Monday Night Raw
Date: November 5, 2018
Location: Manchester Arena, Manchester, England
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
After everything last week, even the wrestlers needed a Monday night off so we have a taped show from earlier in the day. It’s time for the annual November England tour and it happens to be one of the two final shows before Survivor Series. Therefore, it’s time to crank out some stories in a hurry. Let’s get to it.
The roster is on the stage and there are security guards at ringside as Baron Corbin comes out. After some clips of Brock Lesnar winning the Universal Title again (just go with it), Corbin talks about Survivor Series and lists off some of the upcoming matches. In addition to just winning for pride though, Raw has a score to settle because Shane McMahon stole the title of Best in the World from Dolph Ziggler. Don’t worry though, because Stephanie McMahon will be here next week to deal with that (You knew it was coming.).
As for the men’s Survivor Series match, Corbin has named himself as captain, meaning he won’t be in the actual match. Therefore, he has to put together a great team, which will start with Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre. Another member is Braun Strowman, who might not be happy with Corbin right now. We’ll call Crown Jewel a teaching moment though and Strowman will learn soon enough.
As for the women’s Survivor Series match, the captain will be picking the full team, so here’s Alexa Bliss. She’ll use her leadership as a five time Women’s Champion to pick her team tonight, starting with the Riott Squad vs. Bayley/Sasha Banks/Natalya. Cue Kurt Angle to say he wants to compete again this year, just like last year when he lead Team Raw to victory.
Corbin doesn’t think so because Angle needs to be permanently gone from the show. They reach an agreement: tonight Angle vs. Corbin with the winner getting to be the captain. Angle leaves and Bliss tells the women to get ready but here’s Strowman to storm the ring. Security is dispatched in all of five seconds and Corbin runs off. The roster goes after Strowman as well but he gets through them all while everyone else brawls. In the back, Strowman can’t find Corbin. This ends Exposition Theater, as we fly towards Survivor Series as fast as possible.
Bayley, Sasha and Natalya are ready because Natalya is wearing her dad’s sunglasses.
Bayley/Sasha Banks/Natalya vs. Riott Squad
The Squad jumps them from behind to start but Natalya fights out and blocks an early Riott Kick. The Sharpshooter is on Ruby in the first ten seconds with Logan having to make a save. Logan takes Natalya to the floor and sends her into the barricade as we take a break. Back with Natalya fighting out of the corner and bringing in Banks for some Meteoras, including a top rope version to Morgan.
Riott makes the save and drags Morgan over for the tag. Banks and Bayley hit some running knees, followed by a standing one for good measure. Bayley’s suicide dive drops Logan and Morgan and gets two off a small package on Riott. The chinlock slows Bayley down and Morgan is nice enough to say “Hi Bayley!” Having a match is no reason to not be polite.
Logan’s cobra clutch doesn’t work so she sends Bayley throat first into the middle rope, followed by a middle rope faceplant from Logan. Back from another break with Bayley armdragging Logan and making the hot tag off to Natalya. A faceplant gets two on Logan with Riott making the save.
The Sharpshooter goes on but Riott holds up the sunglasses and breaks them in half. Natalya is distraught…and that’s the match at 17:30. Ignore the Squad walking up the ramp and Natalya and company on the floor together because a countout doesn’t fit their script here or something. Even the crowd is counting them out as the referee just stands there.
Rating: D+. This was longer than it needed to be and while the ending was good, the lack of a countout (or even a bell) was kind of annoying. Yeah her sunglasses were broken. Why is the match just ending? Or better question: why is this feud still going? The angle was effective though and I actually cared about Natalya for the first time in forever.
Natalya cries as Bayley and Sasha console her.
Strowman’s hunt continues, including in the locker room and bathroom. Of note: one of the guys in the locker room was Roy Johnson, who wrestled in the first UK Title tournament.
Recap of D-Generation X vs. Brothers of Destruction. Haven’t I suffered enough just watching that match already?
Apollo Crews vs. Jinder Mahal
Before the match, Crews talks about wanting victories in the ring over moral victories. An early dropkick gets two on Mahal but he pulls Crews down into a chinlock. That goes nowhere so it’s a gorilla press into the standing moonsault for the pin on Mahal at 2:21. That’s the year for Mahal: from World Champion to losing to Apollo Crews.
Here’s Seth Rollins, with both Tag Team Titles, for a chat. He knows the three titles look a little weird but it was supposed to be three titles and a big trophy. That brings him to Lesnar, who is slapping everyone in the face by holding Roman Reigns’ title. He would tell Lesnar that to his face, but Lesnar isn’t here tonight. Seth: “Shocker, I know.”
Dean Ambrose is here tonight though and Seth wants him right here in his face. Ambrose isn’t here though and that means Rollins can’t defend the Tag Team Titles by himself. Corbin pops up on screen and, after telling his guys to barricade the door, makes a title match for right now.
Tag Team Titles: AOP vs. Seth Rollins
Rollins is defending and starts with Akam, who drives him into the wrong corner. Rezar comes in and blasts Rollins with a clothesline as the numbers are already becoming a problem. Back from a break with Rollins fighting out of a chinlock but getting taken down and pummeled without much effort. The Last Chapter is broken up and Rezar is clotheslined to the floor for a suicide dive.
Back in and Akam is sent outside for a double suicide dive in a rather nice hope spot. A Sling Blade hits Rezar back inside and it’s time to stomp the foot. Drake Maverick offers a distraction but the side slam/middle rope stomp is broken up. Rollins knees Rezar in the face and hits the frog splash for two but the stomp is countered into a heck of a powerbomb. The powerbomb/neckbreaker gives us new champions at 9:47.
Rating: C. They had to do something with the titles and putting the titles on these monsters is as good of an idea as they had. Rollins made a go of it though and that was far more entertaining than I was expecting. AOP will be fine and can run through some teams until someone finally derails them. Not a bad match here, with Rollins trying as hard as he could.
Post match here’s Ambrose to say Rollins wants to know why. Rollins asks why and gets hit with Dirty Deeds.
Renee Young finally comments on the thing, saying Dean won’t talk about it even to her. That’s all they needed to say.
We look at Becky Lynch calling out Ronda Rousey last week on Smackdown. She won’t be intimidated like everyone else.
We look at Strowman hunting for Corbin.
Corbin has a makeshift studio in the storage room when Strowman storms in. Security is dispatched, with one of them holding onto Strowman’s leg as he drags the guy along.
Here’s Dolph Ziggler to claim a conspiracy against him in the World Cup. First Drew McIntyre was ejected and then everyone’s favorite D-Lister is replaced by Shane McMahon of all people. Cue Elias to interrupt and the fans are VERY glad to see him. He was just on the phone with Liam and Noel Gallagher, who said if Elias sings the right song tonight, Oasis will reunite. Ziggler doesn’t want to hear it but Elias sings anyway. That earns him a challenge and we’re ready to go.
Elias vs. Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler headlocks and dropkicks him to start as the fans don’t seem pleased. Elias fights up but gets elbowed in the face as the announcers talk about the tournament having a bit of a screwy ending. Ziggler cranks on the arm for a good while until Elias gets up and kicks him down. A top rope elbow misses Ziggler and we take a break. Back with Ziggler holding a chinlock and uppercutting Elias for two.
The chinlock goes on again because this match hasn’t been boring enough already. Elias gets up (again) and hammers away with some right hands and forearms but Ziggler avoids the jumping knee. The second jumping knee connects for two and a sitout powerbomb gives Elias two more. Ziggler headbutts him and the Zig Zag is good for two more with Elias getting a foot on the rope. Back up and Drift Away is good for the pin on Ziggler at 14:21.
Rating: D-. This was awful and one of the most lifeless matches I’ve ever seen. I’m sure you can chalk a lot of it up to jet lag but my goodness they were in slow motion and doing a lot of chinlocks out there. Elias needs some dominant wins somewhere in this face turn as he’s just taking beatings and then winning in the end. These guys can do better but this was horrible.
Angle isn’t worried because a fire has been lit inside of him to go and be Raw team captain.
Here’s Ronda Rousey for a chat. Last week on Smackdown, Becky Lynch threatened to rip her arm off. It’s easy to see why people love Becky and there’s a quick chant for her. Ronda respects her, but Becky has no idea what’s going on. While Becky’s mom was waking her up for school, Ronda’s mom was waking her up trying to break her arm. While Becky was a stewardess, Ronda was in the most dominant title reign of all time.
Rousey wants her to bring all of her rage in two weeks because Ronda wants a challenge at Survivor Series. Becky can call herself the man but Rousey is the baddest b**** on the planet. Ronda goes to leave but here’s Nia Jax to interrupt. Nia tells her to be ready because she’s fighting for “the most dominant brand in sports entertainment” at Survivor Series. When she’s done, Nia will be waiting on her.
Video on WWE working with Girl Up, a charity to promote young girls in sports.
Nia Jax vs. Ember Moon
Ember kicks her down to one knee to start but the crossbody literally bounces off of Nia. Another throw has Ember in trouble and it’s off to a chinlock. Nia drops her face first onto the top turnbuckle but misses the legdrop. The kicks have Nia in trouble and the springboard spinning crossbody gets two. There’s a discus forearm for two more but the Samoan drop finishes Ember at 4:55.
Rating: D+. Again, I ask what the point was in bringing Ember up to the main roster. They had her show up on the Raw after Wrestlemania and I don’t think she’s won a major match since. She was trying here and the match wasn’t terrible, but this has already been one of the most lifeless shows I can remember in a long time. They didn’t have much of a chance out there.
Post match freaking Tamina comes out….and beats up Ember as Nia joins forces with her. I guess it’s better than them fighting. Nia screams that she won and jumps up and down.
Finn Balor isn’t worried about Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush because Manchester is Balor Club.
Corbin gets in his car because he has an emergency appointment. Angle can face Drew McIntyre instead. Strowman shows up as Corbin gets away.
Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley
Before the match, Lio says he wishes they were in Liverpool and says Michelangelo couldn’t create a work of art like Lashley. See, he respects Manchester, so he’s going to pretend that Balor is every single person in this city. Lashley chokes on the ropes to start as the announcers talk about the tournament. A missed charge lets Balor hit a dropkick to the ropes but Rush trips him up.
That means a chinlock for a bit until Balor gets up for a sunset flip. Balor slips out of a powerbomb but gets caught by the vertical suplex for two (Kicking out of a finisher!). An enziguri looks to set up the Coup de Grace but Rush offers a distraction. Lashley gets sent outside so Balor dropkicks Rush. He takes too long on the floor though and gets caught by Lashley, followed by the spinning Dominator for the pin at 6:29.
Rating: D. Hey remember when Balor beat Lashley twice, including one off a clean pin? Well none of that matters because Lashley won the third match with help from his manager. This was another lifeless match in a series of them and that’s one of the last things this show needed. It’s more 50/50 booking and, as usual, that helps no one.
Post match Drew McIntyre comes out for a staredown with Lashley and the fans seem intrigued. Lashley leaves and Drew helps Balor up before kicking him in the face.
Next week, Stephanie McMahon is here, Alexa announces the Raw women’s Survivor Series team and Brock Lesnar will actually show up.
Drew McIntyre vs. Kurt Angle
If Angle wins, he’s team captain at Survivor Series. Angle jumps him before the bell but McIntyre blasts him with a headbutt. We hit the armbar, which might actually cause Angle’s arm to come off his body. A neckbreaker sets up a second armbar but Angle pops up with an Angle Slam to put McIntyre on the floor.
Back from a break with McIntyre hitting a suplex and putting on a third armbar. McIntyre picks him up…..and the armbar goes on again. Angle fights out of it (probably due to familiarity) and rolls the German suplexes. The Claymore kicks Angle’s head off….and Drew doesn’t cover. OH MY GOODNESS JUST END THE SHOW ALREADY!!! Angle goes for the leg but Drew pounds him down and glares at him again.
To really show off, Drew sticks his leg out so Angle lunches again, earning himself another beatdown. Drew calls Angle an embarrassment and now the ankle lock goes on. The hold is kicked off and Drew gives him an Angle Slam before sitting in the middle of the ring instead of covering. Drew puts him in an ankle lock with the grapevine and Kurt taps at 14:36.
Rating: D. They had an idea here with McIntyre wanting to humiliate Angle but egads how many times can we see Old Man Angle get beaten down like this? It wasn’t really interesting the first time and this was a long match to end an already awful show. This was much more about the storytelling than the wrestling and Drew played the heel well, but it was the wrong place and the wrong time.
Overall Rating: F+. I don’t know if it was the exhaustion from the crazy schedule over the last week (though that has been a nightmare of WWE’s own creating) or the jet lag or just the show being taped but I haven’t been begging for a show to end like this in a long time. A seven match show with three rematches from within the last eight days is inexcusable, especially when one of them was a trilogy match.
And in case we haven’t done enough lately, next week is a go home show where we’ll have to listen to Heyman talk about how important Survivor Series is and Stephanie talk about how she won’t let her brother humiliate her or whatever her latest screeching moment is. It feels like they need a vacation right now and things are likely to be just as exhausted next week when they have a Saturday show in Rome and have to be back in America on Monday for Raw. This was a really bad show though and a lot of it seems to be from pure exhaustion and overload.
Bayley/Sasha Banks/Natalya vs. Riott Squad went to a no contest
Apollo Crews b. Jinder Mahal – Standing moonsault
AOP b. Seth Rollins – Powerbomb/neckbreaker combination
Elias b. Dolph Ziggler – Drift Away
Nia Jax b. Ember Moon – Samoan drop
Bobby Lashley b. Finn Balor – Spinning Dominator
Drew McIntyre b. Kurt Angle – Ankle lock
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