Brand warfare within WWE rears its head during some key moments throughout the year.
For 2018, we got to see a sample of it during an inter-promotional battle royal at Evolution. But the stakes are always raised a bit higher during one particular event. And that event happens to be the legendary November wrestling spectacular, Survivor Series. Fans should expect to see some epic clashes erupt between the finest members of the Raw and SD Live roster. And the current title holders will most certainly find themselves pitted against each other. Survivor Series 2018 is all about answering one important question – which WWE brand is more superior?
Here’s a preview of the 2018 installment of WWE’s Survivor Series.
Team Raw (Bobby Roode and Chad Gable, The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson), The B-Team (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel), Lucha House Party (Lince Dorado, Kalisto, and/or Gran Metalik), and The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor)) vs. Team SmackDown (The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso), The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and/or Xavier Woods), Sanity (Alexander Wolfe, Eric Young and/or Killian Dain), Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, and The Colóns (Epico Colón and Primo Colón)) (5-on-5 Survivor Series Tag Team Elimination Match)
Predictions & Winners: If there’s one thing I truly enjoy about wrestling, it’s a quality clusterfuck. And by the looks of things, I think we’re bound to see a wholly entertaining car crash erupt here. Now let’s be realistic – the tag teams representing SmackDown are miles better than the ones backing Raw. The Red Brand’s tag team representation comes in the form of a haphazard put together squad of singles guys, two jobber duos, and two somewhat respectable teams. SmackDown features two of the top tag teams in all of WWE and two other combinations who are more than capable of holding their own. Oh and The Colóns? Well you can’t win ’em all, I guess…
This one’s going to feature some of the quickest eliminations of the night. The B-Team, The Ascension, and The Colóns won’t see too much ring time and get knocked out of the equation early on. During the middle portions of this contest, Lucha House Party, The Revival, Sanity, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, and The New Day will all meet their end.
Once all that madness comes to a close, Bobby Roode and Chad Gable will do battle against The Usos for all the marbles. I can already see Bobby on the verge of victory until Chad blind tags him and attempts to claim the win for his team. This will finally set Booby off and give the viewing audience the heel turn we’ve all been expecting for months. A broken down Gable will succumb to his partner’s betrayal and face elimination by way of The Usos. Team SmackDown’s…well, teams will claim the first brand warfare victory of the evening!
Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Mustafa Ali (WWE Cruiserweight Championship)
Predictions & Winner: Buddy Murphy has a lot to be proud of – he made the trek to his homeland of Australia and claimed the Cruiserweight Championship by besting Cedric Alexander. Ever since then, Alexander has had a hard time getting back into fine form. One man has stepped up to the plate and claimed #1 Contendership status – The Heart of 205 Live, Mustafa Ali. If you’ve been watching 205 Live since Enzo Amore’s departure, you know how incredible the show has been due to Murphy and Ali’s in-ring exploits.
Their rivalry has managed to garner plenty of acclaim and I’m sure this match will reach the high standards displayed by their previous bouts. Ali should get a run with the title eventually – he’s a lovable babyface that the audience of 205 Live will seemingly support forever. But Murphy’s run as champion has just begun and it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to end it so soon. Murphy and Ali will make their brand full of fellow cruiserweights proud by putting on one of the better matches of the evening, no doubt. But once it ends, Murphy will be the one standing tall with the title in hand.
Team Raw (Mickie James, Nia Jax, Tamina, Natalya, and Ruby Riott) (with Alexa Bliss, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan) vs. Team SmackDown (Carmella, Naomi, Sonya Deville, Asuka, and TBA) (5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match)
Predictions & Winners: Now it’s the ladies turn! Alexa Bliss is currently on the injured reserve list, but she’s still chosen to back up her fellow brand mates for this major battle. Team Raw will come in with all their spots filled, but Team SmackDown is still down a member. It makes a ton of sense for acting SmackDown General Manager Paige to bring out her brand’s final representative, Mandy Rose. Those Absolution stable mate ties between Paige, Sonya Deville, and Mandy Rose will never dissipate.
Once this all-women’s elimination match gets underway, get ready to witness some controlled chaos. The eliminations I’m expecting to see take place early on are Mickie James, Natalya, Ruby Riott, Carmella, and Naomi. Nia Jax and Tamina will work even harder on behalf of Team Raw as they do battle against the remainder of Team SmackDown. Nia will find a way to cut through Sonya Deville and Mandy Rose while her partner will end up meeting her end at the hands of Asuka.
Nia and Asuka will clash in a moment that will be reminiscent of their past wars in NXT. Nia will fight tooth and nail with her former rival, of course. After a vicious set of moves delivered to Asuka, Nia will walk away as the dominant force in the women’s division she’s fought hard to be. At the end of all this, I’m sure she’ll announce who she has her sights set on for a future Women’s Championship match.
Seth Rollins (Intercontinental Champion) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (United States Champion) (Champion vs. Champion Match)
Predictions & Winner: It’s always nice to see dream matches come to fruition. What we’re getting here is the first ever meeting between Seth Rollins and Shinsuke Nakamura. Not only is this the first time they’ve faced each other in WWE, it’s the first time both men have ever grappled with each other in any wrestling company…period!
No indy fed (not even ROH!) has ever made this bout a reality. Rollins has been putting on some incredibly hot matches as the IC Champion lately. Nakamura as US Champion? Not so much. Nakamura’s been pretty underwhelming on the main roster thus far, but Rollins is incapable of putting a bad match these days. And I’m sure Nakamura is game when it comes to proving himself against someone the calibur of Rollins.
This one will no doubt be an exciting match, but I’m guessing its ending will be something we can all see coming from a mile away. Dean Ambrose is right in the middle of switching back to a heel after turning his back on his former Shield brethren. Eventually, he’ll run out to make his presence felt and interfere during the closing moments of this match. His unsurprising distraction will be Rollins’ downfall and lead to Nakamura giving the Blue Brand a point in the Brand Warfare column.
AOP (Akam and Rezar) (Raw Tag Team Champions) (with Drake Maverick) vs. The Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus) (SmackDown Tag Team Champions) (with Big Show) (Champions vs. Champions Match)
Predictions & Winners: So after months of tearing through hapless jobbers, The Authors of Pain finally got a Raw Tag Team Championship opportunity. To say that their title win was a breeze is an understatement. Seth Rollins tried his damnedest to overcome the massive duo, but his efforts were all in vain. AOP are now at the top of the Raw tag team division mountain and it looks like they won’t get toppled for a while. Since they captured the titles so close to Survivor Series, they booked their ticket for a powerhouse-themed Champions vs. Champions match. Raw will be sending the AOP to deal with a combination of athletes who can match their brutal nature – Cesaro and Sheamus aka “The Bar.”
The Bar are known for being the type of team that combines power with speed. Akam and Rezar rely on their strength more than anything, which will certainly prevent them from overpowering their rivals…at first. The starting portion of this bout will see The Bar getting the upper hand. But as the match rolls on, the AOP will kick into a higher gear and overwhelm SD’s tag team champions.
Once it reaches its hottest period, the most powerful maneuvers both teams are capable of will be on full display. The one X-Factor within this bout will be the one to affect its outcome, though. Big Show will find a way to not only negate the AOP’s Drake Maverick, he’ll also end up clocking one of the AOP members and knocking them out cold near the match’s end. This expected assist will give The Bar and the Blue Brand they call home another notch in the Survivor Series win column.
Team Raw (Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Braun Strowman, Finn Bálor, and Bobby Lashley) (with Baron Corbin and Lio Rush) vs. Team SmackDown (The Miz, Shane McMahon, Rey Mysterio, Samoa Joe, and Jeff Hardy) (5-on-5 Survivor Series Elimination Match)
Predictions & Winners: The final team lineups have finally been decided! Team Raw will be backed by its acting General Manager Baron Corbin and Bobby Lashley’s loudmouth cheerleader, Lio Rush. As for Team SmackDown, Shane McMahon will take on a more active role instead of standing at ringside like the rival brand’s GM.
Team Raw looks pretty strong – the always scary Braun Strowman is a force to be reckoned with, Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre work as a well-oiled machine, Finn Bálor is a wildcard who can change the landscape of the match dramatically, and Bobby Lashley is the team’s second powerhouse recruit. Team SmackDown is nothing to scoff at, either – Shane is always down to risk it all for the win, Jeff Hardy and Rey Mysterio are the team’s slickest athletes, The Miz has plenty of tricks up his sleeve, and Samoa Joe can stand toe-to-toe with Strowman and Lashley.
I’m expecting a lot of fireworks from this one. Ziggler and Bálor will produce in-ring magic with Hardy and Mysterio, Strowman will power through most of Team SD until he’s forced to deal with Joe, and Shane will pull out his most riskiest offense to gain an advantage for his team. McIntyre and Lashley will do their best dirty work against every member of Team Blue, while The Miz will be as sneaky as possible and pick his spots at the most opportune times.
I’m envisioning this match’s closing moments as a final struggle between McIntyre and Mysterio. Placing these two in a one-on-one position to close out the match makes the most sense since it’s the most intriguing. Mysterio will look as if he’s close to getting his brand another win for the evening on several occasions. But there will come a point where the Blue Brand’s luchador will get cut off by his larger foe and meet his end. As the final member of Team Raw, McIntyre will make his GM and fellow Superstars proud by pinning down Mysterio after concluding a hot finishing stretch. Team Raw will claim victory and the fans will bear witness to the next stage of McIntyre’s slow and steady ascent to the top of Raw.
Ronda Rousey (Raw) vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown)
Predictions & Winner: Why must life be so cruel? At the height of Becky Lynch’s newfound popularity, she managed to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship from Charlotte and get herself booked in a Champion vs. Champion match against Ronda Rousey. The final Raw before Survivor Series saw Becky and a bunch of her fellow SD Live teammates invade Raw and come to blows with their rivals.
Becky ended up taking one of those aforementioned blows from Nia Jax, which ended up bloodying her up and causing her to be injured way worse than we all originally thought. After reconciling with Charlotte, Becky chose to bow out and allow her to take her place. This has all resulted in turning an often rumored WrestleMania 35 matchup into a reality at the 2018 Survivor Series.
Like most of you out there, I was very much looking forward to watching Becky and Ronda tear it up. But the new matchup we’re getting now is just as good of a marquee bout as the original. Ronda hasn’t put on a bad performance yet and Charlotte always makes for a great dancing partner against anyone she’s pitted against. Ronda won’t run through Charlotte in just mere minutes, however – this one will go long and feature some methodical leg work from Becky’s replacement.
Charlotte will pull out all the stops in order to cut Ronda’s legs out from under her. While she’ll take a good amount of damage to her lower limbs, Ronda will still fight her way to victory by tapping into her usual array of vicious throws and submissions. After escaping the Figure Eight Leglock, Ronda will eventually lock in her dangerous armbar and cause Charlotte to tap out. Raw’s reigning Women’s Champion will stand tall here as the winner! Once Becky gets cleared from her injury, I get the feeling that WrestleMania 35 will be the main stage for her first ever matchup against Ronda.
Brock Lesnar (Universal Champion) (with Paul Heyman) vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE Champion) (Champion vs. Champion Match)
Predictions & Winner: I’m conflicted about this one. Let’s get the one positive for this match out of the way first – we’re about to feast our eyes on a dream match scenario I thought we’d never see. Brock Lesnar actually seemed to give a damn and put forth a great effort against the always impressive AJ Styles at last year’s Survivor Series. I’m sure he’ll put forth the same amount of effort he afforded AJ to Daniel Bryan this year.
But there’s an obvious negative connected to this rematch – Braun Strowman should have been the man to defeat Lesnar and claim the Universal Championship at Crown Jewel. It made way too much sense to give the big man the strap in the wake of Roman Reigns’ health scare and time away from the ring. WWE tends to not make a whole lot of sense, so they went ahead with Lesnar as Universal Champion again. I (and I’m sure plenty of other fans) am not a fan of this development.
Strowman vs. Bryan would have been a fresh matchup and I know it would have made for an interesting first-time meeting. Getting the trade-off for a Lesnar vs. Bryan Champion vs. Champion match isn’t all that bad, however. Lesnar’s going to have his way with Bryan…at first. Bryan will eventually shake off the early beating he’ll endure and find a way to target the big man’s arm. The WWE Champion will get the crowd behind him (even though he’s a newly turned heel) as he lays into the Universal Champion with his array of stiff strikes and top-rope maneuvers thereafter.
At some point, Bryan will lock in the Yes! Lock and look to be on the verge of nabbing a shocking submission victory. But Lesnar will crush everyone’s dreams by breaking out of Bryan’s hold and getting back to repeatedly suplexing him. Once Lesnar grows tired of Bryan’s comeback antics, he’ll flatten him with a final F5. Bryan undoubtably deserves the honor of going over such a major competitor, but Vince and Co. are madly in love with Lesnar. Lesnar’s going into his next UFC fight and I’m sure WWE would love to make him look as strong as possible on the way there. And the best way to do that is by putting Lesnar over the current WWE Champion.