Survivor Series this year will highlight the brand war between SmackDown and Raw with a series of champion-versus-champion matches. Ever since the brand split in the summer of 2016, WWE has been putting extra effort into making the big pay-per-views outside of WrestleMania even bigger. Arguably the show that needed the most work was Survivor Series. Well, having two unique rosters provided WWE with the perfect opportunity to give the long-running November pay-per-view its own twist that would make it stand out from the multitude of other shows throughout the year.
The idea that WWE began initiating at last year’s Survivor Series is that the event would be the one time of the year that the Superstars of Raw and SmackDown Live would clash. Last year, they did that by staging three different multi-person elimination tag matches. One featured five men from each brand, another the women, and then the final one showcased tag teams. SmackDown Live won two of the three bouts and declared themselves the superior brand on the back of it.
Well, Kurt Angle announced at the start of this week’s Raw that there will be a lot more than three elimination matches at this year’s Survivor Series. The focus of this year’s edition of the pay-per-view will be four champion-versus-champion matches. WWE Champion Jinder Mahal will take on Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, Intercontinental Title holder The Miz will go one on one with US Champion Baron Corbin, plus both brands’ respective Women’s and Tag Team Champions will also do battle.
But wait, that’s not all. As well as all of Raw’s champions doing battle with all of SmackDown Live’s title holders, we will also get the aforementioned elimination matches that go hand in hand with Survivor Series. Two five-on-five tag team matches, one for the men and one for the women. All of the best non-champions from each show going head to head with each other.
The whole point of this as mentioned above is to make Survivor Series a truly unique night on WWE’s calendar. Mission accomplished on that front. If they stick with this theme every year, then the 30-year-old event will always feature one-off matches, or at least clashes that we haven’t seen for a long time and likely won’t see for a while after the fact either.
WWE needs to make sure they don’t do is mix the brands too much outside of this time of year if they truly want Survivor Series to be special. To ensure this, they can’t blur the lines between Raw and SmackDown Live elsewhere. They’ve been toeing that line with AJ Styles this week, but luckily it has come right on the cusp of the Survivor Series build. Keep Monday and Tuesday’s rosters apart for eleven months of the year, then Survivor Series will become one of the biggest nights of the year.