Published Nov 19 2018 By Andre Corbeil
WWE Raw took place in Los Angeles, California on Monday, November 19.
Opening segment: TLC announcement Summary: Baron Corbin gloated about Team Raw’s Survivor Series success before introducing Stephanie McMahon. When Corbin asked if he will now become permanent Raw GM, he was interrupted by Braun Strowman, who demanded a match against “slimeball” Corbin. Stephanie announced a match between the two at TLC on December 16. If Strowman wins, he earns a Universal title match against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble and Corbin is fired as acting GM. If Corbin wins, he becomes permanent GM. Strowman chose for the match to be a TLC match.
Verdict: Corbin vs. Strowman with no stipulation would have felt a little underwhelming for a pay-per-view, hence the noticeable groans from the crowd when the match was announced. With these stipulations in place, the storyline suddenly became a lot more interesting.
Match 1: Braun Strowman, Finn Balor & Elias vs. Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley (elimination match) Summary: Stephanie McMahon announced a six-man tag to start the show and an elimination stipulation was added to it during the ad break. The first elimination came when Drew McIntyre pinned Finn Balor after a Claymore. Braun Strowman was left in a 3-on-1 scenario when Elias was counted out after a distraction from Lio Rush led to him being speared by Bobby Lashley at ringside. McIntyre then got himself — and the rest of his team — disqualified by attacking Strowman with a chair. After continuing the attack at ringside, Lashley tied Strowman’s wrist up with a belt and Corbin slammed a set of steel steps against his rival’s bloodied arm. While the heels celebrated on the stage, Strowman told medics that he couldn’t move his arm or feel his fingers. It was later confirmed that he suffered a “shattered elbow”.
Verdict: The opening segment nicely set up the match at TLC, but this long elimination tag match felt so unnecessary. The first 55 minutes of Raw revolved around the Corbin vs. Strowman rivalry and nothing else. For that reason, even though the attack was a decent storyline development, it’s difficult to grade this any higher than a C+.
Match 2: Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Tamina & Nia Jax Summary: Just like at Survivor Series, Nia Jax received huge boos during her entrance and every time she played a part in the match. This was relatively even until Tamina and Jax took control in the closing stages. In the end, Jax hit Bayley with a Samoan Drop to pick up the win for her team.
Verdict: With Ronda Rousey focused on Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch right now, this was a good way to keep the Raw Women’s Championship storyline going before Jax receives her title opportunity. I’m still not sold on Jax being the next challenger for the title, but we’ll see where the story goes!
Match 3: Lucha House Party vs. The Revival Summary: It was announced after the entrances that this would be competed under Lucha House Rules, essentially making it a 3-on-2 handicap match. The finish came when the high-flyers distracted The Revival by throwing a pinata, aka Penelope, around the ring and Lince Dorado hit a shooting star press on Dash Wilder to pick up the win.
Verdict: This was entertaining enough, especially in the early stages when Lucha House Party showed off their acrobatic ability. As for The Revival, this latest loss moves them even further down the Raw tag-team pecking order. Only a move to SmackDown Live can save them from the mediocre position they’ve found themselves in over the last year.
Match 4: Ronda Rousey vs. Mickie James (Raw Women’s Championship) Pre-match: With the crowd repeatedly chanting “Becky! Becky!”, Ronda Rousey said the next chapter in her story with Charlotte Flair will be written after she defends her title against Nia Jax at TLC. Even though she claimed that this was her on her “worst day”, the Raw Women’s champion challenged anybody to face her for the title — even Baron Corbin. The acting GM walked to the back and selected Mickie James to face Rousey
Match: Rousey struck James with a flurry of punches in the corner before the veteran turned things around with several kicks. However, it didn’t take long for Rousey to gain momentum and make James submit to an armbar. Following the match, Nia Jax (w/Tamina) signalled towards her fist during a staredown with Rousey on the stage.
Verdict: The set-up to this match with Rousey and Corbin was superb, but the reveal of James as the challenger was very underwhelming. After waiting five minutes (including an ad break) to find out who would face the champ, the Los Angeles crowd barely made a sound when James’ music hit.
Match 5: Bobby Roode & Chad Gable vs. AOP Summary: This match came about when Bobby Roode and Chad Gable mocked Drake Maverick in catering after he urinated down his trouser leg during an altercation with The Big Show at Survivor Series. It looked as though AOP were set to pick up another dominant win but Gable produced a major shock by pinning Akam after a sunset flip roll-through.
Verdict: I’m enjoying this Maverick craziness more than most people, but the outcome here was not good at all. AOP looked like the real deal when they defeated Seth Rollins for the tag titles. Since then, their manager has peed his pants on live television and the monstrous Akam has lost to a SUNSET FLIP. On the plus side, Roode was hilarious in the pre-match catering segment — it’s worth a watch if you haven’t seen it.
Match 6: Natalya vs. Ruby Riott Summary: Ruby Riott was in control against Natalya until the former SmackDown Women’s champion launched her opponent from the top rope. Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan tried to interfere but they proved to be more of a hindrance than a help to their fellow faction member, as Natalya reversed a roll-up into a pinfall of her own to get the win.
Verdict: This was a short match designed to further the storyline of Ruby breaking Natalya’s late father’s glasses on Raw two weeks ago. The match itself was of decent quality, even if it means yet another defeat for a member of The Riott Squad.
Seth Rollins tries to find Dean Ambrose (multiple segments) Segment 1: Seth Rollins said during an in-ring promo that he learned more about Dean Ambrose from watching the recent WWE Chronicle documentary than he did during their 10-year friendship. He then challenged Ambrose to meet him face-to-face in the ring. When Ambrose appeared on the screen and refused, Rollins raced backstage to try to find him. The IC champ punched two unhelpful members of the security team and continued looking for his rival.
Segment 2: Ambrose appeared on a screen backstage behind Charly Caruso in the interview area. He said he is in “a place The Shield calls home” and Rollins knows where to find him. When Rollins found the place that Ambrose was referring to, the words ‘BURN IT DOWN’ were ominously written on a door.
Segment 3: Rollins told Charly that Ambrose went too far when he appeared to suggest earlier in the night that Roman Reigns was “getting what he deserved” after he was diagnosed with leukemia. Ambrose walked behind Rollins during the interview but the IC champ didn’t realise until he was told a minute later by Titus O’Neil.
Segment 4: Speaking alone in a dark backstage area, Ambrose said this isn’t about Reigns — it’s about him crushing Rollins at TLC.
Segment 5: Rollins gave up trying to find his rival and left the arena.
Segment 6: In the final segment of the show, Ambrose said every member of the audience would have stabbed their family in the back if they were in the same position as he was in The Shield. Rollins then returned and began to brawl with his former Shield brother. Ambrose stood tall at the end after hitting Rollins with a low-blow and two Dirty Deeds finishers.
Verdict: This made for an interesting story throughout the night. WWE has done a good job of keeping Rollins and Ambrose apart over the last few weeks, so it was about time they had a brawl to hype the TLC match. Ambrose is more interesting now than he has ever been in WWE. This was arguably the only good thing about this week’s Raw!
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