WWE Raw vs. SmackDown: Winner, Top Highlights and Botches for Week of October 12
The week that was in WWE television saw the reunion of The Shield and the fallout from Hell in a Cell.
Raw presented the much-anticipated return of the united front that is Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, while SmackDown Live countered with the explanation of Sami Zayn's actions from Hell in a Cell and everything else that went down at the pay-per-view extravaganza.
Which show did a better job of gripping the fans and building anticipation for stories that will play out in the weeks to come?
Find out with this recap of Raw and SmackDown, the winner of their battle and why.
The path to TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs became clearer Monday night with the reunion of one of wrestling's most celebrated factions, a new cruiserweight champion and the further introduction to Sister Abigail.
Here is what helped the flagship show stand out.
The Reunion of The Shield
Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose reunited as The Shield for the first time in three years Monday night and laid waste to anyone in their collective path. The Miz, Sheamus, Cesaro, Curtis Axel and even the seemingly unstoppable Braun Strowman were left lying following beatdowns from the united front.
The crowd was red-hot, and the show felt significant rather than a placeholder during football season, proving the effect The Shield has on the product and should continue to have going forward.
As individual stars, Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose accomplished a great deal and succeeded as WWE champions. Together, though, there is an aura about them that makes the trio a unique and compelling watch.
This may be a short-lived reunion, but do not be surprised to see WWE go back to the proverbial well post-WrestleMania for more antics from The Hounds of Justice.
There are some who will be let down by the revelation that Sister Abigail is not a female performer joining the Bray Wyatt act but, rather, an alter ego of Wyatt. That is understandable. But WWE Creative took the Norman Bates approach, making this much-discussed character a part of Wyatt's psyche.
It is a refreshing take, one that bucked expectations and created a new dimension to the Wyatt character.
It is up to WWE Creative to use that persona to help rebuild Wyatt, who had descended into creative mediocrity that threatened his credibility among fans. If the writing team fails with this latest element, it may be time to reassess the character and its purpose on Raw and SmackDown Live.
Kalisto Dethrones Enzo Amore
The argument that Enzo Amore should not have been beaten for the Cruiserweight Championship this early carries weight. The potential for an epic heel run was there but was erased far too early.
With that said, the crowning of a new champion was a nice way to wrap up the three-week story Raw has told over the course of that many main event segments. After running his mouth for weeks on end, Amore was introduced to the newest member of the division in the form of Kalisto.
On Monday, he was downed by a superior worker with a little help from the same Superstars he disrespected in those aforementioned segments.
It made sense, it ended the show with an exclamation mark and it sets up Amore digging deeper into his bag of tricks to regain the title.
SmackDown Live was the follow-up to a superb Hell in a Cell pay-per-view and featured the much-anticipated reasoning for Sami Zayn's heel turn at the event, a truce between two tag team rivals and a successful title defense by a new champion.
Why, Sami? Why?
Hell in a Cell's shocking conclusion saw Sami Zayn pull longtime friend-turned-rival Kevin Owens to safety, evading a flying Shane McMahon during Sunday's pay-per-view main event.
Tuesday night, Zayn revealed that a lack of respect and opportunity from McMahon led him to cost the commissioner the match and realign himself with a man who, while a rival and competitor, has always been his brother.
The explanation made sense, reflected real frustration of the man behind the character and was a suitable introduction to someone who will play a prominent role on SmackDown Live going forward.
A Tag Team Truce
After a five-star classic Hell in a Cell match, The Usos and The New Day met in the center of the squared circle Tuesday night for a truce of sorts.
The Usos admitted respect for their opponents, particularly after realizing that only three other men knew what it felt like to walk into a hotel room battered and to answer phone calls from families about their wellbeing. They were passionate in their discussion of Sunday's match.
The result was a real, emotional moment that brought the teams together and essentially ended their monthslong rivalry.
Baron Corbin Defeats AJ Styles
At Hell in a Cell Sunday, Baron Corbin won his first WWE championship, the United States title, by defeating AJ Styles and Tye Dillinger in a Triple Threat match. Rather than beating Styles, though, he pinned Dillinger, creating some doubt as to whether he could beat The Phenomenal One.
He erased that doubt Tuesday, successfully retaining his title over Styles in the main event.
Those types of victories are exactly what Corbin needs to establish himself after months of questionable booking linked to his backstage conduct, as PWInsider reported (h/t WrestlingInc.com).
Now he has gotten over the proverbial hump and is the U.S. champion, look for Corbin to build some of that much-needed momentum going forward.
The biggest botch of the week comes from Raw and involves the women's title program between Mickie James and Alexa Bliss.
The idea James is old is ludicrous.
At 38, she is only two years older than Finn Balor. She is one year younger than Sheamus.
Unless we are to believe both of those former heavyweight champions are old, it makes no sense to present the narrative that James is too old to thrive in today's women's division.
That James is clearly still succeeding between the ropes only casts further doubt on the flawed story.
It is time for WWE Creative to call an audible, come up with another issue for James and Bliss to fight over and save the story from becoming any more insulting to James than it already is.
The Shield's reunion provided Raw with an injection of energy it desperately needed. It was a monumental moment fans have waited years for and the single element catapulting the flagship past SmackDown Live in this week's battle for brand supremacy.
SmackDown set itself up to win this battle many times in the weeks to come, but for now it takes a backseat to a show that featured Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose wreaking havoc on the heel roster and building momentum for the TLC pay-per-view.
With that show on the horizon, it takes precedence over the long-term stories the blue brand set up.