By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Taped on November 5, 2018 in Manchester, England at Manchester Arena
[Hour One] Michael Cole, who was joined on commentary by Corey Graves and Renee Young, welcomed viewers and pointed out that the wrestlers were on the stage and security was surrounding the ring. Acting Raw general manager Baron Corbin made his entrance and Cole set up a video package on Corbin hitting Braun Strowman with the WWE Universal Championship belt at WWE Crown Jewel, leading to Brock Lesnar beating Strowman to win the championship.
Corbin hyped Survivor Series and said there would be champion vs. champion matches and traditional Survivor Series elimination matches. Corbin noted that Shane McMahon “stole” the World Cup tournament and that will be addressed by Stephanie McMahon next week. Corbin also assumed she would name him permanent general manager. Corbin said he would captain the Raw men’s team at Survivor Series, but his managerial duties wouldn’t let him wrestle on the team. Corbin introduced Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler as members of the team. Corbin also said Braun Strowman will be on the team. He noted that Strowman may be angry with him, but he needs to learn to respect authority.
Corbin introduced Alexa Bliss as the captain of the women’s team. Bliss made her entrance and joined Corbin in the ring. Bliss said she would also be playing a management role rather than competing at Survivor Series. She told the women on the stage that she will be watching their matches closely and wants them to show they will do whatever it takes. She said they would not lose to the B-Show. Bliss announced Riott Squad vs. Natalya, Sasha Banks, and Bayley for Raw. Bliss tried to say the match would start on the spot, but she was interrupted.
Kurt Angle made his entrance and was dressed in his wrestling gear. Angle said competing in the World Cup lit a fire in him. He recalled leading the Raw team to a win last year and said he wants to compete again this year. Corbin told Angle to take a permanent vacation. Angle said they settled things in the ring when he was in charge. He challenged Corbin to face him on Raw and if he wins then he will compete and be the team captain. Corbin accepted the challenge. Angle’s music played and he headed backstage. Corbin called for the music to stop. The fans kept chanting “you suck” at Corbin. Bliss was about to tell the women their match would start, but she was interrupted.
Braun Strowman made his entrance and beat up the security guards with ease and then chased Corbin up the ramp. Jinder Mahal got in his face and Strowman knocked him down. A bunch of heels stood in Corbin’s way and a brawl broke out. Corbin headed backstage while the heels and babyfaces brawled. Corbin told a crew member to tell Corbin he would get these hands once he found him… [C]
Powell’s POV: It looks like Team Raw has all the chemistry of the Minnesota Timberwolves until Jimmy Butler gets his trade. I’m surprised they didn’t announce Angle’s in-ring return on Raw a week out, but it is a nice hook for the evening, as is Strowman going after Corbin. By the way, while this show was taped earlier today, I will not mention any spoilers in this report until they air on the show.
Backstage, Charly Caruso interviewed Natalya, Sasha, and Bayley about facing Riott Squad. Natalya said she was wearing her father’s sunglasses to the ring with her…
1. Natalya, Sasha Banks, and Bayley vs. “Riott Squad” Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan. JoJo was the ring announcer. Natalya put Riott in a Sharpshooter during the opening minute, but it was broken up. Morgan dumped Natalya to ringside heading into a commercial break a couple minutes into the match. [C]
Banks had an offensive flurry that resulted in her putting Morgan in the Bank Statement, only to have Riott break it up. Bayley checked in and performed a nice running knee on Riott in the corner. Bayley also performed a suicide dive onto Morgan and Logan. Riott Squad was back in offensive control and isolating Bayley heading into a break. [C]
Late in the match, Natalya put Logan in the Sharpshooter. Riott picked up the Neidhart sunglasses. Natalya released the hold and Riott snapped the sunglasses in half. Cole said it was a disgusting display. Natalya sobbed and went to ringside and picked up the pieces of the glasses while being consoled by Banks and Bayley. Fans made a ten count, but no decision was announced…
Riott Squad fought Natalya, Sasha Banks, and Bayley to an apparent no-contest.
Braun Strowman searched inside bathroom stalls for Baron Corbin… [C]
Powell’s POV: Braun is the WWE version of C-Bass from Dumb & Dumber. Anyway, there was some really good wrestling during the women’s match. Bayley’s offense especially shined and she was over with the crowd. You could see the sunglasses being broken coming a mile away and it was so corny that it was easier to laugh at Natalya than sympathize with her character. Did they really just have a nearly 20-minute match and not even bother to deliver a finish? Ugh.
As Jinder Mahal made his entrance, Cole set up a video package on DX defeating Undertaker and Kane at Crown Jewel…
2. Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil Singh) vs. Apollo Crews. A pre-taped Crews promo aired as he made his entrance. He spoke about leaving Titus Worldwide and being Raw’s human highlight reel. Graves said Samir Singh was in Bollywood. In the end, Crews press slammed Mahal and then performed a standing moonsault for the win…
Apollo Crews over Jinder Mahal in 2:00.
Seth Rollins was shown walking backstage with the Intercontinental Championship around his waist and carrying both Raw Tag Titles… An ad for Smackdown focused on Shane McMahon winning the World Cup, and Becky Lynch delivering a promo… [C]
Powell’s POV: Cole tried to make this out to be a huge win for Crews because he defeated a former WWE Champion. And perhaps it would feel that way if Mahal hadn’t lost to everyone lately. I have no idea why they didn’t protect Mahal enough to so that beating him could have actually meant something for someone.
Rollins made his entrance with all the title belts while Cole recapped Dean Ambrose attacking him.
[Hour Two] Rollins said he planned on coming out with three titles and a giant trophy, but things didn’t go his way at Crown Jewel. He also noted that Corbin helped Lesnar win the WWE Universal Championship. Rollins said it was a slap in the face after everything Roman Reigns did to take that title from Lesnar and with everything he’s going through now. Rollins said he would tell Lesnar that to his face, but he wasn’t there. “Shocker, I know,” Rollins said.
Rollins turned his focus to Dean Ambrose and eventually said he can’t defend two titles at one time. Corbin appeared on the big screen and said Rollins and Ambrose could defend the titles on the spot. AOP made their entrance…
3. Seth Rollins vs. AOP (w/Drake Maverick) for the Raw Tag Titles. Rollins fought the match solo and was roughed up during the opening minute. [C] Rollins sold for a bit and then came back and performed a pair of suicide dives on his opponents. Rollins worked over both men in the ring and performed a Blockbuster for a two count. Rollins performed a pair of superkicks and then performed a frogsplash for a two count. AOP came back and performed a neckbreaker and powerbomb combo for the win…
AOP defeated Seth Rollins in 9:50 to win the Raw Tag Titles.
Afterward, Dean Ambrose walked through the crowd and entered the ring as fans chanted “you sold out.” Ambrose had a mic in hand as he knelt down next to Rollins. He asked Rollins if wants to know why he did what he did. Ambrose stood up and Rollins asked why. Ambrose performed Dirty Deeds and left the ring…
Cole asked Young if she had any insight. She said she’s tried to talk to Ambrose about it, but there’s no reasoning with him and she has no information she can provide. Cole shifted the focus to announcing Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for Survivor Series. Rollins was shown struggling to get to his feet. Cole set up footage of the promo Becky Lynch cut on Smackdown. Young hyped Ronda Rousey responding on Raw. Graves hyped Angle vs. Corbin… [C]
Powell’s POV: I like the move to put the tag straps on AOP, and Rollins was protected by getting as much offense as he did during the match. Ambrose was fine, but it was strange that fans chant “you sold out” at him when it’s not like he joined the Authority or something along those lines. I really disliked WWE going to break less than a minute into the match. Rollins was defending the tag titles against a couple of monsters in a handicap match. You’d think the match could end at any moment and instead they took away some of the sense of danger by cutting to break when they did.
The broadcast team narrated highlights of Strowman’s evening… Backstage, Caruso interviewed Corbin and asked if he’s afraid of the consequences. Corbin said he’s not afraid of Strowman and would face him in a match, but Strowman wants to destroy him. Caruso revealed their location. Braun stormed into the room. Corbin fled and the chase continued…
Dolph Ziggler entered to a flat reaction for an in-ring promo. He said he’s the best in the world, not Shane McMahon. He grumbled about how he scratches and claws and outworks everyone in the locker room and then the conspiracy kicks in.
Powell’s POV: So Ziggler is the WWE version of The Kingdom from ROH?
Elias strummed his guitar on the stage. Fans chanted for Elias, who played the Jack White song they were chanting to. Elias told Ziggler that he’s a loser. Elias said he just got off the phone with the Gallagher brothers, who said Oasis would reunite if he played a song (my girlfriend swears a member of Oasis was shown laughing in the crowd). Elias sang a song insulting Ziggler, who challenged him to come to the ring. Elias said all he had to do was ask. [C]
A Lucha House Party vignette was followed by the Revival grumbling in a selfie style promo about sending them back to 205 Live…
4. Elias vs. Dolph Ziggler. Graves complained about Elias ripping off Tom Petty with his song. Ziggler avoided a top rope elbow drop from Elias heading into a break around 4:20.
Michael Ford‘s POV: Legalize Marijuana use the tax revenue.
Elias caught Ziggler with a high knee for a two count. Elias performed a powerbomb for a two count. Ziggler came back with a Zigzag, but Elias put his foot on the bottom rope. Elias hit Drift Away for the win…
Elias defeated Dolph Ziggler in 14:20.
Cole hyped Ronda Rousey for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: Am I crazy for thinking Elias might be better in the ring if he didn’t wear skin tight jeans and a pair of f’n work boots? That said, his babyface run is off to a solid start and this crowd had all sorts of chants and songs for him.
Caruso interviewed Angle about facing Corbin and working his first singles match on Raw in a dozen years. Angle said Corbin poses a threat, but he knows his weaknesses. Angle said there’s a fire in him and it’s time for him to go to Survivor Series as the Raw team captain…
Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey made her entrance and the live crowd chanted her name. Rousey smiled as she recalled Becky Lynch saying she would rip her arm off. Rousey called it cute and adorable. She said she can see why people love her and held up the mic as a Becky chant started. Rousey said Lynch delivered the performance of a lifetime at Evolution and she has her respect, but she should not mistake her respect for weakness.
[Hour Three] Rousey said she loves Lynch’s new attitude, but it will take a lot more than that to beat her. She said she is a natural born killer and wakes up every single morning wanting to be the greatest athlete of all time. She told Lynch to bring everything she has because she wants a challenge. Rousey said Lynch claims she’s the man, “but I am the baddest bitch on the planet.” Rousey dropped the mic.
Nia Jax made her entrance. Jax was all smiles as she walked to the ring. Jax said Rousey was all fired up and it got her going backstage. She said Rousey is fighting for the most dominant brand in sports entertainment and she knows she won’t let them down. She said she will be waiting for Rousey after Survivor Series. Ember Moon made her entrance and then a Girl Up charity video aired. Cole said Jax would face Moon after the break… [C]
5. Nia Jax vs. Ember Moon. Moon threw some early kicks. She went for a running cross body block, but Jax just shoved her to the mat in a cool spot. Jax threw more kicks later, but Jax knocked her down with a headbutt that Ember sold like a champ. Moon avoided Jax’s legdrop. Moon threw a discus forearm and got a two count. Jax performed a Samoan drop for the win.
Nia Jax defeated Ember Moon in 4:55.
After the match, Tamina came out and looked at Jax and down at Moon. Tamina picked up Moon and gave her a Samoa drop. Jax looked conflicted, then told Tamina to turn her over. Tamina put Moon in a Boston crab and then Jax dropped repeated elbows on Moon. Jax and Tamina hugged afterward…
Powell’s POV: Moon did a really nice job of selling Jax’s power moves. I don’t know if the live crowd knew who they were supposed to cheer for because they mostly sat on their hands during the match and during the angle. Moon helped Tamina throw Jax over the top rope in the Evolution battle royal preview angle on Raw not all that long ago, so this has been a confusing mess. Fortunately, it looks like this was a definitive heel turn for Jax, who needs to stay in that role because she’s turned too many times lately.
Finn Balor was interviewed backstage. Balor said Bobby Lashley is the most powerful and explosive man he’s been in the ring with. Balor said it didn’t feel good when “that little runt” Lio Rush slapped him last week. Balor said there is no division because Manchester is Balor Club and Balor Club is for everyone… Graves hyped Lashey vs. Balor for after the break… [C]
Caruso caught Corbin entering a car. Corbin said he had an emergency meeting and would be replaced by Drew McIntyre in the match with Angle. Strowman showed up and chased after Corbin’s car…
Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush made their entrance. Rush cut a promo raving about “the big man” and then asked him to show his favorite pose. Lashley bent over and pointed at his ass. Finn Balor made his entrance for their match… [C]
6. Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley (w/Lio Rush). Rush interfered from ringside early on. Rush did not have a live mic during the match. Lashley performed a vertical suplex for a two count at 4:55. Balor came back with a rollup for a two count of his own. Balor set up for his top rope finisher when Rush distracted him. Balor tossed Lashley to ringside and then dropkicked Rush through the ropes. Balor set up for a running move on Rush, but Lashley cut him off, brought him back to the ring, and hit his finisher for the win. Cole said Rush deserved a bit of an assist, but Lashley dominated most of the match.
Bobby Lashley defeated Finn Balor in 6:25.
Afterward, Drew McIntyre made his entrance while Lashley and Balor were still in the ring. McIntyre and Lashley glared at one another and then jawed at one another. Lashley left the ring. McIntyre helped Balor to his feet and gave him a Claymore Kick. Graves hyped McIntyre vs. Angle for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: I don’t mean to spoil the Raw Hit List for you, but Rush not talking over a live mic throughout the match is a Hit in my book. Does the post match angle mean Balor may finally wrestle someone other than Lashley on Raw?
Graves hyped Stephanie McMahon addressing the controversy over Shane McMahon winning the World Cup. Young said Alexa Bliss would reveal her Survivor Series team. Cole hyped Brock Lesnar appearing… Angle made his entrance…
7. Kurt Angle vs. Drew McIntyre. Graves noted that it was the first time in over 12 years that Angle wrestled a singles match on Raw. Cole noted it was a match against Shawn Michaels. Angle went right at McIntyre and stomped him in the corner before the bell. The ref called Angle off and then called for the bell. Angle performed an Olympic Slam, but McIntyre rolled to ringside heading into a break around 3:40. [C]
McIntyre was on the offensive coming out of the break. Highlights aired of McIntyre running Angle into the ring steps during the break. In the ring. McIntyre performed a nice suplex on Angle. McIntyre caught with a Claymore Kick. Cole implied it was over. McIntyre looked down at Angle while the broadcast team questioned why he wasn’t putting Angle away. McIntyre taunted Angle by putting his arms behind his back and letting Angle go for a takedown, which McIntyre stuffed. McIntyre stuck his leg out and Angle once again failed to take him down.
[Overrun] McIntyre laughed as he looked to the crowd. McIntyre told Angle to look him in the eye, then told him he is an embarrassment to himself and his family. Angle got pissed and took McIntyre down and applied the ankle lock. McIntyre teased tapping, but was able to kick Angle away. McIntyre picked up Angle and performed an Olympic Slam on him while Cole noted that he was using Angle’s own move. McIntyre put Angle in the ankle lock. Angle tapped out. Cole said to imagine the embarrassment and humiliation. Graves said McIntyre just ended Angle’s career.
Drew McIntyre defeated Kurt Angle in 14:35.
After the match, McIntyre looked down at Angle and smiled before leaving the ring. Graves said it was humiliating…
Powell’s POV: An interesting match. It’s refreshing to see a legend being positioned as something other than a superhero, though I do wonder why Angle is in this role while others are positioned so strongly. I assume this is leading somewhere and Angle will eventually get a win over Corbin. Either way, this was a big moment for McIntyre, who is getting quite the push and rightfully so. I will have more to say in my members’ exclusive audio review and in the WWE Raw Hit List on Tuesday.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest John Canton.
The Best of The Boom features Eric Bischoff joining Jason Powell in this March 20, 2019 discussion on whether there are similarities between Verne Gagne's booking during the AWA's dying days and Vince McMahon's WWE booking today, AEW, a Turner network shakeup, and more...