Powell’s WWE Raw Hit List: Roman Reigns announcement, Dean Ambrose turns on Seth Rollins, Elias attacks Baron Corbin, Ronda Rousey and Nikki Bella contract signing, DX promo

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

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WWE Raw Hits

Roman Reigns: A truly stunning moment. The news blindsided us all watching at home and we weren’t alone, as a limited number of people in the company were told about this ahead of time. Reigns handled the announcement with class and dignity, and the fans were 100 percent supportive. Whether fans loved or hated the Reigns character going into the show, everyone came out of last night’s show rooting for Joe Anoa’i. I must add that for everything Vince McMahon has done in his relentless push of Reigns as the face of his company, Roman’s battle with leukemia was never mentioned even though it obviously could have helped make him a sympathetic figure. I respect that Reigns never went there, and I have even more respect for his decision to go public with his battle at this time in hopes of raising awareness and research funding.

Dean Ambrose turns on Seth Rollins: While it’s more than fair to question whether this angle should have taken place on the same night as the Reigns announcement, there is no denying that it made the turn all the more shocking or that it was very well executed. I think we all assumed that Raw would conclude with the feel good moment of Ambrose and Rollins winning the tag titles in what was certainly a Hit of a match with Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler. Instead, WWE added the big turn by having Ambrose savagely attack Rollins in a move that sets the stage for a hot feud and creates the obvious question of what’s next for the the Raw Tag Titles.

Paul Heyman promo: Heyman delivered very thoughtful words regarding the Reigns situation. It’s been very clear over the years that he has an appreciation for Reigns as a person and that came through both in his speech and in the backstage embrace that was included in a video that WWE released after Raw. Heyman flipped the switch and did what he could to sell the new WWE Championship match at the Crown Jewel event between Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman. It was a tough spot to be in and he handled it very well. In fact, props to everyone on last night’s show for being true professionals in the wake of such somber news regarding a highly respected colleague and friend.

Ronda Rousey and Nikki Bella contract signing: Another very good segment involving Rousey and the Bella Twins. Nikki is shining in her role as the Diva in a modern woman’s world. She plays her bratty heel role to perfection, and Rousey once again came off very strong and confident heading into a match that feels like it’s all about seeing the destruction of the Diva. It may turn out to be nothing, but I couldn’t help but wonder if Rousey saying she will end Nikki is a hint that we may not be seeing Nikki in the ring after Sunday.

Elias attacks Baron Corbin: WWE did a lot of reshuffling in light of the Reigns announcement. Fans love Elias and he has the potential to really click as a high end babyface personality. While I like the turn, I came away feeling like this may have been better off being saved for a night where it could have stood out more.

Sasha Banks (w/Bayley, Natalya) vs. Ruby Riott: A minor Hit for a simple formula win for the heel heading into a six-woman tag match on Sunday. It wasn’t a hot in-ring return for Banks, but hopefully it’s just a bump in the road or, even better, a step toward a long awaited heel turn.

Finn Balor vs. Bobby Lashley: A minor Hit for Balor scoring the upset win over Lashley. It will be interesting to see if he finally gets his first meaningful push in what feels like ages due to the reshuffling caused by the Reigns situation. Meanwhile, I like the Lashley and Lio Rush pairing, but I continue to feel like Rush’s live mic routine creates go away heat rather than good heat.

WWE Raw Misses

Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman to meet for the vacant WWE Universal Championship: WWE was obviously put in a very unenviable position of being forced to scramble to come up with a way to crown the new champion while also delivering a satisfying title match at Crown Jewel. Unfortunately, neither one of the potential scenarios do anything for me at this time. We’ve been there and done that with Lesnar and it would be a mistake to go back to having a part-time champion. Meanwhile, Strowman was damaged by his ill-advised heel turn. It seems like they are trying to turn Strowman back into a babyface quickly. And while I suspect the fans will eventually support him again, it just doesn’t feel like the time is right to put the title on him. Personally, I’d recast Drew McIntyre as a babyface and give him a chance to run with the ball, but there were no signs of that happening on Raw and that would also feel rushed. Strowman needs to reconnect with the fans in a hurry if he is Vince McMahon’s choice and I don’t believe his in-ring promo style is conducive to a quick turnaround. Perhaps its time to humanize the monster. How about featuring him in a normal voiced, sit-down interview where he delivers a mea culpa for his recent actions and a new mission statement that fans can rally behind?

Triple H and Shawn Michaels promo: Did someone get under their skin by fairly labeling them a nostalgia act? Anyway, they tried to make the feud feel more personal and real by bringing up Kane severing as mayor. It felt completely unnecessary in that it just took me out of the moment. I would love to think that their boasting about being better than today’s class and being in charge of NXT will lead to them elevating the right current stars or even key NXT wrestlers at some point. But WWE’s deal with Saudi Arabia seems to suggest that the company’s over reliance on Attitude Era stars isn’t going to end anytime soon. I understand using the legends while the nostalgia interest and big paydays are there, but at some point this company has to make today’s talent feel like the real stars.

Nia Jax promo: A lousy promo with Jax coming off like she was disinterested or going through the motions. WWE’s pursuit of Jax winning that game changer award damaged her. They softened her image and her promos feel very forced

Tamina vs. Nia Jax vs. Ember Moon vs. Dana Brooke: An Evolution battle royal preview that did nothing to make me feel more excited about the match. I found it bizarre that Tamina lost this match when her gimmick is about size and power and she’s about to compete in a battle royal. Why not make her look strong heading into Evolution so that she actually means something in the battle royal?

Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and NWA Champion Nick Aldis.

Readers Comments (14)

  1. Braun gets cheered in every arena. He always is a babyface.

  2. First off, I’m not a fan of Roman Reigns, the character. I hope the best for Joe Anoa’i in his battle, however.

    The WWE made some major changes to the roster on last night’s show though, none of which made a bit of sense. I was never a fan of the Strowman turn to begin with, but they did it. So flipping him 3 months later doesn’t feel natural.

    The Ambrose turn was so much worse to me, though. I’m not saying they didn’t do a good job with the angle- but why do it to begin with? You are losing your “top babyface”, in Roman. So you turn a guy you already know is clicking with the fans heel? For what? It’s stupid. Plus the timing is so, so bad. They should’ve closed that show with a good moment, and let Ambrose and Rollins carry the Shield banner a bit.

    The WWE just turns people on a dime anymore to tell the story they want to tell, and they don’t give a crap what the fans want, or what makes sense. That’s why so many people are miscast. There’s just too much garbage put out by them for me to care anymore. I mean does this bug anyone else? Can anyone tell me what why Dean would be mad at Seth for calling him a lunatic, when he’s nicknamed the “Lunatic Fringe”? Why are Nikki and Brie heels after being faces?

    Imapct’s not perfect, but it’s a thousand times better than this.

    • We get it, you’re going to make the most asinine “points” possible while fellating a terrible show in comparison. The Ambrose turn was legitimately the best I’ve seen in decades. Just perfectly executed.

      • Perfectly executed. Except he had absolutely no reason to do it especially after finally winning the tag titles.

      • Its not about the execution of the turn, as I eluded to. It’s that it makes zero business sense to turn a babyface that connects with the audience right now. If all you want is shock value, let’s have Wilder turn on Dawson next week, and the Bellas and Rousey can form a stable- because why not?

    • I agree. And I can’t believe it’s a hit. Sure the attack was brutal but why? It was just a random attack and these two guys feuded for nearly a year before and everyone was bored of it by the end.

      Same with Elias. Why suddenly turn him. Where was the build up.

      Lashley and Owens were similar. A double turn that makes no sense. A good turn would’ve been Lashley going after Cena for stealing his spotlight. Instead he suddenly brutalises Owens for nothing.

      WWE just does random turns with no build up or logic. No matter how well or shocking it is it is still so dumb

      • I can get the Ambrose thing because in my mind he has ALWAYS planned on destroying Rollins at some some point for turning on them years ago but Elias? Is he going to go from not just insulting the fans, but absolutely brutalizing them week after week, to slapping hands and soaking in the cheers just because he got mad at Corbin?….If anyone needs a heel turn it’s Asuka.

  3. If the WWE wants to humanize Braun Strowman, just show the video on RAW that they posted on You Tube “Braun Strowman: My Son is a WWE Superstar”. That video (where the WWE talks with his parents about Braun) humanized him.

  4. I love when WWE zooms in on people’s stupid faces in the crowd, last night was exceptionally hilarious when Dean Ambrose turned

    • I love how in all the reviews of the show I read not one journalist acknowledging all the cheers and VERY vocal “Way to go Dean!!” comments he was getting as he exited the crowd.

  5. maybe Nia was “disinterested or going through the motions” because her cousin just announced her has cancer.
    Just a thought.

    • Then don’t air the promo. Plain and simple.

      • Jack C. Catalano October 24, 2018 @ 10:57 am

        I’m glad Roman made the announcement in the ring. If you tell people backstage then it might become “well, why didn’t you tell me first?” type of thing. Also, better to address it once as opposed to telling people the same news over and over again.

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