There is usually a bit more excitement on Raw when it takes place one night after a pay-per-view event. On Sunday, Raw held their TLC event with two memorable matches and a remaining card that was decent. Read my review here.

The next pay-per-view is considered a big one as Raw and Smackdown present Survivor Series on November. It’s a show that will be filled with Raw vs. Smackdown matches, so WWE decided to push things heavily in that direction at the start of Raw and in the main event slot. Here’s a summary of the key moments.

Matches Announced For Survivor Series

The opening part of the show featured Raw general manager Kurt Angle in the ring talking about how much fun he had wrestling at TLC, but that they had to look ahead to Survivor Series. Here’s what was announced for Survivor Series with no titles on the line.

Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. WWE Champion Jinder Mahal

Intercontinental Champion The Miz vs. United States Champion Baron Corbin

Raw Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose vs. Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos

Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Natalya

Elimination Tag Team Match: Raw’s 5 men vs. Smackdown’s 5 men

Elimination Tag Team Match: Raw’s 5 women vs. Smackdown’s 5 women

Out of all those matches, I am most excited about Rollins/Ambrose vs. The Usos. That should be amazing.

After Angle announced those matches, he was interrupted by The Miz, Sheamus, Cesaro and Curtis Axel. That led to a match, which I’ll cover later.

Shane McMahon and Kurt Angle had a chat that foreshadowed what was to come

There was a backstage segment during the show with Kurt Angle and Smackdown commissioner Shane McMahon. Shane told Kurt that Smackdown was going to annihilate Raw. Angle laughed about it because he thought he was just being friendly. Shane said he can see it now — #UnderSiege — and would catch up with Angle later.

We didn’t know it at the time, but this friendly exchange between two old friends was a nice tease for what happened later in the show. The #UnderSiege thing by Shane was key and saying he would catch up to Kurt later was also not what it appeared to be when we said it.

Most of the Smackdown Live roster invaded Raw with a vicious assault

The ending of the show featured Kurt Angle in the ring ready to name his men’s team for Survivor Series when Shane McMahon’s music started up.

Shane entered the arena by walking down the steps (like The Shield) and he wasn’t alone, bringing a bunch of Smackdown talent with him. It was AJ Styles, all three members of New Day, Baron Corbin, Rusev, Chad Gable, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, Mojo Rawley, Zack Ryder, Tye Dillinger, Natalya, Carmella, Tamina and Becky Lynch. That’s not everybody, obviously, but it’s a good group of talent.

The wrestlers surrounded the ring as Shane got in the ring with Angle. Shane said “Under Siege” like had done backstage with Angle. That led to Angle leaving the ring and Shane told the Smackdown wrestlers to go get them.

Smackdown’s wrestlers went backstage and beat up every wrestler on Raw they could find. That included people like Titus O’Neil, Apollo Crews, Goldust, Curt Hawkins, Rhyno, Curtis Axel, Jason Jordan (former partner Chad Gable led the attack on him), Matt Hardy, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Elias and others. Women wrestlers like Mickie James, Sasha Banks, Bayley and Alicia Fox were also beaten up by the four Smackdown women that were there.

When Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose tried to fight off the Smackdown talent while using steel chairs, it didn’t work. They were beaten down too. That led to Baron Corbin and Rusev grabbing Angle and forcing him to walk back to the ring with them.

Shane McMahon was waiting in the ring when Angle got there. “At Survivor Series, I want you to bring your gold medal, what’s left of your Raw roster and we’re all going to finish what we started, “McMahon said. “Oh, it’s true, it’s damn true.” The most surprising thing about it was that Shane didn’t punch him or hit him in any way. I figured that was coming, but there was no physical contact against Angle.

There were a lot of key people missing on both sides. On Smackdown, no sign of Randy Orton, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens (he’s home for personal reasons), Jinder Mahal and several others. On Raw, there was no Miz, Cesaro, Sheamus, Kane, Asuka and I didn’t notice any cruiserweights either. Obviously, no Brock Lesnar partly because Paul Heyman did a promo on the show saying Lesnar didn’t care about brand superiority.

What I liked about the segment is that by making the Smackdown crew attack Raw that way, it paints the picture of there being a rivalry between the two shows, which doesn’t normally exist when you watch them. I thought last year’s Survivor Series was a boring show for the most part because Smackdown vs. Raw really didn’t matter much. Sure, Smackdown’s guys won a great match against Raw’s team, but after it was over it meant nothing. At least when you have a story going into it with wrestlers trying to tell us their show is better and they want to prove it, that can mean something.

The problem with the segment is we know guys like Dolph Ziggler and Bobby Roode had a rivalry on Smackdown for over a month, yet there they were working together as allies as if nothing was wrong. It makes the storylines on Smackdown difficult to tell because we just saw these guys on the same side on Raw, so why should we care when they have a match on Smackdown? That’s a bit of a logic hole in the storyline.

I also wonder how Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens (whenever he’s back on TV) fit in because Zayn cost Shane a big match two weeks ago, yet Shane was booked more like a heel commish on Raw. Zayn tweeted that he won’t support a tyrant, but we need to see more on Smackdown to try to explain this.

Most of the Smackdown talent posted Twitter videos using the #UnderSiege hashtag. Here are a few of them.

I’m intrigued by where this storyline could go, but I also want to see what happens on Smackdown to follow up. There will probably be a moment in the next month where the Raw crew “invades” Smackdown to try to respond to what happened. It may be tonight or maybe next week. Needs to happen soon, obviously.

Sometimes we can be too critical of the WWE product when storylines don’t make sense. Other times I want to try to sit back, see what they present us and hopefully enjoy it. This is one of those times where I’m going to wait to see how things play out before saying it’s terrible. Like I said, at least WWE is trying to present a storyline for all of Survivor Series this year instead of just saying here’s Raw vs. Smackdown matches without any kind of story.

From what I can tell on social media, fans have lots of mixed feelings on this. Some hate it and others are going to see how it plays out.

I wrote way too much about all of that, but I wanted to cover it for you the best way I could.

This Week’s Raw Matches

Here are the matches that took place on this week’s show.

Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose & AJ Styles vs. Sheamus, Cesaro & The Miz

After Miz complained about Angle at TLC, Angle set up a tag match and said that Styles was there for one night to join Rollins and Ambrose.

Awesome match. The crowd was hot for all of it. One of the best Raw matches of the year. Part of the reason for that is they got a lot of time, going nearly 20 minutes with two commercial breaks. That meant the heels could spend a lot of time working over Ambrose, then the heels worked over Rollins for an extended period of time and it built up to Styles getting the hot tag. Once Styles got in there, he was on fire while Rollins and Ambrose were diving all over the place taking care of the others.

The finish saw Rollins and Ambrose hit double suicide dives on the floor to take out Miz and Sheamus. That left Cesaro in the ring with Styles, who hit his Phenomenal Forearm smash off the top rope and pinned Cesaro to win for his team. The win gave Styles some positive momentum after losing to Finn Balor.

If you missed Raw, go back to watch this match. You’ll enjoy it.

After the match was over, Kane went out there and attacked the faces. Kane dumped Styles out of the ring, hit Rollins with a Chokeslam and punched Ambrose out of the ring.

Kane did a promo about putting Braun Strowman in a trash compactor (images were shown from TLC of Strowman getting thrown in the garbage truck). Kane said he had heard about Strowman being a Monster Among Men, but Kane claimed he was the only monster on Raw and that’s why he did what he did. This should lead to Kane vs. Strowman at Survivor Series I assume. Strowman wasn’t on Raw, but I would expect him back next week.

Kane defeated Finn Balor

Kane said he wanted competition, so Finn Balor walked out to have a match with him. I didn’t like this at all. While Balor got in some offense and nearly hit his finisher, Kane dominated the match. Kane ended up winning with three Chokeslams after about seven minutes of action. While I didn’t expect Balor to win by pinfall, this is a match that should have ended in a disqualification and Kane could have done the three Chokeslams after the match.

Why use Balor for match like this? I don’t understand because Balor just had a great win over AJ Styles at TLC on Sunday and now he’s being fed to a nearly 50-year-old because WWE wants to build Kane up for the Strowman match. Get Matt Hardy out there for something like this. Not Balor.

Asuka defeated Emma

Rematch from TLC. Asuka won again. This one went about five minutes, rather than 10 minutes at TLC, which was too long. They hyped up Asuka as this mysterious woman who’s a great wrestler, yet there’s nothing that feels special about her on Raw yet. I would have had her win both matches in about three minutes with Emma getting almost no offense. I’m not a fan of squash matches, but if you are ever going to book them, then Asuka is the right person for it. A shame that WWE didn’t get it right.

Elias defeated Jason Jordan

Another rematch from TLC. Bad match that went about four minutes. Jordan was aggressive and in control, so when they were out of the ring, Elias smashed a guitar on Jordan’s left arm/shoulder. WWE tries to avoid headshots, so that’s why it’s not like what Jeff Jarrett used to do. Jordan ended up with a big welt on his left triceps area.

This feud doesn’t excite me at all. This angle was likely done to try to get crowd support for Jordan since he was attacked with a weapon from Elias. The crowd has yet to really get behind Jordan as a face.

Alicia Fox defeated Bayley and Sasha Banks

Boring match with a surprising finish because Fox rarely wins any matches. Fox is doing the over-the-top crazy person gimmick where she yells and screams a lot to annoy people. It’s sad to hear how little of a reaction Banks and Bayley get. Then again, putting them in the third hour isn’t helpful because the crowd is tired by that point.

The finish of the match was weak with Banks tossing Bayley into Banks while they were by the apron and then Fox pinned Bayley to win. It went 12 minutes, which was far too long because it was poor. At least the finish wasn’t the “heal steals the pin” finish they do in about half of the triple threats.

Since she won the match, Fox is the captain of the Raw women’s team at Survivor Series. Do fans really care who the captains are? Nope. Not at all.

Kalisto, Cedric Alexander, Rich Swann, Gran Metalik & Mustafa Ali defeated Enzo Amore, Tony Nese, Noam Dar, Ariya Daivari & Drew Gulak

The pre-match promo for the heel side was done by Gulak, who read Enzo’s promo lines off a sheet because Enzo had a sore throat. It was pretty funny.

The action was good for the most part, but again the crowd didn’t care. Towards the finish, Alexander and Ali hit somersault dives to the floor while Metalik and Swann hit moves off the turnbuckles, yet those moves barely drew a reaction. Kalisto hit the Salida del Sol on Enzo for the pin in a finish that looked similar to the 3 on 3 tag earlier in the night.

Kalisto got the pin on Enzo because they are doing a Cruiserweight Title rematch on 205 Live tonight. This is where I bust out the “gives momentum” phrase this time for Kalisto.

Other Key Items From Raw

1. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman mocked Jinder Mahal

During last week’s Smackdown, WWE Champion Jinder Mahal challenged Universal Champion Brock Lesnar to a match at Survivor Series. Meanwhile, at the start of Raw, Kurt Angle said they were going to have the match while Angle mispronounced Mahal’s name (he said “May-hal”). It made the Mahal challenge pointless because if it was always going to be champion vs. champion, then there was no reason to challenge!

Anyway, Heyman usually has a theme to his promos and this time, he kept on saying the word “undisputed” to put over Lesnar as the best champion in WWE. Heyman praised guys like Goldberg, Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman for being real men who had the guts to fight Lesnar. Heyman called the Singh Brothers the “Sing-a-long Brothers” and ripped them for how they stole Heyman’s schtick because of how they introduce Mahal.

Heyman talked about legends that have held the WWE Title like Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels, Triple, John Cena and Brock Lesnar, but that Mahal isn’t a great champion. Heyman called Mahal a “consolation prize champion.” Essentially, Heyman disrespected Mahal the way many fans do when they say he is one of the worst WWE Champions ever, which is true.

Lesnar said nothing and did nothing except look into the hard camera. Lesnar hauled ass after the promo looking like he had a night flight to catch so he can go home.

I think Lesnar will win at Survivor Series and I’d be surprised if he loses, but Heyman sure does a great job of hyping up a match I didn’t care about before he opened up his mouth. That’s why Heyman is the best at what he does.

Mickie James got revenge on Alexa Bliss

Alexa Bliss did an annoying heel promo where she bragged about beating Mickie James at TLC and then talked trash about how she’ll beat Natalya at Survivor Series. I don’t think a heel vs. heel match is a good idea at all.

Bliss wanted the fans to chant “you deserve it” for her, but the fans booed. James’ music played, she walked out in street clothes, went into the ring, kicked Bliss in the gut and hit a sweet Mickie-DT (jumping DDT) that laid Bliss out in the ring. Mickie grabbed the microphone and said “Alexa, you do deserve it.” Great line to end it.

The crowd cheered Mickie going out there because they were sick of Alexa’s promo, so it worked in terms of shutting up Bliss. This segment would have been better if Bliss cheated to beat James at TLC and fans would have had more reason to hate Bliss. Instead, Bliss won clean, so it seemed like this storyline was over. Nope. Maybe they will do another match to put Bliss over. I’d rather see Mickie with the title, but I doubt it’s going to happen.

Looking Ahead to WWE Survivor Series

The next WWE pay-per-view is Survivor Series on Sunday, Nov. 18 in Houston, Texas.

Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. WWE Champion Jinder Mahal

Intercontinental Champion The Miz vs. United States Champion Baron Corbin

Raw Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose vs. Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos

Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Natalya

Raw’s 5 men vs. Smackdown’s 5 men

Raw’s 5 women captained by Alicia Fox vs. Smackdown’s 5 women

It’s a four hour show, so they will need more matches. I assume Braun Strowman vs. Kane will happen there as well.

In Closing

This felt like a two-segment show with the main event angle being a really big deal and the six-man tag was outstanding. The rest of the show was below average. It’s hard for me to get that excited about Raw vs. Smackdown matches, but let’s see how WWE continues to build up the rivalry between the two shows. It would have been nice if the rivalry excited for several months instead of just randomly starting it this week. At least this kind of storyline is better than doing nothing.

I’ll be back Wednesday with a Smackdown review.

About John Canton

John has been writing about WWE online since the late 1990s. He's written for WhatCulture, Bleacher Report, Layfield Report, Rajah.com and many other places. You can follow John Canton on Twitter @johnreport or email him at mrjohncanton@gmail.com with any comments or questions. For more of his wrestling opinions, visit his website at TJRWrestling.net.