At the moment, the participants for the traditional 5-on-5 elimination match set to take place at this year’s Survivor Series have yet to be announced, but considering the amount of injuries and the matches that have already been scheduled, the playing field is rather small. As such, we have a basic idea of the 20 or so possible men who could end up competing in the match, even if 50% of them won’t be.
With that being said, since speculation as to who will be on which team is far too hard to pinpoint, the question I have on my mind right isn’t who could be the top of the food chain in the match, but who should.
It isn’t a guarantee that we will have a sole survivor, as the match is structured in a way that allows for there to be all five teammates still kicking by the finish, but is there anything that pushes someone better than when they’re that one that defied the odds and can celebrate by themselves in the ring?
The roster is big, so it could be tough to narrow it down to just one deserving man, but let’s give it a shot.
To give everyone a sense of what we’re working with, here is a list of the 20 stars currently still available for a match that have been used in a decent enough role as of late. Others, such as Damien Sandow and Curtis Axel, have been missing in action a long while and will likely sit this out.
HEELS = The New Day (x3), King Barrett, Sheamus, The Miz, Big Show, Stardust, and The Ascension (x2)
BABYFACES = Cesaro, The Usos (x2), Neville, Ryback, The Dudley Boyz (x2), The Lucha Dragons (x2) and R-Truth
Any combination of five of those heels and five of those faces could go up against each other, or there could even be two Survivor Series matches with one of them going on the pre-show, so they all have at least a slight chance at standing out in a 5-on-5 scenario.
However, just because they have a chance to wrestle doesn’t mean they’re all weighted equally in terms of importance. The vast majority of these people don’t matter to the grand scheme of what’s going on in WWE, and not everybody can be a winner. Worse off, half won’t even get an opportunity to win.
THE TEN WITHOUT A TEAM
Step 1 in making our selection is to get rid of the people not competing in the match.
When you look at the names above, the five heels that stand out to me that can be sacrificed are The Miz, Big Show, Stardust and The Ascension. Yes, they have their positives, but The New Day are currently the tag team champions, so they can’t be off this card. Stardust and The Ascension are in a stable together (despite how little WWE has acknowledged that since they formed) but the three of them can’t join The New Day, as that would then be a team of 6. Yes, Stardust could act as a manager, or Xavier Woods could busy himself with the trombone, but I don’t expect either of those things to happen. We would need two more to team with The New Day, and since The Miz has been used more for MizTV than wrestling while Big Show has been gone the past few weeks, that leaves the big stars Sheamus and King Barrett for those spots.
As far as the babyfaces go, this is a little more complicated. The Usos are feuding with The New Day, so they’re in. Cesaro is just far too popular at the moment, so he’s in as well. That leaves two spots which could go to either the combination of Neville and Ryback or The Dudley Boyz or The Lucha Dragons. Since Kalisto has been pushed, but Sin Cara has not, I’d rule out The Lucha Dragons. The Dudley Boyz have taken a backseat as well, so they could miss Survivor Series and I don’t think fans would be shocked. Obviously, nobody would be surprised if the odd man out, R-Truth, was absent, either.
That already takes 10 people out of the equation and leaves us with the following names: The New Day, King Barrett, Sheamus, The Usos, Cesaro, Neville and Ryback.
THE TAG TEAM TROUBLE
For a match that emphasizes teamwork, history shows that tag teams actually perform rather poorly as far as eliminations go. Normally, when one half of a duo is taken out, the other half follows soon after. 2013 is a perfect example, where The Usos were on the losing team, but even with the winners of The Real Americans and The Shield, it was Roman Reigns by himself at the end. The tandem of Cesaro and Jack Swagger were the second and third eliminated, behind Dean Ambrose, while Seth Rollins fell toward the end.
The reason why I think this happens is because tag teams can take the hit and not look too bad in the process. There’s also a risk that if you have one person as a sole survivor, it devalues the other members of the teams. If Jimmy Uso were to be the sole survivor, who would put much stock in Jey Uso going forward? If Big E wins for his team while Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston look like chumps, doesn’t that effectively make him appear to be above his brethren?
Because of that, I would rule out The New Day and The Usos as being worthy of the sole survivor position. Their acts are too focused on teams for them to be “sole” anything, and since they’ll likely be feuding in a title match at TLC anyway, there’s no use in wasting this push on something that’s bound to just follow an easy path.
THE FAVE FIVE
That leaves us with the final five options: King Barrett, Sheamus, Cesaro, Neville, and Ryback.
On that list, the first name to rule out for me would be Sheamus. He’s already Mr. Money in the Bank and some people are even expecting him to cash in on either Roman Reigns or Dean Ambrose after they win the championship in the tournament. Yes, having him be the sole survivor AND cash in to become the champion would be huge and give him a massive push going forward, but is it necessary at this time? I think it would border along the lines of overkill, rather. Many (myself included) think a heel turn is coming for Ambrose or Reigns, and if that happens, that will mean a cash-in won’t happen, but I still think Mr. Money in the Bank doesn’t need to be a sole survivor as well.