WWE Falls Count Anywhere Vol. 2 A TCB illustration for Falls Count Anywhere, Vol. 2., ahead of WWE Survivor Series

Welcome to the second edition of Falls Count Anywhere, The Comeback’s newest weekly WWE column! 

Today’s column is a bit late in the week, as we’ll still be around on Tuesday next week. But today we’ll be predicting WWE Survivor Series! The company’s next Premium Live Event will take place on Saturday night at 8 p.m. Eastern, aired exclusively on Peacock. The show will emanate from the Allstate Arena in suburban Chicago, Illinois, where over 17,000 fans are expected.

Let’s get this show on the road. 

Credit: WWE.com

Chris Novak: While Survivor Series have lost their luster over the years, this one has the makings of an unforgettable night in suburban Chicago. We would be at the show, but I didn’t wanna pay a mortgage just for a ticket. 

People said they wanted WWE to be good, but did they consider the consequences of that? We should be at this show. They even opened up more tickets and we STILL didn’t get there! Incredible.

Robert O’Neill: It’s really cool to see. I’m sad not to be there like I was at Survivor Series 2019 and the Allstate Arena, but it should be a great night. WWE has reportedly sold more tickets than they have for any other event to take place in that building. That’s not bad, considering it’s hosted three WrestleManias and countless other shows over the past few decades. 

CM Punk arrives at WWE Survivor Series in 2011.

Novak: Alright, Rob. Let’s not ignore the elephant in the room like the old regime always pretended to do. The show is in Chicago. AEW fired CM Punk when you were in Chicago two months ago. Do you think we see him at Survivor Series? 

Rob: It’s interesting. Announcing Randy Orton as the fifth man on the WarGames team on RAW felt like a pretty clear indication that WWE was telling everyone, “Randy Orton is the surprise, no one else,” but if CM Punk is available and willing to show up, which all signs point to being the case, I think you’d be hard-pressed to not have him show up, even just as a special appearance at the very end of the show to draw fans into watching Monday Night RAW this week to see what he has to say. 

Novak: Personally speaking, I tend to think we won’t leave the night without a hint. Everybody in the wrestling world knows exactly what’s going on here. We don’t need to pretend about it. 

The attempts to throw cold water all over it are the smart thing to do, regardless of the outcome. It’s not unreasonable for WWE to want all things to go smoothly here. We’ve seen how feisty, anxious, and sometimes obnoxious fans can be, especially about CM Punk. Stamping it out is smart. Just like how I think it was smart to let it leak that news about Randy Orton. You don’t want people thinking X/Y/Z. Then you have a Survivor Series 2021 situation. Yeah, obviously, they didn’t advertise The Rock. Please be serious, though. He was all over the advertising. 

This is innuendo on the Internet, but innuendo on the Internet and wrestling will unfortunately always go together like PBNJ. With that said, do I expect the crowd to “revolt” if he doesn’t show up? No. We’re two years past those kinds of crowds being at WWE shows. The chatter? Real. The discontent among the paying customers? It’s not there anymore. 

I do think we hear some static at Survivor Series. We know what Allstate Arena is like. They may need a new roof. I also, and here’s the thing: I don’t care if he doesn’t show up. It’s not going to ‘own’ me, especially on a show where there’s so many things that could happen that could be fun. 

It’s like that dril tweet: “Don’t write it in the newspapers that I’m mad.”

Anyways, let’s talk about the matches. We’ll start in the undercard. Santos Escobar versus Carlito. This one’s pretty easy for me.

Rob: It has to be Santos Escobar. No disrespect to Carlito, who is wrestling his first singles match on a pay-per-view (or Premium Live Event, if you prefer WWE’s current nomenclature) since September 2007, but it has to be Escobar. He’s being set up for a huge push ending with a big-time match against Rey Mysterio and this is just a stop along the way.

Novak: I will also go with Santos, who I think has turned in two masterful performances back to back. His promo this past week on Smackdown was excellent, and it’s very clear why they’re going to be pushing this guy to the moon. He’s a fantastic talent who’s just getting started. I think it’s unfortunate Rey had his meniscus injury, but this will do in the meantime. Carlito not buying what Escobar was selling was good and logical writing. He has no loyalty to Santos and has all the loyalty to Rey. While they didn’t ever feud and rarely interacted, the people in the Ruthless Aggression era have had a lot of on-screen camaraderie. So that follows suit.

Still, Carlito knows why he’s here. Everyone knows what this one will be about. Two things could happen: Santos proves a point and there’s a DQ finish or he wins outright. I say he wins outright at Survivor Series.

Turning our attention to one of the two title matches: Miz vs. Gunther. Who’ve you got? 

Rob: Gunther, but I want to give The Miz a lot of credit for the build to this match. He’s been with WWE for 17 years now, has main evented WrestleMania, won the WWE Championship, so on and so on. He’s amassed virtually every accolade there is for him and yet here he is still plugging away and giving it his all in this feud. The segment the two shared on Monday Night RAW this past week was tremendous, with Gunther continuing to needle Miz until he finally fought back against the big man. Gunther has been on an incredible roll, however, becoming the longest-reigning Intercontinental Champion by far and beating nearly everyone on the roster over the past 18 months.

Novak: Give me Gunther. I wouldn’t mind if he never lost the title. He had an aces heel promo on Monday and it’s clear he’s everything they would want out of a potential big bad. He’s going to be so good in about a year now and that’s saying something. He’ll own a win over the most decorated active IC Champion in the company at Survivor Series, and that will do well for him.

On to Rhea Ripley vs. Zoey Stark for the Women’s World Championship. I think this one’s pretty obvious. So I’ll pick Rhea outright. What I will say is that this is going to be a good opportunity for both for different reasons. Zoey is getting a big spotlight match after a summer’s worth of fun around legend Trish Stratus and the great Becky Lynch. Ripley is in a spot where there’s little drama, but you don’t get the sense she will just barrel over her like she’s done others. So Rhea is in a spot where she’ll be facing someone who they have definitive investment in going forward, but probably won’t be in the title scene after this match. The epilogue seems more interesting than the acts here, but this will still be fun. Both are really good workers and much like SVS 2019 weekend, I expect Ripley to be one of the most over people in the Chicago suburbs this coming weekend.

Rob: This is another match where the result isn’t in doubt, as Ripley will retain and continue her reign. Fortunately, the result not being in doubt isn’t impossible to overcome and, in fact, WWE has gotten quite good at still telling stories in those sorts of matches. I think Stark should lean into the underdog aspect of the match and throw everything she has at Ripley. Let the two trade big moves for 10 minutes or so and I think you could have a really solid match even with the result being clear from the jump.

Novak: Let’s move to War Games!

The Women’s War Games match looks pretty intriguing. Unfortunately for friend of The Comeback, Bayley, she seems to be in a sticky situation… I don’t know if this turn is happening yet, but I know for sure it won’t on Saturday. My thoughts the entire time so far has been that this will indicate how deep we are into the story. Truth be told I don’t think we’re that deep yet. Part of it is just beginning.

The bit about Damage CTRL is that Bayley was a bad leader because she was unsuccessful. IYO won MITB over her, she cashed in on Bianca – something Bayley was unable to do, i.e beat Bianca for the title. She then beat Asuka and then she beat Charlotte. She’s survived at every turn. Last year, Bayley’s Damage CTRL didn’t win. This year, expect IYO’s Damage CTRL to win, because that’s the story. IYO is being shown as a better leader because Bayley had a bad year. Is that indicative of the future? 

That’s what we’re here to find out. I like where this is going. Because I also think the faces will win the Men’s games, give me Damage CTRL outright. IYO on Shotzi.

Rob: I’m with you on this one. I think it makes more sense for Damage CTRL to win then announce a celebration segment for Smackdown and have them turn on Bayley that way, not unlike when Randy Orton won the World Heavyweight Championship in 2004 and Triple H and the rest of Evolution had a celebration the next night, culminating in Orton getting beat down and kicked from the group. I think IYO beating Shotzi in particular makes sense, as well.

Novak: Also, one quick thing:

OVER 0.5 ‘Fours’ thrown up in the cage at Bayley by her former peers. I’d say Becky Anytime +145 and Charlotte Anytime +275. 

The Four Horsewomen' of NXT: Sasha Banks, Charlotte, Bayley and Becky Lynch on how they're changing women's wrestling | WWE
Credit: WWE.com

Cool. Now let’s talk Men’s War Games. 

Can I just say that I appreciate the fact that both of these matches have a lot going on in the aftermath? There’s a lot to be said about what happens with Damage CTRL after Saturday, but the face situation around Bianca, Charlotte, with the wild card of Becky makes for something really fun. 

Now let’s talk about the men. Randy Orton is coming back. That’s really rad considering it seemed like he was no longer for long. He’s coming to a babyface squad where Cody Rhodes might be the only person who really appreciates him. Seth has a history with him and he’s the champion. Orton and Zayn don’t really have a preexisting relationship, although the Bloodline stuff muddies it. Then there’s Jey Uso, who looked like he soiled himself after Cody told everyone the news on Monday. Quite a conundrum…

…And yet it seems like conundrums are blooming for The Judgment Day. Damien Priest and Rhea Ripley have been in a power struggle, even if it isn’t apparent at the surface. Rhea’s move to acquire Drew McIntyre for the team will prove interesting, especially since he’s made it clear he’s only in it to get Jey in a cage. The rest of Judgment Day is dealing with leadership issues and they haven’t all been as strong a collective as they were before. 

It’s really easy to see Drew getting lost in the attempt to get revenge on Jey, costing the team the win, and causing a ripple effect that tears through the group. Even with all the potential doom for Jey and Randy, I still see Team Cody pulling it off.

Also, YES Cody Rhodes Bleeds -175. 

Rob: First off, I’m so excited Randy Orton is back. It’s interesting, Orton debuted in 2002 when I started watching WWE, and over the past 20 years both he and I very rarely took breaks from the company. Not having him around for the past 18 months has made me realize just how much I missed him. 

Cody Rhodes finally getting to be in a War Games match is incredible. For those who don’t know, Cody’s dad and WWE Hall of Famer “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes is credited with coming up with the War Games concept in the late 1980s. WWE did War Games in NXT, their developmental brand, from 2017-21, and when the match debuted on the main roster in 2022, Cody was out with a torn pectoral. Additionally, whenever All Elite Wrestling — where Cody worked from the company’s inception in early 2019 until early 2022 — did a Blood and Guts (their name for War Games) match, he wasn’t included for one reason or another. So it’s cool he’s getting this opportunity, both for him and for me as a giant fan of his.

I think The Judgment Day have done incredible work as heels, but those cracks are starting to form in the group. That’s not to say the other team doesn’t have their own cracks they’ll have to deal with (watch the dynamic between Orton and Uso, who canonically put Orton out of action when he was still a member of the Bloodline faction).

I think either Orton or Rhodes pick up the victory over Dom Mysterio or JD McDonaugh.

Novak’s Predictions:
Santos Escobar def. Carlito
Gunther def. Miz
Rhea Ripley def. Zoey Stark
Damage CTRL def. Bianca, Becky, Charlotte, and Shotzi (IYO pins Shotzi)
Team Rhodes def. The Judgement Day (Orton pins McDonagh)

Rob’s Predictions:
Santos Escobar def. Carlito
Gunther def. Miz
Rhea Ripley def. Zoey Stark
Damage CTRL def. Bianca, Becky, Charlotte, and Shotzi (IYO pins Shotzi)
Team Rhodes def. The Judgement Day (Rhodes pins Dom)

[WWE on YouTube]

About Chris Novak

Chris Novak has been talking and writing about sports ever since he can remember. Previously, Novak wrote for and managed sites in the SB Nation network for nearly a decade from 2013-2022