WWE Survivor Series 2019: Does Raw, SmackDown or NXT Have Better Champions?
The annual WWE brand warfare has been taken up a notch for Survivor Series 2019 with NXT also involved in the fight against Raw and SmackDown.
There will be the standard men's and women's elimination matches along with several Triple Threat contests that pit each brand's champions against each other.
Although no belts are on the line, pride is still at stake. No show wants to be seen as weaker and the champions of each brand should represent the best each roster has to offer.
So which brand has the better champions heading into Survivor Series? Let's compare all the titleholders in WWE.
The Oddball Champions
Unlike some previous years, there isn't a proper balance of champions between the rosters, so several champions are not factored into the Survivor Series brand supremacy; for example, NXT UK is being incorporated into NXT as a whole rather than a competitive entity.
This has left NXT UK women's champion Kay Lee Ray out of the women's Triple Threat match, although it's highly doubtful she'd be anything but the fourth-ranked entrant.
NXT UK tag team champions Gallus (Mark Coffey and Wolfgang) would also fall short against The Viking Raiders, The Undisputed Era and The New Day.
United Kingdom champion Walter would be interesting to see against the other men's world titleholders, but that match isn't happening, either. He's undefeated, so he would stand a chance to win, but he's still not as big of a deal as someone like Brock Lesnar.
There's also no direct correlation to Raw's 24/7 Championship on any other brand. The title may be defended at random during Survivor Series, possibly with SmackDown and NXT stars vying for it, but there's no counterpart to match holder Samir Singh to.
Likewise, The Kabuki Warriors have the Women's Tag Team Championship belts on Raw, but they are floating champions between all brands and have no parallels for comparison.
The Cruiserweight Championship is also cross-branded between NXT, NXT UK and 205 Live. There is no equivalent champion on any other brand for Lio Rush to face.
The Tag Team Champions
If this were a contest of strength, The Viking Raiders would have it. Their only match is Big E, who would still be up against a wall in the form of Ivar.
A few weeks back, they would have been seen as favorites, but they've lost some of that unstoppable credibility since losing to The O.C. at Crown Jewel on October 31.
These teams are rather equal, though. They all have a lot of experience together, are roughly in the mid-30s age range and very successful.
More than any other champions showcase, this is the hardest to pick a favorite in, but the advantage may go to The New Day. They're the longest-reigning tag team champions in WWE history and have nearly matched the record for most overall title reigns.
As good as The Undisputed Era and The Viking Raiders are, The New Day is perpetually at the top of the tag team division and have cornered that market for five years.
This point goes to SmackDown.
The Midcard Champions
United States champion AJ Styles, North American titleholder Roderick Strong and intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura are of the same ilk. All three come with an "indy darling" vibe and a reputation for being rock solid in the ring.
Among the three, Nakamura has had the roughest time in WWE. He started off strongly in NXT and even reached major heights on the main roster with his 2018 Royal Rumble victory, but he lost his title match at WrestleMania 34 to Styles and hasn't quite recovered since.
All his midcard title reigns have been rather weak, largely with big gaps of time between periods when WWE puts any focus on him. He would rank the lowest in this match.
Strong was struggling for a bit until he joined The Undisputed Era. After that, he started to finally capture some gold.
Right now, he's at his peak. However, had there not been a prophecy story of everyone in the stable holding belts at the same time, it's unclear if Strong would be North American champion at all.
Styles has been a major player from the start, though. He is rarely out of the title picture and has wins over some of the biggest names in WWE like John Cena and Roman Reigns to his name.
Just like Strong in The Undisputed Era, The Phenomenal One is also part of a stable; the difference is he's the leader.
Styles is unarguably the biggest name of the three with the most accolades, so this point goes to Raw.
The Women's Champions
Credit where it's due, Bayley is no slouch. She's a multi-time champion who helped kick the Women's Evolution into gear and is at the top of SmackDown's women's division for good reason.
However, compared to Shayna Baszler's dominant track record and Becky Lynch's massive star power, she doesn't stand a chance of an unlikely upset.
After ruling Bayley out, it gets tricky to determine the best.
Lynch has been the most popular attraction for the past year, has held her title since WrestleMania 35 in April and is the only person to have beaten Ronda Rousey.
Baszler, on the other hand, is about to surpass Asuka's total title reign length and has wiped the floor with nearly everyone she's stepped in the ring with.
The Man is not infallible, having lost the SmackDown Women's Championship at the next pay-per-view after WrestleMania. She is beaten every now and then when the Raw title isn't on the line.
Likewise, Baszler is largely undefeated, save for a brief hiccup when she traded the belt with Kairi Sane. But she doesn't wrestle nearly as often and is on a roster filled with rookies in comparison to the likes of Charlotte Flair, Natalya and other higher-profile athletes.
At Survivor Series, WWE will probably have Lynch or Baszler make Bayley tap out to avoid the other looking bad, but it's a flip of a coin as to who will win.
If pushed to make a choice, though, Raw gets another point, with Lynch just above Baszler due to the disparity in notoriety. They will be fierce opponents, and the only thing that may save The Man from a loss is how valuable she is to WWE right now.
The Men's World Champions
For whatever reason, WWE decided to avoid logic and not book the men's world champions against each other this year.
Perhaps that was because Adam Cole would look small compared to Brock Lesnar and Bray Wyatt and WWE didn't want to make NXT seem lesser. Maybe it was because everyone is a heel and there's no way to have The Fiend fight these two without it seeming awkward.
Ignoring how WWE copped out, though there's a clear and obvious winner here in The Beast Incarnate.
Cole is great, but he has struggled against much smaller opponents than these two. He wouldn't stand much of a chance.
Wyatt is over with the crowd and looks the best he has in a long while, but even that renewed vigor can't compare him to Lesnar.
The Beast is an entirely different animal from everyone not just on the current roster, but also in almost all WWE history.
He is arguably the most protected Superstar ever, having only lost a handful of times to big names and normally not taking a pin in the process.
The Fiend may seem unstoppable, but if anyone were to put that to the test, it would be Lesnar, who gets another point for Raw in this contest.
The Final Verdict
NXT is going to put up a fight come Survivor Series on Sunday, but without the NXT UK and cruiserweight titles factored in, they have no advantage against anyone else from Raw and SmackDown from an overall perspective.
As the developmental brand, it is still a roster of mostly rookies who haven't established themselves as much as Raw and SmackDown, so most wins don't mean the same.
SmackDown has The New Day and Wyatt as potential winners but still fall short, while Bayley and Nakamura don't measure up.
Raw, on the other hand, has strong favorites in every category with Lesnar, Lynch, Styles and The Viking Raiders.
As much as Friday Night SmackDown has received an upgrade with the move to Fox, the flagship show is still Raw and will prove to be again on Sunday.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.