Posted November 6, 2018:
The latest episode of WWE Raw took place in Manchester, England on Monday, November 5. 2018 recap of what happened.
Baron Corbin makes Survivor Series announcements Summary: The show began with the entire locker room standing on the stage to listen to Baron Corbin’s announcement. The acting Raw GM revealed that he will be the non-competing captain of Raw’s men’s team at Survivor Series, while Alexa Bliss will captain the women but, like Corbin, she will not compete. He also announced that Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler and Braun Strowman will be on the men’s team. When Kurt Angle interrupted, a match between the two authority figures was set up for later in the night with the Raw captaincy on the line. Corbin ran away from Strowman to close the segment.
Verdict: This made for a unique start to the show with the roster standing on the stage to hear what Corbin had to say. The former United States champion’s promos get better by the week, so I don’t mind Raw starting with lengthy promo segments nowadays. It’s interesting that Bliss will not compete at Survivor Series — her reported injury/concussion must be more serious than first thought.
Match 1: Natalya, Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. The Riott Squad Summary: Natalya wore sunglasses belonging to her late father, Jim Neidhart, to the ring. When the babyface trio were on top and Natalya looked set to make Sarah Logan submit to the sharpshooter, she turned around and spotted Ruby Riott on the outside of the ring with the glasses in her hand. Riott proceeded to snap the glasses in half, Natalya cried at ringside, and the match ended without a clear winner.
Verdict: This was a very strange finish to a very long opening contest. The match itself was decent enough but it felt odd that The Riott Squad walked away up the ramp after Riott broke the glasses. Did they feel like they’d done enough damage and they weren’t bothered about the win from that moment on? Why did the referee not count anybody out?! This took up over 20 minutes of Raw, so some kind of explanation would have been helpful!
Match 2: Jinder Mahal vs. Apollo Crews Summary: Apollo Crews said in a pre-match promo that it’s time for him to show that he is not just “potential” and that he is Raw’s “human highlight reel”. The former Titus Worldwide member planted Jinder Mahal to the mat with a Gorilla Press before hitting a standing moonsault to pick up a quick win.
Verdict: Why is Mahal even more of a ‘jobber’ now than he was before he won the WWE title?! He’s reached that point that babyfaces often do where they’ve lost so many times that they have to turn heel to rebuild. In Mahal’s case, there’s no way he can flip to being a good guy, so I don’t see how he is going to revive his current character as a heel any time soon.
Match 3: Seth Rollins vs. AOP (Raw Tag Team titles) Summary: Seth Rollins, wearing the IC title and both Raw Tag Team titles, said Brock Lesnar’s controversial Universal title win at Crown Jewel was a “slap in the face” to everything Roman Reigns worked for. He then began to address the Raw Tag Team title situation when Baron Corbin appeared on the screen and made him defend the titles against AOP, who defeated Rollins with a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo to become main-roster champions for the first time. Following the match, Dean Ambrose teased that he would tell Rollins why he attacked him. However, he opted to hit him with a Dirty Deeds instead.
Verdict: This made for a good storyline development in the Rollins vs. Ambrose rivalry and the tag title scene. AOP can now face the SmackDown Tag Team champions at Survivor Series, while Rollins can turn his focus to Shinsuke Nakamura (and, of course, Ambrose). Sidenote: it made no sense for WWE to publish an article titled ‘SPOILER: Raw tag titles change hands’ hours before this pre-taped show aired. Why ruin it?!
Ronda Rousey responds to Becky Lynch
Summary: Ronda Rousey gave Becky Lynch credit for overcoming adversity to become SmackDown Women’s champion again. She went on to cut one of her most intense promos yet in WWE, warning that she is a “natural born killer” before describing herself as “the baddest b**** on the planet”. Nia Jax, the #1 contender for Rousey’s title, then made her entrance to face Ember Moon and warned Rousey that she will set her sights on the title after Survivor Series.
Verdict: This was a good promo to continue the build to Survivor Series. Unlike last year, there isn’t a great deal of hype around the men’s elimination match, which traditionally headlines the PPV, or even the Brock Lesnar vs. AJ Styles match, so Rousey vs. Lynch is surely in line to be the main event.
Match 5: Nia Jax vs. Ember Moon Summary: Nia Jax withstood brief spells of dominance from Ember Moon before picking up the victory with her trademark Samoan Drop. Following the match, Tamina appeared and hit Moon with another Samoan Drop. It looked as though Jax was going to side with the former NXT champion. However, she ordered Tamina, her cousin, to lock in a Boston Crab so that they could join forces and attack Moon together.
Verdict: The match was utterly pointless — we’ve seen it twice in the last month in equally pointless circumstances — but the story of Jax turning heel and aligning with Tamina makes for a refreshing change. The #1 contender never felt like a believable babyface against the likes of Alexa Bliss and Ronda Rousey. Let’s hope her latest heel run goes a little better than her face run.
Backstage segment Baron Corbin tried to hide from Braun Strowman throughout the show. In the end, he escaped in a car and revealed just before he left that Drew McIntyre would replace him against Kurt Angle in the main event.
Match 6: Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley Summary: Bobby Lashley was in control of this match for large spells. When Finn Balor rallied towards the end, he took Lio Rush out at ringside with a baseball slide before turning his attention back to his opponent. However, the distraction from Rush proved too much for Balor and Lashley capitalised by slamming the Irishman to the mat for the win. Following the match, Drew McIntyre appeared before his main event against Kurt Angle. He had a stare-down with Lashley before hitting a Claymore on Balor.
Verdict: The Riott Squad vs. Bayley, Sasha Banks and Natalya… Nia Jax vs. Ember Moon… Balor vs. Lashley… MONDAY NIGHT REMATCH! Once again, this was a decent match, but why did almost everything on this show have to be filler? This was the penultimate Raw before Survivor Series, yet most of the episode was full of largely meaningless matches.
Match 7: Drew McIntyre vs. Kurt Angle Summary: Kurt Angle seemed legitimately dazed after being caught with a nasty-looking headbutt from Drew McIntyre early on in the match. The Scot controlled almost the entire match and continued to punish the veteran even after connecting with his trademark Claymore. He then mocked his opponent by hitting an Angle Slam before locking in the Ankle Lock to make Angle tap to his own submission move.
Verdict: Very good. The match might not have been of the best quality — Angle barely put up a fight — but the story was really well told. McIntyre is in his prime right now and didn’t give the never-say-die veteran a chance in a memorable main event that, according to the commentary team, could signal the end of Angle’s career. Overall, Raw was poor this week but the final match definitely delivered.
Overall Raw Grade = B
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