Raw recap & reactions (Nov. 21, 2022): Mami gets the advantage

You’ll See

Bayley made a great point this week: Asuka & Alexa Bliss aren’t true partners with Bianca Belair. Neither is the artist formerly known as Mia Yim. And the mystery fifth person isn’t either. Bayley surmises the women on Bianca’s team want championship matches more than they want War Games Ws. Damage CTRL is an army, better yet the navy, so they’re all on the same page. But what about Alexa? What about Asuka? What of Michin? Yes, she’s a heel doing what heels do which is to say sowing dissension for an advantage.

But Alexa looks uncomfortable following Bianca’s lead. Many moons ago, I noticed that Alexa taking orders is a weird look. Mrs. Bliss looked a bit distracted this week, so maybe a heel turn awaits her near future. If Bianca’s team survives War Games and one of her teammates turns on her, please don’t be shocked.

Especially since they’re going into the match without the advantage. Rhea Ripley tangoed with Asuka for the War Games advantage this week and it was…ok. Rhea dominated the first half with nothing but sheer muscle. Asuka turned the table with her quickness and using Ripley’s muscle against her. Damage CTRL hit ringside because watching backstage is no fun, and surprisingly didn’t factor into the finish. Neither did Bianca and Alexa. It’s weird with so much on the line that even the heels didn’t do whatever in their power to tilt things in their direction. But that goes along with a match that, while technically sound, just lacked any excitement.

Even after Rhea got the win via the Riptide, the post-match beatdown felt pedestrian. Raw ended with the commentators running down the Survivor Series card as security pulled the women off of each other as they laid out on the arena floor.

Bayley’s earlier comments add a level of intrigue to the match, definitely. And it’s another example of WWE adding a unique angle in the 11th hour. One that makes me wonder why they tossed it in now instead of weeks ago. But, alas, here we are.

This didn’t feel like a main event of a go home show but neither did the entire show.


Extracurriculars

Clique

Kevin Owens kicked off Raw this week. That enough is a shot in the arm for a show that, at times, lacks a live wire star. KO brought the Brutes and Drew McIntyre with him, and the five men talked up just how much they can’t wait to destroy the Bloodline. KO let everyone know that his beef isn’t with Sami Zayn. Sami is still his boy and he’s not interested in whatever phase of life Sami finds himself in at the moment. Kevin is here for one man and one man only: Roman Reigns. That’s why he joined this War Games team and that’s his only focus.

The Judgment Day approached the ring because no clique comes to Raw without paying the Judgment Day toll. A match ensued with Sheamus, Butch, & Ridge Holland on one side of the ring, and the male Judgment Day members on the other side. Rhea, outside as per usual, thoroughly entertained during the match. Her best moment came when the crowd chanted “Who’s your daddy” at Dominik and she pointed at herself. And KO put her over on commentary as well, telling the world he’s happy she’s not in his War Games match.

The match entertained and was even until The OC showed up. The Californiaaaaa Boys blocked Dom’s exit as the young Mysterio ran away from Sheamus. That was just the opening Sheamus needed as he gained all the momentum in the world. Dom soon went down to a Brogue Kick and the entire Judgment Day—minus Rhea—found themselves on the wrong end of a beatdown from The OC and the Brutes.

Props for seamlessly connecting these stories, whetting the appetite for Sheamus vs. Finn, and letting Rhea stay above the fray. The backstage brawl between both factions later in the show, which included Mia Yim Michin & Rhea, also kept my interest. These crews hate each other. Finn & AJ at War Games might not be enough for me because I want to see them all in a ring together.

You’re Nobody ‘Till Somebody Kills You

Poor Mustafa Ali. The guy plays the crash test dummy in this war between Bobby Lashley and Austin Theory. Theory and Ali wrestled a fantastic, if short, match. Ali sold a rib injury the entire time, so the chances of a victory were slimmer than someone in Calvin Klein pants. The high points of the match? Ali powerbombs Seth then follows it with a 450. But, again, the ribs! Everything took a lot out of Ali and Theory is far too motivated right now. Theory got the W and Lashley came calling.

Lashley and Theory got physical but once again, they showed Lashley is too much. He withstood a chair shot from Theory, who isn’t a small or weak dude. Theory ran to the back after realizing exactly what he did, saw Ali, and threw him into Lashley.

You know what happened at that point. Lashley made an example out of Ali, everyone’s favorite rag doll.

I love Theory’s new side and love what they’re doing with Lashley. I still believe Theory needs more time on the mic since his pre-match promo sounded like rambling and just repeating what we already know. But hopefully something comes to Ali for this because he’s taking beatdown after beatdown on the regular.

Just the Two of Us

Elias & Matt Riddle have a good thing going. They showed some dope tandem moves against the Alpha Academy this week, flexed some natural chemistry, and got the win. The question for me is what happens after their thing with the Academy. Is it over? And if so, do they take this tag show on the road and go after Jimmy & Jey Uso? The natural thing, I suppose, is Riddle stuck between his new partner and his old partner whenever Randy Orton comes back.

Gimme Yours

Tozawa wants JBL’s hat. That’s the main takeaway from Drew O’Mac’s match with Baron Corbin. Well, that and we’re probably in store for a feud between Tozawa and Corbin. I was into this JBL & Corbin connection weeks ago but now? It’s kind of boring. I don’t believe Corbin is the guy JBL says he is so I’m disconnected. Even when it’s a hoss fight, which I normally adore, I find myself watching moves and feeling no emotion. Drew got the W, which is good going in War Gamesbut it’s still a big meh.


Raw is…boring. The show started strong and Theory vs. Ali worked incredibly well. Especially with Lashley as the added ingredient. But this felt like a normal Monday show instead of the last one Raw before WWE’s last big show of the year. While my excitement for Survivor Series isn’t dampened one bit, I’m still disappointed this is how the red brand rolls into Boston.

And I’m not even commenting on Omos vs. Johnny Gargano. Nope, not happening.

Grade: C

That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.

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