Following Roman Reigns' suspension for violating the company's "wellness policy," WWE fans went into RAW asking two questions: How would they handle the suspension on-air, and how would it impact the Battleground main event? We were given answers to both this Monday.
In a bit of a surprise, Seth Rollins started RAW and immediately addressed the Reigns suspension. I think many people expected them to gloss over it, and while they didn't fully dive in to the situation, they certainly didn't shy away from the fact that Reigns wasn't there because he was suspended. Rollins demanded that Reigns get pulled from the match, and for the match to become a singles match. This triggered AJ Styles to come out and say that Rollins was right and Reigns should be pulled from the match, but AJ should take his place. Which, of course, brought out John Cena saying he should be in the match, as well. Ambrose said that he'd fight them all if he had to.
This led Stephanie McMahon to come out. In the most interesting plot point of the night, she had nothing but vitriol toward Dean Ambrose. This came a bit out of nowhere. We knew Stephanie and The Authority weren't the biggest fans of Dean Ambrose. However, there wasn't really much hatred there before. Now, apparently, there is.
She wanted to make it harder for Ambrose to retain, so she gave Cena and Styles chances to win their way into the match. Cena would have to beat Rollins, and Styles would have to beat Ambrose. If they won, they would be added to the match and it would be a 5-way match (as Reigns will be staying in the match).
Of course, anyone who has seen wrestling knows what happened next. Styles distracted Cena so he lost his match. Cena distracted Styles so he lost his match. Thus, Styles and Cena will likely face off at Battleground, and the main event remains the Shield triple-threat. The question remains, how will they continue building this match for the next three RAWs before Battleground?
Clearly they'll build up more of the hatred between Ambrose and Rollins. They'll also inject Stephanie (and probably Shane) into the match, and build that aspect. And luckily for WWE, you have to think that the final RAW before Battleground will have a major focus on the draft that will take place the next day. So they can get to Battleground pretty easily, even without a major player involved.
The Rest of RAW:
-If the Shield triple-threat is the main event, then the co-main was made on Monday, as it was announced that Kevin Owens would face Sami Zayn for "the final time" at Battleground. While it certainly won't be the final time overall, it will likely be the last time for a while. I think the brand split is the best thing that could happen to these two. I really think the WWE would have struggled to separate these two if they couldn't put them on separate shows. You have to assume that they will be moved to different brands in the draft, and they can move on with their careers. Between the Shield triple-threat and Zayn/Owens, Battleground is shaping up nicely for a typically-ignored PPV on the calendar.
-Sasha Banks and Paige teamed up to beat Charlotte and Dana Brooke. I'm a little bit surprised they had this match here, as I almost expected them to have the tag match at Battleground to try to save Charlotte/Sasha for SummerSlam. However, it does seem like they're heading towards the singles match at SummerSlam. However, it's possible Paige is involved.
-Titus O'Neil beat Rusev by countout after an extremely physical match. This ended up being just two hosses beating on each other. You have to think this will lead into Battleground as well.
-Speaking of champions losing, Miz made his return Monday. He came out, and Corporate Kane, citing the 30-day rule, told Stephanie that Miz should have to defend his title, against a surprise opponent. That opponent ended up being Kane. As Kane seemed about to win, Maryse faked an injury, and Miz carried her back, taking the countout loss. This, unfortunately, will likely lead to a Battleground match. I say unfortunately not because I hate Kane being on screen. However, Miz was red-hot before he went to film The Marine. A feud with Kane will not help that.
-Becky Lynch was supposed to face Summer Rae. However, early in the match she decided to forget about the match and go after Natalya, who was at ringside. It was nice to see an aggressive side of Becky again, as she reacted exactly how she should have.
-Enzo and Cass beat a jobber team before being confronted by the Social Outcasts, who they also dispatched. Enzo got the crowd to do The Wave before the match, which could jeopardize his face status.
-Cesaro and Apollo Crews beat Sheamus and Alberto Del Rio after Del Rio hit an enziguri on Sheamus and left. A relatively meaningless match, but it does lead to the question of if Del Rio will make a face turn, as he got a nice pop for hitting Sheamus.