Hello, and welcome to another edition of A Sovereign Statement and this is the Raw after Crown Jewel. Full disclosure, I did not watch Crown Jewel and had no interest in it. Brock becoming Universal Champion again is a travesty and I feel like he will be holding that title for some time. Raw was in Manchester, England so let us see what this pre-taped edition brought to the table.
Baron Corbin Talks Survivor Series
Raw kicks off with the locker room on the stage and security in front of the ring and then Baron Corbin makes his way to the ring. A video package about the Universal Championship match at Crown Jewel is shown and no amount of PG words can describe how I feel about that. Onto this segment and Corbin has fully embraced this role and he is flourishing in it. He hyped up Survivor Series and announced a few members for the Raw men’s team. McIntyre, Ziggler and Strowman all make sense as they are some of the top superstars on Raw right now. Bliss being the Raw women’s captain also makes sense and it will be fun seeing her in that role. Angle came down and we got a set-up to a match for captainship of the Raw men’s team between Corbin and Angle. Strowman would make his way down to the ring to get his hands on Corbin for costing him the Universal title match at Crown Jewel and he laid waste to the security as Corbin was able to escape. A brawl ensued with the roster and this was a fun segment.
Riott Squad vs The Boss, The Hugger, and the Queen of Harts
This wasn’t a bad match by any means, but this is also a match we have seen so many times now. All six ladies can work their butt off and they showed it here again. Some people may have not liked that Ruby snapped Natayla’s sunglasses that the late Jim Neidhart gave her, something that she said in gorilla prior to making her entrance to Charly Caruso but I thought it was effective storytelling here. Also, there was not a finish to the match, so I feel like that kind of took away from it just a bit. Again, not a bad match but just something we have seen multiple times of late.
Braun Searches for Corbin
Braun going throughout the backstage area searching for Corbin is awesome and hilarious. Opening each stall and asking a man who was in a stall where Corbin is was comedy gold.
Jinder vs Apollo
Apollo is fantastic in the ring and it is nice to see him get this small push since leaving Titus Worldwide. Like I have said before, I don’t think there has been a former WWE Champion that has fallen faster than Jinder. This match was more of a showcase match for Apollo Crews than anything and it did its job. I keep having this feeling that this may be Apollo’s last shot and if he doesn’t show the company anything, he will either become a jobber or be a post-Mania release.
Seth Rollins In-Ring Promo
Seth came down to the ring for a promo and this was a fine promo. Seth has been in a groove for the last several months and this program with Dean is right on cue. He goes on about how he can’t defend the Raw Tag Titles by himself and before he goes any further, Baron Corbin appears on the screen and says he will defend the titles against AOP next.
AOP vs The Architect
It was only a matter of time before Seth was going to defend the tag titles and they didn’t waste any time with it. AOP are the right team to face Seth as they are really the only legitimate tag team on Raw at the moment. This was one of the better handicap matches I have seen this year and it did wonders in showing how resilient Seth is and how powerful AOP are. The numbers proved to be too much for Seth and AOP became the new Raw Tag Team Champions. I think that is the right call and the match between them and The Bar at Survivor Series should be a great physical affair. The only question I have is who will be next to challenge AOP because the Raw tag division is shallow of legitimate contenders.
Dean Ambrose came down after the match and asked Seth if he wanted to know why he did what he did, and he hit him with a Dirty Deeds instead of saying why. I love the slow burn for the reveal as to why and I look forward to it. Also, the “You Sold Out!” chants make absolutely no sense here from the crowd because Dean didn’t sell out.
Corbin Barricading Backstage
Corbin is backstage getting interviewed by Charly Caruso and he has security barricading the entrance so Strowman doesn’t break through. Poor Charly reveals where Corbin is and he says that Strowman could have heard her and low and behold, Strowman bursts through more security and Corbin is barely able to make his escape.
Ziggler and Elias
I will fully admit, most of this rating comes from Elias and not Ziggler. Many of Dolph’s promos are the same thing over and over again and it is hard to be engaged in them anymore. Elias interrupted, and the crowd started to chant “ooohhh walk with Elias” in the style of “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes. Elias then played the riff from the song and got the crowd into it even more. Elias saying he could reunite Oasis with a song he wrote is awesome on so many levels and I will repeat what I said last week that he will have a huge 2019. This set up a match between the two and the crowd continued to chant while Elias walked down to the ring.
Elias vs Dolph Ziggler
You can forget how good Elias is in the ring because his mic skills are stellar, and he was able to hang with Ziggler throughout this match. Both men worked the ring very well and this did its job in getting Elias over as a face. Ziggler used more mat based wrestling to stifle Elias but it was to no avail as Elias would pick up the win. I will be interested to see where they go with the two of these men because rivalries are always tricky during Survivor Series time.
Kurt Angle Backstage
Kurt was short, quick and to the point in this backstage interview. He said he wanted to be the Raw captain and that a fire has been lit under him.
Ronda Rousey Promo
I don’t know if it was just me, but I was not as into this promo as everybody else may have been. She is getting better on the mic for sure but the things she said towards Becky felt very basic. You can only call yourself the “Baddest Woman on the Planet” so many times. Nia came down to the ring after Ronda delivered her promo and it was fine. I just hope the program these two will have isn’t just a rehash of what they did earlier this year.
Nia Jax vs Ember Moon
This match was better than their previous match ups, but I just feel like WWE is dropping the ball with Ember Moon so far. She has yet to do anything since her call up and I think being on the same show as Rousey has pushed her down on the card. Ember is someone who should be closer towards the top of the women’s division and it feels like she hasn’t been a big deal since her debut. Tamina came down to the ring after the match and to no surprise, her and Nia teamed up to beat down Ember. Looks like these two will be a team and it makes total sense to me. The heel turn wasn’t effective to me though because they never spent anytime establishing those two as friends so that part of this fell flat.
Finn Balor Backstage
I really want Finn to matter again and I think he should move over to Smackdown to have a fresh start. Now to the interview and it was good but it is hard to take anything he says seriously when he has been giving nothing.
Corbin is outside the arena with Charly and he says he has an urgent appointment and that Kurt Angle will be facing Drew McIntyre instead of him. Just before he enters his car, Strowman comes running and he is barely able to make his escape. Strowman looking at his hands in anger and frustration over not being able to lay his hands on him was perfect.
Balor vs Lashley Once Again
I know that having matches with someone is a way to build a feud, but that isn’t the only way to do it. We have gotten this match up yet again and there is nothing I could really tell you about this match that is different from the others. The only difference was that the Lio Rush hype up of Lashley prior to this match was the worst one yet and that Lashley picked up the win this time. McIntyre came down to the ring and we got a bit of a stare down between him and Lashley and then McIntyre picked up Balor. It looked like Finn thought they would be okay with one another, but McIntyre would hit a Claymore on him. I would be much more interested in a McIntyre/Balor feud than the Balor/Lashley feud we have right now if I were to be honest.
McIntyre vs Angle
As far as the actual match is concerned, it was okay. This was not a match for ring work, but rather a match that was based on storytelling. The grizzled old veteran versus the young up and comer and both men told that story well. Just as it looked like Kurt was going to pull off the victory, McIntyre was able to fight back and take the win in an impressive fashion. McIntyre hit and Angle Slam and made Kurt tap out to the Ankle Lock and that was a huge shock to me. This was a well told story and this cemented even more that McIntyre is someone on the rise. I know I said Elias will have a huge 2019 but I feel McIntyre will have the biggest 2019 and he is someone I can see become Universal Champion.
This week’s Raw was leaps and bounds better than last week. Maybe it had something to do with moving on from Crown Jewel and onto Survivor Series. I feel like WWE did drop the ball with Crown Jewel because Survivor Series only has two weeks of build and they could have not had Crown Jewel and devoted that time to build Survivor Series. The Elias segment, Strowman hunting Corbin and the handicap match were the definite highlights this week. Make sure to come by next week for another Sovereign Statement by yours truly, Sovereign S.A.M.