This was a busy week for the WWE. From two shows that were taking the WWE Universe into Survivor Series to rumors of talent returning to the company, there was a lot to take in and a number of different ways the writers could have taken storylines.
Both Raw and SmackDown Live were better-than-average shows for a couple weeks straight. Both shows also saw significant changes heading into the pay-per-view. A new WWE Champion, new Raw Tag Team Champs, a new SmackDown Live Women's Champion all changes the matches fans were expecting this Sunday.
Did they do everything right? No. There were opportunities that WWE could have taken advantage of but didn't. Don't believe us? To prove it, here are Five Ways WWE "Dropped The Ball" Leading Up To Survivor Series.
There are two traditional Survivor Series matches on the card. That's not enough. In the past, whenever WWE put on this pay-per-view they'd often made the mistake of not focusing enough on the gimmick that is this show. It's a unique match type the WWE puts on and there could be three or four of these type elimination matches and fans would still enjoy the show. WWE has done well to promote the team spirit here, but there are numerous talents being left off the card.
Guys who didn't make the cut for the big team are now off the pay-per-view but they also took part in the invasions and it's harder to buy they'd be investing in defending a brand they aren't wrestling on behalf of at the pay-per-view.
Because not every match is a team match, there are singles matches that needed to be promoted. Because WWE didn't really have guys like Baron Corbin and The Miz clash on television and talents like Alexa Bliss and Natalya (eventually Charlotte) didn't interact, it's not as easy to invest in these matches.
WWE is relying solely on the fact that fans think SmackDown Live versus Raw is enough of a reason to have these wrestlers find animosity with one another. It's possible, but it's not overly believable. Instead, WWE used their time having guys like Corbin feud with Sin Cara.
I'm not about to make the argument that WWE should have kept James Ellsworth employed. His hiring in the first place was a bit out of the blue and the push he received upon his arrival was strange. In most cases, he's worn out his usefulness. That said, he also has unfinished business.
He never got to see through to the end his storyline with Carmella and that he was released mere days before Survivor Series means Carmella is still holding the Money in the Bank briefcase and it could be a long time before fans see some sort of development there.
Whether they were being punished for being sent home early or there just was no place to put them, both are huge stars and both have no role in the pay-per-view. It is being speculated that they might somehow play a role in the main event but that isn't certain and the way they bailed at the end of SmackDown Live on Tuesday suggests they might just avoid the show.
They definitely should have captained their own team or had a match on the card versus a Raw team.
One of the things that makes Survivor Series great is the debuts or surprise entrants to some of the team matches. Fans get to see every team member except the shadowy silhouette of a person yet to be announced. That person is always something cool.
Instead, this year John Cena was thrown into the match and he hasn't done anything relevant to WWE leading up to the show. He's a fish out of water on this show and his spot would have been better served to introduce a mystery partner. There are rumors that Neville might return, Paige might debut, and others in NXT might be hanging around and waiting for their moments. WWE didn't capitalize on any of that.
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