WWE needed a strong build to Survivor Series, and that is exactly what the company accomplished over the last two weeks on both Raw and SmackDown Live. Tuesday night’s show was exceptional as it told a complete story on two-hours leading into an expected but nonetheless exciting conclusion.

A new champion was crowned, blue-brand feuds were advanced and the stage was set for what is arguably WWE’s third-biggest pay-per-view of the year. Check out our recap and review below, and be sure to return to CBS Sports on Sunday for live coverage of Survivor Series.

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The Shield leads a Raw invasion

In the middle of a match between The New Day and the team of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, The Shield’s music hit and the Hounds of Justice strolled through the crowd and into the ring. The five SmackDown superstars stood together only for Owens and Zayn to ditch New Day before The Shield entered the ring to attack their opponents on Sunday. The Usos ran out from the back and stared down Roman Reigns for a second before Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins took care of them. Sheamus and Cesaro then entered the ring to help as the Raw women were shown backstage invading the locker room. The male rosters then ran in from the crowd and backstage area, but just as SmackDown was getting the upper hand, Raw general manager Kurt Angle appeared from the back and brought out Braun Strowman, who cleared a path to the ring and cleaned house.

The Shield forced SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon to look around the ring at all of his fallen superstars before Angle grabbed him by the face. “You think this is bad?! Wait until Sunday,” Angle said, instructing The Shield to drill McMahon with the Triple Powerbomb. Angle then lifted him up for the Angle Slam, but with nearly two minutes left on the show, everyone stood around in the ring not doing much of anything. The Shield hit McMahon with one more Triple Powerbomb before the Raw roster celebrated on stage.

While this invasion was telegraphed for weeks, it did not necessarily disappoint. The go-home segment of the go-home show for Survivor Series accomplished exactly what it is supposed to, which is surprisingly not always common for WWE heading into big pay-per-views. Say what you will about how the #undersiege angle started, but WWE really came together over the last two-plus weeks to book Raw and SmackDown exceptionally strong.

There are obvious elements that will transpire at Survivor Series, including Owens and Zayn factoring into a McMahon elimination, Kane doing the same for Strowman, etc. Nevertheless, there is so much star power at the top of this card that there’s no way WWE screws it up … right?

A special night for the Flairs

In front of her hometown crowd, Charlotte Flair challenged Natalya for her SmackDown women’s championship. Flair took some uncommon risks, including setting up for a moonsault from the top of the barricade; Natalya grabbed Flair and powerbombed her spine-first into the ring post instead. With Flair knocked out, Natalya locked the challenger in the Sharpshooter but could not get the submission. Flair then forced Natalya out of the ring, booted her in the face when she reentered and locked in the Figure Eight to make the champ tap. Women’s Championship — Charlotte def. Natalya (c) via submission to win the title

After the match, the new champion called out Raw women’s champion Alexa Bliss and promised to defeat her at Survivor Series. She then thanked the Charlotte crowd and — with tears in her eyes — dedicated the victory to her father, Ric Flair, who she said was watching from home. To Charlotte’s surprise, Ric’s music hit and the 16-time world heavyweight champion met her on the stage for an emotional moment you can watch below.

It’s allergies, I tell you. While the title change was a bit of a surprise — I expected Flair to win the strap at the Starrcade house show later this month — it give us a fantastic Flair-Bliss match at Survivor Series that will make the already-stacked card even more exciting. As for her father’s return, it was a fantastic moment that allowed WWE fans to see Ric without taking any of the spotlight off of Charlotte winning the championship. Here’s hoping Ric’s recovery continues and we see plenty more of him on WWE TV over the years.

What else happened on SmackDown?

  • McMahon pep talk, Daniel Bryan speech: SmackDown began with an obviously pre-taped segment with McMahon standing on a stage trying to get his brand juiced for Survivor Series. McMahon promised SmackDown would become “the show” in WWE and that nobody could stop them on Sunday. 
  • Daniel Bryan advocates for AJ Styles: In the ring, general manager Bryan promised SmackDown would be ready for a potential Raw invasion and guaranteed his brand will be victorious on Sunday. He then introduced Styles, the new WWE champion, and offered to be his personal advocate for the night. Bryan proceeded to mock Paul Heyman’s introduction of universal champion Brock Lesnar and refer to Lesnar as a quitter for leaving WWE once and tapping out to a “half-assed knee bar” in UFC. He went on to say Lesnar does not have anywhere near Styles’ stamina and that the WWE champion will mentally conquer Lesnar at Survivor Series. “I can talk, I’m not a puppet like Brock Lesnar,” Styles added. “… I will find a way — to the last breath in my body — I will find a way to beat Brock Lesnar and prove that SmackDown Live is the ‘A show.'” After the break, Jinder Mahal told Styles backstage he will regain the WWE title.
  • United States Championship — Baron Corbin (c) def. Sin Cara via pinfall to retain the title: Corbin’s had his best matches with Sin Cara; they really work well together. He eventually hit End of Days for the 1-2-3.
  • McMahon and Bryan hash it out: Backstage, Bryan said — after Survivor Series — he needs to have a conversation with McMahon about never consulting him about #undersiege. When McMahon tried to explain himself, Bryan gave him the hand and left.
  • Bludgeon Brothers vignette: The last one, hopefully, as they return next week.
  • Jimmy Uso def. Chad Gable via pinfall: Once Shelton Benjamin and Jey Uso got involved on the ring apron and outside, Jimmy Uso took advantage of a distracted Gable with a superkick for the clean win.
  • The New Day vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn ends in a no contest: Owens and Zayn complained backstage about not being on Survivor Series, blaming McMahon and saying they should be the ones facing The Shield. The New Day cut a promo in the ring about how The Shield is only together for convenience and is not a real team. Their match got underway but was never completed due to the invasion.

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