TV Club: SmackDown! Live prepares for the coming wars

In the aftermath of a brand-specific pay-per-view, the differences between the WWE’s two brands tend to be clearer than usual. The night after Hell In A Cell, Monday Night RAW is rematch city, even though it has another pay-per-view to sell and needs to move on. The next night, SmackDown! Live lacks the same post-pay-per-view and rematch baggage as RAW, but it also has to build up two pay-per-views in a row. There’s overlap in just one of these shows this time around, as both SmackDown! Live and RAW are preparing for Survivor Series. But while RAW continues to spin its wheels, even with more time and resources, this week’s SmackDown! Live continues the blue brand’s general competence in storytelling as it works toward Survivor Series and its brand-specific TLC pay-per-view.

When it comes to that competent storytelling, the biggest story on SmackDown! Live is of …

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