WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from November 26
WWE Raw has set the course for TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2018 already. The top matches are confirmed with Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose, Braun Strowman vs. Baron Corbin and Ronda Rousey vs. Nia Jax. This means the red brand has a lot of time to fill to build to these bouts up.
This week, the focus was set clearly on Rollins, who promised an open challenge in which he would defend the Intercontinental Championship against anyone. Another title match was scheduled for this week with The Authors of Pain competing against Bobby Roode and Chad Gable.
With Strowman sidelined through injury, the men's division on Raw turned to two other big matches. Corbin would fight one of his biggest rivals in Finn Balor, while Elias would get one more shot to take down Bobby Lashley and shut up Lio Rush.
The focus of the women's division was less certain, but Jax was likely continue to build momentum and potentially attempt to intimidate Rousey. The Baddest Woman on the Planet is not one to be easily frightened, though.
This week's Raw had some serious potential with so many huge matches promised. TLC is still weeks away on December 16, so there was no reason this show had to rush anything and could instead focus on telling great stories and putting on quality matches.
Elias vs. Bobby Lashley
Baron Corbin started the show with Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush to brag about the damage they did to Braun Strowman. The acting Raw general manager showed a video of The Monster Among Men promising he would be back soon from his elbow surgery.
Corbin then made clear his position would become permanent at TLC as The Monster will not be able to appear for their match. Elias interrupted and insulted Lashley. During their match, the sinister songster managed to deal with the numbers game outside and apparently get the three with an elbow drop.
However, Rush pulled the referee out of position with the official calling for a disqualification. However, Corbin announced the match was actually a no-DQ, with the three men then storming the ring and destroying the musician.
After an around-the-ring Spear outside, the pinfall was academic.
Lashley def. Elias by pinfall
Once again, Corbin's story is taking up far too much time each week on Raw. Lashley and McIntyre make for an imposing pair to help the interim GM, but this alliance is leading to flat matches that do not matter. It is far too clear what will happen long before the finish.
Elias looked impressive here despite the terrible odds, which should bode well for him after Corbin loses power. For now, it is a waiting game.
Even though the story being sold is that Strowman will not make it to TLC, this is most likely the final act of Corbin's run as acting GM.
The Lucha House Party vs. The Revival (Lucha House Party Rules)
The Revival called out Lucha House Party for their cheap rule changes before demanding a rematch.
Despite Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder's frustration, the match was again competed under Lucha House Party rules with Kalisto, Lince Dorado and Grand Metalik dominating.
Dorado hit a shooting star press to give the luchadors another victory.
Lucha House Party def. Revival by pinfall
Lucha House Party will always be fun to watch, but the artificial attempt to make them stand out was a bad move the first time out. It feels like the faces are openly cheating for no discernible reason at a time when the heel GM clearly isn't support them.
This feud still has potential, but it is not going anywhere until the odds are fair. Otherwise, it's just a glorified handicap squash.
Nia Jax Declares Herself the Pinnacle of the Women's Division
Nia Jax bragged about putting Becky Lynch on the shelf with a concussion and then took credit for starting The Baddest Woman on the Planet's downfall that was showcased by Charlotte Flair's brutal attack at Survivor Series.
After Jax claimed she was on top of the women's division, Rousey finally came out and promised to take out The Irresistible Force.
As Tamina looked to help Jax double-team the champ, Natalya ran down to make the save only to be taken out by The Riott Squad. Jumping into the fray, Rousey sent Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan retreating up the ramp.
Jax has never been a great mic worker, but this felt even worse than usual. The former women's champion tried to sell her cockiness as a heel, and it came off as contrived. Rousey looked like a seasoned veteran in comparison.
WWE is taking the right steps to make the most of this situation. By leaning into The Irish Lass Kicker's unfortunate injury, Jax vs. Rousey has more heat.
Lynch vs. Jax will be a huge angle for WWE. However, after that point, The Irresistible Force should fall down the ladder for a while as punishment for the reckless shot.
The Authors of Pain vs. Bobby Roode and Chad Gable (Raw Tag Team Championships)
Authors of Pain manager Drake Maverick vowed that Bobby Roode and Chad Gable would understand the fear he felt at Survivor Series by the end of this title match against his team.
Gable and Roode sounded focused in their interview before heading out for the contest.
Maverick played mind games by stealing Roode's robe and heading backstage. As revenge for The Glorious One's comments, he peed on the robe backstage, which was shown on the titantron.
The distraction allowed Akam and Rezar to hit an elevated powerbomb on Roode for the win.
Authors of Pain def. Roode and Gable by pinfall
If it were possible to pay attention to the action in the ring here, there was enough to make for a decent title defense. However, this was all just a stunt to continue a frustrating angle that is belittling Maverick repeatedly.
The Raw tag team division deserves so much more better than this, especially AOP.
Ember Moon (w/ Curt Hawkins) vs. Alicia Fox (w/ Jinder Mahal)
With new partner Curt Hawkins in her corner, Ember Moon did not take long to put away Alicia Fox. She connected with The Eclipse for three.
Afterward, Hawkins celebrated as if he got his first win in years.
Moon def. Fox by pinfall
This was a complete squash that felt like it didn't even need to happen. This was supposed to help sell the Mixed Match Challenge tournament, but the match never went anywhere to help make it feel like a proper sell.
At least The War Goddess picked up a win.
Jinder Mahal (w/ The Singh Brothers) vs. No Way Jose
No Way Jose interrupted the celebration of Moon and Hawkins to head to the ring with the conga line.
Jinder Mahal quickly grounded the party animal, but Jose refused to stay down. Eventually, though, The Modern Day Maharaja put him down with an emphatic Khallas.
Mahal def. Jose by pinfall
Jose has not been on TV for a while for a reason. He is seen as an enhancement talent at best, so there was no reason he should have gotten in as much offense as he did against Mahal.
Somehow, this went on much longer than Moon vs. Fox but provided even less.
Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler (WWE Intercontinental Championship)
Seth Rollins told fans he wanted to refocus after Dean Ambrose's mind games, so he was returning to defending his championship in open challenges.
Dolph Ziggler took this chance to get another title shot against The Architect, certain he had Rollins' number.
The Showoff proved early that he knew how to challenge the WWE intercontinental champion, but it was not enough. Even after connecting with a Zig Zag, Rollins stayed in it before hitting a superplex into a Falcon Arrow for the win.
Rollins def. Ziggler by pinfall
The point of the open-challenge format is to allow new contenders to stand out. This would have been a cool way to let Apollo Crews continue to build some good will with the fans. An NXT call-up or a return from someone such as Bray Wyatt would have been an exciting move.
Instead, it was just another Rollins vs. Ziggler match. To be fair, this was easily the best bout of the night, a great TV clash. It was obvious both men put their all into every moment, and their chemistry is clear to see. However, it was just completely unnecessary with so many new options available.
Alexa Bliss Hosts an Open Forum with Sasha Banks and Bayley
Baron Corbin's newly appointed leader of the women's division, Alexa Bliss, held an open forum with the fans supposedly asking questions of Sasha Banks and Bayley. The Goddess quickly took over, though, and tried to convince the best friends to turn on each other.
After one too many insults of Bliss by The Boss and Hug Connection, Mickie James, Fox and Dana Brooke jumped the faces only to be run off by the pair, who stood tall.
Grade school insults coupled with inconsequential storytelling made this a useless segment. While it is good to have Banks and Bayley doing something on Raw again, their rivalry with Bliss will need to make a dramatic shift to not feel lackluster.
The only thing that came out of this was Brooke helping the heels, but she was disposed of quickly even though she made this a three-on-two beatdown.
Baron Corbin vs. Finn Balor
All on his own to start, Baron Corbin still managed to wear down Finn Balor in this match early.
However, the Irishman refused to be slowed, getting faster and more aggressive with each minute. After the interim GM dodged the Coup De Grace, he announced the bout was now a handicap match including Drew McIntyre.
It took less than a minute for The Scottish Psychopath to put this away by hitting a Claymore kick on a distracted Balor. Afterward, Lashley joined the fray, with the three planting The Extraordinary Man, ending with another Claymore kick.
Corbin and McIntyre def. Balor by pinfall
This was no different than the opening segment beyond the match having a little more to it. As a main event, it was unremarkable. Corbin and Balor have always been fine opponents, but they are not a pairing worthy of closing out Raw.
The point of Raw was to sell Corbin as a looming unstoppable force, but it just made this entire night feel lethargic and predictable. Balor vs. McIntyre is the only good that will eventually come of this.