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, David Varnes, Ethan Absler and Richard Staple.
1) “WWE dodged Brock Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt vs. Adam Cole as another champions showcase match. Why do you think that isn’t happening?”
MANGO: They didn’t want Adam Cole to look small next to the other two (or, worse, put up a fight against them and make them look weak by having a smaller guy not decimated), plus they didn’t want Lesnar vs. Wyatt vs. Cole as fans would then make The Fiend or Cole babyfaces by default. This is a means to dodge problems rather than actually care about the Rey Mysterio match as SO important that it had to sacrifice the Triple Threat.
VARNES: Two reasons. One, neither The Fiend nor Brock Lesnar have had great title matches recently. Wyatt’s have been ruined by the idiotic red lighting, while Lesnar… is Lesnar at this point. And while Adam Cole (bay-bay!) can put on good matches I think with either man, both? That’s hard. Second is WWE trying to keep both NBC Universal (the owners of the USA network) and Fox happy. If I were an executive for either company I’d be pissed at this point with WWE. The idea of brand exclusivity seems to have been dropped as soon as it started, and it’s back to normal WWE shenanigans. Having one of the champions come out as the ‘best of the best’ would just be a further dig at the networks. No bueno.
ABSLER: I think WWE dodged Lesnar vs Wyatt vs Cole for a few reasons. One, Adam Cole was in a Ladder match on NXT Wednesday, a War Games match on Friday, and then is being used for the Survivor Series Tag Team match on Sunday. In addition, Wyatt vs Bryan and Mysterio vs Lesnar are both intriguing matchups on their own. Lesnar would most likely win a triple threat between the three and this protects both other champions.
STAPLE: Well, the matchup is about as unorthodox as it can be. On one hand, you have the workhorse and soul of NXT, Adam Cole. On the other hand, you have someone who is barely around and won’t be on RAW week after week. On the third hand, you have an extraterrestrial, bipolar entity with multiple personality disorder. To be honest, while some may view it as an interesting matchup, it wouldn’t really be all that fun to me. Only Adam would probably care about winning the match for the sake of “brand supremacy”. If it was something like Cole vs. Rollins vs. Kingston, it would make more sense.
2) “Do you think anyone will be a sole survivor this year? If so, who?”
MANGO: Not this year. There are too many eliminations that have to be made to whittle it down to just one person on one team. However, if I had to venture a guess if it was to happen, I’d say Charlotte Flair stands a chance, or Seth Rollins if they want to drive home the point that we should bow down to either of them.
VARNES: If anyone, I’ll say Ricochet for the men. The announcers have been talking up Randy Orton’s sole survivor stats recently, and Orton seems to be in some sort of situation with Ricochet… so having Ricochet be the Sole Survivor adds tenstion to their program.
ABSLER: I could see Kevin Owens being a sole survivor this year. With the direction he is moving in and the emotional Triple H promo directed at him, I think something big is on the horizon for KO.
STAPLE: I predict that one of two things will happen at Survivor Series. Either it’s going to be a close finish where each brand gets a win and it comes down to one match, or NXT is going to sweep the floor. There is no way there’s going to be one lone survivor in the match. At least I don’t think so. You already have two 15 person elimination triple threat tag team matches. Doing 14 falls for each match is highly unreasonable and may just waste time. The card is loaded enough as it is.
3) “Between Raw, NXT and SmackDown, which brand are you rooting for to come out on top? Which had the best advantage?”
MANGO: I’m actually rooting for a pretty even split, although someone has to come up short. With the 5 matches, even if they did 2-2-1, who do you take the point away from? With how poorly SmackDown was booked last year, I’d almost rather it be 3 for SmackDown and 1 a piece for Raw and NXT just to give the blue team the morale boost. Raw has the advantage in nearly every match, though.
VARNES: My heart says NXT, but my brain and my gut says it’s going to be a split between Raw and Smackdown. With 5 interbrand matches you can’t go perfectly split, but I can see Vince & Co. saying “Give one 5 on 5 and one Champ v. Champ v. Champ match each to Raw & Smackdown… and uh… well… screw it, let Roderick Strong pin Nakamura.” Like I said above, WWE needs to keep their networks happy, and by giving them some semblance of balance, they can do that. The fans? Well, when has Vince ever given a damn about the fans over the past few years?
ABSLER: I am rooting for NXT because they have consistently delivered the best show out of the three brands. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, but NXT has a certain aura to it that just draws me to it. All three brands have pretty stacked teams, but I am hoping NXT can come out on top.
STAPLE: It’s hard to root for a brand since superstars such as Becky Lynch and Bayley have said themselves that they don’t even care about who the best brand is. So why should I? We don’t even know what the women’s and men’s teams for NXT will be, so I won’t even know regardless.
4) “Which event do you think will be better overall, TakeOver or Survivor Series?”
MANGO: TakeOver. There are way too many opportunities for bullshit booking to get in the way of Survivor Series. People will be eliminated super fast without doing anything just to make the matches go by faster, which will hurt their credibility, for instance. Plus, Survivor Series has a Brock Lesnar match and I never have much faith in those.