Monday Night Raw – November 20, 2017: They’re Doing Things And I Like Them

Monday Night Raw
Date: November 20, 2017
Location: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T.

We’re finally past Survivor Series and that means it’s time to start the build towards Royal Rumble. Unless there’s another show to be announced, the only pay per view between now and the Rumble is the Smackdown exclusive Clash of the Champions. That could make the next few weeks slightly uninteresting but that’s never stopped WWE before. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Here’s a happy, dancing Stephanie to open things up. Graves: “At least she’s humble too.” She recaps the siege and says Kurt Angle’s job as GM is secure. With that, she brings out the man who lead the team to their win last night: HHH! Before HHH can say anything though, here’s a livid Kurt Angle to interrupt. He’s not talking as the General Manager but the man who can beat HHH up. Stephanie gets all serious and reminds HHH that he’s talking to the COO.

The staredown continues and here’s Jason Jordan to interrupt as well. Booker: “Oh come on.” Jordan gets in HHH’s face but Angle holds him back. Jason wants to face HHH tonight but Stephanie warns Jordan that he’d get killed in a match like this. Stephanie: “HHH isn’t afraid of anyone in that locker room.” This of course brings out Braun Strowman to get right in HHH’s face as well. HHH stares him down but backs off and leaves. Stephanie makes Jordan vs. Strowman for later. She didn’t cut Braun’s balls off here and at least they kept this relatively short, even if Stephanie didn’t need to be out there.

Samoa Joe vs. Finn Balor

Joe wastes no time with the right hands to the jaw before dropping the backsplash. We’re in a very early nerve hold as the fans are split here. Joe heads up top but gets kicked in the head to take him back down. Of course that means a flip dive to the floor as we take a break. Back with Joe slapping on another nerve hold until Balor gets in a kick to the head. That’s fine with Joe, who drops Balor back first onto the apron.

A suicide elbow sends Balor into the barricade as this is mostly one sided so far. Back in and Balor can’t hiptoss him so he’ll try a Sling Blade instead. Joe is right back with a backsplash for two but the Koquina Clutch is countered into a regular double stomp. That means the Coup de Grace but Joe pulls him right back down, setting up the Koquina Clutch for the knockout at 12:03.

Rating: B-. So what is Joe supposed to do? He’s not getting back in the World Title picture because Lesnar isn’t likely to be wrestling until January and he’s kind of too big to go after the Intercontinental Title. The same is kind of true for Balor, which makes the next month or so kind of a big waste of time until we get to the Rumble.

Video on the Wrestlemania Kickoff Party with tickets going on sale. I picked mine up last week and get to go to my third in a row and fourth in five years. There really is nothing like it.

Video on AJ Styles vs. Brock Lesnar from last night.

Angle and Jordan talk in the back with Kurt saying he won’t cancel the match with Strowman. Jordan agrees, because he’s the only man on Raw that can beat Braun.

Asuka vs. Dana Brooke

Dana kicks her in the ribs to start but some hip attacks send her outside. A charge only ears Dana some kicks to the face and for some reason she slaps Asuka in the face. Some HARD spinning elbows to the face set up some harder kicks tot he head for the pin at 2:35. Total squash, as it should have been.

It’s time for MizTV with the Miztourage having Miz’s back and Roman Reigns as the guest. Miz introduces Reigns three times before the music hits and it’s the entire Shield. Miz isn’t cool with the bonus guests but Seth Rollins talks about being the most dominant trio in the history of WWE. That’s cool with Miz, but he wants a thank you. Reigns says no so Miz goes into a story of Ambrose needing help fighting off the Miztourage. Miz isn’t cool with this….and the lights go out for a second.

That goes nowhere (seemed to be a glitch) so Rollins starts talking about winning the Tag Team Titles back. Reigns doesn’t want to be the only one without a title so Seth points out the Intercontinental Title on Miz’s shoulder. That sounds good to Miz and the fans are WAY into this idea. The Miztourage gets in front of Reigns and the beatdown takes all of one punch and a Dirty deeds. They throw in a TripleBomb to Dallas for fun as Miz protests from the aisle.

We recap the opening sequence.

Strowman is ready to face Jordan because Jason isn’t scared of him, unlike HHH.

Sheamus vs. Dean Ambrose

Dean armdrags him into an armbar to start but has to block the forearms to the chest. For a change of pace, Dean hits some forearms of his own. A big boot sends him outside though and we take a break. Back with Sheamus grabbing a Brock Lock and getting two off a powerbomb. A missed charge sends Sheamus into the post but he’s still able to fight out of Dirty Deeds.

Sheamus blocks a suicide dive, only to miss the Brogue Kick and get knocked outside. NOW the dive works and Dean heads up top but has to kick Cesaro away. A super Regal Roll gives Sheamus two but Seth charges into the ring and dives onto Cesaro. That’s enough of a distraction for Ambrose to grab Dirty Deeds for the pin at 11:49.

Rating: C. I’m a bit sick of seeing these teams fighting, though it does make sense to have the Shield guys get another title match after the way they lost the belts. Sheamus and Cesaro have grown on me as a team as well and I actually don’t mind watching them most of the time. This match was acceptable enough, though nothing we haven’t seen before.

Jordan asks Matt Hardy for advice against Strowman. Hardy has fought a lot of monsters over the years and none of them were like Braun. Basically, it’s not Jordan’s night.

Here’s Alexa Bliss for a chat. She’s disappointed in losing to Charlotte last night but this is still her year. There isn’t a single person alive who can beat her….so here’s Mickie James. After the usual insults (about biscuits), here’s Bayley to interrupt, saying the year isn’t over yet. Sasha Banks and Alicia Fox come out to say the same thing. Kurt Angle, four way, let’s go.

Alicia Fox vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Mickie James

One fall to a finish and the winner gets a title shot at some point. Joined in progress with Fox running Bayley over but getting caught in the Bank Statement. Bayley makes the save….and PAIGE IS BACK. She says she’s not here to interrupt (Then what was she doing???) but she’s not alone. Cue Sonya DeVille and Mandy Rose from NXT to interrupt and jump Bayley, drawing the no contest at around six minutes. There was barely two minutes of action though so no rating, but this was a heck of a debut and a MUCH needed face lift for the division.

The villains clean house with ease as Fox bails.

Post break Paige introduces us to her new friends. Alexa Bliss comes up, says a nervous hello, and gets destroyed.

Jason Jordan vs. Braun Strowman

Jordan tries to go with the wrestling stuff to start but gets caught without too much effort. He manages to lift Strowman off his feet but Strowman takes him down and tosses him outside. Jordan’s knee is banged up again…and here’s Kane to go after Strowman for the DQ at 1:44.

Kane destroys him with a chair and crushed Strowman’s throat with it. Strowman can’t breathe but walks off under his own power.

Here’s Enzo Amore, flanked by a quartet of cruiserweight villains. We’re coming up on Thanksgiving so Enzo wants to know what each member of the Zo Train is most thankful for. Enzo answers for them: Noam Dar gets more women, Tony Nese has more abs, Ariya Daivari has more money and Drew Gulak has more people viewing his PowerPoint presentations!

Drew talks about infrastructure but here are Rich Swann, Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali and Akira Tozawa to interrupt. Enzo thinks they want on the Zo Train but Cedric says not so fast. What they want is a shot at the Cruiserweight Title and they’re willing to earn it. Enzo says get out of his way but Swann says without his boys, Enzo is just a catchphrase and a t-shirt. The brawl is on with Enzo bailing as we take a break.

Drew Gulak/Noam Dar/Tony Nese/Ariya Daivari vs. Rich Swann/Cedric Alexander/Akira Tozawa/Mustafa Ali

Joined in progress with Swann fighting back on Drew but not being able to hit his version of Rolling Thunder. A near brawl on the floor sends Enzo running through the ring and allows Gulak to knee Swann in the face to take over. Daivari comes in for a chinlock before it’s off to Dar. Swann gets in a kick to the face and it’s off to Tozawa for a suicide dive. Ali tags himself in as Cedric hits the Neuralizer, setting up the 054 for the pin on Dar at 4:16.

Rating: C-. So you know how you’ve seen these people have the same match on 205 Live for months now? Well you just got an eight man version of it here. Really there’s nothing to talk about with this one as it’s the five heels vs. the four heroes for a shot at Amore’s title, which may or may not take months to reach. I was hoping for a new name to debut here, or at least set up an official challenger. The match was fine, but 205 Live’s storytelling leaves a lot to be desired.

We recap Strowman vs. Kane.

Angle says Strowman has left the building without receiving treatment. He goes to check on Jason but Miz interrupts. Miz complains about the match with Reigns and wants the title match dropped. The match won’t be canceled and Miz leaves. Jordan seems scared of Strowman.

Here’s Elias, who calls himself the reaper of souls. He has a song about Raw winning last night but the fans cut him off with a LET’S GO ASTROS chant. The song insults Matt Hardy a bit so here’s Matt, with a banged up elbow. The fight is on before Matt can say anything with Elias bailing from the threat of a Twist of Fate.

Intercontinental Title: Roman Reigns vs. The Miz

Miz is defending and seems willing to take an early countout. That’s not cool with Reigns, who chases him to the floor and hits an uppercut to the jaw. A Batista Bomb gets two on the champ and we take an early break. Back with Reigns hitting his running clothesline, followed by a big boot to the jaw. Miz is smart enough to bail again and catches Reigns diving off the steps.

A DDT on the floor is nearly good enough for a countout but Reigns dives back in. We hit the chinlock for a good while until Miz hits a corner dropkick. Another is countered with a big boot, only to have Miz knock him down a few more times. It’s off to the YES Kicks until Reigns fights up without much effort. The Superman Punch is countered into the Skull Crushing Finale but Reigns slips out.

Miz sweeps the leg for two though and Reigns is favoring his knee. The Superman Punch knocks Miz out of the air for a VERY close two though as the fans are impressed with the kickout. The spear is loaded up but cue the Bar for a distraction, allowing the Skull Crushing Finale to connect….for two. Ambrose and Rollins run out to even things up, allowing Reigns to hit a spear for the pin and the title at 16:26.

Rating: B-. They were doing some good stuff out there and I like Reigns winning the title. Earlier on I mentioned people like Balor and Joe having nothing to do because they were bigger than the Intercontinental Title. They’re not bigger than Reigns though and that gives them a bigger target to go after. Good move here, even if it’s two to three years after Reigns should have won the thing in the first place.

Overall Rating: C+. There were some rocky points here but above all else, WWE did what they needed to do by having some important changes. The women being added helped a lot and, assuming they don’t botch it immediately, there’s a good idea in having Reigns as Intercontinental Champion. I’m not sure what they’re going to do with the Angle/HHH/Braun stuff but we can worry about that when we get to shows a little more important. This week did its job and I like what they’re going for at the moment, even if I have no confidence in it lasting.

Result

Samoa Joe b. Finn Balor – Koquina Clutch

Asuka b. Dana Brooke – Kick to the head

Dean Ambrose b. Sheamus – Dirty Deeds

Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Alicia Fox vs. Mickie James went to a no contest when Paige, Sonya DeVille and Mandy Rose interfered

Braun Strowman b. Jason Jordan via DQ when Kane interfered

Mustafa Ali/Cedric Ali/Rich Swann/Akira Tozawa b. Tony Nese/Drew Gulak/Ariya Daivari/Noam Dar – 054 to Dar

Roman Reigns b. The Miz – Spear

Remember to follow me on Twitter @kbreviews and pick up the Updated History of the Intercontinental Title in E-Book or Paperback. Check out the information here:

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3 comments

  1. Mike M. says:

    Thought the woman’s angle was very well done. I do question bringing Paige and Company to RAW. That gives them 11 women to SD’s 7, if you count Lana. Maybe they could do something to make the SD side more “Iconic”.

    [Reply]

  2. Jay H (the real one) says:

    I kinda expected Billie Kay & Peyton Royce being Paige’s backup but maybe we get them on Smackdown instead. Miz and Roman Reigns was an excellent Main Event, be interesting to see how long Reigns holds the IC Title.

    [Reply]

  3. NightShiftLoser says:

    Hopefully the deeper division will allow Sonya and Mandy the time to grow that they need. They were merely “okay” in NXT, and putting them straight into matches with the likes of Sasha and Asuka will expose them.

    [Reply]

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