WWE WRAP-UP

This week in WWE: Shake-ups to the Survivor Series card with surprise title changes

The Phenomenal One captures his second WWE Championship. Photo by WWE.com

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

Raw:

The Miz kicked off Monday Night Raw with a new episode of Miz TV. His frustrations were apparent when he called his opponent at Survivor Series, Baron Corbin, “ The bathroom break of SmackDown.” He invited Kurt Angle to the ring to discuss Kane’s attack on Daniel Bryan last week. Angle insisted that he had nothing to do with the attack. The Miz, then, accused Angle of setting him up for Strowman’s ambush at the end of Raw last week. Again, Angle insisted that he was not behind the attack. Angle explained to The Miz that Strowman will be representing the red team at Survivor Series, and he was only able to persuade him to participate because he promised him a match against Miz. Jason Jordan and Elias' feud peaked this week in a Guitar on a Pole match. Essentially, the only way to win this match is by striking your opponent with the guitar that is elevated over the ring. Elias pulled the guitar down, but Jordan would win the match after striking him in the back with the guitar. Backstage, The Bar asked Kurt Angle for one last chance at the Tag Titles. Angle agreed to their requested, but insisted that this will be their last chance. Asuka defeated another enhancement talent this week with her Asuka Lock finisher. Alicia Fox, captain of the Raw women’s team, announced that Asuka will be the third member of her team at Survivor Series. Titus O’Neil requested a match against Samoa Joe after he choked him out the week before. Unfortunately for him, the match never got started as Joe would, again, ambush him. Joe grabbed a microphone and asked for real competition to face off against him.

A loud ovation welcomed Joe’s challenger, Finn Balor. The history between these two allowed for an entertaining back and forth. The match ended in a double count out after the two fought outside the ring. The result frustrated both men, and they began to brawl. It took multiple referees and “security guards” to separate them. Kurt Angle, then, announced to both men that they will be joining him as representatives of Raw at Survivor Series. Backstage, Kurt Angle told Jason Jordan that he will be the final member of the Raw men’s team. Sasha Banks and Bayley defeated Alicia Fox and Nia Jax when Banks submitted Fox. After the match, Fox asked Banks to join the Raw team.

The Miz’s match against Braun Strowman started the last hour of the show. Early on, Miz did all he could to avoid Strowman, but Strowman would eventually catch up with him and began tossing him around. Kane came down to the ring and struck Strowman, causing a disqualification. The Miz and The Mizterauge attempted to attack Strowman from behind, but The Monster Among Men ended up laying out Miz. Enzo Amore explained to the audience why he is the most valuable champion in the WWE. Kalisto came down to the ring after Amore took shots at his expense in his promo. Instead of attacking him, he sat down, and WWE UK Champion, Pete Dunne, made his way to the ring for a surprise match against Amore. Despite Amore’s attempt to steal the match, all it took was one of Dunne’s Bitter End finishers to put the match away. The Bar came to the ring for their title match against Ambrose and Rollins. They took off their jackets to reveal they were wearing Liverpool jerseys, upsetting the crowd in Manchester. The Shield members dominated the match early on, but The Bar isolated Rollins after taking out Ambrose. To everyone’s surprise, The New Day’s music hit and caused the entire Raw roster to go into a frenzy in fear of another SmackDown Live invasion. The chaos allowed The New Day to get a rise out of the Raw roster and allowed Sheamus to pin Rollins. The Bar ended Raw as the new Tag Team Champions.

Highlight of the night:

Pete Dunne’s appearance on Raw was the highlight of the night. It was perfect, from Dunne’s appearance in his home country of England, to him whipping the floor with Amore. The UK tournament this past January was phenomenal. Let’s hope WWE uses the UK talent more often.

 

SmackDown Live

Just like Raw, SmackDown was live from Manchester, England. Shane McMahon looked ahead to Survivor Series, and The New Day recounted how they bamboozled Raw the night before. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn shamed New Day for their actions and called McMahon a hypocrite for celebrating them. McMahon, then, issued the first match of the night, Sami Zayn vs Kofi Kingston. The two athletic wrestlers had a great back and forth, but Kingston’s Cross Body surprised Zayn and allowed him to pick up the win. Owens attempted to attack Kingston after his win, but Big E and Xavier Woods jumped in to save their partner. Backstage, Jinder Mahal addressed AJ Styles, the man who he will be defending his WWE Championship in the main event. Aiden English serenaded Rusev before his match against Randy Orton. Rusev surprised Orton with a big kick to start the match, but one RKO out of nowhere was enough for The Viper to win. James Ellsworth confronted his opponent of the night, Becky Lynch. Yes, you read that right.

Their “War of the Sexes” match started the second hour. Ellsworth attempted to apologize to Lynch. Instead of accepting his apology, Lynch made him submit to her Disarmer. Carmella jumped into the ring after the match. It looked like she was about to brawl with Lynch, instead, she kicked Ellsworth in the face. Shane McMahon told Natalya backstage that she will be defending her Women’s Championship against Charlotte Flair next week. The Usos defended their Tag Team Championships against Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin. The challengers would win via count out when Jimmy Uso could not get back into the ring because of what appeared to be a knee injury. AJ Styles challenged Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship. Styles used his speed to gain an advantage over the champion. He, then, had to take out the Singh Brothers after they pulled Mahal out of the ring. Finally, Styles saw an opening and hit Mahal with a Phenomenal Forearm to win The WWE Championship for the second time.

Highlight of the night:

The Phenomenal One does phenomenal things. Styles is without a doubt one of the best wrestlers in the company. Seeing him win the WWE title, on an episode of SmackDown no less, was an awesome moment.

How do they compare

This week was a great one. The title change on Raw was a surprise, and the possibility of it setting up The New Day vs The Shield has me on the edge. SmackDown took that ball and ran with it with a surprise title change of their own. It set up a match I never thought I would see, Brock Lesnar vs AJ Styles. The best thing about these brands interacting is that they lift each other up; thus, giving fans a great build with consistently good shows. Survivor Series is a week from Sunday, and, boy, does this Pay Per View feel like a big deal.

 

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Houston is back in the win column

McCullers Jr. spins a gem as Astros get a much-needed win over Giants

Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images

After getting swept by the A's in Oakland to end a road trip with a five-game losing streak, the Astros returned to Houston to try and get back on track. To do so, they'd need a win against the Giants on Monday night. Here is a quick recap of the series opener:

Final Score: Astros 6, Giants 4.

Record: 7-9, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 6.10 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Logan Webb (1-1, 2.81 ERA).

Houston builds up an early lead

The early goings of Monday's game went very similar to the last time Lance McCullers Jr. took the mound. He would have a terrific first three innings while his offense gave him an early lead. The first run came in the bottom of the second, with Yuli Gurriel reaching base on a one-out double, moving to third on a wild pitch, then scoring on an RBI-single by Carlos Correa.

Correa would take part in a four-run inning in the third, as Houston would score two on a two-RBI ground-rule double by Michael Brantley, another on an error, then Correa's second RBI of the night, a groundout to bring in a run and make it 5-0. Unlike the last start in Arizona, where the roof opened and McCullers Jr. fell apart in the fourth, he was able to make quick work of his opponent for a 1-2-3 frame. As he kept recording scoreless innings, Martin Maldonado added another run to the lead with a one-out solo home run in the bottom of the sixth, making it 6-0.

McCullers Jr. takes a no-hitter into the seventh

While the Astros were building their lead, McCullers Jr. was spinning a gem on the mound. He allowed just one baserunner through the first six innings, which came on a hit-by-pitch. He entered the seventh with a no-hitter in progress, but the Giants would get their first hit of the night to end the no-hit bid.

Regardless, the start was precisely what McCullers Jr. needed to restore his confidence after the disastrous inning he had in his last appearance. He would go on to complete the seventh inning before Houston would go to the bullpen with the large lead in the eighth. His final line: 7.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K 0 HR, 1 HPB.

Houston gets back in the win column despite more struggles by Josh James

Josh James entered out of the bullpen for the top of the eighth but allowed the first run of the night for San Francisco via a solo home run with one out to make it 6-1. He would complete the inning and then return for the top of the ninth. He would have another rocky inning, issuing a leadoff walk before a single and double would make it a four-run game at 6-2, still with no outs in the inning and runners on second and third, prompting another call to the bullpen.

Dusty Baker would bring in his current closer, Ryan Pressly, to try and finish the game, now in a save situation. Pressly would retire the first two batters he faced before allowing a two-RBI single to make it 6-4, but would eventually get the final out to get Houston the much-needed win. With the victory, the Astros moved back into second place in the AL West standings.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will start Tuesday at 8:10 PM Central. The Giants, working with a fluid rotation, have not yet fully decided on their starter, while the Astros will get another start from Brandon Bielak (2-0, 0.87 ERA) who will look to repeat the success of his five-inning, no-run start in Arizona last week.

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