Given the horrendous build to this year’s Survivor Series, it’s a minor miracle that two excellent matches managed to emerge from the debris.
The 2021 iteration of WWE’s second-oldest PPV was introduced with all the fanfare of a Twitter post, splashing arbitrarily chosen teams across social media only to replace a fifth of them with participants selected just as randomly. Unfortunately, this year’s lackluster build is just the tip of the iceberg among the issues dogging WWE’s November tradition. Many insist that the RAW versus SmackDown ‘Brand Warfare’ concept has run its course, others rightfully lament the lack of concrete stakes for winning champions, teams and the overall victorious brand.
As they face their stiffest competition in over 20 years, the bottom line is that unless WWE weighs adjusting their current formula, possibly with some combination of the following proposals, the term ‘Survivor Series’ could take on a stark new meaning in the years to come. Provided the pace at which WWE has been hemorrhaging incredible levels of talent in the last year and a half, some might contend that it already has.
10. Relocate The WWE Draft
The placement of the WWE Draft this year did no favors whatsoever for Survivor Series.
Of the 20 participants in the 2021 Men’s and Women’s Elimination Tag Team matches, 65% had approximately six weeks to acclimate to their new surroundings before representing their new brand at the PPV. Of the seven participants who remained with their original brand, four of them (Sasha Banks, Natalya, Shotzi and Toni Storm) came from the SmackDown Women’s team alone. Insanity.
A wiser booking decision would be setting the WWE Draft in the immediate aftermath of WrestleMania 38. Locking it in place as the official hard reset of the rosters at the culmination of a year of storylines might not be the worst idea. Besides, it seems like a "Big Four PPV" like Survivor Series would benefit more an organically built, carefully planned card whereas a cool-down PPV like (WrestleMania) Backlash wouldn't be too damaged by a roster shakeup. In fact, having the Draft as a lead-in might help boost interest in a PPV that casual fans might otherwise skip out on.
Obviously, a simple schedule change isn't the proverbial magic bullet that's going to fix all of Survivor Series' problems in one shot. However, it stands to reason that selecting participants from a field of competitors who have established themselves on either RAW or SmackDown for six months instead of a field of draftees who are still unpacking their luggage after six weeks would be a massive step in the right direction.