At the 2018 edition of WWE Survivor Series, Raw's Universal Champion Brock Lesnar battled SmackDown's WWE Champion Daniel bryan in an epic contest. What a difference a week makes. Just one week ago, Lesnar was set to tangle with then-WWE Champion AJ Styles in a rematch of their terrific encounter from last year's Survivor Series event. Also, Raw Women's Champion Ronda Rousey was scheduled to take on SmackDown Women's Champion Becky Lynch in a hotly anticipated contest. Yet, by Tuesday night, both matches were off the card.
On Monday's Raw episode, Lynch took part in a show-closing brawl between the Raw and SmackDown women's rosters, only to sustain a concussion and severe facial injuries via a stiff punch from the gargantuan Nia Jax. Lynch was subsequently replaced by Charlotte Flair in her match with Rousey at Survivor Series. Then, on Tuesday's SmackDown, Bryan faced Styles in an impromptu WWE title match that saw a newly heel-turned Bryan emerge victorious, and take Styles' place against Lesnar.
Going into the suddenly happening dream match between Lesnar and Bryan, most dedicated WWE fans felt a mix of both excitement and fear. The excitement was due to the fact that two of the biggest stars in WWE's recent history were set to finally have a one-on-one match, on one of the company's biggest stages no less. The fear was due to Bryan having only just returned to in-ring action earlier this year, after a forced retirement that lasted nearly three years. Bryan had retired due to a combination of neck injuries and concussions, and considering Lesnar's tendency to toss people around like rag dolls, many wondered if Bryan would emerge with his career intact.
The good news is that Bryan does seem to have left Survivor Series still able to wrestle. The bad news is that he didn't leave victorious. While neither title was on the line in this special champion vs. champion, brand vs. brand match, pride certainly was, and while Bryan turned in a valiant effort, it just wasn't enough. Lesnar won via his F-5 finisher, the same move he's used to put away countless opponents, including legends like The Rock, The Undertaker, and Triple H.
Now, that's not to say Bryan didn't give Lesnar a fight. "The Yes Man" hit "The Beast" with everything he had, even utilizing a low blow at one point. Bryan came close to getting a tap out on the former UFC champion with his patented Yes Lock submission hold, as well as almost pinning Lesnar after the same flying knee strike he used to beat Styles. Sadly, Lesnar wouldn't be denied on this night, booking Bryan on repeated flights to "Suplex City," and absolutely brutalizing him. For now, Paul Heyman's client remains WWE's conqueror.