WWE Raw Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from November 18
Just six days from Survivor Series, WWE Raw hit the USA Network airwaves with a high-stakes episode for several of its highest-profile Superstars.
Seth Rollins put his spot as team captain of the red brand up for grabs against Andrade, while Rey Mysterio returned to address his match with WWE champion Brock Lesnar at Sunday's pay-per-view. And The Viking Warriors defended their Raw Tag Team Championships against former titleholders Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins.
What went down in each of those instances and how did it affect the forthcoming extravaganza?
Find out with this recap of the November 18 broadcast.
Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair in Action
Becky Lynch entered TD Garden to a thunderous ovation, kicking off the final Raw before her showdown with NXT's Shayna Baszler and SmackDown's Bayley at Survivor Series.
The Man said she didn't give a bullocks about brand supremacy. Before she could continue with anything of note, The IIconics' theme played, and Billie Kay and Peyton Royce made their entrance. They took exception to Raw leaving them off the brand's Survivor Series team.
Lynch proposed a fight between her and the Aussies now, only for Charlotte Flair to arrive and the night's first match to get underway.
The former tag team champions attacked Flair and Lynch at the opening bell, looking to score a quick win over the mismatched opposition.
Flair fought back into the bout and applied the Figure-Eight. Lynch delivered a Bexploder to Royce, and Kay tapped out to end her suffering.
After the match, Flair and Lynch made their way up the ramp, only to watch as Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir hit the ring and attacked The IIconics.
The Man and The Queen then suffered a beatdown at the hands of the trio but recovered quickly and chased the invaders into the crowd, where security stopped them to end the segment.
It was nice to see The IIconics featured on Raw for the first time in months in a significant manner, but they never really stood a chance against the much more prominent Lynch and Flair. The match itself was rather lackluster, if only because of the little time it had to develop, and it really only served to set up the post-match angle.
Baszler and Co. showing up was not much of a surprise given the fact The Queen of Spades is one of Lynch's Survivor Series opponents, but the lack of physicality between The Man and her NXT counterpart was puzzling.
If anything, this was the time to book the red-hot brawl between the Superstars that made fans that much more excited for the upcoming bout.
Humberto Carrillo vs. Karl Anderson
Dismayed by the perceived disrespect shown to him by Humberto Carrillo, AJ Styles announced the 205 Live alumnus would battle Karl Anderson.
As the match started, The Street Profits arrived on the scene to counter any potential interference by Styles or Luke Gallows, providing a distraction that allowed Carrillo to wipe out all three heels with a plancha heading into the break.
The match continued after the commercial break, with Anderson wearing out Carrillo with a side headlock as The Street Profits and The O.C. watched from ringside. A standing moonsault by the babyface sparked his comeback and earned him a quick near-fall.
A big spinebuster put Carrillo back down as Anderson nearly scored the victory. Carrillo countered a powerbomb attempt, sending his opponent into the corner. A distraction by Styles allowed Gallows to hang the babyface up on the top rope, and Anderson rolled him up with a small package.
Undetected by the official, though, Montez Ford rolled Carrillo on top for the win.
Carrillo defeated Anderson
You have to give Paul Heyman and the writing team credit: He is utilizing The O.C. to get The Street Profits and Carrillo over, and, to an extent, it's working.
There will be those who question if Carrillo is the guy to strap the proverbial rocket to, but he has held up his end of the deal—from an in-ring perspective at least.
This added another chapter to the ongoing feud and sets up a six-man tag match for after Survivor Series, as long as the feud does not suddenly and inexplicably end, as many tend to do in WWE.
No Way Jose vs. Bobby Lashley (with Lana)
Prior to Bobby Lashley's match with No Way Jose, Lana revealed she had filed for divorce from Rusev and been granted a temporary restraining order through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that barred her soon-to-be-ex-husband from coming within 90 feet of her.
Lashley dominated Jose, powering the 260-pound competitor to the mat with ease and applying a punishing full nelson until his opponent passed out.
Lana and Lashley engaged in a long, passionate lip-lock after the match as fans looked on in...apathy.
Lashley defeated Jose
Lashley having to correct Lana mid-promo was all you need to know about the quality of this segment.
The Ravishing Russian was more than a little flustered as she addressed the audience, attempting to get the storyline points over but fumbling over the details as if she had never been in that position before.
The crowd responded accordingly: unimpressed with this latest chapter of a storyline it never wanted in the first place.
About the only thing even remotely effective about this segment was the performance by Lashley, who looked like a total badass as he manhandled Jose en route to a referee stoppage. More of that, less of the subpar soap opera and maybe The All Mighty will get over with fans.
Seth Rollins vs. Andrade
A week of social media back-and-forth gave way to a match between Seth Rollins and Andrade. If El Idolo defeated the former universal champion, he would replace him as the captain of Team Raw at Survivor Series.
An early attempt at interference by Zelina Vega led to her dismissal from the ringside area but also opened The Beastslayer up for an attack by his opponent heading into the break.
Andrade dominated during the commercial, but Rollins fired off a sling blade and blockbuster, followed by a duo of tope suicidas to regain control of the bout. A springboard knee strike continued his sudden hot streak.
El Idolo escaped a buckle bomb and delivered a running knee strike to the chest for a near-fall. Rollins recovered and teased the Stomp, but Andrade again evaded the devastating finish.
Late, Andrade tried for a double stomp from the top rope, but Rollins dodged it. The Architect delivered a Falcon Arrow for a two-count as guest commentator Samoa Joe exclaimed El Idolo could not be beaten on the night.
Before Rollins could put away his opponent, SmackDown's Lucha House Party attacked him, drawing a disqualification.
After the bell, Rollins and Andrade paired up to fend off the trio. The Beastslayer assured El Idolo they will do this dance again in the future.
Rollins defeated Andrade via DQ
This was an excellent match between two of the best, most consistent in-ring workers on the roster. Andrade was portrayed as the equal of Rollins and, despite their different positions on the card, never felt like he was out of his league.
Best of all, the finish not only sold the brand-warfare storyline ahead of Survivor Series but it also spared Andrade another loss. He escaped unscathed and, if anything, earned the attention of the audience by way of Rollins' sign of respect after the match.
This was a major hit, even if Lucha House Party was the most random choice for a collection of invading Superstars.
Akira Tozawa vs. Buddy Murphy
The battle of former cruiserweight champions saw Akira Tozawa take on Buddy Murphy, who was last seen antagonizing Aleister Black prior to the commercial timeout.
The Best Kept Secret was unfazed by Tozawa's chops early but quickly found himself on the defensive. A flapjack slowed the babyface's momentum, but a headscissors stunned Murphy. A tope suicida by Tozawa landed him in the grasp of his opponent, who proceeded to drop him with a suplex on the floor.
A late rally by Tozawa left Murphy reeling, and a German suplex nearly earned the former an upset win. An inverted hurricanrana continued Tozawa's roll. A senton across the back of Murphy, who was draped over the middle rope, only earned the babyface a two-count as the Aussie showed his resiliency.
Murphy fought back, delivered Murphy's Law and scored the pinfall victory.
Murphy defeated Tozawa
At this point, it really should not surprise anyone that Murphy was in a potentially show-stealing match. The former cruiserweight champion has been one of the top five most consistently great in-ring performers in all of WWE this year.
He has made a habit of wrestling a stellar match, regardless of the opposition, and has won over audiences who may not have been as familiar with him before the bout began.
This contest with Tozawa was no different.
There was zero heat behind it and no real reason for it to happen, yet Murphy and the underrated Tozawa still managed to produce a fantastic match that put over the skills of the babyface and solidified the Australian as a potential breakout star on Monday nights.
Erick Rowan vs. Alex Malcolm
Erick Rowan made his way to the ring for a showdown with Alex Malcolm when 24/7 champion Samir Singh and brother Sunil arrived at ringside. R-Truth appeared, attempting to regain his title.
Intimidated by the relentless Rowan, Truth backed off.
The Singh Brothers and the enhancement talent were not so lucky, falling prey to a running crossbody by the big man.
Rowan threw his opponent into the ring and finished him off in short order.
Rowan defeated Malcolm
Rowan has devolved from a deceptively smart monster of a competitor into an unstoppable big man whose gimmick is the unknown species lurking in the cage he now carries to the ring.
At least he has kept the dominant side of his persona, bowling over the competition. Whether that is enough to keep him over with audiences or the beginning of the end of his latest push remains to be seen.
Kevin Owens vs. Drew McIntyre
Drew McIntyre and Kevin Owens may be teammates Sunday at Survivor Series, but they squared off in singles competition Monday night.
The Scottish Psychopath wore down KO, working him over with a rest move until the antihero of WWE sent him shoulder-first into the ring post and followed up with a cannonball in the corner.
The fight spilled to the floor, where McIntyre whiffed on a blind charge, eating a big boot from his opponent. The Scot followed up with a nasty gorilla press slam that sent The Prizefighter from the apron into the guardrail.
The match continued with McIntyre dominating the flow, only for Owens to deliver a big cannonball from the apron to a thunderous ovation. The heel regained control of the bout with a sit-out powerbomb, to which KO responded with a pop-up powerbomb that inexplicably failed to put away McIntyre.
Near-falls ensued and chants of "this is awesome" followed, with the fans appreciating the efforts put forth by the Superstars. Before a winner could be determined, though, Triple H's music played and the COO of WWE appeared on the entrance ramp as the show headed back to commercial.
After the break, Triple H played to Owens, calling him the lifeblood of NXT at one point before he was plucked away to join Raw and SmackDown. He recalled Shane McMahon and Kurt Angle firing him and pointed out that none of KO's Raw teammates were out there to ensure NXT didn't attack him.
The Undisputed Era attacked Owens to the dismay of The Game. Raw Superstars joined the fray, and a brawl ensued before the red brand's Superstars cleared the invaders.
Owens and McIntyre fought to a no-contest
Take a fantastic pay-per-view-quality match between Owens and McIntyre, throw in an intense and emotional promo from Triple H that potentially sets up a betrayal during Sunday's battle for brand supremacy, and you have a killer segment.
Did it do enough for fans to care about the three-way, 15-man tag team match that is as likely to be a cluster as it is a show-stealer? That is up for debate. What it did do was make a compelling argument for Owens and McIntyre to have a long feud full of awesome matches and, furthermore, for KO to join the brand he helped raise from obscurity half a decade ago.
Rey Mysterio Speaks
Backstage, Charly Caruso announced AJ Styles would defend his United States Championship against Humberto Carrillo on next week's show before throwing to a pretaped message from Paul Heyman, advocate to WWE champion Brock Lesnar.
Heyman announced a No Holds Barred stipulation for Sunday's match between The Beast Incarnate and Rey Mysterio and promised the contest will not be a short one. Instead, it will either be the greatest miracle in wrestling history or the massacre of a beloved icon.
Caruso stood by with Mysterio, who wished Carrillo luck on his upcoming title bout and accepted the stipulation presented by Heyman, reminding everyone of the lead pipe he used to attack Lesnar the last time they were in the same building.
He finished the segment by dedicating the match to his son, Dominick.
Heyman promising a longer match than normal is good news for those fans left on the fence about watching the show just to see another sprint of a match from Lesnar.
The No Holds Barred stipulation helps create an even playing field of sorts for Mysterio, who was unlikely to stand much of a chance against The Beast in a straight match.
Allowing him to utilize weapons sets him up to beat up—even down—Lesnar and score a few dramatic near-falls, thus ensuring a better bout.
Finally, using Mysterio to put Carrillo over was a nice touch and the sort of thing Heyman and Co. have been doing more consistently up and down the card.
Natalya vs. Asuka
For the first time ever, Natalya battled Asuka in singles competition while the tag team champion's partner Kairi Sane watched from ringside.
The relentless Empress of Tomorrow dominated the competition early. The Queen of Harts fought back and was rolling late when Sane attempted to run interference. Natalya knocked her down, only to fall prey to a big kick from Asuka.
The third-generation competitor responded, driving her opponent into the guardrail and rolling her back into the ring, ready to put her away for a big win.
By stopping to talk trash with Sane, though, Natalya opened herself up to a wicked kick from Asuka, who scored the pinfall victory.
Asuka defeated Natalya
On a night full of strong in-ring performances, this was as disappointing as it gets.
Natalya and Asuka are two of the best wrestlers of their generations, and to have their first singles bout defined by limited time and an overwhelming focus on interference from Sane was disheartening.
Hopefully, they get an opportunity to showcase their abilities at another time because both Natalya and Asuka, as well as their fans, deserve a hell of a lot better.
Randy Orton and Ricochet vs. The Viking Raiders
After The Authors of Pain returned and laid out Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins earlier in the show, Randy Orton stepped up and challenged The Viking Raiders to a tag team title bout.
A week after The Viper did the same for him, Ricochet assumed the role of his tag team partner for the championship main event.
Orton controlled the pace of the match through the commercial break, wearing down Erik with a trademark headlock. All of this happened while SmackDown attacked and beat down Raw Superstars backstage.
As the action broke down and Ivar dived through the ropes, wiping out the challengers at ringside, the blue brand's roster emptied into the arena. They beat down Orton, Ricochet and the champions, but the four Raw competitors cleared them out of the squared circle.
NXT Superstars appeared, beating down the SmackDown roster before surrounding the Raw stars. That did not stop Orton from delivering RKOs and Ricochet from catching Steve Cutler with a Recoil. As the numbers game became overwhelming, Seth Rollins' music played and he led a cavalry of red shirts to the rescue.
A war of attrition broke out, with NXT's numbers advantage proving too much for the opposition. Triple H appeared on the video screen and announced an open-door policy for Wednesday's NXT, welcoming any and all invaders.
We had seen so many invasion angles throughout the show that the crowd became immune to it, reacting far less for the show-closing angle than it may have had it been the first of its kind on this night.
With that said, it was wise to use the main event segment to build intrigue for Wednesday's NXT. It was strong booking that benefits two different brands while also hyping Survivor Series.
The only real question left to answer: Does every Superstar decide they cannot make the save for their fellow teammates until they find random red and blue shirts lying around?