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WWE Raw’s Survivor Series build is Hell without the Cell

Just weeks after shaking up the Raw and SmackDown rosters, it’s time for BRAND WARFARE!

Randy Orton has climbed out of the wreckage of Hell in a Cell victorious and walking into the wasteland that Raw has become with the WWE Championship in his grasp. What misery awaits us tonight as Snake-Man begins his 14th title reign?

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly wrestling podcast, PTW!
  • Will Drew McIntyre demand McIntyre vs. Orton IV: The Quickening?
  • Will RETRIBUTION finally get a victory over The Hurt Business?
  • Will Peyton Royce continue to pursue her singles career by, uh, teaming with Lacey Evans?
  • Will Keith Lee convince Braun Strowman to ditch his famer gloves?
  • Will Mandy Rose seek revenge against Tucker for what he did to Otis last night?
  • Will Nia Jax continue to hurl Lana through tables?

It’s Monday, so Jay and Jason are going to suffer through three hours of Raw so you don’t have to!

Jay: Jason. It’s gotten to the point where I wake up on Mondays dreading the oncoming Raw. It’s like a nagging feeling in the back of my mind, an ache in my joints, and a cold feeling of doom as we inch closer, and closer, to 8 pm. 

What do you think is going to happen tonight? Honestly, I fully expect to Mandy Rose to also turn on Otis tonight. She and Tucker elope and join RETRIBUTION. What say you?

Jason: This is the start of the big Tucky push we’ve all been clamoring for for months now, so why wouldn’t I be excited? $5 says we start the episode with a long meandering Randy Orton promo that is interrupted by Drew McIntyre, setting up the rematch? It’s either that or they start hyping a Survivor Series match between Randy and Ro..oh, oh dear. Roman is still champ isn’t he? That may actually be an interesting matchup…

Jay: No way! Raw’s going to start with D. Mac coming out despondent. He’ll look into the camera and mutter “who wants to be champion….forever?” As “who wants to Live Forever” by Queen plays over a montage of D. Mac looking lovingly at the WWE Championship as he rides on a horse through the ThunderDome, the performance Center, and the hills of Scotland.

Something like this:

ANNDDDD here comes Drew McIntyre.

Jason: Is he setting up a feud with Damian Priest with that “live forever” nod?

Jay: No, he’s seeking to reclaim his title as The Highlander. There can be only one, Jason.

Jason: Huh, looks like we went for a different film series nod. And did Miz leave early last night and not notice that Mac isn’t the champ anymore? What is the value in antagonizing the former champ as Mr. Money in the Bank? 

Jay: To show off that glorious suit. Look at that thing, Jason! I want it and I want it now. Do you think I could pull off the teal suit, black shirt combo?

But his lovely suit aside, this is a great development. Miz is great at holding a show together as a upper-midcarder. Remember what he did in 2018 on Raw with Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas? Imagine what he can do with J. Mo and the briefcase. And a pissed off Drew chasing the title is good watching. Do you…do you think Raw is showing hope?

Jason: Nope, not even a little bit. Credit where it’s due, though, I did want to see Mac wreck Miz during that whole segment. He’s really good at making me hate him. 

Elsewhere, I’m happy that AJ’s pal, Jordan, has been included in his screen still. I don’t really care for the combo personally, but I imagine he’s gonna win here, and Keith Lee is gonna crush Elias later so we can get a follow up match to the (second) worst bout on the card last night between the Drifter and Jeff Hardy.

Jay: Those are safe bets, but considering how drunk and delirious Raw has been for months, I am very, very, very happy to see some safe booking. And, uh, did AJ just ask us to not pay attention to his new manager? 

Jason: Is he the Grand Galactic Inquisitor? Glad he was able to catch a diving Hardy without Ridge Hollanding himself. I know the dirt sheets are expressing concerns for dude’s mobility, so hopefully he’s more than the second coming of Khali.

Jay: I didn’t see him catch Hardy. AJ told us to not look at him so I averted my eyes. Do you think we should just watch Venture Bro. instead of Raw tonight?

Jason: Everyone should watch Venture Bros. at every opportunity. That show was magic. Gone before its time, sadly. Oh look, AJ won. Admittedly it was clean, which I didn’t expect, but safe booking is here to stay! AH there’s the Elias interference I was looking for…and the terrible new theme song off his terrible new album I wasn’t particularly looking for.

Jay: I can’t hate on the song too much. He’s not a professional musician and ya know, they tried. Sort of. I mean I wish they didn’t try but they did. 

Jason: That’s just the thing, Jay. He is being paid to create music. He IS a professional musician. Just like Tozawa TECHNICALLY is a professional ninja and Lince Dorado is technically a professional cat. It’s hard to call them professional wrestlers anymore considering they spend more time running after WWE’s version of Daffy Duck wearing a golden dinner plate on an oversized olive watch band. 

Jay: Yeah. It’s a lot of wasted motion.

Jason: Speaking of which, was that the worst Firefly Fun House ever? It certainly wasn’t a worthwhile use of our time.

Jay: I disagree, I thought it was great. It introduced a new level to Bliss’ lunacy and kicked off a new feud for Orton filled with precedent. The Fun House, as campy as it can be, is one of the most well thought out things WWE has ever produced.

Jason: Going to have to agree to disagree there. It’s felt like a waste of time for a few months now, I had hoped my time spent not watching SmackDown on Fridays would have retained some of its novelty. Alas, while I still enjoy The Fiend, and think the Bray character works in spurts, I think he needs to be more of an “occasional appearance” kind of character than a weekly segment kind of guy.

Speaking of things I don’t need to see every week, here comes Elias — the only guy making music worse than Keith Lee’s new theme song. I just want Lee to wreck the Drifter and we can move on. I’m sure Braun will also find his way onto the Survivor Series team, so I’d like to just get to that point.

 Jay: On the flip side, Bray subverts the tropes of a standard wrestling feud with the Fun House. Like instead of just coming out and saying “Randy you burned my house down in 2017 and I didn’t have insurance on it and I want that title in recompense,” he has that little vignette in the Fun House. It’s more theatrical and creative and it gives us a breath of fresh air. It’s a bit overrated, I’ll grant you that, but he’s always a can’t-miss affair which is what wrestling as a whole needs. 

But I do feel that Keith Lee has lost a step on the main roster. None of it is his fault but he has yet to find his footing. I hope he does so soon. 

Jason: It feels like it’s praised for novelty alone, and just because something is different doesn’t mean it’s good. I mean, did you see Jupiter Ascending? The only thing harder to watch is them booking RETRIBUTION into the ground by losing to the Hurt Business YET AGAIN later tonight.

Jay: I concede. You might be the last person on Earth who remembers Jupiter Ascending and you invoked it well. I mean, all involved with Jupiter Ascending Eternal Sunshine’d that movie to hell and you brought it back from the nether realms of the zeitgeist to beat me with it. You win this round, Jason.

Jason: Uh, did the Hurt Business just lay claim over the ladies’ room? Why was that guy trying to get in there anyway? These are the babyfaces in the feud with RETRIBUTION?

Jay: They’re gonna double turn the Hurt Business and RETRIBUTION with RETRIBUTION becoming endearing outcasts just looking for friendship. 

Jason: Turn the fact that they’ve literally never had the upper hand into a part of the story? They’ll never do it. Friggin Byron Saxton claiming that RETRIBUTION is “even more threatening than we realize,” like, come on dude. They have literally lost every match to the Hurt Business, got separately punked by both a lone Lashley and the Fiend, and then got roundly shamed after Slapjack tapped out in three minutes in their PPV debut. Barry Horrowitz was more threatening.

Jay: You know, I don’t hate their entrance. They’re all trying to make it work and I appreciate that.

Jason: Oh god no, they gave them the SAnitY Memorial Camera Zoom for their entrance.

Jay: Well, it’s not like SAnitY is using it. And ha! Commentators made sure to mention that Lashley’s sisters hate Sami Zayn while announcing their match at Survivor Series.

Jason: I don’t want either of those guys to lose their titles, but I have zero interest in that match.

Jay: I don’t either, but think of the promos that Zayn is gonna launch on the Hurt Business. 

But, uh, WTF is Reckoning doing? That’s not what a seizure looks like. And she was saying something about something being on her and itching, but it’s not what an anaphylactic shock looks like either. 

Jason: Clearly she just fought that old lady from The Morlocks on the old X-Men cartoon. That’s precisely what being covered in scorpions looks like. Minus, you know, The Scorpions.

Jay: I forgot how much Wolverine jobbed during the ’90s X-Men cartoon. He was always acting tough but getting blasted by a Sentinel or Apocalypse or Mister Sinister’s Marauders or even the perfume lady from the mall in the Christmas special. Kinda like RETRIBUTION. 

Jason: I like that RETRIBUTION is constantly adjusting their masks. It sure was a great idea to put them in those dumbass things. What a disaster. The only “win” they got tonight was by having Mia Yim reenact an acid flashback. Other than that, the rest of these chumps were dealt with swiftly until Ali draws the purposeful disqualification and runs from Shelton friggin’ Benjamin. Woof. If you had any visions on booking RETRIBUTION to matter, maybe it was a colossally stupid idea to book them against the other faction that you don’t want to lose.

Also bless Garza’s heart for attempting to give a rose to Shayna. FAIRLY certain you’re barking up the wrong tree there, my dude. Putting him with Nia, though, gives off bad Enzo Amore flashbacks.

Jay: *shudder* I can’t believe that was almost a thing. Was that Billie Kay in the ThunderDome Screen that they just zoomed past en route to Matthew McConaughey? 

Jason: Was that Matthew McConaughey or just literally anyone? The screens are too low-res to make out any details of these people.

Jay: They said it was and the ThunderDome doesn’t lie.

Jason: Asuka remains a treasure. I petition her to be the new full-time member of the New Day.

Jay: I agree. She’s the only person who can fill the Big E-sized hole in my heart. And why is Sha-Nia’s tag team theme Nia’s? Baszler has the better theme. And speaking of themes, WHY DID THEY CHANGE NIKKI’S THEME?!

I can’t tell if I’m mad at the situation or I’m mad at myself for being mad at the situation. 

Jason: You know, I apologize to Keith Lee’s terrible new theme song, as clearly Nikki Cross has the WORST theme song in WWE.

Jay: Oh no, Peyton’s is way worse. It’s No Mercy background music levels of bad. It’s just random keystrokes on a keyboard. It’s David Flair levels of bad. 

Jason: It’s a bastard version of “Cherry Pie” mixed with “Pour Some Sugar on Me” because Vince see’s attractive blonde with dancer’s background and can only think “mid-’90s stripper.” Nikki’s is nothing but a female version of Sheamus’ old “Too Many Limes” theme.

Jeez, I don’t normally agree with Byron as a character, but his annoyance at these constant Elias updates is the most I’ve ever felt connected to the guy. Also Lana’s winning this thing, right?

Jay: Oh my god, Nia killed Lana. That bastard. 

Jason: SAFE BOOKING! Well, predictable booking, but all the same. I look forward to seeing Bianca Belair beat everyone on Team Raw after Lana betrays the team by putting Nia through a table.

Jay: You know, I don’t hate that. I hate Team Raw but I don’t hate that.

And, ugh. Riddle. I’m trying not to be negative tonight but do we really need to see him kick his sandals off in slo-motion? I’ve never wanted Sheamus to win so bad. 

Jason: Seriously. Give Peaky Blinders Sheamus the win, the spot on the Survivor Series team and Baron Corbin’s old “upscale bartender” gear, and get Riddle (and Lars Sullivan and Velveteen Dream) the hell away from my screen. 

Well damn…they did let Sheamus win. Clean as a whistle too. That’s a surprise.

Jay: I think they’re giving Riddle a not-so-subtle “you ain’t sh*t, stfu.” Which then just raises the question of why they don’t just take him off TV, ya know? No one really wants to see him, so why are they showing him?

Jason: Maybe they’re actually getting cold feet about pushing a(n alleged) sex offender with a “constantly high” gimmick at the front of their company?

Hey how about that, they remixed Alexa’s theme and it’s not that bad! Her Chucky look aint great, but given the bevy of GarageBand demos that they’ve been trotting out in recent weeks, credit where credit’s due.

Jay: I’ll sign off on that. But I’m interested in seeing where this is going. We got Alexa being all insidious and sh*t, heavy teases for a Fiend feud, Orton’s new title reign kicking off, and D. Mac showing up any second now. It’s a legit powder keg.

Jason: Yep, keep your back to the ring entrance, that always works well, Randy. Though walking toward Drew and ignoring The Fiend was a neat touch.

Jay: Yeah, I agree. It was overall a pretty nice segment and dare I say, a pretty OK Raw. It kicked off a lot of storylines. It was simple, neat booking with nice flow to the three hours. It was a solid B-, yeah?

Jason: I don’t really agree. I think it was fine in large spots, sure, but I also think there wasn’t much that was actually that interesting. That end had potential, but it ended SUPER anticlimactically and that just doesn’t work for me. This isn’t WCW Monday Nitro. C- at best.

Jay: I’ll meet you halfway and say C?

Jason: Sure, that’s the math of it.

Jay: Hey! C is what I got in math so it works! Same time next week?

Jason: The wrestling gods permitting.

WWE Raw's Survivor Series build is Hell without the Cell

Sick moves, Mia!

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