In the main event of Monday Night RAW last night, Bayley defeated the RAW Women’s Champion, Charlotte in a fantastic wrestling affair in Las Vegas. The match appeared to be headed in Charlotte’s favor when her protege, Dana Brooke, returned to her aid and allowed her to apply the Figure Eight on Bayley. However, Sasha Banks thwarted Charlotte’s attempts at a cheap victory by interfering on Bayley’s behalf, striking her with a cane and allowing Bayley to capitalize with her finisher to score the victory. It was surely an emotional night for Bayley, and the crowd was treated to another great women’s match. A part of me wanted to live with the finish and just claim that it was okay, because Bayley had finally gotten her due. However. this move by WWE displayed yet another one of their bad qualities, and that’s the inability to wait for the right moment.
Bayley had been brought up to the main roster in September of last year and immediately made a statement as she proved to be a threat to Charlotte and her Women’s Championship. WWE did a great job in ensuring that she gave off the underdog look, and failing on more than one opportunity to capture Charlotte’s Women’s Championship. However, WWE felt the need to once again have Charlotte lost her championship on an edition of RAW just for the sake of protecting her undefeated PPV title defense record. Charlotte has ascended to become top dog above all the women in either women’s division for both brands as no one consistently steps up on the big stage as often as she does. We saw perhaps a direct antithesis of what the biggest issue with Bayley’s victory last night was a segment earlier in the evening.
The Festival of Friendship was a masterful piece of booking and a tremendous segment to finally break up Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens for good. It was supposed to be a coronation of the unbreakable bond between the Universal Champion and the United States Champion. We had video packages play throughout the night highlighting the times both KO and Jericho had helped each other win important matches. The two developed a bond right before Summerslam of last year when Kevin Owens stated that he had Chris Jericho’s back. They defeated Enzo and Cass at Summerslam, and right then and there, a bond between the two was born. The two would go on to engage in a series of battles against the likes of Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, and while they certainly teased the breakup time and time again, they maintained their relationship throughout. Jericho came to the ring, dressed appropriately for the occasion with a Las Vegas feel to it. He serenaded the Universal Champion with paintings and magicians and claimed that he’d do anything for KO, because their friendship had been one of the most rewarding times of Jericho’s storied career.
Kevin Owens, meanwhile, had a chat with Triple H, no doubt certainly teasing that something sinister was about to brew, and sure enough, it did. Kevin Owens, feeling grateful for the lengths Jericho went to show his appreciation of him, gave Jericho a gift of his own, though not what was expected. Jericho opened the white box, revealing a new list. However, it was the list of Kevin Owens, and the only name that was on there, was none other than Chris Jericho’s, and with that, the Universal Champion unleashed a brutal assault on his former best friend and confirmed the breakup that came to a head for so long. Kevin Owens looked like a true heel that ought to be hated for the first time in a long time while Jericho looked like a sympathetic babyface. As a matter of fact, it was so good that for the first time that I can remember, a part of me actually hated Kevin Owens for what he had done, proving that he was a heel that was doing his job. It made me react in a way that I wouldn’t have had he attacked Roman Reigns or Seth Rollins in the same fashion. However, there was one aspect of that ambush that made it much more special.
WWE practiced patience. Jericho and Owens had been together with each other for approximately seven months and they looked inseparable. They shared hugs, they helped each other win championships and helped each other overcome any adversary that came their way. This made it all the more emotional when Kevin Owens brutally assaulted his best friend and left him helpless on the way to the hospital. WWE took its time building up the relationship between the two so that once the breakup finally happened, it brought a great shock factor. Can you imagine the amount of hearts that sank once Jericho uttered the words that he so often used in the past: “Why’s my name on this?” It was ingenious. Not only did they build up the relationship between the two, but they also played up Jericho’s list gimmick against him. Again, and it must be stressed, WWE practiced PATIENCE. They waited for the right moment to make the breakup happen. Kevin Owens is due to defend his Universal Championship against Goldberg at Fastlane, and we should eagerly anticipate the justification for why Kevin Owens would take out the only man that had every helped him win anything since winning the Universal Championship last year. It began the impending WrestleMania feud between them while creating a high sense of curiosity into next week. That is why it made it all the more frustrating why WWE reverted back to bad habits in the main event.
Why in the world would you give the title to Bayley now? Allow me to take you back to NXT Takeover: Brooklyn one and a half years ago. Sasha Banks and Bayley tore down the house and had one of, if not, the best women’s match in the history of WWE programming. Bayley for so long had been overlooked and had failed on numerous endeavors. This is what made her title win so emotional. Gathered by a post-match celebration with the other members of the Four Horsewomen, it made for a tremendous experience. Giving the RAW Women’s Championship to her now, on a Monday Night RAW in February, right before RAW’s exclusive PPV, Fastlane, was a bad move. Not only does this go back to the inevitable hot potato routine that will happen once again like with Sasha Banks late last year, but it displayed one of WWE’s worst habits in that they do certain things at the wrong time. Bayley and Charlotte had a fabulous match for a RAW show, but wouldn’t that win have meant much more at WrestleMania? Bayley was bound to win the title eventually, but what would the harm have been in having Dana Brooke coming out and attacking Bayley, and having Charlotte retain by a Disqualification. Then, you could have Bayley come close to winning again, but then have Sasha Banks interfere on Charlotte’s behalf and cost her the title. Then, you could give Bayley the huge win at WrestleMania while executing a perfect Sasha heel turn.