Previously on the Best and Worst of Raw: NXT invaded Raw, but in a way less exciting and interesting way than they had on the previous Smackdown. The difference in WWE not having enough time to micromanage and second-guess it into creative oblivion!
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And now, the Best and Worst of WWE Raw for November 11, 2019.
Raw, The England Of Opportunity
As previously mentioned in the Best and Worst of Friday Night Smackdown, this week’s WWE programming comes to us live on tape from Manchester, England, prefaced by some pretty pretty pretty concerning spoilers. So please know going in that (1) a taped show (2) from overseas (3) in the middle of a Survivor Series build that’s (4) centered around another soap opera sex goof and (5) full of Seth Rollins promos is a recipe for online salt. And that’s not even getting into what they do to the best thing in NXT UK. UK is like a dorky 2013 NXT Hulu show, FEED IT TO THE BEAST THAT IS SURVIVOR SERIES BRAND WARFARE.
So Let’s Start Off Strong
On last week’s episode, Natalya and Charlotte Flair teamed up to win a non-title match against Women’s Tag Team Champions The Kabuki Warriors when Natalya tapped out Asuka in a Sharpshooter. Not the decision I would’ve made, but it is what it is. That earned them a title shot this week, so Raw opens with The Kabuki Warriors defending against Charlotte Flair and … uh, Becky Lynch. Natalya’s not here due to “family obligations.” I mean, okay. They couldn’t have at least justified the decision to replace Nattie with a bigger star with a 90 second backstage thing or mailed-in selfie promo? “Natalya won the decision by submission last week over the toughest woman in the company and earned her team a tag title match, but she forgot she told her aunt they’d hang out and watch Mary Poppins Returns on Netflix on Monday, so we’re just gonna have the match without her.” Wouldn’t the logical conclusion to “wrestler wins opportunity but can’t make it to match” be “match doesn’t happen,” “match is rescheduled,” or even “wrestler loses opportunity via forfeit?”
Not that I’m complaining about Lynch replacing Nattie from an in-ring or character point of view as that’s a major upgrade, but it sure as hell looks like WWE doesn’t want to maintain the consistency of even the shifty-ass rules they still have in place. Maybe we can just chalk it up to Charlotte Privilege? Anyway, to make sure nobody gains anything from the match, they have the one wrestler they added so people could see her (Lynch) stand in the ring for several minutes and aimlessly drop her catchphrase on the crowd before the match, and take the pin off a distraction (noice) to move forward a story that has nothing to do with the Tag Team Champions. All right. Next week does Nattie team up with Dana Brooke and get her title shot, or what? Did they just tell part one of a Natalya story and realize even THEY don’t want to have to watch another Natalya story?
Sin Cara Gets Powerbombed Out Of The Company
In case you missed it, WWE’s potentially about to lose its second Sin Cara as Hunico Sin Cara announced on Twitter that he’d requested his release from the promotion. If I got powerbombed on the floor like that, I’d ask for my release, too. You’ve gotta love that he has three more years on his contract, too, as it’s easy to make the joke that Sin Cara somehow managed to botch his own release.
Carolina/Catalina is already gone too, by the way, as she was only brought up to lose for two weeks and will never be seen again. SMH. On the world’s smallest scale, that’s the core problem with WWE creative. It’s about what we’re going to do right now, and how to get people to tune in right now, instead of planning a beginning, middle, and end to a compelling story and getting more weekly viewers because your show’s good and makes sense.
Anyway, yeah, Drew McIntyre continues to prove his dominance over anyone you can’t see pinning Shane McMahon by putting Sin Cara in a physical and professional grave. If he screamed a little more between moves I’d swear we were in Lars Sullivan Territory. Lucha libre only exists to make big strong white guys look stronger! No we aren’t World Championship Wrestling, why do you ask?
Someone Get Him Out Of The Production Closet Already
At this point I want someone to find where he’s sitting every week, take the door off the hinges, and feed it through a wood chipper so we never have to hear another goddamn promo about knocking on the door and picking a fight with Aleister Black. I’m happy to fight him myself and get my jaw removed from the rest of my head if it means we move forward and stop doing the same shit we’ve been doing with him since fucking June.
The Seven Segments War
This is the part of the column where I get nihilistic and depressed about how literally everything works. No, this is that part of the column. I thought I was being unusually happy otherwise!
So, former Universal Champion Nasal Exposition shows up to be a living Netflix recap video and challenges “the United Kingdom’s best” to come down to the ring right now and try to blow his nose face to face. He’s answered by DA HHING GENNARALL VAULTER, and for one beautiful, shining moment of seeing an out-of-context tweet on a Friday afternoon, I got SUPER excited for a long, dramatic battle between two guys who think they’re the best and most important person in the business. One of them’s doing it to be a heel character, I can’t explain the other one. But yeah, the concept of WALTER vs. Seth Rollins is a great one, and if this had been happening literally anywhere other than pre-taped, Survivor Series build WWE TV in late 2019 we might’ve gotten it.
Instead, they got Raw all over it.
The match ends after four minutes with a disqualification to set up a tag team match. Seth Rollins had WALTER dead to rights in four minutes, to the point that his posse of fascist cronies had to get in the ring and stop it. WWE believes they’re “protecting” someone by not having them face a decision, but being completely beaten and about to lose before a SOMEBODY HELP HIM disqualification happens is worse, honestly. Anybody can lose a match from time to time. Being so terrified of losing matches that your friends think you’re toast four minutes into a Raw match is fucking depressing. It all circles back to WWE thinking the only way a person can be “bad” is to be cowardly and weak all the time, even when they’re 6-foot-4 Austrian murder babies.
Then, of course, Rollins’ randomly thrown-together team of well-meaning babyfaces easily defeats the cohesive and previously threatening top faction of NXT UK like it’s nothing, winning that in just under seven minutes. So if you look at it on paper, Seth Rollins beat WALTER twice in about 11 minutes in the middle of a pre-taped Raw with no build, no consequences, and no reason beyond [holds nose] “I WANNA MYATCH RIGHT NYOW!” Cool. Cool cool cool.
Also On This Episode
Imperium aren’t the only NXT UK stars getting the short end of the stick this week! South Wales Sub Culture — not to be confused with Northern Ohio Sub Culture, which is just “going to Mr. Hero” — show up to lose to The Viking Raiders in three minutes flat. I guess they got to Manchester and couldn’t find two random dudes on the street to dress like members of Parliament and call “Team Brexit.” I don’t feel like they got a lot out of it, but at least Mark Andrews got one of his band’s songs played in primetime on cable.
If you’re gonna beat all the NXT UK as quickly as possible, can you at least have Radzi show up and punch Greg Hamilton in the back of the head or something?
Erick Rowan squashes Soner Dursun, which also means “grandson.” The big development here is that now Rowan is bringing what appears to be a possum cage down to the ring with a burlap sack over it. I hope it’s that Rowan lookalike from before that we all completely forgot, who never like, called the cops on Daniel Bryan and Rowan for kidnapping him and holding him against his will on live television for two hours. Forget all that shit though, Erick Rowan has a mysterious pet. I hope it’s an animatronic mogwai, and this is all a Chucky-esque promotion for some ignorant Blumhouse Gremlins reboot or whatever.
In case you’re wondering, Dursun is (of course) a British independent wrestler who competes in Future Shock Wrestling, TNT Extreme Wrestling, and other promotions that sound like they’re from a ’90s video game. He’s also known as The Turkish Wolf, which is a good nickname and a great Rod Stewart track. He’ll be back on the show Soner rather than later.
You know what keeps Andrade and Cedric Alexander from having a great match? Giving them less time than you’d give a commercial break. It was fine. Andrade wins, and moves on to face Buddy Murphy and Ali for the “we don’t have anything for you and can barely remember your name, just go out there and do some shit so we can sell Nugenix and pizza to stupid people” championship.
The main event ends up being The O.C. vs. Ricochet, Vince McMahon’s darling boy Humberto Carrillo, and, of all people, Randy Orton. Orton’s attempting to ease back into a “tweener” role, it looks like, which usually only happens when he wants to try to convince an audience he’s nice, so he can then flip out and turn heel on someone a few weeks later. It’s a perfectly acceptable, low stress kind of house show match where Carrillo gets the pin on AJ Styles in case they wanna do another one of those matches. The highlight is 100% this GIF of Randy Orton: Booty Warrior.
I feel like these kinds of matches would be more effective if Raw and Smackdown realized they work well as show-openers or cool downs between important things, instead of as main events. As main events, they don’t really accomplish anything. There’s no reason to stay interested and keep watching. If you open a show with them, you can set a less negative and demanding tone — Seth Rollins, I’m looking in your direction — and let the crowd know that at least some or what they’re watching is gonna be wrestling with a finish and a low amount of extracurricular bullshit.
Oh no, did I already use the trash image?
The most notable segment of the entire episode is probably the latest installment of As The Lana Turns. This week, Lana says that she’s pregnant and that it’s Rusev’s baby, because she takes meticulous records of her sexual encounters a la Trish The Dish and knows she had sex with Rusev nine weeks ago, and Lashley seven. It’s … hard to explain how she choses to deliver the promo, though. Have you ever been on the phone with someone who makes their point in the first 10 words of the conversation but just keeps breathlessly talking and talking and talking and saying the same thing over and over, never letting you have a word in, and at some point you just hold the phone away from your head, make an annoyed face at anyone you’re with, and put your head in your hands? That’s Lana’s promo style. It’s like she’s trying to get out of a speeding ticket.
Rusev shows up, his soul now completely crushed and dedicated to ignoring his dreams and any hopes of creative fulfillment in favor of just making as much money as he can at his shitty job. He still wants to be with Lana, possibly because he’s not that great of an actor and is just hella depressed about how Vince McMahon’s never going to stop being pissed off at him for getting married without permission. This brings out Lashley, the other man™, to beat up Rusev. After that’s done, the heels leave, and Lana reveals she was never actually pregnant! Ho ho! Swerve!
To recap: a vindictive blonde has fallen in love with another man, so she manipulates her foreign husband with violence and a false pregnancy until the husband and the new guy get into a big fight about it. This is literally the plot of The Room. WWE is so creatively bankrupt right now they’re stealing entire character arcs from the worst movie of all time, 16 years too late. Hey, what if for the next angle we strand Lashley and Rusev in Saudi Arabia a little longer and have them redo Ishtar?
Best: Top 10 Comments Of The Week
I dont know guys, you ever feel like we watch Raw every week as an obligation to our own nostalgia, like is there some deep inner feelings of joy we had as kids and we feel as if mybe by watching as adults we could tap into that ignorent blissfulness when suspending our disbelief was……..oh wait nevermind I found my remote.
I have exactly one problem with this show. Pregnancies are dated from the woman’s last period. So if a woman is “9 weeks pregnant” then her last period was 9 weeks ago. Ovulation occurs about 2 weeks after that, and that’s when insemination happens. So a woman who is “9 weeks pregnant” was inseminated about 7 weeks ago. Bottom line: that’s Lashley’s baby.
Other than that, perfect show. No notes.
Big Baby Yeezus
LMAO what if Lana IS pregnant but the father is Mike Kannelis
Not only am I unsure if I even like wrestling anymore after the Lana/Rusev/Lashley segment, I don’t even know if I still like sex.
The Real Birdman
Commentary has been brutal. Not a great Vic-King Experience.
Not watching the episode of RAW where Walter loses two matches in a row is a form of self-care.
Remember when Kane was so embarrassed by the Katie Vick angle and rushed through his promo talking about the car crash? No idea why that came to mind
Flash Morgan Webster and Black Adam Sessler were great on X-Play
Good thing WWE arenas have OBGYNs backstage
That’s It For This Week’s Best And Worst Of Raw
Let’s check in on the WWE Universe …
It’s probably fine!
Thanks for reading, as always. Drop a comment below, give us a social media share, check out the rest of the site — we promise we aren’t this melancholy and misanthropic about everything — and make sure you’re here for all the stuff that isn’t taped in passing on a Friday afternoon and then not touched for three days so everyone can forget it. See you next week! [lies down in street]