SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW PRIMER
NOVEMBER 30, 2020
ORLANDO, FL. AT THE THUNDERDOME IN THE AMWAY CENTER
AIRS ON FOX NETWORK, 8:00 p.m. EST
BY FRANK PETEANI (@FrankPeteani), PWTORCH.COM CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe
Match Results and Segments from Last Week
- Braun Strowman headbutted WWE official Adam Pearce during the opening segment where Pearce was having team Raw (Strowman, Keith Lee, A.J. Styles, Riddle, and Sheamus) state their case for a WWE Championship match against Drew McIntyre. Eventually, three matches were set up where the winners would face each other tonight in a triple threat.
- The Hurt Business (Shelton Benjamin & Cedric Alexander) defeated Raw Tag Team Champions New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods via count out. New Day then defeated Hurt Business to retain their titles when Hurt Business goaded them into restarting the match.
- Riddle defeated Sheamus to qualify for the triple threat match.
- Bray Wyatt and Alexa Bliss hosted another edition of the Firefly Funhouse. They introduced Friendship Frog, who Bray smashed with a scepter. They played a video of his forty-year life.
- Asuka defeated Lana via DQ when Women’s Tag Team Champions Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler attacked Asuka. She retained the Raw Women’s Championship. Asuka and Lana then paired up to defeat Jax & Baszler in a non-title match. Lana was non put through a table, ending the “streak” at nine weeks.
- Keith Lee defeated U.S. Champion Bobby Lashley to qualify for the triple threat match when MVP attacked Lee mid-match. Lashley made his case to Adam Pearce earlier, citing he was the only Raw champion to win at Survivor Series.
- Alexa Bliss defeated Nikki Cross. Here’s Nikki in a WWE exclusive:
- A.J. Styles defeated Randy Orton when “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt appeared and disrupted Orton. A.J. also qualifies for the triple threat match. Orton, who lost the WWE Championship back to Drew McIntyre two weeks ago, made his case to Adam Pearce as well.
Items Advertised by WWE
We’re on our way towards TLC which comes to us Sunday December 20. It will be the last Raw & Smackdown PPV of 2020 and the first to emanate from Tropicana Field in Tampa, FL in the string of events that will take place from that venue, which starts with the December 11 edition of Smackdown. The following are advertised for tonight in WWE’s preview:
- Keith Lee, Riddle and AJ Styles set for “Sudden Death” Triple Threat showdown
- Jeff Hardy to battle Elias in Symphony of Destruction Match
- Randy Orton to appear on A Moment of Bliss
Riddle vs. Keith Lee vs. A.J. Styles: Triple Threat Match to Determine Challenger for WWE Championship
Tonight, Riddle takes on Keith Lee and A.J. Styles to determine who will face Drew McIntyre next for the WWE Championship. In the opening segment overseen by WWE official Adam Pearce, the aforementioned wrestlers along with Sheamus all talked like juvenile kids and called each other names making their case after defeated Team Smackdown at Survivor Series with all members of Team Raw surviving. Braun Strowman took exception to Adam Pearce saying, “last but not least,” and headbutted Pearce as I mentioned earlier. On WWE’s website we found out Braun was suspended indefinitely.
With that said, the only one who has faced Drew on WWE programming is Lee, who had two non-title matches with him several months ago on Raw upon his being moved from NXT. Lee held both the North American and NXT Championships. Riddle is a former NXT Tag Team Championship co-holder and won the 2020 Dusty Rhodes Classic with Pete Dunne, who were known as the “Broserweights.” Styles is a multi-time WWE Champion, U.S. Champion, and Intercontinental Champion. Here’s Keith Lee, Riddle, and A.J. Styles in WWE exclusives:
Frank’s Analysis: What’s interesting is that it’s not clear as to when the winner will face Drew. I suppose we can assume TLC, but it could be a Raw episode and what happens in that match feeds TLC. I’m leaning towards Lee and sending Riddle and Styles into a feud. They’ve had the two matches as I mentioned, and Lee can position himself strong even if he does lose to McIntyre. Riddle and Styles would probably be a TV feud, but something different for Raw and they do have a small history from Smackdown earlier in the year. Speaking of Styles, I wouldn’t be surprised if they point in his direction. Drew has said he wants to work with him, and he can afford to lose a title match while making Drew look good. Riddle is on the low end of possibilities if at all, but you know how WWE likes to pull challengers out of their rear end every once in a while. His character is horrible and a total goof, but maybe the possibility of facing Drew will make him a bit more serious. Braun will definitely factor in at some point if not tonight, and for sure will be lined up to face Drew possibly at the Royal Rumble. Braun isn’t going to win the Rumble, so you may as well stick him in a title match. It wouldn’t be the first time.
Jeff Hardy vs. Elias: Symphony of Destruction Match
Folks we must accept the universal truth, and that the feud between Jeff Hardy and Elias is not over. Back at Hell in a Cell, Elias defeated Jeff via DQ when Jeff hit Elias with his guitar. Jeff got his win back when he won a guitar on a pole match. Elias hasn’t let matters go, as two weeks ago he accused Jeff of running him down during the Intercontinental Championship back in the summer. Jeff said he’ll be guilty of more than hitting him with a car if he keeps the accusations up.
Tonight, they go at it in a Symphony of Destruction match. There have been two, and both involved Elias. The first was back in March of 2018 against Braun Strowman. In the next match he actually paired with Strowman to face Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro back in February of this year on Smackdown.
Frank’s Analysis: You have to dress these Elias matches up with a gimmick, otherwise why care about seeing him wrestle a straight-up match? He’s more of a gimmick himself than a wrestler with a desire to accomplish anything in the ring. I do like the fact that he’s upset he didn’t get to compete for the Intercontinental Championship, but that’s more to serve the feud with Jeff.
A Moment of Bliss: Guest Randy Orton
Alexa Bliss welcomes Randy Orton into A Moment of Bliss following last week’s events. Towards the end of the match between Orton and A.J. Styles in which the winner qualified for the triple threat match tonight, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt made his presence known. His music played briefly earlier, but then the lights dimmed and eventually his horror-themed music played while he appeared on the ring apron. This shook up Orton and allowed Styles to hit his Phenomenal Forearm to score the pin.
There is history between Orton and Bray. Several years ago, Orton pledged his allegiance to Bray and joined the Wyatt Family, and together they won the Smackdown Tag Team Championship. Orton had a hidden agenda, which was to take down the Wyatt Family and destroy Bray. He infamously burned down his cabin, and eventually defeated him for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. They had a House of Horrors match shortly thereafter that was, well, appropriately named. In several recent Firefly Funhouse segments, scenes from Orton burning down the cabin have been replayed, and we can see Bray still holds a grudge over that.
Frank’s Analysis: I can’t help but be into this, but more to see how it’s handled. For the past year Orton has been destroying legends, so I’m not in a place as a fan where I’d want to suddenly cheer him. The Fiend is kind of cool in a way, but he’s put Alexa Bliss into a dark place, and they’ve spent several weeks trying to have Nikki Cross try to get Alexa away from the Fiend. Last week Alexa deceived Nikki to defeat her. He’s also terrorized legends and recently tormented fan favorite Kevin Owens. Why would I suddenly want to cheer him? I suppose we can look at this as Freddy Kreuger vs. Jason or either one of them vs. Mike Myers from Halloween? It’s hard to know the end game of this feud, but it’s different and interesting for sure.
Lacey Evans and Peyton Royce
Nothing is advertised for these women. There was an exclusive video of them showing Lacey wanting Peyton to focus on other opportunities:
Other Expectations and Final Thoughts
Overall, I’m looking forward to Raw, although there are still too many distraction and/or screwy finishes. They have their place in wrestling, but it’s become a crutch for WWE. It’s almost pointless to watch matches in their entirety. That said, I’m interested in who’s positioned to face Drew, what happens with Fiend and Orton, and how Braun Strowman’s “suspension” holds up. One thing is missing from all of this is who will be lined up to face Asuka for the Raw Women’s Championship. I suppose they’re waiting for Charlotte Flair to come back, and it’s safe to say she’ll probably be the one to dethrone Asuka. It’s a shame WWE spent the summer focused on Bayley and Sasha and not building up anybody else. They don’t think long-term, so I’m not surprised. The Royal Rumble is coming soon, so things will overall get heated up around that time.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankPeteani. Thank you for reading!