SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
ORLANDO, FL. AT THE THUNDERDOME IN THE AMWAY CENTER
NOVEMBER 16, 2020
AIRS ON USA NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
Top Three Developments from Last Week
- Riddle qualified for team Raw at Survivor Series by winning a second chance triple threat match over Jeff Hardy and Elias. Here’s Riddle in a WWE exclusive:
- Nikki Cross confronted her former best friend Alexa Bliss about her recent alliance with “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. She apologized for not being there for her as a friend, but then gave her an ultimatum saying it was him or her. Alexa chose Bray and walked away.
- Drew McIntyre and Raw Tag Team Champions New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) defeated WWE Champion Randy Orton and the Miz & John Morrison. This was set up earlier in the evening on MizTV where Miz and John Morrison were supposed to have New Day as their guests, but Orton came out first followed by New Day followed by Drew. Prior to the match we learned that Orton would defends his title against Drew next week (tonight). In addition, New Day would have to defend their titles against Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin of the Hurt Business.
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We are in the go-home week for Survivor Series, one of the “big four” PPVs for WWE that for the most part induces eye rolls these days with the battle for brand supremacy that this year is being tabbed “best of the best.” That said, tonight is somewhat of a loaded show with two title defenses which could put scheduled champion vs. champion matches in flux. I mentioned those matches earlier. WWE’s official preview does not include anything else.
WWE Championship: Randy Orton (champ) vs. Drew McIntyre
Randy Orton is set to defend his WWE Championship tonight against Drew McIntyre, the man from whom he took the title inside Hell in a Cell one month ago in his third attempt to dethrone Drew. Orton is in his 14th reign overall as a world champion in WWE and ended Drew’s first run, which began at WrestleMania when he defeated Brock Lesnar.
Outside of tag matches and segments on TV, their journey has included three matches as I mentioned. At SummerSlam, Drew retained in a straight-up match by pinning Orton with a backslide. One month later at Clash of Champions, Drew again retained but this time in an Ambulance Match. Then in October came the Hell in a Cell match I discussed earlier. Drew has been adamant about getting the title back, and even turned down his long-time friend Sheamus’ proposal to join team Raw, citing his focus. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt is in play too, as he’s been targeting Orton but hasn’t physically attacked him yet.
There are several balls in the air so to speak, and thus we’ll find out tonight which way they go. Whomever wins has a date with Universal Champion Roman Reigns from Smackdown at Survivor Series. Reigns and Orton feuded back in 2014 after the Shield broke up and Orton was part of The Authority. Reigns and Drew feuded in several ways from late 2018 and throughout the following year. Reigns defeated Drew at WrestleMania in 2019 in his first singles match back from taking time off to treat leukemia. Here’s Orton in a WWE exclusive as well as Drew on Raw Talk:
Frank’s Analysis: As I said there are A LOT of players involved (Sheamus, Fiend, Orton, Drew, and a Survivor Series match with Reigns), so it’s hard to predict what they’ll do. I legitimately don’t know the right scenario, but if I’m guessing I say Orton retains with some type of screwy finish setting up what they want to do at TLC, which could be one more match against Drew. I could see a TLC match between Orton and Drew where Drew can finally beat him with the Claymore Kick. Given Drew’s appearance on Smackdown this past Friday, it could suggest Drew winning tonight and facing Reigns at Survivor Series. That could send Orton into a feud with Fiend and Drew into a feud with Sheamus. Above everything else remember this … as we speak Vince could be changing his mind on what he wants to do, so no sense in racking your brain trying to figure out. Watch and reflect is the best advice I can give here.
Raw Tag Team Championship: New Day (champs Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) vs. Hurt Business (Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin)
New Day defends their Raw Tag Team Championship tonight against the Hurt Business (Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin). The leader of the Hurt Business, MVP, has said that he wants “payment” in the form of gold after taking out Retribution. (They’re still around, but who’s asking?) Two weeks ago, on Raw, Alexander & Benjamin defeated New Day in a non-title match.
Tonight, it counts as the titles are on the line. This would not be Benjamin’s first dance with tag team gold after holding the WWE Tag Team Championship several years ago with Charlie Haas as part of the World’s Greatest Tag Team. Alexander has never held tag team gold but was the WWE Cruiserweight Champion throughout most of 2018. Ironically, he beat Mustafa Ali, now of Retribution, in the finals of a tournament at WrestleMania that year to win the title.
(Another fun fact is that the WWE Tag Team Championship Shelton held was created for Smackdown back in 2002 and is now the Raw Tag Team Championship. Don’t ask me to explain that lineage.)
Frank’s Analysis: I don’t have a strong feeling either way, but I could see a Hurt Business win here and they go on to face the Street Profits at Survivor Series. In another scenario, I could see New Day retaining and facing the Profits. Big E has been getting involved with the Profits on Smackdown, so that could play a factor somehow. I see a ton of consequential actions to what’s done in this situation.
Other Match Results and Stories from Last Week
- Drew Gulak requested to join the Hurt Business but was denied and then attacked. He wore a clip-on tie. R-Truth then defeated him to regain the 24/7 Championship. Clip-on ties get a bad rap. They’re useful.
- Shayna Baszler defeated Lana. Nia Jax was able to put her through the table again with a Samoan Drop, but Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke thwarted her efforts. She would be denied later after losing to Raw Women’s Champion Asuka via DQ when Shayna got involved in the match. We may be up to eight weeks in a row now. Here’s Shayna & Nia in a WWE exclusive:
- A.J. Styles held a team meeting with Riddle, Keith Lee, Braun Strowman, and Sheamus. They called each other a bunch of names and then Lee & Riddle defeated Braun and Sheamus with A.J. as the referee.
- Bobby Lashley defeated Titus O’Neil to retain the U.S. Championship.
After regaining the 24/7 Championship, R-Truth lost it to Akira Tozawa and then the title changed hands a bunch of times before eventually ending up back with R-Truth.
- Mustafa Ali of Retribution defeated Ricochet.
Outside of all the nonsense with the Lana table spots, 24/7 Championship silliness, and Retribution I’m really looking forward to tonight’s Raw to see what they do. Given Drew McIntyre’s appearance on Smackdown I could see one thinking he could win the title and set up the match with Roman Reigns at Survivor Series. My question would be then why take the title off of him in the first place? Putting the title on Randy Orton for a month serves no purpose. Now if this were a promotion that planned long-term, I would say they want to hold off on the Drew-Roman match, but Vince wants what he wants when he wants it. If he wants that match now, he’ll do it whether it’s a good idea or not. I’m curious if they take the title off New Day, but my guess is a New Day vs. Street Profits match is more appealing to Vince than a Hurt Business vs. Profits match. Again, you never know. It’s not worth racking your brain. You’re better off watching and reflecting than predicting and stressing.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Questions and discussion are welcome! Thank you for reading.