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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

November 18 Raw Recap - Big E! Xavier Woods! Musical chairs!

It was the first Raw back in the states after a European tour for WWE and fans were “treated” to a special edition of “Raw Country!” starring some band I’ve never heard of and plenty of shills for equally awful music. But let’s move past that because there’s bigger news at hand – like Big E. Langston winning his first singles title!

And two elimination matches have been set for Survivor Series – a classic 5-on-5 battle between Cody Rhodes, Goldust, the Usos and a mystery partner versus The Shield and the Real Americans and a 7-on-7 Divas match between “Team On Total Divas” Natalya, the Bellas, the Funkadactyls, Eva Marie, and JoJo and “Team Not On Total Divas” AJ Lee, Tamina, Summer Rae, Kaitlyn, Aksana, Alicia Fox and Rosa.

Oh yeah, and Rey Mysterio came back.

Plenty of other stuff happened on Raw last night but I’m just going to hit on the things that stuck with me the most:

A rift in The Authority?
The show opened with Randy Orton complaining that Triple H and Stephanie don’t do enough to protect him. This led to Orton clashing with the Shield later in the episode, perhaps setting up feuds further down the line when the Shield breaks up and Orton is out of the WWE Title picture again. A Randy Orton/Seth Rollins feud has the most potential to me, especially since Rollins (or Reigns for that matter) will have the easiest time going face after the Shield – and because Orton should stay heel for as long as he can. Also – what was with Orton’s hoodie last night? Is he CM Punk all of a sudden?

Trips and Stephanie also put General Managers Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero in matches on Raw. Maddox against Orton and Vickie against Divas Champion AJ Lee. Maddox actually looked pretty impressive in his short match against Orton, which wasn’t completely a squash (just mostly one). The match ended in a referee stoppage, which was weird because Triple H made it a No DQ match. But, you know, whatever – WWE logic.

Setting up a Maddox face turn, eventually? It’s too early to tell but my gut says he’ll likely continue putting up with the Authority’s abuse for some time.

Big E. Langston wins the Intercontinental title
For the past few weeks, ever since Big E. Langston took offense to the insulting words of Paul Heyman, the former NXT Champion has been on a tear in the WWE. He’s been taking part in huge matches, even running in to save guys like John Cena from further attacks. But last night on Raw, Big E. made history being the first Superstar to hold an NXT title and WWE title in the same calendar year. Big things (some pun intended) are in store for Big E. and this is only the beginning. 

What will happen to Curtis Axel now is anyone's guess. With Paul Heyman out of the picture and both Axel and Ryback cutting ties with him, Axel will be at a serious disadvantage on his own. He's competent in the ring but doesn't exactly shine on the mix. With Heyman speaking for him, Axel was actually a believable champion, although not the most dominant. Now though? I wouldn't be surprised if Curtis Axel fades into the background once again.

Divas playing musical chairs in vaguely southern outfits? 
Sure. Why not.
Mostly a time waster but if you like seeing gorgeous Divas in cut off denim shorts then it at least kept your interest. We learned a couple things from this segment – most importantly none of the Divas know how to play musical chairs. When the bit started, they all just sort of stood there, staring at the chairs and each other, as if contemplating just starting the huge brawl without even pretending to play musical chairs.

Natalya was eliminated first (which must have stung after losing her one-and-only shot at the Divas title). But then she came back later to take part in the fight so it wasn’t a total loss for her, I guess. But most importantly, after weeks off TV, it seems like Kaitlyn is a heel now! At the end of the segment, Kaitlyn was with Summer Rae and the other heels outside the ring and when the 7-on-7 match was announced an, sure enough, Kaitlyn is on “Team Not On Total Divas.” 
Miz is a heel now. Because.
Kofi Kingston teamed up with the Miz to take on the Real Americans. At one point, Kofi went for a tag but Miz threw up his hands and jumped off the apron. I guess he’s a heel now? Why? Who knows. At least Miz being a heel might make him interesting. But probably not.
Vickie faints, Steph is not amused
In trying to get out of her match with AJ, Vickie pretended to pass out in front of the WWE medical staff. (Eddie would have been proud.) Stephanie was not fooled and ordered her taken to ringside for her match. AJ made short work of her, submitting Vickie with the Black Widow Stretch. At least Vickie knew how to tap out correctly.

Broadway Brawl between Ziggler and Sandow. 
Because reasons.
At one point when Triple H was setting up this match, he said something along the lines of “And make it entertaining.” As if being entertaining was something Damien Sandow and Dolph Ziggler had a problem doing.
3MB continues to try and find themselves. 
Ever since they mentioned a few weeks ago on Raw about Xavier Woods starting a petition to get Big Show his job back, it seemed obvious that the NXT star was bound to show up on TV eventually. I doubt anyone would have guessed his debut would be last night on Raw, teaming up with R-Truth to take on Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre of 3MB as The Rhinestone Cowboys.

The match itself was decent but nothing too special. Woods looked great in his first appearance on WWE programming, hitting the Honor Roll and Lost in the Woods before picking up the win. Not to mention showing off some slick dance moves with Truth to celebrate the victory.

Big things are in store for Xavier Woods. He’s charismatic, talented in the ring and naturally likeable – a dynamic not seen enough in WWE today. He also has a Ph.D. too, which WWE will put over as much as they can. 

I’ve never missed Great Khali matches
Until this Florida Georgia Line performance on Raw. Moving on.

12-man main event action
The main event saw CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, the Usos, Cody and Goldust take on the Shield and the Wyatt Family in a spectacular match. Started kinda slow but mainly because the heel team couldn’t exactly get on the same page. Once the match got into the swing of things, the heels used their size and power to keep the good guys at bay,  despite begrudgingly being partners.

It was a really good match to set up the 5-on-5 match at Survivor Series – though I’m sure many fans would have been just as happy to see the 6-man main event from Raw in place of the planned Survivor Series match.

The biggest surprise of the night came at the end of the show. After the Real Americans hit the ring to tip the scales in the bad guys' favor, Rey Mysterio returned from a long absence to help send the heels packing. Rey and the good guys cleared house and Mysterio hit a 6-1-9 on Harper and Swagger. Though I don't want to be cynical about Rey returning, he just didn’t seem the same. Rey seemed sluggish and there were even reports online (take with a large grain of salt) that he was limping up the ramp after the show ended. Rey is returning from a lengthy medical leave and I’m not entirely sure if he’s really ready to return or if they are pushing him out there to try and get more buys out of Survivor Series. I hope he feels he's ready to go and isn't returning too soon because I'd rather not see Rey Mysterio's knees explode in the middle of the ring.

(Big E picture from WWE NXT Facebook page and Divas pic from Gif credits to r/SquaredCircle)


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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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