The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 12/03/18 Review
Welcome to the WWE Raw Deal as we head into December hoping that Raw is better this week. Last week’s Raw “earned” a 2.5 out of 10 score from me, which was the lowest of the year. The week before was a 4 out of 10. I know January is when people think the WWE product improves with the build to the Royal Rumble and I hope that's the case next month. Right now, Raw is struggling. Smackdown is doing well, though.
Before I begin this week, I just want to give a shoutout to my friend Tim Mirabitur Jr., who had a serious health scare in the last couple of weeks. He's doing a lot better now thanks to the support of his wife, two kids (and a third baby on the way soon), friends and family. He's been a long time reader and supporter of my work as well as a huge wrestling fan. We're thinking of you buddy. Keep on fighting. Get better soon, my friend.
Live from Houston, Texas, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1331 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. If you want to support us at TJRWrestling, here’s a Donate Link for our Paypal to contribute in some way to help us grow the site. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.
Raw began with ring announcer Jojo asking everybody to stand for a ten-bell salute for President George H. W. Bush. The bell rang ten times. Photos were shown of Bush on the video screen. He passed away at 94 years of age this weekend.
Analysis: That was a nice tribute by WWE. Bush made his home in the Houston area and the funeral is in Texas on Wednesday, so it was nice of WWE to take a few minutes to honor him.
Ronda Rousey, the Raw Women’s Champion, made her entrance to a nice ovation from the crowd. She faces Nia Jax at TLC on December 16. Natalya made her entrance to join Rousey for the match.
The Raw announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Renee Young were shown at their table by the ramp talking about the show.
Nia Jax was up first for the heel team. She was joined by Tamina, who gets no reaction. A clip aired of Natalya getting attacked by all three members of the Riott Squad last week.
Analysis: It looked like the match was going to start the show, but it didn’t actually happen.
Ronda Rousey and Natalya vs. Nia Jax and Tamina…nope
The Riott Squad trio made their entrance with Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan bringing a table beside the ring. Jax and Tamina used that distraction to attack the faces with punches. Jax and Tamina attacked Rousey outside the ring with both women tossing Rousey into the steel steps. The Riott Squad attacked Natalya at ringside. The referee left the ring, so I guess the match never started. Rousey got back up, Jax knocked her down and Jax hit a leg drop on Rousey. Natalya was on the apron by the table outside the ring, so Logan and Morgan grabbed her while Riott kicked Natalya leading to Natalya taking a Powerbomb through the announce table at ringside. Natalya was grabbing her right elbow because it hit hard when it went through the table. Rousey and referees checked on Natalya as they went to break.
Analysis: It was a good angle to start the show with the heels using the numbers game to take advantage of the situation. Rousey got double teamed and Natalya got triple teamed, so there wasn’t much they can do. The question that comes to mind is why aren’t women like Bayley or Sasha Banks around to help? It’s not like WWE is going to answer that. It’s just how WWE books things these days where they always make the heels look strong while the faces look like idiots far too often.
A replay aired of what happened before the break where the tag team match never got started.
There was a shot of Rousey and Natalya walking backstage with Rousey getting Natalya to sit down on a container. Rousey asked for help, so two wrestlers dressed like trainers showed up to check. Rousey had the angry look on her face.
Let’s Hear from Alexa Bliss
The lovely Alexa Bliss made her entrance looking great. Bliss said she was appointed to oversee the entire Raw women’s division. She said she promised to give us the best that the division has to offer. She talked about how her open forum last week didn’t go according to plan, so they’re trying it again. Bliss said this is a chance for us to get to know Sasha Banks and Bayley. Bliss introduced the women to join her in the ring.
Banks and Bayley got into the ring and sat on cheers. Bayley wondered when they were going to get attacked by Mickie, Alicia and Dana like last week. Bliss said she reprimanded them, which is a reminder that heels lie. There was a question from the crowd with a dude asking why people on social media think that Banks is using Bayley. Banks said Bayley’s her best friend and they’ll be tag team partners forever. Banks called out Corey Graves for always trashing Banks on commentary. Another scripted question saw a female fan asking the women who they wanted to face in a dream match, so they both said Trish and Lita at WrestleMania. It’s like this is scripted! Crazy! Another fan asked if they could have a superpower, what would it be with Bayley saying she wants to have a superpower that would let her make Bliss disappear. Banks agreed. Bliss reminded them that she’s the one that took her title. The fourth scripted question asked them what changes they would bring to the Raw women’s division. Bayley said that for both of them, they want to be the first ever WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. The crowd cheered that. That led to Mickie James, Dana Brooke and Alicia Fox to run down to the apron. Bliss stopped them and told them not to do it. Bliss set up a tag team match with Mickie and Alicia facing Sasha Banks and Bayley right now. It’s a good thing they are all in their ring gear for it.
Analysis: The interview portion of that was boring although I think the key part was Bayley mentioning women’s Tag Team Titles because that’s something WWE will probably introduce early next year. I thought they would have done it this year, but it hasn’t happened yet. Setting up the tag team match was predictable.
The match was already underway.
Mickie James and Alicia Fox (w/Dana Brooke) vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley
James was in control with Bayley as she worked her over in the corner. Fox tagged in with her Northern Lights Suplex on Bayley followed by a headlock. Bliss was shown watching the match at ringside. James back in with a running kick to the face followed by a yell of “It’s Good” as if she kicked a field goal. That was fun. James distracted the referee leading to cheap shots from Fox and Brooke. Fox tagged in, James held Bayley, that led to Bayley moving and Fox accidentally kicked James out of the ring. Banks tagged in with clotheslines on Fox, a dropkick, knee to the face and Banks slapped on the Bank Statement submission. James made the save for her partner. James back in, Banks with punches to the face, James tripped up Banks by the ropes and a kick to the face got a two count for James. Bayley with a belly to back suplex on Fox to take her out and a kick knocked Brooke off the apron. James sent Bayley out of the ring. Banks hit a Backstabber double knees to the back of James and Bayley hit a Bayley to Belly suplex on James for the pinfall win after about seven minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Sasha Banks and Bayley
Analysis: **1/4 It was a solid tag team match with the faces working well together to get the win. I’m not surprised by the outcome even though I wish James was booked better. I don’t care as much about Fox, who rarely goes over in matches anyway. At least it was a competitive match with the crowd interested in the match.
Later on Raw: Dean Ambrose is there. There’s a Drew McIntyre appreciation night. A video about Baron Corbin’s rise to power is up next.
Analysis: The first 30 minutes of this show featured the women of Raw. That’s a nice way to get them out there when the crowd is more vocal in the first hour. By hour three, the crowd tends to get quiet.
PLUG TIME: The month of December means the 10th Annual WWE Johnny Awards are coming later this month, so please check out our first poll that you can vote on for the awards with the first category being best NXT Takeover of 2018. There will be new polls up every day, all month long...The WWF in 2000 reviews are back and here’s the March 6, 2000 edition of Raw featuring The Rock finding a way to overcome the odds from the bad guys to stand tall at the end of the night. Plus, Mae Young was put through a table (the first time) and Bob Backlund showed up to help out Kurt Angle. Smackdown from that same week goes up on Thursday, so check out our WWF in 2000 section to stay updated every week.
There was a shot of some singer named Morgan Waller at ringside. He’s part of the Tribute to the Troops show taping on Tuesday and airing on December 20. I don’t know who he is. He probably doesn’t know who I am either, so we’re even.
Alexa Bliss was shown walking backstage. Ronda Rousey wanted a solution for what happened earlier with Natalya getting attacked. Bliss said she could find her a tag team partner, but Rousey said she’ll find her own tag team partner.
Analysis: That’s not a surprise because Rousey didn’t get to have her match, so it sets her up for a match later in the show, likely in the main event.
A video package aired about Baron Corbin’s rise on Raw as the “General Manager Elect” of the show. The video sucked up to Corbin by using a voiceover guy to talk about how great Corbin is while showing highlights of him injuring Braun Strowman.
Analysis: Yawn. I guess that’s the point, though. They want us to hate it, but the problem is that more Corbin leads to a more boring program rather than a better show.
There was a graphic reminding us that Corbin is set to face Braun Strowman at TLC in a TLC match.
Corbin was shown in his office. Chad Gable and Bobby Roode showed up asking for a rematch against AOP. Gable said they wanted a title match. Roode said he wanted to fight Maverick for what he did last week. Corbin said he understood Roode wanted to get his hands on Maverick. Corbin made a match with Roode facing Drake Maverick, Roode asked for the catch and Corbin said the only condition is that there’s no AOP or Gable allowed at ringside.
Analysis: The pissing angle didn’t help the Raw tag team division at all. I hope it improves soon.
The Lucha House Party trio made their entrance with the pinatas as they gave gifts to fans at ringside.
The Revival duo of Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder made their entrance. Dawson thinks that maybe their hearing is impaired while adding that the three of them don’t respect anything and they don’t respect tag team wrestling. Dawson said that if you can’t respect their lessons in tag team wrestling then Dawson will teach them a lesson in a one on one match. It was announced that all three members of Lucha House Party are able to compete. Graves complained.
Analysis: This continues to be weird.
Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik, Kalisto and Lince Dorado) vs. Scott Dawson (w/Dash Wilder)
The Lucha boys worked well together getting some nearfalls. Wilder did a distraction and Dawson hit a clothesline on Dorado to take control. Dawson put Dorado on his back for a Gory Special submission. Dorado with a superkick, Metalik in the ring with a dropkick that knocked Wilder out of the ring. Dorado wit ha dropkick on Wilder as well. Kalisto with a move off the middle ropes onto Wilder on the floor. Dorado with a cross body block on Dawson, Kalisto with the Salida del Sol and Metalik hit the Senton Bomb off the top for the pinfall win after about three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik, Kalisto and Lince Dorado)
The announcers continued to bicker with Cole and Young saying it was exciting while Graves complained about it.
Analysis: *1/2 It was fine for a 3 on 1 match. Those matches are hard to do. There’s also no explanation given for why Lucha House Party gets to have all three guys in their matches when the guy running the show (Corbin) is a heel, so why would he allow it? Once again, it’s not like WWE even tries to explain it.
Corbin was in his office. Some dude in a suit presented him with some box. Corbin said he’s going to love this and told the guy to get ready for Drew McIntyre’s appreciation night. That is up next.
A commercial aired for this week on Smackdown with Becky Lynch, Asuka and Charlotte Flair doing a contract signing for TLC, plus Daniel Bryan is the guest with old nemesis The Miz on Miz TV. That should be interesting.
There was a graphic letting us know that Titus O’Neil was on the Ebony Power 100 list due to O’Neil’s work in the community and they listed some other notable athletes on there with him.
Drew McIntyre Appreciation Night
Baron Corbin was in the ring as a graphic reminded us of his match against Braun Strowman at TLC on December 16.
Corbin talked about his journey in WWE as a Money in the Bank winner to Constable to General Manager Elect and he claimed that if you are born better than everybody else, you can achieve anything. Corbin talked about the thorns in his side like The Shield, Finn Balor, Kurt Angle and Braun Strowman, but thanks to one person, they have been taken care of. Corbin said it was Drew McIntyre Appreciation Night.
A video package aired showing all the destruction that Drew McIntyre has caused in the last few months with clips of McIntyre beating people up like Balor, Strowman, Angle, Reigns, Rollins and others. Corbin introduced the “Scottish Psychopath” Drew McIntyre.
McIntyre made his entrance in his ring gear along with the black jacket that he usually wears. He was booed. Corbin had a box in his hand that he was going to give to McIntyre. It’s Balor vs. McIntyre in a match at TLC on December 16.
Corbin thanked McIntyre for his hard work and unwavering support. Corbin gave McIntyre a gift to commemorate all that he has done. It was a medal that Corbin called “Raw’s Gold Medal of Excellence.”
McIntyre thanked Corbin for that and said that it really means the world to him. McIntyre said that he arrived on Raw to stamp out weakness and eradicate complacency. McIntyre complained about superstars playing video games and playing on their phone while being happy about being complacent. McIntyre whined about how superstars just want to retweet compliments like they belong in the audience, not on his roster. McIntyre said that he decided to reform Raw in his image, the home of the strong, the mighty and the desire to give 150% seven days a week, not just on Monday and apparently he’s done a very good job. McIntyre spoke about Finn Balor saying that Finn likes to think of himself as the voice of the people. McIntyre claimed that Balor was just a boy in a man’s world and he’s going to break his spirit.
Dolph Ziggler showed up for the interruption. They were allies for most of this year, but not in the last few weeks. Ziggler went into the ring.
Ziggler said that they had a deal, they had an alliance, he brought Drew to Raw and he doesn’t get it because they dominated Raw. Ziggler said he was the brains, Drew was the muscle and his invitation to this party must have got lost in the mail. McIntyre said that the truth is that Dolph was never invited. McIntyre claimed that Ziggler didn’t meet the height requirement. McIntyre said that he (Drew) was always the brains, the muscle, the talent and he is the whole damn package. McIntyre claimed that this business relationship was working for him, but it’s not working for him anymore. McIntyre said that Ziggler’s role was to get him into a prominent position and “look at me now!” McIntyre said that he did it, he thanked him and told him to leave. Ziggler didn't leave. McIntyre told Ziggler that he should be kissing his feet and that he is the reason Ziggler has been relevant for the first time in ten years. Ziggler punched McIntyre, Drew fought him off and Ziggler hit a Zig Zag on McIntyre. The crowd liked it. Corbin just stood there as Ziggler left.
Corbin told Ziggler that he’s not going to come down there to ruin Drew McIntyre Appreciation Night and said if he wants a fight, it starts right now.
Analysis: That was a good segment with McIntyre doing well with that promo. He made his points well, showed a lot of confidence and came off as an arrogant jerk when Ziggler was in there with him. It looks like a face turn for Ziggler, which is fine because he’s good in either role and Raw has too many prominent heels right now anyway. In the last couple of weeks, I had readers asking me what’s up with these guys. I didn’t know, but I figured there was some story in place and here it was. The Drew and Dolph alliance is over for now. The Gold Medal of Excellence looked like it was worth about $2 or so, if you’re wondering.
The match began during the break.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Drew McIntyre
Ziggler hit a headbutt and McIntyre came back with a catapult that sent Ziggler off the turnbuckle leading to a Ziggler bump to the floor. McIntyre carried Ziggler to the apron and dumped him into the ring. McIntyre slapped on an armbar as he worked over Ziggler in the ring. Ziggler fought back with a DDT attempt, but McIntyre caught him and tossed Ziggler across the ring. McIntyre sent Ziggler out of the ring. McIntyre did a promo saying he’s going to pretend he’s somebody he doesn’t like such as Finn Balor. McIntyre sent Ziggler into the ring apron, barricade and a slam to the mat when they were outside the ring. Back in the ring, Drew decked Dolph with a hard chop to the chest. Finn Balor made his entrance by walking on the ramp. No music played, so that’s good because I hate hearing entrance music with a match going on. The fans cheered for Balor.
The match continued with Balor watching from ringside. Ziggler with a back elbow to the face, kick to the face and McIntyre hit his reverse Alabama Slam that sent Ziggler stomach first to the mat. The director missed most of it because they showed Balor at ringside instead of showing the move. McIntyre set up Ziggler on the top rope, Ziggler fought him off and Ziggler managed to hit a leaping DDT for a two count. Ziggler launched McIntyre over the top to the floor. The fans chanted “Let’s Go Ziggler” as they supported his face turn. Ziggler hit a running clothesline off the apron onto McIntyre on the floor. Ziggler worked over McIntyre with punches, but Drew stopped him with a headbutt. McIntyre picked up Ziggler and dropped him groin first onto the barricade. The referee wasn’t really counting them out of the ring even though they were on the floor for more than a ten count. McIntyre sent Ziggler into the ring, Ziggler went crashing into the referee and that allowed Balor to hit a dropkick that sent McIntyre into the barricade. McIntyre was down on the floor as the referee counted him out and McIntyre got back at the count of nine. When McIntyre got in the ring, Ziggler hit a superkick and pinned McIntyre after 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Dolph Ziggler
As soon as the match was over, Cole noted that it was the first time McIntyre was pinned or submitted since Drew was back on the main roster earlier this year. Graves complained about it.
Analysis: *** Good match with a surprising finish because it’s rare for McIntyre to lose. It was a cheap ending due to Finn Balor, though, so it’s not like it was a clean loss. I thought the finish was clever with the small ref bump caused by McIntyre tossing Ziggler into the referee, which led to Balor interfering. They’ll probably do this match again next week with McIntyre getting the win back.
Still to come is Ronda Rousey in a tag team match and Dean Ambrose is on the show.
Highlights aired from last week’s Raw when Elias was destroyed by the heel trio of McIntyre, Corbin and Lashley. Elias was shown walking backstage because he’s up next.
Drew McIntyre was shown walking backstage as Charly Caruso asked him about Ziggler. McIntyre said that Ziggler was not a friend and that Drew just used him. McIntyre said that Ziggler has tried to reach the top of the mountain while Drew claimed he was the mountain that will come crashing down on him. McIntyre said that Balor was a marked man and left angrily.
Analysis: I thought it was a good night for Drew in terms of his overall performance. There’s a lot to complain about with Raw, but the ascension of Drew as a top guy has been fun to watch.
Elias was in the ring for one of his concerts. He said that he’s been looking for Bobby Lashley, but he’s harder to find than Carmelo Anthony (former Rocket). Elias said that at TLC, there will be no more hiding because Lashley will find out what everybody already knows and that’s that WWE stands for…Walk With Elias with the crowd chanting along with it. Elias started on a song, but he was interrupted.
Lio Rush was on the stage with Bobby Lashley with Rush introducing his buddy. Rush said that the spotlight tonight belongs to the “Almighty” Bobby Lashley. Rush said that Lashley has the most magnificent body in the world. Rush told Lashley to do some posing as Lashley did his flexing. That included his favorite pose, which was Lashley bending over and showing his ass. I'm sure Vince McMahon was cackling somewhere. He must love that pose!
Elias left the ring and went up the ramp after Lashley, who decked Elias with punches. Elias came back with a hard whip into a video screen. Elias went after Rush with the guitar and then Elias went after Lashley with the guitar, but Lashley managed to escape backstage. Finn Balor appeared and tossed Rush onto the stage. Elias hit Rush in the back with the guitar as Balor looked on with a smile.
Analysis: It was some nice revenge for Balor and Elias after they were attacked by the heels last week. That’s how it goes from week to week.
Baron Corbin was in his office watching what happened when Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers showed up to suck up to him. Mahal said that at TLC in the main event, Corbin will put an end to Strowman. Mahal told Corbin he wants to take care of Finn Balor, so Corbin told him that’s a great idea. Corbin said he’s not worried about Strowman because he’s just a one-armed man as they laughed. Mahal left with his boys.
Heath Slater and Rhyno showed up in the office of Corbin, who said he’s been crunching some numbers and has come to a conclusion. Corbin looked at some folder. Corbin said that he’s concluded that there’s only room for one of them on Raw, so one of them could quit to save the other guy’s job. Slater didn’t want to quit because he’s got kids and Rhyno said he’s worked too hard to just quit. Corbin told them they’ll have a match where the winner stays on Raw and the loser is fired from Raw. Slater and Rhyno weren’t happy about it. Renee: “What a jerk.” Well…yeah.
Analysis: Slater and Rhyno haven’t done anything on Raw since they were moved over from Smackdown anyway, so it’s likely a case of WWE realizing they had to do something with them.
Bobby Roode vs. Drake Maverick is up next. If Roode wins, his team with Chad Gable gets another Raw Tag Team Title match.
Bobby Roode made his entrance in his ring gear without a robe. Are we supposed to believe that this man doesn’t own another robe since Maverick pissed on his robe last week? That’s silly. We have seen Roode in different robes during his career.
Drake Maverick walked out to the AOP entrance music. Maverick looked apprehensive about the match. If you don’t know much about him, he is a trained wrestler with a lot of experience even though he hasn’t wrestled much at all in his WWE career.
Bobby Roode vs. Drake Maverick
Maverick threw his jacket at Roode and Roode decked him with a punch. The video wall showed AOP beating up Gable backstage. They tossed Gable into some crates backstage. Corbin told AOP it’s a 3 on 2 handicap match that already started.
Analysis: The announcers (Cole and Young, at least) were shocked and appalled by this while everybody watching could see this coming.
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable vs. AOP (Akam and Rezar) and Drake Maverick
Roode hit the Glorious DDT on Maverick, but AOP got into the ring to break it up. Rezar whipped Roode into the steel ring post. Akam jumped off the ropes with a kick to the chest of Roode. Gable slowly walked down to the ring holding his neck. The AOP guys attacked, Gable showed fire with punches, but AOP hit an atomic drop leading to a kick. Rezar with a running splash on Roode against the turnbuckle. AOP hit the Super Collider double Powerbomb on Roode and Gable. Maverick tagged in, he crawled on top of Roode and pinned Roode to win the match at around three minutes.
Winners by pinfall: AOP (Akam and Rezar) and Drake Maverick
Analysis: *1/4 It was just a basic handicap match to favor the heels again, which happens too often on this show. I guess the long term goal is to build up sympathy for Roode and Gable as the face team, but the fans likely see them as big time losers at this point. I’m not sure if they are going to win over the fans in this storyline.
There were replays of Dean Ambrose beating up Seth Rollins two weeks ago and then ripping the fans while at the doctor’s office getting shots.
Dean Ambrose is next on Raw at the top of hour three.
There was a graphic letting us know about John Cena winning the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award from Sports Illustrated. That news came out last week and we covered it here.
There were sirens going off in the arena as six dudes walked out with gas masks on their heads along with black vests. Dean Ambrose’s music started up. Ambrose had on a gas mask on his face looking like Bane from the Dark Knight Rises movie from the Batman series. I loved that movie. Ambrose instructed the guys to surround the ring as Ambrose stood in the ring for a promo. Ambrose had on a brown leather jacket that matched his beard color, so it worked.
Let’s Hear from Dean Ambrose
Ambrose told the crowd they can all be seated. Ambrose said that you can’t be too safe in a dangerous slum like Houston, Texas. Ambrose said that he needed protection from the diseases that the fans are carrying and also to protect himself from that madman Seth Rollins.
Ambrose said that last time he was in this ring, he was attacked by Rollins and he was unprovoked. Ambrose claimed that Rollins was needy and emotional just like the fans. Ambrose ripped on the fans for sticking phones in his face trying to take a picture with him. Ambrose complained about trying to live with a guy that always wants to be in control and always has to get his way. Ambrose said that person might be sitting beside you right now and if you had guts, you might slap that person in the mouth. Ambrose said we had weak character like Rollins. Ambrose said that you cheer Rollins because he makes you feel important while adding that The Shield used to be something to be proud of. He added that after a while, Seth and Roman cared about being role models while sucking up to the fans. The fans chanted “We Want Rollins” as Ambrose paused. Ambrose told the fans that sometimes life sucks and you don’t always get what you want. Ambrose said that he is the last man in this industry with integrity. Ambrose claimed the only thing he is guilty of is trusting people, but no more. Ambrose: “I am proud to stand alone in this ring as the moral compass of WWE.” Ambrose trashed the fans saying they don’t know what that means because schools aren’t too good in Houston. Ambrose said that at TLC, he could take the IC Title by force, but that’s too easy. Ambrose claimed that Rollins was going to drop the ball, he will lose control of himself, of his emotions, of the situation and lose control of the Intercontinental Championship. Ambrose said that the prestigious championship will fall safely into Dean’s hands.
Seth Rollins made the predictable interruption as the “Swat Team” tried to stop him, but Rollins came in through the crowd. Rollins dumped Ambrose over the top to the floor. Rollins beat up the “Swat Team” guys that looked like your typical indy wrestler goofs. Rollins hit one of them with a Powerbomb over the top onto the guys on the floor. Rollins hit a suicide dive onto a guy after Ambrose tossed the guy towards Rollins. Ambrose left through the crowd, Rollins jumped the barricade and they got into a slugfest. Rollins jumped off the barricade with a punch to the head. Rollins went for a jumping attack again, but this time Ambrose hit Rollins with a gas mask to the head. Ambrose worked over Rollins with punches as fans chanted “you suck” at Ambrose. Ambrose hit a DDT on the floor and said “I have integrity” repeatedly. The “Swat Team” dudes dumped Rollins back into the ring. Ambrose hit another Dirty Deeds on Rollins in the center of the ring. Ambrose left. He’s got the sirens for his theme song as a permanent thing now. A kid wanted a high five from Ambrose after the match, but Dean just walked away without doing that. Good heel.
Analysis: I liked the promo from Ambrose. It was a mix of trash talk about Rollins and ripping on the fans to get some cheap heat. The attack after the promo was what we have seen repeatedly in this feud with Ambrose dominating Rollins. This feud has seen Ambrose with the upper hand for most of it. Next week, Rollins will probably get the advantage and I can see Ambrose winning the IC Title as well. I'd rather see a feud like this where they have the heel standing tall in attacks instead of a bunch of tag team matches all month long.
The Ronda Rousey tag team match is the main event.
Replays aired the Ambrose attack on Rollins. That led to AWKWARD ANNOUNCER TALK time as Graves asked Renee about her husband’s actions. Renee said “I don’t know what you want me to say, how can I say more than what you just saw? Obviously, I’m in a bit of a precarious situation.” She said nobody is entitled to know what goes on behind closed doors behind husband and wife. She said, “how dare you?” to Graves and Cole moved on.
Analysis: I like Graves a lot. He’s the best analyst in WWE. I like Renee too and think she’s doing well at her job, but the way they have her talk about this situation is silly. I say it every week. Just have her say that she loves Dean, but she has no say in what he does on Raw because he’s focused on doing what’s best for his career. Have her say that she’s going to continue to support him in his career whether we (the fans) like it or not because they have a great marriage. That’s all she needs to say. It’s better than what they have her say every week.
Nia Jax and Tamina were interviewed by Charly Caruso, who told them that Ember Moon will be teaming up with Rousey. Jax said that’s a shame because they were hoping that Charly was going to be her partner as they stared at Caruso. Jax said that’s ridiculous just like anybody being Ronda’s partner. Jax said she knows why Rousey picked Moon because Jax eliminated Moon in the battle royal at Evolution while Tamina has attacked Moon from behind because they don’t like her face. Jax mentioned breaking Moon’s face like she did to Becky. Jax yelled in Charly’s face about getting back her Raw Women’s Title as she yelled “MINE” at Charly. Jax maintained a serious look on her face throughout the promo.
Analysis: It was fine for a heel promo from Jax. At least it wasn’t one of her goofy promos doing bad imitations.
Heath Slater and Rhyno made their entrance together to the Slater theme song. Poor Rhyno can’t even enter to his own theme song.
Heath Slater vs. Rhyno
Rhyno was aggressive early with a punch followed by a clothesline. Rhyno with chops, plus a running shoulder tackle against the turnbuckle. Rhyno charged with an attack against the turnbuckle, Slater moved, Rhyno hit the turnbuckle and Slater hit a neckbreaker for the pinfall win after one minute.
Winner by pinfall: Heath Slater
Analysis: 1/2* This was not the match of the year. A regular neckbreaker winning a match is rare. See ya Rhyno, I guess. I’m not sure if he’ll get moved to Smackdown or what the plan is for now. It doesn’t really matter that much because he's in his mid-40s with his best days behind him.
The loss by Rhyno means he is fired from Raw. Slater seemed upset about it while Rhyno was shocked.
Heath Slater was shown walking backstage. Corbin walked up to him. Slater asked if there was anything he could do for Rhyno while noting that Rhyno had a family. Corbin said that Slater can do his new job and gave him a referee shirt with Corbin said he wasn’t keeping him as a wrestler.
Analysis: Heath Slater the referee? Sure, why not? I don’t even know how to react to that, but maybe he’ll get to be on the show more. At least it’s better than guys like Zack Ryder or Mojo Rawley on Raw.
Jinder Mahal was in the ring with the Singh Brothers. Finn Balor made his entrance as the opponent with the fans cheering him as usual.
Finn Balor vs. Jinder Mahal (w/Samir and Sunil Singh)
It feels like I have reviewed this match too many times this year. I don’t know how many times it has been. Mahal with a back elbow followed by the dreaded chinlock. Mahal sent Balor to the floor leading to a break.
Mahal had another chinlock as Graves did the usual line about 1.3 billion people in India that WWE announcers are programmed to say as if they are robots. Balor with a running chop, double leg takedown and a double foot stomp to the chest. Balor with a Slingblade neckbreaker followed by a running dropkick in the corner. Sunil Singh on the apron to distract the ref, which led to Samir shoving Balor off the top rope. The Singhs danced in celebration. Apollo Crews showed up with a clothesline on a Singh and a press slam on a Singh. Mahal kicked Crews down. Balor hit a somersault dive over the top to take out Mahal on the floor. Back in the ring, Balor with a dropkick into the turnbuckle. Balor up top and he hit a Coup de Grace double foot stomp onto Mahal for the pinfall win after about seven minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Finn Balor
Analysis: ** It was a decent match where we only got to see about four minutes of the match. Do we really need commercials in a match that is only seven minutes? They should time it better. Mahal can only reach a certain level for his matches and Balor did well with the comeback. Good to see Crews getting involved because he’s a forgotten man most weeks, but he got revenge against Mahal. Balor had a strong night.
Rousey and Moon vs. Jax and Tamina is up next.
Finn Balor was shown walking backstage with Charly Caruso talking to him saying he had a hell of a night. She recapped his night when Drew McIntyre showed up with punches. Two referees showed up to break it up, Drew backed away and then agents like Adam Pearce broke it up along with the referees. Balor was down.
Analysis: McIntyre said he would get revenge and that’s what he did. McIntyre will likely beat Balor at TLC. I don't see Balor winning with that match.
A video aired about Lars Sullivan coming soon. Sullivan said “you have never seen a freak like me” in the video and it just said he was coming soon without mentioning what show he would be on.
Analysis: Get ready for Sullivan to win squash matches every week for the next six months. He'll also be a huge presence in the Royal Rumble with multiple eliminations. I think Smackdown is more likely because Raw is already heavy on the heel side especially with bigger dudes.
Nia Jax and Tamina made their entrance. Jax is challenging Rousey for the Raw Women’s Title at TLC in less than two weeks.
Ronda Rousey made her entrance. Ember Moon’s music hit, but Jax and Tamina attacked Rousey before Moon made her entrance. Moon ran down to the ring and cleared house with Rousey as Rousey kicked Jax out of the ring. Moon wit ha running kick on Tamina to knock her down. Rousey hit a running forearm off the apron onto Jax on the floor. The match would begin after a break.
Nia Jax and Tamina vs. Ronda Rousey and Ember Moon
There were only about eight minutes left in the show when the match began. The heels were in control as they worked over Moon in their corner. Moon sent Tamina into the corner and Rousey tagged in with an arm whip takedown. Tamina back in with a kick for two. Moon with a cartwheel into a forearm. Jax distracted Moon and the referee, so Tamina kicked Moon down for a two count. Jax tagged in with a dreaded punch…to the ribs. Jax yanked Moon down by the hair. Moon managed a headscissors on Jax and then Jax got back up to knock Rousey off the apron to the floor. Tamina back in with a headbutt. Tamina missed a corner splash that knocked Jax off the apron inadvertently and Moon kicked Tamina leading to the hot tag to Rousey. Rousey with three straight clotheslines to Tamina, a kick into the corner and she told Jax to tag in, so Tamina tagged Jax, who seemed reluctant to go into the ring. Jax tagged Tamina back in, which drew boos. Rousey brought Jax into the ring, but Jax rolled back out as Tamina tried a cheap shot. Rousey was in control with a running elbow strike and a step up kick to the face on Tamina for a two count with Jax breaking up the pin. Moon punched Jax, Rousey kicked Jax out of the ring, Tamina with a rollup on Rousey, Rousey back up with an armbar takedown (it seemed like she said something to Tamina to set up that spot although I didn't hear what it was) and Moon jumped off the top with the Eclipse. Rousey slapped on the armbar on Tamina for the submission win after about seven minutes.
Winners by submission: Ronda Rousey and Ember Moon
Analysis: *3/4 It was a basic and predictable tag team match with Rousey getting the hot tag leading to the win for her team. Some of Rousey's stuff looked like she was barely connecting, which is fine, but people selling for stuff that misses by a few inches does look silly. Watching Jax and Tamina is not exciting at all. They told the story that Jax feared Rousey, which puts over Rousey’s dominance in the division. The finish was set up well while also giving Moon a bit of a rub by teaming with Rousey for a main event tag team match.
Rousey celebrated in the ring with Moon while Jax walked away with a serious look on his face. Rousey looked as confident as ever as Raw ended that way.
Analysis: I don’t expect a title change at TLC. I think Rousey holds that title all the way until WrestleMania where she’ll face Royal Rumble winner Becky Lynch, who might lose her title at TLC, but that’s another topic for another show.
Three Stars of the Show
- Drew McIntyre
- Dolph Ziggler
- Finn Balor
Ronda Rousey was all over the show and had a decent night, but there was nothing special about it.
4.5 out of 10
Last week: 2.5
2018 Average: 5.63
Last 5 Weeks: 2.5, 4, 6, 6, 3.5
2018 High: 8 (February 19)
2018 Low: 2.5 (November 26)
I give it a 4.5 out of 10.
The show was better than last week and slightly ahead of two weeks ago, so at least that’s something to be happy about. I’m trying to be positive here. It’s still well below the yearly average, though.
The booking of Drew McIntyre was good as well as Dolph Ziggler getting the win over McIntyre thanks to Balor, who had a solid night. I’m glad that Elias and Balor weren’t made to look like morons again and they actually worked together this week.
The women were featured heavily on the show with the first 30 minutes belonging to them, plus the main event slot.
There wasn’t much progress with the Ambrose/Rollins storyline although I liked Dean’s promo. It just felt like the same thing they have done for the last two months with Ambrose dominating again.
All of the Baron Corbin stuff bores me. It’s not good heel heat. It’s just boring to me.
— WWE (@WWE) December 4, 2018
The next WWE pay-per-view is Tables, Ladders & Chairs (TLC) on Sunday, December 16. Here’s what we know so far.
WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles
Smackdown Women’s Championship TLC Match: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka
Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match: Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin (If Strowman wins, he challenges Lesnar for the Universal Title at Royal Rumble. If Corbin wins, he is full-time GM of Raw.) - Strowman is questionable to make the match due to elbow surgery, so if he doesn't make it, maybe Bray Wyatt will take his place since Wyatt is expected back on Raw very soon.
Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Nia Jax
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) vs. The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E, Xavier Woods) vs. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso)
Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre
Elias vs. Bobby Lashley
Finals of Mixed Match Challenge (Teams to be determined.) - Balor might make the finals with his partner Bayley, so he could work twice that night. They could also lose to the team of Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox as well, which would put them in the finals.
I think Rey Mysterio vs. Randy Orton will be added as a Chairs Match, but there’s nothing official in terms of that match yet.
You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. Thanks for reading.