WWE brought professional wrestling back to Monday night thanks to solid booking and a performance by Seth Rollins that will be talked about for months to come. WWE usually stumbles a bit in the Monday “go home” show prior to an upcoming pay-per-view event.
This week was something out of Vince McMahon’s old playbook. Thanks to stellar booking of Seth Rollins and a solid two hours of excitement, my faith in this business has been restored, even if it is for a short stanza.
I am not alone as wrestling colleagues from all over the landscape could not be happier at how the company took a gauntlet match – featuring all seven of the Elimination Chamber participants – and found gold with Rollins leading the way.
“Rollins pinned Reigns and Cena in the first two matches. Elias entered next and defeated The Kingslayer. Elias was then taken down by Finn Balor, who was later beaten by The Miz. Braun Strowman ended the gauntlet by destroying Miz as the crowd roared. The first two hours of Raw were nonstop action,” wrote Tom Clark of Daily DDT.
He could not be correct. Rollins had fallen into the purgatory professional wrestlers are wary of, the spot they do not want to be in. After a good run with former Shield Member Dean Ambrose was halted do to an Ambrose injury, Rollins was paired with Jason Jordon, which did nothing but infuriate the fans as the company tried to push the neophyte in a program that was doomed from the start.
Now, Rollins has new life and is back where he belongs – on the cusp of the main event picture. If the predetermination is that Reigns will win the Elimination Chamber match and face Universal Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, at least fans can take some solace from the notion that Rollins might get a shot at The Miz for the Intercontinental Title.
WWE also done a solid job of writing a program that works around Lesnar’s part-time status, focusing on the performers reaching for the brass ring. Writers have also done well with giving Elias a push from the mid card toward a potential main event run. The sum of the parts made WWE whole again Monday night.
“This is what fans want. This is what fans want every week. Big matches are usually reserved for pay-per-view and that is understandable. But somewhere along the way, WWE seemed to have forgotten how to present epic television,” Clark added.
“For the first time in a long time, WWE focused on the wrestling. Long-winded promos were not the order of the night. Countless arguments at the commentary table never happened. In other words, this was not the typical Monday Night Raw.”
Rollins’ performance was as good as some of the spots from Stone Cold Steve Austin, Bret Hart and even Shawn Michaels. For a star who was lost, he found his way and could be an impact player for the coming months following WrestleMania 34.
WWE has a great chance to make an impact on the Road to WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans. Matches that have a feel from eras past are already on the card. Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles is a Rock-Austin type of event. Asuka-Alexa Bliss could be a defining moment for both performers. The outcomes from both the Elimination Chamber and Fastlane should give fans hope rather than leaving them feel deflated.
The rise of The Riott Squad, Elias and the emergence of Ronda Rousey have me thinking this is WWE old school in a new era. I like it as long as the company can keep the momentum moving. The last thing WWE needs is to fall flat after witnessing a career defining moment as we all witnessed with Rollins on Monday night.
It’s become the norm too many times of late. Wrestling fans and myself this is the exception that leads us back to wrestling the way it should be.
Usually, WWE doesn’t deliver in its “go home” show before a pay-per-view event. On Monday night, the company that drops the ball more times that it delivers gave its fans something it hasn’t done in some time. It showed what professional wrestling is all about.
For the first two hours of Monday Night Raw, thanks to the performance of Seth Rollins, my faith was restored that the business had not completely died a painful death. A gauntlet match featuring the seven men who will participate in the Elimination Chamner