Monday Night Raw is in the books. Following on the footsteps of Roadblock: End of the Line, what would be the state of the Raw brand as the days lead us to January 29th, 2017 and the Royal Rumble at the Alamo Dome?
The big news coming out of the show is the rematch for the WWE Universal Championship between champion Kevin Owens vs United States Champion Roman Reigns. Chris Jericho, in an attempt to prevent him from interfering in the match, will be suspended over the ring in a shark cage. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of wrestling will remember that stipulation matches like this seem to always find the person locked in said cage finding a way to get a weapon of some sort to the person he supports allowing them to get the victory. This just occurred at NXT: Takeover Toronto when Paul Ellering was able to get a weapon to the team he manages, The Authors of Pain.
This is yet another gimmick that does nothing to make Kevin Owens look legitimate as champion. It’s also a sad way for the WWE to try and protect Roman Reigns from getting a clean loss. The only golden lining here is what happened at the end of the show when Braun Strowman took out Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns after their tag match with Owens and Jericho. We’re a little over a month away at this point. It would be my hope they would find a way to get Strowman vs Reigns just to get him out of the title picture.
Charlotte and Sasha Banks moved on from their feud finally. We saw Sasha get attacked by Nia Jax and Bayley challenge and beat Charlotte in a non-title match. I’m more excited to see Charlotte vs Bayley honestly. These two women can outwork most of the men on the roster. Letting them loose with some of the gimmick matches Charlotte and Sasha have been having fun with is intriguing to think about. As far as Sasha Banks vs Nia Jax, this will be a big test for Sasha. If she can make Nia look good in the ring, there would be no doubt as to how talented she is in the ring. To date, she’s had a who’s who of women to compete against. Nia Jax is still pretty green so seeing where this goes could honestly go either way. It could make both look good or end in a stinker of a feud.
Overall, this show is setting the seeds for the future of the Raw brand. As such, if you miss this episode, you’re really not missing much apart from Chris Jericho being his ever funny self. I want to see the WWE do more to establish Kevin Owens as a legitimate threat if they want folks to take the rematch with Reigns seriously. They also need to carefully groom the Women’s Division. They’ve had an amazing feud with Charlotte and Sasha reach its conclusion. If people are going to continue to take the division seriously, they need to build more stars. It’s put up or shut up time.