Friday, November 18, 2016

How the Brand Split Could Save Survivor Series

As a lifelong wrestling fan, I look forward to what is known as the WWE's "Big Four" pay-per-views each and every year. These pay-per-views include Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Survivor Series. The Royal Rumble is a must-see show for even the casual wrestling fan due to the excitement of the Royal Rumble match. WrestleMania is WWE's #1 priority year after year and it is a worldwide spectacle that has storylines that are set up months in advance. WWE has recently been attempting to make SummerSlam into WrestleMania 2.0 by making it the 2nd biggest spectacle of the year. And lastly, Survivor Series has become the red-headed stepchild of the WWE's "Big Four" which used to be known for its special Survivor Series matches.

Over the years, rumors of getting rid of Survivor Series, the 2nd longest running pay-per-view in company history, has floated around on a yearly basis. The Survivor Series pay-per-view has been manipulated and messed with so much to the point that it has even went without a traditional Survivor Series match involved on the show. Could you imagine a Royal Rumble pay-per-view without a Royal Rumble match? Or even a Money in the Bank or Hell in a Cell for that matter? Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? Then why would they remove the Survivor Series matches from its own pay-per-view? The fact of the matter is, it seems like they find these matches way too much work to build upon and the recent brand split may have been just what the doctor ordered.

From left to right: Strowman, Rollins, Jericho, Reigns, Owens, Styles, Ambrose, McMahon, Wyatt and Orton.
(Photo Courtesy: WWE.com)

As the days of 100% faces (good guys) and 100% heels (bad guys) have been passing us by, it has made it more difficult to figure out why exactly wrestlers would want to team up. Now with the brand split, representing RAW or Smackdown has given a legitimate reason for why wrestlers would want to compete against the other team. In the past, WWE had attempted to pit their brands against one another with the Bragging Rights pay-per-view. This pay-per-view included a trophy for the brand who had won the most matches in the night as bragging rights over the other. With the trophy not nearly being enough to base the pay-per-view around, this concept failed after only two attempts. Although competing against the other brand gives them a reason to compete, there still needs to be something that gives them a reason to trust each other enough to work together.

A new idea of how to handle the brands competing against one another for more than just bragging rights or a trophy would be to put something else on the line. One work around to this would be rewarding the brand who wins the most Survivor Series matches with some type of prize or advantage in the future. To add prestige to this reward, it should be for something related to one of the other "Big Four" pay-per-views. WrestleMania and SummerSlam have been built up to stand on their own and the Royal Rumble match has the title shot at WrestleMania on the line. The date order of when the pay-per-views are held limits what would make sense as a reward since SummerSlam happens right before Survivor Series and after WrestleMania. The place that this advantage would make the most sense at would have to be at the Royal Rumble and rewarding the winning brand with the last spot in the Royal Rumble match.

This would in a sense be copying the heavily criticized Major League Baseball's All-Star Game winner's reward but with the help of a good story scripted behind the outcome. Instead of giving the winning all-star team home field advantage in the World Series, the winning brand at Survivor Series would get the rights to the #30 entrant spot to the Royal Rumble. To make this a possibility, each year must consist of an odd number of Survivor Series matches in order to establish whoever wins more matches as the overall brand winner. Following the matches from this year, they could have a Survivor Series matches for tag teams, women and men each year and the brand who wins 2 out of 3 will be rewarded the #30 spot. Bettering the odds that you could win the Royal Rumble by entering at #30 should be enough to make rivals put their differences aside for one night. Or at least, it should be enough.

Do you agree or disagree? Comment on the article, give us your feedback. Let's discuss.

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