WWE Survivor Series used to be advertised as “the one time of the year where RAW and SmackDown face off in head-to-head competition”. For obvious reasons, they couldn’t go with that theme this year, with the Wild Card rule having given us plenty of RAW vs SmackDown match-ups, whether we liked it or not.
This year, however, they’ve decided to shake things up and inject Survivor Series with the massive addition of NXT. It’s already paying dividends since there’s been a lot more hype by default. But this year’s Survivor Series seems to be a lot more different from the previous years.
However, one “tradition” that WWE needs to stop is excessively putting over Monday Night RAW as they always do at Survivor Series. In the last few years, it’s always been dominance from RAW and 2018 was the worst of it, with not a single SmackDown superstar picking up a win in an Interbrand match-up.
Why WWE decided to bury SmackDown so hard was puzzling, to say the least, especially since no storyline followed up with it. However, this year, things are very different and RAW isn’t exactly in the strongest position. For one, SmackDown has just moved to FOX and we know how much leverage the network has on the product. While it’s not a full-fledged influence, there will be pressure from their end not to make SmackDown look like the weaker brand or the “B show” as they always have.
To add to that point, the reality is that SmackDown has a far more stacked roster now from end to end and multiple superstars need to be protected. As a result, they can’t afford to take the loss this year. This has led many fans to believe that NXT will be the brand taking the biggest fall.
While that could be true (and is very likely), it would be a risk for WWE to do so, especially since NXT is going head-to-head with AEW. NXT needs to be established as a brand on the same footing as RAW and SmackDown and burying it by having NXT superstars take the pinfalls won’t help their cause in their war against AEW. If anything, NXT would benefit the most from “winning” Survivor Series and the Interbrand war.
In a bid to fully establish NXT as the third brand and not just “developmental” (though it’s long-surpassed that phase), this would be the best way to do it. If not outright win, then they shouldn’t be taking a big loss. This leaves only one option – Monday Night RAW.
So why is it that RAW can afford to take the loss when the other two brands can’t? It’s because RAW has less to lose. For two decades now, RAW has been established as the clear-cut #1 show in WWE. It’s the “flagship” program of the company and that hasn’t changed in terms of how they present it.
So wouldn’t it make a lot more sense that the strongest and most established brand takes the fall? The RAW men’s team is stacked with talent, but they’re mostly superstars who can afford to take a loss. Moreover, since the other brands desperately need to win more, it doesn’t seem as though RAW needs the win as much. Hopefully, WWE realizes this and gives the right brand the win. For once, it’s better if RAW puts over the other brands.