After Jason Jordan got injured by Bray Wyatt, “The Game” Triple H made a surprise return, and joined Raw’s Survivor Series team. Triple H hasn’t appeared on Raw since before his grudge match with Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 33 this past April, although he’s popped up a few times on NXT TV, since he runs the developmental brand behind the scenes. A multi-time WWE champion and surefire hall of famer – even if he hadn’t married into the McMahon family – Triple H of course now splits his time between being a real life WWE executive and part-time onscreen performer.
Survivor Series actually won’t be HHH’s first WWE match since WrestleMania 33 though, as he memorably teamed up with old rivals The Shield for a few house show matches during WWE’s recent European tour. While it’s unclear if The Game’s return has been in the works for very long before tonight’s announcement, at least he’s hopefully worked any ring rust he might had had out on those non-televised shows.
Triple H being inserted into Survivor Series’ big Raw vs. SmackDown elimination match is only one of several last minute changes to the card made in the past week. Jinder Mahal was formerly scheduled to take on Brock Lesnar in a match pitting SmackDown’s WWE champion vs. Raw’s Universal champion in the Survivor Series main event, but after a lukewarm reception to the match, WWE had Mahal drop his title to fan favorite AJ Styles last week. Styles will now face Lesnar, and John Cena was added to Team SmackDown in order to fill a spot reportedly meant for Styles.
While Jordan is a talented and capable athlete, many WWE fans had wondered what he was doing in the elimination match, as every other participant in the match is a much bigger name within the company. If him being taken out in order to clear the way for a surprise HHH return was indeed the plan the whole time, things now make a lot more sense. As it happened on Raw, Jordan’s leg was attacked by the returning Bray Wyatt, leaving Jordan’s storyline dad and Raw GM Kurt Angle in the awkward position of needing to replace him. Unable to pull the trigger on the announcement, HHH came out to a huge ovation, adding himself to Team Raw in Jordan’s place.
So as it stands, the seemingly final line-up for Survivor Series’ 5-on-5 Raw vs. SmackDown elimination match is this: Team Raw (Kurt Angle, Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, and Triple H) vs. Team SmackDown (Shane McMahon, Randy Orton, Shinsuke Nakamura, Bobby Roode, and John Cena). That’s a hell of a battle on paper, and there’s no reason not to expect it to live up to expectations. As it stands though, several major stars are still missing from the Survivor Series card, including Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Jinder Mahal, Bray Wyatt, and Dolph Ziggler. One wonders if any of those wrestlers will be used to fill out the two-hour kickoff show.