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  • 06 Aug
    Most days at the ESPN offices, a conversation about the state of the wrestling world or the events of the week inevitably happens between?editors Tim Fiorvanti and Brian Campbell. When the topic of Survivor Series came up, they decided to put the conversation on pause and correspond via email, so as to record their suggestions and predictions for the card (with a particular focus on the three traditional Survivor Series matches) in an effort to address the biggest opportunities and challenges.Heres what they had to say.Tim Fiorvanti: Its so nice to be able to talk about Survivor Series as a pay-per-vew that really matters. I actually had to look up the two matches from last year -- would you believe the winning teams were?Dudley Boyz,?Goldust?and?Titus ONeil?in a pre-show match, and Ryback,?Kalisto?and?Jey Uso?getting a win over a team that featured all three members of?The New Day?Brian Campbell: Was it really that bad? Wow. This is a case in which the brand split really helps raise the stakes; Nov. 20 will mark the first time superstars from opposite rosters will be on the same card since SummerSlam. The timing seems just about right to break up the monotonous feeling that can develop when there are so many brand-specific pay-per-views in such a short time.Tim: We cant completely dismiss Survivor Series over the past few years. In 2014, we got the WWE debut of Sting and a big victory for?Dolph Ziggler, who was the sole survivor in the main event. Even if the result was essentially?nullified a short time later, it was the second time in three years that Ziggler was the sole survivor in a high-profile elimination match.Brian:?Lets not forget that Survivor Series 2015 served as the tournament for the WWE world title after?Seth Rollins knee injury (with?Sheamus?cashing in his briefcase immediately after?Roman Reigns?defeated?Dean Ambrose?for?the?title). But then again, any PPV that spawned the Sheamus 5:15 T-shirt is probably better off forgotten.Tim: How can WWE make sure that this is a memorable card and not just another house of cards built around brand supremacy that the superstars themselves shouldnt particularly care about?Brian: The biggest potential pitfall for me is how WWE decides to handle the concept of Raw versus Smackdown matches within the framework of a traditional Survivor Series elimination match. Theres a reason why this PPVs format has changed over the years, and ultimately, its because these traditional matches, while nostalgic, dont tend to really prove anything on their own.Before we get too deep into fantasy booking this supercard, we need a must-see main event to anchor things. What is your take on the likely rematch between a returning Goldberg and?Brock Lesnar?Tim: Its going to be the main event, for better or worse. I imagine there will be a couple of world title matches and a few other contests, but this spectacle has been built up to take center-stage. I think?opinions on this match are very polarized. There are a lot of people who are very excited for the match; you could hear that from the reaction Goldberg received from the Raw crowd in Denver. I think the fans will?get what theyre looking for -- two big guys beating the ever-loving crap out of each other, with some spears and a bunch of suplexes thrown in.The other half of that equation: the crowd that remembers just how bad that initial match was received. Both guys were on their way out of the WWE, and the only person who received a good reaction in that match was special guest referee Stone Cold Steve Austin, who delivered a stunner to each man.Are expectations going to be too high for this match? Yes. Could it be fun? Sure. Will Goldberg get Lesnar up for a Jackhammer? Not a chance.Brian: I think it all depends upon how well WWE builds up the 49-year-old Goldberg as a physical threat to Lesnar over the next four weeks; itll help determine whether this match will merely be delightful nostalgia or a real cant-miss event. Goldberg handled his initial promo, showing depth and multiple facets to his character for arguably the first time ever, but Im not convinced he can gain sympathy as a pure babyface. Hell need to land a believable spear or two for full validation.The rest of the card should be fun, too. For the Universal championship on Raw, I dont think there is anyone right now who would turn down a program between?Kevin Owens?and?Chris Jericho, in a sort of quasi-heel version?of Randy Savage and Hulk Hogans The Mega Powers Explode. On the SmackDown side, the WWE championship could do much worse than an eventual?AJ Styles-Ambrose blow off. Once James Ellsworth steps out?of the picture, that feud should heat up nicely over the next month.Tim: Bray Wyatt?versus?Randy Orton?in a casket match will likely round out the card, but we mostly just want to dig into these three traditional Survivor Series matches that should offer the most potentially landscape-shifting?results. Lets get to it.5-on-5 tag team Survivor Series match:Team SmackDown (Heath Slater?&?Rhyno,?The Usos,?American Alpha,?The Hype Bros?and?The Ascension)?vs. Team Raw (The New Day,?Enzo & Big Cass,?The Club,?Cesaro?&?Sheamus and The Golden Truth)Tim: In the tag team Survivor Series match, lets say any pairing that makes it through to the end of the match on the winning side gets a future tag-team title match. Its a low-impact framework for heel and face teams to work cohesively. Assuming we want to include The New Day and Slater & Rhyno, Ill let you come up with a benefit for either of those two sets of champions, should they make it to the end of the match.Brian: I can totally get down with a future title match. Its not that Ive become a stipulation guy for the mere sake of it, but WWE needs to give us a reason to care. If it comes down to putting a new backyard playground on the line for Slaters kids, or getting The New Day new cereal bowls or some other benefit to be named later, that should suffice.SmackDowns team might be the perfect mix of youth, athleticism, technical ability and jobbers, but it still pales in comparison, talent-wise, to what Raw can produce.Tim: Ill concede theres a lot more firepower on your side, and theres a far more urgent need for teams to have a genuine reason to challenge the seemingly unassailable tag team title run of The New Day. This could be the culmination of The Clubs resurrection project after they beat Enzo & Big Cass at Hell in a Cell. Im thinking Golden Truth, Ascension, Cesaro & Sheamus and The Hype Bros will probably be early cannon fodder to make the other teams look good. In terms of telling or furthering a story on SmackDown, Im thinking you have the feud boil over between The Usos and American Alpha -- and potentially even cost Slater & Rhyno an early-ish pinfall. I like American Alpha to be the last team standing as sort of a moral victory. How do you see things playing out?Brian: Thats some tremendous booking out of you there. And when you talk about moral victories and consolation prizes, I think your tease regarding The Club ultimately proves to be true. It appears WWE is committed to giving The New Day a chance to break Demolitions record for the longest title reign, but having?Luke Gallows?and?Karl Anderson?run roughshod in this match seems to be the best move to make for their characters. They should have no trouble drawing heat by cheating in a vicious manner to sneak past American Alpha.Result: Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson are the sole survivors, last defeating American Alpha.Tim: It seems only natural to let you take the lead with the womens 5-on-5 match. I think this is a massive?spectacle since its the?first time that the womens champions will face off against one another.5-on-5 womens Survivor Series match:Team Raw (Charlotte,?Sasha Banks,?Bayley,?Dana Brooke?and?Nia Jax) vs. Team?SmackDown?(Becky Lynch,?Alexa Bliss,?Natalya,?Nikki Bella?and?Carmella)Brian: This match is the most intriguing of the three traditional Survivor Series matches on paper, mostly because we have never seen a womens division this deep in WWE. There has also been a marked difference between the way each division has been booked on either show. Raw is incredibly top-heavy with talent while lagging behind in creativity and consistency, outside of the ongoing (and incredible) Charlotte-Banks feud. SmackDown, on the other hand, has spread the wealth around when it comes to giving each superstar ample time to allow their characters to evolve with more exposure.What do you think is at stake in this match? I have incredibly high expectations after what we saw in the SmackDown Six Pack Challenge at Backlash.Tim: SmackDown is always going to have a chip on its shoulder when its compared to Raw. I think thats what you saw in that Six Pack challenge. I think its another chance to prove that younger up-and-comers such as Alexa Bliss and Carmella can hang with the top three from Raw.?And this is the first time (at this level) that well have all of the Four Horsewomen in one match. How do you see it going down?Brian: When you consider Raw has the top three female superstars in the company, and potentially its most intriguing prospect in Nia Jax, one might guess this match is a setup to showcase the scrappy, underdog attitude of the SmackDown brand to which you alluded. Ultimately, the biggest intrigue will be how many of these rivals co-exist on the same team, from Charlotte and Sasha to Nikki and Carmella.Tim: SmackDowns depth of storytelling and number of concurrent storylines might ultimately hold the key to their defeat in this particular match. Between Lynch and Bliss, and Carmella and Nikki, theres not going to be a lot of team cohesion, unless it gets down to a pairing of just Lynch and Nikki (or a trio if?Naomi?is in the match instead of Natalya). I think the star power is going to be too much for SmackDown to overcome -- especially with what the women on Raw are set to do at Hell in a?Cell.Brian: Ultimately, you make a great point. Raws star power trumps just about everything else, and it?has the one superstar of the 10 who could most benefit from the push that comes with being the last woman standing -- and thats Nia Jax.Result: Nia Jax is the sole survivor, last defeating Nikki Bella.Tim: I like it. Now we move onto the final contest: the 5-on-5 mens match.5-on-5 mens Survivor Series match:Team Raw (Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns,?Rusev,?Sami Zayn?and?TJ Perkins) vs. Team?SmackDown?(John Cena,?The Miz,?Dolph Ziggler,?Kane?and?Baron Corbin)Tim: With Orton and Wyatt looking as though theyre heading toward a casket match, Ive taken them off of the team Id originally put together -- and that leaves a pretty big hole. With SmackDown needing a win in this one to avoid the sweep, Im proposing a team of The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Kane, Baron Corbin and John Cena. This will obviously pale in comparison to Raws team, but this ragtag bunch actually has a fair bit working in its favor.Brian: If were looking at the overall storyline of the brand extension from a distance, it would make sense for WWE to give the underdog SmackDown brand a win here in what?amounts to the most important of the three traditional Survivor Series matches. SmackDown was dealt a much lighter hand when it comes to resources in the July 19 draft, but the show has continued to win over the hearts of fans within this scripted brand versus brand war. Its important that WWE keeps an ongoing storyline of competition, with the pair of commissioners and general managers (Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley on Raw versus Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan on SmackDown) as the focal point on the rare occasion Raw and SmackDown come together.To this end, having SmackDown win the most important match makes sense. But if Im booking for Raw, I still roll out my best possible team of stars, which in this case (excluding those involved with other matches) would include Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Rusev, Sami Zayn and TJ Perkins.Tim: Wow, that is a heck of a team, and I think were seeing eye-to-eye here. Since this is the biggest and most important match, lets raise the stakes and get something accomplished at the same time -- the winning team gets to draft a member of the losing team to their roster. I have an idea in my mind for how this scenario can play out, but Im going to let you make your pitch before I drop the hammer.Brian: I love?that stipulation. How about we raise the stakes and force the losing team to vote its member off, similar to Survivor? I mean, this is the Survivor Series, right? That extra layer of detail could end up playing into future storylines, especially if members of the same team who are natural adversaries are forced to work together with real consequences.Tim: I can definitely work with that, and it?helps solve a problem well have in terms of what we want to accomplish, which is quite a bit.Brian: I wouldnt mind seeing Reigns and Rollins capitalize on Rollins current babyface potential by teaming up in the lead-up to Survivor Series in a mini Shield reunion, with the full intention of breaking them apart in a major way in 2017. We saw the two of them feud briefly in 2016, including Rollins defeat of Reigns for the title at Money in the Bank before Dean Ambrose cashed in later that night. Im ready to see more.Tim: Lets get to the match itself. I think you continue with Corbins tendency of brutalizing smaller guys and have him take out TJP (after some high-flying spots, of course). If were really talking about a SmackDown win, Cenas going to have to do a bit of dirty work to take out heavy hitters such as Reigns, Rollins and Rusev in a believable way.I have two goals in mind: giving The Miz a reason to contend for the WWE world championship and bringing Zayn over to SmackDown, where I think hell flourish rather than languishing in his current state of uncertainty. I think having Miz steal the glory from Cena (and cheating in the process) to eliminate Rollins at the end is the perfect way to give Miz a huge win -- and it immediately puts him into the world title picture.By making the losing team vote off a member, as you suggested, you have a good moment to open Raw and start the build toward the Royal Rumble the following night. It gives Zayn a chance in the land of opportunity -- a place in which the GM brags about having James Ellsworth instead of Goldberg -- and the timing will be especially fortuitous if Zayn suffers the destructive fate at the hands of Braun Strowman that seems inevitable after their confrontation on Raw.Result: Miz and Cena are the sole survivors, with Miz picking up the final pinfall on Rollins. Zayn joins SmackDown Live. Camiseta Casemiro Real Madrid . -- Canadian Andrew Wiggins got the ball on the wing, made a nifty spin move and then let go with a soft floater from about 10 feet that swished through the net in Allen Fieldhouse. Comprar Camiseta Toni Kroos . To the surprise of many, it isnt the Wolverines but their in-state rivals the Michigan State Spartans. . Peter Gammons, an analyst for Major League Baseballs network and website, drew the ire of hockey fans on Sunday when he criticized the two NHL teams on Twitter for their physical game the night before. Camiseta Real Madrid Personalizada . Datsyuk will miss Tuesdays game against New Jersey and could be sidelined longer, while Cleary will likely miss at least the next three games. Its been an injury-plagued season for Datsyuk, who has suited up for just 39 games. Camiseta Lucas Vazquez . He said Tuesday thats a big reason why he is now the new coach of the Tennessee Titans. Whisenhunt said he hit it off quickly with Ruston Webster when interviewing for the job Friday night.The Champions Cup match between Racing 92 and Munster, postponed after the death of Anthony Foley, has been rescheduled for January 7. The European Professional Club Rugbys decision means Racings Top 14 match against Bayonne, initially scheduled for the same weekend, will have to be pushed back to another date. We pay tribute to Munster legend Anthony Foley. Foley died at the age of 42 on the eve of Munsters match against Racing in Paris which was due to be played on 16 October. Foley died on the eve of the scheduled match with Racing The match will kick-off at Stade Yves-du-Manoir at 3.45pm and will be broadcast live on Sky Sports. Hundreds of mourners turned out to pay their respects at the funeral of Anthony Foley.dddddddddddd Munster give an emotional rendition of Stand Up And Fight in memory of Anthony Foley Upgrade to Sky Sports now to watch Man Utd v Arsenal this Saturday and get the first six months half price! Also See: Hundreds pay tribute to Foley Tributes to Foley Watch: Anthony Foley tribute Rugby on Sky ' ' '