MANCHESTER — After Baron Corbin attacked Braun Strowman from behind so Brock Lesnar could beat him for the Universal Title last Friday, you’d be forgiven for thinking that The Lone Wolf had some explaining to do. But with a battle for brand supremacy coming up at Survivor Series, it quickly became clear the Acting General Manager-turned self-appointed Raw Team Captain (and aspiring permanent General Manager) would rather keep the past behind him and focus on toppling SmackDown LIVE. In fact, the only time Corbin touched upon the controversy was to write off his actions as a teachable moment for The Monster Among Men, who had attacked him the previous week.
Corbin did automatically slot Strowman into the Raw Men’s Survivor Series team alongside Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre in an attempt to force The Gift of Destruction to team-player status, but it goes without saying that absolutely none of this went as planned. The Lone Wolf’s captaincy was immediately challenged by Kurt Angle, who put his counterpart so thoroughly on the spot that Corbin agreed to a match against the former GM in a match where the winner would be named the captain of the Survivor Series team. And Strowman, unsatisfied with Corbin’s attempt to patronize him, stormed to the ring and instigated an all-out brawl among the roster before chasing the Acting GM behind the curtain.
About the only thing that didn’t blow up in Corbin’s face was his decision to name Alexa Bliss as the captain of the Raw Women’s squad and give her full control over her roster. Like Corbin, Alexa declared her intention to be a purely managerial captain instead of a competitor in the match herself, but that choice proved to be the perfect fit for The Goddess’ penchant for manipulation: Before everything went pear-shaped, the five-time Women’s Champions sanctioned a WWE Evolution rematch of Bayley, Sasha Banks & Natalya vs. The Riott Squad as a kind of show-me-what-you-got test to determine who had the right stuff to join her team.