Shane McMahon and Smackdown Live have been putting down a marker ahead of Sunday night's Survivor Series pay-per-view. From The New Day's cheeky shenanigans in the Raw tag team title match to the backstage destruction of superstars at the hands of the Smackdown roster, everything seemed to be going the way of the blue brand. As a result, Raw GM Kurt Angle has been under increasing pressure, having witnessed his roster succumb to Shane-O-Mac's series of "sieges."
Just as it seemed Angle was about to crack, Stephanie arrived and how do you add pressure to a man who is already buckling? You threaten him with his job, which is exactly what she did. Typical, right? Fast forward to last week's show, we now have Kurt Angle as captain of Team Raw, a returning Triple-H, a "Monster Among Men" in Braun Strowman, Finn Balor, and Samoa Joe, which bodes well for WWE's flagship show.
Add this to the fact that Raw is on the up-and-up having put Smackdown "under siege," but is this necessarily a good thing for Monday nights?
Now, Kurt Angle is an Olympic gold medalist, a multi-time champion, and a WWE Hall-of-Famer, but is he really the strongest figure to lead Raw into a heated battle in the one show a year where the two brands compete? The simple answer is no. When the big decisions were needed and drastic measures were to be taken, the Raw GM failed to act. Shane McMahon did, thus putting his side in the ascendancy and leaving Kurt's future in jeopardy.
This rivalry is over Kurt's head and has become very personal. Stephanie believes Shane is trying to tear down the legacy that is Monday Night Raw and has convinced herself that she is the only person who is able to save it. Well, she and her mild-tempered husband, so taking matters into her own hands is the key. Let's face it, everybody loves a heated family rivalry, right?
Everybody hates The Authority
It is sometimes a bit confusing to have both shows possessing happy-go-lucky authoritative figures. Daniel Bryan and Shane seem to have the WWE Universe's attention as Smackdown's brass while Angle is the only person who is told "You suck" in a nonaggressive way. Everything was running a bit too smoothly for my liking. There was nobody to really hate which is why there was an opportunity for The Authority's return. They have a tendency to get under your skin and, with the exception of Paul Heyman, are as good at it as anybody.
The tension between Kurt and "The King of Kings" is now more evident than ever with Triple H Pedigreeing Angle's son Jason Jordan, who was subsequently replaced by him in Raw's team for Survivor Series. With the help of Steph's inevitable power trip, an age-old rivalry is set to be renewed and thus setting up a potentially huge series of matches between the two Attitude Era staples in due course.
We have definitely been here before. Road to Wrestlemania season is upon us and Triple-H along with Stephanie is going to somehow steal the spotlight at the biggest PPV of the year. Instead of the superstars taking the spotlight, it always seems like somebody misses out in order to cater for the C.O.O. Yes, he is a massive draw and still one of the company's top heels, but is it fair to see this happen yet again?
Stephanie always brings the worst out of The Game, which tends to mean bad things for one of our beloved favorites. Though often entertaining, how many times will they flog a dead horse? How many times do we need somebody to be bullied by The Authority and eventually come out on top come 'Mania? We've seen it with Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns to some extent, and Seth Rollins in recent years, so why again?
Unless the creative team goes a different route than usual, Steph's return may not be great in the long run. But in terms of the near future, I think the injection of power was much needed in the war between brands. Roll on Survivor Series.