A week removed from the “Superstar Shake-Up” we’re still feeling the effects of several new talents debuting on Raw.
Of course, that may also be due to WWE still swapping wrestlers between brands as recently as earlier today, but who knows? Tonight’s Raw saw not only the main roster debut of former Cruiserweight Champion Cedric Alexander, but also the crowning of the first challenger for Seth Rollins’ Universal Championship. But, my weekly task is to give you fine readers five things we learned from WWE’s longest running flagship programme. So, without further stalling, let’s jump right into it!
1. Enter “Ravishing” Robert Roode
Before tonight’s show even started, WWE posted an exclusive backstage interview across multiple social media platforms. The subject of said interview was the apparent rebranding of former NXT Champion Bobby Roode. Following last week’s shake-up, Bobby seems to be headed for a heel push on the red brand similar to his original run in NXT. I doubt any fan will complain about the return of the “glorious one”, and adding a mustache that would make Rick Rude proud only seals the deal further. Hopefully this is the first step to WWE utilizing Bobby Roode properly on the main roster.
2. Cesaro Getting Singles Push
After the news that Sheamus would be out with an injury, it’s really no surprise to see Cesaro make the jump to Raw. However, I can’t imagine anyone thought he’d pull a win over newcomer Cedric Alexander in his debut match. After last night’s win it would seem that Cesaro is being set up to be a dominate heel competitor, harkening back to his early days with the company.
3. Experience The Raid
William Shakespeare asked the question, “What’s in a name?” (as did Peter Barnes on this very site). Well, when it comes to the world of wrestling, quite a lot is in a name. Tonight saw the second rebranding of former NXT Tag Team Champions The War Raiders, as they squashed the Lucha House Party under the their newest moniker, “The Viking Raiders.” All name change jokes aside, WWE creative needs to realize that being unable to lock down a gimmick for these two is quickly taking the wind out of their sails. You can’t establish notoriety in a team if we don’t know what to call them from one week to the next.
4. The Firefly Fun House
Speaking of new gimmicks, Bray Wyatt’s latest vignette definitely has fans asking a few questions, but that seems to be the point. It would appear that Bray will now be assuming the persona of a twisted children’s show host. Tonight’s promo featured a blonde Bray introducing the characters of Mercy the Buzzard and Peppy the Witch, both seen in the early promos shown throughout the last few weeks. Wyatt finished this spot declaring that the old version of him was long gone, a point he drove home by decapitating a cardboard cutout of his old gimmick with a chainsaw. Look, Bray Wyatt is the type of talent that can get pretty much any gimmick over, so here’s hoping he does great things with the Firefly Fun House.
5. Rollins + Styles = Gold
Last week I said that AJ Styles was the talent to watch following his jump to Monday Nights, and it would seem I wasn’t wrong. Styles positioned himself as the first challenger to Seth Rollins’ Universal Championship reign after impressive showings in both a triple threat match and singles competition against Baron Corbin. It’s not often that you see WWE creative build a face versus face rivalry, but it would seem they’re forgoing the usual formula in an effort to push great in-ring talent for a change. Styles versus Rollins is going to be amazing, and WWE knows it.
And there you have it folks. Five things we learnt from this week’s edition of Monday Night Raw. So, until next week, may all your kicks be super, and all your frog splashes five stars.
You can find me on Twitter @DrBenjaminStanz. Thanks for reading.