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WWE Raw preview (Nov. 5, 2018): Old tricks

Manchester Raw

The Headliner(s)

Yeah, with Roman Reigns out, Vince McMahon went to his old reliable. But other than that, if you decided to completely skip Crown Jewel, Raw is largely where you left it last Monday.

Mainly, that’s because despite flying Dean Ambrose out to Saudi Arabia, WWE opted not to do anything with him on the show in Riyadh. So he’s still one half of the tag team titleholders, along with Intercontinental champ Seth Rollins. And things are still right where we left them last Monday: with Rollins demanding an explanation as to why his Shield brother attacked him after Reigns announced he was leaving to undergo leukemia treatment, and Ambrose refusing to provide them.

With Survivor Series, the one night of the year where Raw and SmackDown go head-to-head™, less than two weeks away, Seth’s next big match is already booked. The Kingslayer will face the King of Strong Styles in Los Angeles on Sun. Nov. 18. But what of the pairs belts? Who will face The Bar? Can the Shield bros play nice for a night? Is it reasonable to ask Rollins to pull double duty again?

WWE’s been doing some work to rebuild their tag scene of late, but I’m not sure that project will be done in time for Survivor Series. If they do pull the trigger on a title change with an act like AOP or Bobby Roode & Chad Gable, the tag belts are destined for the pre-show at Staples Center. They could also leave them off the card all together, and use whoever the champs from both brands are in the looming Shane McMahon vs. Baron Corbin five-on-five elimination match.

Another alternative is to just give the tag straps back to Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre. Rollins issues with that pair continued at Crown Jewel, with McIntyre interference allowing Dolph to advance past Seth in the World Cup. They could let the Ambrose issue simmer by having Dean no-show the Show-Off & the Celtic Colossus’ rematch. Maybe Braun Strowman runs in to keep his feud with McIntyre going, but eventually Ziggler pins the Architect, who then has another reason to want to kick the Lunatic’s butt after his match with Shinsuke Nakamura.

It’s an idea. Not one I love, but also not one I’d be shocked to see them implement.

The title scene

Largely because they put the Universal championship back on Brock Lesnar, which gets them some mainstream sports media coverage due to the UFC’s need of Lesnar’s name, but leaves them with a 10:30 to 11:05-sized hole on Monday nights. If Strowman is now an anti-authority babyface, strapping McIntyre & Ziggler as acting General Manager Baron Corbin’s muscle is a logical way to go.

The Women’s title scene didn’t change in Saudi Arabia, because... ya know. And it probably won’t until after Ronda Rousey’s superfight with Becky Lynch at Survivor Series.

Other stuff to keep an eye on:

- Two women who could be used to grow Rousey’s legend get some digital ink in’s official preview for today’s episode. Nia Jax already has a title shot coming thanks to her win at Evolution, and recent interactions with her cousin make it seem Tamina make it appear the two Samoans are either headed for a feud to build Jax up for Ronda, or an alliance to give the Rowdy One even more to overcome.

- They could also end up on a women’s Survivor Series’ team, I suppose. The stage isn’t as clearly set for that as Corbin’s issues with Shane McMahon set it up for a men’s five-on-five, but SmackDown General Manager Paige did indicate their would be a women’s elimination tag, too. The preview is also reminding us to not write off The Riott Squad despite their taking two high profile losses last week.

- Or maybe mentioning Nia/Tamina, Ruby Riott’s crew and Sasha Banks & Bayley are all signs those Women’s tag team belts are imminent?

- Let’s see, what else is going on. Elias is a good guy, and just beat Jinder Mahal. Finn Bálor continues to have issues with Bobby Lashley and his hype man Lio Rush. Sound like bickering Survivor Series teammates to me!

- Expect recaps of DX beating Brothers of Destruction. Will we get any info on whether that program can finally rest in peace now that the big Saudi checks have been cashed?

It’s Crown Jewel fallout show / Two weeks until Survivor Series!

What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?

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