WWE Survivor Series: What we learned on a crucial night for several key competitors

While Survivor Series was a clean sweep for Raw in scoreline terms, there was much more than simple stats to ponder on a brutal night in Los Angeles.

Raw rode off into the sunset with an emphatic victory to their name, while SmackDown were left reeling after a very bad night at the office at the annual head-to-head showdown.

Of course, it is never as straightforward as that, and the events of Sunday night will have implications all round.

We analyse five of the key areas of the conversation from a hectic evening of action in the Staples Center…

Nia Jax is one of WWE’s biggest heels now

Eric Bischoff’s theory that “controversy creates cash” in pro wrestling remains as valid today as it was in the nWo era – and was proved by Nia Jax at Survivor Series.

Taking full ownership of the moment when a stray punch injured Becky Lynch, causing her to miss the show and arguably the biggest match of her career, Jax blew on her knuckles as she entered the arena and was promptly booed to the rafters.

There is no blurring of the lines of the face/heel divide here – the fans simply can’t stand the weapon of Lass destruction, and WWE needs to capitalise on that now.

Daniel Bryan is right back at the top of the mountain

When Bryan returned from his injury-enforced lay-off, fans ran through their personal wish lists of opponents they could now witness him face in increasingly mouth-watering matches.

Few would have had Brock Lesnar among their picks but Bryan possibly did. The reason? He’ll have wanted to prove to himself he can still take the type of stiff beating dispensed by the Beast.

Bryan took it and gave plenty back in his best performance since his return, proving the decision to make him SmackDown’s number one again was the right one.

Ronda Rousey has the potential to be the best of all time

While the response she got from the crowd was unfortunate, in the cold light of the next day it is clear that Rousey’s willingness to absorb some heavy punishment in the name of entertaining the wrestling fans should be admired.

She sold with the kind of beautiful realism that perhaps only someone with a legitimate combat sports background could produce and it contributed to the best match of the night.

In her short career, Rousey has already produced several such eye-catching matches and will feature heavily in the voting for the best competitor of 2018; an incredible achievement for a first-year rookie.

SmackDown needs to make some changes

A 6-0 whitewash is the ideal motivation for improvement, and SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon confirmed on Twitter that “something is going to have to change” on Tuesday.

With AJ Styles due some time off after a long run with the WWE title and Samoa Joe reportedly nursing an injury (hence his swift elimination on Sunday night), there could be a reshuffle at the top of the blue brand division.

McMahon has Rey Mysterio back in the fold, established veteran Randy Orton and the popular Rusev were left off Survivor Series altogether, while the emerging – and highly-rated – Andrade “Cien” Almas will all be in the frame to breathe some life into the Tuesday night crew.

Where does this all leave Becky Lynch?

There were long and loud “Becky” chants during both women’s matches at Survivor Series and the Lass Kicker remains at the front of the fans’ minds and close to their hearts.

But did Charlotte Flair steal some of her thunder? Was the kendo stick and chair-based beatdown the Queen put on Ronda Rousey originally intended for Lynch? And what effect will it have on her that she was not able to mete out that punishment, with Flair seemingly elevated back to the top tier once again.

SmackDown will be an interesting watch this week, to see in which direction the strange relationship between Flair and Lynch heads.

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