WWE RAW PRIMER 11/4: Structure of show up in the air due to cascading issues with travel from Saudi Arabia, The Beast Returns to Monday, Rollins to Address Future

By Frank Peteani, PWTorch contributor


Brock Lesnar (art credit Travis Beaven © PWTorch)

KELLER & MARTIN FLAGSHIP (11/28)
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WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
UNIONDALE, N.Y. AT THE NYCB LIVE: HOME OF THE NASSAU VETERANS MEMORIAL COLISEUM
NOVEMBER 4, 2019
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Announcers: Vic Joseph, Jerry “The King” Lawler, Dio Maddin

Arena, Crown Jewel Results Pertinent to Raw, and Top 10 Moments from Last Week

WWE returns to another frequent destination in the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y. for tonight’s edition of Raw. It’s always somewhat bittersweet when Raw is here as the building is less than 30 minutes from where my family and I live. I feel compelled to go, but realistically can’t make it happen every time. Nonetheless, WWE events have been emanating from here as far back as 1985 including the first taping of Saturday Night’s Main Event. How many of you used to check TV Guide back in the day to see if that show was airing in place of Saturday Night Live? You could argue that show was the original quarterly PPV. The first portion of WrestleMania 2 came from here, as that event was split between three locations. The building opened in 1972 and was home to the NHL’s New York Islanders until 2015. The building closed for two years for major renovations and was rebranded NYCB Live: Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

Here are the Crown Jewel results pertinent to Raw:

  • Humberto Carrillo won a battle royal to earn the right to challenge A.J. Styles of the O.C. for the U.S. Championship. Later in the show, A.J. retained the title.
  • Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson of the O.C. won the World Cup Tag Team Turmoil match. They entered eighth and defeated New Day and the Viking Raiders.
  • “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (of Smackdown) defeated Seth Rollins to win the Universal Championship.

Here are the top 10 moments of last week’s show:

As of this moment, WWE does not have their preview of tonight’s show up. This is likely due to the travel issues the talent faced coming out of Saudi Arabia. I’m going to talk about that here. As far as the show tonight, we’ll review the top stories coming out of last week’s Raw.

Saudi Arabia Travel Issues

For PWTorch VIP members, Wade Keller has covered this in his VIP Hotline podcast the last couple of days. I have been in touch with Wade giving my perspective as an airline pilot, hoping at best to shed some light on what could be really happening. There are numerous stories as to why the flight was delayed, from a fueling issue to a mechanical problem, to the pilots timing out and not being able to fly back. I will say with aircraft delays, any issue can open Pandora’s box. I want to credit Jake Barnett from ProWrestling.net who shared a tweet from A.J. Styles who apparently does some gaming channel. He posted this:

Take that whatever way you want. Whatever the issue may truly be, if it led to the pilots timing out, there’s nothing that can be done. Basically, you have a limit to how long you can be on duty which starts from the time you report, which is usually an hour before the flight, and adding the flight time to your destination. You have to be off by what’s called your Mandatory Off Time (MOT) before you “time out.” I’m not familiar with the limits when it comes to charter flights, but with scheduled flying as I do, it’s usually between 12-14 hours depending on a few factors. Once the pilots “time out” they need to get their necessary rest and try again when they’re legal to go back on duty.

I have faced this issue numerous times where a mechanical issue, weather, late aircraft, and other various issues led to not being able to do a flight. It’s terrible for the passengers who are just trying to get wherever they have to go. This can lead to negative emotions and, in this day and age with social media, everybody’s feelings are out there in the open rational or not. I’m not saying the talent didn’t have reason to be frustrated. Come on now, you’re in a foreign country that – let’s not be naïve – isn’t everybody’s favorite. They’re away from their families and the nature of the WWE travel schedule is crazy to begin with. I understand all of that, believe me! I’m just saying it’s hard to really judge the situation without knowing all the facts, especially when it comes to airline delays.

When you crack the nut on these things, most of the frustration comes down to communication and not the issue itself. I don’t know how the crew or the airline reps communicated with the talent and crew, but if they were getting half information and the runaround, I could see the frustration. Most rational people understand that air travel is not a perfect science. The ones that don’t, you can’t worry about them.

If it was a mechanical problem, it could be a nightmare. Atlas Air does strictly charter flights, and nothing scheduled according to my knowledge. Provisions have to be made for maintenance should an issue arise downline, meaning outside of your base of operations. Atlas Air has a base of operations in JFK, so the mechanics are there to work on the aircraft. I flew corporate jets before the airlines and, if we had a maintenance issue outside of base, we had to call our maintenance director who then had to call the head of maintenance in whatever city we were in. That could be a whole issue itself just getting a hold of someone. They then had to go through numerous logistics before a mechanic could even turn a screwdriver. That could and has led to extensive delays. I don’t know if that happened here, but it’s possible that a mechanical could lead to a delay which could lead to the crew being unable to do the flight until they get their proper rest.

Throw in the issue with Vince McMahon leaving. Now it’s possible he left before the issues arose. Who knows and I’m not going to get into that one way or another. I don’t get the impression, though, that at least someone from management stayed back to make sure the talent got home. If that didn’t happen, it’s unacceptable. Someone needs to be accountable.

Now I can go on and on. I don’t know the real story, but I just wanted to share my perspective having dealt with delays on different levels. Numerous wrestlers put up tweets while they were in Saudi Arabia and did the same when they came home. I love including social media clips in my reports, but there’s way too many to post. If you’re reading this article, you likely follow a bunch of wrestlers, so you can see what they posted. Kofi Kingston, Rusev, Buddy Murphy, Andrade, Curt Hawkins, and Zack Ryder were amongst the most pronounced unless I’m missing someone. WWE acknowledged the situation on their website and put out this tweet:

Top Developments

Brock Lesnar Quits Smackdown

This past Friday on Smackdown, Paul Heyman announced that WWE Champion Brock Lesnar officially quit Smackdown. This is due to the fact that Rey Mysterio could not go to Smackdown to face Lesnar on the heels of Rey attacking Lesnar after he retained his title over Cain Velasquez at Crown Jewel. Rey is exclusive property of Raw and the USA Network. Therefore, Lesnar will be coming to Raw to go after Rey. Nassau Coliseum’s Twitter account acknowledged this:

https://twitter.com/NYCBLive/status/1190644891136798720?s=20

Frank’s Analysis: If Lesnar could just quit Smackdown and go to Raw, why can’t Rey quit Raw and go to Smackdown? Why can’t Heyman negotiate to have this happen? How can the NXT wrestlers, property of the USA Network on Wednesday nights, just show up on Smackdown? Why not just draft Lesnar to Raw in the first place or draft Rey to Smackdown? Rey would have made a ton of sense on Friday nights. Ah please you know what I got a headache thinking about all of this. I don’t worry about this nonsense watching AEW or New Japan or even NXT for that matter. How did those NXT wrestlers feel on Friday night? They felt like stars, right? They felt important.

Rusev Loves Sex and Babies

Last week on the King’s Court, Lana and Rusev were guests of Jerry “The King” Lawler. Lana revealed that she’s been wanting to leave Rusev because all he wants is sex, and for her to have their babies. She claimed her modeling career is important and she doesn’t want to ruin her body by having a baby and having stretch marks. When Lawler asked if she was with Bobby Lashley because Rusev wanted a baby, she then revealed that Lashley claimed Rusev cheated on her and she believed him.

Lashley came out and they brawled. Lana then hit Rusev with a kendo stick. When he questioned her why she was doing this and claiming he loved her, Lashley hit Rusev with a low blow. He then kicked him down and made out with Lana to close out the show.

Lana accompanied Lashley as part of team Flair at Crown Jewel. Rusev was part of team Hogan, who defeated team Flair.

Frank’s Analysis: Rusev can’t desire sex from his attractive wife. Women are bad if they don’t want to have babies. Attractive women shouldn’t be with someone like Rusev. When you don’t want to be with someone anymore, just believe that they cheated on you because someone you’re attracted to told you so. Wrestling fans want to see husbands and wives break up on TV even though they know they’re still together in real life. Got it.

Seth Rollins No Longer Universal Champion

Last week on Raw heading into Crown Jewel, then-Universal Champion Seth Rollins defeated Erick Rowan in a Falls Count Anywhere match. He had a forklift lower a pallet onto Rowan and then stood on top of it for the pin. Here he was in a WWE exclusive prior to Crown Jewel:

Rollins unfortunately couldn’t figure it out as he lost a Falls Count Anywhere to the “Fiend” Bray Wyatt at Crown Jewel, losing the Universal Championship for the second time this year. Wyatt is on Smackdown and apparently Brock Lesnar is heading to Monday Night Raw with the WWE Championship. By the looks of things, the titles are being flipped for the first time since the roster split returned in 2016. WWE periodically flipped the World Championship and WWE Championship between Raw and Smackdown during the first roster split era from 2002-2011. At any rate, it looks like Rollins will address his future tonight on Raw looking at this tweet:

Frank’s Analysis: Seth Rollins is a mess right now and I don’t know what you do outside of keeping him off TV for a few months to figure it out. It’s kind of wrong place wrong time as the Fiend is popular, even as a heel, and thus Rollins could just be a victim of circumstance. You wonder though if the negativity towards Rollins had been building for a while with the constant “Burn it down” at the end of every promo, his social media wars with people, and looking more like a corporate choice rather than the guy fans were organically behind a year ago. I don’t think it’s Roman Reigns Part II, but sometimes it’s hard not to think that way.

Other Match Results from Last Week

Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch defeated Kairi Sane in a non-title match. Prior to this, Paige came out and brought out Kairi and Asuka and talked about their success, but got mist sprayed in her eyes by Asuka. After the match Becky had some thoughts in a WWE.com exclusive. It’s good to see her address her history with Asuka (losing match at Royal Rumble):

  • Buddy Murphy defeated R-Truth.
  • The Street Profits told everyone “We Want the Smoke” in the ring.
  • Ricochet defeated Drew McIntyre via DQ when Randy Orton got involved giving Ricochet an RKO.
  • Raw Tag Team Champions the Viking Raiders won a squash match.
  • Andrade defeated Sin Cara. Sin Cara brought Carolina, who got involved with Zelina Vega. Here’s Vega and Andrade in a WWE exclusive:

  • Natalya & Charlotte Flair defeated the IIconics (Peyton Royce & Billie Kay)
  • Aleister Black still wants someone to pick a fight with him.
  • U.S. Champion A.J. Styles defeated Humberto Carillo in a non-title match.

Summary & Closing Thoughts

Having Brock just quit Smackdown and come to Raw while everyone else is contractually obligated to their shows is just silly. In the big picture it makes me lose more respect for WWE on a weekly basis when they just continue to do things that make no sense and disrespect my knowledge of the product and just wanting it to be logical and make sense. When I watch AEW, it has issues, but the issues are ones that I don’t mind discussing. I’m not worried about it. They treat me with respect as a fan who follows the product and comes in with reasonable expectations.

At any rate, Smackdown ending up being a good show but that was because of the NXT guys being there. I don’t know if that happens again tonight. Of course, we can expect the whole Raw vs. Smackdown narrative to start and who knows how NXT will integrate into that. Nobody cares about show vs. show and if you do, that’s your business. I watch wrestling for the characters in which I choose to invest. In other news WWE sure has a lot of bad will with fans, rational or not, as a result of hearing what happened with the travel issues in Saudi Arabia. It will be interesting to see the fallout which could take months to learn, especially with wrestlers seemingly wanting to leave WWE upon the expiration of their contracts.


Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.

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