WWE Survivor Series 2018: the last of the “Big Five” pay-per-views before we gear up for the next year’s WrestleMania season, has been a staple of the company since 1987. Sunday night inside the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the annual November event will take center stage once again. Survivor Series will once again carry with it a Raw vs. SmackDown Live theme, and while some unfortunate, unforeseen circumstances forced last-minute changes, the card still looks as if it can sneakily produce a solid outing for one of the biggest shows of the year.
Survivor Series will begin at 7 p.m. ET with the show expected to last anywhere from 3.5-4 hours, not counting the kickoff show, which starts two hours prior to the main card at 5 p.m. CBS Sports will be with you the entire way on Sunday with live results, highlights and analysis.
For now, let’s take a look at how our experts believe Survivor Series will play out.
2018 WWE Survivor Series predictions
Tag Team Survivor Series Elimination Match — Bobby Roode & Chad Gable, The Ascension, Lucha House Party, B-Team & The Revival (Raw) vs. The Usos, New Day, Good Brothers, SAnitY & The Colons (SmackDown)
Jack Jorgensen, Adam Silverstein: It may seem to some as if the lopsided nature of the pairings here could be a smokescreen for a Raw win — but I don’t think that’s the case at all. With this serving as the kickoff show match before the main festivities take place, this one goes chalk as The Usos will earn yet another accolade that they can brag about going forward for the SmackDown brand. Pick: SmackDown wins
Brian Campbell: It can be very difficult to predict a winner in this kind of match where, ultimately, nothing is at stake. One thing that stands out is how lopsided the teams are in favor of SmackDown in terms of strength. Usually, that tends to mean the upset victory is coming. The red brand team who might best use the push of being sole survivor is Bobby Roode & Chad Gable. Pick: Raw wins
Tag Team Champions — AOP (Raw) vs. The Bar (SmackDown)
BC, AS, JJ: Unlike the other dream matches on the card between active champions of both brands, this one has no storyline behind it or reasons it might be memorable. It’s for that reason that the match would be best booked as short and dominant in favor of AOP, who can better use the push on this type of showcase. Pick: AOP wins
Cruiserweight Championship — Buddy Murphy (c) vs. Mustafa Ali
JJ, BC, AS: It’s way too early to pull the cruiserweight title off of the uber-talented Murphy, but I don’t think a victory for the Australian champ will be the story everyone talks about coming out of this one. Not only do I believe that Ali will be unsuccessful in yet another quest for the purple strap, but I think the loss will come via a backstabbing at the hands of good friend and former champ Cedric Alexander. In a world of character turns in WWE lately, let’s add another one to the list! Pick: Buddy Murphy retains the title
Men’s Survivor Series Elimination Match — Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Finn Balor & Bobby Lashley (Raw) vs. The Miz, Shane McMahon, Samoa Joe, Rey Mysterio & Jeff Hardy (SmackDown)
AS: There’s so much at stake for Strowman in this match that it would be an absolute shocker for the Raw team to lose, not to mention the fact that it is clearly better than its SmackDown counterpart top-to-bottom. If WWE was not going to pay off Stephanie McMahon’s promise to Strowman, there would have been no reason to make it in the first place. The question is who will be left standing by the time this whole thing is over. I think Raw actually dominates the match with Strowman and McIntyre winding up as the survivors. There’s nothing to gain from SmackDown winning, and a loss would help with a potential Shane McMahon heel turn, which would be fantastic. Also, expect Randy Orton to find his way into this one. Pick: Raw wins
BC, JJ: McMahon’s surprising — and bizarre — victory in the World Cup tournament in Saudi Arabia as a last-minute replacement was designed to fuel the storyline of his sibling rivalry with sister Stephanie ahead of Survivor Series. It’s because of Shane’s over-enthusiasm that this annual Raw-SmackDown rivalry has a bit of juice this year. Look for the blue brand to get the victory so that disharmony on the Raw side between Stephanie and acting general manager Baron Corbin will continue. While there’s certainly an argument to be made that Strowman or McIntyre are better served as the last man/men standing, Shane will find a way to lie, cheat or steal his way to victory. Pick: SmackDown wins
Women’s Survivor Series Elimination Match — Natalya, Mickie James, Nia Jax, Tamina Snuka & Ruby Riott (Raw) vs. Carmella, Naomi, Asuka, Sonya Deville & TBD (SmackDown)
JJ, BC: This one really can be a close call to determine, but in the end, you’re probably going to be left with a vision of Jax and Snuka standing tall as the sole survivors of the match. Jax has a Raw women’s title shot in her very near future with Rousey, and I suspect WWE will really want to continue to push the narrative of Jax and Snuka being a combined force to be reckoned with. Polishing off the SmackDown women’s team in this traditional 5-on-5 match helps the cause in that regard. Pick: Raw wins
AS: If the Raw men are going to win (spoiler for my later prediction), then the women should take their elimination match. That’s not to mention the fact that Ronda Rousey will likely beat Charlotte Flair in the women’s singles bout on this show. The SmackDown team is simply better — and not comprised of mostly heels — and when you look at who can get a boost from being the sole survivor, there’s only two total names that stand out: Asuka or Jax. With Jax already having her title shot, look for Asuka to stand tall here. By the way, where the hell are Sasha Banks and Bayley? Pick: SmackDown wins
Midcard Champions — Seth Rollins (Raw, IC) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (SmackDown, U.S.)
JJ, BC, AS: Despite not being scheduled for the Survivor Series event whatsoever, Dean Ambrose has been at the forefront of this “dream match” to some. Simply a few years ago, fans were salivating at the thought of seeing Nakamura and Rollins square off in a WWE ring. Yet here we are finally, and it’s all about Ambrose as Rollins more or less refuses to acknowledge he even has this bout coming up. And make no mistake about it, it will be all about Ambrose once again when he interferes and subsequently costs an already-distracted Rollins the match against the United States champion. Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura wins
Ronda Rousey (Raw Women’s Champion) vs. Charlotte Flair (SmackDown)
BC, AS, JJ: While the sting of Becky Lynch pulling out with a broken face and serious concussion certainly takes the edge off of this match, the insertion of Flair (originally expected to have been Rousey’s WrestleMania opponent) does give hope to the idea that WWE knows what is has with Lynch. Could we be on pace to see Rousey-Lynch in April when it all matters? Let’s hope so. For now, Rousey-Flair makes for an interesting diversion, even though it isn’t likely we see a clean finish. This might be the perfect time to plant seeds for an eventual double-turn between Rousey and Lynch by having Rousey’s Four Horsewomen sidekicks from NXT stop by to help her out. Pick: Ronda Rousey wins
Heavyweight Champions — Brock Lesnar (Raw, Universal) vs. Daniel Bryan (SmackDown, WWE)
AS, BC, JJ: Moving from AJ Styles to Bryan in this match was short-sighted, in my opinion, particularly because Styles getting retribution for Lesnar’s win last year could have set up a tremendous blow off at WrestleMania. With Bryan standing as the new champion, it hurts to know that he is basically going to lose his first match with the title. But still, there’s no other way for this to end. A face Bryan beating a heel Lesnar at WrestleMania — that I would buy. A heel Bryan beating a heel Lesnar at Survivor Series does not make a bit of sense. Pick: Brock Lesnar wins