Thirty-one years ago, what was then known as the World Wrestling Federation held the inaugural Survivor Series, which for the first time showcased the multi-man elimination tag matches that have become synonymous with the event itself.
In the years since, Survivor Series has morphed into a battle of SmackDown vs. Raw, signalling the beginning of WWE’s version of inter-league play that persists until shortly after WrestleMania.
Though Survivor Series is considered one of WWE’s “big four” events, its spot in that big four is akin to the NHL in America’s four major sports – fun in its own way, but hardly ascribed the importance that the other three receive. Survivor Series is Teddy Roosevelt on Mt. Rushmore. It’s the Fredo Corleone of WWE’s big four.
And yet, it’s the first blossom of the spring in wrestling that is WrestleMania season. For all the flak the event seems to catch on a yearly basis, the annual 5-on-5 tag match is almost always a treat, and the champion vs. champion theme tends to create an air of unpredictability around how each match will finish.
So let’s try to predict it.
- Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a singles match
This has the potential to be the best of the one-on-one matches we’ll see tonight. Rollins has been the best in-ring competitor of 2018, delivering a show-stopping performance seemingly every time he steps on the canvas. Nakamura, on the other hand, has held the United States Championship for the last four months and done absolutely nothing to inspire interest in himself or WWE’s least prestigious singles title. Still, Nakamura is a good-to-great performer inside of the ring and should be able to deliver some exciting moments alongside Rollins. It’s likely that Raw comes out victorious in the night’s other two singles matches, so expect SmackDown to tally a win here, probably thanks to Dean Ambrose.
Result: Shinsuke Nakamura defeats Seth Rollins.
Tally: SmackDown 1, Raw 0
- Team Raw (Mickie James, Nia Jax, Tamina, Natalya, and Ruby Riott) vs. Team SmackDown (Naomi, Asuka, Carmella, Sonya Deville, TBD) – 5-on-5 Women’s Elimination Tag Match
They really don’t want you to cheer for Team Raw here. I mean, they really don’t want you to. The all-heel squad (with the exception of Natalya) will take on a SmackDown team of mostly babyfaces. There are a ton of moving parts here. On one hand, nobody really knows who the fifth woman on Team SmackDown will be now that Charlotte Flair is substituting for Becky Lynch against Ronda Rousey. On the other hand, Team Raw will have Alexa Bliss, Sarah Logan, and Liv Morgan all orbiting around the ring and likely causing trouble, adding fuel to the somehow-still-happening feud between Natalya and the Riott Squad. Team Raw is likely to implode, if not for any other reason than to push along that storyline, and to bury Nia Jax for injuring Lynch.
Result: Team SmackDown defeats Team Raw. Sole Survivor – whoever TBD is.
SmackDown 2, Raw 0
- Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown – 10-on-10 Elimination Tag Match
I don’t think much conjecture is needed here. In one corner we have The B-Team, The Ascension, The Revival, Lucha House Party and Bobby Roode & Chad Gable. In the other, we have The Usos, The New Day, Sanity, Gallows & Anderson, and the Colóns. It’s fairly obvious which team here is better. Here’s a question: where are Heath Slater & Rhyno?
Result: Team SmackDown defeats Team Raw. Survivors: The New Day & The Usos.
SmackDown 3, Raw 0
- AOP vs. The Bar in a tag-team match
Is Big Show also a tag-team champion with The Bar? Also, why is he involved with them in the first place? This has been gnawing at me for weeks now. In any event, it’ll be fun to see what he does to Drake Maverick at ringside. Inside the ring, we have AOP, who have been booked about as strongly as possible since being called up to the main roster. Across from them will be The Bar, arguably the best tag-team in WWE right now. While a win for AOP would be huge and would make the night more even between Raw and SmackDown, I simply can’t see The Bar losing this one.
Result: The Bar defeats AOP
SmackDown 4, Raw 0
- Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair in a singles match
Although we were supposed to get Becky Lynch vs Rousey, this is a fine consolation prize. What was previously rumored to be the main event of WrestleMania 35 will likely be lower on the card here due to a lack of build, but make no mistake about it – this is a dream match. Rousey and Flair will get to showcase their ring chemistry for the first time in a match that may set up one of WWE’s next great rivalries. Flair won’t get the win here, as WWE needs to continue building Rousey as an unstoppable force before someone eventually gets the better of her, yet this has the potential to be a classic contest for women’s wrestling.
Result: Ronda Rousey defeats Charlotte Flair.
Smackdown 4, Raw 1
- Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan
Unfortunately, don’t expect much out of this match. Lesnar will get the win here, and it’ll be quick. His match against Braun Strowman at Crown Jewel proved he won’t be taking any bumps prior to his UFC return. Whether it’s in the form of a squash match, or due to interference from either of the enemies these men have made (Strowman and A.J. Styles), it’s unlikely that this match goes for longer than ten minutes. It might not even make it past five, which is disappointing considering what this match could have been a few years ago.
Result: Brock Lesnar defeats Daniel Bryan.
SmackDown 4, Raw 2
- Team Raw (Braun Strowman, Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler, Finn Balor and Bobby Lashley) vs. Team SmackDown (The Miz, Rey Mysterio, Jeff Hardy, Shane McMahon, and Samoa Joe) – Men’s 5-on-5 Elimination Tag Match
Like the women’s match earlier, this will feature a good deal of inner turmoil for Team Raw. Strowman and McIntyre are feuding, McIntyre and Ziggler are showing signs of a split and Balor and Lashley are feuding. Not ideal. On Team SmackDown, you’ve got an absolute all-star team, in 2009. There are too many big guys on Team Raw against too many small guys for Team SmackDown, which will likely make the difference. Though McIntyre and Strowman may eliminate each other in a brawling double count-out, it’s much more likely that they dominate their opponents before turning their attention to each other. Then again, Shane McMahon is the best wrestler in the world…
Result : Team Raw defeats Team SmackDown. Survivors – Drew McIntyre and Braun Strowman.
Final Tally – SmackDown 4, Raw 3
Pre-Show Bonus: Buddy Murphy (c) defeats Mustafa Ali to retain the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.