The main selling point for Raw this week was what the men and women of the red brand were going to do in response to SmackDown Live's attack last week. Well, it turns out not a lot, but that didn't take away from Monday night's show in the slightest. The first hour of the show really set the pace and ongoing threads throughout the three hours including angles featuring The Miz and Kane demonstrated that WWE does, in fact, still know the formula to keeping viewers engaged. All in all, it was a pretty impressive episode of Raw, but what were the five biggest takeaways from this week's show?
Over the weekend WWE sadly released a few Superstars. Emma, Darren Young, and Summer Rae were all wished well in their future endeavors on Sunday. Something else those three wrestlers have in common is they were all Raw Superstars. Admittedly, Emma is the only one we've seen on TV recently, but they were all red brand wrestlers nevertheless. Well, right off the bat on Monday night WWE went about proving that Raw is far from short on stars even after the weekend's releases. Nia Jax made her return to WWE television for the first time since before TLC in Monday night's opening match. Jax took on Bayley and won, impressing Survivor Series captain Alicia Fox enough to be added to Raw's women's team. That match was quickly followed by the much-anticipated return of Samoa Joe. The Destroyer sought out competition and it was Apollo Crews who answered the call. Crews didn't last long though as Joe finished off Apollo and then choked out Titus O Neil for good measure.
RELATED: NIA JAX RETURNS TO RAW
After his return at TLC, it was made obvious that WWE decided to have Kurt Angle once again compete in the ring for them. However, they likely didn't intend on doing it as early as they did. The Raw General Manager stepping in for Roman Reigns at the last second has proved to be beneficial for both Angle and WWE though. Clearly, the former WWE Champion did enough to convince Vince McMahon and the powers that be that he can still go in the ring as this past Monday, his next match was announced. Stephanie McMahon interrupted the GM during the opening segment of Raw with a bombshell announcement. On the back of SmackDown Live's invasion of Raw last week, Stephanie naturally wasn't very happy. She has given Angle a chance to make up for letting that happen though. At Survivor Series, the Olympic gold medalist will captain Team Raw's men's faction. It's another match for Angle and another that will see him stand shoulder to shoulder with his Raw Superstars.
RELATED: KURT ANGLE NAMED CAPTAIN OF TEAM RAW
Considering the night Kurt Angle had up until this point, the Raw GM was naturally quite jumpy when he discovered his SmackDown Live counterpart in his office. Daniel Bryan only came to WWE's flagship to apologize for the actions of Shane McMahon, but Angle was having none of it. He let Bryan hide out in his office to avoid the rest of the Raw roster but still wasn't happy that Bryan showed up. It turns out, a locked door wasn't enough to keep Bryan safe though. The lights in Angle's office went out and The Big Red Machine, Kane had found his way in. The Devil's Favorite Demon choke slammed the SmackDown Live GM, although it was cleverly done by WWE. Since it was almost pitch black in the room it didn't require Bryan to take an actual bump, we hope anyway. Kane's warpath continued after that as he went on to tombstone his newest rival Finn Balor on the entrance ramp and then picked up an impressive win over Seth Rollins.
As well as the multitude of returns on Raw this week the WWE Universe were also treated to two title matches. The Miz successfully defended his Intercontinental Championship early on in proceedings, then in the night's main event, Mickie James got a Women's Title rematch against Alexa Bliss. Normally, when a title match closes out an episode of Raw you can expect that belt to switch hands. Well, no offence to Mickie, but thankfully that wasn't the case on Monday night. Despite giving it her all, James could not overcome The Goddess of WWE. A well placed and full force forearm from Alexa sunk Micke's attempts to become a seven-time Women's Champion, and for now, at least, it will still be Bliss versus Natalya at Survivor Series.
Right at the beginning of this article, we mentioned that there were a couple of ongoing angles threaded throughout Raw. Well, the main one revolved around The Miz. The night began with an Intercontinental Championship defense for The A-Lister after he arrived late for the show. That went off without a hitch, but then a garbage bag placed in his locker room had Miz convinced that Braun Strowman was back. It turns out his hunch was right. The champ and his Miztourage thought they were free and clear as they were set to leave at the end of the night only to be halted by a garbage truck, out of which The Monster Among Men emerged. Strowman had revenge on his mind, and after chasing the trio back into the arena, he waged war on all three of them. None of them got off easy, but Curtis Axel was the man who took most of the punishment. Axel received Powerslam after Powerslam from Strowman, the final one planting him firmly through the Raw announce table.
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