A NEW WWE CHAMPION…
Recap: In the show’s first segment, AJ Styles came to the ring for a promo. He said he had defeated everyone with one exception: Brock Lesnar.
AJ was quickly interrupted by Paul Heyman. Heyman said that there was no one that Brock wanted to face more than AJ, paradoxically following up that statement by saying that AJ was almost as good as Daniel Bryan. He lamented that Brock vs. Bryan is a match we could never see. AJ recognized that Heyman was just trying to get under his skin. He said that while he respected Bryan, he also made him tap out.
Daniel Bryan then interrupted. He was angry that AJ had been talking about him, and threatened to punch him in the face if it happened again. AJ pointed out that the initial mention came from Paul Heyman, not him. He asked Bryan if when people ask who the best person he’s been in the ring with, he could say Daniel Bryan. Bryan then sucker punched him. Shane and the referees ran out to separate the two.
Backstage, the two continued arguing and we were informed that they would face each other for the title tonight at the demand of AJ.
In the main event, Bryan dodged a Phenomenal Forearm which led to AJ taking out the referee. While the referee was down, Bryan hit AJ with a low blow, leading to a running knee for the win. Bryan held the title with a crazed look on his face.
Evaluation: A couple of weeks ago, after the pre-Crown Jewel title match, I wrote in this column that I doubted this feud was over and predicted it would be restarted after Survivor Series. It seems I was right.
The heel turn could be a good thing. Bryan has felt flat since his comeback, so this may shake things up. He was booed tonight, even before the low blow, so his behavior seemed to get him heat from the fans.
Forecast: Sunday’s match is going to be somewhat strange, as two heels are now facing each other. It’s hard to say if one night of heat is enough for Bryan to be booed against Brock as he was against AJ. Having a matchup with Brock be the second match of Bryan’s heel run could do some damage to his status with the fans as a heel.
BECKY OUT OF SURVIVOR SERIES…
Recap: The show began with a video recap of Becky Lynch’s invasion of Raw last night. After the recap, the announcers informed the audience that Becky would be unable to compete at Survivor Series due to a concussion sustained after the blow she took from Nia Jax.
At the top of the second hour, Paige called all of the women to the ring. She announced Becky’s injury, and called Becky to the ring to announce her hand-picked replacement to face Ronda on Sunday.
Becky cut a promo expressing her disappointment at not being medically cleared to wrestle. She said she was angry as hell. Regardless of the broken face and a concussion, shes said she “could still kick Rondy’s ass.” She closed by saying, “You’re not the baddest bitch on the planet, you’re the luckiest.”
She then approached each woman in the ring, sizing each up, before choosing Charlotte. She told her to beat Ronda as she would have. The two then hugged.
Later backstage, Charlotte was interviewed. She said she had previously fought against Becky, last night fought alongside Becky, and now fought for Becky. She vowed to beat Ronda.
Evaluation: Last night’s scene where Becky stood in the stands taunting Ronda, covered in blood, was an iconic Raw moment that I’ll personally remember forever. When her being out of Survivor Series was announced at the top of the show, my mind immediately jumped to wild conspiracy theories about keeping her out to protect WWE’s investment in Ronda. While that’s obviously nonsense, that initial reaction reflects my level of disappointment.
A positive note was that Becky did not vacate the title, so I presume she will be back in action soon.
Having Becky make up with Charlotte was the right move. As I said in last week’s column, WWE has finally realized what it has stumbled into, and has been treating Becky as a superstar face on television. As a result, Charlotte either had to turn or the two had to reconcile. Otherwise, Charlotte would continue to be booed as a face (as she was tonight during her entrance before the reconciliation). The rub seemed to benefit her right away, as her backstage interview was less robotic than normal, even with the minor stumble over her words.
Forecast: Unless WWE is completely insane, the Becky-Ronda feud will be left to simmer, with a WrestleMania payoff.
BYRAN (AND AJ) OUT OF THE SURVIVOR SERIES MATCH…
Recap: Backstage after the opening segment between Bryan and AJ, Paige informed Miz that Bryan was off of the Survivor Series team, and that as sole captain, he had to choose a replacement. He chose Jeff Hardy.
Miz stated that as sole captain, he also wanted to remove Rey Mysterio (Bryan’s pick for the team). Paige said he could only do that if he could defeat Rey in a match, to begin immediately. Miz lost the match.
Evaluation: Why was Bryan removed from the match before becoming champion? Why wouldn’t AJ be his replacement after his win?
Forecast: The traditional Survivor Series match now has an additional midcarder with minimal momentum.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – SMACKDOWN 11/6: Becky the Top Star, Nikki Reunites Sanity, Odd Couple Co-Captains