The unfortunate luck of injuries continuing to hit WWE has led to new opportunities once again opening up for the WWE roster. Finn Balor appeared ready for a big run as the first ever WWE Universal Champion until the news of his injury broke. The heartbreaking news of Balor relinquishing the title just one night after winning it is still hard to believe. One positive aftermath is the match scheduled for Raw featuring Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens and Big Cass facing off for the Universal Championship. Rollins and Reigns have dominated the main event picture in WWE for years, but Owens and Cass are getting their first televised match for a world title.
A new champion being crowned puts an added importance on the overall show. There are other things to look forward to as well following last week’s big weekend. Bayley is finally on the main roster and we’re all hoping she has a big night to continue the momentum from last week. Another interesting name to pay attention to tonight is Chris Jericho. With Kevin Owens in the title match, Jericho may very well enter a new feud. WWE has to start building feuds for the next big show now that we are finished with Summerslam. We’ll look at what went down on the latest edition of Raw with the five biggest takeaways of the night.
5. All Four Contenders Shine In Promo Battle
WWE is fully aware of the lack of a build for the big title match. Finn Balor’s injury put them in a tough spot. Raw has yet to have an active world champion following the brand split and another long wait until the next PPV would have been too much. The new Universal Champion being crowned tonight was the right call but the wrestlers will have work twice as hard to pull off a successful performance. Raw opened with Kevin Owens, Seth Rollins, Big Cass and Roman Reigns being interviewed in the ring by Corey Graves.
Rollins tried to run down his opponents by claiming he was the biggest star of the bunch. Owens chimed in with a few one-liners tearing everyone down. Big Cass referenced having the size advantage while adding in a few quips of his own. Not one for talking, Reigns had nothing to say and started a fight. Everyone looked great and they set the tone for the big match later in the show. A talking segment can effective in the opening segment if there’s a true purpose behind it.
4. Bayley Rocks
Bayley’s second week on Raw was another home run with the lovable star being showcased quite well. The first segment featured Bayley becoming friends with New Day. Both fan favorite acts merged for the night as a super team of positivity. Naturally, they faced off with the hapless squad of Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows and Dana Brooke. New Day and Bayley showed tremendous chemistry to make WWE look great for tonight’s booking.
New fans were introduced to the infectious happiness known as Bayley. The character of being a super fan here to achieve her dreams perfectly followed the NXT tenure. Bayley looked great in the ring scoring the pin fall victory over Brooke. It will be interesting to see if she gets a title shot against Charlotte this early but the main takeaway here is Bayley needs to become a frequent friend of New Day. They work well together and could provide huge entertainment in segments together every week or every other week.
3. Neville Deserves Better
The current crop of talent in WWE is highly impressive with the majority of wrestlers being able to pull off outstanding matches. Athleticism is now expected out of everyone stepping foot in the ring so we sometimes lose sight of the special things that occur. Neville is one of the most gifted performers in the world and reminded us tonight with a great outing against Chris Jericho. Both men told a great story in the first match of the night.
The news of the Cruiserweight division coming to Raw next month is the best news possible for Neville. His routine of having good matches but falling short to bigger names like Jericho and Kevin Owens have put a ceiling over him. WWE will likely make him the face of the cruiserweight division and he’s truly the right man to lead the movement. Neville could become one of the more popular stars on the show similar to the days of Rey Mysterio dominating the WWE’s first run with the cruiserweight division.
2. The Road To Shane McMahon vs. Brock Lesnar Begins
Summerslam ended with Brock Lesnar leaving Shane McMahon beaten in the ring. The moment was clearly meant to telegraph the future and we were given another clue to the story tonight. Stephanie McMahon demanded an apology from Paul Heyman on behalf of Lesnar for attacking her brother. Heyman and Stephanie bickered for a good while with the highlight coming from Stephanie reminding us she owned ECW when fans chanted for the defunct company.
The tensest moment came when Heyman started to count dollar bills in paying the comical $500 fine issued to Brock from Stephanie. All of the drama escalated until Heyman finally apologized in the most tepid of ways. Stephanie unsurprisingly accepted and basically informed she really didn’t care at all about her brother getting F5’d by The Beast. Expect Lesnar to work on behalf of Stephanie and face off against Shane-O-Mac in one of the attraction matches at WrestleMania 33.
1. Raw Is Now Truly The Kevin Owens Show
The night ended with one of the bigger shocks in recent WWE history. Triple H hit both Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins with the Pedigree to help Kevin Owens become the new WWE Universal Champion. The safe bet was on Rollins once again being elevated into the title role but the surprising return of Triple H completely changed the game. Owens looked on as Triple H delivered the Pedigree to his former protégé and basically handed the title to him.
The idea of Owens winning a world title on WWE television was a laughable thought for many years as he fought his way into the company. Owens proved all of his doubters wrong by capturing the richest prize in the industry. The future of Raw looks absolutely amazing right now. Triple H is likely moving into a feud with Rollins in the story we’ve wanted for quite some time. Most importantly, Owens is the new face of Raw and only good things can come from this. A new era is truly here in WWE and it starts with Monday nights becoming the Kevin Owens Show. It is time to rejoice, wrestling fans.
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