04th Dec2018

WWE Raw – Dec 3rd 2018: Results & Review

by Phil Wheat

2018-raw-logo

Welcome to this weeks review of Raw… a review I approach with trepidation. After all, have you seen the response to last weeks episode? Can this sh*t get any worse?

Match #1: Natalya & Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax & Tamina (No Contest)

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

About the only positive thing that can be said of The Riott Squad’s continued vendetta against Natalya is that they’ve at least stopped evoking the loss of her father. Apart from that, however, Ruby Riott & Co.’s tormenting of The Queen of Harts continued apace — this week, the trio ambushed Natalya during the start of Raw’s planned opening match, a tag team bout pitting Natalya & Ronda Rousey against Nia Jax & Tamina. Nia and Tamina made quick work of The Baddest Woman on the Planet, and The Queen of Harts was left to The Riott Squad’s mercy, or lack thereof. The 3-on-1 attack was demoralizing enough, but they saved the finishing stroke for last, positioning the former SmackDown Women’s Champion on the apron and driving her through a table they had brought to ringside. Alexa Bliss quickly sent The Riott Squad home, but that wasn’t enough for Rousey, who demanded a match with Nia & Tamina. And, unwilling to leave the selection of her partner to The Goddess, the Raw Women’s Champion declared she’d find one herself.

My Take: Another match that isn’t a match. Yawn. At least I was emotionally invested in this one… I really LOVED The Riott Squad’s beatdown of Natalya. Make that team monster heels and do it now, WWE.

Match #2: Sasha Banks & Bayley def. Mickie James & Alicia Fox

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Last week, Alexa Bliss began her tenure running the Women’s division by holding an open forum with Sasha Banks & Bayley. That ended in a coincidental (?) beatdown from Alicia Fox, Dana Brooke & Mickie James, so Sasha & Bayley walked into the do-over understandably wary that The Goddess was leading them into a trap. Surprisingly, the forum proceeded in an orderly, if tense, fashion, with one big headline item to boot: Asked by a fan what changes they’d make to the Women’s division in 2019, The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection stated their goal to become the first-ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. That was when Mickie, Alicia and Dana bolted to the ring, but The Goddess quickly seized control of the situation by sanctioning an immediate tag team match between Sasha & Bayley and Mickie & Alicia. The Boss ‘N’ Hug Connection held strong, with Mickie suffering a decisive combo of a backstabber into a Bayley-to-Belly.

My Take: So finally the blow-off of these seemingly random multi-women matches on Raw comes… in a brief statement from Sashs and Bayley that they want to be Women’s Tag Champs. So how long before we ACTUALLY get a women’s tag division? Can they really drag this out any longer – the belts were reportedly made waaaay before Evolution (in fact the last rumoured announcement date for a women’s tag championship was June 2018 but nothing came of it) so the WWE have been holding back on making this a reality for some time now.

Match #3: The Lucha House Party def. Scott Dawson (Lucha House Rules)

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Undeniable masters of classic tag team wrestling though they are, The Revival seem to have fallen into Raw’s ironic punishment division, where they’re doomed to face The Lucha House Party over and over in matches contested under the decidedly non-traditional Lucha House Rules. This week’s rule switch was particularly egregious in the eyes of the “Top Guys,” as they had planned to send Scott Dawson into singles action in an attempt to restore some order to the rivalry before the House Party’s signature stipulation was evoked for the third straight week. Needless to say, The Revival’s desired return to tradition did not happen. Dawson once again deployed the Gory Special and isolated Lince Dorado after some timely fists (though not flips) to Kalisto and Gran Metalik at ringside. When the House Party began to rally, Dash Wilder tried to act as an equalizer and came up empty. A trifecta of a crossbody from Dorado, a Salida del Sol from Kalisto and a gorgeous tightrope senton from Metalik spelled the end.

My Take: Can some one explain to me what the point of this long-running beatdown of The Revival, at the hands of the Lucha House Party, actually is? Because I’ll be damned if I know. Unless Dawson and Wilder have really, REALLY p*ssed someone off behind the scenes at the WWE?

Match #4: Dolph Ziggler def. Drew McIntyre

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

It’s Drew McIntyre Appreciation Night, but someone forgot to tell Dolph Ziggler. After The Showoff was omitted from the guest list of “General Manager-Elect” Baron Corbin in his tribute to The Scottish Psychopath — a ceremony that included a “Gold Medal of Excellence” — McIntyre effectively kicked Ziggler to the curb when The Showoff hit the ring to call him out on it. To McIntyre, the alliance that began the night of the Superstar Shake-up and netted both an Intercontinental and Raw Tag Team Title reign was little more than a “business relationship” that the Scot claimed had run its course.

Ziggler responded with a Zig Zag that landed him in an immediate match with The Scottish Psychopath, wherein McIntyre grabbed the mic while pummeling Ziggler around ringside. After admitting that he may still be harboring a soft spot for Dolph, McIntyre declared he was going treat The Showoff as he would Finn Bálor. The former Universal Champion appeared moments later, and his presence proved distracting enough that Ziggler was able to rally. It was only when Bálor got involved, though, that the match turned for good: After McIntyre rolled Ziggler into the ring and inadvertently into the ref, the Irishman blasted Drew with a running dropkick into the barricade.

The Scot barely beat the count of 10, but he staggered straight into a textbook superkick from The Showoff that ended the match and capped Drew McIntyre Appreciation Night with a bit of history that the Scot had probably not intended. You see, with that kick and subsequent three-count, McIntyre suffered his first loss by pinfall or submission since his Raw return. Points to Ziggler for getting the last laugh on the evening, but if The Scottish Psychopath’s post-match interview was any indication, he won’t stop until he gets the last word on The Showoff … and Finn Bálor.

My Take: And so it begins… The long-rumoured feud between Ziggler and McIntyre kicked off with a match that saw Ziggler get the win whilst keeping McIntyre strong. It’s a good job we all know ZIggler can take multiple losses and not lose any momentum/support from the WWE fans. Though McIntyre will need a better feud once this ones over to really sell him as a badass heel – especially as this was touted as his first “loss’ since returning to the WWE main roster. Probably why they’re involving Finn Balor here.

Match #5: Raw Tag Team Champions AOP & Drake Maverick def. Bobby Roode & Chad Gable (3-on-2 Handicap Match)

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Last week’s Raw Tag Team Title opportunity ended in embarrassing fashion for Bobby Roode & Chad Gable, but this week’s non-title bout might have been worse. After successfully finagling a Roode vs. Drake Maverick match that would net The Glorious One and Gable another championship match against Maverick’s AOP if Roode won, the upstart team ran afoul of Baron Corbin’s on-the-fly rule changing. This time, it was an instant re-organizing of the match into a 3-on-2 Handicap contest after AOP ambushed Gable backstage. Roode planted Maverick with a Glorious DDT, but Akam & Rezar made it to the ring in time to break the count, and what followed was an extended dismantling, despite the last-second, gritty return of Gable to the ring. A Super Collider functionally ended the match, and Maverick tagged in to record the pinfall on Roode.

My Take: I’m over this and I’m over Roode and Gable. If WWE’s plan is to bury these two in matches like this I’m all in for it. If Roode is going to sell-out and accept this kind of crap he deserves everything he gets. And Gable needs to be fired ASAP – he’s a worse WWE kiss-ass chump than Heath Slater.

Match #6: Heath Slater def. Rhyno

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Heath Slater & Rhyno have been a folk-hero tag team for a couple of years, but they found themselves subjected to one of Baron Corbin’s more Draconian power plays: Citing a lack of room on the Raw roster for both of them, the “General Manager-Elect” forced the two of them to battle for a single roster slot, with the loser getting fired from Raw. Surprisingly, The Man Beast was the first to throw their friendship out the window, doing what he had to do to keep his career going and starting the bout with a wicked right to the jaw. What followed was such a rout that Slater only landed one move — but it was a big one. The One-Man Band hit a leaping neckbreaker on the former ECW Champion to earn the win, though neither looked that happy about it. After all, Rhyno has a family, too. As it turned out, Slater had even less to celebrate than he thought, as the hard-fought victory had netted him only fool’s gold: Corbin revealed to Slater that he would, indeed, be retained on Raw … as a referee.

My Take: Speaking of Heath Slater. WTF was this match? Totally out of nowhere former tag partners Heath Slater and Rhyno went head to head in an “I Quit” match… and Rhyno lost! Reportedly Rhyno announced his retirement to the live audience during the commercial break. Given how wasted he has been since he and Heath Slater lost the tag titles and moving to Raw its probably for the best. Unless the WWE want him back in NXT – facing the likes of Aleister Black and Lars Sullivan. Now THAT is something I’d like to see!

Match #7: Finn Bálor def. Jinder Mahal

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

With Jinder Mahal finally ready to turn a corner, there are certainly worse ways to gain favor with “General Manager-Elect” Baron Corbin than defeating Finn Bálor. Unfortunately, The Maharaja was thwarted at the last second by Apollo Crews, who took the liberty of bulldozing The Singh Brothers after they attempted to sway the match in Mahal’s favor. The former WWE Champion downed Crews outside the ring with a punishing kick, only to suffer a flurry from Bálor that ended with a match-sealing Coup de Grâce. But where Jinder Mahal failed, Drew McIntyre succeeded: The Scottish Psychopath, seeking retribution for Bálor’s meddling earlier in the evening, pounced on the former Universal Champion in the backstage area and beat him to a pulp, only relenting when officials interceded and threw themselves over Bálor to stop the punishment.

My Take: OK, so now Vince and co. don’t like Finn Balor. That’s the ONLY reason anyone has a match with Jinder Mahal. No, I jest. Seriously though this was not really a match, more an extension of the forthcoming Balor/McIntyre feud storyline… And probably the best use of Jinder, who deserves to be little more than enhancement talent having failed to improve or impress since dropping the title to AJ Styles and moving over to Raw.

Match #8: Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey & Ember Moon def. Nia Jax & Tamina

The following is courtesy of WWE.com:

Nia Jax & Tamina certainly had the right idea in trying to hand Ronda Rousey a loss en route to her title defense at WWE TLC. Unfortunately for them, The Baddest Woman on the Planet picked an ace as a tag team partner in Ember Moon, and Nia’s plan fell apart at the last second when it turned out she might not be as ready to face Rousey as she claimed. Despite a successful ambush of Rousey before the match began, Nia bailed on the match the second she was tagged in, leaving Tamina to fend for herself against the Raw Women’s Champion. When The Irresistible Force tried to interfere, she was expelled from the ring by The War Goddess, who pounced on Tamina with an Eclipse off the top turnbuckle. All Rousey had to do was apply the Armbar — which she did — and smile for the cameras as she extended her winning streak. As for Jax? She’ll have to do a little more than that.

My Take: So the opening match comes back around and closes the show… and Nia Jax turned into a little b*tch. ROusey and Moon actually turned out to be quite the team in the end, perfectly completementing each other – Rousey the ground and pound muscle, Moon the fast high-flying machine. I hope to god Rousey absolutely buries Nia Jax at TLC – she deserves it as she’s not in the same league as any of the other women on the Raw roster.

News of the Night:

  1. Rhyno left the WWE after losing his match against Heath Slater.
  2. Heath Slater was “demoted” to referee rather than wrestler.
  3. Rollins & Ambrose’s feud descended into farce, making a mockery of their entire Shield history IMHO.
  4. Finn Balor was involved in THREE matches/segments tonigh, whilst only actually being officially part of one!

Final Verdict: 2/5

Better than last weeks episode, but that’s not hard, but still not a good episode. I’m slowly losing faith in WWE’s ability to put out a decent episode of Raw. Maybe when Smackdown moves to Fox and provides some SERIOUS competition to the red brand we’ll get some decent TV. Until then it looks like “meh” is the future of WWE Raw.

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