By Steven Flora
In a stunning moment, SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon and the rest of the SDLive roster brought Monday Night Raw under siege.
SmackDown sends a message to Raw
Raw General Manager Kurt Angle intended to use Team Red’s main event to announce the brand’s competitors for this year's men’s traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match. Unfortunately, an offhanded remark earlier in the evening to visiting SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon about the blue brand’s supposedly thin ranks came back to haunt The Olympic Hero when The Prodigal Son marched his roster through the audience to surround Angle in the ring and place Raw “under siege.”
With The New Day leading the charge, SmackDown picked the Raw Superstars apart one by one across the entire backstage area. Chad Gable made a beeline for Jason Jordan, the Women's roster handily overpowered Sasha Banks & Co., and Baron Corbin even took out a hapless backstage worker. Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins put up the toughest fight by attacking from the shadows, but Team Blue overpowered The Hounds of Justice before leading Angle back to the top of the ramp.
Rusev and Corbin marched the Raw General Manager to the ring for a final face-to-face confrontation with Shane, who commanded Angle to bring his gold medal and what was left of his roster to Survivor Series, where SmackDown would finish what they started. And given the display that had just unfolded, Shane didn’t even have to steal Angle’s catchphrase (though he did anyway) for The Olympic Hero to realize his promise may very well come true.
Side Note: Such a fun ending to Raw and I liked seeing SmackDown getting the upper hand here. The main point is SmackDown targeting the scarcity of Raw's roster and using this to their advantage. Not even 2/3 of the Shield could save Raw tonight. This is a slow build to Survivor Series and no doubt we should expect some more carnage in the coming weeks.
Styles returns to Raw for one night only to help the Shield
AJ Styles & Raw Tag Team Champions Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins def. Intercontinental Champion The Miz, Cesaro & Sheamus
Styles showed up to WWE TLC on about five minutes of sleep and still gave “The Demon” Finn Bálor the fight of his life. So, you can imagine how the former WWE Champion competed after a full night’s rest when he teamed with The Shield against the formidable combo of The Miz & The Bar in Raw’s opening contest.
For one, Styles’ presence was a galvanizing force for his two teammates, who had been through a hellish TLC Match not 24 hours earlier, to say nothing of a Raw audience that was pumped to see the former WWE Champion again. And he proved to be a life-saver as well, tagging into the match in the waning minutes when Ambrose & Rollins needed him most. A Phenomenal Forearm to Cesaro earned the victory after The Shield dispatched Miz and Sheamus with stereo suicide dives, but the arrival of Kane and subsequent five-on-three beatdown ended Styles’ night on a note that was far from phenomenal.
Side Note: Seeing Styles on Raw is definitely not a bad thing. Not sure why fans are getting annoyed that Styles is technically competing for both brands when he needed the rest after TLC and as he was still traveling with the Raw brand … it made sense to use the best wrestler in the world whilst he was still available! Styles worked so well with Rollins & Ambrose it just looked like Styles was a natural member of the Shield! Miz, Cesaro and Sheamus worked well but the real stars of the match was Rollins, Ambrose & Styles, who delivered a great match after both their grueling matches at TLC. Also major credit to Styles for flying 18 hours to Minnesota to fight Balor and then again on Raw with the depletion of the roster … that’s dedication!
Brock Lesnar accepts Jinder Mahal's Survivor Series Challenge
Ask, and you shall receive. After WWE Champion Jinder Mahal brazenly challenged Brock Lesnar to a Champion vs. Champion Match last week on SmackDown Live, the Universal Champion arrived on Raw, Paul Heyman in tow, to fire back in earnest at The Modern Day Maharaja.
Team Brock responded to the WWE Champion’s challenge with a bold takedown of the “Make-Believe Maharaja” and the “Singh-Along Brothers,” calling Mahal unworthy of both the WWE Title and the honor of being beaten, victimized and conquered by The Beast. That said, if Mahal wanted to follow in Randy Orton’s shoes and tempt fate by crossing brand lines to fight Lesnar, The Conqueror would be more than happy to give him what he asked for. Survivor Series it is.
Side Note: This was highly entertaining. Though I have to say, justified at the least, Heyman discrediting Mahal's accomplishments so far was pretty sad, sad in the fact that though Heyman was speaking the truth, it almost devalued Mahal's title run. I can't see any hope for Mahal and my only hope is that Lesnar shows at least some mercy.
Kane sends a message to the Raw roster
Kane def. Finn Balor
As it turns out, Kane helping to shove Braun Strowman in the bed of a garbage truck last night wasn’t just an intra-squad spat that got extremely out of hand; The Big Red Machine had come back to Raw specifically to target Strowman and, upon further examination, had found The Monster Among Men wanting. Now, having disposed of The Gift of Destruction for several weeks or even months, Kane declared himself Raw’s only monster and, to prove his point, demanded fresh “competition” from any Raw Superstar bold enough to challenge him.
Bálor gamely answered the call, and Kane quickly made him regret the decision: The Devil’s Favorite Demon dismantled the former Universal Champion with ruthless abandon, targeting Finn’s back with a coordinated attack. Bálor turned on the jets to fight back into contention, but Kane delivered a coup de grâce of his own with three chokeslams for the win — a parting gift from one demon to another, and a warning for anyone else who’d like to try their luck.
Side Note: I don’t understand why Kane went over. If you wanted to make Kane strong shouldn’t he have gone up against someone of lesser value, like Curt Hawkins or Curtis Axel? Why Balor? Balor came off a strong win against Styles and this just killed his momentum. Still wondering why creative chose Balor and not someone else.
Raw's Women's team at Survivor Series gets FOXY
Alicia Fox def. Sasha Banks and Bayley to become captain of Raw’s Women’s Survivor Series team
Well, this is unexpected. After a backstage confrontation between Sasha Banks, Bayley and Alicia Fox over who would captain the Raw Women’s Survivor Series team led to a settle-it-in-the-ring Triple Threat Match, Miss Fox once again surprised everyone by defeating both of her foes to earn the captaincy of Team Red at WWE’s fall classic.
The feat was doubly impressive given the overwhelmed former Divas Champion seemingly tried to end the match by clanging the ring bell. This, of course, did not end the match, and a Bayley-to-Belly briefly took Fox out of contention to bring it down to Bayley and The Boss. And then Alicia turned the tables in short order by hitting a Bayley-to-Belly of her own on The Huggable One, escaping the Bank Statement and throwing Sasha into Bayley before covering The Huggable One for the victory.
Side Note: Really weird match, almost like it was thrown together at the last minute, though in reality it was put together the day before. I’m really happy Fox got the victory because she deserves it. Her crazy antics and unstable actions could be focused on taking out the SmackDown Women’s division and all that can be is a plus to Raw.
Other notable moments
Asuka vs. Emma: One night after Emma shocked the world last night by hanging with Asuka in The Empress of Tomorrow's highly-anticipated WWE debut, the Australian Superstar turned in a performance in a Raw rematch that was proof positive the earlier effort was no fluke ... and she still came out on the losing end. With a well-scouted game plan at her disposal, Emma was about as ready as one can ever be for Asuka, but it wasn’t enough to slow down the undefeated former NXT Women’s Champion, who absorbed a few big hits from Emma — including a couple of nasty face-first collisions with the turnbuckle — and adapted beyond the point of competition, reversing a roll-up into the excruciating Asuka Lock for the tapout victory. Winner: Asuka.
Elias vs. Jason Jordan: The events of WWE TLC led to a rare, if contested, pinfall defeat for Elias. On Raw, he lost again in a rematch to Jordan — though this time, it must be said, of his own volition. After Jordan interrupted yet another of Elias’ performances — this time by cutting his mic in the middle of song that had been billed as “uninterrupted” — Elias decided to smash his guitar over the hard-charging Jordan’s shoulder after he’d been driven into the barricade several times (once in front of the Green Bay Packers). The six-string strike left a gruesome welt on the Jordan's triceps, and the ensuing disqualification handed Jordan the victory ... but it's hard to argue Elias didn't win the night. Winner: Jason Jordan via DQ.
Team Lucha Lucha vs. The Zo Train: The Zo Train is off the tracks. One night after reclaiming the WWE Cruiserweight Title from Kalisto, Enzo Amore assembled the best crew money could buy … and The King of Flight wiped the floor with them thanks to an assist from his own squad, the gravity-defying quartet of Cedric Alexander, Rich Swann, Mustafa Ali & Gran Metalik. The best thing that could be said for The Zo Train was that Enzo’s lost voice didn’t stop his pre-match diatribe — Drew Gulak delivered it in the champ’s stead. But apart from that, it was something of a nightmare for Enzo & Co., from a quadruple superkick to Gulak to an outside-the-ring brawl that took out everyone but Kalisto, Swann, Enzo and Ariya Daivari. A Swann superkick to Daivari sent The Persian Lion stumbling into and accidentally tagging in Enzo, who was summarily dismantled by The King of Flight. The Zo Train attempted to interfere, but Team Lucha Lucha denied them with a pair of suicide dives and moonsault, and a Salida del Sol sent Kalisto into his title rematch on 205 Live with all the momentum of a … well, a train. Winner: Team Lucha Lucha.
Mickie James confronted Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss: Does Bliss deserve more respect than she gets? By any measure, the self-dubbed “Goddess” of WWE has been a successful Raw Women’s Champion. Dominant, even. And with SmackDown Women’s Champion Natalya lying in wait at Survivor Series, Alexa has the opportunity to claim cross-brand supremacy. But Bliss found herself uncharacteristically riled up by the audience’s refusal to tell her “You deserve it,” as the WWE Universe instead poured out their adulation for Mickie James after her heartfelt effort against Bliss in their WWE TLC title bout. When the audience still refrained from giving Bliss her props, the six-time Women’s Champion James arrived to plant Bliss with a pitch-perfect DDT — the only thing, Mickie said, Alexa truly deserved.
Overall Raw Rating: B-
Things to look forward to next week
How will Raw respond to SmackDown's attack?
Can Strowman get revenge on the Big Red Monster?
Can Alicia Fox maintain her sanity whilst leading Team Red?
Where is Neville?
Who is ready to take on Asuka?
Will the Shield be finally reunited?