It’s Survivor Series time. WWE set both shows up with team building and in fighting in the build up to the year’s last big four PPV’s. We saw tonnes of rematches, the newest odd couple in WWE and Rob McCauley’s favourite NXT tag team made an appearance. It’s been a busy week so let’s skip the introductions and get into the action.
Team Red Taking Shape
Survivor Series is now fast approaching so RAW started the show by addressing their men’s and women’s team. Baron Corbin took to the ring to address most of his roster and informed the audience he had made himself captain of team RAW. He wouldn’t be taking part in the match but announced that Drew, Dolph and Braun would all be on the men’s team. He also announced the captain of the women’s team, Alexa Bliss. Alexa came out adorned in business garb and set a match out to help her pick some members of her team. Eventually the promos come to a halt as Braun came out ready to kill Corbin and chased him off.
Bobby Lashley defeats Finn Balor via Dominator/Riott Squad vs Banks, Bayley and Natalya ends in no contest
Welcome to the rematch episode of RAW as three matches were rematches from recent weeks. The first two were the Riott Squad vs Sasha Banks, Bayley and Natalya and Bobby Lashley vs Finn Balor. The Riott Squad match ended in a no contest after Ruby Riott broke a pair of glasses belonging to Jim Neidhart. This distracted a heartbroken Natalya and could have set up a win but instead Natalya cries at ringside and the Squad just walks off. No one wins and there is no proper finish to the match. The other match had a proper finish that saw Lio Rush and Bobby Lashley best the Irish underdog. Rush would once again interject himself in the match to throw Finn off and Lashley would take advantage of the distractions. Again this was a fairly straight match that was quite fun but we’ve seen it so many times now. WWE needs to start doing something new with their talent.
Time for a Victory
Apollo Crews defeats Jinder Mahal via Standing Moonsault
Apollo Crews got a win. Let me repeat that. Apollo Crews got a win. It may have only been over Jinder Mahal but he is a former WWE Champion and is still a sizeable enough name for a first win. The match was nothing spectacular but I feel it needs documenting that Apollo Crews won a match on a televised episode of RAW. Once again it appears that his strongest moves are the Military Press slam and the Standing Moonsault but hey if it wins him matches I’ll take it. Hopefully this starts leading to a feud of some kind and not just a small two match push or something.
Champions of Pain
Authors of Pain defeat Seth Rollins via Powerbomb Neckbreaker
It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Seth Rollins. He lost his best friend, he’s lost his stable and now he has lost his RAW Tag Team Titles. Once again Corbin has taken his Shield hatred to another level as he had Seth defend both titles against the Authors of Pain. He put up a valiant effort and gave the AOP a fight but in the end he succumbed to the numbers game and lost his belts. It takes a special breed of wrestler to make a crowd believe he is going to beat these types of odds and Seth had the crowd believing in him. The crowd would have been behind him regardless whether he lost in minutes or seconds.
Still Sticking the Knife in
As if losing the belt wasn’t bad enough, Seth was then attacked after the match by Dean Ambrose. Once again there was neither explanation nor reason for the attack. Dean trash talks a little and hits a Dirty Deeds before walking off. It seems WWE is trying to milk this for all it’s worth right now. Dean is continuously going to go after Seth until he is ready to finally reveal the grand reasoning behind this relentless assault.
Ronda Rousey is still a natural on the mic it would seem. She was tasked with delivering a harsh promo insulting and demeaning a fan favourite to a UK crowd. There were some audible boos as she approached the ring but she seemed unfazed by the hostility. She took aim at Becky’s journey to wrestling, making short of any hardships Becky had faced all the while bigging herself up. It was a simple promo but it did the job it needed to.
Family Comes First
Nia Jax defeats Ember Moon via Pop Up Samoan Drop
The third rematch of the night as Ember Moon and Nia Jax fought in the ring once again. This was almost the same as their other matches and it once again saw Nia go over. After the match Tamina once again comes to the ring, stares down Nia and delivers her own Samoan Drop on Ember Moon. After feigning some shock at Tamina’s actions, Nia joins in on the beatdown and the two hug it out. It appears that Nia and Tamina have joined forces. This could potentially be a monster tag team for the women’s division, especially if those tag belts are introduced soon.
One of the main threads of this week’s RAW was Braun chasing down Corbin. This led to a couple of funny moments where Corbin’s location was revealed and he would have to flee from Strowman once again. This also meant Corbin would have to conduct his business from backstage rather than his office. This was shown when he made Seth’s match from an unknown location via the titan tron. The next time he was seen was when he was being interviewed from the storage section and this was revealed to the whole audience, including Strowman. The chase ended when Corbin ran into a limo and fled the arena as Braun tried to chase after him. Corbin escaped a mauling this time but you can guarantee Strowman will not give up the pursuit.
Drew is a Monster
Drew McIntyre defeats Kurt Angle via Ankle Lock
Drew McIntyre was Corbin’s stand in for a match against Angle. This had originally been penned in as Corbin vs Angle for control of the RAW Survivor Series team. With Corbin out of the building, Drew took his place and dominated Angle. This was torture as Drew took Angles best shots and then picked him apart. There was trash talk, taunting and Drew offered his leg for Angle to work over. Angle did the best he could be was eventually dispatched by his own moves as he tapped out to Drew’s application of the Ankle Lock. This means Corbin keeps control and Drew looks even more dominant. Not to mention this is just another example of Kurt putting the current generation talent over. He is using his in ring time to make his opponents look incredible. Drew was already a monster but just look at the heat he will generate from his bullying performance here. It was a strong way to end the show and a very powerful message to send to the rest of the locker room.
Team Blue is on Shaky Ground
Smackdown started with Shane declaring that despite winning the WWE World Cup, he is not actually the best in the world. He then goes on to announce the co captains for Smackdown’s Survivor Series team, Daniel Bryan and the Miz. They try to form an uneasy alliance for the sake of the brand but are clearly not happy with their situation. This leaks into the choices they make too. Miz and Bryan both decide Shane McMahon should be their first pick, y’know because he’s the best in the world. They then argue over Rey Mysterio and decide to let their last two choices fight it out for their place.
Usos Lead Smackdown Live
Usos defeat New Day via Uso Splash
Once again the tag team division provided an enjoyable match on Smackdown. Whilst the Bar will fight AOP at Survivor Series the rest of the tag division will fight the best from RAW. The Usos and New Day battled it out to see who would be leading the charge. We got another fun match that resulted in the Usos getting the win and becoming the leaders. Their first decision was to bring in the New Day and they showed their respect for one another in the ring. This is two strong teams on the Smackdown team so far.
Making Becky Cross
Becky Lynch defeats Nikki Cross via Disarm-her
After Ronda’s promo on RAW, Becky responded with some fire of her own. Again she ripped into Ronda for a lack of experience and insulted the competition Ronda had currently defended against. Becky worked herself up with her promo and decided to issue an open fight to the Smackdown locker room. However her opponent would not be coming from that locker room, instead Nikki Cross would be presented by Sanity as Becky’s playmate. She has a competitive match with Lynch, giving her hell for a lot of the match before eventually succumbing to the Disarm-her after being bounced face first off the ropes. This was a strong debut for Cross and if it means that Cross is now on Smackdown then the division should be scared as a new competitor has come to play.
Battle of the Generations
Rey Mysterio defeats Andrade Cien Almas via 619
Rey Mysterio is being given the push of a lifetime right now and it’s so fun to watch. Almas was his opponent this week as Mysterio had to pull out all the stops to impress Miz and keep his spot on the Survivor Series team. This was one hell of a match. It may seem like Almas can’t get a win right now but look at it this way, he is always in amazing matches and kept relevant. His time will come eventually. For now let’s just watch his matches and marvel at the feats of wrestling excellence he is capable of. Rey is still able to go and he worked incredibly well alongside Almas. At this point Almas may not even be able to pull off a bad match anymore. It should also be mentioned that after the match, Rey eats an RKO from Orton. I don’t know why it was just a thing that happened.
So we know the women’s Survivor Series team but they didn’t get all that much time. They were introduced by Paige then insulted by Mandy Rose. Charlotte was a no-show and Rose was annoyed that Sonya Deville was picked over her. The rest of the Smackdown team tried to ignore Rose’s insults until it came to Naomi who decided to hit her in the face. A brawl ensued and the segment ended. This is a strong team and Charlotte’s dejectedness should play a key role in their story. Just to list them, the team is Carmella, Sonya Deville, Asuka, Naomi and Charlotte.
Joe Makes Bryan Snap
Samoa Joe defeats Jeff Hardy via Coquina Clutch
This was it, the battle of the choices. Samoa Joe for the Miz and Jeff Hardy for Bryan. Whoever won the match would be the last man on the Survivor Series team. When Joe won, Bryan snapped. He lost his patience with everything. Bryan attacks Joe and then when Miz tries to calm Bryan down, he gets attacked too. Lastly the greatest wrestler in the world Shane McMahon tries to stop Bryan and he is given a judo throw. Bryan has snapped after weeks of frustration and it seems he is going to struggle to work with half of his team. This again needs to factor into the story going forward.
Let’s Get Heavy
Heavy Machinery defeat Forgotten Sons via Pop Up Front Slam
NXT opened with a fast paced and fun tag match between the Forgotten Sons and Heavy Machinery. Both teams wanted to make the most of their TV time and the match benefits because of it. Otis and Tucker try to use their power game but are beaten and grinded down by the tag team trickery of the Forgotten Sons. Tucker becomes a hot tag and Machinery mount some comeback before being knocked back again. There are a few false finishes and eventually Otis is left in the ring with Blake and he gets the pin. This was an excellent opener and it did wonders for both teams.
Team Kick wins again
Dakota Kai defeats Taynara Conti via Flip Backstabber
Dakota Kai may be one of the most underrated wrestlers in NXT’s women’s division. She always puts on great matches and she may be one of the best underdogs NXT has. She was put into a match against the Mae Young Classic competitor Taynara Conti. Kai started strong but was soon stopped by Conti targeting Kai’s arm. Conti gets some time to abuse Kai and is eventually stopped by a series of stiff kicks and is eventually put down by the flip backstabber. Another fun match that keeps Kai relevant and on TV. Kai is getting everywhere at the moment as she is also enjoying some time on NXT UK as well. This isn’t a complaint, she deserves the TV time.
Why Johnny Why?
Ever since it was revealed that Johnny Gargano had attacked Aleister Black, the big question was why. Why would Gargano attack Black? Why would NXT’s top baby face decide to attack the former champion and act so evil? Well it seems that Gargano is just doing what is necessary to get ahead now. After his matches with Ciampa, it was clear something had changed. Gargano has embraced some of his evil to give himself the opportunities he needs to succeed. He presented his argument on a video as he followed the path he took to attack Black and finished it where he laid Black out. Gargano was intense and brooding as he spoke to the camera. He addressed the audience with menace as he claimed he wasn’t evil, just doing what needed to be done. It’ll be interesting to see how Gargano acts going into War Games as this will be a cold hard grudge match.
Keep Dreaming Sullivan
Lars Sullivan defeats Velveteen Dream via Freak Accident
Velveteen Dream may be the most over man in NXT right now. He received a monster pop when he came out and the crowd was firmly behind him the whole match. He started out strong and aggressive but was soon cut down by Sullivan. What followed was a mix of comeback and cut down as Dream would try to get back into the match but Sullivan would have an answer to his offense. Dream is about to win as he sets up for the Purple Rainmaker, only to distracted by Ciampa coming to the ring. Dream attacks Ciampa but is hit by the Freak Accident getting back into the ring. Sullivan wins and Ciampa starts attacking Dream. He is setting up to hit his finish across the title belt when Dream reverses and hits a DDT on Ciampa. He tries to hit the Purple Rainmaker on Ciampa but is stopped by referees. He starts to walk off but changes his mind and ends the show by hitting the Purple Rainmaker and posing with the title. A strong finish for Dream and another showing of the desperation Ciampa is starting to show to defend his title.
It’s been another mixed week for WWE. RAW delivered some fun moments but it was once again bogged down by repetitive bookings and rematches. There is plenty of talent on that show that could easily be doing other things. It was great to see Drew look like a bullying monster heel and Apollo winning is a sight you’ll rarely see. Smackdown was fun to watch as always and once again delivered great matches. Almas may not be winning anything but at least we’re getting to see him on TV. NXT was NXT meaning it was excellent. There was a mix of story development and fun matches as NXT still wants to be the most exciting hour of wrestling TV. Next week will be the week that finalises both shows Survivor Series sides, so expect me to have to write the words Survivor Series hundreds of times again.