Booking both shoes alone and trying to keep up with the PPVs was too much. Hell, with the quality of some of the episodes, the current staff being paid to do it can’t sometimes do it well subjectively. I’ve decided going forward for this feature to just outline from PPV to PPV for my own sake.
The pre-show is supposedly two hours long. After the length of Summerslam dragging down the overall quality of the show, I was disappointed the WWE brass didn’t learn their lesson pf overbooking the show and draining the crowd. Thankfully, they cut out a lot of the filler matches to focus on the “fantasy warfare” tag line they are overusing. From a storyline perspective, the only match that makes sense on the pre-show is a Cruiserweight #1 contender’s match between Rich Swann and TJ Perkins. Give them a full 15 minutes without any move limitations and allow them to wow the crowd. This helps put both men over, the division and adds some stakes to the Kendrick vs Kalisto match later on.
After the cruiserweight match, have Daniel Bryan meet both competitors backstage and congratulate them on the match. Foley will interject, telling Bryan Kalisto hasn’t won yet and to stop tampering with his roster.
Other than that, show various members of the roster “earlier today” arrive at the arena and get interviewed about their upcoming match:
-Ellsworth excited for being at his first PPV should be touched upon. Perhaps he can fanboy over the event with Bayley.
-AJ and the Club reuniting to fawn over the World Title, but AJ asking them where is their tag team title to create a bit of friction.
-Miz facing off against Sami in a backstage segment as they didn’t have any real build to their match.
-Kendrick talking about how he’ll defeat Kalisto is also a must seeing as Kalisto can’t be counted on to carry a feud on his promo abilities.
-The Wyatts brooding somewhere as they get ready for the match. Even a promo where Bray leaves a message for Braun… “RUN!”
-Charlotte showing up with Dana carrying her bags. The two would cross paths with Becky who carries her own things. This would play up Lynch being “blue collar” type champion.
-A Shield reunion tease.
-Jericho and KO reciting and adding to the list, running down the Smackdown team. One example would be adding Orton for having RKOed Jericho at Battleground.
-Enzo tries to hit on Carmella, who seems more interested in the 7 foot tall Cass – alluding to their real life relationship.
-Heyman and Shane McMahon cross paths. Heyman comments sarcastically that it’s good to see both Shane and Randy Orton have recovered from Summerslam, alluding to the beat down delivered by Brock Lesnar. Shane would then retort he’s got more important things to deal with than Heyman or Lesnar as his team faces off against Raw.
During the elimination matches, I’d have Mauro Ranallo and Corey Graves call the action. The regular commentators for Raw will do the duties for Brock vs Goldberg and the Cruiserweight match. Conversely, Smackdown’s team (minus Mauro) will cover the Miz vs Zayn match to allow Tom Phillips a chance to actually show what he can do to the regular audience who doesn’t follow NXT.
Tag Team Elimination Match
In the interest of spacing out the elimination matches to keep them fresh, the tag team elimination match will start off the show. I’m only going to cover the high points, signature spots and the eliminations for these matches.
Both the New Day and Enzo and Cass should have a promo segment running down their opponents to really pour fuel on the fire and get the crowd invested in the proceedings. Further, New Day should call out Daniel Bryan for saying every Smackdown team can beat them. When Breezango comes down as final Smackdown team, they’ll give out tickets to every Raw team until they get to Enzo… who receives a dozen or so tickets. Slater should also be seen to be trash talking the Shining Stars and wanting to get a hold of them before the rest of the Smackdown roster shows up.
The story leading up to the show was the disunity on the Raw side. This will be the theme of some of the match with forceful tags taking place, particularly between the Club and Sheamus towards the rest of the team. There have been some hints leading up on the show on potential brand rivalries. Here, the New Day would have a chip on their shoulder and want to start things off. American Alpha will want to start, but the Usos will tag in before Jason Jordan has a chance to even lock up with Big E.
As the Heels, the Usos will get the upper hand for 3-4 minutes before Big E goes for the hot tag to Kofi, but instead Primo or Epico will steal a tag. Honestly, they are pretty interchangeable. This brings out Slater who wants to avenge being conned into buying “stocks in Puerto Rico”. Rhyno and Slater score the first pinfall over the Shining Stars to give some legitimacy to the SD champs and get a slight pay off to that storyline thread.
This will lead to a huge brawl between every remaining team after Smackdown has scored first. Cesaro and Sheamus will be the ones left standing in the ring after the dust settles and the referee finally restores order. The two will nod to one another as a sign of respect before arguing over who should remain the legal man after the elimination. This gives Mojo Rawley the opportunity to tackle Sheamus from behind. Here, the two would have a good back and forth as two big men before Sheamus re-establishes dominance over the Hype Bro. Normally, Mojo never plays the babyface in peril so this should be an interesting flip of the script and allow to see if he can handle that role. It also solidifies Sheamus and Cesaro as the toughest guys in the match. Sheamus and Cesaro would alternate on pounding Mojo before he “hypes up” à la Huk Hogan to get Sheamus to tag in Big E.
Big E will regain dominance over Mojo before he manages to land a spine buster on the champion. This leads to the spot with both crawling to their respective corners. Fandango will get the tag for SD, and Enzo for Raw. Enzo will be a house of fire wanting to avenge the insult about his attire. He’ll throw an elbow to Breeze which draws Prince Pretty into the ring but he gets intercepted by a big boot from Cass. The two Italian-Americans will finish off Fandango and even the score. This leaves us with the more relevant teams on each roster. Not that I dislike Breezango, but there are treated as less important than the others currently.
With Cass as the legal man, Ryder comes in, assuring an anxious American Alpha that “I got this, Bro”. They’ll get into exchanging blows before the 7 foot tall Cass gets the upper hand. Cass and Enzo will double team Ryder who shows his resiliency by kicking out of several double team moves. As E&C set up for their finisher, Rhyno will intervene with a massive GORE! as Cass is setting up to throw Enzo, the legal man, onto Ryder. Chaos ensues as each team takes its turn to come in and topple the interference of the other. Big E tackles Rhyno to keep the man beast contained. American Alpha comes in but before they even get a chance to do anything they get attacked from behind by the Club, specifically targeting Gable’s knee with a chop block. Slater runs in to save Gable with a neck breaker on Karl Anderson. Kofi hits trouble in paradise on Slater for his troubles. In the chaos, Ryder manages to crawl over to his corner and the Usos tag in. As the referee tries to get the Raw side back into their corner, the Usos low blow Enzo behind the ref’s back and score the pin. This gives the pair additional heat while not hurting Enzo and Cass. It also creates future heat between the two teams if ever the Usos return to Raw to rejoin Roman Reigns.
Despite the four on three advantage, I’ll have the Raw team get the upper hand from this point on. My intent is for American Alpha to come out as the stars of this match and to accomplish that, they need to come back from behind. They will sell frustration at never getting tagged in. The Usos remain in the ring, calling out New Day. With emotions high on both sides, the ref should be overwhelmed as each team distracts him from his duties. Opportunities like these allow the Usos to continuously do cheap shots on Kofi like raking the eyes, not tagging in (playing up their similar appearance), etc. Xavier Woods will foil one of the attempts by using Francesca II and tripping up the Usos allowing Big E to get tagged in. He is a house of fire and manages to score the pinfall close to his team’s corner with Cesaro and Sheamus providing cover from interference.
The Usos will be rightly mad at Woods’ interference and will attack him at ringside before leaving. Kofi will splash the twins with an over the top rope splash. The teams then square off on the outside, brawling. As the resident tough, Sheamus excels here and seemingly stands tall posing. He pounds his own chest boasting he’s the best. This leads to Mojo coming in as the legal man from behind and a stare down. As the biggest guy on his team and their earlier exchange, this will hopefully pay off with a good reaction. Sheamus will again strike Mojo a few times, who no sells it. Flustered, Sheamus tags in Cesaro. The two bicker briefly as Cesaro comes in. The Swiss Superman and the Hype Bro brawl with Cesaro eventually getting Mojo into the Big Swing. Ryder will come interrupt the move with a Rough Ryder from the top rope. As Ryder poses after hitting the spot, he’ll get a big boot of doom to the head from Karl Anderson which knocks Zack out of the ring. By then Cesaro will recover and hit the neutralizer on a dizzy Mojo to eliminate the Hype Bros.
With Smackdown now down for the first time in the match, American Alpha are desperate to get in and hopefully the crowd picks up on this. However, Slater comes out to be the legal man, yelling “he’s the champ and the One man band!”. He gets a Brogue Kick as he turns around. Rhyno GORES Sheamus before being pulled back by the ref. Meanwhile, the Club comes in, pretending to have tagged by slapping their hands together in and hit the Magic Killer and a pinfall on Slater. As the Rhyno awkwardly gets in the way for Alpha to interrupt the pinfall. This should hopefully give the Club additional heat for eliminating a crowd favourite.
Chad Gable will be the first legal man for AA. The Club will be shown grinning from ear to ear. Anderson, the legal man will too sweet Gallows to come in as the bigger man. Alpha, being fresh from having been kept out for most of the match, are able to score some offense in before the numbers game constantly gets the upper hand. Nevertheless, Gable refuses to be pinned and kicks out. Gable manages to reverse a setup for a power bomb into an ankle lock. Before Gallows can tap, Anderson saves his partner but gets thrown out by Jordan. Gallows uses this opportunity to tag Kofi in. Kofi isn’t fast enough to intercept Gable from tagging Jordan who runs roughshod over the smaller Raw champ. Cognizant of the numbers game, Jordan will knock Cesaro, Big E and Sheamus off the mat before applying an ankle lock. With only Gallows in a position to stop the submission, he pulls his hand away just as Kofi is trying to tag. Unable to reach the ropes, Kofi taps out. Incensed, Cesaro pushes Gallows demanding to know why he did that. Gallows kicks Cesaro in the groin and throws him into the steps. Gallows, with Anderson’s help, will limp out to sell the effects of the ankle lock and the Club gets counted out. All of this should put massive heat on the Club for betraying Raw by going after some baby faces.
Now, the piece de résistance is American Alpha vs Cesaro and Sheamus as the final teams representing both brands. As the best workers on both teams, I’d have this go a good 5-10 minutes before Alpha finally pulls the win with a double ankle lock on both Cesaro and Sheamus, giving Smackdown a 1-0 lead. Back on Raw, Sheamus and Cesaro can still claim to be next in line for the title as they were the last team standing and would’ve beat New Day at Hell in a Cell if not for the screwy finish. With the exception of the Shining Stars and a lesser extent Breezango, I feel this series helps elevate every team on their respective rosters:
American Alpha are the big winners here which could lead to a renewed feud with the Usos who were eliminated due to interference by Xavier Woods and would still claim to have sidelined Gable earlier this year.
Slater and Rhyno were fairly involved in the match, breaking up many pins and keeping their team in a position to win. Slater remains a somewhat comedic act so him losing in the way he did plays into his goofy character. The payoff for beating the Shining Stars rewards the audience for watching Smackdown and Talking Smack and shows he isn’t entirely comedic.
The Hype bros got several good spots, with Mojo getting a chance to stand up to Cesaro and Sheamus as a legitimate tough guy who can hang with the Europeans. The odd couple in turn get to stand tall even in defeat. Being eliminated due to a low blow doesn’t hurt Enzo and Cass and having them score a pinfall on Breezango gives them a small win. The Usos and Club continue their heelish ways, selling them as legitimate threats as a team and worthy of being booed for their actions.
Finally, the New Day are set to beat Demolition’s record. Lasting a good deal of time in the match and their promo is sufficient enough to keep them hot. Further, they were featured heavily in the match on the Raw side which might help dispel Daniel Bryan’s statements during the State of the WWE Universe address.
After a long match, the crowd might need a slight break so I’d put a segment cutting away to the Pre-show crew talking about what just happened. This will give the ring crew the opportunity to change the ring ropes. Another cutaway will show Mick Foley confronting the Club backstage. They will retort they warned the New Day of the betrayal two weeks ago. Foley will suspend them for their actions and tell them he better not see them the rest of the night.
Cruiserweight Championship: Kendrick vs Kalisto
Now, I’m torn on what the WWE will do with the new 205 Live show debuting soon and taped after Smackdown. Raw is often a drag to watch and removing the whole division would be a blow to filling out the three hour show. On the other hand, NXT Takeover might offer the opportunity for a few call ups to fill in some holes. Furthermore, the division is fairly new and having the title exchange hands often will hurt the credibility of the title. However, there is a way to serve everyone.
Daniel Bryan will join commentary for the match. Along with AJ and Jericho, he has to be one of the MVPs for WWE this year in his role as Smackdown GM. His history with Brian Kendrick will add to the commentary as he will be torn between friendship and brand loyalty. He can also help put over Kalisto who just can’t get himself over on the mic.
The two are quality workers though and I think a good back and forth for 10 minutes or so would be highly entertaining. Just as Kalisto appears to be heading to victory, Kendrick will flee the scene and run to the back. Kalisto will chase after him, knowing full well the title doesn’t change hands on a count out or DQ. However, Kalisto won’t be fast enough and runs back into the ring in the nick of time to beat the 10 count while Kendrick is clutching his belt smugly, waving goodbye to Kalisto.
Going back to the Pre-show commentary crew, they’ll sell disappointment in the result of the match before Renée is told she is getting news they have an interview with Kendrick backstage. Kendrick will gloat about being smart, and preserving his title and the division on “the flagship” show. Bryan will show up demanding an explanation. Stephanie McMahon will interrupt in turn, telling Bryan “you won, congratulations. Now leave MY cruiserweight champion alone.” She’ll smile smugly, praising Kendrick for his wits as Bryan is left staring daggers towards the two.
Women’s Elimination Match
As a quick aside, the Raw women’s roster is definitely top heavy… in terms of star power that is. Sasha, Charlotte, Bayley and a lesser extent Nia Jax are all bigger names than all but Nikki Bella and Becky Lynch on Raw. While it’s disappointing Natalya won’t get to be in the match despite the PPV being in Canada, I do feel there is more depth on the Smackdown roster. The writers have done a good job giving each woman a character and reasons to fight or align with one another. My personal favourite has to be Alexa Bliss; disregarding her silly “Bliss me off” catch phrase. Carmella has also shown herself to be effective in an irritating heel role. With Eva Marie shooting movies, Dana Brooke is the weakest link on both shows. Although imagine if Eva was in this match and she scored the final pinfall. The boos would be deafening.
I’d have Natalya introduced first to get the crowd going. As a canuck, the Toronto crowd will be firmly behind her and cheer loudly. Here you can then alternate between the rosters with Lynch or Bayley as the final arrival to end on a good pop. Again, the story on Raw was the women were divided between Charlotte and everyone else. Thoughout the match, Charlotte will be heard ordering her team around condescendingly. On the other side of the ring, Natalya will be giving silly or useless advice and words of encouragement. For added fun, she could pull out some lyrics from Canadian musical acts.
Both team captains will start the match with the announcers recalling Nikki attacking Charlotte on SD. They could also play up how Charlotte originally ended Nikki’s record title reign as Divas champion. Charlotte will get the upper hand early, grand standing to the crowd. She’ll tag in Nia Jax to continue the beat down. Nia and Charlotte will isolate Nikki from the SD side, working her over but the she will not stay down. Nia will line up John Cena’s girlfriend in a neutral corner for her bull rush charge but will miss after Nikki sidesteps. She’ll then roll to her corner and tag in Becky. If she can manage it, have her score a power move on Jax, followed by the Disarmher. Naomi will interrupt the opposing women’s attempt to break the submission with a springboard splash. Jax will power out of the move flinging Becky away forcefully. As Nia drags herself slowly to her corner, Alexa and Naomi also run in to prevent the tag but Nia brushes them aside. Finally, Nia tags in Alicia Fox who goes up against Naomi and performs a northern lights suplex into a bridge for the pin. Out of all the women, Alicia needs a pin the most here and Naomi is the only woman not firmly involved in a feud on the SD team who can eat it.
Before Fox can celebrate though, she’ll be blind sided by Carmella. Eventually, the Princess from Staten island will lock in her neck submission hold. The women will all run in to brawl except for Nia who is still selling the effects of the STF from earlier. The various women on both sides will lock in submission maneuvers on opponents: Banks statement on Bliss, Figure 8 on Nikki, and the Disarmher on Bayley. All of these submissions make it difficult for the ref to sort out who is the new legal woman after Fox taps out for the Raw team. So he breaks all the holds and many of the women are left selling on the mat or outside the ring. Hopefully, the visual of all these submission maneuvers will look great and allow to clear the ring a bit.
Tied at four a piece, Charlotte’s team has a slight edge though as they had Bliss and Nikki in submission moves, leaving Becky and Carmella vs Sasha, Charlotte and a recovering Nia Jax. Becky comes in here against Charlotte as Mauro yells “CHAMPION VS CHAMPION! WHO IS THE MOST DOMINANT WOMAN IN THE WWE?” Dana Brooke will begin interfering to help Charlotte gain an advantage over Becky with trips near the ropes and such. Sasha, somewhat of a tweener won’t say anything about this but Bayley should show some resentment of having to utilize these tactics. Natalya will begin chasing after Dana trips Carmella on the ring apron to prevent a tag. All of this leads to some confusion allowing Becky to tag a reinvigorated Nikki who saves Carmella from Bayley but the distraction at ringside has Natalya accidentally clothesline Charlotte at ringside in plain view of the referee. This has the ref send her away to the back to a chorus of boos.
Mauro and Corey would play up Nikki getting’s injury and loss of the title to Charlotte and this is a chance at revenge. Nikki will dominate Flair but a timely intervention from Dana will allow Charlotte to score the pinfall. A bit early to eliminate Nikki but she’s not the best worker on the SD side among the 4 remaining and yet it’s not shameful to be pinned by Charlotte and due to interference no less.
Carmella comes in and slaps Charlotte, yelling “Nikki’s mine!” and showing frustration that she wanted to take her out after the match. Eventually, Charlotte turns the table and tags in Nia who just destroys Carmella handily and gets the pinfall. Outnumbered at this point, the SD women can’t prevent the pinfall leaving only champion and challenger to have to work together against 4 women.
Now, with TLC coming first, we need to keep Becky and Alexa strong for that PPV. There will be plenty of opportunity to build up the next challenger for Charlotte’s title match. Bayley will be eliminated due to Dana’s interference backfiring. Bliss will score the pin with a roll up. Before Bliss has a chance to celebrate, she’ll be run over by Nia. The size difference here is the most significant and so it will play well for Bliss to be a de facto baby face here. Charlotte will berate Bayley as she heads to the back for being a loser and not ready for the main roster, etc. Incensed, Bayley will go to hit Charlotte but think better of it. Charlotte will gloat before Bayley clotheslines Dana Brooke instead, followed by a Bayley to Belly on the ramp. Charlotte will be distracted by all this while Sasha and Nia fight Bliss and Lynch.
Back to the action in the ring, Bliss will be thrown outside the ring like a rag doll. The babyface Becky will go to check on her partner despite their rivalry. Bliss will see Nia coming for the charge and sidestep while using Becky to take the hit. The pair would crash into the barricades hard. As Nia tries to get back in the ring at a count of eight, Bliss will hit a baseball slide preventing Nia from saving herself from a count out elimination.
Becky will be left out for a while to sell the effects of being rammed into the barricade by Jax. Charlotte and Sasha will bicker as they take turns working over Alexa. Each time Alexa uses an underhanded tactic to create some separation, she’ll yell to Becky to “get up”. Finally Becky makes it to the mat for a hot tag and Charlotte gets put in the Disarmher for the submission elimination as both Sasha and Alexa are laid out. Graves here can now talk about how Becky could never defeat Banks in NXT. Becky will be fired u at this point as she allows Sasha to get up and fight face to face. The 2 on 1 advantage will however prove too much for the Boss. As Becky goes for the final elimination, Bliss tags in to steal the win for herself.
Post match, the ref raises the two women’s hands. Becky offers to shake Alexa’s hand who teases to reciprocate but instead walks off, giving fuel to their feud without having to end up a brawl putting one or the other down.
A backstage segment shows the SD tag teams celebrating at a shindig organized by Slater and Rhyno. The other tag teams react negatively to the menu of crackers and spray cheese. The SD women will come in to be greeted by cheers from the male tag team roster. This will help create a level of camaraderie and put the male and female competitors on a similar level. Daniel Bryan will also congratulate the teams. The Miz and Maryse will interrupt the festivities and boast they will return with a win but they expect better catering. He’ll also inform Daniel will have to renegotiate the contract again otherwise he’ll just go to Raw with the title.
On the flip side, Stephanie will be incensed at going 2 down and have an emergency meeting with Foley, threatening the Raw roster. She will not be embarrassed with a clean sweep. She would then call out Sami Zayn specifically that he better come back with the IC title. This should hopefully create stakes for the final men’s match beyond brand pride. Foley will come to the defense of competitors, but blaming the Club for the tag team loss. He can also explain his leniency on them for fear they might simply jump to Smackdown if they were outright fired.
IC Title match
While on paper, Ziggler vs Zayn would have probably been the better match, Miz is no slouch and his mic skills and character have been great. I think the decision is based purely on the heel/face dynamic and the match taking place in Toronto might not go well for Ziggler. Raw has really dropped the ball with Zayn since the brand split so the logic of Miz as the heel would better serve Zayn. Nevertheless, I feel having the title switch hands and brands seems a bit much in such a short time span.
I’m not against SD not having a mid card title, but there would be too many singles titles on Raw without clear divisions. On SD, there are just not many feuds available. Kalisto, Apollo Crews, Jack Swagger and maybe Kane are the only non-main event faces on the roster who aren’t part of a tag team who could face Miz. All underwhelming options for different reasons I won’t go into here. With tag teams you could have Slater and Ryder in the mix. Ziggler as champ doesn’t have many alternatives either with Hawkins, Corbin and Luke Harper as the likely candidates. Out of those listed, I’d prefer Harper vs Ziggler.
Just as Zayn comes out, I’d make sure to have the ring announcer emphasize Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The pop for his entrance should be top 3 of the night. I’m positive the pair can put on a good match but eventually, Miz will begin cheating. First with Maryse, but then have to resort to waving in the Spirit Squad. However, they will be stopped by Ziggler who superkicks them both. This is very much in line with what a babyface is in line to do. As a twist, despite how I wrote earlier I felt Zayn has been languishing, I’ll have him pull out the win for the more or less home crowd and to create some buzz. It would create even more tension between Miz, Ziggler and Bryan.
Bryan and Shane will be in Shane’s “office”, showing some disappointment of Miz’s loss. Daniel should show conflicting emotions. He’s happy for Sami and seeing Miz lose but losing the title is a big blow. Shane reassures him though that after SD clean sweeps Raw, they’ll be the dominant brand. Cue Stephanie McMahon who will come in and gloat about getting the IC title “back to where it belongs”. The trio will argue but Stephanie, ever the hateful woman, will be rankled when Shane brings up that SD would’ve won the Cruiserweight match had Kendrick not ran away and SD is poised to sweep the elimination matches. This leads to a bet between the two. A sort of “double or nothing” bet, where SD can reverse the result (from a brand perspective, not the competitors) should they pull out the win in the 5 on 5 men’s match. If Raw wins though, Shane will go on Raw and admit defeat and step down as commissioner. Steph agrees and the two shake on it.
Brock vs Golderg
It looks like this match might be the main event, but I feel the match won’t be as good as the final 5 vs 5 elimination match. Further, I don’t want to see the rumoured Wrestlemania Shane vs Brock match. I don’t see Goldberg coming out and losing here and ending Survivor Series on a down with the heel winning would be a bad end. Thus, I would position this match here.
Have the two start off doing a semi-MMA fight before the german suplexes begin. The match would devolve into an Attitude Era type brawl on the outside. A stiff back and forth between the two with frequent cuts to Goldberg’s wife and son. If the two can emote, show them grow increasingly worried when Brock is on the offensive. Throughout the match, Heyman will berate Goldberg about having his son watch him get destroyed. Eventually, Goldberg begins the comeback and lays out Heyman as he berates Goldberg’s family. Brock uses this distraction to regain the upper hand and prevail, but barely. This can then setup a potential rubber match for Goldberg if he feels up to it. Despite the loss, Goldberg would be allowed to look strong, have his family come to the ring and pose with him for the crowd.
As Brock and Heyman come through the back, Shane could make a comment to them about how heroic it was to bring another man’s family as a distraction. This can continue to tease the tension, but at this point in time, Lesnar is spent and won’t get physical. It will still tease the feud between the two and make people think Lesnar might get involved in the main event.
Follow this up with the interviews with the various participants in the match:
- Seth Rollins explains he was promised a face to face encounter with Triple H. He knows he’s the best, and is going to prove it one more time to all the doubters, etc.
- Jericho explains how all of Smackdown is on the list (recapping the pre-show) and once you are on the list, “you will never, EEEEVER be the same, agayne!”
- Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton do a typical Wyatt family promo mixed in with how he created Braun, and he can also destroy him.
- Roman Reigns just says whenever he is in the ring, he gets the job done. Tonight, he’s got 5 opponents, and he aims to eliminate all 5 himself.
- Ambrose takes exception to Stephanie calling Smackdown the “B show”. It’s not the B show because he beat Reigns and Rollins at Battleground in the triple threat to keep the World title on Smackdown.
- Kevin Owens claims he is the best champion because he’s the Universal champion.
- Styles echoes begrudgingly Ambrose’s previous statement. However, he adds he beat John Cena and Ambrose for the title. He runs down KO for receiving help from Triple H for his title after Balor was injured. His title is the same lineage as those greats like Bruno Sammartino, Hogan, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold, etc. All of the competitors are great, but there is only one who is phenomenal…
Main Event: Men’s Elimination Match
This should be a full 40+ minutes affair with your rosters’ main event talent involved. The challenge here is the importance of elimination order is through the roof as you can’t afford to “bury” your main guys. Steph will want to take Shane down and she will resort to every underhanded trick she can muster. So the temptation is to overbook the hell out of it. Jericho and Kevin Owens are the two Canadians in the match and will both get cheers despite their current status as heels. Reigns will get booed out of the building as usual. Styles will get more cheers than boos. Everyone else will get modest crowd pops.
Braun Strowman will be the first man introduced. He’s the lowest on the pecking order as established stars. He’ll be followed by Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton together. The trio will stare each other down as “BREAK THE WALLS DOWN” hits. Jericho, sporting a scarf and the List will come down to cheers. Next down will be Roman Reigns to put back the emphasis on Raw but also to get the boos out of the way early. Ambrose is out next, he pauses at the top of the ramp to allow Ellsworth to catch up. Next out is Seth Rollins. Here, AJ Styles comes out as the crowd pops continue to build. Styles should clearly be looking at Jericho and Reigns as they feuded earlier this year. As Universal champion, Kevin Owens is the last member of his team out. He begins trash talking Styles as he came out last as the more important champion. Then, As Shane is about to come out, he’s attacked by Rusev. As the Smackdown team is stunned, they are outnumbered with the 5 Raw men in the ring who lacking a true babyface, block Smackdown team from intervening to assist their boss.
GONG! Undertaker comes out and chases Rusev away. Medics will come in and check up on Shane before helping him to the back. Tensions are high in the ring as the ref tries to keep the two teams apart. Undertaker makes his way to the ring. Jericho will get face to face with the Deadman who stares him down. Jericho backs away and Undertaker joins the Smackdown team. Rusev is a great performer and not having him on the show was disappointing. This gives him some heat for going after a baby face and a possible story with Stephanie favouring him later on. Adding the Undertaker to the match, even if unannounced will add to the big match feel and people who missed the show another reason to regret it.
As the team “captains”, Styles and KO will start things off first. As the two are about to lock up, KO steps back smirking. He yells out “I’m the champion of the Universe!” and tags in Braun Strowman. Like the SD women, I feel it’s more important to book the main event for TLC as strong as Raw has more lead up to Roadblock. Especially with Styles being a bit embarrassed in the Ellsworth matches. It is in KO’s character to act dastardly. He has been booked as an opportunistic but otherwise weak champion. Styles is a heel too, but he only does it as a last resort and he has not been shown to back away from matches but in fact challenge his opponents outright. He’s more of a smarmy heel. He’s also the most athletic of the SD team, so he can bump like mad for Strowman to make him look great.
Eventually, Strowman will fling AJ into the SD corner before roaring. At this, Bray will tag in, giggling briefly before becoming deadly serious. Bray would get some offense in here. He’s bigger than Styles so it would give more credibility for Strowman to sell for him. Orton would tag in to help out and the pair manage to contain Braun until Rollins tags himself in to turn the tide. Eventually, a stand off between Bray and Rollins occurs and the cult leader grins, tapping Ambrose in. Ambrose and Rollins have not interacted since the triple threat at Battleground so the animosity between the two would still be there from a storyline perspective even though Rollins has turned face.
After some back and forth, Rollins takes over and works Ambrose over in his corner. The Lunatic Fringe side steps a Stinger Splash. He follows up by punches to KO and Jericho to draw both into the ring. Styles will take out Jericho with a Phenomenal forearm but get speared by Reigns. RKO on KO as he tries to set up the pop-up powerbomb. Eventually, Reigns clears the ring of everyone but the Undertaker who had not come into the match yet. Ambrose, reeling, extends his hands to the Deadman, who tags in. Soupbones to the US champion who, despite his kevlar vest, falls back. Strowman is in next to challenge the Phenom. Have the two go at it with trying to intimidate one another through feats of strength but the younger man seems to have the slight edge.
Ever the opportunist, KO will come in once the Undertaker is slowing down before the onslaught from Strowman. He and Jericho take turns beating on the Undertaker. With Jericho working over Undetaker, have Ambrose go to ringside and pick up the list and begin going through it. This distracts Y2J who demands they drop… IT. Styles snatches the List out of Ambrose’s hands and snaps the clipboard over his knee. Infuriated, Jericho yells “You Stupid Idiots!” Cue Undertaker wrapping his hand around Jericho’s neck as he slowly gets up. Chokeslam for Jericho. As Taker goes for the pin, Owens attempts a six star frog splash from the top, but Taker sees it, and rolls out of the way. Owens splashes Jericho. Taker tags in Wyatt who covers Jericho for the first pinfall. I have the heels get over Jericho who has been turning face because of the List. Styles should get some heat for breaking the list. Wyatt could use a win since he’s not going to be a survivor here. On the flip side, this adds some tension to the Owens and Jericho relationship.
A lot of posters on the internet seem to think Strowman shouldn’t be pinned as it would reduce his standing. I disagree. His inclusion in this match is elevating him. Strowman’s elimination would come not without some shenanigans though. After a sequence against Ambrose who is thrown to the outside, Ellsworth would try to stand in Strowman’s way. The big man would easily swat Ellsworth aside but the brief interruption would allow for Ambrose the opportunity to surprise Strowman with a lariat sending the latter stumbling. Back in the ring, Ambrose strikes Strowman as he tries to get back in, eventually setting up the tag to Bray Wyatt who smells blood (figuratively of course). A blind tag to Randy Orton just as Strowman lifts Wyatt for a running power slam. Orton dropkicks Wyatt who falls on top of Strowman. He rolls Bray off, gets up to be greeted with an RKO for the 1-2-3. After the pin, the lights go out, and Wyatt, Orton and Strowman are gone from the ring, leaving Ambrose, Taker and Styles to face KO, Rollins and Reigns.
This leaves Smackdown team confused as they have lost their advantage. While, I disagree with Reigns position as a babyface, turning him heel here is a poor choice. He would get overshadowed in the shuffle of the stories coming out of the event. Ambrose and Reigns would be in the ring and fist bump before going at each other in earnest. Ambrose will duck a superman punch, and so Reigns will go after Styles in the corner and knock him off the mat. As he goes to hit Taker, he blocks and tags himself in to put down the one who claims to be the “big dog”. Reigns would put up a good fight and I’ve have him get the pin after KO delivers a super kick to the back of Taker’s head setting up a spear. The pin would be in line with WWE’s push of Reigns heading to Roadblock so I don’t have issue with this. It also allows for an Undertaker vs Reigns or Taker vs KO at a later date depending how long Taker will be performing before his retirement.
Styles follows up by pinning KO. The sequence will come after KO jaws off to the former shield members who decide to leave him out to dry. Styles would deliver an emphatic Styles Clash in the middle of the ring.
Down to the ex-Shield + Styles, the Raw team gets the upperhand as action spills to the outside. Styles will get double power bombed through the Spanish announce table, taking him out for several minutes, leaving Ambrose to fend for himself against his former partners. As Rollins and Reigns take turns beating on the Lunatic, he is cheered on by Ellsworth and refuses to stay down. Out of the crowd, HHH comes out, drawing Rollins’ attention. Still mad for costing him the Universal title, Rollins will jump over the ropes to land on Triple H as they brawl on the outside.
Next out is the club just as Styles begins to groggily make himself back to the ring. He smiles, as Ambrose and the Club begin to surround Reigns in the ring. Big boot to Ambrose! The announcers yell out, the Club is team RAW! Styles is shocked. As Reigns looks at both, he goes for the pin on Ambrose. The Club pulls Reigns off and delivers the magic killer. They then slump Reigns’ body on top of Ambrose and flee the ring as various Raw and Smackdown superstars come down to start an all out brawl between brands. The referee counts the 1-2-3 on Ambrose. Styles, then lifts Reigns up for the Styles Clash and the win.
As I’m running a tad late before the show commences, I’m going to follow up in part 2 for the fallout.