WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from November 12
Just six days from Survivor Series in Los Angeles, the Superstars of Raw hit the USA Network airwaves for a show tasked with creating excitement and anticipation for Sunday's pay-per-view extravaganza.
It did just that.
Explosive angles, solid in-ring content and a show-closing brawl featuring stars from both Raw and SmackDown made for the best episode of the flagship in months.
Find out now everything that went down on Monday's show with this recap of the November 12 broadcast.
Raw Tag Team Battle Royal...or Not
The Raw tag team division kicked off this week's show with a Battle Royal that would determine the captains of the tag team for Survivor Series.
Just as the action started, Braun Strowman's music played, and The Monster Among Men marched to the ring, where he laid waste to every one of the tandems.
Strowman ran around the ringside area, bulldozing anyone in his path. Grabbing a steel chair, he threatened to tee off on anyone ridiculous enough to stick around. No one did.
The big man grabbed a mic to address the WWE Universe and general manager Baron Corbin.
Strowman said he was done playing and that he wanted Corbin to come get...these...hands.
Stephanie McMahon answered and informed Strowman he could not hold Raw hostage. She tried to talk him into representing Team Raw, but he cut her off, saying he does not give a damn about her brother Shane.
Stephanie said she gives a damn and so should everyone else on Raw. Strowman responded, saying he knows when he is being manipulated. The Raw commissioner responded and said if he leads Raw to victory Sunday night, he can have whatever he wants.
He demanded a rematch against universal champion Brock Lesnar and a bout with Baron Corbin. Stephanie said "deal" to both, but first, Strowman has to prove he is a team player at Survivor Series.
Next out was Ronda Rousey, who said there was nothing Stephanie could say to her to motivate her to beat Becky Lynch more than she already is.
Corbin interrupted the proceedings and said he is with Stephanie and they need to motivate Raw to beat Shane at Survivor Series. The acting Raw GM slowly entered the ring, cautious of an angry Strowman. He made the mistake of saying Rousey was too overconfident, to which she responded by hip-tossing him.
She exited, and Strowman came face-to-face with Corbin, promising to neuter him after Survivor Series.
This was actually a really strong way to kick off the show.
Not only did it set up, potentially, weeks of television in the form of Strowman's war against Corbin and Lesnar, it also set up Rousey as an enemy of the general manager. Since WrestleMania and her war with Triple H and Stephanie, she has remained out of the authority storyline. Putting her back in it ahead of WrestleMania season is a wise move that will only elevate the significance of whatever it is she does at that event.
It also allowed her to cut a short, sweet, intense promo that put over her high-profile bout with Lynch.
Good stuff from a brand that has not exactly been synonymous with good television of late.
Ember Moon vs. Tamina
A week after Nia Jax betrayed her and aligned with Tamina Snuka, Ember Moon was faced with an emotion-fueled match against the second-generation Superstar Snuka.
Moon was elusive early, utilizing kicks to the legs to keep Tamina off guard. A big enzuigiri earned her a two-count.
Back from the break, Moon sought to fight from underneath, her roll cut off by the more powerful Tamina during the commercial. She did so successfully until Jax provided a distraction that allowed Tamina to send her opponent to the mat and finish her off with the Superfly Splash.
After the match, Jax added injury to insult before standing tall to a surprisingly positive reaction.
Tamina defeated Moon
Moon did a ton of work here, but the match never really hit its stride, thanks in large part to an ill-timed commercial break.
It was intended to put over the budding rivalry between Moon and Jax, and it did that. Unfortunately, it just never felt like something fans could sink their teeth into or get excited for.
Corey Graves Interviews Seth Rollins
Corey Graves introduced Seth Rollins to the squared circle and asked him about his mental state ahead of his match with SmackDown United States champion Shinsuke Nakamura at Survivor Series.
"To be honest with you, I don't give a damn about Shinsuke Nakamura," Rollins said, his focus clearly on former tag team partner Dean Ambrose.
Rollins questioned Ambrose's manhood. The Lunatic Fringe appeared from backstage on the video screen and mocked everyone who has been looking for answers. He alluded to them, citing The Architect talking down to him and treating him like an imbecile.
Ambrose said he is not remorseful for his actions. He used to think The Shield made him strong. Not anymore. It made him weak. The burden of watching Rollins' back made him weak.
Ambrose then threw the tactical gear he wore as a Hound of Justice in the fire.
Where has this WWE Creative team been the last three months?
A strong promo from an Ambrose who realized his own self-worth, admitted he now understands how weak being part of a group made him and is now ready to strike out on his own and do something about it.
Even if it makes him unpopular and disliked.
Even if it means the end of The Shield.
A strong promo from Ambrose that left things just vague enough to believe there may be more to his actions but just explanatory enough to tide fans over until the rest is revealed.
Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler Address the WWE Universe
Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler made their way to the ring to address the former's win over Kurt Angle from last week.
McIntyre said when he was done with Angle last week, he was "nothing more than an embarrassment."
The sinister Scot arrogantly and confidently said Raw is his show now and the days of nostalgia acts are over.
Finn Balor interrupted his promo, drawing a big pop from the WWE fans.
Balor said McIntyre could have just beaten Angle. He didn't have to embarrass him. The former Chosen One responded, saying dignity is not a right preserved for every man and that the Irishman was only mad because he caught a Claymore Kick from him last week.
Balor said he has been dealing with bullies his whole career and then challenged McIntyre to a match immediately.
McIntyre volunteered a match between Balor and Ziggler and said he would fight the Irishman if he got past The Showoff. Ziggler did not look pleased by the decision but lightened up a bit when McIntyre caught the popular babyface with a cheap shot.
The commentary team questioned whether Balor vs. Ziggler would go on as the show headed to break.
McIntyre thrived here, coming across as heartless as he ran down the legendary Angle. He has all of the tools of a star, and promo work like that will only help elevate him in the eyes of management.
Balor was fine as the respected babyface standing up for his fellow workhorse competitor while also confronting the man who attacked him a week ago.
The biggest takeaway from the segment, though, was the manner in which Ziggler reacted to McIntyre volunteering him for a match. Could the brash cockiness of the imposing Scot eventually cost him his partnership with The Showoff?
That is worth keeping an eye on.
Finn Balor vs. Dolph Ziggler
Back from the commercial break, Ziggler worked over an injured Balor, taking the fight to the former universal champion as McIntyre watched on.
The Showoff worked the head and neck of his opponent until Balor fought his way out and delivered a basement dropkick.
After another break, the action would pick up, with Balor unloading on Ziggler with a combination that had the former world champion reeling. A double stomp to the chest would net him a two-count.
A fired-up Balor tried for a corner dropkick, but Ziggler delivered a big superkick and spike DDT for a near-fall. The Showoff followed up with a Fameasser for another two-count.
Balor recovered, delivered the corner dropkick and set up for the Coup de Grace. Ziggler moved out of the way, and the Irishman deposited him to the ringside. He cut off an attempt at interference from McIntyre and followed with a dive over the top rope and onto the heels.
Back in the ring, Ziggler dodged another Coup de Grace and rolled up Balor. The sometimes Demon reversed and scored the win.
Balor defeated Ziggler
Balor and Ziggler had a fine match that came a bit undone just before they delivered an explosive finish. Balor scored a quality win against a Ziggler who may not win much but has been presented as an elite star on Raw for months now.
The promise of a date with McIntyre only enhances Balor's status on the show, especially after being lost in the shuffle for weeks on end.
That he was offered a spot on Team Raw by Stephanie McMahon after the match only helped.
The Riott Squad Addresses the WWE Universe
Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan hit the ring to discuss their actions from last week, when they ripped up the glasses of the late Jim Neidhart and left his daughter Natalya in tears.
Riott feigned sincerity as she discussed her actions before flashing a smile and admitting the joy she took in humiliating The Queen of Harts and disrespecting the legacy of her father.
Riott claimed Neidhart had to shade himself from the shame he had from Natalya, which drew the theme music of the former women's champion.
Natalya hit the ring, attacking Riott from behind. Logan and Morgan joined their leader in the ring, and a three-on-one beatdown ensued.
Adding insult to injury, the trio delivered a Hart Attack to Natalya, the trademark move of Neidhart and partner Bret Hart during their run as The Hart Foundation.
The heels stood tall to close out the segment.
Riott is one of the most underappreciated Superstars of either gender on the WWE roster.
She was really strong on the mic here, and her facial expressions added to her performance.
Natalya showed the appropriate anger at the onset of her attack and drew sympathy as she sold her attackers' beatdown.
Did the angle blow the roof off the house? No, but it was strong storytelling that added to the program.
Tag Team Battle Royal, Take 2
The match that was originally slated to kick off the night finally got underway here, as the five teams that make up the Raw tag team division battled for the right to be named captains at Survivor Series.
Heath Slater and Rhyno were the first team eliminated from the match, followed by The Revival, as Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder's lackluster main roster run continued. The Lucha House Party was next to go, followed by The B-Team.
That left The Ascension and the team of Bobby Roode and Chad Gable, as the feud that simply will not burn out continued.
Konnor played the role of the unstoppable big man until Gable trapped him in an armbar over the ropes and Roode pushed him to the floor, securing the win for the babyfaces.
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable defeated The Ascension, The B-Team, The Revival, and Heath Slater and Rhyno
Lazily booked Battle Royals are the worst.
This was no different.
Why the creative team thought it needed to end with The Ascension vs. Roode and Gable, despite fan apathy settling in a long time ago, is a question only the writers can answer.
How anyone can buy this merry band of a division to actually compete against a SmackDown squad touting teams such as The New Day and The Usos is an even more pertinent problem.
Brock Lesnar Returns to Raw
Universal champion Brock Lesnar and his advocate, the great Paul Heyman, made their way to the ring to discuss this Sunday's showdown with WWE champion AJ Styles at Survivor Series.
Heyman, the silver-tongued mouthpiece for The Beast Incarnate, praised his client before congratulating everyone from Braun Strowman to the SmackDown roster to AJ Styles' most passionate fans.
He promised Styles will check into Suplex City and endure the beating of a lifetime.
Unexpectedly, Jinder Mahal and The Singh Brothers interrupted the proceedings.
Mahal recalled a year ago when he wanted to face Lesnar at Survivor Series. A year later, he wanted to offer his services to The Beast as he preps for a second match with Styles. He offered to show him his meditation methods.
Lesnar had enough, though, laying out Mahal and The Singhs with F-5s before walking away, a smirk painting his face.
Major props to whoever it was who remembered Mahal was originally scheduled to battle Lesnar a year ago at Survivor Series. You do not typically see the writing team demonstrate that type of memory. That was a welcome change.
Heyman was excellent here, doing another one of his exceptional sell jobs for a match that really does not need it, yet still somehow making fans want to see it even more. Lesnar as the smirking, hulking champion who intimidates without saying a word is a gimmick that will never get old.
While there are those who will take exception to The Beast holding the universal title, promos like this from Heyman and Lesnar's perfection of the character only solidify WWE's reason for leaning so heavily on them in a time of upheaval following Roman Reigns' departure.
Elias vs. Bobby Lashley
Elias interrupted a promo from Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush ahead of their match to determine the final participant on the Survivor Series team. He cut a promo that can best be summed up with "Lashley sucks," and the match was underway.
Lashley wore down Elias and cut off his attempts at a comeback, even benefiting from a bit of interference from Rush.
As the fight spilled to the outside, Lashley sent Elias shoulder-first into the steel steps. He rolled back into the ring. Before the charismatic songster could follow, Rush grabbed his foot, costing him the match via count-out.
After the match, Elias attacked Rush and sent him soaring over the top rope and into Lashley's arms at ringside.
Lashley defeated Elias via count-out
This was a rather nondescript match that did nothing to highlight either man. What it did do, though, was get to the desired outcome while simultaneously protecting both Superstars.
Elias lost, but by underhanded methods, so he really does not lose any momentum. What his loss does do is set up a feud with Lashley that could benefit them in the middle of the card.
Elias needs to better develop his babyface move set, but thus far, he is over with crowds and staying that way in his new role.
Alexa Bliss Reveals Survivor Series Team
Alexa Bliss, the captain of the Raw Women's Survivor Series team, made her way to the ring to announce the participants who will make up her squad Sunday night.
She said Sunday is about proving Raw is always going to be the A-show and SmackDown will always be the B-show. To do so, she put together an elite team.
She revealed her team would consist of Natalya, Mickie James, Nia Jax and Tamina Snuka. The fifth member, though, would be determined in the following match between Bayley and Sasha Banks.
This accomplished nothing that a backstage promo could not have.
Bliss, a typically strong talker, was rather unspectacular here, and the creative team came up with nothing interesting to help elevate the segment.
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks
The right to be the fifth member of Team Raw at Survivor Series was up for grabs as besties Sasha Banks and Bayley renewed their rivalry Monday night.
Bayley, favoring a knee injury Banks had exploited throughout the match, fought back heading into the final break of the night and delivered a nasty Bayley-to-Belly suplex on the ring apron that left both writhing in pain.
Right out of the commercial break, Tamina, Jax and James attacked the competitors, drawing the bell. Bliss announced Ruby Riott as the fifth piece of the team, leaving Michael Cole to question aloud, "What was the point of the match?"
The heels stood tall to close that segment before cameras rushed backstage to the locker room, where SmackDown's Becky Lynch had Ronda Rousey trapped in the Dis-arm-her.
Lynch made her way to the Raw stage, marching fearlessly to the squared circle. With the attention of the Raw team diverted, the SmackDown women attacked, igniting a brawl that popped the crowd.
The brand's stars brawled around the squared circle as chaos reigned.
Rousey's music played, and the Raw women's champion hit the ring with one good arm. Lynch, her nose bloodied from what was likely an errant shot during the brawl, blasted her with a chair as the blue brand dominated its red counterparts.
The SmackDown stars retreated as the show faded to black, with Rousey's face painted with pure rage.
On a night when Raw did a fine job of putting the emphasis on Survivor Series and drumming up interest in the show, it put a hell of an exclamation point on the proceedings with this angle.
Lynch instantly brought energy and intensity, and her attack, complete with a bloodied nose, hammered home the competition and fury between the teams. The crowd popped big time for "The Man," suggesting she may be the hottest star in all of WWE right now.
The brawl was well done. Rousey looked genuinely pissed, and suddenly WWE has a high-profile match that could easily headline Sunday's spectacular.
A great episode of Raw wrapped up with an extraordinary angle.