By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on November 12, 2018 from Kansas City, Missouri at Sprint Center
[Hour One] Raw opened with a Veteran’s Day video package… The live crowd applauded the video and then Michael Cole checked in on commentary and was joined by Corey Graves and Renee Young on commentary…
1. Tag Team battle royal. The entrants were already in the ring and a bell rang to start the match. Braun Strowman came out a minute in and ended up beating up everyone involved. The teams included B-Team, The Revival, Chad Gable and Bobby Roode, and Heath Slater and Rhyno. Strowman grabbed a chair and the remaining wrestlers scurried to ringside.
A tag team battle royal ended in an apparent no-contest.
Strowman called for the mic and fans cheered him. Strowman said the episode was brought to viewers by the monster among men. Strowman sat down on a chair inside the ring. He said he’s done chasing acting general manager Baron Corbin around. Strowman said he wouldn’t leave the ring util Corbin “gets these hands.”
Stephanie McMahon made her entrance and joined Strowman inside the ring. She said she understood he was upset and he had every right to be, but he could not hold the show hostage. She asked him to channel his rage for Survivor Series. She said Shane McMahon insulted the locker room by stealing the World Cup.
Strowman barked that he doesn’t give a damn about Shane or representing Stephanie at Survivor Series. Stephanie said Strowman and everyone else better give a damn because she does. He assumed she and other corporate types look at him as a “mindless meat castle.” Strowman told her to bring Corbin out so he could get this over with.
Stephanie said that if Strowman leads Raw to victory for the third year in a row then he could have whatever he wants and listed money, plains, and trains as an example. Strowman said the only thing he wants is another WWE Universal Championship match with Brock Lesnar. “Done,” she replied. Strowman said he wanted Corbin before that and he wanted to pick the stipulation. Stephanie agreed to both. Strowman told her to have him sign a waiver so he wouldn’t be held responsible.
Stephanie said the deal was contingent upon Strowman not putting a hand on Corbin until after Survivor Series. Strowman said she better follow through or he would go to WWE headquarters and destroy the building. Stephanie spoke about motivating him and every other wrestler on the Raw roster.
Ronda Rousey made her entrance. Steph tried to introduce Rousey, who told her to save it because there was nothing she could say to motivate her more. She said she can’t wait to show The Man who it’s really done. A loud “Becky” chant broke out. Rousey said maybe she doesn’t have to wait. Rousey dropped the mic and glared at Stephanie.
Baron Corbin made his entrance and said he was also there to help motivate Raw talent. Corbin apprehensively entered the ring. Corbin said Sunday is a must win situation. Corbin looked at Rousey and said, “We can’t get overconfident.” Corbin put his hand on Rousey’s shoulder and she took him down and then stormed out of the ring. Strowman glared at Corbin and Stephanie got between them. Corbin said Strowman can’t do anything. Stephanie told him to shut up and get out of the ring. Strowman told Corbin to enjoy being Stephanie’s lapdog because he would neuter him after Survivor Series…
The broadcast team hyped Brock Lesnar appearing and Corey Graves interviewing Seth Rollins. Nia Jax and Tamina were shown walking backstage and scaring production types. Cole hyped Tamina vs. Ember Moon for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: The opening segment had its moments.The silly Raw vs. Smackdown theme does nothing for me, so I liked that Rousey is fired up about Becky Lynch, and Strowman outright said he didn’t care about fighting for Stephanie. They also gave viewers a nice hook for next week when Strowman would seemingly be free to go after Corbin.
2. Ember Moon vs. Tamina (w/Nia Jax). Cole said Moon idolized Jax before last week. Alexa Bliss was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Moon glared at Jax at ringside and Tamina hit Moon from behind going into a break. [C]
Moon tried to surprise Jax with a suicide dive out of nowhere, but Jax just swatted her down. Moon returned to the ring and worked over Tamina. Moon went up top and Jax climbed onto the apron to distract her, allowing Tamina to knock her down. Tamina followed up with a top rope splash for the win. Afterward, Jax entered the ring and kicked Moon before giving her a legdrop…
Tamina defeated Ember Moon in 8:35.
The broadcast team hyped Bliss announcing the women’s Survivor Series team, Elias vs. Bobby Lashley for a spot on the men’s team, and Graves said his interview with Rollins was coming up after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: It was not a pretty match, but the heel duo drew pretty good heat from the crowd.
Members of the Kansas City Chiefs football team were shown in the crowd. Star players such as Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce were among the players in attendance (but no Patrick Mahomes)…
A video package aired on AOP beating Seth Rollins in a handicap match to win the Raw Tag Titles, and Dean Ambrose attacking Rollins afterward…
Corey Graves stood in the ring and introduced Seth Rollins for the interview. Graves asked Rollins where he was mentally heading into his match against Shinsuke Nakamura at Survivor Series. Rollins spoke about it being their first match ever, then said he doesn’t give a damn about Nakamura. Graves said he understands Rollins is thinking about Ambrose, but if his head isn’t in the game on Sunday then Nakamura will take it off.
Rollins said he’ll be fine once the bell rings, but he wants answers tonight regarding what Ambrose did to him, the fans, and Roman Reigns. Rollins said Ambrose knows why he did what he did, but he’s not man enough to tell him to his face. Ambrose appeared on the big screen. Ambrose was sitting on a car and had a barrel burning next to him. He said he doesn’t owe anyone an explanation and mocked fans who ask him why.
Ambrose questioned if Rollins was thinking maybe he shouldn’t have talked down to him or treated him like a charity case. Or maybe Ambrose has been the same guy all along and Rollins was too self absorbed to notice. Ambrose said may he’s remorseful and hopes his brothers can forgive him, but then he said that’s not it.
Ambrose said he used to think the Shield was the most powerful as a unit, but the truth is that Rollins and Reigns both made him weak. Ambrose poured gasoline on his Shield vest and then tossed it into the burning barrel. Rollins slammed the mic down and headed backstage.
Cole said Young knows Ambrose better than anyone and asked her what’s happening. She said it’s uncomfortable, but it’s Dean’s story to tell and said maybe he tells more and maybe he’s talking in riddles… Cole and Young shifted into hyping a look back at Kurt Angle’s lopsided loss to Drew McIntyre from last week… [C]
Powell’s POV: Are they setting up a reason for Rollins to lose to Nakamura on Sunday? Seth’s focus being so heavily on Ambrose and being called on it by Graves left me assuming that might be the case.
An ad hyped WrestleMania tickets going on sale on Friday. Cole hyped a free WrestleMania on-sale party for Thursday at MetLife Stadium… Graves set up a recap of McIntyre beating Angle while saying it was one of the most uncomfortable matches they’d ever seen on Raw…
Kurt Angle’s music played and was interrupted by the sound of Dolph Ziggler’s record scratch and his awful entrance music. Drew McIntytre’s music played and then he and Ziggler headed to the ring together.
[Hour Two] McIntyre recalled saying he would take over Raw. “Do you believe me now?” McIntyre asked the fans. McIntyre boasted that he broke The Shield and destroyed Angle. McIntyre said Angle gave him everything he had, but when he looked into his eyes he saw his will to win fade. McIntyre claimed Angle started crying during the match. He said he’s never been more disgusted in his entire life and he was more than happy to humiliate Angle and put him down with his own ankle lock.
McIntyre said Raw is his show now and he will mold it in his image. “I will not allow any more nostalgia acts on this show,” McIntyre said before he was interrupted by Finn Balor, who was apparently so upset by what McIntyre said that he felt the need to perform his long entrance routine. McIntyre told Balor that he had a lot of guts for coming out considering what he did to him last week.
Balor said McIntyre crossed the line. He said he could have just beaten Angle and didn’t need to humiliate him. McIntyre said dignity is not a right reserved for everyone. McIntyre said Balor is upset because of what he did to him last week. He said Balor is an example of everything wrong with the place because he’s so concerned with his emotions and feelings.
Balor told McIntyre to shut up. He said he’s been dealing with bullies like McIntyre his entire life. Balor challenged McIntyre to a match. McIntyre said he didn’t know if Balor’s feelings or body were more fragile. McIntyre told him he had his match, but with Ziggler instead of him. He said that if Balor could beat Ziggler then he’d consider lowering himself to Balor’s level. Balor looked at Ziggler as he was jawing at him, and McIntyre headbutted Ziggler going into a break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good segment that left me wondering even more if the plan is for McIntyre to face Undertaker in his final match at WrestleMania. I pondered this as a possibility in audio last week and his line this week about not allowing nostalgia acts is presumably leading to something with one or more of the legends.
3. Finn Balor vs. Dolph Ziggler (w/Drew McIntyre). The broadcast team debated whether McIntyre insulted Ziggler by putting him in a match he said was beneath him and yet apparently good enough for Ziggler. Balor went up top a few minutes into the match. Ziggler cut him off going into a break. [C]
Balor took offensive control. McIntyre yelled at Ziggler that he could not lose. Balor performed a standing double stomp and got a two count. Ziggler came back with a DDT for a two count of his own. Ziggler got another near fall off a Fameasser. Balor came back and dropkicked McIntyre through the ropes and tossed Ziggler to the floor. Balor performed a nice flip dive onto both men and then rolled Ziggler back inside the ring. Balor went for the Coup De Grace. Ziggler avoided it and rolled up Balor, who rolled him over and got the pin…
Finn Balor pinned Dolph Ziggler in 12:15.
The broadcast team hyped previously advertised segments… [C]
Powell’s POV: A good match for a live crowd that deserved one after getting a brief tag team battle royal and the Tamina vs. Moon in the first hour. I really like the way the broadcast team debated whether McIntyre insulted Ziggler intentionally or not. I continue to assume that Ziggler will be taking a Claymore Kick one of these days.
Backstage, Stephanie congratulated Balor while Strowman stood by. Stephanie invited Balor to be on Team Raw on Sunday. Balor accepted while Corbin tried to object. Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler showed up. Stephanie spoke about how they have to respect one another and work together on Sunday. She said they could feel free to tear each other apart after they win…
Cole set up footage of Becky Lynch’s promo on Ronda Rousey from last week’s Smackdown…
Charly Caruso interviewed Rousey about Lynch’s comments. Rousey smirked and said Lynch is The Man and can really dish it out. She said she wasn’t trying to insult Lynch, but it’s ridiculous that Lynch keeps talking about ripping her arm off. She said Lynch is hypersensitive and not just the man, she is the millennial man.
Rousey said she is the skinny jeans wearing, v-neck sporting, avocado toast munching, winged shoe wearing millennial man with a bubbled wrapped ego and a porcelain self perception. Rousey said she’s not Charlotte Flair, Raw isn’t Smackdown, and being offended doesn’t make you right. She said Lynch isn’t Oliver Twist. Rousey said she’s not some trust fund baby. Nia Jax and Tamina showed up at the end and wished Rousey well…
Riott Squad made their entrance… [C]
Powell’s POV: We’ve seen Bret Hart play the hero in Canada and the babyface in the United States. Is Rousey trying to be a heel to millennials and a hero to everyone older? Seriously, why would she insult a chunk of the fan base? Strange call even though I’m sure Vince McMahon loved it given his past comments about millennials.
Ruby Riott stood in the ring with Liv Morgan on one side and Sarah Logan on the other. She acted somber and set up footage from last week of her breaking Jim Neidhart’s sunglasses. Riott continued to act remorseful and then said she enjoyed every second of it it. She said Natalya said she took it too far, but she didn’t take it far enough. She said she wanted Natalya to feel real emotion. Riott said Neidhart wore the sunglasses because he was ashamed to look at his own daughter.
Natalya’s entrance music played. Logan and Morgan went to ringside to wait for her, but Natalya entered the ring from the other side and attacked Riott from behind. Natalya was quickly outnumbered. Logan hoisted up Natalya, then Riott performed a horrible version of the Hart Attack clothesline. Cole called it a disgusting display…
Powell’s POV: No one in the building bought into the latest example of a female wrestler showing fake remorse, and that clothesline from Riott was terrible. She’s usually very good in the ring so I was surprised to see that from her.
The broadcast team ran through the Survivor Series lineup… Bobby Roode and Chad Gable made their entrance and Cole said the battle royal to determine which team would captain Team Raw at Survivor Series was coming up next… [C] An ad for Smackdown focused on Miz and Daniel Bryan, and Becky Lynch…
4. Tag Team battle royal. The entrants were B-Team, The Revival, Chad Gable and Bobby Roode, The Ascension, Lucha House Party, and Heath Slater and Rhyno. Graves said it was wrong that Lucha House Party were allowed to have three men in the match. Cole said maybe it would be easier to eliminate them since you only had to eliminate a single member to eliminate the full team. The match came down to The Ascension facing Gable and Roode. Roode performed a neckbreaker on Viktor while Gable performed a moonsault. Cool spot. Gable caught Konnor in an armbar over the ropes, then Roode dumped Konnor over the ropes to win the match for his team…
Chad Gable and Bobby Roode won a battle royal in 3:35 to become captains of Team Raw.
Paul Heyman was shown knocking on Brock Lesnar’s door while Graves hyped them for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: I didn’t think it could get any worse for the tag division than Strowman beating them all up earlier, but I’ll be damned if they didn’t find a way later in the same show.
Cole announced that the tag team Survivor Series elimination math would be on the Kickoff Show…
Powell’s POV: Wow, and now they managed to drag down the Smackdown tag division right along with Raw. Ouch.
[Hour Three] WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made their entrance. Heyman boasted that he is the advocate for the only two-time WWE Universal Champion. Heyman said Braun Strowman proved he’s an almost unbeatable monster unless he’s hit with five F5s by Lesnar. He also accused Strowman of worming his way into another title shot with hardball negotiations. Heyman congratulated the rest of the Smackdown roster for avoiding the beating that the WWE Champion will take.
Heyman congratulated AJ Styles, and then paused as the fans chanted for Styles. Heyman said the fans chant for Styles because they believe he has a fighting chance against Lesnar based on what Styles did last year. Heyman said Styles will check into the Hotel California, go to the top, get a suite marked Suplex City, and take his beating. Heyman told the kids that don’t get the Hotel California reference to “Google it, bitches, I’m not here to educate you.” Funny.
Heyman said there’s no one Lesnar wants to F5 and beat more than Styles at Survivor Series. Heyman said it will be Suplex City, F5, 1-2-3. He said it’s not just a prediction. Before he could finish the line, Jinder Mahal’s music interrupted him.
Mahal walked onto the stage with both Singhs and they all headed to ringside. Mahal warned Heyman not to underestimate Styles. He said he was focused on facing Lesnar last year at Survivor Series and that gave Styles an opening to steal his championship and his match. Mahal offered his services to Lesnar to help him focus on Styles. “Come on in,” Lesnar said to Mahal. Lesnar looked at Heyman and said, “After all, you should really hear this, you are Jewish.
Mahal and the Singhs entered the ring. Lesnar played along for a big, then clotheslined Mahal and destroyed the Singhs with German suplexes. Fans chanted “one more time.” Lesnar picked up one of the Singhs and tossed him at Mahal at ringside. Lesnar walked to ringside and gave Mahal and F5 on the floor before leaving…
Stephanie and Bliss were shown talking backstage… Lashley vs. Elias was hyped for after the break… [C]
Powell’s POV: A live crowd pleasing segment with Lesnar destroying Jinder and the Singhs, but I can’t say it made me more excited to see Lesnar vs. Styles on Sunday.
Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush were in the ring coming out of the break. Rush cut a promo about Lashley having the best body in the world while Lashley, who was wearing shades, performed various poses. Lashley once again bent over to show the crowd his favorite pose.
Elias interrupted from the stage where he was seated on a chair with a guitar on his lap. He pretended to call child protective services to report that Lashley stole a child (Rush) weeks ago. Elias told CPS that Lashley was bent over and he had no idea why. Lashley called Elias a clown and dared him to come to the ring and say his “funny stuff” to his face. Elias played his guitar at ringside. Cole said their match was coming up next… [C]
5. Elias vs. Bobby Lashley (w/Lio Rush). The match was joined in progress. Rush did not have a live mic (amen). Elias dumped Lashley to ringside and then hit him with a running knee off the apron. Elias ran Lashley into the post. Lashley came back by running Elias into the steps. Lashley returned to the ring. Elias tried to follow, but Rush grabbed Elias by the foot until he was counted out.
Bobby Lashley beat Elias via count-out to earn a spot on Team Raw.
After the match, Elias threw Lashley into the ring steps and dragged Rush into the ring. Elias threw Rush through the ropes and onto Lashley at ringside…
Cole said Team Raw is Strowman, McIntyre, Ziggler, Lashley, and Balor and will be captained by Corbin. Young hyped Alexa Bliss announcing the women’s team for after the break… [C]
Cole spoke as still shots were shown of WWE personnel visiting the Kansas veteran’s hospital…
Alexa Bliss made her entrance while the broadcast team ran through the Survivor Series lineup. Bliss was joined in the ring by Nia Jax, Tamina, and Mickie James. She spoke about how Sunday is personal and is about proving that Raw will always be the best. Bliss said Natalya is also on her team, but she sent her home and told her to focus her rage on Sunday.
Bliss introduced Jax, Tamina, and James while noting that she hoped she and Jax could put their past differences aside. She noted that her team was a member short. She said she thought long and hard about who should be on her team and said she needed someone who would do and risk anything to win including friendship. She said the winner of the next match would be the final member. Sasha Banks and Bayley made their entrances for a match… [C] An ad aired for NXT Takeover…
6. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley for a spot on Team Raw. Bliss, Jax, Tamina, and James were at ringside. Banks had Bayley against the ring post and used a running knee to drive her into the casing. She tried again, but Bayley moved and Banks hit the casing. Banks sold a knee injury as Bayley went on the offensive. Banks caught Bayley with a knee to the head, but then Bayley performed her finisher on the apron and they both fell to the floor heading into a break. [C]
Bayley went for a top rope elbow drop, but Banks put her knees up. Suddenly, the heels entered the ring and put the boots to them to end the match.
Sasha Banks fought Bayley to a no-contest in 8:35.
Bliss laughed and said Banks and Bayley didn’t win. Bliss introduced Ruby Riott as the fifth member of her team. Cole questioned why she would even have Banks and Bayley wrestle. Team Raw celebrated in the ring.
Suddenly, they cut backstage where Becky Lynch had Ronda Rousey locked in an armbar. Adam Pearce and a referee showed up and then Lynch released the hold and left the room. Lynch’s music played and she walked toward the ring where Bliss, Team Raw, and the other Riott Squad members were waiting.
Lynch held her arms up and then the female wrestlers from Smackdown showed from the crowd and attacked the Raw female wrestlers. Charlotte was among the Smackdown wrestlers and Graves noted how odd it was so see her and Lynch working together. Lynch had her nose bloodied at some point in all of this.
Ronda Rousey’s music played and she headed to the ring and sold her arm. Lynch hit Rousey with a chair to the gut. The Smackdown women dominated the rest of the brawl. Lynch slammed a chair over the back of Rousey while fans chanted for her and “one more time.” Lynch obliged before leaving the ring. Lynch stood on the bottom of the ring steps and held her arms up. Graves noted that Lynch may have suffered a broken nose “and she doesn’t care.”
The Smackdown women left through the crowd. Lynch got to the top step and held her arms up while Rousey was shown seething in the ring. Graves wondered what would happen on Smackdown and whether there would be retribution. Stephanie was shown throwing a fit backstage on Corbin. She asked how he didn’t know how they got in the building and she demanded to know what he would do to fix it. Cole gave a final pitch for Survivor Series…
Powell’s POV: I’m not a fan of the Raw vs. Smackdown theme and how the wrestlers only care about it for a few weeks each year, but this was a fun angle. I would have argued against the Stephanie and Corbin thing at the end because the angle spoke for itself and one of the issues with the concept is that it feels like the wrestlers are puppets for Stephanie and Shane’s sibling feud for bragging rights. By the way, it was hard to tell what happened to Lynch because of WWE’s obsessions with camera cuts during angles like these. She was in the corner with Jax and Charlotte and it may have happened when the camera cut away because she was down when they cut back and was bleeding shortly thereafter. I will have more to say about this show in my members’ exclusive audio review later tonight.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Salina de la Renta from Major League Wrestling.
The Best of The Boom features Tony Schiavone joining Jason Powell in this May 30, 2018 discussion in which he looks back on when he went to Ric Flair's house for his first pro wrestling assignment, his year with WWE, his one appearance for TNA Impact Wrestling, and more...