Last night Raw started off with a bang. I even joked in our group chat that it was the best opening to a Raw episode since 1999, of course knowing it would soon fall to pieces.
Raw opened with the new Universal Champion Roman Reigns. The Brooklyn crowd booed him to all hell. I guess the kids stayed at home after a long evening at SummerSlam the night before. Roman said he was a fighting champion and that he would defend the title live on Raw. The person he called out was Finn Balor. Our boy Finn never lost his Universal Title so this was a nice touch. It also tied up a loose end left dangling by WWE creative. Balor had to relinquish the Universal Title due to injury on the Raw following Summerslam two years ago. Lovely stuff.
After some bitching by Corbin in regards to Balor getting the shot, General Manager Kurt Angle™ made the match official for the main event. It would be the first time the Universal Title was defended on Raw since January 2017 when Kevin Owens defended against Braun Strowman.
Fast forward to the match. Roman Reigns vs Finn Balor for the title, it was great stuff. Both guys are great in the ring and the crowd was hugely behind Balor. It’s safe to assume that many people who watched Balor become the first Universal Champion and then have to give it up 24hrs later were in attendance, what a nice little story that could have been. Obviously they weren’t going to take the title off of Roman so quickly but sometimes WWE surprise you.
Earlier in the night Braun Strowman came up to Balor to reaffirm his stance on being the Money In The Bank holder, that he would do things face to face. He wished Balor luck, they seem to be buddies after their various tag team exploits. This all played into the finish of the match.
Roman is setting up for the spear when Brauns music hits. The Barclays Centre exploded and Balor took advantage of a distracted Roman hitting a slingblade and then that shotgun front dropkick into the turnbuckles to set up the Coup De Grace. Roman rolls out of the way of Balor’s finisher then hits the spear and pins him.
Braun Strowman gets in the ring and hits a big boot on Roman. Braun tells the referee that he is cashing in his MITB contract. The ring announcer informs the crowd of the cash in as the referee waits for Roman to get to his feet so he can ring the bell. Before Roman can get up we hear “Sierra, Hotel, India”…The Shield! Ambrose and Rollins march to the ring in full Shield riot gear to help Roman. This was all so good!
Then it all went to shit. Ambrose and Rollins surround the ring before getting in to attack Braun. Roman joins in the fun and all three beat down The Monster. On two occasions Braun was able to fight back but both times the numbers game was too much. Raw goes off the air with Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns fisting each other after putting Braun through the announcers table with a Triple Powerbomb. There’s so many things wrong with this…
In storyline, Seth Rollins “brought back” Dean Ambrose to even up the numbers game in his feud with Ziggler and McIntyre. Seven days pass and Rollins is dressed in riot gear as part of a three man group beating up the top babyface on Raw as he attempts to cash in his MITB contract. I need somebody to make sense of that for me. Classic modern day WWE logic strikes again.
All night we were assaulted with phrases to ram home the point that Roman would be a defending champion, unlike Brock Lesnar. He’ll be the champion that makes the Universal Title prestigious. To be fair, I see it being that way too and look forward to the show having direction again. No arguments here, I like Roman!
This defending champion now has a SWAT Team that stopped him from losing the title. Sure, it could be explained away that it was an insurance policy against Braun cashing in after a gruelling match, fine, but The Shield don’t exactly act like the Young Bucks outside the ring for a big Kenny Omega match. The Shield get involved and influence outcomes of matches. “The Hounds Of Justice” and all that.
Why in the blue hell didn’t Rollins and Ambrose wait for the bell to ring before getting involved? They got involved before the bell rang and attacked. If they had either waited on the outside or in the back until the bell rang THEN attacked they would have gotten Roman out of there with a DQ loss (he keeps the title) and Brauns MITB opportunity is gone! Win fucking WIn.
Stupid babyface syndrome strikes again, that is if they still are babyfaces? After this attack I don’t know how they still would be but I’m sure the geniuses in the writing room will come up with something utterly stupid to explain away a 3-on-1 beatdown of the biggest babyface on the red brand.
Sure, we’ll tune in next week to get the rest of the story. I’m not complaining about the end of Raw really, it was quite exciting at the time but when you sit back and think about it there’s just so many plot holes as mentioned above.
Storyline inconsistency would not be tolerated on other huge TV shows but it happens every week on WWE TV. I just want to believe, why won’t you just let me believe?
Other things also happened on Raw. There were matches there in that post-open, pre-close segment of Raw known as the death zone. Winners won, Losers lost, no storylines were progressed. WWE.
Bobby Lashley def. Baron Corbin
Riot Squad def. Sashley and Ember Moon
Dean Ambrose def. Dolph Ziggler
Elias def. Kurt Hawkins
AOP def. Titus WORRRLLLLLLWIIIIIIIDE
The Revival def. B Team (Dash beats Axel and Dawson beats Bo in separate singles matches)
Roman Reigns def. Finn Balor
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