Raw on Monday was going to have some cleanup work to do. After a TLC pay-per-view that saw so many changes and storylines that were affected, WWE was sent in a few different directions. What was going to happen with Kane, Braun Strowman, Kurt Angle, and others would be of primary importance.
Is Kane for real? He hasn't been relevant in years, but the WWE needs a monster. How would they use him? What was going to happen with Kurt Angle after his match? He's either still general manager or he's going to be more active in the ring, but can he do both? Brock Lesnar was coming to address Jinder Mahal and no one knew what he would say.
AJ Styles stuck around and was surprisingly joined by a few more players from the blue brand. Here are your Five Winners and 5 Losers From Raw October 23, 2017.
5. Loser - Matches For Survivor Series
The idea of Raw versus SmackDown Live matches is cool, but it also means there won't be a single title up for grabs at the pay-per-view and it means storylines for the next few weeks will be all jumbled. Guys hate each other on one show, but team up and are great friends on another. We've always found that odd.
The most fans will get out of this is a chance to see who WWE views as more important to the overall company. Is Miz a bigger draw than Baron Corbin? Are The Usos on a different level than The Shield? That's still not enough of a reason to feel invested in the show and with only two matches with the traditional Survivor Series rules, it doesn't have that regular Survivor Series pay-per-view feel either.
5. Winner - Kurt Angle
Despite having to announce matches that don't make anyone really excited for the Survivor Series show, Angle was on fire all night. From his reactions to Shane McMahon to his realization that Raw was in real trouble.
He was forced to watch as Raw got handed its own lunch by SmackDown Live and you can tell the next move is his to make. His reaction alone made watching Tuesday's edition of SmackDown Live a must since you know something is coming, this time from Raw.
4. Loser - Braun Strowman
It's easy to see what the WWE is trying to do here, but the idea that Kane is on the same level (or anywhere near) as Braun Strowman is laughable. Yet, that's what they want us to believe. The company chose to make Kane look viscous and Strowman look less than a monster and long-term, that's a huge mistake.
There's a small part of us that is glad to see the old Kane back and wreaking havoc, but the reality is, it's been so long since Kane has been relevant and so many incarnations of his character over the last five or six years make it hard to see this as believable. The guy who suffers is Strowman. Cole even said something to the effect that Strowman might be out for weeks. Does that mean he won't be part of Survivor Series?
RELATED: HUGE TAKEAWAYS FROM TLC 2017
4. Winner - AJ Styles
Styles was still in town from replacing Bray Wyatt in the TLC match, so Angle took advantage of his presence again and had him join The Shield as they battled The Miz and The Bar. When you see what came later in the show, it became clear that the idea didn't logically make sense, but it was still a very cool addition at the time, and Styles came off looking strong by getting the pin.
It helped Styles who did the job to Balor on Sunday, and it added some star power to a match that was missing one of it's biggest players in Roman Reigns.
3. Loser - Finn Balor
If it wasn't bad enough that Strowman looked weaker all weekend, Balor got absolutely buried just so the WWE could push a short-term idea that is bound to backfire on WWE. It's bad enough to give Kane a squash match against a reputable talent, why would the company choose Balor only a day after a fantastic match at TLC?
Balor is one of those guys in WWE who is heading towards the Bray Wyatt treatment. He should be a star and one of the top guys but WWE continues to shoot themselves in the foot with his booking and in the end, they'll have a character on their hands that lost its steam.
3. Winner - Paul Heyman
Heyman was pure gold in his assessment of the Jinder Mahal's challenge and Lesnar's willingness to answer it. After Heyman talks, he can turn a match that no one gives two craps about and make it a match that everyone wants to see. WWE is going to need Heyman to be on his game to make this match feel anything more than a destruction by the Beast Incarnate and there is no doubt after Monday that Heyman is ready for the task.
And, if Mahal is going to be destroyed, Heyman just made everyone want to make sure they don't miss the beating of the year.
2. Loser - The Announce Team
Something needs to be done about the trio of Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Booker T. They have gotten so out of control in terms of their content and reactions to each other's stupidity that it's ruining matches. Booker T has clearly lost his mind. He says some of the most irrelevant and bass-ackwards things while Corey spends a good chunk of his time making fun of Booker for it. It's not that Booker doesn't deserve it, but its happening in the middle of major moments on the show and the drama is suffering.
They aren't on the same page. One needs to look no further than Asuka who Graves calls dangerous and tries to sell her sheer dominance and Cole then follows up by saying she's super entertaining and a great personality. What?
2. Winner - Alicia Fox
It's refreshing to see the WWE do something with some of the underutilized pieces of the female roster. Not only are they trying to right a wrong by ignoring Alicia Fox for so long, they've gone all the way and made her captain of the Raw Women's team. It's smart considering she's nuts and a crazy captain adds a layer to this match that would have otherwise been a less than entertaining story.
Fox has really taken advantage of this showcase and proved she is one of the most fun talents to watch when she's having fun with her character. The idea that there is a slow build going on between Sasha and Bayley which will eventually lead to a Sasha turn is fantastic news too.
1. Loser - Cruiserweights
The Raw prior to TLC, a handful of cruiserweights blindly joined Enzo Amore after beating the tar out of him and making it clear they hated him as part of 205 Live. The least WWE could have done was explain why these guys (Drew Gulak, Tony Nese, Noam Dar and Ariya Daivari) all of sudden want to be Enzo's buddies.
Alas, WWE didn't explain anything and the Cruiserweight Division is once again a place where nothing makes sense and wrestlers are simply thrown out to the ring to put on a couple minutes worth of flying a jumping with no payoff. Gulak was the shining spot of the entire segment.
1. Winner - SmackDown Invasion
I've categorized this as a winner for only one reason, it was unexpected and we've constantly wished that WWE would do more unexpected things. Since we've publicly stated our take, we can't be overly critical when it happens, even if it's done terribly.
With that out of the way, the SmackDown Live invasion was illogical at best. Why did Shane do it? Is he a heel now? Why did all the members of SmackDown Live many of whom hate each other, work together in such a gang mentality. Where was half the Raw roster? Are you telling us that if Lesnar, Kane, Strowman, and others were there, this would have gone down as it did? Why did the females of red brand get so easily destroyed by the same number of ladies from the blue brand? Where was Owens, Zane, Orton, Mahal, The Usos, and half the other talents?
The idea will make fans tune in for SmackDown Live without a doubt. Still, this was nothing more than trying to set the idea of this year's Survivor Series in motion. There are still weeks where these guys have to all of the sudden hate each other again.