A New Universal Champion and Rumor, Preview for November 5 Episode of WWE RawNovember 5, 2018
After a noteworthy Crown Jewel event that saw the crowning of a new Universal Championship, the Raw brand will hit the USA Network Monday night still looking reset its storytelling and feuds following Roman Reigns' departure.
The continued fallout of a shocking betrayal, a monster's vengeance and the build to one of WWE's premier extravaganzas.
Rumor Ahead of Raw
Nick Hausman of WrestlingInc.com reported recent creative changes necessitated by Roman Reigns' leukemia diagnosis led to the previously rumored Team Angle vs. Team Corbin match at Survivor Series to be altered.
It is still possible Angle feuds with Corbin over control of the Raw brand, but after the events of Crown Jewel, where Corbin blasted Braun Strowman with the Universal Championship and set up Brock Lesnar winning the title for the second time in his career, it appears as though The Lone Wolf and current general manager will be feuding with The Monster Among Men for the foreseeable future.
Where does that leave Angle?
At Crown Jewel, the Olympian lost clean to Dolph Ziggler in the first round of the World Cup tournament. There was no controversy whatsoever, but considering Ziggler's path in the coming weeks is less certain, a feud with The Showoff that allows the Superstars to have the type of match they should have had in Saudi Arabia would be a nice surprise.
A New Universal Champion
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Reigns' departure necessitated the crowning of a new universal champion, and Friday in Saudi Arabia, Lesnar defeated Strowman to win the title.
Lesnar's part-time status and uncertainty surrounding his contract leaves the Raw brand without many answers surrounding its top prize.
Is Lesnar the short-term champion who will drop it to the likes of Seth Rollins or Dean Ambrose and propel their story forward? Is he a long-term champion whose demise will come closer to WrestleMania and a rematch with Strowman?
One thing is for sure: Lesnar has a date with AJ Styles at Survivor Series, a rematch from last year's show that will likely be hyped Monday.
The Monster's Revenge
Strowman's quest for his first Universal Championship was thwarted Friday in Saudi Arabia when general manager Corbin made the calculated decision to assault him with the title, putting him at a deficit before the championship clash with Lesnar even began.
While his motives are not entirely clear, Corbin figures to be in the proverbial crosshairs of a vengeful Strowman, looking to wreak havoc and raise hell at the expense of his brand's authority figure.
The bigger question is whether Corbin was acting on the orders of The Authority. Will fans tune in to find out Triple H and Stephanie McMahon explicitly ordered Corbin to make sure the rough-around-the-edges Strowman did not win the Universal Championship and, as a result, become the representative WWE's flagship show?
It would not be the first time a bearded wonder who rose through the ranks with the support of the fans found himself in a war with the powers that be in WWE.
Will Dean Ambrose Explain Himself?
A week ago, Seth Rollins called Ambrose out, expecting The Lunatic Fringe to explain himself after his shocking betrayal of The Kingslayer. Both he and the WWE Universe were unsatisfied by Ambrose's silence. Instead, the former WWE champion merely walked away, leaving the world guessing at his motivations.
Rollins will undoubtedly be looking for the same Monday night, seeking to dive deeper into the psyche of his Raw tag team title partner.
And therein lies another piece of the convoluted puzzle: the tag titles.
Rollins and Ambrose defeated McIntyre and Ziggler to win the Raw Tag Team Championships on the October 22 episode, but thus far, little has been said or done about the fact that they hold gold despite a seemingly irreparable schism.
Maybe the aforementioned heel GM Corbin will force them to defend the titles, putting Rollins in an unenviable 2-1 situation. Perhaps WWE Creative muddies the waters further, creating a scenario where Ambrose sets aside his personal vendetta against Rollins and shows up at the last second to preserve their title reign. Maybe, just maybe, it does the right thing and gives The Revival its much-deserved run.
Whatever the case may be, WWE needs to address the rivalry and the tag title situation before it gets dragged out to the point that it is met with apathy.
The Survivor Series Build Begins
The build to one of WWE's Big Five pay-per-views should begin Monday night, with WWE Creative shifting focus to interpromotional matches pitting Raw's Ronda Rousey against SmackDown Live's Becky Lynch and new universal champion Lesnar against WWE champion AJ Styles.
Those two matches, as well as intercontinental champion Rollins vs. United States champion Shinsuke Nakamura, are already announced for the November 18 spectacular and should receive attention this week.
Beyond them, do not be surprised to see the company begin setting up multi-persona tag team matches and deciding the other Superstars who will compete in the massive Team Raw vs. Team SmackDown tag bout that will presumably be part of this year's show.