WWE RAW PRIMER 11/5: Crown Jewel fallout, Lesnar new Universal Champion, Strowman, Survivor Series matches, Riott Squad, Ambrose & Rollins, Nia & Tamina?

By Frank Peteani, PWTorch Specialist

Braun Strowman (artist Travis Beaven © PWTorch)


NOVEMBER 5, 2018

Arena / Recap of Last Week & Crown Jewel / Items Advertised by WWE

WWE Raw returns to the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England after appearing last year right around this time.  WWE will spend tomorrow night in this same arena for Smackdown as well.  The England crowd is always an exciting crowd to witness, and just like the night-after-Wrestlemania-crowd I’m sure they’ll “cheer who normally gets booed and boo who normally gets cheered.”  Remember that’s what Corey Graves and Michael Cole have taught us recently?

Crown Jewel is finally in the rear-view mirror, and we can now turn our attention towards Survivor Series.  After dealing with everything that came with Crown Jewel, we can now look forward to two weeks of WWE talking about “brand supremacy” as Raw faces Smackdown in the “only time of the year they do so.” (They don’t face each other during the Royal Rumble?  Money in the Bank?  World Cup?  … nothing?)

Coming out of Crown Jewel from Raw, Brock Lesnar is now a 2-time Universal Champion as he defeated Braun Strowman at Crown Jewel with assistance from interim G.M. Baron Corbin.  Dolph Ziggler made it to the finals of the World Cup where he lost to Shane McMahon, who is now the “best in the world.”  I’ve put enough sarcasm in this report and thus I will save some for tomorrow in regard to this …. decision.  In the main event D-Generation X, Shawn Michaels and Triple H defeated The Brothers of Destruction, Undertaker and Kane.

Items not addressed at Crown Jewel were the continued issues between Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, who currently hold the Raw Tag Team Championship.  Rollins addressed Ambrose last week, but things seemed to go nowhere.  The Riott Squad paired with Mickie James and Alicia Fox and lost to Trish Stratus, Lita, Natalya, Bayley, and Sasha Banks.  Bobby Lashley, with Lio Rush in his corner, lost to Finn Balor again but this time via DQ.  Lashley went on to lose his World Cup match to Seth Rollins after being inserted into the tournament, replacing John Cena by G.M. Corbin.  Newly minted babyface Elias defeated former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal after being attacked by Mahal while he was serenading the audience once again trolling G.M. Corbin.  Is it me or does Corbin have a lot of people mad at him?  First Elias now Strowman has his issues following Crown Jewel.  Nia Jax defeated Ember Moon after both were interviewed backstage.  Chad Gable & Booby Roode defeated The Ascension and the Authors of Pain in a triple threat match but were attacked by AOP following the contest.  The Revival defeated a “debuting” Lucha House Party, Lince Dorado & Kalisto from 205Live.  Dolph Ziggler defeated Apollo Crews, who is likely headed back to “the bench.”

Here are the items of emphasis for tonight’s show according to WWE.com:

  • The Monster Among Men on the warpath
  • Team Red heads towards Survivor Series
  • What’s Next for the Riott Squad?
  • Rollins and Ambrose are still Tag Champions
  • Will Nia Jax and Tamina cross paths once more?

As of this writing, and per usual in regard to Raw, no matches are announced.

The Monster Among Men on the Warpath 

We are two weeks removed from Roman Reigns vacating the Universal Championship.  At Crown Jewel this past Friday, Braun Strowman took on Brock Lesnar for the vacant title.  They were originally to be part of a triple threat match with Reigns defending the championship.

Interim Raw G.M. Baron Corbin came out prior to the match.  He would proceed to attack Strowman with the vacant Universal Championship belt.  The match would essentially be a three-minute squash, seeing Lesnar hit numerous F5s, and would become the first man to be a two-time Universal Champion.  Here’s a clip courtesy of Twitter:

Expect a response from Strowman tonight as likely targets Corbin for what he did prior to the match at Crown Jewel.

Frank’s Analysis:  I talked about Lesnar getting the title in last week’s primer.  His value to WWE is the highest when he is in the championship picture or in fact holding the championship.  I don’t need to see him wrestle every week, but I hope we’re not getting into another situation where the Universal Champion doesn’t appear for three months similar to what happened earlier this year.  He does have a match with A.J. Styles at Survivor Series, and thus we’ll look forward to that.  Following that it’s anybody’s guess how they will proceed considering Reigns’ departure caused WWE to call an audible.  If Strowman is going to eventually get the title as a top babyface, it would be better if some sort of journey took place.  Granted, he won the Greatest Royal Rumble and Money in the Bank.  Nothing came of the Rumble and MITB was cashed in unsuccessfully.  He also briefly turned heel only to be betrayed by Drew McIntyre.  Putting the title on him only because Reigns had to relinquish it would have made him feel like “second choice.”  If Strowman is truly the guy they will be going to in Reigns’ departure, a good way to go given situations like this in the past is to have him come out at the start of Raw completely angry looking for Corbin.  This is not because we’re clamoring for a Strowman-Corbin feud.  We just want to know that Strowman is upset about what went down at Crown Jewel and wants his pound of flesh.  This could be the beginning of the journey I spoke of earlier that gets Strowman back into a title match with Lesnar.

There are no indications they will go this way at the moment, but it can’t be ruled out that Seth Rollins could be earmarked as they guy that will eventually conquer Lesnar.  Many clamored for this to take place at SummerSlam, especially following Roman Reigns’ two unsuccessful attempts earlier in the year.  I get the sense that before anyone could go over Lesnar, Vince wanted Reigns to do so as he was clearly his choice to be the top babyface.  Now that that’s happened, if WWE wants to commit to Rollins, they could go in this direction.  We need to see more of indication that that’s what they’re thinking to believe it’s a possibility.

Team Red Heads Towards Survivor Series

The following Raw vs. Smackdown matches are set for Survivor Series:

  • Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey vs. Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch
  • Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins vs. U.S. Champion Shinsuke Nakamura
  • Universal Champion Brock Lesnar vs. WWE Champion A.J. Styles

Expect the build-up towards the traditional Survivor Series matches for both the men and women to start tonight.  Last week on Smackdown, G.M. Paige asked Charlotte Flair to captain the Smackdown women’s team.  Charlotte initially declined, but Paige asked her to think about it further.

The men have been quiet on Twitter in regard to Survivor Series, but Ronda and Becky certainly have not.  I will include Becky’s in the Smackdown primer.  Here’s a few tweets from Ronda:


Frank’s Analysis:  Here we go with the “brand supremacy” nonsense again.  The only saving grace is we only have to hear it for a few weeks.  Everyone from Raw and Smackdown will proclaim that victories prove their brand is superior to the other.  They all do realize they work for the same company, right?  They realize they could be drafted to the other brand post-WrestleMania, right?  Anyway, all three matches are intriguing.  It’ll be interesting how they handle A.J.-Brock given they had a match at last year’s event and Brock went over.  It’s anybody’s guess who wins this time.  The Miz did essentially put down the WWE Championship when he pointed out to A.J. that he never main-evented a show with the title.  You would think they’d want to re-emphasize the significance of the title.  The original plan had to be A.J. vs. Reigns before Reigns had to relinquish the title.  I would guess he would have gone over then, so do they stick with that plan even though Brock just got the Universal Title match?  Rollins-Nakamura should be fun to watch.  The match that is getting a lot of conversation is Becky vs. Ronda.  Ronda got a negative reaction when Becky mentioned her on Smackdown.  My guess is that Becky continues to get the more positive reaction for a few reasons.  She continues to be cheered even though they have turned her heel.  Secondly, I think people will just favor Becky over Ronda even though Ronda has been popular since her debut.  Becky is viewed as the one who worked to become a champion while Ronda could be viewed as one who was handed championship opportunities in WWE when saddled next to Ronda.  It’ll be interesting to see if both women appear on their respective brands only or cross over in the buildup.  

What’s Next for the Riott Squad?

Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Natalya defeated the Riott Squad at Evolution.  Last week on Raw, the women faced off again only this time it was Trish Stratus & Lita teaming with Bayley, Sasha, and Natalya.  The Riott Squad added Alicia Fox & Mickie James.  Trish, Lita, Bayley, Sasha, and Natalya came out victorious.

Tonight, expect a new direction for the Riott Squad.

Frank’s Analysis:  Quite frankly I’m not worried about what they do here.  They have beaten down the Riott Squad so much that I don’t expect things to change.  The women’s Survivor Series match needs to be filled out.  I don’t expect Liv Morgan or Sarah Logan to participate, but Ruby Riott is certainly a candidate.  She has impressed all year going back to her challenging Charlotte earlier in the year for the Smackdown Women’s Championship and working opposite Ronda Rousey recently in a non-title match on Raw.  It’ll be interesting to see if they begin taking the next step with her.  The other thing to keep our ear perked up for are potential Women’s Tag Team Championships.  Morgan and Logan could be in the mix.

Rollins and Ambrose Still Tag Champions

On the heels of Roman Reigns leukemia announcement two weeks ago, his Shield “brothers” Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose won the Raw Tag Team Championship from Dolph Ziggler and Drew McIntyre.  Following the victory, Ambrose attacked Rollins and left him in the ring, leaving the championship picture up in the air.

Last week, Rollins wanted an explanation from Ambrose for his actions.  He cited it could have been his fault, thinking perhaps Ambrose never forgave him for his betrayal of the Shield back in 2014.  He owned his actions but wanted Ambrose to do the same.  Ambrose arrived in the crowd in the same fashion the Shield would; however, he never came to the ring nor did he utter a word.  Rollins said at least when he betrayed the Shield, he explained his actions to their face.  That did not get Ambrose to speak.  Rollins vowed to make his life a “living hell.”  Here’s the segment:

Frank’s Analysis:  For me there has been an elephant in the room for the last four and a half years.  Rollins has acknowledged his turning on the Shield, but he never owned it the way he did last week.  If he in fact is going to be a top babyface for WWE, they needed to get him over this hurdle.  It’s anybody’s guess what they do with the tag team championship.  Logic would dictate they relinquish the titles and have some sort of tournament leading to a final match at Survivor Series.  As of now you have the three matches announced earlier plus the men and women’s traditional Survivor Series contests, giving us five total matches.  There is certainly room for more, and thus they could also have the tournament at Survivor Series, depending on how many teams partake.  You have the Authors of Pain, Roode & Gable, The Ascension, The Revival, The B-Team, Ziggler & McIntyre, Slater & Rhyno (remember them), and I suppose the Lucha House Party now.  It’s not exactly a murderer’s row, but folks these are your Raw tag teams. 

This is just speculation, but let’s not rule out the possibility of going to one men’s tag team championship if the rumors of a women’s tag team championship begin to come to fruition.  There’s a lot of moving parts to this and I’m not sure how this would work logistically, but it’s certainly on the table.  

Will Nia Jax and Tamina Cross Paths?

Nia Jax defeated Ember Moon following a backstage interview with both women where Nia touted her battle royal win and upcoming championship she earned with the victory.

During the match Tamina’s music hit, stopping both Moon and Nia from performing as anyone’s entrance music typically does.  Nia would attack Moon and hit her with a leg drop and score the pin.  Following the match, Nia and Tamina had a stare down ending in Tamina leaving the ring with Nia looking intimidated.

Frank’s Analysis:  Tamina is in a storyline.  Do we care?  I say this because she has been around for years but has done nothing of significance so why should we think anything will come of this.  Perhaps the family connection between Nia and Tamina gives us interest to a certain degree.  As far as Nia is concerned, I discussed in last week’s primer the prospect of how she would be framed following her battle royal victory given her last rivalry with Ronda Rousey.  Would she be presented heelish even though she is a babyface?  Watching last week’s interview, she was certainly framed as a heel especially when she called Moon “Miss Lightning in a Bottle.”  WWE continues to confuse us as to how we should feel about Nia.  This all rings similar to what happened following Backlash in May when Nia started acting heelish in the run-up to her match at MITB with Ronda.  Historically you begin to detach yourself from ones that flip/flop for the convenience of the company or the character they are opposing.  For her to be intimidated by Tamina (for whatever reason), it adds to the confusion as that frames Tamina as the heel if in fact that’s the presentation for which WWE was going.  If this storyline interests you, let’s hope we get some clarity.  Let’s not ignore the utter burial of Ember Moon here, essentially losing a squash match.  Granted it’s to the number one contender to the Raw Women’s Championship; however, that doesn’t make me feel good about the prospects of a valuable women who was an NXT Women’s Champion just before her main roster call-up earlier in the year.

Start Time & Matches Advertised

The arena’s website is advertising doors are opening at 5:30 p.m. local time but doesn’t specify when the show is starting

There is one match advertised, but the website is clearly not up to date.  They show an eight-man tag match featuring Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins and Finn Balor vs. Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens, Baron Corbin, and Drew McIntyre.  Reigns is currently on leave taking care of a re-occurrence of leukemia while Owens is recovering from double knee surgery.  They also show Ronda Rousey, Bobbly Lashley, and Alexa Bliss appearing.

Follow me on Twitter @FrankPeteani and ask any questions you may have.  Thank you for reading!

NOW CHECK OUT THIS REPORT: Sunday Update: Lesnar’s new WWE contract, Dana White reacts,WWE featuring Hogan introductory video on website, Zack Sabre Jr. coming to ROH, WWE’s next UK tour, Eli Drake tears into superkicks and flippy-flop in-ring wrestling, Wade Barrett

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