VARNES: TakeOver. Less overbooked, and the matches generally have meaning. I just pray that they stop this other brand run in crap for TakeOver, I don’t want to see matches ruined because Bayley feels the need to start swinging a damn chair.
ABSLER: Again, both events seem loaded. I am equally excited for both, but I have to go with Takeover just because of War-games. NXT hasn’t disappointed with War-games in the last two years and I don’t anticipate anything less this year.
STAPLE: Survivor Series has potential if the matches that I hope deliver does. NXT usually has the advantage, but not so this time around. I have a fear that two War Game matches will make the stipulation feel tedious, and a lack of championship matches on the card does hurt. But Riddle and Balor should tear the roof off.
5) “Which superstar do you feel is the biggest omission from each lineup?”
MANGO: Without knowing who is on Team NXT, it’s tough to pinpoint people missing on that side. The same goes for the mystery partner on Team Ciampa. But I will say that I think it’s strange the NXT Cruiserweight Championship wasn’t factored in at all to give that a boost. Johnny Gargano and Velveteen Dream are the biggest names missing, but their injuries make sense of that. Dakota Kai’s lack of involvement in the WarGames match is strange. All of NXT UK not being invited to the party is weird. For Raw and SmackDown, notable exceptions are Andrade, Bobby Lashley and Rusev (thank God, though), The Miz, The Revival, Fire and Desire, etc.
VARNES: Sort of hard to answer since NXT hasn’t shown their hand yet, but I’ll make a guess simply from who’s been showing up at Raw and Smackdown.
On the Men’s Side, Velveteen Dream. I know he’s got a back injury, but the Dream is made for big stages. And what better place to show off the Dream than at the same event that, twenty years ago, debuted The Undertaker to the world? And who better to do mic work for NXT than The Dream?
Women? That’s harder, simply because Raw and Smackdown have pretty much emptied their rosters. Okay, okay. Toni Storm. Seriously, they bring Kay Lee Ray over, they bring Rhea Ripley over, but leave Toni in England? Don’t even have her get involved when NXT UK pops up during the European tour? Not cricket, WWE. Not cricket.
Tag Teams? AOP. I’m sorry, but backstage segments where Akam talks in Egyptian and Rezar in Albanian, peppered with a beatdown of Heath Slater and No Way Jose before two more months of vignettes, then Hawkins & Ryder? That’s not a redebut for the team, that’s “Creative’s got nothing for you.” For god’s sake, the beatdowns were months apart. If there’s any place for a couple of heartless killers who just want to beat people up, it’s at Survivor Series.
ABSLER: Both of these cards have so many men and women on them, most of the key superstars are covered. With that being said, I want to see Cesaro on these cards! He is immensely talented and being greatly underused.
STAPLE: For Survivor Series, definitely The Revival for me. They’re just a better fit for me. If they had stayed, you could have told a story of three former NXT Tag Team Champions. Kofi and Big E winning the title right before the event was kind of deflating. Could have been saved for after. As for War Games, everyone involved in major storylines are pretty much accounted for, so I can’t say there are any major omissions.
6) “If you could add one more match to both cards, what would it be?”
MANGO: For TakeOver, I’d have put Lio Rush against a cruiserweight from Raw and SmackDown as a sort of taste of Survivor Series to come. Maybe those participants would have been Cedric Alexander, if he’s healthy, and Drew Gulak. For Survivor Series, I’d go with a repeat of last year’s “tag team” elimination match, or I’d say the 24/7 title is on the line in a free-for-all between all three brands and let the title change hands between SmackDown and NXT guys as well as Raw.
VARNES: This card’s already full. But if I had to, I’d add a sixth interbrand match for Tag Teams, maybe a 4 on 4 on 4 Tag Team Survivor Match? So, AOP & Street Profits (Raw) vs. Heavy Machinery & Lucha House Party (Smackdown) vs. Forgotten Sons & a NXT UK team. It’s a way to throw NXT UK a bone since they’ve been mostly forgotten in this whole mess. That way you can split the brand wins at either 2 apiece, or 3 and 3 if they want to leave NXT in the cold, or 3-2-1, giving Fox 3 wins for Smackdown, and NBCUniversal 3 wins (2 Raw, 1 NXT).
ABSLER: Again, both of these cards are absolutely stacked, but if I had to add a match, I would spice things up with an NXT UK division match somewhere in the Takeover.
STAPLE: NXT Takeover cards are always the perfect length in general so I’m not adding anything to that, and Survivor Series definitely doesn’t need another match with the lengthy matches we will probably be in for. A Cruiserweight Championship match on a Takeover event may not hurt though.
7) “Which match are you most excited to see this weekend?”
MANGO: The men’s WarGames match is the one that I think will steal the show overall.
VARNES: War Games. Compared to what Survivor Series brings to the table, mainly a bunch of overbooked, overworked matches… I just want to see people beat the hell out of each other. And War Games does that perfectly.
ABSLER: I am most excited to see the men and women’s NXT War-games matches, as well as AJ Styles vs Roderick Strong vs Shinsuke Nakamura.
STAPLE: Finn Balor vs. Matt Riddle, AJ Styles vs. Roderick Strong vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and I also want to see what direction they go with Lesnar/Mysterio. I’m thinking the No Holds Barred stipulation will serve as a free invitation for Dominick or Cain Velasquez to cost Lesnar the title, but I don’t think it’ll be that easy. We shall see.
Big thanks to everyone who took part in this edition!
Those are our thoughts, but what do you have to say about these issues? Keep the discussion going by chiming in via the comments section below!