At least WWE got it right in the end. After a hot and cold Extreme Rules pay-per-view, Samoa Joe has earned the right to face Brock Lesnar for the Universal Heavyweight Title. It’s the right move at the right time for a company that continues to preach a New Era in the business.
Joe, the only one who had not held a world title in the main event match, one the fatal five way over Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt and Finn Balor. The Samoan Submission Machine will now travel to the “Great Balls of Fire” pay-per-view with the “Beast Incarnate” waiting in the wings and his coveted, yet elusive title.
Talk of a Finn Balor victory for the majority of the past two weeks was never realized. While Joe is the ideal opponent for such a match, WWE may have also shed light on how it will book the four other superstars who failed to come away with a win.
Balor undoubtedly will now face Wyatt. And it looks like Reigns and Rollins will renew and old rivalry. Both feuds will stoke the already existing fire of the WWE fan base.
The company did fail to push forward the concept of growth in some of the matches on Sunday night. The Alexa Bliss-Bayley confrontation for the Raw Women’s Title was nothing more than a squash match. I’m amazed at how weak the company has made Bayley, a former women’s champion, look in recent weeks. Quite frankly her rise to the main roster may have been premature, and now the company does not know what to do with the popular yet indecisive babyface. The same holds true for Sasha banks, who was in a mixed gender match. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Oh, how WWE is making a statement about change in all directions moving forward.
Either the company has to turn one of them heel, or both will be victims of a numbers game within the division. Bliss now faces Nia Jax, which should be interesting to see how WWE plans to use the fairly green performer (Jax) in the ring.
The company surprised me by putting the tag team titles on Cesaro and Sheamus. But as I watched a solid match, it was probably the right thing. While Matt and Jeff Hardy are the beloved brothers of the division, a heel tag team presents the perfect scenario for Matt hardy’s “broken” persona to come out.
The Neville and Austin Aries match was exciting, but I’m not sure why The King of the Cruiserweights has remained the champion. In most cases the challenger looks stronger than the one holding the belt. But in this case both men have looked equally strong. Neville is a great heel for the 205 Division, but at some point the company has to decide to put the strap on the former TNA world champion.
While the cruiserweight division is fairly deep, Neville and Aries are head and shoulders above everybody else. I wouldn’t mind seeing those two wrestle another month before the title changes hands.
Now, the company turns its focus to Joe and Lesnar in the next pay-per-view. How will the company create an arc that is mutually beneficial, with Joe walking away with the title? Where will Paul Heyman factor? I’d love to see the advocate switch teams. Will Triple H be at the side of his “assassin”? If anything, the latter part of the night gave WWE enough material to create and define which direction it will take as the company heads towards summer slam.