Monday Night Raw
Date: November 12, 2018
Location: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
It’s the Stephanie Show this week. That’s the entirety of the official Raw preview: a photo of Stephanie with a promise of her addressing the World Cup controversy. I’m sure this will include discussions of how disappointed she is with everyone and how Raw must be the most ridiculous adjective filled show that only Stephanie can be proud of because only WWE seems to care about this battle for brand supremacy which was only first mentioned a few weeks back and won’t be mentioned again a week after Survivor Series. Let’s get to it.
Veterans Day video. Nothing wrong with that.
Tag Team Battle Royal
Lucha House Party, Bobby Roode/Chad Gable, Ascension, B-Team, Heath Slater/Rhyno, Revival
The winners get to be the captains for the Raw Survivor Series team (EGADS WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE???). Lucha House Party has all three members in for some reason…and here’s Braun Strowman to clean house for no logical reason. Strowman goes outside and runs some people over and we’ll say it’s a no contest (in a battle royal) at about 2:30.
Strowman has a seat in the ring and says he’s tired of waiting for the Acting General Manager Baron Corbin (Stephanie has been rubbing off on him)….and here’s Stephanie to interrupt. She talks about Shane McMahon disrespecting the locker room by declaring himself the best in the world. Braun gets up and yells that he doesn’t care about Shane or representing Raw.
Stephanie screeches about how he better care, just like the rest of the roster. That’s not happening because he’s tired of being treated like a meat castle. Get Corbin out here right now. Stephanie has a proposition: represent Raw and win the men’s match and he can have whatever he wants. Like, trains! Strowman wants a Universal Title match with Brock Lesnar, but first he wants Corbin.
Stephanie says done, but Braun wants to pick the stipulations. He also wants Corbin to sign a waver so he can’t get in trouble. That might take some more time but Stephanie seems cool with it. All she asks is to have Strowman not lay a hand on Corbin to prove he’s a proud member of the Raw roster.
Cue Ronda Rousey with Stephanie trying to introduce her but getting the microphone taken out of her hand. Ronda has been waiting for a challenge and Becky Lynch can do that. Now it’s Baron Corbin coming out for a pep talk but Ronda flips him over and leaves. Strowman is waiting on Corbin, but doesn’t touch him. He’ll be waiting after Survivor Series though.
This could have been worse as Stephanie was kept to a minimum, but it’s not doing much better about having the ridiculous focus on Raw vs. Smackdown. It’s not an interesting story and we’ve been here several years in a row now. Strowman wanting Corbin and then Lesnar again is fine, but just do those matches with regular elimination tags instead of this forced brand vs. brand stuff.
Ember Moon vs. Tamina Snuka
Nia Jax is in Tamina’s corner. Tamina throws her into the corner to start but Ember is right back with kicks to the leg. A sliding basement Downward Spiral sends Tamina outside. Ember follows but gets distracted by Jax, allowing Tamina to run her over. Back from a break with Ember fighting out of a chinlock and diving onto Jax….and bouncing off of her. The springboard crossbody gets two on Tamina but Jax offers another distraction. Tamina superkicks Ember down and hits the Superfly Splash for the pin at 8:35.
Rating: D. I kept writing Nia instead of Tamina because they’re basically the same person. They look similar, they wrestle the same powerful style and they’re even family. Now for some reason, WWE finds this more interesting than Ember, who they took the time to develop and build up in NXT. Why bring her up at all if you’re not going to use her for anything more than cannon fodder?
We look back at the Dean Ambrose/Seth Rollins story, including the AOP taking the Tag Team Titles from Rollins last week and getting beaten down by Ambrose after the match.
Here’s Rollins for an in-ring interview with Corey Graves. Rollins wants to know what’s up with Ambrose, but Dean isn’t man enough to come out here and face him. Ambrose pops up on screen in front of a car with a burning barrel next to it. Dean says maybe he’s doing this because Rollins treated him like a joke for too long.
See, Dean was the same guy all along and maybe one day his brothers can forgive him. Nah that’s not true, because Dean used to think that the Shield was stronger together. The truth is the Shield made him weak so he pours gas over the Shield vest. Ambrose: “Burn it down.” He throws it into the barrel and Rollins is even angrier. It’s nice to have a reason from Dean and the symbolism was great, but if Dean doesn’t win the feud, none of this really matters.
We look back at Drew McIntyre soundly beating Kurt Angle last week with the ankle lock.
Here’s Angle…..’s music with Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre actually coming out instead. Drew says they came here to take over and wants to know if the fans believe him now. First they broke the Shield and then he broke Angle. Last week Drew broke him down and then Angle started crying. Drew has never been so disgusted and he’s not allowing any more nostalgia acts on this show (make your own Ziggler jokes) but here’s Finn Balor to interrupt.
Balor says Drew crossed the line last week but Drew cuts him off to say dignity isn’t a right reserved for all. Last week, Drew kicked Finn’s head off because Balor is the problem with wrestling today. It’s all about emotion to him so go cry to the Balor Club. Balor says he’s been dealing with bullies for his whole life so let’s do it right now. Drew says deal, but it can be against Dolph instead. Balor seems happy but Drew headbutts him down before the bell.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Finn Balor
Balor is staggered but says ring the bell anyway. Ziggler knocks him down without much effort and we hit the chinlock. Back up and Balor gets in an enziguri from the apron but gets crotched going for the Coup de Grace. Cole declares this as Ziggler taking over as we take a break.
We come back with Balor kicking him in the head for a double knockdown. A quick double stomp gives Balor two but Dolph is right back with the Fameasser. Balor fights up again and sends Dolph outside for the big flip dive onto both of them, only to miss the Coup de Grace. Ziggler grabs a rollup but gets reversed into a second rollup to give Balor the pin at 12:15.
Rating: C-. I got more out of this match than I got out of all the Balor vs. Bobby Lashley matches combined. The trilogy of matches served no apparent purpose other than to fill time, didn’t advance either guy and offered no emotion from either of them. This match, while not exactly a classic, had a purpose, told a story, and made Balor look impressive for fighting from behind while setting up another match. That’s actual booking, rather than just throwing matches out there.
Post break Stephanie puts Balor on the team and gives him, Ziggler and McIntyre a pep talk about how they need to destroy Smackdown, including her brother Shane (WE KNOW WHO YOUR BROTHER IS! STOP ACTING LIKE NO ONE KNOWS HIS NAME!).
We look back at Becky Lynch calling out Ronda Rousey last week on Smackdown.
Rousey wasn’t mocking Becky last week and lists off a bunch of things that Becky learned while she was learning armbars. Becky is so hypersensitive that she’s the millennial man with skinny jeans and avocado toast. Ronda isn’t Charlotte and Becky isn’t Oliver Twist. Her fans have been here with her every single week and she didn’t change the definition of “fight like a girl” so the face of the women’s revolution could call herself the man. Nia and Tamina (ERG) come in and wish her luck. Great intensity from Ronda here, though pretty clearly reading from a script.
Here’s the Riott Squad to talk about breaking Jim Neidhart’s sunglasses last week. Ruby is rather emotional about what she did because Neidhart is a future Hall of Famer. She went too far last week…and enjoyed every second of it. Neidhart was a legend and he must have worn those glasses to shade his vision of Natalya, who is such a disappointment. Natalya’s music plays but she comes through the crowd to get at Ruby. The three on one takes her down though and it’s a Hart Attack for Natalya. It was an obvious fake out on the apology but Ruby sold it very well and I could go for seeing Natalya beat her up.
Survivor Series rundown.
Tag Team Battle Royal
Lucha House Party, Bobby Roode/Chad Gable, Ascension, B-Team, Heath Slater/Rhyno, Revival
Yes they’re actually doing this AGAIN because WE NEED CAPTAINS BLAST IT! Slater gets tossed out early, meaning Rhyno has to leave as well. Kalisto saves Lince Dorado, who pulls Scott Dawson to the apron with him. Gran Metalik gets rid of the Revival but Ascension gets rid of the luchadors. There goes the B Team as well, leaving us with the Ascension and Roode/Gable. A neckbreaker/moonsault combination hits Viktor but Konnor makes the save. Not that it matters as Gable pulls Konnor over the top for the win at 3:08.
Rating: D-. What kind of a battle royal is barely three minutes long. That would be a good one in case you weren’t paying enough attention. I’ve ranted enough about how stupid it is to have these captain spots when it’s all just a part of the battle for brand supremacy anyway. Gable and Roode are fine as a team and they win one of the most meaningless awards ever. Good for them.
The tag match will be on the Kickoff Show. At least it’s going to be short…I think.
Here are Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar for a chat. Heyman gets in his usual start and says Strowman deserves congratulations. At Crown Jewel, Strowman proved that he is an ALMOST unbeatable monster when it took five F5’s to put him down. Further congratulations to Strowman for getting back into the title picture after such a loss.
Congratulations are also in order to the Smackdown locker room for avoiding the beating that is coming to AJ Styles this Sunday. Heyman recaps AJ’s loss to Lesnar last year and makes a Hotel California reference (Heyman: “For those of you who don’t get the reference, go home and Google it b******.”). There is no one on Raw, Smackdown, NXT or in the UFC who can hang with Lesnar and no one he wants to beat up more than AJ. That’s why this Sunday, Lesnar will show that he’s the champion of champions.
Heyman is about to call that a spoiler but Jinder Mahal of all people interrupts. Last year, Mahal was focused on facing Lesnar and it cost him the WWE Championship. Mahal has a mantra for Lesnar, and Brock is actually willing to let him come in and say it. Lesnar to Heyman: “You should really hear this. After all, you’re Jewish.” Mahal explains shanti and the required beating cuts him off, with the Singh Brothers taking the most devastating German suplexes I’ve ever seen. Brock throws one of them over the top at Jinder but the Singh bounces off of him. That earns Mahal an F5 for improper catching technique.
Survivor Series Qualifying Match: Bobby Lashley vs. Elias
Before the match, Lio Rush talks about how perfect Lashley’s physique is and we get some poses, including the double glutes. Thankfully Elias cuts them off but he’s making a phone call. Elias introduces himself and tells child protective services that Lashley has kidnapped a child and is forcing him to point out various muscles. He was even bent over in front of the child! The authorities need to get here soon because Lashley and Rush have a tendency to make people fall asleep in a hurry. Lashley wants to fight so Elias says he sucks and heads to the ring.
We’re joined in progress with Elias fighting out of a chinlock and sending Lashley to the floor for a knee from the apron. Lashley sends him into the post though and Rush grabs Elias’ leg for the countout at 2:11. Well at least he didn’t take a clean fall this soon into his face turn.
Post match Elias grabs Rush and sends a charging Lashley into the post. Rush tries to run but gets thrown onto Elias for his efforts.
Here’s Alexa Bliss, flanked by Mickie James, Tamina and Nia, to announce the captains of the Raw women’s team. Bliss talks about the great team she’s put together, which includes Natalya who is off channeling her aggression to use on Sunday. That leaves one open spot (I had forgotten Alexa wasn’t in the match because she’s in the ring, since WE MUST HAVE A CAPTAIN WHO ISN’T EVEN IN THE MATCH!) so the winner of the following match gets the final roster spot.
Sasha Banks vs. Bayley
Banks goes for an early rollup and knees Bayley in the head to knock her off the apron. The Meteora gets two but Bayley elbows Sasha off the apron this time. Sasha sends her into the post though and hits the running Meteora to drive Bayley head first into it again. The third Meteora only hits post though and they’re both down.
Bayley is right back up with a Bayley to Belly on the apron (find a new place to fight) as we take a break. Back with Bayley’s top rope elbow hitting knees (apparently Bayley’s elbow is less effective than a cabinet door because Sasha’s knee is fine) so the Bank Statement goes on, drawing in Tamina and Jax for the double DQ at 8:32.
Rating: D+. The violence was good but egads I’m sick of these endings with the double DQ’s. Granted that might just be because Tamina has been in three different segments tonight and I just want this show to end. This was fun while it lasted with the Bayley to Belly looking great, but the ending was lame, which isn’t exactly surprising.
Post match Bliss laughs it off and introduces Ruby Riott as the final pick. The Riott Squad comes out but we cut to the back where Becky Lynch has Rousey in the Disarm-Her. She lets it go and comes to the ring, where the Smackdown women (complete with Charlotte, who is suddenly fine with everything from Tuesday, and Mandy Rose/the Iconics, who aren’t on the team in the first place) come in for the big brawl.
Ronda comes in but her arm is done. Becky, who looks to have a broken nose, grabs a chair and hits her in the arm again as the Smackdown women destroy everyone. Another chair to the arm has Rousey in trouble as Bliss watches on from the ramp. A long staredown between Rousey and Becky (the blood on her face adds a lot)….doesn’t end the show.
We cut to the back where Stephanie is yelling at Corbin over what just happened. She’s still yelling as we cut back to a furious Rousey to end the show. The big brawl was really good and Becky looked like a STAR, but closing on Stephanie yelling took the life out of what was an otherwise great closing segment.
Overall Rating: D. I’m really torn on this one as there’s some good stuff included (the closing segment, Ambrose/Rollins, McIntyre looking to have completely eclipsed Ziggler, Ronda’s fire and Lesnar wrecking Mahal and company) but then there’s nearly EVERYTHING else, which almost completely focused on either Stephanie, Tamina (I still need someone to tell me what WWE sees in her) or this obsession with having captains who pick the teams for Survivor Series.
I’ve been watching wrestling since the late 1980s and I’ve been a WWF/E fan for that entire time. Out of every show they do, Survivor Series was my favorite for a long time. I know it doesn’t matter as much compared to Wrestlemania or the Royal Rumble, but I’ve always liked that team concept and taking all these feuds that have been going on and piling them together into one match where you get some fun combinations.
Now though, WWE has taken that away. There’s no personal feud between the two brands and the focus is all on the show’s bosses. The feuds are now on the teams themselves and we get some invasion angle to set up the matches. The fun part of it is gone and now it’s all about Raw vs. Smackdown and brand supremacy and picking captains who sometime are and sometimes aren’t on the team. That’s all the last two weeks are going to be while Stephanie yells about how important this is to Raw and makes everyone feel beneath her.
I’ve been a wrestling fan for a long time and this is one of the first times where I’ve ever felt like what they’re doing isn’t for me. I used to look forward to Survivor Series every year and now I can’t wait for it to be over so we can move on to something I’ll probably like a lot more. Survivor Series used to be fun and now it’s just a show where they can get in as many buzzwords as they can while making sure the wrestlers look as unimportant as they can. Thanks for that WWE. It took 30 years but you finally took the fun away from my favorite show.
Tag Team Battle Royal went to a no contest when Braun Strowman interfered
Tamina Snuka b. Ember Moon – Superfly Splash
Finn Balor b. Dolph Ziggler – Rollup
Chad Gable/Bobby Roode won a tag team battle royal last eliminating Ascension
Bobby Lashley b. Elias via countout
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks went to a double DQ when Nia Jax and Tamina interfered
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