The 31st annual WWE Survivor Series will take place this Sunday night at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. It’s a show that will feature all Raw vs. Smackdown matches with no title matches on the main card, but there is a title match on the lonely Kickoff Show. If you want to watch Survivor Series, you can do so on WWE Network with a start time of 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT and it’s expected to run at least four hours with a possible overrun in there too. The Kickoff Show starts at 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT.

I’m going to change up my exclusive PPV preview pieces here at The Comeback by not going over every match in detail like I used to do. Instead, I’m going to offer up 10 predictions of things I expect on the card. Some will be random things about a match, while others may be direct predictions for one of the matches.

Here’s the lineup for the card:

** Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. WWE Champion AJ Styles

** Men’s Five On Five Elimination Match – Team Raw: Kurt Angle, Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, Samoa Joe & Triple H vs. Team Smackdown: Shane McMahon, Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode & John Cena

** The Shield (Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose) vs. The New Day (Big E, Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston)

** Women’s Five On Five Elimination Match – Team Raw: Alicia Fox, Nia Jax, Asuka, Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Team Smackdown: Becky Lynch, Naomi, Tamina, Carmella & ????

** Intercontinental Champion The Miz vs. United States Champion Baron Corbin

** Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair

** Raw Tag Team Champions Sheamus & Cesaro vs. Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos

** Cruiserweight Championship (Kickoff Show): Enzo Amore vs. Kalisto

And these are 10 predictions for Sunday night:

10. The mystery woman on Team Smackdown will not be that surprising

As you can see in the image above, the fifth member of Team Smackdown in the women’s match is a mystery. It was going to be Charlotte Flair, but she won the SD Women’s Title on “Smackdown.” No replacement has been named yet. There are a couple of names floating around about who it might be.

One of the names that’s a possibility is Paige. She has been out of action since August 2016 due to major neck surgery. Recently, she was cleared to return by WWE doctors, so there are rumors that she may return here. Paige has been mentioned for both Raw and Smackdown, but Raw seems to be more likely. I think WWE will hold off on her return until Monday’s “Raw.”

Another name is Nikki Bella, who has been gone since WrestleMania. Since Nikki’s fiancé John Cena is back for this show, it’s possible that Nikki (who has a neck injury also) will be a part of this match.

I think it’s going to be Natalya. That makes the most sense because I doubt Smackdown’s going to win that match anyway, so why bring back Paige or Nikki just to be part of the losing team? I wouldn’t do that. Raw should win because Asuka’s there and Natalya deserves to be on the team as the former champion. It’s smart for WWE to keep it a mystery, but I don’t expect a big surprise.

9. The two heel vs. heel matches will struggle to earn crowd reactions

I think WWE could have planned the champions better going into this show. The Miz vs. Baron Corbin and Sheamus/Cesaro vs. The Usos are both heel vs. heel matches. The problem with those matches is that the fans won’t have anybody to root for. Because of that, the crowd may be dead for most of these matches.

In the Miz vs. Corbin match, I think Miz may get some cheers because he’s got such an over-the-top personality and is a great all-around performer, even though he’s a pure heel. Corbin does nothing to make people want to cheer him, so Miz should get more crowd support. It will be awkward to see, though.

The tag match will probably be better to watch because of how great the teams are. I just think it’s a mistake to have The Usos working as faces in it since they are so much better as heels. I have faith in the talent putting on a good show. It’s just dumb to have heel vs. heel matches more than once on a show. You can do face vs. face easier because fans have somebody to root for, but heel vs. heel isn’t like that at all.

8. Charlotte Flair may have chemistry issues with Alexa Bliss

Flair and Bliss each have different strengths. Charlotte is one of the best women in WWE in terms of in-ring performance while Bliss is probably the best character among WWE’s women. When the WWE Draft took place in July 2016, they were on separate shows. During April’s Superstar Shake-up, Charlotte moved to “Smackdown” while Bliss moved to “Raw.” Each woman has won the women’s title on each show. Both have accomplished a lot.

What concerns me about the match is whether they can put on a good match together. Bliss really isn’t known for match quality while Charlotte is at her best with a familiar rival like a Sasha Banks or Natalya. I know they worked together in NXT before, but that was also a few years ago when each of them were still improving as wrestlers.

What I’m trying to say is this could be a bad match that is an example of why sometimes Raw vs. Smackdown matches are a mistake. I wish them the best with it. I just don’t know if they can deliver.

7. Roman Reigns will win the match for The Shield

The most obvious match prediction is that The Shield will beat The New Day. I would be absolutely stunned if The Shield didn’t come out with the win because their return to WWE as a united group is one of the biggest stories in the company this year. There’s just no reason to have them lose their first PPV match together.

Reigns has been rumored to face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title at next year’s WrestleMania since before this year’s WrestleMania. To keep building Reigns up, WWE is going to use a platform like this match to have Reigns stand out above his peers. Reigns has lost quite a bit on PPV this year, which is a surprise, but I don’t see him losing that much from now until WrestleMania.

It should be an awesome match too. I’m not worried about chemistry or unfamiliarity issues between them. These guys have worked dozens of six-man tags against others over the years and they will do a great job of delivering some exciting near-falls throughout the match.

6. Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles will live up to the hype as a dream match

I have high expectations for Lesnar vs. Styles to deliver a fantastic match because that’s what Styles does nearly every time he’s on a PPV. The issue is with Lesnar because he’s a guy that sometimes goes the easy route in his PPV matches by just working for about seven minutes, finishing a guy off and moving on. I hope they get 15 minutes with Styles getting a lot of offense, using his speed to his advantage and hopefully some near-falls that buy into Styles possibly winning. I think Lesnar winning is more likely and maybe it’s because of Jinder Mahal costing Styles, but I think there will be other kinds of interference on the show, so I expect this to be more of a clean match.

Sorry, I don’t have any crazy predictions for this match. I just think WWE is going to give them 10-15 minutes and let them do their thing. It’s a dream match come to life. Enjoy. This match is way better now that Styles is there instead of Mahal. Thanks, WWE, for changing it.

By the way, Daniel Bryan as the one-time advocate for AJ Styles (see video above) was amazing.

5. Jason Jordan will “accidentally” cause Triple H to be eliminated

There was a big story on this week’s “Raw” as an injured Jason Jordan was about to be replaced by Raw general manager (and Jordan’s “dad”) Kurt Angle. Jordan pleaded with Angle not to take him off the Survivor Series. They were interrupted by a returning Triple H, who informed us that he was going to replace Jordan. That led to Triple H dropping Jordan with a Pedigree.

The rumor is that WWE is heading towards Triple H vs. Angle at WrestleMania. It can be a slow build that takes five months and is furthered by this match. I think it would be great if Jason Jordan made his way to ringside for the match, Angle yells at him to go to the back and instead, Jordan will accidentally distract Triple H leading to somebody on the other side pinning Triple H.

I’d rather see that instead of Jordan causing Angle to get pinned because they can build to a Triple H vs. Jordan match where Triple H beats him up and Angle has to save his son. Another option is to have Jordan turn on Angle, become a heel that considers Triple H to be more important to him as a mentor (Jordan spent a lot of years in developmental run by Triple H) and that would work too. There’s a lot of potential.

4. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will cause Shane McMahon to be eliminated

This one seems obvious. Owens beat Shane in the main event of Hell in a Cell last month, thanks to Zayn, yet Owens isn’t even on the card. It shows how little wins and losses really mean. I can see something happening where Owens and Zayn make their way down to ringside, so the other Smackdown guys like Orton, Nakamura, Cena and Roode try to get them to go back, but they end up getting Shane eliminated.

I doubt I’m alone in making this prediction. It just makes sense with the storyline they have been telling on “Smackdown” in the last few months.

3. Kane will be the reason why Braun Strowman is eliminated from Team Raw

The booking of Braun Strowman will be important in this match. He’s obviously a favorite to be on the winning side since he rarely loses any matches, so realistically speaking he should be beating people up on the Smackdown side. However, this is WWE and sometimes what should be obvious doesn’t happen. Then again, maybe Kane appearing is what is obvious to anybody that has ever watched WWE.

The last we saw of Kane, Strowman was putting him through the ring on “Raw” with a Running Powerslam. If Kane shows up at Survivor Series, the announcers will freak out about it while wondering how he survived the fall from last week. What I think will happen is when Strowman is the legal man in the match, Kane will show up out of nowhere, pull Strowman out of the ring and they will go brawling into the crowd. That will take Strowman out of the match by countout.

It fits the Kane character to not give a damn about the Raw brand while also taking Strowman out of the match.

2. Smackdown’s Shinsuke Nakamura and Randy Orton will win the men’s elimination match

Now that AJ Styles is WWE Champion again, I can go back to thinking WWE is going to give us an exciting WWE Title match at WrestleMania with Styles defending the gold against Shinsuke Nakamura. The crowd wanted it at Money in the Bank earlier this year while fans in Italy this past week sure looked like they wanted to see it too.

Nakamura was booked to lose twice to Jinder Mahal. It hurt his stature in the company, which is why I hated it so much. The good thing is that WWE can repair his reputation and his status by booking Nakamura in an impressive fashion on the road to WrestleMania. By having Nakamura survive in this match, it shows that he’s a huge star capable of winning on the big stage. If WWE is smart enough to book him to win the Royal Rumble that would be a great thing too.

I included Randy Orton because he’s been a survivor five times in Survivor Series matches (the most of any wrestler), so I can see WWE booking him strong again. Plus, Nakamura and Orton have started a feud with Owens and Zayn, so booking Nakamura and Orton in a favorable way is good for that rivalry.

On a final point about this match, some people think Raw will win because Smackdown won last year. I don’t see that being a reason to do it. I think Raw’s team has a lot of potential conflicts, which is the reason they won’t win. I could be wrong, of course.

1. Raw will win more matches than Smackdown

Here are my quick predictions for every match:

** Brock Lesnar will beat AJ Styles. Lesnar has won every match he’s had since WrestleMania this year with the idea that he’ll be on a roll going into next year’s WrestleMania against Reigns, which is when he’ll lose. I don’t think Styles will be hurt too much from a loss.

** Team Smackdown will beat Team Raw in the Men’s Elimination match. I already covered it above. It’s not a sure thing by any means. Just a feeling on my part.

** The Shield will beat The New Day. Easiest prediction on the show.

** Sheamus & Cesaro will beat The Usos. Tough match to call, but I’ll go with the Raw champs just to give them some positive momentum since they just won the titles back recently.

** Team Raw will beat Team Smackdown in the Women’s Elimination match. The main reason I’m going with the Raw girls is because Asuka is there. I’d be surprised if they lose.

** Baron Corbin will beat The Miz. Like with the Tag Team Title situation, it’s not easy to pick this one. I just feel like Corbin would benefit from beating Miz since Miz is the more established guy.

** Charlotte Flair will beat Alexa Bliss because WWE loves booking Charlotte strong. I don’t mind at all because she’s a great performer that’s much better than Bliss in the ring.

** Enzo Amore will beat Kalisto to retain his Cruiserweight Championship. I wish I cared more.

That puts the scores at 4 for Raw and 3 for Smackdown. Since WWE hasn’t really pushed the idea that something is on the line in the match other than “brand superiority,” it makes the show feel a little lame. They should have tried to come up with something to make the wins and losses mean more. Instead, it’s just red vs. blue and WWE assumes we are supposed to care.

Final Thoughts

The three matches I care about the most are Lesnar vs. Styles, the men’s elimination match and New Day vs. Shield. Those matches should carry the show and if they deliver as well as I think then we’ll be talking about them as classics we’ll remember forever. My expectations for this show are high because of those matches.

You can watch Survivor Series on WWE Network this Sunday with a 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT start time with the Kickoff Show starting at 5 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT. I’ll be back on Monday with a review of the show.

About John Canton

John has been writing about WWE online since the late 1990s. He joined The Comeback/Awful Announcing team in 2015. Follow John Canton on Twitter @johnreport or email him at mrjohncanton@gmail.com with any comments or questions. For more of his wrestling opinions, visit his website at TJRWrestling.net. Cheap pop!