11/12/18 WWE Monday Night Raw Live Recap
by Patches Chance
With Survivor Series only days away, Monday Night Raw will crank up the brand wars with the return of Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon. After her brother Shane McMahon’s controversial win of the WWE World Cup at Crown Jewel, Stephanie will have plenty to address on Raw tonight. Another return tonight will come in the form of WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, who will be hyping his “Champion vs. Champion” match against WWE Champion AJ Styles at Survivor Series. The clash will be a rematch from last year’s Survivor Series, where Lesnar came out on top.
The other focus of the night will be confirming and rounding out Raw’s teams for the traditional Survivor Series matches against SmackDown Live. Alexa Bliss will be announcing her squad for the women’s match. On the men’s side, there are two spots left to be filled. Normally that task would fall to Acting Raw General Manager Baron Corbin, but he may be too preoccupied with trying to dodge Braun Strowman. If so, those decisions may fall on the visiting Commissioner Stephanie McMahon. Who will represent Raw in the fight for brand supremacy?
This article will be updated live as Monday Night Raw airs. Please refresh this page for the most up to date results.
Raw tries to get on the same page for Sunday
With Survivor Series coming this Sunday, it was clear from the start of Raw that Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and Acting General Manager Baron Corbin were focused on keeping Raw focused on winning on Sunday. Strowman’s demolition of the tag team battle royal was put on hold by Stephanie McMahon, who made some big promises. If Strowman focuses on Survivor Series to help lead Raw to victory, and doesn’t touch Corbin until after Survivor Series, it means big things are coming. Strowman demanded a match with Corbin, a rematch for the Universal Championship against Brock Lesnar, and the chance to pick the stipulations for both matches.
As Stephanie tried to rile up Strowman and turn the focus to Sunday, Raw Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey made her way to the ring. Rousey said her upcoming challenge against SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch has her more motivated than ever. Corbin tried to calm her down and ate a judo throw for his efforts. Strowman almost followed it up by demolishing Corbin, but Stephanie reiterated her deal with Braun and managed to defuse the situation…for now. Oh I guess the tag teams are forming a ten-man team for Survivor Series too. Maybe I’d know if Raw acted like it cared about them.
In an exclusive in-ring interview, Corey Graves spoke to Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins. He tried to turn the focus to Rollins taking on United States Champion Shinsuke Nakamura at Survivor Series, but things almost immediately turned to the mentally unstable elephant in the room. Rollins called out Ambrose for not being man enough to come to the ring and explain himself, but things cut to Ambrose outside of the arena. Seated on a red sedan, with an oil barrel burning to his side to fend off the cold, Ambrose talked about how he doesn’t owe anyone an explanation before throwing his old Shield vest into that flaming barrel.
The dysfunction amidst Raw’s roster only went up a notch later in the night. After Drew McIntyre berated fans about how Raw was “his show,” an interruption by Finn Balor led to Ziggler taking on the leader of Balor Club. It was a big moment for Finn as he knocked off Ziggler via pinfall, but things got more interesting when Stephanie McMahon named Finn the fourth member of Raw’s Men’s Survivor Series team. The last member was set after Bobby Lashley defeated Elias thanks to an assist by Lio Rush.
The women’s team was finally addressed to close out the night as Alexa Bliss announced her picks. Unsurprisingly, the first choices were Tamina, Nia Jax, and Mickie James. Bliss also picked Natalya, and announced that the final competitor would be decided in the ring. Up next, in the main event of Raw, we got Bayley vs Sasha Banks. Normally, that’s something to be excited about! Unfortunately, and I’m delving a bit into the topic below, it was so poorly executed that it lost a lot of the potential impact.
The rivalry turned friendship turned rivalry turned friendship (etc.) of Bayley and Sasha Banks has been years in the making. These two women competing in the main event of Raw should be promoted heavily and given the meaning it deserves. Instead, it was thrown together and rendered pointless as quickly as the match was made. After the beginnings of a great main event, Alexa Bliss and crew attacked Sasha and Bayley and forced a no contest. Alexa then announced Ruby Riott would be the final member of the women’s team.
It would have left a bad taste in the mouth to end Raw like that, but The Man soon arrived to save the day and the show. The feed cut backstage where Becky Lynch had arrived and locked Ronda Rousey in the Disarm-her backstage. After dealing her damage, Becky made her way to the ring to face down the entire Raw women’s team, but she wasn’t alone. SmackDown’s women’s team invaded from the crowd and chaos ensued. Ronda Rousey came out looking for revenge, but Lynch used a steel chair to deal even more damage to the Raw Women’s Champion. The night ended with SmackDown looking superior and Raw looking completely incompetent, which isn’t entirely wrong.
Even Survivor Series can’t cover for bad writing
Perhaps the most noticeable thing about Raw this week, aside from the focus on Survivor Series, is the tone-deaf writing choices. The poor decisions started right from the beginning as a battle royal featuring the brand’s entire tag division was demolished by a single man. We all know Strowman is special, but he also got squashed by Brock Lesnar like two weeks ago. It made the tag division out to be completely insignificant. They later had a second try in holding that battle royal, which ended in another odd choice. Chad Gable and Bobby Roode, the least-tenured team on Raw, won to become team captains representing Raw in the Tag Team Survivor Series Match. Meanwhile, the newly crowned Raw Tag Team Champions The Authors of Pain were barely mentioned, even though they’ll be competing against The Bar at Survivor Series.
The poor writing continued with Ronda Rousey’s promo later in the night going after Becky Lynch for being “The Millennial Man.” Complete with work ethic bashing, avocado toast jokes, and an impressive amount of tone-deafness, Rousey’s delivery was completely undercut by the nonsense of the words she’d been scripted to say. It wasn’t the only time this issue plagued the women’s division tonight, as Ruby Riott fell victim to having to give the stale fake apology promo. Ruby put as much sincerity and emotion into it as possible, but the poor concept propped up by a rivalry about broken sunglasses that no one had heard about before last week fell completely flat.
Brock Lesnar was also there to bounce around in the ring while Paul Heyman did all the vocal heavy lifting. After Heyman gave his usual schtick, which was as good as ever, he was interrupted by Jinder Mahal. Yes, you read that right. Jinder Mahal came out to help Lesnar “focus on AJ Styles” by listening to Jinder’s mantra. Brock happily invited Jinder into the ring and gave him a few moments of preaching before destroying Mahal and The Singh Brothers with some german suplexes and F5s.
- Before Raw began, a package aired honoring Veterans Day and the brave men and women of the US Armed Forces. To all veterans, active and retired, thank you.
- It’s a shame that with all the talent in Raw’s tag team division, they’re still just a prop to enhance other rivalries.
- “Corbin, enjoy your time being Stephanie’s lap dog. Because after Survivor Series, I’m gonna neuter you!” – Braun Strowman
- The image of Ambrose sitting on a car outside the arena and tossing his old Shield vest into the fire without a care in the world is something truly magnificent.
- Props to Renee Young for gracefully walking the tightrope of filling her role as Raw’s first permanent female voice on commentary while simultaneously being expected to provide insight on her husband’s mental breakdown. Just let the woman do her job.
- If Drew McIntyre is the new Legend Killer, I’m 1000% on board.
- Ronda Rousey called Becky Lynch “The Millennial Man,” which is weird since Becky is literally two days older than Ronda.
- “And for those of you who don’t get the reference to Hotel California, Google it, bitches! I’m not here to educate you!” – Paul Heyman
- Bobby Lashley has sunglasses now! And Lio Rush with the classic heel manager move helping him take the win via countout.
- Official Raw Survivor Series Teams
Tag Team: The Revival, The B-Team, The Ascension, Chad Gable & Bobby Roode, Lucha House Party
Men’s: Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, Drew McIntyre, Finn Balor, Bobby Lashley
Women’s: Nia Jax, Tamina, Mickie James, Natalya, and Ruby Riott
- Becky Lynch got some massive cut under her eye, or busted her nose, or both, but all that blood couldn’t stop The Man from demolishing Ronda Rousey twice in one night.
- Tag Team Battle Royal to determine the captains of the Raw Tag Team Survivor Series Team is a no contest after being interrupted by Braun Strowman. (Competitors: The Revival, Heath Slater & Rhyno, The B-Team, Chad Gable & Bobby Roode, The Ascension, Lucha House Party)
- Tamina defeated Ember Moon
- Finn Balor defeated Dolph Ziggler
- Chad Gable & Bobby Roode won the Tag Team Battle Royal (Take Two) to become Team Captains at Survivor Series
- Bobby Lashley defeated Elias
- Sasha Banks vs Bayley ended in a no contest