WWE Wrap-Up

This week in WWE: The teams for Survivor Series are forming

Braun Strowman made a monstrous return to Raw. Photo by WWE.com

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

Raw

Kurt Angle addressed the entire Raw roster to open the show this week. He would apologize to his wrestlers for letting his friendship with Shane McMahon blind him, allowing McMahon and SmackDown Live to invade the show. Stephanie McMahon made her first appearance on Raw since WrestleMania. She belittled Angle explaining that allowing the attack ruined the 25 year reputation of Monday Night Raw. As a result, he will be forced to compete at Survivor Series as the team captain of the men’s team. If they do not win, she will be finding a new general manager for Raw. Bayley prepared in the ring to take on Alecia Fox in the first match of the night, or so she thought. Fox would tell Bayley that, as captain of Raw’s women’s team, she does not have time to fight her but Nia Jax does. Initially, the sudden change proved to not fret an aggressive Bayley, but Jax’s strength would prove to be too much as she would pin Bayley after a leg drop. Fox would, then, announce Nia Jax as her first pick to Raw’s women’s team. Samoa Joe would officially make his return to Raw to a loud ovation from the crowd. Despite this, Joe would explain to the crowd that he did not miss a single fan in his absence. Apollo Crews challenged Joe hoping to prove himself as a contender for Raw’s men's team. His speed would initially give him the upper hand, but Joe would end up winning the match with his Coquina Clutch. Titus O’Neil jumped into the ring to attempt to save his client but would also end up in a Coquina Clutch.

The Miz defended his Intercontinental Championship against Matt Hardy. Hardy dominated the majority of the match. The Miz would roll out of the ring after getting hit with Hardy’s Twist of Fate. As Hardy attempted to bring him back in, he would get thrown into the ropes, and Miz would finish him off with a Skull Crushing Finale. Asuka took on a “local talent” named Stacy Cullen. Asuka would dominate every second of the match, and would submit her opponent with her Asuka Lock. SmackDown Live’s Daniel Bryan would meet with Kurt Angle backstage. Bryan attempted to apologize to Angle for SmackDown’s attack, but Angle was not going to hear it. He would send Bryan away with a message for Shane McMahon. Bryan would remain in Angle’s office only to get attacked by Kane. Finn Balor took on Cesaro in what was, without a doubt, the match of the night. Every time Balor took the upper hand, Sheamus, Cesaro’s partner, would distract him and allow him to capitalize. Balor would have enough and hit Sheamus with a kick, then, after diving into them, would hit Cesaro with a stomp to the back of the neck to win. Kane cut Balor’s celebration short as he Tombstoned him on the stage.

Seth Rollins challenged Kane to start the third hour of Raw. Rollins would use his speed to gain momentum in the match. Cesaro and Sheamus returned to the ring to attack Ambrose, who was outside supporting his partner. This distraction would cost Rollins the match as Kane would win with a Choke Slam. After the match, Kane and The Bar ambushed The Shield members, and Kane would give both Ambrose and Rollins a Tombstone. With Halloween on Tuesday, Gallows and Anderson took on Heath Slater and Rhyno in a “Trick or Street Fight.” Surrounded by props, this match was not much more than comedic relief. Slater bobbed for apples, Gallows would get a pie to the face, and Anderson would through a table allowing Rhyno to pin him for the win. Jason Jordan got his revenge over Elias after last week’s attack by breaking his guitar. Kalisto made quick work of Drew Gulak defeating him almost immediately with the Salida del Sol. Enzo Amore would, then, attack Kalisto from behind.  Alexa Bliss defended her Woman’s Championship in the main event against Mickie James. James would try every pin combination imaginable but it would prove to not be enough as Bliss won with one stiff strike to the face. The Miz and his Mizterouge attempted to leave the arena after finding a bag of trash in his locker room. He knew Strowman would be back for him, and he was right. Strowman caught them as they were attempting to escape and chased them down to the ring. Raw ended with Strowman decimating Curtis Axel with five Running Power Slams, including one through the table.

Highlight of the night

Is there any doubt? Braun Strowman is freaking back! Having him off last week made perfect sense, and, man, did the fans miss him. After every Running Power Slam, the fans would yell “one more time,” and Strowman would deliver. When the fans starting chanting “table,” Strowman carried Axel all the way up the stage and put him through the table. Your wish is Braun Strowman’s command.

SmackDown Live

Shane McMahon finally explained why the blue team invaded Raw last week. “Raw sees us as the inferior brand,” explained McMahon. He shared how upset he was about Kane attacking Daniel Bryan, and revealed to the crowd that he will be the captain of the SmackDown Live men’s team. The Two out of Three Falls match between Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler opened the show. Roode would dominate the first fall, but one Super Kick was enough for Ziggler to steal it. Roode rolled up Ziggler after slamming him into the turnbuckle to win the second fall. The third fall was an exciting one, and it would end with Roode pinning Ziggler with a Glorious DDT. Bobby Roode will be joining Randy Orton and Shane McMahon on team SmackDown.  Backstage, Rusev ended The New Day’s Halloween celebration by crushing their candy, and explaining that the only real holiday is Rusev Day. Becky Lynch lit a fire under the women’s division explaining to them they need to band together to defeat Raw. Natalya then antagonized Charlotte, “The weakest link," and explained that if the team loses it would be because of her. Baron Corbin took on Sin Cara for the third week in a row. The match would not get very far before the two brawled outside of the ring. It would end in a double count out, as Baron Corbin ran away from Sin Cara.

AJ Styles defeated Samir Singh almost immediately after hitting him with a Styles Clash. Jinder Mahal wasted no time and attacked Styles as soon as the match ended. The New Day got a little bit of payback on Rusev in the form of a match between Big E and Rusev. Unfortunately for them, the result would not be a good one as Rusev would win with a kick to Big E, who was distracted by Aiden English. Breezango were up to no good again. This week, their fashion files segment was a parody of Stranger Things. The main event saw Shinsuke Nakamura take on Kevin Owens. The winner of the match would become the fourth representative of team SmackDown at Survivor Series. Sami Zayn raced down to the ring to help his best friend, Kevin Owens. When it looked like they would get the best of Nakamura, Randy Orton would sneak up behind Zayn, and provide enough of a distraction for Nakamura to capitalize and win the match. Nakamura will represent team SmackDown Live alone with Bobby Roode, Randy Orton, and Shane McMahon.

How do they compare?

As I speculated last week, these next few weeks will be very good. As one of the main Pay Per Views, Survivor Series will get a lot of time and effort. Thus, both shows really delivered this week. The shows could get a little stagnant once they finish building all of the teams out, but I suspect that will not happen as we are bound to see another invasion when Raw retaliates.   

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Houston loses in San Francisco

Astros drop back-and-forth middle game to Giants to even series

Houston's offense couldn't keep up with the Giants on Saturday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With the impressive win in the opener to start the series, the Astros entered Saturday's middle game against the Giants with an opportunity to not just secure the series but surpass San Francisco for the best record in the league. They'd have to wait to take that crown, as the Giants would out-slug the Astros to even the series.

Final Score: Giants 8, Astros 6

Astros' Record: 64-41, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jay Jackson (2-0)

Losing Pitcher: Blake Taylor (2-3)

Teams trade blows early, Giants chase Greinke out early

The teams traded blows early in this one, with the Giants tagging Zack Greinke with six runs, all on homers. The first was a solo shot in the bottom of the second to start the scoring before hitting one in each inning through the fourth: two-run blasts in the third and fourth, then a go-ahead solo shot in the bottom of the fifth, putting them ahead 6-5 at the time. Greinke would face one more batter, allowing a single to end his lackluster day: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 4 HR, 93 P.

Houston's offense kept things close to try and keep Greinke in a position to win, going up 3-1 in the third on a two-run Aledmys Diaz homer and another coming in on an error. After San Francisco scored four unanswered to make it 5-3, Diaz homered again in the top of the fifth to cut the deficit to one run before Yuli Gurriel would tie it with an RBI double.

Astros stay in it, but Giants even the series by winning the slug-fest

With Greinke exiting with no outs in the fifth, Houston handed the ball to Phil Maton, acquired in the recent Myles Straw trade, to make his debut for his new team. He worked himself into a jam, allowing a single and hitting a batter to load the bases with one out, but was able to get back-to-back strikeouts to strike out the side and strand all three runners, keeping it a one-run game.

That proved pivotal in the top of the sixth, as with two outs, Martin Maldonado would launch a game-tying solo homer, making it 6-6. Blake Taylor took over out of the bullpen in the bottom of the inning but would face just three batters, getting two outs while leaving one on as Dusty Baker moved on to Cristian Javier. Javier would watch the Giants retake the lead, getting back-to-back singles to bring in a run and make it 7-6.

Javier stayed in the game in the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff single but erasing it by striking out the next three batters. Still a 7-6 game in the bottom of the eighth, Yimi Garcia made his Astros debut but did not keep the score there, allowing a leadoff solo homer to make it a two-run game. The 8-6 score would go final as Houston's offense came up empty again in the top of the ninth, setting up a rubber game in the finale.

Up Next: The series finale will get underway at 3:05 PM Central on Sunday in San Francisco. Luis Garcia (7-5, 3.19 ERA) will take the mound for Houston, going opposite Logan Webb (4-3, 3.36 ERA) for the Giants.

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