It was always going to happen. Once I’d mapped out how I would book SmackDown through to Wrestlemania, it was only natural that I’d look at Monday nights at some point too. This is going to follow the same broad rules I set myself for the SD column – I can’t change storylines that are already in development, I have to write some sort of conclusion to them – and like the Kevin Owens/Shane McMahon feud I still work towards matches that are expected in the future. I’m also still assuming there is a PPV roughly every month, even though WWE haven’t yet announced as much. And I can’t magically heal anyone who is injured, I have to work with their expected recovery time, which means no Big Cass or Jeff Hardy.
I’m mainly dealing with the Universal and Intercontinental Championships (though I do briefly discuss the Tag titles early on), and on that note I only have Brock Lesnar wrestling in “Big-4” PPVs from here on out. I had anticipated while writing the SD column that John Cena would be on Raw through to Survivor series, and would then take a few weeks off from there, but since he seems to be gone for now he stays off TV until his return to SmackDown, and he won’t reappear in Raw storylines until after the Royal Rumble. As with my SD columns, if a show looks empty, that’s because I anticipate more focus will be given on those weeks to the women’s, cruiserweight or tag divisions. In my SD columns, I had one call up from NXT: Bobby Roode. I don’t call anyone up from NXT on this journey (I think Asuka’s arrival and maybe the Authors of Pain account for that on the Raw side), but I do break up one current team. The timing of it coincides with The Revival’s expected return though, so I don’t feel like I’m significantly weakening the tag division by doing so.
And finally, anything I said in the SD column about joint-branded matches up to Wrestlemania still applies here. That means, for example, I can’t suddenly have AJ Styles winning the 2018 Royal Rumble, because I’ve already said he is the runner-up. I have slightly tweaked the post-Wrestlemania brand switches and resultant feuds (I’ll go into detail on that in the final part), but everything on the SmackDown side up to and including Wrestlemania is canon, and I can’t contradict that.
I think that’s all the ground rules set, so let’s get to it!
October 2nd, Raw
Results: Braun Strowman defeats Seth Rollins by pinfall, Bray Wyatt defeats Kalisto by pinfall, Elias defeats Titus O’Neil by pinfall, Matt Hardy defeats Curt Hawkins by pinfall, Roman Reigns defeats The Miz via DQ in a match for the Intercontinental Championship
Promos: – Post-match Bray Wyatt grabs a microphone and says at No Mercy he lost the battle, but Finn Balor can’t win the war. Balor appears on screen and said he thought he was done with Wyatt, but he just keeps coming back. Balor says the next Raw PPV is TLC, where things can get very extreme. Balor says since Bray doesn’t seem to want to leave him alone he’ll challenge Bray to one last match at the PPV – a tables match. Bray just laughs in response.
– Elias does his usual song before his match
Storylines: – Dean Ambrose is on commentary for the Strowman/Rollins match, and after Strowman wins he is attacked at the top of the ramp by Sheamus & Cesaro
– The Intercontinental Championship match ends in The Miz getting disqualified when the Miztourage get involved. They beat Reigns down with chairs again, until Jason Jordan attempts to make the save. Jordan just gets attacked with chairs too though, and Raw goes off the air with the Miztourage standing tall for the second week in a row.
On social media during the next week, Roman Reigns & Jason Jordan vs The Miz, Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel is announced as the main event for next week’s Raw, and Finn Balor vs Bray Wyatt in a Tables Match is made official for TLC.
October 9th, Raw
Results: Sheamus defeats Dean Ambrose by pinfall, Finn Balor defeats Curt Hawkins by pinfall, Roman Reigns vs The Miztourage ends in a no contest
Promos: – Braun Strowman opens the show in Kurt Angle’s office, and demands an opponent for TLC. Kurt says he doesn’t have one, so Braun gives him two hours to find one, “or else”. Throughout the next couple of hours, we see Angle backstage talking to various people. Then near the top of hour three, Braun comes back. Kurt says he tried, but nobody is willing to face Braun at TLC. Braun tells Angle he’s going to regret that failure.
Storylines: – Elias is singing a song, doing his usual schtick of ripping on the city they’re in and the crowd
– Cesaro and Seth Rollins are both at ringside during the Sheamus/Ambrose match, and start brawling when it looks like Ambrose has the advantage. Ambrose gets distracted, and turn round into a Brogue Kick for the win.
– After Balor’s victory over Hawkins, Balor makes his way back up the ramp. But then the lights go out, and when they come back on Bray Wyatt is in the ring with a table. He sets it up, picks up Hawkins and slams him through the table.
– Prior to the handicap match main event, Jason Jordan is supposed to be the last man out, but when his music hits he doesn’t show. The cameras then cut to the back where Jordan is getting thrown all over the place by Braun Strowman, taking him out of the main event.
– During the main event, Roman Reigns gets bested by the numbers game early on, but rallies back to the point it looks like he’s going to win. Then Miz, Dallas and Axel all jump in the ring and start beating Reigns up. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose run out to make the save, and they turn the tide. Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose hit a triple powerbomb on Bo Dallas and pose with their fists together as The Shield reunites as Raw goes off the air.
After Raw, a video is posted on WWE.com and all their social media channels of Kurt Angle announcing the TLC main event: a winner-take-all 6-man tag TLC match for the Intercontinental and Tag Team Championships pitting The Miz, Sheamus & Cesaro against The Shield. The first man to gain possession of any of the belts wins the match for his team. For next week’s Raw, Kurt also announces Roman Reigns vs Sheamus and Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins vs Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel.
October 16th, Raw
Results: Roman Reigns defeats Sheamus by pinfall, Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins defeat Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel by pinfall (Seth pins Axel)
Promos: – Jason Jordan walks into Kurt Angle’s office asking why Kurt’s been ignoring him all week. He says he wants a match with Braun Strowman, and he wants to know why Kurt won’t give it to him. Kurt says they all know what Strowman is capable of, and after seeing what happened last week his conscience won’t let him make that match. Jordan retorts by saying people won’t take him seriously if Kurt is seen to be protecting him. He knows first hand what Strowman is capable of, and he still wants the match. Kurt eventually relents, and makes Jason Jordan vs Braun Strowman for TLC.
– Elias sings a song about Matt Hardy, who interrupts him. Elias retreats to the back, but Matt grabs a mic. He says that with Jeff’s injury, he’s on his own, and he knows people don’t think he can cope. Matt says Jeff has always been the bigger star, and people think Matt will fade into obscurity without him. Matt says he is going to delete those opinions from public consciousness. Matt tells Elias they have a match at TLC, so he’ll see him Sunday.
Storyline: – Finn Balor makes his entrance for a match to start Raw, but while he’s still on stage he’s blindsided by Bray Wyatt. They fight over to the announcers’ area, where Bray slams Balor through the announce table. Wyatt kneels over Balor, singing “he’s got the whole world in his hands” as Raw cuts to a break.
– After Rollins pins Axel, The Miz jumps into the ring to attack Ambrose & Rollins. Reigns comes out to even the numbers, but Sheamus & Cesaro join the fray. The eight men brawl all around ringside as Raw goes off the air.
It’s announced on social media that Jason Jordan vs Braun Strowman will be a chairs match.
October 22nd, TLC
Results: Finn Balor defeats Bray Wyatt in a Tables Match (with a Coup de Grace through the table), Braun Strowman defeats Jason Jordan in a Chairs Match, Elias defeats Matt Hardy by pinfall, The Miz, Sheamus & Cesaro defeat The Shield in a TLC Match (The Miz retains the Intercontinental Championship, Sheamus & Cesaro become the NEW Raw Tag Team Champions)
Storyline: – Jason Jordan puts up a fight in his match with Braun Strowman (think along a similar line to his matches with John Cena or Roman Reigns recently, or Braun Strowman’s match with Sami Zayn last year), but ultimately loses decisively after a chokeslam onto a stack of chairs.
– Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel get involved in the main event, leading to Dean Ambrose jumping off a ladder to put them both through a table on the outside. This takes all three men out for the rest of the match, leaving Reigns and Rollins outnumbered. Reigns spears Cesaro through a barricade, while Miz pushes Rollins and Sheamus off a ladder through tables set up on the outside, leaving Miz free to climb up and grab the belts.
October 23rd, Raw
Results: Braun Strowman & Elias defeat Jason Jordan & Matt Hardy (Strowman pins Jordan), Samoa Joe defeats Curt Hawkins by submission, The Shield defeat The Miztourage (Reigns pins Dallas)
Promos: – Kurt Angle opens the show to say that TLC was a great show from top to bottom, but that’s in the past, and now it’s time for them to look ahead to Survivor Series, where once again it will be Raw vs SmackDown. He says SmackDown have already been preparing for weeks, and even though TLC was Kurt’s top priority before tonight, he has been keeping an eye on everyone’s performances to judge who would represent Raw in four weeks’ time. He says it’s a big decision, not just for brand bragging rights, but because the WWE board of directors have agreed with the commissioners and general managers of both shows that whichever brand wins the overall head-to-head at Survivor Series will get the number 30 entrant in the Royal Rumble. He says that he has nearly decided on his teams, and will announce them next week.
Finn Balor comes out and talks about how he’s been saying for months that he wants to take back his Universal Championship. He says now it’s the right time to get his shot. He mentions that he never lost the title, and now that he can finally put Bray Wyatt behind him he wants his shot at Survivor Series. Kurt says he had Finn in mind for Team Raw, but he can’t deny that Balor is on a roll in big matches that nobody else can compete with right now. And Kurt also can’t deny that Balor never lost the title, and so far hasn’t gotten a rematch. So it will be Finn Balor vs Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at Survivor Series.
– Sheamus & Cesaro do an interview backstage bragging about being Tag Team Champions again, and says it makes them captains of Raw’s tag teams for Survivor Series by default.
– The Shield are in the locker room before their match, and Ambrose apologises to the others for getting distracted by the Miztourage in their match last night, and takes responsibility for the loss. Rollins tells him to forget about it, and they’ll take their revenge against the Miztourage tonight, and leaves. But Reigns holds Ambrose back, saying he knows how difficult it must have been to trust Seth again, and it took him a while, but it’s good to see them back on the same page and have the Hounds of Justice back together again. Reigns leaves too, while Dean just looks on.
Storyline: – Braun Strowman never tags Elias into their tag match, beating Jordan and Matt on his own. Strowman then leaves them both laying in the ring afterwards.
– Samoa Joe’s win over Hawkins is his return from injury, and just a way to get him back on-screen with a dominant win.
– The Shield vs The Miztourage is extremely one sided, with The Shield looking dominant over their sub-par opponents.
October 30th, Raw
Results: Bray Wyatt defeats Jason Jordan by pinfall, Samoa Joe defeats Matt Hardy by submission, Finn Balor defeats Karl Anderson w/ Luke Gallows by pinfall
Promos: – Jason Jordan and Matt Hardy walk into Kurt Angle’s office to demand matches with Braun Strowman after last week. Angle says maybe somewhere down the line they’ll get them, but tonight he’s booked them in matches that will help him finalise his Survivor Series team. He books Jason Jordan vs Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy vs Samoa Joe later tonight.
– Before Hardy vs Wyatt, Elias sings a song about beating Matt at TLC and in the tag match last week. Matt comes out and says if he didn’t already have a match scheduled he would punch Elias square in the mouth, but as it is he’ll just have to wait until next week to shut him up.
– A video package airs of Finn Balor’s rise through NXT, his debut on Raw, his Universal Title win and his injury – coupled with Brock Lesnar winning the title at Wrestlemania and mowing through every opponent since.
– Kurt Angle comes out to announce his Raw Men’s Team for Survivor Series as Braun Strowman, The Miz, Bray Wyatt, Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns. He is interrupted by The Miz who demands to be made team captain since he’s the only champion on the team. Roman Reigns joins the fray, and says the only reason Miz is still Intercontinental Champion is because of his cronies. Reigns says he defeated The Undertaker at Wrestlemania, he defeated John Cena at No Mercy, and he defeated The Miz last week. Miz retorts that he didn’t beat The Miz last week, he beat Bo Dallas. Miz says at TLC it was The Miz holding the Intercontinental Championship high, not Roman Reigns. Reigns calls that a cheap win because the Miztourage got involved. Kurt Angle says there’s only one way to find out if it was a cheap win or not, and books The Miz, Sheamus & Cesaro vs The Shield for next week. Angle adds that if Bo Dallas or Curtis Axel get involved, The Miz will lose his spot on Team Raw at Survivor Series.
Novmber 6th, Raw
Results: Matt Hardy defeats Elias by pinfall, Samoa Joe & Bray Wyatt defeat Apollo Crews & Titus O’Neil (Joe submits Titus), Braun Strowman squashes R-Truth by pinfall, The Shield defeat The Miz, Sheamus & Cesaro (Reigns pins Miz)
Promos: – Finn Balor comes to the ring to open Raw. He says that 14 months ago, he had the WWE Universe in his hands. But it got taken away. And while he was sitting on the sidelines for seven months, the thing that drove him to come back better than he’s ever been before was the thought of reclaiming that Universal Championship. He obsessed over it while sitting at home watching Raw. When he came back, he said from day one that his goal was to reach the top of the mountain one more time, but he had to earn his way there. And he has. Balor says it’s been more than a year since he became the first ever Universal Champion, but it’s his time again now. He says at Survivor Series, he is going to become the first ever 2-time Universal Champion – and then he is interrupted by Paul Heyman. Heyman acknowledges that Balor is good – great even. He says Balor is immensely talented, he proved it in Japan, he proved it here in the UK (this Raw is in Manchester, England), Balor has proven it all over the world. Balor became the face of NXT and brought it to another level, then, as Balor said, he became the first ever Universal Champion in his first ever WWE Pay Per View.
But Heyman says in two weeks at Survivor Series, it will be the first time Balor has ever faced someone like Brock Lesnar. Heyman says Lesnar this year has beaten Goldberg, Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman – and Finn Balor just isn’t as big of a threat as those three were. Heyman says the Demon King just can’t compete with the conqueror. Heyman tells Balor not to poke the Beast, because he’s already playing with a monster that’s too far too big for him. Balor says of course Lesnar’s record speaks for itself, but if Finn Balor has never faced someone like Brock Lesnar, Lesnar hasn’t faced someone like Finn Balor either. Balor points out he destroyed his shoulder to win the Universal Title the first time round – and still did it. He notes that Lesnar isn’t standing behind Heyman right now, and wonders if Lesnar is scared of the unknown quantity that is the Demon King. Heyman says Lesnar isn’t there because Balor doesn’t pose any kind of threat to him, so Balor isn’t worth his time. But Balor better be careful what he wishes for, because if it’s the Beast Balor wants, it’s the Beast Balor will get – next week.
– Samoa Joe walks into Kurt Angle’s office, and asks Angle how it feels to know that his legacy is being tarnished every single week when his son loses again? Joe says Angle would have been better off never finding out Jordan was his son, because then he wouldn’t have to be disappointed every time Jordan stepped into a ring. Angle brushes him off, just telling Joe to go and get ready for his tag match later in the show.
Storyline: – After Matt Hardy beats Elias, Elias smashes his guitar over Matt’s head, knocking him out. Jason Jordon comes out to check on Matt. NOTE: Matt’s going to be gone for a few weeks as far as in ring goes, and in that time WWE could air vignettes to change Matt’s gimmick into a Broken-esque character. I’m not going to write that, because there are too many “what ifs” surrounding the whole thing. If it happens, he could be in for a much bigger push than I’m gonna give him here. But by all means when he resurfaces imagine that his persona is totally different, this would be the perfect opportunity to do it in my booking. I’m just not going to delve into it.
The Miz vs Jason Jordan, and Sheamus, Cesaro, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose vs Bray Wyatt, Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman & Roman Reigns is announced for the Survivor Series go-home show on November 13th.
November 13th, Raw
Results: The Miz defeats Jason Jordan by pinfall; Bray Wyatt, Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman & Roman Reigns defeat Sheamus, Cesaro, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose (Strowman pins Ambrose)
Promos: – After Jason Jordan’s match, Samoa Joe is in Kurt Angle’s office talking about how that’s yet another loss for Jordan, and wonders how much longer Kurt can go before he has to step in and do something about it. Kurt says if Elias hadn’t gotten involved the match might have gone differently, and Jordan will get his chance for revenge at Survivor Series. Kurt asks Joe what he’s in Kurt’s office for anyway, and Joe asks Kurt why he’s making Joe team with Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns tonight when he’s already stuck with them on Sunday? Kurt says they need to learn how to team with unfamiliar partners before Sunday, so he’s giving them some practice. He says everyone’s in the same boat, and even if it’s just for this week they need to put Raw before themselves. Joe wonders whether Angle would put Raw or his son first if it came to it, and leaves.
– Paul Heyman comes out to the ring flanked by Brock Lesnar. Heyman’s talks up Lesnar’s pedigree, talking about his dominance in 2017. He calls Lesnar a one-of-a-kind athlete, a special attraction in any era. He says Balor is an excellent sports entertainer, but he’s not on the level of a legitimate fighter like Brock Lesnar. Heyman says Balor is going to be overpowered, dwarfed and decimated as he takes a one way trip to suplex city, and there’s nothing Balor can do about it.
Storyline: – During Jason Jordan vs The Miz, Elias drifts down to the ring to sing about Jason Jordan coming to Matt Hardy’s aid last week, distracting Jordan and leading to his loss.
– As Paul Heyman says there’s nothing Balor can do about his one way trip to Suplex City, the lights go out. The Demon King makes his entrance. Heyman leaves the ring as Balor enters, with Lesnar just staring across the ring at him. When the lights come back up the Demon King and Brock Lesnar stare at each other for a while. Then Balor runs at Lesnar and hits the running dropkick into the turnbuckcle, causing Lesnar to drop the Universal Title and roll out of the ring. Balor runs the ropes and hits his diving senton over the top. Balor rolls back into the ring, and picks up the title, holding it high as the show goes off the air.
November 19th, Survivor Series
Results: [Women’s 5-on-5, Team Raw (Asuka, Nia Jax, Sasha Banks, Bayley, Alexa Bliss) defeats Team SmackDown (Natalya, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Naomi, Carmella)], Jason Jordan defeats Elias by pinfall, [Tag Team 5-on-5, Team SmackDown (The New Day, The Usos, Luke Harper & Erick Rowan, Breezango & The Hype Bros) defeats Team Raw (Sheamus & Cesaro, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, Heath Slater & Rhyno, The Miztourage)], Men’s 5-on-5, Team Raw (Bray Wyatt, The Miz, Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman, Roman Reigns) defeats Team SmackDown (Randy Orton, Jinder Mahal, Baron Corbin, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura), Brock Lesnar defeats Finn Balor by pinfall to retain the Universal Championship
Storyline: – I’ve put in the Women’s an Tag Team elimination matches in the results section to show that the battle for the number 30 spot in the Royal Rumble went down to the men’s match
– In the tag elimination match, Ambrose gets pinned by Harper for the first elimination of the match
– The order of elimination in the men’s elimination match was: Samoa Joe eliminates Randy Orton, Braun Strowman eliminates Jinder Mahal, Shinsuke Nakamura eliminates Bray Wyatt, AJ Styles eliminates The Miz, Roman Reigns eliminates Baron Corbin, Braun Strowman eliminates Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles eliminates Samoa Joe, Roman Reigns eliminates AJ Styles – Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman survive for Team Raw. There are storyline aspects on the SmackDown side that you can check in that column, but the key things on the Raw side are just the results.
Aaand I’m going to leave it there for now. I ended part 1 of the SmackDown at Survivor Series and it seems like a good place to take a break. Survivor Series is in the not too distant future, but past that I really do go more into completely new storylines that aren’t really based on anything happening now. I will say though, I’ve already started two long term storylines that will run until Wrestlemania.
As a quick recap, we have Brock Lesnar, The Miz, and Sheamus & Cesaro as champions, with new challengers needed for the singles titles and Rollins & Ambrose still due their rematch. We also know that Raw will have the number 30 entrant in the Royal Rumble in January. Jason Jordan is on something of a losing streak, though he did just beat Elias at Survivor Series. But there’s nothing set in stone for any of the competitors of the men’s elimination team. Which I see as opportunities. Opportunities for what? Read Part 2 to find out.