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HOUSTON — With Survivor Series tied at 3-3 between Raw and SmackDown LIVE, Team Red scored a hard-fought victory over Team Blue in the main event of WWE’s fall classic, cementing Raw’s dominance in a head-to-head competition for brand supremacy. But the win that earned Raw an overall victory over SmackDown LIVE came with no small amount of controversy for the red brand, with tensions between Triple H and Team Raw’s captain, General Manager Kurt Angle, bubbling over in the match’s final moments.
As expected, Braun Strowman proved to be a major player on Team Raw, pinning SmackDown LIVE favorites Shinsuke Nakamura and Bobby Roode in short order with two ring-rattling Running Powerslams. Attempting to take The Monster Among Men off the playing field, Team Blue’s John Cena and Randy Orton double-teamed the juggernaut, and with the help of their blue band compatriots, drove the behemoth through one of the ringside announce tables.
Order was eventually restored, with Cena putting away Raw’s Samoa Joe with a damaging duet of Attitude Adjustments, finally getting SmackDown on the scoreboard.
Shortly after, Cena found himself standing across the ring from Angle — the Superstar Cena faced during his debut WWE match on SmackDown back in 2002. Realizing quickly that The Olympic Hero hadn’t lost a step, Cena fell victim to an Angle Lock followed up by an Angle Slam. SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon broke up Angle’s pinfall attempt, but a well-timed Coup de Grâce from Raw’s Finn Bálor made Cena vulnerable to a second Angle Slam. Angle then pinned the 16-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, reducing Team Blue’s ranks to two: McMahon and Randy Orton.
It was Bálor who made the attempt to skin The Viper, hitting Orton with his signature Slingblade and sending his veteran foe into the turnbuckle with a dropkick that left Orton in the drop zone for the Coup de Grâce. The ring awareness of WWE’s Apex Predator, however, won out. He dodged the aerial Bálor and hit a perfectly executed RKO on the Irishman that took Bálor out of the match.
Not only did Shane-O-Mac and The Viper face insurmountable odds given the remaining members of Team Raw — Strowman, Triple H and Angle — but opposition also came from the SmackDown camp. Bitter that they were not included on SmackDown’s Survivor Series team, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn brutally attacked McMahon, forcing the commissioner to fend them off with a steel chair.
After helping Shane fight off the attackers, a distracted Orton was floored with a Running Powerslam from Strowman that led to his elimination. Now, the man who put Raw under siege and formed the perfect team to challenge Raw for brand supremacy was all alone against three powerful foes.
Despite that power, however, lingering tension between Angle and Triple H — who Pedigreed Angle’s son, Jason Jordan, just days earlier — dramatically changed the complexion of Team Raw in the final moments of the match. Seeming to side with his brother-in-law, Triple H hit The Olympic Hero with a Pedigree and placed McMahon on top of Angle to eliminate the Raw GM. As a confused Strowman looked on, Triple H then helped Shane to his feet, only to hit McMahon with the same maneuver that put down Angle, scoring the final pin for Team Red and ending the night for a 4-3 win for Raw overall at Survivor Series.
Not at all pleased with the final moments of the match, Strowman quietly seethed as Triple H held up his hand in victory. The Monster Among Men forced the jubilant King of Kings into the corner and warned the WWE COO not to cross him a second time or Triple H “will never play this game again.”
As Strowman’s back was turned, The Game tried to take down the behemoth, but The Monster Among Men was ready and hit Triple H with not one, but two Running Powerslams.
Triple H might have stolen the glory and raised some serious questions about Strowman’s immediate future, but nevertheless, Raw reigns supreme … at least, for now.