5 Huge Takeaways From Monday Night Raw (09/26/2016)

Clash of Champions is over and we witness the aftermath with this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw. Kevin Owens successfully retained the WWE Universal Championship over Seth Rollins thanks to interference from Chris Jericho. There were rumors of Rollins suffering a serious rib injury at the PPV. WWE can’t afford that right now and hopefully we get an insight into his health on Raw tonight. The inclusion of Jericho into the storyline last night added the possibility of a triple threat match going forward. Rollins is desperately needed for a triple threat match to work with the two heels.

New Day retained the tag titles against Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows. Roman Reigns captured the United States Championship and has to defend against Rusev again tonight. For whatever reason, WWE is doubling down on the rematches just one night following the PPV. The next title program for Charlotte is also something to pay attention to considering she defeated both Sasha Banks and Bayley last night. WWE has to add momentum and interest into the cruiserweight division just one week into the project launching. We’ll break down all of the big happenings to occur on this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw with the top five takeaways.

5. Horrible start to the show

WWE changed things up this week from the usual opening promo with main eventers and authority figures talking for a long segment. Roman Reigns defended the United States Championship against Rusev in an extremely long match. The two wrestled for the second consecutive night with their segment lasting 35 minutes in total. To make matters worse, the match didn’t have a conclusive finish with a double count out. Reigns continued to beat down Rusev with a chair to end the segment.

The next Raw exclusive PPV will be Hell In A Cell. WWE has to find at least two matches worthy of being heated enough to warrant fighting in the brutal structure. Reigns and Rusev have been feuding since early August and have the longest story going on Raw. It makes sense on the surface to have their final match in the cell. The problem is fans have lost interest in the feud. Tonight was the prime example of WWE sticking with something too long and they’re heading all the way into Hell in a Cell.

4. WWE wastes away Sheamus/Cesaro series

The main purpose of a best-of-seven-series is meant to help elevate one or all talents to another level. Sheamus and Cesaro had nothing going on before this seven match series started. There were hits and misses along the way with the two men trying their best to bring interest into the matches. They finally connected in Match #7 last night with the fans in attendance and at home going nuts for the exciting action.

Cesaro and Sheamus both wrestled their hearts out with everything on the line. The terrible ending featured the match being ended without a winner due to both men appearing to be in poor shape after battling it out. We all expected and hoped for resolution tonight but instead the series has been declared over. Mick Foley’s rule of the winner getting a title shot ended up seeing Cesaro and Sheamus being forced to team together in a title match against New Day coming up soon. Both men are talented enough to make it work, but it just hurt the value of the series adding less importance to all involved.

3. The women’s division gets exposed

@itsmebayley always brings the good times to #Raw!

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Charlotte cut a tremendous promo showing dominance following her big win over Sasha Banks and Bayley. The direction for all three women showed a lack of creativity. Bayley wrestled a local talent in an enhancement match. It was great to see Bayley get television time, but she should be above wrestling unknown wrestlers at this point. This was done to keep her away from the continuing program of Charlotte vs. Sasha.

The two rivals continued their long withstanding feud with a promo battle that set up a title match next week. Many are speculating if they are bound for a Hell in a Cell match in the future with the big PPV coming up, but their next match will take place in one week. Along with Dana Brooke, the same women are always heavily focused on television. Nia Jax is around but clearly not ready for the elevated spot. WWE needs to call someone up from NXT or create a trade that sends one of the Smackdown women to Raw. The lack of potential feuds will become even more apparent to anyone watching once Banks vs. Charlotte ends.

2. How injured is Seth Rollins?

@wwerollins examines an X-Ray with a member of #WWE medical staff before #Raw.

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We don’t know yet, but Seth Rollins’ rib injury is quite concerning. WWE stated Rollins was unable to compete tonight and he did not participate in any in-ring action. We saw Rollins in a backstage segment with Mick Foley trying to talk him out of attacking Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. Rollins continued to play the anti-authority face by telling off Foley and still heading to the ring before security stopped him.

This showed there’s hope Rollins will be cleared to wrestle by the October 30th Hell in a Cell PPV. The story of Rollins appears to be losing one more time to Owens before heading into an attraction match with Triple H, likely at Survivor Series. Tonight gave no clear indication on his health but it should be taken as a positive that he was on television at all. WWE will be in a terrible place if Rollins is out for an extended stint considering the number of injuries to hit them lately.

1. JeriKO stands tall

With Seth Rollins unable to wrestle, Big Cass and Enzo Amore received the opportunity to work with the top two heels on the show. The jovial jokesters interrupted The Highlight Reel segment of Chris Jericho interviewing Kevin Owens. As usual with any segment of the ilk, it all culminated in a match. This main evented the show, but lacked the excitement to ever get strong momentum going. The most noteworthy takeaway from the match is that WWE wanted to make Owens and Jericho look strong.

Much like their past match at Summerslam, Jericho and Owens cleanly pulled out the victory. There’s no doubt Jericho and Owens will both be involved in the next big title match at Hell in a Cell. The question is if Seth Rollins can join them. Regardless, expect Jericho and Owens to be among the most heavily featured performers on the show heading into next month. Raw failed to dictate many things going forward but the positioning of Owens and Jericho was one thing they got right.

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