On Monday's Raw, most of the night was focused on ensuring things got off to a strong start for Survivor Series which is not far away.
The mess of an event that was Crown Jewel was now officially in the rearview and for WWE that means looking forward at Survivor Series which takes place in a few short weeks. The new Universal Champion wasn't in the building (surprise, surprise) but the man who helped him win that title, Baron Corbin was and Braun Strowman was not happy about it. How would Corbin manage to build a Survivor Series team while trying to survive the wrath of a Monster he'd chosen for his team and another WWE Superstar gunning to be team captain?
What about Seth Rollins? He was out on Raw by himself, yet again, as a tag team champion. This time, he wasn't just talking as he was forced to defend his titles against the Authors of Pain.
There was more going on this Monday and here are your winners and losers for Raw, November 5, 2018.
Winner: Focus on Survivor Series
While some of the segments went on far too long to be an effective use of time, the good news was that WWE got to move on from Crown Jewel and focus on a pay-per-view that people will be interested in watching. The show got right into Corbin trying to build his Raw team and his choices included Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, and Braun Strowman with himself as captain.
Corbin trying to navigate his being captain, facing Angle and running from a Monster was entertaining enough and an effective way to set up the main event even though the change in competitors made the outcome predicatable.
Loser: Kurt Angle
Angle came out to challenge Corbin for the captaincy suggesting a fire was lit under him at Crown Jewel. Odd, considering he lost in quick fashion. He also suggested that he led his team to victory last year at Survivor Series, which technically is true, but Angle didn't get to see the win as he was eliminated by Triple H.
The problem with all of this is that if you look back at Angle's time in WWE, as an in-ring competitor, his only real win was in a tag match with Ronda Rousey and he's been wildly unsuccessful otherwise. He might have had a shot against Baron Corbin, but when the match was changed to Drew McIntyre, Angle was screwed. The one-sided beating he took showed it.
Having Angle lose to McIntyre via an Angle Slam and an Ankle Lock is basically WWE screaming the former Olympic champion is not a part of their bigger plans. There is a way to salvage a story out of this but it's hard to know if that's where WWE is going or if this was more for McIntyre's benefit.
Winner: Drew McIntyre
Angle's loss was literally McIntyre's gain. By defeating the Olympic Gold Medalist the way he did, WWE has seemingly put the stamp on McIntyre and he's the man to watch moving forward. This was about as emphatic a statement as the company could have made in respect to the push of a current roster member.
To his credit, McIntyre is a star and Angle is not the man he once was. This is the natural progression of how WWE should work. Use the old stars to push the new ones.
Loser: Authors of Pain
You'd think that winning the Raw Tag Team Championships would make you winners, but in this case, you couldn't have picked a more inefficient way to get the AOP team over as new champions. Having them beat Seth Rollins in what was essentially a handicap match is hardly showing their dominance as a tag team threat, especially when you consider the stretches of their match where Rollins was holding his own.
It would have made much more sense for Ambrose to come to the ring and cost Rollins the titles or to have the AOP squash Rollins in a quick finish if WWE was insisting they go this way. Now, AOP looks like a team that only won because they didn't have a tag team to actually defeat for the belts.
Loser: The Midcard
Perhaps it's just me but WWE seems to flip-flop on the main card talent so often there's no way to build any momentum for anyone. Dolph Ziggler had a good showing at Crown Jewel only to lose to Elias. Bobby Lashley looked awful at Crown Jewel and won against Finn Balor. Jinder Mahal took a loss to Apollo Crews after WWE teased the idea of a Crews push but never really gave it to him.
It's hard to know why WWE can't make up their minds with talent like this, but you'd think they'd be able to make a decent star out of someone, even if just by accident.