Welcome to another edition of eWN Round Table, where we gather some of the most active writers here on eWrestlingNews and share the platform to answer some questions surrounding a centralized topic, upcoming event, etc.
This is meant to showcase the potential for both a wide range of perspectives as well as how sometimes, there can be a group consensus no matter what your viewpoint is, so we also invite all of you to join in on the discussion by answering these questions yourself in the comments section below.
Participants for this round = Anthony Mango, Richard Staple, Ethan Absler and Yiannis Bouranis.
1) “#JohnnyGarganoDidNothingWrong. Agree or disagree?”
MANGO: As much as I don’t want Gargano to be a heel, in the context of the story, he definitely did something wrong. He should’ve gotten the job done in his solo match against Ciampa and it wasn’t Black’s fault, right? But still, I’m rooting for Gargano as I like him better than Black…so…yeah, he did nothing wrong. 😛
STAPLE: If we are talking in the context of WWE reality, he’s technically in the wrong. But if I thought what I was watching was real, then I’d say that Johnny didn’t do anything wrong. Aleister Black had no problem delivering Black Mass to Johnny from behind and Gargano merely returned the favor. Gargano’s obsession with wanting to defeat the demon in the form of Tomasso Ciampa forced him to eliminate the obstacle standing in the way of him to achieve that goal. Now he has to embrace a necessary evil for him. Who are we to judge?
ABSLER: I think Johnny Gargano is in the wrong here. I know that his losses to Ciampa have really put a strain on his mental health, but Black isn’t the root cause of his problems. Johnny has allowed Ciampa to make him delusional and in my opinion, this is one of the best stories I’ve had the pleasure of being a fan during.
BOURANIS: n/a I haven’t watched the latest episodes of NXT.
2) “Between Raw and SmackDown, which brand has the advantage for these Survivor Series matches overall?”
MANGO: The tag teams are entirely in SmackDown’s favor, it’s about even for the men’s tag match, Raw’s women have the edge because of Nia Jax’s size and no heavy hitters on SmackDown, Lesnar beats Bryan because he’s Lesnar, Rollins should beat Nakamura but won’t, AOP beats The Bar and Rousey beats Flair. I’m thinking Raw wins 4-2 this year unless SmackDown gets one more from a DQ win from a DQ or something.
STAPLE: I’d think that the brand with more superstars and more air time would have the advantage. Smackdown has some formidable challengers representing them, but one brand is carrying Brock Lesnar and Ronda Rousey, two vastly overpowered superstars. That alone tips the odds in their favor. And Smackdown is carrying Shane McMahon of all people on their Smackdown men’s team for the 3rd straight year. Pathetic.
ABSLER: I’ve gotta say RAW has the advantage. Smackdown has some great wrestlers, but RAW is still clearly favored by WWE management as the flagship show. In addition, RAW’s team will feature both Braun Strowman and Drew McIntyre, two guys that WWE have decided to book like monsters right now.
BOURANIS: SmackDown, since almost all of the roster’s top superstars will participate in it.
3) “Do you like the brand warfare concept as it is, or do you prefer the old Survivor Series style with themed teams like The Warriors, The Foreign Fanatics, Guts & Glory, etc?”
MANGO: I used to like the themed teams a lot, but they do so many six-man tag team matches and stuff now that it wouldn’t be anything special anymore. The brand warfare is MUCH better, as it effectively merges Survivor Series with Bragging Rights and also gives us the champion vs. champion matches, which are fun. I’m definitely more in favor of the current setup.
STAPLE: The brand warfare deal is actually something I’ve been a fan of. The problem is other storylines have to stall and we revert to this period where people hate each other because one person wears red and the other wears blue. There’s rarely little pay off in brand warfare themed Survivor Series matches, but if there’s one thing it has going for it, it’s that we get to see matches we would never otherwise see because of the brand split such as Rollins vs. Nakamura and Bryan vs. Lesnar.
ABSLER: I don’t think I have a preference. There are both pros and cons with each type but I don’t think both are easy to get invested in and have equally high stakes.
BOURANIS: I think the current one is better, although the WWE could schedule and build-up the matches in a better way.
4) “Do you think anyone will be a ‘sole survivor’ and if so, who?”
MANGO: Drew McIntyre for the Team Raw on the men’s side if they win, Shane McMahon for SmackDown if they win, Nia Jax for the women if they aren’t too mad at her for the Becky Lynch situation, no sole survivor for SmackDown’s women if they win, and no one tag team will be final for the tag team match no matter which side wins.
STAPLE: In the past two Survivor Series, the only lone survivor in any 5 on 5 elimination match was Asuka last year. So I’m not gonna count on a sole survivor this year, but if it is, I’m hoping it is Drew McIntyre in a Roman Reigns circa 2013 fashion.
ABSLER: Again, Drew McIntyre is slowly but surely becoming one of the hottest guys on the roster. If anybody is going to be crowned a sole survivor this Sunday, Drew McIntyre will be it for sure.
BOURANIS: I believe Braun Strowman in order to gain momentum for his rivalries with Baron Corbin and Brock Lesnar.
5) “Which superstar do you feel is the biggest omission from these two lineups?”
MANGO: My answer for this keeps having to change. At first, I said it could have been a tie between Randy Orton, Rusev, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Andrade “Cien” Almas. Then, AJ Styles got taken out of his match and Becky Lynch fell victim to an injury. It pretty much has to be those two, right?
As far as NXT goes, I’d say EC3 is the person I’m most disappointed has absolutely nothing going on.
STAPLE: Easily Randy Orton. The dude has played an essential role for Smackdown the past couple of months, and to leave him off in lieu of Shane McMahon? Come on, dude. What I hope is that he starts to build to a feud with AJ Styles, though.