WWE Survivor Series 2018 Preview feat. Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan

John Pollock previews tonight's Survivor Series card with the Raw vs. SmackDown matches, Brock Lesnar takes on Daniel Bryan and Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair.

Tonight is the WWE’s annual Survivor Series event and is their second straight night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

It is the 32nd edition of the show, which was launched in 1987 as a promotional device to offset the NWA’s biggest card of the year, Starrcade. That year, the NWA was leaving Greensboro and running the card in Chicago with Ron Garvin and Ric Flair in a steel cage match for the NWA title topping the bill.

For Jim Crockett Promotions, they had several huge contracts and the way they were structured was that the outstanding amount of the performer’s salary would be made up at the end of the year with “balloon payments”, essentially making up the difference of what they were owed. The pay-per-view revenue was vital to make up the amounts and therefore, a lot was riding on Starrcade.

The World Wrestling Federation countered with a pay-per-view of their own Thanksgiving night with the addition of the Survivor Series, becoming their second annual event.

At first, the cable companies thought this would be a great promotion with both promotions running cards as one could have the afternoon and the other the evening on a holiday. The WWF was not running their show to raise the tide of all boats, but more to sink their opposition and gave an ultimatum that the promotions could not run both, and those that opted for the NWA’s show would be shut out of WrestleMania the following March. It was a major bluff by the WWF, who would be risking huge revenue from cable providers for WrestleMania and it’s unlikely they would have pulled the show from those operators. But the threat was enough that most companies took the Survivor Series and Starrcade was only available on a limited number of cable providers.

The effect of that night greatly affected Jim Crockett Promotions and accelerated their decline and would be sold to Turner Broadcasting the following year to survive.

Wai Ting and I will have a Survivor Series POST Show later tonight on the site for everyone. If you are a Double Double, Iced Capp, or Espresso member of the POST Wrestling Café you can live stream the POST Show immediately after the Survivor Series with a link being sent during the card.

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Here is a preview of tonight’s show:

BROCK LESNAR VS DANIEL BRYAN FOR THE WWE TITLE

This match was the plan for SummerSlam 2014 (in the same arena), which never occurred after Bryan’s neck injury. It’s a match Bryan has always wanted and envisioned for years.

The set up is odd with Bryan just turning and for the match to work effectively, you would want Bryan in a babyface light. That said, it’s hard to imagine the audience being anti-Bryan and it may end up as a babyface vs. heel match regardless, then Bryan resumes his heel role on television moving forward with this match non-canon.

Bryan is going to be incredibly motivated to have his biggest performance since returning this year. On the other end is Lesnar, who is presumably working with the idea he’s going to fight in 2019, although anything with Lesnar is reserved until made official.

I can’t see them beating Lesnar when he’s the money player and his losses are protected at all cost. If Lesnar was going to do business with Bryan further, that’s one thing to take the loss and build to a rematch, but if it’s a one-off, I don’t see Bryan winning.

RONDA ROUSEY VS CHARLOTTE FLAIR

The top two matches have considerable interest after the events of the past week. This match doesn’t have the dynamic that Becky Lynch brought but is still a big match to the public with a short setup.

I feel you could end the show with either match, there’s an argument to end with this one if Becky Lynch is getting involved and ends the show with a stare down with Rousey.

It will be interesting to see how much the audience gets involved by chanting for Becky and the variables these two may be dealt.

I would not be beating Rousey on this show. There is a tremendous story with Becky climbing back through the Royal Rumble and going for Rousey’s title at WrestleMania to do something Charlotte could not, defeating Rousey. A loss isn’t going to hurt Charlotte, however, a win by Charlotte would force them to revisit the feud with Becky Lynch. It would only make sense for Charlotte to get another title match and that seems to be a direction they want to avoid after Tuesday’s angle.

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SETH ROLLINS VS SHINSUKE NAKAMURA

I look at this as a match of incredible importance for Nakamura as his main roster run has been underwhelming. Nakamura desperately needs an excellent match that revives his status on SmackDown and he’s in the ring with the best guy possible of bringing that out.

If not limited by time, this could be one of the best matches on the show and hopefully a crowd that adds to the match.

I don’t see much argument of one winning over the other, this comes down to the Raw and SmackDown match split and which brand needs a win to keep the score close until the end. There is the easy out with Dean Ambrose getting involved and therefore, I can see Nakamura winning as this is one example where the SmackDown win seems to be the easier option.

THE AOP VS THE BAR

It’s another heel versus heel dynamic, which you often run into at this show. As a match, it could be a great showcase for AOP, who haven’t had the chance to have a big match since their call-up. Cesaro working off the two big men could produce some great sequences, but this match will succeed or fail based on the crowd’s interest in two heel acts.

You also have Big Show in one corner and Drake Maverick in the other for the size disparity and I’d imagine they won’t be able to help themselves without doing something between them for laughs.

AOP probably wins this one, although looking up and down the inter-promotional matches, there are a lot of acts on Raw you’d tend to protect in Lesnar, Rousey, Drew McIntyre, Braun Strowman, and AOP and some are going to have to lose to prevent a Raw blow out.

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BRAUN STROWMAN, DREW McINTYRE, DOLPH ZIGGLER, FINN BALOR & BOBBY LASHLEY VS THE MIZ, REY MYSTERIO, SHANE McMAHON, JEFF HARDY & SAMOA JOE

Drew McIntyre is being groomed for a major spot and they are protecting him at every turn, so if Raw is losing this match, I would expect something big with McIntyre to explain his elimination like a brawl leading to a countout. It’s possible to protect McIntyre and Strowman with eliminations, but so much is wrapped up with those two winning to set up Strowman’s matches with Baron Corbin and Brock Lesnar that it seems more likely for a Raw victory.

This match should indicate how far along the Shane McMahon heel turn is with how overt or subtle he plays the role. Guaranteed, he’s going to turn heel to the live crowd when those punches make an appearance.

Mysterio is getting set for a program with Randy Orton, who isn’t booked on the show and may get involved here. Orton has even teased the fact he’s not part of the SmackDown team so that looks like a given he’ll have a role in some form.

There is a lot of talent in this match, but this strikes me as a match that is going to be heavier on angles than wrestling. I remember last year’s men’s match being incredibly overbooked with some bizarre booking choices and it killed the match.

NIA JAX, TAMINA, MICKIE JAMES, NATALYA & RUBY RIOTT VS NAOMI, ASUKA, CARMELLA, SONYA DEVILLE & TBA

What a weird mix in one match.

Natalya and Ruby Riott should cancel each other out and just eliminate themselves because Natalya will look foolish to try and team with this woman after her insults on Raw about her father.

Nia Jax and Tamina are being groomed as the female monster tandem on Raw that in theory, would be steamrolling through everyone on the SmackDown side and surviving. But if they are splitting the men’s and women’s wins, I see SmackDown more likely to win this one than the men’s match.

If not overbooked, Asuka has a chance to look great in this format and revive her, which they desperately need. At a minimum, it would be great if they teased a heel turn for Asuka as SmackDown needs some heels on the women’s side for Becky. Asuka is way down the pecking order on the babyface side.

The mystery partner could be Mandy Rose or Nikki Cross I assume. I hope it’s not another NXT call-up as they barely have time for the women on the show now and haven’t even properly introduced Cross. If it is Cross, I hope she survives and gets a big win to establish her as someone noteworthy rather than an afterthought immediately.

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BUDDY MURPHY VS MUSTAFA ALI FOR THE CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE

This could be the sleeper match of the show. If the audience gives them a chance, they could tear the house down and it’s a big stage for them.

Murphy has been excellent since going to 205 Live and has emerged as a great character. Ali is one of the more underrated performers on the roster and if he was outside WWE, he’d be tearing it up on the independent level.

Murphy just won the title and there’s a lot of juice left in his title run to keep going as champion.

BOBBY ROODE & CHAD GABLE, THE ASCENSION, THE B TEAM, THE REVIVAL & LUCHA HOUSE PARTY VS THE USOS, NEW DAY, THE COLONS, KARL ANDERSON & LUKE GALLOWS & SANITY

This is scheduled for the kickoff show and seems like a SmackDown win to start the night.

It’s amazing how much talent is reserved for the tag division that gets no focus. If they have time, there are some great interactions possible with this lineup. If Chad Gable has a stage, he is an excellent performer and that goes for most of these guys, who just aren’t booked well but there’s lots of talent in this match.

Sanity has gotten off to a bad start being called up without a plan it seems and most had forgotten they were on SmackDown until this week. Killian Dane could have a big role in this match and get a bunch of eliminations for his team to stand out.

While not loaded with stars, this could be a good match but will have tons of eliminations to work through and that can be tough.

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PAY-PER-VIEW REWIND
WWE Survivor Series 2017
Sunday, November 19th

Houston, Texas
*Elias over Matt Hardy
*Enzo Amore over Kalisto to retain the Cruiserweight title
*Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn over Tyler Breeze & Fandango
*Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins over New Day
*Alicia Fox, Nia Jax, Asuka, Bayley & Sasha Banks over Becky Lynch, Carmella, Naomi, Natalya & Tamina
*Baron Corbin over The Miz
*The Usos over Sheamus & Cesaro
*Charlotte Flair over Alexa Bliss
*Brock Lesnar over AJ Styles
*Kurt Angle, Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor & Triple H over Shane McMahon, Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode & John Cena

About John Pollock 5623 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.