A Thanksgiving tradition like no other, Survivor Series is the one night a year Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown compete in head-to-head competition, and even though this year’s Survivor Series will be taking place inside WWE ThunderDome due to COVID-19, there’s still plenty of buzz around this year’s event.

New WWE Champion Drew McIntyre will square off against SmackDown’s Tribal Chief, the Universal Champion Roman Reigns. RAW’s United States Champion Bobby Lashley goes one-on-one with SmackDown’s Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn. The RAW and SmackDown Tag Team Champions and Women’s Champions square off as the New Day face the Street Profits, and Asuka faces Sasha Banks, and we can’t forget about the two traditional Survivor Series elimination matches.

The card is filled from top-to-bottom with interesting matchups, but most of the interesting characters come from one side: the SmackDown side.

The blue brand has been killing it on FOX ever since the pandemic took WWE out of their travel schedule, and since the ThunderDome’s inception in August, SmackDown has been must-watch television every Friday night on FOX.

Reigns’ return at SummerSlam, interfering after the conclusion of “The Fiend” vs. Braun Strowman for the Universal Championship hit different. After being away for over five months due to COVID-19 concerns, Reigns returned with a vengeance, and his pairing alongside his “Special Counsel”, Paul Heyman, has been nothing but money.

Zayn also returned shortly after the ThunderDome’s debut, and he’s been killing it as a cowardly heel on the microphone, the Street Profits are a fun, entertaining duo that always put on good matches and bring a smile to your face, and Banks, alongside Bayley, has carried the women’s division as a whole over the last year.

However, it’s not just the champions that have made SmackDown more entertaining than RAW by a mile over the last year; it’s the supporting cast. 

Jey Uso’s career has skyrocketed to new heights since working with Reigns, Daniel Bryan has put on some of the best matches I’ve seen him put on, the Rollins-Mysterio rivalry has evolved into a love triangle between Rollins’ disciple Murphy and Mysterio’s daughter Aaliyah and is an example of great storying, King Corbin is always a reliable heel, and Otis is that hard working blue-collar man you just want to root for! Seeing him get the Money in the Bank briefcase ripped out of his hands by the Miz broke my heart!

On the other side, since being inside the ThunderDome, RAW has been carried by Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton, Bray Wyatt and Alexa Bliss. All four of these individuals feel like stars. The rest of the roster feels stale.

After their hot start over the summer, The Hurt Business has cooled down over the past couple of months ever since feuding with RETRIBUTION (which is a joke in itself).

Since winning back the RAW Women’s Championship from Banks at SummerSlam, Asuka has had no credible challenger for her championship, and her reign hasn’t done anything to evaluate the division. The same could be said for the U.S. Championship and the Tag Titles. There’s just no credible challengers for any of the champions on the RAW brand, so their champions, besides McIntyre, feel like they don’t matter, unlike SmackDown.

SmackDown hasn’t won Survivor Series since 2005, and it’s time for the blue brand to take back their crown as the “A” show in WWE, not just because SmackDown is on national television with FOX, but because over the last six months, SmackDown has constantly put out a better product than RAW, and the superstars on Friday nights deserve to be rewarded for their success.

Brandon Lewis is a columnist. Email him at blewis47@kent.edu

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