put on a good show for his son, who will see him wrestle live for the first time. I want that moment for Goldberg, so I’ll go with him walking out victorious. However, I expect some shenanigans in the form of Shane McMahon and/or Randy Orton going back to what happened at SummerSlam. I don’t see Goldberg agreeing to return after all this time without getting the win, although stranger things have happened. And if he does lose, more money would be on the table for a third installment between these two for sure. PICK: GOLDBERG
Chuck: WWE has a history of burying big names when they return. Heck, even Sting didn’t win his first match ever in Vince McMahon’s ring. So a Brock Lesnar win here wouldn’t surprise me in the least. That said, I also agree with Scott’s assessment that Goldberg likely wouldn’t return without a guaranteed win and Lesnar hasn’t lost a match since February. So, that means “The Beast” is due for a three-second tan. Factor in Goldberg wanting to wrestle in front of his wife and son for the first time, and it seems like a lock that he’s getting his hand raised. PICK: GOLDBERG
Chuck Carroll is former pro wrestling announcer and referee turned sports media personality. He once appeared on Monday Night RAW when he presented Robert Griffin III with a WWE title belt in the Redskins locker room.
Follow him on Twitter @ChuckCarrollWLC.