SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
MULTIPLE TAG PARTNERS FOR RONDA…
Recap: After a ten bell salute for George H.W. Bush, the show opened with a tag match where Ronda Rousey and Natalya were slated to face Nia Jax and Tamina. Riott Squad came out at the beginning of the match, distracting the faces. Tamina and Nia took advantage, taking out both faces. The Riott Squad then jumped in, powerbombing Natalya from the apron through the table.
Later backstage, Ronda yelled at Alexa Bliss (new head of the women’s division), saying that Riott Squad had crossed a line. Alexa informed her that she had sent Riott Squad home. Ronda said she needed to get her hands on Nia and Tamina. Alexa said she couldn’t let her do that in good conscience, but said she’d find her a new tag partner. Ronda said he’d find her own partner.
Later backstage, Charly informed Nia and Tamina that social media had broken the news that Ronda had chosen Ember Moon as her partner. Nia said she was hoping that Charly was her partner. She said while that was ridiculous, it was no more ridiculous than any other partner. She said Tamina had been jumping Ember from behind so as to not see her face. Now that they’d have to see her face in the ring, Nia said she’d have to rearrange it, as she did to Becky Lynch. She screamed that the title would be hers.
In the main event, Tamina and Nia attacked Ronda before Ember got to the ring. The faces eventually gained the upper hand. After some back and forth, Ember hit an Eclipse on Tamina, followed by an armbar by Ronda for the win.
Evaluation: Nia’s promo was pretty good. She came across as a creepy sadist, which works for her heel character.
The main event was a sold match with good action. Tamina taking the fall obviously made sense, as it protects the whole Facebreaker gimmick for Nia headed into the PPV.
Forecast: The Natalya friendship angle was laid on thick, so I assume she’ll turn soon.
DOLPH AND DREW SPLIT…
Recap: At the top of the second hour, Baron Corbin came to the ring for “Drew McIntyre Appreciation Night.”
Drew walked out and reminded everyone of his goal to change Raw’s culture. He criticized the other wrestlers for playing on their phones and video games in the locker room when he got there. He said he had changed things, demanding 150% from everyone. He criticized Finn Balor specifically, calling him the voice of the pathetic people.
Corbin said now that Drew had taken out Kurt Angle, Raw needed a new gold medalist. He then presented Drew with a gold medal of excellence.
Dolph Ziggler then interrupted. He was upset that he hadn’t been invited to the celebration. He reminded Drew that they were a team. He said that he was the brains, while Drew was the muscle.
Drew disagreed, saying that he was the brains, muscle, talent, and whole package of the operation. He said Dolph’s role was to get him into a prominent position, and for once in his life, Dolph had succeeded. Dolph then hit him with a Zig Zag and started to leave, but Baron Corbin stopped him and set a match.
During the match, Drew said he had been going too easy on Dolph due to his soft spot for him, and said that going forward he’d pretend Dolph was someone he didn’t like, Finn Balor. Finn Balor came to ringside to watch the match.
While the referee checked on Dolph Ziggler at one point, Finn Balor hit Drew with a dropkick on the outside. Drew barely beat the count into the ring, but was immediately hit with a superkick for the pin.
Backstage, Drew was angry at his loss. He told Charly Caruso that the victory was tainted. He said that Dolph was afraid and a parasite that leeched on him. He closed by saying Finn was a marked man.
Evaluation: This split had been coming for a while. While this match represented Drew’s first loss, due to interference it was more about creating anger for Drew than getting Dolph over as a face.
Forecast: Based on the level at which Finn has been booked, I can’t imagine him beating Drew McIntyre. Drew will likely then move on to a feud with Dolph Ziggler.
DEAN KEEPS UP THE INSULTS…
Recap: Six men in gas masks came to the ring, followed by Dean Ambrose (also in a mask). It was a play on Dean’s recent accusations that the WWE fans smell and that he needed vaccinations to be around them.
Dean cut a promo through his gas mask. He said his protective measures were necessary in a slum like Houston. He said the measures were also necessary to protect against Seth Rollins, who had viciously attacked him “unprovoked.” He took off the mask and then admitted that the attack was a little provoked. He said he had been trying to trigger Seth. He called Seth needy and emotional like the fans, always wanting something form him.
Dean asked the crowd if they knew what it was like to live with someone that always needed to be in control. [Dean lived with Seth? Or maybe a dig at Renee.]
Dean said he used to be proud of the Shield, until Seth and Roman started caring too much about being role models for the fans. He said they sold out. The fans chanted for Roman. Dean said he was the last man in the industry with integrity, the moral compass of WWE.
Dean said that at TLC, Seth would lose control. Dean said he would take the Intercontinental Title. Seth then executed a sneak attach, dumping Dean to the outside and taking out the men in gas masks. The fight between Dean and Seth then went into the crowd. Dean eventually gained the upper hand by smashing him with a gas mask. He finished him with a Dirty Deeds outside the ring, followed by a second one in the ring.
Afterwards, Corey Graves pressed Renee Young for details on the situation. Renee became upset and told him no one is entitled to know what goes on between husband and wife.
Evaluation: This was a good segment. Dean played the role of the twisted heel that believes his actions are justified.
Forecast: The escalation in Renee’s level of upset when being asked about Dean has to be going somewhere. Perhaps he’ll eventually turn on her for heat.
During the terrible Sasha-Bayley segment, the seeds were formally planted for the women’s tag titles….
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – RAW 11/26: Corbin Power Trip, More Video from Dean, Better Reaction for Ronda