By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Raw on the USA Network
Aired live on November 19, 2018 from Los Angeles California at Staples Center
[Hour One] Baron Corbin stood in the ring and was introduced as the acting general manager. Corbin introduced Stephanie McMahon as the force behind Raw’s clean sweep of Smackdown at Survivor Series. Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Renee Young checked in on commentary. Cole said it was a festive attitude at Raw due to the sweep. Graves pointed out that Smackdown did win the match on the Kickoff Show.
Once in the ring, Stephanie gloated about the sweep and praised Corbin. She also praised the Raw wrestlers. She said Shane McMahon has to lie, cheat, and steal, but they don’t have to on Raw because they are the best. Stephanie said they were going to celebrate. Corbin brought up the idea of making him the permanent general manager. Stephanie said she did makes some promises.
Braun Strowman’s entrance music hit and he made his entrance while Cole pointed out that Strowman eliminated four members of Smackdown in the Survivor Series elimination match. Strowman said he held up his end of the bargain and now he wants his match “with this slime ball.” Stephanie said her word is her bond and thus the match between Strowman and Corbin will occur at WWE TLC. Stephanie added that if Corbin wins he will become permanent general manager, but if he loses he will lose all authority.
Strowman said Corbin will lose because Stephanie previously said he gets to pick the stipulations and he won’t be held responsible for ripping Corbin to shreds. Steph said she’s still working with attorneys because dismemberment is an issue. Corbin asked about his match against Brock Lesnar. Stephanie said the match would happen at the Royal Rumble only if Strowman can beat Corbin at TLC. She pushed him into accepting the terms. “Welcome to Monday Night Braun,” Strowman said. “Enjoy your time as acting general manager while it lasts.” Strowman announced that he and Corbin would have a TLC match. Corbin said the match favors him.
Corbin booked Strowman in a handicap match against Drew McIntyre and Bobby Lashley. Stephanie opted to make it a six-man tag match with McIntyre, Lashley, and Corbin vs. Strowman, Elias, and Finn Balor instead. She said the match would happen on the spot. Ring entrances for the match took place with Lashley, McIntyre, and Balor coming out. Stephanie remained at ringside and applauded the wrestlers. Cole said she was in a great mood and maybe this was the night to ask for a raise. They cut to break before Elias’s entrance… [C]
Powell’s POV: Well, at least Stephanie played to Braun’s pride a bit by talking about his confidence in beating Corbin as a way to get him to accept the match stipulations. So she basically broke their agreement, but he seemingly signed off on it due to his confidence that he can beat Strowman. It will be interesting to see if he simply beats Corbin or if they will have him win at the Rumble to earn his rematch with Lesnar at WrestleMania.
Elias was introduced by the male ring announcer (Mike Rome?) and he sat on the stage and played his guitar, then headed to the ring…
1. Braun Strowman, Elias, and Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin, and Bobby Lashley (w/Lio Rush) in an elimination match. Cole announced that Corbin made it an elimination match during the break. Graves called it a Survivor Series hangover. McIntyre worked over Balor at ringside heading into a break. [C]
Balor was isolated by the heels coming out of the break. Balor finally made a hot tag to Elias, who worked over Lashley briefly. Corbin caused a distraction and Lashley went on the offensive briefly. Balor helped out and the heels were dumped to ringside, then Balor performed a flip dive onto Corbin and Lashley. Balor rolled Lashley back inside the ring and went up top for his finisher, but McIntyre tripped him up. McIntyre tagged in and hit a Claymore Kick on Balor and pinned him to eliminate him from the match at 12:00. [C]
McIntyre manhandled Elias and then tagged in Lashley. Corbin tagged in and was chin locking Elias when Lashley tried to pull Strowman off the apron. Strowman dropped down and McIntyre ended up hitting Strowman from behind to lay him out at ringside. Elias was ready for a tag, but Strowman was down. Elias performed a top rope elbow drop on Corbin, but Lashley broke up the pin. Rush laughed at Elias, who grabbed him and shoved him into the barricade only to be speared by Lashley. Elias was counted out at 20:45. Strowman was the last man standing for his team going into a break. [C]
Corbin worked over Strowman for a stretch. Strowman came back and clotheslined Corbin’s partners off the apron and then roughed up Corbin. Strowman did his battering ram bit on Lashley. Strowman powerslammed Corbin and had him pinned when McIntyre hit him with a chair to get himself disqualified at 27:50. McIntyre hung around and helped Lashley rough up Strowman at ringside. Corbin gave them his belt and they used it to hold Strowman’s arm on the ring steps, then Corbin slammed a piece of the steps on it. Strowman’s elbow bled. Cole noted that Strowman could be heard saying he couldn’t move his arm or feel his fingers. Strowman got up and limped away afterward…
The match apparently ended in a no-contest.
Powell’s POV: WWE is all about the big beatdown angles all of a sudden. I can’t say I’m big on dedicating more than 30 minutes to a match without a finish, but the angle was effective in terms of giving Strowman three heels to avenge and in putting some heat on Strowman heading into TLC.
Cole set up a portion of Dean Ambrose’s dumpster fire promo from last week. Graves hyped Seth Rollins appearing after the break… [C]
[Hour Two] Seth Rollins made his entrance for a promo. Rollins said the Shield debuted six years ago to the day on Sunday. He spoke about Dean Ambrose having yet to tell him to his face why he did what he did. He said it changes when they meet at TLC. Rollins took issue with Ambrose burning his Shield vest. He said he learned more about Ambrose from watching his network special then he did from being his friend.
Rollins said he didn’t know about what Ambrose went through when he was sidelined because Ambrose didn’t pick up the phone when he called him. He recalled hearing Ambrose say on the special that he loves WWE, and that’s the first time he heard him say the word love. Rollins called out Ambrose.
Ambrose appeared on the big screen and said he wouldn’t run out like a lunatic, just as Rollins would call him. Ambrose said no one knows what what they were like once the cameras stopped rolling. He said people don’t know what they were like behind the scenes. “We were rotten to the core from the very beginning, and now time has caught up to us and we’re all going to pay for it in different ways,” Ambrose said.
Ambrose said they would all get what they deserve. “I mean, look at Roman,” Ambrose said. “For what Roman did in the Shield, he has to answer to the man upstairs.” Ambrose said Rollins has to answer to him. Ambrose invited Rollins to come find him and he’d show him what happens next. Rollins raced backstage.
Cole asked Young what she knows about this. Young said she doesn’t agree with what he is doing, but she understands part of it. She said he was on the shelf for eight months and had time to think about how he was wronged by Rollins and Reigns. She said she doesn’t know what his plans are.
Cameras cut backstage where Rollins was looking for Ambrose. Multiple security guards told Rollins they didn’t know where Ambrose went. One of the security guards told Rollins to get out of his face. Rollins punched him, then went back to searching for Ambrose.
Back on commentary, Young said it looked like Ambrose had Rollins where he wanted him. She said she doesn’t know much about it, but Ambrose is much more cerebral than people give him credit for. Graves pushed and said she knew more than she was letting on. She said she only knew so much about the situation. Cole shifted to hyping upcoming segments…
Sasha Banks and Bayley made their entrance for a match… [C]
Powell’s POV: Disgusting. Why does Vince McMahon feel the need to use things like a man battling leukemia as a source for heat? This was a really good segment without that classless and needless line.
A Lars Sullivan vignette aired. He was billed as coming soon…
2. Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Nia Jax and Tamina. Alexa Bliss sat in on commentary. The heels took an early powder heading into a break. [C] Banks was isolated and made a hot tag to Bayley, who was cut off quickly with a superkick by Tamina. Jax caught Bayley with a punch from the apron and was booed loudly. Jax had Bayley pinned, but Banks broke it up. Jax performed a Samoan Drop a short time later and pinned Bayley…
Nia Jax and Tamina defeated Sasha Banks and Bayley in 11:05.
Backstage, Charly Caruso was about to introduce someone when Dean Ambrose appeared on the monitor behind her. Ambrose told her to tell Rollins that he was waiting for him in the place where the Shield used to call home… [C]
Powell’s POV: I’ll bet Charly was going to interview Kenny Omega, Cody, the Young Bucks, and Adam Page. Dammit, Dean, now we’ll never know!
Rollins stormed into the area where Dean was previously. A sign on a door read, “Burn It Down”…
Powell’s POV: So the Shield used to smoke weed in a stairwell?
Cole set up footage of Drake Maverick being razzed by Heath Slater, Rhyno, and others for pissing himself at Survivor Series. Maverick asked if something was funny. “Don’t get pissed,” Chad Gable told him. Bobby Roode showed up and said he’s happy Maverick was in “bladder shape than last night”…
Lucha House Party made their entrance… [C]
Powell’s POV: Is the message from the Maverick skit supposed to be that all of the babyface tag team wrestlers are dicks with cornball senses of humor? If so, mission accomplished.
3. “The Revival” Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder vs. “Lucha House Party” Lince Dorado, Gran Metalik, and Kalisto. Right before the bell, the ring announcer said the match would be fought under “Lucha House Rules” meaning that all three members of LHP would compete. Graves griped. Young said Corbin must have cleared it. Wilder threw one of the LHP pinatas to ringside. LHP played keep away with one of the pinatas and then Dorado performed a shooting star press on Wilder and pinned him…
Lucha House Party defeated The Revival.
A video package recapped the Ronda Rousey and Charlotte match from Survivor Series. Rousey will appear after the break… [C] An ad for Smackdown said Daniel Bryan will explain his actions, plus New Day vs. Sheamus, Cesaro, and Big Show in “the first ever Thanksgiving Feast Fight”… [C]
Powell’s POV: Because why wouldn’t the Smackdown wrestlers being in the mood to have a f— around food fight after being swept on Sunday? As for LHP, the babyface trio gets a numbers advantage over the heels? Strange. This show is painful. Was the goal to bore the fans to sleep in hopes that they’ll be too groggy to boo Rousey?
The broadcast team hyped the season fine of Total Divas for next week, and then spoke about the California wildfires. Still shots aired of various WWE performers appearing at a fire command center in California…
Caruso interviewed Rollins backstage. He said he’s going to find and hurt Ambrose. He said Ambrose could say whatever he wanted to about him, but what he said about Reigns was too far. Rollins said once he got his hands on him he would ask Ambrose himself why he turned his back on them. Titus O’Neil showed up and said Ambrose was just there. Rollins ran off in search of Ambrose…
[Hour Three] Ronda Rousey made her entrance. A “Becky” chant broke out and faded once she was in the ring. A “we want Becky” chant followed. Rousey stood, smiled, and took it in even though she could have easily spoken over them. Rousey said she’s very aware of how dangerous Nia Jax is. “After all, just look at what she did to Becky’s face.”
Rousey said she would tap out Jax, but win, lose, or draw the next chapter of Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair would be written somehow or some way. She said said she was there to show what a true champion is. She said a true champion doesn’t pick and choose the most opportune time to fight. She said that’s a challenger’s luxury.
Rousey said a true champion can’t be a fair weather fighter and if you can’t defend your possession then you step aside. A loud “Rousey” chant broke out. Ronda removed her leather jacket and said this is her on her worst day. She said anyone who knows her knows she refuses to step aside. She issued an open challenge, saying she doesn’t deserve to be champion if she can’t get the job done.
Baron Corbin made his entrance and spoke to Rousey from the apron. Corbin denied her request to defend her title. Corbin said he couldn’t allow it in good conscience. Rousey said she had 17 fights and never pulled out or postponed one even though she had plenty of reason to. She said she never did because that’s what it takes to be the baddest bitch on the planet. She told Corbin to find her a challenger. “Or maybe you want a shot a the champ,” Rousey said. A loud “yes” chant broke out. Corbin granted her wish and said he would find her an opponent who will be the next Raw Women’s Champion…
Powell’s POV: Crisis averted. I think we all expected more anti-Rousey fans after Sunday, but they were not large in numbers and she had the vast majority of the crowd turning on her by the end of the segment. It doesn’t mean the problem won’t resurface again, but it was a non-issue in this segment.
4. Ronda Rousey vs. Mickie James for the Raw Women’s Championship. James was the early aggressor as Rousey sold her injuries from the night before. Rousey came back and performed her Piper’s Pit move three times and then applied an armbar for the win…
Ronda Rousey beat Mickie James in 2:20 to retain the Raw Women’s Championship.
After the match, Rousey went to the stage and turned back toward the crowd. Nia Jax and Tamina walked out. Rousey turned around, Jax blew on her fist and smiled, then the heel duo headed backstage…
Powell’s POV: It was too soon to have Rousey take another beatdown, so it was logical to have Jax come out and simply act confident and cocky.
A video package recapped Brock Lesnar beating Daniel Bryan at Survivor Series… Bobby Roode and Chad Gable made their entrance and will face AOP after the break… [C]
Graves hyped Survivor Series weekend being held in Chicago… Cole set up a trailer from the “Fighting With My Family” movie on Paige…
5. AOP (w/Drake Maverick) vs. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable in a non-title match. Cole hyped the Starrcade special airing Sunday on WWE Network. An “AOPeePee” chant broke out. In the end, Akam dumped Roode to ringside, then Gable performed a sunset flip from the top rope and scored the pin…
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable beat AOP in 3:15.
Powell’s POV: Well, Vince never did get it right with the Road Warriors either. Please don’t let the AOPeePee thing catch on.
Dean Ambrose was in an undisclosed part of the building. He said he wasn’t playing games. He said it was fun watching Rollins run around looking for him like a lunatic. He told him to grow up, it’s not about Roman. He said it’s about a bond between brothers that was broken, crushed, and shattered. He said that’s exactly what will happen to Rollins if he finds him.
Ambrose suddenly asked what that smell was. He asked if it was the smell of Seth’s fear or the smell of Los Angeles. Ambrose said it was coming from “you people.” Ambrose said there will be no explanation or apologies, he’ll just burn it down…
Graves hyped Ruby Riott vs. Natalya… B-Team hosted a Shopzone segment… [C]
Seth Rollins was shown walking backstage with his travel bag. He was asked if he’s actually leaving. Rollins said he had a flight to catch and he had him at the pay-per-view. Rollins walked off…
6. Ruby Riott (w/Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan) vs. Natalya. The broadcast team spoke about how Natalya and her family are still grieving the loss of Jim Neidhart. Young said Natalya’s mother was devastated and questioned if Riott breaking his sunglasses drew more tears from her mother. Natalya was down selling at ringside heading into a break. [C]
Late in the match, Natalya had the Sharpshooter applied, but Morgan pulled Riott toward the ropes while the referee was tied up with Logan. Natalya dropkicked Logan through the ropes. Riott rolled up Natalya, who rolled her over and got the pin…
Natalya defeated Ruby Riott in 8:20.
Powell’s POV: Seriously, WTF is wrong with these people that they attempt to use a man’s leukemia battle to generate heat and another man’s death to garner sympathy? Even if they somehow have the blessing of everyone involved, it just makes the company look like the type of soulless monsters they try so hard to tell the world they are not with their constant showcasing of their own charity work.
Cole narrated highlights of the Braun Strowman angle from earlier in the show. A somber Cole announced that Strowman was suffering from a shattered elbow…
A shot aired of Dean Ambrose walking backstage. Graves questioned where he was going. He walked up the steps toward Gorilla Position. “Oh, no,” Young said… [C]
Dean Ambrose made his entrance and covered his nose to mock the fans. Once in the ring, he said it was too easy. He said the fans want to see Rollins beat him up because he turned on Rollins, Reigns, and the fans. He said they would all do the same thing for money or even a free meal.
Ambrose said his reasons are justified. He said the way fans cheer their hearts out for Rollins makes him sick. “And what is that smell?” Ambrose asked. He said it’s a steaming pile of phony LA garbage. Rollins was shown on the big screen running through the backstage area. Ambrose saw it and laughed.
Rollins ran down the ramp and into the ring where he tackled Ambrose. Rollins dumped him to the floor and performed a suicide dive. Rollins chased Ambrose into the crowd and tossed him back over the barricade and then dove onto him. Ambrose went back to the ring. Rollins ducked a clothesline and kicked him.
Ambrose caught Rollins with a low blow. Ambrose grabbed the back of his head. He said he was trying to talk to “your people.” He told him to never interrupt him again. Ambrose gave Rollins the Dirty Deeds and then left the ring to loud boos. Ambrose returned to the ring and performed Dirty Deeds again before the show went off the air…
Powell’s POV: Take away the incorporation of Roman Reigns into the storyline and I like what they did with Ambrose and Rollins tonight. And that’s just it, they don’t need to go there, as these guys are more than over enough to get their feud over in a big way without using Reigns for heat. But Rollins and Ambrose was one of the few things I liked about this long, plodding show. I was looking forward to Raw coming out of Survivor Series, but this show dragged. Hopefully Smackdown will be a little more eventful. I’ll be by later with my Raw audio review for the Dot Net Members.
Check below for today’s ProWrestling.net Live with Jason Powell and Will Pruett taking calls and emails coming out of WWE Survivor Series and NXT Takeover: WarGames.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features guest Eli Drake talking about signing with the NWA, his departure from Impact Wrestling, rejecting an intergender match with Tessa Blanchard, his WWE developmental run, and much more...