WWE Survivor Series 2018 Results: Brock Lesnar and Biggest Winners and Losers

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistNovember 19, 2018

WWE Survivor Series 2018 Results: Brock Lesnar and Biggest Winners and Losers

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The 2018 WWE Survivor Series pay-per-view was a hell of a ride for fans that produced wild matches, some unpredictable outcomes and two heaping handfuls of winners and losers.

    Who were the Superstars who left the greatest impression on the WWE Universe for all the right and–in some cases wrong–reasons and why?

    And on which side of the argument did the current, reigning and defending universal champion Brock Lesnar land on?

    Find out now with this recap of Sunday's explosive pay-per-view broadcast.

Winner: Brock Lesnar

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    Brock Lesnar is a favorite target on keyboard warriors.

    They often criticize his part-time status and say he does not deserve the Universal Championship. Some of that frustration is certainly warranted. When he rolls into a show like Survivor Series, though, and delivers the type of performance he did against Daniel Bryan Sunday night, it makes his value to the company becomes obvious. 

    Lesnar not only brought the big-match feel to his main event against Bryan, he sold his ass off for the WWE champion.

    The cocky, arrogant universal champion underestimated Bryan and was suckered into the old rope-a-dope, tiring himself out before falling prey to a spirited and energetic comeback from his opponent. He won the match, sure, but he was taken to the limit by a smart, albeit smaller, opponent.

    For a guy who is often labeled selfish, Lesnar put Bryan over stronger than anyone has in the six months since the bearded wonder returned to the squared circle. He did more for Bryan Sunday night to establish him as a featured player going forward than the booking team had done since WrestleMania.

    On a big stage, against a worker widely considered one of the best in the world, Lesnar put his working boots on and delivered big time. 

    He has a history of this.

    When faced with matches against the men celebrated by diehard fans, like AJ Styles or CM Punk, Lesnar goes above and beyond to have the type of match with them the audience demands. He sells for them and puts them over as tops in their field in a way he has not always been willing to do for the monsters he shares the ring with, such as Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe.

    Sunday's broadcast was no different and his dedication to his performance earns him winner status. 

Losers: Finn Balor and Dolph Ziggler

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Raw dominated all night Sunday but none more than in the 5-on-5 Men's Traditional Survivor Series Elimination match. The red brand completely obliterated SmackDown's team en route to one of the more one-sided victories in recent history.

    Well, not completely, per se. 

    While Braun Strowman, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre rolled to a win, Dolph Ziggler and Finn Balor watched from backstage after being eliminated earlier in the bout.

    Yes, the two smallest guys on the red brand team were dispatched of, leaving the hulking brutes with big muscles and jaw-dropping size advantages to reap rewards of victory.

    What does that say about Balor and Ziggler that they were eliminated?

    It is a damning bit of evidence relating to their status on the Raw roster. Yes, they are immensely talented performers who can be counted on to carry matches and stories. They are workhorses whose in-ring output has never been in question. Doubt it? Look no further than Sunday's match and how long Ziggler was in the ring for it.

    Yet, for as good as they are, they are never booked on the level of the bigger, stronger guys whose charisma comes in the form of a nice set of biceps or a size 12-E shoe.

    If WWE was truly intending to book Raw as an unstoppable force despite its blatant dissension Sunday night, certainly leaving Balor and Ziggler to celebrate with the team would not have hurt.

    Instead, they were dispatched of and shown their place in the pecking order.

    Even if none of their three surviving partners can hold a candle to their work between the ropes.

    No, not even McIntyre.

Winner: Ronda Rousey

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    Credit: WWE.com

    There are those fans who will look at Ronda Rousey and try to dictate what she does and does not deserve, make assertions about why she is in the position she is and complain about management booking her as one of the top stars in WWE despite her inexperience as a pro wrestler but Sunday night, The Baddest Woman on the Planet delivered another performance in a long line of them that dared them to continue running their mouths.

    Rousey, the Raw women's champion, went toe-to-toe and move-for-move with one of the best women's wrestlers to ever lace a pair of boots in Charlotte Flair and not one time did she ever look like she did not belong.

    The same Rousey who has only been wrestling on television since April.

    The rowdy one not only hung with Flair throughout the course of their intensely fought match, she endured a wicked, brutal, vile beating at the hands of the second-generation star that most veterans would not be willing to take, let alone a game-changing UFC Hall of Famer wrestling just her 11th TV match.

    Her body inflamed and covered with welts following a kendo stick attack by Flair, her throat soar from the chair assault that followed, Rousey walked out of Staples Center on her own, a total badass.

    There were boos from fans who have not fully figured out that it is perfectly ok to like both Rousey and Flair or Becky Lynch at the same time, sure. Those same fans who have cheered her in arenas across the country up until Sunday's show turned their backs on her because they somehow believe her success will stunt Lynch's.

    Those fans are wrong.

    Instead of taking the opportunity to boo Rousey, they should sit back and applaud how damn good she is despite being so new to the business. She is going to be responsible for a hell of a lot of classics a lot sooner than later.

Losers: Tag Teams

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    It was a rough night for tag teams in WWE.

    Not only was the 10-on-10 Tag Team Traditional Survivor Series Elimination match relegated to the Kickoff Show and uncounted in the Raw vs. SmackDown tally once the main show started, but the battle between Raw's AOP and SmackDown's The Bar was also easily the worst match of the entire event.

    Add to it that few of the teams outside of The New Day, The Usos and (surprisingly enough given recent booking trends) The Revival were booked with any sort of credibility and you have a recipe for a tag team disaster.

    So few teams in the current tag team division have anything resembling credibility that even if both matches had been awesome, it would be hard to forgive just how poorly managed the tag team divisions on Raw and SmackDown have been run.

    The New Day and The Usos work each other every so often in matches that, though excellent, we have seen an infinite amount of times. The Revival had their legitimacy stripped away upon arriving to the main roster and suffering some ill-timed injuries.

    Then there are the half-dozen thrown-together teams that no one buys and the really low-level teams that could not buy a win but get a pay-per-view payday because the writing team has to fill out a match.

    It hurt everyone involved when that happens and only served to bog down a match that would have been way more awesome had it just been The Revival vs. The Usos or New Day in a straight tag team bout instead.

    As it stands, both tag bouts were heavily flawed and hurt by the involvement of teams fans simply do not care about, no matter how hard they work.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

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    There were a lot of ways for Daniel Bryan's night to go wrong at Survivor Series.

    One, he could have been injured. Thankfully, that did not happen. Two, he could have been effectively squashed by a hulking beast of a Brock Lesnar. Again, thankfully that did not happen.

    Three, he could have seen any and all momentum he gained by turning heel and beating AJ Styles for the WWE Championship erased by an all-too-predictable match layout.

    That did not happen, either.

    Instead, Bryan forced Lesnar to tire himself out by throwing his smaller opponent across the ring for a few minutes. When the opportunity arose, Bryan shook off the cobwebs from his visit to Suplex City and beat the unholy hell out of The Beast Incarnate.

    So much so that it appeared as though Bryan may even do the unthinkable and beat Lesnar in the center of the ring.

    Using a low blow to gain the upper hand and remind fans that yes, Virginia, he is a heel now, Bryan delivered a running knee that almost put Lesnar down. He sidestepped the bigger man, targeted his knees and nearly tapped him out to the YES! Lock.

    He was more intense, more cunning and he damn near scored the most significant upset of the year.

    While he ultimately had his shoulders pinned to the mat, Bryan emerged from the match a far stronger champion than he entered. His offense was put over by a guy not renowned for his selling. He captivated the audience with a nailbiter of a match guys like Braun Strowman and even the talented Samoa Joe would never get out of Lesnar.

    On a night where many were worried that Bryan would have to suffer through another Lesnar snorer, he benefited as much as anyone since AJ Styles to work with Lesnar and will now arrive to SmackDown on Tuesday to begin his run as the brand's top heel and reigning champion with a ton of momentum on his side.

Loser: Samoa Joe

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Samoa Joe was eliminated just 35 seconds into the men's Raw vs. SmackDown elimination tag match Sunday night at Survivor Series.

    The same Joe who was positioned as a submission machine during his rivalry with Brock Lesnar and a cerebral and dangerous challenger to AJ Styles' WWE Championship.

    He was humbled in a way that made no sense given what the SmackDown brand spent months trying to achieve with his character and the Los Angeles fans let WWE Creative know about it, greeting his departure from the match with jeers and expletives.

    And rightfully so.

    Joe is nearing the downside of his career. He has been injured repeatedly of late and appears to be slowing down between the ropes. He still carries himself with a certain attitude and swagger, though, that he is believable as a Samoan badass ready to beat down, choke out and defeat anyone before him.

    Why the decision was made to get rid of him, a noted technical wrestler, by being outwrestled and kicked in the face by Drew McIntyre, is a question that can only be answered by the rocket scientists with the pencil in Vince McMahon's creative meetings.

    One thing is for certain, though: after months spent losing to the likes of Styles and Jeff Hardy, Joe's credibility as a main event attraction on Tuesday nights took a giant blow at Survivor Series.

Winner: Charlotte Flair

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    In all the (much-deserved) hype surrounding Becky Lynch's meteoric rise and the explosive start to Ronda Rousey's WWE career, Charlotte Flair became lost in the shuffle. Yes, despite a genuine Match of the Year candidate at Evolution against her longtime friend Lynch, Flair was sort of forced to the background on the road to Survivor Series.

    She questioned her ability to lead Team SmackDown to general manager Paige and expressed frustration and disappointment with her inability to put Lynch away. That frustration boiled over Sunday night, leading her to assault Rousey in a way no one saw coming.

    Flair caned the hell out of Rousey, leaving welts up and down the Raw women's champion's body. She assaulted referees and used a chair to attack the throat and neck of her opponent. Her eyes were wide, her teeth mashed together in a snarl. She was a woman possessed, completely in the moment.

    At a time when all eyes were on Lynch and Rousey, she seized the spotlight and reminded the WWE Universe just who the hell it was that was the leader of the women's revolution over the last three years and it was a thing of beauty.

    Furthermore, it sets up some really intriguing storylines for fans to sink their teeth into and returns Flair to the heel role she always seemed far more confident and comfortable in.

Loser: SmackDown Live

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    The biggest loser in all of the chaos that was the 2018 Survivor Series pay-per-view was the SmackDown brand as a whole.

    The Tuesday night show was swept in main show action, going 0-6 against the flagship brand, Raw.

    There was no bigger insult to the brand, though, than in the 5-on-5 Traditional Survivor Series Elimination match.

    First, Samoa Joe was unceremoniously eliminated less than a minute into the match. Then, Jeff Hardy, Rey Mysterio and The Miz were picked off and sent packing one-by-one at the hands of Braun Strowman. Yes, The Monster Among Men has been portrayed a certain way over the last two years that would suggest it is possible but that does not excuse the one-sidedness of it all.

    Worst of all for SmackDown, both Sunday night and beyond, was the fact that the last great hope for the brand was...Shane freaking McMahon. The commissioner of the brand was booked stronger than anyone else on the team, withstanding physical punishment to drive the seemingly unstoppable Strowman through a table and pin former world champion Dolph Ziggler after Coast to Coast.

    Yes, the baddest man on the blue team was not multi-time world champions Mysterio or Hardy. It was not the Samoan Submission Machine, nor was it the always resourceful Miz. No, the only man who possibly could have won the match for SmackDown Live was Shane freaking McMahon.

    He may be a fighter at heart but common sense and a whole bunch of fight history suggests someone who cannot actually fight will be dispatched of fairly quickly and effortlessly. Instead, McMahon gets to ground Strowman, which is something no one else was allowed to do.

    Throw in all of the other losses up and down the card and you have a SmackDown brand that was greatly devalued. Interesting, given the fact that FOX just purchased television rights to the show beginning in 2019 for a cool BILLION dollars. 

    Yes, this is likely to set up some sort of storyline involving an angry Shane looking for the SmackDown stars to prove their worth but damn if this didn't stink of another attempt by management to prove once and for all that the Raw brand is vastly superior to that of SmackDown.

Winner: Nia Jax

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    Nia Jax entered Staples Center Sunday arguably the most hated Superstar on the roster.

    She was the topic of great criticism after she delivered a right hand that broke Becky Lynch's face and cost her the opportunity to battle Ronda Rousey later in the show. As a result, she was met with a thunderous chorus of boos Sunday as she took to the squared circle for the women's Team Raw vs. Team SmackDown match.

    And she loved every second of it.

    Jax played into the heat, smiling or toying with her "injured" hand that she used to break Lynch's face.

    That she was booked to win the entire match by pinning Asuka only helped matters.

    Jax is in a unique position where she is scheduled to face Ronda Rousey, presumably at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, but a match with Lynch is most definitely the bigger money-maker. Fans want to see the cocky competitor get her comeuppance against the woman whose destiny she interrupted.

    The former Raw women's champion would be wise to keep her head down, resist the urge to break any more faces and continue to perform at the level she did Sunday. If she can, she may enjoy the greatest run of her young career.

Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura

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    To say Shinsuke Nakamura's main roster run to this point has been a disappointment would be an understatement.

    It has sucked.

    Underutilized and mishandled due to a language barrier that prevents him from cutting a traditional wrestling promo, Nakamura has seen his star fade considerable since his rivalry with AJ Styles wrapped up this past summer.

    The quality of his in-ring work has also suffered, thanks in large point to what, at times, appears to be a lack of motivation.

    That was not the case Sunday night as Nakamura and Seth Rollins tore the house off Staples Center. The two respected, internationally recognized stars who had never battled before Survivor Series wowed fans with a competitive, back-and-forth match, set the bar for workrate Sunday.

    For Rollins, it was old hat. The Architect has been one of the best wrestlers on television all year round. For Nakamura, the match was a redemption of sorts following a lackluster year. Despite what appears to be a lack of intention to push him, hopefully Nakamura will continue to impress and prove to American fans just what the big deal was when he signed with the company.