06th Nov2018

WWE Raw – Nov 5th 2018: Results & Review

by Phil Wheat

2018-raw-logo

Welcome to this week’s review of WWE Raw… The first Raw following the controversial (and frankly stupid) Crown Jewel pay per view, taking place just down the road from Nerdly HQ in Manchester, England. And of course the WWE is now building to the next PPV, Survivor Series.

Match #1: Sasha Banks, Bayley & Natalya vs. The Riott Squad ended in a No Contest

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

If Alexa Bliss wants a Survivor Series team that has the in-ring aspect of competition down pat, the discussion might begin and end with Sasha Banks, Bayley & Natalya. But The Riott Squad came into the WWE Evolution rematch with an advantage that’s even rarer: A vicious shamelessness that cost them a victory, but still left the Squad’s opponents thoroughly demoralized after they destroyed something too precious to be quantified. That object was a good-luck charm Natalya carried with her into the match: A pair of sunglasses belonging to her late father, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. It was clearly an important heirloom for The Queen of Harts, and when she found herself in a position to win the match by trapping Sarah Logan in the Sharpshooter, The Riott Squad didn’t hesitate to exploit it. Ruby Riott grabbed hold of the glasses as Natalya applied the hold, snapped them in half right in front of the former SmackDown Women’s Champion and stomped out the remnants. Logan rolled out of the ring and joined the Squad up the ramp while Banks and Bayley tried in vain to console Natalya and the match ended in a no contest. It was, indeed, a despicable display, but the contrasting styles should give Alexa Bliss plenty to think about. There are plenty of women who can win a match. Completely tearing them down without throwing a punch? Now that is a rare, and terrible, skill.

My Take: These six women put on a fantastic match at Evolution and this repeat for the UK Raw crowd was just as good – at least in terms of wrestling. But in terms of storytelling it was leaps and bounds above their Evolution match… And it was all down to one move by Ruby Riott: the breaking of Natty’s dads sunglasses. Such a superb heel move by the faction that FINALLY seem to have got the momentum they so richly needed.

Match #2: Apollo Crews def. Jinder Mahal

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

For weeks, Apollo Crews has been attempting to make a name for himself by challenging some of Raw’s most talented Superstars. In Manchester, he finally found some daylight, notching a much-needed win over former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal. Even then, it took a few minutes for Crews to find his footing, as the “human highlight reel’s” athleticism mostly came up empty against Mahal’s coordinated attack with the help of Sunil Singh at ringside. But Crews rallied to catch The Maharaja in a press-moonsault one-two to earn the pinfall. It was a display that was both impressive and effective, and the distinction is a crucial one: Being a human highlight reel is all well and good, but as Crews admitted, that only goes so far without the record to back it up. Now, he’s taken his first steps to correct that.

My Take: Apollo Crews actually gets to BE the human highlight reel? About bloody time. Whether thats due to his popularity in the UK, or is an actual upward trend in his career remains to be seen; but I’m hopeful.

Match #3: AOP def. Seth Rollins to become the new Raw Tag Team Champions

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Lost in all the commotion of Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins’ acrimonious split has been the fate of the Raw Tag Team Championship, which the pair won moments before The Lunatic Fringe made his move and attacked his brother-in-arms. At the very least, we can cross that loose end off the list: After Rollins seemingly attempted to forfeit the titles, Acting General Manager Baron Corbin (having evaded Braun Strowman long enough to attend to some official business from a secure location) intervened and forced The Kingslayer and his partner to take on AOP in a title match. Of course, Ambrose was never going to show for this one, so it went about as you would expect: Akam & Rezar feasted on Rollins, who fought the good fight but still found himself flattened by a powerbomb-neckbreaker combo and relieved of the titles in painful fashion.

My Take: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Seth Rollins is THE cornerstone of Raw and he proved it again here. Who else is going to hold his own convinicingly against two giants like AOP? Rollins did, and at times it looked like he was going to win – something which wouldn’t have seemed out of place for the wrestling machine that is Seth Rollins.

Match #4: Elias def. Dolph Ziggler

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

About the only positive development Dolph Ziggler can point to in the past week has been his appointment to Raw’s Survivor Series team. Besides that, it’s been a series of left-field stunners and upsets at every turn, beginning with a WWE World Cup Finals loss to Shane McMahon, of all people, who entered himself in the finals after The Miz suffered an injury (Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon will evidently deal with that one next week) and continuing with a defeat on Raw at the hands a newly-insurgent Elias. The loss was all the more demoralizing because The Showoff was in control for almost the entire match. Ziggler’s amateur background has done wonders for him of late, and that skill set paid similar dividends here, keeping The Living Truth in first gear until he threw hands to turn the match into a brawl. Ziggler hit the Zig Zag despite the change of pace, only to have the pinfall attempt broken up when Elias reached the ropes. In the ensuing confusion, The Showoff stumbled right into his opponent’s clutches, and Elias executed Drift Away to win the match. The result was enough to leave Ziggler livid in the ring, and justifiably so: The Showoff might have a leg to stand on by crying conspiracy over a loss to Shane. But for all his undeniable pedigree, he let this one get away from him.

My Take: Elias is now on a winning streak on Raw… Read that again. Elias is now on a winning streak on Raw… He’s now beaten two former champs in as many weeks. Let that sink in. Two champs in two weeks. Looks like Elias is in the WWE good books. But for how long?

Match #5: Nia Jax def. Ember Moon

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

The Women’s Survivor Series team is wide open for anyone who wants it, and Nia Jax made a power play that might take her to WWE’s fall classic and beyond in a rematch with Ember Moon. Not only did The Irresistible Force catch the surging War Goddess out of nowhere with a thunderous Samoan Drop to earn the victory, she joined in on a post-match beating with Tamina, who emerged once again to seemingly cement herself as The Irresistible Force’s enforcer. Exactly when she’ll challenge Ronda Rousey remains to be seen, but it’s looking like Nia Jax has gotten herself the one thing that could finally make the difference in her path back to the top: an ally.

My Take: Nia Jax and Ember Moon had a pretty good clash at the end of the Womens Battle Royal during Evolution and they repeated that again last week on Raw and now we get the pairing AGAIN in front of a UK crowd. And again the duo put on a great match, with Moon once again looking strong against the powerhouse that is Nia Jax, who was quite easily being pushed this time round. LOVE the twist on the appearance of Tamina this time round, flipping things on their head for the foreseeable future.

Match #6: Bobby Lashley def. Finn Bálor

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

For a long time, Lio Rush has propelled Bobby Lashley to the next level strictly by way of his talk. This week, The 23-Year-Old Piece of Gold swung the action in a far more direct way, interfering in Lashley’s third bout with Finn Bálor to hand The Rocky Mountain-Made Machine his first win of the series. Not only did The Man of the Hour trip Bálor up at the start of the match, he continued to pester the former Universal Champion throughout the contest — so much so that Finn took his eye off the ball to blast Rush with a dropkick as he began to close the gap against his foe. Lashley took advantage of Bálor’s preoccupation to turn the tables, hitting Finn with a spinebuster on the apron before finishing him off with the gutwrench slam.

My Take: STFU Lio Rush. You’re making me hate Finn Balor for being a part of this feud. I guess that means the heel routine is working though right? There has to be one upside to this battle between Balor and Lashley. Right? Right..?

Match #7: Drew McIntyre def. Kurt Angle

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Returning to singles action did a lot to re-ignite Kurt Angle’s competitive fire. But for all the intensity, integrity and intelligence Angle brought to his main-event battle against Drew McIntyre, The Scottish Psychopath defeated the WWE Hall of Famer at his own game, concluding the match with a rare submission of the Olympic Gold Medalist that snapped Angle’s chances of captaining the Raw Men’s Survivor Series team for a second straight year. Indeed, minus an early Glasgow Kiss that knocked Angle silly, McIntyre built his game plan largely around submission holds, only reverting to strikes when the Olympian began to rally. The match was functionally over after McIntyre dropped Angle with a Claymore, but rather than pin his opponent, the former NXT Champion decided to demoralize him. McIntyre insulted the Olympian to his face and offered him his leg, prompting a last-gasp Ankle Lock from the legendary Superstar.

It wasn’t enough. The Scotsman retaliated with maneuvers from Angle’s own arsenal, dropping him with the Angle Slam and grape-vining the Hall of Famer in an Ankle Lock of his own that was so agonizing that the gold medalist was forced to submit. It was a less a passing of the torch than a potential blaze of glory for Angle, whose future was openly speculated by the commentary team in what might not have been as much of an overreaction as it seemed. After all, Kurt Angle is no stranger to fighting past his physical limits and letting his spirit carry him through. This is the first time in a long time where even that wasn’t enough.

My Take: A fab “old school vs. new school” match as the legend that is Kurt Angle, back in in-ring action, gets demolished by Drew McIntyre – a man who is most certainly set to hit the Championship race VERY soon (I wouldn’t be surprised if McIntyre took the title from Brock Lesnar). Angle looked old though; and it was kind of hard to watch a legend get so gassed and thoroughly outclassed.

News of the Night:

  1. Alexa Bliss named as captain of the Raw’s Women’s Survivor Series team.
  2. Dean Ambrose laid out Seth Rollins post-tag match.
  3. Nia Jax confronted Ronda Rousey, setting up their future feud.

Final Verdict: 3/5

An improvement over last weeks episode with a better average of good to bad matches and, thankfully, no old men cutting boring and ridiculous promos. The crowd seemed more into the action too – their repsonse feeding the storytelling well for a change (probably because us UK folk are just excited to have WWE on these shores). There’s going to be a rush to set up Survivor Series though given that its only a couple of weeks away, but thats wehat happens when you have THREE pay per views almost back-to-back!

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