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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Rockets get another much-needed win. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets went on a redemption tour by beating the Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks. But the most pivotal win was against the Mavericks as the Rockets finally showed their true potential. John Wall finally made his return from his injury hiatus and played with a lot of energy. DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon combined for 61 points. It was great to see Stephan Silas crack a smile as he was able to beat his former team.

The Rockets clearly missed Wall during his eight-game absense. This season, the Rockets are a .500 team with Wall on the court. Wall is the Rockets' floor general that leads, constructs, and also pushes his teammates to become better.

Wall only played 21 minutes in the 133-108 win over the Mavericks but still had eight assists. Even though Wall only had 7 points, his presence was still felt by finding his teammates for open looks beyond the perimeter. Wall made sure Cousins and Gordon got a plethora of touches. He called multiple actions, so they got open looks from three, which was mainly Gordon. Gordon and Cousins' struggles have been similar but with Wall on the court, they were successful against the Mavericks. According to NBA Stats, Wall posted a 111 offensive rating with the starters versus the Mavericks, which included Gordon and Cousins.

"He's the engine to this team. He gets everybody going. He makes the game easy," Cousins told a reporter after the game. "The pressure that he constantly puts on the defense is a tough thing to deal with."

Gordon has struggled all season long with three-point shooting and relied on his slashing abilities. Saturday night, Gordon made six three pointers against the Mavericks, which was 66 percent from beyond the perimeter. Gordon increased his three-point percentage from 31 percent to 34.5 percent after Saturday night's game. Gordon's 33 points came from being able to attack the entire Mavericks' defense. Willy Cauley-Stein didn't stand a chance against Gordon as he was burned multiple times. Gordon's been a lifesaver for the Rockets in the last two games, and hopefully he maintains his play.

Cousins played fantastic against the Mavericks scoring 28 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. This is Cousins' first double-double with the Rockets this season. Cousins became the vintage player from the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings. It was extremely fun watching Cousins push the ball up the court and aggressively snatch rebounds. Boogie shot 50 percent from behind the arc by making four three-pointers. He was dominant inside the paint as Cousins went 7/8 from the restricted area versus the Mavericks. This was the game Cousins needed after having a poor performance against the Pistons Friday night.

"It was really, really good. He did it all. He's a physical presence on both ends of the floor," as Silas said on Cousins' performance.

David Nwaba and Mason Jones were big factors off the Rockets' bench by having a combined total of 34 points together. Nwaba has been great in transition for the Rockets the entire season. Keep in mind that Nwaba is returning from an Achilles injury he suffered with his former team, the Brooklyn Nets. Nwaba has became a great defender, slasher, and is averaging a career-high nine points per game with the Rockets. He finished with 18 points on Saturday night versus the Mavericks.

Mason Jones has become a fan favorite of the Rockets because of his confidence. Silas is loving the usage of Jones off the bench but wants to find more minutes for him. Jones had a breakout performance versus the San Antonio Spurs with 24 points off 66 percent shooting from the field. He continues to get better with his reads from the point guard position. Jones' knowledge of running the offense has helped his efficiency on the court. He is never afraid to take clutch shots in pivotal moments of the game.

"To have a young kid who can come in and not be afraid of the moment, that's big. That's a tough position to be in as an undrafted rookie. I trust him. It's a good problem to have," Silas mentioned after the game. "He's showing me he's ready. He's a confident kid, and he should be. That's why he's good. He's not afraid of the moment, at all. He can get us organized, run plays, and score the basketball."

Hopefully, the Rockets can sustain their level of play when Victor Oladipo returns against the Washington Wizards, Tuesday. It will be interesting to watch Oladipo and Wall play in the same backcourt.

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