WWE Wrap-Up

This week in WWE: Champions of Raw and SmackDown Live to face-off at Survivor Series

SmackDown Live took no prisoners at the end of Raw. Photo by WWE.com

This is a weekly look at the action in the WWE:

Raw

“You still got it” chants welcomed Kurt Angle to the ring to open Raw. The general manager, who last wrestled for the WWE eleven years ago, made his return to the ring as an honorary member of The Shield. Angle announced that at this year’s Survivor Series the champions of Raw would be taking on the champions of SmackDown Live. Additionally, the traditional five on five tag match will take place. A woman’s five on five tag match will happen, as well. The Miz raced to the ring to explain his displeasure with Angle. He explained that he had no business replacing Reigns when he could not compete at TLC, and he was going to make him pay for it. As Miz and The Mizterouge surrounded Angle, The Shield came down through the crowd for the save. Angle, then, announced Miz, Cesaro, and Sheamus would be facing Ambrose, Rollins, and AJ Styles, who stayed an extra day after filling in to replace Bray Wyatt in his match against Finn Balor.  That six man tag match was the first match of the night. Booker T explained this fast paced match is something fans should be looking forward to at Survivor Series. The tag champs would dive onto The Miz and Sheamus outside of the ring allowing Styles to finish Cesaro with a Phenomenal Forearm. All of the lights turned red as Kane came down the ramp to lay out the winning team and end their celebration. After a commercial break, Kane remained in the ring to explain why he attacked his partner at TLC, Braun Strowman. Kane was tired of sitting back and watching another man dominate Raw. He, “will always be the only real monster” on the red team. He, then, asked real competition to come down to the ring. Finn Balor answered his challenge.

Kane dominated the early part of the match, but Balor found a glimmer of hope when he tripped him up into the steel steps. Balor attempted to go for his Coup De Gras finisher, but Kane would catch him from the top rope. Three Choke Slams later, Kane would pin Balor to win the match. SmackDown Live commissioner, Shane McMahon,  met up with Kurt Angle backstage. The two exchanged jokes about how much better their respective brand is. Asuka made her debut on Raw after Emma asked for a rematch after their match at TLC. Emma attempted to roll up Asuka, but she would counter the pin and submit Emma with her Asuka Lock finisher. Woman’s Champion, Alexa Bliss, talked about her match at Survivor Series against SmackDown Live’s Women’s Champion, Natalya. She, then, went on to insult fans for their lack of appreciation for her. Mikey James grew tired of Bliss and laid her out in the center of the ring. Elias had his rematch with Jason Jordan after the controversial finish to their match at TLC. Just when it looked like Jordan was gaining the upper hand, Elias shattered his guitar into Jordan’s shoulder causing him to lose the match via disqualification.

Brock Lesnar’s advocate, Paul Heyman, had a lot to say about the WWE Champion, Jinder Mahal. Last week, Mahal challenged the Universal Champion to a match at Survivor Series. Heyman explained that he respected every single opponent who challenged Lesner, but he does not respect Mahal. He is nothing but a “conciliation prize champion”, and Lesnar should have no problems with him in four weeks at Survivor Series. The captain of the Raw Woman’s team for Survivor Series was decided in a triple threat match between Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Alicia Fox. Banks would place Fox in the Banks Statement, but Fox would find a way to escape. She would, then, shove Banks into Bayley, and pin Bayley to win the match. Alicia Fox will captain the Raw team. The team of Kalisto, Gran Metalik, Mustafa Ali, Rich Swann, and Cedric Alexander took on Enzo Amore, Noam Dar, Dew Gulak, Tony Neese, and Divari. The baby face team would clear the ring of Enzo’s goons allowing Kalisto to pin Amore with the Salida del Sol. Kurt Angle came to the ring to close Raw by announcing who would be representing the brand at Survivor Series. Before he could even speak, Shane McMahon and several SmackDown Live competitors came to the ring through the crowd. “Under Siege”, said McMahon into the mic as his team raced backstage to attack who ever they could find from the Raw roster.

Highlight of the Night: The SmackDown Live invasion. Is it confusing to see the moral compass of the blue brand, Becky Lynch, ambushing who ever she could find backstage, sure. But it was the moment where the build for Survivor Series began.

SmackDown Live

Shane McMahon opened SmackDown Live boasting over the blue brand’s ambush on Raw the night before. He would, then, face off with Sami Zayn for the first time since Zayn got involved in McMahon’s match with Kevin Owens. Zayn told McMahon that Owens and him would represent the blue team at Survivor Series because they know how much he needs them. McMahon would, instead, explain to Zayn that he will only represent the blue brand if he defeated Randy Orton. The New Day took on Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable in the first match of the night. Benjamin and Gable would win the match after Benjamin blindsided Woods with a kick to the back, allowing Gable to pin him for the win. Breezango and The Ascension returned with another episode of Fashion Files and another tribute to Quintin Tarantino with a parody of Reservoir Dogs. Daniel Bryan expressed his frustrations with Shane McMahon. He was not too fond of SmackDown Live’s attack on Raw. Baron Corbin would lose via disqualification for the second week in a row to Sin Cara. After the loss, Corbin dragged Sin Cara to the outside and hit him with his End of Days finisher.

Jinder Mahal responded to Paul Heyman, or, as he put it, “The Human Walrus.” AJ Styles interrupted Mahal and faced off against Sunil Singh. The match ended almost as soon as it started as Styles submitted the Singh Brother with The Calf Crusher. Becky Lynch, Naomi, Tamina, Carmella, and Charlotte Flair participated in a fatal five way to determine who would captain SmackDown Live’s Women’s team at Survivor Series. Becky Lynch would be named captain after submitting Carmella with her Disarmer finisher. Bobby Roode challenged Dolph Ziggler to a Two out of Three Falls match on next week’s episode of SmackDown Live. Sami Zayn took on Randy Orton in the main event. Kevin Owens tried to get involved in the match, but it ended up costing Zayn. Orton returned Zayn’s low blow from last week and finished him off with an RKO. He will be the first member of the blue team at Survivor Series.

Highlight of the Night:

Sami Zayn’s exchange with Shane McMahon. He has new found confidence. Genuinely, he’s filling the roll of the guy who broke bad really well. He’s an accessory to Kevin Owens, and we are seeing a side to him we have never seen in a WWE ring.

How do they Compare?

Raw gets the edge this week, but only because of the invasion from Shane McMahon and the SmackDown Live roster. Just like the blue team invaded Raw, we should see the red team ambush SmackDown Live. This should lead to some awesome brawls and face-offs like we saw this week. I am fairly confident that we will see several weeks of consistent television with all the meshing between the brands. That is going to make it harder for me to choose who had the better week, but it will, without  a doubt, make the build to Survivor Series stronger.

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Texans fall to Browns. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans kept it closer than the experts thought they would, but couldn't pull out a victory. Here are 11 observations from the loss in Cleveland to the Browns.

1. The game looks totally different if Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor finishes the game. Taylor left at halftime with a hamstring injury. He was playing exceptionally well against his former team. Taylor is not expected to play Thursday according to NFL Network.

2. Davis Mills had a rocky NFL debut which was to be expected. Mills looked to have the wrong elements of a few plays. He also couldn't hit backup wideout Andre Roberts over the middle and threw an interception. It was a fine performance considering what Mills showed he could do in the preseason.

3. Mills didn't work with a full load of offensive weapons in the second half. Rookie wideout Nico Collins didn't return to the game after his lone catch and big run early in the game. Veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola left the game with an injury. Tight end Anthony Auclair left with an eye injury. The Texans entered the game without wide receiver Anthony Miller who was inactive.

4. Brandin Cooks is a monster through two games. He is the most dangerous skill position player on the team, and defenses still have trouble covering him and staying with him. Cooks turned in yet another impressive day for this team and hauled in a Davis Mills touchdown pass.

5. The Browns did a solid job against the ground game of the Texans. Mark Ingram averaged under three yards per carry and Tyrod Taylor was the only rusher to have a big play on the ground. This led to a fair number of third-and-long situations which the Texans usually had trouble converting.

6. Justin Reid was set to increase his payday on his next contract with his early play. Reid forced a fumble and had an interception in the first half. Unfortunately, Reid would leave the game multiple times with injuries. The knock on Reid has always been his health.

7. The Texans were worn down by the Browns rushing attack all day. Once Cleveland committed to the run they saw the success of their work culminating in a 26-yard scamper by Nick Chubb for a touchdown. The Browns didn't run as much as I excepted them to run early.

8. Tim Kelly had another nice day calling plays. Kelly remains creative in finding ways to get the ball out of Taylor's hands quickly as well as manufacturing matchups where the Texans can win and pick up yards. He even got creative to get Davis Mills a passing touchdown late in the game. Kelly has been very impressive through two games.

9. Andre Roberts was inexcusably bad today. The Texans defense held on the opening drive and his muffed punt eliminated the momentum from the defensive stand. He also had poor returns on kickoffs. His lone job is to be a solid returner, and he failed at that on Sunday.

10. David Culley had a head-scratching decision foregoing an offsides call on a third down. The head coach opted for the result of the third down, and a punt on fourth down, instead of another third down. He did not explain himself well postgame on the decision either.

11. The Texans hung tough and should feel solid about where they could have been without the injury to their quarterback. With no Taylor in the short week, it will not be easy to beat the Panthers who upset the Saints on Sunday.

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