WWE hit Glasgow, Scotland for Monday Night Raw this week, and it was all about filling out the Survivor Series teams that will go up against SmackDown Live at the pay-per-view (PPV) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in just under two weeks while setting up for next week's post-election show.
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I think the main storyline in this show was about Stephanie McMahon rallying her troops to battle SmackDown Live, first forcing Seth Rollins onto the team with the promise of future riches, threatening the jobs of all involved if they do not succeed, then booking a Fatal 5-Way match to allow each member of the team to get their aggression against each other out before they head off to Survivor Series to take it out on the blue team.
This is all very good!
There's this idea that Stephanie dominating storylines is a bad thing and let's just go ahead and call that out: That's dumb! Stephanie is far and away the best performer on this program and watching her flex her muscle, verbally or otherwise, is a real delight.
There was one point on this program she told Sami Zayn literally everything about him irritates her but whatever, he can have his chance to succeed later. On the Cageside Twitter machine, she was quickly called out for "castrating a top babyface." This is nonsense! She is the heel, the evil boss, running down a crowd favorite but giving him an opportunity to prove her wrong. He did just that. You are supposed to be against her and for him. If you are, they paid you off. Zayn won, and will get a title shot. Stephanie's role here was to reaffirm your support for him.
As for the Survivor Series men's team, the rest of the story was that Braun Strowman is all that is man and Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho are working the slowest break up angle in the history of wrestling. I'll take the latter as long as the former remains the status quo.
What had happened
In watching the women's segment on this show what really stood out was the fact that out of the five women in the ring, each with access to a microphone, not one of them had any idea how to handle the crowd getting out of hand with its chanting. This is partially the problem with never giving them time on television for so many years -- there simply hasn't been as much exposure to situations like this.
Charlotte, the top heel in the division, had some of her response edited out after the fact and at one point politely asked the fans to stop singing at her. Bayley couldn't help but stop and say "wow." Sasha Banks did the best with it, cozying up to Bayley and singing along briefly.
But they simply couldn't get the crowd to care about what they had to say. They cared more about chanting and singing.
That's a failure in performance.
The good thing is they're actually getting into situations like this to begin with. No one was as over as Bayley on this show and it was paid off with a victory in her match. Live and learn and have some fun along the way.
All the best to all the rest
Cruise: They really need to get away from just throwing together tag team matches to get guys on television, because it isn't doing anyone any good, but they treated Noam Dar like a star in the making while putting Rich Swann over yet again to help create a new title contender. Anything that helps us get away from TJ Perkins vs. Brian Kendrick is good with me.
Hype: Brock Lesnar in a sit-down interview situation is the best Brock Lesnar and his pleading with Goldberg's wife and child not to watch the match at Survivor Series was better than anything they've done on television since this whole thing started.
Bicker: The Raw tag team Survivor Series squad was filled out on this show and, naturally, it led to a lot of petty bickering back and forth. I don't have anything particularly insightful to say about it because that wasn't the point of the segment. Cesaro got some nice shots in and looked as comfortable on the mic as he's ever been. New Day did a Braveheart bit that got over really well. It was dumb fun.
Team Braun: 4 Lyfe.
Sami Zayn, top contender: As a fan of Rusev, and someone who has never had much feeling for Zayn, although I can certainly appreciate his story, it's painful to watch the gradual fall of the Bulgarian Brute. Lana not knowing where she was didn't help. Zayn vs. Dolph Ziggler should be a decent match, at least.
Not a bad offering.