WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from November 19
The post-Survivor Series episode of Raw promised explosive storyline developments, and it delivered, setting the stage for the December 16 TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view.
Braun Strowman learned that his battle with Raw commissioner Stephanie McMahon and acting general manager Baron Corbin will not be an easy one. Dean Ambrose punished Seth Rollins both mentally and physically. Ronda Rousey shook off a beating from Charlotte Flair and made it known she is still the baddest woman in WWE.
Find out what else went down with this recap of Monday's show.
Stephanie McMahon and Baron Corbin Kick Off Raw
Stephanie McMahon and Baron Corbin kicked off the show, gloating about the brand's utter dominance at Survivor Series.
Braun Strowman interrupted and reminded McMahon that she made promises ahead of Survivor Series. A woman of her word, Stephanie announced that at TLC, The Monster Among Men will battle Corbin.
If Corbin wins, he remains permanent general manager; if he loses, he loses all authority. Furthermore, Strowman will get his Universal Championship match at Royal Rumble, but only if he can beat Corbin.
Strowman said that he gets to select the stipulation for their match at TLC: They will meet in the event's namesake match.
Corbin argued that the match benefits him, and Monday night Strowman would face Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre in a handicap match. Stephanie interjected and one-upped it, announcing Lashley, McIntyre and Corbin will battle Strowman, Elias and Finn Balor..."right now!"
This set up the biggest match on the TLC pay-per-view, revealing the many stipulations that will surround the bout.
Beyond that, it was rather pedestrian and did little more than set up the first match of the show.
Six-Man Tag Team Match
After a brief performance from Elias, commentator Michael Cole revealed the opener would now be an elimination match.
McIntyre flattened Balor with a big kick heading into the commercial break, seizing control of the match.
Back to the action, the heels had firm control of the bout, isolating Balor and working him over with their considerable size and strength advantage. In a cool spot, the Irishman came within fingertips of making the hot tag to Strowman but was pulled back across the ring as the punishment continued.
Balor finally created separation and tagged in Elias, who exploded into the match and took the fight to Lashley. He dumped Corbin to the floor and teamed up with Balor against the heels. Balor wiped out the GM and Lashley at ringside and scaled the ropes to finish the latter off with the Coup de Grace.
McIntyre interfered, crotched Balor and finished him with the Claymore Kick to provide the heels a 3-2 advantage.
Strowman paced back and forth on the apron as the heels isolated Elias.
Later, as the songster grabbed hold of Lio Rush at ringside, Lashley attacked and left him lying. Elias was unable to answer the referee's 10-count and was eliminated, leaving Strowman to battle his opponents by his lonesome.
After the commercial, McIntyre and Lashley double-teamed Strowman as an approving Corbin watched from the apron. Satisfied The Monster had been subdued, Corbin entered the ring and laid into him with some hard rights and stomps.
Strowman fought back, obliterated Lashley at ringside and set his sights on Corbin. A blind charge into the corner nearly hurt his comeback, but he answered with a powerslam. Before he could eliminate the GM, McIntyre used a chair to beat down Strowman and leave him vulnerable.
The disqualification eliminated the sinister Scot.
The beatdown of Strowman continued, including a Claymore Kick from McIntyre and a trip into the steel steps at ringside. The heels placed Strowman's exposed arm on the ring stairs, and Corbin tossed another set into it, leaving The Monster Among Men screaming in pain, his arm bloodied.
This ran the entire first hour of the show and did not have a conclusive finish.
That was the only negative here, as the heels got a ton of legitimate heat by overwhelming Strowman and beating him down, forcing the big man to show a rare vulnerability. It will help The Monster be a better babyface in the long run, even if his bread and butter is demolishing the competition.
While eliminating Balor and Elias may not be a desirable outcome, it was necessary to make the angle work.
It was long, but it accomplished what it set out to do, and that is more than can be said for many of the recent angles on this show.
Seth Rollins Addresses Dean Ambrose
Seth Rollins addressed the WWE Universe and said he wanted Dean Ambrose to come to the ring and face him like a man, but he will not have a choice come December 16 at TLC, when they meet for the Intercontinental Championship.
The Architect said he learned more about Ambrose in the WWE Chronicle special on WWE Network than he did the entire time they were best friends. Rollins said he did not know The Lunatic Fringe was capable of love.
Saying he was feeling highly aggressive, he challenged Ambrose to come to the ring. "I am looking for a fight!" Rollins exclaimed.
Ambrose appeared on the video screen and said Rollins is not going to rile him up and cause him to come rushing to the ring.
Ambrose refused, and Rollins took off backstage, looking for his former teammate. In the process, he struck a security guard before continuing his search for The Lunatic Fringe.
Ambrose accusing Rollins of riling him up and getting him to rush to the ring is ironic because that is exactly what the newly minted heel did to his former tag team championship partner here. It is that type of mind game that will make this storyline that much more enjoyable.
With that said, there was really nothing new accomplished here, leading to a rather pedestrian grade.
Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Tamina and Nia Jax
Alexa Bliss joined the commentary team as Nia Jax and Tamina battled Sasha Banks and Bayley in tag team action, just 24 hours removed from a Survivor Series match in which Jax intentionally got teammate Banks eliminated.
The heels cut off the ring, wore out Bayley and beat her down during the commercial break. A hot tag to Banks did the babyfaces no good, as she was sent to the floor and isolated from her partner.
Bayley entered off a hot tag and took the fight to the opposition, delivering a cross-body block to Tamina. She found herself run over by Jax, but she remained resilient. That is, until Tamina provided a split-second distraction and Jax followed with a Samoan Drop for the win.
Jax and Tamina defeated Banks and Bayley
Designed to present Jax and Tamina as a dangerous threat to everyone on the women's roster, including Ronda Rousey, this did exactly what it was intended to do.
No matter how good Bayley and Banks were or how passionate their comeback attempt was, it was not enough to overcome the sheer fury of the competition.
Jax looked dominant, and that is a good thing as the Raw brand searches for a heel beyond Bliss to carry the roster.
The Lucha House Party vs. The Revival
On the heels of an impressive showing at Survivor Series, The Revival's Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder battled Lucha House Party's Kalisto, Gran Metalik and Lince Dorado in a Lucha House Party Rules match in which all three of the babyfaces could compete in the bout.
The heels isolated Kalisto, working over the knee he injured 24 hours earlier on the Survivor Series Kickoff Show.
Dorado tagged in, and the action broke down.
The messy match ended with the introduction of a pinata to the festivities and Dorado delivering a splash to Wilder for the win.
The Lucha House Party defeated The Revival
Dorado, Kalisto and Metalik are quality in-ring workers, but the Lucha House Party gimmick is terrible, and their performance here—one night after an ugly one at Survivor Series—does nothing to help change perceptions.
Worse than that gimmick is the use of The Revival.
One night after Dawson and Wilder came within a hair of winning the tag team match for the Raw brand, they were jobbed out to get over a trio that needs a hell of a lot more than a win over former NXT tag champions to help with its credibility.
Raw Women's Championship Match: Ronda Rousey vs. Mickie James
Ronda Rousey made her way to the ring just one night after enduring the most vicious and vile assault of her career. She was met with a mixed reaction as she grabbed a mic to address the audience.
Rousey admitted she knows how dangerous Nia Jax is, but at TLC, she will tap out the No. 1 contender. Then, she is going to finish her unsettled business with Charlotte Flair.
Monday night, though, she demanded competition. Raw GM Baron Corbin interrupted and said he would not allow her to compete, to which Rousey responded by reminding him of the fights she has been in and the fact she never backed out of any of them.
After stepping to Corbin, unfazed by the authority figure, Rousey had her request for a fight answered.
Mickie James made her way to the ring.
James worked over Rousey, surprisingly taking the fight to the UFC Hall of Famer by targeting a body battered and bruised after the Flair attack. She utilized kicks to keep Rousey grounded and talked trash in between.
Rousey fought back, though, delivered her newly minted Piper's Pit and tapped out James to the armbar.
As Rousey made her way up the ramp, she was confronted by Jax and Tamina, who sent a message to the champion.
Rousey defeated James
For all of the boos that Rousey encountered Sunday, she shook them off and rebounded with a strong bit of booking Monday night.
She showed intestinal fortitude by standing up to Corbin, addressed her ongoing rivalries and looked double-tough by demanding competition even after enduring what she had 24 hours earlier.
She was fairly dominant in her win over James and will roll into a championship clash with Jax at TLC that should see her the resounding babyface.
Bobby Roode and Chad Gable vs. AOP
Earlier in the show, Bobby Roode and Chad Gable poked fun at Drake Maverick after the AOP manager wet himself while in the grasp of Big Show at Survivor Series.
This match was the result.
Akam and Rezar took out their fury on Gable, working over the smaller competitor. However, a hot tag to Roode sparked the babyface comeback.
Just as it appeared as though the Raw tag team champions were regaining control of the match, Gable tagged in and scored a surprise roll-up for a three-count.
Gable and Roode defeated AOP
There is nothing about this rivalry that sparks excitement or strengthens a tag team division in desperate need of something for fans to sink their teeth into.
Akam and Rezar are the champions and should be dominant. Instead, they are saddled with a comedic manager and opponents that are thrown together at best.
The tag team division is in shambles, and this is not the program to elevate it past that.
Natalya vs. Ruby Riott
Weeks after Ruby Riott broke the sunglasses given to Natalya by her late father, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart, the women met in an emotional grudge match.
Riott dominated the first half of the bout, grounding Natalya and keeping the impassioned Queen of Harts from gaining momentum.
Natalya fought back, laying into Riott in the corner. She even staved off attempts at interference from Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan before rolling up her opponent for a quick pinfall victory.
Natalya defeated Riott
There was not nearly as much to this match as you would have expected given how much was made of the emotional element of the rivalry.
It was a straightforward match, no better or worse than what you might expect from a televised broadcast, and one that did no favors to The Riott Squad. If anything, it hurt the team, with the 3-1 advantage offset by Natalya's ability to counter a roll-up.
It was a match, nothing really happened and the result was one that should wrap up the program.
Seth Rollins Gets His Hands on Dean Ambrose
After spending the entire show playing mind games with Seth Rollins and evading The Architect, Dean Ambrose hit the ring and wasted little time referring to the fans as hot, steaming, fake garbage.
Rollins, after feigning leaving the arena for the night, returned and took the fight to Ambrose. He drove The Lunatic Fringe to the floor and wiped him out with a suicide dive.
The fight spilled into the crowd, with The Kingslayer seeking revenge after weeks of heartache and frustration.
Ambrose cut off Rollins' onslaught with a low blow, channeling his inner Shinsuke Nakamura and Daniel Bryan to create separation.
Ambrose dropped Rollins with Dirty Deeds and headed to the back as referees ordered him out.
Never one to take orders well, The Lunatic Fringe returned and delivered a second Dirty Deeds.
The show faded to black with Ambrose standing tall over his former Shield mate.
The show-closing segment started hot with the brawl but cooled down significantly after Ambrose dropped Rollins with the second Dirty Deeds. From there, the show ended abruptly, and fans were left with the image of Ambrose just barely getting to his feet.
Ambrose getting the upper hand once again helps him build more heat for his heel act, which still feels a bit too over-the-top for this writer's liking. Toning it down a notch or two would do him wonders and create a greater sense of danger.
Whereas last week's burning of the Shield garb was perfection, this was more up-and-down.
Their eventual match will be red hot, but WWE Creative has to do a better job of making fans anticipate it.