The John Report: The WWE Raw Deal 12/10/18 Review

Live from San Diego, California, this is the Raw Deal for episode #1332 of Monday Night Raw. Follow me on Twitter @johnreport. If you want to support us at TJRWrestling, here’s a Donate Link for our Paypal to contribute in some way to help us grow the site. Thanks to Melo Man for the banner up top.

Raw began with Seth Rollins, the Intercontinental Champion, already in the ring with a microphone in hand. His song kept playing along with the “Burn it down” yell that was part of the song. The ring was surrounded by tables, ladders and chairs. They were all over the ramp and the stage as well.

Let’s Hear from Seth Rollins
Rollins said that “burn it down” will be his rallying cry this Sunday at TLC when he puts his IC Title on the line against Dean Ambrose. Rollins said that it will be the theme for right here tonight in San Diego. Rollins said he’s not out there to call out Ambrose because he’s not interested in games, he wants to spit the truth. Rollins spoke about how General Manager-elect Baron Corbin has talked about being on the right side of history and Rollins said it’s time for Corbin to hear some things from Rollins so that he could get a dose of reality.

Baron Corbin, the Raw General Manager-elect, made his entrance in his TGI Friday’s attire. Corbin faces Braun Strowman at TLC in a TLC match. What we don’t know is if Strowman will show up. Corbin went into the ring to tell Rollins that if he wants a conversation, they can do it in private. Corbin said his door is always open to a superstar of Seth’s caliber. Rollins told Corbin to shut up and listen.
Rollins said that for the past couple of months he’s been wrapped up with his business with Dean Ambrose. Rollins didn’t care if Corbin was “acting GM” or “GM-elect” or “head idiot in charge” because it doesn’t matter. Rollins said that under Corbin’s leadership, Raw has sucked and it has sucked because of Corbin. Rollins whined about how Corbin has made everything about him as the crowd chanted “Corbin sucks” at him. Rollins said that what Corbin has been doing as GM-elect isn’t right, it is wrong. Corbin told Rollins to watch how he speaks to him.

Rollins told Corbin that the Raw locker room are some of the most talented men and women that Raw has ever seen. Rollins said that The Revival should be competing for the tag team titles, but they are in Lucha House Rules matches. Rollins wondered what those matches are. Rollins complained about how Corbin would just want to have segments with Lashley and McIntyre patting eachother on the back. Rollins ripped on the urination segment as well. Rollins complained about how Braun Strowman might have hurt Corbin’s feelings, so that’s why Brock Lesnar is Universal Champion again. Rollins pointed out that Lesnar isn’t there because he doesn’t want to be there. Rollins asked when the last time Lesnar competed in a match on Raw? Rollins pointed out that it was 2002 – 16 years! Rollins said this run of Corbin has been an abject failure. Rollins said that the morale from backstage, the fan support and the TV ratings are at an all-time low and it’s all because of Corbin.
Corbin fired back saying he didn’t care about what Rollins thought and claimed that things are going to be worse. Rollins didn’t think things could get any worse. Corbin said that Dean Ambrose is going to beat Rollins for the Intercontinental Title and then Corbin is going to beat Braun Strowman in the TLC match because there’s nothing Strowman can do with one arm. Corbin mentioned he always wanted to have a TLC match. Corbin told him that Jojo is going to announce Corbin as the permanent GM of Raw.

Rollins challenged Corbin to a match, but Corbin seemed reluctant to do that. Rollins pointed out that they had all the tools surrounding the ring, so he suggested a TLC Match with Corbin right here tonight. Corbin said he had no problem making an example out of Rollins when you disrespect the current and future GM of Raw. Corbin said his answer is still no. Rollins called Corbin a “coward” twice. When Corbin spoke, Rollins kept saying “coward” and that was enough to get the match because Corbin told Rollins he’s got a TLC match tonight. Corbin told Rollins that match will be for the Intercontinental Championship. Corbin left. Rollins received cheers from the crowd.
Analysis: Awesome promo from Rollins. He addressed all the things that have been hurting Raw, then referencing morale being down, ratings being down and all that stuff that has some truth to it. I’m glad he was the one that got to talk “for the fans” so to speak. Corbin did well as the authority figure saying he didn’t care what the fans thought. It was as if Corbin was speaking for Vince McMahon in response to the fans whining about everything. I give WWE credit for using Rolins in that spot because he’s the guy that can be the face of Raw if they truly got behind him in that role. I hope that happens, which means Rollins beating Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania. That’s what should happen anyway. For a Raw opening segment, this was better than the usual.

Coming up on Raw: Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax in a face to face segment. The Raw Tag Team Titles are on the line in a 3 on 2 Handicap Match up next.
Seth Rollins was shown walking backstage where Dasha Fuentes showed up for an interview. Rollins said that it may not have been a smart move to get set up this match with Corbin, but he’s sick of things. Rollins said if he considers himself a leader and champion then he has to take a stand. Rollins felt that if he doesn’t take a stand, then he doesn’t deserve to hold that title.

The AOP team and Drake Maverick were already in the ring. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable made their Glorious entrance in their blue robes. It makes no sense that this is a title match, but that’s what it is.

Raw Tag Team Championships 3-on-2 Handicap Match: AOP (Akam and Rezar) and Drake Maverick vs. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable
Rezar worked over Gable with forearms to the back. Gable tried a kick, Rezar blocked it and hit a clothesline. Maverick tagged in for a pin attempt, Akam tagged in and Gable sent him over the top to the floor. Roode back in leading to a double clothesline on Rezar to send him out of the ring. Double team hip toss by Roode and Gable on Maverick to send him in the ring. Roode and Gable tossed Maverick over the top onto AOP on the floor, which was a cool spot as they went to break.

The match returned with Maverick in the ring with a slap to Gable’s face and then Rezar tagged in with a forearm to the head. Akam into the ring with forearms on Gable, then a charge, Gable moved and Roode hit a running shoulder tackle on Akam. Roode with a running kick to Akam’s face, then a forearm and Roode up top, but Akam caught him with an overhead slam. Rezar tagged in with a knee to the face for a two count as Gable made the save. Akam whipped Gable into the turnbuckle. Super Collider Powerbomb worked on Roode, but Gable hit a hurricanrana. AOP hit a neckbreaker into a Powerbomb double team move on Gable. Maverick tagged in, did a Glorious mock and Roode hooked the arms of Maverick leading to a pinfall win after about eight minutes.
Winners and New Raw Tag Team Champions: Bobby Roode and Chad Gable
Analysis: **1/2 That was an entertaining match with AOP dominating for most of it, but then Maverick ended up costing the team the win with Roode outsmarting him. I didn’t expect that title change to happen, but I guess it’s something different and gives the faces some positive momentum that was needed. Roode pinning Maverick keeps AOP strong because they didn’t lose, their manager did. I could see the titles going back to AOP in the near future.

The announce team of Michael Cole, Corey Graves and Renee Young were shown on camera for the first time. A clip aired of Finn Balor helping Dolph Ziggler beat Drew McIntyre last week and then McIntyre attacked Balor backstage.

Coming up later on Raw: Dolph Ziggler vs. Drew McIntyre in a rematch from last week. They said Balor was not there due to injury. Still to come is Rollins vs. Corbin in a TLC match for the first time in six years on Raw.
Analysis: Balor was sent home early from the South American shows that the Raw crew was on, so hopefully he’s not really hurt. Since the match with McIntyre is still advertised for TLC, I assume Balor will be okay for Sunday and Finn just needs a bit of a break.

Natalya entered the arena because she’s up next.
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable celebrated with the Raw Tag Team Titles. Roode said they knew hard work would pay off for them. Gable said only one word described how he feels. Both guys said “Glorious” at the same time.
Analysis: Congrats on beating a manager, I guess.

Let’s Hear From Natalya
Natalya was in the ring. She’s facing Ruby Riott at TLC in a Tables Match. Natalya said that she wanted to get something off her chest and it’s about Ruby Riott. Natalya said that she loves this business, but Ruby doesn’t respect people in this business. Natalya talked about how she had to overcome so much just to make it in WWE. She spoke about how her uncle Bret Hart punched the owner of the company, Vince McMahon, in the face at Survivor Series 1997. She said that she had to overcome all of that and more to make it in WWE. Natalya said she’s damn proud to be a Hart and represent her family in WWE. Natalya noted that Ruby made it personal when she wrecked Natalya’s dad’s sunglasses. Natalya claimed that she’ll teach Ruby about respect and Sunday at TLC, she’ll dedicate her match to somebody she loves and respects more than anybody else in this world, her father Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart. Natalya cried in the ring a bit. She said she’s going to take every tear, every emotion and she’s going to drive her ass through a table. She said there’s not a thing Ruby will be able to do about it.

Riott appeared on the stage with Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan on the stage. They had a table. The other girls left as Riott told Natalya to get herself a good counselor. Riott said that Natalya doesn’t represent the Harts or her family. Riott told Natalya that she disgraces her family. Riott said that she knows she won’t be invited to the Hart Family Christmas this year, she got her a gift to pick up her spirits. Riott said that this is the gift that keeps on giving. Riott took the cover off the table and it was a picture of the late Jim Neidhart on it. The fans booed that. Riott said that everybody knows how close Natalya was with her daddy and on Sunday when Ruby puts her through this table, Natalya will be closer than ever to her daddy. Riott’s music played while Natalya looked emotional in the ring.

Analysis: This was so cheesy. It just didn’t work for me. They made that feud look even more personal than it was by having Riot bust out that table that had The Anvil’s image on it. I think that’s going a bit too far, but I assume Natalya is fine with it because it’s about getting heat for this storyline. Would I keep using Anvil’s death to get heat? No, but it’s also something I’m used to seeing in WWE. Natalya’s promo was good as the face that wanted to get her revenge and Riott showed no remorse for her past actions as a cheap heel. I just think some of the dialogue is lame. They should have a good match at TLC. I assume Natalya will go over to win the feud.

Dolph Ziggler did a cell phone promo in the locker room. Ziggler said that he beat Drew McIntyre last week. Ziggler said that he’s not the good guy, he’s not the bad guy, he’s Dolph Ziggler. He said he didn’t want Finn Balor’s help and he didn’t want it. Ziggler said that Drew should remember that he is Dolph Ziggler. That match is next.

This week on Smackdown: Charlotte vs. Asuka in a WrestleMania rematch, which should be an awesome match. Also, The Bar and The Usos are having a Rap Battle hosted by The New Day.
PLUG TIME: The month of December means the 10th Annual WWE Johnny Awards are coming later this month, so please check out our polls for the awards with categories like Best Talker (Promos), Best Babyface and Best Heel among others. There will be new polls up every day, all month long. The winners of the polls don’t win the awards. The winners are my picks and will be announced in a column on December 27…The WWF in 2000 reviews are back. I just posted the March 9, 2000 edition of Smackdown on Saturday. The next Raw and Smackdown should go up this week as well, so check out our WWF in 2000 section to stay updated every week.

Drew McIntyre made his entrance. Charly Caruso interviewed him in the ring. McIntyre said nobody stays undefeated forever – not Andre the Giant, not The Undertaker at WrestleMania and not even Drew McIntyre. Drew said that it might make him more dangerous. Drew said they could ask Finn Balor, but he’s not there, so Drew will finish him off at TLC. Drew said that when he talks, you will all listen and he’s making Raw a better place for everybody. He added that he didn’t care if they liked him. McIntyre said Ziggler said he’s not a good guy or a bad guy and he’s just a guy that will get his head kicked off.

Analysis: The reference to undefeated was that McIntyre’s first loss on Raw (at least with him taking a pin) was last week against Ziggler. That’s the first time since April when he returned to the main roster.

Dolph Ziggler made his entrance to face off with his former tag team partner for the second week in a row.

Drew McIntyre vs. Dolph Ziggler
McIntyre was aggressive early with forearms to the chest. Ziggler tried to fight back, but McIntyre hit a belly to belly suplex across the ring. They went to break one minute into it.

The match returned with Ziggler still in control as they battled by the turnbuckle. McIntyre had Ziggler on his back and jumped off the middle turnbuckle with a rough landing for Ziggler’s shoulder. That didn’t look like a fun bump for Ziggler. Ideally, Ziggler would want to land on his back, but he landed on his right shoulder and it looked rough. McIntyre dumped Ziggler out of the ring, Ziggler avoided a suplex and sent McIntyre into the steel ring post. The referee was counting as Ziggler went into the ring and McIntyre barely got in the ring before the ten count. Ziggler went for a superkick, but he collapsed in the ring and McIntyre laughed about it. McIntyre wanted him to keep fighting and don’t give up. Ziggler kicked the knee of McIntyre and Ziggler hit a Zig Zag for a two count. Nice nearfall there. They got back up to their feet, Ziggler tried with a superkick, but McIntyre hit him with a Claymore Kick for the pinfall win after about nine minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Drew McIntyre

Analysis: *** It was an entertaining match with McIntyre getting the win back after losing to Ziggler last week. That was not a surprising result because McIntyre is booked strong all the time. The way they were selling at the end there made it look like they were in some grueling 30-minute match where they were exhausted, but it was really just a short match. They made the most of their time and put on a good showing.

After the match was over, McIntyre whipped Ziggler shoulder first into the steel ring post. Ziggler took off the top half of the steel ring steps. Referees and producer Adam Pearce showed up to stop Drew from doing a vicious attack. McIntyre ended up hitting a running kick to Ziggler’s face into the side of the LED board. McIntyre walked away looking proud of his actions.

Analysis: I think we can all complain about how some people are booked on Raw, but McIntyre is a guy where you can’t complain too much about how he is booked. He’s an ascending star that does great work every week. The issue is the faces on this show are booked like such losers, so he has yet to have a meaningful rivalry.

The announcers were on screen again with Cole complaining about how ridiculous it was for Baron Corbin to allow that to happen. Graves said that Corbin isn’t responsible for that. Renee whined about it too.

A clip aired from last week with Heath Slater beating Rhyno in a match, which led to Rhyno getting fired and Slater won the match to become a referee per the orders of Corbin.

Sasha Banks entered with Bayley. Graves complained about Banks mentioning him last week, which led to a lot of mean tweets. That’s funny. Bayley is against Alicia Fox after the break.
There were tweets and images shown from Sasha Banks visiting kids in Abu Dhabi in the last week.

Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers entered because this was done to promote the Mixed Match Challenge. Alicia Fox made her entrance. The finals of the Raw side of the MMC is Alicia and Jinder vs. Bayley and Apollo Crews, who is filling in for Finn Balor, who has some injury.
Analysis: This MMC season has been cursed by injuries leading to a lot of replacements.

Alicia Fox (w/Jinder Mahal, Samir and Sunil Singh) vs. Bayley (w/Sasha Banks)
Bayley with an elbow smash off the middle ropes. Fox came back with a flipping neckbreaker for a two count. Fox grabbed a headlock to ground her opponent. Bayley with a running clothesline. Bayley hit a belly to back suplex. Bayley with shoulder tackles to the ribs of Fox, then a running knee and a neckbreaker using the middle ropes for an assist. The Singhs distracted Bayley, so Fox hit a running boot to the face. Apollo Crews’ music hit as he ran to the ring to beat up the Singh Brothers. Banks hit a double knee attack on Sunil on the floor. Crews whipped Samir into Mahal. Crews picked up Banks (she told him to do it) and threw her onto the three guys outside the ring. Fox missed a kick and Bayley hit a Bayley to Belly suplex for the pinfall win after about four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Bayley
Analysis: *1/2 It was decent action with a lot of the focus on what was happening outside the ring. It was not an exciting way to promote the Mixed Match Challenge, but at least they tried.

Still to come is Rollins vs. Corbin in a TLC match for the IC Title. Dean Ambrose was shown backstage looking at the Rollins/Corbin graphic because he’s up next.

Dean Ambrose was interviewed backstage by Charly Caruso. He was wearing the same brown jacket he had on last week. Dean told her not to call him the “Lunatic Fringe” again. Ambrose said that “The Architect” is a name that Seth Rollins gave himself to make himself look smarter. Ambrose said Rollins is doing this TLC match tonight because of his big, fat ego. Ambrose said that Rollins isn’t an Architect, he’s a piece of sh— and he stopped himself. Ambrose said that he’ll take that title at TLC and he’ll tell Rollins what he thinks of him to his face. Caruso asked “if Reigns was aware of what was going on with them, how would he react?” Ambrose: “Roman? Who cares?” Carly cued up a video package.
Analysis: It was a weird line of questioning to have Charly ask “if” Reigns was aware of what was going on? Are we to assume Reigns doesn’t watch the show? I just thought she could have phrased it better, so that’s on the creative team to script it better.

A video package aired from October 22, 2018 when Rollins and Ambrose won the Raw Tag Team Titles. That same night was when Roman Reigns announced his leukemia is back, so he had to go home to fight that battle. Anyway, it showed the heel turn by Ambrose followed by the weeks of promos and attacks to set up Rollins vs. Ambrose at TLC this Sunday.

After the video package ran for about four minutes, Caruso held the microphone by Ambrose’s face and he just walked away without saying anything.
Analysis: It was awkward to have Ambrose just stand there for four minutes to watch a video package and then say nothing. The announcers didn’t even talk about what Ambrose said, so they avoided the weird portion of the show with Renee trying to explain her husband Dean’s actions.

Elias was shown warming up backstage because he’s up next.
Elias was in the ring with the spotlight on him. Elias said that Bobby Lashley did a radio interview earlier in the day saying that if it was up to him he would move every sports team in this city and move it to LA. The fans booed because the NFL’s San Diego Chargers moved to LA a few years ago (plus the NBA’s San Diego Clippers to LA many years ago). Elias said if it was up to San Diego, they wouldn’t let a loser like Lashley perform, which led to cheers. Elias said that everybody here knows that WWE stands for Walk With Elias with the crowd saying it twice and they were very loud. Elias said that hitting “children” with the guitar wasn’t at the top of his list as a good guy, but last week was an exception and it showed an image of Elias hitting the “child” Lio Rush. Elias sang a song with some poor lyrics until he had a line about how he can’t stop thinking about how much Bobby Lashley sucks.
Analysis: I liked the bit where he said Lashley ripped on San Diego sports teams. Good way of getting cheap heat on somebody else. That’s clever.

Bobby Lashley made his entrance with his hype man Lio Rush, who was in his ring gear. That match is after a break.
Elias was in the ring with Lio Rush and Bobby Lashley. Elias faces Lashley at TLC on Sunday. There was no referee out there. Heath Slater slowly made his way down to the ring, which drew a mild reaction from the crowd.

Elias vs. Lio Rush (w/Bobby Lashley)
Rush tried to use his speed to get away, but Elias caught him and launched him into the air leading to a big bump from Rush. Elias tossed Rush all the way across the ring. Elias with a hard whip into the turnbuckle with Rush bumping out of the ring. Lashley provided a distraction, so Rush connected with two kicks on Elias and a spin kick to the head. Elias caught Rush on his shoulders and Elias hit a Powerbomb. Elias tried to cover, so Lashley went into the ring to attack Elias from behind. Slater wanted to call for the bell, but Lashley intimidated Slater into not calling for the DQ. Elias picked up Elias and spiked him with a spinebuster. Rush grabbed the guitar from ringside and brought it into the ring. Lashley grabbed the guitar and hit Elias in the back with it. Rush crawled into the ring and covered Elias while Lashley made Slater count the pin, so Slater counted the three count to give Rush the win after four minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Lio Rush
Analysis: 1/2* It was an angle more than a match to give Lashley and Rush the advantage over Elias going into TLC on Sunday. This result likely means Elias will get the win on Sunday.

Post match, Lashley made Slater raise Rush’s hand and Slater reluctantly did it. Slater left while Lashley and Rush posed in the ring. Elias was down in the ring selling the guitar attack.

Alexa Bliss was backstage talking to some dude on a headset because she’s up next for a Rousey and Jax “face to face” segment.

The announcers were back on camera with Renee saying they should just call this Monday Night Corbin since it’s all about him and his buddies. A clip aired of the Seth Rollins promo on Corbin earlier to set up their TLC match.

A clip aired of Bobby Roode and Chad Gable beating AOP and Drake Maverick for the Raw Tag Team Titles earlier in the night.
A clip aired from earlier showing Ruby Riott’s table gift to Natalya that featured an image of Natalya’s late father Jim Neidhart on the table.
A clip aired to show Drew McIntyre beating Dolph Ziggler and then attacking him after the match.
Analysis: Do we really need so many recaps? It’s not that hard to remember what happened earlier in the night. This show is too long, so they felt the need to waste some time, I guess.

Heath Slater was shown in the locker room. Baron Corbin showed up to say he did a good job out there. Corbin asked how his buddy Rhyno was and Slater didn’t say anything. Slater said he was going home, but Corbin told him he was not because he has another match to referee.

Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax Face to Face with Alexa Bliss
Alexa Bliss made her entrance looking fabulous. Has she gotten hotter since she appears in “business” attire? I think so. She’s certainly showing off the goods a bit more than usual. She should be cleared to return to the ring soon, but for now she’s just in charge of the women’s division on Raw.
Nia Jax made her entrance with Tamina before Bliss could even introduce her and Bliss looked frustrated about that. Jax challenges Rousey for the Raw Women’s Championship at TLC on Sunday.

Jax said she was going to make a statement before Bliss could ask questions. Jax said that this Sunday, she will become the Raw Women’s Champion at the direct expense of Ronda Rousey. Jax said that getting cracked in the head by those four ounce gloves in UFC have done a number on Rousey’s brain. Jax said that Rousey should lay the title at Jax’s feet right now to avoid the humiliation at TLC. Jax said she doesn’t talk trash. She’s a 6 foot tall, 300-pound Samoan woman, she is Rousey’s worst nightmare and the embodiment of the anti-Rousey. Jax mentioned that her right hand broke Becky Lynch’s face with one punch. She said this Sunday at TLC, Jax is going to punch Ronda Rousey in the face, but she won’t just stop with one punch because she’s going to punch Rousey over and over again. Jax said that she’s not just the most imposing force in WWE women’s history. Jax went over Rousey’s credentials and said that if by chance, Rousey grabs her arms, Jax will open the fist, pry Ronda off her arms and then break Ronda’s face with a punch. Jax said that she’s going to erase the myth of Rousey at TLC.
Ronda Rousey made her entrance with a serious look on her face and the Raw Women’s Championship on her left shoulder. Rousey went into the ring saying she didn’t come there to talk about fighting and hit her poses, she came there to fight. When Rousey got into the ring, Jax and Tamina left the ring. Ember Moon ran out to the ring to join Rousey in the ring. Moon faces Tamina after a break.

Analysis: They advertised this thing as Alexa Bliss holds a “press conference” where she would take fan questions. Instead, Bliss didn’t even say a word and was made to look like such a loser when Jax took over the segment. Plans change, I guess. Anyway, Jax did well with that promo. I’ve complained about her in the past when she did the bad comedy stuff, but in this case it was more serious and more direct in terms of what Jax was going to do to Rousey. That’s the right way to book Jax because it makes her look like more of a badass.

Ember Moon (w/Ronda Rousey) vs. Tamina (w/Nia Jax)
Moon with a dropkick that sent Tamina out of the ring. Jax saved Tamina from an attack, so Rousey got in Jax’s face for a staredown. Back in the ring, Moon with a rollup. Moon went for a springboard attack, but Tamina stopped her with a kick to the throat. Tamina with a splash against the turnbuckle. Tamina grounded Moon with a headlock. The announcers noted that Ronda’s mom got to see Rousey at a live event for the first time in Santiago, Chile this past weekend because Ronda’s mom lives there. Moon got back up, avoided a corner attack and Moon connected with a headscissors takedown. Moon with a face first slam for a two count as Cole did the usual commentary line about Moon being a future champion. They say that about her and Ruby Riott in nearly every match. Tamina hit a powerslam for a two count. Moon jumped off the middle turnbuckle with a double knee to the face. Jax was on the apron, so Rousey pulled Jax down and tossed Jax over the barricade at ringside. Moon stunned Tamina on the top rope and Moon jumped off the top with the Eclipse for the pinfall win after about five minutes.
Winners by pinfall: Ember Moon
Analysis: *1/4 It was a poor match that is typical of what we get with Tamina because she’s not very good in the ring. Tamina’s good at standing there and looking mean, but when the bell rings, I am incredibly bored by her. Moon is a good babyface that sells a beating well and has great comebacks. She has a bright future.

Seth Rollins was shown getting ready backstage because of his big TLC Match still to come.
Baron Corbin was in his office checking his phone. Charly Caruso showed up to talk to him. Caruso asked if this match is an abuse of power. Corbin teased sending her to Smackdown, but he added that he was joking. Corbin said he’s doing this match because he is going to win at TLC by forfeit, so he wanted to let the fans see him swing a chair. Caruso mentioned the rumor of Braun Strowman showing up at TLC on Sunday. Corbin said this might be his first TLC match and this will be Seth’s chance to taste what life is like with Corbin in charge. Corbin was confident going into the match.

Analysis: My guess is Strowman shows up at TLC, he beats Corbin in under five minutes in a dominant performance and Strowman barely bumps because of the elbow surgery. I expect a short match and that’s why they have 11 matches set for TLC.
The announcers shilled the WWE TLC lineup. I have the full card below with 11 matches advertised and I think they might add one or two on Smackdown. Renee said Strowman had “shoulder surgery” even though it was elbow and they even showed images of it in the past, so I don’t know why WWE is switching it to shoulder now.
It was announced by Cole that Elias vs. Bobby Lashley will be a Ladder Match with a guitar hanging above the ring and the first guy that grabs the guitar can use it.

Analysis: Out of all the matches to have a Ladder stipulation on the card, I would not have picked that. Using a guitar as a weapon isn’t a big deal when guys can use ladders or any objects as weapons. I have low expectations for that match.
Heath Slater entered the ring as the referee for the TLC match. It’s not like you really need a ref for a match where a guy has to retrieve a title after climbing a ladder.

The video package aired about Lars Sullivan. He said that what happens at TLC will be a minor tremor compared to the catastrophic earthquake that will occur when he comes to WWE.

The Intercontinental Championship match was hanging above the ring. The winner of the match has to climb the ladder to retrieve that title. The announcers talked about Slater as referee with Cole making my point about how all you have to do in a TLC match is witness the guy grab the title above the ring.

Seth Rollins made his entrance to a big pop. His IC Title was hanging above the ring. Baron Corbin was up next as the opponent. A reader posed a good question to me last week when he asked if Corbin was in charge, why would he choose to wrestle in a dress shirt? I don’t have an answer to that except to assume that Vince McMahon wants him to do it. It’s always up to Vince.

Intercontinental Championship – Tables, Ladders and Chairs Match: Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin
There are over 20 minutes left in the show counting commercials, so this match will get a lot of time.
Rollins and Corbin battled in the ring with Rollins hitting a knee that sent Corbin out of the ring. Rollins went for a jumping attack on the apron and Corbin decked Rollins with a steel chair. Corbin told Slater to get him a big ladder, which is not the normal role of a referee. Rollins got back into it with a springboard clothesline that sent Corbin out of the ring.
The match returned with Corbin grabbing a chair and he hit Rollins in the back with it two times. When Rollins got back up, Corbin hit him in the back with the chair again leading to Rollins going out to the floor. Corbin whipped Rollins into the barricade two times. Graves and Young bickered about everything with Graves claiming that Young enjoyed this because it was good for Dean Ambrose, her husband. Corbin tried to bring a ladder into the ring, but Rollins hit a dropkick to stop that. When Rollins tried to set up a ladder in the ring, Corbin stopped him with a forearm to the back. Corbin hit a suplex into a ladder that was bridged against the turnbuckle. Corbin set up a chair against the turnbuckle, Rollins tried to slam Corbin into that chair, but Corbin went under the bottom rope and back in with a clothesline, which is a spot that Corbin does all the time. It looked better than usual there. A table was set up against a turnbuckle. Rollins charged at Corbin and Corbin hit a back body drop that sent Rollins over the top to the floor. Corbin set up a big ladder in the ring. Corbin did a slow climb, but Rollins jumped onto the ladder leading to punches. Corbin avoided The Stomp, elbow to the face and Corbin whipped Rollins into the ladder. Corbin kicked Rollins out of the ring leading to another break.

Back from break, Rollins went for an attack off the top, Corbin avoided it and Corbin hit the Deep Six slam. Corbin did his slide out of the ring and back in spot, but Rollins stopped it with a dropkick and Rollins sent Corbin crashing into the chair against the turnbuckle. The fans chanted “We Want Tables” at them. Rollins hit Corbin in the back with seven chairshots. Rollins hit two suicide dives in a row. Rollins went for another suicide dive, but Corbin caught Rollins and gave him a Chokeslam through a table that was on the floor. Corbin went back into the ring for a slow climb up a ladder, but Rollins stopped Corbin with two chair shots to the back. Rollins charged with a chair, Corbin ducked and Rollins hit Slater in the head by accident. Some fans chanted “He’s Got Kids” for Slater, which was funny at that moment. Corbin hit a forearm to knock Rollins out of the ring. Rollins avoided the End of Days slam and a charge attempt by Corbin. Rollins kicked Corbin in the face. Rollins put Corbin on a table on the floor. Rollins went up top and jumped off with a Frog Splash that put Corbin through the table! That was impressive! Rollins got a lot of height and it looked great as he put Corbin through the table. Rollins went into the ring, he climbed up a ladder and got his hand on the ladder. Heath Slater held the ladder and shoved it over with Cole yelling about how Corbin had something planned with Slater as the referee. Graves claimed that Slater acted on his own. The fans booed this. Slater brought Corbin in the ring, Corbin climbed up the ladder, he reached for it and Rollins took down Slater. Rollins grabbed Corbin and gave him a Buckle Bomb Powerbomb into a table that was against the turnbuckle. Rollins decked Slater with an impressive superkick. Rollins hit The Stomp on Corbin. Rollins climbed the ladder and retrieved the IC Title as the crowd cheered loudly for the end of the match after around 25 minutes of action.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a good match that was given a lot of time with the right man going over. It not like some epic TLC match that you must go out of your way to see if you missed it. I thought it lacked excitement a bit because there were not a lot of climbing sequences, which is surprising in a match that went over 20 minutes. Rollins had some fun moments because he’s an elite performer that always shines in matches like this. Corbin is still boring to watch, but Rollins is great at selling his power moves, which added to the story of the match. The Frog Splash through the table was a great spot and so was the Powerbomb through the table. Slater played his role well, he nearly cost Rollins, but then Rollins managed to stop him and Rollins got the win shortly after. I thought the last five minutes were booked great.

After the match, Rollins posed on the ladder with his IC Title. Dean Ambrose showed up on the ramp for a staredown. They had their staredown as the show ended right there.

Analysis: I think Rollins vs. Ambrose might main event TLC. It’s either that or the Smackdown women’s TLC match or Styles vs. Bryan. If I had to pick one, I think the Smackdown women’s TLC match is the best choice since the PPV is called TLC and the match quality should be awesome. We will have a full preview of WWE TLC up on Friday.

Three Stars of the Show

  1. Seth Rollins – A very good night for Raw’s best overall performer.
  2. Drew McIntyre
  3. Baron Corbin


The Scoreboard

5 out of 10
Last week: 4.5
2018 Average: 5.62
Last 5 Weeks: 4.5, 2.5, 4, 6, 6
2018 High: 8 (February 19)
2018 Low: 2.5 (November 26)

Final Thoughts
I give it a 5 out of 10.

I thought Raw was a bit of an upgrade from last week and better than the worst of the year from two weeks ago. My score is still below the yearly average, though. On the positive side, the Rollins/Corbin main event of this show was pretty good since they got 25 minutes. Plus, the McIntyre/Ziggler match was very entertaining for something that went under ten minutes.

The opening promo from Rollins was great. It was one of the better promos on Raw in a while, so it set off the show on the right note. There was a lot of truth to what Rollins said. He’s the right guy to be the “voice of the people” in that setting. Notice I didn’t say “voice of the voiceless” there? That’s somebody else.

The match quality was disappointing for most of the night other than the two matches I really liked. Doing a title change in a handicap match because a manager was pinned is weird. I get why they did it, but it makes AOP look like idiots because they lost due to their manager. The Jax/Rousey segment wasn’t anything special. The build for that match has just been mild at best.  The Natalya/Riott segment was okay although the cheap heat route from Riott is a bit lame. I understand being cheap as a heel, though.

To end on a positive note, featuring Seth Rollins at the start of the show with a great promo and then putting him in a long main event is a formula that will help Raw become a better show. Rollins is a tremendous overall performer, so utilizing him in a major way is a smart move. More of that, please.

The next WWE pay-per-view is Tables, Ladders & Chairs (TLC) this Sunday, December 16. Here’s what we know so far.

WWE Championship: Daniel Bryan (c) vs. AJ Styles
Smackdown Women’s Championship TLC Match: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka
Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Dean Ambrose
Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match: Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin (If Strowman wins, he challenges Lesnar for the Universal Title at Royal Rumble. If Corbin wins, he is full-time GM of Raw.) – Strowman is questionable to make the match due to elbow surgery, so it’s unknown if it will take place.
Raw Women’s Championship: Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Nia Jax
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro) vs. The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E, Xavier Woods) vs. The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso)
Finn Balor vs. Drew McIntyre
Ladder Match With a Guitar Above the Ring: Elias vs. Bobby Lashley
Tables Match: Natalya vs. Ruby Riott
Cruiserweight Championship: Buddy Murphy vs. Cedric Alexander
Finals of Mixed Match Challenge (Teams to be determined on Dec. 11.)

That’s 11 matches. We’ll find out on Smackdown if they add more.

You can contact me using any of the methods below. See ya next time for the Smackdown review. Go Los Angeles Rams, Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs. Thanks for reading.

John Canton
Twitter: @johnreport
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