This weekend, WWE presents the 31st annual Survivor Series event from Houston, Texas. WWE is going all-in with a RAW vs. SmackDown brand supremacy theme this year, with every match on the main card featuring Superstars from opposing brands squaring off.
Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen drastic changes made to the top matches. AJ Styles dethroned Jinder Mahal to become the new WWE Champion last week. In turn, he bumped Mahal out of the main event and earned the right to face the most dangerous Superstar on the roster, Universal Champion Brock Lesnar.
Sheamus and Cesaro recently captured the RAW tag team championships, altering previously announced Shield vs. Usos tag match and setting up The Shield vs. The New Day. Additionally, Kurt Angle, John Cena and Triple H have been added to the men’s RAW vs. SmackDown team elimination match, adding some big-time star power to that match.
A show that a lot of fans were indifferent towards is now must-see. Ahead of Sunday’s pay-per-view, here are 5 things we’re looking out for at WWE Survivor Series.
Which Brand Reigns Supreme
Following the Brand Extension that took place in July 2016, last year’s Survivor Series featured three RAW vs. SmackDown matches. Team RAW was victorious in the Women’s 5-on-5 match as well as the 10-on-10 tag team elimination match. Team SmackDown won the 5-on-5 men’s match, with Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt being the last two men standing for their team. RAW got the upper hand last year, but SmackDown won the higher-profile match.
This year’s Survivor Series features 7 inter-brand matches, including:
- Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles (Universal Champion vs. WWE Champion)
- Men’s 5-on-5 Team Elimination Match
- Alexa Bliss vs. Natalya (Women’s Champion vs. Women’s Champion)
- Women’s 5-on-5 Team Elimination Match
- The Bar vs. The Usos (Tag Champs vs. Tag Champs)
- The Miz vs. Baron Corbin (IC Champion vs. US Champion)
- The Shield vs. The New Day
While there is nothing at stake in the battle of the brands (the 30th Royal Rumble spot would have been a good prize), reigning supreme at Survivor Series would give the RAW or SmackDown authority figures sufficient bragging rights.
We predict that RAW will get the edge and win 4 out of the 7 matches. Going by what we feel is most likely to occur, we say Brock Lesnar defeats AJ Styles (more on that later), the Women’s Team RAW defeats the Women’s Team SmackDown (more on that later), The Shield isn’t losing their first big 6-man tag match and Alexa Bliss is portrayed much stronger than Natalya. That leaves the men’s Team SmackDown, The Usos and Baron Corbin picking up wins, so it’s not too one-sided.
How Brock Lesnar Is Protected
Had Lesnar vs. Jinder Mahal actually occurred, any outcome other than Lesnar completely annihilating the Modern Day Maharajah would have been a tough sell. Thankfully, the wrestling gods smiled down upon us and not only put the WWE Championship on AJ Styles, but also gave us the Lesnar vs. Styles dream match would have otherwise been left to fantasy booking.
Lesnar vs. Styles has the makings of a classic. Lesnar is still entirely capable of delivering when it counts, but he’s drawn criticism for some uninspired matches that rely on the limited ‘Suplex City’ formula. Good thing he’ll be working with the best wrestler in the company on Sunday.
This is the match we are most looking forward to at Survivor Series, but the need to keep Lesnar strong headed into WrestleMania season (is it almost December already) tells us that he’ll be standing tall when all is said and done.
Asuka’s Role In The Women’s 5-on-5
However, for whatever reason, her positioning on RAW has been somewhat lackluster thus far. After two surprisingly-competitive matches against Emma, WWE has gotten things back on track by featuring her in short matches against ‘local competitors’ on RAW.
Survivor Series is the perfect opportunity to unleash Asuka. Let her dominate and eliminate several women on Team SmackDown. A strong showing against the likes of Charlotte and Becky Lynch would re-establish Asuka as the most dangerous woman on either brand. Heck, take it a step farther and show her RAW teammates being fearful of what they have to deal with on Monday nights.
Asuka is going to raise hell at Survivor Series, which is why we’re picking the Women’s Team RAW to be victorious.
Carmella Cashing In
Carmella has held the Women’s Money in the Bank briefcase since June. Since then, she’s been a dark cloud hanging over SmackDown’s women’s division, waiting for the perfect moment to cash in.
Tuesday’s SmackDown saw Charlotte capture the SmackDown Women’s Championship in her home town. In doing so, she moves into the Women’s Champion vs. Champion match at Survivor Series.
Win, lose or draw, SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte will be vulnerable after battling Alexa Bliss. A cash-in was probably more likely with Natalya as champion – but it’s still something to be on alert for.
Superstars Not Booked On The Show
Survivor Series is a stacked show with all hands on deck. Even with several tag matches (including a 6-man tag and the two 5-on-5 traditional team elimination matches), there are still several prominent Superstars without advertised matches, including:
- Jinder Mahal
- Kevin Owens
- Sami Zayn
- Matt Hardy
- Dolph Ziggler
- Jason Jordan
With so many big names on the sidelines for one of WWE‘s biggest shows of the year, don’t be surprised to see some outside interference from at least one of them.
Discussion: Hit up the comments section and let us know what you’ll be looking out for this Sunday at WWE Survivor Series.