Live from San Diego, California, Monday Night Raw broadcasted from the Valley View Casino Center. A night removed from Hell in a Cell, WWE was still feeling the effects of the PPV and the aftermath was the driving force of the show.
At Hell in a Cell, the Wyatts “abducted” The Undertaker, Seth Rollins retained the WWE Championship and Roman Reigns defeated Bray Wyatt in the Devil’s Playground to gain significant momentum.
Before Raw, WWE.com announced a No. 1 contenders tournament to determine the challenger for Rollins’ championship. There were a series of four singles matches, and those winners would face off in a Fatal 4-Way match in the main event to find out who would become the new No. 1 contender. The build toward Survivor Series has begun.
Here are the five best moments of this week’s edition of Monday Night Raw:
5) The New Day Have a Bad (Good) Night
Just their Raw Fallout alone is hilarious, but Kofi Kingston and Big E had an especially good night in the ring. Kofi took on Roman Reigns in a very good first match. The more time that goes by with The New Day, the more I’m expecting major things for Kofi Kingston. You’ve got to ask who is going to be the breakout star of The New Day. A lot of people think it’ll be Big E, but my money is on Kofi.
Dolph Ziggler and Big E also had a really good match. Big E’s power against Ziggler’s athleticism was a great combination in the ring. Personally, I was upset to see both members of New Day lose. Sure, Reigns goes over Kingston. Ziggler over Big E doesn’t make much sense to me. Tyler Breeze is following him around, and Big E could use some direct spotlight to show his skills.
All in all, The New Day showed once again that they’re the best thing WWE has going right now. They’re always entertaining, but they draw the line between goofy and tough to beat in the ring. That’s a hard line to draw, but they do it perfectly.
4) Alberto Del Rio Returns to Raw
Alberto Del Rio gets the win over Neville. The match did its job, but it seems a shame to waste the talents of Neville like that. He doesn’t have to win, especially considering the momentum Del Rio has right now. Neville and Del Rio could have had a better match, but Neville won’t be hurt by the loss in the long run. A loss to Del Rio is never going to make someone else look bad.
Del Rio’s return is unexpected, but his return is an awesome way to fill the void of Randy Orton and John Cena right now. The U.S. title could and probably should have gone to a younger performer, but Del Rio is a familiar face with great ability. He’s a trusted commodity to WWE, and those are hard to find. The Zeb Colter/Del Rio partnership is weird, but it’s only been one week. It would have been much easier is Del Rio just came out and had to talk himself.
Why does he need a heater in WWE? They’re the only ones who book him that way.
3) Paige Officially Turns Heel Against PCB
Now that the Nikki Bella reign at the top of the Divas division is over, another can finally have a shot. Paige wouldn’t have been my first choice, but Charlotte vs. Paige is money. It’s destined to be a great feud for many years, so why not get it started right away? After a month of tension and Paige dropping truth bombs week after week, it’s good to see her get in the ring and finally make her point clear to Becky Lynch and Charlotte.
If you ask me, Becky Lynch vs. Paige is the better feud. I think it is a better option to establish a heel Paige and a face Becky. Too often WWE makes this mistake, and they’re doing it again. We all know Charlotte isn’t going to lose the title to Paige. That makes Paige’s heel turn a short-term solution because once she loses at Survivor Series, she has no momentum as a heel.
I’d let Natalya vs. Paige, or Lynch vs. Paige happen first to build Paige back up and let Charlotte continue her feud with the Bellas for one more month. If that’s too tiresome for some, what if a member of Team Bad got an opportunity? Not Sasha Banks obviously because that’s too big a feud to drop on Charlotte now, but what about Naomi or Tamina? Tamina would offer a natural counterbalance to Charlotte in the ring and Naomi more than deserves to be booked correctly.
Booking Paige vs. Charlotte now is just a short-term fix to a long-term problem.
2) The Wyatt Family “Abducts” Kane
Everyone happy now? Bray Wyatt’s momentum is right back where it was last year at this time. Wyatt had the match of the night with Reigns despite the loss, which didn’t hurt him in the slightest. As soon as he targeted The Undertaker, no one cared that he lost. A point he made crystal clear in an awesome promo last night.
Wyatt is feasting on the souls of The Brothers of Destruction to regain his strength. That is both awesome and terrifying. The Wyatt Family is more dominating than it’s ever been with four members. The Wyatts laying out monsters and “abducting” them gives them a chaotic fear on WWE television. They could hit anyone at any time with ease.
It’s miraculous that Wyatt is two years into his career on the main roster and hasn’t even thought about championship yet. Survivor Series will be no different. The next question between now and then is who will be the next two guys the Wyatts “abduct” because this is all ultimately leading to the Wyatts vs. Team Undertaker. This month is going to be fun.
1) Roman Reigns Becomes No. 1 Contender
The entire night was building up to this match and for the first time in a while, Raw felt like a complete show that made sense logically. The Fatal 4-Way saw Reigns, Kevin Owens, Ziggler and Del Rio steal the show in an excellent main event. Reigns gets the win because he’s earned it. He’s stepped his consistency up several notches this year, and he deserves the spot now.
This has been quietly building for a long time now. Essentially since Rollins turned on The Shield, Reigns has been patient on when it was his turn to take his shot at Rollins. If not for his hernia injury last year, things may be different. It’s mostly been Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins since The Shield’s demise. Reigns vs. Rollins is the same story from a very different angle.
Is now the time for Roman Reigns to become WWE Champion?