WWE boss Vince McMahon reportedly wants either "Stone Cold" Steve Austin or The Rock to referee the Survivor Series 2017 main event. This would mark the second year in a row that WWE is attempting to use a major name from the Monday Night War era to boost the profile of the company's annual November event. The Survivor Series name itself already holds a certain level of prestige among wrestling fans, as it was one of WWE's very first pay-per-views to become a yearly tradition. Survivor Series has been held every fall since 1987, making this the 31st installment.
Survivor Series 2016 was built around the return to the ring of WCW icon Goldberg, who dominated that company from 1997-2000, and later competed in WWE from 2003-2004. Goldberg returned to square off against Brock Lesnar, who he had defeated in his last WWE match at WrestleMania XX. Lesnar wanted revenge, and challenged Goldberg to come out of retirement. Goldberg would of course squash Brock in quick fashion, before losing the rematch - and Universal Championship - to "The Beast" at WrestleMania XXXIII.
Unlike with Goldberg, if Austin or Rock returns to WWE to participate in Survivor Series, neither is expected to wrestle. Austin hasn't competed in a match since losing to Rock at 2003's WrestleMania XIX, while Rock hasn't wrestled a match longer than 30 seconds since losing the WWE Championship to John Cena at WrestleMania XXIX in 2013. Instead, McMahon wants one of the two legends to serve as special guest referee for the main event match pitting WWE Champion Jinder Mahal against Universal Champion Brock Lesnar.
The news of WWE seeking Austin or Rock for Survivor Series comes on the heels of previous reports that the company wanted John Cena to ref the main event. The stated plan in those reports would be to use Survivor Series to set up a future title feud between Cena and Mahal, but if WWE is looking elsewhere already, it seems likely that they've been told that Cena won't be available for the show.
That said, if Cena's Hollywood commitments would prevent him from being a part of Survivor Series, it logically follows that the same would likely be the case for The Rock, who is never at a loss for movie work. Thus, of the three men, Austin seems the most likely to be available. Even if he is available though, Austin may not be willing, as he's stated in the past that he doesn't like to show up on WWE programming unless he's given something really interesting to do.
WWE Survivor Series 2017 streams November 19 on the WWE Network.
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