Just a day after SmackDown Live launched a shocking all-out assault on Raw, tensions were through the roof when the blue brand hit the air in Milwaukee. Having the red brand stars show up for revenge seemed like a given, yet that moment never came; instead, we got a SmackDown Live episode stuck somewhere between hyping brand unity for Survivor Series and one establishing rivalries for Clash of Champions in December.
Randy Orton joins Team SmackDown Live at Survivor Series
As a modicum of revenge for the previous week when Zayn ended the show with a pinfall victory over Orton, the Viper delivered a low blow with the referee’s back turned and planted Sami with an RKO for the 1-2-3, all with Kevin Owens looking on from ringside after a thwarted attempt at distraction.
The match between the two was solid, but unspectacular, with the high spot coming when Zayn connected with his through-the-ropes-DDT. By virtue of the win, Orton becomes the first man announced for the Raw vs. SmackDown Live Survivor Series Elimination Match, a no-brainer of a choice. Where this leaves Zayn — and to some extent Owens — is less clear, even though KO goes 1-on-1 with Shinsuke Nakamura next week with a chance to join the team up for grabs. (Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler also meet next week with a spot on the team on the line.)
Where Zayn and Owens go from here isn’t clear: Owens could defeat Nakamura next week and enter the Survivor Series Match with Zayn cheering him on from the sidelines, but that would leave Nakamura in no man’s land. The likelier choice is that both Sami and KO are left off the team, with Shane McMahon needing to find something else for the duo to do at one of the biggest shows of the year.
Jinder = Brock Lesnar’s worst nightmare?
After Brock Lesnar accepted the WWE Champion’s challenge on Monday night via an impassioned promo from Paul Heyman, Mahal felt the need to respond emphatically.
And for the most part, he did. Mahal seems as ready to go for the fight against Lesnar as he has for any opponent, breaking out his best mic skills to date to convey how much of a threat he believes himself to be, going as far to call himself Lesnar’s “worst nightmare.” That’s still to be seen, but if the Modern-day Maharaja knocks off the Beast, he very well may be.
Daniel Bryan/Shane McMahon tension following #UnderSiege incident on Raw
Shane McMahon invading Raw with the majority of his roster felt like an uber-heel move from the uber-face commissioner. He attempted to clear the air to open the show, albeit sheepishly, even though he continued to be cheered by the blue brand crowd; but as the show went on, Daniel Bryan made it clear that he didn’t approve of Shane’s decision to preemptively strike, particularly in the manner of pack mentality.
The show closed with Bryan pointing out that Raw failed to launch a counterstrike on Tuesday, leaving the possibility open for one to occur prior to Survivor Series. For the first time, the two men have seemed far from on the same page.
Sunil Singh being treated like a rag doll
It wasn’t quite a showdown with Finn Balor, making it quite the week of discrepancies inside the ring for the Phenomenal One. But after the match hype took longer than the actual contest, it’s clear that Styles vs. Mahal is going to continue going forward. If you loved watching Sunil tap out to the Calf Crusher, have no fear, Samir Singh is stepping into the ring with Styles next week as a means of defending Mahal’s honor. Great plan, Jinder.
Becky Lynch becomes SmackDown Live captain for Women’s Survivor Series Match
For whatever it’s worth, Becky Lynch is officially the captain of the five-women’s group at Survivor Series which includes herself, Charlotte Flair, Tamina, Carmella, and Naomi. Naming a captain after filling out the roster seems like a backwards way to go about organizing the group, but following her victory in what was a fast-paced Fatal 5-Way match on SmackDown, the Lass Kicker has now become the ringleader for her contemporaries.