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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Jae'Sean Tate had himself a night. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

No Christian Wood. No Kevin Porter Jr. No Jalen Green. No problem. Jae’ Sean Tate became a complete superhero for the Houston Rockets versus the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

He recorded 32 points, 10 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 5.0 blocks, and 2.0 steals and shot 73 percent from the field. With that stat line, he joined former Rocket Hakeem Olajuwon and other historic big men from the past, which Tim MacMahon reported.

Tate is known for his leadership and the ability to be humble. When a reporter asked Tate about the stat line, he said, “How many turnovers? Nah, 25 assists, that’s what sup! Can’t be mad at that.” An expression like that shows the importance of putting his teammates first before taking all the shine. Tate is providing more passion with communication and being the rock that the "Baby Rockets" can lean on.

Coach Silas' confidence in Tate is something built from last year and it shows. Those two have constant dialogue throughout the game, and it’s seen before the huddle or when Silas is standing on the sideline before he calls a play. Silas has run consistent sets for Tate, as he did that within the 15-game losing streak. He dialed up an out of bounds action with 33.4 seconds left, so Tate could make a clutch layup towards the rim.

“Long, long, long ago in his rookie year…we definitely have a bond and with those two guys out, we needed some scoring,” Silas said. “He was the guy who was playing the hardest from start to finish and down the stretch we ran that elbow iso for him. And he just went through his defender and finished. And he made some huge plays in the 4th quarter, which is what you need. Yeah, I trust him as much as anybody else, and he has earned that, and he deserves it.”

“That just shows the confidence Coach Silas, and my teammates have in me,” said Tate. “We lost some of our primary guys tonight. And not only me, but everybody also stepped up.”

His usage rating is slowly going up, which is posted at 18.9 percent per NBA stats. In isolation, Tate is averaging 1.00 points per possession, which puts him in the 75th percentile(!) per NBA stats. Tate is seeing more action out of the corner, so it can allow him to get to his left hand on offense. The elbow iso action is a play that Tate has run since high school, college, overseas, and in the NBA now. He mentioned that the set allows him to get comfortable when his number is called.

“That’s not my primary role and I think everyone knows that,” Tate said. “I am very confident [in] what I bring to the table offensively. Not only scoring wise but seeing the floor and being able to make [a] decision in space. And that kind of helps me when they overlook the scouting report.”

“[I've] been running that play since I was [in] high school. At Ohio St. I ran that. Even when I was overseas, Will Weaver, that was a play he put in. To have that called tonight, it felt familiar and it’s one of my strengths. And playing in the mid-post area and getting to my left hand.”

Tate was excellent for the Rockets on both sides of the ball, as he had a 116.9 offensive and 108.5 defensive rating with an 82.5 percent in true shooting versus the Thunder. Hopefully, Tate can be the leading catalyst again, as the Rockets face the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans, which are winnable games. It should become a six-game winning streak, as John Wall might play if his condition is right.

Up next: The Rockets face the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

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