For Raw, the return of Kane was something that was very surprising yet fun. We haven’t seen Kane for most of 2017 and for him to come back to insert himself into the main event at TLC makes for a very intriguing match. Kane decided to show up this week during the Roman Reigns versus Braun Strowman steel cage match where if Reigns won, Strowman would be out of the match. But, if Strowman won, a 5th man would be added to the team to face the Shield at TLC. Kane going after Roman Reigns makes sense too because Reigns made Kane’s brother, The Undertaker, retire at Wrestlemania so Kane has come back to defend his honor. It’s nice to see when WWE can tell a good story that makes sense and this one falls into place and has really made the main event for TLC that much more interesting.
For Smackdown, Sami Zayn is really doing his part in playing a bad guy. While he still comes out to the happy music and dances around, his attitude is what makes him a heel as he put all the blame on the crowd for his lack of success. Not only that, he has now formed a relationship with Kevin Owens and now these two are the two top heels on the show. Owens and Zayn faced off against Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura and these four put on a good match for Smackdown’s main event. The conclusion of the match happened when Sami Zayn threw a low blow and Orton and rolled him up for the victory. This led to Zayn and Owens bragging about their victory and saying that nobody could stop them. Seeing all of this out of Sami Zayn is really emphasizing that he isn’t the lovable face that he used to be. But, it will be really interesting to see what happens with these two when Shane McMahon returns next week to address this situation.
For Raw, another week, another bad segment between the Finn Balor and Bray Wyatt rivalry. This time around, Finn Balor announced that he will bring the Demon out to fight against Sister Abigail at TLC, and then they used special effects to put the Demon face paint on Balor while he was talking. At this point, I can safely say that the WWE Universe wants this rivalry to just end and let both of these guys go on to something new.
For Smackdown, to throw together all the women in a 6-person tag match felt like filler this week. While I do understand the pushing of the Natalya versus Charlotte Flair rivalry, there is no need to throw in everybody else into the mix when they don’t have a part in the rivalry. The match they had was alright but I feel like Smackdown could spend this time trying to develop another rivalry in the women’s division instead of throwing everyone together.
The Final Verdict
Raw was hosting the go home show before their TLC PPV and needed to put on a good show for fans to get excited for the PPV. I do think that Raw was able to do that as they helped build up their main event even more this week and threw in a surprise return in the process! On the other side, Smackdown is laying out blueprints for what the future holds for Survivor Series as well as develop current rivalries for their show. Both shows were really good this week, but in terms of building up importance for what’s upcoming soon, I will have to give this week to Raw. Raw not only focused on their main event for their PPV, but they helped make the Mickie James versus Alexa Bliss women’s championship feel important, did try their best at building up The Demon versus Sister Abigail, and even made the Cruiserweight Championship match feel important too because they were giving each rivalry respected time on the show. In conclusion, Smackdown has laid out solid groundwork for what the future is looking like, but in terms of getting fans ready for what’s coming now, Raw did that for the show before TLC.