Live from ThunderDome!
It’s “the one time of the year when the stars of Raw and SmackDown go head-to-head!” For the fourth year in a row, that will give us a bevy of champion vs. champion matches at Survivor Series on Nov. 22. One of those will be Raw Women’s champ Asuka vs. her SmackDown counterpart Sasha Banks (or Bayley, if The Boss doesn’t break her title defense jinx on Friday, but come on! Sasha is about to be on somewhere between one and seven episodes of a Star Wars show!) - and that’s dope.
But while the red brand’s top men’s wrestler has opponents lining up to face him before & after his upcoming exhibition with a guy whose veneers he mocked, and the traditional elimination match on the women’s side seems to be dedicated to advancing the tag scene (and Lana), the Empress is left doing bits backstage.
Entertaining as it is to see Asuka dance to a trombone solo and mock The Hurt Business, there has to a better way to use one of the best pro wrestlers working today on a three hour show.
It’s not like there aren’t options. They may want to save Alexa Bliss until they’re ready to debut a “Bride of The Fiend” look, but they could use Nikki Cross to fill some time - and maybe even tie up the loose ends of Bliss & Cross’ partnership in the process. Nikki and Alexa once delivered a personal favorite with their 2017 Last Woman Standing match in NXT; this would be a great time to start planting seeds for a TLC follow-up.
Peyton Royce hasn’t been built up for it, but that didn’t stop them for giving Lana a title shot. Give the Aussie a few weeks with the champ and let’s see what happens. Naomi is a former titleholder who hasn’t been used since the Draft... let’s correct that before Booker T has a reason to get upset again.
They could even give Mia Yim a shot, if Reckoning’s demon has been exorcised and WWE is ready to book RETRIBUTION as something other than jokes.
Whoever they tab for the spot, it would be better than having Asuka do little but remind us she has a match - all due respect to “brand supremacy” - without stakes coming up in a few weeks. And they better hurry. Before we know it Charlotte Flair will be back. You know what that means.
The title scene
As alluded to above, part one: WWE champion Randy Orton’s many potential challengers are the lead item in WWE.com’s official preview for tonight’s show. Drew McIntyre wants a chance to win the belt back. Bray Wyatt’s Firefly Fun House is decorated with reminders of his troubled past with the Viper. And Miz has the Money in the Bank briefcase. There’s so much to keep Orton busy, they barely have time to hype his Survivor Series clash with Roman Reigns.
As alluded to above, part two: WWE Women’s Tag Team champs Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler tangle with Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke in non-title action tonight. Those teams are 4/5 of the Raw’s Survivor Series team, so look for 1/5 Lana to get involved. And get dropped through a table by Jax. Again.
The belts also won’t be on the line when Raw Tag titleholders The New Day get it on with Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin. Expect MVP & United States champ Bobby Lashley to mess with Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston here too. And expect a few reminders about New Day vs. Street Profits and Lashley vs. Sami Zayn at the next PPV along the way.
A month and counting on R-Truth’s 42nd run as 24/7 champion. God is good.
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Despite all evidence to the contrary, Elias insists Jeff Hardy ran him over with a car. That’s led to more kayfabe questioning of Jeff’s sobriety, some solid rock-n-roll music, and lots of guitar smashing. We’re counting on two of those three things happening in tonight’s Guitar on a Pole match between these guys.
- Unlike the women, the Raw Men’s Survivor Series team is not yet complete. Look for one or two to join AJ Styles, Keith Lee, and Sheamus on the Nov. 2 episode.
- Issues between Raw’s Tucker and SmackDown’s Otis may continue after Tucky betrayed Dozer and cost him the Money in the Bank contract. They may not. If they do, they might happen on Raw. Or they could happen on SmackDown. Your guess is as good as ours.
- What genius scheme for chaos will Mustafa Ali come up with / how will Vince McMahon decide to mock antifa with the RETRIBUTION gimmick next?
Three weeks to Survivor Series!
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?