For the first time in years, I’ve become invested in the WWE product again. The build to Survivor Series got off to a great start on Monday Night RAW thanks to Under Siege, but a lot of momentum was lost the next night on SmackDown Live.
TLC 2017 was a weird event thanks to Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt being off the card due to viral meningitis. Bray’s absence actually made for a better matchup with the dream encounter of Finn Balor vs. AJ Styles. This match delivered, but with an actual story and consequences the rematch is going to be even better. Considering the one match nature of TLC, Reigns’ departure was a blow. But WWE had a huge ace up its sleeve by being able to bring Kurt Angle back to action. While the match was more trainwreck spectacle than classic match, it was entertaining and proved WWE could still make lemonade from lemons.
I was interested to see the TLC fallout on RAW. Would Braun return from his second on-screen murder attempt and get payback on Kane? Is Reigns truly Superman and able to make a dramatic return to help his SHIELD brothers? Was WWE really trying to push Jinder Mahal against Brock Lesnar?
Turns out none of those things happened. Instead, we got another memorable all-out attack reminiscent of an n.W.o. assault or the Nexus debut with Under Siege. It was chaotic, intense and highly unexpected. But it was also a little weird and indicative of WWE frequently missing opportunities to make a good story great.
The most shocking aspect of Under Siege was the participants. There was AJ Styles, who earlier in the night teamed with The Shield. Then from Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, Becky Lynch, the New Day, Chad Gable and The Hype Bros, faces were side by side with heels like Baron Corbin, Rusev, Carmella, Dolph Ziggler and Natalya. That seemed a little odd that the faces were acting like such major heels with this treacherous attack. While I had some questions about the segment, the payoff on SmackDown Live was going to be important. And it dropped the ball.
Shane McMahon did a great promo explaining why he led Under Siege. RAW disrespected SmackDown and he took his father’s advice and struck first. Shane could have gone further explaining how Vince made the first attack back in the 80s and now he’s the only one left. Then things got a little weird. Sami Zayn came out and offered his services to join Team SmackDown. Sami not joining Under Siege made perfect sense seeing as how he’s opposed to Shane’s leadership. Why then would he put that aside out of some warped sense of loyalty to SmackDown?
The unified SmackDown attack made for a great visual, but it doesn’t work if SmackDown Live was going to have a business as usual approach afterwards. If Dolph Ziggler was going to trash Bobby Roode the next day after fighting by his side one of them didn’t need to be at RAW. And putting a major beatdown on clowns seemed much more like something the Usos would do instead of New Day.
Considering there seems to be the foreshadowing of a fracture with the SmackDown Live management, why not extend that throughout the roster?
Have Shane take the heels like Rusev, Corbin, The Ascension, Ziggler, Tamina, Natalya, Carmella, Ziggler along with some eager to impress folks like The Hype Bros., Tye Dillenger and Chad Gable. Then have Randy Orton and Becky Lynch head up the attack and keep AJ Styles, Nakamura, Roode and New Day out of the attack like they did Orton and Charlotte.
That causes some instant friction with the non-participants as their loyalty to the brand is questioned. Did AJ not join in because he didn’t want to hurt his Good Brothers Balor, Anderson and Gallows? Is New Day too soft to go in to someone else’s yard like The Ascension? This also puts some people on Daniel Bryan’s side for his inevitable fallout with Shane.
Even better this also sets up the non-participants as the victims for RAW’s retaliation. Getting attacked would give Nakamura, Charlotte, Roode and New Day incentive for joining the fight. Like say The Shield taking AJ out to set an example despite him tagging with them on RAW and not taking part in Under Siege. And this could eventually evolve into Way #142 to have Balor, Styles, Gallows and Anderson form their own faction.
Finally, Survivor Series 2017 needs stakes in this battle of the brands. Maybe make it like the MLB All-Star Game and the winner of the respective matches automatically gets the main event slot at Wrestlemania? Or the winning team gets the last five slots in the Royal Rumble? That would provide more than enough incentive for everyone to want to see their brand win beyond bragging rights.
What do you think? Did Under Siege succeed or was there room for improvement?
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