A Lunatic Plays Cat and Mouse With An Architect

Here we are with the Raw after Survivor Series and much to my surprise, this week’s Raw was actually fairly good. I do have one major nitpick though and that is the utter disregard for the kickoff show match that Smackdown won just so they could push the narrative that Raw swept Survivor Series. So enough with this intro and let us dive into Raw!

 

Opening Segment

Baron Corbin was in the ring to start Raw and he was quickly joined by Stephanie McMahon and she did what she does best. She does tend to toe the line between heel and face when it suits her, so I am not surprised when she does face-like things. Corbin mentioned promises Stephanie made and of course that brought out Braun Strowman. He made his way down to the ring and said that he wanted his match with Corbin and Stephanie honored her promise to him. Stephanie then said that if Corbin defeats Strowman that he will become the permanent General Manager of Raw and if he loses, he loses all authority. Strowman then agrees to the stipulation of if he wins, he gets a Universal title match at the Royal Rumble and says that his match with Corbin will be a TLC match. This all leads to a 3-on-3 match with Corbin, McIntyre and Lashley on one team and Strowman, Balor and Elias on the other.

 

3-on-3 Elimination Match

This was a fun elimination match and that shouldn’t be a surprise given the participants. I do love that the Elias chant done in the style of Seven Nation Army still has momentum and I hope it keeps going with each city they visit. Elias was extremely over in LA and I will keep saying that I believe he is in for a big 2019. I was a bit surprised that the heels were on the verge of sweeping this match, but given what happened after the match, it made sense. Balor was the first to get eliminated and then Elias was next. Strowman was the last man standing and was on the verge on a pin when McIntyre would assault Braun with a chair and this led to a beatdown of Strowman by all three men. It ended with Strowman’s arm getting smashed by one of the steel steps onto the other and this would be a way to write off Strowman for the time being.

 

Seth Rollins In-Ring

Seth Rollins came down to the ring and continued talking about Dean and it has become pretty standard stuff at this point. The real star of this was Dean Ambrose because he would pop up on the tron and gave more detail into why he turned on Seth. Dean had an interesting way of describing karma and I was fully invested in it until he mentioned Roman Reigns. WWE has a knack for using real life events in the wrong way and this felt like another one. Ambrose implying that Reigns’ leukemia diagnosis was karma coming back at him was in poor taste and WWE should know better than that.

 

Sasha Banks & Bayley vs Tamina & BOOOOOO!!!!

Well it looks like the heat towards Nia by the fans is still going strong in Los Angeles. WWE is doing the smart thing and running with Nia and her hurting Becky ala Owen Hart/Steve Austin when Owen broke Austin’s neck. It worked for Owen and it could work for Nia in building her as a top heel. As for the match, it was okay, and this was clearly a match to further establish Tamina and Nia as a dominant force. Alexa Bliss was on commentary for this match and I do have to wonder how bad she was concussed because she has not seen action for some time now.

 

Ambrose Interrupts Charly

Dean is back at it again and this time he interrupts Charly Caruso backstage. She was set to interview somebody and Dean pops up on a screen behind her and tells Seth to meet him at a location he knows very well from their Shield days. I wish Charly would have shown some sort of emotion to Dean because her face told us nothing. We come back from commercial and Seth goes to where Dean said he would be and Dean is nowhere to be found.  On the door the words “Burn It Down” are written and Seth is becoming frustrated. Really good storytelling with this and this is clearly going to be the story throughout Raw.

 

Drake Maverick at the Buffet Line

Well it looks like the whole Drake Maverick peeing his pants thing isn’t going away anytime soon. They go to the catering area and Drake is in line for food and everybody around him begin making fun of him for peeing his pants at Survivor Series. This ends up setting up a match between AOP and Gable/Roode and this whole “pee the pants” thing has Vince McMahon written all over it.

 

Lucha House Party vs Revival

Okay so when has a face team ever been able to use a set of rules for a match that nobody else can? That is a heel thing and Corey Graves was in the right to call it out during this match. “Lucha rules” allows all three members of the Lucha House Party to participate in a match and that is clearly a heel move to gain such an advantage. This match was fine given the two teams and the Lucha House Party picked up the win due to their advantage of 3 against 2. The Revival were such a good team in NXT and it seems like they will never recover from the ill-timed injuries they suffered early on in their call up.

 

WWE Shows Support for California

As a California resident, I was glad that WWE took the time out to help bring support to California during Raw. California has had a string of wildfires over the last few weeks and they have devasted many homes and there have been many casualties. California has been dealing with a drought for years and that has made the possibility of a wildfire that more common. Thank you to WWE for taking time to do that kind gesture.

 

Seth Backstage

Seth is frustrated that he cannot get his hands on Dean and he wears it on his face well. Dean sneakily walking in the background was a perfect touch to this and Seth continues his search for Ambrose.

 

Ronda Rousey In-Ring

I know I am in the minority of this Rousey promo and a lot of what Rousey has been doing for the last few weeks. I feel like she did a poor job in selling the beatdown she took from Charlotte at Survivor Series. Yes she is a former MMA fighter but I have seen many fighters, male and female, show that the fight took its toll on them. She could have walked with a limp or had a coarse tone in her voice and she did neither. She rambled on a bit here as well and I think her promos have been better when she is straight and to the point. She said she wanted to defend her title tonight and Corbin came down to try to talk her out of it, but he gave in and granted the match.

 

Rousey vs Mickie James

This wasn’t really much of a match and we all knew this wouldn’t go long when Mickie James was the one to answer Ronda’s challenge. Ronda hit all her big moves and won with the armbar so there was that.

 

Ready, Willing and Glorious vs AOP

The state of the Raw tag division always draws a sigh from me because there isn’t much there. AOP are the top dogs and I guess Roode and Gable are the next challengers for him. Gable is a stud in the ring and he is able to pull of some amazing things in there. The crowd starting chanting “AOPeePee” towards Drake Maverick and I have the feeling Vince was laughing when that happened. I was surprised to see Roode and Gable pick up the win here but if they are building them as the next challengers for AOP, it does make sense for them to pick up the roll up win here.

 

Dean Continues to Wait for Seth

Dean is in the backstage area somewhere and he is waiting for Seth and cuts another good promo for this week’s Raw. It was going fine until he started asking “what is that smell?” and that felt too over the top to me. I get what they were going for, but it fell flat to me.

 

B-Team Selling the Merch

The B-Team are a riot and they were perfect here in this WWE Shop commercial. I was laughing throughout it and it was hilarious.

 

Seth Leaves Raw for the Night

We come back from commercial and it would appear that Seth was tired of trying to find Dean and was leaving the building. We all know better because people rarely leave the building without coming back later and this was clearly the architect at work.

 

Natalya vs Ruby Riott

Can these two move on from each other now or will we get another match somehow next week? The match was fine due to these two being two of the best workers on Raw, but they have run this rivalry to the ground. Whether it be in a tag team match or now singles, I have become bored of these two working together. Ruby is a star in the making and I would love for her to move on to a more meaningful feud because this rivalry has “we don’t know what to do with them” written all over it.

 

Ambrose In-Ring

Ambrose made his way down to the ring and continued his good promo work for the night. He kept trying the smell line and once again, it fell flat to me. Seth ran down to the ring to confront Dean and the two had a nice brawl. I don’t know what it is with heels in WWE and low blows but it feels like a concerted effort to have every male heel this year deliver low blows. It started with Nakamura, then Daniel Bryan and now Dean Ambrose. Ambrose used the low blow to gain the advantage and would deliver two Dirty Deeds to Rollins to close Raw.

 

Final Statement

Well this was a much better Raw overall than we have gotten over the last few weeks. The Dean/Seth storyline throughout Raw was the definite highlight of this week’s Raw. The opening segment and match is another highlight as well. I would say the low points for me were the Raw tag division matches and Ronda Rousey’s segment and match. This was a good Raw and make sure to tune in next week for another Sovereign Statement and Happy Thanksgiving!!!