WWE may have finally found its stride following a successful Payback pay-per-view this past Sunday.
The good thing about a highly satisfying Monday Night Raw, neither Braun Strowman or Roman Reigns were on camera. However, the talk of their battle Sunday night led to a host of interesting spinoff possibilities.
Both wrestlers were reportedly “injured” in their war in San Jose, CA. Whether this is part of a “work” or the rotator cuff injury suffered by Strowman and the internal injuries suffered by the Roman Empire are in fact real. The night off for both men opened the door for new storylines and a continuation of budding programs. The company is still without its frontman, Universal Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar. In fact, he won’t be in action until the “Great Balls of Fire” pay-per-view. Reports are circulating Lesnar will defend his title against Strowman. Since the expectation is for Strowman to go over Reigns and become “the guy” for the red team.
In addition to the rise of Strowman, as he cleanly beat Reigns on Sunday, the company has clearly defined other feuds moving forward toward the hot summer months. The final segment of the show, with a Triple Threat Match to face Dean Ambrose for the Universal Title, told everyone another bedtime story that shows the brand is building momentum. Everyone can thank Bray Wyatt for his interference in the match between The Miz, Seth Rollins, and Finn Balor, which clearly established battle lines.
Samoa Joe took Rollins out of the match, which will further their feud. I love how WWE has used Joe as the vessel to continue Rollins’ issues with Triple H. The two put on one of the better matches at the pay-per-view.
The Miz, by winning the match (with Wyatt’s interference) and pinning Balor, will face Ambrose in a rematch of their feud earlier this year. Sorry boys and girls – there is no Renee Young in this volatile situation. Balor is now certain to face Wyatt. Will he summon the “Demon King” to face “The Eater of Worlds?” This may be the match-defining moment the former NXT champion needs to move back into the main event picture.
If that wasn’t all, WWE has built a solid storyline with Cesaro turning heel with his tag team partner Sheamus in their feud with the Hardy Boyz. The babyface vs. babyface matches wasn’t working. There wasn’t chemistry although tension between the two teams continued to build. This is a better option for Cesaro. Seeing that he is still the best athlete in the company and was toiling with his babyface character. There should be more depth to this feud moving forward.
The company has done its best work with the women’s division. After Bayley dropped the Raw Women’s Title in her hometown on Sunday night to Alexa Bliss, WWE has shown it knows what was missing from the Raw. With eight women as part of the roster, Bliss offers the best opportunity as a heel. Considering the absence of Charlotte, who moved over to Tuesday nights. The Bayley-Bliss feud is a precursor to a potential matchup with Sasha Banks down the road.
The only thing WWE must determine is how it will deal with Nia Jax as the “Strowman” of the division – with no potential equal in her path.