How the heck am I supposed to grade this show, Cageside?
You’ll see what I mean when you read the the rest of the review. But Raw’s closing segment deserves to be graded in a bubble. It was an isolated, glorious spectacle that I’m struggling to even put into words.
So I’ll start at the beginning, I guess. We went into Raw tonight with both the complete men and women’s Survivor Series teams yet to be announced. Alexa Bliss came out to introduce her team about midway through hour three. Her team? Mickie James, Nia Jax, Tamina, Natalya, and a final spot reserved the winner of the next match: Sasha Banks vs. Bayley.
We all knew this friend/enemy rivalry was just waiting for another start. And tonight would be the -
Lol just kidding. Bliss had the match end in a no contest and selected Ruby Riott to her team. Ho hum.
But then...The Man appeared. After Rousey tried her best to take shots at Becky Lynch throughout the night, a camera cut showed Lynch wrenching at Rousey’s arm backstage with a Disarmher. Lynch finally let go with a parting message: “EVERYONE’S TOUGH UNTIL THE MAN COMES AROUND!”
What a freaking legend.
She wasn’t done though, oh no sir. Her music hit and she came out in SmackDown blue to launch the first volley at Raw. SmackDown’s female Superstars hit the ring to beat down the Raw side. And through it all, Lynch was still the story. Bloodied badly by some shot to the face, she got the best of Rousey once again with several chair shots as the crowd chanted her on.
This show ended with Lynch standing out in the crowd, bleeding and smirking smugly with Raw’s crowd chanting her name.
Y’all. This is the main event of Survivor Series. Any other answer is wrong. The Man Becky Lynch is our God at this point. We are not worthy.
Dean burns it down
Do you know the best thing about Seth Rollins? He has a clear mortal flaw. He’s had it ever since his WWE debut.
It’s what caused him to turn on the Shield. It’s what allowed him to believe Triple H’s lies. It’s apparent in his nickname – the Architect – and it’s apparent every time he has a microphone in his hands.
Hell, it was apparent tonight. “Oh, I’m not worried about Shinsuke Nakamura, Corey Graves.” The implication there is he’s good enough to get away with that sort of thing.
Dean Ambrose hates him for it.
And I do want to be clear here: Dean Ambrose is the heel in this feud, no matter how right he is about everything else. Throwing a brother who’s battling Leukemia aside, burning bridges to friends because you didn’t get enough attention? That’s horrendous, no matter how much I can see where you’re coming from.
I am a huge fan of Ambrose’s promo from this show. Finally, his reasons were laid out on the table. He’s resentful of how Rollins always talked down to him, always treated him either as if he were dumb or crazy or both. He hates how he’s been treated as a charity case. And Ambrose revels in the darkness that Rollins is so self-absorbed that he still cannot make sense of what went wrong.
Ambrose claimed that the Shield made him weak. Roman Reigns and Rollins made him weak. And get this: the burden of caring for them and watching over them made him weak. How vile. Ambrose mocked Rollins’ catchphrase as he burned his Shield combat vest.
I do want to make two points, here. For starters, Ambrose could just be grieving right now. In a horrible, terrible, self-damaging way. It doesn’t make it any more right, necessarily, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the explanation whenever these guys get back together down the line.
Secondly, it’s so apparent to me in this feud that Ambrose knows Rollins better than the other way around. Ambrose knows exactly what buttons to press and where to stick the knife to make Rollins bleed. He takes advantage of Rollins’ arrogance. And he weaponizes it.
Raw’s Survivor Series Team
So we knew about Strowman, Drew McIntyre, and Dolph Ziggler, right? Coming into the night, Raw had two more spots to fill.
The first was filled by Bobby Lashley, who once again presented his ass to the crowd and won a match against Elias when Lio Rush grabbed Elias’ leg and prevented him from stopping a count out. All that Lashley momentum I mentioned weeks ago? Yeah that’s gone.
The final spot? Finn Balor. McIntyre was in the ring to gloat about his victory over Kurt Angle and Balor interrupted. He called McIntyre’s actions disrespectful and essentially said that it was unsportsmanlike for Drew to win the way he did.
McIntyre’s response? Dignity isn’t a right. And Balor would know nothing of dignity anyway since he was dumb enough to think that McIntyre was coming to help him last week after getting destroyed by Rush and Lashley.
McIntyre has a point.
Well, Balor challenged him to a match. McIntyre ducked it, sent Ziggler to compete in his stead, and Balor won via roll up. As a reward, Stephanie went over Corbin’s head to guarantee Balor a spot on the team.
So enjoy, Finn Balor! You’re on a team with three dudes who hate your guts and another who sometimes likes you and sometimes does Majin Buu’s “Me Eat You Up!” song in his head whenever he sees you.
What could possibly go wrong?
The opening segment was a fever dream – Get this: the tag team battle royal opened the show until Strowman came out and beat them all up. He then negotiated in the ring with Stephanie McMahon. In exchange with working with his teammates in the Survivor Series match, Steph promised him another shot at Brock Lesnar as well as Baron Corbin.
But then Ronda Rousey came out all glaring and pissed off because Becky Lynch has been killing her on Tuesdays, wants to fight her now, and then threatened to hurt Stephanie because she was there.
And then Corbin came out, got flipped by Rousey, and Strowman vowed to neuter him. This has been Monday Night Raw, folks – see you next time.
Tamina def. Ember Moon – This storyline is slightly aggravating, simply because it could have been so much better up to this point, you know? The Nia Jax/Moon storytelling up to the Evolution battle royal didn’t get paid off very well.
Still, we can only work with what we have and this was a decent start. I thought Tamina looked fine in there for a lengthy match with Moon. My only issue is...where does this go? Does Moon get a tag partner? Can she actually win this feud considering Jax is waiting for a title shot?
Ronda Rousey has a bad promo – Whoever thought making fun of Millennials with Ronda’s promo when their biggest audience segment is millennials? Yeesh.
Give Ruby Riott more mic time – Riott got a chance this week to explain why she broke Natalya’s father’s sunglasses. I have mixed feelings. For starters, the fake apology misdirection is so overdone at this point. It’s such a cheap trope and one that you see almost weekly these days. Can we give it a rest, please?
With that said, Riott was phenomenal once she stopped faking sorrow. Jim Neidhart had to shield his eyes so he didn’t have to look at his daughter? Geez, Ruby!
The Riott Squad hit a Hart Attack on Natalya as well to rub some salt in the emotional wound, and all of that was good. I still think the feud has some weird pacing, but there’s potential here. You know, if you forget that Bayley and Bank had been teaming with Natalya for like 6 months and then no-showed on her here.
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable win the tag team battle royal – They redid this later in the show. No one cared either time. What value is there in being team captain, anyway?
Brock Lesnar shows up to work – What? Kinda deserves a headline.
Anyway, he stood there while Paul Heyman talked. Shocking, I know. I love you, Heyman. I think you’re awesome. But I’ve seen this thing too many times.
Jinder Mahal came down wanting to teach Lesnar his...mantra. Lesnar said stupid stuff, looked around lost for a second, and then obliterated Jinder and the Singhs.
This show is insane. I was considering a grade in the C/D territory going into the final segment. And then The Man appeared and burned my plans to smithereens.
What the heck do I grade this show, now?
Our Lord and Savior The Man Becky Lynch: A+++++++++++++++
How’s that sound? Do I need to add more pluses, Becky? I promise I will. Just say the word!