WWE Raw: The Survivor Series Go-Home
November 15, 2016 11:32 AM - Season 25, Episode 11 - Subscribe

The reunion of the brands we've been waiting for since, I dunno, July I guess? Anyway, it's Raw vs. SmackDown Live up and down the four-hour (ugggh) card, with only one McMahon bigfooting his way in.

Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg -- Combined age: 88. Combined ring rust: 12 years, 11 months. The last time they fought, the crowd booed them both out of the building. We'll just ignore that for now and enjoy (?) some nostalgia.

Team Raw Men (Chris Jericho, Kevin Owens, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Braun Strowman) vs. Team SmackDown Men (Dean Ambrose, Shane McMahon, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, and Bray Wyatt) -- An assortment of people who hate each other vs. more people who hate each other. Raw ended with their team standing tall in the ring, but there are too many intersecting and overlapping storylines to keep them on the same page, right?

Team Raw Women (Sasha Banks, Bayley, Charlotte Flair, Alicia Fox, and Nia Jax) vs. Team SmackDown Women (Nikki Bella, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Becky Lynch, and Naomi) -- An assortment of people who hate each other vs. more people who hate each other. Raw managed to squeeze them all into one last pointless match, but there are too many intersecting and overlapping storylines to keep them on the same page, right?

Team Raw Tag Teams (The Club, The New Day, The New Jersey Calvin & Hobbes, Sheamus and Cesaro, and The Shining Stars) vs. Team SmackDown (American Alpha, Breezango, Heath Slater and Rhyno, Hype Bros, and The Usos) -- An assortment of people who hate each other vs. more people who hate each other. Raw managed to squeeze them all into one last pointless match, but there are too many intersecting and overlapping storylines to keep them on the same page, right?

Dolph Ziggler or The Miz (champion) vs. Sami Zayn for the Intercontinental Championship -- If Zayn wins, the Intercontinental belt comes to Raw. Stephanie McMahon went weirdly heel on Zayn last week, perhaps presaging him jumping to SmackDown regardless of the result.

The Brian Kendrick (champion) vs. Kalisto for the Cruiserweight Championship -- If Kalisto wins, the Cruiserweight belt comes to SmackDown, along with the rest of the cruiserweight division. With the crusierweight-specific 205 Live premiering on the WWE Network a week later, will they try to run enough programs to fit on two shows or are they just giving up on the whole idea of having them on the main roster?
posted by Etrigan (27 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It really says something that I'm far more excited for Aztec Warfare over on Lucha Underground this week than I am for Survivor Series. I feel like LU's writers have a much better grasp on how to write big multi-person matches, weaving individual plots into the greater narrative.
posted by Etrigan at 1:05 PM on November 15, 2016

The actual wrestling on Raw this week was pretty forgettable, but I thought it was above-average from a storytelling perspective. Credit where credit is due: I think the build of Strowman leading up to Survivor Series was paced and executed perfectly.

I didn't expect much out of the State of the WWE Universe aftershow, but Heyman was Heyman and Foley really shined. You really never know what you're gonna get out of him, promo-wise.

Smackdown tonight is probably going to be more spectacle than story, given that it's #900, but it'll be a hoot to see Undi make an appearance, and I'm still fantasy booking him to take Shane's spot in the Men's battle. Or maybe Cena?


(Tonight) Miz vs. Ziggler: I'm assuming Zayn takes the belt and defects to Smackdown, so I actually think Miz is gonna take this one dirty. I know, I know, Zig losing dirty to Miz, AGAIN, would be a bummer, but I figure a dirty drop to Miz sets up a much better story than a clean drop to Zayn.

Lesnar v. Goldberg: Lesnar. Goldberg will give him a better jackhammer than we might expect a forty-nine-year-old man to deliver to a man that size (albeit with an extremely short stall, if any at all) but from that point forward it'll look like the end of Lesnar v. Undi at WM30.

Men's Battle: Team Raw. I'm hoping this isn't when they pull the trigger on having Orton turn on Bray (Oh my god, I was wrong! I was snek, all along! No you'll never make a Wyatt out of meeee!) as that could use some more time to percolate, and also hoping Ellsworth doesn't figure into the ending of the match (that would have to be his shark jump if so.) They've ended three Raws in the last two months with Reigns/Rollins standing together, so an all-Shield ending seems quite possible. It seems impossible for Braun to eat a pin here, so thinking he'll get eliminated in a non-clean fashion (unless Undi takes Shane's spot, in which case, pin away!) Ugh, I just talked myself into a very unsatisfying result but I fear it's true: Comes down to The Shield, Owens and Jericho interfere after getting eliminated to cause Rollins to fall, comes down to Reigns/Ambrose and everyone goes home booing. Alternate, equally unsatisfying ending: HHH shows up and does something.

Women's Battle: Team Smackdown. Nattie is gonna be some weird x-factor here, match is largely going to revolve around taking out Jax, but ultimately Charlotte/Sasha is going to be the key disagreement, beating out Nikki/Carmella and Lynch/Bliss. Possibly Naomi pins Bayley for the win?

Tag Battle: Team Raw. This is going to be a mess. Really hoping Gallows/Anderson get the win and a huge push.

Miz (I think) or Ziggler vs. Zayn: Ohhhh ohh ohh ohh ohhhhhhhh! Zayn's gonna win this either way, and the match would be great (although totally different) with either, but Miz's classic heel vs. Zayn's classic face could make for an easy MOTN candidate. And well-deserved, because Zayn has had zero opportunities to do much of anything since his match with Owens at Battleground, which was one of my favorite WWE matches this year. Once it's done and Zayn defects to Smackdown, a three-way feud with Miz and tweener Zig could be great!

TBK vs. Kalisto: TBK. Hoping this can be a high water mark for the Cruisers. It feels like half of the matches in the CWC were better than the best we've seen on Raw thus far.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:12 PM on November 15, 2016

Wait, I forgot about the whole "Would you work with Daniel / Stephanie is great and also socks" portion of State of the Universe. That was bad. The other Foley stuff was good.
posted by SpiffyRob at 1:25 PM on November 15, 2016

1 for 1 on predictions, hooray!

Can someone explain to me, in kayfabe, what one of the other women could have said to convince Bayley to join in on the attack on Nikki?
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:52 PM on November 15, 2016

In a week with pretty meh WWE wrestling, don't miss Almas vs. Alexander from NXT last night.
posted by SpiffyRob at 5:12 AM on November 17, 2016

The idea that Samy would win the belt and then defect to Smackdown hadn't occurred to me, and would be kind of interesting. I was disappointed when Miz took the title because I figured that was just to make the uberface go over the uberheel at Survivor Series easier to write, and I was sad at the idea that RAW would get the IC belt.

In my head, RAW is getting IC and Smackdown is getting CW, but honestly I think it's a garbage trade. You need a stepping stone to the big belt and right now we have IC to the Black Belt and US to the Red Belt. If the IC ends up on the same show with US and Red Belt I'm just afraid one of them will fade to complete obscurity not to mention leave people like Miz/Ziggler left to flounder uselessly on Smackdown.

Spiffy: is it not enough (kayfabe-wise) that this is the one week a year when you put aside your differences and come together to beat up the leader of the other show's team?
posted by jermsplan at 10:53 AM on November 17, 2016

You need a stepping stone to the big belt and right now we have IC to the Black Belt and US to the Red Belt.

Yeah, that's why I don't see the belt ending up on Raw, even if SD gets the cruisers. The US title is on one of their top faces, and while I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to somehow use the IC title to elevate Reigns, it seems like a much better idea to shift Zayn to SD and freshen up things over there, since he's been a nonfactor since the draft.
posted by Etrigan at 10:57 AM on November 17, 2016

I think all belts will be where they are now by TLC, if not as quickly as Raw/Smackdown next week. US and Int on the same brand makes zero sense for the very reasons you both mentioned, and Smackdown has to streamline their stuff to fit it into two hours already, even without a requisite 1-2 cruiser matches per week.

jermsplan: I'm not against the idea of a face doing a cross-brand beatdown against another face in general, but not Bayley. Like, I didn't bat an eye to see Sasha a part of it (although on reflection, she sure changed her tune in terms of following Charlotte's orders pretty quickly in 24 hours) but Bayley is a pre-Attitude Era style face. Treachery is just not part of her toolkit. I'm honestly surprised that neither she nor the writers wanted her to, at the very least, seem hesitant about doing it, or potentially be more on the sidelines and go after one of the other Smackdown women coming out to help.
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:53 PM on November 17, 2016

Yeah, I'm with SpiffyRob. It would have been a small but valuable thing for Bayley to at least be reluctant and have Charlotte browbeat her for a few seconds before she joined in.
posted by Etrigan at 1:27 PM on November 17, 2016

Damn. Takeover Toronto might have been even better than Brooklyn II.

The end of TM61/AOP was a little wonky but the match itself was great for both teams, and that's pretty much my only criticism of the whole card. I didn't think there was any way the DIY/Revival rematch would top the Brooklyn match, but it's not even a question that it did.

Wondering if Revival is gonna get called up now? As much as I'd worry about them entering the main roster log jam, getting them back into a feud with AA on Smackdown would be great, and the Rhodes Classic has firmly established a ready top 3 below DIY in AOP, TM61 and Sanity.

And nobody saw the end of the main event coming, it seems. Such a great match and I can't wait to see where they go from here.
posted by SpiffyRob at 10:36 AM on November 20, 2016

posted by SpiffyRob at 7:42 PM on November 20, 2016

Well it was certainly full of unexpected results (as my one for six predictions show!) but I can't get behind Brock getting squashed. Rematch setup or no, it just makes all of Brock's build seem pointless. I suppose Goldberg will now have 4 more months to prepare and the WM match could actually be good, but this just doesn't feel right.

Elsewhere, Miz/Zayn was solid but not as good as I was expecting. TBK/Kalisto was a good match with a crap ending. Women's and Tag were fine (last five minutes of Tag were awesome, not letting Breeze see the ring was not) and Men's was awesome, awesome, awesome. Was wondering if Shane maybe had a legit concussion? That shoulders up TKO was... Weird. And it seemed like the camera might have caught Orton consoling his kids?
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:06 PM on November 20, 2016

That Takeover sure was a great show. Like Rob said, hard to find anything negative about it at all. During the AOP/TM61 match there was a spot involving a chain where it looked like the chain inadvertently got thrown into the crowd. That gave me a little concern, but it didn't look like anyone in the crowd reacted badly, though I'm sure the folks in the back were not thrilled by that slip.

I think Mickey James pulled my favorite match yet out of Asuka. Really impressed how well the two of them worked together.

Survivor Series was up and down. They teased an awful lot of things, so it was surprising to see none of it happen. A friend and I were chatting Sunday and had an idea we thought would help inject some meaning and tension into future Survivor Series, assuming the brand split lasts that long. Why not put a stipulation on all tradition SS matches that the winning team gets to immediately claim a member of the losing team to transfer shows after the match? It would make room for roster/fued/belt shakeups every year. It could create tension in building the teams between "do we build the best team we can, including our champ?" vs "Let's not put X on the team, we can't afford to lose him/her if we lose this match".

Anyway, that main event. Wow. Fantasy Warfare alright.
posted by jermsplan at 8:20 AM on November 22, 2016 [1 favorite]

Ugh, that chain thing in the Dusty finals. I don't know whether "throw it into the crowd" was the plan, but either way, it fucked up a perfectly good heel win. If AoP wins without the chain being introduced, then they're dominant monster heels. If they lose because the chain backfires on them, then they're dominant monster heels. If they win with the chain, then they're cheating heels, which is almost as good. If they win after the chain is introduced but without it being used, then the only possible storyline is that they're mad because Ellering doesn't have faith in them, but that's the start of a face turn, and I can't imagine they're doing that.

Otherwise, a damn good Takeover. I would have preferred a Dillinger win (Roode is hot enough to eat a loss), but all of the matches were good, and holy damn Mickie James.

SurSer... meh. The zero-stakes survivor matches and the status quo non-survivor matches make me think that there really is a war between the brands, and that Vince isn't willing to make any decisions that elevate one over the other.
posted by Etrigan at 8:31 AM on November 22, 2016

Oh, and the main event -- Brandon Stroud says it best: "A match so fast you can’t even recreate it in WWE 2K17, because they won’t let you win that quickly."
posted by Etrigan at 8:33 AM on November 22, 2016

Mauro made some comment referencing the Razor vs Michaels WM match and JBL flipped out that he would mention it in the same breath.

Match ended with Styles' leg caught in the ropes as Ellsworth made the climb, which is exactly how the Razor vs.Michaels match ended.
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:26 AM on November 23, 2016

I really liked just about everything RAW did with the Women's title on Monday. First, a classic heel title-retain via countout. Then a GM demanded the match be restarted, but for once didn't call for the bell immediately and instead gave the competitors a chance to regroup and gave the whole crowd something to look forward to. Then the match itself which was awesome, historic and just generally great. The hometown heel loses the belt. The crowd favorite face wins while literally sitting in a fan's lap because the match spilled into the crowd. A weapon was used. There were a couple of nice high spots outside the ring, the crown jewel of which was completely ridiculous. I'm also a fan of the belt bouncing back and forth between these two. It doesn't feel weird to me, it feels like they've built a feud between two competitors who are so evenly matched that either of them could win on any given night. And then Ric comes out to raise the hand of the woman who just took the belt off his daughter, in the heart of Flair country?!

As Farooq would say: Damn
posted by jermsplan at 1:10 PM on November 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

Agree 100% with the women's title story on Raw. Only criticism was being beaten over the head with the THIS IS HISTORY hammer throughout, but c'est la vie. I definitely liked the idea of them making it no DQ in advance of Smackdown having their own no DQ match at TLC in Nikki vs. Carmella. As cool as that is, I've yet to be super impressed by those two yet, so I'm very, very glad they announced that Becky vs. Bliss will be a Tables match. I've got really high hopes for that.

The TLC card looks amazing in general. One of these days Styles vs. Ambrose is going to disappoint, but I doubt it'll be this one. I've stopped trying to guess what's going on with the IC belt, and I still sort of feel like Zayn is coming to Smackdown and he'll enter that picture long-term. Regardless, the increasing intensity of Maryse's interference will probably come to a head in what I'm guessing will be an incredibly solid ladder match that, I hope, will be the last Ziggler vs. Miz match we see for a while, if only to let each of them grow a bit after building each other up so well in recent months.

Don't expect much out of Kalisto vs. Corbin but you never know. I like each of them individually, this feud just does nothing for me. I loved the Slater angle all the way through them winning the tag belts, but they've sort of stagnated since then, so I'd absolutely be on board with Orton and Bray holding those straps. I figure either they're gonna win, or Harper will fuck up and cost them the win.

Anyone watch 205 Live? I think it was a little shaky but have my fingers crossed it'll help capture what made the CWC so good. I liked the move of giving the belt to Swann and Kendrick focusing on Perkins in his post-match interview. It suggests they might let that develop a bit as a natural non-title feud, and Swann as champion can give some other guys some time to get built up.

Mauro and Graves on commentary is a dream team, but Aries... ugh. Most egregiously, he was spouting off some early-90s era Bobby Heenan-style racism during the Bollywood Boyz match, which I'm hoping he got an immediate smackdown for, because in general that shit don't fly anymore. Beyond that, I just didn't think he added anything. Graves was constantly setting him up to talk about his experience against some of the wrestlers and his answers were always so flat. Worst of all, it forced Graves to be more of a tweener announcer, and he's so, so good playing straight heel on Raw and NXT. Hopefully they can work on the chemistry a bit, but really I think it should be a two-man team.
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:26 AM on December 2, 2016

I thought TLC was a fun show with a lot of really great matches. But I'd be lying if I didn't say that afterwards my biggest feeling was "man, that Becky/Bliss match was not great", and that was disappointing because I like the two of them a lot. But Charlotte/Sasha set the No DQ bar SO high on RAW, and then I think a TLC match just didn't play to Becky and Lexi's strengths. Oh well. Fun that WWE can still surprise me (did not expect Becky losing), and I love Bliss' heel mic work, which was great on this week's Smackdown. The two of them can have a rematch at a non-gimmick show and I bet totally make up for it.

Sorry to dwell on what I disliked, because there was a lot of GREAT in TLC and the followup Smackdown. I'm starting to be more comfortable saying that The Miz and his run is my favorite thing going in all of WWE.

RAW was overall good, but I could have done without (or at least with a 90% shorter) hotel room scene. Though even it was almost justified because it prompted a friend of mine to write a really long and thorough investigation of that scene from a purely kayfabe perspective, which made me laugh a lot. I know it's one of those "you can never go home again" type deals, but honestly to take yourself out of the larger world of WWE and just try to understand all the motivations and actions of the characters in kayfabe can be pretty fun for as long as you can keep it up.
posted by jermsplan at 8:21 AM on December 8, 2016

oh, and Spiffy, I saw the inaugural 205 Live and agreed that it was a little rough around the edges. The CWC was so terrific, I hope they find a way to make 205 Live feel more like that. I think moving the belt off Kendrick should help. As great a character as he can be, he's almost a change of pace guy for the cruiserweight division, you know? He's not the high flying/luchador/standing 450 type guy. So I think it might do the division some good to let the main event be 7 minutes of completely bananas high paced action for a while, get everyone hyped on the pace and athleticism of cruiserweights, and then at some point in the future have the mean, conniving, slower heel slow it all down a bit.
posted by jermsplan at 8:25 AM on December 8, 2016

That's a really good point about Kendrick being atypical for a Cruiser. Hadn't really thought about it, but yeah, it makes a ton of sense. I thought the second episode of 205 Live was much, much better from both a wrestling perspective and a story-building perspective. They're sort of brute-forcing their way into feuds, but at this point I'm cool with it. As much as Noam Dar's callout of Alicia Fox after he beat Cedric Alexander was ick, those two could have some amazing matches against each other. That said, one issue they aren't going to be able to easily solve: I think the crowd is just kind of worn out right after Smackdown? And apparently a lot of people have been leaving and they've had to move people down to fill the closer seats.

I really hated the hotel room segment. I like the move to do more out of the ring stuff that isn't just backstage (the Cesaro/Sheamus bar brawl was so, so stupid and great) but that story just feels weird. And yeah, it was way, way too long.

TLC definitely was a bit of a disappointment for me if only because the Bliss/Becky and Tag Title matches were bland. That said, I thought Bray and Randy looked great on Smackdown last week, and I'm pumped that they're going Freebird Rule for the Wyatt family. That should be a hoot. But man, the main event was SOLID. I know eventually AJ is going to have to start facing somebody else in title matches, but he and Ambrose have really zoned in working with each other.

Raw's in Philly tomorrow, and I'm going! I think it should be a pretty interesting show. Not only is it a go-home, but I think there have only been three matches announced for the PPV? (Reigns/Owens, Jericho/Rollins, Banks/Charlotte.) I'll report live from the cheap seats!
posted by SpiffyRob at 7:43 AM on December 10, 2016

have fun tonight Spiffy! You're right, a lot of room on Roadblock's card to fill up. Hmmm. I bet you see some fallout from Enzo/Rusev probably setting up Rusev/Cass at Roadblock. Seems like they ought to throw a tag match on there, too. I actually think that they should setup a #1 contenders tag match at Roadblock, since everyone knows New Day won't drop it till at least Monday the 19th. So that #1 contenders match could be exciting as we all assume it's the match that actually determines the next champs. Not much fun for you, though, so maybe RAW could have a huge tag battle royal to determine who gets to lose to New Day on Sunday, lol. Give Shining Stars a PPV appearance or something, because who cares?
posted by jermsplan at 7:03 AM on December 12, 2016

I actually think that they should setup a #1 contenders tag match at Roadblock, since everyone knows New Day won't drop it till at least Monday the 19th.

New Day passes Demolition as of this Wednesday. They're free to drop it at Roadblock.
posted by Etrigan at 8:50 AM on December 12, 2016

205 Live taped before Raw!
posted by SpiffyRob at 4:59 PM on December 12, 2016

Crowd popped huge for New Day but was definitely ready for Cesaro to get the 3 count after the top rope crossbody. Match dragged a bit when (I'm guessing) they cut to commercial, but was a blast otherwise.
posted by SpiffyRob at 5:24 PM on December 12, 2016

Crowd is pretty unfairly biased against the Cruiser matches, but to be fair, that Kendrick vs Perkins #127 dragged horribly in the beginning.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:33 PM on December 12, 2016

Welp, not too much more to say. Everything that makes the pace of Raw agonizing on TV is amplified in person. Opening and closing matches were great, and the Perkins vs. Swann match that will be on 205 "Live" was really good. Otherwise, eh.

I was bummed to see the next Philly show will be Raw rather than Smackdown, but it's going to be the Wrestlemania go home so... yeah, I'll be there.
posted by SpiffyRob at 8:56 PM on December 12, 2016

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