WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
NOVEMBER 26, 2018
MILWAUKEE, WI. AT THE FISERV FORUM
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00PM EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH SPECIALIST
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
Arena & Items Advertised by WWE
WWE pulls into the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for Raw tonight as we continue to put Survivor Series behind us and turn our attention towards TLC, which comes to us in just under three weeks on Sunday December 16, 2018. This is the first time the Fiserv Forum will host Raw as the arena only opened its doors two months ago to the day. It is the new home of the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks.
This week I will tie the recap of last week’s Raw and the build for TLC into the items of emphasis advertised for tonight. Those items according to WWE.com are as follows:
- Seth Rollins to issue an Intercontinental Championship Open Challenge on Raw
- Braun Strowman out of action; Balor vs. Corbin
- Ambrose on the offensive
- The “Facebreaker” awaits the Baddest Women on the Planet
- AOP vs. Roode & Gable for the Raw Tag Team Championship
- Elias vs. Bobby Lashley
Ambrose On the Offensive
Seth Rollins is set to defend his Intercontinental Championship against his former Shield “brother” Dean Ambrose at TLC. Thus far, it is a straight-up one-on-one match.
These two have been circling each other for weeks ever since Dean betrayed Seth following their winning of the Raw Tag Team Championship the night Roman Reigns announced he had leukemia and relinquished the Universal Championship. Last week, Dean made reference to the Shield getting what they deserved based on their actions. He never specified those actions, but went so far as to allude to Roman deserving leukemia. He also trolled the Los Angeles crowd blaming them for a “bad smell,” and even painted the words “burn it down” in a backstage area he claimed was where the Shield always hung out.
At the close of the show Dean continued his tirade of the crowd and Seth when Seth would make his way out to confront him. He ended up being treated to two of Dean’s Dirty Deeds finishers. Tonight, we will follow up on this and continue the build for their TLC match.
Frank’s Analysis: I like none of what was done for this feud. I don’t care if Roman Reigns approves. Pointing out his cancer in furtherance of a wrestling angle is in poor taste. Trolling the crowd and putting a towel on your face complaining of a bad smell and especially painting burn it down when a part of California is struggling in the aftermath of wildfires is absurd. It’s cheap heat, lazy writing, and does nothing to further the story. Historically, when you do the friend-turning angle, it has always worked better when the issues are about the parties involved. Go look at Paul Orndorff or Randy Savage turning on Hulk Hogan in the 1980s. Those feuds worked incredibly well because Orndorff and Savage both emphasized their issues with Hogan individually and thus you felt the conflict between the wrestlers when they ultimately got into the ring. Seth’s initial promo after the turn was done well, but the feud has come up short since. Dean has spoken in riddles and not clearly told us why he betrayed Rollins. He gave us a few reasons, but not the clear reason. Let’s hope we get that soon.
Check out this week’s episode of PWTorch’s Wrestling Night in America with Greg Parks…
In this episode of Wrestling Night in America, PWTorch columnist Greg Parks is joined by PWTorch.com contributor Jeff Vandrew Jr. to talk about the WWE landscape after Survivor Series. They also talk about the recently registered trademarks by the Elite group, and the upcoming ROH Final Battle PPV. They answer caller questions on Daniel Bryan’s top three babyface opponents, why WWE won’t let us miss Roman Reigns, and more.
Braun Strowman Out of Action
Last week it was announced by Raw commissioner Stephanie McMahon that Braun Strowman would have a TLC match at the upcoming so-named PPV against interim G.M. Baron Corbin. Braun was also told he would have a Universal Championship opportunity against champion Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble in January. Getting the matches with Corbin and Lesnar was part of a deal he made with Stephanie prior to Survivor Series.
Corbin was looking for his G.M. position to become permanent as a result of Raw sweeping Smackdown on the MAIN show of Survivor Series. At the TLC match, Stephanie decided Braun’s title match with Lesnar would be on the line as well as Corbin’s G.M. position.
Following this announcement, Braun would be “injured” in an impromptu Survivor Series-style match featuring himself, Finn Balor, and Elias vs. Corbin, Drew McIntyre, and Bobby Lashley. Corbin hit Braun’s elbow with one of the stairs as he was being restrained by McIntyre and Lashley. It turns out this was to write him off TV as he is having surgery as a result of bone spurs in his elbow according to multiple wrestling media outlets. WWE also announced it on their website and Twitter, and called it a “shattered elbow”:
— WWE (@WWE) November 21, 2018
The tweet will allow you to go to WWE.com and review the video of the injury angle if you wish. Word is that he will not miss significant time and should be ready for TLC; however, this not confirmed.
Frank’s Analysis: I get the sense Braun will be ready for TLC. He was expected to miss significant time last year due to injury, but returned in half the anticipated time. It doesn’t mean that will happen again, but WWE will certainly want to get one of their top stars back ASAP. The injury bug has ravaged the company as of late as Dolph Ziggler is also dealing with a foot injury. He was at Starrcade Saturday night not in a wrestling capacity but in McIntyre’s corner.
If Braun can’t go it’s been speculated that Bray Wyatt could take his place. He returned to WWE action at Starrcade and worked against Corbin.
The “Facebreaker” Awaits the Baddest Woman on the Planet
Ronda Rousey is set to defend her Raw Women’s Championship at TLC against Nia Jax, who has dubbed herself the “facebreaker” following her hard way punch to Smackdown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch a few weeks ago. As we recall, this forced WWE to remove Becky from her Survivor Series Champion vs. Champion match with Ronda and replace her with Charlotte Flair
Last week Ronda came out to discuss her being a fighting champion following her Survivor Series match with Charlotte, a match which saw her get brutalized during and after the contest:
— WWE (@WWE) November 21, 2018
She would go on to defeat Mickie James after she forced Baron Corbin to give her some competition. Following the match Nia and Tamina would come out and make their presence known to Ronda:
— WWE (@WWE) November 20, 2018
Earlier in the evening Nia and Tamina defeated Sasha Banks and Bayley.
Frank’s Analysis: After Ronda got booed out of the building at Survivor Series, WWE is lucky there is nuclear heat on Nia Jax. She’ll likely get a favorable reaction in this feud, but I can’t help but think Ronda has run out of equity with the fans. To be fair, I believe they’ve turned on her mostly because of Becky’s emergence as a huge star. There continues to be a Twitter war between both women. Here’s a few tweets just to give you a sample of what has been going on:
Hey Ronnie, does this give you me-ness envy? pic.twitter.com/IjbtStggoa
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) November 21, 2018
I’ve never seen a judo ‘master’ get so easily thrown, Ronnie. I’m convinced you let one of your turkeys at the ranch peck these replies out. Which one of them wrote this one, Shayna? https://t.co/i4IdOP8ESh
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) November 23, 2018
Raw Tag Team Championship: AOP (Champions) vs. Bobby Roode & Chad Gable
Last week in a backstage skit where several wrestlers were getting food at catering including Bobby Roode & Chad Gable, they made fun of Raw Tag Team Champion AOP’s manager Drake Maverick’s “urinating in his pants” incident at Survivor Series. Following the segment, Roode & Gable defeated AOP in a non-title match.
Tonight, Roode & Gable get an opportunity at the championship as they challenge AOP.
Frank’s Analysis: When did the Authors of Pain become AOP? It reminds me of when the Acolytes Protection Agency became “APA.” Let’s hope AOP has success similar to that of APA. As far as the match tonight there can’t be many expectations. It’s embarrassing that Drake has to have the moniker of peeing himself. As it was so eloquently put, this skit was written for an audience of one meaning Vince McMahon. It doesn’t benefit Drake or AOP, who should be portrayed as a superior heel team. Their championship run is not off to a good start. Based on how Vince has booked tag teams in recent years, we can’t be all that confident. Last week we saw the Revival, who appeared to be getting a push back in the summer, lose in three minutes to the Lucha House Party.
Elias vs. Bobby Lashley
Recently, Lashley defeated Elias to earn a spot on the Raw Survivor Series team by defeating him a few weeks ago. Last week in the elimination match I mentioned earlier, Lashley eliminated Elias via count out. Elias goes one on one with Bobby Lashley tonight.
Frank’s Analysis: This is a tough feud to handle because both have recently turned but also aren’t the best of wrestlers. I’m not sure a TV feud does them any good as it would if they were feuding on house shows. Neither one of them brings out the better in each other. We tend to get more focused on Elias playing guitar and praying Lashley’s manager Lio Rush doesn’t serenade us on the microphone. Thankfully we have been spared that in recent weeks.
Stephanie McMahon’s Dismemberment Comment
This is not an item of emphasis tonight, but I wanted to comment on Stephanie McMahon’s “dismemberment” comment during her promo with Braun Strowman last week.
When Braun was discussing his desire for a match with Baron Corbin and eventually Brock Lesnar, he told Stephanie he wanted it known he didn’t want to be responsible for his actions. Stephanie eventually went on in the conversation to say “dismemberment is a bit of a corporate liability, but we’ll get there, we’ll get there, I’m sure.”
When I heard this, I nearly fell off my chair, but not from the standpoint that was brought up on several podcasts here at PWTorch. I just couldn’t believe she would allude to dismemberment being a possibility in a wrestling setting. I get the sense she may have thought she was being funny and sarcastic, but that’s taking it way too far regardless of what is going on in the world. WWE recently took a beating for going to Saudi Arabia in light of the murder and alleged dismemberment of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
All I’m going to say in WWE is walking on thin ice with a lot of things they say and do. They’re just lucky a certain company from the 1990s based in Atlanta named WCW isn’t in business to push them around. Going to the extreme in promos doesn’t work and it only gets people talking in a negative way about the company.
Natalya defeated Ruby Riott last week in a fairly competitive ten-minute match. Nothing is on the books for them as of yet tonight, but I’m certain there may be a continuing of this feud in some variation.
It’s been rumored that Alexa Bliss may be forced to retire due to a concussion she suffered prior to Evolution. She has since denied those rumors and vows to return to the ring.
Given how conservative WWE has been with concussions in recent times, it’s not out of the realm of possibility she moves into the G.M. role should they decide to have Baron Corbin lose at TLC. It’s a position in which she would excel and buy some time while she recovers. Even if they want Baron to stay G.M., Alexa can be an assistant. There’s no need to rush her back at this point.
Start Time & Matches Advertised
The arena’s website is advertising a start time of 6:30 p.m. local but doesn’t specify when doors are opening.
They show two matches:
• Intercontinental Championship Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose
• Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre (w/Dolph Ziggler)
They do also show Raw Women’s Champ Ronda Rousey, Bobby Lashley, Baron Corbin, Elias and “many more.”
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions and discussion are welcome Thank you for reading!