It’s time to play the game. Survivor Series changed dramatically with those five simple words. At the end of the most recent edition of Monday Night Raw, Triple H inserted himself into the five-on-five matchup with SmackDown Live, replacing an injured Jason Jordan.
Jordan was injured by Bray Wyatt following their match earlier in the evening, and although he pleaded with general manager Kurt Angle to allow him to maintain his place in the Survivor Series match, Triple H wasn’t having it. He barked in Angle’s face, letting him know that he was now the last member of the team, and gave Jordan a Pedigree on the way out for good measure.
This announcement — along with SmackDown Live including John Cena on their team — radically upped the star power of the Survivor Series match, and it’s gone from meh to must-see in just two week’s time.
While it’ll be great to see the Cerebral Assassin in the ring against the likes of Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode, we can’t help but wonder how Triple H fits into the long-term plans on the red brand. Survivor Series is a stacked card, but the red vs blue angle of the evening makes it difficult to figure out what’s going to be happening by this time next week.
Triple H getting back into the ring for a network special isn’t particularly surprising. He’s been working a lot of house shows lately, and from what we know, he looks just as good as ever. Is this a one-off by the WWE to try to increase the buy-rate of Survivor Series, though? Or will Hunter be involved in a long-term angle or two as we approach WrestleMania season?
Monday night seemed to plant the seeds for a few possible scenarios.
Hitting an already-injured Jordan with the Pedigree was an interesting move. The crowd in Atlanta loved it, mostly because Jordan hasn’t gotten over as a face at all during his program with Angle. It seems like he’ll have to turn heel to get any sort of momentum, and a back-and-forth with one of the most accomplished performers in WWE history would be a pretty stellar way to do that.
Jason Jordan vs Triple H probably doesn’t put butts in the seats for a network special anytime soon, but Raw has plenty of time to work with before its next red-branded event on the WWE network. If they really think that Jordan could be money down the line, perhaps the best way to build him up is in a feud with Triple H.
He needed similar help as he moved away from the pampered and pristine Hunter Hearst Helmsley character back in the 90’s. There is no Triple H without tough matches against workers like Mankind. Could the WWE be taking a similar approach with Jordan, who to this point seems to think that screaming at the top of his lungs after getting in any offense is the way to build a character?
We could very well see this feud develop, and it could help Jordan in the long run.
Regardless of whether or not this happens, the writing seems to be on the wall for a Triple H vs Kurt Angle matchup at WrestleMania. It’s just a matter of how we’re going to get there.
Whether it’s Angle eventually stepping in for Jordan, who would clearly be out of his depth against Hunter, or it’s something that we see start to develop as early as next week, it seems like this is where we’re headed several months out of the biggest show of the year.
Things can rapidly change in the WWE — just look at how Survivor Series has evolved over the last few weeks — but there are some interesting seeds planted for offshoots following this weekend’s network special.