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Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Heel Turns: Invasion angle works perfectly

Posted by Achilles Heel On October 29

Not to say that TLC wasn’t a decent show, but it was quickly overshadowed by events the following night on Raw. With Kurt Angle in the ring, Smackdown commissioner Shane McMahon led a Smackdown invasion of Raw.

When Angle left, the Smackdown wrestlers, led by Baron Corbin and Rusev, brought Angle back to the ring. We also saw backstage footage of Smackdown wrestlers attacking Raw wrestlers.

This was perhaps the most effective invasion angle since NXT – the competition, not the current show – invaded WWE. Led by Wade Barrett, with wrestlers such as Daniel Bryan participating, NXT carried out a shocking attack.

Monday’s invasion was also surprising. And it was an excellent way to set up Survivor Series, which takes place on Nov. 19 in Houston.

The entire Survivor Series is being built around the Raw vs. Smackdown battle. WWE Universal champion Brock Lesnar battles WWE champion Jinder Mahal. Raw tag team champions Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins faces Smackdown tag team champions Jimmy and Jey Uso. Intercontinental champion The Miz squares off with United States champion Baron Corbin, and Raw Women’s champion Alexa Bliss meets Smackdown Women’s champion Natalya. It’s interesting to note that the last two matches are heel vs. heel matches. The Greek God of Wrestling wonders if one or two of those titles will change before Survivor Series in order to set up a heel vs. babyface dynamic.

There also will be two traditional Survivor Series 5-on-5 elimination matches. There will be a men’s 5-on-5 Raw vs. Smackdown match and a women’s 5-on-5 Raw vs. Smackdown match.

The Smackdown women’s team is set. Becky Lynch won a five-woman challenge to become the captain of the Smackdown team. Her teammates are scheduled to be Charlotte Flair, Naomi, Carmella and Tamina. The Raw team will be captained by Alicia Fox, who won a triple threat match with Sasha Banks and Bayley to earn that position. Nobody else has been announced for the Raw team, but expect Banks and Bayley to be added to the team. Nia Jax should also be added to the team, with Emma, Mickie James and Asuka other possibilities. In fact, Achilles Heel will make an early prediction that Asuka wins the match for Team Raw.

Randy Orton, who helped Smackdown win last year’s Raw vs. Smackdown men’s elimination match at Survivor Series and, according to wwe.com, holds the record for most eliminations in traditional Survivor Series elimination matches, qualified for a spot on Team Smackdown by defeating Sami Zayn. Shinsuke Nakamura, A.J. Styles, Rusev, Kevin Owens, Bobby Roode and Dolph Ziggler are potential teammates for Orton. Nobody has been announced for the Raw team, but Finn Balor, Roman Reigns (if he’s healthy), Braun Strowman, Kane, Sheamus and Cesaro are strong candidates to be selected.

We have nearly another month to discuss Survivor Series, but the invasion angle got the buildup off to a terrific start.

*****

TLC REVIEW: The action during Tables, Ladders and Chairs was pretty decent, and the Minnesota crowd was enthusiastic, but the event didn’t have a pay-per-view feel until the main event.

The Greek God of Wrestling can’t complain about the execution. The matches were fairly good, and there was even a buildup to a Jason Jordan vs. Elias match that worked with that crowd. But most of the event didn’t feel important until the end.

Asuka made her debut with a competitive match against Emma. Rather than have Asuka debut as a dominant wrester, the angle was that WWE is a step up in competition, and Asuka is going to have to earn everything she gets. Emma deserves credit for working a pretty good match. Also in the women’s division, Sasha Banks beat Alicia Fox during the kickoff show, and Alexa Bliss successfully defended the Raw Women’s Championship against Mickie James, who gave an emotional interview after the match.

Enzo Amore regained the WWE Cruiserweight Championship from Kalisto in a match that didn’t have much going for it except that Amore was losing his voice. A better cruiserweight match was the tag team battle won by Cedric Alexander and Rich Swann against Gentleman Jack Gallagher and Brian Kendrick. Alexander looked like a star during this match.

A.J. Styles, who returned from WWE’s South American tour to replace the ill Bray Wyatt, had an excellent match with Finn Balor. The fans were chanting “This is Awesome!” before they ever locked up. Balor won, which seems fitting for a Raw pay-per-view.

With Angle filling in for the ill Roman Reigns, Angle joined Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins to overcome the odds and defeat The Miz, Sheamus, Cesaro, Braun Strowman and Kane. Angle was absent from the middle of the match after a powerslam from Strowman outside the ring, which makes sense because Angle hadn’t been in a WWE ring in 11 years and hadn’t wrestled for years. The main event and the Styles-Balor match had the big-match feel missing from most of TLC .

*****

SAN ANTONIO SHOWDOWN: Two weeks ago, the Greek God of Wrestling explained why Ring of Honor is the No. 2 wrestling organization in the United States. It has clearly passed Impact Wrestling. The only question is whether NXT is considered a separate brand from WWE and, if so, is NXT or Ring of Honor No. 2.

Well, NXT and Ring of Honor will be going head-to-head in San Antonio on Nov. 17, two nights before Survivor series. Ring of Honor will present the first night of its Survival of the Fittest tournament, with the tournament continuing the following two nights in Dallas and Oklahoma City. Ring of Honor has added Kenny Omega to the San Antonio show to compete with NXT, which has a house show headlined by Drew McIntyre defending the NXT Championship against Adam Cole, with Shawn Michaels as the guest referee, the same night.

*****

YOU SOLD OUT: Ring of Honor’s Final Battle pay-per-view on Fri., Dec. 15 in New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom is already sold out. Wow!

*****

RING RETURNS TO PHILLY: Fresh off sold-out television tapings in Philadelphia, Ring of Honor has announced it will return to Philadelphia’s 2300 Arena for more television tapings on Sat., Dec. 16, one day after Final Battle. Two smaller sections are already sold out, as is the Arena Box VIP section.

*****

MAKING AN IMPACT — AGAIN: Jeff Jarrett has entered a rehabilitation facility after several incidents in which he appeared unfit to perform. Meanwhile, with Jarrett officially out of the picture and ties with Global Force Wrestling dissolved, the former TNA is once again calling itself Impact Wrestling. After months of uniting titles and transitioning to the GFW brand, all of that is out the window. What a mess!

*****

GLORY DAYS: To show you how messed up Impact Wrestling is, Achilles Heel has a challenge for you. Got to the Impact Wrestling Web site and find the card for Bound for Glory, which takes place on Sun., Nov. 5 in Ottawa. Go ahead. Look now.

Now that you’re back without being able to find the card, let the Greek God of Wrestling fill you in. In the main event, for what is now being called the Impact Global Championship, Eli Drake defends the title against Johnny Impact. There also will be a Six Sides of Steel match between Moose and Stephan Bonnar and the team of Lashley and King Mo. The match involving MMA combatants has been receiving a big push on Impact Wrestling.

Dave and Jake Crist (oVe) will defend the Impact World Tag Team Championship against former champions LAX in a 5150 street fight. Sienna will defend the Impact Knockouts Championship against Gail Kim and Ali. Trever Lee will defend the Impact X Division Championships against Matt Sydal, Petey Williams, Dezmond Xavier, Sonjay Dutt and Garza Jr.

There will be a Team Impact vs. Team AAA match, with Eddie Edwards, James Storm and Ethan Carter III representing impact, and El Hijo del Fantasmo, Pagano and Texano representing AAA. Other matches at Bound for Glory will be a Monsters Ball match between Abyss and Grado and a “red wedding” match between Rosemary and Taya Valkyrie.

*****

TEAM PLAYER: A.J. Styles deserves a lot of credit for flying back from South America to replace Bray Wyatt in his match with Finn Balor at TLC. Styles stuck around another day and joined Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins in a six-man tag team match on Raw. Then Styles defeated Sunil Singh on Smackdown the following night. Three matches in three nights after flying back from South America should earn Styles a lot of respect – as if he needed to earn any more respect.

*****

TRIPLE H RETURNS TO RING: With A.J. Styles leaving the South American tour to face Finn Balor at TLC and with Kevin Owens leaving the tour for family reasons, WWE tried to make it up to fans in Santiago, Chile, by having Triple H compete. Triple H, sporting a thick beard, defeated Rusev. He also did some uncharacteristic dance moves.

With doubt remaining about the participation of Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt on the upcoming European tour, which begins Wednesday in Scotland, WWE has announced that Triple H will be wrestling on five of those shows.

*****

SMACKDOWN SPLIT? An interesting footnote to the invasion angle is that Smackdown general manager Daniel Bryan made it clear that he wasn’t aware of the planned invasion. He also told Shane McMahon that if he had been informed about it, he would have recommended that Shane call off the invasion. Perhaps we are seeing the roots of a Bryan-McMahon split. Keep an eye on further developments in that storyline.

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