Previously on the Best and Worst of Raw: WALTER and Imperium showed up long enough for Raw to tell us that guys from NXT UK absolutely do not matter. Plus, Sin Cara got powerbombed onto the floor and out of the company.
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for November 18, 2019.
More Of That Sweet, Sweet Survivor Series Build
With Survivor Series only six days away and BRAND SUPREMACY® up for grabs, Raw felt like it needed to lean into random NXT types showing up for varying degrees of no reason to interact with Raw (and somehow Smackdown) Superstars without anything really happening or changing. In the interest of not giving you the sixth consecutive Best and Worst of Raw column about how nobody, especially the fans, gives a shit about which color shirt the wildly interchangeable wrestlers are wearing, I’m just gonna recap all of the crossover events chronologically. Maybe we’ll be able to piece together a larger story here, like we can with 20-years-ago Raws.
Note: If you’re ever like, “they’re trying, this is the best they can do, just sit back and enjoy the product,” remember that the best example of how well Raw could work is Raw from before the 74-year old man solely in charge of literally every aspect of it started losing his mind.
Up first is the team of Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair, presumably upset about not following through on the title opportunity only one of them earned, taking out their frustrations on the poor IIconics. Charlotte, who was on Smackdown last month, will be leading Team Raw against Team Smackdown at Survivor Series. Becky Lynch wants a fight with Shayna Baszler. The IIconics collect their paychecks, ask around backstage to see if anybody wants to film some funny stuff, and hopefully talk among themselves about how cool it’d be if they randomly showed up on Dynamite. I’m kidding. AEW Dark. Maybe Shawn Spears would be a more engaging personality if he could tour around with his cool wife?
Anyway, after the two minute squash (woo!) we get an appearance from Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir, and non-threatening icon Jessamyn Duke, who show up to throw hands at the NXT Horsewomen. I’m emotionally prepared for and expect NXT to get completely jobbed out at Survivor Series — happy to be wrong, but let’s be realistic … especially after they’ve gotten a leg up in almost every segment during the build — but if we’re being completely honest, Baszler should completely skunk Lynch and Bayley. It’s Shayna Baszler. Ronda Rousey gave Lynch like six months of turmoil and trouble. Shayna Baszler’s everything Rousey is plus she’s great at pro wrestling and doesn’t respond to everything like a five-year old trying to be tough.
Like always, NXT escapes through the crowd and everyone else follows along. Nothing really happens, but one of WWE’s independently contracted independent wrestler security guards gets popped in the jaw.
Rest in peace, Mojo Rawley Jr.
Later in the episode, Seth Rollins finds “Chuck” (ugh) backstage and talks to her about how he loves being in Local City™ with its Regional Sports Heroes® and can’t wait to Burn It Down™ for them here tonight on the final Monday Night Raw® before Survivor Series® brand pay-per-view™. It’s the exact kind of Roman Reigns promo that made us roll our eyes at him for like three years. I don’t think Seth’s coolness leaking out of him like someone stabbed him in the side with a spear is entirely his fault; I think WWE truly struggles with understanding what’s “cool” in 2019, and can’t imagine it as anything but a hodge-podge of rah rah ’80s passion and snarky ’90s Attitude Era sass. When you jam those two things up, it comes out sounding like this. Or like Roman yelling about sufferin’ succotash.
He puts his spot on the Raw men’s Survivor Series team on the line against Andrade, because both men want to prove that THEY are the MOST Raw. They care more about red t-shirts than anyone on the roster. I don’t know. I’m trying. You’d think an Andrade vs. Rollins match that gets 15 minutes would be DOPE, but you can tell they both know there’s a screwy finish coming up and that they shouldn’t go balls-out for something that’s not gonna matter. Rollins’ dives through the ropes were Ambrosian in nature. Lucha House Party (lol) show up to prove the BRAND DOMINANCE OF SMACKDOWN and the match gets thrown out. Imagine feeling like you’re the best wrestler in the world and having your high stakes match ruined by Lince Dorado in a Smackdown t-shirt.
Plus, that’s the third Seth Rollins match in a row with a dumb run-in finish. Over the past three weeks we’ve gotten:
- Rollins vs. Adam Cole ending with Undisputed Era running in, causing a brawl between Raw and NXT
- Rollins vs. WALTER ending with Imperirum running in, causing a brawl between Raw and NXT
- Rollins vs. Andrade ending with Smackdown running in, causing a brawl between Raw and Smackdown
Combine that with the Hell in a Cell finish that was among the all-time worst in company history and the Crown Jewel match with Wyatt ending with a man no-selling dying in a fireworks explosion and Rollins is in a Chris Davis-quality slump.
Next up we have Kevin Owens vs. Drew McIntyre, a match that proves that wrestling for the sake of wrestling for 18 minutes can be very good, but is always helped by a story people can follow, and the wrestlers fighting each other for a reason. This one is for BONUS no reason, as they’re partners on Sunday. Even the announce team is like, “wow, and they’re supposed to be partners!” Raw looks pretty dumb for booking two of their top Survivor Series members in a contentious one-on-one match six days before Survivor Series.
Then, after seriously almost 18 minutes, Triple H shows up, Drew McIntyre disappears ENTIRELY, and we go to commercial break. We’ll find out why Triple H is here after this message from Frank Thomas’ dick medicine.
Triple H, bless his heart, cuts a really good promo about why Kevin Owens worked better in NXT than on the main roster, and why he should come back. I would honestly be into hearing Triple H’s opinions on other stars who got called up from NXT glory and lost their smile, like Sami Zayn. Or Shinsuke Nakamura. Or Bo Dallas. Or Ember Moon. Or Asuka. Or Kairi Sane. Or Ruby Riott. Or EC3. Or The IIconics. Or The Revival. Or “Shorty G.” Or Rusev. Or-
Sorry. Before Kevin Owens can respond, the promo that started as a fight interruption gets interrupted by fighting. Undisputed Era ends up sneak-attacking Owens in the ring, much to Triple H’s dismay, and get chased out through the crowd like they always do. The story here, I guess, is that daddy’s new prize son Adam Cole is lashing out against daddy’s previous prize son Kevin Owens. I just want a promo on Wednesday where Roderick Strong is sobbing like an inch from the camera and screaming, “DADDY LOVES ADAM BEST!” Meanwhile William Regal’s in his office sipping piss-free tea and murmuring, “fuck them kids, they ain’t mine.”
Then we have the main event, which again is eight minutes of competitive wrestling just to set up a non-finish. There’s a lot of that going around this week.
Originally, the match was supposed to be The Viking Raiders defending the Raw Tag Team Championship Experience against Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins. The Raiders only wrestle jobbers, and when Raw’s out of jobbers, the dead shall walk the Earth. Unfortunately for Ryder and Hawkins — veterans who have a realistic view of their worth to competing companies and are doing their best to just smile and ask sir for another — they get beaten up by the Authors of Pain, who have finally found their way out of the Stardust promo room.
Side note: LOL the original main event for the go-home Raw for Survivor Series was Viking Raiders vs. Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins.
With that team of must-not-see Superstars out of commission, AOP gets the Raw Tag Team Championship shot. Just kidding, they just go back to their promo room to talk about food and punishment or whatever while Randy Orton randomly (randy-omly) shows up and takes the match. His partner? A total mystery that nobody would expect. A day later and my jaw’s still on the floor. Who could have possibly expected it would be rivals who are teaming up this Sunday at Survivor Series! Right now WWE creative is an old man pulling a quarter from behind your ear and going “EH? EH?” over and over until you smile and tell them it was a cool magic trick.
It ends with another run-in from everybody, because the Royal Rumble Survivor Series is this Sunday. You can’t tell who anyone is because everyone’s wearing matching t-shirts, and production’s cutting every 0.2 seconds. It just looks like a huge mess.
I think my favorite part is Triple H downing a bunch of Nyquil and opening his promo with, “In six days, this was just the beginning!” It was the beginning of the Genesis of McGillicutty! Second favorite part: Smackdown Superstars entering to the Smackdown theme like a bunch of dorks. Least favorite part: how bad they’re gonna ruin this week’s NXT. I really can’t wait for this to be over to NXT can go back to being a precious little island where the wrestling’s good and things always at least try to make sense.
In Rare, Non-Survivor Series Related Action
Humberto Carrillo, who tapped out to AJ Styles on October 28 and then pinned him two weeks later in a six-man tag thanks 100% to Randy Orton, earns another match with AJ Styles when the Street Profits help him pin Karl Anderson. It’s pretty tough when your babyface’s entire character is, “the crowd doesn’t react to him and he needs help to win matches.” If he loses to Styles again, is that going to get him more over?
Bobby Lashley squashes No Way Jose and does awkward makeouts with Lana again, because these segments get universally panned but still pull like, eight million views each on YouTube. WWE’s in it to get that PG Pornhub dollar. I’m thinking at least 7 of those 8 million are Paul Heyman doing research for CuckholMania.
The major plot point here is that Lana and Rusev are getting divorced and she’s put out a restraining order against him, where he can’t come within 90 miles of her. She meant 90 feet, but what can you do? Rehearse? Write better lines? They also show a very real court order announcing that Lana’s name isn’t Lana and Rusev’s name isn’t Rusev. You see, the rest of the show is fake, but this part is real. Are we sure that “executive directors of Raw and Smackdown” thing wasn’t a red herring, and WWE didn’t secretly bring Vince Russo back and put him in charge so when people started liking the shows again he could pop out of the darkness and say “YOU’RE WELCOME BRO?”
Also, LOL, remember No Way Jose?
The best match of the night for me, mostly because it was low on bullshit and actually had a finish, was Buddy Murphy vs. Akira Tozawa. It was hurt tremendously by the fact that people still barely know who Buddy Murphy is when he’s not at the center of a murder mystery, and I can’t even remember the last time Tozawa was on TV.
The best MOMENT of the night, though (by a large margin) (tell ’em large margin sent ya) is Murphy knocking on Aleister Black’s door, challenging him to a fight, and getting nothing. And then as soon as Murphy turns the corner, Black comes hustling out of the room looking for whoever knocked. How big is that room? Why’d it take him so long to respond? Was he on the toilet or something? “Dammit, I’ve been waiting for this delivery all day and the SECOND I jump in the shower …”
Let’s see, what else …
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) November 19, 2019
Oh, Erick Rowan is still carrying a possum cage with a tarp over it down to ringside. To sell it, WWE shoots this commercial bumper of Rowan playing peekaboo with whatever’s in there — Luke Harper’s severed head, I’m guessing — shot from the creature’s perspective. So are we in the cage, or has Rowan captured a tiny WWE camera man? What’s the payoff here? Rowan pinning someone after dumping a bunch of crayfish on his opponent?
Rowan squashes “Alex Malcolm,” a Joaquin Wilde cosplayer who you may remember as Braun Strowman victim Randy Rowe. Malcolm normally wrestles as D3, the best wrestler in the world to be named after one of the Mighty Ducks movies. Rowan also squashes the 24/7 Champion in the process, because even USA Network doesn’t give a shit about that belt anymore. Drake Maverick was the only thing keeping it relevant, don’t @ me.
Don’t worry, everybody, R-Truth finally regains the 24/7 Championship in this off-screen Dot Com exclusive. You’ve gotta love Sunil Singh not recognizing R-Truth until he pulled down his surgical mask. Yes, Sunil, all doctors scream at you like that and wear 24/7 Division t-shirts under their translucent scrubs.
Natalya is so bad she turns KANA into Cannot. At least Asuka won this time, and we can move on from that Tag Team Championship non-title submission victory Natalya scored and gave to Becky Lynch for some reason.
Things just got even more EXTREME!@HeymanHustle has announced that @BrockLesnar's match with @reymysterio for the #WWEChampionship at #SurvivorSeries is now #NOHOLDSBARRED!#RAW pic.twitter.com/5SY5CJy6Ul
— WWE (@WWE) November 19, 2019
In a segment that WWE oddly hasn’t uploaded a YouTube clip for yet, Paul Heyman does everything imaginable to try to sell Rey Mysterio as a legitimate opponent for Brock Lesnar. He even claims that there are “rumors” that Brock is injured, which is a great piece of information to give fans who want Rey to win a talking point for why he could. Otherwise, it’s just a 5-foot-3 man in a fuzzy mask, brandishing one of those tubes you use to mail posters, looking for revenge on behalf of his giant adult son.
I’ve read a lot of theories about this being where Dominick finally turns heel on Rey and becomes his own thing, but I don’t think we’re there yet. I think the more logical conclusion is that now that the match has been made No Holds Barred, Cain Velasquez is gonna show up looking for revenge of his own and cost Lesnar the championship. That’d give Rey a “thanks for signing with AEW, we appreciate it” title run and give Lesnar something else to do between now and the Royal Rumble. I say “between now and the Royal Rumble” because of COURSE he’d be champion again by then, because I can’t imagine WWE going into WrestleMania in 2020 without a show-opening “hurry up so I can fly home” Brock Lesnar title match. Otherwise, maybe this is an easy way to get the belt off Brock and move him back to Smackdown at Fox’s behest, or whatever? I don’t know. All I know is that without the power of God AND anime on his side, Mysterio’s getting fucked with.
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
NXT is going to be such a interesting clash between all the folks who used to be in Jose’s congo line and all those who partied with Adam Rose.
I love Asuka’s facepaint, with the bleeding from the eyes and the drool. It’s cool to see her cosplaying as the Raw audience.
I really appreciate when an announcer remembers to discuss the technical aspects of submission holds. For instance when an opponent taps out to Natalya’s “Sharpshooter,” it has nothing to do with pressure on the legs or knees… it’s due to back pain combined with the inescapable stench of the farting.
Between all the Nugenix and toilet paper commercials, I don’t know if I’m coming or going.
Joseph’s commentary is so bad today. I haven’t had a Vic make me cringe this bad since Katie.
Rollins: “And another thing, why does every one call me a Gay Fish when I say I like fish sticks!?”
Baron Von Raschke
Think anyone knocked on Aleister Black’s door and said, “Hey….you want to fight? There’s a lot going on in the ring right now.”
Lets end this quick, Asuka has like 4 pounds of cabbage to cook in her backyard
The Real Birdman
How’s Rusev supposed to know how many meters that is?
VIC: These two are burning down the house tonight!
SETH ON TWITTER TOMORROW: Yeah, but how big are their paychecks?
That’s it for this week’s Best and Worst of Raw.
waiting for Survivor Series to be over like pic.twitter.com/wOyvtQSBZW
— Brandon Stroud (@MrBrandonStroud) November 19, 2019
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See you then (?)!