Hell in a Cell, 2016, came with a life so elementally ambitious, that it fell after flying too close to the sun. Unlike pay-per-views outside of the ‘Big Four’ umbrella, this extravaganza came romping in the shadow of a pro-wrestling symbol, the eponymous monstrosity, then inadvertently tripped on its own tail.
While the Hell in a Cell is one of the most iconic and feared match scenarios in the WWE’s teeming gallery, it was desperately overutilized to the point of becoming repetitive, drawing a lot of the main event’s steam out before that even came to pass.
With Bragging Rights out of the equation, Survivor Series is the only inter-brand pay-per-view, except the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania of course, that could shift the compass of brand supremacy in either direction. However, there has been negligible buildup around this feud, especially considering how this will be the first Survivor Series after the brand split.
The generic, categorical division of the 5-on-5 elimination matches and the complete lack of an inter-brand buildup whatsoever, begs one question.
While the WWE is definitely attempting a clinch at ratings (after a lacklustre 2015) by exploiting the entertainment value of a star-studded match card, how are three matches rooted only on a traditional format and not storylines supposed to revive the repute of Survivor Series?
Perhaps, instead of being a culmination of slow building histories, the show at Toronto would be a beginning, to set wheels turning, with possible interferences, double crosses, brand jumps, and even reunions.
Here are five things the WWE should accomplish at Survivor Series to ensure that there isn’t a repeat of Hell in a Cell’s slightly-better-than-average reception.
#5 Sami Zayn is put over by Ziggler:
The WWE Universe has exhibited a consistent endearment towards Sami Zayn. He is one of the performers who has had to climb several rusty rungs to reach the main roster of the WWE, yet appears outside most match cards for pay-per-view events (Hell in a Cell, a kickoff appearance at SummerSlam and a defeat at Clash of Champions).
Having stood up to Braun Strowman recently, he has exemplified the angst and fearlessness of a David who, despite being overlooked, stays his ground because “no one else will”.
While a potential feud with the former Wyatt seems on the cards, it would have been remiss on the WWE’s part not to present Zayn with a title opportunity, particularly when the event is taking place in Canada.
Ziggler’s open challenge is the first instance of a possible inter-brand rivalry. However, it is debatable if The Miz will sit through this and that Ziggler will drop the title after having worn it for just about a month, especially with his career closing stipulation.
Moreover, bringing the IC belt to Raw would only diminish Smackdown’s limited reserve. On the other hand, the chances of Ziggler putting Zayn over are quite strong. Perhaps Zayn’s move to SmackDown Live! can be postponed, since an inter-brand rivalry could rattle the state of both shows as they currently are.