We're one month away from Survivor Series and while there is still one pay-per-view, TLC, standing in the way, it's time to start figuring out how the brands will combine and compete on one of the biggest nights of the WWE calendar.
The staff members of WWE on ESPN each has their own thoughts about how they think Survivor Series might play out, and in that spirit, each offers up a prediction for the card.
Andrew Feldman: An all-Raw battle main event featuring nearly all of Raw's biggest stars
The Miz has become quite the vehicle for storylines on Raw. His efforts in pulling all the pieces together and getting The Shield to reunite created one of the most memorable moments we've seen in 2017. The first piece of this prediction is that The Shield goes down at TLC, and the way things often play out, these two factions are far from done. The challenge in this case would be to find someone to pair back up with The Shield to make it a 5-on-5 and the options are really limited.
While there might be an argument for Matt Hardy, Jason Jordan, Apollo Crews or Titus O'Neil, I'm putting Finn Balor and John Cena into the mix. Balor, who hopefully will end this saga with Bray Wyatt at TLC, is ready to once again be elevated to main event status. His character right now is a bit ... weird ... and could use a more dynamic match to get him back into the Universal or Intercontinental championship conversation.
Then there's Cena, who is currently on hiatus after his match with Roman Reigns at No Mercy. The two have newly found respect and Cena coming to join this team seems like a place he'd fit in. If Cena is still out of the picture, maybe they bring in the shunned Curtis Axel (to be pinned first) in his attempt at revenge for The Miz slighting him in the faction. Brock Lesnar might also be considered, but some pairing with Jinder Mahal seems likely after Tuesday's edition of SmackDown Live.
It's a stretch, but that's why I'm going Reigns, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Balor and Cena against The Miz, The Bar, Braun Strowman and Kane.
Greg Wyshynski: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn vs. AJ Styles and Shane McMahon
Look, I know the dirt sheets are all pointing toward this being a traditional Survivor Series match. That makes sense, if only because it'll give some random like Mojo Rawley a spot on the card as face team cannon fodder. But I say cut the fat -- as much as one can with Shane these days -- and make what would be the final four in a 10-man match into a traditional tag match. Gimmick it up as a blow-off to the feud. And by that I mean have a Chris Jericho run-in to put Shane over Owens.
Tim Fiorvanti: Carmella becomes the new SmackDown women's champion
With several 5-on-5 or 4-on-4 matches sure to be in play, some people are going to let their guard down about the potential of a Money in the Bank cash-in. At the conclusion of the women's match, with Charlotte Flair and Natalya as the "sole survivors" for Team SmackDown, there's a fracas and Natalya is left prone. Carmella blindsides everyone and cashes in her briefcase, becoming the new SmackDown women's champion. James Ellsworth keeps Flair out of play for just long enough so that Carmella can pick up the pin.
Things get complicated when you consider that the WWE's show the following week in North Carolina, a live event that has been branded as Starrcade with a double main event including a SmackDown women's title match inside of a steel cage. A triple threat could work, but the details can shake themselves out in the lead-up to that moment.
Michael Wonsover: Raw does not go against Smackdown Live in a 5-on-5 tag match
Every year by the time Survivor Series rolls around fans begin to fantasy book the potential combinations of participants in the annual 5-on-5 tag-team elimination match. Last year, SmackDown Live defeated Raw for bragging rights, if nothing else, but the match felt important. That won't be the case if the best five wrestlers on Raw go against the best five on SmackDown every year. Even more so when the authority figures of both brands (Kurt Angle, Shane McMahon/Daniel Bryan) are babyfaces, making it difficult to build a meaningful conflict as Survivor Series quickly approaches.
The Shield reunion gives Raw an in-house conflict that supersedes anything outside the confines of Monday night. The same can be said for the duo of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn on SD Live. Expect the Shield and Owens/Zayn to be included in separate 5-on-5 tag matches with participants from their own shows.
Sean Coyle: Asuka will become the Raw women's champion
Asuka will be making her anticipated main roster debut at TLC this weekend against Emma while the Raw Women's championship will be defended when Mickie James challenges Alexa Bliss. A successful debut match by Asuka would immediately put her in the championship hunt and just in time for one of the biggest pay-per-view events of the year.
Whether it's in a one-on-one scenario or a multi-superstar format, look for Asuka to be in a Raw women's championship match at Survivor Series across the ring from either Bliss or James. Not only will she be in the match, but she'll end the night right where she left off in NXT, with a championship around her waist and the division revolving around her.
Matt Willis: The "screwjob" revisited in the form of a great swerve
This is the 20-year anniversary of the Montreal Screwjob, one of the most controversial, and well-known, moments in pro wrestling history. I predict the WWE will attempt to re-capture some of that magic with another "screwjob," but the question is, where?
In a matchup pitting the team of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn against Shane McMahon and a mystery partner (AJ Styles?), Triple H emerges, appearing trying to avenge Owens' attack on his father-in-law, but backs Owens, completing the storyline from when Triple H helped Owens capture the Universal Title. The end result? Triple H and Shane McMahon at WrestleMania for control of SmackDown Live.
Matt Wilansky: The New Day and The Usos vs. The Bar, Samoa Joe and Kane
- WWE (@WWE) October 9, 2017
That's right, the two most explosive SmackDown squads will look to tag each other against a formidable foursome of Monday Night Raw. That quartet? With The Shield likely tied up in something worthy of a main event, The Bar will be free to join a soon-to-return Samoa Joe and Kane, who himself just made a surprising return to Raw.
As of now, Joe has no direction given his lengthy absence, and all indications are he won't have a credible storyline anytime soon, not before Survivor Series anyway. Kane seems like a natural fit to this team, given his size and big-match pedigree. Sure, he has been more or less an afterthought, but the ostensible new direction is one with a little more clout, assuming he's going to stick around for at least a couple of months.
Look for the blue brand to walk away with a win. Hard to imagine two true tag teams falling to the makeshift group of Raw.
"Stat Guy" Greg Hyde: Dean Ambrose puts The Shield's reunion on ice
On Oct. 9, The Shield officially reunited on Monday Night Raw, and while I understand that it may seem like its early for a break up, I am expecting the Lunatic Fringe to stab his Shield brethren in the back. Historically, Survivor Series is the PPV that is used to set up feuds for the next WrestleMania -- and with this in mind, I am expecting The Shield's reunion to come to an abrupt end. If that doesn't convince you, consider this: it is not outside of the realm of possibility for WWE to bring back a popular faction for a short-lived reunion. In April 2014, Evolution reunited to take on The Shield. Two months later, the group disbanded. In February 2002, WWE brought in original nWo members Hogan, Hall and Nash, yet one month later they split as well. On July 22, 2002 Triple H and Shawn Micheals reunited as DX and they split by the end of the night. In each instance, WWE made and sold merchandise to mark the occasion, so get your Shield shirts while you can because I expect this reunion to be short-lived as well.
Andrew Davis: Raw's women's division versus SmackDown's women's division
The women's division has a number of different layers and storylines that could potentially play out in a traditional Survivor Series match. Although this matchup is very similar to last year's (trade Alexa for Charlotte) and the addition of Asuka over Alicia Fox, all 10 superstars in the match have something that needs to evolve before WrestleMania.
Here are the potential scenarios for each of the 10 women in this match. Team Raw:
Nia Jax: This match will see her dominance overshadowed by Asuka, setting up a future match over jealousy.
Sasha Banks: Will she turn heel? Not here, but a Bayley miscue eliminates "The Boss," similar to the Owen Hart elimination in 1993.
Bayley: See above, Bayley gets eliminated when she's worrying about her friend.
Asuka: Sole survivor of the match, her dominant reign continues. It's possible she eliminates all her opponents to build "The Empress of Tomorrow."
Alexa Bliss: "Little Miss Bliss" tries to put Asuka in her place, only to sneakily get pinned by Charlotte.
Becky Lynch: A brawl will start the match, leading to everyone on the outside while the Four Horsewomen pose inside the ring to plant the seeds for Rousey & Co. come WrestleMania.
Carmella: The seeds get planted for Ms. Money in the Bank to cash-in that briefcase on Charlotte at Starrcade.
Charlotte: Survives until the end, but James Ellsworth distracts "The Queen" after Carmella's elimination, leading to the final pinfall.
Natalya: The Smackdown women's champion moves from coach to captain this year, but is pinned by fellow champion Bliss midway through the match.
- WWE (@WWE) October 17, 2017
Nick Irving: Team Enzo vs. Team Kalisto
Survivor Series will feature the WWE's cruiserweight division in a 7-vs.-7 showdown, following Kalisto's title defense against Enzo Amore at TLC. Team Enzo (Amore, Ariya Daivari, Drew Gulak, Noam Dar, Tony Nese, The Brian Kendrick and Jack Gallagher) will take on Team Kalisto (Kalisto, Cedric Alexander, Rich Swann, Mustafa Ali, Akira Tozawa, TJP and Lince Dorado) -- putting essentially the entire 205 Live roster into what's sure to be a high-flying match.
Terrance Williams: Expect a traditional 5-on-5 at Survivor Series
The Survivor Series main event will be Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown Live in a traditional Survivor Series elimination match.
Team Raw will be composed of Braun Strowman, The Miz and the Shield. Team Smackdown Live will be AJ Styles, Jinder Mahal, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. The finish will have Jinder walking out on AJ, leaving him to face all three members of The Shield by himself. AJ will fight valiantly but will eventually be overcome by the group. The bad blood will set up AJ vs Jinder for the WWE championship at the Royal Rumble. Book it.
Sachin Chandan: Jinder Mania runs wild, and other thoughts
Survivor Series should be WWE's battle of the brands, headlined by Team Raw (Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Elias and a surprise return Samoa Joe) vs. Team Smackdown (Jinder Mahal, Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev, and AJ Styles). Balor accidentally takes out Lesnar outside, leading the Beast Incarnate to be counted out, but before he leaves he F-5s both Singh Brothers. The chaos ends with Jinder Mahal as the sole survivor, eliminating Samoa Joe. Jinder Mania has been running strong for months, why not keep it going? The undercard will feature The Shield vs. The New Day in a dream 6-man-tag, Kalisto vs. Enzo Amore vs. Ariya Daivari vs. Mustafa Ali for the cruiserweight championship, and Smackdown women (Natalya, Becky Lynch, Charlotte, Tamina, and Carmella) vs. Raw women (Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Emma) with Asuka as the sole survivor.