For a refreshing change, there was something to look forward to on Raw this week. This was because of the intriguing angle WWE ran last week in the Fatal Four Way match that would crown the new WWE Universal Champion. In the match, Triple H turned on his former protégé Seth Rollins in favor of the internet darling Kevin Owens. This is something Raw needs to do often: create interesting storylines that play out week-to-week, giving fans a reason to tune in every week. For such an “episodic television show”, Raw has had problems, for a while now, developing episodic storytelling as well as developing cliffhangers or any newsworthy questions to make fans want to see next week’s show.
Raw opened with a superb segment involving the new Universal Champion Kevin Owens, Mick Foley, Stephanie McMahon and the infuriated Seth Rollins. Raw’s opening promos typically suffer due to the lack of developing material they have and wrestling stretching out the segments to waste time. This time, though, the segment created interest in how the story would play out, thanks a lot to the unpredictable nature of it. With good material, Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins and Mick Foley showed that active roster members can still cut compelling exchanging promos.
Kevin Owens did a fantastic job turning full-fledged heel here, saying the crowd chanting, “you deserve it” was a selfish act because they wanted to “get themselves over”. Mick Foley played the role of the voice of reason well, cutting a passionate promo. Seth Rollins also cut a great promo, expressing his anger about what happened. Foley and McMahon’s tension is well done, although I sadly believe it will lead to McMahon firing Foley and replacing him with Triple H. That would be unfortunate because Foley can still cut fantastic promos, and the Authority angle ran its course a long time ago.
Speaking of great promos, Sasha Banks cut an excellent promo herself. She set her promo up as if she was retiring, causing the audience to hang on her words on the edge of their seats. She ended up swerving us, thankfully, and the angle was done to set up a rematch against Charlotte at Clash of Champions. Her statements about the women’s division being now about women’s abilities instead of their eye-candy appeal was all true and stated well. However, it is getting tiresome hearing WWE constantly pat themselves on the back over their efforts to revolutionize the division, especially when they were the ones who booked its women in such a misogynistic manner for so long. This promo turned Sasha Banks into a very sympathetic character, although WWE feeding her the “Ms. Piggy” line almost rendered the entire moot. She is supposed to be above juvenile name-calling, especially when it has to do with a female’s looks. After all, the entire focus on the division is supposed to be on their ability instead of their looks. If Banks were to humiliate Dana Brooke, she should have mentioned that she could not even buy a victory in WWE.
Speaking of weird booking, Bayley pinned the WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte on the same show. The logical thing it seemed WWE would do was make the Clash of Champion’s match a Triple Threat match. However, at this point, WWE is not going in that direction. Booking your champion to lose on TV makes them look like a non-credible champion enough. Booking your champion to lose to someone who is not even receiving a title shot at the PPV is beyond ridiculous.
I commend WWE’s efforts trying to get a midcarder over again. However, there needs to come a point where they realize the fans are not buying into Darren Young. His feud with his former partner Titus O’Neil is in contention for Worst Feud of The Year. The feud is heatless and undefined, and it has led to some of the most embarrassing promos and matches on TV this year. I like the idea of Bob Backlund training someone and helping someone improve. The execution has been terrible, though. Darren Young has not even remodeled his in-ring style at all.
The Club needs to ditch their deadpan standup comedy gimmick. It is so far from what their characters should be. They are tough, no-nonsense wrestlers. The last thing they should do is tell childish poop and old people jokes. These types of segments make older wrestling fans feel segregated and out of place watching the product. This is such a step back for the team after party crashing Dudley’s retirement in such a heel-ish fashion.
To no surprise, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn had a great wrestling match. I just wish they put Zayn on Smackdown, separating the two for a while, though. It is a great feud to go back to later down the line. WWE will kill the feud’s heat if it keeps having these “no real build or purpose” type of matches. Even if Raw stole a Smackdown idea, WWE did a nice job of setting up an important match for next week: Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns, who will be added to the Clash of Champions main event if he wins.
Originally, I thought Rusev would cost him his opportunity, but eeing as Rusev is on vacation, it has to be Chris Jericho, who has nothing to do at Clash of Champions at the present time. I cannot see Roman Reigns being added to the match. It would be a bad idea for Kevin Owens to lose his second match as champion on television. We went down that road with Seth Rollins last year, and it made it hard for him to be taken seriously.
Other Quick Points:
Bo Dallas is finally on TV again and being repackaged after being kicked off a plane for being too work. Be a star, WWE.
Why did Enzo and Cass loss to the Shining Stars, one of the coldest acts in WWE?
Sheamus goes up 3-0 on Cesaro. It seems like Cesaro will make an epic Red Sox over Yankees like comeback. Hopefully, this will be the spark his character desperately needs.
I like that WWE is pushing a heel monster by making him squash everyone, but Braun Strowman might be too limited in the ring to do anything more than squash matches. Where is WWE’s end game with this? Are they going to feed him to a top-babyface and that will be the end of it?
Seth Rollins soon needs to retire the pedigree and develop a new babyface move that will pop the crowd.