Kurt Angle's in-ring return last night was almost too good to be true. But all good things must end, and so The Olympic Hero got right back to business as Raw General Manager less than 24 hours after suiting up with The Shield by sanctioning a series of Champion vs. Champion Matches for WWE Survivor Series.
And they were quite a slate of contests indeed: Alexa Bliss vs. Natalya in a cross-brand battle of Women's Champions, Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins vs. The Usos in the Tag Team Champion crossover that Twitter foretold, and a bout pitting United States Champion Baron Corbin against Intercontinental Champion The Miz. He also announced there would be a pair of traditional Survivor Series Elimination Matches — one between the male Superstars of Raw and SmackDown LIVE and one between the women.
Speaking of The Miz, The A-Lister quickly inserted himself into the proceedings with Curtis Axel, Cesaro & Sheamus in tow, demanding Angle's resignation for once again maneuvering the spotlight away from the Intercontinental Champion. Ambrose & Rollins arrived to shore up the odds, but Angle opted not to don the black once again for the ensuing Six-Man Tag Team Match, instead subbing in a surprise SmackDown Superstar who'd stuck around for an extra night: AJ Styles.
AJ 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 Dean Ambrose & Seth 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.
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.
Finn 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.
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.
Does Alexa 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 WWE 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.
The events of WWE TLC led to a rare, if contested, pinfall defeat for Elias. On Raw, he lost again in a rematch to Jason 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 young competitor's triceps, and the ensuing disqualification handed Jordan the victory ... but it's hard to argue that Elias didn't win the night.
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.
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 that 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.
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.
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 that his promise may very well come true.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- A.J. Styles, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose defeated The Miz & The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) (19:48)
- Kane defeated Finn Bálor (7:06)
- Asuka defeated Emma by submission (5:16)
- Jason Jordan defeated Elias by disqualification (4:58)
- Alicia Fox defeated Bayley & Sasha Banks in a Triple Threat match to be Raw's Team Captain at Survivor Series (11:16)
- Kalisto, Cedric Alexander, Rich Swann, Mustafa Ali & Gran Metalik defeated Enzo Amore, Ariya Daivari, Drew Gulak, Noam Dar & Tony Nese in a 5-on-5 Tag Team match (9:04)
Other on-screen talent