Team Work Makes the Dream Work – A Raw Recap for 11/14/2016

Tonight’s Raw comes to us from Buffalo, New York where I’ll be flying to in a couple of days to go to Survivor Series this weekend!

I’m just going to start with my overall assessment.  I’ll give it a C or C+.  It was decidedly average for me tonight.  It is, however, a welcome distraction to all the crazy national news of the last week.  When I woke up on Wednesday morning last week, I loved wrestling even more.  Possibly for the simple morality of it but also for the escapism.  I can use a little of that right now.  On that same front, I really enjoyed Doctor Strange.

Perhaps you’ll need an escape from wrestling after the four straight days and over 10 hours of wrestling content that’s hurtling toward you this weekend.

Anyway, look at me.  I’m rambling in an incoherent story just like Mick Foley…right here, in front of my computer in Los Angeles, California.  Let’s get to it.

Teams of Rivals

No, this episode is not written by Dorris Kearns Goodwin.

The show started with everyone participating on Saturday on the ramp while Steph and Mick talked through the matches this evening.  The whole purpose was to show that their teams, despite filled with people that hated each other, could work together more than effectively to destroy SmackDown Live, who don’t hate each other quite as much.  This segment was terrible…but the matches the setup did exactly that.  And all teams worked together fairly well, with maybe the exception of Sasha and Charlotte.

The matches themselves were nothing special.  They just established that Raw wasn’t to be reckoned with.

  • Kevin Owens and Roman Reigns defeat Sheamus and Cesaro
  • Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins, and Chris Jericho defeat The New Day
  • Charlotte and Sasha defeat Alicia Fox and Nia Jax
  • Enzo, Cass, Anderson and Gallows defeat The Golden Truth and The New Day

Sure, there were cracks in the teams of all four victors.  Most notably Chris Jericho bought scarfs for an unappreciative Rollins and Strowman.  “Try it on, maaaaaannnnnnn”.

This show of dominance even ripples through to the non-Survivor Series style matches:

  • Sami Zayn defeats Bo Dallas with a Helluva Kick (in a surprisingly long match for Bo on Raw)
  • Brian Kendrick defeats Sin Cara with a Bully Choke Captain’s Hook.

Tonight had a lot of simple storytelling that actually worked effectively to setup everyone as formidable threats.  Even in loss, I don’t think anyone particularly looked bad really.


Buffalo loves Goldberg.  This segment started with Brock and Heyman entering a ring with a diagonal line of local talent private security dividing the ring in half.  Goldberg joined the pair and basically just told Paul Heyman to shut up a bunch of times and the crowd loved it.  He was ready to go tonight, not on Sunday, but tonight.  He cleared the ring of all the security and begged Brock to bring it.  Lesnar teased entering the ring but decided to leave anyway.

I was torn when this match was announced for Survivor Series.  One one hand, it was going to keep Brock away from my favorites, but on the other hand, I didn’t want to see Goldberg lose either.  I still think Goldberg is losing on Sunday…but I think this build has been successful in finally turning Brock fully heel with the crowd.  He’s always been a heel but the crowd cheered him for it anyway.  Putting him up against a childhood hero like Goldberg won’t get us to chant for Lesnar, unless we are in Minnesota.  And probably LA too.  They love him here.

Go Home Smackdown Live

The major negative issue I have with this whole upcoming PPV is that there really seems to be no stakes for these matches.  Say something like an off-screen VKM has offered a bonus to each team that wins.  I just don’t buy that they would fight for the honor of each of those shows.  True, Steph has pledged to make their lives hell if they lose, but when does she not do that?

Shane and D-Bry show up, basically to promote the 900th episode of Smackdown.

As an aside, does anyone else feel like it’s super weird that it was Shane to promote the Undertaker’s appearance?  Shouldn’t it have been Bryan?  The Undertaker put Shane on a stretcher a few months ago.

Steph repeatedly questioned why her brother is on the team instead of a real wrestler.  And she eventually brought out the Raw men’s team.  Shane brought out his four teammates and mascot from the crowd to stand toe-to-toe.  The World and Universal Champs traded insults, Bray is clearly on the team to destroy Strowman, a brother who betrayed him, and Roman and Rollins are on the same page.  It turns into a brawl when Ambrose suddenly takes out Jericho.  Ultimately, Team Raw stands tall at the end of the episode.

Final Thoughts

  • Is anyone else as surprised as me how far Braun has come in such a short amount of time?  Sure, he’s a one-note character but he’s playing that character really, really well.  I think Raw has done several things poorly since the brand split but this is one thing they’ve done right.  They’ve built a new star in Braun Strowman.


  • I really don’t like face Steph using people’s catch phrases.  Each time she said “How You Doin'” I just wanted it to stop.  I think I actually fast-forwarded through some of it.
  • I didn’t watch the Kendrick/Sin Cara match.  Sin Cara is like my new Usos.  I can’t really watch whatever match he’s in despite my love for his opponents.
  • The New Day did a segment to promote their merch for the holiday.  Really, that happened.  It was bad.  Probably the worst thing on the show, by far.

Your Turn SmackDown!

And you get Edge!