Reigns is suspended; the Brand Split is upon us. It’s our Monday Night RAW review. With focus on the WWE title, Ambrose, Reigns and Enzo and Cass. How You Do!
Michael Tozer joins me, Larry Taylor, in another edition of Three Count – where we take a closer look at three major storylines from the week in WWE in our Monday Night RAW Review.
Roman Reigns needs to turn heel.
L: Kudos to WWE for allowing Seth Rollins to acknowledge Roman Reigns’ suspension by belittling his ‘mistake’ and calling for his removal from the triple threat match. The promo applied a realism to the situation which will avoid fans from ‘hijacking’ chants and reactions.
Now is WWE’s opportunity to turn Reigns into a full-fledge heel. There is no other option. With women and children being Reigns’ main supporter base, Reigns was already in murky territory with his identity as a face or heel. With the suspension now in place and acknowledged, those fans have a reason to turn on ‘the guy’.
Now is the perfect time: Pull the trigger on a Roman Reigns heel turn at Battleground. New music; new entrance; heel Roman.
M: In this new “reality era” of WWE television, we are exposed to the personal lives of the average WWE wrestler on a daily basis – and news travels in an instant. There was absolutely no way to sweep the Roman Reigns suspension under the rug and not acknowledge what happened.
Despite his absence, Reigns loomed over the opening segment of Raw – as it was intriguing to see the way that he was portrayed, despite missing the show due to violating the WWE’s wellness policy.
Seth Rollins opened the show by demanding that Roman Reigns be removed from the WWE Championship match at Battleground, while Dean Ambrose suggested that perhaps the audience should forgive Reigns because he owned up to his mistakes.
The crowd want to boo Reigns – and the sooner the WWE can own up to their own mistakes and stop forcing him down peoples throats, the better. The people who boo Reigns aren’t doing it because they’re clamouring for Reigns to turn heel – they just want him to stop being forced down their throats.
Triple Threat takes a new route?
L: With Reigns out of the picture, it made sense for WWE to put Rollins and Ambrose in matches with John Cena and AJ Styles respectively.
Cena’s match saw ‘The Club’ arrive as Cena was on the verge of victory with Rollins in the STF, only for their distraction to allow Rollins to hit the pedigree, and thus eliminate Cena from participating in the WWE title match; a notion similarly copied by Cena later in the night in Styles’ match against Dean Ambrose.
It is an intelligent move to intertwine story lines as it creates an opportunity for a new dynamic that is usually welcomed, particularly when a feud between two superstars has previously occurred. However, Ambrose winning due to outside assistance is not what is needed of a new champion.
Given the ‘Lunatic Fringe’s’ victory came via an ambush cash-in, a run of successful wins would provide some solidity to Ambrose’s title reign. Make no mistake, AJ and Cena were never going to be possibilities to win, and while I welcome the merging of arguably for four biggest stars on the current roster, I thought Ambrose getting a win over Styles through a roll-up amid attention from The Club could have been more effective.
Additionally, it is interesting that Michael Cole and the respective superstars referred to the championship as simply the ‘WWE Championship’, moving away from the ‘world heavyweight’ notion – is the World Heavyweight Championship returning to Smackdown?
M: While it would have been amazing to see John Cena and AJ Styles find their way into the title match, I liked the way this unfolded.
Yes, it’s important to make Dean Ambrose look as good as possible, especially in his first major title reign – but in the bigger picture, it’s important to also make AJ Styles look viable. Neither of the two men could afford to lose momentum, especially heading into Battleground.
The other consideration to make is the brand split – as it’s important for the WWE to build up as many top-tier talents as they can, especially if there are plans for two major titles.
All four competitors could walk away from Raw feeling validated in some way…as Rollins and Ambrose scored victories over two of the most decorated wrestlers in the world today, while Cena and Styles looked like they could have beaten the WWE Championship contenders.
If this is heading towards John Cena vs AJ Styles in a title match…sign me up, please.
Enzo & Cass push hitting a wall?
L: There’s only one word to describe this segment and I’m gonna spell it out for ya: A-W-F-U-L. Enzo and Cass have been a breath of fresh air since debuting on Raw after Wrestlemania with their catchy phrases and contrasting builds complimenting each other in an engaging and attractive way. However, there is confusion when a tag team is supposedly meant to be pushed up the proverbial ladder makes quick work of local wrestlers who define every meaning of the word ‘jobber’.
Enzo and Cass are entertaining and although repetitive, it keeps the local audience attentive because they want to participate in the shenanigans they see on TV every week. Alternatively, for the fan who watches the same statements week-in, week-out, it can get a little stale.
This is not an attack on the talents, but rather the powers that be that control the talent. This team is over in a big way and can achieve great things, but they need to be handled correctly. Provide variety to their promos and for goodness sake, put them in matches against people the audience knows.
M: This is where I’ll have to disagree with you – as I think you’re W-R-O-N-G.
Enzo and Cass are over, it’s that simple. And when you’ve got a good thing going – you don’t shake it up and change the formula, you have to stick to what works.
Are they just a series of catch-phrases? Yes…but is that such a bad thing? Especially if the crowd is eating it up and shouting along.
Enzo and Cass don’t need to push the envelope at this early stage of their careers, they just need to continue what they’re doing and bring energy to the crowd – and that’s exactly what they do, which makes them a perfect tag-team
If that means more squash matches and more catchphrases – then so be it, because there are so many wrestlers who are given pushes despite having no resonance with the audience…I find it hard to criticise anybody who can genuinely elicit the kind of reaction that these two can.
Three Count: Monday Night RAW Review (June 27, 2016)