This Week In The WWE: 11/8-11/14

Breaking News – The WWE has released Zelina Vega.

Talk about your Friday afternoon news dump. Gone from the WWE Universe is one of its best personalities. During the first few months of the pandemic, it was Zelina Vega, Andrade and Angel Garza who we saw each and every show, multiple times a show, that carried the company through a tough time. Vega’s was reportedly very vocal in voicing her displeasure at the way the WWE has banned its superstars from benefitting on third party apps like Twitch for supplemental income. In Stamford, it’s either Vince’s way or the highway. And now, it looks like Vega has her bags packed to travel to another place of work.

It’s a brand new world and with AEW, Impact Wrestling, MLW, New Japan and Ring of Honor all out there ready to make a splash, it shouldn’t take long for Vega to find a new home after her non-compete clause is fulfilled.

It’s too bad that the WWE couldn’t find a way to use Vega correctly as her passion, in and out of the ring, combined with her talents and amazing good looks, not to mention an attraction to the Latin audience, should be a plus to any company. Now, here’s hoping they don’t punish Aleister Black the way they punish Lana when Rusev, i.e. Miro left.

As for the rest of the week around the WWE, the temperature is rising towards Survivor Series. It’s an odd PPV in that there’s no real build-up to the matches themselves other than the red brand vs. the blue brand for one night. RAW vs. SmackDown isn’t as sexy as last year’s “what will NXT do” against the major players. Now, don’t get me wrong, the matches that night will be good, if not very good. It’s just that there are no consequences to the outcomes of the matches as each side will just go back to their brand-specific storylines after Survivor Series.


Survivor Series – Updated Card:

  • The Undertaker’s Final Farewell
  • WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. Universal Champion Roman Reigns
  • Raw Women’s Champion Asuka vs. SmackDown Women’s Champion Sasha Banks
  • Raw Tag Team Champions The New Day vs. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Street Profits
  • United States Champion Bobby Lashley vs. Intercontinental Champion Sami Zayn
  • 5-on-5 Women’s Survivor Series Elimination Match (RAW – Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler, Dana Brooke, Mandy Rose, Lana vs. Ruby Riott, Bianca Belair, Liv Morgan, TBD, TBD)
  • 5-on-5 Men’s Survivor Series Elimination Match (Keith Lee, Sheamus, Braun Strowman, AJ Styles, Riddle vs. Kevin Owens, Jey Uso, King Corbin, Seth Rollins, TBD)

RAW

RESULTS

  • Second Chance Survivor Series Qualifying Match: Riddle defeated Elias & Jeff Hardy
  • Shayna Baszler defeated Lana
  • Riddle & Keith Lee defeated Braun Strowman & Sheamus
  • United States Championship Match: Bobby Lashley defeated Titus O’Neil to retain title
  • Non-Title RAW Women’s Championship Match: Asuka defeated Nia Jax via DQ
  • 24/7 7-way Championship Match: R-Truth wins title after multiple changes
  • Mustafa Ali defeated Ricochet
  • Drew McIntyre & The New Day defeated Randy Orton, The Miz & John Morrison

Clearly, RAW is broken. And yes, I mean broken in more ways than the 8 tables that Lana has been put through by Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. That one storyline is a microcosm for what’s going on during Monday nights. It seems like the WWE is more interested in getting Lana through yet another table to somehow make her sympathetic to the audience, it’s not happening BTW, than giving us a compelling story with the RAW Women’s team for Survivor Series. They threw away a championship match between Asuka and Nia Jax (again!). They had Shayna Baszler and Jax backing down at one point to Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose (why?!). All this to show us no one likes each other and to put Lana through a table. No sense at all!

They used Riddle wrestling twice in an hour just to show us how dysfunctional the men’s Survivor Series team is. I’m expecting Styles to be kicked off the team so that Drew McIntyre can join in. One of the few bright spots on the 3-hour marathon was the backstage talk between Sheamus and McIntyre.

Mustafa Ali vs. Ricochet was amazing, as expected. Unfortunately, it got buried in the course of the night beset with problems. For now, RETRIBUTION seems to be nothing more than a mid-card angle. Seems to be a waste of Mia Yim and Dominik Dijakovic.

I have no clue why Angel Garza is still being wasted on the Bachelor gimmick. No one cares. Give him a night with Charly Caruso and be done with it.

Alexa Bliss says goodbye to Nikki Cross for The Fiend. Expected but kind of a throwaway.

Randy Orton kisses off his tag team partners in the main event, leaving The Miz and John Morrison to get destroyed by McIntyre and The New Day. You know that Orton wanted no part, especially now that he’s got to defend his WWE Championship against McIntyre Monday night in the go-home show to Survivor Series (can you say The Fiend interference anyone?).

All in all, not a great show for RAW, something we’ve become accustomed to over the past few months.


NXT

RESULTS

  • NXT North American Championship Match: Leon Ruff defeated Johnny Gargano to win title
  • NXT Cruiserweight Championship Match: Santos Escobar defeated Jake Atlas to retain title
  • Raquel Gonzalez vs. Xia Li went to a no-contest
  • Candice LeRae defeated Toni Storm
  • Timothy Thatcher defeated Dexter Lumis
  • NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch defeated Breezango to retain titles

From top to bottom, NXT continues to show exactly why it’s everything RAW is not.

Surprises, sense-making angles and in-ring action that’s second to none in the company. That’s what we got Wednesday night.

Starting right off with Johnny “Wheels” Gargano using the Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal contenders match to choose Leon Ruff as his opponent, it was a night of fun. Gargano’s own move backfires immensely as Ruff upsets him, with Damian Priest’s help, to become the new North American Champion. Then, later in the night, it’s Gargano’s better half, Candice LeRae getting the better of Toni Storm with the help of her friend, Miss Scream, Indie Hartwell as they move the feud with Shotzi Blackheart one step ahead.

In the main event, Pat McAfee returns to lead what he calls the best four-man group in wrestling history to a successful tag team title defense. Sure, McAfee’s claim is in gest Four Horseman fans, but the fact that he says it is magnificent. Not only do Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch, along with Pete Dunne, retain the titles, but also take it to Drake Maverick, who tried to help out Breezango. Nice punt on Breeze to by McAfee himself to close the show.

In the ring, Santos Escobar vs. Jake Atlas was impressive. LeRae vs. Storm was just getting going in a match that I think we’ll see again down the road. Timothy Thatcher vs. Dexter Lumis was physically as heck too!

Now, I could do without the burlap sack over Lumis’ head that I think will lead to a blindfold match (I hope not!) between Cameron Grimes and Lumis, but at least it makes sense for Grimes to get revenge from Halloween Havoc. It seems like everything done Wednesday night made sense.

Tommaso Ciampa vowing more change to the NXT locker-room was a beauty of a backstage promo. Raquel Gonzalez beating up Boa after the no-show of Xia Li is intriguing as have no idea what anything between Li and Boa and a new mystery man means for any of them.

All in all, a very good show considering those missing – Finn Balor, who returns this week to talk about his next NXT Championship challenger and The Undisputed Era. And oh yeah, Karrion Kross could be coming back anytime soon!


SMACKDOWN

RESULTS

  • Intercontinental Championship Match: Sami Zayn defeated Apollo Crews by count out to retain title
  • Otis defeated Dolph Ziggler
  • No Holds Barred Match: Rey Mysterio defeated Seth Rollins
  • Survivor Series Qualifying Match: Liv Morgan defeated Natalya, Chelsea Green & Tamina
  • Unsanctioned Match: Drew McIntyre defeated Jey Uso

Before we get into the show itself, I ask this. Shouldn’t the final chapter between Seth Rollins and Rey Mysterio have been built up a bit instead of just announcing it an hour before its onset Friday night? Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy the final chapter is here because the storyline has been overdone, but if you’re going to have finality, make it seem bigger that what it was portrayed.

Count me as one who would rather see Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns. The moment that McIntyre stepped into the SmackDown ring to open the show with Reigns, it seemed BIG. Loved the back-and-forth and a bit of shooting going on too. Roman needles Drew about blowing the audition when he flubbed his lines. Drew shooting back about Reigns not being there for WrestleMania when McIntyre was. Reigns firing off that he doesn’t watch RAW, no one does! Really good stuff.

Sami Zayn is downright hilarious and creative as hell! Loving the latest from the I-C Champion. The match was what it was against Apollo Crews. It did what it had to do: keep the title on Zayn.

Could we get Carmella and Bayley teaming up to take on Sasha Banks? Sure feels that way.

Is Chad Gable about to build his own stable with the Alpha Academy. The quick vignette was worth more than his match with Dolph Ziggler. It’s got me intrigued to say the least and it has a Cobra Kai feel with maybe Kurt Angle coming back to play the John Kreese role.

Even without the buildup, Rollins and Mysterio put together a well done No Holds Barred Match. It was a little slow to start but heated up. Nice save in the middle by the pair with an almost botched powerbomb from the top rope through the table. Murphy aligning himself with Mysterio and attaching Rollins was a no-brainer too! Love and lucha libre conquers all, even the Messiah! It’s all about the moments in the WWE and that one paid off with a handshake and a family hug. I hope Murphy now gets a chance to show how good he really is without Rollins. But first, he’s going to have to face Seth trying to destroy him.

I’ll say it once, I’ll say it a thousand times. The “I’m entitled” look for Natalya is not a good one. Especially when she does nothing with it but lose. Welcome to the Blue Team Liv Morgan. Does Chelsea Green have inside track to the team through Adam Pearce?

Give WWE credit. They’ve made Jey Uso into a main event player. It’s another Friday night where Uso is looking good, this time against McIntyre. I liked that it still went to a clean finish even with the Reigns distraction. Kudos as well to the end where Roman asks Drew if he understands and tells him to get him a championship and we’ll see you at Survivor Series. Good foreshadowing there? I’m in if they do. Either way, that potential match already has more heat than the scheduled Reigns vs. Randy Orton contest.


Parting shots:

Good to see the Tribute to the Troops coming back on FOX. It’ll be taped at the WWE ThunderDome and broadcast on FOX during NFL Football Sunday either prior to or after the local market’s game on December 6th (3pm or 4:30pm). It was amazing to see back in the day when the WWE would go overseas to perform in front of the troops, but after not having a show last year, the show returns in a different, COVID-19 safe version.

RIP Eddie Guerrero. Hard to believe it’s been 15 years. Long live Latino Heat!


Coming up this week:

RAW:
WWE Championship Match: Randy Orton vs. Drew McIntyreRAW Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day vs. Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin

NXT:
NXT Champion Finn Balor returns
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Io Shirai vs. Rhea Ripley

SMACKDOWN:
Seth Rollins vs. Murphy


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