WWE Raw results, recap, grades: Survivor Series build kicks in, tag team picture clears up
With little time to build Survivor Series, things kicked into high gear on Monday night
The month of November has arrived, so as is customary every year, the brief time has come where the men and women of WWE entertain the fans over in Europe. Raw on Monday night emanated from Manchester, England, just three days after the controversial. With Crown Jewel out of the way now, we're on a one-way road to Survivor Series, which is a mere 13 days away. There's a bit of build left for one of the "Big Five" shows of the year, and Monday's Raw cleared up some of the bigger questions that have been lingering as Survivor Series looms ahead.
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Survivor Series (finally) takes center stage
Acting general manager Baron Corbin was out to begin Raw this week, fresh off his actions of basically costing Braun Strowman the universal championship at Crown Jewel with his attack before the bell. The entire Raw roster was on the stage, signaling that some sort of announcement was laying ahead -- which it indeed was. Flanked by security surrounding the ring for his own safety, presumably as protection from an angry Monster Among Men, Corbin arrogantly explained that it's normal to have security for someone as high-profile as he is. The general manager said that there will be traditional 5-on-5 Survivor Series matches featuring men and women from both brands, and he also revealed that commissioner Stephanie McMahon will be on Raw next week to address Shane McMahon "stealing" the World Cup at Crown Jewel.
Corbin proclaimed that he would be serving as the captain of the Raw Survivor Series men's team, though he will not actually compete in the match. And the first three members of the men's team are: Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre & Braun Strowman, who he said needs to learn respect but will be a viable member of the squad nonetheless. Next, it was time to move on to building the women's team, and the captain of the females from the Raw side is Alexa Bliss. In the ring, Bliss told the women on the stage that she'll be watching all of their matches very closely, and will not accept failure. The former Raw women's champion then announced that, to begin her scouting, we get an Evolution rematch between Sasha Banks, Bayley & Natalya against the Riott Squad.
Before Bliss could start the women's match, however, Kurt Angle's music interrupted. He reminded that last year he led Team Raw to victory, and he wants in on Survivor Series again this year. He received initial pushback from Corbin, but then Angle made a proposal that he and Corbin square off later on Raw with the captain's position on the line. After being goaded a bit, Corbin finally gave in and accepted the challenge. Bliss then tried to restart the women's match once again, but this time was interrupted by her former Mixed Match Challenge partner Strowman, who tore through the security trying to get to Corbin as well as the Raw stars at the top of the ramp while he was in pursuit. Backstage, Strowman grabbed a producer and told him that if he happens to see Corbin, to let him know that he's going to, of course, "get these hands."
Strowman continued his pursuit of Corbin backstage, and nearly caught up to him in the storage area where he was hiding, even though Corbin denied to Charly Caruso that he was in hiding. Corbin was able to escape, though. Caruso caught up with Corbin in the backstage area getting into a car a little later on, and he said that Angle needs to be informed that he won't be facing him tonight because he has an emergency appointment he needs to get to. Instead, Drew McIntyre will be taking his place. Corbin fled in the car, with Strowman just barely missing him. The stakes for the match are now changed to Angle needing to defeat McIntyre to become team captain.
Drew McIntyre def. Kurt Angle via submission: In the ultimate sign of disrespect, McIntyre hit the Angle Slam before making Angle tap to his own Ankle Lock signature move. Corbin is still the captain of the Raw Survivor Series team, thanks to McIntyre's brutality.
If you couldn't tell that WWE is trying to piece together Survivor Series -- one of its biggest pay-per-views of the year -- last minute because they spent so much time hyping up Crown Jewel, then Monday's Raw gave you all the proof you need. It's disappointing because, if given sound booking with time, Survivor Series could always be one of the more entertaining shows of the year. Instead, we're left with incomplete teams with a little under two weeks to go and direction on the fly. If there was any positive to emerge from all of this on Monday, it's that it's clear there are plans to keep McIntyre at the forefront of the biggest angles on Raw. Grade: D
Fate of the Raw tag team titles decided
We've been wondering for weeks now about the status of the Raw tag team championship, and Seth Rollins made his way out to the ring in an attempt to clear everything up, carrying both the intercontinental championship and both of the tag team titles. Rollins was displeased with a lot that's been going on in WWE lately, including Brock Lesnar being universal champion and not in attendance once again. The intercontinental champ admitted that Dean Ambrose was in the building somewhere, though he didn't have the guts to come give him answers. Rollins was set to relinquish the tag team championship in the wake of Shield brethren Ambrose turning on him, but acting GM Corbin had another plan. From backstage, Corbin told Rollins that he and Ambrose must defend the titles against AOP, even though it was clear this was a handicap match defense for Rollins as Ambrose wouldn't be coming to help save the championship.
Raw Tag Team Championship -- AOP def. Seth Rollins (c) via pinfall to win the titles: Rollins put in a valiant effort by himself, but in the end, the two monsters we just too much and were able to finally capture their first taste of main roster gold. After the match, Ambrose made his way through the crowd to a chorus of boos. He entered the ring and asked Rollins if he still wanted to know why he turned his back on him, but instead of providing an explanation, Ambrose planted his physically spent former partner with Dirty Deeds and walked up the ramp. After recovering, Rollins staggered his way back up the ramp following the punishment he had just been through.
This may seem simple, but when it came down to it, this was the only logical answer here in regards to what would become of the Raw tag team titles following Ambrose's betrayal of Rollins after they captured the championship. Now all parties can move on, with Rollins and Ambrose's personal feud heating up with the IC championship right in the middle, and AOP can begin its reign of terror in the tag division -- which, quite frankly, is something that should have been set in motion much earlier than this. Win-win here for everyone involved. Grade: B
Ronda Rousey responds to Becky Lynch
Ahead of their champion vs. champion showdown at Survivor Series, SmackDown women's champion Lynch fired the first shot at Raw women's champ Rousey last Tuesday on SmackDown Live, informing the former UFC women's bantamweight titleholder that she plans to take her arm. Monday on Raw, it was Rousey's shot to return fire. Rousey said her comments from last week were cute, and it's easy to see why everyone loves her because of her perseverance. The Raw women's champ admitted that she respects Lynch, but warned not to mistake her respect for weakness. Rousey wants a challenge in two weeks, so Lynch had better bring everything -- all the anger and the angst -- that she has to Survivor Series. A fired up, intense Rousey stared directly into the camera and declared that while Lynch may refer to herself as "the man," she is a "natural born killer" and the "baddest bitch on the planet" before slamming the microphone. Nia Jax's music hit from there for her upcoming match with Ember Moon, and in the ring, she commended the promo that Rousey just cut. She also reminded her, though, that after she makes Lynch tap at Survivor Series, she'll be waiting for her as the next challenger following her battle royal win at Evolution.
This was an OK response from Rousey with little time to build this feud. Rousey has been void of a lot of criticism since her debut earlier this year, and rightfully so; she's taken to mostly everything like a fish to water, especially in the ring. If there is one area she's struggling in, though, it's the fact that her more intense promos sometimes come across as too forced and awkward. Unfortunately, that's how this delivery came across for the most part on Monday night. Still, that doesn't negate the fact at all that this is the match that everyone should be anticipating to see come Survivor Series, and with the way everything else seems to be shaping up, should be awarded the main event slot it likely won't get Grade: C+
What else happened on Raw?
- Sasha Banks, Bayley & Natalya vs. Riott Squad ended in a no contest: This two-segment Evolution six-woman bout had no definitive winner. Natalya donned the sunglasses of her late father, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart to the ring, and as she had the Sharpshooter locked in on Sarah Logan in the ring, Ruby Riott snapped the shades in half as Natalya looked on. Riott Squad escaped up the ramp while Banks and Bayley consoled a sobbing Natalya on the outside during the awkward ending.
- Apollo Crews def. Jinder Mahal via pinfall: Crews got the win following the standing moonsault. The commentators were raving about the victory, noting Crews had just defeated a former WWE champion. Something more prevalent could be in the cards going forwards for this incredible athlete.
- Elias def. Dolph Ziggler via pinfall: Ziggler was out to cut a promo about his loss in the World Cup final at Crown Jewel, but was interrupted by Elias, who was massively over with the British crowd. Elias trolled Ziggler with a song before he was summoned down to the ring, and the match was on. Elias picked up the 1-2-3 after the Drift Away.
- Nia Jax def. Ember Moon via pinfall: Jax earned the win after a Samoan Drop as they are clearly building her up as a force again ahead of her guaranteed Raw women's title shot against Rousey. After the win, Tamina Snuka once again emerged, and she and Jax proceeded to beat down Moon, finally declaring their alliance. The setup for heel Jax vs. babyface Rousey for the Raw women's title has begun.
- Bobby Lashley def. Finn Balor via pinfall: Lashley got the pin after planting Balor with a facebuster. Following the bout, McIntyre made his way out for the main event and helped Balor to his feet, only to take him out with the Claymore Kick.
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