Raw airs tonight (Nov. 15) with a live show from the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. This is the final Raw episode during the four week build towards Survivor Series 2021 on November 21.
This version of brand warfare sucks
WWE repeatedly tells the audience that Survivor Series is all about brand warfare. A lot of the brand warfare emphasis is usually placed on the traditional elimination matches for that card, where Team Raw battles Team SmackDown. The problem with this right now, of course, is that teammates are busy fighting each other and don’t seem all that concerned or motivated to make sure their brand is number one.
On the SmackDown side, this is illustrated with Shotzi and Sasha Banks. Banks is clearly more interested in kicking Shotzi’s ass than being on the winning team at Survivor Series.
On the Raw side, the entire women’s team fought each other in a five way match last week. As far as the men are concerned, Kevin Owens has been busy going at it with Seth Rollins and has shown little interest in the elimination match. Rollins’ focus has likewise been all on Big E and Owens rather than brand warfare. Rey Mysterio is rightfully pissed off at Adam Pearce for booting his son off the team. Then there’s Finn Balor, who is so apathetic towards the battle for brand supremacy that he actually joined the SmackDown roster for an overseas tour last week instead of appearing on Raw.
Brand supremacy doesn’t appear to be on any of the wrestlers’ minds. It’s understandable why they aren’t fired up about it given that many of the members of Team Raw and Team SmackDown were on the opposite brand last month.
Tonight is the go-home show for Survivor Series, which means the clock is quickly running out. WWE has given the audience almost no reason to care about which brand wins at Survivor Series. The wrestlers also don’t have much reason to care. WWE doesn’t seem to care either, given the paltry effort they’ve put forth to build and promote the show.
This year’s version of brand warfare really sucks.
The title scene
Kevin Owens snapped last week and turned heel on WWE Champion Big E. Big E already has his hands full with number one contender Seth Rollins, but now he will have to react to KO’s attack. Big E will also have to direct some of his promo time towards Universal champion Roman Reigns, the man he’s wrestling at Survivor Series.
Liv Morgan is the new number one contender for Becky Lynch’s Raw women’s championship, and Becky is expected to cut a promo on her tonight. But you can bet your bottom dollar that Lynch will save her best verbal shots for SmackDown women’s champion Charlotte Flair. They are wrestling each other at Survivor Series, and Flair recently implied there’s nothing natural about Lynch. Becky’s response to Charlotte practically writes itself.
Raw tag team champions RK-Bro are having some strategical disagreements right now.
Matt Riddle wants to take the fight to Omos, whereas Randy Orton prefers to patiently wait for the perfect time to strike. The Dirty Dawgs have been picking up some wins along the way and may be in line for another title shot soon enough. Meanwhile, RK-Bro vs. The Usos is a probable match for Survivor Series but it hasn’t been announced yet.
United States champion Damian Priest has a new split personality. Apollo Crews expressed his interest in Damian’s title a couple weeks ago, but there was no follow up last week. Will Priest be officially booked for a non-title match against Intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura at Survivor Series?
Rhea Ripley and Nikki A.S.H. are the Women’s tag team champions and were recently defeated by Carmella & Zelina Vega in non-title action. Ripley happens to be Survivor Series teammates with them, so we’ll see this week if they are more interested in working together or beating each other up.
Reggie finally lost the 24/7 championship last week, but the title changed hands several times and found its way back to him in a matter of minutes. Will commentators Corey Graves or Byron Saxton try to win the title again tonight?
Other stuff to keep an eye on
- Team Raw made a huge upgrade last week when Bobby Lashley squashed Dominik Mysterio and took his spot on the men’s team. WWE claims that Lashley’s “path of destruction” will continue tonight. That’s bad news for the low card babyfaces on the Raw roster.
- The Miz did not return to Raw last week. Maybe WWE is waiting to get Survivor Series out of the way before bringing back the A-Lister.
- Chad Gable has gotten some television time of late, losing matches to both Finn Balor and Big E. Which babyface is he putting over tonight?
- Doudrop is now a heel and has her sights set on Bianca Belair.
- Austin Theory is lingering around the backstage area like a creep taking selfies at the worst times.
What will you be looking for on Raw tonight?