Labor Day weekend comes to an end with an action packed episode of Monday Night. This week marks the first episode of “The Kevin Owens Show” following the memorable WWE Universal Championship victory last week. Kevin Owens shocked the world by defeating Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Big Cass to win the vacant title. The most surprising moment featured Triple H returning from an on-screen hiatus to screw over Rollins and Reigns in helping Owens pull off the victory. That’s the top story heading into the episode. Hopefully we will get more information on Triple H’s motives and a big night to start Owens’ title reign off strong.
Sasha Banks’ tease on social media that she has bad news to announce tonight adds another dimension to the show. The most optimistic outcome would be a swerve for a new story, with the worst case scenario seeing the injury being worse than feared. Bayley’s main roster run continues as she nears closer to a title shot against Charlotte. New Day has their hands full with the team of Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. Everything in the upper card remains up in the air and that usually adds excitement to Raw. We’ll likely find out the direction of the upcoming Raw PPV with tonight’s episodes. Here’s a look at the top five takeaways from the show.
5. Face Rollins
The ending of Raw last week left a bit of confusion for the roles going forward. Fans cheered for Triple H hitting Seth Rollins with the Pedigree. This was due to the excitement of Kevin Owens actually pulling off the upset victory. Tonight’s edition of Raw gave us the answer we were looking for as Rollins has evolved into a face role. The opening segment featured Rollins interrupting the championship celebration of Owens.
Rollins chastised Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley for allowing Triple H to interfere in his title match. Stephanie claimed she had no idea Triple H would make his presence felt against Seth, but he refused to believe her. Things escalated with McMahon suspending Rollins before Foley overturned her decision. The segment was designed for Rollins to be viewed as the hero and it worked perfectly. Rollins gets a Universal Championship title shot against Owens at Clash of the Champions. He also happened to have an impressive performance in a singles victory over Chris Jericho. Fans can rejoice at the fact that Rollins is finally a face.
4. Braun Strowman and Nia Jax are moving up
The return of enhancement matches has been rather effective for two specific wrestlers. Braun Strowman and Nia Jax have become established on Raw as dominant performers destroying local talents every week. WWE has utilized the three hours of Raw to showcase two hopeful stars in an old school fashion. They are finally ready to progress with stories being formed to add to their character. Jax and Strowman are getting integrated into the normal WWE hierarchy rather than continue to be reintroduced.
Strowman received heel heat for ripping the mask off of a local jobber last week. The story continued with Sin Cara wanting to stand up for the message behind the mask. Strowman defeated him by count out and looked dominant once again. It was his first match against a contracted talent since the brand split. Jax once again destroyed a local talent but the jobber was established as Alicia Fox’s friend. The two had an interesting backstage segment setting up a new feud. Strowman and Jax are likely getting singles matches on Clash at the Champions against main roster talents with nothing to do. WWE has pulled off a very effective way to start their journey to the next stage.
3. Sasha Banks is back
Sasha Banks put her tremendous acting skills on display with a performance worthy of an Academy Award. The tweet earlier in the day implied she would be forced to be out for a long time due to injury or even possibly retire. Fans assumed retirement during the early portion of her promo suggesting everything has to come to an end. Dana Brooke interrupting The Boss ended up being the happiest moment ever to come thanks to Brooke’s presence.
Banks prevented Dana’s attack by hitting her with the Bank Statement. The big announcement was that Sasha is ready to return sooner than expected and has her Raw Women’s Championship rematch at Clash of the Champions. Things are getting interesting in the women’s division with Banks, Charlotte and Bayley all having top roles. Bayley scored a pin fall victory over Charlotte to put her in contention for a future title shot. Triple threat coming?
2. Strong night for Kevin Owens
Kevin Owens’ first episode of Raw as the WWE Universal Champion showed a strong start to his title reign. The opening segment featured Owens coming to balloons, confetti and pyro showering the arena. A very impressive promo allowed us to appreciate the heel work of Owens and set him up as the top heel on the Raw roster. The fact that Seth Rollins’ first singles face feud will come against Owens will add even more momentum to his title reign.
The best match of the night saw Owens face rival Sami Zayn in a non-title bout to main event the show. Both men could deliver a great match together with their eyes closed and tonight was no exception. Owens pulled off the victory clean to redeem his prior loss to Zayn at BattleGround. Another surprise to close the show was Roman Reigns coming out and staring down Owens. Mick Foley announced if Reigns can defeat the champ next week, he is added to the Clash of the Champions title match. The revolving door of Rollins and Reigns makes for exciting matches with Owens as the heel champion being chased.
1. Triple H plays the long game
There was no presence of Triple H on Raw this week. Everyone wanted to know why he helped Kevin Owens win the Universal Championship and more importantly, why he screwed over Seth Rollins. We did not see Triple H, but Stephanie McMahon was accused of knowing his plan all along. Rollins becoming the rebellious face to go against Stephanie is giving us the confirmation that he’ll face off with Triple H on a PPV sooner or later.
The biggest question is when we get the dream match. Hell in a Cell is a month away and a stipulation could benefit such a high profile match. Survivor Series needs a big match to help add to the prestige of the big four PPV. There’s obviously the outside chance of waiting all the way until WrestleMania. Rollins and Triple H have the makings to pull off something special and the road to getting there is pretty exciting to keep track of. Hopefully WWE gives us subtle advancements of the story like they did tonight before fully going into it.