Following last night’s Monday Night Raw, it was made official that this year’s Survivor Series would be expanding on last year’s Survivor Series, which saw the return of the a Team Raw vs. Team Smackdown for the first time since the last WWE Bragging Rights PPV back in 2010. In addition to a traditional Survivor Series elimination match for both the male and female divisions, each brand’s champions would face off against their cross-brand equivalent – WWE Champion Jinder Mahal vs. WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Natalya, Raw Tag Team Champions Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins vs. Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos, and WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz vs. WWE United States Champion Baron Corbin.
Bragging Rights: The History of Raw vs Smackdown
The WWE did it’s first brand split back in 2002, a year after the fall of WCW and ECW, but it would be three years later before the two exclusive brands, Raw and Smackdown, would face off at Survivor Series. For the most part, the brands stayed away from each other, but they’d meet up again in 2008, before the WWE created a specific PPV just for the inter-brand competition, called Bragging Rights, that lasted two years from 2009 to 2010. Following last year’s second attempt at a brand split (the first ended in 2011), the cross-brand competition restarted at last year’s Survivor Series. But ever since the 2002 brand split, there was still singles competition between the brands, as well as Royal Rumbles, Money In The Bank matches and more.
Here’s a running count of all the times Raw faced off against Smackdown and who’s ahead going into Survivor Series 2017.
King of the Ring: Both of Raw’s final four entrants – Brock Lesnar and Rob Van Dam – won their matches against Smackdown’s Chris Jericho and Test, with Brock eventually winning the 2002 King of the Ring. (2-0 Raw)
SummerSlam: Raw’s Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam challenged Smackdown’s Chris Benoit to a title match, retaining his title and moving Raw to 3-0.
Unforgiven: A feud between Raw’s GM Eric Bischoff and Smackdown’s Stephanie McMahon – which resulted in Bischoff crashing Billy & Chuck‘s “wedding” – saw Bischoff’s 3-Minute Warning (Rosey and Jamal) defeat Smackdown’s Billy & Chuck. Raw goes to 4-0.
Royal Rumble: The first Royal Rumble to feature both brands vying for the win, Brock Lesnar took home the Rumble win, with Smackdown back in the game. Raw leads 4-1.
Royal Rumble: Smackdown continued to show it’s Royal Rumble muscle, with Smackdown’s Chris Benoit winning the 2004 edition. Raw still leads 4-2.
WrestleMania 20: In a cross-brand challenge, Raw’s Goldberg defeats Smackdown’s Brock Lesnar in both men’s final WWE matches for years. Raw’s Kane, haunted by his brother, Smackdown’s The Undertaker, takes on The Deadman, but falls victim to the The Streak, evening the brand battle at WrestleMania. Raw stays ahead 5-3.
Royal Rumble: Raw’s Batista finally wins Raw’s first Royal Rumble victory, and gives them a bit of room, moving to 6-3.
WrestleMania 21: Smackdown closes the score with two huge cross-brand match-ups on the grandest stage of them all. Smackdown’s Kurt Angle defeats Raw’s Shawn Michaels and Smackdown’s Undertaker takes out Raw’s Randy Orton, bringing the feud to 6-5.
Survivor Series: In a battle of GMs, Smackdown’s Teddy Long scores an upset over Raw’s Eric Bischoff, which in turn motivates his Team Smackdown (Batista, Lashley, JBL, Randy Orton and Rey Mysterio Jr.) to defeat Team Raw (Shawn Michaels, Kane, Big Show, Carlito and Chris Masters) in the Tag Team Elimination match. Smackdown takes the lead at 7-6.
Royal Rumble: Smackdown’s Rey Mysterio Jr. defies the odds and wins the Royal Rumble, as Smackdown moves to 3-1 in Rumble matches, and 8-6 overall in the brand feud.
WrestleMania 22: The first inter-brand Money In The Bank Ladder Match is won by Raw’s Rob Van Dam. Raw tightens the gap of the feud at 8-7 Smackdown. RVD is singlehandedly accountable for 3 of Raw’s 6 wins now.
Royal Rumble: Smackdown moves to 4-1 in the Rumble, as The Undertaker wins the 2007 Rumble match, pushing Smackdown to 9-7 against Raw overall.
WrestleMania 23: Smackdown scores its first MITB winner, when Mr. Kennedy wins the briefcase. Ironically, he would try and cash in on Raw later on, but fail to cash in against John Cena. But Smackdown moves ahead to 10-7.
Royal Rumble: Raw’s John Cena wins the Royal Rumble and helps bring Raw back, but still down 10-8.
WrestleMania 24: Smackdown’s Batista wins the cross-brand fight against Raw’s Umaga, but neither Smackdown or Raw win this year’s MITB match. Instead, it’s won by ECW’s CM Punk. Smackdown creeps ahead 11-8 on Batista’s victory though.
Night of Champions: WWE Champion Triple H is drafted to Smackdown and faces Raw’s John Cena to bring the title back to Raw but fails. Smackdown’s World Heavyweight Champion Edge defeats Raw’s Batista, bringing both titles to Smackdown. CM Punk, drafted to Raw since his MITB win, cashes in on Edge later that year and brings the title back to Raw. But the two wins give Smackdown a commanding 13-8 lead on Raw.
Survivor Series: In a women’s division elimination match, Team Raw (Beth Phoenix, Candice Michelle, Jillian Hall, Kelly Kelly and Mickie James) defeats Team Smackdown (Maria Kanellis, Maryse, Michelle McCool, Natalya and Victoria), giving Raw their first brand win in traditional Survivor Series matches. Smackdown still leads, however, 13-9.
Royal Rumble: Randy Orton makes it back to back Rumble wins for Raw, as Raw closes in, but still behind 13-10.
WrestleMania 24: Now a member of Raw, CM Punk becomes the first man to win two MITB matches (and in back-to-back years), bringing Raw back into the race. Smackdown still leads, but it’s closed to 13-11.
Bragging Rights: The first specific battle PPV, Smackdown won the inaugural Bragging Rights Trophy, going 2-1 in the match-ups.US Champion The Miz defeats Smackdown’s Intercontinental Champion John Morrison for Raw’s only win of the night, while the women’s Team Smackdown (Michelle McCool, Beth Phoenix, and Natalya) defeated Team Raw (Melina, Kelly Kelly and Gail Kim), and the men’s Team Smackdown (Chris Jericho, Kane, Matt Hardy, R-Truth, Finlay and The Hart Legacy – David Hart Smith & Tyson Kidd) defeats Team Raw (The Big Show, Jack Swagger, Cody Rhodes, Kofi Kingston, Mark Henry and DX – Shawn Michaels & Triple H). Smackdown takes the trophy and moves up 15-12.
Royal Rumble: Smackdown’s Edge regains the Rumble for Smackdown, who improve to 16-12 against Raw.
WrestleMania 26: Raw’s Jack Swagger wins this year’s MITB ladder match, helping trim Smackdown’s lead to 16-13.
Bragging Rights: Raw’s Daniel Bryan defeated Smackdown’s Dolph Ziggler in an early singles match, but Smackdown took the Bragging Rights 14-man elimination match, when Team Smackdown (Alberto Del Rio, Big Show, Edge, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, Rey Mysterio Jr. and Tyler Reks) defeated Team Raw (CM Punk, Ezekiel Jackson, John Morrison, The Miz, R-Truth, Santino Marella and Sheamus). Smackdown holds it’s ground, as it goes to 17-14.
Royal Rumble: The final cross brand battle before the brand split was dissolved, and Smackdown continued to show it’s superiority in the Rumble, when the Blue Brand’s Alberto Del Rio emerges the victor. Smackdown goes to 18-14.
SummerSlam: Raw’s Brock Lesnar and Smackdown’s Randy Orton teased each other on each other’s shows before this beatdown from Lesnar occurred in SummerSlam’s controversial main event. It was a near 12 minute pummeling from Lesnar that left Orton in a puddle of blood, resetting Lesnar as the Beast Incarnate. Smackdown’s lead drops to 18-15.
Survivor Series: The return of the brand split saw the battle re-ignite at Survivor Series, with Raw winning 3 of the 5 match-ups. Smackdown took home the men’s traditional match up, as Team Smackdown (AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton and Shane McMahon) defeated Team Raw (Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, and Braun Strowman), while Smackdown’s Intercontinental Champion The Miz held off Raw’s Sami Zayn. But Raw scored wins when their Cruiserweight Champion THE Brian Kendrick defeated Smackdown’s Kalisto, plus the women’s traditional match and the Tag Team elimination match. The women’s Team Raw (Charlotte, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Alicia Fox and Nia Jax) defeated Team Smackdown (Becky Lynch, Natalya, Naomi, Alexa Bliss and Carmella), while Raw’s Tag Team units of Cesaro & Sheamus, Enzo & Big Cass, Gallows & Anderson, New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) and The Shining Stars (Epico & Primo) defeated Team Smackdown’s American Alpha, Breezango, Heath Slater & Rhyno, The Hype Bros, and The Usos. Smackdown holds a slim lead at 20-18
TLC: In a preview of Survivor Series, Raw’s Finn Balor faces Smackdown’s AJ Styles, when illness forces Balor’s original opponent Bray Wyatt from the match. Balor wins in a battle of former Bullet Club leaders, and Raw moves within one, with Smackdown ahead 20-19
With six inter-brand matches now announced for next month’s Survivor Series, and Smackdown’s lead at only 20-19, this Survivor Series has the makings of either Smackdown pulling way ahead, or Raw making a dramatic comeback after blowing an early lead.
What’s been your favourite inter-brand match-up? Let us know in the comments below!