Tonight marks one of the most intriguing episodes of Monday Night Raw in years thanks to the aftermath of the brand split. The draft took place last week and this is the first official show of the new era of the brand. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns failed to capture the WWE Championship away from Dean Ambrose at Battleground. Raw currently has no world championship and the most fascinating reveal will be finding out what the plans are there. Commissioner Stephanie McMahon and General Manager Mick Foley will likely inform us how a new champion will be crowned for the red brand.
The rest of variables involved in the brand split should provide a new atmosphere with changes to create a new identity. NXT draft picks Finn Balor and Nia Jax should make their official main roster debuts as new members of Raw. The brand split is meant to create opportunities for those deserving and we could see new stars being made tonight. This week is supposed to set the tone for the future of the WWE landscape and we’re going to pick out the important moments. Here are the top five takeaways to happen tonight’s important edition of Monday Night Raw.
WWE did a good job making distinct changes to add emphasis on the changes to Raw. We have a new set. The commentary table is now located by the entrance and Corey Graves has replaced JBL as the lead color commentator. There’s a new opening song done by Shinedown. All of these are small differences but are pivotal in bringing a new culture to Monday nights. The opening segment featured Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley announcing the plans for a new championship belt.
Raw will crown the first WWE Universal Championship at Summerslam. Seth Rollins is given a spot in the title match due to being the top overall pick of Raw. Stephanie and Foley named two fatal-four way matches for Raw with the winners facing off in the main event. The person to win both of their matches gets to face Rollins. It is intelligent booking to get Rollins heat as the heel weaseling his way into the title match without earning it. The most important thing is Raw will have a completely new title and we’ll see it at Summerslam.
Summerslam is only four weeks away and WWE is not any wasting time setting up feuds for the big show. The New Day held a celebration for breaking the record longest title reign in the history of the current WWE Tag Team Championship. As with most celebration festivities in WWE, things went awry when The Club attacked. Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows adjusted to life without A.J. Styles by attacking the tag champs.
The Club sent a message and they are definitely going to end up as the contenders for Summerslam. They have interacted multiple times in the past but this will be the first big tag team match between New Day and The Club. Anderson and Gallows have the ability to get legitimate heel heat and provide a traditional match with the beloved New Day. Summerslam needs depth for a four hour show and this will be a great tag title match between two talented teams.
The new era is truly here. Seth Rollins and Finn Balor will face off in an epic showdown at Summerslam to crown the WWE Universal Champion. Balor defeated Kevin Owens, Cesaro, Rusev and Roman Reigns all on his first night on the main roster to get the title match. This is a dream match for many and it is adding new excitement to Summerslam. WWE appears to be all in on Balor becoming a top face on Raw.
Looking at the Raw roster, they are lacking on the face side. Reigns gets booed most weeks. Sami Zayn is great but not positioned as a main eventer just yet. Cesaro is a long way away from that level. The timing made sense for Balor to get such an instant push and may very well be in the main event of Summerslam. WWE wanted to wait until the right time to call Balor up from NXT and they sure stayed true to their word.
Roman Reigns violating the WWE wellness policy completely changed everything in WWE’s plans. The biggest push in over a decade ended when Reigns let the company down. Many wondered if he would be slotted right back into the title picture when returning. Raw answered the question with Reigns taking the loss cleanly to Finn Balor. Sunday’s Battleground PPV also featured Reigns getting pinned by Dean Ambrose. Things don’t look good in the short term future for The Roman Empire.
WWE is looking to give opportunities to others and Reigns is heading to the back of the line after his disappointment. Reigns will have to prove himself and earn his place back at the top of the WWE. This may good for him if he enters feuds with the likes of Kevin Owens, Rusev and Cesaro. Having good matches and the company not going over the top with their support of him may cause fans to give him a fair chance. The only thing certain is Reigns is heading into the upper midcard and will watch the Summerslam main event from backstage.
The biggest moment of the night saw Sasha Banks finally get her one-on-one title shot against Charlotte to win the WWE Women’s Championship. Banks has been the most popular face in the women’s division since her debut. Many wanted her to win it at WrestleMania 32 in the triple threat match involving Becky Lynch but it was held off for a future singles match. That match happened tonight.
Banks shocked the world by defeating Charlotte in a superb match. It felt like a PPV level main event and set the tone for the new era of Raw. The crowd reacted loudly with cheers and “you deserve it” chants. After finally achieving her lifelong dream, Banks appeared overwhelmed with excitement and proclaimed it the era of women’s wrestling. You have to wonder why this moment wasn’t saved for Summerslam but it definitely delivered here.
Banks’ winning was a special moment that we won’t forget and the women’s division is going to be extremely important to Raw. Tonight was one of the best episodes of WWE TV in quite some time and Sasha Banks winning the Women’s Championship is the most noteworthy memory from it.
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