Hello folks, a bit later normal due to some gremlins in the machine, but here is this week's Slammer Jabber. It's an insanely busy week with Survivor Series, Raw, Smackdown, NXT Takeover and a shedload more to get to. Lets get down to it.
Last week I mentioned that we I had concerns Raw would run out of steam in the build up to Survivor Series after last week felt a bit like a go-home show for the PPV. However, for the most part it seems like that concern was unfounded as this week was a darn good show. Obviously the biggest happening was the face-off between Brock Lesnar an Bill Goldberg ahead of their huge bout on Sunday. This segment was excellent and made both guys look incredible. I am more excited now about their match than I had been before, which is saying something. I'm genuinely hopeful these two will deliver something huge on Sunday, whether that is the last we see of Goldberg I'm not sure, but I certainly hope not. Based on this run alone he is worth a spot on the Wrestlemania card.
Obviously the other big moment from Raw was the "invasion" of the Smackdown team for a confrontation ahead of this Sunday's big five-on-five inter-brand bout. Obviously the rest of the show had pointed at the team members not getting along, which is an odd booking device but they came together here to face-off, much like Sasha Banks and Charlotte did earlier in the show. I like the idea of the teams overcoming their issues on a personal level because of the importance of the bragging rights involved on Sunday, which has made the whole thing seem like a far bigger deal. It was nice to see some teases and hints for what we can expect at Survivor Series, with AJ Styles and Kevin Owens having a swipe at each other, Chris Jericho adding various members of the Smackdown team to "The List", a nice nod to the history between Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman, and the long-standing grudge between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. It was a good segment, if not slightly predictable but it did the job and again added to the build for Survivor Series.
Raw was a good show this week, even if it did seem to be solely focused on Survivor Series, but I guess we'll have to see where all the pieces fall next week.
As per usual we got a very good show from the blue brand this week. First up we got a cracking match between Dolph Ziggler and The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship. I was delighted to see Miz regain the title, not least because it's well deserved, but as much because Miz taking on Sami Zayn opens up far more possibilities this Sunday for the IC title. Also, Ziggler is terrible. He briefly seemed interesting again for a while, but the past few weeks he's been back to his usual tedious self.
Much like Raw, we got a very Survivor Series-centric show, which included a mini-invasion, only this time from the ladies of Raw. Charlotte played the obnoxious heel excellently, and once again feuding foes cooperated to take down the outside threat. In this case the foes in question were Carmella and Nikki Bella, but it worked really well. I like the way the Smackdown Women's division has been booked lately and even with the role they've given Natalya as coach (which is somewhat baffling booking in itself, but at least it's better when they gave her a flatulence based gimmick) it's still been really entertaining with a number of women capable of challenging and all with their own unique well defined characters.
Finally, we got two big appearances in the main event to hype Survivor Series. Firstly Edge hosted his Cutting Edge segment (complete with bushy Vikings-related beard) with Team Smackdown ahead of Sunday, before we got an appearance from The Undertaker. Taker looked good here and this certainly appears to point to a more regular role for him over the coming months. I'm personally hoping he challenges AJ Styles at Wrestlemania, but as long as he is here in a meaningful role I'll be happy. I'm very happy to have Undertaker back, and while I know his days as an active performer are coming to an end I hope we still have a while left from him given how brilliant he has been over the years. Anyway, it was a welcome addition to the Survivors Series build, and adds intrigue to what happens beyond Sunday. Good work all round Smackdown.
In some sad news, WWE Legend, former WCW stalwart and NJPW icon Big Van Vader (AKA Leon White) has announced this week he has only two years to live due to congenital heart failure. It's really sad, as I've always like Vader and he has been responsible for some of the stiffest, most brutal matches in wrestling history. Whether it was his brutal brawls with Stan Hansen in Japan or his memorable bouts with Sting or Cactus Jack in WCW, or even his mixed run in WWE Vader will surely be remembered as one of the all time great big men. Agile, quick and ridiculously powerful he was always an intimidating presence, especially when he had his mastodon helmet on. I really hope WWE put him in the Hall of Fame next year given the circumstances, and he really does deserve it. Very sad news, and hopefully there's some hope and it's not quite his time yet. And no, that wasn't an attempt at an inappropriate pun.
It's not been a god week to be Joey Styles. Following his release from the WWE earlier in the year he had been hired as a commentator for Evolve, a given considering his old friend and ECW cohort Gabe Sopolsky runs the company. However this past weekend Evolve debuted on the all new FloSlam platform and as a result of his call of the show Styles was fired with immediate effect. The nature of the offensive comment surrounded a joke regarding Donald Trump. I don't know all the details, but apparently Styles was told not to make any political comments or remarks, given their new platform. Obviously numerous personalities in the industry have come out in support of Styles and perhaps there is more going on than we know. However, if he was specifically told not to say something on air and did it anyway, even it was in the style that Styles commentary has always taken, then it is sadly justified by Evolve to take that action. It's unfortunate as I'm sure it was intended as innocuous and a throw-away line, but Styles has unfortunately paid the price. However, I can't see him being out of work for long somehow.
TNA - Corgan Settles
In TNA news it appears that Billy Corgan's association with the company is at an end. Corgan has reportedly settled with Anthem over what he was owed from the company and is no longer involved. It's a sad story of a guy who obviously has a passion for the business and yet he will probably be exiting it with a bitter taste in his mouth.Yet somehow TNA still survives, in spite of everything. I still believe they are a company on its last legs but you have to applaud the sheer persistence and cutthroat way Dixie Carter continues to keep the company afloat somehow.
NXT Takeover: Toronto
As is becoming a regular occurrence with WWE's "Big Four", NXT is hosting it's latest big event the same weekend in Toronto. This should be an absolute corker of a show (as always with these shows). The main event between Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura is likely to be utterly brutal, and incredibly captivating. You have to imagine Joe is going up to the main roster at some stage soon, probably in the next month or two, and is losing here. It should be a blinder. On the undercard there is nothing but quality matches with "Glorious"Bobby Roode facing "The Perfect 10" Tye Dillinger which should be phenomenal for the crowd reaction alone, Asuka will face off with the returning Mickie James, The Authors of Pain face TM61 in the final of the Dusty Rhodes Classic, and in a match that might well steal the show DIY (Tomasso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano) will face off against The Revival, who are possibly the best team in the company right now. This is almost certainly going to be ridiculously good, so not one to miss.
Survivor Series preview
Finally this week it's time for my predictions and final thoughts on Survivor Series this Sunday. Obviously I'll start with the main event, Goldberg vs Lesnar. Aside from the Lesnar-Minnesota debacle WWE have handled this whole build-up very well. Goldberg looks like a star in a way no-one else on the roster except Lesnar does, and this should be a titanic tussle between two beasts. I think Lesnar wins, whether this is in a way that sets up a rubber match or if Goldberg really does disappear after this is anyone's guess, and will depend on whether Goldberg is keen to do more. Either way I suspect Lesnar wins.
In terms of the main elimination matches it really is hard to call how they will pan out.For the main men's singles match I think it will depend what the company want to do moving forward. I could see Miz interfering to cost Smackdown as he defects to Raw with the IC title (should he retain it on Sunday, more on that shortly). I could equally see James Ellsworth causing them to lose, or in fact AJ Styles or The Wyatts causing them to, leading to a run in with The Undertaker down the line. We're definitely getting more storyline development in this match with all the intermingled feuds, but if I had to guess I'd say Raw get the win through some sort of shenanigans.
For the Women's match it is equally hard to call where this goes for similar reasons. I see Charlotte refusing to cooperate with Sasha Banks, maybe even turning on her mid-match. I also see Alexa Bliss and Becky Lynch having issues. There is certainly a danger of repetition here with the 'forced team mates boil over into sabotage' angle that is likely to be a big part of the men's match. Again if I had to guess, I would suggest Raw get the win with Bayley as the sole survivor, but this is total guess work.
The tag elimination match should be good fun. I remember as a kid how much of a huge spectacle it looked to see twenty men in and surrounding the ring, so this should be excellent. So hard to call, although obviously there are certain teams who are just making up the numbers here. I think this might be used to shine a light on American Alpha, so I'm backing them to win the day over Raw.
Sami Zayn vs The Miz should be an absolute corker, and may well be the best match of the whole night. Zayn will have something to prove on the big stage, and Miz is such a great heel at the moment, he should provide a great foil to Zayn's top babyface work. I think Miz will win, but somehow Zayn will end up on Smackdown chasing him for the belt.
Finally we have THE Brian Kendrick and Kalisto facing off to determine the future of the Cruiserweight division. This should be excellent, and I can only see a Kalisto win due to the imminent launch of 205 Live in the coming weeks. He should be a great fit for lead babyface in the division too, which will almost certainly breath some life into the division.
Overall, on paper this could be the card of the year possibly. If all the matches live up their potential this will be a cracking show.
That's it from me for this week. Join me again next week for more wrestling goings on including all the big news coming out of Survivor Series, NXT Takeover, Raw, Smackdown and a report on the upcoming Ring of Honor show in London this weekend, which the Screenjabber wrestling team will be attending. In the meantime keep it locked to Screenjabber for the best in movie, game, DVD and Blu-ray reviews, as well as blogs, opinions, features, news, competitions and more. Until next week, so long folks.